Piston Power at odds with Preservation

New York Times onlineAn important editorial appeared in the New York Times today. Titled 'Drafting the Future of the Parks' the opinion congratulates the Park Service for returning to 'the doctrine that preservation is the core historical mission of the parks'. This element seems so obvious, but as you may know, the original changes had been written to 'open the gates' to all types of motorized recreation; "Run your ATV anywhere you want, we'll worry about preservation later".

Who could have been behind such seemingly destructive policy changes? It was easy to blame Paul Hoffman, the Bush/Cheney crony at the Department of Interior who actually re-wrote the document. Hoffman is now, fortunately, out of the picture and it appears clear that he was just a political puppet. Whose puppet? Who would have anything to gain from an 'all access' pass to snowmobiles, off-road vehicles, RVs, jet skis, and more? Quoting the NYT editorial:
Over the past few weeks, there has been a concerted effort by the so-called recreation community ' a euphemism for the motorized vehicle industry and its lobbyists ' to change the draft. In at least two conference calls with Interior Department officials, snowmobile and off-road vehicle lobbyists have expressed their opposition to the restored emphasis on preservation.
Unbelievable! This was the first that I had read of these recreation (wreckreation?) industry phone calls to plead against preservation policies. The National Parks belong to the people, not to the industry. Who could doubt that the industry motive for such activity is to increase their own profits. It calls to mind a quote from John Muir:

"These temple destroyers, devotees of ravaging commercialism, seem to have a perfect contempt for Nature, and, instead of lifting their eyes to the God of the mountains, lift them to the Almighty Dollar."

Nowhere in the NPS enabling legislation does it suggest that the quarterly profits of Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. be considered when deciding how best to 'conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife'. Or that the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) be consulted when evaluating which activities 'will leave [the scenery, wildlife, and natural objects] unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations'. Even so, it is this industry which has invited themselves to the table and will not leave until their piston driven agenda has been served. The New York Times piece concludes:
The parks should not be sacrificed to the internal combustion engine. The new interior secretary, Dirk Kempthorne, should listen to the claims of the motorized recreationists and weigh them for what they are worth against the many thousands of public comments supporting the historical mission of the parks ' and act accordingly.
Hear, hear! I couldn't agree more.