The Washington Post: Nearly all members of National Park Service advisory panel resign in frustration.
“More than three-quarters of the members of a federally chartered board advising the National Park Service have quit out of frustration that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had refused to meet with them or convene a single meeting last year.
The resignation of 10 out of 12 National Park System Advisory Board members leaves the federal government without a functioning body to designate national historic or natural landmarks. It also underscores the extent to which federal advisory bodies have become marginalized under the Trump administration.”
“”The President still hasn’t nominated a director for the National Park Service and Secretary Zinke has proposed tripling entrance fees at our most popular national parks,” [Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell] said. “His disregard of the advisory board is just another example of why he has earned an ‘F’ in stewardship.”
“To not have any meetings, to not have their phone calls returned, to not have any opportunity to have an audience with the officials at the interior department is really a slap in the face and I think sometimes you have to make a statement,” Sally Jewell, the secretary of the interior during President Obama’s second term, told NPR’s Here and Now on Wednesday.
“They were being ignored, and I have to believe that’s consistent with what this administration has done with other advisory boards and councils in other agencies, as well,” she said.
Since taking office, President Trump has sought to roll back protections of national parks and public lands under the auspices of the Department of the Interior. The administration has ordered a dramatic downsizing of two massive national monuments in Utah and has announced plans to open up oil drilling in protected areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic.
“If we lose the people with the knowledge and the ability to educate the next generation of young people, to appreciate our history, our culture, our natural world,” Jewell said, “then we lose the value of the national parks.””