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BUFFALO SOLDIERS; PROTECTION OF PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCES; HIBBEN CENTER; BOUNDARIES AT GUNNISON; KRIS EGGLE CENTER; LEWIS AND CLARK CENTER; AND CARTER G. WOODSON HOME
TUESDAY, JUNE 10, 2003
SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS,
COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:35 p.m. in room SD-366, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Craig Thomas presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. CRAIG THOMAS,
U.S. SENATOR FROM WYOMING
Senator THOMAS. The committee will come to order. Sorry I am a little late. We are glad you are here, and welcome representatives from the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture for today's National Parks Subcommittee hearing. Our purpose is to hear testimony regarding five Senate bills and three bills from the House, S. 499, a bill to authorize the American Battle Monuments Commission to establish in the State of Louisiana a memorial to honor the Buffalo Soldiers; S. 546, a bill to provide for the protection of resources on Federal lands; S. 643, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior with the University of New Mexico to construct and occupy the Hibben Center for Archaeological Research; S. 677, a bill to revise the boundary of Black Canyon of the Gunnison Park in Colorado; S. 1060 and H.R. 1577, to designate a Visitors' Center at Oregon Pipe Cactus Monument in Arizona as Kris Eggle Visitor Center; H.R. 255, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to grant an easement to facilitate access to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Nebraska; and finally H.R. 1012, a bill to establish the Carter Woodson Home National Historic Site in the District of Columbia.
I thank all the witnesses today from the agencies, and we are especially happy to have Representative Norton with us, if you would care to proceed, Representative.
[A prepared statement from Senators Hagel, Kyl, and McCain follow:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. CHUCK HAGEL, U.S. SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA Mr. Chairman, thank you for including H.R. 255 in today's hearing on national parks. I support H.R. 255, a House-passed resolution authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to grant an easement (to Otoe County, Nebraska) that will allow the county to build an access road to the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Interpretive Trails and Visitors Center. The Visitors Center is now under construction at a site adjacent to Nebraska City, Nebraska. I offer this statement in support of this legislation.
This legislation was originally introduced by my Nebraska House colleague, The Honorable Doug Bereuter during the 107th Congress, and was passed by the House on May 14, 2003.
H.R. 255 will allow Otoe County to build an access road from State Highway Route 2 to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. In May, I wrote a letter to the Subcommittee Chairman, Mr. Thomas, urging an expedited hearing process for this bill, as Congress had already authorized the construction of the Visitors Center in Nebraska City.
To begin construction of the road, the Secretary of the Interior must grant an easement to the county. The cost of constructing and maintaining the road will be paid for with funds available to Otoe County, Nebraska. The National Park Service has informed Otoe County that it lacks the requisite authority to cede a road rightof-way. H.R. 255 grants this authority.
Over the next several years, millions of Americans are expected to travel across the country to sites along the Lewis and Clark trail, including the sites in Nebraska. The Nebraska City Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center will fill an important role during this bicentennial commemoration. It focuses on the flora and fauna that the explorers encountered during their travels.
The Center in Nebraska City is scheduled to be completed in early 2004 with the grand opening set for July 30, 2004. The opening will coincide with the Lewis and Clark signature event in Nebraska at historic Fort Atkinson, the site of the famous "Council Bluff" in Nebraska where Lewis and Clark had their first council with Native American leaders.
H.R. 255 will play a very vital role in permitting access to the new Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. I am pleased to support this legislation and ask my colleagues on the Senate Energy Committee to support this effort as well.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. JON KYL, U.S. SENATOR FROM ARIZONA Thank you, Chairman Thomas, for allowing me to say a word in support of S. 1060, legislation to rename the visitors' center at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona after Kris Eggle, a 28-year-old National Park Service ranger who was killed in the line of duty on August 9, 2002. Kris was killed while pursuing an illegal drug smuggler from Mexico attempting to cross U.S. park lands.
Kris was an outstanding young man from Cadillac, Michigan who was an Eagle Scout, National Honor Society student, and valedictorian of his 1991 graduating class at Cadillac High School.
In his employment with the National Park Service, Kris was elected president of his class at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. He completed his work there at the top of his class, and was awarded the National Park Service Director's Award for outstanding achievement.
Designating the visitors' center at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona, as the Kris Eggle Visitors' Center would be a fitting tribute to a dedicated public servant, and it would promote awareness of the great risks taken each day by the law-enforcement officers who patrol our public lands.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN MCCAIN, U.S. SENATOR FROM ARIZONA Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for scheduling today's hearing to consider S. 1060, legislation to rename the visitors' center at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona after the brave law enforcement ranger who tragically lost his life in the line of duty, Kris Eggle.
