On June 13, 2013, Sen. Mark Warner introduced the bill S. 1158, which seeks to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service.
The National Park Service was established as a bureau within the Department of the Interior to administer the national parks and monuments of the United States as a unified National Park System. Since its establishment in 1916, the National Park System has grown from 37 park units with 6 million acres of land to more than 395 units with 84 million acres of land located across nearly all states and territories.
The recently introduced Senate bill joins a House bill introduced earlier this year, which has now garnered 304 cosponsors.
Both bills contain similar provisions that call for the issuance of up to 100,000 $5 gold coins, 500,000 silver dollars, and 750,000 clad half dollars carrying designs emblematic of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. All coins would be issued in both proof and uncirculated qualities during the period beginning January 1, 2016 and ending December 3,1 2016.
Surcharges to be added to the price of each coin are specified as $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 the resources under the stewardship of the National Park Service and promote public enjoyment and appreciation of those resources.
There have been previous commemorative coin programs which have focused on specific national parks or monuments. This has included Mount Rushmore National Monument for its Golden Anniversary in 1991 and Yellowstone National Park for the 175th anniversary in 1999. The America the Beautiful Quarters Program is currently highlighting a different national park or site from each state, territory, and the District of Columbia within a series scheduled to continue until at least 2021.