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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs
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Parks and Wilderness Bills: S 3168




STATEMENT OF STEPHEN E. WHITESELL,

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, PARK PLANNING, FACILITIES, AND LANDS,

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,

 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS

OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES

CONCERNING S. 3168,

A BILL TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR

TO ACQUIRE CERTAIN NON-FEDERAL LAND IN THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA

FOR INCLUSION IN THE FORT NECESSITY NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD.

May 19, 2010 

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior's views on S. 3168, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to acquire certain non-Federal land in Pennsylvania for inclusion in the Fort Necessity National Battlefield.

The Department supports the enactment of this legislation with amendments. Acquisition of the property, however, would be dependent on the results of an appraisal of its value, future availability of funding, and National Park Service acquisition priorities.

S. 3168 authorizes the acquisition of approximately 157 acres in Farmington, Pennsylvania. Upon acquisition, it further authorizes a boundary adjustment for Fort Necessity National Battlefield. The property contains traces of the historic Braddock Road and other resources.

Fort Necessity National Battlefield was the site of the first battle of the French and Indian War in July 1754. The war's outcome determined that the British, rather than the French, would control the Forks of the Ohio and, therefore, development of the colonies. Leading troops as a then-young lieutenant colonel in the Virginia Regiment, this battle was future General George Washington's first and only surrender.

The existing authorized boundary of Fort Necessity National Battlefield contains traces of the Braddock Road, built in 1755 as part of British Major General Edward Braddock's unsuccessful and bloody campaign to take Fort Duquesne at the Forks of the Ohio, a campaign during which Washington served as a volunteer aide to General Braddock. Washington had originally blazed this road in his 1754 expedition.

The property that is the subject of S. 3168 contains both historical and landscape resources relating to the purpose of Fort Necessity National Battlefield.If acquired, approximately 500 feet of the historic Braddock Road trace would be added to the park and would adjoin the existing portion of the trace within the current boundary.

An archeological site, dating approximately from the period of the 1770s to 1810s, is located on the subject property.Taverns were constructed along the Braddock Road following the American Revolution, but prior to the construction of the National Road. The property contains archeological remains of a former tavern structure and associated outbuildings and landscape. The property is contiguous to the park's current southeastern boundary and is becoming increasingly important as development pressures impact areas immediately adjacent to the park. The owner of the property is a willing seller.

We would like to like to work with the Committee to develop amendments that would provide a more precise identification of the land that would be authorized for acquisition and to make some minor technical changes.

Mr. Chairman, that concludes my testimony. I would be pleased to answer any questions from members of the Committee.