The National Park Service announced yesterday the launch of a study of the unique natural and cultural resources of the island of Rota (Luta) in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
As directed by the U.S. Congress (P.L. 113-291 Section 3051, Dec. 19, 2014), the NPS is conducting a study of Rota’s prehistoric and historic resources and limestone forests. The study will evaluate the national significance of the area and the suitability and feasibility of designating the area as a unit of the national park system. The study is expected to take two to three years to complete.
The NPS will be hosting public meetings in the CNMI and Guam as well as two online meetings to introduce the study, answer questions, and solicit public ideas and interests:
The first meeting on Saipan will be on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, from 6pm to 8pm at the American Memorial Park Visitor Center Theater along Beach Road, Garapan
The second meeting will be on Rota, on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, from 6pm to 8pm, at the Rota Mayor’s Office.
The third meeting will also be on Rota, on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, from 9am to 11am, at the Rota Mayor’s Office.
In Guam, the meeting will be on Monday, Feb. 24, 2017, from 6pm to 8pm, at the Guam Museum auditorium and at 193 Chalan Santo Papa Juan Pablo Dos, Hagåtña.
The first virtual meeting is on Thursday, March 9, 2017, from 9am to 10:30am (Wednesday, March 8, 3pm-4:30pm PST). Go to www.gotomeeting.com, click on “Join Webinar” in the upper right, and enter Webinar ID: 210-509-451.
The second virtual meeting is on Friday, March 10, 2017, from 6am to 7:30am (Thursday, March 9, 12pm-1:30pm PST). Go to www.gotomeeting.com, click on “Join Webinar” in the upper right, and enter Webinar ID: 879-835-067
Chamorro language translation will be provided at the Saipan and Rota meetings.
A special resource study evaluates the eligibility of an area to be designated as a national park or other special designation. As defined in the study legislation, the study focuses on the prehistoric, historic, and limestone forest sites on Rota. The National Park Service collects information about the quality of resources in the study area, evaluates the potential for visitor enjoyment and efficient management, and analyzes the feasibility and appropriateness of different management options including alternative ways that local, CNMI, federal, and private entities can further protect and interpret Rota’s important places. The study will respect and retain the authorities of the CNMI government and private property owners.
The NPS provides its findings to the Secretary of the Interior. If the Rota study results in a recommendation from the Secretary of the Interior that areas of Rota warrant addition to the national park system, Congress may or may not act on or follow the recommendation. Other outcomes of the study could include: no change from the existing management structure, local CNMI public and/or private management options, additional NPS technical assistance, or other local, national, or international designations.
For more information:
• contact Jean Boscacci, Project Manager at 415-623-2312
• e-mail the study team at Rota_study@nps.gov
• view the project web site at parkplanning.nps.gov/rotastudy. (NPS)