Public Lands

NHPA Section 106 and Tribes: A Look Back and Paths Forward

Posted on: March 13th, 2015 by Special Contributor


Tribal members visit a petroglyph site on BLM land in Southeast Utah. | Credit: Amy Cole, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Tribal members visit a petroglyph site on BLM land in Southeast Utah. | Credit: Amy Cole, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act has been instrumental in protecting historic resources for almost five decades now. But when it was first enacted, there was no mention of the role of tribal governments in the process. In 1992 Congress amended the Act to mandate that federal agencies consult with Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian Organizations that attach religious and cultural significance to historic properties that may be affected by an undertaking. These amendments brought about a major set of changes in the national historic preservation program, including (1) the authorization for tribes to establish THPO programs and take over functions that would otherwise be performed by SHPOs on tribal lands; and (2) the statutory right of each tribe to be a consulting party when a proposed federal undertaking would affect a historic property that holds religious and cultural importance for the tribe. As of November 2014, there were 154 Tribal Historic Preservation Programs that had been approved by the National Park Service.

As part of the Forum series on Section 106, the editors at the Preservation Leadership Forum blog sent a short email survey asking three preservation practitioners who have worked extensively with projects affecting places of importance to the tribes to share their thoughts on the Section 106 consultation process.

Courtney Ann Coyle, a California preservation attorney; Tom King, a consultant in Maryland who is also the author of several books on Section 106 review; and Dean Suagee, an attorney with a firm that represents tribal governments, provided thoughtful written responses to the following questions:... Read More →

The National Defense Authorization Act and Public Lands

Posted on: December 16th, 2014 by Denise Ryan 1 Comment


Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey, was constructed in 1932-1933 in the Art Deco style. | Courtesy of Duncan Kendell

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park will be expanded to include Hinchliffe Stadium, in Paterson, New Jersey. The stadium was constructed in 1932-1933. | Courtesy of Duncan Kendell

On December 12, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act which includes more than 60 provisions relating to public lands and natural resources. This is the first time Congress has taken action on public lands since 2009, when it designated Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site, and River Raisin National Battlefield Park and passed more than 150 other public lands provisions. New legislation to designate additional parks has been introduced since then, but has been on hold because some members of Congress objected to increasing the number of new parks. That hold was recently broken by adding these measures to a “must-pass” defense authorization bill—a bill that has passed every year for the last 50 years. Now the bill is on its way to the president’s desk, and he is expected to sign it into law soon.... Read More →

About Denise Ryan

Denise Ryan is the Director for Public Lands Policy at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Protecting Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch

Posted on: October 28th, 2014 by Jenny Buddenborg 1 Comment


Teddy Roosevelt on a Horse near Medora in 1885. | Credit: Harvard Collection

Theodore Roosevelt at Medora, North Dakota, in 1885. | Credit: Harvard Collection

When the National Trust embarked on its efforts to protect Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch more than two years ago by naming it one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places and a National Treasure, we thought we would be participating in a run-of-the-mill National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to help identify an appropriate location for the proposed Little Missouri River Crossing (a proposal that could include a bridge or low-water river crossing) outside of the viewshed of the Elkhorn Ranch Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. As we looked more closely into the issue we quickly learned that the crossing was an indication of a much more insidious threat of minerals development that threatened to irreparably mar the serene, nationally significant landscape.

Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch is located in the fantastically rugged and magnificent North Dakota Badlands. It is a striking landscape that spoke to Roosevelt in the 1880s when he first visited on a hunt. He would return to build his Elkhorn Ranch and use the place to seek solace and repair following the deaths of his mother and first wife Alice. While the ranch buildings are no longer extant, the immediate surrounding landscape remains much the same as it was during Roosevelt’s time. The core of it is the Elkhorn Ranch Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, 218 acres surrounded by National Grasslands (managed by the U.S. Forest Service), state lands, and private lands. This larger area of less than 5,000 acres has been designated Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch National Historic District and is the landscape the National Trust is committed to protecting.

Widely respected as one of the greatest conservation presidents in our nation’s history, Roosevelt once said, “I never would have been President if it had not been for my experience in North Dakota.” Throughout his eight years in office as the 26th president, he protected roughly 230 million acres of public lands. It was Roosevelt who signed the Antiquities Act of 1906 into law, establishing an administrative power to protect public lands of great cultural and environmental significance as National Monuments. How ironic, then, that more than a century later, the very place that rooted Roosevelt in his conservation ideals is now threatened by one of the largest oil and gas booms in our country’s history.

Oil and Gas Extraction in the Badlands

... Read More →

About Jenny Buddenborg

Jenny Buddenborg is a senior field officer in the National Trust’s Denver Field Office.