managing and operating the above described natural areas and cultural sites,
the NPS would develop appropriate public access and provide basic visitor services
such as restrooms and parking. The NPS would also develop interpretive facilities
and services such as wayside exhibits, publications, guides, park maps, and
ranger talks and programs. No overnight facilities would be developed by the
NPS within any of the areas. Rather, the NPS would rely on private enterprise
to develop any lodging facilities or other commercial services needed for visitors
outside the boundary of any national park system unit.
Large Natural Areas and Significant Cultural Sites
Based on the
foregoing evaluation of significance and suitability, the following areas
have been found to contain cultural or natural resources possessing the potential
for being considered by Congress for inclusion in the national park system.
Figure 11 shows
the general extent of a large natural area and four cultural sites on Rota
to be feasible for park management as part of the national park system--or
as the initial units of a Commonwealth park system legislatively established
by the CNMI.
Mochon Latte Stone Village
national park area here should encompass at a minimum the 46 individual latte
stone sites, the associated pottery and artifact scatters, the stone-lined water
wells plus a sufficient buffer area to ensure the protection of the prehistoric
village setting and where appropriate visitor use facilities could be developed.
The area has potential to be managed and operated as an individual historic
unit or as a sub-unit of a larger unit of the national park system. The national
park area should also encompass the adjacent pristine white sand beach that
provides nesting areas for the endangered hawksbill sea turtle. There are also
examples of Rota's fringing coral reef found along this coast. The offshore
waters and their benthic habitats should also be included in any national park
pristine white sand beach and tide pools adjoin the Mochong village.
mayor of Rota and the CNMI Historic Preservation Office have proposed that approximately
50 acres of the ancient village site of Mochon be designated the Mochong Cultural
Interpretive Site. About one-half of the present designated historic preservation
site is in public ownership, acquired by CNMI as a land exchange with the owners.
Taga Latte Stone Quarry
national park area here should include all of the eight latte stone columns
and the eight stone capstones--all in varying stages of being quarried out of
the limestone rock, plus the adjoining trenches. The national park area needs
to also include a sufficient amount of the surrounding land to preserve the
visual integrity of the historic setting. Measures are also needed to ensure
the public has access to the site through the surrounding lands.
national park area could be managed as either a separate historic unit or
as part of a larger, more extensive national park area. The area containing
the stone columns and capstones is presently in public ownership and within
a locally designated historic preservation site. However, the surrounding
area consists of lands that are part of a proposed agricultural homestead
project area. If agricultural homesteads were to be developed on these adjacent
lands, the integrity of the quarry's prehistoric setting would be seriously
Chugai Pictograph Cave
entire 185-foot long cave, containing approximately 90 pictographs of prehistoric
origin, plus the remains of the World War II Japanese quarters and associated
artifact material located near the cave entrance would merit inclusion in any
national park area. The trail and rock stairway currently providing access to
the pictograph cave also should be included in the national park area, as well
as the graded parking area located at the trailhead.
cave is located within the I Chenchon Bird Sanctuary, although most of the
trail accessing the sanctuary is located in a locally designated conservation
area that currently does not have full legal protection status. The cave would
not be feasible to manage as a separate national park area.
Alaguan Bay Ancient Village
more than 60 latte comprising the seven distinct residential areas of an ancient
Chamorro village plus the associated artifact scatters have the potential to
be managed as a historical area of the national park system. The sites' significance
would make it worthy of being managed as a separate unit, but due to its location
within a tall-canopy limestone forest it also could be managed as part of a
large natural area, but where the protection and preservation of cultural resources
would receive highest priority. The development of access and visitor use facilities
to the site would be consistent with managing resources within a large natural
Native Limestone Forest
portion of Rota beginning at the northeastern end of the island and extending
around the eastern coastal cliff lines to include the I Chenchon Bird Sanctuary
and the southern coastal cliff lines including all of the Alaguan area down
to Puntan Haina, plus the extensive area surrounding the Sabana encompassing
As Rosalia on the east, the steep slopes of Mananana and Uyulan Hulo on the
north, Isang on the west, and the uppermost portions of the Takakhaya to the
south possesses the natural resource values meriting management as a unit of
the national park system. The offshore waters and their benthic habitats from
the Mochon Latte Stone Village to Puntan Haina should also be included.
