USCA (April x, 2015) - The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) recently submitted comments to the National Park Service regarding the Draft Chisholm and Western Trail Feasibility Study and Environmental Assessment. USCA Board of Director and Environment/EPA Committee Chair Eddie Shelton issued the following statement regarding USCA’s comments:
“In 2009, Congress passed and President Obama signed legislation mandating a study be conducted determining the feasibility and impact of designating the Chisholm Trail and Great Western Trail as national trails by the National Park Service. The proposed trails follow two routes traveled by cattle from Southern Texas to Kansas between 1867 and the 1880s.
The precedent set by this study and any potential legislation could have lasting impacts on property owners and land users whose operations inhabit both the surrounding and immediate areas impacted by the country’s extensive system of historic cattle trails. USCA firmly believes that no private property rights should be acquired for a project of this nature without the willing consent of landowners.
Any Congressional action or mandate made as a reaction to the study and assessment must include at the minimum, key provisions included within the National Trail Act:
- “The Secretary may accept donations for the Trail from private, nonprofit, or tribal organizations. No lands or interests in lands outside the exterior boundaries of any federally administered area may be acquired by the Federal Government for the Trail . . . except with the consent of the owner thereof.” See National Trails System Act, Sec. 5(a)(16)(D)
- “The designation of the trail does not authorize any person to enter private property without the consent of the owner.” See National Trails System Act, Sec. 5(a) (24)(C)(iii)
USCA will continue to monitor this issue and oppose any efforts made toward the designation and listing of the stated areas as national trails. Protecting property rights is of paramount concern to USCA; without proper consideration of provisions included in the National Trail Act, written especially for such assurance, USCA will continue to oppose any legislative action toward the listing and designation of such trails as the Chisholm and Great Western Trails.”