Eighty Years in the Making
A Legislative History of Voyageurs National Park
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Appendix A

An Act to authorize the establishment of the Voyageurs National Park in the State of Minnesota, and for other purposes. (84 Stat. 1971)

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the purpose of this Act is to preserve, for the inspiration and enjoyment of present and future generations, the outstanding scenery, geological conditions and waterway system which constituted a part of the historic route of the Voyageurs who contributed significantly to the opening of the Northwestern United States.


Sec. 101. In furtherance of the purpose of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior (hereinafter referred to as the "Secretary") is authorized to establish the Voyageurs National park (hereinafter referred to as the "park") in the State of Minnesota, by publication of notice to that effect in the Federal Register at such time as the Secretary deems sufficient interests in lands or waters have been acquired for administration in accordance with the purposes of this Act: Provided, That the Secretary shall not establish the park until the lands owned by the State of Minnesota and any of its political subdivisions within the boundaries shall have been donated to the Secretary for the purposes of the park: Provided further, That the Secretary shall not acquire other lands by purchase for the park prior to such donation unless he finds that acquisition is necessary to prevent irreparable changes in their uses or character of such a nature as to make them unsuitable for park purposes and notifies the Committees on Interior and Insular Affairs of both the Senate and the House of Representatives of such findings at least thirty days prior to such acquisition.

Sec. 102. The park shall include the lands and waters within the boundaries as generally depicted on the drawing entitled "A Proposed Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota," numbered LNPMW-VOYA-1001, dated February 1969, which shall be on file and available for public inspection in the offices of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. Within one year after acquisition of the lands owned by the State of Minnesota and its political subdivisions within the boundaries of the park the Secretary shall affix to such drawing an exact legal description of said boundaries. The Secretary may revise the boundaries of the park from time to time by publishing in the Federal Register a revised drawing or other boundary description, but such revisions shall not increase the land acreage within the park by more than one thousand acres.


Sec. 201. (a) The Secretary may acquire lands or interests therein within the boundaries of the park by donation, purchase with donated or appropriated funds, or exchange. When any tract of land is only partly within such boundaries, the Secretary may acquire all or any portion of the land outside of such boundaries in order to minimize the payment of severance costs. Land so acquired outside of the park boundaries may be exchanged by the Secretary for non-Federal lands within the park boundaries. Any portion of land acquired outside the park boundaries and not utilized for exchange shall be reported to the General Services Administration for disposal under the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (63 Stat. 377), as amended. Any Federal property located within the boundaries of the park may be transferred without consideration to the administrative jurisdiction of the Secretary for the purposes of the park. Lands within the boundaries of the park owned by the State of Minnesota, or any political subdivision thereof, may be acquired only by donation.

(b) In exercising his authority to acquire property under this section, the Secretary shall give immediate and careful consideration to any offer made by any individual owning property within the park area to sell such property to the Secretary. In considering such offer, the Secretary shall take into consideration any hardship to the owner which might result from any undue delay in acquiring his property.

Sec. 202. (a) Any owner or owners (hereinafter referred to as "owner") of improved property on the date of its acquisition by the Secretary may, if the Secretary determines that such improved property is not, at the time of its acquisition, required for the proper administration of the park, as a condition of such acquisition, retain for themselves and their successors or assigns a right of use and occupancy of the improved property for noncommercial residential purposes for a definite term not to exceed twenty-five years, or, in lieu thereof, for a term ending at the death of the owner, or the death of his spouse, whichever is later. The owner shall elect the term to be retained. The Secretary shall pay to the owner the fair market value of the property on the date of such acquisition less the fair market value on such date of the right retained by the owner.

(b) If the State of Minnesota donates to the United States any lands within the boundaries of the park subject to an outstanding lease on which the lessee began construction of a noncommercial or recreational residential dwelling prior to January 1, 1969, the Secretary may grant to such lessee a right of use and occupancy for such period of time as the Secretary, in his discretion, shall determine; Provided, That no such right of use and occupancy shall be granted, extended, or continue after ten years from the date of the establishment of the park.

(c) Any right of use and occupancy retained or granted pursuant to this section shall be subject to termination by the Secretary upon his determination that such use and occupancy is being exercised in a manner not consistent with the purposes of this Act, or upon his determination that the property is required for the proper administration of the park. The Secretary shall tender to the holder of the right so terminated an amount equal to the fair market value of that portion which remains unexpired on the date of termination.

