Defense Bill Expands National Park System
Largest expansion since 1978
The largest expansion of the National Parks System in almost 40 years was approved by the Senate on Friday as part of a bill that provided military funding for 2015, CNN reports. The House approved the bill earlier this month and President Obama is expected to sign it into law.
Some highlights from the expansion include a National Historical Park composed of sites in New Mexico, Tennessee, and Washington that are related to the creation of the Atomic Bomb. Also, the bill calls for creation of a National Historical Park consisting of sites in Delaware, including the current First State National Monument. In all, 120,000 acres will be added to National Park Service’s control. The bill also establishes 245,000 new acres of wilderness area.
Some conservatives in the Senate objected to the inclusion of the National Parks expansion. Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, called the expansion a “disastrous idea,” and Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, called it “extreme.” But the measure passed the Senate relatively easily, with bipartisan support.