Two More Links: NPS Workplace & Fees from the Top

Best Places to Work in the Federal Govt. 2007
This is an interesting list. Want to take a guess where the National Park Service ranks among 222 other federal offices as a place to work? Would you guess top 10? Nope, think lower. Top 50? Lower. Top 100?? Keep going lower. Top 150???? Lower. If you guessed 160th, you were dead on correct. FYI, that is lower in rank than other land management offices like the Forest Service, BLM, and Fish & Wildlife. I'll leave it to you to decide if there is deeper meaning in these numbers. The chart provides a little more data that may be of interest, the 58.2 score is 6.9% lower than the 2005 score of 62.5. And, did you see this detail? The Work/Life Balance score for the NPS is ranked 218th of 222. It is hard to get much worse than that.

Newscast About Fees on Colorado Mountainside
I've talked about fees a number of times on this website. Sometimes I have trouble expressing why I think many of the visitation fees are absurd. Someone sent me a link today to this story broadcast on the Denver evening news late last week. Have a look - CBS4 Reporter Gets Ticketed for Looking at Wildlife on Mt Evans. I don't know about you, but I get upset when I see that video. Doesn't it just seem crazy? You can drive on the road, check out the wildlife, but your tires better not stop! If your tires come to a stop, you have engaged in an activity that MUST be taxed! To be clear, this story is about the Forest Service, but the fee authority is the same as the parks, the FLREA. story sent via email, which was probably found via NewWest

Web Update
Getting really close now ... look for the updated site as soon as the end of the week.


The employees of the highly esteemed National Park Service have been strapped for cash for almost three decades. In each decade, and during each Administration, they have been asked by higher ups to do more with less.

I think the NPS work/life ranking of 218 out of 222 Federal Agencies is a strong indication of the progressive effects of "doing more with less."
The National Park Service is the most lavishly funded land management agency (per acre) in the world. Its employees are some of the most highly paid resource managers on the planet as well.

I'm getting awfully tired of the long running sob story about the agency being "strapped for cash" and having "to do more with less". Let's call a spade a spade: the money is mostly wasted on high salaries and lavish benefits as well as many dubious projects and intiatives that are done to "build a legacy" for some sorry ass superintendent or incompetent mandarin in the directorate. The agency should have passed into semi-private foundation status years ago and thus rescued from the idiotic political theater that is the Interior Department.

The days of sympathy and hand wringing over an agency that has essentially become a national laughing stock are over! It's about time for this Kafkaesque bureaucracy in steep decline to hang it up and start all over again.

You could begin by trashing those AWFUL uniforms! No one thinks they're cool or represent a "fine tradition". Most of us think you look like green and gray goofballs.

"The Work/Life Balance score for the NPS is ranked 218th of 222. It is hard to get much worse than that."

"The work/life balance category measures the extent to which employees consider their workloads reasonable and feasible, and mangers support a balance between work and life."

Ok, so NPS employees don't consider their workloads feasible or reasonable (possibly because management is eating up all the money and can't hire support staff) and their managers are slave driving white male patriarchal power mongers (check out the gender and ethnic composition of the service; but hey, I've long advocated that black people just don't like nature).

Even more telling is the low score in effective leadership category which "measures the extent to which employees believe leadership at all levels of the organization generates motivation and commitment, encourages integrity, and manages people fairly, while also promoting the professional development, creativity, and empowerment of employees." The NPS is sorely lacking in effective leaders and is infested with parasites whose self interest trumps the common good.

The NPS is like the Titanic, and those of you on it better get to life boats because this bloated ship is going down.

Just a quick note on gender/race - My experience has been a little different from what you've described. When I think back to all the folks I've worked with in the NPS, I'd say at least half have been women. Perhaps a patriarchal power structure exists, but, at least consider that the last couple NPS directors have been women. I've had to answer to Chief's of Interp at the park and district level who are women.

And, I can tell you that without a doubt, my experiences in the NPS have included a much more diverse group of people than I've ever experienced in the private sector. A multi-cultural workforce only makes the NPS stronger. I would agree that minorities are underrepresented in the outdoors, but the reasons are probably far more complex than simply saying 'they don't like nature'.

For a thought provoking discussion about this subject, have a listen to the WildeBeat story called 'Race in the Backcountry'. It's nine mintues long. Here's the link -"

I don't think Sinking Ship was being totally serious when he made his "they don't like nature" remarks, but do believe that there is a kernel of truth in the observation. My own experience with African-Americans, I grew up in a predominantly black city, was that most didn't generally find a tramp around in the woods to be something that sane and rational folks would want to do.

I always felt like I seemed a little strange to them, with my backpack and hiking boots, going off for days at a time to trek through mountains and swamps. Some even went so far as to tell me that they thought that I might be a little "touched" in the head. Who knows they may have been right after the shape I was in after some of my mis-adventures.

True diversity is just that, which, to me, means diverse activities and pastimes for different groups and cultures. Why do so many white folks out there think that in order for something to be legitimate it must be inclusive of all peoples? Let the free marketplace decide what people want to do and consume! Making it a raw numbers game is just plain dumb and doesn't take into account the myriad of cultural and economic factors that induce different people to participate in a wide spectrum of recreational frolicking.

Work Life Balance Score

I had employees who routinely worked over 900 hours overtime a year. This approaches the 60 to 80 hour weeks that new attorneys and MD resident's work during the early stages of their careers. (Professions who, unlike park rangers, have 6 figure salaries in their near futures.)

Just a one of many anecdotes that come to mind when I see the NPS rank for Work/Life Balance.

Thanks for posting that Jersu! Can't wait to see the new site.