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S. 3035 (109th): Columbia-Pacific National Heritage Area Study Act

The text of the bill below is as of May 25, 2006 (Introduced).



2d Session

S. 3035


May 25, 2006

(for himself and Mrs. Murray) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


To direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of establishing the Columbia-Pacific National Heritage Area in the States of Washington and Oregon, and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Columbia-Pacific National Heritage Area Study Act.



Congress finds that—


the Chinookan people have—


lived in the Columbia-Pacific region for over 6,000 years;


developed a wealthy and vibrant culture from the abundance of the Columbia River and the sophisticated trade economy of the people; and


established cultural centers in Chinook, Washington, and Seaside, Oregon;


early European explorers, including Heceta, Vitus Bering, Sir Francis Drake, and Captain Cook, began to explore and chart the region in search of the Great River of the West, the last remaining major land feature mapped by Europeans;


many people travel from around the world to the Columbia-Pacific region to—


experience the rich historical culture of the region; and


search for new business opportunities in the region;


in 1792 Boston-based Captain Robert Gray was the first to bring a sailing ship into the River, naming the River after his ship, the COLUMBIA REDIVIVA;


Gray's trip through the Columbia River opened up the River to trade with east coast cities, European countries, and Asian kingdoms;


during the 13 years before the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery arrived overland, more than 88 ships entered the Columbia River as part of a sophisticated global trade network that became known as the Golden Round, which stimulated the economy of the newly freed colonies and accelerated the development of the international fur trade;


ports and communities along the Columbia River continue to support the traditional industries of fishing, seafood processing, timber harvesting, and trade;


in 1805 Lewis and Clark, seeking an all water route to the Pacific Ocean for commerce to expand the American claim to the Pacific Ocean, arrived at the mouth of the Columbia River where the group built a fort to spend the winter;


the legacy of Lewis and Clark continues to be available to the public at the newly expanded units of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park;


in 1811 John Jacob Astor established a permanent settlement for commerce at the mouth of the Columbia River known as Astoria, which became the first American city west of the Rocky Mountains;


Astoria was sold to the Hudson Bay Company and during the period from 1812 to 1828, was a British territory;


Astoria was ultimately returned to the United States making Astoria the only city in the United States to become the territory of another country and then revert back to the United States;


for several thousand years the approaches to the mouth of the Columbia River have served as the original homeland defense system as the Chinookan people established villages on headlands and promontories of the River in order to watch the traffic entering, leaving, and traveling on the River;


with the start of the Civil War, the native villages were replaced with forts operated by the United States Army;


the Army forts at Cape Disappointment, Fort Columbia, and Fort Stevens were in continuous operation through the end of World War II;


the United States Coast Guard maintains a large homeland security operation through Group Astoria with the Cape Disappointment Motor Lifeboat Station, Astoria Air Station, 2 cutters operating out of Astoria, and the Tongue Point maintenance yard;


through the United States Coast Guard operations, the Columbia River continues to serve as the guard post for the protection of international commerce of the largest river transport system on the west coast;


the water offshore Clatsop County, Oregon, and Pacific County, Washington, is known as the Graveyard of the Pacific, because thousands of vessels and lives have been lost in the water, with survivors struggling ashore and seeking refuge in the historic beach communities of Cannon Beach, Seaside, Gearhart, Seaview, Long Beach, Ocean Park, and Oysterville;


shipwrecks and storm waters are still a threat to commercial and recreational boaters in the area;


modern navigation aids include lighthouses, lightships, and lifesaving stations;


the United States Coast Guard continues to operate the Cape Disappointment Lifesaving Station and the National Motor Lifeboat School;


members of the United States Coast Guard from throughout the United States are sent to the Top Gun training center to—


challenge some of the most dangerous waters in the world; and


prepare for service at stations throughout the United States;


the Columbia River is home to 1 of the most abundant commercial and sport fisheries in the world;


for centuries, the people in the Columbia-Pacific region have made a living from the Columbia River, including—


the Chinookan people, who developed a sophisticated and vibrant culture using the resources of the River; and


beginning in the 1840's, American settlers and European and Asian immigrants, who developed a vibrant economy around the salmon fisheries;


the communities of Astoria, Warrenton, Hammond, Chinook, and Ilwaco—


have their roots in the development of the early fishing industry; and


continue to support both commercial and sport fisheries that—




economic opportunities for residents; and


recreational opportunities for visitors; and


preserve over a century of cultural traditions;


commercial timber harvesting has been an important component of the culture of the Columbia River for over 150 years;


timber has been harvested and used in local mills or transported, primarily along the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean; and


raw logs and forest products continue to be transported along the Columbia River and across the Bar to markets around the world.



In this Act:


Heritage area

The term Heritage Area means the Columbia-Pacific National Heritage Area.



The term Secretary means the Secretary of the Interior.


Study area

The term study area means—


the coastal areas of Clatsop County, Oregon, and Pacific County, Washington, which are known as the North Beach Peninsula; and


areas relating to Native American history, local history, Euro-American settlement culture, and related economic activities of the Columbia River within a corridor along the Columbia River eastward in Clatsop County, Oregon, and Pacific, Columbia, and Wahkiakum Counties, Washington.


Columbia-Pacific national heritage area study


In General

The Secretary, in consultation with the managers of any Federal land within the Heritage Area, appropriate State and local governmental agencies, and any interested organizations, shall conduct a study to determine the feasibility of designating the study area as the Columbia-Pacific National Heritage Area.



The study shall include analysis, documentation, and determinations on whether—


the study area—


has an assemblage of natural, historic, cultural, educational, scenic, or recreational resources that together are nationally important to the heritage of the United States;


represent distinctive aspects of the heritage of the United States worthy of recognition, conservation, interpretation, and continuing use;


are best managed through agreements between public and private entities at the local or regional level;


reflects traditions, customs, beliefs, and folklife that are a valuable part of the heritage of the United States;


provides outstanding opportunities to conserve natural, historical, cultural, or scenic features;


provides outstanding recreational and educational opportunities; and


has resources and traditional uses that have national importance;


residents, business interests, nonprofit organizations, the Federal Government (including relevant Federal land management agencies), and State, local, and tribal governments within the study area—


are involved in the planning; and


have demonstrated significant support through letters and other means for designation and management of the Heritage Area; and


the study area—


has been identified; and


is supported by State and local agencies, the public, and private businesses.



Not later than 3 fiscal years after the date on which funds are made available to carry out the study, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives a report that describes the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the Secretary with respect to the study.


Authorization of Appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary such sums as are necessary to carry out this Act.