Revision of the U.S. World Heritage Tentative List completed


(January 2008) -- After a process that took more than 2 years, on January 22, 2008, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced a new World Heritage Tentative List for the United States. The Tentative List is the roster of properties the U.S. government considers worthy of inscription on the World Heritage List, the most prestigious recognition available for protected natural areas and cultural sites. The new U.S. Tentative List is good for the next 10 years, during which time properties on the list are eligible to be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List. Such nominations must be prepared on a property-by-property basis, and not all properties on the Tentative List will necessarily be nominated. Nominees for inscription on the World Heritage List are evaluated by the World Heritage Convention's governing body, which determines whether to accept or reject the property for the World Heritage List.

The George Wright Society worked in concert with the U.S. National Park Service's Office of International Affairs to manage the process for revising the U.S. Tentative List, which had not been updated since 1982. The GWS helped arrange for expert review of properties nominated to the Tentative List (over 30 properties were nominated, but only 14 made it on the Tentative List). The GWS continues to work with USNPS as the process moves into the phase of actually nominating sites on the U.S. Tentative List for inscription on the World Heritage List. The GWS will also take the lead in producing a publication highlighting the properties on the U.S. Tentative List.

Immediately below is the Department of the Interior's January 22 press release announcing the completion of the U.S. Tentative List. The 14 properties on the Tentative List are briefly described at the end of the press release. Following that is a series of entries that track the Tentative List revision process.


January 22, 2008 --

Secretary Kempthorne Selects New
U.S. World Heritage Tentative List

WASHINGTON, DC - Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today
announced his selection of 14 U.S. sites to be included on a new United
States World Heritage Tentative List. The 14 properties on the new list
will now be eligible to be considered for nomination by the United
States to the UNESCO World Heritage List, which recognizes the most
significant cultural and natural treasures on the planet.

"I am pleased to be able to take the necessary first step so that these
truly significant American natural and cultural properties can be
considered for the most prestigious international recognition accorded
to properties of global importance,” Kempthorne said. “Each of these
sites is important to Americans as well as others around the world.”

World Heritage Sites are designated under the World Heritage Convention.
The United States was the prime architect of the Convention, an
international treaty for the preservation of natural and cultural
heritage sites of global significance proposed by President Richard M.
Nixon in 1972, and was the first nation to ratify it. There are 851
sites in 140 of the 184 signatory countries. Currently there are 20
World Heritage Sites in the United States already listed.

The new sites announced on the United States World Heritage Tentative
List can be considered over the next 10 years for formal nomination by
the United States as World Heritage Sites.

Each of the properties included on the new U.S. World Heritage Tentative
List is described below.

Neither inclusion in the Tentative List nor inscription as a World
Heritage Site imposes legal restrictions on owners or neighbors of
sites, nor does it give the United Nations any management authority or
ownership rights in U.S. World Heritage Sites, which continue to be
subject to U.S. law.

The preparation of a Tentative List is a necessary first step in the
process of nominating a site to the World Heritage List, because a
country cannot nominate a property unless it has been on its Tentative
List for a minimum of a year. Countries also are limited to nominating
no more than two sites in any given year.

The new Tentative List replaces an outdated one prepared in 1982 and
contains a diverse collection of natural and cultural sites, located in
15 States and one U.S. Territory. They include one that is being
proposed for both natural and cultural values. The owners include, among
others, several Federal agencies, state governments, private
foundations, and religious groups. The list is scheduled to be formally
submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre by February 1, 2008.

Secretary Kempthorne included these properties in the Tentative List
after receiving applications from the owners of 35 sites, all of whom
applied voluntarily. In order to be included, a proposed site had to
meet several U.S. prerequisites in addition to appearing to meet the
stringent World Heritage criteria of international importance; the U.S.
prerequisites included the written agreement of all property owners to
the nomination of their property, general support from stakeholders,
including elected officials, and a prior official determination that the
property was nationally important (such as by designation as a National
Historic or National Natural Landmark). The World Heritage nomination
criteria can be found on the National Park Service Office of
International Affairs website http://www.nps.gov/oia.

The applications were evaluated by National Park Service staff,
non-government experts on the World Heritage nomination process, and the
U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. The public had the opportunity to
comment on the proposals for the Tentative List. Nearly all the comments
received from Federal, State, and local government executive and
legislative officials, and other stakeholders supported the inclusion of
sites in their States and communities.

Because UNESCO asks countries to wait a year before submitting
nominations from their tentative lists, the first time that any U.S.
World Heritage nominations drawn from the new List could go forward
would be at the beginning of 2009 with consideration by the World
Heritage Committee likely in the summer of 2010. The Committee, composed
of representatives of 21 nations elected as the governing body of the
World Heritage Convention, makes the final decisions on which
nominations to accept on the World Heritage List at its annual meeting
each summer.

