With a handful of new units of the National Park System to be ushered in once President Obama signs a half-trillion-dollar defense authorization bill, National Park Service officials are not exactly sure where they'll get the money or personnel to bring the new parks to life, but they're optimistic they'll find a way.
First State National Monument
In one of the largest expansions of the National Park System in decades, a nearly 1,700-page bill to fund the Defense Department carries amendments to add roughly a half-dozen units to the park system and add acres to others. But the measure also raises concerns over whether Congress is micro-managing National Park Service decisions when it comes to wildlife management under the Endangered Species Act, and how donors to the system should be recognized.
In what could be the most significant legislative action pertaining to national parks since 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives is being asked to approve a defense authorization bill that has been amended to create a number of new units of to the National Park System, from a Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park in New York to a Manhattan Project National Historical Park spread across a handful of states.
Whether due to oversight, a lack of political expediency, or inadvertent shunning, the country's first state was last in landing a unit of the National Park System within its borders. And now, though First State National Monument is open for business and shining a light on the country's origins, it continues to struggle.