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Paul Hoffman And The American Recreation Coalition


    Apparently, for those who couldn't attend the American Recreation Coalition's recent "recreation exchange" that featured a talk by the Interior Department's Paul Hoffman, ARC made sort of a Cliff Notes handout to explain what transpired.
    The report provides some interesting perspectives that are missing from the overview the coalition's website gave on Hoffman's talk. For instance, while Hoffman talked of being approached by "many constituencies" about the need for revising the NPS policies, the only one he identified during the talk was Congress. You'd think he'd be able to point to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, or the Jet ski industry, or the scenic overflight industry, or, heck, even the ARC.
    To learn more, read on.


    If you haven't been paying attention, Paul Hoffman is the deputy assistant secretary at the Interior Department who earlier this year spent quite a bit of time going through the park service's Management Policies with a red pen. Actually, I understand that this mission might have been launched as long as two years ago.
    Anyway, while working his way through the 194-page document, Hoffman crossed out what he didn't like and proposed language that would make parks more accessible for snowmobiles, ATVs and mountain bikes, among other things. And he did away with evolution, too. At least mention of it.
    During his recent talk to the coalition, Hoffman told the gathering that he wants to produce a "user-friendly handbook" that park superintendents can refer to when they have an issue to resolve. Why the need for such a guidebook?  Hoffman told the crowd that more than once he's had to help park superintendents "resolve sticky problems" because there were no clear guidelines for their problems. And while Hoffman didn't point to specifics, he also said that he has had to counter decisions made in the field because they had been made with a lack of clear guidance.
    I wonder if Fran Mainella, the park service's director, agreed with Hoffman's solutions?
    Anyway, apparently Hoffman also suggested to the crowd that some of the uproar over his proposed revisions stemmed from a problem he encountered with his computer's "find and replace" function. Seems that after Hoffman made some changes using that function, but then decided against them, he failed to revert back to the original language.
    Silly mistake. Could happen to anyone.

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