Congressional Conversations: Preserving Our National Parks

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Francisca Desousa demonstrates looms at Boott Cotton Mills Museum in the Lowell National Historic Park. (Chitose Suzuki/AP)
Francisca Desousa demonstrates looms at Boott Cotton Mills Museum in the Lowell National Historic Park. (Chitose Suzuki/AP)

The 141,000 acre Lowell National Historic Park includes 810,000 square feet of former mill space along the Merrimac River. The Boott Cotton Mills Museum is the centerpiece of the park, which features a replica of a turn of the century mill weave room with 88 working power looms.

Despite its $8 million a year budget, advocates say the Lowell site — and all 408 of the nation's parks — need more money. It's a big debate in the Republican-controlled Congress, where some lawmakers argue the funding would be better spent by states, than the federal government.


Rep. Niki Tsongas, Congresswoman representing the third district of Massachusetts, and a ranking member of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands. She tweets @nikiinthehouse.

Peter Aucella, assistant superintendent of Lowell National Historic Park.


Roll Call: National Parks Can Guide the Way on Climate Change

  • "(D)espite its significant and multifaceted contributions, the NPS is falling behind. The NPS budget has shrunk, decreased by 22 percent over 10 years. The result is a burgeoning backlog of maintenance projects. Infrastructure suffers while work on visitor facilities, trails, campgrounds, utilities and more is on indefinite hiatus."

USA Today: America's National Parks: 'An Empire Of Grandeur'

  • "As the Park Service prepares to celebrate its centennial, it now manages more than 400 special places, with at least one in every state. They are urban sites as well as majestic landscapes; shorelines and mountains as well as artists' or inventors' studios; historic places that commemorate our proudest moments as a people as well as reminders of darker episodes that a truly great nation must never ignore or forget."

The Hill: Fight Looms Over Conservation Funds

  • "Critics say the program, which provides money to federal and state conservation programs, has been diverted from its original purpose. They fear funding levels now favor the federal government, which they worry is using the money to buy up land voraciously."

The New York Times: Why Are Our Parks So White?

  • "The park service should use its resources and partnerships to execute an all-out effort to promote diversity within its ranks and its parks. Its outreach should be tailored to minorities and delivered where they log in, follow, Tweet, view or listen. The park service needs to shout to minorities from its iconic mountaintops, 'We want you here!'"

This segment aired on August 14, 2015.


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