State Park Amendment Act of 2018
Introduced: January 9, 2018
Co-introducers: Councilmember Vincent Gray
Summary: To amend the National Children’s Island Act of 1995 to establish Kingman Island State Park for wildlife management and preservation as well as outdoor recreation activities; to establish the Office of State Parks, to manage Kingman Island State Park and future state parks; and to establish the State Parks Commission to facilitate coordination between agencies and other stakeholders for encouraging outdoor recreation and wildlife preservation in the District.
Councilmember Grosso's Introduction Statement:
Today, along with my colleague Councilmember Gray, I am introducing the State Park Amendment Act of 2018.
This bill celebrates the progress that our city has made in improving access to the Anacostia River, provides new outdoor recreation and outdoor education opportunities, and supports the growth of our outdoor industry.
As we know, the nearly 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia lack the rights that come along with statehood in our country. This bill renames Kingman Island, formally Children’s Island, as Kingman Island State Park.
As a state park, similar to all other states, this land will be dedicated to preserving and enhancing wildlife and access to nature by supporting the addition of new trails and facilities for mountain biking, camping, hiking, and more.
These improvements will support the implementation of the recently completed Kingman and Heritage Island Planning and Feasibility Study Act of 2016.
This bill will also create a new Office of State Parks within the Department of Parks and Recreation, as well as a State Parks Commission, both of which will help support the continued growth of the outdoor industry in Washington, D.C.
Our city already has a thriving outdoor industry, with multiple National Parks, boat houses along both rivers, regional bike trails, and more. We even have a flagship location of outdoor retailer REI. This industry supports thousands of jobs and contributes to a greener and healthier city.
The new office and commission in this bill will help coordinate amongst the multiple jurisdictions and organizations that provide and advocate for outdoor recreation to ensure that all residents, in all eight Wards, have ample opportunities to learn about, and enjoy, the natural world.
I have been proud to work on improving recreation access and restoration of the Anacostia River for over 15 years, from planning Yards Park to helping create the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative. In taking this next step, I’d like to thank all of the agencies and organizations who we’ve met with over the past year to work on this bill to advance this essential endeavor.
Mayor Bowser has announced that 2018 shall be the “Year of the Anacostia” in Washington, D.C., and I applaud her commitment to this. There are so many communities that front onto the river, and it will certainly take a major effort, with all of us working together, to make these dreams a reality.
Ensuring that all District residents have easy access to outdoor recreation and education opportunities at our own state park will be an important step towards fulfilling this important initiative.