Scott Silver, Fighting On Behalf Of Our Parks

I continue to be impressed with the work being done by Scott Silver, the executive director of Wild Wilderness. In a post two months ago I had said that Scott was particularly adept at knowing the key people involved with park policies (both public and behind-the-scenes players) and that he was very good at highlighting longterm patterns. In the last few days, there have been two articles that have confirmed these thoughts for me.

1) The Scripps news service issued a commentary titled "Rescuing our parks". As one who cares for the parks, I took immediate interest. But the conclusions reached by the author, Jay Ambrose, I felt were completely unacceptable. Leave it to Scott Silver to show Ambrose in his true light, a wolf in sheep's clothing. Quoted from Scott's blog:"[this] is certainly not a news piece. It is at its core, pure, unadulterated, propaganda. The person being interviewed, Holly Fretwell, is a Senior Fellow at Property and Environment Research Center-- a hard-core free-market think tank at which former Interior Secretary Gale Norton was also a Senior Fellow. The reporter, although not identified as such, is a Senior Fellow at the even MORE RIGHT WING and more strident Libertarian think-tank -- the Independence Institute ." It is awful to imagine that this type of overtly biased news release could be picked up as legitimate and published around the country. Scott is doing important work by identifying the objectives of these folks.

2) The National Parks Traveler today has posted an excellent article titled "Leasing The Parks: A Philosophical Rift". This piece looks at the current issue at Sandy Hook of giving a long-term private lease for the public facilities located there. The Park Service doesn't have the money to maintain the buildings, and so, they are doing what they believe is best: handing the keys to the facilities over to private-for-profit interests to be maintained as historic structures, with the hope that one day they can return to public management when funds come available. It is a position I don't agree with. Scott Silver is quoted heavily in the article, and I happen to strongly agree with his arguments: "When we accept commercialization, we can be assured that MORE commercialization will be forced down our throats. If we accept outsourcing, we can be assured that MORE outsourcing will follow. Same with privatization, user fees, reliance upon volunteers, etc. ... If one accepts the solutions that are being offered, then the government will make further cuts in funding. If park managers prove they can do more with less -- then they will be given less and told to do more." There are many different sides presented in this article (it really is good a piece, get over and read it if you haven't yet). Of all the opinions offered, Scott seems to be the only one looking at the big picture, identifying the the larger pattern. This issue isn't about one park, it is about ALL parks. It is a slippery slope. If you care for the welfare of Yosemite, then you should care about the welfare of these historic old buildings on the New Jersey coast.

Keep up the great work Scott. I believe strongly in the work you are doing on behalf of our public lands.