Notes from the National Park Service
With 423 units covering more than 85 million acres, there’s much more to the National Park Service than the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway. Here’s a roundup of some recent news from the agency.
The National Park Service has nominated the ancient Ohio earthworks known as the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks to become America’s next UNESCO World Heritage Site. The group of eight archeological sites in southern Ohio were built during the middle Woodland period of 1,500 to 2,000 years ago by American Indians now referred to as the Hopewell Culture. Forming precise geometric shapes across great distances, they are among the world’s largest earthworks that are not fortifications or defensive structures. Artifacts show that the builders interacted with people as far away as the Yellowstone basin and Florida.
Amache National Historic Site is the newest unit of the National Park System following President Joe Biden’s signature on the Amache National Historic Site Act March 18. Located in Colorado, the site was one of 10 places the War Relocation Authority established during World War II to detain Japanese Americans forcibly removed from the West Coast. More than 10,000 people were incarcerated there between 1942 and 1945. It will likely take more than a year for the National Park Service to formally acquire the lands and establish the park.
The National Park Service’s oldest active ranger retired in March after celebrating her 100th birthday in September 2021. Betty Reid Soskin became a permanent NPS employee in 2011 and was 84 years old when she started working as a temporary employee. On the job, she shared her personal experiences and the efforts of women from diverse backgrounds on the World War II home front at the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historic Park in California. Soskin made a “profound impact” on the NPS and how it carries out its mission, said NPS Director Chuck Sams.