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Editorial: No rewrite for national park policies

"We would like to note, with pleasure, some Congressional common sense - bipartisan common sense - on the misguided draft of a new management policy for the national parks. Last week, six Republican senators told Interior Secretary Gale Norton that they were unhappy with the way the proposed changes de-emphasized the fundamental goal of preserving the parks. And on Tuesday, the Senate's national parks subcommittee heard balanced testimony about the changes the Interior Department is planning. The Bush administration's arguments for revising the management policy left some committee members skeptical. "Frankly," said Ken Salazar, a Colorado Democrat, "we don't understand what the true motivation was."

But the motivation isn't all that hard to find, especially when you consider that one of the four witnesses was William Horn, a former assistant secretary at the Interior Department for fish, wildlife and parks in the Reagan era. Mr. Horn is also a lead attorney for the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, and his name often crops up when there is an attempt to force open public lands for motorized access. He was there, ostensibly, to interpret the Organic Act of 1916 - the founding legislation for the National Park Service - and show that "enjoyment" had suffered because of the emphasis on preservation. It is not hard to guess what kind of enjoyment Mr. Horn has in mind. "

Get the Story:
Editorial: A Thought for Interior (The New York Times 11/3)

Relevant Links:
NPS Management Policies -

Related Stories:
Editorial: National parks under siege by Bush (10/21)
National Park Service proposes management policies (10/19)