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Cover to America's National Park Service: The Critical Documents
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Table of Contents


The Early Years,

Defining The System,

The New Deal Years,

The Poverty Years,

Questions of
Resource Management

The Ecological Revolution,

Transformation and

A System Threatened,

Summaries of
Lengthy Documents

About the Editor

America's National Park System:
The Critical Documents
Chapter 7:
Transformation and Expansion, 1970-1980
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1972 (86 Stat. 1308)

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That in order to preserve and protect for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations an area possessing outstanding natural and recreational features, the Gateway National Recreation Area (hereinafter referred to as "recreation area") is hereby established.

(a) The recreation area shall comprise the following lands, waters, marshes, and submerged lands in the New York Harbor area generally depicted on the map entitled "Boundary Map, Gateway National Recreation Area," numbered 951-40017 sheets 1 through 3 and dated May, 1972:

(1) Jamaica Bay Unit—including all islands, marshes, hassocks, submerged lands, and waters in Jamaica Bay, Floyd Bennett Field, the lands generally located between highway route 27A and Jamaica Bay, and the area of Jamaica Bay up to the shoreline of John F. Kennedy International Airport;
(2) Breezy Point Unit—the entire area between the eastern boundary of Jacob Riis Park and the westernmost point of the peninsula;
(3) Sandy Hook Unit—the entire area between Highway 36 Bridge and the northernmost point of the peninsula;
(4) Staten Island Unit—including Great Kills Park, Miller Field (except for approximately 26 acres which are to be made available for public school purposes). Fort Wadsworth, and the water-front lands located between the streets designated as Cedar Grove Avenue, Seaside Boulevard, and Drury Avenue and the bay from Great Kills to Fort Wadsworth;
(5) Hoffman and Swinburne Islands; and
(6) All submerged lands, islands, and waters within one-fourth of a mile of the mean low water line of any waterfront area included above.

(b) The map referred to in this section shall be on file and available for public inspection in the offices of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, District of Columbia.

After advising the Committees on Interior and Insular Affairs of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate in writing, the Secretary of the Interior (hereinafter referred to as the "Secretary") is authorized to make minor revisions of the boundaries of the recreation area when necessary by publication of a revised drawing or other boundary description in the Federal Register.

SEC. 2. (a) Within the boundaries of the recreation area, the Secretary may acquire lands and waters or interest therein by donation, purchase or exchange, except that lands owned by the States of New York or New Jersey or any political subdivisions thereof may be acquired only by donation.

(b) With the concurrence of the agency having custody thereof, any Federal property within the boundaries of the recreation area may be transferred, without consideration, to the administrative jurisdiction of the Secretary for administration as a part of the recreation area.

(c) Within the Breezy Point Unit, (1) the Secretary shall acquire an adequate interest in the area depicted on the map referred to in section 1 of this Act to assure the public use of and access to the entire beach. The Secretary may enter into an agreement with any property owner or owners to assure the continued maintenance and use of all remaining lands in private ownership as a residential community composed of single-family dwellings. Any such agreement shall be irrevocable, unless terminated by mutual agreement, and shall specify, among other things:

(A) that the Secretary may designate, establish and maintain a buffer zone on Federal lands separating the public use area and the private community;
(B) that all construction commencing within the community, including the conversion of dwellings from seasonal to year-round residences, shall comply with standards to be established by the Secretary;
(C) that additional commercial establishments shall be permitted only with the express prior approval of the Secretary or his designee.

(2) If a valid, enforceable agreement is executed pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, the authority of the Secretary to acquire any interest in the property subject to the agreement, except for the beach property, shall be suspended.

(3) The Secretary is authorized to accept by donation from the city of New York any right, title, or interest which it holds in the parking lot at Rockaway which is part of the Marine Bridge project at Riis Park. Nothing herein shall be deemed to authorize the United States to extinguish any present or future encumbrance or to authorize the State of New York or any political subdivision or agency thereof to further encumber any interest in the property so conveyed.

(d) Within the Jamaica Bay Unit, (1) the Secretary may accept title to lands donated by the city of New York subject to a retained right to continue existing uses for a specifically limited period of time if such uses conform to plans agreed to by the Secretary, and (2) the Secretary may accept title to the area known as Broad Channel Community only if, within five years after the date of enactment of this Act, all improvements have been removed from the area and a clear title to the area is tendered to the United States.

