ARC Statement on the Release of the National Park Service Management Policies

Washington, DC - The National Park Service Management Policies are an important means to provide guidance to agency officials in the field. We reviewed and offered written suggestions to Fall 2005 and June 2006 drafts of this document. We know that our comments have been reviewed by the agency and we anticipate that the final document will incorporate consideration of our views. Many of the media reports on the development of this document have been inaccurate, both regarding our goals and our view on the document as a total package.

Our goal has never been to use the Management Policies document to increase specific activities or lessen conservation of park natural and cultural resources. Those are the values sought by visitors to our park units. Our goal remains that visitors receive memorable experiences that deliver mental, physical and spiritual benefits from our national park system, and that the diversity of that system be recognized and continued. Of the 270 million visits to the system annually, just 23% are to units like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, which are national parks. National recreation areas, national seashores, national parkways and other units are also prized, but offer a variety of opportunities – including active recreation. This is appropriate and should continue.

There are important advances in the new Management Policies, including direction to agency staff to work with surrounding communities and state and local governments. These provisions, including civic engagement and cooperative conservation requirements, are praiseworthy.

The recreation community works with the National Park Service daily on operations and planning issues. This will continue. And we especially look forward to working with the agency and the Department of the Interior on ways to reverse a two-decade decline in the percentage of Americans who visit and benefit from America’s national park system.