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.
Thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior's views on S. 2123, the School District 318 Land Exchange Act, which directs the Secretary to accept an offer to exchange certain Federal and non-Federal parcels of land in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The Department supports S. 2123, which is a thoughtful effort toward resolving a long-standing request of School District 318.
The bill directs the Secretary of the Interior to (1) accept an offer by the Minnesota Independent School District number 318 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, to convey to the United States approximately 1.6 acres of specified non-federal land (including any structures on it), and (2) convey to the District in exchange approximately 1.3 acres of specified U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) land. The Federal land described in the bill adjoins Robert J. Elkington Middle School. The Federal land is used to store equipment and vehicles and because of its proximity to the campus, as well as the security fencing, it is suitable for management by the School District. The non-Federal land to be exchanged is closer to the USGS Minnesota Water Science Center and has better access to that facility. All structures on the Federal and non-Federal land are to be included in the exchange. School District 318 and the USGS have discussed exchanging these parcels of land for over a decade and so we appreciate Senator Franken introducing S. 2123 to resolve this matter through legislation.
The bill requires valuation by an independent appraiser in accordance with the Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal land acquisitions as applicable to land exchanges.The values of the Federal and non-Federallandsto be exchangedwouldbe equalized by payment to the Secretary. We note two technical components of the bill that we feel we can work with the committee to provide additional clarity. First, the bill does not address the issue of equalization in the event the value of the non-Federal land to be exchanged exceeds the value of the Federal land. Second, S. 2123 does not address the issue of which parties to the exchange will assume the responsibility of funding the property valuation. We look forward to working with the Committee to address these technical issues.
Thank you for the opportunity to present the views of the Department on S. 2123. We appreciate the efforts of the sponsors and the Committee to resolve this long-standing issue.