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How National Park Law Really Works

By John Copeland Nagle

Abstract

This article provides the first explanation of the relationship between the three overlapping sources of national park law. It first explains how the Organic Act affords the National Park Service substantial discretion to manage the national parks, including deciding the proper balance between enjoyment and conservation in particular instances. It next shows how federal environmental statutes push national park management toward preservation rather than enjoyment. Third, Congress often intervenes to mandate particular management outcomes at individual parks, typically but not always toward enjoyment rather than preservation. The result is that the NPS has substantial discretion to manage national parks in a manner that pursues the dual Organic Act purposes of enjoyment and conservation, but Congress occasionally exercises its ultimate authority to specify which purpose should prevail in particular circumstances

Topics: national parks, National Park Service, Organic Act, conservation, enjoyment, impairment, wilderness, Congress, NEPA, Endangered Species Act, Wild \u26 Scenic Rivers Act, Yosemite National Park, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Environmental Law, Law, Natural Resources Law
Publisher: NDLScholarship
Year: 2015
OAI identifier: oai:scholarship.law.nd.edu:law_faculty_scholarship-2131
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