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Monday, August 29, 2005

Bush administration has new plan for managing the national parks

Posted by: Jambo / 3:46 PM

Surprise, it sucks.

Mr. Hoffman's rewrite would open up nearly every park in the nation to off-road vehicles, snowmobiles and Jet Skis. According to his revision, the use of such vehicles would become one of the parks' purposes. To accommodate such activities, he redefines impairment to mean an irreversible impact. To prove that an activity is impairing the parks, under Mr. Hoffman's rules, you would have to prove that it is doing so irreversibly - a very high standard of proof. This would have a genuinely erosive effect on the standards used to protect the national parks.

The pattern prevails throughout this 194-page document - easing the rules that limit how visitors use the parks and toughening the standard of proof needed to block those uses. Behind this pattern, too, there is a fundamental shift in how the parks are regarded. If the laws establishing the national park system were fundamentally forward-looking - if their mission, first and foremost, was protecting the parks for the future - Mr. Hoffman's revisions place a new, unwelcome and unnecessary emphasis on the present, on what he calls "opportunities for visitors to use and enjoy their parks."


There are other issues too. Mr. Hoffman would explicitly allow the sale of religious merchandise, and he removes from the policy document any reference to evolution or evolutionary processes. He does everything possible to strip away a scientific basis for park management. His rules would essentially require park superintendents to subordinate the management of their parks to local and state agendas. He also envisions a much wider range of commercial activity within the parks.

Yeah, this is just what the American park going public is clamoring for.


just what the American park going public is clamoring for.

Alas, lots of them really are. Some (not all, of course) snowmobile and ATV owners seem to think it's their birthright to go anywhere they want.

By Blogger Joseph, at 10:33 PM  

I realize some of them are. We get a similar issue here in Minnesota with motorized boats in the Boundary Waters when every couple years someone is demanding those lakes be opened up. I always ask if it is that hard to accept that out of 10,000 (actually even more than that) lakes we keep a few hundred of them motor free? To hear some people, yes, it is.

By Blogger Jambo, at 11:45 PM  

My father owns property near Hackensack, MN. It used to border on a beautiful national forest. The border is still there, but much of the forest is not, thanks to the Bush Healthy Forests Initative. If someone wants a picture of what a "healthy forest" looks like in Minnesota's north woods resort area, let me know.

His property, which is undeveloped for now, is deeply rutted by ATV wheels who make paths wherever they want.

By Blogger Hammer, at 7:46 AM  

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