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Witness Panel 1
Mr. Donald MurphyDeputy DirectorNational Park Service
STATEMENT OF DONALD W. MURPHY, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS OF THE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING S. 505, TO AMEND THE YUMA CROSSING NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA ACT OF 2000 TO ADJUST THE BOUNDARY OF THE YUMA CROSSING NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA.
NOVEMBER 15, 2005
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the views of the Department of the
Interior on S. 505, a bill to amend the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area Act of 2000 to adjust the boundary of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.
The Department supports the proposed boundary change which is based on the findings of the 2002 management plan for the National Heritage Area (NHA). We recommend that the bill be amended to include an official map reference similar to the maps used for other National Heritage Areas.
S. 505 would amend Section 3(b) of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area Act of 2000, Public Law 106-319, to adjust the boundary of the National Heritage Area to reflect the boundaries outlined and approved in the management plan for the heritage area. On September 29, 2005, at a House Subcommittee on National Parks hearing, the Department testified in support of an identical boundary adjustment for this heritage area that was included in H.R. 326, a similar bill.
Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area was authorized by P.L. 106-319, signed on October 19, 2000. The Department supported the legislation to establish the NHA at hearings in both the House and Senate during the 106th Congress. Since establishment, the National Park Service (NPS) has worked with the Yuma Crossing NHA staff and the community to develop the management plan required in the legislation. That plan was completed in July 2002 and approved by the Secretary in December 2003.
Yuma has been a home to Native Americans for nearly 1,500 years, prior to becoming a city at the junction of the Colorado and Gila Rivers. The Spanish “discovered” the area seventy years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. As Americans moved west, Yuma became one of the stopping points for those following gold and fortune as well as a key military post. Yuma also prospered as a port city, then a railroad town, and finally as a link on the first southern transcontinental highway. By the 20th century Yuma continued to rely on water, this time with major government dam and diversion projects on the Colorado River that brought the ability of year-round agricultural production.
The authorizing legislation established a boundary for the heritage area of approximately 22 square miles based upon early studies that showed great potential for natural, cultural and recreational resources within that area. Once the NHA was authorized, work began on the management plan. The plan refined and further developed the concepts outlined in the feasibility study, dividing the NHA into seven districts that feature natural, cultural and recreational resources consistent with the authorizing legislation, incorporating opportunities for economic development, and acknowledging the importance of maintaining residential areas.
At the same time, Yuma Crossing NHA was also aware of the need to ensure that the goals of the management plan could be achieved financially and were acceptable to the entire community. Taking these elements into consideration, the NHA board developed the management plan which included a proposal for a new boundary. The management plan received extensive public involvement and the NHA board used NPS planning models in addition to National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 guidelines to develop and analyze their options.
Three alternatives were developed for public involvement and review. S. 505 includes the preferred alternative for the new boundary which would continue to meet the intent and goals for which the heritage area was established. We recommend that the bill be amended to remove the written description of the boundary adjustment currently in S. 505 and to replace it with a map reference that shows the new boundary. NPS produced a map similar to boundary maps for other heritage areas that was used when H.R. 326 was amended. We would be happy to provide the subcommittee with this map. The written description of the boundary adjustment found in the bill, as well as a reference to the map included on page 40 of the “Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area Management Plan”, could be included in the report language for the bill.
We commend the NHA board, members, and partners, as well as the citizens in and around Yuma, Arizona, for their time and commitment to this project. We look forward to continuing to work with them to achieve the goals of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.
That concludes my prepared remarks. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the subcommittee may have.
Witness Panel 2
Ms. Emily Wadhams
The National Trust for Historic Preservation
Emily Wadhams, Vice President for Public Policy
“S. 431, the Presidential Sites Improvement Act”
United States Senate
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Subcommittee on National Parks
November 15, 2005
366 Dirksen Senate Office Building
The National Trust for Historic Preservation
1785 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Thank you, Chairman Thomas, and members of the Subcommittee for the opportunity to bring you today the views of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in support of S. 431, the Presidential Sites Improvement Act.” Let me begin by acknowledging the Chairman’s long record of support for historic preservation. I look forward to continuing our close working relationship on issues of mutual concern. Your commitment to the important issues facing our heritage is evinced by raising the Presidential Sites Bill to the Subcommittee’s agenda. The stewardship of the country’s major historic places such as these goes to the very heart of the National Trust’s 1949 Congressional charter.
