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).
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, BUSINESS SERVICES, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES,
UNITED STATES SENATE,
CONCERNING S. 2726,
TO MODIFY THE BOUNDARY OF THE MINUTEMAN MISSILE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
IN THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA
AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
December 3, 2009
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before your committee to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 2726, a bill to modify the boundary of the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in the State of South Dakota.
The Department supports S. 2726 with some technical amendments included at the end of this statement.
S. 2726 would authorize the Secretary to transfer 25 acres of Buffalo Gap National Grasslands from the U.S. Forest Service to Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in Philip, South Dakota, to establish a visitor facility and administrative site.The new facility would be located north of exit 131 on Interstate 90 in Jackson County, South Dakota. Minuteman Missile's enabling legislation states, "On a determination by the Secretary of the appropriate location for a visitor facility and administrative site, the boundary of the historic site shall be modified to include the selected site." The enabling legislation also included a map of the visitor center site indicating that the proposed area would be 10 acres in size.Later planning indicated that a minimum size for the visitor center site would require 25 acres.National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service personnel, in consultation with our respective lawyers, have discussed that in view of the increase in acreage, it would be appropriate to provide for that increase in new legislation.There would be no cost involved in this land transfer.
The U.S. Forest Service (Buffalo Gap National Grassland) is in agreement with the recommended land transfer and has provided Minuteman Missile NHS with an outline of the land transfer process.The National Park Service's Midwest regional architects and engineers conducted an on-site visit in March 2009 with the Minuteman Missile NHS staff to determine the number of acres necessary for the land transfer.The National Grassland representatives met with representatives from the National Park Service to discuss the proposed land involved in the transfer and the U.S. Forest Service has agreed to the transfer of 25 acres. We note that the U.S. Forest Service also has identified the Bankhead Jones Farm Tenant Act of 1937 as another possible vehicle for this transfer.
Public Law 106-115 established the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.The General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (GMP/EIS) scoping began in 2001 and the record of decision was signed on July 2, 2009.The GMP's preferred alternative included the development of a visitor center/administrative facility and a land transfer from the U.S. Forest Service to the National Park Service for the site of the facility.The GMP recommended the preferred location at I-90 South Dakota Exit 131 with "up to" 25 acres for the complete facility.
The estimated cost to build the visitor center and administrative site is $4.7 million, and the estimated cost to annual operate and maintain both facilities would be approximately $750,000. All funds would be subject to NPS priorities and the availability of appropriations.
The transfer between the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service would be conducted in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my testimony. I look forward to working with the Committee on these amendments and other technical issues. I am prepared to answer any questions from members of the Committee.
Proposed amendments to S. 2726, the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site Boundary Modification Act
Page 2, line 2, by striking " respectively; and " and inserting "respectively;"
Page 2, line 6, by inserting "also" after" historic site ".
Page 2, line 18, by striking " 2009 ' . "and inserting " 2009 '; and "
Page 2, after line 18, by inserting
"(3) in section (3)(a)(3), as redesignated by paragraph (1), by striking " (4) AVAILABILITY OF MAP. —The map described in paragraph (2)" and inserting " (4) AVAILABILITY OF MAPS. —The maps described in paragraphs (2) and (3) "
_(4) in section (3)(e)(1), by striking "Except as provided in paragraph (2)" and inserting "Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3)".
_(5) in section (3)(e), by adding a new paragraph (3) as follows:
(3)The Secretary of Agriculture shall transfer administrative jurisdiction over the lands described in paragraph 3(a)(3) to the Secretary, and shall modify the boundaries of the Buffalo Gap National Grassland to exclude the transferred lands from the grassland boundaries.As soon as practicable after the transfer, the Secretary shall prepare a map and a legal description of the lands described herein, which shall be on file and available for public inspection in the appropriate offices of the National Park Service.