Need proof that National Park Service Director Fran Mainella is a politician? She can spin with the best of 'em. Here's a snippet of a memo she sent out to the ranks the other day with the latest iteration of the Park Service's Management Policies:
"As you review the document, you may recognize that it largely resembles the 2001 Management Policies. This is because the review team members used the 2001 policies as their starting point and made only those changes that they felt were necessary and appropriate improvements."
Pretty strong comment for the Park Service director who once thought the draft penned by the Interior Department's Paul Hoffman, the one that threatened to open parks to more motorized recreation, strike evolution from the document, rewrite the concept of "natural" soundscapes and weaken air and water quality, was pretty good.
Here's another interesting comment from Fran, who at times during the past ten months vigorously defended the earlier versions of the rewrite:
"Thanks to your diligence and expertise, this draft final document is one that stands solidly by our mission; I hope you will agree."
True, Fran is a political appointee and can be let go at Dubya's will. That, no doubt, largely determines the song that she sings. But isn't it a shame that the Park Service essentially wasted who knows how much time and money on two rewrites that truly weren't "solidly" behind the Park Service's mission?
And, certainly, that time and money could have been better spent on issues much more critical to the national park system.
Yet, there's something delicious in knowing that this latest version, which seems to have been embraced by just about all who matter in the Interior Department, turns on their head Hoffman's comment last fall that the 2001 version was "anti-enjoyment" and Dubya's contention, made via videotape to his Cooperative Conservation Conference, that parks "need to be more accessible and inviting."