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.
Thank you for inviting the Department of the Interior to testify on S. 268, the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act of 2011.The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) supports the wilderness designations on BLM-managed lands included in S. 268.
The vast majority of the designations and other substantive provisions of S. 268 apply to activities on National Forest System lands.We defer to the Department of Agriculture on those provisions.
The southwestern corner of Montana is a critically important biological region.Linking the Greater Yellowstone Area and the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho and Montana, these areas include important wildlife corridors that allow natural migrations of wildlife and help prevent species isolation.The Centennial Mountains are particularly noteworthy in this regard.The diversity of wildlife throughout this area is a strong indicator of its importance.Elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and moose, as well as their predators, such as bears, mountain lions and wolves, travel through this corner of Montana.
Outstanding dispersed recreational opportunities abound in this region as well.A day's hunting, hiking or fishing may be pursued in the splendid isolation of the steeply forested Ruby Mountains or in the foothill prairies of the Blacktail Mountains, areas largely untouched and pristine.For the more adventurous, Humbug Spires offers 65 million year-old rocks now eroded into fanciful spires, appreciated both for their climbing challenges as well as their scientific value.
Title I of S. 268, applies solely to National Forest System Lands.Accordingly the Department of the Interior defers to the Department of Agriculture on those provisions.The majority of the designations in Title II of the bill, are also on National Forest System Lands, and again we defer to the Department of Agriculture.
Section 203(b) of S. 268 designates five wilderness areas on lands administered by the BLM in southwestern Montana: the Blacktail Mountains Wilderness (10,675 acres), Centennial Mountains Wilderness (23,700 acres), Humbug Spires Wilderness (8,900 acres), East Fork Blacktail Wilderness (6,125 acres), and Ruby Mountains Wilderness (16,300 acres).The BLM supports these designations and we appreciate the Sponsor and the Committee working with us over the last year to refine these boundaries.All of these areas meet the definitions of wilderness in that they are areas where the land and its community of life are untrammeled.These areas have retained their primeval character and have been influenced primarily by the forces of nature, with outstanding opportunities for primitive recreation or solitude. We continue to encourage the Sponsor and the Committee to consider expanding the boundaries of the Centennial Mountains Wilderness in order to protect this area as a single coherent corridor, thereby providing enhanced benefit for the genetic diversity of the fauna inhabiting the Greater Yellowstone Area and the Bitterroot Range.
Furthermore, we support the transfer of administrative jurisdiction over the 660-acre Farlin Creek area to the Forest Service for inclusion in the adjoining 77,000 acre East Pioneers Wilderness Area.
Section 205 of S. 268 proposes to fully release four BLM-managed wilderness study areas (WSAs) in Beaverhead and Madison counties from WSA management thereby allowing the consideration of a full range of multiple uses.In addition, in five other WSAs, some areas would be released from WSA status and other areas would be partially designated as wilderness, as noted above.In all, over 66,000 acres of WSAs are proposed for release, and nearly 66,000 acres are proposed for wilderness designation; we support these provisions.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify.We look forward to working cooperatively with the Congress to designate these special and biologically significant areas in this dramatic corner of Montana as wilderness.