NPS Listening Sessions : What to Expect

I've received information in email today which may be of interest to any of you who are planning on attending the many listening sessions set up by the National Park Service and the Department of Interior. The agenda of the San Fransisco meeting has been set, and apparently it will be the same format as used in all other meetings:
The principal department representative will make some welcoming remarks and then participants will be asked to circulate to various workstations where their comments and suggestions will be recorded. Such a format eliminates the opportunity for individuals to grandstand on their pet issues and is also less intimidating to many individuals. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the format for the meetings will be announced in advance as it has been for San Francisco. In other words, you may arrive with a two-minute statement prepared only to find out that the format is workstations.

Attendees will apparently be asked three questions:

  • Think of your children and grandchildren enjoying national parks in 2016 and beyond. How do you imagine their visit? What are your hopes and expectations?
  • What role do you think national parks should play in the lives of Americans and visitors from around the world?
  • What are the signature projects and programs that you think should be highlighted for completion over the next 10 years?

My answer to all questions is the same: National Parks in the year 2016 should represent the latest and greatest in high-tech virtual reality immersive technology in which all park visitors are equipped with 3D goggles and are whisked around the park in their own hovercraft with a park ranger hologram to give guidance along the way. The entire visit should take no more than 30 minutes, as any longer would present a problem to those with Attention Deficit Disorder, as well as run the possibility of becoming boring.

I'm kidding, of course! I do plan on bringing my own comments. At least now I know I won't have to get nervous speaking directly to Secretary Kempthorne, or have to sit through some speech from a mountain biking nut telling me they don't have enough wilderness to destroy ... oops, I mean, enjoy.