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                                                       Calendar No. 564
105th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE

 2d Session                                                     105-323
_______________________________________________________________________


 
    NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAILS INTERPRETIVE CENTER IN CASPER, WYOMING

                                _______
                                

               September 9, 1998.--Ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


  Mr. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2186]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the Act (H.R. 2186) to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to provide assistance to the National Historic Trails 
Interpretive Center in Casper, Wyoming, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommends that the Act do pass.

                         purpose of the measure

    The purpose of H.R. 2186 is to authorize the Bureau of Land 
Management to assist the city of Casper, Wyoming, and the 
National Historic Trails Foundation, Inc. in establishing the 
National Historic Trails Interpretive Center to memorialize and 
interpret the significant role of those historic trails in the 
history of the United States.

                          background and need

    The National Historic Trails Center (Center) in Casper, 
Wyoming, began as a cooperative project in 1991 between the 
city of Casper, the State of Wyoming, the Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM), and the nonprofit National Historic Trails 
Center Foundation (Foundation). The Center site overlooks the 
following four congressionally-designated national historic 
trails as they trace their way along the North Platte River 
Valley: the Oregon Trail, California Trail, Mormon Pioneer 
Trail, and the Pony Express Trail. These trails are a 
distinctive part of our nation's past and they possess 
important historic and cultural values representing themes of 
migration, settlement, transportation, and commerce that shaped 
the landscape of the West.
    As planned, the Center will house displays interpreting the 
lasting impacts of the trails and provide exhibits depicting 
pioneer travels. The Center would also focus on Native 
Americans, the role of pioneer women, and the political 
significance of the western movement.
    Strong support for this project exists at the local and 
State level. The Wyoming Legislature and Natrona County have 
approved an additional sales tax to provide funding for the 
Trails Center project. The city of Casper has committed to 
donate the land for the Center. In addition, the Foundation has 
raised $3 million toward the $4.5 million commitment for the 
project. The Foundation plans to purchase and install the 
exhibits, equipment, and furnishings at the Center and provide 
an endowment of at least $1 million to help defray maintenance 
and operating costs.
    Approximately $450,000 has been expended by the BLM for 
preliminary engineering and design projects.

                          legislative history

    H.R. 2186 was introduced by Congresswomen Barbara Cubin, on 
July 17, 1997. On March 30, 1998, H.R. 2186 passed the House of 
Representatives by voice vote, and was referred to the Senate 
Energy and Natural Resources Committee on March 31, 1998. The 
Subcommittee on National Parks, Historic Preservation and 
Recreation held a hearing on H.R. 2186 on June 18, 1998.
    At its business meeting on July 29, 1998, the Committee on 
Energy and Natural Resources ordered H.R. 2186, favorably 
reported.

            committee recommendation and tabulation of votes

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on July 29, 1998, by a unanimous voice vote of 
a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 2186, as 
described herein.

                      section-by-section analysis

    Section 1 sets forth congressional findings, including: 
that the city of Casper, Wyoming, is the location where four 
historic trails and many Indian routes converge; that the 
Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the city of Casper, and the 
National Historic Trails Foundation have signed a cooperative 
agreement to create and manage a National Historic Trails 
Interpretive Center located in Casper Wyoming; that the State 
of Wyoming has joined the partnership through the allocation of 
supporting funds; that the city of Casper has increased taxes 
to meet their financial obligation under the cooperative 
agreement, and that the BLM has completed the engineering and 
design phase of the center.
    Section 2(a) directs the Secretary of the Interior, acting 
through the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to 
construct and operate a National Historic Trails Interpretive 
Center on the lands donated by the city of Casper.
    Subsection (b) directs the Secretary subject to 
appropriations to construct, operate, and maintain facilities 
for the Center in cooperation with the city and the Foundation 
and in accordance with a 1993 MOU between the BLM, the city and 
the Foundation.
    Subsection (c) authorizes the Secretary to accept, retain 
and expend (subject to appropriations) donations of funds, 
property, or services for the development and operation of the 
Center.
    Subsection (d) authorizes the BLM to collect entrance fees 
and use these amounts to operate the Center.
    Subsection (e) authorizes the Secretary to allow private 
entities to operate concession facilities at the Center, and to 
expend, subject to appropriations, revenues recovered from 
concession operations for development and operation of the 
Center.
    Subsection (f) authorizes $5,000,000 to carry out the 
provisions of this legislation.

                   cost and budgetary considerations

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, August 6, 1998.
Hon. Frank H. Murkowski,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2186, an act to 
authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide assistance 
to the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, 
Wyoming.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Victoria V. 
Heid (for federal costs), and Marjorie Miller (for the state 
and local impact).
            Sincerely,
                                         June E. O'Neill, Director.
    Enclosure.

               congressional budget office cost estimate

H.R. 2186--An act to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide 
        assistance to the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center 
        in Casper, Wyoming

    Summary: H.R. 2186 would direct the Secretary of the 
Interior, acting through the Director of the Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM), to construct, operate, and maintain a 
National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, 
Wyoming. CBO estimates that implementing the act would cost BLM 
about $2 million in fiscal year 2000 and about $6 million over 
the 2000-2003 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary 
amounts. Because enacting H.R. 2186 would increase offsetting 
receipts beginning in fiscal year 2002, pay-as-you-go 
procedures would apply, but we estimate the increase would 
total less than $500,000 per year beginning in fiscal year 
2002.
    H.R. 2186 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 2186 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).

