NPS Problems Intensify
Established in 1935, there are 12 board members on the U.S. National Park Service advisory, and 9 of those 12 have resigned concurrently. Former Governor of Alaska, Tony Knowles, was one of the 9 members to resign.
Selection for this board is an honor and privilege. Members are “advisors chartered by Congress to help the National Park Service”. The current board was a bipartisan one, with members from across the US and with diverse backgrounds in business, research, politics, social science and natural resources conservation.
Board Chair, Tony Knowles resignation letter was sent to Secretary Ryan Zinke from the Department of Interior, and made known that it reflected the opinions of the 8 other members who would also be resigning. Knowles referenced:
“For the last year we have stood by waiting for the chance to meet and continue the partnership . . . from all the events of this past year I have a profound concern that the mission of stewardship, protection, and advancement of our National Parks has been set aside.”
Since the joint resignation on January 15th ,2018 it has been further clarified by Knowles that:
“from all the events of this past year I have a profound concern that the mission of stewardship, protection, and advancement of our National Parks has been set aside.”
Of the 3 remaining board members, one noted that a research project was not yet completed, and alluded that a resignation may be forthcoming upon completion of that project.
Since taking office in 2017, President Trump has looked to alter protections of national parks and public lands. The administration has recently announced plans to allow oil drilling in protected areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic coast.
Secretary Zinke replied to the news with a letter which read:
“The advice and recommendations provided by the Board and its subcommittees fulfill an important need within the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service . . . and it is necessary to re-establish the Board to ensure its work is not disrupted.”
As outdoorsmen, we have the responsibility to understand the environments we enjoy, and what changes will impact our enjoyment of those areas for our generation and those who come after us.