Idaho GOP Rep. Mike Simpson’s work on the House Appropriations Committee to support national parks prompted the National Parks Conservation Association to present him its William Penn Mott, Jr. Park Leadership Award.
Simpson was honored by the group, along with to Washington Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, for advocacy for national parks.
“Representative Mike Simpson is a devoted and tireless advocate for our national parks, and has long championed our outdoor spaces that embody America’s cultural and scenic heritage,” said NPCA President and CEO Clark Bunting. “NPCA is honored to celebrate Representative Simpson’s leadership in securing funding for our national parks and for his bipartisan approach to advancing legislation to enhance ‘America’s Best Idea’ for present and future generations.”
The only national park in Idaho is Yellowstone, which has a strip of the state along its western boundary. But Idaho also has Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, which local officials hope may get national park status. Hagerman Horse Fossil Beds National Monument, Minidoka National Historic Site and the Nez Perce National Historic Park in Idaho are all managed by the National Park Service. City of Rocks is a National Reserve, which is managed by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.
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“It’s clear that Representative Simpson understands the value of our national parks for Idaho and our nation, and we look forward to his continued work to ensure our national parks have the resources to thrive ahead of their 100th anniversary in 2016,” Bunting said.
Simpson said national parks and cultural sites have played an important role in his life.
“The countless hours I spent in Yellowstone and other parks in my youth instilled me a deep appreciation for the wild spaces in our country, and that still impacts how I view the world as an adult,” Simpson said. “It says something important about our culture that we think these things are worth preserving, whether they are pristine natural areas or sites of historical and cultural importance, and I consider it a privilege to be a part of that work.”