The National Parks Traveler published an article yesterday that you should take the time to read.
It is entitled, ?Cape Hatteras National Seashore Dispute Places Birds, Turtles, and Humans on Small Strip of Sand.?
It is actually a rather even-handed attempt to characterize the issue of beach access on the seashore.
And some of the comments by the folks who were interviewed give us a glimpse into our future.
The author, Kurt Repanshek, is listed as the founder and editor-in-chief of the magazine, which, according to its Web site, was launched in 2005, as ?the Internet?s very first site dedicated to covering America?s National Park System and the National Park Service on a daily basis.?
A statement about the magazine on the Web site says it is not affiliated with the National Park Service. Its mission is ?to educate the general public about the National Park System, increase awareness and understanding of issues affecting the national parks and the National Park Service, and build a stronger advocacy for protection and sound stewardship of the parks.?
The writer interviewed three main players for the article ? John Couch, president of the Outer Banks Preservation Association, Chris Canfield, executive director of Audubon North Carolina, and Mike Murray, superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
I found Murray?s comments the most interesting.
There is an assumption among access advocates ? and some others — that the attempt at ORV rulemaking will end in the federal courts. In fact, it is beginning to look like both sides on the issue ? pro-access groups and environmental groups ? will sue over whatever is the National Park Service?s final rule.
Neither side liked the preferred alternative in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement that was released in early March.
Of course, the issue here is that the Park Service has been required to have regulations on off-road vehicle use on seashore beaches for about 45 years. Park officials never got around to the details of the rulemaking and eventually got sued by the Defenders of Wildlife and National Audubon Society, which are represented by attorneys at the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Here is what Murray said in the article?
?It?s clear that both sides are lined up, and we?re not going to be able to avoid completing the plan and regulation this time,? says Mike Murray, who upon his arrival at the seashore as its superintendent in 2005 was handed the mess. ?I think it?s likely to result in litigation.?
So now we know that even the park superintendent thinks the whole mess will end up in court.
Makes you wonder why we are going through the rest of the process, which will take at least until the end of the year. There will be a proposed rule, more public comment, a Final Environmental Impact Statement, a record of decision, and a final rule by April 1, 2011.
Will it all be worth it if this attempt of rulemaking is decided in a courtroom?
We just hope it?s not the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle, who has presided over the lawsuit and the consent decree, and has made it pretty clear that he favors the view of the environmental groups ? and also has some pretty odd ideas about the management of the seashore.
Murray?s comments about the threats and other instances of getting ?ugly? during the negotiated rulemaking process are also interesting.
I recommend you put this article on your reading list, and let us know what you think about it.
Here is the link, and there is a comments section at the end of the article.
Also, here is a section from the Web site about The National Parks Traveler magazine:
The Traveler endorses and actively supports the National Park Service Organic Act of 1916 that mandated a high standard of protection for the parks, as well as the Redwoods Act of 1978 that reemphasized the Organic Act?s stewardship provisions and affirmed that they are to be applied on a system-wide basis.
Traveler seeks to work in ways that are consistent with the National Park Service?s fundamental purpose for managing the parks, which is ?to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife 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.”