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).
National Park Service, Families of Flight 93 and Svonavec, Inc. Reach Key Agreement on Crucial 274-Acre Heart of Flight 93 Permanent Memorial in Shanksville, PA
Breakthrough Process Allows Development to Move Forward so Memorial can be Dedicated on September 11, 2011, 10th Anniversary of Sacrifice by Heroes of Flight 93
Washington, D.C. -- The National Park Service, the Families of Flight 93 and Svonavec, Inc. today jointly announced that they have reached an agreement to allow timely development of the 274-acre heart of the planned Flight 93 Memorial on sacred ground in Shanksville, PA.
The agreed-to process provides the National Park Service with access to the site and allows them to conduct such activities as needed to plan and construct the memorial. At the same time, all parties have also agreed to a process, with the final and binding valuation to be decided by the courts. Svonavec has also offered to donate the approximately 6-acre impact site.
The 274-acre open field (including the impact site) is central to the memorial. The planned memorial will cover 2,231 acres, including purchases, partnerships and easements.
“Today's agreement marks a critical and positive milestone in the path toward the timely development of a fitting memorial for the heroes of Flight 93,” said Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Interior which oversees the National Park Service. “The successful conclusion of our negotiations, a priority of President Bush, is due in large measure to the commitment and perseverance of everyone involved.”
“We are deeply grateful to our Memorial partners, as well as the National Park Service, under the Department of the Interior, and Svonavec, Inc., for their determination to bridge differences and come together to help us all fulfill the solemn promise we made to our loved ones,” said Gordon Felt, President of the Families of Flight 93. “We also want to express our sincere appreciation to the Svonavec family for their generous contribution. Today's agreement is an important step forward for us and for all Americans.”
“I am proud and pleased that we now have an agreement that delivers the property to the National Park Service so they can complete the project in a timely manner,” said Michael Svonavec, President and Treasurer of Svonavec, Inc. “The agreement allows the parties to cooperatively move forward on a methodology by which the evaluation will be determined.”
“This marks an important turning point that allows us to look toward the future positively and sharpen our focus on the steps needed to fulfill our sacred task,” said Patrick White, Co-chair, Flight 93 Task Force, who negotiated the agreement on behalf of the Families of Flight 93.
“Reaching this agreement provides renewed momentum to energize the process, bring us closer together and build the memorial on time,” said John Reynolds, Chairman, Flight 93 Advisory Commission.
“This agreement will allow the National Park Service to proceed with the timely construction of the planned Flight 93 Memorial by the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001,” said Mary Bomar, National Park Service Director.
“This agreement stands out both as a practical means to move ahead with the memorial and as a positive reflection of American values and the spirit of cooperation,” said Chris Sullivan, Chairman, Flight 93 National Memorial Capital Campaign (www.honorflight93.com).