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How Do You Think The National Park Service Should Celebrate Its Centennial?

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What sort of celebration should Wind Cave National Park throw for the National Park Service centennial?/NPS

How do you think the National Park Service should celebate its centennial? That's a question the staff at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota is asking.

The birthday date is August 25, 2016, though festivities are expected to begin this spring and continue through 2016. At Wind Cave, a series of public listening sessions to gather ideas on ways to recognize this anniversary are planned for area towns the last week of January.

"This centennial is an opportunity to introduce the National Park Service to the next generation of visitors, supporters, and advocates while reenergizing those who already know and love the parks," said Wind Cave Superintendent Vidal Dávila.

The first session will be Tuesday, January 27, in Custer at the Black Hills National Forest Supervisor's Office at 1019 N. 5th Street. The session on Wednesday, January 28, will be at The Outdoor Campus - West in Rapid City, South Dakota, at 4130 Adventure Trail. The last session will be on Thursday, January 29, at The Mueller Center in Hot Springs, South Dakota, at 801 S. 6th Street. All three sessions will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., with brief presentations throughout that period. The public is invited to come anytime during those hours. Light refreshments will be served.

"We want to involve people from a variety of backgrounds and ages in the planning process," Superintendent Dávila said. "Ideas could range from one-time events to activities that start a new tradition and occur annually."

For those unable to attend one of the meetings, ideas can be shared through 2015 by visiting Facebook sites run by area National Park Service units. Park websites, phone calls, emails, and letters can also be used to share your ideas. Individuals, groups, clubs, and organizations are encouraged to share their thoughts about the centennial.

The National Park Service was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson on August 25, 1916, and it was directed "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein 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."



I'd ask the national part of the National Park Service: What's to celebrate?  The largely self-inflicted multi-billion dollar maintenance backlog?  The lack of transparency at many parks, despite constant budget-whining?  The employee satisfaction survey scores as low as the VA and the 'Secrete' Service?  The ongoing persecution of whistleblowers?  The management integrity scandal of the month?


Despite the founder's fears, the NPS has not only become 'just another federal agency', it's apparently well on it's way to becoming one of the worst.  Cancel the party hat order and get to work on your many serious problems. 

While the service certainly has its warts, there is much to celebrate.  Lets not be a party pooper.

I agree, there is much to celebrate. There is no question that the NPS, like any large organization has some problems, but overall, they do a very good job. I would like to thank the Traveler for posting both the accomplishments and sometimes the mistakes. That is how we improve in any undertaking. 

Ditto, Ron.

I think the National Park Service should celebrate by making Robert Danno, the NPS Ranger that the NPS persecuted for doing his job (see the book "Worth Fighting For"),  Director of the National Park Service.  

Highlight the people of the National Parks -

The rangers, volunteers and park partners. The resources are interesting but it's the people who make the experience for the visitor.


Danny Bernstein

Yellowstone Park ranger fired for talking about poachers in the park,norton does nothing

Post by votegreen=votebu » Sat, 26 Oct 2002 14:59:57 

Senator says Park Service is retaliating against outspoken ranger 

By The Associated Press 


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A U.S. senator is demanding an explanation from the National Park 
Service for why it cut short the season of a Yellowstone National Park 
ranger who earlier was ordered to stop speaking out about unscrupulous 

Meanwhile, a Park Service spokesman says the agency will clarify a 
memo to employees that critics have charged was a violation of the 
First Amendment right to free speech. 

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said sending Yellowstone ranger Bob 
Jackson home early smacks of further retaliation and violates the 
spirit of a settlement the agency reached with him late last year. 

Jackson, a 30-year park veteran, patrols a remote area of Yellowstone 
near the park's southeast corner. His expertise is catching poachers, 
and he has long criticized hunting guides he says illegally lure elk 
from Yellowstone by placing salt outside park boundaries on Forest 
Service land in Montana. 

In 2001, Jackson, who lives in Promise City, Iowa, in Wayne County, 
said park management ordered him not to speak publicly about his 
concerns and sent him home from his job early, telling him he would 
not be hired back the next season. 

Jackson filed a complaint and, under an agreement reached in December 
2001, was rehired for the 2002 season to patrol the same area of the 

However, he said the agency asked him to leave Sept. 17, long before 
hunting season outside the park heats up. That was extended a couple 
of weeks, but only after the Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group 
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility complained to the 
agency, he said. 

Still, he is being asked to leave much earlier than normal, Jackson 

"This is a thing that is bigger than me," he said. "It has do with a 
lot of the status quo with the National Park Service." 

Rick Frost, a spokesman for the Park Service's regional office in 
Denver, said Grassley and Fran Mainella, the agency's director, had 
corresponded about Jackson. But Frost said he did not know the extent 
of the discussions and could not immediately comment. 

In a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who oversees the 
agency, Grassley said it appears the Park Service is still trying to 
punish Jackson for speaking out. 

"When someone like him speaks up about unethical practices and gets 
sidelined and shut out, then there are a lot of questions for the 
National Park Service to answer," Grassley said in a statement. "I'm 
intent on stopping this kind of intimidation so other government 
workers who are willing to speak up about problems are not deterred." 

Grassley accused the Park Service of lax enforcement to prevent 
poaching and of retaliating against Jackson for his outspoken 

"Getting rid of Mr. Jackson serves the interests of park supervisory 
officials who wish to avoid high-profile conflicts with poachers and 
negative attention," Grassley wrote to Norton. "Mr. Jackson has proved 
himself to have unique skills and knowledge of the backcountry area 
where poaching is known to take place." 

Jackson said the Park Service has purposely staffed the backcountry 
with a small number of rangers with little experience. 

"The park needed more enforcement coverage, not less like they have 
now," Jackson said. "There was no intention there to have fall hunting 

Meanwhile, Frost, spokesman for the Intermountain Region of the Park 
Service, said a Sept. 16 memo to employees was meant to convey that 
employees have an ethical responsibility when speaking about their 
work and not meant to muzzle free speech. 

The memo prompted some Park Service employees to contact Public 
Employees for Environmental Responsibility. 

Executive Director Jeff Ruch said three people approached his group 
"because they all thought this memo was about them." 

The memo read, in part, "Employees who are writing or speaking on a 
topic which is generally related to their work, who are expressing 
themselves as private citizens and not as representatives of the 
department, are communicating under the concept of nonofficial 

The memo said employees must apply for and receive a "certificate of 
compliance" to publish nonofficial expression. 

"The problem with the directive is it's unconstitutional, illegal and 
fairly dumb to boot," Ruch said. "It appears to say if you speak about 
your job, even on your own time, you must get some sort of approval." 

Ruch's organization complained to Mainella, the Park Service's 
director, in its own letter that the memo does not specify what is 
required for the certificate or what standards will be applied. 

The group also said employee speech is protected by the First 
Amendment "so long as it does not impair the efficient functioning of 
the public agency." 

Frost said the Park Service was concerned about employees' use of 
company time and equipment. 

"We're not worried about the content of speech but their ethical 
obligations as a civil servant," he said. "We have to make sure we're 
not using those taxpayer-funded resources for our private endeavors." 

He said employees cannot use government time, equipment or their title 
to speak or write to other groups or talk about information "that is 
not available to the general public." 

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, he said, "thinks 
this is muzzling free speech and it isn't." 

He said the memo would be clarified. 

The Park Service's Intermountain Region includes Texas, Oklahoma, New 
Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. 



Thank you for posting. It's not surprising.

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