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Mr. VENTO. Howard, your statement is in the record. You may proceed to summarize or read the relevant portions. Please proceed.
Mr. CHAPMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate this opportunity to testify before your subcommittee, and I will summarize my statement.
In my statement, however, I do point out four instances in the past, particularly in the 7 years of my last 15 as regional director in the National Park Service, that did show that there were abuses of the system as well as of the service by the administration, by the Department of the Interior.
One item deals with the efforts made to alter a land protection plan dealing with acquisition of private properties by the Assistant Secretary and also a second one was the appearance before the Secretary of the Interior by the Director and the ten regional directors, of which I was one, a year ago in which the Secretary in so many words told us that we were to supply answers to the Appropriations Committee only to the degree that there was information in the NPS budget.
Not all of us quite followed that, I will admit. However, apparently the message has gotten through in this particular year's appropriation when all ten sat and did not rise when Mr. Yates asked them what were the conditions that existed in their regions that cried out for additional help or additional funding when in the very budget document before them they were being cut substantially in the maintenance area and in just the last one month that I have been on a trip through some 50 national parks that will conclude the 15th of July it already shows definitely that they are hurting from the standpoint of not having sufficient maintenance funding.
The second-or the third element is the fact that the Senate had to take action on Mr. Horn and his salary to bring him back away from back away from interference in the Director's plan for reorganizing his Washington office.
The fourth-and which you referred to this morning—that is, Mr. Horn dealing with the Grand Canyon issue and the Secretary's admonishment of the professional staff at Grand Canyon for doing their specific job and then asking that they be disciplined-and that is on the record because there is a memorandum to that effect which is signed by the Secretary.
So, these are elements that say to me that somewhere in this system as it operates today, there has to be some kind of a change. I would agree, however, that not all changes dealing with individuals or the personnel that are involved can always be corrected by an organizational change. But I think that the evidence is there that something has to be done to curb those abuses that exist.
I feel that your legislation does provide what is so essential today; that is, to have critical professional advocates for the organization, not adversaries, as has been true in the last few years of the Department of the Interior's relationship with the National Park Service.
What has to be remembered is a reference to what was stated here earlier today in those words of former director Newton B. Drury that if we are going to succeed in preserving the greatness of the national parks, they must be held inviolate. If we are going to
whittle away at them, we should recognize that such whittlings are cumulative and the end result will be mediocrity. Greatness will be gone.
The evidence is in the four things I have cited of some of the things that are working at the greatness of the system. I feel, then, by establishing a professional criteria for the selection of a park director, subjecting that person to Senate confirmation as well as providing a professional review board are measures in this proposed legislation that can go a long way toward meeting the objectives of Steve Mather and Horace Albright, albeit that we are in a different and changing world.
I feel part of that changing world is a reference on the one hand of the cost of things versus the value of things. I refer to my compatriot to my left who has made the statement. And how true it is.
This administration knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Therefore, if we are to return the professional credibility to the services' direction to the men that began this organization 72 years ago, there has to be a change.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
STATEMENT OF HOWARD H. CHAPMAN BEFORE THE HOUSE INTERIOR ON INTERIOR
REGARDING H.R. 3964, BILL TO ESTABLISH A NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM
MAY 10, 1988
Mr. Chairman, thank you for allowing me this opportunity to testify before your Subcommittee or H.R. 3964. My name is Howard H. Chapman, row retired after spending 40 years in the National Park Service, the last 15 years of which was as Regional Director of the Service's Western Region.
H.R. 3964 is a very positive step toward restoring the climate through which che professionalism of the National Park Service may once more emerge. Actions by the Department of the Interior over the last 7 years of my service as Regional Director have proved to me something has to be done to curb the abuses of the National Park System and the Service by the political appointees of the Department.
Ir. my last position with the Service, I had the responsibility of implementing many programs. However, several instances developed whereby my professional and managerial decisions ran counter with Interior Assistant Secretary Horn and his Deputy, Mr. P. Dariel Smith. for example, a Land Protection Plan for Yosemite National Park's Wawona was prepared detailing acquisition of private land on the basis of a willing seller-willing buyer. I believed that document fairly set forth the National Park Service position in accordance with Congressional intent and sent it to Washington with my approval. But, the Assistant Secretary made changes that the NPS would no longer acquire land in the Wawona area and sent it back for me to sign. I refused to do so. Your legislation, in instances of this kind, would hold the NPS professional accountable for his or her decisions and recommendations. Then when the issue goes before the public, where compromises may well have to be made, the public will know from the outset what the professional manager proposes.
Secondly, in 1987, prior to testifying before the House Subcommittee
However, not to ar.swer congressional questions that wert beyond what was contained in the budget was to dery that legislative body information they believed essential to decide issues that were in the proposed budget. Again, your legislatior. allows Corgress to seek information beyord what would be in the Director's budget. It even goes an important
siep further in having from a professional review board advice on what they feel the Service needs and serves as ar. outside but profession.al - vie: of what the consequences of the bureau's request of money or authority would be.
As furiher evidence of political tappering with the affairs of the Sational Park Service, the Senate had problens with Secretary Hodel's management decisions that affected the Director's ability to administer his own. bureau. It was necessary to propose an amendment to Interior's Appropriation that would deny the salary of Assistant Secretary Horn. if he did not draw back from interfering with the Director's reorganization plar.. Again, your legislation of having oversight of the NPS by a professional review board as well as by the Corgress itself would go far to curb what has amounted to be persoral vendettas. A professional reviea board would be in the position to provide advice but it would be the Director that would be held accountable for his decisions and actions affecting this kind of issue withir. his organization. Congress should not have to take time away from important legislative issues co intercede in these kinds of matters that should be the responsibility of the Director.
The Director of the Natioral Park Service has been directed by the Depariment to give politically motivated testimony before this Committee. a year ago, when H.R. 921, a bill designed to protect Grand Canyon from the coise intrusior of low flying aircraft in the Grand Canyon, the Direcior came before you recommending against the legislation when he had personally stated on many occasions prior to that time that aircraft should be prohibited from flying dowr. In the Canyon - one of the very elemerits of H.R. 921. Again, your legislation would have the Director come before this body and be able to professionally advise you on what was needed to protect parks and provide enjoyment for visitors today ard for future generations.
Your legislation provides what is so essertial today - to have critical professional advocates for the organizatior. - not adversaries as has beer. irue these last few years of the Department of the Interior's relationship with the National Park Service. What has to be remembered is that the lands we have now to protect are all we will ever have, what we sacrifice now will be gone ar.d what remains will be less than what we orce had. It is then that the words of former Park Service Director Newton B. Drury bears or us heavily "... if we are going to succeed in preserving the greatness of the national parks, they must be held inviolate. If we are going to whittle away at them, we should recog:ize that all such whittlings are cunulative ard the end result will be mediocrity. Greatness will be gore." These lasi few years have dramatically showr. how true Mr. Drury was and how auch we have losi due to the Watt and Hodel Admirisiration of the Nazional Park Service and their effects on the National Park Syster.
By establishing a professional criteria for selectior. of a Park Director, subjecting that person to Senate confirmation as well as providing a professional revieä board, are measures in this proposed legislation that go a long way toward meeting the objectives of Steve Vacher and Horace Albright albeit now that we are in a different and changing world from the time they charted the direction for the Service in its earliest years. ve oust be able to return the professional creditibility to the Service's direction that these men had the foresight to give it 72 years ago!
I will be pleased to answer any questions you may have.