WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) today applauded the Senate passage of the Natural Resources Management Act (S. 47), which includes over 100 public lands bills and several provisions that directly benefit the state of Delaware, including legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The package also includes a bipartisan provision based on legislation introduced by Coons and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) to bring national recognition to the American Discovery Trail, the nation’s only coast-to-coast, non-motorized recreational trail stretching from Delaware’s Cape Henlopen State Park to Point Reyes National Seashore in California.
“This comprehensive package will help conserve our precious natural resources for years to come, expand recreational opportunities, and improve quality of life in our state and around the country,” said Senator Coons. “I’m pleased it will expand access to the American Discovery Trail, which connects trails from coast to coast, giving more Americans the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while supporting tourism and economic development for local parks and communities.”
The Natural Resources Management Act will:
- Authorize the Department of the Interior (DOI) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to place signage along the American Discovery Trail. The provision mirrors S. 1573, the American Discovery Trail Act, a bill championed by Senator Coons and Senator Capito last Congress. The provision would bring national attention to the American Discovery Trail and connect communities by giving more Americans the opportunity to enjoy the unique network of trails it represents.
- Permanently reauthorize the expired Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which facilitates federal land acquisitions and provides grants to local and state governments to conserve land, water, and wetlands. The provision is modeled on S. 569, the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act, which was cosponsored by Senator Coons.
- Reauthorize the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Historic Preservation Program, which provides funding for grants to preserve and restore sites of historic significance at HBCUs across the U.S. and improve accessibility on several HBCU campuses. Reauthorization of the program would benefit HBCUs across the country, including Delaware State University. Senator Coons is also committed to securing strong funding for this program through the appropriations process each year.
- Reauthorize the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act to help protect habitat and sustain populations of migratory birds, including many birds that stop in Delaware Bay such as the rufa red knot. The provision is based on S. 310, the Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Act, which Senator Coons joined as an original cosponsor.
- Codify the National Parks Service’s Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) program to support opportunities for fourth graders and their families to connect with our parks and public lands.