WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced he will propose the prehistoric earthworks of Poverty Point in Louisiana and a collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings to be considered as U.S. nominations for the United Nations' World Heritage List.
The list, administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, recognizes cultural and natural sites of universal importance such as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Taj Mahal in India, and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
“World Heritage Sites are unique places of natural beauty and historic and cultural importance that are celebrated by people of all nations,” Salazar said. “The remarkable prehistoric earthworks of Poverty Point connect us to those who inhabited our land thousands of years ago, while the buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright are a testament to one of the world's foremost architectural geniuses. They deserve to be recognized as World Heritage Sites.”
“Designation as a World Heritage Site is how the international community shines a bright light on the places that should be special to all of us,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “For the United States, our nominations are a way to share what we value as a people, the places that define our society. That so many national parks have been honored with this distinction is high praise to the American people who set these places aside for all to cherish for all time.”
The Department of the Interior will consult with the Federal Interagency Panel for World Heritage in making a final decision on the submission of nominations to the World Heritage List.
The final decision on inclusion on the list will be made by the World Heritage Committee, composed of representatives from 21 nations and advised by the International Council on Monuments and Sites. The U.S. nominations will likely be formally nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 2013, for possible inclusion on the World Heritage List in 2014.
Poverty Point State Historic Site and National Monument in Louisiana has an extensive collection of prehistoric earthworks constructed 3,100–3,700 years ago. The vast complex of structures, including an integrated complex of earthen mounds, enormous concentric ridges, and a large plaza, may be the largest hunter-gatherer settlement that ever existed.
Eleven iconic, intact, innovative, and influential Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) properties were selected to represent his portfolio of more than 400 buildings. They span almost 60 years of his efforts to create an “organic architecture” that attracted widespread international attention and powerfully affected the course of modern architecture around the world, as well as in the United States.
The properties include his two long-time homes with studios and schools, four residences he designed for others, two office complexes, a place of worship, a museum, and a governmental complex. The 11 properties are:
Last month in San Antonio, Texas, Salazar announced the Department of the Interior would actively pursue World Heritage Site status for the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, which includes the Alamo, during the next available round of nominations, which take place next year.
The other sites on the U.S. World Heritage Tentative List that will be considered for future nomination are Civil Rights Movement Sites (AL), Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary (AS), Petrified Forest National Park (AZ), Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (GA), White Sands National Monument (NM), Dayton Aviation Sites (OH), Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks (OH), Serpent Mound State Memorial (OH), and Thomas Jefferson Buildings (VA).
The National Park Service manages all or part of 17 of the 21 existing World Heritage Sites in the United States. It is also the principal government agency responsible for implementing the World Heritage Convention, in cooperation with the Department of the Interior and the Department of State.
Inclusion of a site in the World Heritage List does not affect U.S. sovereignty or management over the sites, which remain subject only to U.S. law. Detailed information on the World Heritage Program and the process for the selection of U.S. sites can be found at www.nps.gov/oia/topics/worldheritage/worldheritage.htm.