Tag Archives: Harry S Truman NHS

The New National Park No One Is Talking About & More!

 

There are lots more other changes to the National Park System included in the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which has now been officially signed into law.

Among the many remaining changes that jump out to me is that Death Valley National Park is expanded by 35,292 acres, further expanding the largest national park in the contiguous 48 states.  Although this is a small addition to Death Valley’s existing 3.4 million acres, the expansion is larger than seven other national parks.  If this were a stand-alone addition to the National Park System, we might well be celebrating the addition of a 62nd national park.  In fact,  the additional lands are about the size of Bryce Canyon National Park’s 35, 835 acres.  So in some ways, this addition to Death Valley National Park is the new national park that no one is talking about.  If land of this size had been set aside as a new national park with a new name, it would certainly be headline news.  As it is, its a bit of a footnote, but is still worth celebrating.

A bit over 6,000 acres of this addition come from adding an area known as “the Crater” to the Park.  If you look closely at a map of Death Valley National Park, The Crater appears as a “doughnut hole” of Bureau of Land Management Land in the northeast corner of the Park.  That hole will now be filled in. The remaining 29,000 acres come from expanding the Park southwards to include the land between the current boundaries and the Fort Irwin National Training Center operated by the U.S. military.

Fort Moultrie, outside of Charleston South Carolina, tells a nearly complete history of US harbor defenses, and is now formally included in the newly-renamed Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park. Photo from 2011.

Although the expansion of Death Valley is far and away the largest expansion of the National Park System under the Dingell Act, there are a number of other changes to existing units that should not be overlooked:

  • Acadia National Park benefits by Congress confirming the 2015 addition of land on the Schoodic Peninsula to the Park;
  • Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado, which preserves absolutely spectacular 35 million year old fossils, gets a small expansion from 6,000 acres to 6,300 acres
  • Fort Frederica National Monument in Georgia, where the British solidified their hold on their southern colonies, is expanded by 22%, with the addition of 55 additional acres;
  • Fort Scott National Historic Site in Kansas, which preserves a Fort that played an important role in the “Bleeding Kansas” conflicts of the antebellum years before the Civil War gets a small boundary expansion;
  • Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park not only gets a new name, but gets formal recognition of the inclusion of Fort Moultrie and the Charleston Lifesaving Station within the boundaries of the park after 60 years of being unofficially included in the park;
  • Harry S Truman National Historic Site in Independence, Missouri gets authorized to acquire additional land in Independence for a new or expanded visitor center;
  • Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, New York gets expanded by approximately 10% as 89 additional acres are added along the scenic Hudson River;
  • Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Georgia, the site of an important battle on General Sherman’s “March to the Sea” during the Civil War, gets a small addition of 8 acres around the  Wallis House and Hairston Hill;
  • Joshua Tree National Park  gets a modest expansion of 4,518 acres, plus the authority to establish a new visitor center in the unincorporated town of Joshua Tree, California;
  • Mojave National Preserve in California gets a small expansion of 25 additional acres;
  • A small sub-unit of National Capital Parks in Washington, DC containing a statue of Irish independence hero Robert Emmert gets redesignated as Robert Emmert Park;
  • Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park in Georgia, in addition to getting a new name, is tripled in size from its present 702 acres to some 2,100 acres;
  • Reconstruction Era National Historical Park gets a new name, and also the authority to acquire additional properties beyond the original monument designation;
  • Shiloh National Military Park, site of the overall bloodiest battle in the Civil War, is expanded by adding three new areas:
    • the Davis Bridge Battlefield in Tennessee, which is currently already a Parks Passport cancellation location by virtue of being part of a shared National Historic Landmark designation with the national military park itself,
    • additional acres around the Fallen Timbers Battlefield site in Tennessee, and
    • the Russel House Battlefield site on the Tennessee-Mississippi border;
  • Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota benefits by allowing the Department of the Interior to transfer 49 acres within the current Park boundaries that are currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management to National Park Service management, and also authorizes the possibility of up to several dozen additional acres to be donated to the National Park Service by the State of Minnesota;
Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site in Illinois, where Meriwether Lewis and William Clark sought recruits for the Corps of Discovery in November 1803 will now benefit from the recognition of the eastward extension of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Photo from 2009.

