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The New York Times, Mary, and Politics


    "A Bad Start in the Parks."
    That's how the venerable, leftie leaning New York Times welcomes Mary as the new director of the National Park Service. And the paper is right on.
    Still a week out from officially being sworn in as Fran's successor -- they tentatively hope to do the ceremony October 17th at Independence Hall -- Mary is chastised in today's Times for her position on snowmobiles in Yellowstone. As I pointed out late last month, she seems to think snowmobiles can be managed adequately enough in the park so as to have no significant impacts.
    But as I noted then, and as the Times today reiterates, that's far from the case.
    "For the past two winters, snowmobile numbers have been running about 250 a day in Yellowstone — roughly a third of the maximum allowed under a temporary plan," writes the Times. "Even that smaller number exceeds the weakened noise standards established by the Bush administration in 2003, and the National Park Service has rejected two environmental impact statements that find the presence of snowmobiles in Yellowstone unacceptable."
I already have questioned Mary's intended determination to run the Park Service transparently so it's easy to see what it's doing and why. Now the Times is asking her to insist on removing politics from her decision-making, and that's a great suggestion. It's also one that will require Mary to show some real backbone.
     Already Senator Conrad Burns of Montana has made a move to see that snowmobiles remain in Yellowstone even if the latest Environmental Impact Statement on snowmobiles in the parks comes to the same conclusion as the previous two, that they're not a good match. And as the Times so succinctly summed things up, "It is a classic face-off between the forces of politics and parks stewardship. Ms. Bomar had a chance to send a message about her intention to manage impartially ... She missed the opportunity."
    Hopefully, Mary won't miss many more.

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