Cesar Chavez Special Resource Study
The National Park Service has been directed by Congress to conduct a "special resource study" of sites that are significant to the life of Cesar E. Chavez and the farm labor movement in the western United States.
Cesar Chavez is recognized as the most important U.S. Latino leader of the twentieth century. During the 1960s, Chavez led a movement of thousands of farmworker families and their supporters as they created the nation's first permanent agricultural labor union. As president, Chavez steered that union to a series of unprecedented victories, including contracts that cover more than 100,000 farmworkers, raised wages, funded health care and pension plans, mandated the provision of drinking water and restroom facilities in the fields, regulated the use of pesticides in the fields, and established a fund for community service projects. Chavez's advocacy helped secure the passage of the first law in the U.S. that specifically recognized farmworkers' rights to organize unions and engage in collective bargaining. The inspirational aspects of Chavez's legacy are evident in the countless schools, community centers, parks and streets named after him, as well as in the younger generations of labor leaders, political and social leaders and community organizers who continue to revitalize grassroots democracy in twenty-first century America.
The National Park Service is pleased to announce the completion of the Cesar Chavez Special Resource Study. The Secretary of the Interior transmitted the final study to Congress on October 24, 2013. The NPS initiated this special resource study in spring 2011 and published the Draft Cesar Chavez Special Resource Study and Environmental Assessment in October 2011. Comments received on the draft study report are reflected in the final study findings and the selected alternative.
The alternative selected through the study process as the most effective and efficient alternative recommends the establishment of a cooperatively managed national historical park, which would include five sites in California and Arizona:
- the Forty Acres National Historic Landmark (Delano CA);
- Filipino Community Hall (Delano CA);
- Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz, (Keene, CA) (César E. Chávez National Monument, established October 2012)
- McDonnell Hall (San Jose, CA); and
- the Santa Rita Center (Phoenix, AZ)
Under the proposed partnership model, current site owners would maintain ownership and management functions in most cases, while NPS would coordinate interpretation and education at the sites, and provide technical assistance. The NPS would also establish a voluntary national network of sites and programs that tell the story of Cesar Chavez and the farm labor movement. The network would help preserve resources and tell important stories outside of the national historical park.
The study included a significant public involvement process with local governments, private property owners, related organizations, and community members. Comments received during the study's public review period indicate strong support for the establishment of a unit of the national park system, and interest in partnership with the NPS.
The recently designated Cesar E. Chavez National Monument is fully compatible with the recommendations of this study, and can serve as a first step toward fulfillment of the selected alternative.
Thank you for your continued involvement in this study.
Chief Planning and Compliance
Pacific West Regional Office