A newly released National Park Service management policy will reduce environmental protection and boost commercial interests, according to conservation groups.
words, entire paragraphs and whole chapters in the new rules trace
back to a controversial document written this past summer by Paul
Hoffman, the Interior Department’s deputy assistant secretary
for fish, wildlife and parks. Hoffman, a former head of the Cody,
Wyo., Chamber of Commerce and aide to then-Wyoming Congressman Dick
Cheney, has long supported motorized recreation interests. In
August, a Park Service employee leaked the rewrite to the public
(HCN, 9/19/05: Revealed — secret changes to park rules).
"The original Hoffman rewrite got so much adverse
publicity that Interior tried to deflect that by saying he did it
only to initiate a dialogue and to play devil’s advocate,"
says Bill Wade with the Coalition of National Park Service
Retirees. "Now they’ve repackaged the Hoffman language and
are trying to attribute it to over 100 National Park Service
The rules, released Oct. 19, will weaken
long-standing congressional mandates that emphasize preservation
over recreational enjoyment of the National Park system. They will
also allow increased air and noise pollution, snowmobiling, jet
skiing and livestock grazing; delete a requirement that the Park
Service review its lands for potential wilderness; and prevent the
public from suing the agency for not complying with its own
The draft policy is available online
at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/waso. The Park Service is accepting
comments on the plan until Jan. 19, 2006.