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CRM 1500-1999

1632. Protection Of Government Property -- National Parks And Forests

Much of the property held by the United States is made available for the use and enjoyment of the public as part of our national park system. This system consists of hundreds of parks, forests, recreation areas, game preserves and historic sites located throughout the United States.

The national park system is jointly administered by the Department of Interior, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Army. By law, the secretaries of these three departments are empowered to make regulations governing the use and maintenance of park lands under their charge. See 16 U.S.C. § 3 (Interior); 16 U.S.C. § 9a (Army); 16 U.S.C. § 551 (Agriculture). Violations of these regulations may subject individuals to penalties ranging from three months imprisonment, a $100 fine, or both, see 16 U.S.C. § 9a; to 6 months imprisonment, a $500 fine, or both, see 16 U.S.C. § § 3 and 551. The regulations prescribed pursuant to these statutes may be found in Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations. These and other fines recited in this chapter, are subject to enhancement pursuant to the alternative fine provision of 18 U.S.C. § 3571.

Conduct in national parks is not controlled exclusively by regulation. Congress has also enacted a series of statutes which proscribe certain activities in such parks. For example, 16 U.S.C. § 26 prohibits unauthorized hunting and fishing on park lands. Similarly, 16 U.S.C. §§ 413 and 414 proscribe willful destruction of property or trespassing on military parks. Also, 16 U.S.C. § 470ee prohibits removal, defacing or trafficking in archeological resources on public or Indian lands. Finally there are a large number of statutes which apply to specific national parks and prohibit certain activities within those parks. For example, see 16 U.S.C. §§ 45e, 60 and 63 (Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks); 16 U.S.C. §§ 92 and 98 (Mount Ranier National Park); 16 U.S.C. §§ 114 and 117e-d (Mesa Verde National Park); and 16 U.S.C. § 425g (Fredericksburg National Battlefield).

[cited in JM 9-66.100]