Cantwell Recognized by National Park Conservation Association as Champion for National Parks

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) was presented with the 2019 National Park Heritage Award from the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), an organization that works to safeguard our nation’s national parks.

Cantwell was given the award for her leadership in the passage of the landmark John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act – which she sponsored with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) – the biggest conservation and historic preservation legislation passed in a decade.

“There’s nothing better than being outdoors, and fighting to preserve and invest in our public lands has been a great honor,” Senator Cantwell said. “These lands are important for recreating, hunting, fishing, reconnecting with the outdoors, and our economy. Thank you to the National Parks Conservation Association for this award – I will continue fighting to protect access to public lands and our national parks for generations to enjoy.”

The legislation, previously known as the Natural Resources Management Act, permanently reauthorized the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, created four new National Parks, and contained more than 110 individual conservation bills.

“It’s an honor to recognize Senator Cantwell for championing this historic law that will enhance the National Park System for generations to come,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association. “Our national parks protect the stories that define and unite us as a nation. Now, thanks to this new law, we have even more places to enjoy the outdoors and learn about our nation’s history. We commend Congressional leaders like Senator Cantwell who worked with colleagues across the aisle and across the country in support of our shared national parks and public lands that their constituents, and all Americans, care so deeply about.”

Among its provisions, the legislation also contained a number of public lands priorities authored by Cantwell with importance to Washington state:

  • Methow Headwaters Protection Act: The bill includes the Methow Headwaters Protection Act, which will permanently protect the Methow Valley watershed by removing 340,000 acres of Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest from potential mining development.
  • Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project Phase III Act: The bill includes the bipartisan Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project Phase III Act, which authorizes an integrated and collaborative approach to addressing water challenges in the Yakima Valley. The bill will restore ecosystems and fisheries, ensure communities have access to water, help rehabilitate and repair the Wapato Irrigation Project, and extend water supplies for farmers in times of drought.
  • Wildfire Management Technology Advancement Act: Cantwell’s public lands package includes the Wildfire Management Technology Advancement Act, which will increase safety for wildland firefighters and bring federal firefighting agencies across the country into the 21st century through the use of GPS and unmanned aircraft systems.
  • Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Act: The public lands legislation includes Cantwell’s Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Act, which would designate 1.5 million acres of land stretching along the Interstate 90 corridor from Seattle to Ellensburg as one of the Pacific Northwest’s first National Heritage Areas.
  • National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System Act: The bill includes the bipartisan National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System Act, legislation to improve the nation’s volcano monitoring and early warning capabilities and strengthen existing monitoring systems, including the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Washington state and Oregon, to help keep communities and travelers safe.
  • National Nordic Museum Designation: The bill includes language designating the Nordic Museum in Seattle as the National Nordic Museum, recognizing the museum’s unique work to preserve, celebrate, and educate the American public about Nordic history, culture, and art.
  • Maritime Washington National Heritage Area Act: The bill includes the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area Act, which would designate a majority of Western Washington’s shoreline as a National Heritage Area to help promote maritime-related tourism, economic development, and maritime history as told through Washington state’s museums, historic ships, fishing culture, and other activities. This would be one of Washington’s first National Heritage Areas, along with the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area.

More information about Senator Cantwell’s public lands legislation can be found HERE.