The story of the Friars on the Appalachian Trail is similar to hundreds of other landowners up and down the trail. First the Appalachian Trail Conference (ATC) and its predecessors started out as good neighbors asking landowners to work with them to establish the trail. And landowners responded in kind. It was a very good working relationship. But things changed.

The ATC, Park Service and other agencies got greedy and helped pass the National Trails Act in 1968 allowing them to buy land up to 25 acres per mile. But that was not enough. The ATC and the Park Service went back for more and in 1978 National Trails Act amendments allowed them to buy (condemn with eminent domain) 125 acres per mile.

But that's not enough. Now the Park Service and the ATC are saying it is an average of 125 acres per mile. Since they have purchased corridors only a few yards wide in some places, the Park Service says they can buy a corridor miles wide at the Saddleback Ski Area in Maine, gutting the ski area and the local community of Rangeley.

The way the Park Service and the Appalachian Trail Conference have acted on the Appalachian Trail is anti-conservation and anti-good stewardship. Why would landowners trust trail groups who come and say, "don't worry, we only want a small easement." Then, once the trail is in place, they work with Congress to expand their power over and over again. As in the case of the Friars, entire landholdings are often jeopardized with the landowners driven out entirely.

What landowners must understand is that, using the Appalachian Trail as an example, the trail runs through at least 14 states with 28 senators and over 100 Congressmen. Since no Senator is impacted badly in any one place because the trail is a long thin corridor, the result is the landowners have no allies and little help. They cannot develop the political critical mass to fight back. Meanwhile, the Appalachian Trail Conference has huge memberships in 14 states, bombing Senators and Congressmen with E-mail. Joining with the Park Service, the ATC often crushes the opposition.

The Appalachian Trail is a model all landowners need to carefully look at when they are considering whether to allow a new trail in their backyard. Landowners need to educate their Congressman and Senators about the danger. Otherwise, they may be unleashing a cancer on their community which they cannot stop.

When a trail is created, often condemnation is not part of it. Then, a few years later, condemnation is quietly added with little fanfare to alert the landowners. A few years later the Park Service or other agency is threatening landowners right and left. No conversation with Federal land agents does not include the treat of condemnation if the landowner does not come to a "willing seller" "agreement".

You must help stop CARA, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (S.25 and HR.701) because this bill will give hundreds of millions of dollars every year to the Park Service, Forest Service, BLM and Fish and Wildlife Service to expand their threats and intimidate landowners.

Your Senators may be called at (800) 241-7109 (FREE) or (202) 224-3121. When you call, ask for a written note back with your Senators position. Or write both your Senators immediately at: Honorable ____________ , US Senate, Washington, DC 20510.

CARA will come to a vote in the full Senate after September 6th. It is more likely that Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK) will sneak it into a last minute funding bill so your Senator won't be accountable for his or her vote. You must make sure that does not happen.

Make sure your Senators hear from you personally at a public or private meeting, open house, or county fair. Let them know they will be held accountable if CARA passes in any bill, period! Insist that CARA be voted on as a separate bill if it has to be voted on at all.

For more information on the Appalachian Trail and many more additional horror stories about land acquisition including a special report on one area of the Appalachian Trail, click here and here.

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

For More Information Contact:
American Land Rights Association
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