Letters Offering to Gift Land For New National Parks

Curtis Raye filed this request with the National Park Service of the United States of America.
Tracking # NPS-2014-00482
Est. Completion None
Status
No Responsive Documents

Communications

From: Curtis Raye

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

All letters requesting the National Park Service create a new national park from land gifted by the author, sent between 2000 and 2014. (An example is Roxanne Quimby's letter, dated 5/11/2011--your ACCN # on her letter is ESO-00033323.) My request does not include all the "letters of support" that may accompany a request like this (such as the 406 that accompany Roxanne's request).

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Curtis Raye

From: Wilson, Charis

United States Department of the Interior
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
12795 W. Alameda Parkway
P.O. Box 25287
Denver, Colorado 80225-0287

May 5, 2014

A7221 (2550)

Curtis Raye
MuckRock News
Department MR 11585
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Dear Mr. Raye:

Reference: Land donation offers

Subject: Freedom of Information Act Request

This letter is to acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA) request dated May 5, 2014, in which you requested information
regarding letters requesting the National Park Service create a new
national park from land gifted by the author, sent between 2000 and 2014,
excluding any accompanying letters of support. It has been assigned FOIA
Number NPS-2014-00482. All future correspondence with this office
regarding this request should refer to this number.

In your letter, you also requested a fee waiver. However, you did not
provide sufficient justification to qualify for a fee waiver under the
Department’s FOIA regulations (43 CFR 2.48). The statutory requirement for
granting a fee waiver is that release of the information must be in the
public interest because it—

(1) Is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the
operations and activities of the Government; and
(2) Is not primarily in your commercial interest.

In accordance with 43 CFR 2.48 (
http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=0fc3ab3499768eebc2e3691c8cf88dec&rgn=div5&view=text&node=43:1.1.1.1.2&idno=43#43:1.1.1.1.2.7.5.12
) , you must specifically address the Department’s fee waiver criteria for
each request you submit, regardless of whether you may have been granted a
fee waiver previously. To assist us in making a decision on your request
for a fee waiver, we ask that you address the following:

(1) How the records concern the operations or activities of the Federal
government.

(2) How disclosure is likely to contribute to public understanding of those
operations or activities, including:

(3) How disclosure is likely to significantly contribute to the
understanding of a reasonably broad audience of persons interested in the
subject, as opposed to your individual understanding, including:

(4) How the public's understanding of the subject in question will be
enhanced to a significant extent by the disclosure.

Additionally, because you did not state that you would be willing to pay
fees if your request for a fee waiver is denied, we are required to notify
you in advance of the estimated processing fees and get your written
agreement to pay such fees before we would be able to begin processing your
request. However, we are currently unable to provide you with such an
estimate, should we deny your fee waiver, because your request did not
specify a fee category or provide us with enough information to determine a
fee category as required under , we will be unable to provide you with that
estimate.

Therefore, in accordance with 43 CFR 2.38(b), we are also requesting that
you provide us with information regarding your intended use for the
information and/or your identity. Please note, because MuckRock is now
open to the public we can no longer automatically classify requests
submitted via the MuckRock system as media requests.

In accordance with 43 CFR 2.51(c), if we do not hear from you within 20
workdays of this letter, we will presume you are no longer interested in
this matter and will close the file on your request. Please do not hesitate
to contact me with any further questions or concerns. I can be reached at
the address above or by phone at 303-969-2959. I can also be reached via
e-mail at charis_wilson@nps.gov.

Sincerely,

C.
____________________
Ms. Charis Wilson, MLS, CRM
NPS FOIA Officer
12795 W. Alameda Parkway
PO Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225-0287
303-969-2959
Fax: 303-969-2557
1-855-NPS-FOIA

"What we find changes who we become." - Peter Morville

"The historian works with records...there is no substitute for records: no
records, no history." - Paraphrasing Langlois & Seignobos (1903)

"Let us be guardians, not gardeners" - Unknown, From 1963 Living Wilderness
editorial - Attributed to Adolph Murie

From: Curtis Raye

Ms. Wilson,

Thanks for your questions regarding my submission. I'll try to tackle them in order.

Let me begin by saying that my request was made based on a document your office has already chosen to make public, the letter from Roxanne Quimby found in your online reading room. So if you find that letter is in the public interest, I believe the letters I'm requesting would also be in the public interest using the same standard. That, of course, is the short, easy answer. If that isn't satisfactory, then I'm happy to go into more detail.

1) I seek to find out how the government operates and responds when presented with a "gift" of land. But first, I need to see how often those gift offers are made. To better evaluate the government's response, I'd have to know if most of the gift offers are legitimate offers, or ridiculous offers of small amounts of land.

