Historical Tourism a Sham for the Journey Through Hallowed Ground
Your posts about the threats to property rights by The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area Act (identical bills in Congress S 2645 and HR 5195) are dead on target!
The Act was planned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP). It spawned an offshoot named The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, which in turn hired lawyers to write the Act. The Partnership promoted its bill for several years amongst state and local elected officials and found Congressional sponsors. It misrepresented its purpose as being an honorific partnership for historical tourism and downplayed the land acquisition written into the actual legislation.
In fact, one of the main duties of the management entity, which consists of the Partnership under the supervision of the National Park Service, is to acquire land. Property owners are not protected by the language of the bill, because although no federal money can be used for land acquisition, the Partnership can use the federal money for advertising and is empowered to raise state and private money for acquisition. There is no prohibition of down-zoning as a tool to coerce "willing" sellers.
The pretense of the Partnership that their Act is needed to preserve our country's heritage is belied by the actual facts. The area already abounds in tourism and money.
Consider the existing funding of historic sites:
1) Dodona Manor - George C. Marshall Center 2004 total revenues $730,125. Ending assets $5,382,418. (IRS 2004 Form 990)
2) Oatlands Plantation
2004 total revenues $1,174,935, Ending assets $1,277,675 (Form 990)
2005 grant from National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) $300,000
3) Warrenton and Culpeper Main Street Community Programs - (VDOT and NTHP support)
4) Montpelier, owned by NTHP, 2005 Grant $7,000,000. (2004 Form 990)
5) Monticello, owned by Thomas Jefferson Foundation, 2004 total revenues $31,187,014 (2004 Form 990)
Most of this money has come from willing private donations by citizens and groups of citizens who chose to support our heritage without the big stick of big brother.
These figures indicate the token $1,000,000 annual funding requested in the "Hallowed Ground" bill for 4 states is a diversion. Even if the bill passes and the money is never appropriated, the smart growth advocates of the National Trust and its offshoot the managing Partnership will have achieved their goal of land control.
This goal is stated on the Trust's "Hallowed Ground" web site: "But now this once-tranquil landscape is being radically transformed by suburban sprawl from the fast-growing DC metropolitan area where new subdivisions sprout in the midst of cornfields, meandering country roads are straightened and widened to accommodate traffic, traditional "Main Street" towns find their character threatened by incompatible new development, and venerable landmarks are engulfed by sprawl."
If the bill passes, local citizens will have their housing and livelihoods restricted by the National Park Service and the Partnership's definition of compatible development
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