area are the best examples of Rota's limestone forest, which is an excellent
representation of what remains throughout the CNMI of the Mariana limestone
forest. Also located within this area is most of what remains of the mature
(closed canopy) native limestone forest. Nearly all of the locations that
have been found to contain subpopulations of the endangered plant, Serianthes
nelsonii, are within this area.
expanse of native forest includes most of the area identified on Rota as critical
habitat for the endangered Mariana crow and nearly all of the area identified
as habitat for the endangered Rota bridled white-eye. Moreover, all of the locations
identified on Rota as roosting areas for the threatened Mariana fruit bat are
within this area, as are the locations providing habitat for species of native
butterflies and snails. The existing I Chenchon Bird Sanctuary where several
species of nesting sea birds are found is also within this area.
resources within the area are portions of the native strand vegetation along
the north coast from As Matmos to the boundary of the I Chenchong Bird Sanctuary.
There are also small stands of atoll forest along this coast. Rota has the
most extensive stands of atoll forest, which are now quite limited on Saipan
and absent on Tinian. Included also within this large natural area is a good
representation of Rota's fringing coral reef and other benthic habitats.
addition to its natural resources, this area contains important cultural resources.
This entire coastal area from Mochon to As Matmos appears to have been the site
of a major prehistoric settlement and is rich in archeological resources, including
latte stone village sites and major areas of pottery shards from the latte and
pre-latte periods. This area is being proposed for local designation as the
Maya Historical District. Numerous archeological sites are dispersed among the
eastern and southern coastal cliff lines of Rota, as well as inland from those
cliffs. The most significant sites known around the eastern end of the island
are the Chugai Pictograph Cave and the Taga Stone Quarry. Along Rota's southern
coast there are important archeological sites, in particular the Alaguan area
where surface scatters of cultural material are believed to be the most abundant
on the island. This portion has been designated as the Alaguan Bay Historical
District. In addition, several caves containing pictographs have been documented
in the cliffs above that coast. This extensive area undoubtedly contains many
other archeological sites and features, as yet undiscovered.
entire area is on public lands that have been either already designated or proposed
for designation as local conservation areas. Only a few private lands exist
within the entire area identified here as existing or proposed conservation
areas. As a potential national park, this entire area should be managed as a
single cohesive, contiguous, ecological unit primarily for the long-term protection
of a significant portion of Rota's native limestone forest as well as its threatened
and endangered species such as the Mariana crow (available evidence indicates
this species is most abundant in native limestone forests). Wherever significant
cultural resources are present in this area, they would be protected and managed
as similar resources in separate historic areas.
11. Significant Natural Areas and Cultural Sites Feasible for Park Management.
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Concepts for Resource Management and Visitor Use
following concepts are intended to illustrate the basic management principles
used by the NPS in operating units of the national park system. Broadly, in
large natural areas, the NPS preserves biotic and geologic resources, as well
as processes, systems, and values in an unimpaired condition, to perpetuate
their inherent integrity and to provide present and future generations with
the opportunity to enjoy them. In cultural areas where significant prehistoric
sites and features exist, the NPS preserves and fosters appreciation of these
resources, and in its management would demonstrate respect for those peoples
who are traditionally associated with these resources.
Large natural areas.
Natural areas such as Rota's native limestone forest would be managed to preserve
their inherent integrity as a functioning ecosystem. Resource management would
focus on providing visitors with the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from observing
natural systems evolve, with minimum influence by human actions. Landscapes
disturbed by natural phenomena such as hurricanes, landslides or fires would
be allowed to recover naturally. Natural resource values protected by the NPS
include plants, animals, water quality, soils, geologic features, air quality,
and scenic vistas.
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walkways, similar to parks in south Florida, could be extended into the booby
rookeries with careful access only in company with local guides
Significant cultural areas.
Cultural sites such as Mochon, Taga, Chugai and Alaguan Bay would be managed
by the NPS for their long-term preservation and for visitor enjoyment. Though
public access and interpretation would be provided to these sites, the preservation
of significant prehistoric resources in their existing condition would receive
primary consideration. The NPS would employ appropriate treatments and techniques
to protect these sites and their cultural values from deterioration, overuse,
theft and vandalism without compromising their integrity.