The National Park Service manages all or parts of 17 of the 20 U.S.
World Heritage Sites currently listed, including Yellowstone National
Park, the Everglades, and the Statue of Liberty, and serves as the
principal technical agency for the U.S. Government to the Convention. In
2005, the U.S. won a fourth term on the World Heritage Committee and
will serve until 2009.

General information about the Tentative List process is posted on the
Office of International Affairs website at
http://www.nps.gov/oia/topics/worldheritage/tentativelist.htm. The
earlier National Park Service preliminary staff report, including
summaries of information on all 35 sites that were considered for the
Tentative List, is available at: http://www.nps.gov/oia/TLEssayFinal.pdf
. The original Applications submitted to the National Park Service for
the candidate sites can be found at
http://www.nps.gov/oia/NewWebpages/ApplicantsTentativeList.html.

For further information, please contact Stephen Morris, Chief, Office of
International Affairs at (202) 354-1802 or Gerry Gaumer in the National
Park Service's Office of Public Affairs at (202) 208-6843.

The U.S. World Heritage Tentative List 2008

CULTURAL SITES (9):


Civil Rights Movement Sites, Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama

These three historically African-American churches: Dexter Avenue King
Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery and the Bethel Baptist and 16th
Street Baptist Churches in Birmingham were the locations of iconic
events in the mid-20th century civil rights movement for
African­-Americans, a movement that both drew from and has had a
profound influence on human rights movements elsewhere in the world,
particularly regarding non-violent social change. The key events were
the 1955-56 Montgomery bus boycott led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church; the 1965 voting rights march from
Selma, Alabama to Montgomery that ended at that church, the 1963 street
demonstrations in Birmingham inspired in part by Rev. Fred Lee
Shettlesworth of Bethel Baptist Church, and the 1963 bombing of the
16th Street Church that killed four young girls. The churches remain in
the ownership of their congregations.


Dayton Aviation Sites, Ohio

These are four sites associated with the Wright Brothers' pioneering
efforts in human flight, in and around the city of Dayton, where they
constructed and tested the Wright Flyer III, the first airplane that
could take off, fly until it exhausted its fuel supply, land safely,
and do so repeatedly. Huffman Prairie was a cow pasture when the
Wrights began to use it in 1904 for test flights; it remains an open
landscape on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The small 2-story
brick building that housed the Wright Cycle Company and Wright & Wright
Printing in 1895-97 today houses exhibits and National Park Service
offices. The Wright Flyer III is enshrined in Wright Hall, a building
constructed in the 1940s specifically to house it. Hawthorn Hill, a
2-1/2 story brick mansion, was Orville Wright's home between 1914 and
1948. All of these sites except Hawthorn Hill are part of Dayton
Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, a unit of the National Park
System, although Huffman Prairie is owned by the U.S. Air Force and
Wright Hall by Dayton History. Hawthorn Hill is owned by the Wright
Family Foundation.


Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, Ohio

Nine archeological sites containing more than 40 monumental ceremonial
earthworks in precise geometric shapes reflect the sophisticated Native
American Ohio Hopewell culture during the Woodland Period (1,000-2,000
years ago). They are located within three archeological preserves in
the south-central portion of the State, one in each of three of the
principal northern tributary valleys of the Ohio River--the Little
Miami, the Scioto, and the Muskingum. They include Fort Ancient State
Memorial, between Cincinnati and Dayton; the five sites in Hopewell
Culture National Historical Park, near Chillicothe, a unit of the
National Park System; and the Newark Earthworks State Historic Site in
the cities of Newark and Heath. These are among the largest earthworks
in the world that are not fortifications or defensive structures, and
they contain extensive deposits of finely crafted artifacts. Their
scale is imposing by any standard: the Great Pyramid of Cheops would
have fit inside the Wright Earthworks; four structures the size of the
Colosseum of Rome would fit in the Octagon; and the circle of monoliths
at Stonehenge would fit into one of the small auxiliary earthwork
circles adjacent to the Octagon.


Jefferson (Thomas) Buildings (Poplar Forest and Virginia State Capitol),
Virginia

These two buildings are proposed as a joint extension to the World
Heritage listing that includes Monticello and the University of
Virginia. Like those two, they reflect Jefferson's familiarity with
Classical Greek and Roman, Renaissance, and French late 18th century
architecture. The Virginia State Capitol in Richmond (1785-98), as the
first adaptation of the Roman temple form to a governmental building,
has been enduringly influential in the use of Classical models for such
structures. It remains the State Capitol today; it also served as the
Confederate Capitol for most of the Civil War. Poplar Forest is
Jefferson's rural retreat in Bedford County that was begun before he
retired from the U.S. presidency in 1809. Just south of the remains of
a grove of poplars that gave the place its name is the 2-story brick
house built in a perfect octagon around a central cube. Poplar Forest
is owned by a non-profit corporation dedicated to its preservation and
restoration.


