Panhandle (W.Va.) Grassroots for Democracy

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bush administration re-writing mission of National Park Service

Some of my fondest memories involved spending time with my family at our National Parks. They're our land. We own them. We share them with 285 million other people, but we own them. And this is just flat out wrong what the Bush administration wants to do. From DailyKos:

According to the LA Times, Paul Hoffman -- deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks -- is looking to rewrite the mission of the national parks. J.T. Reynolds, superintendent of Death Valley National Park said, "They are changing the whole nature of who we are and what we have been. I hope the public understands that this is a threat to their heritage. It threatens the past, the present and the future. It's painful to see this."

Hoffman wants to upgrade grazing and mining to "park purposes," allow cellphone towers and low-flying airplanes within national parks, and allow snowmobiles on all paved roads in every park. In addition, he wants to take away the park managers' abilities to use laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act to protect the parks from development. Finally, he wants to deemphasize dark skies and quiet even though they are conditions needed by wildlife.

Hoffman came to the Park Service after serving as director of the Chamber of Commerce in Cody, Wyo. Before that he had served as Wyoming state director for then-U.S. Rep. Dick Cheney from 1985 to 1989.

By the way, this is the same guy who overruled the park superintendent at the Grand Canyon National Park and made the staff leave up religious plaques on display at the South Rim and also made them sell a book that said creationism created the canyon.

In reaction, a group of 400 retired Park Service employees scheduled a news conference to announce a campaign to block the changes from taking effect. Also, the seven regional directors who saw Hoffman's recommendations sent a "searing memo" to Park Service Director Fran Mainella "criticizing the revisions."

I guess it was only a matter of time before the Bush Administration tried to weaken the mission of the parks. I'm sure Cheney and crew see them as just another collection of lands that are waiting to be exploited by industry

Hope you got the chance to visit Harpers Ferry or the other National Parks to enjoy them while we still can.


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