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                                                       Calendar No. 236
109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    109-144

======================================================================



 
     ICE AGE FLOODS NATIONAL GEOLOGIC TRAIL DESIGNATION ACT OF 2005

                                _______
                                

                October 19, 2005.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 206]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 206) to designate the Ice Age Floods 
National Geologic Trail, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.
    Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Ice Age Floods National Geologic 
Trail Designation Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
          (1) at the end of the last Ice Age, some 12,000 to 17,000 
        years ago, a series of cataclysmic floods occurred in what is 
        now the northwest region of the United States, leaving a 
        lasting mark of dramatic and distinguishing features on the 
        landscape of parts of the States of Montana, Idaho, Washington 
        and Oregon;
          (2) geological features that have exceptional value and 
        quality to illustrate and interpret this extraordinary natural 
        phenomenon are present on Federal, State, tribal, county, 
        municipal, and private land in the region; and
          (3) in 2001, a joint study team headed by the National Park 
        Service that included about 70 members from public and private 
        entities completed a study endorsing the establishment of an 
        Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail--
                  (A) to recognize the national significance of this 
                phenomenon; and
                  (B) to coordinate public and private sector entities 
                in the presentation of the story of the Ice Age floods.
    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of this Act is to designate the Ice Age 
Floods National Geologic Trail in the States of Montana, Idaho, 
Washington, and Oregon, enabling the public to view, experience, and 
learn about the features and story of the Ice Age floods through the 
collaborative efforts of public and private entities.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
          (1) Ice age floods; floods.--The term ``Ice Age floods'' or 
        ``floods'' means the cataclysmic floods that occurred in what 
        is now the northwestern United States during the last Ice Age 
        from massive, rapid and recurring drainage of Glacial Lake in 
        Missoula, Montana.
          (2) Plan.--The term ``plan'' means the cooperative management 
        and interpretation plan authorized under section 5(e).
          (3) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
        the Interior.
          (4) Trail.--The term ``Trail'' means the Ice Age Floods 
        National Geologic Trail designated by section 4(a).

SEC. 4. ICE AGE FLOODS NATIONAL GEOLOGIC TRAIL

    (a) Designation.--In order to provide for public appreciation, 
understanding, and enjoyment of the nationally significant natural and 
cultural features of the Ice Age floods and to promote collaborative 
efforts for interpretation and education among public and private 
entities located along the pathways of the floods, there is designated 
the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail.
    (b) Location.--
          (1) Map.--The route of the Trail shall be generally depicted 
        on the map entitled ``Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail,'' 
        numbered P43/80,000 and dated June 2004.
          (2) Route.--The route shall generally follow public roads and 
        highways.
          (3) Revision.--The Secretary may revise the map by 
        publication in the Federal Register of a notice of availability 
        of a new map as part of the plan.
    (c) Map Availability.--The map referred to in subsection (b) shall 
be on file and available for public inspection in the appropriate 
offices of the National Park Service.