SEC. 3. (a) The Secretary shall administer the recreation area in accordance with the provisions of the Act of August 25, 1916 (39 Stat. 535; 16 U.S.C. 1, 2-4), as amended and supplemented. In the administration of the recreation area the Secretary may utilize such statutory authority available to him for the conservation and management of wildlife and natural resources as he deems appropriate to carry out the purposes of this Act: Provided, That the Secretary shall administer and protect the islands and waters within the Jamaica Bay Unit with the primary aim of conserving the natural resources, fish, and wildlife located therein and shall permit no development or use of this area which is incompatible with this purpose.

(b) The Secretary shall designate the principal visitor center constructed within the recreation area as the "William Fitts Ryan Visitor Center" in commemoration of the leadership and contributions which Representative William Fitts Ryan made with respect to the creation and establishment of this public recreation area.

(c) The Secretary is authorized to enter into cooperative agreements with the States of New York and New Jersey, or any political subdivision thereof, for the rendering, on a reimbursable basis, of rescue, firefighting, and law enforcement services and cooperative assistance by nearby law enforcement and fire preventive agencies.

(d) The authority of the Secretary of the Army to undertake or contribute to water resource developments, including shore erosion control, beach protection, and navigation improvements (including the deepening of the shipping channel from the Atlantic Ocean to the New York harbor) on land and/or waters within the recreation area shall be exercised in accordance with plans which are mutually acceptable to the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of the Army and which are consistent with both the purposes of this Act and the purpose of existing statutes dealing with water and related land resource development.

(e) The authority of the Secretary of Transportation to maintain and operate existing airway facilities and to install necessary new facilities within the recreation area shall be exercised in accordance with plans which are mutually acceptable to the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Transportation and which are consistent with both the purpose of this Act and the purpose of existing statutes dealing with the establishment, maintenance, and operation of airway facilities: Provided, That nothing in this section shall authorize the expansion of airport runways into Jamaica Bay or air facilities at Floyd Bennett Field.

(f) The Secretary shall permit hunting, fishing, shell-fishing, trapping, and the taking of specimens on the lands and waters under his jurisdiction within the Gateway National Recreation Area in accordance with the applicable laws of the United States and the laws of the States of New York and New Jersey and political subdivisions thereof, except that the Secretary may designate zones where and established periods when these activities may be not permitted for reasons of public safety, administration, fish or wildlife management, or public use and enjoyment.

(g) In the Sandy Hook and Staten Island Units, the Secretary shall inventory and evaluate all sites and structures having present and potential historical, cultural, or architectural significance and shall provide for appropriate programs for the preservation, restoration, interpretation, and utilization of them.

(h) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary is authorized to accept donations of funds from individuals, foundations, or corporations for the purpose of providing services and facilities which he deems consistent with the purposes of this Act.

SEC. 4. (a) There is hereby established a Gateway National Recreation Area Advisory Commission (hereinafter referred to as the "Commission"). Said Commission shall terminate ten years after the date of the establishment of the recreation area.

(b) The Commission shall be composed of eleven members each appointed for a term of two years by the Secretary as follows:

(1) two members to be appointed from recommendations made by the Governor of the State of New York;
(2) two members to be appointed from recommendations made by the Governor of the State of New Jersey;
(3) two members to be appointed from recommendations made by the mayor of New York City;
(4) two members to be appointed from recommendations made by the mayor of Newark, New Jersey; and
(5) three members to be appointed by the Secretary to represent the general public.

(c) The Secretary shall designate one member to be Chairman. Any vacancy in the Commission shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made.

(d) A member of the Commission shall serve without compensation as such. The Secretary is authorized to pay the expenses reasonably incurred by the Commission in carrying out its responsibility under this Act upon vouchers signed by the Chairman.

(e) The Commission established by this section shall act and advise by affirmative vote of a majority of the members thereof.

(f) The Secretary or his designee shall, from time to time, consult with the members of the Commission with respect to matters relating to the development of the recreation area.

SEC. 5. There are hereby authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act, but not more than $12,125,000 for the acquisition of lands and interests in lands and not more than $92,813,000 (July, 1971 prices) for development of the recreation area, plus or minus such amounts, if any, as may be justified by reason of ordinary fluctuations in the construction costs as indicated by engineering cost indices applicable to the type of construction involved herein.

Approved October 27, 1972.
16 U.S.C. 460 cc et seq.

NEXT>Preservation of Park Values (Conservation Foundation), 1972


Last Modified: October 25, 2000 10:00:00 am PST

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