Mount Vernon, Virginia

George Washington's long-time home, with its associated gardens and
grounds, together form a remarkably well-preserved and extensively
documented example of a plantation landscape of the 18th-century
American South, based on English models but modified and adapted to the
American context. The estate was at the heart of a large plantation
operation that included hundreds of slaves. There is a core of 16
surviving 18th-century structures situated within a landscape of
associated gardens, fences, lanes, walkways, and other features,
situated along the Potomac River, that changed and developed over many
years in Washington's family. Washington and his wife are also buried
here. The Mount Vernon Ladies Association has owned and maintained the
property for 150 years.


Poverty Point National Monument and State Historic Site, Louisiana

This vast complex of earthen structures is on a bayou near the west
bank of the Mississippi River. It is an integrated complex of three or
four earthen mounds, six enormous concentric semi-elliptical earthen
ridges, a large flat plaza, and several borrow areas constructed 1700 -
1100 years ago. It was the largest and most elaborate settlement of its
time in North America and was built by a foraging society of
hunter-gatherers, not a settled agricultural people, which makes it
without parallel in world archeological and ethnographic records,
challenging anthropology's basic assumptions about hunter-gatherer
societies. It may be the largest hunter-­gatherer settlement that has
ever existed and its design was absolutely unique. How and why such a
society could have so totally transformed the landscape is still not
understood.

San Antonio Franciscan Missions, Texas

The modern city of San Antonio, Texas, has grown up around this group
of five Spanish Roman Catholic mission properties including some 80
structures that were built in stages from 1724 to 1782 on "open
village" plans within walled compounds. The Franciscan missions are a
remarkable concentration of surviving structures that superbly
represent the Spanish colonial influence in this part of the New World.
The religious, economic and technological systems of the missionaries
created settled communities that became the basis of the region's
ethnically diverse society. One of the missions, San Antonio de Valero
(the Alamo), is under the charge of the Daughters of the Republic of
Texas as a historic site. The other four (Missions Concepcion, San
Jose, San Juan, and Espada, including Rancho de las Cabras) are, with
various auxiliary features, included in San Antonio Missions National
Historical Park, a unit of the National Park System; their churches are
still used by the Roman Catholic Church.


Serpent Mound, Ohio

Serpent Mound, in Adams County, a State memorial, is the largest
documented surviving example of a prehistoric effigy mound in the
world. It is both the acme of prehistoric effigy mound-building in the
world and part of the tradition of effigy mound building among some
American Indian cultures of the present Eastern United States. This
sinuous earthen embankment more than 1200 feet long includes an oval
feature at one end, that may be the serpent's eye, part of its head, or
a secondary object, such as an egg, grasped in its open jaws.
Indications are that Serpent Mound was built by the Fort Ancient
Culture about the year 1120. Serpent Mound embodies fundamental
spiritual and cosmological principles of an indigenous ancient American
Indian culture and was aligned astronomically to mark the passage of
the seasons.


Wright (Frank Lloyd) Buildings, Arizona, California, Illinois, New York,
Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin


These ten properties are among the most iconic, most intact, most
representative, most innovative and most influential of the more than
400 Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) designs that have been erected. They
span almost sixty years of his efforts to create an "organic
architecture" that attracted widespread international attention and
powerfully affected the course of modern architecture around the world
as well as in the United States. The properties include the two
Taliesins (his long-time homes with studios and schools); three
residences he designed for others, two office complexes, a place of
worship, a museum, and a governmental complex. They are:

· Taliesin West (1938), Scottsdale, Arizona

· Hollyhock House (1919-21), Los Angeles, California


· Marin County Civic Center (1960-69), San Rafael, California
· Frederick C. Robie House (1908-10), Chicago, Illinois

· Unity Temple (1905-08), Oak Park, Illinois

· Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1956-59), New York, New York

· Price Tower (1953-56), Bartlesville, Oklahoma
· Fallingwater (1936-38), Mill Run, Pennsylvania
· S. C. Johnson and Son, Inc., Administration Building and Research
Tower, Racine, Wisconsin (1936-39; 1943-50)
· Taliesin (1911 and later), Spring Green, Wisconsin


MIXED NATURAL AND CULTURAL SITE (1): Papahanaumokuakea Marine National
Monument, Hawaii