The National Trust is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting the irreplaceable. This mission includes Presidential sites across the country, three of which we operate as part of our inventory of the “National Trust Historic Sites.” Those include Virginia’s Montpelier, the home of James Madison that is currently undergoing a massive restoration; the Woodrow Wilson House in Washington, DC; and President Lincoln’s summer cottage at the “Soldiers’ Home” also in this city. As recipient of the Humanities Medal, the Trust provides leadership, education, and advocacy to save America's diverse historic places and revitalize communities. Its staff headquartered in this city, six regional offices, and 26 Historic Sites work with the Trust's 200,000 members and thousands of local community groups in all 50 states.
All too often in our efforts to protect the irreplaceable, the chronic under-funding that leads to deferred maintenance deprives the nation of its most basic patrimony – our heritage. Whether postponed maintenance results in the loss of historic fabric or prevents important artifacts and exhibits from reaching the public, good preservation and proper interpretation are integral to our responsibility for the stewardship of cultural resources. Arguably, nowhere is this more important than caring for America’s Presidential legacy from the iconic homes of our greatest leaders to some of the humble places in which they were born. Senator DeWine along with Senators Durbin, Alexander, Bunning, and Smith understand this responsibility, and through S. 431, would target these sites in particular with matching grants to address urgent maintenance needs, modernization and accessibility requirements, and interpretive improvements for greater public appreciation of each location.
More importantly, the bill would direct a relatively modest amount of funding to the places that need it most and – through a matching requirement -- help invigorate efforts to raise the private dollars that are essential to meeting the needs of most historic sites. Awards made available under S. 431 would not go to federally owned Presidential sites nor would they be used for operating costs. Project-based funds would only be available to locations where the need is often greatest – those that are run by often financially struggling state and local governments, private groups, local historic preservation organizations, schools, and foundations. The American Association for State and Local History documents 133 Presidential historic sites nationwide with only 45 run by the Federal government. So, about two-thirds of the inventory falls into the categories covered by the bill including 23 Presidential sites that are state-run. Most of this inventory is pretty modest and just staying open is often a major achievement for many sites.
Moreover, the bill would place added emphasis on the smaller, lesser-known, Presidential site by reserving 65 percent of available funds for locations that have a three-year annual operating budget averaging under $700,000. It is easy to assume – simply by virtue of being part of our Presidential heritage – that a related site is well-funded and adequately endowed. This is not necessarily the case, particularly among the places that this bill would emphasize – those that are immensely important to telling the complete story of a chief executive’s historical role, but not traditionally associated with the prominence of Mount Vernon or Monticello. These include law offices, retreats, birthplaces, burial sites, memorials, and tombs.
Senator DeWine’s bill is important now more than ever as two significant national trends converge. First, funding for historic preservation, especially at the state and local level, has been cut to its bare-bones. This coincides with an equally tough climate for foundation giving and federal dollars that would augment the cost of maintaining and operating an historic site. It is important to note that most of the Presidential sites covered by S. 431 meet their annual operating budgets through admission fees typically ranging between $5 to $7, donations, memberships, and fundraisers.
Second, more and more Americans are choosing domestic travel destinations oriented toward historic and cultural themes. The proliferation of National Heritage Area designations and requests under your purview is evidence of this trend. If a Presidential site – especially the smaller, lesser-known location that this bill would recognize – is unable to provide the public with compelling exhibits; proper access, safety, and comfort; and intact, adequately maintained historic fabric, then it risks being bypassed by this trend and further compromised.
