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often than not have neither background nor experience on their side--have taken it
talented career employees...and
have created a management house divided against
pitting career bureaucrat against
I firmly believe
-- as I point out in my soon to be published book,
Battling for the National Parks
that politics have returned to the national
parks where Mather and Albright found them in 1916. Only about five per cent (5%)
of the employees in the Washington office of the Directorate have ever pulled a
day of duty in a national park--a condition as absurd as operating a Navy with a
corps that has never sailed a ship.
We must not allow politics to ruin the
National Park Service as we have known it.
Having heard your keynote address at the Convocation of the National
Parks and Conservation Association on March 15, 1988, Mr. Chairman, I know you
understand the crisis confronting the Service and I applaud your willingness to
try to find solutions so that it can do its job.
Your leadership is appreciated
by all those dedicated to the mission of the National Park Service.
The task is
not a simple one.
H.R. 3964 focuses attention on this problem and offers a constructive
opportunity to redirect responsibility for management of the National Park System
back to the career professionals where it belongs.
As I see it, your bill would
do two things:
the Congress followed in restoring professional integrity and public confidence in
the management of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In that case, the Congress
established a statutory term of ten (10) years for the Director.
suggest that five (5) years for the Director of the National Park Service is too
short a tenure although it is a marked improvement over our recent experience of
five (5) Directors in fifteen (15) years.
When the fixed term is combined with the Presidential appointment and
Senate confirmation, that should assure needed continuity and a greater degree of
responsibility in the selection of a Director.
If there is a suggestion to be
made here, Mr. Chairman, I would suggest that the bill should state in broad terms
the qualities and qualifications that a suitable Director should possess.
Turning to the other element of the bill -- the Review Board:
understand it, the Board would be a permanent full-time administrative entity with
its own professional full-time staff.
Its responsibilities would be relatively
broad, including investigative, review and reporting activities as well as sub
stantive management duties, i.e., budget recommendations to the Congress.
As presently drafted, the first category of responsilitities appears
to duplicate the oversight duties of the Congress, as well as to overlap the
investigative responsibilities of the General Accounting Office and the review
functions of the Advisory Board on the National Park System.
Under the terms of the bill, the second category of responsibilities
seems to place the Board in a key management role over the Director and appears
to infringe upon the overall management responsibilities of the Secretary of the
Interior particularly with respect to budget formulation.
To function effective
ly, I believe that the Director and the Secretary must work directly together to
foster and promote park values through common management objectives.
to me that there are some inherent inconsistencies in taking budget formulation
from the Secretary of the Interior while keeping the National Park Service within
I realize that in the recent past mutual cooperation in the
management of the Service and its programs has been lacking, but the question
which must be answered is:
Will this Board restore this needed compatability?
If your Subcommittee finds that it will, then I suggest some other
in view of the fact that the bill provides for a separate
full-time professional staff and in view of the fact that
To what extent would the activities of the Board and its
employees duplicate or conflict with the responsibili
ties of professional employees of the Service?
Mr. Chairman, even though I have reservations about the efficacy of
the Review Board as now proposed, I heartily agree that the Director should have
the benefit of outside advice in the performance of that difficult position.
now have a National Parks Advisory Board.
In years past, this organization pro
vided Invaluable professional and practical guidance to the National Park Service
and was very helpful to the Congress.
Unfortunately, the Advisory Board, too, has been politicized.
haps, it could regain its role as a constructive contributor to National Park
policies and programs 1f its charter were reviewed and revised to make it more
H.R. 3964 significantly addresses internal aspects of the crisis in
our National Park System, but there are other equally serious threats to the
Integrity of our National Park System. Major threats lie outside the boundaries
of our parks.
I have addressed this issue in the last chapter of my book.
deal with this aspect of the crisis, I have suggested a Congressionally sanction
ed Register of Natural Places and a legislatively mandated President's Council on
Nature Preservation to advise, mediate and propose solutions to the competing and
oft-times conflicting demands and programs that impact adversely on our national
I realize that this subject is not addressed by H.R. 3964, Mr. Chairman,
but I felt it useful to bring it to your attention.
In this regard, you and
Members of the Subcommittee and your staff may find it useful and instructive to
examine the record and legislation (Historic Preservation Act of 1966) enacted by
the Congress when, in the nineteen-sixties, the preservation of our cultural heri
tage was at risk.
Such a review may suggest some ideas to meet the external