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Calendar No. 689
108th Congress Report
2d Session 108-333
TIMUCUAN ECOLOGICAL AND HISTORIC PRESERVE BOUNDARY REVISION ACT OF 2004
August 25, 2004.--Ordered to be printed
Filed, under authority of the order of the Senate of July 22, 2004
Mr. Domenici, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 3768]
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was
referred the Act (H.R. 3768) to expand the Timucuan Ecological
and Historic Preserve, and for other purposes, 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. 3768 is to expand the boundary of the
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, to include 8.5 acres
of land in Nassau County, Florida.
Background and Need
The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve (Preserve) is
located in northeastern Florida within the city limits of
Jacksonville. The preserve has within its boundaries Federal,
State and city park lands, as well as over 300 private
landowners. The National Park Service works cooperatively with
these agencies and private citizens to preserve the natural and
cultural history of the Preserve.
H.R. 3768 expands the Preserve's boundary to include an 8.5
acre parcel of land adjacent to American Beach, a significant
historical site representing African-American achievement
during the Jim Crow era. Abraham Lincoln Lewis, a prominent
African-American businessman and president of the Afro-American
Life Insurance Company, purchased American Beach in 1932. The
only racially integrated beach in Florida, and one of the few
in the Nation, American Beach flourished as an ocean-side
resort for blacks from all parts of the country and became a
symbol of African-American social and economic autonomy.
Although most of the visitors to American Beach were ordinary
working class citizens, anthropologist and folklorist Zora
Neale Hurston, heavyweight champion Joe Louis, entertainer Cab
Calloway and civil rights leader A. Phillip Randolph are known
to have vacationed on American Beach. American Beach has been
designated by the Florida Commission on African-American
History as a site on the Florida Black Heritage Trail.
In 2004, the Amelia Island Plantation arranged to donate
the land adjacent to American Beach to the National Park
Service. The donated land is not currently within the
congressionally authorized boundary of the Timucuan Ecological
and Historic Preserve. H.R. 3768 expands the boundary of the
Preserve to include these donated lands.
H.R. 3768 was introduced by Representative Crenshaw on
February 4, 2004. The House Resources Committee ordered H.R.
3768, as amended, favorably reported (H. Rpt. 108-393) on May
5, 2004 and the bill was passed by the House of Representatives
by a voice vote on May 17, 2004.
A companion measure, S. 1672, was introduced by Senator
Nelson on September 29, 2003. The Subcommittee on National
Parks held a hearing on S. 1672 on May 20, 2004.
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered H.R.
3768 favorably reported on July 14, 2004.
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in an open
business session on July 14, 2004, by a unanimous voice vote of
a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 3768, as
Section by Section Analysis
Section 1 entitles this bill the ``Timucuan Ecological and
Historic Preserve Boundary Revision Act of 2003.''
Section 2 amends section 201(a) of Public Law 100-249 (16
U.S.C. 698n) to add approximately 8.5 acres of land located in
Nassau County, Florida. This section directs the Secretary of
the Interior to raise the boundary of the Preserve accordingly
and to make a map available for public inspection in
appropriate offices of the National Park Service.
Cost and Budgetary Considerations
The following estimates of the cost of this measure has
been provided by the Congressional Budget Office.
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, July 16, 2004.
Hon. Pete V. Domenici,
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. 3768, the Timucuan
Ecological and Historic Preserve Boundary Revision Act of 2004.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
H.R. 3768--Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve Boundary Revision
Act of 2004
H.R. 3768 would expand the boundary of the Timucuan
Ecological and Historic Preserve in Florida to include an 8.5-
acre parcel known as the American Beach. Based on information
provided by the National Park Service and the property's
current owners. CBO estimates that the Federal Government would
not incur any significant cost to acquire and maintain the
undeveloped beach site. We expect that the property would be
donated to the NPS in fiscal year 2005 and would remain
undeveloped. Annual costs to administer the extra acreage would
be minimal. Enacting this legislation would not affect direct
spending or revenues.
