Virginia took the land, not the feds

I am writing regarding an article [“Heritage site marked with red tape,” Dec. 1] which appeared in the Rappahannock News. In that article there is a quote, “When the park took the land . . .” which implies that either Shenandoah National Park or the National Park Service took land for the park. This is an inaccuracy that seems to have a life of its own.

It was the state of Virginia that pushed to create a national park along the crest of the Blue Ridge. When the U.S. Congress first authorized the creation of Shenandoah National Park in 1926, it did not appropriate any funds for the purchase of land for the future park. Virginia was told that if it wished to have a national park, it had to purchase the land and then turn the deeds for that land over to the federal government.

That land was purchased by the state, through the condemnation process, at what was then fair market value. In August of 1934, the state delivered 1,100 deeds valued at $2.3 million to President Roosevelt. The process Virginia used for those purchases was challenged in the federal courts and was ultimately heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which held that process to be constitutional. With the legal hurdle cleared, Shenandoah National Park was officially created on Dec. 26, 1935, and dedicated by President Roosevelt on July 3, 1936.

Jack Price

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