Obama Picks National Parks Director

Longtime park service worker Jon Jarvis brings controversy with his nomination
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Longtime park service worker Jon Jarvis brings controversy with his nomination

For his nomination as the next National Park Service Director, President Obama picked the seasoned Jon Jarvis, who heads the Pacific West section of our national parks and in a three-decade career has worked as a seasonal and interpretive ranger, protection ranger, a resource management specialist, a park biologist, and chief of natural and cultural resources. He also served as director for Wrangells-St. Elias and Mt. Rainier.

But he brings controversy to the table as well: Jarvis is currently embroiled in a flap with California senator Dianne Feinstein, who disputes his conclusions that a Northern California oyster farm poses serious environmental threats to Point Reyes National Seashore. He recommends that the land used by California's largest shellfish farm should revert to wilderness when their lease ends in 2012, while Feinstein argues that the farm provides 30 jobs and should get a permit extension.

Most interested parties remained psyched about the appointment, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (who openly campaigned for Jarvis) and the National Parks Conservation Assocation, who had called Jarvis:

"(...) a seasoned professional and strong leader who understands the challenges of managing national parks and the importance of inspiring excellence among the thousands of National Park Service professionals who are the stewards of our national treasures for our children and grandchildren. He is well-versed in the threats to our natural and cultural treasures, and the leadership, collaboration, and cooperation needed to restore them."

Unless he has a secret plan to sell off the parks wholesale, it sounds like he's a solid choice. Any park service employees out there, what do you think?

—Ted Alvarez

Obama parks pick enmeshed in Calif. oyster flap (AP)