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Reader Participation Day: What Questions Do You Have For National Park Service Director Jarvis?


If you could chat with Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, what would you ask him? NPS photo.

As we near the end of 2013, with 2014 on the very near horizon, it's time to reflect on the past year in the National Park System. As you reflect -- on your visits, on the parks you'd like to visit, on budgetary matters and everything else that goes into running the park system -- what questions do you have for National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis?

While he might not have time to provide the answers, we're pretty sure the agency's Washington, D.C., headquarter's staff reads the Traveler and might relay the questions to him for consideration at the very least.

With that in mind, what concerns or curiosities about the parks do you have that you'd like to raise with Director Jarvis if you had 15 minutes to chat with him over coffee?


Director Jarvis:

Why does the NPS have double standards regarding the enclosures protecting the Piping Plover in Massachussetts, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Maryland? Endangered turtle nests in Florida vs North Carolina?

Why do most of the decisions by superintendents regarding ESA issues at local NPS managed lands come from Washington, DC?

What can we, the national parks loving people, do to help his budget?

In his opinion, how can we change the chronic underfunding of the parks? I know that he may not be willing to share his ideas in what may be considered a "political" question but I'd sure like to pick his brains on this.

Ultimately, we, the voters, decide on our national priorities.


Why do you do it?

In the current political climate, where every step you take, every decision you make, every change you enact, results in people loudly and publicly 'calling for your head,' I would think some mornings you might just want to call in sick. It seems, no matter what you do, you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. So, what motivates you? Personally, I think your position falls into the category of thankless jobs.

Right on dahkota.

I'd like to ask just how many of the policy problems the NPS has and for which Director Jarvis and individual park superintendents receive blame, are actually direct results of political pressures brought to bear by concessionaires, powerful wealthy persons, Congress and people who in some way stand to profit by exerting pressures any way they can?

What role is the NPS playing in stopping a three-way destruction on the Pinelands National Reserve? There is a proposed NG pipeline, fracking up north, and one that nobody is talking about. To frack, lots of pure sand is needed. Guess where it can come from? Our 17-trillion gallons of pristine aquafir water is at stake here.

Dear Sir:

I realize Congress has put the NPS and the taxpayer in a tough spot by being eager to create new units and mandates while being reluctant to provide sustainable funding. However, I've just got to ask...

Why do there never seem to be any adverse consequences for those responsible for NPS mistakes or persecuting whistleblowers?

Why is the NPS spending over half its annual appropriation on specialists at the DC and Regional Offices, while field staff and visitor services are being reduced at many units?

Shouldn't the system be changed so that fee money can go towards reducing the multi-billion dollar NPS maintenance backlog through increased field staff, instead of adding to the long-term maintenance workload by spending it largely on development improvements?

How can significant savings ever be politically achieved in Defense, so-called Homeland Security, and 'Entitlements' such as farm subsidies and corporate welfare, without proportional cuts to all agencies, even one as relatively small as the NPS?

Or is your vision one of an ever-expanding park system too holy to be subject to financial restraint and never satisfied with its size, infrastructure, programs, or funding?

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