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The park service has the power

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The "Unnatural Preservation" article, like nearly everything else in HCN, is generally excellent (HCN, 2/04/08). However, the authors miss, I think, an important element of the National Park Service management philosophy, and thus distort their conclusions about the agency. While the Park Service still holds onto the general thrust of the policy toward its natural areas articulated first officially in the 1965 Leopold Report, which, oversimplified, stated that national parks should be "vignettes of primitive America," the agency has also always had it in its power, and in its management policies, to directly intervene in nature (through natural resources management) when the influence or consequence of man's actions interferes with or disrupts the opportunity for natural process to dominate otherwise.

If you agree, as I do, that the rapidity of global climate change that the Earth is currently experiencing is due to human activity, then it is well within the Park Service's current management policies to take direct action to respond. Except for the matter of scale, this is not different than what the Park Service has done in managing the parks throughout its modern history.

This natural resources management intervention can take many forms, from live capture and reintroduction of extirpated native animals to removal of introduced non-native species, by shooting or trapping if necessary.

The multi-hundred-million-dollar restoration of the Redwood National Park additions of 1978, and the multi-billion-dollar ongoing restoration of Everglades National Park represent even larger-scale direct interventions through natural resource management, necessitated and justified by man's destructive activities in and around these parks.

There are literally hundreds of other examples of Park Service direct management of nature and natural processes that have been undertaken in our national park system over the past four decades.

The National Park Service, acting alone, won't stop global climate change, but it can apply the best science available to its resource managers and take direct action. Some may call that gardening and pet care, but to do so is a gross exaggeration and distortion of the sort of professional natural resource management that dedicated career employees carry out every day in our national parks.

T. Destry Jarvis,
President Outdoor Recreation & Park Services, LLC
Hamilton, Virginia

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