This 1,200-mile-long string of islands and adjacent waters represents
the longest, clearest, and oldest example of island formation and atoll
evolution in the world. A marine national monument designated in 2006,
it is jointly managed by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the
State of Hawaii. The monument is a vast area running northwest from the
island of Kauai. Scattered in the deep ocean are some 10 small islands
with reefs and shoals. In this remote and still relatively pristine
part of the Pacific, marine life remains abundant and diverse, with a
large number of species found nowhere else in the world and a wide
array of threatened and endangered species. Native Hawaiians reached
these islands at least 1,000 years before any other people and planted
settlements on some of them, where there are important archeological
sites. The islands retain great cultural and spiritual significance to
Native Hawaiians. The islands figured as well in the European
exploration of the Pacific and in Pacific whaling, communications, and
early aviation. One of them, Midway, became the focus of its namesake
battle in June 1942--the turning point of World War II in the Pacific.


NATURAL SITES (4):

Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary, American Samoa

This refuge is a small pristine bay on the large Samoan island of
Tutuila. It does not include immediately adjacent shorelands. The
refuge is a fringing coral reef ecosystem within an eroded volcanic
crater. The Bay contains a vast array of tropical marine organisms,
including corals, marine mammals, and threatened and endangered species,
including hawksbill and green sea turtles. The Bay is a vibrant
tropical reef marine ecosystem, filled with populations of coral reef
fish and marine invertebrates. The scenic beauty of the bay and its
surroundings are also exceptional. Fagatele Bay is administered by the
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia

This refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, embraces
the vast bulk of the Okefenokee Swamp, a large intact swamp that is the
source of two rivers, one that flows into the Atlantic and the other
into the Gulf of Mexico. The refuge also has extensive and essentially
undisturbed peat deposits. Okefenokee is one of the world's largest
naturally driven freshwater ecosystems with a diversity of habitat
types and rich and diverse flora and fauna.

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona


This large national park, on the southern part of the Colorado Plateau,
is most notable for vast, colorful, and well preserved deposits of
petrified wood. There are exceptionally large deposits of it in five
areas termed "forests." The park, with its scenic vistas and spectacles
of colorful rocks, is one of the premier places in the world for the
study of the ecosystem of the Late Triassic Epoch some 205-225 million
years ago. In addition to the largest deposits of petrified wood in the
world, the park contains important fossils of other plants and animals,
including dinosaurs.


White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
This property, a unit of the National Park System at the northern end of
the Chihuahuan desert, protects vast dunes of gypsum sand that have
engulfed more than 176,000 acres--along with plants and animals that
have adjusted to this environment. White Sands National Monument is the
world's largest and best protected surface deposit of gypsum sand.


Current U.S. World Heritage Sites (with dates of inscription)
§ Mesa Verde National Park (1978)
§ Yellowstone National Park (1978)
§ Everglades National Park (1979)
§ Grand Canyon National Park (1979)
§ Independence Hall (1979)
§ Kluane / Wrangell-St Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek (1979,
1992, 1994)
§ Redwood National and State Parks (1980)
§ Mammoth Cave National Park (1981)
§ Olympic National Park (1981)
§ Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (1982)
§ La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico
(1983)
§ Great Smoky Mountains National Park (1983)
§ Statue of Liberty (1984)
§ Yosemite National Park (1984)
§ Chaco Culture (1987)
§ Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (1987)
§ Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville (1987)
§ Pueblo de Taos (1992)
§ Carlsbad Caverns National Park (1995)
§ Waterton Glacier International Peace Park (1995)


(previous background articles on the Tentative List revision process)

USNPS completes initial review of applications, makes recommendations for the Tentative List

(September 2007) The U.S. National Park Service Office of International Affairs has completed its review of the applications to the new U.S. World Heritage Tentative List A summary of the recommendations is below. The recommendations are being provided to the World Heritage Tentative List Subcommittee of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO for further recommendations. The full texts of all staff recommendations, along with an essay detailing the Tentative List process and the basis for the recommendations, is on the NPS Office of International Affairs website at http://www.nps.gov/oia/TLEssayFinal.pdf.

The recommendations were based on staff review by the Office of International Affairs, in consultation with National Park Service subject-matter experts and external reviewers for cultural and natural resources who are knowledgeable about the World Heritage Committee’s policies, practices, and precedents.

The draft Tentative List will be reviewed by a subcommittee of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO on September 27, 2007. Although that meeting will not be open to the public, the subcommittee will present its recommendations to the full Commission for consideration in a conference call the following week, in which the public may participate. The call will be on October 4 at 11 a.m. (Eastern) and participants should contact Ken Kolson at the U.S. National Commission for call in information. The recommendations from the National Commission to the U.S. Government also will be posted on the National Commission website (http://www.state.gov/p/io/unesco). The Department of the Interior will consider the National Commission recommendations before publishing a draft Tentative List in the Federal Register for a public comment period. With the benefit of the public comments, a final Tentative List will be established by the Department of Interior for final approval by the Secretary of the Interior and for transmittal to the World Heritage Centre by the Department of State in January 2008.