SEC. 5. ADMINISTRATION.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary, acting through the Director of the 
National Park Service, shall administer the Trail in accordance with 
this Act.
    (b) Limitation.--Except as provided in subsection (f)(2), the Trail 
shall not be considered to be a unit of the National Park System.
    (c) Trail Management Office.--To improve management of the Trail 
and coordinate Trail activities with other public agencies and private 
entities, the Secretary may establish and operate a trail management 
office at a central location within the vicinity of the Trail.
    (d) Interpretive Facilities.--The Secretary may plan, design, and 
construct interpretive facilities for sites associated with the Trail 
if the facilities are constructed in partnership with State, local, 
tribal, or non-profit entities and are consistent with the plan.
    (e) Management Plan.--
          (1) In general.--Not later than 3 years after funds are made 
        available to carry out this Act, the Secretary shall prepare a 
        cooperative management and interpretation plan for the Trail.
          (2) Consultation.--The Secretary shall prepare the plan in 
        consultation with--
                  (A) State, local, and tribal governments;
                  (B) the Ice Age Floods Institute;
                  (C) private property owners; and
                  (D) other interested parties.
          (3) Contents.--The plan shall--
                  (A) confirm and, if appropriate, expand on the 
                inventory of features of the floods contained in the 
                National Park Service study entitled ``Ice Age Floods, 
                Study of Alternatives and Environmental Assessment'' 
                (February 2001) by--
                          (i) locating features more accurately;
                          (ii) improving the description of features; 
                        and
                          (iii) reevaluating the features in terms of 
                        their interpretive potential;
                  (B) review and, if appropriate, modify the map of the 
                Trail referred to in section 4(b);
                  (C) describe strategies for the coordinated 
                development of the Trail, including an interpretive 
                plan for facilities, waysides, roadside pullouts, 
                exhibits, media, and programs that present the story of 
                the floods to the public effectively; and
                  (D) identify potential partnering opportunities in 
                the development of interpretive facilities and 
                educational programs to educate the public about the 
                story of the floods.
    (f) Cooperative Management.--
          (1) In general.--In order to facilitate the development of 
        coordinated interpretation, education, resource stewardship, 
        visitor facility development and operation, and scientific 
        research associated with the Trail and to promote more 
        efficient administration of the sites associated with the 
        Trail, the Secretary may enter into cooperative management 
        agreements with appropriate officials in the States of Montana, 
        Idaho, Washington, and Oregon in accordance with the authority 
        provided for units of the National Park System under section 
        3(l) of Public Law 91-383 (16 U.S.C. 1a-2(l)).
          (2) Authority.--For purposes of this subsection only, the 
        Trail shall be considered a unit of the National Park System.
    (g) Cooperative Agreements.--The Secretary may enter into 
cooperative agreements with public or private entities to carry out 
this Act.
    (h) Effect on Private Property Rights.--Nothing in this Act--
          (1) requires any private property owner to allow public 
        access (including Federal, State, or local government access) 
        to private property; or
          (2) modifies any provision of Federal, State, or local law 
        with respect to public access to or use of private land.
    (i) Liability.--Designation of the Trail by section 4(a) does not 
create any liability for, or affect any liability under any law of, any 
private property owner with respect to any person injured on the 
private property.

SEC. 6. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary 
to carry out this Act, of which not more than $12,000,000 may be used 
for development of the Trail.

                         PURPOSE OF THE MEASURE

    The purpose of S. 206 is to designate the Ice Age Floods 
National Geologic Trail, a trail from Missoula, Montana, to the 
Pacific Ocean, to provide for the public appreciation, 
understanding, and enjoyment of the nationally significant 
natural and cultural features of the Ice Age Floods.

                          background and need

    During the Pleistocene Epoch Ice Age, beginning about 1.8 
million years ago, North America was repeatedly glaciated by 
ice sheets that covered much of Alaska, Canada, and the 
northern United States. The most recent glacial event was the 
Wisconsin glaciation, which began about 80,000 years ago and 
ended around 10,000 years ago.
    During the last Ice Age a series of catastrophic floods 
ravaged the Pacific Northwest in what are now the States of 
Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. A finger of the 
Cordilleran ice sheet crept southward into the Idaho Panhandle, 
blocking the Clark Fork River and creating Glacial Lake 
Missoula. As the waters rose behind this 2,000-foot ice dam, 
they flooded the valleys of western Montana. At its greatest 
extent, Glacial Lake Missoula stretched eastward a distance of 
some 200 miles, essentially creating an inland sea. 
Periodically, the ice dam would fail. These failures were often 
catastrophic, resulting in a large flood of ice and dirt-filled 
water that would rush down the Columbia River drainage, across 
northern Idaho and eastern and central Washington, cutting the 
path that would become the Columbia River Gorge, and then back 
up into Oregon's Willamette Valley, finally pouring into the 
Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia River.
    Over thousands of years, the lake filling, dam failure, and 
flooding were repeated dozens of times, leaving a lasting mark 
on the landscape of the Northwest. Many of the distinguishing 
features of the Ice Age Floods remain throughout the region 
today. Together, these two interwoven stories of the 
catastrophic floods and the formation of Glacial Lake Missoula 
are referred to as the ``Ice Age Floods.''
    The floods carved out more than 50 cubic miles of earth, 
piled mountains of gravel 30 stories high, created giant ripple 
marks the height of three-story buildings, and scattered 200-
ton boulders from the Rockies to the Willamette Valley. Grand 
Coulee, Dry Falls, and Palouse Falls were all created by these 
flood waters, as were the Missoula and Spokane ground-water 
resources, numerous wetlands, and the fertile Willamette Valley 
and Quincy Basin.
    In 2001, the National Park Service completed a major 
Special Resource Study which proposed that an Ice Age Floods 
National Geologic Trail (the ``Trail'') be established. This 
Trail would represent the largest, most systematic, and most 
cooperative effort yet proposed to bring the dramatic story of 
the Ice Age Floods to the public's attention. S. 206 would 
designate the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail consistent 
with the recommendations of the 2001 study.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 206 was introduced by Senators Cantwell, Craig, Murray, 
and Smith on January 31, 2005. Similar legislation, S. 2841, 
was introduced by Senators Cantwell, Craig, Murray, Smith and 
Wyden in the 108th Congress.
    At its business meeting on September 28, 2005, the 
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 206 
favorably reported as amended.

