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Massive Omnibus Parks Bill Being Planned by Congress

Huge "PARK BARREL" Bill Will
Create New Heritage Areas

Over $200 Million Will be Spent
Federalizing Private Land

In 1996 your "friends" in Congress at the last minute snuck through a whole bunch of heritage areas and other parks legislation in what they called an "Omnibus Parks bill." No matter where you live in the US you could be threatened in the next few weeks by a new "Omnibus Parks bill" which will include Congressional "pork" for dozens of congressional districts.

Don’t be misled by the term "Omnibus Parks Bill." Beside new heritage areas, the bill can include new wildlife refuges, Wild and Scenic rivers, parks, national recreation areas and all kinds of other "park barrel" legislation. The idea is to give many congressmen something to take home for the voters in their district in one bill. Because your congressman gets a bill he wants, he votes for dozens of other bills that he would never otherwise support. A lot of bad legislation gets passed this way. The new bill, which has no number yet, will cost well over $200 million.

Here are just four of many examples of Congressional pork in the new "Omnibus Parks bill":

  1. AUTOMOBILE NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA in Michigan. Here is a boondoggle of massive proportions that will tap the Federal taxpayer to build a showcase for the auto industry. It will likely be another Steamtown, USA that cost nearly $100 million to be managed by the Park Service in PA.
  2. SAN RAFAEL SWELL NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA in Utah. Promoted by Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) and Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT), this heritage area leads the way for millions of acres of new Federal Wilderness. The cost in lost jobs and resources is staggering.
  3. BACA RANCH PURCHASE in New Mexico. Promoted at first by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the bill is now also sponsored by Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) as well as the rest of the New Mexico delegation. 95,000 acres would be purchased for $150 million of tax dollars to bail out a wealthy oil family from Houston. The local county will be damaged severely by the loss of tax dollars. Taxes on other landowners will go up. The Park Service is behind by nearly $10 billion in deferred maintenance. The Forest Service has similar problems. Why not take care of what we have.
  4. "WOOLSEY FARMLAND CONDEMNATION ACT" in Marin County, California. HR 1995 would add 38,000 acres of already protected farmland to the Pt. Reyes National Seashore managed by the National Park Service. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) calls it her Pt. Reyes National Seashore Farmland Protection Act in a deliberate attempt to mislead Congress and the public. She has quietly signed up 230 co-sponsors (mostly Democrats but some Republicans too—who want a free environmental vote). She has carefully gone to Members of Congress one at a time, to sign them up to support. This is no joke. Woolsey claims only a few farmers are opposed. Actually, over 90% oppose HR 1995.

HR 1995 threatens you, no matter where you live in the US. Why? Because other Congressmen will watch to see if Woolsey’s park expansion tactic works. If she wins by signing up hundred of co-sponsors it will set a trend. Every Congressman will run around and sign up all the Congressmen who do not live in the area as co-sponsors to force the bill onto the floor of the House or Senate for a vote. It is easy to vote for something that doesn’t directly affect you. It’s a "free" environmental vote.

To make matters worse, some Republicans are signing on because they think it is just a no risk vote to make them look good to the greens. If we let them get away with this, your land will always be at risk. You’ll never be safe.

If small local landowner groups are going to protect themselves, they are going to have to band together to support each other. If you sit by and allow an "Omnibus Parks bill" to sneak by Congress in the dead of night, bills like "Woolsey’s Farmland Condemnation Act" or more heritage areas, you’ll always be in danger. Maybe not this year, but you could be in the next "Omnibus Parks bill." This is the fourth straight election year that Congress has tried to use the "Omnibus Parks bill" tactic to pass local legislation that would not pass on its own.

It’s the old concept of don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax the man behind the tree. Under the "Omnibus Parks bill" and the "Woolsey Farmland Condemnation Act," you and I each lose some of our property rights. This process used to be blamed on Phil Burton and the Democrats. Now the Republicans are up to their eyebrows in it. It has got to stop. Otherwise local people will never have a chance to influence legislation affecting their local area.


The Omnibus Parks bill is being pushed by Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and a number of people in the House leadership. In 1996 they pushed the Omnibus Parks bill over the objection of Resources Chairman Don Young (R-AK) and others. Bills such as the Northern Forest Stewardship Act, Park Fee Demo project, American Discovery Trails, Utah land Exchange, and lots of park additions could be included.


For More Information Contact:

American Land Rights Association
Tel: CompanyPhone
FAX: CompanyFAX

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