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UC Merced Chancellor Testifies to Congress on Formation of National Parks Institute

July 15, 2003
Congressmen Radanovich & Cardoza Bill Would Establish Program at UC Merced

MERCED, CA — UC Merced Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey today testified in support of a proposed congressional measure that would establish a National Parks Institute at the University.

The institute would, through collaboration of UC Merced and the National Park Service, provide management development curriculum for national park officials, promote scientific research in parks that informs decision-making, promote stewardship, and promote and develop environmentally sustainable resource management practices.

The bill, HR 1289, is sponsored by California congressmen George Radanovich [R-Mariposa] and Dennis Cardoza [D-Merced]. Tomlinson-Keasey's testimony came before the House Committee on Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands.

Tomlinson-Keasey said that UC Merced is uniquely poised to partner with the National Parks Service. Through its Sierra Nevada Research Institute, UC Merced already has a formal relationship with Yosemite National Park and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Under that arrangement, UC Merced will conduct scientific research in the parks, and have permanent research field stations at Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon.

“We are very committed to developing new knowledge in natural sciences, engineering, and social sciences which can assist the National Park Service in preserving and managing our nation's natural heritage,” said Tomlinson-Keasey. “We are honored that Congressmen Radanovich and Cardoza recognize the value that UC Merced brings to the Central Valley, the nation and to the National Park Service. Their leadership in this and other important areas is tremendous.”

Tomlinson said that the University's Ernest & Julio Gallo School of Management would be part of the collaboration, and that the National Parks Institute at UC Merced could provide research and consultation on such issues as: climate change and hydrology in the Western US snow pack, park air quality research, park visitation patterns and demographic changes, fire suppression and timber management research, and the relationship between natural communities within and without park boundaries.

UC Merced, the 10th campus of the UC system, is currently under construction. The university is planned to open to students in fall 2004. The campus will ultimately grow to a capacity of 25,000 students, with approximately 6,000 staff and faculty.

The National Park Service consists of 388 national parks, monuments, and historic sites managed by more than 20,000 employees and 120,000 volunteers.