STATEMENT OF DURAND JONES, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES CONCERNING S. 202 AND H.R. 2440, TO RENAME WOLF TRAP FARM PARK AS WOLF TRAP NATIONAL PARK FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

 

FEBRUARY 14, 2002

 


 

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 202 and H.R. 2440, bills that would rename Wolf Trap Farm Park as “Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.”

 

The Department supports the intent of both bills, but recommends the approval of H.R. 2440 as passed by the House of Representatives on December 11, 2001.

 

A name change from “Wolf Trap Farm Park” to “Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts” has been sought by the Wolf Trap Foundation as a way of increasing its visibility as a venue for performing arts and a part of the National Park System, which could potentially help with fundraising.  The Wolf Trap Foundation has been an extraordinary partner for the park, bringing a high degree of professionalism to both its operational responsibilities and its fundraising initiatives, and running excellent educational and artistic programs. 

 

The Department agrees that changing the name of the park to better reflect its purpose and status makes sense. “Wolf Trap Farm” was the name of the property that became Wolf Trap Farm Park, but most people who live in the Washington, D.C. area know the park simply as “Wolf Trap.”  The phrase “for the performing arts” is already commonly used in literature about the park and in advertisements for performances there.  In addition, most units of the National Park System have the word “national” in their names.  For these reasons, the name “Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts” is appropriate for this site.

 

The proposal to rename Wolf Trap Farm Park as “Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts” was first introduced a few years ago.  Originally, the National Park Service was concerned that use of the name “National Park” would place Wolf Trap in a category of a type of park unit that implies a large, spectacular natural place that has a wide variety of attributes, often including significant historic assets.  Additionally, we were concerned that the park could be subject to laws that apply only to national parks and not other units of the National Park System. 

 

Both S. 202 and H.R. 2440 successfully address these concerns by providing that any laws, rules, or regulations that are applicable solely to units of the National Park System that are designated as a “national park” shall not apply to Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.  Both bills also require the use of the full name “Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts,” at least for official purposes.  These provisions help make it clear that as a “national park for the performing arts,” Wolf Trap would be in a category of its own within the National Park System that would be separate and distinct from the system’s 56 national parks.

 

The reason we recommend approval of H.R. 2440 as passed by the House is because it contains a simple requirement that Federal employees and Foundation employees use the new name in full in all official documents and communications, and that the full name also be used on directional signs and official signs and notices.  S. 202, by contrast, contains a general prohibition on any reference to the park other than by the name “Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts,” which presents legal concerns about the ability of the Federal government to enforce this provision with non-Federal entities.

 

Finally, the proposed name change would not change Wolf Trap’s legal status, nor would it alter the way that the park is administered.  The National Park Service would continue the same level of management and would maintain Wolf Trap to the same standards that have always been applied at the park.    

 

Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement.  I would be happy to respond to any questions you or other committee members may have regarding these bills.