Voices From The Hill : NPS Director Mary Bomar

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Mary Bomar, Director of the National Park Service; NPS Photo
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Nearly one year ago, on the 90th anniversary of the National Park Service, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, while visiting Yellowstone National Park, introduced a program which would bring upwards of $3 Billion dollars in new funds for our parks. The ambitious program, called the Centennial Challenge, is geared to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Park Service in 2016. Over the last year, the National Park Service has conducted listening sessions around the country, and talked with their parks to figure out the best programs on which to spend this money. We are expected to hear which programs have been selected at the end of this month, I'm guessing it will be on the 25th, on the 91st anniversary of the Park Service, and one year after the program was announced.

Congress has yet to approve the Centennial Initiative. Yesterday, the National Park Service, represented by director Mary Bomar, and other groups met in subcommittee hearings for both the House and the Senate to answer questions regarding the program. The audio from the Hill is of the Senate hearing. The complete hearing was 90 minutes long. I have picked only a select few questions that Senators asked of Director Bomar for this program. We hear first from the chairman of the Senate Subcomittee on National Parks, Senator Daniel Akaka, Democrat from Hawaii. We will also hear from Senator Richard Burr, Republican from North Carolina, and also Senator John Barrasso, the newly appointed Republican Senator from Wyoming.

For those looking for the complete picture, I have included the entire 90 minute, unedited, Senate hearing on bill 1253 here. This hearing represents only the first step for the Centennial Challenge on Capitol Hill. We are sure to hear more about this bill in the future.