S. 1317

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument Boundary Adjustment Act

STATEMENT OF MICHAEL A. CALDWELL, ACTING ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, PARK PLANNING, FACILITIES, AND LANDS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, REGARDING S. 1317, A BILL TO MODIFY THE BOUNDARY OF SUNSET CRATER VOLCANO NATIONAL MONUMENT IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

JUNE 23, 2021

Chairman King, Ranking Member Daines, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to provide the Department of the Interior’s views on S. 1317, a bill to modify the boundary of Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument in the State of Arizona, and for other purposes.

The Department supports S. 1317. 

S. 1317 would transfer to the National Park Service (NPS) administrative jurisdiction over approximately 97.71 acres of land currently administered by the U.S. Forest Service and revise the boundary of Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument to include this land.  The land that would be added to the monument is currently part of the Coconino National Forest and includes an NPS visitor center, park administrative facilities, and a section of Forest Service Road 545 which connects the NPS entrance kiosk and the administrative area to the Monument.  At present, the NPS operates these facilities and maintains Forest Service Road 545 through an interagency agreement with the U.S. Forest Service. 

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument protects approximately 3,040 acres containing the 
youngest, least-eroded cinder cone in the San Francisco Volcanic Field at the site of the Colorado Plateau’s most recent volcanic eruption which occurred 900 years ago.  This dormant volcano, and its relatively undeveloped landscape, provide a unique opportunity to study plant succession and ecological change in an arid volcanic landscape.

Sunset Crater National Monument was established by President Herbert Hoover by Presidential Proclamation 1911 on May 26, 1930, in order to protect the area’s unique geologic formations.  The monument, created from and surrounded by the Coconino National Forest, was administered by the. U.S. Forest Service for three years until it was transferred to the NPS in 1933.  In 1990, with the passage of Public Law 101-612, the monument was redesignated as Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. 

This legislation would provide for an increase in efficiency by removing administrative burdens stemming from the need to operate NPS facilities under an interagency agreement.  The NPS has used this land to support the management of the monument for decades.  Currently, administration of the area is complicated for both agencies.  For example, any ground disturbing activity within the area requires compliance efforts and approval by both agencies.  This change in land administration is supported locally among city and county officials. 

Chairman King, that concludes my statement.  I would be happy to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.  

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