Beyond the additions to the National Park System, the Dingell Act will also make a major change to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, extending it from its current starting point near St. Louis, Missouri eastward to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  In 2004, during the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial, Congress directed the National Park Service to conduct a “Special Resource Study” on extending the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail eastward to include routes related to activities occurring both before and after the main 1804-1806 expedition already commemorated by the existing Trail.  The National Park Service looked at some 25 different route segments as part of its study, eventually determining that only the routes from Pittsburgh to St. Louis along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers met the criteria for historical significance to be added to the National Historic Trails System.

Interestingly, in researching this post, I discovered that the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail had already certified 12 of these “Eastern Legacy” sites as Trail locations, despite not being located along the then-authorized trail route.  The extension of the Lewis & Clark Trail to Pittsburgh will incorporate about half of these sites, but five certified sites will remain outside of the new, extended National Historic Trail:

  • Thomas Jefferson’s plantation, Monticello, in Virginia (currently a Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area cancellation location) where Meriwether Lewis met with Thomas Jefferson to plan the Corps of Discovery expedition;
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia where Lewis procured armaments for the expedition and tested plans for a collapsable boat (which ultimately failed);
  • the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where Lewis received training in the natural sciences from Benjamin Rush, and other Society Members, in preparation for the expedition;
  • the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where Meriwether Lewis received Medical Training from Benjamin Rush and others; and finally,
  • the Lewis and Clark Herbarium at the Academy of Natural Resources where most of the plant specimens collected by the Corps of Discovery continue to be housed today.
Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield in Tennessee Is the Newest Affiliated Area of the National Park System. Photo from 2018, courtesy Brian Bailey.

The Dingell Act will also be adding one new Affiliated Area to the National Park System.  The Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield in Tennessee, which already has a passport cancellation and an Eastern National-operated bookstore gets elevated to recognition as an Affiliated Area of the National Park System.  The 368 acre battlefield is managed by the non-profit American Battlefield Trust, and preserves the site of a Civil War engagement that took place on New Year’s Eve, approximately three and a half months prior to the Battle of Shiloh.

The President James K. Polk Home in Columbia, Tennessee is one of several areas that will now be studied for potential inclusion in the National Park System. Photo from 2010 by Polk Association Photographer. [CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)]
Finally, the Dingell Act authorizes a number of special resource studies for future additions to the National Park System.  A special resource study is where the National Park Service formally studies and gathers public input on the national significance, suitability, and feasibility of a proposed addition to the National Park System.  As mentioned earlier, it can be a long time between the authorization of a special resource study and a change to the National Park System – 15 years in the case of the eastward extension of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail.  Here are the studies authorized by the Dingell Act:

  • the President James K. Polk Home in Columbia, Tennessee, which would be the first National Park System Unit other than Gateway Arch National Park interpreting the Presidency of James K. Polk;
  • the Thurgood Marshall School in Baltimore, Maryland, better-known as Public School 103, which the first African-American Supreme Court Justice attended as a youth;
  • President Street Station, which played a role in the Underground railroad,  Baltimore’s Civil War riots, the growth of the railroad industry, and early 20th century immigration (and which also currently has an Eastern National Bookstore and its own Parks Passport cancellation already);
  • Camp Amache Internment Camp in Granada, Colorado, which would be the fourth Japanese internment camp added to the National Park System;
  • the  George W. Bush childhood home in Midland Texas;
  • the Ocmulgee River Corridor in Macon, Georgia; and
  • the route of the explorer Zebulon Montgomery Pike (of Pike’s Peak fame) for consideration as a national historic trail.

These special resource studies will join a slew of studies already underway by the National Park Service, including a study of Fort Ontario in Oswego, New York that was authorized by a piece of stand-alone legislation in October 2018.

The authorizations of  special resource studies for the President Street Station and for Thurgood Marshall’s Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland are particularly notable because Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland first introduced legislation requesting this study in October of 2011.  It took more than 7 years to get the legislation enacted, just for a study!   The proposal for the study of a Pike National Historic Trail goes all the way back to 2010!  That really illustrates how much effort goes into establishing just one new unit of the National Park System – even a small one!  Moreover, many of these special resource studies will of course conclude that the proposed addition is either not suitable, not feasible, or even not nationally significant and recommend against inclusion in the National Park System.  Although Congress can always make its own decision, an unfavorable recommendation in the special resource study often effectively ends efforts to designate a particular area a national park.