2) The process by which land becomes a national park is mysterious to many Americans--mainly because it happens so rarely. Disclosure will help the public understand how the National Park Service operates when presented with a gift. Should NPS be do more? Should it give advice to these donors? Or are the donors so rare, or their gifts so minuscule, that the NPS doesn't need to spend more time on this? Disclosure would lead to answers to those questions, and those answers contribute to public understanding of NPS operations.

3) Disclosure would reach a reasonably broad audience because the information would be made publicly available on Muckrock. I would go the extra step of curating the knowledge into presentations made available on foialove.com, as well as in a live discussion of the material in New York City.

4) These letters will show one of two things: either the ridiculous requests that bureaucrats need to put up with, or the legitimate opportunities for future national parks that most Americans aren't aware exist. Either one will enhance the public's understanding of the National Park Service and America's national parks.

To answer your question about my identity: My name is Curtis Raye. I am a journalist with Bisnow Media. Additionally, I am the proprietor of FOIA Love, a website and host of live events regarding public documents. I plan to release the information I gather on that website, in the form of a video, assembling NPS documents along with others I find.

In the event fees cannot be waived, I am willing to pay up $50 without further consent. If it will be more than that, please ask for consent first.

Thanks,
Curtis Raye

From: Wilson, Charis

Mr. Raye,

Thank you for the additional clarification. You can expect a response on
your fee waiver by May 21st. In the meantime, I wanted to let you know
that there are several publications that provide information on how a
National Park or other NPS units, such as national monuments, are created.

http://planning.nps.gov/document/Criteria%20for%20New%20Parklands.pdf
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RS20158.pdf

Sincerely,

C.

____________________
Ms. Charis Wilson, MLS, CRM
NPS FOIA Officer
12795 W. Alameda Parkway
PO Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225-0287
303-969-2959
Fax: 303-969-2557
1-855-NPS-FOIA

"What we find changes who we become." - Peter Morville

"The historian works with records...there is no substitute for records: no
records, no history." - Paraphrasing Langlois & Seignobos (1903)

"Let us be guardians, not gardeners" - Unknown, From 1963 Living Wilderness
editorial - Attributed to Adolph Murie

From: Wilson, Charis

Dear Mr. Raye,

After searching our files, we have determined that we have no records
responsive to your request other than the letter from Roxane Quimby, which
you mentioned in your request. As you noted that letter is already
available on our FOIA website. Should you consider this NO RECORDS
response to be a denial of your request, you have the right to appeal. You
may file an appeal by writing to:

Freedom of Information Act Appeals Officer
Office of the Solicitor
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
MS-6556-MIB,
Washington, D.C. 20240
foia.appeals@sol.doi.gov

Your appeal must be received no later than 30 workdays after the date of
this final response. The appeal should be marked, both on the envelope and
the face of the appeal letter, with the legend "FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
APPEAL." Your appeal should be accompanied by a copy of your original
request and copies of all correspondence between yourself and the National
Park Service related to this request, along with any information you have
which leads you to believe the records are available, including where they
might be found, if the location is known to you. Please note, appeals
received after 5 p.m. EST will be considered to have been received as of
the following day.

Also as part of the 2007 OPEN Government Act FOIA amendments, the Office of
Government Information Services (OGIS) was created to offer mediation
services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies
as a nonexclusive alternative to litigation. Using OGIS services does not
affect your right to pursue litigation.

You may contact OGIS in any of the following ways:

Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)
National Archives and Records Administration
Room 2510
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

E-mail: ogis@nara.gov
Phone: 301-837-1996
Fax: 301-837-0348
Toll-free: 1-877-684-6448

Additionally, because the National Park Service creates and maintains law
enforcement records, we are required by the Department of Justice to
provide the following information, even though it may or may not apply to
your specific request. Congress excluded three discrete categories of law
enforcement and national security records from the requirements of the
FOIA. See 5 U.S.C. 552(c) (2006 & Supp. IV 2010). This response is limited
to those records that are subject to the requirements of the FOIA. This is
a standard notification that we are required to give all our requesters and
should not be taken as an indication that excluded records do, or do not,
exist.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any further questions or
concerns.

Sincerely,

C.

____________________
Ms. Charis Wilson, MLS, CRM
NPS FOIA Officer
12795 W. Alameda Parkway
PO Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225-0287
303-969-2959
Fax: 303-969-2557
1-855-NPS-FOIA

"What we find changes who we become." - Peter Morville

"The historian works with records...there is no substitute for records: no
records, no history." - Paraphrasing Langlois & Seignobos (1903)

"Let us be guardians, not gardeners" - Unknown, From 1963 Living Wilderness
editorial - Attributed to Adolph Murie

Files

There are no files associated with this request.