Posted by: Ann Corcoran | August 26, 2011

Will “Big Park” come to Maryland (again)?

Last week I tried to tell readers about what a threat the National Park Service (NPS) is to places like Dorchester County, MD due to Senator Cardin’s scheme to get a national park created there to honor Harriet Tubman.

Don’t believe me?   Check out Ron Arnold writing yesterday in the Washington Examiner about how the NPS and its handmaiden, the National Parks and Conservation Association (NPCA) have their sites set on 70,000 acres of the state of Maine.  Hat tip: Erich.

Pay close attention to Arnold’s discussion of what happened in the Cuyahoga Valley in Ohio.  And, remember that whether it’s Antietam National Battlefield or the C & O Canal that runs along Maryland’s border—hundreds of people gave up (against their will) their homes and farms to create these “national treasures.”   In Washington County alone approximately seventy homeowners lost their properties through condemnation to create the Canal National Park.

And, I bet you are thinking how can they even consider these extravagant land-buying projects in this economy?  They only need to get the authorizing legislation (the foothold!) and eventually they get the money (the appropriations) and your land.

Ron Arnold (Greens, government target Maine) Emphasis mine:

Last year, more than 600,000 nature lovers held memberships in the National Parks Conservation Association (2010 revenue, $43.2 million), with its noble slogan, “protecting our national parks for future generations.” The group is lobbying for 130 more parks immediately, and its website extols magnificent parks and historic sites that “embody the American spirit” and deplores “the many dangers that threaten to destroy them forever.”

But the National Park Service, which actually administers the places NPCA touts, is a ruthless, insatiable land-grabbing bureaucracy that has brutally dispossessed thousands of homeowners nationwide, ruining lives to expand its empire with cold-blooded efficiency.

Everybody loves “America’s best idea,” as PBS filmmaker Ken Burns calls our national parks — from Acacia to Yosemite, and from Yellowstone to the Everglades. But even PBS couldn’t stomach the National Park Service’s atrocity in Ohio’s rural Cuyahoga Valley. In the 1970s, they came with sweet promises that the government would take only a modest recreation area. At first, that meant the loss of 30 homes. Then 200, then 600, and finally an undisclosed master plan to depopulate a 51-square-mile swath of the valley’s farms and towns and homes.

In 1983, “PBS Frontline with Jessica Savitch” ran an expose titled, “For the Good of All,” tracing the Cuyahogans’ hopeless struggle to keep their homes and heritage. Many viewers never forgave the parks service, but the National Parks Conservation Association cheered it on.

Today, the association glorifies Cuyahoga Valley National Park — trails for the hike and bike bunch and sanitized artisan farmers who pretend to be like those who once actually lived there.

Last week, the National Park Service took its Cuyahoga-like show to Millinocket, Maine’s high school auditorium, where park service Director Jon Jarvis and his boss, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, tried to sweet-talk 300 locals into a proposed 70,000-acre North Woods National Park that NPCA wants to create.

There is more, read it all.

Most people who lose their homes and land to the National Park Service are among the country class and don’t see the danger coming.  You know that old saying….’First they came for the _____, and I didn’t speak out!’  It applies here.

So next time you enjoy a stroll on the C & O Canal think about all the good people who cried and cried when they lost their modest homes and cabins along its 184.5 miles.  Many needn’t have lost everything but the elitists in Washington wanted to be sure the riff-raff didn’t sully the view.

By the way, politically well-connected landowners were not condemned.

Folks on Maryland’s Eastern Shore need to fight the creation of a National Park in their midst.


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