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Hoffman's Tinkering Continues to Draw Heat


   Paul Hoffman is continuing to get his 15 minutes of fame, although it might not be the fame he was hoping for. Unless he likes being ridiculed for his atrocious ideas on how to make a better national park system.
    Today Hoffman, the deputy assistant secretary at the Interior Department who proposed sweeping revisions in the National Park Service's management policies, is being pilloried by the New York Times and even the Asheville Citizen-Times of Asheville, North Carolina.
    In its editorial, which you can read here, the New York Times calls Hoffman's doodling "not a policy for protecting the parks. It is a policy for destroying them."
    At the same time, the Asheville Citizen-Times says Hoffman's work seemingly attempts to redefine the parks' purpose, "all the way to enshrining mining and grazing as 'park purposes' and changing air quality standards." Read the details here.


Glad you are covering this important issue, Kurt. Rumors about these impending management policy revisions have been buzzing around Washington for a while. Supposedly Paul Hoffman has had help from others in crafting some of his misguided ideas for altering the purpose of parks. I've heard that the lead staffer for the majority at the House National Parks subcommittee may have lent Hoffman a hand. Seeing as these proposed revisions would aide the cause of those industries who would like to see more noisy motorized sports in our parks (snowmobiling, jet skiing), I'd be curious to know whether some of the lead lobbyists for those corporations got involved as well. Bill Horn, who is lead plaintiff's attorney for the International Snowmobile Manufacturer's Association, and also represents the U.S. Sportsman's Alliance, has close contacts with top Interior Department officials. (His firm's website is ( While I'm sure Hoffman could have come up with many of these bad ideas on his own, I wouldn't be suprised if Horn, a former Interior official in the Reagan administration, had some involvement. People like Hoffman and Horn wrongly think that the Park Service raises too many barriers to visitor access. While those wise leaders who wrote the National Park Organic Act had the forsight to direct the Park Service "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife [in parks] and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations," (, the Hoffman & Horns of the country would like to recreation in national parks to trump conservation and the goal of leaving parks "unimpaired." I go to parks for recreation, but I, and the majority of Americans I would bet, are willing to abide by some reasonable rules that limit the types of activities visitors can do in parks. Keep up the good work on pursuing this topic of National Park Management Policy changes. The NPS spokesperson may officially be saying that the Hoffman draft is no longer active -- and maybe the Interior folks will try to adjust their language so it appears less threatening -- but we should all demand a very public dialogue about the purpose of national parks and what, if any, changes are necessary to the policies that protect the bedrock ideals of park preservation. Yours truly, MM

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