The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Park Protection Act

By The National Inholders Association

Issue: March, 1983

(Editor’s Note: The following is a reprint of an article which appeared in the “National Inholders News.” I interviewed Congressman Dan Daniels on this subject and he stated he is opposed to any additional federal control and will vote against it when it is reintroduced, as it most probably will, in the upcoming session of Congress.)

HR 5162 replaces HR 5552. Congressman John Seiberling and Douglas Bereuter are pushing this bill to counter what they and others consider significant threats to our National Parks. There is no doubt that threats such as acid rain, over use, sewage, water pollution and others are very real. Some system to monitor these and other threats and focus attention on them needs to be developed.

However, HR 5162 goes way too far. In 1980 the Park Service published its first STATE OF THE PARKS report. Most readers acknowledge it was subjective and poorly documented. HR 5162 would make the STATE OF THE PARKS report a requirement every two years. It would also put immense power in the hands of each local superintendent and the Park Service to limit the activities of private landowners not only inside Park Service areas but also in surrounding communities.

The bill calls for a “Federal Program Review” which would make every federal agency review their plans with the Park Service. This could mean the Park Service could have veto power over all federal projects - federal loans for water systems, sewer systems, and many other federal projects financed with federal dollars. We think ultimately this bill will give the Park Service control over whether you are able to get a farm loan, federal home loan, disaster loan grant or federal home insurance. Imagine all that power in the hands of biased and politically influenced federal bureaucrats.

Bottom line - this legislation gives the Park Service enormous new authorities whereby it can hold up any federal project near a national park unless the local government or community cooperates with it and meets its requirements. The Park Service could hold up a loan or grant for a water system until the community down zoned a piece of land the agency wanted undeveloped.

The Park Service has a history of subjective, highly politicized decisions with little regard to true resource management and this bill, if passed by the Senate, would put a strangle hold on many communities in or near national park areas. CALL OR WRITE YOUR SENATOR TODAY. Pass the word to local news media and civic groups as well as elected officials.