Rocky Mountain National Park Ownership Correction Act
STATEMENT FOR THE RECORD OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC LANDS REGARDING H.R. 5459, A BILL TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO CORRECT A LAND OWNERSHIP ERROR WITHIN THE BOUNDARY OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
July 13, 2020
Chair Haaland, Ranking Member Young, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to provide the Department of the Interior’s views on H.R. 5459, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to correct a land ownership error within the boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park, and for other purposes.
The Department supports H.R. 5459, which would resolve a longstanding ownership issue within the park.
H.R. 5459 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to exchange a 0.18-acre parcel of park land for the same amount of private land in order to resolve a land ownership issue within the boundary of the park. In the 1970s, the National Park Service purchased land surrounding a private inholding. An error in the bank’s legal description incorrectly located a 0.18-acre parcel in that purchase. As a result, the parcel the National Park Service acquired included a family cabin, and the private owner acquired a vacant lot, not the cabin site.
Since the error was discovered, the National Park Service has been working with the owner to correct the legal ownership and exchange the parcels. However, this exchange cannot be done within agency policy since the two properties are of unequal value. In the interim, the family continues to use the cabin through a Special Use Permit. This proposed legislation would permanently resolve this issue and ensure the intent of the original purchase is met.
Chair Haaland, this concludes our statement.