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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  August 26, 2016 12:00am-12:31am EDT

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90% of that don't see many people. you try to encourage people, well, maybe not old faithful this year, why not this part of the park? it's an educational and encouragement process. >> next is leslie in california. >> caller: hi. i have a memory story for you. was the arlington house known as the lee mansion? i believe i was 9 and my family and i came from buffalo, new york, and saw washington and went to the lee mansion. and i believe -- i think i saw it as i'm sitting here watching the program -- there was a doll in a little girl's bedroom upstairs in the cradle. >> wow. what a good memory you have. my goodness. why did -- because you were young that doll resonated with you? >> caller: i love dolls. my dad said i had a memory like an elephant. at almost 75, i still do.
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it was a wonderful memory. >> that's a terrific memory from long ago. >> those are accurate. she's referring to the girl's dressing room upstairs. >> the custis lee mansion was known as until it was changed after your visit to arlington house, the robert e. lee memorial. >> next up is jean in wyoming. >> caller: hello. please go ahead. hello. >> we're listening. what's your question? >> caller: i have a couple of questions. the one question is, why do you not -- why do you not advertise more often about your events and stuff coming along?
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>> okay. you have another question? >> caller: yes. the other question is, i am actually a volunteer from for the laramie. i was there -- >> you know what? we're getting feedback on your call. we will take your first one. why doesn't the park service advertise more frequently? >> hopefully, we're doing a better job of doing that. it's difficult for us to take out time on media to be able to put things out there. we do our best. we rely -- not exclusively but a lot on social media, try to get people to love the park -- a lot of the sites have facebook pages or twitter accounts. we do -- we work with our local media. we certainly have, i would say, around the centennial, done a
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huge push both interenally but through the park service to get the word out there. if you have access to the facebook, you can learn more about the park events there. if you go most -- almost all websites for national park services, they have news and events, you can click on a calendar and find out what's going on almost every weekend in that park. >> we would be remiss if we were not to commend c-span for its coverage of the national parks and the park service. smi smith -- smithsonian channel. >> on that note, barbara said, special affordable events would be a plus at the lodges. some people are notes aphysically active for all the wonderful outdoor adventures at the park. that's her idea how to make things better.
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have special affordable events at the lodges, because i can't get out and move around inside the park. >> when you say the lodges, the lodges within national parks? >> yes. >> i think there's a concern that we need to increase the needs of those who may have some limitations. i think you would find that if you stay at the lodge in the valley of yosemite or in glacier national park, they would visit the those facilities and give talks if you will. there may be a campfire program in close prom i have proximity. in many instances, the lodges that by and large are operated by concessioners under a contract with the national park service can provide transportation for the guests to
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an organized park program. but we realize that more has to be done to assure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the activities. >> on a related note, accessibility for people with disabilities. how do you -- that's much -- it's required by law. but it's also something we are all much more aware of as making sites more accessible. what are you doing here on that? >> that's one of the real tough things. that's one of the reasons we have to be so delicate in that planning process we go through and work with all the historic preservation groups out there, because we have to find a universally accessible way to get people in and out of the mansion and to have the same experience. so as part of this project, we're trying our best to put some ramping in that will -- there's steps to get up into the mansion. we're try doing that in a sensitive way. but we need to be able to do it to get people here. also around the site, people need to be able to move around in wheelchairs and strollers and things. we will put in an accessible
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path so if someone is in a wheelchair, they will get to every place on the site, whether it's the slave quarters, the mansion, the museum building, pass through the gardens. those will be paths that are made to look like packed dirt. they have nice technology where we can do that. but it's actually an accessible hard surface that wheelchairs can go over. >> what do do you fyou do for o disabilities? >> i mentioned about the tactile exhibits. that's for people who perhaps are visually impaired. we will have a model of arlington house in bronze where they can feel the wings of the house, the chimney, those objects. we will have programs obviously in braille. we have programs for people who maybe can't go upstairs. they can sit here in the house and view a virtual tour. those types of objects. we will have pamphlets in many, many different foreign languages as well. >> is this happening across all the parks? is this interpretation happening across all the parks?
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>> yes. if not, it should be. you would find that there is that level of sensitivity on the part of the park staff to reach out and to include individuals that may have some limitations. and many of the partners that operate within parks, a corporate association or a concessioner, they have that sense of obligation to provide those services. to all visitors. >> 100th anniversary of the national park service. we are talking about that while we are based here live at arlington house overlooking washington. if you get to d.c., come up here. it's going to be closed how long? >> it will be -- the grounds will be closed for about a year, perhaps certainly more than that. we invite people to come up. we have time left before we close the site. certainly, when we reopen, cop and visit us. it's a fantastic place. >> it's the most spectacular view of washington, d.c. that you can find anywhere around here. please do put it on your list if you get here. next is pam in michigan. hi. you are on. >> caller: hi.
