WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly all of the leading non-political
career executives in charge of the National Park Service (NPS) for the last 25
years have joined together in an unprecedented letter of opposition to a
controversial rewrite of the National Park Service (NPS) policies spearheaded
by political appointee Paul Hoffman.
The 25 former executive leaders state in a letter to NPS Director Fran
Mainella: "Are the proposed revisions to those 2001 Management Policies
sufficiently better to justify scrapping the 2001 Policies and replacing them
in their entirety? We think not. They are a drastic and dangerous departure
from a longstanding national consensus. The proposed changes are not driven by
law, by any conservation need, or by any failure of practical application.
Little has changed since the present policies became effective less than five
The respected group of NPS executives is calling for a termination of the
Hoffman-led attack on the national park rulebook in favor of "a deliberate
process that ... explains why sections of the 2001 version should be changed.
The reasons cited for the draft changes have been confusing and after-the-fact
... We are especially troubled by the omission from the opening sections of
the Management Policies of their long-established emphasis upon the NPS's
overriding responsibility to preserve resources on behalf of all Americans,
including those yet unborn. However, we are also concerned with opening the
parks' management decision-making processes to disproportionate influence by
special interest groups and local and individual state entities. These are
national, not local, parks."
The joint letter advises NPS against running roughshod over the historical
principles put in place by Congress. "The policies should not revise the
fundamental interpretation of the Organic Act and its amendments, upheld by
over 80 years of implementation and numerous legislative and court actions ...
Revisions implying a need for the NPS to 'balance' conservation with
enjoyment, or implying that they are on 'an equal plane,' would depart
radically from this time-honored emphasis that future enjoyment of the
national parks flows from their conservation and that the two are inextricably
linked. Such a redirection of park management must not occur ... Impairment of
visitor enjoyment should not be considered to be as significant as impairment
The group also is urging the current NPS political leaders to reverse
their unfortunate embrace of commercialization of national parks. The letter
states: "Advertising and prominent recognition of contributions and support
should be avoided if they have the effect of reducing the vital contrast
between the park experience and the daily routines and experiences that many
visitors seek to leave behind. Protection of resources must take priority
over the scheduling of events, of any kind, that have entertainment as their
The joint letter signers are: Bill Briggle, Deputy Director, 1975-1977;
Herb Cables, Deputy Director, 1989-1993; Denis P. Galvin, Deputy Director,
1985-1989 and 1997-2002; Robert Arnberger, Regional Director, 2000-2003;
Robert M. Baker, Regional Director, 1994-1997; Bob Barbee, Regional Director,
1994-2000; Glen Bean, Regional Director, 1977-1980; Jerry Belson, Regional
Director, 1996-2003; Chet Brooks, Regional Director, 1971-1976; Don
Castleberry, Regional Director, 1987-1994; Jim Coleman, Regional Director,
1981-1994; Jim L. Dunning, Regional Director, 1979-1983; Barbara J. Griffin,
Regional Director, 1993-1995; Lorraine (Mintzmyer) Denning, Regional Director,
1979-1992; Jack Morehead, Regional Director, 1991-1994; Gerald D. Patten,
Regional Director, 1989-1990; Joseph C. Rumburg, Jr., Regional Director, 1974-
1976; Dave Thompson, Regional Director, 1970-1977; Karen Wade, Regional
Director, 1999-2003; Maureen Finnerty, Associate Director, 1994-2000; Joe
Gorrell, Associate Director, 1988-1995; Jerry Rogers, Associate Director,
1982-1994; Caleb G. Cooper, Center Director, 1991-1995; Gary Cummins, Center
Director, 1997-2005; and Marc Sagan, Center Director, 1974-1986.
SOURCE Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, Washington, D.C.