A fresh new year is upon us, one still brimming with hope, confidence, and high expectations. So, what better time to sort through our list of things we'd like to see happen across the National Park System in 2010?
Plight of the Parks
New Coalition Brings Groups Together to Push for Water Stewardhip in Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, Everglades, and Puget Sound
There was a news event earlier this week that seemed to sail under the radar, but it's something to keep an eye on. A large coalition of groups has come together to lobby for the waters that flow through Everglades National Park, the parks and lakeshores that dot the Great Lakes and touch the Chesapeake Bay, as well as many other watery ecosystems across the country.
Plans by the state of Indiana to build a hardened stone seawall along a portion of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore don't sit well with lakeshore officials, who cite a number of problems, including the lack of permits from the National Park Service and requisite environmental studies.
A gold strike in the rugged mountains of British Columbia just across the U.S.-Canadian border from Glacier National Park is yet one more concern for the park's environmental health, which already is being threatened by another mining project eyed in the same general area.
If you thought round gobies and zebra mussels were scary invaders of the Great Lakes, brace yourself for the arrival of Asian carp, a voracious fish that could decimate the lakes' native fisheries.
If there weren't enough controversial issues swirling about Big Cypress National Preserve, a cash-strapped Miami-Dade County has been mulling the possibility of drilling for oil beneath the preserve.
House Passes Legislation That Could Lead the National Park Service to Rebuild Road at North Cascades National Park
In a sign of bipartisan meddling when it comes to how the national parks should be managed, the House of Representatives has passed legislation that could force the National Park Service to tweak wilderness boundaries and rebuild a road in North Cascades National Park. The chamber's majority was evidently unmoved by a Park Service analysis that best interests of taxpayers and the park would be served by not rebuilding the Upper Stehekin Road.
No matter how you cut it, unless President Obama decides to veto some items, the FY 2010 budget for the National Park Service is going to be up roughly $200 million from the current funding level.
There long have been pockets of disgust over federal land ownership in the West, and perhaps nowhere are those sentiments stronger than in Utah, where roughly two-thirds of the landscape is federally managed. While the "Sagebrush Rebellion" mightily reared its head some three decades ago, its waning vestiges are on trial this week over whether a creek bed constitutes a road in Canyonlands National Park.Salt_Creek-Amicus_Brief.pdf Salt_Creek-NPS_Motions.pdf
The National Park Service's National Leadership Council met in Ohio last week. The meeting of the agency's top management was supposed to be the first under the direction of Jon Jarvis as Park Service director. Political gamesmanship, and apparently a dose of bureaucracy, unfortunately left Mr. Jarvis wearing his Pacific West Region director's hat.