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4 Assessing the Social Effects of Federal T and Acquisition The successful acquisition of federal lands, whether in Me Santa Monica Mountains of California or in the Green Mountains of Vermont, is more than a matter of protecting rare taxa or whole ecosystems, important as these are. Consideration must be given to longstanding ownership inter- ests, social realities, and cultural continuity. Failure to address such interests invites backlash and "sagebrush rebellions" by increasingly vocal and organizationally sophisticated subsets of the American public. An assessment too! for addressing such interests does exist: It is man- dated by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (P.~. 91-190, 42 U.S C. 4321-4347, as amended P.~.94-83) and calls for environmen- tad and social impact assessment (SIA) when significant federal actions occur.1 Between 4 and 5 million acres of private land have been acquired by the federal government through the Land and Water Conservation Fund ~WCF) over Me past quarter century. One of the largest annual expen- ditures occurred in 1985, indicating that even in administrations opposed to federal acquisitions, Me American appetite for additional public land continues unabated. As federal landholdings increase, the number of inholders individuals, groups, corporations, and units of government wig property interests inside of federal landholdings multiplies. The ~However, see MandeLker, 1984, regarding the ambiguous duty to prepare social impact assessments under NEPA. 103
104 SETTING PRIORITIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION grown in the number of inholders is exacerbated by the rapid population grown in counties adjacent to federally designated wilderness areas (Ru~zitis and lohansen, 1989) and other federal holdings. This chapter pursues several objectives. After an overview of He inholder phenomenon, STA is defined and its procedures outlined. The benefits of such assessments are listed. To illustrate the procedure and its benefits, an STA case study involving federal land purchase and hu- man relocation is summarized. Finally, the adaptive management poten- tial of STA for national parks, forests, and other protected areas is dis- cussed. The chapter ends win a look to He direction of public land acquisition and management in He United States and suggests Hat more social accounting is required if this new direction is to have broad public support. INHOLDERS AND FEDERAL LAND ACQUISITION Inholder concerns are an important part of American federal land policy. The national media frequently report on property owners an- gered over diminished property rights in and around federal landhold- ~ngs, and several accounts present the inholder perspective in detail (Arnold, 1982; Williams, 1982~.2 Membership in the National Inholders Association and kindred organizations is on the rise. Scholars have studied He effects of federal land policy on local communities in Wash- ington (O'Leary, 1976), He U.S. Virgin Islands (Olwig, 1980), New Mexico (Knowlton, 1986), in West Virginia (Greer, 1984), in Montana (Blahna, 1986), in Virginia (Perdue and Martin-Perdue, 1979-80, 1991), The Shenandoah National Park offers an example of continuing conflict between the federal government and local landowners in the face of federal acquisitions. The park comprises 196,000 acres in eight Virginia counties. But NPS claims authority to nearly three times this acreage. Were the federal government to prevail, inholder buy-outs and concurrent social effects would follow. For example, 15 % of rural Madison County is within the current park boundaries; the county would cede 44 % of its land base to NPS at a time when the county's population is expanding. County officials estimate that Madison County would lose nearly $400,000 in land taxes and predict that residents who were relocated when the park was established would need to move again.
. ASSESSING SOCIAL EFFECTS 105 and elsewhere. Various investigations point to the need for accommo- dating the mutual interests of inholders and the public at large in the United States (GAO, 1981; Crespi, 1984; Howell, 1984) and interna- tionally (Rao and Geisler, 1990; West and Brechin, 1991~. U.S. history is replete with cases where federal land policy might have harmonized with the needs of local communities had social effects been accounted for. Examples include U.S. Forest Service (USES) policy toward Hispanic communities in northern New Mexico, National Park Service (NPS) treatment of African-American communities in the Sea Islands of Southeast, He recent efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to purchase wetlands from farmers in New York, the reloca- tion program of the Bureau of Land Management (BEM) under the Hopi-Navajo Land Resettlement Act, and the U.S. Man and the Bio- sphere Program's attempt to establish the Voyageurs Biosphere Reserve in northern Minnesota. Inholders and related social issues on federal lands first entered the pages of American conservation history with the creation of Yosemite Park in 1864. Inholder claims to private property rights divided Con- gress: The House of Representatives supported such rights, but the Senate ardently sought a park without infolders a view that prevailed after Supreme Court intervention. Despite this early defeat for inholder interests, by 1890 some 65,000 acres of patented lands and 300 mining claims were reported by the U.S. Army captain acting as the superinten- dent of Yosemite. Thereafter, withdrawal petitions by infolding ciaim- ants in Yosemite and elsewhere became "almost a perennial issue on Capitol Hill'l (Runte, 1990~. Policy toward inholdings took a new turn in the 1930s when the Taylor Grazing Act all but terminated federal land disposition in the 48 states. Remaining unappropriated and unreserved lands were turned over to the newly established Bureau of Land Management in 1946, and land acquisition programs were begun to augment the public lands of USES, the War Department, and NPS (Bariowe, 1965~. Thus, in the wake of the Great Depression, when a record number of Americans had returned to the land to subsist, federal lawmakers opted to guard what remained of He public domain and add to it from the private estate (Castle, 1982~. The number of property owners adjacent to or surround- ed by federal holdings grew apace, especially in connection with newly established national parks and forests. Commenting on this condition in 1946, the NPS director stated that