(d) The term "improved property", as used in this section, shall mean a detached, noncommercial residential dwelling, the construction of which was begun before January 1, 1969, together with so much of the land on which the dwelling is situated, the said land being in the same ownership as the dwelling, as the Secretary shall designate to be reasonably necessary for the enjoyment of the dwelling for the sole purpose of noncommercial residential use, together with any structures accessory to the dwelling which are situated on the land so designated.

Sec. 203. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, the Secretary is authorized to negotiate and enter into concession contracts with former owners of commercial, recreational, resort, or similar properties located within the park boundaries for the provision of such services at their former location as he may deem necessary for the accommodation of visitors.

Sec. 204. The Secretary is authorized to pay a differential in value, as hereinafter set forth, to any owner of commercial timberlands within the park with whom the State of Minnesota has negotiated, for the purpose of conveyance to the United States, an exchange of lands for State lands outside the Park. Payment hereunder may be made when an exchange is based upon valuations for timber purposes only, and shall be the difference between the value of such lands for timber purposes, as agreeable to the State, the Secretary, and any owner, and the higher value, if any, of such lands for recreational purposes not attributable to establishment or authorization of the park:

Provided, That any payment shall be made only at such time as fee title of lands so acquired within the boundaries is conveyed to the United States.


Sec. 301. (a) Except as hereinafter provided, the Secretary shall administer the lands acquired for the park, and after establishment shall administer the park, in accordance with the provisions of the Act of August 25, 1916 (39 Stat. 535) as amended and supplemented (16 U.S.C. 1-4).

(b) Within four years from the date of establishment, the Secretary of the Interior shall review the area within the Voyageurs National Park and shall report to the President, in accordance with subsections 3(c) and 3(d) of the Wilderness Act (78 Stat. 890; 16 U.S.C. 1132 (c) and (d)), his recommendation as to the suitability or nonsuitability of any area within the lakeshore for preservation as wilderness, and any designation of any such area as a wilderness may be accomplished in accordance with said subsections of the Wilderness Act.

(c) All mining and mineral activities and commercial water power development within the boundaries of the park shall be prohibited, and further, any conveyance from the State of Minnesota shall contain a covenant that the State of Minnesota, its licensees, permittees, lessees, assigns, or successors in interest shall not engage in or permit any mining activity nor water power development.

Sec. 302. (a) The Secretary shall permit recreational fishing on lands and waters under his jurisdiction within the boundaries of the park in accordance with applicable laws of the United States and of the State of Minnesota, except that the Secretary may designate zones where and establish periods when no fishing shall be permitted for reasons of public safety, administration, fish and wildlife management, or public use and enjoyment. Except in emergencies, any regulations of the Secretary pursuant to this section shall be put into effect only after consultation with the appropriate agency of the State of Minnesota.

(b) The seining of fish at Shoepack Lake by the State of Minnesota to secure eggs for propagation purposes shall be continued in accordance with plans mutually acceptable to the State and the Secretary.

Sec. 303. The Secretary may, when planning for development of the park, include appropriate provisions for (1) winter sports, including the use of snowmobiles, (2) use by seaplanes, and (3) recreational use by all types of watercraft, including houseboats, runabouts, canoes, sailboats, fishing boats and cabin cruisers.

Sec. 304. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect the provisions of any treaty now or hereafter in force between the United States and Great Britain relating to Canada or between the United States and Canada, or of any order or agreement made or entered into pursuant to any such treaty, which by its terms would be applicable to the lands and waters which may be acquired by the Secretary hereunder, including, without limitation on the generality of the foregoing, the Convention Between the United States and Canada on Emergency Regulation of Level of Rainy Lake and of Other Boundary Waters in the Rainy Lake and of Other Boundary Waters in the Rainy Lake Watershed, signed September 15, 1938, and any order issued pursuant thereto.

Sec. 305. The Secretary is authorized to make provision for such roads within the park as are, or will be, necessary to assure access from present and future State roads to public facilities within the park.


Sec. 401. There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act, not to exceed, however, $26,014,000 for the acquisition of property, and not to exceed $19,179,000 (June 1969 prices) for development, plus or minus such amounts, if any, as may be justified by reason of ordinary fluctuations in construction costs as indicated by engineering cost indices applicable to the types of construction involved herein.

Approved January 8, 1971.

Legislative History

House Report No. 91-1552 (Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs).
Senate Report No. 91-1513 (Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs).
Congressional Record, Vol. 116 (1970):
   Oct. 3, considered and passed House.
   Dec. 22, considered and passed Senate, amended.
   Dec. 29, House concurred in Senate amendments.

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Last Updated: 23-Jan-2009