                                    [By fiscal year, in millions of dollars]                                    
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       1999     2000     2001     2002     2003 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION                                  
                                                                                                                
Estimated authorization level......................................        0        5        0    (\1\)    (\1\)
Estimated outlays..................................................        0        2        3    (\1\)    (\1\)
                                                                                                                
                                           CHANGES IN DIRECT SPENDING                                           
                                                                                                                
Estimated authorization level......................................        0        0        0    (\1\)    (\1\)
Estimated outlays..................................................        0        0        0    (\1\)    (\1\)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Less than $500,000.                                                                                         

    Basis of estimate: Under H.R. 2186, BLM would construct, 
operate, and maintain a National Historic Trails Interpretive 
Center in Casper, Wyoming. BLM would build the center on land 
provided by the city of Casper, Wyoming. The agency would 
construct and operate the center in cooperation with the city 
and the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center 
Foundation, and in accordance with certain agreements made 
between the city, the foundation, and BLM.
    Spending subject to appropriation: H.R. 2186 would 
authorize the appropriation of $5 million to construct, 
operate, and maintain the National Historic Trails Interpretive 
Center. The act also would authorize the Secretary to collect 
an entrance fee from visitors, to allow private concessionaires 
to operate at the center, and to use income from visitor fees, 
concession collections, and donations to develop and operate 
the center, subject to appropriation action.
    Based on information from BLM and the foundation, CBO 
estimates that total discretionary outlays to construct and 
operate the center would be about $2 million in fiscal year 
2000 and about $6 million over the 1999-2003 period, assuming 
appropriation of the authorized amount for construction and the 
estimated amounts for annual operations beginning in 2002. We 
estimate that BLM's outlays to construct the center would be 
about $2 million in fiscal year 2000 and about $3 million in 
fiscal year 20001. Once construction is complete, BLM's outlays 
to operate the center would total about $300,000 per year. For 
purposes of this estimate, we assume that H.R. 2186 would be 
enacted by the beginning of fiscal year 1999 and that the 
Congress would appropriate funds to construct the center in 
fiscal year 2000.
    Direct spending (including offsetting receipts): Based on 
information from BLM and the foundation, CBO estimates that 
offsetting receipts from visitor fees and concessions would 
total about $200,000 per year once construction is complete and 
the center opens in fiscal year 2002. The spending of such 
receipts would be subject to appropriation action.
    Pay-as-you-go considerations: The Balanced Budget and 
Emergency Deficit Control Act sets up pay-as-you-go procedures 
for legislation affecting direct spending of receipts. H.R. 
2186 would decrease direct spending because it would result in 
offsetting receipts from entrance fees and concessions at the 
National Historic Trails Interpretive Center. Hence, pay-as-
you-go procedures apply to the act, but we estimate that the 
increase in offsetting receipts would not be significant.
    Estimated impact on State, local, and tribal governments: 
H.R. 2186 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in 
UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments. The state of Wyoming and local governments within 
the state have already agreed to provide considerable support 
for the center, but this support is, and would continue to be, 
voluntary. These governments have committed over $3 million 
towards the project, including land to be donated by the city 
of Casper.
    Estimated impact on the private sector: This act would 
impose no new private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.
    Previous CBO estimate: On March 19, 1998, CBO prepared a 
cost estimate for H.R. 2186 as ordered reported by the House 
Committee on Resources on March 11, 1998. The two versions of 
H.R. 2186 are identical, as are the estimated costs.
    Estimates prepared by: Federal Costs: Victoria V. Heid; 
impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Marjoire 
Miller.
    Estimate approved by: Robert A. Sunshine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Evaluation

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out H.R. 2186. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from 
enactment of H.R. 2186, as ordered reported.

