Jarvis Application of Consistently Applied NPS Ban on Major Sporting Events Upholds Sanctity of Colorado National Monument, Other National Parks; Bad Precedent Seen if Parks Are Opened Up as Sites for Major Commercialization That Is Inconsistent With Mission of Preserving Unspoiled Outdoors
TUCSON, Ariz., March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement was issued today by Rick Smith, a former superintendent at Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks and an interim superintendent at Yellowstone, on behalf of the more-than-800-member Coalition of National Park Service Retirees:
"The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees strongly endorses National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis' announcement today affirming Colorado National Monument Superintendent Joan Anzelmo's decision to deny a special use permit to host a stage of the Quiznos Pro Challenge commercial bike race in Colorado National Monument.
"Proponents of this commercialization of a major national park should remember that National Park Service policy and regulations apply to all 394 units of the National Park System. An exception made in any single case would be precedent setting and have major impacts nationwide. For example, in 2009, Yosemite National Park officials denied a similar request for the same reason. Today's decision by NPS Director Jarvis reinforces the concept that national park areas are not places for mega-professional sporting events but places where visitors experience the resources that previous generations of Americans believed merited protection in perpetuity.
"Colorado National Monument is already a powerful economic force for Grand Junction, Colorado, and similar places. Studies conducted by Michigan State University indicate that in 2008 the Monument's economic impact to Grand Junction was an estimated 19 million. Today that figure is likely closer to 25 million and extends to all the communities of the Grand Valley. Moreover, the Monument does lots of business in the local communities, including purchasing supplies and materials, purchasing services from local vendors and issuing contracts to local companies. The Monument employs several dozen local people and creates new seasonal employment opportunities for local high school and college students. And, since national park areas are forever, this is sustainable economic activity for the local communities.
"We hope that the community of Grand Junction will choose instead to concentrate on this year's centennial celebration of the establishment of Colorado National Monument. That would be the best way to commemorate the vision of John Otto who worked tirelessly to make this wonderful, beautiful area a national monument. It would also be the best way to begin the second century of the monument's existence and its importance to the surrounding communities.
"Director Jarvis' decision ends several months of intense local controversy in Grand Junction, Colorado, during which the supporters of the race unfairly and inaccurately characterized Superintendent Anzelmo as a federal bureaucrat who ignored the economic benefits that the race could bring to the local community. Whenever there is a difficult decision that hinges on policy and regulation, the first line of attack from some quarters is to call a national park superintendent a bureaucrat. This has happened to me and to countless other senior leaders in the National Park Service. Those who apply the 'bureaucratic' label to National Park Service leaders ignore the fact we are public servants who chose careers in government as a way to serve our country. Superintendent Anzelmo is a fair-minded public servant who took the long view and did the right thing by all the units in the National Park Service."
The 807 members of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees are all former employees of the National Park Service with a combined 23,000 years of stewardship of America's most precious natural and cultural resources. In their personal lives, CNPSR members reflect the broad spectrum of political affiliations. CNPSR members now strive to apply their credibility and integrity as they speak out for national park solutions that uphold law and apply sound science. The Coalition counts among its members: former national park directors and deputy directors, regional directors, superintendents, rangers and other career professionals who devoted an average of nearly 30 years each to protecting and interpreting America's national parks on behalf of the public. For more information, visit the CNPSR Web site at http://www.npsretirees.org.
SOURCE Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, Washington, D.C.