                       COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on September 28, 2005, by a voice vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 206 as 
described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENT

    During the consideration of S. 206, the Committee adopted 
an amendment in the nature of a substitute. The amendment 
eliminated a provision in the bill as introduced that would 
have allowed the Secretary to acquire 25 acres for trail 
administrative purposes. This provision was unnecessary since 
other provisions in the bill authorize a trail management 
office and interpretive facilities within the vicinity of the 
trail.
    The substitute amendment also limits appropriations for 
development of the trail to no more than $12 million and makes 
clarifying and conforming changes.
    The amendment is explained in detail in the section-by-
section analysis, below.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 entitles the bill the ``Ice Age Floods National 
Geologic Designation Act of 2005.''
    Section 2 sets forth congressional findings and defines the 
purpose of the Act to designate the Ice Age Floods National 
Geologic Trail.
    Section 3 defines key terms.
    Section 4(a) designates the Ice Age Floods National 
Geologic Trail to be established in order to provide for public 
appreciation, understanding, and enjoyment of the nationally 
significant natural and cultural features of the Ice Age 
floods.
    Subsection (b) describes the location of the trail, 
requires the route to be depicted on a map, defines the route, 
and prescribes the methodology for revising the map.
    Subsection (c) requires that the map in subsection (b) be 
made available for public inspection at appropriate National 
Park Service offices.
    Section 5(a) designates the Secretary of the Interior 
(Secretary), through the Director of the National Park Service, 
as the administrator of the trail.
    Subsection (b) clarifies that except for certain 
cooperative agreement authority, the trail is not to be 
administered as a unit of the National Park System.
    Subsection (c) authorizes the Secretary to establish a 
trail management office in order to facilitate trail 
management.
    Subsection (d) allows for development of interpretive 
facilities associated with the trail in partnership with State, 
local, tribal, or non-profit entities consistent with the plan.
    Subsection (e) requires the development of a management 
plan to be created in cooperation with State, local, and tribal 
governments, the Ice Age Floods Institute, private property 
owners, and other interested parties. The plan is to be created 
no later than 3 years after funds are available.
    Subsection (f) allows the Secretary to enter into 
cooperative agreements for management and administration of the 
trail with the States of Montana, Idaho, Washington, and 
Oregon. The Trail shall be considered a unit of the National 
Park System.
    Subsection (g) allows the Secretary to enter into 
cooperative agreements with public or private entities.
    Subsection (h) states that nothing in the Act will effect 
private property rights.
    Subsection (i) provides indemnity for private property 
owners with regards to liability.
    Section 6 authorizes to be appropriated such sums as are 
necessary to carry out this Act, of which not more than $12 
million may be used for development of the trail.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

