A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Speech: OIA-DOI Museum Brown Bag -- World Heritage: A Made-in-America Achievement
Jonathan B. Tourtellot, Geotourism Editor, National Geographic Traveler; Founding Director, National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations; Principal, Focus on Places LLC
Rachel Carson Room, Stewart Lee Udall Department of Interior Building
In 1972, the United States proposed the World Heritage Convention to the international community as the global expression of the national park idea. The U.S. was the first nation to ratify the Convention. Twenty-one natural or cultural heritage sites in the U.S. are recognized for their outstanding universal value in the Convention's World Heritage List.
In his September 12, 2012 presentation, Jonathan B. Tourtellot explained what the World Heritage Program is, how sites are selected for the List, and why World Heritage listings benefit both the U.S. and its international partners. By promoting “geotourism,” a term Tourtellot has coined to describe sustainable visitation that supports and improves natural and cultural resources, he believes the World Heritage Program can help preserve significant areas throughout the world. In his talk, Tourtellot celebrated the role the United States played in creating this important program, and called for continuing U.S. leadership.