Teddy Roosevelt: "Leave it as it is."
Some 4.5 years ago, I drafted for discussion model federal legislation to set up a national historical park, seashore and scenic coastal highway here. On Tuesday, November 1, 2011, St. Johns County Commissioners will talk about it as their first item of business.
Our Nation’s Oldest City survived being burnt to the ground by the British, pirates, wars, genocide, epidemics and economic disasters.
Our Nation's Oldest City can likewise survive the Great Recession with pollution-free "green jobs" at good wages, by preserving our history and nature forever.
Our Nation’s Oldest City can likewise survive the uglifying "developers"and have a national park by 2013/2016 (450th anniversary of Spanish explorers and St. Augustine’s founding, respectively), preserving our nature and history and honoring Native-American, African-American, Spanish, British, French, Civil War, Civil Rights and American history here.
A St. Augustine National Historical Park, Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway Will Provide Land for All To Enjoy at a Time When "Developers" Have Approval to Build Tens of Thousands of New Homes
Just as in so many sacred, beautiful, historic places, where rich and powerful and influential organizations were ready to destroy history and nature, the National Park Service is empowered to stop what John Muir called "temple destroyers" here in our hometown, St. Augustine.
From the Yellowstone to Grand Canyon to the Everglades, the National Park Service (NPS)(like the Mounties), has rescued our landscape from predators.
Here in St. Augustine, NPS can buy land or accept donations from developers and stop the reign of ruin of the likes of ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD and others who destroy history and nature (including a 3000-4000 year old Indian village next to St. Augustine High School).
If you haven't seen it already, go watch Ken Burns' PBS series, "THE NATIONAL PARKS -- America's Best Idea." We've learned a lot from it -- it is the courage of individuals that helps makes a national park -- the courage to ignore the nattering nabobs of negativism, the name-callers, the mediocrities, the mendacious negativities -- uninformed, misled, misanthropic people "who know not that they know not that they know not."
As Robert Kennedy said in South Africa, “each time a [person] stands up for an ideal or speaks out for the rights of others, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples can form a current that can sweep away the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
I’m optimistic that, working together, we can get Congress to create a national park here. See below. I’ve gotten positive feedback from citizens and elected officials since I first proposed it on November 13, 2006. The idea was first proposed by Senators Andrews and Pepper in June 1939, before the outbreak of World War II.
As Harry Truman said, "the only thing new under the sun is the history you don't know." Whzt do you reckon?
Here's the draft resolution our St. Johns County Commissioners will discuss on Tuesday:
A RESOLUTION BY THE ST. JOHNS COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE ST. JOHNS COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, that the Commission:
Remembering that the City of St. Augustine was founded by the Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés on September 8, 1565 and retains significant archaeological, architectural features, archival materials, and museum collections illustrative of the Spanish, Minorcan, Greek and British colonial periods;
Appreciating the fact that St. Augustine’s historic resources provide unique opportunities for illustrating and interpreting indigenous (Native-American), African-American, Spanish, French, Minorcan, Greek, Cuban, Haitian, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, British, American, Civil War, military, nautical, Flagler-era and Civil Rights history and Northeast Florida’s contribution to the economic, social, and environmental history of the United States and provide opportunities for public use and enjoyment;
Planning for the year 2013, which marks the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Spanish explorers and colonists, along with enslaved and free African-Americans, on these shores;
Planning for the year 2014, which marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
Planning for the year 2015, which marks the 450th anniversary of the City of St. Augustine;
Planning for the year 2016, which marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service;
Appreciating that the National Park System presently contains only two small National Monuments associated with one part of St. Augustine’s 11,000 years of human history;
Recognizing St. Augustine and St. Johns County and its coasts are imbued and blessed with great natural beauty and biodiversity, with significant threatened and endangered species, including turtles, right whales, beach mice, butterflies, bald eagles and manatees;
Understanding that the St. Augustine and St. Johns County area’s precious environmental, historic and cultural heritage is in danger of destruction due to large-scale, rapid development and a lack of sufficient resources and planning for parklands, preservation and public transportation;
Appreciating that several significant properties have been lost to development forever and more are imperiled;
Knowing that roads are clogged and the enjoyment of the area’s beauty is marred by lack of sufficient public transportation;
Realizing that our historic properties and downtown street suffer from poor drainage and flooding in heavy rains;
Learning that the first proposal for a St. Augustine National Historical Park and Seashore was introduced in Congress by Florida’s United States Senators Charles O. Andrews and Claude Pepper and by U.S. Rep. Joseph Handricks in June 1939, more than seventy-two (72) years ago; and
Concluding that there is an urgent need for action on the part of our federal government to preserve the history and beauty of the area and to provide efficient public transportation to serve the millions of visitors annually, while relieving local residents from traffic congestion, air pollution and energy waste associated with rapid development.
THEREFORE, be it RESOLVED, that the St. Johns County Board of County Commissions calls upon Congress to enact a St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway Act, with provisions for operating and maintaining a National Civil Rights Museum and Museum of Native American history, and for an I-95 interchange serving West Augustine and King Street.