[Tagging] Tagging of State Parks in the US

Kevin Kenny kevin.b.kenny at gmail.com
Sun Jul 28 23:06:38 UTC 2019

On Sun, Jul 28, 2019 at 5:42 PM Paul Allen <pla16021 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, 28 Jul 2019 at 21:25, Kevin Kenny <kevin.b.kenny at gmail.com> wrote:
>> But this doesn't really address the problem. We can't fix State Parks
>> by making them 'boundary=national_park admin_level=4' because they
>> don't function as 'national park' in the IUCN deffinition of the term.
>> Instead, the typical State Park is a hybrid of nature_reserve and
>> recreation_ground and park and maybe a few other things. Requiring
>> that those land uses be mapped separately leaves no whole to which the
>> name and boundary can be assigned, but the whole doesn't really have
>> anything binding it together other than a protection status, a
>> coterminous set of boundaries and a name.
> Doesn't seem to fit national parks in the UK either.  See Pembrokeshire Coast National
> Park: https://www.openstreetmap.org/relation/165598
> It is entirely within, and occupies a large part of, the county of Pembrokeshire.  It is not
> administered by the UK Government, the Welsh Assembly or Pembrokeshire County
> Council but by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.  See
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pembrokeshire_Coast_National_Park
> The PCNPA owns less than 2% of the national park, the rest of it is privately owned.  It contains
> 13 Special Areas of Conservation, 5 Special Protection Areas, 1 Marine Conservation Zone,
> 7 National Nature Reserves, 60 Sites of Special Scientific Interest and 265 Scheduled
> Ancient Monuments, all of which come under one or another protection scheme and are
> administered by different organizations.  See
> https://www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/default.asp?PID=503  There are also woodlands
> administered/protected by various different organizations.
> It also contains hamlets, villages, town and cities.  As well as everything else you might expect
> to find in an area with a resident population of around 22,500 such as golf courses, recreational
> parks, etc.
> Planning permission within the park is controlled by the PCNPA rather than the County Council.
> It's all kind of complicated.

The Adirondack and Catskill Parks in New York are nearly a precise
parallel, including the complication that they are not chartered by
the Federal government. They're entirely within, and a creature of,
the State of New York.  (The Adirondack Park spans twelve counties -
at 24,000 km², it's the size of some European countries. The Catskill
Park is perhaps a sixth its size). They are read into the New York
State Constitution, so the unusual cooperative protection that they
enjoy is actually stronger than that of any of our National Parks
(which can, in theory, be wiped out by a simple act of Congress,
rather than a constitutional amendment).

The land ownership is roughly 50-50 public/private. Many of the
private landowners are logging companies, who are restricted to
sustainable harvest techniques and severely restricted against
repurposing the land. (Many also have public access easements in place
so that some areas not being actively logged are open to recreational

The local government system is complicated, but in the Adirondacks,
suffice it to say that the Adirondack Park Agency (a private-public
partnership between the local communities and the NY State Department
of Environmental Conservation) is the most powerful among the local
entities. Certainly, listings for property are more likely to say
whether they're inside or outside the park than what township or
county they're in, because that difference is more significant to the

For the Adirondack Park alone, there are about forty Wilderness Areas
(comprising about 4800 km²), a somewhat greater number of Wild Forest
[a classification just below Wilderness] (about 5400 km²), about 5900
km² of Resource Management areas (in private hands, and mostly devoted
to logging), about 4000 km² devoted to Rural Use (mostly agriculture).
About 50 km² are even zoned as Industrial Use - mostly mining; the
park produces titanium, garnet and wollastonite.
About 1600 km² are devoted to human habitation, divided into about 60%
low-intensity (< 75 buildings/km²), 30% medium-intensity (75-200
buildings/km²), and 10% high-intensity (where there is no fixed limit
and most uses are permitted, although special hearings are needed for
subdivisions exceeding 100 lots, expansion into wetlands, airport
construction, and structures over 12 m above average terrain). It
contains also Primitive, HIstoric, Canoe, and Intensive Use areas.

There are about 130,000 permanent inhabitants, and the population
expands to about 320,000 seasonally, with nearly 10 million annual
visitors. There are two universities (Paul Smith's College and State
University of New York Environmental Science and Forestry), plus North
Country Community College. (There are a handful more just outside its
boundaries). SUNY-ESF maintains multiple research stations and
demonstration forests.

Some of the 'private' land is actually in the hands of NGO's, but this
situation is commoner in the Catskills, where the Nature Conservancy,
the Open Space Institute, the Catskill Center, the Appalachian
Mountain Club, the YMCA, and numerous other entities all have
substantial holdings. Even some of the private landowners welcome
visitors - I've hiked (with advance permission, which is ordinarily
granted outside certain specific seasons) on one of Jay Gould's
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Gould) estates several times.

There are no sizable cities in the park, but dozens of towns and
villages of a few thousand inhabitants each.

 I could get the numbers for the Catskills, but this message is
already too long.

Planning permission in the Adirondack Park is controlled by the
Adirondack Park Agency, not the zoning boards of the individual
townships or counties. Catskill Park zoning is complicated because of
the towering presence of the New York City watershed - so I'm not
discussing it, but it's differently restricted, with New York City
having a say in it despite the fact that none of the park is within
city limits.

You're right that it's 'kind of complicated.'

I tagged the things 'boundary=national_park' and I'm not apologizing.

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