1.         Yellowstone National Park (United States of America) (N 28)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1978

Criteria  (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1995-present

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/28/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/28/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/28/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1997

At its last session (Merida, 1996), the Committee learnt of several remedial actions taken by the State Party to minimize potential and ascertained threats to this site, and commended the President of the country for his efforts to fully remove the potential mining threat to the integrity of the Site with a mutually, to-be-agreed upon trade of land, valued at US$ 65 million. Since then, the Montana State Office of the Bureau of Land Management of the United States Department of the Interior, and the Northern Region Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture have published a summary, and the full Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Proposed Cooke City Area Mineral Withdrawal and have circulated it inviting any person or group to comment on the Draft EIS during the 45-day public comment period (7 March - 28 April, 1997). The Centre has received both the summary and the full Draft EIS, together with a one-page reader's guide and a covering letter, copies of all of which have been transmitted to IUCN for review.

Action Required

The Bureau recommends that the Committee in consultation with IUCN and the State Party and based on its review of the state of conservation report due from the State Party by 15 September 1997, determine whether actions taken to mitigate potential and ascertained threats to Yellowstone are adequate and whether or not Yellowstone should be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1997

At its last session (Merida, 1996), the Committee commended the initiative of the President of the State Party to remove the potential mining threat to Yellowstone National Park, by offering a mutually to be agreed upon trade of land valued at US$ 65 million, and requested the State Party to outline, before 15 September 1997, the steps and schedule for threat mitigation which could be followed. Since then, the Montana State Office of the Bureau of Land Management of the United States Department of the Interior, and the Northern Region Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, published a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Proposed Cooke City Mineral Withdrawal and circulated it for public comment. The Final Version of the EIS and its Summary were published, in July 1997, incorporating over 100 changes made necessary by substantive comments received during the period when the draft was open to public comment. Subsequently, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Lands and Minerals Management and the Under Secretary of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment have both signed, on 12 August 1997, the decision authorizing the withdrawal of mineral entry from 22,065 ha near Cooke City, Montana. The State Party has informed the Centre, by letter of 23 September 1997, that the report requested by the Committee will be submitted on or about 15 October 1997.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The Committee may review the additional information at the time of its session and decide whether Yellowstone National Park should be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 21 BUR IV.A.12

The Bureau recalled that the Committee at its twentieth session noted several remedial actions taken by the State Party to minimize potential and ascertained threats to this site, and commended the President of the country for his efforts to fully remove the potential mining threat to the integrity of the site with a mutually, to-be-agreed upon trade of land, valued at US$ 65 million. Since then, the Montana State Office of the Bureau of Land Management of the United States Department of the Interior, and the Northern Region Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture have published a summary, and the full Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Proposed Cooke City Area Mineral Withdrawal and have circulated it inviting any person or group to comment on the Draft EIS.

The Bureau recommended that the Committee in consultation with IUCN and the State Party and based on its review of the state of conservation report due from the State Party by 15 September 1997, determine whether actions taken to mitigate potential and ascertained threats to Yellowstone are adequate and whether or not Yellowstone should be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 21 COM VII.B.23/17

VII.23 Yellowstone National Park (United States of America)

The Committee recalled that at its last session (Merida, 1996), it commended the initiative of the President of the State Party to remove the potential mining threat to Yellowstone National Park, by offering a mutually agreed upon trade of land valued at US$ 65 million, and requested the State Party to outline, before 15 September 1997, the steps and schedule for threat mitigation which could be followed. Since then a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Proposed Cooke City Mineral Withdrawal was issued and circulated for public comment. The Final Version of the EIS and its Summary were published in July 1997. Subsequently, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Lands and Minerals Management and the Under Secretary of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment have both signed, on 12 August 1997, the decision authorising the withdrawal of a mineral permit from 22,065 acres near Cooke City, Montana.

The Centre informed the Committee that a report was received on 25 November 1997, which indicates that significant progress has been made on some of the issues noted by the Committee in December 1995, such as the proposed mine. However, there remain serious threats to the natural resources and values. The Delegate of the United States informed the Committee that US$ 65 million have been made available to acquire the Crown Butte mining interests and to preserve the Park.

The Committee commended the Government of the United States on its progress and commitment. Following discussion as to whether the site could be removed from the Danger List, the Committee decided to retain Yellowstone National Park in the List of World Heritage in Danger.