Dearfield Study Act STATEMENT OF KYM A. HALL, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC LANDS CONCERNING H.R. 6438, THE DEARFIELD STUDY ACT. JULY 14, 2022 Chair Neguse, Ranking Member Fulcher, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior’s views on H.R. 6438, the Dearfield Study Act. The Department supports H.R. 6438. We would like to note that there are currently 21 previously authorized studies for potential units of the National Park System, potential new National Heritage Areas, and potential additions to the National Trails System that have not yet been transmitted to Congress. H.R. 6438 would direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of the homestead site known as “Dearfield” in Weld County, Colorado, to determine the suitability and feasibility of establishing the site as a unit of the National Park System. The bill contains standard language for special resource studies that are to be conducted by the National Park Service (NPS). The Dearfield Homestead site, established by entrepreneur Oliver Toussaint Jackson in 1910, was the largest and most successful Black homesteading settlement in Colorado. Dearfield fostered individual land ownership, exemplifying the national Black self-help movement inspired by educator Booker T. Washington. Between 1914 and 1921, settlers successfully patented 47 land claims through the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909, a process which required the homesteader to live on the land, build a home, make improvements, and farm in order to receive the patent to the land. The townsite grew to include a boarding house, hotel, fraternal lodge, several churches, and a lumber yard and coal yard, but the Great Depression, Dust Bowl, and fall in crop prices brought hard times. By 1943, few families remained, with the last remaining resident passing away in 1973. Extant resources include several building ruins, a gas station, the Squire Brockman cabin, and the Oliver Toussaint (O.T.) and Minerva Jackson home. Dearfield was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1995, and it is one of six Western communities featured in the historic resources study, Black Homesteaders in the Great Plains, prepared for the NPS by the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska. On November 3, 2021, Chair Neguse and Representative Buck requested that the NPS conduct a reconnaissance survey of the Dearfield Homestead site. The NPS responded that it will conduct the requested reconnaissance survey but noted that given existing workloads and the number of congressionally authorized studies already underway, the start date for this reconnaissance survey is still to be determined and will likely not be until FY 2023. The reconnaissance survey, which does not require Congressional authorization and is statutorily limited to no more than $25,000 in funding, is a preliminary evaluation to determine whether the Dearfield Homestead site merits further consideration as a potential unit of the National Park System through a congressionally authorized special resource study. If H.R. 6438 were to be enacted prior to the completion of the reconnaissance survey, the NPS would transition the reconnaissance survey into the more comprehensive special resource study. Chair Neguse, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.