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).
STATEMENT FOR THE RECORD OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS AND PUBLIC LANDS, COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING H.R. 2788, TO DESIGNATE A DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS NATIONAL MEMORIAL AT THE MARCH FIELD AIR MUSEUM IN RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA.
JANUARY 21, 2010
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before your committee to present the views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 2788, a bill to designate a Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial at the March Field Air Museum in Riverside, California.
The Department would defer to the Department of Defense for a position on H.R. 2788 since the purpose of the legislation is to further honor military personnel who have been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross at a site which is not under the jurisdiction of the Department.
The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to a member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself or herself in support of operations by "heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight." We applaud the effort of the March Field Air Museum to create a suitable memorial to the honor, bravery, and sacrifice of members of our Armed Forces who have earned this medal.
This legislation explicitly states that this memorial is not a unit of the National Park System. As this language makes clear, the use of the title "national memorial" creates a reasonable expectation among the general public that it must have an affiliation with the National Park Service, which currently administers 27 national memorials across the country. This is not the first time this issue has arisen, nor is it likely to be the last, and the Department respectfully encourages only the most thoughtful and judicious designation of any future "national" memorials, museums, or other similar sites.
That concludes my testimony Mr. Chairman. I would be pleased to respond to any questions from you and members of the committee.