National Park System Benefits From Omnibus Natural Resources Bill

Quite a few units of the national park system will benefit from the president's signing earlier this month of the Omnibus Natural Resources Bill. This hefty package contains 57 bills, some of which adjust boundaries of park units, others that call for studies into potential park units.

Here's a look at the provisions that impact the National Park System:

TITLE III - NATIONAL PARK SERVICE AUTHORIZATIONS

Subtitle A - Cooperative Agreements

Sec. 301. National Park Resource Protection Cooperative Agreements (H.R. 658, Porter, R-NV)

Subtitle B - Boundary Adjustments

Sec. 311. Carl Sandburg Home NHS boundary adjustment (H.R. 1100, Shuler, D-NC)
Sec. 312. Lowell National Historical Park boundary adjustment (H.R. 299, (Meehan) Tsongas, D-MA)
Sec. 313. Minidoka National Historic Site (H.R. 161, Inslee, D-WA)
Sec. 314. Acadia National Park Amendments (H.R. 2251, Michaud, D-ME)

Subtitle C - Studies

Sec. 321. Newtonia Civil War Battlefields Study (H.R. 376, Blunt, R-MO)
Sec. 322. Soldiers' Memorial Military Museum Study (H.R. 1047, Clay, D-MO)
Sec. 323. Wolf House Study (H.R. 442, Berry, D-AR)
Sec. 324. Space Shuttle Columbia Study (H.R. 807, Gohmert, R-TX)
Sec. 325. Cesar E. Chavez Study (H.R. 357, Solis, D-CA)
Sec. 326. Taunton, Massachusetts Special Resource Study (H.R. 1021, Frank, D-MA)
Sec. 327. Rim of the Valley Corridor study (H.R. 1835, Schiff, D-CA)

Subtitle D - Memorials, Commissions, and Museums

Sec. 331. Brigadier General Francis Marion Memorial (H.R. 497, Wilson, R-SC)
Sec. 332. Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission (H.R. 2094, Moore, D-KS)
Sec. 333. National Museum of the American Latino Study (H.R. 512, Becerra, D-CA)
Sec. 334. Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commemoration Commission (H.R. 1520, Hinchey, D-NY) (Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
Sec. 335. National Quilt Museum of the United States (H. Con. Res. 209, Whitfield, R-KY)
Sec. 336. National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States (H. Con. Res. 116, Cubin, R-WY)
Sec. 337. Redesignation of Ellis Island Library ("Bob Hope") (H.R. 759, Engel, D-NY)

Subtitle E - Trails and Rivers

Sec. 341. Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail (H.R. 1388, Sarbanes, D-MD)
Sec. 342. Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Center (H.R. 761, Fortenberry, R-NE)
Sec. 343. Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Extension Study (H.R. 3616, Emerson, R-MO)
Sec. 344. Eightmile Wild and Scenic River (H.R. 986, Courtney, D-CT)

Subtitle F

Denali National Park and Alaska Railroad Exchange (H.R. 830, Young, R-AK)

Subtitle G

National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Amendments (H.R. 1239, Hastings, D-FL)

Subtitle H

Grand Canyon National Park Subcontractors (H.R. 1191, Renzi, R-AZ)

TITLE IV - NATIONAL HERITAGE AREAS

Subtitle A

Journey Through Hallowed Ground NHA (H.R. 319, Wolf, R-VA)

Subtitle B

Niagara Falls NHA (H.R. 713, Slaughter, D-NY)

Subtitle C

Abraham Lincoln NHA (H.R. 1625, LaHood, R-IL)

Subtitle D

Authorization Extensions (H.R. 1483, Regula, R-OH)

Subtitle E- Technical Corrections and Additions

Sec. 471. National Coal Heritage Area technical corrections (H.R.1483 (Regula), Rahall, D-WV)
Sec. 472. Rivers of Steel NHA addition (H.R. 1083, English, R-PA)
Sec. 473. South Carolina National Heritage Corridor addition (H.R. 1483, Brown, R-SC)
Sec. 474. Ohio & Erie Canal Nat Heritage Corridor tech corrections (H.R. 1483, Regula, R-OH)
Sec. 475. New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route (H.R. 1815, LoBiondo, R-NJ)

Subtitle F- Studies

Sec. 481. Columbia-Pacific National Heritage Area Study (H.R. 407, Baird, D-WA)
Sec. 482. Abraham Lincoln Sites in Kentucky Study (S. 955)

Comments

A National Quilt Museum??? Are we nuts? I'm sure quilts (see subtitle D in the article) are important, but I would think NPS has other things to spend its money on.

Omnibus bills are often a mish-mash of things, and despite the fact that the Section D on "Memorials, Commissions, and Museums" is included under Title III - National Park Service Authorization, many of the provisions of Title III, Section D don't actually impact the National Park Service. In this case, the provision on the "National Quilt Museum" is just to rename an existing Museum of the American Quilter's Society - it won't actually produce involvement by the National Park Service.

The most interesting things that I noticed, is that despite the Administration's request for a moratorium on new National Heritage Areas until Congress better defines exactly what these things are and what they are supposed to be - that Congress seems to nevertheless be plowing ahead with new National Heritage Areas anyways. Without better definition and direction, the whole National Heritage Area concept, with few notable exceptions, seems like just a big distraction for the National Park Service, and an inefficient expenditure of scarce dollars for the Parks.

The other interesting note is the list of Special Resource Studies established by Congress - which is the first step towards becoming a new part of the Park System. At least two of the proposed SRS's appear to be pretty patently not suitable for inclusion in the National Park System - the Soldier's Memorial Military Museum and historic Taunton, MA. Its great that the local Congressmen of these places have such pride in the historic resources of their hometown, but its a shame that scarce Park resources might eventually be appropriated or dedicated to conducting studies on the possibility of a level of recognition for those resources that is at least one level above the recognition that those resources would truly merit.