March 28, 2018
The Coalition is troubled by the membership of Secretary Zinke’s “Made in America” Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee. While the mission of this advisory group is clear, to gather advice from those who represent the recreation industry, we believe it is critical to balance the biases of those who seek to expand development and commercial uses of our public lands with advocacy representing the needs of the public. To the contrary, the committee represents a narrow slice of individuals and industries that make money from park development and use. The Secretary’s consistent failure to balance his zeal for development and commercialization of our public lands with a reasonable effort to protect resources is obvious and contradicts the basic duties of his job.
When the advisory committee was announced in 2017, the Coalition nominated Deny Galvin, who worked at senior levels of the NPS for almost 40 years. This experience provided him with extensive expertise and knowledge with all forms of outdoor recreation and the public-private sector partnerships they represent. If the committee aims to make legitimate and appropriate policy recommendations, this specific knowledge will be key to give balance and responsibility to decision making. Based on past proposals, we know that many of the members selected are pushing specific agendas that, unfortunately, will require even greater vigilance and effort by park managers to protect parks.
The Coalition continues to be concerned that the interests of millions of park visitors, as well as the resources they come to see, are being ignored by the interests of a few who are not aligned with the mission and goals of the National Park Service. This committee is just one more example of that mindset.