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The Crying Need to Establish an African American Burial Grounds Network

By Brenda Barrett April 28, 2019

African American cemeteries are at risk across the country as many have been forgotten or face disuse and abandonment. Working with Congress and the National Park Service, innovative legislation has now been drafted to establish the African American Burial Grounds Network. The bill was introduced by dedicated sponsors Representatives Alma S. Adams (NC-12) and A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) who recognized the strong spiritual and patriotic as well as historic association of these sites for the African American community.

Proposed National Register rule threatens Historic & Cultural Landscapes

By Brenda Barrett March 27, 2019

It is not news that the current administration is unfriendly to landscape scale conservation. So, it is not surprising that a proposed a Department of Interior (DOI) rule-making has taken another step to discouragie landscape conservation. This time by making it more difficult for the public to nominate historic properties and in particular cultural landscapes to the National Register of Historic Places. The reason for this change is not hard to find. Recognition of the cultural value of landscapes is seen as an impediment to the administration’s allies who have interests in resource extraction and energy development projects.

New National Heritage Areas: The Time has Come

By Brenda Barrett March 4, 2019

Bills designating new National Heritage Areas have been introduced for several Congressional sessions, but nothing happened. That is until this year, when with surprising speed and overwhelming majorities, the Senate and House passed the Natural Resources Management Act. This bill is already being celebrated and rightly so for permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund,creating three new national monuments, expanding park boundaries and so on. What has been less discussed in the over 600 pages of this legislation is the designation of six new National Heritage Areas.

Best-Laid Plans: What Ensures Program Longevity

By Eleanor Mahoney February 7, 2019

In late 2009, then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a new conservation program, the “Treasured Landscape Initiative.” Based on Salazar’s experience in Colorado, the effort sought to promote collaboration between public lands managers and private property owners on a large geographic scale. Embraced by many in the preservation and environmental protection communities, the idea […]

Outsized Threats to Large Landscapes

By Brenda Barrett January 27, 2019

It should come as no surprise to readers of the Living Landscape Observer that conserving large landscapes in the current political climate is no easy task. There are threats to our public lands and proposals to defund the federal programs that conserve our cultural and natural resources. However, the bigger issue is the underlying erosion of landscape scale work throughout our national government. There are systemics challenges to all these efforts that need to be better understood.