Kris Eggle was born and raised in Michigan where he grew up with honors in sports and academics. As a former Eagle Scout and athlete, he loved the outdoors and dedicated his life to public service as a National Park Service ranger. He served at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument where he was stationed in 2000. He was proud of his work, despite the
dangers of his job, because he believed he was making a difference. Last August, at the young age of 28, Kris was brutally murdered while pursuing an illegal drug smuggler from Mexico attempting to cross U.S. park lands.
The legislation I am sponsoring, along with Senators Stabenow and Levin, is a modest but important bill to recognize and commemorate not only the life of the brave officer, Kris Eggle, but also to utilize the visitors' center at the Park to develop an educational exhibit for park visitors to raise awareness about the risk and dedication of all public land management law enforcement officers.
Working at a National Monument, National Park or Fish and Wildlife Refuge would not normally be considered a dangerous position; however, along the nation's borders in Arizona, public land officers often wear camouflage, carry assault rifles and chase drug smugglers as their position also involves the responsibility of serving in the front-line of war on drugs and illegal immigration. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, while renowned for its spectacular views of organ pipe cactus and desert terrain, is also among the most dangerous public parks along the border. I have visited the Arizona border many times, but during a recent trip, I was struck by the statement of a Fish and Wildlife officer working at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge who stated the problems of controlling the border very simply and emphatically, he said "we do not have control of our border." We are in a crisis situation and more than words are necessary to ensure that other lives are not sacrificed.
The family of Kris Eggle should realize that his work to protect the park and the U.S. border will not go unrecognized and will be a constant reminder of the nation's fundamental duty to homeland security. We ask an enormous responsibility and commitment from these young men and women, and we should answer that call with the highest protection and honor.
S. 1060 is companion legislation to a bill that recently passed the House of Representatives, H.R. 1577, as sponsored by Representative Tancredo. Considering that the substance of the two bills is nearly identical, except for a few minor technical changes that are reflected in the House-passed bill, I am requesting that this subcommittee consider approving H.R. 1577 in order to move the legislation expeditiously.
I am thankful to young people like Kris Eggle whom are committed to a public duty higher than their own self-interests, and I hope this Committee will move this legislation quickly so that all Americans can also leans his story and appreciate the commitment of these noble men and women.
STATEMENT OF HON. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON,
Ms. NORTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. Mr. Chairman, may I first say how much I appreciate your moving so expeditiously on this bill after the House passed it last month. The bill would allow the National Park Service to take the home of a great American historian, Carter G. Woodson, and convert it into a site so that Americans could see his home.
Carter G. Woodson was a remarkable man, the second African American to receive a Ph.D from Harvard University, and when you consider that he was born in 1875, you perhaps get some sense of what an outstanding scholar he was. His home is located in the historic Shaw area. Dr. Woodson not only discovered, as it were, African American history as a serious scholarly pursuit, he published his own works. It was a time in our country where few publishers would publish serious works of black history, and so he became, in addition to a historian of great repute, an entrepreneur who published his own books and journals and successfully marketed them.
There is not a member of the House and the Senate who does not commemorate Black History Month in some way or the other. Black History Month stems from Negro History Week, which was started by Dr. Woodson as a way to encourage people to learn
about black history and to study it. He invented American historiography, Black American historiography, and it became a serious subject under his leadership.
Mr. Chairman, I am only going to summarize my testimony and ask that my full testimony be put in the record. Senator THOMAS. It will be included.
Ms. NORTON. The National Park Service would administer this site the way it administers, for example, the Frederick Douglass Home. I am very pleased that this bill has already stimulated the rehabilitation of the entire block on which it is located in historic Shaw. The rest of the block is mostly owned by a historic church in our town, Shiloh Baptist Church. They are going to take the other townhouses and create senior independent living housing and keep the historic facade of the rowhouses just as the Carter G. Woodson House is kept.
The house is already an architectural landmark. In 1976 it was declared a national historic landmark. It was built in 1890. It is a three-story Victorian. Dr. Woodson himself was a remarkably brilliant and versatile American, and spent his entire life uncovering African American history and then created an organization, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, which itself will be located in the house, the house in which he did his work, and so the house will be a lived-in home of black history, and I assure you, a place where many of the 20 million people who come to the District of Columbia will want to visit.
We make a mockery of Black History Month by celebrating it every year when the home of Dr. Woodson is boarded up and in a shambles. Dr. Woodson was the son of former slaves, had no formal education in his native Canton, Virginia until he was 20 years old, when he moved to West Virginia, went to Berea College, then got his bachelor's and master's at the University of Chicago, and then went on to Harvard.
