There is one summary for this bill. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (01/09/1997)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: National Park System Plan

Title II: New Area Establishment

Title III: Concessions Reform

Title IV: Recreation Fees

Common Sense National Park System Reform Act - Title I: National Park System Plan - Requires the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Director of the National Park Service, to prepare and submit to the House Committee on Resources and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources a National Park System Plan to guide the direction of the System into the next century. Provides that the Plan shall be deemed approved unless the Congress enacts a joint resolution disapproving it within 90 days. Allows the Secretary to resubmit the Plan by the date specified in the resolution if it is rejected by the Congress.

Directs the Secretary to submit a report to the Congress, within one year after the Plan has been deemed approved, identifying which National Park System units do not conform with the Plan.

(Sec. 102) Requires the Secretary to report on the procedures that have been instituted to report to the U.S. Attorney or other appropriate law enforcement officials any intimidation, threats, or acts of violence against Service employees related to their duties.

Title II: New Area Establishment - Removes certain reporting requirements concerning additional areas for the National Park System.

Directs the Secretary to submit to the Committee an annual list of areas recommended for study for potential inclusion in the System. Bars the initiation of any study of the potential of an area for inclusion in the System after this Act's enactment, except by specific authorization by an Act of the Congress. Requires studies to be completed within three complete fiscal years of the enactment date of legislation providing for a study. Specifies factors to be considered in such studies, including whether direct National Park Service management or alternative protection by other agencies or the private sector is appropriate. Requires such studies to be completed in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) establish a single office to prepare all new area studies and to implement other functions of this Act; and (2) submit with the annual budget submission a list of areas which have been studied previously which contain cultural or historical resources and areas which contain primarily natural resources in numerical order of priority for addition to the System. Requires the Secretary to only include areas on the lists for which the supporting data is current and accurate.

Title III: Concessions Reform - National Park Service Concession Policy Reform Act of 1997 - Repeals the Concessions Policy Act of 1965.

(Sec. 305) Directs the Secretary to authorize, under specified conditions, private persons, corporations, or other entities to provide and operate such facilities and services as the Secretary deems necessary and appropriate in the National Park System.

(Sec. 306) Authorizes the Secretary, upon request and under specified criteria, to allow such entities to provide services to park visitors other than by award of a concession contract or permit. Requires the provision of such services to have minimal impact on park resources and values and to be consistent with park purposes. Provides a two-year term limit for the provision of such services.

(Sec. 307) Requires a concession contract to be awarded to the person submitting the best proposal through a competitive selection process to be established by the Secretary. Allows waiver of such procedures and award of a temporary contract to avoid interruption of services.

Requires the Secretary to publish a notice of availability for a prospectus soliciting proposals for contracts for concessions at a Park specifying minimum contract requirements and contract terms and conditions. Requires congressional notification of any proposed contract with anticipated gross receipts exceeding $5 million or of a duration of ten or more years.

Prohibits the Secretary from granting a preferential right to a concessioner to: (1) renew concession contracts under this Act, with exceptions; or (2) provide new or additional services at a park. Allows such preferential rights to be granted for certain outfitting and guide contracts and certain contracts with annual gross receipts of under $500,000.

(Sec. 308) Sets forth criteria for determining franchise fees, including fees for multiple franchise contracts within a park.

(Sec. 309) Requires all fees to be: (1) covered into a special Treasury account established for reallocation to System units for resource management and protection, maintenance activities, interpretation, and research; or (2) deposited into a Park Improvement Fund established by the concessioner (as directed by the Secretary) from which expenditures shall be made for park activities and projects. Requires: (1) an annual statement from the concessioner to the Secretary reflecting total activity in the Fund for the preceding fiscal year; and (2) an annual report from the Secretary to specified congressional committees concerning Fund expenditures.

(Sec. 310) Establishes a maximum: (1) ten-year duration for a concessions contract, provided that the Secretary may award a contract for up to 20 years if determined necessary; and (2) two-year duration for a temporary contract.

(Sec. 311) Requires the approval of the Secretary and congressional notification before a concession contract can be transferred, assigned, sold, or conveyed and sets forth conditions that preclude such conveyance.

(Sec. 312) Grants possessory interest to: (1) concessioners who have commenced acquisition or construction of any structure on Federal land within a park before the enactment of this Act; and (2) concessioners who construct or acquire an improvement on U.S. land within a Park after enactment of this Act.

(Sec. 313) Places limitations on a concessioner's rates and charges to the public.

(Sec. 314) Directs the Secretary to: (1) periodically evaluate the performance of each concessioner under contract; (2) terminate a contract if a concessioner fails, within the prescribed time, to meet minimum requirements identified in a notice of unsatisfactory performance; and (3) notify specified congressional committees of each unsatisfactory rating and each contract terminated.

(Sec. 315) Provides that the Comptroller General shall, until the expiration of five calendar years after the close of the business year for each concessioner, have access to and the right to examine any pertinent books, documents, papers, and records of the concessioner related to the contracts.

(Sec. 316) Exempts contracts awarded by the Secretary under this Act from certain provisions of Federal law with respect to the leasing of U.S. buildings and properties.

(Sec. 318) Requires the Inspector General of the Department of the Interior to submit biannual reports to specified congressional committees on the implementation of this Act and its effect on facilities operated pursuant to concession contracts and on visitor services.

(Sec. 319) Authorizes appropriations.

Title IV: Recreation Fees - National Park Service Entrepreneurial Management Reform Act of 1997 - Amends the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 to increase fees for admission to units of the National Park System and other specified areas. Makes receipts from admission available, subject to appropriation, for authorized resource protection, rehabilitation, and conservation projects.

Requires the Secretary to establish a pilot project at Yosemite National Park that utilizes incentives, including waiving or reducing admission fees, to encourage use of public transit which serves the purpose of reducing vehicular traffic within such park.

Revises provisions regarding the issuance of lifetime admission permits, including a limitation that such a permit entitles only the permittee and the accompanying spouse to free admission.

Directs the Secretary to report to the Congress respecting areas where the Secretary determines that admission fees would be appropriate but where such fees are prohibited by law, and areas where such fees are authorized but not being collected.

Increases the penalty for violations of rules and regulations regarding admission and special recreation use fees.

Modifies provisions regarding the use of fees collected. Requires that specified receipts be covered into a special National Park Renewal Fund. Makes such funds available for resource protection, research, interpretation, and maintenance activities related to resource protection and visitor enjoyment in areas managed by the National Park Service.

Repeals a requirement that qualified public or private entities selling annual admission permits reimburse the United States for the full amount to be received from the sale of such permits when or before the agency delivers the permits to such entity for sale.

Directs the Secretary to establish reasonable fees for nonrecreational uses of System units that require special arrangements.

Prohibits charging an admission or recreation use fee for entrance into, or use of, any federally owned area operated and maintained by a Federal agency which is used for outdoor recreation purposes, except as provided for by such Act.

(Sec. 403) Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) negotiate and enter into agreements with State or local governments, individuals, or other entities for the purpose of sharing costs or services in carrying out authorized functions and responsibilities of the Secretary with respect to System units; and (2) provide, subject to appropriation, the Federal funding share from any funds available to the National Park Service in carrying out such agreements.

(Sec. 404) Requires any funds payable to the United States as restitution for damages to national park resources or property to be paid to the Secretary and made available for improvement, protection, or rehabilitation of damaged resources or property.