CPANP Letterhead


October 14, 2021

The Honorable Joe Manchin, Chairman
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
U.S. Senate,
304 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable John Barrasso, Ranking Member
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
U.S. Senate,
304 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Manchin and Ranking Member Barrasso:

On behalf of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, a non-profit organization representing over 2,000 current and former National Park Service employees, we would like to express our support for President Biden’s nomination of Charles F. Sams III to serve as the 19th director of the National Park Service (NPS).

As a group, the Coalition collectively represents more than 40,000 years of national park management experience. We believe that our national parks and related public lands represent the very best of America, and we advocate for the effective and collaborative stewardship of them.

For over 100 years, the NPS has upheld their mission to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Unfortunately, the ability of the NPS to fulfill this mission in recent years has been hindered by the impacts of climate change, chronic underfunding, the politicization of national parks, decreasing morale, overcrowding, and leadership vacancies. All of this has been compounded over the past four years due to the lack of a Senate-confirmed director to lead the agency.
We need a director capable of addressing these challenges, who can demonstrate strong leadership and care for the NPS workforce. We believe that Mr. Sams has the background, knowledge, and passion to become a leader and advocate for the National Park System.

It is very apparent that Mr. Sams understands and deeply values preservation and conservation of resources. His professional background speaks to a man with diverse experience advocating on a range of environmental issues. He has led organizations, spent time protecting watersheds, worked with AmeriCorps programs, and understands the laws that require and assist us in resource preservation.

While he has not worked as a National Park Service employee, Mr. Sams understands the agency and values stewardship of the environment in a way that aligns very closely with the NPS mission. He is qualified to help Secretary Haaland and President Biden advance their ambitious agenda for our parks and public lands – expanding conservation and combating climate change. Mr. Sams is committed to making a difference and we believe he will be a leader that NPS employees will admire and respect.

We urge the Senate to quickly confirm Mr. Sams as the 19th Director of the National Park Service, as there is much work to be done. It is time to restore the NPS to the proud agency it has been for over a century, and to allow our national parks to be able to fulfill the mission set by Congress so that these nationally significant natural, historic, and cultural resources can continue to be enjoyed by millions of visitors each year.


Phil Francis Signature




Phil Francis
Chair, Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks
2 Massachusetts Ave NE, Unit 77436
Washington, DC 20013