Let me provide you with a few examples that reflect the conditions affecting many historic sites, especially those 23 Presidential sites that are state-owned. The National Trust’s survey of state historic preservation funding shows that from FY’01 to FY’02 the Ohio Historical Society’s budget has been cut by $2.4 million (17 percent). During the same period, annual appropriations for the Ohio Historic Preservation Office were reduced by nearly $86,000 (20 percent). There are three state-run Presidential sites in Ohio, Ulysses Grant’s birthplace and boyhood homes, and the Warren Harding home.
In Vermont, where I was the State Historic Preservation Officer, the already inadequate budget for state sites was cut by 2 percent last year while visitation was also down, resulting in a $80,000 shortfall. Budget cuts are in the works again, reflecting a steady decline in funding. Its two state-run Presidential sites honoring Chester Arthur and Calvin Coolidge have felt the effects. The Coolidge site is a National Historic Landmark. Is an extraordinary early 20th Century Hill town – Plymouth Notch – where Coolidge was born, raised, dramatically sworn in by his father in the middle of the night after hearing of the sudden death of President Harding, and where he was buried. There is no federal site honoring Calvin Coolidge. Critical maintenance and fire safety needs are not being addressed. In Virginia, home to Washington Mill State Park where the first President operated Mount Vernon’s milling operations, state funding for the Department of Historic Resources was reduced by about 24 percent over the past three years. As a result agency staffing has been pared down and funding for state historic preservation grants was eliminated for FY’04. And in North Carolina, where the state maintains the Polk Memorial in Pineville, the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office has suffered a loss of $252,000 federal dollars and $118,000 in state funds totaling $370,000.
Juxtapose the declining resources at every level with the increasing and very specialized needs of many Presidential sites. Books, documents, furniture, and artifacts all require special care because of their age and significance, and all work must be done with a detailed eye to historical accuracy. This is often costly. Some exhibits at the home of Rutherford B. Hayes, which opened to the public in 1916, have not been updated in 35 years. The private foundation that runs the site has a noteworthy collection of Presidential memorabilia that should be displayed, but it lacks the $300,000 to $400,000 needed to construct a new exhibit. The former mansion of James A. Garfield used to be open to the public every weekday all year long. Now, it is accessible only on weekends or by appointment.
The Benjamin Harrison house in Indianapolis has more urgent requirements. Its sole bathroom and outdated plumbing cannot accommodate the hundreds of schoolchildren that its director desperately wants to come see the home. It lacks the $150,000 for making these renovations and the added money required for rehiring its librarian and displaying Harrison’s books that are currently in storage. In addition, the ongoing need to conserve items can hit budgets hard. The James K. Polk ancestral home in Tennessee recently had to spend nearly $8,000 to preserve garments worn by his First Lady. Lastly, many Presidential sites are not handicapped accessible. The Warren G. Harding home has had to defer plans for an educational facility and staff office space until it is ADA compliant. Such situations are common across the county.
Even though the $5 million authorized by the bill will not solve the problem of caring for these national treasures, it is the beginning of a solution – with historic sites a little goes a long way. The National Trust believes that preserving the legacy of America’s chief executives – especially through the smaller, lesser known places that are not federally owned – is a top priority. Given the examples I have included in my statement and the countless others around the country, there is clearly an unmet need that must be addressed. There are significant costs associated with operating and maintaining Presidential sites and opening them up to the public often leaves little else for repair and renovation. The result can lead to deferred maintenance, loss of essential historic elements, and stagnant exhibits that compromise the vitality essential to a well-run historic place and also compromise visitorship and opportunities for heritage tourism. With S. 431, we can begin to address this problem and plan for passing on our Presidential heritage – every part of it – to future generations.
Mr. John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil
John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil
Chairman, The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
United States Senate
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks
November 15, 2005
Mr. Chairman, Senator Akaka, and other members of the Subcommittee on National Parks,
Thank you for the opportunity to testify this morning on behalf of more than 2600 baseball players who played in the Negro Leagues. We support a very important Resolution sponsored by Senator Talent, S. Con. Res. 60, which would designate the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, as America’s National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
I am John Jordan O’Neil. Most people call me “Buck”. I am the grandson of a slave who was owned by the O’Neil family in Florida. Because of baseball, I was afforded the opportunity to travel the world and see the many faces of racism, some disguised and some not. During my 94 years I have learned a lot, but most importantly I have learned that love and education can heal all wounds.
