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Republicans Voice Support for National Park Re-openings


WASHINGTON, D.C.,
June 2, 2020

Today, Republicans with the House Committee on Natural Resources released the following statements regarding the scheduled virtual forum entitled “Examining Local Perspectives on the Department of the Interior’s Plan to Reopen National Parks During the Coronavirus Pandemic.” The Trump Administration and medical professionals continue to recognize the benefits of outdoor recreational opportunities. Our ability to restore access to these lands while ensuring the health and safety of visitors, employees, volunteers and partners remains paramount.

“Committee Democrats are holding another partisan forum which guarantees to present frivolous arguments and simplistic solutions about reopening our national parks. To argue that our national parks and trails opening up is a threat to American lives is tone deaf at best, and disingenuous fear-mongering at worst.  American families seeking a reprieve from months long stay-at-home orders in our national parks are not endangering public health. Secretary Bernhardt and National Park Service officials should be commended for coordinating with local park authorities while also ensuring visitors continue to follow state and CDC guidelines.– Ranking Republican Rob Bishop (R-Utah)

“It is high time to begin reopening our National Parks.  Many local economies in my district rely on Yosemite National Park, and I have heard from constituents and local officials who are eager to see it reopened.  While these communities have struggled amid state lockdowns and park closures, local officials and partners have worked diligently to ensure that Parks such as Yosemite can open their gates now.  Despite this, Chairman Grijalva appears just as insistent on closing parks as he does on halting any meaningful work on the Natural Resources Committee.  I stand ready to return the full use and enjoyment of our National Parks to the American people.” – U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.)

“It is important to be able to get outside, enjoy nature and our unique natural resources.  I am encouraged to see the Trump Administration reopening our National Parks. Florida recently began reopening our state forest and park campgrounds, campsites, and recreation areas.  These actions are being taking in partnership with state and local leaders, and following CDC guidelines.” U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.)

Our National Parks serve a crucial role in revitalizing our communities, conserving our natural treasures, and creating a safe and healthy avenue for families to experience the outdoors. The National Park Service can and will responsibly operate under proper federal, state, and local health guidance. The gradual reopening of America’s National Park System should be a bipartisan undertaking and we should not waste time or taxpayer resources hindering NPS from doing their job.” U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.)

“The reopening of our National Parks is a great step forward in the reopening of our country and outdoor recreation is a great opportunity for people to get exercise and do so in a safe way. Secretary Bernhardt and National Park Service officials have made it clear that they are coordinating with local officials and following state and CDC guidelines, as they should. Yet, Chairman Grijalva never misses an opportunity to make false attacks against this administration. Instead of levying false attacks against this administration, Chairman Grijalva should be focused on doing his job by getting his committee back to work and focusing on real policy issues facing Americans. The Natural Resources Committee has a tremendous backlog of work we have failed to do and we could support American’s going to back to work, if Chairman Grijalva would get to work on the priorities of the American people.” – U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)

“It is disappointing but not surprising that Democrat leaders are fighting to delay the reopening of our National Parks so they can continue to spread morose mental health and continue preventing the economy from re-surging. A major reason for creating the National Parks was to create a place Americans could go be exhilarated in the beautiful great outdoors. Americans need that for their mental health after being locked up and shut in for much too long. Too many Democrats see this as a chance to continue scuttling our economy and increasing suffering in hopes that voters will blame President Trump. That along with the riots Antifa and other leftists are inciting, are actually all the more reason to open our National Parks as well as the rest of our economy and society including churches as soon as possible.” – U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)

“We should all continue following safety precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean U.S. national parks have to remain closed. If anything, these are the first places that should reopen, allowing Americans to get back outdoors and stay active and healthy at a safe distance from others. Secretary Bernhardt has demonstrated great leadership in these uncertain times, and I have every confidence that he’ll continue conducting all gradual park reopenings with the input of state and local officials, to ensure safety for everyone involved.” – U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)

“I fully support the continued gradual reopening of our national parks as we’ve seen at places like Joshua Tree. It’s important that we work with park directors and our local communities to ensure an incremental approach that protects public health while allowing people to begin enjoying safe recreational opportunities again.” – U.S. Rep. Paul Cook (R-Calif.) 

“The outdoors provide necessary benefits to our mental and physical health, and the facts tell us that the chance of transmitting COVID-19 is significantly lower outdoors. It is common sense to safely open our national parks and provide Americans with this public resource.” – U.S. Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho)

“I applaud Secretary Bernhardt for working to reopen our national parks as soon as possible. These national treasures provide outdoor recreation, teach about American history, promote mental health, and help our nation’s veterans deal with PTSD. Now more than ever, access to our national parks is an invaluable resource for communities during the ongoing pandemic.” – U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.)

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