House Natural Resources Committee Plans Keen Oversight of National Park Service, Other Land-Management Agencies

In a full committee meeting today the House Natural Resources Committee is going over its proposed agenda for the 112th Congress, and topping the list is keen oversight of land-management agencies.

In past Congresses, the Committee on Natural Resources has been lax in performing a core Constitutional duty of the Legislative Branch to examine and question the Executive Branch's implementation and administration of laws written by the Congress. This lack of fundamental oversight by the Committee occurred under both Democrat and Republican majorities, and when examining both Democrat and Republican Presidential Administrations.

In the 112th Congress, the Committee on Natural Resources, and its five Subcommittees, will be fully committed to fulfilling their oversight responsibilities. In prioritizing the oversight work of the Committee and the Subcommittees, the emphasis will be placed first and foremost on 1)job creation and economic growth, and 2) reducing spending and eliminating unnecessary, duplicative, and unaffordable government programs.

When it comes to the subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands and its oversight of the National Park Service specifically, this proposed agenda calls for:

* Review of the National Park Service's fiscal year 2012 budget request. These hearings also will look into "stimulus" spending made under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act;

* Oversight into "how implementation of environmental laws on federal lands affects border security";

* Finding ways to see that budget cuts don't impede the Park Service's basic mission and resources, and that any cuts made "affect only nontraditional park activities";

* Examining any proposals for new units of the National Park System "with due regard for the merits of the proposal, spending constraints, the need for access to vital resources, and protection of property rights";

* Examine how best to reduce the estimated $9 billion operations and maintenance backlog confronting the Park Service while, at the same time, "foster and expand wholesome, family enjoyment of the parks."


Except for many members of Congress on these committees, to "foster and expand wholesome, family enjoyment of the parks" means snowmobiling, other noisy and polluting activities and guns, guns and more guns.

I'm thinking that there are many including not just a few in NPS that will welcome oversight reviews in the Intermountain Region activities. A shining light on the darkness would be encouraging, really, hard to do well but would be REFRESHING.


I spent a part of Monday, the 24th, meeting with the Regional Director and his senior staff plus a group of superintendents who are part of an advisory team for the RD. I think you would find a refreshing change in the leadership of the region. I don't think it is going to be business as usual in the IMR. I am optimistic that things are going to get better quickly.

This does not mean, of course, that everything that went on previouly is going to be resolved overnight. But, I think they are on the way toward a time that the IMR will be a region in which we can all take pride.


This ain't gonna be good for the land.

We here at the Grand Canyon are looking at mounting pressure from a border community that wants to go big time. The wheeler-dealers feel another million or more visitors-a year- through the park is fine and dandy. There's a rumor that the Hualapai want riverboat gambling on the Colorado. The EIS for air traffic is jammed-up in DC. Combine all this with the a pro-industry House, AZ's budget woes and the Canyon is gonna get screwed. I'm bettin the new Super will be giddy about Chamber mixers.

Chinch down yer duster boys and grab yer chaps cause the wind's gonna blow!

Those guys and gals with the chaps and dusters in the Canyon have been reduced by 75% so for the cultural and living history that won't be experienced there won't be anywhere to go but up. A correction (good term) is going on. Hope we all land somewhere that's rational and based on REAL facts and not bias (selfish). Bring it on :):).

Rob Bishop is coming! Rob Bishop is coming! Lord help us all . . . .

Be grateful for Rob Bishop, it could be the rapture! Hey, it just might be :):)!

Re: Rick Smith
Part of the restoration process for NPS handing over the 350+ FOIA requests that NPS has refused so far, to the Natural Resources Sub-Committee on National Parks. I'm.sure it will be painful but hope the resulting actions support your positive outlook. A correction is most definitely in motion.

Describes how NPS subverts the publics will, cultural and historical presence and the intent of Congress to pursue a path that weakens the US and individual rights. Not an exaggeration but exposes the wide latitudes that allow NPS, in many cases, to make individuals "willing sellers" of desired lands with the end result of limited or denied access by the public. Absolutely not to infer that our great places in the system are not valuable resources "to be enjoyed" but when, in the State of Alaska only 0.3 of 1% is privately owned things have gone far out of line with this environmental movement. The fervor at which this type of thing has been implemented is hurting the character, strength and opportunity for individuals to move forward in freedom rather than assume what many like to believe, that we are inherently bad. There needs to be a balance that is increasingly critical to the GREATNESS of this country.

Hey Anon @ 5:27am,

I'm a member of the public AND a happy co-owner of Alaska's national parks and wilderness areas. I'm glad that the NPS is preserving my freedom to access the land I already co-own.

Okay, justinh, you pay the Chinese for your gate fees at the Park, LOL, not really funny, really!

Freedom to access the land? The path seems to be less access and fewer deeply transformational opportunities. Just look but don't get to close. Educating those that want to enter (ongoing) but don't take the attitude (some do) that the masses are inherently bad. Opportunity for the learning curve to take place is very good. Today's public need that more than ever.

Anonymous, if you're going to go down that road, I think you need to present some examples.

Where is access growing less?

You want a deeply transformational opportunity? Climb the Grand Teton, float the Colorado through the Grand Canyon, visit one of the national parks in Alaska...or one in the Rockies or the high Sierra. The list goes on and on.

Opportunities exist for those of all abilities and incomes. Can't afford a trip to Alaska? Hike a section of the Appalachian Trail, or paddle a canoe in the Everglades, or take a raft trip on the New River.

There are plenty of day hikes across the country that will delight the veterans as well as the newbie hikers.

The opportunities are out there, anonymous, you just have to look for them.

I thought I'd pick up the ball from Anonymous.

I don't have to go anywhere to see the LOSS. A tremendous loss to those with the least opportunity (handicapped), children at risk and those that could never imagine they are capable of reaching those transformational locations. Of course I'm referring to the 75% reduction in the 100+ year symbol of the Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon Mule Rides. NPS pads the numbers by including the the Above the Rim ride to the Abyss that follows the sewer effluent stream while watching cars and trains passing on either side. The mindset and motivations of those (one in particular) should be examined. I've got the figures, the distortions,some would call them lies of omission or worse, the witnessed events that paint a very disturbing situation, especially when you consider the connection these mules have had with the nearly 1million INDIVIDUALS including demographics across the board. The superintendent would NOT discuss the loss of opportunity to experience the Canyon by the handicapped and all of those that attain that "transformational" experience we both speak of. The dumbing down of the park is significant because there hasn't been the WILL for those responsible to work at the REAL issue. A profound bias that is personal and not addressing what the embracing of what has been so much a presence here would do to the acceptance and personal growth of those entering by foot OR on a mule.
The reasons given for putting the Inner Canyon Rides in the sewer, really, belong at the headwaters. I'm trying to be nice but this SERIOUS and needs to be corrected.