Please join CSPF in urging your Congressional representative to hold the recently confirmed Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, accountable for making protection of our public lands and national parks a top priority.
As Secretary of the Interior, Zinke will have oversight over about 20 percent of the nation's land, including our national parks. Our state has 28 national parks and 145 National Historic Landmarks, attracting over 38 million visitors each year.
On March 1, Ryan Zinke was approved by the Senate with a vote of 68-31, with all voting Republicans and 17 members of the Democratic caucus giving him support. As Secretary of the Interior, Zinke will now have oversight for over 20 percent of the nation's land, including our national parks
California's state parks have a strong connection to the National Park System. One example of this connection is the agencies' joint management of Redwood National and State Parks located in Del Norte and Humboldt counties, where the National Park Service and California Department of Parks and Recreation work together to manage and protect these irreplaceable natural resources.
In recent years, CSPF has been pleased to see the Department of the Interior make great strides in increasing access to parks and public lands through programs such as Every Kid in a Park, which provides an annual national park and historic sites pass at no cost for all fourth-grade students. Since its launch, over 2 million passes have been downloaded!
We've also seen significant efforts made to increase landscape conservation work throughout this country. National parks are important the conservation landscape of California, and under the Obama administration, the Department of the Interior also added more acres of protected public lands and waters than any administration in history. As recently as early January, we celebrated the addition of six properties to the California Coast National Monument. We need to ensure that these lands remain protected.
In recent years the National Park System has also increased its efforts to offer more urban park opportunities, to connect with Americans where they live, not just where they vacation. In 2016 the National Park Service released the Urban Agenda recommending a new strategic alignment. CSPF recognizes the need for this continued effort.
The role of the Secretary of the Interior has direct impact on state and local parks in California. Congressional budgets determine funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which the Department of the Interior manages and distributes to the states. LWCF has directed over $2 billion to California since 1965.
Protection of our national parks, LWCF, and important programs such as Every Kid in a Park must remain priorities under the new Secretary of Interior. Your Congressperson needs to hear from park advocates like you that national parks are critical to Californians.