H.R. 3768 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and
would have no significant impact on the budgets of state,
local, or tribal governments.
On May 17, 2004, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R.
3768 as ordered reported by the House Committee on Resources on
May 5, 2004. The two versions of the legislation are identical,
as are the estimated costs.
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Deborah Reis.
The 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 H.R. 3768.
The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of
imposing Government-established standards or significant
economic responsibilities on private individuals and
No personal information would be collected in administering
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal
Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the
enactment of H.R. 3768.
On May 30, 2004, the Committee on Energy and Natural
Resources requested legislative reports from the Department of
the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget setting
forth Executive agency recommendations on S. 1672, the Senate
companion measure to H.R. 3768. These reports had not been
received when this report was filed. The testimony provided by
the Department of the Interior at the Subcommittee hearing on
S. 1672 follows:
Statement of Paul Hoffman, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Fish and
Wildlife and Parks, Department of the Interior
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for
the opportunity to present the Department's views on S. 1672, a
bill to expand the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in
The Department supports S. 1672. The bill would authorize
the National Park Service (NPS) to expand the preserve boundary
to include American Beach, a unique historic recreational area
established in the 1920s for African-Americans during the
segregated ``Jim Crow'' era. The 12.5 acre boundary expansion,
including the existing structures and beachfront, will not
result in additional operational costs to the NPS because the
area would be managed with existing staff.
S. 1672 authorizes a boundary expansion for the Timucuan
Preserve to encompass 12.5 acres of the remaining American
Beach area. The 12.5-acre area is significant because it
includes important remnants of the beach, natural dune, and
remaining historic structures associated with the prominent era
of American Beach resort use. Consistent with many other areas
within the boundary of the Timucuan Preserve, the NPS would
cooperate with other agencies and private landowners in
managing land within its boundary.
Inclusion of American Beach will facilitate preservation
and understanding of this important site. Within the 12.5-acre
expansion area, the NPS anticipates receiving 8.5 acres by
donation from the Amelia Island Plantation. The remaining four
acres are in private ownership and are currently for sale.
Although within the boundary expansion area, NPS has no plans
to purchase these four acres. Like other areas of the Timucuan
Preserve that are outside of NPS ownership, the NPS would work
cooperatively with appropriate agencies and interested private
landowners to help to manage and interpret American Beach
resources. Nassau County officials and private citizens support
expansion of the park boundary and donation of American Beach
land to the NPS.
Abraham Lincoln Lewis, co-founder and president of the
Afro-American Life Insurance Company, founded American Beach in
1920 as a place where executives and employees of the company
could enjoy ocean beach recreational activities in the ``Jim
Crow'' era when such opportunities were severely limited.
However, word soon spread and Africa-Americans from Atlanta,
Tuskegee, and other parts of the south came to the beach town
to buy property and spend their summers free from reminders of
segregation and discrimination. The resort also had low rates
that allowed the less affluent accessibility for day
gatherings. The African-American working class came to the
resort from farming towns across South Georgia, North Florida,
In the 1940s and 1950s American Beach became the place
where African-Americans went for recreation and relaxation
without seeing a ``White Only'' sign, the rule for beaches in
the southeast at that time. Many writers, artists, and
entertainment and sports celebrities enjoyed the town's special
vacation land atmosphere. At American Beach, entertainers like
Ray Charles and Duke Ellington played in the local clubs.
The Amelia Island Plantation, a private corporation on
Amelia Island, intends to donate 8.5 acres of the 12.5-acre
expansion area to the NPS. The proposed donation would ensure
that the legacy of conservation on behalf of Abraham Lincoln
Lewis and the Afro-American Life Insurance Company is
preserved. The 8.5-acre donation consists of a natural sand
dune that is currently open to visitor use through a
conservation easement, and associated scrub and maritime
hammock habitat. The dune and surrounding habitat were
protected from development in the original designs for American
Beach. The Amelia Island Plantation Corporation later preserved
the site intact when it purchased the property. Natural habitat
values of the site include high species diversity with
relatively little disturbance and few exotic species, and
habitat for the threatened loggerhead turtle.
