Another Senator Against NPS Management Changes

Rocky Mountan National ParkIf you had a natural beauty like Rocky Mountain National Park in your backyard, you would probably be pretty suspicious of anyone telling you that the park could stand to have it's rules on air quality, soundscapes, and pollution relaxed. Such is the case with Colorado Senator Ken Salazar. In a letter to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, and cc'd to Park Service Director Fran Mainella, Sen. Salazar has voiced his opposition to the changes proposed to Park Service management policies. The Senator is most concerned with rules he sees as having been eliminated or greatly weakened. His letter argues four points specifically:

1) That by allowing the interests of recreation to trump the interests of protection, the new rules break a 100 year guiding principle that has been to "first do no harm" to the resource.

2) Guidelines that exist currently to limit the impact that motor vehicles have on air quality, views, and soundscapes will be eliminated under the new rules.

3) Considering man-made noise part of the "natural characteristic" of a park setting severely weakens rules in place that protect the existing natural soundscape and quite.

4) Land being considered for designation as "wilderness", which has the highest level of protection against man-made interference, will have it's interim protective status removed. This means that motorized vehicle traffic could be allowed into these areas, undermining the eligibility of that land for "wilderness" protection.
Given that the Park Service's core mission of conservation has effectively protected our national treasures for almost 90 years and that visitor satisfaction at the National Parks is overwhelmingly positive, I see no need to cast aside the core mission and tested policies in favor of unneeded, risky and ambiguous revisions
~ Senator Salazar
This letter comes just two weeks after Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee wrote to Director Mainella with his own concerns about the changes to the Park management policies. You can read the full text of each letter in PDF form, linked below: