Public Lands

100 Years of the National Park Service

Posted on: October 14th, 2015 by Special Contributor 1 Comment


By: Jonathan B. Jarvis

This post by Jonathan Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, is the first in a monthly series of blog posts celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

A visitor looks out over Stewart's Canal at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument at dusk. | Credit: National Park Service

Stewart's Canal at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland. | Credit: National Park Service

In 2016, the nation celebrates two of our most important conservation and preservation laws: the Organic Act of the National Park Service of 1916 and the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Cumulatively they represent 150 years of protection of our greatest treasures, from the Grand Canyon to the Liberty Bell, from Jamestown to the Statue of Liberty. This essential work has instilled patriotic pride, driven local economic renewal, grounded our education system, inspired domestic and international tourism, and reminded us of our values as American citizens. While we have much to celebrate, this is an opportunity to act upon the second 150 years by ensuring we are telling the complete story of America and protecting places that are representative of all our citizens.

This opportunity reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, sometimes attributed to Abraham Lincoln, though I think most historians doubt this. Regardless of the source, the message is resonant:... Read More →

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 Special Contributor 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

By Denise Ryan

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 →