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i would just like to know that -- if it's true or not. i read mrs. lee did not come back in person to pay the taxes because her and mr. robert e. lee thought that she would have been arrested at that time. and my other question is, is the house haunted? thank you very much for taking my call. >> thank you very much. is the house haunted? >> is the house haunted? >> it's rather dark in here. >> ambience and whatnot. i can tell you, i personally have not had an experience here. but we do have staff who have relayed stories of things like footsteps upstairs when they turn out to be the only one in the house. there are stories, not for me to say whether or not it's haunted. there's a number of folks who have had interesting experiences. >> you have an 1803 house with
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cre creaky floors. >> all by itself. she asked -- >> yeah. we discussed that earlier. that absolutely is true. when they -- that law was passed in 1862, the taxes were due. they had to be paid by the owner of the house who at that time was mary lee. she was not able to pay the taxes for fear of being captured. she tried to send a cousin here to pay the taxes. but they refused them because they to be paid in person. >> john white asked about twitter, dayton aviation park is spread over many individual locations in our urban area. is that multi-site park unique in the park service? are there other multi-site parks? >> there are a number of multi-site parks. many of the civil war sites have different sites that depict what may have occurred in an individual battle.
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most parks are contiguous within a given boundary. but dayton park is not an exception to that. >> certainly, in urban areas, that's very common. i think of places like golden gate and even here, many of the parks here in washington, d.c. are -- there's pieces of the park nearly all over the place. >> that is correct. >> in a place like this, what percentage of your visitors are foreign? >> that's a great question. i don't have the exact statistic. i would say probably approaching almost a quarter of the visitors. most of our visitors are typical visitors who are here for arlington national cemetery. many don't expect to come here. they happen upon it. probably a little less than a quarter. certainly, a sizable number. >> phillip is watching us in wisconsin as we talk about the park service on its anniversary. what's your question? >> caller: yes.
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i live in wisconsin. i do camming up here. it seems like they are closing campsites up here. the sites are deteriorating, like the picnic benches, there are chunks of wood missing out of them. what are you going do about this? >> deer titeriorating campsites. >> i don't know the particular circumstances of the given park. obviously, the superintendent of that given park would not be pleased that a facility is deteriorating. there could be a question of budget, could be a question of priorities. but that is not the acceptable standard for any park. but admittedly, there are some deteriorated facilities throughout the national park system. >> yes. certainly, verify it's a national -- a lot of folks assume the national park service runs all campgrounds. so it could be -- it may or may not be park service.
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please get in touch with the superintendent, go to the contact page and let them know. >> next up is marilyn who is in south carolina. marilyn, what's on your mind tonight? >> caller: yes. incidentally, seven years ago today, edwood kennedy passed away. i have a question about president kennedy. when he was buried there in 1963, how did that influence the demand for burial there? >> that's a great question. incidental incidentally, i was here when senator ted kennedy passed away. we overlooked that as he was buried alongside his brothers. >> let me in terms of jurisdiction, arlington memorial service is not part of the national park service. >> right. it's the army that runs the cemetery. the national park service is, we
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are surrounded by the cemetery. the caller was correct, the demand for burials here in the cemetery increased after president kennedy was buried here in the point that after that time is when the cemetery had to start putting some restrictions or limitations on the qualifications for people to have for inground burials because it had a huge impact on the cemetery. and on the visitation of the cemetery and as well as arlington house. >> we have 12 more minutes left in our two-hour special on the 100th anniversary of the national park service. all day long on c-span3 we have been showing you different park service sites from all around the country. we hope you enjoyed it. that is on our video library. search and find locations that perhaps you have always been interested in visiting and learn more about that. we have heard references to your career as we have been talking here. how did you get into this? >> i'm a product, if you will, of the leadership of president
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kennedy, vice-president johnson and my hero as a secretary of the interior, the late stewart lee udahl. second udahl coming into the office in the first few months of the kennedy administration, looked at the work force and did not see the face of america. that's my term in terms of not having the diversity in the staff. so he made a decision to recruit in places where the foreign interior had not recruited substantially at historically black colleges and universities. and i was fortunate to be recommended by the president of the college for this opportunity to work as a seasonal ranger. it was in 1962. i had the great fortune of working as a seasonal ranger in
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the summer of '62 and '63 and became permanent in '66 and stepped down at the 15th director on january 19, 2001, concluding 35 years with the national park service. a rewarding career that exceeded all expectations. >> one of the most gorgeous places in the world, absolutely beautiful there. >> since i don't have responsible for all the parks, yes, you are right. >> all of you park service people are always so always so whenever you ask your favorite park. now that you're retired, you can tell us. did you get the bug immediately when working there as a college student this is what i want to do? >> no. i grew up in a different america. i grew up under the doctrine but separate but equal. there was not an encouragement for african-americans to go into nontraditional career
