I have just come across this section of the US Parks Service Web site of which I was not previously aware - That of "The NPS Office of International Affairs"
. It contains the nomination documents for EVERY US site inscribed since the very commencement of the scheme in 1978. I find this all the more noteworthy since the UNESCO Web site only has nomination files since 1998! Indeed I wasn't even sure if there were formal "Nomination Files" in those very early days.But there they are for download right back to Mesa Verde and Yellowstone.http://www.nps.gov/oia/test/testWH/WH_Applications.htm
They are, of course, scanned documents which, apart from a modern heading page for each, appear to be genuinely contemporary to the Nomination - even in some cases to the added handwritten scribbles etc! They are remarkably comprehensive and add considerably to the information available on the often peremptory evaluation documents from those early days.
To date, I have only perused a few and have already found a new "Connection" for "Locations for Playing Sport" - Taos Pueblo - the Race Track for the Annual San Geronimo Relay Race. ("This Race Track, shown on Fig 2 is the site of foot races which play an important part in the ceremonial cycle at Taos"
Another document worth looking at is the "Guide to US World Heritage Program"
whose purpose is stated as being "to provide a summary for persons and organizations who are interested in the U.S. World Heritage Program, as well as for owners of nationally important cultural and natural sites, in understanding the World Heritage List. It will also explain fully how a very few exceptional sites in this country are nominated to it and how owners and other interested parties may participate.
It only claims to be a draft but provides a useful summary on a whole range of factors which apply to all countries as well as some interesting detail and background to the way the US does things. I hadn't realised for instance that, for any property to be nominated by the US, it
"......must have been formally determined to be nationally significant before nomination. A property qualifies as "nationally significant'' only if it is:
• a property that the Secretary of the Interior has designated as a National Historic Landmark (36 CFR part 65) or a National Natural Landmark (36 CFR part 62) ......;
• an area the United States Congress has established by law as nationally significant; or
• an area the President of the United States has proclaimed as a National Monument
under the Antiquities Act of 1906 (16 U.S.C. 433)"
I wondered about Taos Pueblo - but indeed the Nomination file, as well as including an interesting history about the ownership of the Pueblo and US/Indian Tribe negotiations, includes details of the Pueblo's recognition as a "National Historic Landmark" in 1960.