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November/December 2005

The Future Of National Parks

Everyone loves national parks--but are they being loved to death? Join representatives from the Park Service, Department of the Interior, Sierra Club, American Hiking Society, and more to explore the fate of this embattled American institution.

Jerry Rogers No one rewrites 195 pages of NPS rules and circulates them in the upper echelons of the Interior Department without the blessing of higher-ups. This radical rewrite stands nearly 100 years of stewardship on its head. The rules would subordinate parks to the agendas of cities and states. Every reference to NPS “collaboration” with cities near parks has been changed to “cooperation.” This would negate the superintendents’ abilities to represent the broad interests of the people of the United States when they don’t match narrow local interests. The draft rules also would eliminate the scientific underpinning of park management. The entire draft has a decidedly anti-intellectual, anti-science tone.

David Barna There are two camps in this building [NPS offices] and I don’t know where it’s going to go. It’s become such a mess, the Director’s basically said, let’s stop talking about who shot whom. She says she will go forward with a draft that the consensus of the career leadership buys into. How far that balloon goes out of the building will be interesting to see.

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