What Does This Impact?
The scenic beauty of this national riverway is being lost, even on lands on which taxpayers have already purchased easements or title.
The National Park Service holds scenic easements on more than 9,000 acres of private land within the ONSR. These easements were purchased with federal funds and are intended to maintain the scenic and natural integrity of the river’s corridor.
Since the Coalition for the Environment’s lawsuit in 2005, there have been additional disclosure of inappropriate concessions on scenic easements and inadequate compliance with NEPA. These include several new construction actions approved by the NPS on scenic easement properties. New construction, additions, expansions to structures, and even property trades continue to degrade the visual integrity of the Riverways.
Cabin Below Two Rivers (Current River, mile 52-53)
All new construction in which dynamite was used to excavate the foundation. This supposedly “replaced” a previous primitive cabin.
Completed three-story A-frame cabin located within 15 feet of the river’s edge; provisions of scenic easement violated.
Moss Beal Land Exchange (Current River, Mile 71)
This land exchange twelve miles below Powder Mill, and approved by NPS officials has disgraced this park. NPS-owned fee title property was traded for privately owned land which already had scenic easement protection. The land traded away included a prominent high bluff and permission to build a new, large, and highly visible lodge that can be seen from the river for more than a 1.2 mile away. This land trade is a serious scandal.
The Park Service must reform its administration of the publicly-owned easements on the Riverways, correct past abuses, and prevent future ones.