Results of National Park Service Study on the Loess Hills (Sue Jennings, Loess Hills Researcher)
Sue Jennings works for the National Park Service. Listen to her comments on a NPS study and other issues surrounding working landscapes.
Transcript: Results of National Park Service Study on the Loess Hills
Right now what we have determined is the Loess Hills landscape meets the significant criteria. That is, it is a nationally significant landscape because of its geologic features or components -- that's the loess deposits. No where else in the world do we see such depth of loess deposits with the very narrow ridge lines and the dissections. There are some areas in the United States that have loess deposits but not that deep or not that well defined or expressed. It also meets the suitability criteria. We don't, in the National Park Service system, have any other area that resembles the Loess Hills. Now it did not meet the feasibility criteria for a number of reasons. One, 95% of the Loess Hills are in private ownership and it would be very, very difficult to bring those lands into public ownership. The Park Service does not purchase property unless it's from a willing seller. And through our public meetings and telephone surveys that were conducted by the Loess Hills Alliance and other communications, it's very clear that that landscape or the landowners have no desire to sell their land to the federal government. And there are other reasons too. Even if there were willing sellers, I think lot of positive steps that have been taken already in the Loess Hills environment to protect that landscape. The Nature Conservancy, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, the Golden Hills RC&D and a number of groups are already doing a number of activities that are helping to protect that landscape be it working with private landowners who by and large WANT to preserve that landscape, and they have the perfect right to. It's their land and many of them are very adamant about their land ownership rights and we certainly understand that and can support that.