At the time that he wrote and did his work, there were widespread ignorance and overt and commonly demeaning racial stereotypes about African Americans, so he set out to do something about it, using his discipline and his training, and what, in effect, he did was to bring history to bear, where prejudice and racism had held sway, and ultimately, this kind of work cleared the way for civil rights legislation that was to pass decades later.
The depth and breadth of Dr. Woodson's work is hard to overstate. He trained the researchers in this home. He organized the budget. He did the fundraising, and he did the scholarly work all in this home which is now crumbling, termites have invaded it, water seeps in, it is a fire hazard to the surrounding buildings. I believe that the passage of the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site Establishment Act of 2003-the long name it has been given-would not only honor a great American scholar, it would continue to do what Dr. Woodson himself did, which was to help Americans discover and appreciate their own history.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for your work, for the adroit work of your staff, for the personal attention you have paid to this bill.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Holmes Norton follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON,
Mr. Chairman, I very much appreciate your initiative in so quickly scheduling a hearing on H.R. 1012 to establish the Carter G. Woodson National Historic Site consisting of the home of the great American historian who almost single-handedly created the study of African-American history as a serious discipline and initiated the appreciation of Black history now known as Black History Month. Dr. Woodson, only the second black Harvard Ph.D in our country did his groundbreaking scholarship and created and directed the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH) from his home in the historic Shaw area of the District of Columbia that is the subject of this hearing. Remarkably, at a time when most publishers would not publish works of serious scholarship concerning black history, Dr. Woodson became an entrepreneur as well as a scholar, published his own books and journals, and successfully marketed them.
Mr. Chairman, I dare say, there is not a Member of the House or Senate who does not commemorate in some way Black History Month annually in her state or his district. Yet, the home from which Dr. Woodson did his outstanding work here stands boarded up, as if to mock these celebrations. The Woodson home is a historic site because of the work that was done there and the influence of Dr. Woodson on American history and historiography and because his work helped bring changes in American attitudes concerning black people and ultimately changes in the legal status of African-Americans in our country.
Congress passed my previous bill, H.R. 3201, the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site Study Act, in 2000, to begin the process of making the property at 1538 Ninth Street, NW a national historic site within the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. The NPS study, as mandated by the legislation, is required before the NPS can take control of a property. The study determined that the Woodson Home is suitable and feasible for designation as a unit of the park system following the transfer of title from its current owner, the Association for the Study of AfricanAmerican Life and History.
The bill before the Senate, H.R. 1012, was passed by the House on May 14. It would authorize the NPS to "preserve, protect and interpret for the benefit, education and inspiration of present and future generations" the home where Woodson lived from 1915 to 1950. This legislation also authorizes the NPS to rehabilitate adjacent properties on either side of the home to facilitate tourism. ASALH, which Woodson founded, also would be housed on the site, as it was originally.
I am particularly pleased that rehabilitation of the entire block has been stimulated by this legislation to rehabilitate the Woodson home. The NPS would work with Shiloh Community Development Corporation, established by Shiloh Baptist Church, which owns almost all of the property on the block of the Woodson home. The Shiloh Corporation intends to convert the block of homes to senior independent living housing, maintaining the historic facade of the row houses.
The significance of Dr. Woodson's home was recognized in 1976, when it was designated as a National Historic Landmark. With the bill before you, an architectural landmark would be saved and preserved and the nation's pride and purpose in celebrating Black History Month would no longer be marred by neglect of the home of the founder of the commemoration and of the study of black history itself.
Dr. Woodson himself was a remarkably brilliant, versatile American. He is recognized in his profession as a distinguished historian who established African-American history as a discipline and spent a lifetime uncovering the contributions of African-Americans to our nation's history. He founded and performed his work through the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), which has since been renamed the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History. Among its enduring accomplishments, ASNLH, under Dr. Woodson's leadership, instituted Negro History Week in 1926, to be observed in February during the week of the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Today, of course, Negro History Week, which was mostly celebrated in segregated schools, like my own here in the District when I was a child, and in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, has gained support and participation throughout the country among people of all backgrounds as Black History Month.
The son of former slaves, Woodson's personal educational achievements were extraordinary in themselves, especially for a man who was denied access to public education in Canton, Virginia, where Woodson was born in 1875. As a result, Dr. Woodson did not begin his formal education until he was 20 years old after he moved to Huntington, West Virginia, where he received his high school diploma two years later. He then entered Berea College in Kentucky, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1897. Woodson continued his education at the University of Chicago,