Property Rights Foundation of America®

reprinted from Positions on Property, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Jan. 1995)

National Parks Service "Restoration" of Cemeteries to Wilderness
A Cultural, Historical and Religious Desecration

Cemetery locations shown for east end of park. Map by Peter J. LaGrasse

Buffalo National River
Date established: 1972
Wilderness designated: 1978 (10,529 acres)
Total Acreage: 94,219 acres
Number of Cemeteries contained in National River: 37, by official NPS count,
which does not include small family burial plots
Buffalo National River - A 90 mile biological corridor linking two sections of Ozark National Forest.

NPS Policy of
Park Accessibility
For Tourists

"Buffalo River Country is steep, rugged, and remote, but park management makes every effort to make the park and its programs accessible to all. The Tyler Bend Complex is completely accessible. An Accessibility Guide to programs and facilities is available at the visitor center or ranger stations or by writing to the park superintendent. There is a TDD-equipped telephone at park headquarters."

Official Map and NPS Guide to Buffalo National River

National Park Service Methodology to Foreclose Access to Cemeteries For Families and Residents

1. Wilderness Designations
2. Prohibitions of Maintenance
3. Closing of official highways
4. Prohibition of motor vehicle access
5. Prohibition of highway maintenance by towns and counties
6. Ceasing of repair of washouts and seasonal damage
7. Barricading or blocking of highways with other construction
8. Failure to include protections of access of elderly and other local people to cemeteries in legislation and regulations
9. Failure to include historical, cultural and community impacts in policy analysis
10. Failure to respect common law legal rights of access


Leon Somerville, Jr. has called national attention to the National Park Service's insensitivity toward family members and descendants who can no longer continue visiting and maintaining cemeteries since the National Park Service established the Buffalo National River. He was photographed recently at the Sitton Cemetery on the opposite side of the Buffalo River, a few miles from his home in Cozahome, Arkansas.

All photos: Leon Sommerville, Jr.


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