Hoffman Explains Motives to American Recreation Coalition
It seems that Paul Hoffman, the deputy assistant secretary at the Interior Department who wants to redirect the mission of the National Park Service, has an interesting definition for "conservation."
If you've been out of communication in the backcountry for the past month or two, Hoffman has taken a pen to the National Park Service's Management Policies and come up with sweeping revisions to how the national parks should be managed. For instance, he believes more snowmobiles should be allowed into parks, and ATVs would be a good idea, too. And he doesn't believe the park service should mention the word "evolution" in its work, or be too concerned if religious items are sold in the parks.
Anyway, Hoffman took time last week to speak to the American Recreation Coalition's monthly Recreation Exchange. And during that talk, he explained that the park service should be more concerned about "conservation" than "preservation." In his opinion, Hoffman told the gathering, conservation should be construed to mean a broader use of natural resources in a sustainable manner.
And he told the group that he believes he has received a clear message from various constituencies that the park service's management guidelines need to be rewritten because they place preservation of park resources above human use and enjoyment.
Just to be sure everyone understood where he stands, Hoffman said he was a "team builder" and didn't intentionally approach his doodling "intending to gut the National Park System."
ARC President Derrick Crandall is fully in Hoffman's camp, telling those in attendance that "ownership of the national park system rests with the American people, not the National Park Service."
Phew. I feel better knowing that.
But at the same time, perhaps someone should point out to Crandall and Hoffman that Americans have overwhelmingly voiced their opposition to snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. And I'm willing to bet they'd say the same about ATVs.