CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 1641 on Monday, October 26, 2009, under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.R. 1641 was introduced on March 19, 2009, by Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which held a mark-up and reported the bill, as amended, by voice vote on July 29, 2009.
H.R. 1641 would require the National Park Service to study the feasibility of adding approximately 2,300 miles of shoreline in the State of Washington as a designated segment of the National Trails System. The Secretary would be required to consider what activities may be limited by the designation, including existing activities, hunting, boating, or proposed infrastructure improvements-all of which could be limited by the potential designation.
The National Trail System is a federally managed network of scenic, historic, and recreation trails that was created by the National Trails System Act of 1968. The system is managed by the NPS. The NPS is facing a huge maintenance deficit and collapsing national park infrastructure. According to CRS, the NPS backlog for maintenance on existing buildings, trails, and other infrastructure was more than $9 billion in FY 2006. The backlog is a result of the NPS failing to do scheduled maintenance and upkeep that was not funded or carried out according to plan. As a result of the backlog, NPS infrastructure is deteriorating. For instance, the estimated maintenance backlog more than doubled, from $4.25 billion in 1999, in just seven years. CRS notes that some estimates put the existing backlog as high as $12.42 billion. Some Members may be concerned that the bill could expand the responsibilities of NPS without addressing the current management structure which has resulted in such a large, unfunded maintenance backlog.
During consideration of the bill, Representative Paul Broun (R-GA) offered an amendment to require the written consent of private property owners for inclusion in the study. The amendment was not adopted.
According to CBO, H.R. 1641 would "cost $400,000 over the next three years."