The proposed expansion area also includes important
remaining structures from the ``Jim Crow'' era, including the
cotillion area where people gathered to be entertained by
celebrities. One home (Ervin's Rest) was listed on the National
Register of Historic Places in 1998. In 2002 the American Beach
Historic District was listed on the National Register in
recognition of its African-American cultural heritage. The NPS,
other agencies, and private landowners will cooperatively
manage structures that remain within the boundary expansion
Created by segregation and abandoned after integration,
American Beach has struggled against a powerful tide.
Development of large condominium and resort complexes on Amelia
Island has encroached on the remnants of this African-American
resort community. As a result, American Beach has decreased in
acreage from its most prosperous size of 200+ acres to only 60
acres that remain today. Inclusion of the proposed 12.5 acres
within the Timucuan Preserve will help preserve critical
components of American Beach and its unique association with
The General Management Plan for the Timucuan Preserve
outlines a partnership approach to management. Should the
preserve boundary be expanded, management of American Beach
would follow this partnership model. In particular, the NPS
would work closely with County, State, Federal, and private
interests on lands owned by the NPS and in other sites outside
of NPS ownership but within the preserve boundary. Through
these partnerships, the NPS would work cooperatively to pursue
restoration and protection of remaining historic and natural
resources at American Beach.
The proposed boundary expansion enjoys support from private
landowners and local officials. Throughout Nassau and Duval
Counties, Florida individuals and groups have demonstrated
support for the protection and conservation of American Beach.
American Beach has also been the subject of documentaries on
the History Channel. As a result, high public interest in
saving this resource has been generated.
Mr. Chairman, this completes my testimony. I will be happy
to answer any questions that you or any members of the
Subcommittee may have now.
Changes in Existing Law
In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by
H.R. 3768, as ordered reported, are shown as follows (existing
law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is
proposed is shown in roman):
Public Law 100-249
AN ACT Authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to preserve certain
wetlands and historic and prehistoric sites in the St. Johns River
Valley, Florida, and for other purposes
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled,
* * * * * * *
TITLE II--PRESERVATION OF ST. JOHNS RIVER VALLEY ECOLOGICAL AREA AND
PROTECTION OF SIGNIFICANT HISTORIC ASSETS
SEC. 201. TIMUCUAN ECOLOGICAL AND HISTORIC PRESERVE.
[(a) Establishment.--There is hereby]
(1) In general.--There is established in the St.
Johns River Valley, Florida, where the Timucuan Indians
lived in prehistoric and historic times, the Timucuan
Ecological and Historic Preserve (hereafter in this Act
referred to as the ``Preserve''). The Preserve shall
comprise the lands, waters, and interests therein
within the boundaries generally depicted on a map of
Duval County, Florida, entitled ``Timucuan Ecological
and Historic Preserve'' numbered NA-TEHP 80,003-A and
dated July 1987. the map shall be on file and available
for public inspection in the Office of the National
Park Service, Department of the Interior. The Secretary
of the Interior may make minor revisions in the
boundary of the Preserve in accordance with section
7(c) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of
1965. The Preserve shall also include within its
boundaries all that land consisting of approximately
500 acres adjacent to Fort Caroline National Memorial
and known as the Theodore Roosevelt Preserve, being
land formerly owned by one Willie Brown and donated by
him to The Nature Conservancy.
(2) Modification of boundary.--
(A) In general.--In addition to the land
described in paragraph (1), the Preserve shall
include approximately 8.5 acres of land located
in Nassau County, Florida, as generally
depicted on the map entitled ``Timucuan
Ecological and Historic Preserve American Beach
Adjustment'', numbered 006/80012 and dated June
(B) Duties of the secretary.--The Secretary
of the Interior shall--
(i) reserve the boundaries of the
Preserve so as to encompass the land
described in subparagraph (A); and
(ii) maintain the map described in
subparagraph (A) on file and available
for public inspection in the
appropriate offices of the National