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 HERBERT FROST, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, NATURAL RESOURCE STERWARDSHIP AND SCIENCE, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING S. 2158, A BILLTO ESTABLISH THE FOX-WISCONSIN HERITAGE PARKWAY AS A NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
June 27, 2012
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before your committee to present the Department of the Interior's views on S. 2158, a bill to establish the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway National Heritage Area, and for other purposes.
The Department recommends that the committee defer action on S. 2158. The National Park Service (NPS) has made a preliminary finding that the feasibility study, conducted by the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway, does not demonstrate that the proposed area meets the Service's national heritage area study interim criteria. The NPS anticipates completing its final review of the study within one month.
In addition, the Department recommendsdeferring action on S. 2158 until program legislation is enacted that establishes criteria to evaluate potentially qualified national heritage areas and a process for the designation and administration of these areas. There are currently 49 designated national heritage areas, yet there is no authority in law that guides the designation and administration of these areas. Program legislation would provide a much-needed framework for evaluating proposed national heritage areas, offering guidelines for successful planning and management, clarifying the roles and responsibilities of all parties, and standardizing timeframes and funding for designated areas.
S. 2158 would establish the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway National Heritage Area (NHA), with the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway, a non-profit organization, as the local coordinating entity. The legislation includes standard language for national heritage area designation bills regarding the proposed area's administration, management plan, and funding. The proposed Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway NHA runs through parts of 15 counties throughout Wisconsin and marks the path of Father Jacques Marquette's and Louis Joliet's exploration from the Great Lakes, through Wisconsin, to the Mississippi River, in 1673. Their voyage eventually led to the establishment of European settlements in the Mississippi River corridor. The proposed Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway NHA includes approximately 1,400 square miles of land in central and southeastern Wisconsin, including Brown, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green Lake, Iowa, Marquette, Outagamie, Richland, Sauk, Waushara, and Winnebago counties.
Prior to beginning any effort to designate an area as a national heritage area, the National Park Service recommends that interested community members or organizations undertake a feasibility study to assess several factors, including: whether the landscape has an assemblage of natural, cultural, historic and scenic resources that, when linked together, tell a nationally important story; whether an organization exists with the financial and organizational capacity to coordinate heritage area activities; and, whether the level of support for designation exists within the region.
The Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway organization prepared a feasibility study in 2010. It did a great deal of research and planning, and conducted extensive civic engagement activities across the area which involved numerous organizations, agencies, businesses, and individuals in discussions about the potential heritage area. Although the National Park Service considers a strong level of community support and a solid organizational framework to be important ingredients for a successful heritage area, the primary consideration for the NPS is whether a proposed area contains an assemblage of natural, cultural, historic and scenic resources that, when linked together, tell a nationally important story. The preliminary finding of the NPS is that the proposed area does not meet this criteria.
This concludes my prepared remarks, Mr. Chairman. I would be happy to answer any questions you or any other members of the Subcommittees may have regarding this bill.