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SJR 11: Urging the President of the United States and the United States Congress to acquire the area commonly known as Central Park on Manhattan in New York City on behalf of the federal government; urging the United States Congress to declare Central Park to be a wilderness area and to prohibit any further improvement or development of Central Park unless authorized by an Act of Congress.

00                       SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 11                                                                    
01 Urging the President of the United States and the United States Congress to acquire the                                 
02 area commonly known as Central Park on Manhattan in New York City on behalf of the                                      
03 federal government; urging the United States Congress to declare Central Park to be a                                   
04 wilderness area and to prohibit any further improvement or development of Central                                       
05 Park unless authorized by an Act of Congress.                                                                           
06 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                               
07       WHEREAS, before Henry Hudson's landing on September 12, 1609, Manhattan was                                     
08 a remarkably diverse and natural landscape of hills, valleys, forests, fields, freshwater                               
09 wetlands, salt marshes, beaches, springs, ponds, and streams and supported a rich and                                   
10 abundant community of wildlife, and sustained people for thousands of years; and                                        
11       WHEREAS, since the arrival of Henry Hudson, the unrestrained development of                                     
12 buildings, highways, and urban sprawl on Manhattan has destroyed habitat, displaced                                     
13 indigenous peoples, and disrupted what had been the delicate Muir Web; and                                              
14       WHEREAS at least 1,000 species of plants and vertebrates, including 24 species of                               
15 mammals, 233 species of birds, 32 species of reptiles and amphibians, 85 species of fish, and                           
01 627 species of plants, and an unknown number of species of fungi, lichens, mosses, insects,                             
02 shellfish, and other invertebrates previously inhabited Manhattan; and                                                  
03       WHEREAS resident mammals previously included the gray wolf, gray fox, beaver,                                   
04 white-tailed deer, elk, short-beaked common dolphin, long-finned pilot whale, bobcat,                                   
05 mountain lion, cottontail rabbit, white-footed mouse, river otter, black bear, and red bat; and                         
06       WHEREAS resident bird species previously included the bald eagle, belted                                        
07 kingfisher, wood duck, green heron, cedar waxwing, passenger pigeon, American goldfinch,                                
08 Baltimore oriole, peregrine falcon, wild turkey, and red-bellied woodpecker; and                                        
09       WHEREAS resident plants previously included the sugar maple, mountain holly, wild                               
10 sarsaparilla, American ginseng, purple milkweed, yellow birch, wild cucumber, white oak, red                            
11 hickory, white ash, red pine, black spruce, mountain ash, and eastern cottonwood; and                                   
12       WHEREAS resident reptiles previously included the loggerhead sea turtle, brown                                  
13 snake, timber rattlesnake, eastern mud turtle, diamondback terrapin, and redbelly snake; and                            
14       WHEREAS, in 1609, Manhattan's biodiversity density for each acre rivaled that of                                
15 national parks such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Great Smoky Mountains; and                                            
16       WHEREAS Manhattan once had more than 570 hills, 60 miles of streams, 20 ponds,                                  
17 and 300 springs; and                                                                                                    
18       WHEREAS sandy beaches once reached from the tip of Manhattan to a point past                                    
19 42nd Street on the Hudson River shore; beyond the shore was the vibrant, dynamic tidal                                  
20 estuary with complex currents, sedimentary patterns, and the influence of the Hudson River;                             
21 and                                                                                                                     
22       WHEREAS Manhattan's Upper West Side and Tribeca were once a coastal oak-pine                                    
23 forest with red maple swamps; and                                                                                       
24       WHEREAS Manhattan once had 55 different ecological communities, including                                       
25 terrestrial communities, wetlands, pond and stream communities, and estuarine communities;                              
26 and                                                                                                                     
27       WHEREAS the Lenape and their ancestors lived in this area for thousands of years                                
28 before European contact, obtaining all the food, water, and materials they needed from the                              
29 local forests, wetlands, and waters; and                                                                                
30       WHEREAS, in Northeastern Algonquin culture, the Lenape were considered the                                      
31 "Ancient Ones," and their folklore suggests a close connection to the land and appreciation of                          
01 their role as a member of the ecosystem that was shared with the plentiful other species; and                           
02       WHEREAS Manhattan has an area of approximately 22.7 square miles, and Central                                   
03 Park has an area of approximately 1.3 square miles; and                                                                 
04       WHEREAS the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has an area of approximately 29,687                                 
05 square miles and 1002 Area, the area for development in the refuge, has an area of                                      
06 approximately 2,344 square miles; and                                                                                   
07       WHEREAS Central Park makes up approximately six percent of Manhattan; and                                       
08       WHEREAS the proposed sites for development within 1002 Area make up                                             
09 approximately one-eighth of one percent of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and                                     
10       WHEREAS 16 U.S.C. 3143 requires an authorization by an Act of Congress before                                   
11 leasing or other development leading to the production of oil and gas in the Arctic National                            
12 Wildlife Refuge may proceed;                                                                                            
13       BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the President of the                                     
14 United States and the United States Congress to acquire the area commonly known as Central                              
15 Park on behalf of the federal government; and be it                                                                     
16       FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the United States                                      
17 Congress to declare Central Park to be a wilderness area; and be it                                                     
18       FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the United States                                      
19 Congress to enact a provision similar to 16 U.S.C. 3143 to prohibit any further improvement                             
20 or development of Central Park unless authorized by an Act of Congress.                                                 
21       COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of                             
22 the United States; the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice-President of the United States and                          
23 President of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Sally Jewell, United States Secretary of the                                
24 Interior; the Honorable John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; the                                 
25 Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives; the                                       
26 Honorable Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Harry Reid,                                
27 Minority Leader of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Lisa Murkowski, Chair of the U.S. Senate                              
28 Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; and the Honorable Dan Sullivan, U.S. Senator,                                
29 and the Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in                                   
30 Congress.