Why CAPR is Fighting the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area

Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights is petitioning Congress asking for a denial of the designation of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust National Heritage Area.  There are serious considerations regarding the imposition of an Heritage Area on Private Property Owners. http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/petition-to-deny-mountains-to-sound-greenway-national-heritage-area.html Individual Property Owners expect the right to self-determination through elected and accountable representatives. National Heritage Areas are mapped regions which include thousands of private properties within the borders of a Heritage Area. National Heritage Areas are areas that are designated National Park Service Areas and are as such federally controlled areas. The National Park Service is in charge of distributing federal park tax-payer funded dollars to an unelected and unaccountable Private Trust Organization. The Private Trust Organization distributes the federal dollars within the National Heritage Area in ways that reflect the Trust's Agendas and Goals. The Trust's agendas and goals may not reflect what is in the best interest of the private properties that are being used to create a mapped area. Individual Citizens and Property Owners expect their National Park Service dollars to be spent on caring for and maintaining actual National Parks, not on Heritage Areas. The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust's Mission Statement is in direct conflict with the goals of many property owners, and importantly, in direct conflict with the stated goals of Heritage Areas as shown in this quote from the Trust: “While a majority of funding needs are met with site specific grants, the Greenway Trust is in need of general support funding to cover costs for volunteer recruitment, community education materials, publication production, outreach and research to determine how to preserve key land parcels, and technical support for city leaders throughout the Greenway as they seek to build sustainable communities to accommodate a growing population.” Heritage Areas should not be tools for those who believe in their own particular methods for building sustainable communities, especially while the trust is mapping within its Heritage Area borders private properties that may adhere to differing methods for building sustainable communities and in particular in building their own methods of sustainability into their own private properties that may conflict with the agendas and goals of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. To map private properties into a Heritage Area without the consent of the property owners is an affront to the contributions made by property owners, and to their right to self -determination within the framework of the Washington State Constitution, when the only recourse to being mapped into the heritage area is to be “given” the right to refrain from participating in any plan, project, program, or activity conducted within the Heritage Area; this right would be hard if not nearly impossible, and potentially exhaustively and prohibitively expensive to retain for an individual property owner. The opt out clause is of little consequence when compared to the carrot and stick coercion of the private and federal dollars that will be involved in this area that will be tempting to cash strapped local municipalities where income and industry has already been impaired due to state and federal decision making. Imagine the influence and lack of accountability if instead of our local elected representatives representing our interests, we in these “heritage areas”, have stakeholders deciding what is in our best interest according to their own best interests and agendas, with the power through federal dollars and public/private partnerships to accomplish those agendas. The private property owner cannot exert an equal level of power. Certainly, there remain concerns about the possible direct or indirect effects of such designations on local communities and private property, including regulatory or bureaucratic interference with private properties.  As such concerns exist, Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights is requesting of Congress and in particular Congressman Dan Newhouse of Washington State and Congressman Tom McClintock, Chair of subcommittee on Federal Lands, National Resources Committee, to deny the designation of the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area. By signing our petition, you can add your voice and opinion to this request of denial for the designation of the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area.  You can share this petition or email it to friends and family.  Together we can put a stop to this Hertitage Area designation and protect our private properties! http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/petition-to-deny-mountains-to-sound-greenway-national-heritage-area.html  

August 9, 2015