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'Policy at Heart of Feud Inside U.S. Park Service'

February 21, 1987

The article (Feb. 5), "Policy at Heart of Feud Inside U.S. Park Service," regarding the policy dispute between the National Park Service directors and the Interior Department's William P. Horn only tells part of the story.

The Reagan Administration, first through the stalking horse of James Watt, and now Donald P. Hodel, wants to open up the national parks and monuments to mining and timber interests and private concessionaires.

They are attempting to rewrite current policies to enable them to do this, and they hope to piggyback this unspoken part of their agenda on the concept of more recreational opportunities for the public.

The Department of the Interior is currently attempting to purge dedicated career rangers and their directors. These are people who still speak of preserving trees and streams, rather than "timber stands" and "streamside management zones." Under the rubric of ridding itself of "subjective" language, the Department of the Interior in attempting to write into their policy manual a language (highly ambiguous and understood by very few) that will facilitate a "metered" (my term) exploitation of the resources in the park system.

It has never been the Park Service's purpose, nor is it now, to provide ever newer and more expansive forms of recreation. It is their charge to preserve a non-renewable resource for all our people, for all time.

The Department of the Interior seeks to align itself with special interest operators in an unenlightened and dangerous attempt to garner revenue from lands held in public trust.


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