This article is Part III of a three-part series on changes to the National Park System in early 2019.  Check out Part I and Part II.

Update: This post was updated after publication to make it clearer that the “new” national park will still be known as Death Valley National Park. 

Final Shot: A new dawn rising on Death Valley National Park. Photo from 2009.

 

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July & August 2018 – US Civil Rights Trail Joins the Passport Program

The graves of Martin Luther & Coretta Scott King are just one of the destinations on the new US Civil Rights Trail, which joins the Passport Program this month. Photo from 2012.

U.S. Civil Rights Trail

  • Selma
  • Lowndes
  • Tuskegee Airmen NHS
  • Carver Museum
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. NHP

Alaska Public Lands Information Center

James A. Garfield National Historic Site | Underground RR Freedom Network

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area | Circle X Ranch

California National Historic Trail | Echo Information Center, UT

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | Echo Information Center, UT

Pony Express National Historic Trail | Echo Information Center, UT

Ebenzer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr. began his ministry is part of Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park on the US Civil Rights Trail. Photo from 2012

Highlighting this month’s stamps are a set of five new stamps for the U.S. Civil Rights Trail partnership program. The U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which was just launched in 2017, actually has nothing to do with the National Historic Trails that so frequently feature in these regular passport cancellation update blog posts.  A National Historic Trail can only be designated by Congress, and must reflect a route whose significance arises from actually being used in history.  The U.S. Civil Rights Trail, however, is instead a branding mechanism to encourage both Americans and international tourists to explore the historic legacy of the 20th Century struggle for African-American civil rights in this country.

This program actually originated in an effort by the Obama Administration to identify additional American sites for recognition as World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO.) Despite the vast natural, historic, and cultural heritage of the United States, this country currently only has 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  That total is tied for just 10th most in the world with Iran, and behind such countries as Italy (#1 with 54 sites), Spain (47 sites), and Mexico (34 sites.)  The idea of the US Civil Rights Trail is to connect together all of the significant sites associated with the civil rights movement, that might ultimately become suitable for nomination to be recognized as a World Heritage Site.  UNESCO encourages such “serial nominations” that include multiple related and thematically connected locations together as a single “site,” so the concept of the US Civil Rights Trail could well boost the United States’ chances of being so recognized.

Currently, the US Civil Rights Trail actually includes nearly 100 different places in 14 primary destination cities, as well as in dozens of secondary destination cities.  Some of the 14 primary destination cities need little introduction to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the history of the civil rights movement, including Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, and Washington.  Others included in the 14 primary destination cities may be less familiar.  Farmville, Virginia was the site of a school desegregation case that was ultimately rolled into the more famous Brown v. Board of Education case from Topeka, Kansas.  Sumner, Mississippi is part of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and was the site of the infamous murder of Emmitt Till (January 2017 Parkasaurus).  Greensboro, North Carolina was the site of the first sit-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter.

This month’s batch of new cancellations for the US Civil Rights Trail covers the fully-operational National Park Service sites in the National Park Service’s Southeast Region.  The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, Georgia preserves both the home where the famed civil rights activist grew up and the Church where he first began to preach, and also has a fantastic visitor center. In an innovative approach, the visitor center includes a number of kiosks where you can actually hear the words of Martin Luther King from records of his speeches, and you can wander in and out of them as you browse the exhibits.

The George Washington Carver Museum can be found at the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site a short drive away in Alabama.  Tuskegee is also home to the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.  Also in Alabama, the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail commemorates the route of the historic voting rights match from the city of Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery.  The Trail has two visitor centers, one in Selma, and one near the midpoint of the trail in Lowndes County.  Presumably, the recently-established Birmingham Civil RightsFreedom Riders, and Reconstruction Era National Monuments will also get their own US Civil Rights Trail cancellations once those new national parks are fully up and running.

Eventually, National Park Service sites that are included in the US Civil Rights Trail, but are located outside the Southeast Region may eventually also request cancellations for the US Civil Rights Trail.  As of this writing, that list would include:

These ruins can be found in the Solstice Canyon area of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which adds a new cancellation this month. Photo from 2007.