As Chairman of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, I have made every effort to share with the world the contributions that Negro Leagues players made to our National Pastime and more importantly to society.
Because we were black and because it was the early 1900's, we were not allowed to play organized baseball with the white players. Newspaper accounts across the land verify that we played good ball, entertained crowds, fed our families and proudly lived our separate lives.
In early 1920, Andrew “Rube” Foster led a campaign for a Negro baseball league. At an historic two-day meeting at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City, Missouri, Negro team owners formed the first Negro league, the Negro National League, which included 8 teams.
African-American players from all parts of the country were signed to contracts, paid salaries, and played a full season’s schedule, which culminated with playoffs and ultimately a champion. Success of this first league spurred the establishment of others including the Eastern Colored League in 1923, which provided the opportunity for the first Negro Leagues World Series in 1924 and later launched the famed East-West All-Star match that drew some 50,000 fans annually.
In the Negro Leagues we were known for playing an aggressive style of baseball that relied on the hit-and-run, squeeze plays, steals, double steals, taking the extra base and even hidden-ball tricks. The athletes (40% of whom were college educated), managers, and the businessmen behind the Leagues were all entrepreneurs who hustled, entertained and played for the love of the game. Negro Leaguers played the first night games under lights 5 years before the Major Leagues. They dressed and drove in style and were admired for rising above the challenges of the day and their impoverished start.
In 1896, the United States Supreme Court in Plessy vs. Ferguson, found that a Louisiana law mandating separate but equal accommodations for blacks and whites on intrastate railroads was constitutional. The era of “Jim Crow” laws had begun. As a result of this decision, blacks were systematically denied access to lodging, restaurants, schools, and even drinking fountains. As traveling ballplayers, the Negro Leaguers were often denied food and accommodations after we had entertained thousands of fans, both black and white, with our extraordinary skills and showmanship on the field.
One of the most powerful symbols of racism during this time of segregation was chicken wire. Simple chicken wire was stretched across the stands to separate the black fans from the whites at Major League games. Yet, during Negro League games blacks and whites sat side-by-side.
This is a history that has never been taught in our schools. The details of segregation have been neglected and even today some are difficult to believe. The pain was great and overcome with sheer determination on the part of African-Americans. The curriculum we teach at the Museum addresses these transgressions with a gentle explanation of a harsh time in our nation’s history.
As proud as we were when Jackie Robinson broke the color-barrier in 1942, we knew it was the beginning of the end for the Negro Leagues. As the best Negro Leaguers were recruited to the Major Leagues, attendance dropped in black ballparks as fans flocked to see Jackie, Willie Mays, Satchel Paige and other former Negro Leaguers play for their new integrated Major League teams. Success for these few players accomplished our goal of integrating baseball and paved the way for future generations of minority players to put their marks on America’s greatest game.
In 1990, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum effort began through a large scale, grass roots, civic and fundraising effort led by citizens and baseball fans of greater Kansas City. In 1991 the Museum was opened and became the only public museum that exists for the exclusive purpose of interpreting the experiences of the players who played in the Negro Leagues from 1920 through 1960.
What we have learned these past 15 years is that people from all over the world are hungry to know more about the Negro Leagues and their players. Each year we host more than 60,000 visitors in our Kansas City museum from all 50 states and many foreign countries. These guests linger for hours as they find themselves transported to a distant time by our state-of–the-art exhibits which share the heartfelt story of the Negro Leagues and their players. In addition to our exhibits
at the Museum, we take our traveling exhibits to thousands of people each year.
The history we teach provides our students and visitors with information they might not otherwise learn. The artifacts we have collected help us tell the story. More importantly we continue to break down the barriers that existed during the times of segregation. Made up of proud, passionate, and intelligent professional athletes, Negro Leagues baseball helped to drive social change in a segregated America. Today the museum is a tool for improving race relations by sharing this overlooked and yet very important history.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, it is my sincere hope that you will support this resolution to designate the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, as America’s National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. This designation is critical to our ability to preserve and display this important time in American history for all future generations to learn and enjoy.
