ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE ATTACK ON
GRAYMOOR FRIARS IN GARRISON NY
CARA: Holy Land Grab! Monks Vote Too.
WHY THE FIGHT OVER THE USE OF CONDEMNATION (EMINENT DOMAIN) USING FUNDS FROM CARA? --
THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE (NPS) IS CONDEMNING THE FRANCISCAN FRIARS OF ATONEMENT AT GRAYMOOR IN NEW YORK STATE ON THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL.
ARE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE PERSONNEL OUT OF CONTROL ON THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL? YOU BET THEY ARE.
If you are considering allowing a NEW NATIONAL TRAIL to be your neighbor, YOU BETTER READ THIS BEFORE YOU DO. IF YOU WANT A NEW PARK SERVICE AREA TO MOVE IN NEXT DOOR, better take a second look.
THE PARK SERVICE IS ALSO SEEKING TO DESTROY SADDLEBACK SKI AREA IN MAINE USING CONDEMNATION RIGHT NOW. The NPS is violating the law, the intent of Congress, threatening the landowners and the local communities too. They are just not good neighbors. They don't work with communities. There are lots of good people in the Park Service, but few involved in land acquisition. Having too much money makes them feel they simply don't have to care what other people think.
WHAT FEW IN CONGRESS REALIZE IS THAT THIS IS HOW THE NPS USUALLY OPERATES. THE ONLY THING THAT CAN COME CLOSE TO CONTROLLING THEM IS REDUCING THEIR MONEY.
MORE MONEY FROM CARA WON'T MAKE THE NPS A GOOD NEIGHBOR. CARA WILL GUARANTEE THAT THE PARK SERVICE AND OTHER FEDERAL LAND AGENCIES WILL NEVER BE GOOD NEIGHBORS. If CARA passes, it will mean that Members of Congress will have to become management consultants constantly trying to blunt the attacks by the Park Service against their constituents.
WEBSITES WITH MORE INFORMATION ON THE GRAYMOOR FRIARS ATTACK AND OTHER NPS ABUSES ALONG THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL
GRAYMOOR FRANCISCAN FRIARS OF THE ATONEMENT website with links to other news articles, press releases, background on the National Park Service attack.
Institute of Human Rights Research study of National Park Service abuses of property owners in New Hampshire along the Appalachian Trail.
Website of Blessed Katherine Drexel Region, a part of The Secular Franciscan Order, supporting Graymoor in their fight against the National Park Service. SIGN THEIR PETITION!
Listen to this interview about the land grab against the friars: Audio Interview with Graymoor Friar Representative Father Arthur Johnson, Minister General of the Friars on WAMC Albany NY - Northeast Public Radio's Lisa Phillips. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE DEMANDS LAND FROM HUDSON VALLEY MONASTERY. GARRISON, NY (WAMC) 7-25-2000 - The Appalachian Trail runs through the property of the Franciscan Friars in Garrison, NY. Though the Friars have provided meals and places to sleep to hikers, the National Park Service wants 20 acres of their land. WAMC's Lisa Phillips reports.
"IT'S THE MONEY, STUPID."
NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE 7/20/00 10:10 a.m.
Holy Land Grab!
Don't they realize that monks are New York voters too?
By Kathryn Jean Lopez, NR associate editor ÷ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Clinton administration seems to leave no stone unturned in its quest for a historical legacy. The latest victims: the Franciscan Friars of Atonement at Graymoor in Hillary Clinton's most recent adopted state, New York. The Catholic friars have been in Garrison, New York, for more than 100 years, their property partially crossed by the Appalachian Trail since 1923.
In 1984, at the Park Service's request, the Graymoor Friars handed over 58 acres of their land to the federal government. Before and since then, the friars have graciously and voluntarily been host to hikers on the trail, offering free meals, showers, and sleeping accommodations. In addition, the 43 friars and 85 sisters who live at Graymoor operate a pilgrimage center, a homeless shelter and drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, and an ecumenical institute. The St. Christopher's Inn, the shelter/rehab center, serves over 1,000 people annually.
None of that, evidently, is enough. The Park Service says that the land needs additional "scenic protection" that only Uncle Sam can provide. Currently the National Park Service is requesting that the friars cede an additional 20 to 60 acres to the government. The friars argue that the latest request goes beyond the Park Service's mandate - actually, in effect, expanding the Trail.
And although the friars have been talking with the Park Service since the Spring on the matter, the Park Service has decided to hand the case over to the Justice Department, to begin eminent-domain proceedings to force the religious congregation to hand over the land.
Rep. Sue Kelly (R-NY) urged Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in a letter last week to withdraw the case from the Justice Department, calling the move "heavy-handed" and "offensive." Besides wondering how the federal government could possibly make better use of this land than the friars are, one wonders: Doesn't the Clinton administration realize these monks are potential Hillary voters?
The Journal News (White Plains NY) -- 7/14/2000
FRIARS WANT NO PART OF RELOCATING
By Tom Andersen
GARRISON --The dirt path that tumbles through the maple forests on the Franciscan Friars' land in Graymoor is just a tiny fraction of the 2,144-mile Appalachian Trail -- a mere quick walk through the woods in a corner of Putnam County.
But this quick walk has triggered the intense territorial instincts of both the National Park Service, which operates the trail and wants more land to protect it, and the Franciscan Friars' themselves, who own the surrounding land.
For the Park Service, the justification for its actions is the eminent domain clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Park Service wants to add 18 of Graymoor's acres to the 58 it already has an easement on, to protect it against encroachments by the friars. "We ... do not see it resulting in any restriction on the Friars' ability to carry out their ministries," Park Manager Pamela Underhill said.
