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.
STATEMENT OF STEPHEN E. WHITESELL, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, PARK PLANNING, FACLITIES, AND LANDS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR BEFORE THE SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS REGARDING S. 858, TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO CONDUCT A SPECIAL RESOURCE STUDY TO DETERMINE THE SUITABILITY AND FEASIBILITY OF DESIGNATING THE COLONEL CHARLES YOUNG HOME IN XENIA, OHIO, AS A UNIT OF THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM.
May 11, 2011
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to provide the Department of the Interior's views on S. 858, a bill to authorize a special resource study to determine the suitability and feasibility of designating the Colonel Charles Young Home in Xenia, Ohio, as a unit of the National Park System.
The Department supports enactment of S. 858.However, we believe that priority should be given to the 40 previously authorized studies for potential units of the National Park System, potential new National Heritage Areas, and potential additions to the National Trails System and National Wild and Scenic River System that have not yet been transmitted to the Congress.
S. 858 authorizes a special resource study, in consultation with the Secretary of the Army, to determine the suitability and feasibility of designating the Colonel Charles Young Home as a unit of the National Park System, and to consider other alternatives for preservation and protection of the home and interpretation of the life and accomplishments of Colonel Young for future appreciation by the public.The bill also authorizes consultation and collaboration with the Ohio Historical Society, CentralStateUniversity, WilberforceUniversity and other interested Federal, State or local governmental entities, private and nonprofit organizations or individuals in accomplishing the resource study.The home is a National Historic Landmark.We estimate the cost of this study to range from $200,000 to $250,000, based on similar types of studies conducted in recent years.
Colonel Charles Young was the third African-American to graduate from West Point, and a distinguished African-American officer in the United States Army, commanding troops in combat in the Spanish-American War and the Mexican expedition against Pancho Villa.Colonel Young was one of the first military attaches in the United States, serving in Haiti and Liberia, and a pioneer of techniques in military intelligence.The experience of Colonel Young in the Army between 1884 and 1922 illustrates the changing nature of race relations in the United States during a period spanning from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the Civil Rights movement.
Colonel Young was a friend and associate of other distinguished African-Americans of the period, including poet Paul Laurence Dunbar from nearby Dayton, Ohio; and as the commander of an Army unit assigned to protect and develop Sequoia National Park and General Grant National Park in the State of California, Colonel Young is recognized as the first African-American to be the superintendent of a National Park.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared statement. I would be happy to answer any questions that you or other Committee members may have regarding this bill.