Audit Finds Exclusive Clubs 'Monopolize' Public Parkland
Similar Conclusion in 1984 Had Little Effect at National Park Service
By Elizabeth Williamson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 29, 2007; Page A08
The National Park Service has for decades allowed members-only beach, yacht and sports clubs -- including New York City's largest beach resort -- to "monopolize" public lands that by law should be open to all, an Interior Department audit shows.
The audit also found that the Park Service did not consider "environmental consequences" for 18 of 20 sites included in the survey.
The clubs "have enjoyed exclusive rights to public lands through restrictive and costly memberships that deny the general public the same benefits," the report says. "In some instances, the National Park Service has authorized this exclusivity for 30 or more years."