It should be emphasized that the attached list reflects an interim step in the process and is not the final version of the new U.S. World Heritage Tentative List.

DRAFT U.S. WORLD HERITAGE TENTATIVE LIST: SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
Prepared by the National Park Service Office of International Affairs,  August 2007

Natural Properties Recommended for Inclusion (3)

Other Natural Properties Considered (2)

Mixed Property Recommended for Inclusion (1)

Cultural Properties Recommended for Inclusion (13)

Recommended Extensions of World Heritage Cultural Sites (2)

Cultural Properties Recommended for Future Consideration (4)

Other Cultural Properties Considered (9)

Cultural Properties Removed from Consideration (2)

 


Over 30 Applications Received for Tentative List

(June 2007) — The NPS Office of International Affairs is completing a second stage staff-level review of the applications for inclusion in the new U.S. World Heritage Tentative List. More than thirty applications were received by the April 1, 2007 submission deadline. An initial review involved both the staff of the Office of International Affairs (OIA) as well as NPS subject matter experts and professional review by external World Heritage experts in natural and cultural heritage. Based on these reviews, OIA requested additional information from a number of applicants. Following consideration of the supplementary information, OIA will develop a draft tentative list for consideration by the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and key Federal agency representatives. The draft tentative list will be published for public comment in the Federal Register next fall before final approval by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior at the end of 2007. View site applications at http://www.nps.gov/oia/topics/worldheritage/Applicants.htm. For further information, contact Stephen Morris, (202) 354-1800, or stephen_morris@nps.gov.


(June 30, 2006) — Working through the National Park Service’s Office of International Affairs, and with the assistance of the George Wright Society, the United States government has begun the process of revising the Tentative List of properties considered to be worthy of nomination to the World Heritage List. Through this link you will soon be able to access all the documents and background information necessary to propose a property for the Tentative List. These documents include:

These documents as well as additional information are also on the National Park Service’s Office of International Affairs website.


A Brief Introduction to the Process (from the National Park Service)

(September 2006)

— NATIONAL PARK SERVICE SEEKS PROPOSALS FOR NEW U.S. WORLD HERITAGE SITES 

The National Park Service invites qualified property owners to submit Applications for possible inclusion in a new “U.S. Tentative List,” a list of candidate sites that may qualify for nomination to the World Heritage List. The Applications must be completed and returned by April 1, 2007.   The U.S. Department of the Interior will then consider those sites for nomination over the ensuing decade (2009–2019).   

Any property for which an Application is filed must satisfy at least one of the World Heritage criteria, among other requirements.  U.S. law also requires that the property be nationally significant (i.e., formally designated as a National Historic Landmark or a National Natural Landmark, or be a Federal reserve of national importance, such as a National Park, National Monument, or Wildlife Refuge) and that all owners consent to the proposal and be willing to agree to protective measures for the property.

Applications will be reviewed to determine whether the properties meet the legal prerequisites for World Heritage nomination and other requirements, including stakeholder support. After additional reviews, a draft U.S. Tentative List will be forwarded for approval to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior and then transmitted by the U.S. Department of State to the World Heritage Centre by February 1, 2008. An accompanying report will explain how the sites were selected.

NOTE:  Inclusion in the Tentative List or subsequent inscription on the World Heritage List does not affect the legal status of a property.  Only U.S. laws remain applicable to it.

The Application must be completed and returned by April 1, 2007.  It can be downloaded at the following websites, where general information on the World Heritage Program and details about the U.S. Program may also be obtained:

National Park Service Office of International AffairsIUCNUS (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), US/ICOMOS (U.S. Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites), and the George Wright Society.

A copy of the Application can also be obtained by writing to U.S. World Heritage Tentative List Project,  Office of International Affairs, National Park Service, 1201 Eye Street NW (0050), Washington, DC 20005.

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Preparation of the New United States World Heritage Tentative List: Questions and Answers | download as .doc | download as .pdf

Introduction

As a signatory to the World Heritage Convention, the United States of America participates in the deliberations that lead to cultural, natural, and mixed properties being inscribed on the World Heritage List. These properties, known as World Heritage Sites, are the most outstanding examples of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Currently, there are 830 World Heritage Sites in 138 countries.  Cultural sites number 644 and natural areas 162.  There are 24 mixed sites that were nominated for both nature and culture.  In the United States, there are 20 World Heritage Sites, 8 of which are cultural and 12 natural.  There are more natural sites listed in the United States than from any other single country.

