Are Park Inholdings Good Partnerships?
What makes a good partnership for the National Park Service, and what makes a bad one? Is there a bad one?
There’s been a lot of debate recently about Director’s Order 21, which would, in some folks’ minds, loosen the rules a bit for honoring corporate donors to the national parks. All in the name of partnerships.
Some folks strongly oppose the branding of national parks with corporate logos. But what’s your take on park inholdings, those private slices of property that lie within a park’s boundaries? I think we'd all like to have our own cabin in a park, but is that a good idea?
Often when a national park is created, any private property within the park’s boundaries is purchased by the federal government. Occasionally families are allowed to stay as “inholders,” but for a limited time.
Currently there’s a battle in Rocky Mountain National Park over one such inholding. The woman who owns the land wants to extend her lease, while the Park Service has been somewhat determined to see her move.
The other day the Duluth News Tribune told the story of a group of families that wants to work out a deal with the Park Service that would allow them to return to their historic homesteads within Isle Royale National Park.
According to the newspaper, members of the Isle Royale Families and Friends Association believe that since their forefathers’ cabins were built long before the island became a national park in 1940, they have a right to continue using the homesteads. The association’s president, David Barnum, says the families in the association “offer a cultural connection” to the island’s history.
Is it a vital connection? Should parks strive to see that all the land within their borders is held by the federal government, or should inholdings be allowed? If a corporate partnership is bad, is this sort of private partnership any better? It’s something to ponder.