Among the other stamps this month is a new cancellation for the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Anchorage, Alaska which provides information on all sorts of public lands in south-central Alaska.  This location had already been a cancellation location for the Iditarod National Historic Trail and for Lake Clark National Park & Preserve.  Now it gets a cancellation of its own.

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area was established in 1978 in suburban Los Angeles as part of the movement to establish urban National Recreation Areas.  Like many newer national parks, this area is largely run in partnerships with the state of California, local governments, universities, and private land holders.  In fact, the National Park Service actually only controls just a bit more than 23,000 of this park’s nearly 157,000 acres, which is just 15% of the total land.  The Circle X Ranch is among those federally-managed parcels of land.  The Ranch was formerly a Boy Scout Camp, but now serves as the only National Park Service-managed campground within the park.

The Echo Canyon Information Center is a highway rest area accessible from westbound Interstate 80 in eastern Utah.  It formerly had stamps for the California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails from 2011 until the center temporarily closed in 2016.  Now that the center has reopened, it has a new set of Passport cancellations.

Finally, there are are six stamps that have been removed from the list this month.

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail | El Camino Real Int’l Heritage Ctr, NM

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | Junaluska Memorial & Museum, NC

California National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT

Oregon National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT

Pony Express National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT

The El Camino Real Heritage Center in central New Mexico and the Intermountain Region Trails Office are both temporarily closed for rennovations.  The Memorial and Museum to Cherokee Chief Junaluska, who fought with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, in Robbinsville, North Carolina was damaged several years ago during severe storms and has been closed indefinitely.

Final Shot: A trail heading off into the distance in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Photo from 2007.
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January & February 2018 – Delaware Water Gap Reboot, Everglades Airboats, & More

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Pennsylvania and New Jersey has rebooted its passport program this month. Photo from 2012.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area |

  • Park Headquarters
  • Pocono Environmental Education Center
  • Dingmans Falls Visitor Center
  • Peters Valley School of Craft
  • Millbrook Village General Store
  • Kittatiny Point Visitor Center

Everglades National Park |

  • Coopertown
  • Everglades Safari Park
  • Gator Park

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park | Kahuku Unit

Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area | Charleston, IL

Oil Region National Heritage Area |

  • Oil City, PA
  • Drake Well Museum
  • Pumping Jack Museum
  • Venango Museum
  • DeBence Antique Music World

National Aviation Heritage Area | WACO Air Museum

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail | Albuquerque Museum, NM

North Country National Scenic Trail | Jay Cooke State Park, MN

Oregon National Historic Trail |

  • Homestead NM of America, NE
  • McLoughlin House, OR
  • Harry S Truman NHS, MO

Pony Express National Historic Trail |

  • B. F. Hastings Building, CA
  • Fort Sedgwick Museum, CO
  • Pony Express National Museum
  • Old Sacramento Visitor Center, CA

Santa Fe National Historic Trail | Bent’s Old Fort NHS, CO

Trail of Tears National Historic Trial |

  • Great Smoky Mountains NP – Oconoaluftee, NC
  • Great Smoky Mountains NP – Sugarlands, TN
  • Hidden Springs, Shawnee NF, IL
  • Mississippi Bluffs, Shawnee NF, IL

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail | St. Mary’s County Museum Division, MD

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail | St. Mary’s County Museum Division, MD

Underground Railroad Freedom Network | St. Mary’s County Museum Division, MD

The Peters Valley Craft Store in New Jersey is one of six passport locations for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Photo from 2012.

As I get caught up, I am going to combine two months of stamps from last winter.

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area straddles the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and provides a relatively close National Park experience for millions of residents in the New York and Pennsylvania metro areas, as well as millions more residents of eastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey.  The park has historically had six cancellation locations, and this months listings simply represent a “reboot” of the same six cancellation locations, with a consistent lexicon for each location on the bottoms of the new stamps.