 The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks of the Department of the Interior, through the National Park Service, conducts the U.S. World Heritage Program, including selecting and submitting nominations to the World Heritage List.  The Office of International Affairs of the National Park Service is the responsible staff-level program office.

The World Heritage List as a whole is managed by a World Heritage Committee made up of representatives from signatory countries, supported by a secretariat, known as the World Heritage Centre, which is based in  the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris.

 

What is a World Heritage Tentative List?

A Tentative List is a national list of natural and cultural properties that appear to meet the eligibility criteria for nomination to the World Heritage List.  It is an annotated list of candidate sites which a country intends to nominate within a given time period.

The World Heritage Committee has issued Operational Guidelines asking participating nations to provide Tentative Lists, which aid in evaluating properties for the World Heritage List on a comparative international basis and help the Committee to schedule its work over the long term.   The Operational Guidelines recommend that a nation review its Tentative List at least once every decade.

 

Why and by whom is a new U.S. Tentative List being prepared?

The U.S. Tentative List is expected to serve as a guide for a decade (2009-2019) of U.S. nominations to the World Heritage List.  The Tentative List will be structured so as to meet the World Heritage Committee’s December 2004 request that the Tentative List allow for no more than two nominations per year by any one nation, at least one of which must be a natural nomination (excluding potential emergency nominations not at present foreseen).  It is reasonable to expect that the number of individual sites included in the new Tentative List may be significantly larger than 20 to permit discretion in selecting nominations and because some sites may be grouped together as a single nomination.

The National Park Service Office of International Affairs (NPS-OIA) and the George Wright Society (GWS) are working cooperatively to prepare a new U.S. Tentative List.   After various reviews and approvals, NPS-OIA will forward the list through the Secretary of the Interior to the U.S. Department of State for submittal to the World Heritage Committee.

In summary, the new U.S. Tentative List will be a relatively short list of sites that have been proposed for consideration by their owners and that have been carefully examined for their potential to meet the legal requirements for nomination by the United States as well as the revised World Heritage criteria, during the next 10 years.  It is expected that the new U.S. Tentative List and the process used to develop it will generally resemble the model of Canada’s recent Tentative List revision.

Inclusion in the U.S. Tentative List will not affect the legal status of a property in any way.  Even if the property is subsequently inscribed in the World Heritage List, only U.S. Government laws and regulations will apply to it.

 

What are the expectations of the World Heritage Committee for the new U.S. Tentative List?

The end product of this effort, the new U.S. Tentative List, should meet the expectations of the World Heritage Committee as well as U.S. legal requirements, because the new Tentative List should include recommendations that will permit as many as 20 nominations by the United States to the World Heritage List, consisting of no more than two nominations per year (at least one of which must be a natural area nomination). 

The new Tentative List is intended to serve for at least the next decade, although its use would be excluded during any years when the United States is serving as a Member of the World Heritage Committee, because the United States has pledged that it does not intend to initiate any nominations during such service.   Because the United States was elected to a 4-year term on the Committee in October 2005, the earliest nominations from the new Tentative List, consistent with that pledge, can be prepared in 2008.  They will be submitted no later than February 1, 2009, and scheduled to come to the Committee for consideration in June 2010.

 

What are the criteria used by the World Heritage Committee to select World Heritage Sites?

To be included on the World Heritage List, a site must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one of the ten selection criteria enumerated below:

 

               i.      represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;

                 ii.      exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;

                  iii.      bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;

                  iv.      be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;

                 v.      be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;

                  vi.      be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);

                    vii.      contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;

                     viii.      be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;

                  ix.      be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;

                x.      contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

The protection, management, authenticity and integrity of properties are also important considerations in their selection for inscription on the World Heritage List.

The criteria are explained further in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention which, besides the text of the Convention, is the main working tool on World Heritage issues. The criteria have been regularly revised by the World Heritage Committee to reflect the evolution of the World Heritage concept..

 

What are the legal prerequisites and other requirements for a U.S. site to be considered for inclusion in the new Tentative List? 

The National Park Service proposes to use a two-step process to prepare the new Tentative List. 

First, willing owners or their representatives will be asked to express their interest by completing an Application, expected to be distributed in early fall 2006, that will be used to determine whether their properties meet the legal prerequisites for World Heritage nomination and otherwise appear to be likely candidates, such as whether or not they appear to enjoy stakeholder support and are in categories of sites that are unrepresented or less represented in the World Heritage List.

