National park idea needs more scrutiny

National park idea needs more scrutiny

It has been suggested that a national park be created that includes the Blackstone River and certain adjacent lands. On the surface this seems like a good idea. After all, a national park comes with a lot of pluses - a boost to tourism, federal money, some infrastructure improvements to name a few.

But I wonder if anyone has given serious thought to what it would actually be like to live within a national park. Look to the Cape Cod National Seashore as one example. No one can argue that a wonderful natural resource did not deserve to be preserved.

But when they did this they used eminent domain to take property from many hundreds of residents. Many were not paid a cent. Instead they were told they and their families could live on their former property but could never sell it, their children could inherit their family homes but they could never sell them. Effectively, the government confiscated much of the land from private citizens who in many cases lost their only assets.

If we are going to convert this wonderful natural resource and historic area to a national park, we should pay very close attention to the consequences. How many of us, in today's economy, could afford for the government to take a major asset away from us? How many will simply abandon their homes one day because they no longer wish to put money into a property that is no longer theirs and that they cannot sell?

How many of these wonderful old structures, mostly mill houses near the river will become brick derelicts crumbling to the ground?

David Bartlett