Everglades National Park has added three new cancellations this month for their airboat tour operator partners. Photo Credit: jjron [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], from Wikimedia Commons
More interesting are the new stamps for Everglades National Park.   This park already has six cancellation locations, including one at each of this massive national park’s five visitor centers.  The sixth is for the Nike Missile Site, which was added in January 2016.     The three new additions this month are for each of the three authorized airboat tour operators within Everglades National Park.    So getting a complete set of Passport cancellations for this Park will now require visiting each of the three authorized airboat concessionaires.  I’m trying to think of a parallel for placing  Passport cancellations at multiple concessionaires, but I think that this may be a first.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been much in the news lately for the ongoing volcanic eruption that closed most of the park for several months in 2018.  The Kahuku Unit, however, is an outlying area of the park, away from the main crater of Kilauea.  It is one of the only parts of the park that was able to remain open during the eruption event.

The Drake Well Museum is a highlight of the new stamps this month for the Oil Region National Heritage Area. Photo credit: By Niagara [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
A highlight of this group of stamps are the first five stamps for the Oil Region National Heritage Area, which previously did not have any passport cancellation locations.  The headquarters of the Oil Region Alliance are located in Oil City, PA, along with the Venango Museum of Art, Science, and Industry.   The Drake Well Museum, the fist commercially-successful oil well, is just to the north in the town of Titusville, Pennsylvania.  The Pumping Jack Museum, dedicated to the symbol of oil wells everywhere, can be found in the town of Emlemton, Pennsylvania. Finally, the DeBence Antique Music World  is a museum dedicated to antique mechanical musical instruments in the town of Franklin.

The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area massively expanded their passport program in January 2017 and again in June 2017.    This new stamp will be located at Charleston City Hall, and continues the recent trends of heritage areas involving local governments in the passport program.

The National Aviation Heritage Area has had a number of unofficial passport cancellations for its “Wil-bear Wright Passport Program” (a special program specific to the National Heritage Area) for a number of years, but the new stamp for the WACO Air Museum in Troy, Ohio is its first official Passport to Your National Parks cancellation.  The museum is dedicated to the history of the historic WACO Air Company; for a time it was the largest manufacturer of civil aircraft in the country during the early days in the history of aviation.

The Harry S Truman National Historic Site in Independence, Missouri is located in the same town as the historic starting point for the Oregon National Historic Trail. Photo from 2016

Several of the National Historic Trails received replacement stamps for existing passport cancellation locations.  The El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail marks the US portion of the historic “Royal Road” that linked the Spanish colonial capital of Mexico City to Santa Fe.  The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History is one of 18 passport cancellation locations for this trail. Jay Cooke State Park, near Duluth, Minnesota, is one of 17 passport locations for the North Country National Scenic Trail from North Dakota to New York State.  Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site was a trading post at the midway point of the  Santa Fe National Historic Trail in Colorado, and is one of 38 passport cancellation locations for the trail.  The Oregon National Historic Trail replaced three of its 22 passport cancellation locations, including at Harry S Truman National Historic Site in Missouri, Homestead National Monument in Nebraska, and at the McLoughlin House Unit of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Oregon City, Oregon.  Fort Vancouver was an important trading post of the Hudson Bay Company in nearby Vancouver, Washington, located just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.  John McLoughlin was a former official at Fort Vancouver, and went on to become known as the “Father of Oregon” for his role in promoting settlement of the then-Oregon Territory.

A statue of a Pony Express Rider outside the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, which has a replacement passport cancellation this month. Photo from 2004.

The new stamps for the Pony Express National Historic Trail are a mixture of the old and new.  The B.F. Hastings Building in Sacramento is a former headquarters for the Wells Fargo Company and a some-time endpoint for the Pony Express Route that began at the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri.   The Old Sacramento Visitor Center is a new location for the trail, in the town where many Pony Express letters were loaded onto steamships for the final stretch down the Sacramento River into San Francisco.

All four of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail passport cancellations listed are new, bringing the trail to a total of 47 passport cancellation locations across nine states.  This includes the two new locations at either end of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the two new locations in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois.

The Piney Point Lighthouse in St. Mary’s County, Maryland has three new passport cancellations this month thanks to various NPS Trails and partnership programs. Photo Credit: Kitkat70 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Finally, the Museum Division of St. Mary’s County in southern Maryland operates the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park.  They have three new cancellations this month, representing their location on the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, and the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.  Somewhat surprisingly, no cancellation was issued for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail – but perhaps that will come at a later date.

Final Shot: This mill stone provided a great photo opportunity for the oldest of the Parkasaurus kids, then 2.5 years old, back in 2012 at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

 

 

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