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http://www.startribune.com/opinion/comm ... _Yyc:aUUsZ
- IR Expert
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I have not followed this closely, but it makes me wonder. . . just how old does human activity need to be before its impact is historically significant and should be preserved? I do not know the answer, but I have trouble entrusting the decision to a government bureaucrat.
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This is well written by Brian and like he says in the article these cabins are rarely noticed and off the beaten path that the visitors don't see. They are in no way "diminishing" the wilderness. If you take away these valuable residents you are taking away a tremendous amount of history and stories from the island that can't be replaced by someone in the Park Service with a chip on her shoulder trying to use the government as a powertrip.
I hope these families find a way to stay on the island like they deserve.
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I have a difficult time taking sides on the matter. I can see merits and arguments in both sides.
I'm nearly certain that Phyllis Green is not changing the terms of the lifetime leases. Those remain, what limited few there are. Remember, these aren't for the lifetime of the family lineage; these are for the lifetime of the living family members at which time the contract was signed. For instance, Clara Sivertson just passed away this May, and she was the remaining lease holder for the Sivertson clan, even though Sivertson decendants remain. What Phyllis IS doing is electing not to perhaps issue VIP (Volunteer in the Parks) designation for these families, which had most recently been "past practice" for those folks. In exchange for the families maintaining these historic structures as well as being willing to let park visitors tour/visit (as opposed to private land during the lease) those families were allowed to continue to use those properties. However, technically, the properties became owned by the park service, I beleive.
I can't say I fully disagree with Phyllis; in some ways it might seem to her like she was getting "poked" by these families who wanted to change the terms of a lease signed by their ancestors. Some families (as indicated in the editorial) where trying to go above her and get Congressional protection to change the terms of the lease and/or how the terms of the end of the lease were carried out. Ms Green probably felt a little backed in a corner if things moved forward, and so she elected to exercise her right as park superintendent to enforce the end terms of these leases. I do believe she was fully within her power to do so, even if it doesn't seem very nice. But again, the actions of the families might not seem so nice, either..
Ultimately, a long time ago some contracts were signed to make the entire archepelago a National Park. Slowly over time, many of those small islands have reverted to NPS care. I DO think that the historic structures are just as much a part of the history of Isle Royale and deserve to stay just as the mines, (both ancient and modern), moose, and wolves are. The NPS doesn't have the funding to maintain them, and so these interested families are a great way of keeping them up. That being said, I don't think they should be "private" property per se once the lease terms are up. That's just the way it goes.
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http://www.post-trib.com/news/2576126,n ... 08.article