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.
The Department of the Interior (Department) has reviewed S. 872, a bill that would modify the date as of which certain tribal land of the Lytton Rancheria of California is to be considered held in trust and to provide for the conduct of certain activities on the land. The Department opposes S. 872, as currently drafted, at this time.
Public Law 106-568 (Dec. 27, 2000) required the Secretary to acquire certain lands in trust in northern California on behalf of the Lytton Rancheria, and deemed those lands to “have been held in trust and part of the reservation of the Rancheria prior to October 17, 1988.” The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) generally prohibits Indian tribes from conducting gaming on lands acquired after October 17, 1988, subject to several exceptions.
The Department of the Interior placed the land in question in trust on behalf of the Lytton Rancheria on October 9, 2003.
The Lytton Rancheria (Tribe) lawfully operates a Class II gaming facility on those trust lands in northern California. The Tribe does not have a tribal-state gaming compact with the State of California; meaning, the Tribe is not able to operate a Class III gaming facility on the site.
S. 872 would amend P.L. 106-568 by deeming the land in question to have been acquired in trust on October 9, 2003. The bill would also limit the Tribe's existing Class II gaming activities by providing, “the Lytton Rancheria of California shall not expand the exterior physical measurements of any facility on the Lytton Rancheria in use for class II gaming activities on the date of enactment of this paragraph.”
The Department's policy is to support tribes' inherent governing authority over their own lands by protecting their ability to control tribal land use. S. 872 would diminish the Lytton Rancheria's land-use authority by essentially imposing a zoning restriction on existing facilities on its trust lands. By modifying the legal date of the trust acquisition of the Tribe's lands, S. 872 would also restrict the ongoing operation of the Tribe's economic enterprises, which were within the limits of federal law at the time they were established. In the Department's view, Indian tribes should be permitted to reasonably rely upon the scope of federal laws governing the use of their lands when making decisions regarding land-use.
Importantly, Lytton Rancheria cannot develop and operate a Las Vegas-style, Class III gaming facility on the lands at issue until the Tribe enters into a valid tribal-state gaming compact.
The Department's position with respect to S. 872 should not be interpreted to mean that the Department would support future legislation that would modify a tribe's trust acquisition of lands in a manner similar to P.L. 106-568. Nevertheless, the Department opposes retroactive restrictions on lands that have already been acquired in trust on behalf of Indian tribes and individual Indians in reliance on existing federal laws.