Bipartisan legislation has been introduced to the U.S. Senate calling for the U.S. Treasury to issue gold and silver coins of varying denominations to mark the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016.
The National Park Service 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act was introduced last week by Sens. Mark R. Warne, D-Virginia, and Michael Enzi, R-Wyoming. The bill would authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to produce a $5 gold coin, a $1 silver coin, and a clad 50-cent piece with designs marking the centennial.
As well as celebrating the centennial, the limited edition coins are seen as a way to raise revenues for projects in the National Park System, as the $5 coin would carry a $35 surcharge, the $1 coin a $10 surcharge, and the 50-cent piece a $5 surcharge. Proceeds from sales would be used by the National Park Foundation for park preservation and to provide programs and services to visitors. Money raised could not be used to purchase land for the park system, the legislation states.
“Our National Park System provides outstanding recreation and tourism opportunities for roughly 300 million people a year, and serve as real economic drivers for surrounding communities by generating more than $30 billion in economic activity annually,” Sen. Warner said. “Our national parks are truly ‘America’s Best Idea’ and I am proud to sponsor this bipartisan bill to continue supporting them at no additional cost to taxpayers.”
“America’s national parks are a testament to our heritage and the natural beauty of this nation,” added Sen. Enzi. “ Our legislation would help the National Park Service raise the private funds needed to share this history with future generations. These coins will forever remind those who visit the parks that they helped preserve an integral part of this great country.”
Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation, called the legislation "a unique opportunity for America’s extraordinary National Park System. We are confident that with the committed, bi-partisan leadership of both senators, the passing of the commemorative coin bill will be realized, ultimately providing incredible support to these cherished places.”
At the Shenandoah National Park Trust, Executive Director Susan Sherman said maintaining the National Park System is imperative for society.
“As our daily lives move faster and faster, and our connections to the natural world grow more remote, our national parks offer invaluable opportunities to slow down and reconnect—with nature, with our families, and with own spirit,” said Ms. Sherman. "This commemorative coin celebrates all that national parks have given us over the past hundred years, and remind us of the importance of protecting and cherishing these magnificent places so that our children and their children can experience their wonder."