The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) has joined with the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and other outdoor recreation interests to urge congressional support for start-up appropriation of $50 million to help fund a new, 10-year program to enhance the National Park system.
The Centennial Challenge Program, in partnership between the federal government and a wide range of non-federal interests, “will leverage a new federal financial commitment to create even greater philanthropic support for the parks and re-engage the American people to recognize and appreciate the shared natural, historic, and cultural heritage these special places embody,” according to a letter sent by supporters to the Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., on Oct. 12.
The Centennial Challenge program sets ambitious performance goals for the National Park Service to meet, in time for its centennial in 2016. The goals are to:
• Improve priority facilities to acceptable condition
• Restore native habitats by controlling invasive species and reintroducing key plant and animal species
• Improve natural resources in parks as measured by scientific vital signs monitoring
• Reduce environmental impacts of park operations
• Double the amount of volunteer hour
• Enroll two million new Junior Rangers
• Encourage greater partnership and philanthropy
• Reshape the workforce to meet the needs of America
The letter asks for start-up appropriations from Congress to get the program moving forward. “Clearly, there is strong, bipartisan interest in Congress to pass legislation to authorize the Centennial Challenge program,” the letter states. “We are asking for your support to include the $50 million Centennial Challenge start-up money in the final fiscal 2008 Interior spending bill.”