Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:September 28th, 2006 07:44 EST

The Parks Out Of Danger?

By Sean Stubblefield

In case you weren`t aware, management policy for the National Park Service (NPS) was recently revised and updated. Why? How?

I don`t want to bore you with the convoluted details, but the essential point I`m bringing to your attention is that our National Parks may be threatened, vulnerable to potential government and corporate exploitation and desecration of our national/ natural treasures " now more than ever before.

If you are interested, here is summary of behind the scenes events:

I don`t have time (or interest) to read every word of the document. BUT, I did skim through it, focusing on their terms of "recreational use" and "outsourced use" of the Parks. Much of the language is vague and generic, and therefore (maybe unfortunately) open to interpretation. However, my impression " the impression we are no doubt meant to have-- is that the Park management still appears genuinely concerned about preservation/ conservation taking priority over usage, and is not intending to sell out. They don`t seem willing to put up cell phone towers willy nilly or allow the masses to snowmobile with abandon or let the government plunder and pillage its resources on a whim.

However, everything is negotiable according to what the Park management deems "appropriate", and how they define harmful and irreparable use in a given scenario. Which could ultimately mean whatever they want it to. So whether this new policy is good or not depends, I suppose, on whoever is implementing policy, who is in charge. And maybe it could also depend on how brazen corporations and/or our " government feels entitled (dis)regarding our " national parks, being inclined to ignore the policy if it becomes inconvenient for them, and commandeer nature for their own purposes at the expense of natural integrity and public interest. So far, the NPS has operated and been treated as an independent organization, allowed to regulate itself. But that`s merely a courtesy, probably revocable at any time if the government thinks it justified.


A press release from NPS on August 31, 2006 states, Conservation and Enjoyment Are Both Important, But When in Conflict, Conservation Remains Predominant. "

Well, that`s " reassuring?

Although the final, implemented draft of this new policy is said to resemble the original one that`s been in effect for almost a century, and is just a refined version, the revisions began as an ignoble attempt by a government/ corporate agent to better serve government and corporate desires. Whether that was a genuine effort to subvert conservation policy or a hyperbole intended to generate a review and improvement of policy, I don`t know. And I don`t know how concerned we should really be, but just in case-- in the spirit of better safe than sorry "-- I ask everyone to please devote a few minutes of your time to voice your support for this initiative to your government representative. Maybe contact the folks at NPS. Perhaps even help spread the word yourself. As a concerned citizen, I wrote to my designated government rep, asking to vote in favor of preserving and protecting our National Parks. I`ve also emailed the NPS.

Surely, the importance of safeguarding our national parks ought to be obvious, so I`ll refrain from insulting your intelligence by explaining it to you.


The new management policy can be read here: