UNESCO World Heritage Site
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE
Some folks would like to
see White Sands National Monument included on the list of UNESCO'S World
Others are outraged and hate the idea.
What's going on?
On April 10, 2007, the National
Park Service / U.S. Department of the Interior informs us via press
release that White Sands National Monument is one of 36 sites that have
applied for World Heritage Site status.
However, with this first
application you only apply to get short listed by the U.S. Department of
the Interior. The shortlist will be (has been) submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage
Center by February 1, 2008. It will then take another year until a formal nomination
from the list can be forwarded.
Read the April 10, 2007 Press Release
Read the January 25, 2008 Press Release
Read the World Heritage Site Nomination FAQs.
Here is an excerpt:
Q: Why is the National Park
Service pursuing a nomination?
A: We are pursuing nomination and inscription as a World
Heritage Site for White Sands to gain international recognition
for a unique and spectacular resource. We also feel this
recognition could lead to increased visitation by international
and domestic visitors.
WHO ALL IS ON
THE LIST ALREADY?
The World Heritage List currently includes 851 properties world wide.
New Mexico has three World Heritage
Sites: Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Taos Pueblo and Chaco Culture
National Historical Park. White Sands monument and Blackwater Draw in
eastern New Mexico have been proposed for inclusion.
Check HERE for the full
list. Twenty of these properties belong to the United States. And here they are
listed below. Click on the site to learn more. All info provided by
U.S. World Heritage Sites (with
dates of inscription)
Mesa Verde National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Everglades National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
Kluane / Wrangell-St Elias / Glacier Bay /
Tatshenshini-Alsek (1979, 1992, 1994)
Redwood National and State Parks
Mammoth Cave National Park
Olympic National Park
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site
in Puerto Rico (1983)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Statue of Liberty
Yosemite National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Monticello and the University of Virginia in
Pueblo de Taos
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Waterton Glacier International Peace Park
Who's for it? Who's against
One of the stipulations for
application is "the strong support from elected officials."
(WHAT'S THE FULL CRITERIA FOR ALL WORLD HERITAGE
Among the supporters are New
Mexico Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman, State
Representative Gloria Vaughn, Alamogordo Mayor Don Carroll, Las
Cruces Mayor Bill Mattiace, White Sands Missile Range Director Tom
Berard, and the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce.
Thus, White Sands Monument
Superintendent Cliff Spencer has all his ducks in a row. Or does
Well, in his
Spencer recognizes public concern regarding the fact that
jurisdiction or control over White Sands National Monument might
change hands in any way.
And concerned they are.
Already 1,200 people have signed a
petition NOT to submit White Sands to the UNESCO World Heritage program.
Consequently, the Otero County Commission unanimously declared
themselves against the proposal. The date? Thursday, August 16, 2007.
Otero County commissioners have sent
a resolution to the National Parks Service and to their congressional
delegation expressing their official desires that White Sands be removed
from the list of those sites being considered as World Heritage Sites.
The date? Friday, August 24, 2007.
The Otero County Commission passed an
ordinance declaring that such proposals, if the county has not been
consulted first, are unlawful. The date? October 18, 2007.
October 31, 2007 - The Department of
the Interior, National Park Service, gives you the full month of
November 2007 to submit public comments.
You can Send comments to: Jonathan
Putnam, Office of International Affairs, NPS, 1201 Eye Street, NW.,
(0050), Washington, DC 20005; or via email at email@example.com ;
or via phone at 202/354–1809; or via fax at 202/371–1446. Also, you may
send comments to Leonard Stowe, NPS
Information Collection Clearance Officer, 1849 C St., NW., (2605),
Washington, DC 20240; or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. All
comments will become a matter of public record.
Here is the
excerpt from the Federal Register October 31, 2007
regarding the public comments.
And here is the
October 2007 National Park Service News Release
regarding the comments and with more information on the issue.
The objections to World Heritage listing are about the
same as a 4-year old's fear of the monster in his bedroom closet. There
isn't one. The point about the water really cracks me up. Two thirds of
the planet is covered with water and it is LESS salty than the water in
the Tularosa Basin. Who would want it???
Posted by Jim Eckles
Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Mr. Jim Eckles characterizes those who
favor the WHS designation. The resort to name-calling and putting down
those with whom he disagrees. This fight in Otero County is about input
and democracy. The NPS has violated two Otero County laws by forwarding
the nomination and refusing to reconsider. The NPS is acting outside legal
providence and pushing it's own will "We the people".
Surely, the County does not have the final say in this process but if it
were up to the proponents and the NPS the County would have zero say.
Also, it is curious that the NPS included letters of support from the
County, the City and a Congressman who did not support the designation or
did not have the authority to give support. The NPS quickly recalled the
original application and made changes and admitted "errors" in the process
yet will not give the legally passed laws of Otero County due
consideration. In my view it is government supremacists who are pushing
this agenda against the right Otero County has to give fair, honest, input
at the beginning of the process, not at the end, like the NPS insists.
So, let the name-calling begin: Proponents will call those who want input
"paranoid, uneducated, fear-mongers, and all manner of ugly names. Yet
they will never address this one issue: democracy. What is the will of the
people and do they have a right to express it though elected officials and
does the federal government have the duty to listen or does it ram its own
desires down the throat of those it deems paranoid or uneducated?
Posted by John Turney
Posted on Monday, November 12, 2007
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