106 SE'ITING PRIORITIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION Me problem caused by infolding Threat of fire, road construction, and over development) was one of the most serious facing his agency (Dru- ry, 1946~. Between 1940 and 1960, the federal reacquisition agenda led to major emphasis on inholder buyouts, a priority carried on in the EWCF legislation (Glicksman and Coggins, 1984~.3 By the early 1970s, however, roughly half the land within the 51 national forests in the Eastern United States remained in private hands (Heritage, 1974), and inholder protests against buy-out strategies surfaced in many national parks, monuments, battlefields, seashores, and wild and scenic river corridors. As federal holdings have expanded from one-quarter to roughly one- ~ird of the nation's land, inholdings have multiplied. According to the National Inholders Association, inholders number nearly 1.4 million and represent a broad spectrum of American society. Not all infolders oppose federal ownership of land, nor are they necessarily opposed to conservation per se. Inholder concerns and issues, however, can have far-reaching social and political effects that could be addressed if SIA routinely accompanied federal land acquisition. SOCIAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT Social impact assessment is Me discovery, comparison, and evaluation of Me effects of significant actions before Hey occur. The effects con- sidered vary from one assessment to another, but include change in residency patterns, recreation use, public health (e.g., noise pollution and physical well-being), transportation, economic well being, and de 3With passage of LWCF, Congress agreed that inhold~ngs nought to be acquired for either their recreational value or in order to improve admmistra- tion.. A substantial part of the LWCF was to be used to purchase such inhold- ings as one of three original objectives of the act. The 1968 amendments to the LWCF Act permitted the secretary of the interior to acquire privately held lands within the boundaries of national parks in exchange for other federal lands under the secretary's jurisdiction on an approximately equal basis. Under the 1977 amendments, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Clearly recognized that the intent of Congress is to eventually acquire all in- holdings located in the National Park Servicer (Glicksman and Coggins, 19841.
110 SETTING PRIORITIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION hand. Furthermore, the possibility was left open to repeat certain facets of the STA later in the life of the project, an acknowledgement that social effects change with time and require ongoing evaluation. ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT AND SIA Lands acquired for preservation and protection are dynamic systems subject to surprise, accident, natural disaster, and value shifts among managers. Consider our oldest national park, Yellowstone. A century ago, an unlimited number of tourists were welcome, hunting was permit- ted, and predators, such as wolves, were viewed by many as a scourge rather than an integral part of the ecosystem. Even two decades ago, the idea of a Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, supported with sophisticated satellite imagery and computer models, was unimagined. The thought of Yellowstone geysers being diverted for private thermal power was unsinkable. Status as a national park, forest, seashore, or grassland is clearly not synonymous with unchanging social, technological, and natural conditions. This reality has long been noted by Holling (1978, 1986, 1992) and constitutes Me basis for adaptive environmental management, a process- oriented, "whole project" approach to impact assessment. Social and environmental impact assessments have been modified in the past decade to adopt this contingency-based, longitudinal approach to their subjects. The longer the life of a project or action, the more guarded initial SIA predictions must be and Me more compelling periodic replication and restudy becomes. Social scientists have been receptive to the challenge of adaptive management in SIA. Llewellyn (1974) and Soderstrom (1981) stress the importance of going beyond the preproject emphasis of most SIA re- search. Wolf (1983) explicitly calls for project monitoring and sustained analysis of effects. Finsterbusch (1985), in seeking greater SIA sensitiv- ity to cumulative effects, similarly extends social accounting beyond the planning stage. Taylor and Bryan (1990) propose an issues-oriented approach to SIA to provide ongoing assessment processes over a proj- ect's multiple phases. Freudenburg (1986) calls for STA procedures that confront Me profound turbulence and disorder in society. Elsewhere, Freudenburg and Gramling (1992) articulate the importance of more longitudinal as well as comprehensive STA strategies.