STATEMENT OF P. DANIEL SMITH, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, RECREATION AND PUBLIC LANDS OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES CONCERNING H.R. 1289, TO ESTABLISH THE NATIONAL PARKS INSTITUTE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, MERCED

JULY 15, 2003
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Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior's views on H.R. 1289, a bill to establish a National Parks Institute at the University of California, Merced.

H.R. 1289 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to establish the National Parks Institute on the campus of the University of California at Merced. The bill provides for the institute to be jointly administered by the National Park Service and the University of California, Merced. The legislation also provides the Secretary with authority to enter into contracts and cooperative agreements, acquire or construct a facility, and accept donations from private parties and transfers from other federal agencies. It calls for federal funding for the institute to be matched equally with non-federal funding.

Mr. Chairman, we cannot present a position on this bill at this time. This is an important issue, and we were unable in the time before the hearing to develop a coordinated Administration position on the bill. We appreciate your efforts in introducing this legislation and assure you that we will communicate our position to you in writing shortly.