The legal prerequisites for World Heritage nomination are set out in U.S. law and in the World Heritage Program Regulations (36 CFR 73). In addition to satisfying one or more of the World Heritage Committee’s criteria, U.S. law requires that all three of the following  requirements  be met: 

 *   Each property that is proposed must previously have been determined to be nationally significant for its cultural values, natural values, or both (i.e., formally designated as a National Historic Landmark, a National Natural Landmark, or as a Federal reserve of national importance, such as a National Park, National Monument, or Wildlife Refuge) 

*    All of the property’s owners must concur in the proposal.

*  It must appear likely that the owners and the Department of the Interior will be able to  agree on and present full evidence of legal protection for the property at the time of final nomination.

Only properties appearing to meet one or more of the World Heritage criteria and the three specific U.S. legal prerequisites just noted can be considered further for inclusion on the revised U.S. Tentative List. 

Only sites whose owners submit, or authorize to have submitted on their behalf, complete Applications will receive full evaluation for final inclusion in the U.S. Tentative List.  It is anticipated that the deadline for receipt of Applications will be around April 1, 2007.

Second, the National Park Service Office of International Affairs will notify owners of properties that appear, based on professional staff evaluation of the initial Applications, to be the most likely candidates for inclusion in the Tentative List.  Depending on the number of responses received and an assessment of other factors, including the completeness and accuracy of the information submitted, those owners may be asked to correct or amend their original Applications. Joint revision of Applications may be recommended in some cases, if it is being suggested that some properties be grouped for inclusion together.  Owners who are selected for the second step of the process should be notified around May 1, 2007, with an estimated deadline for their further responses of June 15, 2007.

Owners whose properties are not selected for further consideration for inclusion in the Tentative List will also be notified of the results and provided with a statement of the reasons their properties were not included. Any responses by owners who disagree with an initial decision by the National Park Service that their properties do not qualify for inclusion in the Tentative List will be provided to reviewers of the draft Tentative List for consideration.

After various reviews and approval by the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks in accordance with the program regulations, the U.S. Tentative List will be forwarded, through the Secretary of the Interior to the U.S. Department of State for submittal to the World Heritage Committee by February 1, 2008.  An accompanying report will explain in detail how the sites included in the final U.S. Tentative List were selected.

 

How does the new U.S. Tentative List differ from the existing U.S. Indicative Inventory of 1982?

The new U.S. Tentative List will be a list from which it is expected that 20 U.S. sites or groups of sites will drawn for nomination during the next 10 years or so. In addition to the Committee’s current request for a new Tentative List, there are substantive reasons to prepare a new list.  The process for creating a new World Heritage Tentative List will take advantage of developments during the last quarter-century, including revised criteria, evolving precedents, international comparative studies, and Tentative Lists prepared recently by other countries.

The U.S. Indicative Inventory (1982), although the precursor to and generally similar to the Tentative List, a term which it predates, is a more primitive yet more ambitious list of about 60 candidate sites that was drafted by a National Park Service working group in 1976-82, using the first version of the World Heritage criteria, which was then in force.  The World Heritage criteria have been significantly revised since then.

The Indicative Inventory has also outlived its useful life.  It is now considered by the World Heritage Committee and the World Heritage Centre (the Committee’s secretariat) to be antiquated.  It suffers from some serious deficiencies, notably:

*  Although a process for amending the Indicative Inventory is outlined in the U.S. World Heritage Program regulations, only two sites were ever added to it; it is thus among the very first “Tentative Lists” submitted by any country and probably the oldest that is essentially unchanged.  Approaches to the study of culture and views of the study of nature have changed in the last quarter-century and the sites may have changed as well.

*  The working group in 1976-82 did not have the resources or the expertise to conduct any thorough international comparative studies to examine the merits of the properties before naming them to the Indicative Inventory.  This was not a deliberate oversight, for a quarter-century ago, very few international comparative studies had been done and only a handful of sites had been inscribed in the World Heritage List, providing almost no precedents for the application of the World Heritage criteria.

*  Before including sites in the Inventory, neither in 1982 nor since did the National Park Service consult property owners or other stakeholders, such as State and local governments, to the extent that would be deemed appropriate today.  In any case, after a quarter-century, a full review of owner interest is merited before including or retaining sites on a new Tentative List.

 

Will the sites on the Indicative Inventory of 1982 be automatically retained in the new Tentative List?

No.  Their owners will have to apply for inclusion in the new Tentative List, as explained above.

 

Will consideration will be given to renominating World Heritage Sites under additional criteria and to extending their boundaries?

Although there is no blanket prohibition on doing so, it is rather unlikely that extensions and renominations of World Heritage Sites under additional criteria will be included in the new U.S. Tentative List.  This is because, under the World Heritage Committee’s Operational Guidelines, such major changes to World Heritage Sites are considered as new nominations.  They would be counted against the limit of 20 nominations (of which at least 10 must be natural sites) that will be drawn from the new U.S. Tentative List.

