Love this post from the Department of the Interior celebrating six stunning (and way warmer than most of the continental U.S. is right now) sites that are also public lands. National Park of American Samoa, in particular, is one I’m salivating over.
I need to take issue, however, with one place the DOI left out: San Juan National Historic Site in my favorite U.S. commonwealth, Puerto Rico. Protected there is the oldest European construction in the U.S. and one heck of a beautiful spot to spend a day.
The six-level Castillo San Felipe del Morro, overlooking the entrance to San Juan Bay, took the Spanish 250 years to build. Its sister fortification, Castillo San Cristóbal, protected the city from land invaders. At 27 acres, it’s the largest fort the Spanish built in the New World. The views of the coastline make me wonder if, at least some of the time, the soldiers posted here enjoyed keeping watch.
National park infrastructure and historic and cultural resources totaling more than $40 billion are at high risk of damage from sea-level rise caused by climate change, says a report just released by the Department of the Interior.
NPS scientists examined conditions at 40 parks, roughly one-third of the 118 national parks considered threatened by sea-level rise. NPS director Jonathan Jarvis commented that in addition to cherished lighthouses, forts, archaeological sites and valuable artifacts, at risk also is the infrastructure essential to daily parks operations (think roads and bridges, visitor centers, docks and the like).
With summer in full swing parks now playing host to millions of visitors stand out. The 10 national seashores listed as “at risk” in the report include Assateague (Md./Va.), Cape Cod (Mass.), Fire Island (N.Y.), Cape Hatteras (N.C.), Cape Lookout (N.C.), Canaveral (Fla.), Cumberland Island (Ga.), Gulf Islands (Fla./Miss.), Point Reyes (Calif.), and Padre Island (Tex.).
Results from analysis of an additional 30 coastal parks will be released later this summer.
PHOTO COURTESY NPS.