Can the National Park Service (NPS) take over as many as 13 new sites? Though Congress doesn't provide NPS with the resources to properly manage what it's got and may force a shutdown of national parks next week if it can't pass a spending bill, new legislation calls for a study on adding 13 new sites to the national park system. Many lie outside the continental United States.
Del. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D) of the Northern Mariana Islands introduced the National Park Service Study Act of 2013 (H.R. 3131). The bill became available online on Tuesday, Sept. 24. You can find it at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:H.R.3131:.
Fourteen representatives cosponsored the bill, which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.
The bill calls for the Department of the Interior to study adding the following sites to the national park system:
(1) the Kau coast, on the island of Hawaii;
(2) the prehistoric, historic, and limestone forest sites on the island of Rota in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands;
(3) sites in the State of Alaska associated with the forced abandonment of the Aleut villages of Makushin, Kashega, and Biorka around Unalaska Island, and Attu on Attu Island during World War II, and the 5 relocation sites at Funter Bay, Burnett Inlet, Killisnoo, Ward Lake, and the Wrangell Institute;
(4) World War II Japanese American Relocation Center sites including Gila River and Poston sites, State of Arizona; Granada, State of Colorado; Heart Mountain, State of Wyoming; Jerome and Rohwer sites, State of Arkansas; and Topaz, State of Utah;
(5) Mahaulepu, on the island of Kauai, State of Hawaii;
(6) the town of Goldfield and outlying mining sites in the State of Nevada;
(7) the Hudson River Valley in the State of New York;
(8) the Norman Studios, within Jacksonville, Florida, where African-American casts and crews were used in the production of silent films;
(9) the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta in the State of Alabama;
(10) the Galveston Bay in the State of Texas;
(11) the Pullman site, State of Illinois;
(12) the northern coast of Maui, Hawaii; and
(13) historic sites on Midway Atoll.
Interior's study would also consider other ways to preserve and protect the areas and provide visitor services, such as turning them over to state governments or non-profits.
The bill also calls for other studies on ways to commemorate and interpret sites affiliated with World War II sites in the Republic of Palau, the Buffalo Soldiers, reconstruction in the South, and the Chattahoochie River.
Interior would get three years to conduct the studies.