In addition, the World Heritage Committee considers only a limited number of properties each year, and already has decided that it will give priority to nominations that represent unrepresented or less represented categories of sites.  This limits the prospects for an extension or a renomination of a listed World Heritage Site under additional criteria to be considered favorably by the World Heritage Committee in the short term.   Since such proposals facing the possibility of lengthy deferral, it does not seem likely that it will be prudent to include them in the new Tentative List.  

Nevertheless, subject to the cautions just discussed, an Application for inclusion in the new Tentative List of a proposed extension or renomination that enjoys strong owner and stakeholder support will not be dismissed outright, but will be considered on its merits. 

What will be the roles of the NPS Associate Directors for Nature and Culture in preparing the new Tentative List?

The Associate Directors may be asked to advise the Office of International Affairs and GWS’s contractor on how to respond to public inquiries about the Tentative List revision; on how to evaluate the units of the National Park System and other nationally important Federal lands, as well as National Historic and Natural Landmarks, for inclusion; and on how to ensure that ethnic and minority cultural sites and indigenous peoples’ interests in the national parks are suitably noted and considered. 

The Associate Directors and their staffs will primarily render their advice through review of recommendations and findings in the new Tentative List and the accompanying Background Research Report, which will be prepared by the Society’s contractor.

 

What formal explanatory meetings will be held?

 NPS-OIA and GWS will organize and/or participate in explanatory meetings  to acquaint both the international and U.S. national affiliates of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the Federal Interagency Panel on World Heritage, the U.S. National Commission on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and possibly other parties, including individual owners or groups of owners, as time permits, with the project and to further refine the process for preparation and submission of Tentative List Applications.  In response to requests, NPS-OIA and GWS will also, time permiting, provide general advice to the preparers of  Applications.

 

 Will any Background Research Report accompany the new Tentative List?

 The GWS contractor will prepare a Background Research Report on natural and cultural heritage that analyzes relevant factors and assesses completed Applications for individual potential U.S. sites in light of the newly revised World Heritage criteria (2004); the priorities of the World Heritage Committee’s Global Strategy; studies of key international topics by ICOMOS, IUCN, and possibly other international organizations; and any feedback received from the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.  This report will be modeled on the completed report that led to the revision of the Canadian Tentative List.  The report will account for all properties for which complete Applications have been received by NPS-OIA. As noted above, only sites whose owners submit, or authorize to have submitted on their behalf, complete Applications will receive full evaluation for inclusion in the Tentative List.

 

Who will provide expert review of the Background Research Report and new Tentative List? 

The Office of International Affairs of the National Park Service will prepare the draft Background Research Report and draft Tentative List in such a way as to facilitate review and recommendations thereon by NPS Associate Directors, the Federal Interagency Panel on World Heritage, the U.S. National Commission on UNESCO, or an expert subcommittee composed of representatives of the above groups and possibly other bodies, including those that request to do so.  The Background Research Report will facilitate the development of a proposal to the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary’s subsequent final review and decision on the composition of the U.S. Tentative List.

The U.S. national affiliates of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) will determine their roles in the review of these drafts, which will need to be consistent with their parent organizations roles’ as the official Advisory Bodies that review and recommend to the World Heritage Committee whether it should accept nominations to the World Heritage List.

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Guide to the U.S. World Heritage Program

The National Park Service's Office of International Affairs has prepared a comprehensive 32-page Guide to the U.S. World Heritage Program. It is "must" reading for anyone interested in nominating a property to the Tentative list.

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Instructions for Preparing U.S. World Heritage Nominations

Appendix A to the Guide to the U.S. World Heritage Program is the set of instructions (25 pages) for preparing nominations.

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Application for Inclusion of a Property in the U.S. World Heritage Tentative List

This is the required application (32 pp.) to propose that a property be considered for the Tentative List.

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Provisional Timetable for Preparation of the New U.S. Tentative List (September 7, 2006)

Submit Application for OMB  Approval  7/27/2006
Anticipated OMB Approval/Distribute Applications  10/1/2006
Deadline for Receipt of Completed Applications 4/1/2007
Notification to Submit Second-Stage Responses 5/1/2007
Deadline for Second-Stage Responses 6/15/2007
Deadline to Finish Draft Research Report and Tentative List 8/1/2007
Expert Review of Research Report and Tentative List 8/1/2007–10/31/2007
Final Review and Clearance by Secretary of the Interior 11/1/2006–12/31/2007
Submittal of Tentative List to World Heritage Centre 12/31/2007
Deadline for Submittal of Tentative Lists to World Heritage Centre 2/1/2008

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Other Sources of Information

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