Privately owned land within the congressionally designated boundaries of America’s national parks creates gaping holes that shatter the integrity of individual parks and the system as a whole, and make it more difficult and expensive for the Park Service to protect wildlife and the parks’ natural and cultural treasures. Our national heritage is at risk.
Commitment to the idea that our national parks are “the best idea America ever had,” requires diligent protection of these national treasures against all threats. Incompatible development on private property within park boundaries results in resource fragmentation and seriously degrades the quality of our National Park System. But this crisis has a solution.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the immediately available, yet underused source for funding the land acquisition needs of the National Park Service. By acting now to complete public ownership of our parks, we improve the management capacity of the Park Service, consolidate public ownership of critical lands, and help make the park system what it needs to be in time for the beginning of its second century.
Our national parks—our nation’s heritage—deserve nothing less.