Apr 17 2012
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem today spoke at the Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands hearing on H.R. 3874, the Black Hills Cemetery Act. Rep. Noem introduced H.R. 3874 in February, which would transfer ownership of a number of historic pioneer-era cemeteries and adjacent land to the caretaking communities that have managed them for generations.
“Thank you Mr. Chairman, and I appreciate your continued leadership on this committee and everyone being willing to be here today to move forward with these bills. One of the bills that is going to be discussed today is H.R. 3874, it’s called the Black Hills Cemetery Act, which of great importance to several of the communities in the Black Hills in South Dakota.
“The Black Hills is home to a number of [historic pioneer-era] cemeteries. Many of these originated in old mining towns of the 1800s and have a unique significance to the surrounding communities. These include the Englewood Cemetery, Galena Cemetery, Hayward Cemetery, Mountain Meadows Cemetery, Roubaix Cemetery, Nemo Cemetery, Rockerville, Silver City Cemetery, and another cemetery that I hope will get included into the final version of the bill, which is the Cold Springs Cemetery.
“These cemeteries are currently being managed by local cemetery associations or community groups in each of their surrounding areas, but have been technically owned by the U.S. Forest Service since the 1900s. This causes unnecessary liability for the U.S. Forest “Service because of the responsibility for upkeep and dealing with possible vandalism or damage to the property.
“The Black Hills Cemetery Act would transfer ownership of these cemeteries and adjacent land to the caretaking communities that have managed them for generations under special-use permits issued by the Forest Service. I sponsored this bill at the request of these communities and the current caretakers of the cemeteries, and in consultation with the United States Forest Service.
“Mr. Chairman, I would like to request also, I have several letters of support from these communities that they would be entered into the record.
“Thank you Mr. Chairman, and with that I yield back the balance of my time.”