Editor's note: The following letter to the editor was sent in response to the letter "An unacceptable plan."
As a strong advocate for private property rights, I've battled the National Park Service's desire to control the Missouri Ozarks many times. Most recently, we battled their desire to establish a National Heritage Area covering 13 counties in the district. The "sell" was that tourism would be tremendous. However, there was much more to the story.
The National Park Service spends your money in grants to create Heritage Areas by law. Recipients of these grants then meet with local officials, giving them little information -- in this case, four pages of feel-good fluff -- and then ask for a letter of support. When our property rights group requested the documents, the grantee wouldn't deliver them to us without a FOIA. We then received 1,200 pages. In the details, one finds that the grantees contracted to convince local officials to enact zoning that brings the region under European Planning and Zoning laws. In short, had the designation gone forward, you would need a permit for virtually anything you may want to do with your property. All without anything close to full disclosure to local officials or the citizens.
This type of land acquisition by the National Park Service is completely unacceptable. Congress should prohibit this behavior by constraining their appropriations and specifically restricting their methods of operation. Frankly, they have too much of your money that they use to limit your use and enjoyment of your property, both public and private. Congress must keep the agencies in check.
BOB PARKER, Raymondville, Mo.