I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my deepest thanks to Senator Talent for his passion toward and dedication to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. I am happy to answer any questions you may have at this time.
Honorable Robert Letourneau
Testimony of Senator Bob Letourneau
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Subcommittee on National Parks Hearing
on S. 748 and H.R. 1084
November 15, 2005
Chairman Thomas and Members of the Committee,
My name is Bob Letourneau; I am a State Senator and represent New Hampshire’s 19th District.
I testify before you today as the Chairman of the New Hampshire Civil War Memorials Commission. The Commission’s membership consists of Members of the New Hampshire Legislature, the Civil War Round Table, the Sons of the Union Veterans, the New Hampshire Veterans Association, our state curator and two members of the general public. Our mission is three fold.
First, to establish a monument at Antietam in honor of our sons and daughters who served there at the battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862. Second is to establish a fund for the perpetual care of NH Civil War monuments at Gettysburg, Antietam and other Civil War sites as the Commission deems necessary. Our third goal is to develop Civil War educational programs, resources and related educational opportunities for the benefit of New Hampshire school children.
After establishing the Commission in 2000, following a year of study concerning the issue, and with the understanding that it would take a significant amount time to develop and build the monument, we spent the following year establishing several subcommittees to develop the plan to address the various issues with this legislation. The next two years were spent on the development of an RFP for artists to submit their proposals to the Commission for the monument. It was during this period of time that the Commission maintained communication with the Park Superintendent with regards to what would be acceptable and what location the proposed monument would occupy. There were several visits made to the Park by members of the Commission to verify location and support.
It was at this time that we learned that federal authorization in the form of legislation was necessary for a monument to be placed in Antietam National Battlefield Park and to complete the project. Our Congressional Delegation filed bills during the 108th Congress, but because of the heavy workload these bills did not receive a hearing.
This is why I am here today. I would like to commend Senators Gregg and Sununu, and Representatives Bradley and Bass for bringing forward this very important legislation.
As the dawn of September 17, 1862, arrived the mighty armies of Lee and McCellan were about to clash just outside the small town of Sharpsburg, Maryland in what has become known as the battle of Antietam. This battle greatly underestimated by the generals in charge became the bloodiest day in American military history. 120,000 Americans fought this one-day encounter with a loss of over 23,000 dead, wounded or missing. One out of every four men in action was a casualty. During the height of this battle one American died every second the clocked ticked. The battle raged for 12 to 14 hour’s only darkness ending the struggle.
New Hampshire’s men fought courageously as members of the 5th, 6th, and the 9th volunteer regiments. The members of the 6th and 9th were particularly heroic when they attempted to cross what is known as Burnside’s Bridge. The Fifth which had the greatest losses were led by Colonel Cross of Lancaster in the area know as the Sunken Road. Unfortunately, these brave men who fought and died in the Battle of Antietam do not have a marker on the field to signify their sacrifice.
S. 748 and H. R. 1084 would authorize the establishment of a Memorial at Antietam National Battlefield for the New Hampshire soldiers who fought in this historic battle. Importantly, this bill does not require any federal, state or local municipality to finance the cost of construction or maintenance of the monument. Any monument built and maintained at the Antietam National Battlefield Park would be entirely paid for by private sources.
In closing I would like to say that all soldiers who fought in the Battle of Antietam deserve recognition of their sacrifice and the volunteer soldiers of New Hampshire have gone too long without a lasting monument. These men exemplified the steadfast bravery that is the hallmark of American soldiers across generations. On behalf of the citizens of New Hampshire I ask you to allow New Hampshire to furnish a proper monument to these commendable Americans.
As the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is approaching, I ask that this Committee to correct an unfortunate oversight and to pass S.748 and H. R. 1084..
I ask that my full written testimony be submitted for the record.