                        Executive Communications

    The testimony of the Department of the Interior at the 
Subcommittee hearing follows:

   Statement of Fran Cherry, Acting Assistant Director for Renewable 
           Resources and Planning, Bureau of Land Management

    Thank you for the opportunity to testify on H.R. 2196. The 
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) supports the concept of H.R. 
2186, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to 
provide assistance in the creation of a National Historic 
Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, Wyoming. Although the 
Center is a very worthy cause, we are concerned that Federal 
funding for this project may be unlikely. The bill authorizes 
the appropriation of $5 million for construction of the 
National Historic Trails Interpretive Center. To put that 
figure in perspective, BLM's total nationwide construction 
funding request for Fiscal Year 1999 is slightly more than $4 
million. Those monies are greatly needed for the BLM's most 
urgent reconstruction and corrective maintenance projects 
related to health and safety and resource protection as opposed 
to new construction.
    The proposed National Historic Trails Center for Casper, 
Wyoming, began as a cooperative project in 1991. Its partners 
are the BLM, the City of Casper, the State of Wyoming, and the 
nonprofit National Historic Trails Center Foundation, Inc. The 
Center site overlooks four Congressionally designated national 
historic trails as they trace their way along the North Platte 
River Valley. The trails include the Oregon, California, Mormon 
Pioneer, and Pony Express trails. The site also overlooks the 
city of Casper and the regionally significant Bridger and 
Bozeman historic trails.
    The BLM is a partner to this project through a memorandum 
of understanding signed by the Wyoming State Director, March 4, 
1992, and a May 20, 1997, cooperative agreement. The BLM has 
spent approximately $450,000, previously appropriated, for the 
engineering and design phase of the Center. The Center would 
house displays interpreting the lasting impact of the trails 
and provide visitor education on protecting the remaining 
pristine trail segments. Exhibits would depict the pioneers' 
travels and include a focus on Native Americans, the role of 
women, and the political significance of the western movement 
of Americans.
    There is strong local and State support for this project. 
The Wyoming Legislature has appropriated $700,000 and the 
Citizens of Natrona County, Wyoming, approved an additional 
sales tax for capital improvements including $1.5 million for 
the Trails Center project. The City of Casper has donated 
$700,000 to the Foundation and is committed to transfer, as a 
gift, land valued at about $205,000 to the BLM as the site for 
the Center. The Foundation has raised $3.5 million towards its 
$4.5 million commitment for the project. The Foundation plans 
to purchase and install the exhibits, equipment, and 
furnishings at the future Center and maintain an endowment of 
at least $1 million to help defray maintenance and operations 
costs of exhibits and displays.
    The BLM in Wyoming completed an analysis of the proposed 
Trails Center in June of 1997. Even though the development of 
the visitor center is consistent with the goals of the 
Department's Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Initiatives, our 
major concern is the funding for construction and operation of 
the facility. As stated earlier, the $5 million proposed for 
construction funding would amount to more than BLM's entire 
annual construction budget. In addition to the construction 
costs, we are concerned about the annual operation and 
maintenance costs for the visitor center which are estimated at 
$450,000 annually. Entrance fees and revenues from the sale of 
interpretive materials may offset some of these costs, but are 
unlikely to provide full funding. Donations from the private 
sector can also help, although authority to accept or possibly 
solicit those donations needs to be carefully crafted so as to 
be as useful as possible without jeopardizing the center's 
program. Also, funding for the center would be a significant 
new challenge for the BLM Wyoming recreation program which is 
already straining just to meet current demands.
    The BLM's experience in managing other visitor centers 
reinforces the need for an assurance of annual operations and 
maintenance appropriations. It has been our experience that 
these types of facilities are an excellent mechanism for 
reaching large numbers of people, but are expensive to build 
and operate. The BLM remains committed to its partnership role 
and responsibility on behalf of national trails in Casper, 
Wyoming and considers the National Historic Trails Center an 
important goal. We will continue to work with our partners in 
this endeavor to seek sources of funding. Unfortunately, due to 
the scarce Federal dollars available, many worthy projects 
throughout the West remain proposals in need of dedicated 
funding.
    It has come to our attention that efforts are being pursued 
through the appropriations process to shift substantial funding 
from the BLM's law enforcement program to construction of this 
center. We strongly oppose this proposal. The Administration's 
budget for FY99 includes a request for $10,767,000 for BLM 
Resource Protection and Law Enforcement (this is the same as 
the 1998 enacted level). A reduction of $5 million (as has been 
proposed) would effectively reduce the BLM's law enforcement 
program by 50 percent. Such a reduction would eliminate all of 
BLM's existing paid cooperative law enforcement agreements with 
state and local agencies and would also eliminate approximately 
50 percent of BLM law enforcement officers. This would 
dramatically reduce BLM's ability to protect both the users of 
the public lands and the resources themselves. The BLM's law 
enforcement officials respond to a wide variety of 
circumstances including: protests and obstructions against 
lawful timber harvesting, the dumping of hazardous wastes, the 
theft and destruction of archaeological resources, marijuana 
eradication, the deliberate burning of the BLM wild horse 
facility in Burns, Oregon and the vandalism to the Eye of the 
Needle landmark in Montana.
    This concludes my statement. I will be glad to answer any 
questions you may have.

                        changes in existing law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by H.R. 2186, as ordered 
reported.