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[at-l] Eminent domain



Hi, all!

This discussion about loss of AT lands, eminent domain and how people feel about
the ATC and NPS has been really interesting and thought provoking.  I'd like to
pose a question to some of the nay-sayers of the doctrine of eminent domain:
Have you ever visited a state or national park?  Have you ever gone to a
national monument such as Gettysburg Battlefield or Devil's Tower?  How about
the Lincoln Memorial?  Have you hiked in Yosemite or Yellowstone, camped by a
stream or waterfall there?  Did you enjoy yourselves, or did you spend the whole
time thinking how awful it was that that land used to belong to someone else?
The fact, no matter how much you may regret it, is that someone *did* used to
own that land, whether it was by deed or trust, or by tradition, as with the
Native Americans.  We may not appreciate the fact that someone had to give up
something so we could all have something in perpetuity in return, but I daresay
most of us are thankful that our founding fathers left the doctrine of eminent
domain in place so we could have these beautiful places to go and "re-create".

There are, to be sure, instances in which the NPS and other agencies have been
heavy-handed in their dealings with private land-owners, and it is regrettable
and deploreable.  As Thomas Greene pointed out earlier, some greedy land-owners
manipulate the system as well.  But there are mechanisms in place which make for
a win-win situation for everyone.  I have slept on the porch of a 100-year-old
home in the Smokies where the NPS gave the owners lifetime rights to their home
and land, with the stipulation that when the last family member died, the land
would become part of the GSMNP.  I felt no resentful poltergeists hanging
around.  The NPS kept the little farm just as it had been when the owners lived
there, and I felt a kinship with that family that I never would have had the
place been sold, the house torn down, and some city family's vacation home built
in its place.

Bottom line, folks:  If it weren't for eminent domain, we wouldn't be posting
to this list!  Enjoy it, and good hiking!

Peace,

Jan


Jan Higginbotham
Cat Lover
bawillco@eastnet.educ.ecu.edu

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