Today the House Natural Resources Committee passed the Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2009.
H.R. 1612, the Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2009, aims to mobilize thousands of service corps participants over the next few years to help the national parks and other public lands restore and repair lands; engage exponentially more volunteers to serve episodically in the parks; to invest in a new, more diverse generation of National Park Service leaders.
Introduced to the House of Representatives in April by U.S. Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), the bill next goes to the floor of the House for a vote. (Go here to contact your Representative in favor of the bill.) No companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate yet.
Projects could include rehabilitating campgrounds, restoring historic structures, eradicating invasive species, educating visitors, or conducting science and research projects throughout the park system. They might also reach out to communities and help enhance interpretation and education of national park visitors.
Currently the Public Land Corps — a partnership between The Corps Network and the National Park Service — brings corps members into the parks. The Public Lands Service Corps Act would expand the scope and the mission of the current program, including bringing in the experience and skills of older Americans as Encore Fellows (a program recently authorized by the Serve America Act). The Encore Fellows could potentially help train corps members.