Senate Dem: National park stores must sell more American-made goods

By:  Lydia Wheeler
The Hill

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) is calling on the National Park Service (NPS) to sell more American-made merchandise in national park stores.

In a letter to NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis on Friday, Murphy said a Connecticut constituent recently brought it to his attention that stores were carrying foreign-made products.

“One of the easiest ways to create a ripple effect of prosperity through manufacturing communities is to ensure that the goods purchased through the federal government and its contractors, such as those sold in NPS retail shops, are made by American workers,” he said.

Murphy asked Jarvis to increase the percentage of American-made merchandise that’s being sold to at least 50 percent of all products at every store. He also asked Jarvis to ensure no products otherwise available through domestic manufacturers are imported from foreign companies.

A 2008 review by the National Park Hospitality Association found that 39 percent of merchandise in park retail stores was made in the U.S., additional 31 percent of products were finished in the U.S., and the remaining 30 percent were imported from foreign manufacturers.

Murphy said more than 270 million people visited national parks in 2013, which generated billions in revenue and contributed to local economies. Making sure that domestically made products are sold in park stores, he said would magnify that effect.

“The National Parks System is a priceless heritage belonging to every American, one that I believe can contribute to the resurgence of American manufacturing,” he wrote.