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.
Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests
S. 2762, San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act
April 28, 2010
Thank you for the invitation to testify on S. 2762, the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act.The Department of the Interior supports the designation of the McKenna Peak Wilderness on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).We defer to the Department of Agriculture regarding designations on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service (FS).
The McKenna Peak Wilderness Study Area (WSA) covers nearly 20,000 acres of BLM-managed lands in San Miguel and Dolores Counties in southwestern Colorado.This WSA is currently managed by the BLM to protect its wilderness characteristics while awaiting Congressional action.
This area is rich in wildlife, including mule deer, elk, mountain lions, black bear, and a variety of raptors.McKenna Peak is also home to the Spring Creek wild horse herd.Geologically, the area is quite diverse.It includes 100 million year-old remnants of inland seas (now black Mancos shale rich in invertebrate marine fossils), as well as the 8,000-foot McKenna Peak with ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and mountain mahogany.This area offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities, including hunting, hiking, horseback riding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing, all of which are compatible with this wilderness designation.
We understand that S. 2762 is the result of a collaborative process, which included discussions between the Colorado Congressional delegation, county commissioners, adjacent landowners, ranchers, conservationists, recreationists, and other interested parties.The results are the proposed extensive wilderness designations on both BLM- and FS-managed lands in San Miguel, Ouray, and San Juan Counties.As I noted, the Department of the Interior defers to the Department of Agriculture regarding designations on lands managed by the FS.
Section 3(a)(4) of the bill designates 8,614 acres of the existing BLM-managed McKenna Peak WSA as wilderness.The BLM supports this designation.The legislation covers only those areas of the WSA in San Miguel County.The remaining almost 11,000 acres of the WSA are south of the proposed wilderness in Dolores County and are not addressed in the legislation.These acres will remain in WSA status, pending Congressional action.The BLM and the Department would support future designation of this area in order to improve the manageability of the area.
We would request the opportunity to work with the Sponsor and the Committee on some technical provisions, including corrections to the map reference.The BLM is currently completing a careful review of the boundaries of the proposed wilderness area to ensure manageability and would welcome the opportunity to work with the sponsor on possible minor modifications.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of S. 2762.We look forward to its inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System.