CCNPSRCoalition of Concerned National Park Service Retirees
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The full text of the CCNPSR letter to Mainella is available online at http://www.
On September 21, 2004, CCNPSR issued "A Call to Action: Saving our National Park System," a detailed "call for action" spelling out how to overhaul the National Park over the next 12 years leading up to the NPS' 100th anniversary in 2016.
The CCNPSR analysis revealed a combination of significant cuts in budget, staff and visitor services at all of the parks, a finding that casts into doubt the truthfulness of March 24, 2004 testimony by National Park Service Director Fran Mainella, who told angry members of Congress that Americans would not see major park cuts this summer and that "outstanding visitor services" would be provided.
CCNPSR spokesman Rick Smith, who also has served as an Acting Superintendent at Yellowstone said: "Just imagine how the American people would react if the Bush Administration acknowledged that its new proposal for snowmobile use may harm visitors and employees, Yellowstone's wildlife, and the natural ambience people expect to find in their national parks.
Given these facts, the CCNPSR believes the public has a right to know that the Administration's newest proposal to allow 720 snowmobiles a day in Yellowstone and 140 snowmobiles per day in Grand Teton National Park runs counter to public opinion and counter to the alternative that both the NPS and the Environmental Protection Agency have determined: "best preserves the unique historic, cultural, and natural resources associated with the parks" while yielding "the least impacts to air quality, water quality, and natural soundscapes.
CCNPSR expressed concern earlier this month that the Administration's proposal to more than double the snowmobile levels seen in Yellowstone last winter would require weakening important standards intended to protect visitor enjoyment of a quiet park.
The CCNPSR also has learned that monitoring of snowmobile use in Yellowstone last winter revealed greater than expected noise impacts even with an average of 262 snowmobiles per day.
CCNPSR Spokesman Bill Wade, another former national park superintendent, said: "The full Environmental Impact Statement process was correctly used earlier because this is a significant and controversial federal action.
Bill Wade, spokesperson for CCNPSR and a former superintendent at Shenandoah National Park, said: "Our national parks and the million Americans who will visit these American treasures this summer are ill served when top Interior and NPS officials cling desperately to a state of denial about the grave problems that they either created or made much worse at the parks.
Research by the CCNPSR shows that over 85 percent of the parks started out this year with a smaller base operating budgets than in the last year.
Earlier, the CCNPSR made national headlines on March 17, 2004, when it revealed internal NPS memos directing park superintendents to make cuts in summer 2004 park services and to then mislead the news media and public about the cuts, which were to be referred (and only if necessary) as "service level adjustments.