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Rota Legislative Delegation has indicated there is strong local support from
residents for conservation on that island. They cite the
three land conservation areas and the one marine conservation area previously
established on Rota during the 1990's (as well as other legislation) as evidence
of this support.
Reconnaissance Survey Findings
the national park system is one of the ways to ensure that the very best places
in our nation are protected for the enjoyment of future generations. Of the
alternatives, the establishment of a unit of the national park system appears
to be the best way to ensure the long-term protection of Rota's most important
cultural resources and the best examples of its native limestone forest. Management
by the NPS ensures that these resources would be interpreted for visitors
and appropriate facilities developed for visitor use. The NPS has a long tradition
of managing cultural resources and large natural areas. If established by
Congress as a unit of the national park system, the areas on Rota containing
a representative and feasible sampling of its most significant resources would
be eligible for both base and project funding on a sustained basis.
National Historical Park in Hawaii provides a good example of the sustained
funding which is available to units of the national park system. Congress
established Kaloko-Honokohau in 1978 "to provide a center for the preservation,
interpretation, and perpetuation of traditional Hawaiian activities and culture."
Funding for base operations commenced in 1980. In that year, the park's total
operating budget was $122,000. That amount has steadily and significantly
increased over the years. By 1985, it was $206,000; in 1990, it was $248,000;
in 1995, it was $572,000; and by 2000 the park's annual operating budget had
reached $1,000,000. This year, the operating budget for Kaloko-Honokohau totals
to annual base operating funds, Kaloko-Honokohau, like all units of the national
park system, is eligible to compete for project monies for resource management,
cyclic maintenance and interpretation. Over the years, the park has received
funds for specific projects totaling nearly $1,000,000.
has also successfully competed for construction monies for the development
of needed park facilities. Last year, construction was completed for visitor
restrooms and parking. This development project was funded at about $600,000.
In 2007, Kaloko-Honokohau is scheduled to begin construction of a visitor
center/museum. That project is currently funded at $3.4 million.
on a long tradition beginning with Yellowstone National Park in 1872 the establishment
of a unit of the national park system by Congress appears to be the best way
to ensure the long-term protection of Rota's significant cultural and natural
resources, including its limestone forests and endangered and threatened plant
and wildlife species.
and cultural resources of the island of Rota are important not only to island
residents and the CNMI, but to the entire nation. These resource values merit
protection in their unimpaired condition for all time. The establishment of
a unit of the national park system would assure a source of funding for base
operations, plus provide the opportunity for securing project monies for natural
and cultural resource management, inventorying and monitoring, carrying capacity
studies, wayside exhibits, park guides and maps.
reconnaissance survey has found that the nationally significant cultural and
natural resources of Rota are presently not being adequately managed. There
are only a few of the locally established conservation areas that have any management
at all and this appears to be inadequate. The reason for the inadequate level
of on-site management is the scarcity of public monies, not the absence of desire
by the residents of Rota or the CNMI. In fact, Rota's legislative delegation
has shown an extraordinary commitment to the protection of the island's environment
through the introduction and passage of several bills. Despite these efforts,
none of Rota's resources are guaranteed protection for future generations. The
existing conservation areas and the prehistoric sites are not currently being
operated and maintained by professional resource managers, nor are they being
adequately interpreted for public enjoyment. None of the prehistoric cultural
sites are being protected from vandalism and theft.
the establishment of a unit of the national park system appears to be the
best way to ensure the long-term preservation of a significant portion of
Rota's native limestone forest. Within the national park unit there would
be opportunities for controlling the introduction and spread of non-native
plants and animals, including active management to ensure the control of the
brown tree snake. Under NPS management, archeological sites would be protected
from damage by vegetation and soils aggregation.
Position of CNMI and Rota Officials
Rota Legislative Delegation has stated they are pleased with the way the NPS
has managed and operated American Memorial Park on Saipan. The delegation believes
that a national park would provide for the professional management and long-term
protection by law needed to protect their island's unique and significant resources
for future generations. The delegation also sees the presence of a national
park on Rota as a foundation for a sustainable economy based on tourism.
Community Interest and Support