Weekly Address: President Obama – Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, President Obama commemorated the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and encouraged Americans to “Find Your Park.” First Lady Michelle Obama and Mrs. Laura Bush are serving as honorary co-chairs of the National Parks Centennial Celebration to raise awareness and help Americans connect with their favorite parks and public lands. Today, military families can access all national parks for free through the Joining Forces initiative, and families with a fourth grader can get a free pass by visiting EveryKidInAPark.org. The President emphasized his commitment to building on the American tradition of conservation – noting his record of protecting more lands and waters than any other administration. With the threat of climate change, the President said that protecting our public lands and waters is more important than ever. In the years to come, we must do what we can to continue to protect our parks and our planet for future generations.

Transcript: Weekly Address: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service

Remarks of President Barack Obama as Delivered
Weekly Address, The White House, August 20, 2016

Hi everybody. Earlier this summer, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and I headed west—to the national parks at Carlsbad Caverns and Yosemite. And I’ve got to say, it was a breath of fresh air. We explored hundreds of feet underground, standing beneath dripping stalactites in New Mexico. We hiked up a misty trail next to a waterfall in California. And I even took a few pictures of my own – not bad, right?

But the truth is, no camera – especially one with me behind it – can fully capture the beauty and majesty of America’s national parks. From Glacier and Denali to Gettysburg and Seneca Falls, our more than 400 parks and other sites capture our history and our sense of wonder. As FDR once said: “There is nothing so American as our national parks… the fundamental idea behind the parks… is that the country belongs to the people.”

This month, we’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. And I want to encourage all of you to “Find Your Park” so that you and your family can experience these sacred places, too. If you’re a military family, you can even get in free through Michelle and Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative. And if you’ve got a fourth grader in your family, you can get a free pass, too, by going to EveryKidInAPark.org.

I hope you do. Because all across the country, the National Park Service is preparing for a big year. We’re revitalizing a grove of giant Sequoias in Yosemite; repairing the Lincoln Memorial; and enhancing the iconic entrance to our first national park at Yellowstone.

As President, I’m proud to have built upon America’s tradition of conservation. We’ve protected more than 265 million acres of public lands and waters – more than any administration in history. We’ve recovered endangered wildlife species and restored vulnerable ecosystems. We’ve designated new monuments to Cesar Chavez in California, the Pullman porters in Chicago, and the folks who stood up for equality at Stonewall in New York – to better reflect the full history of our nation. And we’ve got more work to do to preserve our lands, culture, and history. So we’re not done yet.

As we look ahead, the threat of climate change means that protecting our public lands and waters is more important than ever. Rising temperatures could mean no more glaciers in Glacier National Park. No more Joshua Trees in Joshua Tree National Park. Rising seas could destroy vital ecosystems in the Everglades, even threaten Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

So in the coming years and decades, we have to have the foresight, and the faith in our future, to do what it takes to protect our parks and protect our planet for generations to come. Because these parks belong to all of us. And they’re worth celebrating – not just this year, but every year. Thanks everybody. Have a great weekend. And see you in the parks!

Bolding added.



  1. While President Obama and his administration are working to protect our parks and preserve our natural and national heritage, Republicans in Congress are hard at work trying to destroy all Good Government programs like the National Park Service.

    The Republican Party platform, passed in July:

    The inclusion of this provision in the Republican Party’s platform reflects the growing influence of and ideological alliance between several anti-park members of the GOP and anti-government extremists, led by Cliven Bundy, who dispute the federal government’s authority over national public lands.

    “Congress shall immediately pass universal legislation providing a timely and orderly mechanism requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public lands to the states,” reads the adopted language. “We call upon all national and state leaders and representatives to exert their utmost power and influence to urge the transfer of those lands identified.”

    Yes, there is actually an anti-parks caucus in the Republican Congress and, yes, they think that the government has no right to protect and preserve any of the natural beauty or delicate ecosystems within our borders.

    Teddy Roosevelt, Republican and founder of the National Park Service, would shudder to see what has happened to the party he was once in.

  2. From the Obama Administration’s EPA and DOT

    EPA Director Gina McCarthy and Secretary of Transportation Andrew Foxx

    In 2013, President Obama announced his Climate Action Plan, a bold plan that is now on track to reduce emissions from nearly every sector of our economy. Today, we are fulfilling one of the central promises in this plan — finalizing the second phase of greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy duty vehicles for model years 2018 and beyond.

    The trucking sector is an engine of the U.S. economy. It hauls about 70 percent of all freight in this country, and is also our nation’s second largest segment of U.S. transportation in terms of emissions and energy use.

    Today’s final standards will promote a new generation of cleaner and more fuel efficient trucks. That means 1.1 billion fewer tons of CO2 will be emitted into the atmosphere, and operators will save 2 billion barrels of oil and $170 billion in fuel costs. The additional cost of a new truck will be recouped within 2-4 years, saving truck owners more over the long haul.

    FACT SHEET: EPA and DOT Finalize Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Heavy-Duty Trucks

  3. Follow Rocky Mountain Mike’s Twitter feed over the next week for fantastic photos taken of our National Parks:

    @RockyMntnMike: Happy 100th anniversary #NationalParks Mt. Rainier National Park, 2014

    Shared via TweetCaster

  4. From the campaign trail …

    Jan —

    It’s hard for me to believe we’ve spent more than a year of our lives watching the endless reality TV campaign of Donald Trump.

    But I think in that time I’ve discovered the secret to his staying power on the stump. It has nothing to do at all with qualifications, grasp of the issues, or the right policies. If he has any of those things, he’s chosen not to showcase them.

    Rather, Trump is the master of personal attacks and undermining the public faith in his opponents’ worth. Whether it’s Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party as a whole, the media, our men and women in uniform and their families, immigrants — you name it, Trump has used schoolyard taunts to try and reduce anyone who will stand up to him.

    But that’s all he has. Trump has but a single arrow in his quiver.

    So far, he hasn’t needed more. But day after day, the American people by and large are rejecting this divisive strategy and proving we’re better than this as a country. However, we still can’t take anything for granted. And that’s why we have to double down. Will you? Pitch in [request for money] right now.

    Smearing, assailing, or denigrating his opponents’ honesty, or looks, or gender, or height, or ethnicity — this alone has paved Trump’s path to the GOP nomination. But we’re not going to let it be the path to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I am going to work my heart out every day from now until November 8th to make sure that doesn’t happen, and I’m so glad you’re in Hillary’s corner, too.



    Donna Brazile
    Democratic National Committee

  5. In the News: Justice Department to go after jailing the poor

    Jailing people before they are tried in court because they can’t afford bail is unconstitutional, according to federal appeals court documents the Justice Department filed Thursday.

    The filings mark the first time the agency has openly criticized the bail industry. In its amicus brief, the Justice Department wrote, “Bail practices that incarcerate indigent individuals before trial solely because of their inability to pay for their release violate the Fourteenth Amendment” and “result in the unnecessary incarceration of numerous individuals who are presumed innocent.”

    The case is out of Georgia:

    The filing came in the case of Maurice Walker of Calhoun, Georgia. He was kept in jail for six nights after police arrested him for the misdemeanor offense of being a pedestrian under the influence. He was told he could not get out of jail unless he paid the fixed bail amount of $160. […]

    A federal judge in January ruled in Walker’s favor, ordering the city to let those arrested on misdemeanor offenses be released on their own recognizance and to make other changes in its post-arrest procedures.

    In appealing that order, the city said the preset amounts of the city’s bail schedule are tied to the seriousness of each offense and are specifically allowed under Georgia law.

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