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National Park Service shares findings of Rota special resource study and seeks public comments

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(NPS) — The National Park Service is pleased to announce the preliminary results of a special resource study of the island of Rota or Luta in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

As directed by the U.S. Congress in P.L. 113-291 Section 3051 on Dec. 19, 2014, the NPS is studying Rota’s prehistoric and historic resources and limestone forests to evaluate the area’s national significance for the possibility of designating a site on the island as a unit of the National Park System.

The NPS will host virtual public meetings to share the study’s preliminary findings and engage stakeholders and the public in discussions about several concepts for the future. The virtual meetings are planned for the week of Sept. 14. The specific dates, times, and meeting information will be posted on the project website, shared on the American Memorial Park Facebook page, and emailed to the stakeholder contact list. 

Public comments on the preliminary findings are welcomed through Oct. 26, 2020, and will be accepted in several ways:

  • Mail

National Park Service

Planning & Compliance

333 Bush Street, Suite 500

San Francisco, CA 94104

  • Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • Online https://parkplanning.nps.gov/rotastudy

The preliminary findings indicate that Rota is a special place with significant resources. The Chamorro archeological sites, World War II Japanese defensive sites, and limestone forests appear to be nationally significant and may be suitable for possible inclusion in the national park system. This would require a partnership-based management approach because of land ownership restrictions on Rota.

Based on these preliminary findings, NPS staff have developed three alternative concepts for the preservation and public enjoyment of sites on Rota including:

  • Continuation of Current Management: This “no action” alternative focuses on continuing existing management and includes consideration of a National Historic Landmark on Rota.
  • Rota National Historical Park Concept: This alternative concentrates on partnerships to foster cooperative planning and management to protect and interpret Chamorro archeological sites. The NPS could assume management of Chamorro archeological sites on public lands through a cooperative agreement or lease and provide interpretation and educational opportunities and maintain the sites. The preliminary analysis indicates this alternative could include approximately 1,300 acres of ancient and historic sites.
  • Rota National Monument or Preserve Concept: This alternative concentrates on partnerships to foster cooperative planning and management to protect and interpret the limestone forests, Chamorro archeological sites, and World War II sites. The NPS could assume management of these sites through a cooperative agreement or lease and provide interpretation and educational opportunities and maintain the sites. Preliminary analysis indicates this alternative could include approximately 4,400 acres of limestone forests, ancient, and historic sites.

The special resource study will inform a recommendation by the Secretary of the Interior to the United States Congress. Establishment of a unit of the national park system would require the support of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands government and action by the United States Congress.

For more information, visit the project website: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/rotastudy

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