National Natural Landmarks Program of the National Park Service

The National Natural Landmarks Program is a government land-use prohibition scheme run by the National Park Service in conjuntion with environmentalist activists such as the Nature Conservancy and university environmentalists. Millions of acres are targeted in this national campaign.

Property targeted for preservation is “designated” as a National Landmark as a means to gain control of the property. The landmark evaluation process is a feeder program for eventual takeover of the property for a National Park or other government program. Activists quietly reconnoiter land they want locked up and write a report for the Federal government rationalizing in the name of a “study” why they claim the property should be preserved – and therefore not used by its owners. The activists control the entire process, including all aspects of the so–called “study”. The National Park Service takes the report as an official government document and designates the property as “Nationally Significant”.

The designation and the reports are used by the National Park Service in planning for new Federal park takeovers of private property, and by environmentalist activists and state planners for imposing state and local restrictions and prohibitions on land use. When property owners find out about the “studies” too soon, the Park Service and its collaborators routinely deny their goals and claim the program is “voluntary”.

Once property is fingered as “Nationally Significant” the designation has both legal and political impacts for owners of designated and nearby property. The designation is used as a criterion in the implementation of other preservation programs and land use controls and to manipulate public perception so that the allegedly “scientific”, intrinsic ”national significance” of your property for perservation is regarded as more important than your property rights.

In March 1990 I went to Washington, DC and testified before a Congressional oversight committe on the abuses of the National Natural Landmarks Program and environmental writer Alston Chase broke the scandal in his nationally syndicated column. Following his expose&rsquote;, the National Parks and Conservation Association (the private lobbying arm of the National Park Service) published a mendantious denial of Chase's expose, evidently not realizing the existence of the extensive documentation. Chase responded with a second article on the scandal and the attempted cover up. In February 1991 I published my first article on the Landmarks Program in the nationally distributed property rights newsletter Land Rights Rights Letter detailing the program's purpose and how it works. In late 1991, in response to and Inspector General report critizing the operation of the Landmarks program, the government issued proposed new regulations ostensively reforming the program, but in fact entrenching its abusive operation. These articles in Land Rights Rights Letter covered the events and further described how the program works. Our grassroots organization in downeast Maine, the Washington County Alliance, submitted detailed comments on the proposed regulations for the public record.

Canaan Valley

In early 1994 I received a call from frightened and angry rural property owners in the Canann Valley, West Viginia, who were threatened with a Federal preservationist takeover by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and viro pressure group lobbyists. The government and environmentalists had once again secretly used the National Natural Landmarks Program to reconnoiter the targeted area and declare it to be "nationally significant" as a rationalization for the Federal government takeover.

This article in Land Rights Letter sunmarizes the the 20-year-old (at the time) mostly secret takeover campaign and the contents of a leaked USFWS internal memo acknowledging agency dishonesty and the threats to local people deliberately hidden from them in a whitewash PR campaign.
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Last Update: 12/22/14