Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, PARK PLANNING, FACILITIES, AND LANDS,
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BEFORE THE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS AND PUBLIC LANDS,
OF THE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES,
CONCERNING H.R. 3425,
TO AUTHORIZE THE FAIR HOUSING COMMEMORATIVE FOUNDATION
TO ESTABLISH A COMMEMORATIVE WORK ON FEDERAL LAND
IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
TO COMMEMORATE THE ENACTMENT OF THE FAIR HOUSING ACT IN 1968.
FEBRUARY 25, 2010
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the Department of the Interior's views on H.R. 3425, a bill to authorize the Fair Housing Commemorative Foundation to establish a commemorative work on Federal land in the District of Columbia to commemorate the enactment of the Fair Housing Act.
The Department appreciates the importance of the Fair Housing Act, a landmark law in a continuum of notable strides legislators and we as a Nation have undertaken to further the cause of civil rights for every American.However, the Department believes that the establishment of a memorial by an Act of Congress through the Commemorative Works Act (CWA) is not the most appropriate way to celebrate this important law.There are alternative means to acknowledge this achievement; therefore, we do not support this bill.
The Commemorative Works Act has facilitated the establishment of memorials to prominent figures in our Nation's history, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, to events, such as the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and to concepts, such as Japanese-American Patriotism in World War II.H.R. 3425 would be the first proposal to establish a memorial to a law.
There has certainly been landmark legislation which, like the Fair Housing Act, has improved the quality of life and opportunities for Americans in all walks of life such as the Civil Rights Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the National Aeronautics and Space Act.The list is honorable and long, but it is our opinion that the CWA was not intended to provide for the establishment of a national memorial to each law that could be nominated from this remarkable and growing list.
The National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission (Commission) met on December 4, 2009, to consider this legislation and evaluate its conformance to the provisions of the CWA. As you are aware, the Commission was established by the CWA to provide advice to the Secretary of the Interior and to report to committees of Congress on proposals to establish commemorative works in the District of Columbia and its environs.The Commission found that establishing a memorial to individual laws is without precedent and that the establishment of a memorial to the passage of the Fair Housing Act would raise concerns about both the setting of such a precedent and the relative importance of this particular Act of Congress. For these reasons, the Commission voted unanimously to oppose this proposal and recommended that further counsel be sought from organizations with particular expertise on this subject matter (i.e., Department of Housing & Urban Development) regarding methods of commemorating this important law.
While not part of the Commission's motion, the members voiced support for a commemoration of this law within the Capitol Visitor Center or at a housing development identified as a hallmark of the success of the Fair Housing Act.
The Department concurs with the findings of the Commission.We would be pleased to offer whatever assistance we can provide to the Committee or the sponsor in developing any of the Commission's suggestions to more fully explain the important role the Fair Housing Act has played in the history of our Nation.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared remarks. I would be happy to answer any questions that you or any other members of the Subcommittee may have.