Date: Fri, Dec 11, 2015 at 11:22 AM
Subject: Response from Fred Upton
Thank you for contacting me about support for our national park system. Like you, I care deeply about our nation’s public lands and natural resources, and appreciate this opportunity to respond.
I too, enjoy our national park system and agree with President Reagan’s assessment that they remain the “envy of the world”. Michigan has five National Parks within our borders and they see over two million visitors annually. The state receives almost $160 million in economic benefit from tourism at these sites each year.
In July, the House Appropriations Committee advanced the fiscal year 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill which includes funding for the National Park Service (NPS). The legislation contains $2.7 billion for the NPS, an increase of $53 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. Within this amount, the legislation prioritizes funding for park operations and maintenance to reduce the NPS’s backlog of maintenance projects.
As you know, Congress recently passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 which sets spending levels for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. Under the agreement, spending caps for discretionary spending are raised $80 billion, $50 billion in the first year and $30 billion in the second year, while reforms to mandatory spending programs and additional saving are made to fully pay for legislation. With the agreement in place, Congress can now move forward with the appropriations process and allocate funding under the new spending levels, including funding for the NPS.
Having grown up on the shores of Lake Michigan, I know full well the beauty of our state and the importance to preserve it. I have a long history of supporting initiatives to safeguard our state’s most precious natural resources and protect our public lands for future use. Last Congress, I was proud to cosponsor legislation that designated Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS), adding over 32,000 acres to the NWPS. I am also a cosponsor of H.R. 799, the North Country National Scenic Trail Route Adjustment Act, which would improve the nation’s longest hiking trail of which Michigan is home to the longest segment.
As Congress continues to find balanced solutions to our economic needs, rest assured I will keep your support for our public lands in mind. I believe it is important that we protect our national parks and believe that we can do so in a manner that also allows us to meet other public needs. We owe it to future generations of Americans to ensure that our National Park System can maintain the beauty and appeal of our public lands.
Again, thank you for contacting me. As always, I appreciate hearing from you and look forward to your continued input. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I may be of assistance in the future.
Very truly yours,
Member of Congress