The U.S. Senate passed the Natural Resources Management Act Feb. 12, which is designed to protect millions of acres of land across the nation.
The new legislation includes five new national monuments located in California, Utah, Mississippi and Kentucky. This will cover more than 1.3 million acres in the United States.
In addition, 500,000 acres in California will be dedicated to a new national monument called St. Francis Dam Disaster in Los Angeles County.
The monument, managed by The Forest Services, is planned to highlight the lands historical and educational values.
Dr. Jacob Lanphere, associate professor of environmental science at California Baptist University, said the proposed national parks will provide an opportunity to improve the economy through the production of merchandise and an increase in sales on gas, food and camping equipment.
“I never see a downside to opening national park space,” Lanphere said. “The public has become aware of the need to spend time in the environment, the need to spend time in God’s creation to reflect on the simple things. The little things have healing properties to our soul. It will have a positive impact on our health.”
Lanphere also emphasized the importance of a limited footprint. Eliminating any trail of pollution and keeping national parks a healthy part of the ecosystem is a top priority for the NPS.
CBU students Kinga Wisniewska freshman sports analytics major, and Zachary Zeman, freshman accounting major, run an Instagram account called @TravelingJeep.
They use the account to share their travels to national parks in California and across the United States.
“I am so pleased to hear the United States wants to expand and create more national parks,” Wisniewska said. “This will help preserve the beauty of the land, and promote more outdoor appreciation.”
Wisniewska and Zeman have been able to build a community for those who appreciate the outdoors and to connect with many other students at CBU.
“It’s so incredible to see action being taken to conserve national parks. Future generations deserve to experience the world in the same beauty that we’ve been blessed to (experience),” Zeman said.
The legislation also includes the expansion of five national parks, including Death Valley and Joshua Tree in California and Kennesaw Mountain, Ocmulgee Mounds and Fort Frederica in Georgia.