The Franciscans, of course, answer to a different authority. But they are by no means assuming the meek mantle of St. Francis of Assisi when it comes to protecting their land and buildings, and their future. "The attempt to take more land through eminent domain, I really find an affront because it borders on possibly restricting future ministries here at Graymoor," the Rev. Arthur Johnson, the head of Graymoor, said yesterday. "I find it an affront that a civil servant in the Parks Service makes a judgment about Roman Catholic ministries."
The Appalachian Trail stretches from Maine to Georgia, and although it is well-known among hikers, the section at Graymoor is not exactly Interstate 95 when it comes to through traffic. In the busiest summer months, five to eight hikers a day cross Graymoor. But when they do, they get one of the warmest welcomes on the trail.
The friars feed hikers a hot meal, let campers pitch tents and stay for the night, or give them a bed in a dormitory and a hot shower -- for free. The friars' hospitality is noted in guidebooks to the trail, and last year 446 hikers availed themselves of it, said the Rev. Fred Alvarez, who is in charge of providing services to the hikers.
"Graymoor is the Hilton of the Appalachian Trail," he said. The trail first crossed Graymoor in 1923, but the agreement to use the Franciscans' land was informal. By 1984, the National Park Service decided it wanted the trail to travel a different route through Graymoor, so it worked out a formal easement for 58 acres. The friars still owned the land, but they sold their rights to use it for $116,500.
A year later, though, the Franciscans violated the terms of the easement by building a pump house for a new sewage treatment plant on the land and laying sewer pipes under the trail. "I can't say why it was built," said Johnson, who has been Graymoor's minister general for about a year. "It was a dumb thing to do. I don't know if it was a mistake or not."
It was the possibility of a similar encroachment that prompted the Park Service to begin negotiations to buy more of Graymoor's land. When those discussions stalled in May, the Park Service referred the case to the Justice Department to start eminent domain proceedings.
Under eminent domain, the Constitution empowers the government to pay market price for land it thinks it needs to acquire for the public good. It is an absolute power and the only recourse is for the landowner to go to court to challenge the price. Johnson said the Park Service has appraised the land at $2,000 an acre. The Park Service would not confirm the appraisal.
The only other hope is to persuade the government to return to the negotiating table, which the Franciscans hope to do. They have also asked Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Sue W. Kelly, R-Katonah, for help. Kelly wrote to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt on Wednesday, asking him to instruct the Park Service to drop the eminent domain proceedings.
Babbitt's office said yesterday that it had not yet received Kelly's letter. The 400-acre Graymoor property is home to 43 priests and 85 nuns. Among the property's buildings is St. Christopher's Inn, which provides shelter to 1,000 homeless men a year. Weekend retreats and other events draw several thousand visitors a year. The organization has no plans to expand, Johnson said, but neither can it guarantee that it won't. Among other things, if the Park Service gets the land it wants, it would hem in the sewage plant, and if that facility can't grow, neither can Graymoor. "We just want to make sure we have the ability in the future to maintain our ministries and our living space," Johnson said.
National Park Service's Saddleback Contingent
Strong-arms Franciscan Friars
Go to this website for more information: As Maine Goes
I greet you in the tradition of Saint Francis of Assisi: May the Lord give you His Peace! Katrinka Walter at Graymoor directed me to your post about the savagery of the Government, via the arm of the National Parks Service, attempting to wrench land from the Friars. I wanted to let you know about our efforts to help: Blessed Katharine Drexel Region of the Secular Franciscan Order (an Order which is approved by the Roman Catholic Church and independent from the Friars of the Atonement at Graymoor) has pledged their support to Graymoor. Toward that end, we are currently in the process of notifying all 18,000 Secular Franciscans in the United States, plus representatives of all branches of the Franciscan Family, and the general public. We have constructed a website at www.savegraymoor.org
The Franciscans are one big family, and when someone picks on one of our brothers or sisters, the rest of us kick up a fuss! Thank you for giving your attention to this important matter. Please contact us if you need further information.
Peace and All Good!
Mrs. Antony Outhwaite, SFO
Director of Formation
Blessed Katharine Drexel Region
Secular Franciscan Order
From: "countrydummy" < email@example.com >
Subject: Friars and the NPS
It is bad enough when federally funded organizations and so-called parts of the federal government try and take, and do take, over private property; yet this is blasphemy!!!! I can truly only hope that the good Lord sends fire and brimstone down on the NPS, the Forest Service and the Fish and Wild Life departments of the federal government......or is that what He is doing right now, what will all the fires burning all our beautiful lands and forests up!!! Those that these agencies swear they are protecting????
They have "protected" them alright, to the point that they are being burnt up and destroyed, all in the name of preservation!!!! When you can't go and clean up the property en-trusted to your stewardship, and you continually defend the pretense of the "protection" of these properties entrusted too you and then you can not justify the existing problems, then what is the excuse? And how dare you (the NPS) ask or demand for further lands to be entrusted to YOUR STEWARDSHIP??? Are you nuts or that egotistical????
I think the latter is the answer. You, the NPS, would "steal the pennies off a dead man's eyes" to get your way!!! How pathetic to run off the very ones that have helped add to the popularity of the Appalachian Trail.....priests and nuns no less!!! You are pathetic and need to be shut down and dissolved and "cast into a lake of fire"!!!!
PO Box 202
Jumping Branch, WV (part of the Trail) 25969
Phone: (304) 466-3676
Be informed! Don't allow yourself to be snowed by CARA.
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