MORRISON: The struggle to keep our American Heritage

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

By Joyce Morrison (

"Who would want property which you can't use and for which you must pay taxes?" Morrison writes today.
OPINION: On Monday this week, the U.S. Congress' lame duck session convened. It seems we are safe only when legislators are not in session because when they meet to cast their votes, our finances, our property and our way of life are in jeopardy.

A major threat before Congress could be S 1521, the Heritage Areas legislation. I have been assured this bill won't move at this time, but property rights groups are watching it closely.

While the mere name of "Heritage" rings warm and fuzzy, there has been a move that will totally destroy our true American Heritage.

One of the major dangers of Heritage Areas is the implementation of federal zoning. In an American Policy Center alert, Tom DeWeese reported that "federal funding for Heritage Areas is administered through the National Park Service to radical preservation and conservation groups who are determined to lock away anything and everything within the Heritage Area that they see fit."

This may not sound serious until we realize that real people own the property where these Heritage Areas will be placed. The word "preservation" in any bill is serious, if they are referring to your property.

DeWeese said, "In fact, in the actual bill, local greens are directed to lock away and preserve everything in sight. Only this time, with National Heritage Areas, the Park Service formally teams up with local environmental groups to take away your private property rights."

Actual bill language in S.1521 states that the "Management Plan" (which is to be drawn up by greens and the Park Service) must include: "An inventory of the resources contained in the core area of the Heritage Area . . . and any other property in the Heritage Area that is related to the themes of the Heritage Area and that should be preserved, restored, managed, or maintained because of its significance."

"Will your property be deemed 'significant' to the Heritage Area? How about your street or your block?" DeWeese asked.

The APC alert stated that representatives and senators think Heritage Areas are simply convenient little bundles of pork that they can carry back to their districts. While that would be bad enough, Heritage Areas are far worse than "pork." They empower the National Park Service to control land use in your community, and dump money to beneficiaries to enact whatever radical environmental or preservational agenda that is nearest and dearest to their hearts.

This means the landowner and local government will have no say in the Heritage Areas regulations. If these "stakeholders" decide all homes must be brown with green roofs or no one can build or make changes in any of the Heritage area, the landowner and local government will have to comply. Local control has been lost.

Isn't it ironic how we pay very little attention to implications of programs such as Heritage Areas, scenic highways and rivers, watershed projects and the many other invasive programs?

American Heritage or United Nations Heritage?

I do not take American Heritage lightly. All of my ancestors came to America in the sixteen and seventeen hundreds. They were an interesting mix. Some settled in New Netherlands in New York. There were those who fought in the Revolutionary War and some of the early settlers married Native Americans. Some were French Huguenots seeking religious freedom. In the early 1800s, one direct ancestor owned the Mammoth Caves in Kentucky.

The cavern's importance became known for the saltpetre that was extracted from the mines for powder making purposes from its nitrons deposits to make ammunition for the War of 1812.

The Mammoth Caves are now a United Nations World Heritage site. I can understand this marvel of nature possibly being designated as a United States monument, but a United Nations World treasure? While it may appear pleasing to have a monument with world acclaim, do we want to relinquish our American Heritage to do so?

How do these special places become a World Heritage site?

The Federal Register in January of 1982 explains the joining of the United States with 60 other countries under the auspices of the United Nations in sharing national monuments and treasures. The Fish and Wildlife and Parks, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife within the Interior Department, the President's Council on Environmental Quality, the Smithsonian Institute, Institution on the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the Department of State joined with UNESCO. The Heritage sites are selected by a global commission following the nomination of the site.

United States' most spectacular treasures are now called United Nations World Heritage sites and the year they were designated are:

Mesa Verde (1978)
Yellowstone (1978)
Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek (1979 , 1992, 1994 )
Grand Canyon National Park (1979)
Everglades National Park(1979)
Independence Hall (1979)
Redwood National Park (1980)
Mammoth Cave National Park (1981)
Olympic National Park (1981)
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (1982)
Great Smoky National Park (1983)
LaForteleza and San Juan Historic Site in Puerto Rico (1983)
Statue of Liberty (1984)
Yosemite National Park (1984)
Chaco Culture National Historic Park (1987)
Hawaii Volcanos National Park (1987)
Monticello and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville (1987)
Pueblo de Taos (1992)
Waterton Glacier International Peace Park (1995)
Carlsbad Caverns National Park (1995)

Henry Lamb's December 4th column, entitled "America Sold Out" should be read by everyone.

In it, Lamb states, "Currently, governments own about 42 percent of the total land area in the U.S. Land trusts own an additional, unknowable, amount of land. Fast-forward fifty years. At the current rate of 'preservation,' government and land trusts will own most of the land by 2100, private property will be a distant memory."

"Every new land acquisition appropriation in Washington, or at the state and local level moves America closer and closer to that socialist utopia described in the 1976 U.N. document, which declares that "Public control of land use is therefore indispensable . . ."

We can add that any land that is not government owned will be so regulated that the freedom of ownership, that has made America a great nation, will be lost.

© 2004 -- all rights reserved


What are your thoughts concerning the issues raised in this commentary? Write a letter to the editor at, and include your name and town.

Joyce Morrison lives in southern Illinois. She is a chapter leader for Concerned Women for America and she and her husband, Gary, represent the local Citizens for Private Property Rights. Joyce is Secretary to the Board of Directors of Rural Restoration/ADOPT Mission, a national farm ministry located in Sikeston.
She has become a nationally-recognized advocate for property rights.



In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]

Back to Current Edition Citizen Review Archive LINKS Search This Site