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Re: Land Designations
connie B Berto wrote:
> Linda, your example of that Recreation and River Area in Tennessee has a
> western counterpart in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the
> San Francisco Bay , established in 1980...
Aha! That is extremely useful information. If Golden Gate was created
as a recreation area, then NPCA is on much shakier ground in demanding
closure of the stables. They seem to be trying to apply national park
rules to what is actually a very different beastie altogether! That
point should be made very forcefully.
This is a little far afield, but I've been reading Robert Caro's Pulitzer
Prize winning biography of Robert Moses. Moses was New York State Park
Commissioner from c. 1924 all the way to 1966! "Parks Commissioner" is
kind of a misnomer. He was also Director of the Triboro Bridge Authority,
and built most of the freeways in New York. (Ever wonder why so many
of them are called PARKways?) He was an extraordinarily powerful man
who even managed to defeat Franklin Roosevelt's effort to oust him. The
book, _The Power Broker_, is a wealth of insight into what makes effective
political power. It is clear that Rule #1 is "Know the law!" If your
opponent knows the law, and you don't, you've lost before the battle
ever got started. (Rule #1 has a corollary: "Whenever possible, write
the law yourself!" :-)
That's how Escalante got designated a "National Monument" in the first
place. It was impossible to protect the land through Congress, there
were too many economic interests that wanted it for mining and oil and gas.
(The precipitating incident was evidently plans for some huge coal
mine.) Then somebody reread the original 1906 law, the first law
to deal with establishing protected preserves on federal lands that
enabled Teddy Roosevelt to create parks by simple proclomation. The
law hadn't been used for decades because it had been superceded by
things like the National Parks act of 1915. But it had never been
repealed. So, presto, Escalante National Monument! Interestingly,
it appears that presidental proclomations can be rescinded by
> Also stated in its extensive and detailed Management Objectives is
> "to develop a trail system for the use of hikers, bicyclists, and
> equestrians." This General Management Plan (1980) is an impressive
> volume. BTW, it specifically provides for the continuation of three
> stables within its boundaries...
It seems that all public lands end up making these "General Management
Plans" that have a lifetime of 10 or so years (yours seems to be far
older) before they go into a revision phase. It is clear that we,
as horse people, have to watch and be aware when the management plan
for our favorite riding area is up for revision, because that's the
moment of greatest jeopardy, and greatest opportunity.
> Some groups with attitudes will try to get closures to horses by
> claiming impacts that the horses MAY have on the land, and then
> challenge us to prove them wrong.
> The Envirohorse group that I talked about last December came together
> just to prevent this type of action by getting horse science research
> going PRO-actively rather than RE-actively. We're still gathering info.
That's happening in Massachusetts right now. The Metropolitan District
Commission, the governmental organization charged with supplying Boston
with water, owns huge tracts of land in the state as reservoirs and
surrounding watershed. Historically, the Barre (Ware?) watershed has
been open to horses. (Quabbin and Wachusett have always been closed.)
Well, somebody started waving cryptosporidium and guiardia around and
now the MDC wants to ban horses at Barre. There has been substantial protest,
and it looks like the horses may be allowed to stay, but on far fewer
trails. There doesn't seem to be any *proof* that the horses are
a danger, but the simple fear that they *might* be is enough. After
all, MDC's first legal priority is to protect the water supply. Supplying
recreational opportunities for horseback riders isn't in their mandate
> Cheers (;-), Connie B
Thanks, Connie, for the pointers!
Linda B. Merims
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