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).
Secretary Salazar Announces Members of St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission
Office of the Secretary
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the members of the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission. Founded by the Spanish in 1565, St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city in the continental United States. The secretarially-appointed members of the Commission will plan and carry out programs and activities to mark the 450th anniversary of the city's founding in 2015.
“I am pleased that these passionate and accomplished individuals have agreed to serve St. Augustine and our nation by serving on this Commission,” Secretary Salazar said. “As stewards of our nation's great history, the Department of the Interior and the Commission will work to ensure that the story of St. Augustine and our Spanish ancestors is recognized and preserved for generations to come.”
“The story of St. Augustine is a microcosm of the story of America itself, with a tapestry weaved by Native Americans, Europeans and Africans as the city developed, changed hands in times of conflict, struggled with issues of justice and equality and eventually flourished, ” said Director of the National Park Service Jon Jarvis. “The members of the commission will ensure that the anniversary will be an opportunity to expand the understanding and appreciation of the significance of the founding and continuing history of the city.”
Congress established the Commission as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 and charged it with ensuring a suitable national observance of St. Augustine's 450th anniversary by complementing the programs and activities of the State of Florida and the City of St. Augustine.
The members of the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission are:
Joseph P. Boles, Mayor of St. Augustine
Katharine H. Dickenson, historic preservationist
Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney
Dr. Michael Francis, Professor of History, University of North Florida
Dr. Michael Gannon, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History, University of Florida
Senator Bob Graham
Jay Kislak, President Kislak Mortgage Corp., National Park Foundation Board
Eduardo Padron, President of Miami Dade College
Bruce Smathers, Former Florida Secretary of State
Robert Stanton, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Department of the Interior
Father Thomas S. Willis, Pastor Cathedral Parish, St. Augustine, Florida
Gordon Wilson, Superintendent of Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monument
Ambassador Andrew Young, former Congressman, Mayor of Atlanta, and UN Ambassador
Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés founded St. Augustine in 1565 under a grant from King Phillip II of Spain. St. Augustine was often a site of conflict as European nations competed with each other for control of the New World, and, at various times, the flags of Spain, England and the United States have flown over the city. Union forces occupied the city in 1862. In the 1960's, St. Augustine was on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led efforts to end segregation and secure equal rights for African Americans.
St. Augustine is home to two National Park Service sites, the Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monuments. The Castillo de San Marcos, a castle built by the Spanish in 1672 to protect their interests in La Florida, is located in downtown St. Augustine, Florida.