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opportunities. state and local parks were closed to me. restaurants and theaters were closed to me. so it was a new day. again, that was in leadership, the courageous leadership, of stewart udall, because many facilities surrounding parks were not open to me, but another courageous secretary under the roosevelt administration issued a proclamation, secretary proclamation in 1945 saying that all facilities within national parks would be available to all who would come, notwithstanding in communities you may not be able to go to a hotel or restaurant, but that was the leadership, fathered by the leadership of stewart lee udall. >> brandon bies, we want to hear your story, but we want to take a couple calls first. which are the most significant national park service rights that tell the modern civil
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rights story? >> well, the martin luther king site in georgia, selma to montgomery, talking about the voting rights that led to president lyndon johnson signing that law, the voting rights law, in 1965. but one would have to go back earlier, and i think about port chicago and california, in which there was a major destruction of ships through bombs that exploded as they were being loaded and killed roughly 300 african-americans who were receiving treatment in terms of training and work, what have you, and that triggered president truman ultimately to issue a presidential executive order, executive order, saying that we would no longer have a
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segregated military force. and you could go beyond that in terms of major protest for labor to argue for equal protection under the law as guaranteed by the 14th amendment. but what one would argue that the seeking of full rights is a continuum in that every generation makes a little bit more progress towards that which we proclaimed in our constitution towards a more perfect union. but i grew up in the so-called modern civil rights movement, so the student protests, of which i was a part of in the '50s and the '60s, i can remember, but i also remember the supreme court decision in 1954, because all of my public school, segregated school, in which they declared in the field of public education, the doctrine of separate but equal has no place.
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so i've seen that in my lifetime, but yet there's much more to be done. >> we have about seven minutes left on this centennial national park service. next up is a phone call from robert in waterville, new york. hi, robert. >> caller: hello. director stanton, former director stanton, this question's probably for you. within the national parks, particularly yosemite, some of the colorado parks, what's the national park service doing about purchasing the inholdings that commercial developers are trying to purchase and develop into resorts, things like that? the water conservation fund was one funding source. what's the status of that whole system? >> an excellent question. the land and water conservation fund provides revenues for acquisition not only by, as you well know, by the federal government, but also by state government and also land and
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water conservation funds are available to tribal governments and a government-to-government relationship. i know personally that there are many inholders throughout the national parks system. something i personally experienced when i was in the virgin island national park. the dollars that are available are not adequate to meet the acquisition of all the so-called inholder. progress is being made. there are some private individuals, some corporations, that are requiring of many of these inholders and then donating free of charge to the government to include areas of that given park, but it is a critical -- it is a critical set of circumstances, because some of the private properties within parks are development we would perhaps judge not being compatible with other preservation objectives of a given park. so you're right on target of raising that as a major
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challenge. >> well, on facebook jim asks, is there a satisfactory level of cooperation between the national park service and the various state parks and the many county and local parks nationally? >> the national park service, and i would say this with all humility and gratitude, has an excellent relationship with the state parks. the state parks have a national sensation of state park directors, and there are frequent meetings between members of the organization and their counterparts in the national park service. and similarly with local and municipal parks that have outstanding programs, and they work with the national park service and with their national association. i might add that the park service has a specific function that allows park service employees to provide technical assistance within the resources they have available to state and
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to local parks in terms of interpretation, in terms of planning, resource preservation, so is the shared experience and it's a shared opportunity between all the organizations, every spectrum of the government level, to cooperate and collaborate towards achieving effective and efficient stewardship. >> brandon bies, how did you get into this line of work? >> sure, so i started my parks service career, actually i started with an interest in history, american history, military history, and also in archaeology, so i began as an archaeologist for the national park service. i was very fortunate to do work as an archaeologist at a number of civil war battlefields, petersburg, spent a number of years working at other places, and i was then able to get a permanent position as a cultural research specialist doing preservation work for the national park service here in the washington, d.c., area, did that for several years, and then ventured a little bit into park
