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.
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.