On Wednesday, June 13th, at the Newseum in Washington, DC, Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico was presented with National Park Trust's Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award. Established in 2000, the award honors the legacy of Congressman Bruce F. Vento of Minnesota – a 12-term member and former chair of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest, and Public Lands. As the committee chair, Vento passed more park legislation than anyother previous chairman. Each recipient of the Vento Award has expanded the nation's understanding of what it means to have a lifelong legacy and commitment to protecting America's treasured parks and other natural areas. Upon receiving the award, Senator Bingaman stated, "I appreciate therecognition the Trust has given to me tonight, and I am particularly honored because it is an award named for Bruce Vento."
NPT honored Senator Bingaman for his outstanding record in park preservation and environmental stewardship. One of his more recent accomplishmentsin his three decades of Senate service was working to expand opportunities for young people through partnerships with public land managers through the Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2011. Senator Bingaman also has introduced legislation to transfer the Valles Caldera National Preserve to the National Park Service in order to protect the Preserve's many outstanding natural and cultural resources. Senator Bingaman co-sponsored a Congressional resolution officially recognizing NPT's inaugural National Kids to Parks Day in 2011, and he took a leadership role on the Outdoor Resources Review Group to address park systems and their relationship between outdoor recreation, health and wellness.
Senator Bingaman is the author of legislation to provide for full and permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and his bill was the model for an amendment recently adopted by the Senate which would provide $1.4 billion for the Land and Water Conservation Fund over the next two years. As chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, he has been responsible for moving forward hundreds of bills for new national parks, wilderness areas and other conservation areas, and he was the sponsor and manager of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, which is the largest conservation bill enacted in the past quarter century.
"Throughout his career Senator Bingaman has been a driving force behind the protection of America's public lands and has supported legislation to promote conservation, expand the development of clean technology and green jobs, and connect young people to the natural world," said NPT Board Chair William Brownell. "We are pleased to honor Senator Bingaman with this award for his ongoing commitment to preserve our country's magnificent parks and open spaces."