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management. had a nice chance to work at great falls park just here north of town, and then served four years as the manager here at arlington house. and we'll see where we go from there. >> where did you go to school? >> i went to my undergraduate at university of delaware and got degrees in american history and anthropology, then my master's in applied anthropology from the university of maryland. >> director stanton, we've talked about a lot of the challenges for the next hundred years for the national park service throughout our program. one is young people who are digitally oriented, getting them to come, others always going to be funding. one of the ones always cited is the whole climate change issue and its impact on the parks. how serious is that for the lands that you're -- and the sites that you're trying to preserve, and what is the parks service doing to remedy it? >> yes. i've been away from the parks service 16 years, so i'm not
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fully abreast with what is being done in terms of adapting to climate change or any of the mitigating measures that the individual parks or the leadership of the parks service may be undertaking, but i am abreast of some of the news accounts of the deterioration of some of the glaciers, if you will, in alaska and some have speculated there may not really be a glacier national park in northern montana, just in terms of the melting. and i think that many of the seashore parks, and there are a large number of seashore parks that are beginning to recognize a change in the level of the sea in terms of beach erosion, may be the impact on cultural resources, may be in proximity to the shoreline. so i do know there are a number of measures that are being taken not only by the national park
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service, but by fish and wildlife service, u.s. forest service, land management, and i will expect some comparable measures are being taken at the state level. but the scientists continue to advise us that things are changing, and it's a question of how can we adapt to those changes, plus how can we reduce our impact on carbon emissions as the -- as being rolled out. >> we're going to take a final phone call from stephanie all the way in hawaii. hi, stephanie, you're our last caller tonight. what's on your mind? >> caller: yes, hi, thank you for taking my call and happy birthday to the parks service. >> thank you very much. >> caller: i'm really proud to be an american for that reason. there is a national monument that has a long hawaiian name, i'm afraid i can't pronounce it. they are talking about expanding
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area, i wondered if anybody knew where that stood. and thank you for taking my call. >> i'm not familiar with, you know, any proposal, as i said before, i've been sort of out of the loop, as it were, but, obviously, as mentioned earlier, all parks have a website and they'd more than welcome an inquiry from you in terms of what their acquisition needs or their interests might be. and i'm positive that you will get a response in a timely fashion. >> a special program tonight on the anniversary of the parks service, produced by american history tv, part of the c-span family of television content. and we're delighted to introduce you to what we do here at american history tv. you can find us all weekend, every weekend, with visits to historic sites, lectures in history, tours of battlefields,
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all first-person history and nothing else really quite like it on television. we hope if you like it tonight you'll find american history tv on c-span3 on the weekends and also on the web. as we close out here tonight, i really want to thank your colleagues here at arlington house for the hospitality in allowing us to bring this equipment in and move the furniture around. what's the closing thought you want to leave people with about the role of the parks service, this is for both of you, in american life? >> we may be here for a few more hours just to talk about that. but the parks are special places. they are places not only to enjoy in terms of play, but also places in which we can learn. we can develop a greater respect for ourselves, for our neighbors, our friends, and a respect for the other species that inhabit this fragile place that we call earth. so parks are contributed to us
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becoming better people and a more united nation. >> and i'm not nearly as eloquent as mr. stanton, but i would say something we talk time and time again about these days is relevance, and for the parks service to survive another century, we need to be relevant -- >> make that connection. >> make a connection to people to come and visit. please, come and visit your national parks and tell us how we can be relevant to you. if there are stories you think we're not telling, tell us about it and get involved, volunteer and make the parks relevant to your life, continue the dialogue about what it's like to be an american and these american stories and that will guarantee we're around for another hundred years. >> you have a final thought? >> in closing, i want to salute you and c-span and the listening audience that's participated and your outstanding staff and i would only salute you in the words of our first director, steven mather, who observed she's a better citizen with a keener appreciation of the
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privilege of living here in the united states, who has toured the national parks. we become better citizens. >> well, thanks to both of you for giving us your time tonight. thank you for you in the audience for watching, your questions, and as i mentioned the conversation continues on facebook. if you'd like to talk to others who enjoy and officiate the national park service, and happy centennial to the national park service. a reminder that this program will air tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern time once again in its entirety, and right after we're finished here, you're going to see a full tour of arlington house just as if you were here yourselves. thanks for being with us.
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