Interior bids good riddance to advisory board; members say Zinke ignored them

The National Park Service Advisory Board members who just quit en masse said they tried unsuccessfully to engage with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke seen here at an event in Washington D.C. in September

One of the many surprises of Donald Trump's presidency is that he managed to drive the National Park Service into the resistance. The letter was signed by Knowles and the eight other members who joined in his resignation.

"In an email, Bilmes said she did not resign her post because she is conducting research with other colleagues funded by the National Park Foundation, and wanted to complete her project".

The Coalition to Protect America's National Parks, a nonprofit group composed of current and former National Park Service employees, said it could understand the board members' deep frustration at the prolonged deactivation of the board under Trump and the lack of response from Zinke to numerous requests to meet with him.

"We were frozen out", said Knowles, who emphasized that the group recognized Zinke would select new members this year but wanted "the momentum to continue" from what the board accomplished in 2016 during the park system's centennial year.

"The board traditionally meets at the end of each year, and the secretary rarely attends (Jewell and Salazar each attended only once)".

The Interior Department says it already has a number of candidates interested in joining the board, and plans to fill the vacancies and hold a full board meeting "soon". "I've served on some, and I've made some as governor, and sometimes, they just get ignored".

Most of the board had worked together for seven years.

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Milton Chen of San Francisco, a former assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education who chaired the advisory board's education committee, said he resigned after the panel was denied a chance to explain its work on education issues to the Trump administration. "Yet we were ignored, and it was apparent there was no interest with the department with what we had done".

Since January 2017, a new National Park Service Director has not been named, leaving a deputy director now in the role.

"And it has rescinded NPS regulations of resource stewardship concerning those very things: biodiversity loss, pollution and climate change", he added. "F$3 rom all of the events of this past year I have a profound concern that the mission of stewardship, protection, and advancement of our National Parks has been set aside", wrote Radelet, whose term was not set to expire until 2021. He wrote he was working on January 8 to renew the board's charter, fill vacancies and hold a meeting in a few weeks.

"It's concerning that our advisory council has been unable to meet for over a year", said Scott Braden, a member of the Rocky Mountain RAC who is a wilderness and public lands advocate at Conservation Colorado.

National Park Service advisory board resigned Monday night, citing significant differences between their vision and that of President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

With Zinke also attacking national monuments and eager to drill for oil and gas in more than 90 percent of the outer continental shelf, Knowles said it became clear that the board's interests were not aligned with the new administration: "To us, we thought that this just might be a preview of coming attractions".

Swift has vowed to "fast-track filling these new vacancies with people who are actually dedicated to working with the Department to better our national parks".

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