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Eyes Are on Dirk


    It's good to see that I'm not the only one wondering whether Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne is serious about seeing that conservation of park resources remains the National Park Service's key mandate. An editorial in The Ledger of Lakeland, Florida, raises the same question.
    "We assume Kempthorne isn't venturing down this path without President Bush's consent," the newspaper opined the other day. "What isn't clear is whether Bush wants merely to create the impression of wanting to preserve parks -- perhaps with an eye toward the fall elections -- or if he will direct Kempthorne to follow through."
    I'm guessing more and more media outlets across the country are wondering the exact same thing. For those behind the times like myself (although my excuse was being in Yellowstone's backcountry), the New York Times last week questioned whether the latest version of the reworked Management Policies will withstand attacks from the motorized recreation community.
    "Over the past few weeks," the Times noted, "there has been a concerted effort by the so-called recreation community - a euphemism for the motorized vehicle industry and its lobbyists -- to change the draft. In at least two conference calls with Interior Department officials, snowmobile and off-road vehicle lobbyists have expressed their opposition to the (Management Policies') restored emphasis on preservation."
    Yes, there's a tug-of-war going on behind the scenes, snippets of which I'm sure will begin to surface next week during a hearing by the House parks subcommittee into the latest version of the policies.
    Stay tuned, for I'm sure things will get more interesting as time goes by.

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