Since the end of summer, top National Park Service managers have been touting that "100 career park professionals" worked on crafting the latest revision of the agency's Management Policies. But oddly, when asked to name those 100, the agency says it can't because, well, because it didn't keep a list of those who participated.
The request for those who worked on the proposed revisions was made by the Greenwire, a news service that covers environmental issues across the country. You think it'd be somewhat easy for the Park Service to name at least some of those 100, especially since Director Fran Mainella and her deputies keep referring to the 100 when they talk about the revisions.
Perhaps there weren't hundred. Just the other day, in a letter to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Director Mainella said "nearly 100" park professionals helped with the revisions.
But still, whether there were 25, 50, 75 or 100, you'd think the Park Service, when confronted by Greenwire's Freedom of Information request, could have named a dozen or so, right? I mean, when you take on a task as controversial and surely to be second-guessed as rewriting the Management Policies, and you invite 100 of the agency's top managers to participate, you remember whom you asked, right?
And certainly there'd be some email tracks around, no? Unless, of course, you flew all 100 to some central location to brainstorm together, and if that were the case, there'd be some travel records, wouldn't there?
But then, you'd also think that Paul Hoffman, the assistant director at the Interior Department who this past summer came up with a revision of the Management Policies himself, would have been able to name some of the groups and individuals that he claims asked for the Management Policies to be revised. He was pressed on that issue back in October, when the latest version of the revisions were released, and he couldn't identify one. Not one.
Some might suggest that these two cases of forgetfulness would be a considerable jab at the credibility of the Park Service's top officials.
It also generates the following two-part question: Why was there a need to rewrite the 2001 Management Policies, and how much professional, service-wide input did Director Mainella and her deputies, as well as Mr. Hoffman, seek in coming up with the latest proposed revisions?