A bill to designate the El Paso Community Healing Garden National Memorial STATEMENT FOR THE RECORD, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS CONCERNING S. 4377 AND H.R. 4380, BILLS TO DESIGNATE THE EL PASO COMMUNITY HEALING GARDEN NATIONAL MEMORIAL, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. SEPTEMBER 21, 2022 Chairman King, Ranking Member Daines, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior's views on S. 4377 and H.R. 4380, bills to designate the El Paso Community Healing Garden National Memorial, and for other purposes. The Department does not have a position on S. 4377 and H.R. 4380, as the memorial would be located at a site that is not under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior, and this bill does not provide for any management or funding by the National Park Service. We would, however, ask the Subcommittee to note the consideration described below. S. 4377 and H.R. 4380 would designate the El Paso Community Healing Garden at El Paso County’s Ascarate Park as the El Paso Community Healing Garden National Memorial. On August 3, 2019, the El Paso Community suffered a devastating tragedy at the Cielo Vista Walmart when 23 innocent lives were lost in a mass shooting event that was racially motivated. Many more were affected both physically and mentally. The memorial was constructed in time for the second anniversary of the event and was dedicated on August 3, 2019, to provide a healing space for the community. Construction funding was provided by community donations and the County of El Paso. The site is currently maintained by County Parks and Recreation Department as part of Ascarate Park. The site was established as “a welcoming place for individuals and families to find comfort and an opportunity to embrace their individual healing process.” This legislation explicitly states that this Memorial is not a unit of the National Park System and that designation should not be construed to require Federal funds to be expended for it. However, the use of the title "National" creates a reasonable expectation among the general public that the memorial must have an affiliation with the Federal government. The Department respectfully encourages the Committee to be thoughtful and judicious about conferring the designation of “National” to any site that is not associated with a National or Federal entity. Chairman King, this concludes our statement.