National Park Service Should Negotiate With States To Achieve Concurrent Jurisdiction

Gao ID: 117499 February 5, 1982

The General Authorities Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to negotiate with States for concurrent jurisdiction in the National Park System. Interior, while commenting on proposed amendments to the General Authorities Act in April 1976, stated that it would be beneficial to relinquish to the States the Federal legislative jurisdiction relative to some areas of the National Park System. It pointed out that administration of units of the system under exclusive jurisdiction could deny the National Park Service (NPS), its employees, and citizens residing in such units important rights and privileges of State and local government normally provided to them.

However, GAO found that NPS: (1) does not have policies and procedures for implementing the Act; (2) has not been actively pursuing concurrent jurisdiction transfers with States; and (3) does not know how many areas in the National Park System have potential for concurrent jurisdiction status. GAO received different opinions from various NPS officials on the merits of concurrent jurisdiction and does not know whether Interior still believes concurrent jurisdiction is a good idea.

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