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.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM D. SHADDOX, ACTING ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR PARK PLANNING, FACILITIES, AND LANDS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, UNITED STATES SENATE, CONCERNING S. 1478, TO MODIFY THE BOUNDARY OF THE MINUTEMAN MISSILE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE IN THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
October 19, 2011
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before your committee to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 1478, a bill to modify the boundary of the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in the State of South Dakota.
The Department supports S. 1478. This bill would transfer administrative jurisdiction over two parcels of Buffalo Gap National Grasslands from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service (FS) to the National Park Service (NPS) for administration as part of Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in Philip, South Dakota. Of the land transferred, 25 acres would be used for a visitor facility and administrative site and an additional 3.65 acres would be used for the construction of a parking lot and other administrative uses.
The new visitor facility and administrative site 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 (NPS) and FS personnel, in consultation with our respective solicitors, have determined 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 3.65 acres is located directly adjacent to the Delta 1 Launch Control Facility. The parking lot will be used to accommodate visitors to this facility. Currently, visitors must park inside in the fence of the launch facility, but this is an intrusion on the cultural landscape. In addition, the parking lot is not large enough to accommodate all visitors to this site.
The FS is in agreement with the recommended land transfers and has provided Minuteman Missile National Historic Site with an outline of the land transfer process. The NPS architects and engineers conducted an on-site visit in March 2009 to determine the number of acres necessary for the land transfer. They met with representatives from the FS and agreed to the 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 thedevelopment of a visitor center/administrative facility and a land transfer from the FS to the NPS for the site of the facility and recommended the preferred location at I-90 South Dakota Exit 131 with up to 25 acres for the complete facility. The GMP also recommended the development of an unpaved parking lot and other support functions on the 3.65 acres at the Delta 1 Launch Control Facility to provide for additional opportunities for visitors arriving in commercial and school groups, RVs and passenger vehicles.
The estimated cost to build the visitor center and administrative site is $4.4 million, and the estimated cost of annual operations and maintenance of both facilities would be approximately $750,000. All funds would be subject to NPS priorities and the availability of appropriations.
The transfer between the NPS and the FS 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 a technical issue with the map reference. I am prepared to answer any questions from members of the Committee.