NPS Management Policy Rewrite Strongly Opposed by 25 Top National Park Executive Team Members
Joint Statement From Elite Group of Former NPS Managers is Strongest
Rank-and-File Rejection to Date of Hoffman-Inspired, Radical
Rewrite of National Park Rules
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 years ago." 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 of resources." 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 primary purpose." 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.
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