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Meet 93 year-old Betty Reid Soskin – the oldest active national park ranger. Once a file clerk in a Jim Crow union hall during World War II, Soskin is now helping preserve WWII history at Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park in California. Read Soskin’s amazing story: http://on.doi.gov/1xfpPQD #WomensHistoryMonth

The Kennicott Homestead at The Grove, Cook County, Illinois by Bob Callebert
Via Flickr:
The late summer prairie at The Grove is truly a sight to behold. It’s worth making a special trip. The Kennicott home is back there hiding in the mist, which was really heavy this morning.

Fracking Boom Expands Near Chaco Canyon, Threatens Navajo Ancestral Lands and People

From Desmog Blog:

Beneath a giant methane gas cloud recently identified by NASA, the oil and gas fracking industry is rapidly expanding in northwestern New Mexico. Flares that light up the night sky at drilling sites along the stretch of Route 550 that passes through the San Juan Basin, which sits on top of the oil rich Mancos Shale, are tell-tale indicators of the fracking boom.

Much of the land being fracked belongs to the federal government. The rest is a mixture of state, private and Navajo Nation land.

The region is known to the Diné (Navajo) as Dinétah, the land of their ancestors. It is home of the Bisti Badlands and Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a World Heritage Site.

Few Diné see any profit from any of the industrial developments, according to White. Instead, “We pay the price in bad health – respiratory diseases, heart and kidney diseases, and diabetes.”

On January 5th, a group of Diné set off on a 200-mile journey commemorating a forced walk their ancestors took away from the area 150 years ago.

Along the way, they are meeting with members of the Diné community who have little access to the media and are listening to their concerns about the industrial development, and giving them educational materials about fracking. They intend to raise awareness about the fracking industry’s negative impacts on their community including the health risks, damage to the roads and an increase in violent crime that typically comes with an influx of temporary oil field workers.

“Our ancestors sacrificed their lives for this land. What are we showing for it?” Nicholas Ashley, another Diné youth, asked. “We are looking at resource colonization,” he says.

“Despite being at the forefront of energy extraction, our people do not see its benefits; approximately ¼ of our people today live without electricity and running water on the Navajo Nation, while our economy functions at an unemployment rate of 60%, and our young people are leaving due to lack of opportunity,” their group’s mission statement says.

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BLM Wyoming Surveys Devils Tower 

Story by John Lee, Chief Cadastral Surveyor, Wyoming State Office

BLM Wyoming’s Branch of Cadastral Survey had a unique opportunity last summer. The National Park Service (NPS) was a little unsure of where the legal boundaries were for Devils Tower National Monument, so NPS hired the BLM team to perform a cadastral (boundary) survey of the north, east, south, and west boundaries of the iconic landmark.

Devils Tower was designated a National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in September 1906. This was the first use of the American Antiquities Act passed by Congress in June of that year.

The proclamation states:

“And, whereas, the lofty and isolated rock in the State of Wyoming, known as the "Devils Tower,” situated upon the public lands owned and controlled by the Unites States is such an extraordinary example of the effect of erosion in the higher mountains as to be a natural wonder and an object of historic and great scientific interest and it appears that the public good would be promoted by reserving this tower as a National monument with as much land as may be necessary for the proper protection thereof; …"

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