National Park Service Is Eliminating Orick, Calif.

By National Center for Public Policy Research | July 7, 2008 | 8:21pm EDT

(Editor's Note: The following is the 62nd of 100 stories regarding government regulation from the bookShattered Dreams,written by the National Center for Public Policy Research. will publish an additional story each day.)

The California town of Orick, located about 60 miles south of the California- Oregon border at the south end of Redwood National Park, is well on its way to becoming a modern-day ghost town.

When the national park was created in 1968, Congress promised that local communities would be protected. Nonetheless, government actions are slowly chipping away at the small town's ability to survive economically.

When the park was created, loggers lost work and left the area. Lately, commercial fishermen and wood gatherers have had their permits eliminated or made nontransferable so that existing tradesmen cannot pass them on to their children. In 1999, Redwood National Park eliminated wood gathering in the park altogether - an action that devastated local burl wood shops.

Ed Salsedo, co-chairman of the Save Orick Committee, said: "We had a thriving community of 1,500 inhabitants in 1968 - since then, we have dwindled to a mere 300." Judith Schmidt, a local resident who is president of the Orick School Board, has seen school enrollment drop from 250 to only 50 students. Schmidt claims the National Park Service did not comply with regulations to conduct economic and social impact studies before considering a 1999 proposal to close overnight parking in an area near Orick. Furthermore, a charge for overnight camping was imposed in 2001, which resulted in a significant decrease in tourism. Schmidt says many businesses have closed, and those remaining open have seen a decline in business of 25 to 30 percent. Now, a plan has been proposed to make the beach a "day-use only" beach, which would further damage the town's ability to maintain one of its few remaining commercial enterprises - tourism.

Sources: Off the Road Network, Judith Schmidt

Copyright 2003, National Center for Public Policy Research

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