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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO addressed the following specific areas: (1) what a study of the land management and acquisition practices of the National Park Service at a few selected sites which are representative of different types of Federal lands would show; (2) what the interrelationships of the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service with the nonprofit organizations' increased role in the acquisition of lands are; (3) whether Federal land acquisition through donation directly to the Government would cost the public more than donations through nonprofit organizations; and (4) whether the National Park Service's purchase of 195,000 acres of land shown by Park Service records as being acquired outside park boundaries was in compliance with the laws and intent of Congress and whether there was any relationship of this acquisition to boundary alterations by the Secretary of the Interior. Additionally, GAO reviewed authorizing legislation for 11 of the 323 areas in the Park Service's system.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of the Interior The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the National Park Service to require park superintendents to more aggressively use alternatives to fee simple acquisition, such as zoning and easements to protect areas.
Closed
GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.
Department of the Interior The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the National Park Service to develop specific criteria to be used in determining which properties should be purchased because of economic hardships to landowners or acquired in fee simple because of the high cost of easements.
Closed
GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.
Department of the Interior The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the National Park Service to determine for each area in the National Park System which properties are compatible with the purposes of the area and not subject to acquisition and include this information in land acquisition plans.
Closed
GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.
Department of the Interior The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the National Park Service to leave pastoral and historic settings in private ownership, as intended by Congress, for specific areas by using easements or other methods.
Closed
GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.
Department of the Interior The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the National Park Service to reevaluate all units currently being used for employees' housing and discontinue all housing rentals not in accordance with Interior's Departmental Handbook.
Closed
GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.
Department of the Interior The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the National Park Service to accurately determine how much land, especially for Badlands National Park, the Park Service has currently outside its parks' boundaries.
Closed
GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.
Department of Agriculture The Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior should jointly establish policies and guidelines on the use of nonprofit organizations in acquiring land. The policy should provide guidance to the agencies on when to use nonprofit organizations, what the working relationship should be between Federal agencies and these organizations, and what unique land acquisition procedures might be appropriate.
Closed
GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.
Department of the Interior The Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior should jointly establish policies and guidelines on the use of nonprofit organizations in acquiring land. The policy should provide guidance to the agencies on when to use nonprofit organizations, what the working relationship should be between Federal agencies and these organizations, and what unique land acquisition procedures might be appropriate.
Closed
GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.
Department of the Interior The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the National Park Service to promptly dispose of all unneeded land outside authorized boundaries to the General Services Administration.
Closed
GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

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