Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Boundary Modification Act of 2019
STATEMENT FOR THE RECORD OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS AND PUBLIC LANDS REGARDING H.R. 4840, A BILL TO MODIFY THE BOUNDARY OF THE CASA GRANDE RUINS NATIONAL MONUMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
July 13, 2020
Chair Haaland, Ranking Member Young, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to provide the views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 4840, a bill to modify the boundary of the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, and for other purposes.
The Department supports H.R. 4840, with amendments, as a way to protect key archeological resources associated with Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. However, while the Department supports the targeted land acquisition described in H.R. 4840, we remain primarily focused on reducing the National Park Service’s deferred maintenance backlog and addressing other critical infrastructure needs.
H.R. 4840 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to acquire from willing sellers approximately 406 acres of land for addition to Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. Approximately 146 of those acres are owned by private landowners along the monument’s western boundary and include a prehistoric canal and other archaeological sites identified by affiliated tribes. An additional 60 acres, to the east of the monument, are owned by the Archeological Conservancy.
The remaining 200 acres are non-contiguous State of Arizona trust lands that contain above-ground prehistoric standing ruins as well as a prehistoric ball court. Given the excellent preservation of archaeological resources, the state site is an ideal location for visitor use and interpretation. As an alternative to acquiring the State lands, the Secretary would be authorized to enter into an agreement with the State to cooperatively manage the State land.
In addition, H.R. 4840 would transfer approximately 7.41 acres of land from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and approximately 3.8 acres of land from the Bureau of Land Management to the National Park Service. This transfer would provide broader opportunities to interpret the significant resources. And, 3.5 acres of land along the monument’s southern boundary would be transferred from the National Park Service to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which would allow the Bureau of Indian Affairs to widen and pave part of the Pima Lateral Canal.
Lands transferred to the monument by this legislation and any lands acquired pursuant to this legislation would be administered as part of the monument, and the boundary of the monument would be adjusted accordingly.
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, located in Coolidge, Arizona, was set aside as the first Federal archaeological reservation in the United States on June 22, 1892, by President Benjamin Harrison, and was established as a national monument on August 3, 1918, by President Woodrow Wilson by presidential proclamation under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906. It consists of approximately 473 acres of land that contain numerous resources closely associated with the Hohokam culture, including the remnants of the Casa Grande, the great house, constructed in the 14th Century.
Before the Committee advances this legislation, the Department recommends amending H.R. 4840 to include an additional transfer of 3.7 acres of Bureau of Land Management managed land to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in order to facilitate the widening and paving of the Pima Lateral Canal, complementing the transfer of land from the National Park Service to the Bureau of Indian Affairs that the bill currently provides. We also recommend substituting a new legislative map that will depict all four of the transfers among the three bureaus. We would welcome the opportunity to work with the Committee on these and other technical amendments.
Chair Haaland, this concludes our statement.