National Parks land grab
Without more Congressional funding, the National Park Service may not be able to compete with developers as private properties within National Park lands go on the market. A report released by the National Parks Conservation Association, “America’s Heritage: For Sale” shows how “critical land inside 55 National Parks could be lost for lack of funding.”
One such example is a timber company that owns land inside Mount Rainier National Park that is willing to sell it to the Park Service—if only the Park Service could afford it. “We don’t know how long the timber company will wait,” said Sean Smith, NPCA Northwest regional director, in a statement.
The report points to other circumstances where the landowners did not wait: A retreat center built inside Utah’s Zion National Park, for example. And a hotel-museum complex currently is being proposed on land inside Valley Forge National Historic Park in Pennsylvania.
To purchase the entire 1.8 million acres of critical lands prioritized by the NPS would require Congress to appropriate $1.9 billion from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which comes from fees paid by companies who conduct offshore oil and gas drilling. The NPCA is asking Congress to provide at least $100 million this year and further funding in the years leading up to its centennial in 2016.
Among the “critical” lands are 6,500 acres within Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve, 28,000 acres within Arizona’s Petrified Forest NP, 4,076 acres within California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area and 36 acres within Wyoming’s Grand Teton NP. Visit www.npca.org/landforsale.