Private land at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park should be acquired for preservation, report says

April 09, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. -- Harpers Ferry National Historical Park was identified as one of 55 national parks across the country Tuesday with private land for sale within their borders that needs to be acquired to protect wildlife, natural and cultural resources.

The report by the National Parks Conservation Association is the first comprehensive look in many years at land for sale inside parks, according to a news release from the organization.

The 28-page report, "America's Heritage: For Sale," said a "significant and growing number" of the country's 391 National Park Service units face threats on their resources because of development on private land inside their borders.

As part of the study, there were case studies on 10 national parks across the country, including Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in Jefferson County, W.Va.


The report said key parcels adjacent to and inside the Harpers Ferry region have been proposed for large-scale development and that some projects have been averted.

Lands available for acquisition include an essential piece of the view from Jefferson Rock, where Thomas Jefferson stood in 1783 and proclaimed that "this scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic," according to the report.

As a result of the private land available for acquisition in Harpers Ferry, the National Parks Conservation Association said it will seek $7 million to allow the National Park Service to acquire more than 65 acres in the area, the report states.

The report notes history from Harpers Ferry such as abolitionist John Brown's attack on slavery and the largest surrender of federal troops during the Civil War and said the area is a "crossroads of history."

"This is about protecting the integrity and completing the mission of the National Park Service," Ron Tipton, senior vice president for programs at NPCA, said in news release.

Park officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The National Parks Conservation Association advocates for national parks, educates decision makers about the importance of preserving the parks and helps convince members of Congress to uphold laws that protect the parks.

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