Public Lands

Historic Green Mountain Lookout Now Saved!

Posted on: April 17th, 2014 by Brian R. Turner

 

This post originally appeared on the PreservationNation blog.

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Amid the devastation following a landslide near the rural town of Darrington, Washington, President Obama has signed a bill into law to save the threatened Green Mountain fire lookout, an emblem of the region’s heritage.

On April 3, U.S. Senator Patty Murray offered moving testimony regarding the importance of the site to the affected community:

As Sen. Murray put it, "[Green Mountain Lookout is] a place where parents have brought their kids for generations to appreciate the splendor of the great outdoors in the Northwest. And it’s a place that has been a vital source of tourism-related income for the people who’ve been impacted by this deadly landslide that has struck this region."... Read More →

About Brian R. Turner

Brian R. Turner is the senior field officer and attorney in the San Francisco Field Office.

 

 Casa Rinconada at Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico. | Credit: Cortez, Colorado, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

Casa Rinconada at Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico. | Credit: Cortez, Colorado, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Dan Mooney

In northwest New Mexico, a vast culture of Ancestral Puebloans thrived for about 400 years around Chaco Canyon and a 50,000-square-mile area of the Four Corners in Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. Although people had moved on from the Chaco area by about 1250, their enormous structures with hundreds of rooms, great kivas, connected system of roads, and “Chaco Outliers” (far from the heart of Chaco Canyon but similar in design) dot this vast landscape today.

Sounds impressive—and it is. But what if you’ve never had the opportunity to go there? Or you’ve only seen one site, but know there are others? Or you can’t quite get your head around how all of these places fit together on the landscape?

The National Trust has just finished a new video that will transport viewers to that landscape by providing a seldom-seen aerial perspective illustrating the breadth of Chaco sites, their connectivity on the landscape, and threats that they face in the wake of energy development in the San Juan Basin.... Read More →

About Amy Cole

Amy Cole is a senior field officer & attorney in the Western Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Standing Law: Keeping the Courthouse Doors Open to Preservation Issues

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by Sharee Williamson

 

Blair Mountain in West Virginia, site of the largest armed labor conflict in U.S. history, with the potential to be developed as a heritage tourism destination, would be obliterated by strip mining. | Credit: Harvard Ayers

Blair Mountain in West Virginia, site of the largest armed labor conflict in U.S. history, with the potential to be developed as a heritage tourism destination, would be obliterated by strip mining. | Credit: Harvard Ayers

Over the past few decades, standing decisions have increasingly hindered the ability to bring preservation issues into court. The National Trust has been involved in a number of standing cases over the years, including the recent state court litigation regarding cruise ship impacts in Charleston, S.C., and a case currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia regarding the de-listing of Blair Mountain from the National Register.

Blair Mountain in West Virginia served as the site of an unprecedented battle between American coal miners and mine owners in the 1920s. Today, the site is threatened by mountaintop removal mining. This method of mining would destroy valuable historic artifacts that have never been adequately surveyed or studied, as well as obliterate the landscape where the battle took place. In recognition of the site’s national significance, the National Park Service (NPS) listed Blair Mountain on the National Register of Historic Places, but then de-listed it months later, after a re-count of property owner objections was made at the urging of mining interests. The National Register listing had given the site an important increase in recognition and protection, because of the fact that federal coal mining laws are unique in providing additional protection to National Register-listed sites, as opposed to sites that are merely eligible for the National Register. Thus, the decision to de-list the property made it vulnerable again.... Read More →

About Sharee Williamson

Sharee Williamson is an Associate General Counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.