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NRA Official Lands Seat On National Park Foundation Board

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Susan LaPierre, wife of National Rifle Association Executive Director Wayne LaPierre, earlier this year was named to the National Park Foundation's Board of Directors/National Park Foundation

Susan LaPierre, co-chair of the National Rifle Association's Women's Leadership Forum and wife of NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre, has landed a seat on the National Park Foundation's board of directors.

Mrs. LaPierre was one of four appointments to the board made earlier this year. None of the appointments was announced in a release by either the Interior Department or Park Foundation.

Mrs. LaPierre's appointment by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke leaked out this past week in connection with a story detailing the National Park Service's opposition to a handful of sections in the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, or SHARE Act, that would impact the Park Service's management of fishing and hunting within the National Park System.

Hunting and fishing long have been associated with the National Park System. Fishing is allowed in most, if not all, units where there are fisheries, while hunting is primarily permitted in national preserves, not national parks. National lakeshores and seashores often permit waterfowl and, in some units, deer hunting. Feral hogs are hunted in Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas, while there's a controlled elk hunt in Grand Teton National Park aimed specifically at controlling the size of the herd.

In all, 75 units of the park system allow some form of hunting, according to the Interior Department website.

In recent years, however, hunting in and around the park system in Alaska has grown increasingly controversial as state wildlife officials worked to reduce predators that could deprive hunters of big game. At Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, a two-decade-long prey-predator study came to an end last year because the wolf packs were decimated by Alaska Department of Fish and Game's predator control program.

Since the Trump administration took office, it has worked to remold the land-management agencies. For the Park Service, so far that has meant tweaks to wildlife management approaches. 

Early last month word leaked out that the Interior Department had ordered the National Park Service to reconsider wildlife regulations at odds with hunting and trapping regulations enforced by the state of Alaska. The order, signed by Virginia Johnson, currently Interior's acting assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, directed the Park Service to reconsider rules it adopted in October 2015 regarding hunting and trapping on national preserves in Alaska where sport hunting is allowed. Under those regulations, hunters on national preserves cannot:

  • Use bait (donuts, grease-soaked bread, etc.) to hunt bears;
  • Use of artificial light to spotlight dens to kill black bears; and
  • Kill bear cubs or sows with cubs.

That directive arrived just two weeks after acting-Park Service Director Michael Reynolds wrote a memorandum to the Interior Department's legislative counsel listing concerns to a handful of provisions in the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, which seeks to bolster the country's hunting and angling communities.

Of concern to the Park Service were provisions that would:

  • Remove National Park Service oversight of commercial and recreational fishing in waters within the park system;
  • Remove protections for denning bears and wolves on park system lands in Alaska, and;
  • Do away with environmental reviews of the impacts of construction projects on federal lands adjacent to the park system.

The Park Service's concerns were crossed out by an author who signed only his initials, "C.H." At Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, staff identified the author as Casey Hammond, "a former Republican congressional staffer recently brought into Interior as a Trump political appointee."

“These are not minor matters – these changes would forfeit whole spheres of national park stewardship,” PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said last week. “It appears that national parks are no longer allowed to give Congress their honest views about the impacts of pending legislation.”

McClatchy Newspapers' District of Columbia bureau obtained the Reynolds' memo.

Why Secretary Zinke decided to appoint Mrs. LaPierre to the Park Foundation board isn't known, other than that the secretary has been a life member of the NRA and views the group's membership as containing "some of the most committed conservationists in America."

A request for comment from his spokeswoman Sunday was not returned, nor was one to the Park Foundation. The National Parks Conservation Association and the Coalition to Protect America's National Parks did not comment on the appointment.

While it wasn't possible Sunday to determine whether Mrs. LaPierre has strong connections to parks, in her bio on NRA Women she called herself "a lifelong outdoorswoman who's always believed in the Second Amendment and the NRA." The Leadership Forum she organized a dozen years ago is a "philanthropic society of women who are dedicated to protecting and defending our Second Amendment."

"As a commissioned board member appointed by Secretary Zinke, I join a distinquished group of national leaders and conservationists," Mrs. LaPierre wrote in a tweet she posted back in May. 

While her Twitter account restricts access to "confirmed followers," a copy of the tweet was obtained by The Trace, a "nonprofit journalism startup dedicated to shining a light on America’s gun violence crisis" that last week broke the story about Mrs. LaPierre's appointment.

Also new to the National Park Foundation's Board of Directors are:

Glenn Stearns, chairman and founder of Stearns Corporations. Stearns Lending is the No. 1 independent mortgage banker in the United States with funding of more than $10 billion annually.

Monica Lozano, a Hispanic businesswoman who is also a board member for Target, Bank of America, and the Rockefeller Foundation, and she chairs the Board of Regents of the University of California and the Weingart Foundation.

Andrea J. Grant, president of Environmental Communication Associates, co-founded the Big Green Rabbit, a multimedia children’s company that packages environmental and health topics using multimedia and digital platforms to reach millions of families and kids around the world. Big Green Rabbit won four Emmys, Webby Awards, Parents Choice awards, and has received over 85 million hits on YouTube. Big Green Rabbit performs annually at the White House Easter Egg Roll.

 

Comments

Completely and utterly insane. Serious conflict of interest. 


Shame. Travesty. Wrong side of history, despicable aberration that will eventually be undone.


Terrible decision by a terrible Secretary.  What's next?  We already have killing bear cubs and wolf pups in their dens.  Will the NPS ever recover from these dorks?


All done in secrecy, too.

Have you seen any of the current ads being run by NRA?  The ones telling their members they need to be ready to fight against the evil persons opposing Drumpf?

There are a lot of people in the government, in civilian circles, and even at high levels of law enforcement and the military who are seriously concerned that there is a very strong possibility of armed insurrection.  It could be just one Tweet away. 

 


An appalling appointment, the wife of one of the most evil people in the country. On a daliy basis Trump and his appointees do something to insult half of the country. When Zinke talks about improving access to parks I am sure he means hunters.


IInstead of announcing this travesty in the middle of a hurricane, they do it in secret.  So much for any pretense of transparency.


We are stewards of the land.. Please appoint only people who have a strong commitment to protecting our parks and our wildlife , not to destroying and killing it. An obscene appointment. 


 One of the "most eveil people in the country".  Really, Siglin1.  What exactly has he done that is "evil'?

 


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