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

S. 206--Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail Designation Act

    S. 206 would establish the Ice Age Floods National Geologic 
Trail. Assuming appropriation of the necessary or authorized 
amounts, CBO estimates that the National Park Service (NPS) 
would spend $14.5 million over the next five years to develop 
the new trail and to manage it under cooperative agreements 
with nonfederal partners. Enacting S. 206 would not affect 
revenues or direct spending.
    S. 206 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    Under S. 206, the proposed Ice Age Floods National Geologic 
Trail would be established as an auto route primarily along 
existing highways and other public lands in Montana, Idaho, 
Washington, and Oregon. The new trail would not become a unit 
of the National Park System but would instead be managed in 
partnership with state officials and other public and private 
entities. Finally, the bill would authorize the appropriation 
of $12 million for development of the trail.
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that the NPS would spend $12 million over the 2006-
2010 period to design and construct a trail management office, 
visitor facilities, and interpretive programs. In addition, CBO 
estimates that the NPS would spend about $500,000 a year, 
assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts, to prepare a 
general management plan for the trail and to provide assistance 
to nonfederal partners who help to manage trail facilities and 
programs.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Deborah Reis. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, 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 S. 206. 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 the 
enactment of S. 206, as ordered reported.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The views of the Administration on S. 206 were included in 
testimony received by the Committee at a hearing on the bill on 
June 28, 2005 as follows:

