PARK SERVICE REFUSES TO FOLLOW GUIDANCE OF THE 1917 DENALI PARK ENABLING ACT
Excerpts from Kantishna Inholders Association testimony: KIA Congressional Hearing Testimony (2/9/2000) as posted on House Resources Committee website.
The 1917 enabling act for the establishment of Mount McKinley National Park, now Denali, directs the Secretary of the Interior through the NPS to manage the park in a way that encourages visitation. But in the proposed regulations, the NPS selectively quotes (64 Fed Reg 61563) from statute to suit its agenda of limiting use and visitation to Kantishna and other core areas in the Park:
In 1917, Congress established Mount McKinley National Park to "set apart as a public park for the benefit and enjoyment of the people . . . for recreation purposes by the public and for the preservation of animals, birds, and fish and for the preservation of the natural curiosities and scenic beauties thereof . . . said park shall be, and is hereby established as a game refuge" (39 Stat. 938).
This four line quote leaves the reader with the impression that while the Park may have been set aside for the enjoyment of people and for recreation purposes, more emphasis was placed on preservation of natural features and curiosities and scenic beauty, and especially its establishment as a game refuge. Actually, there is quite a different impression gained from reading the entire law.
Attachment A is a side-by-side where the complete Denali National Park enabling statute that remains in force today may be read and compared to the fragments the NPS has chosen to present as support for its rulemaking.
What has the NPS edited out?
In Section 351 they redacted a clause directing the executive authority of the Secretary of the Interior [ie the NPS] to establish regulation "primarily aimed at the freest use of the said park for recreation purposes by the public"!
Why did the NPS omit this key passage, which is critical to an understanding of the Denali Park original framers' intent for the purpose of the park? How does their regulatory package satisfy the spirit of the park enabling act?
It should also be noted that the intent of Congress to encourage ease of visitation was so great that in Section 353 they gave specific authority to the Secretary of the Interior to execute leases to parcels of ground throughout the Old Mount McKinley Park, of up to 20 acres for up to 20 years, whenever the ground is necessary for accommodation of visitors.
BOTH OF THESE PROVISIONS HAVE STOOD THE TEST OF TIME. THEY HAVE REMAINED UNCHANGED SINCE 1917, GONE THROUGH 41 CONGRESSES AND MANY AMENDMENT CYCLES TO THE DENALI PARK SECTION OF THE US CODE.
Clearly the original vision for the purpose of Mount McKinley Park, as well as that of succeeding Congresses, contemplated a favorable consideration of measures encouraging, not limiting, visitation to the park as the 11/12/99 NPS proposed regulations are attempting to do.