Keep Private Lands in Private Hands Coalition
PO Box 423 Battle Ground WA 98604
Phone: (360)687-2471 Fax: (360)687-2973

If you had any questions about how people feel about having the National Park Service as a neighbor, read the following news report. It does not make sense to pass CARA, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (HR-701 and S-25), to take more private land away from more Americans. The result is more stories like the one that follows.



HARRISON The National Park Service can expect no cooperation from residents in protecting the Buffalo National River because the park service has given no cooperation to residents for 27 years, speakers told regulators Thursday.

About 300 people from at least nine counties showed up for a forum at the North Arkansas Community Technical College on keeping the Buffalo River clean. The meeting turned into an hours-long roast of the park service, which oversees the river.

"You're killing us, and you've about got Marshall dead," Marshall Mayor Jerry Woods told George Oviatt, a park service representative who is a resource management specialist in charge of a water quality plan for the flyer. The park service opposes a dam to create a water supply lake for Marshall on Bear Creek, a tributary of the Buffalo.

The park service is responsible for protecting the water quality of the Buffalo, designated an "extraordinary water resource" by the state in 1972. That designation and the river's status as a federally protected river require that it be protected from pollution. Now the park service hopes it, local communities and area residents can come up with a long-range voluntary plan to safeguard the river quality. Oviatt said some pollution problems existed, but they are minor now. Water quality in the Buffalo is good, he said.

"Twenty-seven years ago you told my father that you were taking his farm away from him because the water was so clean and you wanted to protect it," said Sam Tinsley of Marion County, whose father's farm near the Buffalo was condemned and bought by the federal government in 1972. "Now 27 years later you're coming back and saying it's polluted."

"You moved all the people who lived here and the cows out and brought a million tourists in," Tinsley said, and that created a much bigger pollution problem than existed before. "All you've done is take our farms from us," Tinsley said.

Hard feelings must not obscure that cooperation will keep water clean and prevent the federal Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing harsher regulations to protect water quality, it was said.

That sounds like blackmail, residents protested. It is, but it comes from the EPA, Mathis said. "They blackmail us every day," he said.

'North Arkansas residents would feel more cooperative if the Service would notify them when the future of the area is being planned, said Searcy County Judge Paul Ray Lee.

I'd like to talk about this supposed 'public' meeting last year in the federal building in Marshall" to first discuss the water quality action plan, Lee said. I'm the county judge, the chief executive of the county, and I was not notified until late in the day of the meeting," Lee said. "I thought perhaps that notice of the meeting had arrived in the mail and both me and my secretary had overlooked it.

"We never throw anything away You can look at my desk and see that. We did not get notice. Period."

The National Park Service must stop making plans without considering local residents, Lee said. "You've got a revolution on your hands," he said. "We're not going to put up with it without a fight any more." Oviatt said the park service wants the public informed and wants its commentary. He apologized for late notice on occasion. "Admittedly the National Park Service has not done a good job of notifying the public" of public hearings, Oviatt said.

"You've been the worst neighbor in the world, and we've had to put up with it for 25 years," replied David Bright of Marion [Correction: Newton County] County.

"You've let our river turn into a filthy hole where tons of tourists' trash have to be hauled out of it every year, and you want to blame Local farms."

Be informed! Don't allow yourself to be snowed by CARA.

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American Land Rights Association
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