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

Dec 06, 2005, 00:00 ET from Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, Washington, D.C.

    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.