HR 5397 - Adding Taxpayer Protections and a Guaranteed Right of Public Use to Previous Proposals to Expand the Boundaries of Yosemite National Park

August 1, 2014

  Congressman Tom McClintock today introduced HR 5397, adding taxpayer protections and a guaranteed right of public use to previous proposals to expand the boundaries of Yosemite National Park.

“The proposed addition to the park offers spectacular views from Henness Ridge and still has remnants of timber roads that could be adapted for hiking, riding, mountain biking, and other recreational pursuits,” said McClintock.  “In acquiring this land, it is important that the public have an explicit guarantee of access, that the land be properly managed and that taxpayers be protected from excessive costs.  In my discussions with the Natural Resources Committee, it has been clear that a successful bill must include these principles.”
 
* HR 5397protects taxpayers by assuring that the land is donated to the park.  (The acquisition consists of two parcels.  One was acquired many years ago by investors who later discovered they cannot develop the land; the other by the Pacific Forest Trust for the explicit purpose of public use.  The public should not pay top dollar to bail out bad real estate decisions or for property already acquired for public use).
 
* HR 5397 protects property owners by forbidding eminent domain from being exercised in the acquisition of the land or restricting the use of adjacent private property. 
 
* HR 5397 protects park users by explicitly guaranteeing the public the right to use this parcel for recreational activities allowed at Yosemite National Park at the time of the acquisition.  (Recent attempts to restrict traditional activities like horseback riding, mountain biking and camping make this provision critical for long-term public use of this land).
 
* HR 5397assures proper management of the land by requiring that it be treated for fuels reduction within a year of acquisition and frees up a like amount of public land held elsewhere in the country by the Department of the Interior.  (The Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation has received hours of testimony on the poor management of public lands by the Department.  This provision assures that acquisition of this new parcel will not add further to the problem).
 
“HR 5397 meets the concerns heard by the House Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation over land management issues involving the Department of Interior,” said Chairman Rob Bishop.  “This is exactly the kind of innovative approach toward which our subcommittee has worked, and I commend the author for collaborating closely with it on developing this measure.”
 
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