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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs
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Parks Bills: H.R. 3265




STATEMENT OF KAREN TAYLOR-GOODRICH,

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR VISITOR AND RESOURCE PROTECTION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC LANDS

OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES,

CONCERNING H.R. 3265,

TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR

TO CONDUCT A SPECIAL RESOURCE STUDY

OF THE HARRY S TRUMAN BIRTHPLACE STATE HISTORIC SITE IN LAMAR, MISSOURI


October 30, 2007

 

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 3265, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study to determine the suitability and feasibility of including the Harry S Truman Birthplace State Historic Site in Lamar, Missouri, as part of Harry S Truman National Historic Site or as a separate unit of the National Park System.

 The Department does not object to the enactment of H.R. 3265. However, we believe that priority should be given to the 35 previously authorized studies for potential units of the National Park System, potential new National Heritage Areas, and potential additions to the National Trails System and National Wild and Scenic River System that have not yet been transmitted to the Congress.

 H.R. 3265 authorizes the Secretary to conduct a special resource study of the Harry S Truman Birthplace State Historic Site, which would provide alternatives for the appropriate way to preserve, to protect, and to interpret these sites and resources in consultation with other Federal, State, or local governmental entities, private and nonprofit organizations or any other interested individuals. Those alternatives would examine whether the area could be included as a new unit of the National Park System, as part of the Harry S Truman National Historic Site, or determine if the Federal government is the most appropriate entity to manage the site. The study also would identify the costs associated with the acquisition, development, interpretation, operation, and maintenance associated with the alternatives. Studies of this type take approximately three years to complete after funds are made available. We estimate the cost to complete the study would be approximately $250,000 to $300,000.

 President Harry S Truman was born in the small, white frame house in Lamar, Missouri on May 8, 1884. The Truman family lived there until March 3, 1885 and then sold the property and moved to Harrisonville when Harry was approximately 11 months old. The site was purchased by the United Auto Workers of America in 1957 and given to the people of Missouri. The house has been restored and redecorated to reflect the time period when the Trumans occupied the residence. President Truman last visited the site on April 19, 1959, the day the site was dedicated and officially opened to the public. The birthplace is currently a State Historic Site operated and maintained by the Division of Parks and Recreation of the State of Missouri. Besides the house, there is a woodshed, or smokehouse, a hand-dug, 36-foot deep cistern, and a privy in the back on the site. There is also an information station and sales outlet facility at the site.

 The Harry S Truman National Historic Site operates two units, the Truman Home in Independence and the Truman Farm Home in Grandview, from the operational center in Independence. The birthplace site in Lamar is approximately 120 miles one way from the national historic site in Independence. Mr. Truman's birth in Lamar is currently being included in interpretive programs at both the Truman Home and the Truman Farm Home as part of the larger Truman story.

 That concludes my testimony. I would be happy to answer any questions you or other members of the subcommittee may have.