A bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives which seeks to require commemorative coins to be minted to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The program would include $5 gold coins, silver dollars, and clad composition half dollars to be issued in 2016.
The National Park Service was established as a bureau within the Department of the Interior to administer the country’s national parks and monuments. From its establishment in 1916 to present, the National Park System has grown from an initial 37 park units with 6,000,000 acres of land to more than 395 units with 84,000,000 acres of land located across nearly all states and territories.
The bill H.R. 627: National Park Service 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act was introduced by Rep. Erik Paulsen of Minnesota on February 13, 2013. The bill currently has eight cosponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. In the 112th Congress a similar bill had been introduced but failed to become law.
In a press release Rep. Erik Paulsen said, “America’s National Parks are some of our most treasured natural resources. I grew up hiking and camping in many of our National Parks and I continue that tradition with my family today. The memories my family, and thousands of families across the nation, have made as a result of similar trips reinforces the need to do all we can to protect our nation’s parks and natural resources. Even during tough economic times, it’s important to find new, cost-effective ways to preserve these treasures for future generations to learn from and enjoy.”
Under the legislation, the Secretary of the Treasury would be required to mint and issue up to 100,000 $5 gold coins, up to 500,000 silver dollars, and up to 750,000 half dollars featuring designs emblematic of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The coins would be issued only during the period beginning on January 1, 2016 and ending on December 31, 2016.
All sales of coins would include a surcharge of $35 per gold coin, $10 per silver dollar, and $5 per half dollar which would be distributable to the National Park Foundation for projects and programs that help preserve and protect resources under the stewardship of the National Park Service and promote public enjoyment and appreciation of those resources.
Previous commemorative coin programs have featured areas within the National Park System including a program for Mount Rushmore National Memorial in 1991 and Yellowstone National Park in 1999. The United States Mint is in the midst of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program which includes circulating quarter dollars featuring National Parks and sites from each state and territory. This series will run for twelve years from 2010 to 2021 and include 56 different coins.