STATEMENT OF DENIS P. GALVIN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, HISTORIC PRESERVATION AND RECREATION CONCERNING S. 1367, A BILL TO AMEND THE ACT WHICH ESTABLISHED SAINT-GAUDENS NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE, IN THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, BY MODIFYING THE BOUNDARY AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
MAY 11, 2000
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before the subcommittee to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 1367, a bill to amend the Act which established the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site (NHS) in the State of New Hampshire, by modifying the boundary and for other purposes.
The Department of the Interior supports enactment of this legislation. The Administration sent this proposal to Congress on April 30, 1999 and this bill was introduced by Senator Murkowski. We appreciate the Senator's support for this effort.
S. 1367 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to acquire lands or interests in lands abutting Saint-Gaudens NHS. This position is consistent with two plans approved in 1996 - the site's general management plan and the site's land protection plan.
Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site was authorized in 1964 to preserve and interpret historically significant structures and artifacts associated with the life and cultural achievements of Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907). The purpose of the site, as articulated in the authorizing law, is also to promote the arts through events in the spirit of those conducted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and to maintain the site as a living memorial.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens was one of the nationís foremost sculptors. His heroic monuments include: "Lincoln: the Man"; "Lincoln: the Head of State"; the "Shaw Memorial /the 54th Massachusetts Regiment of African-American Volunteers"; "Farragut"; "Sherman"; "Puritan"; "Diana" and "Adams Memorial". These monuments represent his crowning achievements in American Art, together with his designs for the United States Gold Coinage of 1907 and his intimate portraits of artists and friends in bas-relief, which are found at the site and in museum collections throughout the United States. His contributions to our cultural achievements in the American Renaissance make this one of the most important units of the National Park System dedicated to the history of American art and culture. The historic properties at "Aspet", in Cornish, New Hampshire, including the artistís home and studios, preserve the ambience of this important cultural period as well as the Cornish Colony of artists, writers and architects.
Management objectives for Saint-Gaudens NHS emphasize preservation of the historic scene, including the landscaped grounds. The site has recently completed a general management plan and the plan outlines a phased program that addresses each of the areas of concern while minimizing impacts on the historic structures and landscape. Key recommendations of that plan are to provide for additional interpretive opportunities and for relocating the administrative facilities to existing buildings on adjacent lands. Ultimately, the proposed acquisition of land at the entrance to the site will provide improved visitor services and interpretive facilities, park offices and parking. Less than fee easements of the other lands will help ensure that the visual and historic integrity of the site is maintained.
This legislation would amend the act which established Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site to modify the existing boundary to allow acquisition of the lands needed to meet the objectives of the general management plan. S. 1367 would provide the needed authorization for future appropriations for purchase of the land and interests in lands, and would increase the authorized ceiling on development.
This concludes my prepared testimony. I would be happy to answer any questions that you or members of the subcommittee may have.