Mount Rushmore National Memorial under construction.
The workers had to endure conditions that varied from blazing hot to bitterly cold and windy. Each day they climbed 700 stairs to the top of the mountain to punch-in on the time clock. Then 3/8 inch thick steel cables lowered them over the front of the 500-foot face of the mountain in a "bosun chair." Despite the dangers, no one was killed during the project.
Otters in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
The sea otter population of Glacier Bay has increased dramatically in the past 20 years. Ecologists consider sea otters a keystone species here. Otters consume vast quantities of clams, urchins, crabs, and other invertebrates and their presence creates ripples through the ecosystem. NPS photo.
Every day someone like you becomes a wildland wildfire fighter, a teacher, a trail-builder, a museum curator, or a park ranger. Discover your opportunities in national parks. Come to play. Come to learn. Come to serve. Develop your environmental leadership skills. Find a job. Be the next generation to preserve and protect these great places.
With more than 80% of Americans living in urban areas, urban parks are more important than ever. The father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, said of urban parks:
It is one great purpose of the Park to supply to the hundreds of thousands of tired workers, who have no opportunity to spend their summers in the country, a specimen of God's handiwork that shall be to them, inexpensively, what a month or two in the White Mountains or the Adirondacks is, at great cost, to those in easier circumstances.
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, VISITOR AND RESOURCE PROTECTION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BEFORE THE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS,
FORESTS AND PUBLIC LANDS, COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES,
REGARDING H.R. 1286,
A BILL TO AMEND THE NATIONAL TRAILS SYSTEM ACT
TO DESIGNATE THE
WASHINGTON-ROCHAMBEAU REVOLUTIONARY ROUTE NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL.
OCTOBER 30, 2007
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to provide the Department of the Interior's views on H.R. 1286, a bill to designate the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route as a national historic trail.
The Department supports enactment of this bill.
The study report on the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route has preliminarily concluded that the trail meets the criteria for designation as a national historic trail. The study report received widespread public support during the public comment period, which closed in May 2007. Although we normally prefer to transmit the final study to Congress before taking a formal position on designation, the study's central recommendation is unlikely to change this late in the process. We expect to transmit the study next year.
H.R. 1286 would amend the National Trails System Act to designate the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail across nine states and the District of Columbia. The trail would be administered by the Secretary of the Interior inconsultation with other Federal, State, tribal, regional, and local agencies, and the private sector.
The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route spans over 600 miles from Newport, Rhode Island where French forces under the command of Jean Baptiste Donatien de Viemeur, comte de Rochambeau landed in July 1780, to Yorktown, Virginia where with General George Washington and Continental Army forces, the combined armies forced the surrender of the British Army under General Charles Lord Cornwallis. Historians regard this cooperative endeavor resulting in the Yorktown surrender as one of the most decisive events in bringing the American Revolution to a successful conclusion. It initiated and has had the long-lasting effect of our continued friendship with the people of France.
After wintering in Newport, Rochambeau's army marched through Rhode Island and Connecticut and joined Washington's army in Phillipsburg, New York. Foregoing an idea to attack New York City, the two generals devised a southern march. In August through September, the armies traversed New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the future District of Columbia, and Virginia, reaching Williamsburg in late September. A French fleet under Admiral DeGrasse blocked the Chesapeake Bay from British entry and the possible escape of British troops at Yorktown. On October 19, 1781, Cornwallis surrendered his forces to those who had suffered the hardships of rebellion and their allies, and ultimately forged the birth of a nation.
In the summer of 1782, Rochambeau's army marched north to Boston and the bulk of his troops sailed to France on Christmas Eve of that year. In this crucial march south and then victoriously north after Yorktown, American and French troops were warmly greeted and celebrated by the populace. In all, nine future states and the future District of Columbia comprised portions of the route and supported the march, providing ports, roads, campsites, officers' lodging, food provisions and supplies.
The extant resources associated with the marches of 1781 and 1782 are well-documented. Comprehensive historical and architectural surveys have identified 750 known resources directly related to the route and many more in adjacent locations. Many resources found along the Revolutionary Route are National Historic Landmarks or sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They include campsites and bivouacs; historic road segments and landscapes; numerous buildings used for accommodations of the troops and meetings; archeological resources; tombstones and grave markers; and, abundant plaques, tablets and statues marking the passage of those, both French and American, who marched to secure a nation's beginning.
The proposed trail links units of the National Park System, national heritage areas, and related resources administered by States, local governments and private organizations that commemorate the nation's struggle for independence. As one traverses the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, the places that ring of our nation's revolutionary past come into view from Newport to Hartford; Peekskill to Morristown,
Princeton, and Trenton; Philadelphia and Valley Forge to Wilmington and Baltimore; and Mt. Vernon to Williamsburg and Yorktown.
H.R. 1286, if enacted, would provide for administration of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail by the Secretary of the Interior and, in accordance with provisions of the National Trails System Act, provide for the establishment of a trail advisory council. The Secretary would also consult with Federal agencies, State and local governments and private organizations to develop a comprehensive plan for the trail.
Our experience during the course of the study for the trail has indicated that there is wide-spread support for designation among affected State and local governments and the many private organizations that participated in our public meetings and closely followed the progress of the study. For example, during the study process a new nine-State nonprofit 501(c)(3) partnership group, the National Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association, was formed to support designation of the trail and education of the public on the Revolutionary War. This group could be a key partner in the preservation and interpretation of the route if the trail is designated. We believe that this trail, if designated, will be characterized by significant continued participation by the many governments and organizations along the route.
This concludes my prepared remarks, Mr. Chairman. I will be happy to answer any questions you or other committee members may have regarding this bill.