San Francisco Time / UTC Time


National Park Assault

The assault on the environment by the Bush Administration continues unabated on all fronts. The National Park Conservation Association (NPCA) has been opposing the rewrite of the nation park management policies that Paul Hoffman (deputy assistant secretary of the Interior) spearheaded. The rewrite has the potential to open a panoply of new abuses of the already beleaguered national parks. Oy vey.

Hoffman was appointed by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, who was in turn nominated by the Bush administration. Hoffman also used to work for Dick Cheney.. you see where this is leading don't you? The funny part is that the DOI website claims that Hoffman is a "conservationist". I know how some of these good ol' boys out of Montana and Wyoming operate. Their idea of "conservation" is making sure there's enough fuel in their snowmobile to make it to the "pit stop" aka place to drink booze and pee. Now mind you, I'm not against drinking, peeing or even hunting (as long as it's not apex predator hunting or trophy hunting). But drinking and riding any kind of motorized vehicle is just plain stupid. Just because trees don't make erratic lane changes doesn't make it safe to operate a snowmobile with 40oz of Schlitz pumping through your veins. But I digress.

If the rewrite is successful, folks like the NPCA and the NRDC (National Resouce Defense Council) are going to have an even harder time protecting our National Parks and wild lands from abuse. Should the rights of the few outweigh the rights of the many? Is this case, my answer is yes. The argument that "hey, you're a rock climber and you use national parks: what if they wanted to restrict you from climbing?" doesn't fly. Although there have been closures for climbers in some national parks, it has mostly been due to either protecting nesting raptors or because of a government giveaway to corporate special interests! Climbers in general tend to be thoughtful, methodical people as the act of climbing is a deliberate and methodical process. We also realize the beauty of the places we visit: what else would we want to get up so high to see? So if there's a good reason for me not to be climbing in an area, I would gladly yell at any idiots who ignored the closure. Hell, I'd even be tempted to cut their ropes if it meant protecting raptors, though I probably wouldn't. I'm digressing again, but suffice to say that I take the Burning Man ethos of "Leave No Trace" very very seriously, ESPECIALLY when I'm in an environmentally pristine or sensitive place.

Somehow I ended up defending myself here... Cheese & Rice, this was supposed to be a COUNTER-ATTACK on the National Park Management Policy rewrite! Ok, Back on target folks...

If you have a minute, visit the NPCA SITE, check out the text of the rewrite and decide for yourself.

No comments: