Table of Contents
The Early Years,
Defining The System,
The New Deal Years,
The Poverty Years,
The Ecological Revolution,
A System Threatened,
About the Editor
America's National Park System:
The Critical Documents
Questions of Resource Management: 1957 - 1963
PPOLICY ON THE ESTABLISHMENT AND ADMINISTRATION OF RECREATION AREAS
FEDERAL EXECUTIVE BRANCH POLICY
GOVERNING THE SELECTION,
ESTABLISHMENT, AND ADMINISTRATION
OF NATIONAL RECREATION AREAS
BY THE RECREATION ADVISORY COUNCIL
Circular No. 1, March 26, 1963
The Recreation Advisory Council believes that:
- Greater efforts must be made by Federal, State, local governmental, and private interests to fulfill adequately the steeply mounting outdoor recreation demands of the American people;
The Federal Government should provide leadership and stimulus to this effort, but does not have sole or primary responsibility for providing recreation opportunities;
Present Federal programs should be augmented by a system of National Recreation Areas made up of a limited number of areas where the recreation demand is not being met through other programs.
The system of National Recreation Areas should:
- Provide for Federal investment in outdoor recreation that is more clearly responsive to recreation demand than other investments that are based primarily upon considerations of preserving unique natural or historical resources, the need to develop and conserve public lands and forests, or the requirements of major water resource development undertakings;
- Be areas which have natural endowments that are well above he ordinary in quality and recreation appeal, being of lesser signifcance than the unique scenic and historic elements of the National Park System, but affording a quality of recreation experience which transcends that normally associated with areas provided by State and local governments;
- Be consistent with Federal programs relating to national parks, national forests, public lands, fish and wildlife, water resource development, grants for urban open space, recreation programs on private agricultural lands, and programs for financial assistance to States in providing recreation opportunity.
In order to provide a rational basis for planning and evaluating proposed projects where outdoor recreation use is the dominant or primary purpose, the Recreation Advisory Council hereby sets forth the guidelines it believes should govern the selection, establishment, and administration of National Recreation Areas.
Under authority bestowed upon the Council by Executive Order 11017, of April 27, 1962, the Council commends this policy to all concerned Federal agencies, and by mutual agreement makes it binding upon the member agencies of the Recreation Advisory Council. It shall be applied to the existing backlog of National Recreation Area proposals, as well as to all future proposals.
TERMINOLOGY AND DEFINITION OF SCOPE
Many names have been used in the past in describing areas to be acquired and developed, or to be administratively designated, predominantly for recreation use. Some of these are National Seashore, National Lakeshore, National Waterway, National Riverway, National Recreation Demonstration Areas, and similar names which embody either the physical resource base or the functional purpose to be served. This policy statement includes such areas.
The following criteria are not intended to apply to (a) the classical elements of the National Park System; (b) the standard recreation use areas designated under National Forest practices; (c) the normal scale of recreation development associated with Federal multiple-purpose impoundments; (d) the National Wildlife Refuges, Game Ranges, and National Fish Hatcheries; (e) military and national defense installations; and (f) sites within the zone of metropolitan responsibility, such as provided through the Open Space program of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, or which primarily serve massive day use requirements that properly should be met by local and State agencies of government. On the other hand, it is conceivable that National Recreation Areas may include within their boundaries portions of any existing Federal real property.
PRIMARY CRITERIA FOR SELECTION OF NATIONAL RECREATION AREAS
These criteria represent an essential test. National Recreation Areas are conceived of as consisting of a limited number of areas. Therefore, the Council recognizes that a high degree of judgment will have to be exercised in the choice of priorities among qualifying areas.
Application of the following seven primary criteria shall be mandatory for all proposals:
- National Recreation Areas should be spacious areas, including within their perimeter an aggregate gross area of not less than acres of land and water surface, except for riverways, narrow coastal strips, or areas where total population within a 250 - mileradius is in excess of 30 million people.
- National Recreation Areas should be located and designed to achieve a comparatively high recreation carrying capacity, in relation to type of recreation primarily to be served.
- National Recreation Areas should provide recreation opportunities significant enough to assure interstate patronage within the region of service, and to a limited extent should attract patronage from outside of the normal service region.
- The scale of investment, development, and operational responsibility should be sufficiently high to require either direct Federal involvement, or substantial Federal participation to assure optimum public benefit.
- Although nonurban in character, National Recreation Areas should nevertheless be strategically located within easy driving distance, i.e., not more than 250 miles from urban population centers which are to be served. Such areas should be readily accessible at all times, for all-purpose recreational use.<
- Within National Recreation Areas, outdoor recreation shall be recognized as the dominant or primary resource management purpose. If additional natural resource utilization is carried on, such additional use shall be compatible with fulfilling the recreation mission, and none will be carried on that is significantly detrimental to it.
- National Recreation Areas should be established in only those areas where other programs (Federal and non-Federal) will not fulfill high priority recreation needs in the foreseeable future.
SECONDARY CRITERIA FOR SELECTION OF NATIONAL RECREATION AREAS
Application of the following six secondary criteria will be given weight in situations where they bear a meaningful relationship to a specific proposal:
- Preference should be given to proposed National Recreation Areas that:
- Are within or closely proximate to those official U.S. Census Divisions having the highest population densities;
- Are in areas which have a serious deficiency in supply of both private and public outdoor recreation areas and facilities as determined by the National Recreation Plan.
- Are in areas which have a comparatively low amount of federally provided recreation carrying capacity;
- Show an optimum ratio of carrying capacity to estimated cost.
- National Recreation Areas may be based upon existing or proposed Federal water impoundments where it can be shown that significant increases in the scale of recreation development are required, beyond the level normally justified under standard multiple-purpose project development, in order to assure that full recreational potential is provided for projected needs.
- National Recreation Areas may include within their boundaries scenic, historic, scientific, scarce or disappearing resources, provided the objectives of their preservation and enjoyment can be achieved on a basis compatible with the recreation mission.
- National Recreation Areas should be in conformity with the National Recreation Plan prepared by the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, and shall take into consideration State, regional, and local comprehensive plans.
- Whenever possible, National Recreation Areas should be selected, developed, and managed to provide maximum compatibility with the recreation potential of adjacent rural areas in private ownership.
- Preference should be given to areas within or proximate to a Redevelopment Area as officially designated by the Department of Commerce and deemed significant in the economic improvement of such a Redevelopment Area.
ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL RECREATION AREAS
National Recreation Areas shall be established by an Act of Congress. Legislation to establish National Recreation Areas will be processed in accordance with established procedures for handling legislation. Upon request of the Executive Office of the President, the Recreation Advisory Council will review specific National Recreation Area proposals, based upon studies made or prescribed by the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation. For those proposals referred to it, the Council will recommend appropriate action regarding authorization, modification; priority of establishment; and the responsible management agency or agencies.
ADMINISTRATION OF NATIONAL RECREATION AREAS
National Recreation Area proposals should include recommendations as to the agency or agencies responsible for their management. In making this recommendation, sponsoring organizations should take into account the proximity of the proposed area to other publicly administered areas, along with such other factors as will assure effective and economical administration of the new area. Where deemed feasible and desirable, a joint Federal-State management arrangement may be recommended.
National Park Service Handbook of Administrative Policies for Recreation Areas, 1968, 69-72.
NEXT>Chapter 6: The Ecological Revolution, 1964 - 1969