Description: Description: The National Park Service - Experience Your America

Description: Description: Office of Policy

Description: Description:



NPS Operating Commissions



What are Operating Commissions?

Operating commissions are committees whose primary functions are “operational,” rather than “advisory.” They are established by law or Presidential directive and have the authority to:

·         spend appropriated federal funds

·         enter into cooperative agreements with states, state and nonprofit organizations, and individuals

·         make grants to states, state and nonprofit organizations, and individuals

·         hire and compensate staff

·         obtain funds from any source, including federal sources

·         contract for goods and services

Operating commissions are not subject to Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) provisions. They may perform advisory functions, as long as they are subordinate to the operational functions. Any advisory committees created by an operating commission are subject to FACA.

NPS Coordinating Responsibilities

The NPS has coordinating responsibilities for operating commissions connected to the NPS mission. Some commissions are collaborative partnerships involved with the development and management of national parks. Others plan and manage National Heritage Areas (NHAs).

The Office of Policy ensures that commissions are properly established and administered. We

·         prepare the formal charters that allow each commission to functions

·         process nominations for the appointment of commission members by the Secretary of the Interior

·         give advice and technical help to commissions and NPS staff about their roles and responsibilities, activities, and meetings

·         compile and maintain commission reports

NPS park and regional office staff handle day-to-day coordination with the operating commissions. The NPS National Heritage Areas Program gives technical and financial aid to NHAs for a limited time after designation.

Current NPS Operating Commissions

Boston Harbor Islands Partnership
The enabling legislation for Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area also created the Partnership. The 13-member group, representing federal, state, city, and nonprofit agencies, collaboratively manages the park.
Authorization:16 USC 460kkk; Public Law 104-333, November 12, 2006
Charter: no statutory termination date

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission
The Commission manages the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. The 27-member group collaborates with federal, state, and local governments and organizations to preserve and interpret the Erie Canal, promote tourism, and foster vibrant communities connected by the waterway. The NPS provides financial and technical support.
Authorization: 54 USC 320101 note; Public Law 106-554, December 21, 2000
Charter: extended until September 30, 2021

400 Years of African-American History Commission

The purpose of the 15-member commission is to develop and carry out programs and activities to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to the English colonies at Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619. Point Comfort is part of present-day Fort Monroe National Monument.

Authorization: Public Law 115-102, January 8, 2018. The commission will terminate on July 1, 2020.

Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission
The Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission manages the Gullah/Geechee National Heritage Corridor. The corridor preserves and interprets the unique history and culture of the Gullah/Geechee people—Africans and African-Americans who settled in coastal areas of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The 15-member commission partners with the NPS and the State Historic Preservation Offices of the four states.
Authorization: 54 USC 320101 note; Public Law 109-338, October 12, 2006
Charter: sunset date October 12, 2021

Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission
The enabling legislation for Keweenaw National Historical Park established by the Commission. The seven-member commission provides leadership, education, and financial support to preserve sites and tell the story of copper mining on Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula.
Authorization: 16 USC 410yy-8; Public Law 102-543, October 27, 1992
Charter: no statutory termination date


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Rev. 2/6/2019