Hoeven: NPS Director Nominee Commits to Help Advance Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library

Senator Also Outlined the Restore Our Parks Act, Urged Nominee to Address Park Maintenance Backlog

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven secured a commitment from Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela, the nominee to serve as Director of the National Park Service (NPS), to help advance the development of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library. The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation is currently planning the construction of the library and museum, to be located in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The facility will include more than 50,000 digitized documents and other archives from the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University (DSU).

This week’s hearing follows a commitment Hoeven secured from National Park Foundation President Will Shafroth to work on moving the effort forward. Further, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke expressed support for the project during his visit to the state earlier this year.

“The Theodore Roosevelt Center has done a tremendous job in preserving President Roosevelt’s documents and making them available online,” said Hoeven. “By establishing a presidential library and museum, we can further capture the legacy of this president as well as the impact western North Dakota had on his life. Doing so would benefit residents and visitors, and I appreciate Mr. Vela’s commitment to support the project. I look forward to continuing to work with all of our local stakeholders and federal partners in moving forward on building this facility.”

In addition, Hoeven urged Vela to resolve the NPS’s maintenance backlog. The senator outlined legislation he cosponsored, the Restore Our Parks Act, to help address this priority, which includes an estimated $52 million for deferred maintenance in North Dakota.

This bipartisan legislation would use 50 percent of the excess revenues from energy development on federal lands to establish a NPS Legacy Restoration Fund. These revenues are already owed to the federal government, would require no new taxes and would not impact revenues that go to the states for mineral and energy development on federal lands. 

Further, the bill would authorize the NPS Director and Interior Secretary to accept cash or in-kind donations to the restoration fund to encourage relevant public-private partnerships. An expected $6.5 billion would accrue to the fund over a five-year period.