 Statement of Donald W. Murphy, Deputy Director National Park Service, 
                       Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the 
Department of the Interior's views on S. 206, a bill to 
designate the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail.
    The Department opposes S. 206 in its current form. Although 
we recognize the national significance of the geologic features 
in the Northwest caused by the Ice Age Floods, we believe that 
we can enhance the interpretation of these features, as 
described later in this testimony, without establishing a new 
entity within the National Park Service or spending Federal 
funds on development of interpretive sites or land acquisition. 
Devoting limited National Park Service funds to those purposes 
would detract from the Administration's priority of reducing 
the deferred maintenance backlog in existing units of the 
National Park System.
    The cataclysmic floods that occurred 12,000 to 17,000 years 
ago, at the end of the last ice age, were some of the largest 
ever documented by geologists. These floods, which were caused 
by the ice and water bursting through ice dams at Glacial Lake 
Missoula, left a lasting mark of geologic features on the 
landscape of parts of Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, 
and have affected the pattern of human settlement and 
development in parts of the Northwest.
    In 2001, a study team headed by the National Park Service 
and composed of 70 representatives of a broad range of public 
and private entities, concluded a two-year special resource 
study of the Ice Age floods. The study found that the floods 
features met the criteria for national significance and 
suitability for addition to the National Park System, but that 
the size, breadth, and multitude of ownerships throughout the 
study region make the area not feasible to consider for a 
traditional national park, monument, or similar designation. 
However, the study found that it is feasible to interpret the 
floods story across the affected areas. It evaluated four 
management alternatives that would each provide a collaborative 
and coordinated approach for the interpretation of the Ice Age 
floods story to the public. The study's preferred alternative 
called for Congressional designation of the floods pathways as 
a national geologic trail and authorization of National Park 
Service management of the trail in coordination with public and 
private entities.
    S. 206 would largely implement the study's preferred 
alternative. It would designate the Ice Age Floods National 
Geologic Trail, to be managed by the National Park Service, 
along floods pathways. The trail would be an auto tour route 
along public roads and highways linking floods features 
starting in the vicinity of Missoula in western Montana, going 
across northern Idaho, through eastern and southern sections of 
Washington, across northern Oregon in the vicinity of the 
Willamette Valley and the Columbia River, to the Pacific Ocean.
    While the Department believes that the proposed auto tour 
route highlighting floods features is a viable concept, we do 
not support establishing a new program within the National Park 
Service to lead this effort. Although the study called for 
sharing the cost of the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail 
among a variety of public and private sources, it estimated 
that under the alternative that S. 206 would implement, the 
role that National Park Service would play would cost about 
$500,000 per year in operating expenses. The study also 
suggested that the share of capital development costs for the 
trail from all Federal sources might run between $8 million and 
$12 million over a period of several years.
    The study assumed that State and local governments would 
pay for parcels of land needed for improvements such as 
roadside pullouts and wayside exhibits where rights-of-way 
proved inadequate, so it did not suggest a Federal contribution 
toward land acquisition. However, S. 206 would authorize the 
National Park Service to acquire up to 25 acres of land, which 
would entail additional Federal expenditures.
    Rather than establishing a new entity for the purpose of 
interpreting the Ice Age Floods, we recommend amending S. 206 
to provide for expansion of interpretation of floods features 
at Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, an existing unit of 
the National Park System located in the State of Washington 
about midway along the route of the trail proposed by S. 206. 
Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area contains the lake 
formed by Grand Coulee Dam, built across one of the coulees 
formed by the Ice Age Floods. The floods are the primary 
natural history interpretive theme at Lake Roosevelt. The 
recreation area also assists Washington State Parks in 
interpretation at Dry Falls State Park, one of the most 
significant floods features along the proposed trail. As part 
of an enhanced interpretation program, the park could, for 
example, make available to park visitors information about 
other floods features in the four-state region covered by the 
proposed trail.
    The National Park Service is involved in two other efforts, 
both in Wisconsin, to preserve and interpret the landscapes 
resulting from the last advance of continental glaciers--the 
Ice Age National Scientific Reserve and the Ice Age National 
Scenic Trail. The national scientific reserve, authorized in 
1964, preserves outstanding features of the glacial landscape 
that are owned and managed by the Wisconsin Department of 
Natural Resources under a cooperative agreement with the 
National Park Service and is an affiliated area of the National 
Park System. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Wisconsin, 
authorized in 1980 as a part of the National Trails System, is 
a 1,200-mile hiking trail that traces glacial landscape 
features left by the advance and melting away of the last 
continental glaciers during the Wisconsin Glaciation 
approximately 15,000 years ago. This scenic trail is a hiking 
trail and differs from auto tour route that is proposed to be 
established in this bill as the Ice Age Floods National 
Geologic Trail.
    In addition to expanding interpretation at Lake Roosevelt, 
the National Park Service could devote resources from other 
existing programs to promoting education and interpretation of 
sites associated with the floods. For example, the National 
Park Service's Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance 
program could provide technical assistance to State and local 
entities that want to enhance interpretation of sites in their 
areas. And, the National Park Service's National Register of 
Historic Places program could develop Ice Age Floods as one of 
its ``Discover Our Shared Heritage'' on-line travel 
itineraries. In addition, other National Park Service units in 
the vicinity of the proposed trail, such as the new Lewis and 
Clark National Historical Park which includes areas along the 
lower Columbia River, could be brought into the effort to 
promote interpretation of floods features.
    As the National Park Service's study suggested, 
interpretation of the floods should involve a collaborative and 
coordinated approach involving a broad range of public and 
private entities. One of the management alternatives considered 
by the study was having the state legislatures of Montana, 
Idaho, Washington, and Oregon designate representatives to a 
four-state commission that would promote the coordinated 
interpretation of the floods story at the state and local 
level. We think that is an option that merits a second look. In 
addition, with or without a state-sponsored commission, tourist 
organizations could form a four-state consortium to generate 
interest in visiting these sites. The Ice Age Floods Institute, 
a non-profit scientific organization devoted to increasing 
understanding of the story of the Ice Age Floods, has played 
and will continue to play a large role in promoting public 
education about the floods.
    We would be happy to work with the committee to develop the 
appropriate language for amending S. 206 to provide for 
expanded interpretation of Ice Age Floods features by Lake 
Roosevelt National Recreation Area rather than designation of a 
new national entity and establishment of a new program managed 
by the National Park Service.
    Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement. I would be 
pleased to answer any questions that you or other members of 
the committee 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 the bill S. 206, as ordered 
reported.