Smokey the Pro-Life Bear
October 13, 2005 3:18 PM   Subscribe

You know that ranger job in the National Park Service that you're gonna apply for as soon as you get through school or quit waiting tables? Fuhgeddaboutit, unless you've pledged your loyalty to the Ba'ath party President's Management Agenda and its roster of "faith-based and community initiatives," "competitive sourcing," etcetera, and Interior Secretary Gale Norton's "4C's," which seem to have to do with communication, consultation, cooperation, conservation, and Clinton-bashing. (Oh, sorry, that's 5 C's. It's just that Norton can't seem to stop denigrating "the previous administration" -- while advocating drilling in ANWR -- for such absurd ideas as banning snowmobiles from Yellowstone.)
posted by digaman (18 comments total)
a new low.
posted by caddis at 3:20 PM on October 13, 2005

Is it really a "new" low?
posted by Rothko at 3:31 PM on October 13, 2005

Banning snowmobiles IS stupid according to Bush, unless snowmobiles are running, they're not using gas and gas is made from petroleum and we all know oil is God!

Man, I fucking hate this adminstration.

I thought we were supposed to use slash and burn tactics on our enemies, not our own nation.
posted by fenriq at 3:36 PM on October 13, 2005

Indeed, Rothko -- that's an important link. Thanks for posting it.
posted by digaman at 3:37 PM on October 13, 2005

Yeah, but Park Rangers are more like GS-7/9/11, not the 13/14/15 level mentioned in the article. So, be a Park Ranger all ya want, you just won't move up into management.
posted by fixedgear at 3:43 PM on October 13, 2005

WTF happened to America while we wern't watching? It wasn't like you were previously that much of a democracy or that well governed, but to just throw out the basic principles so quickly and easily...
posted by wilful at 5:04 PM on October 13, 2005

This won't be the last of it. It's just starting.
posted by snsranch at 5:23 PM on October 13, 2005

From the links: Take, for example, snowmobiles in Yellowstone. The previous administration proposed a ban on them. Instead we have formed a compromise where we control the numbers of snowmobiles and their speed limits. We confine them to paved roads and we require the newest machines with 4 stroke engines.

That sounds perfectly reasonable to me.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:52 PM on October 13, 2005

one thing I continually ran into when going through the motions of applying for park service positions is that they really seem to prefer people with law enforcement backgrounds. which I can understand but still meh!
posted by dorian at 6:01 PM on October 13, 2005

Sure, Fresh. When I was growing up, my family used to love to go to Race Point at the end of Cape Cod to watch the sunset. It was one of the most beautiful, quiet, sedate places in the world. Then the rules of the National Seashore were changed to perfectly reasonably allow RecVees to park in a confined area that happens to stretch all the way down the formerly most beautiful area of the beach. Now you can go to Race Point and see a lovely line of RecVees, while listening to boomboxes. Of course, the sunset is still visible, past the line of vehicles.
posted by digaman at 6:05 PM on October 13, 2005

Not only that, digaman, particulate matter in the atmosphere makes for a redder sunset! Just think - someday, we'll ALL be able to enjoy a Republican-enhanced sunset - anywhere!
posted by swell at 6:16 PM on October 13, 2005

Kim Jong Bush.
posted by 3.2.3 at 8:41 PM on October 13, 2005

This must replace the former system of having to be related to or sleeping with someone who already worked at the Park Service in order to get hired by them. Seasonally, with no benefits of course.
posted by fshgrl at 11:35 PM on October 13, 2005

So... (UK question) the Park Service isn't independent of the executive branch? And if not, why the hell not?

As an aside, on Yellowstone, it'll be interesting to see if the Service stops airing its ranger videos online. You know, the ones where Yellowstone staff talk to groups of visitors about geological time and so on.
posted by paperpete at 1:34 AM on October 14, 2005

dorian: they really seem to prefer people with law enforcement backgrounds

You probably know more about this than I do, but I recall talking to a ranger in Arches about, uh, rangering some time back, and he said that there were several different subcategories of job you could go into as a ranger, with one kind being the kind who can arrest people, kick drunk teens out of the park, etc.

It makes sense to me that there would a lot of people in their applicant pool who are biology types who could care less about law enforcement and don't really want to get into that sort of thing at all (I would think the law enforcement types would naturally gravitate towards your regular cop/sheriff/mall security types of jobs). So I could see that the NPS would have fewer applicants for those positions just from that demographic factor alone.

Does anyone have another link for this story, like maybe a newspaper article or similar? It isn't that I don't believe the link, but I don't know enough about the internal dynamics of the NPS to be able to verify that their linked memo (pdf) really means what they say it does in their press release. And their press release is mildly misleading in that only the GS-15 class of people have to meet with the secretary, but they imply that it's GS-13 through GS-15. (Well, now that I write that it looks like a minor quibble, but still.)

I'm not clear from the memo that the candidates need to sign onto the management initiative, either, they just need to be stated to be "capable of leading" in it, which seems like it could be just typical governmental boilerplate, depending on who's interpreting it. Does anyone know if the Regional Directors are political appointees or not?

I've got a lot of sympathy for NPS employees, and barely any at all for the administration (especially their practice of seeding political lackeys throughout the civil service). But I wish I had a less one-sided view about this.
posted by whir at 2:39 AM on October 14, 2005

whir, I don't have any other links, but Park Service privatization and politicization is a story I've been following for a while in regard to Sandy Hook/Gateway National Recreation area in NJ. The changes to Park Service philosophy and governance is one of the biggest yet least-told stories of change in our federal government during this entire Administration. The NPS is showing outright disregard for its charter and for federal law. BushCo is selling off our public land birthright, and the public does need to know a lot more about it. I'd really like to see a comprehensive piece of investagative reporting and analysis on this issue that takes a nationwide persepctive. We're all fighting the NPS in our own backyards, and missing the big picture.
posted by Miko at 7:40 AM on October 14, 2005

...also, rangers and management are different people. The upper-tier management of NPS is political appointees, whereas the ranger staff tend to be career park people. There are groups of rangers who've circulated petitions and spoken off the record about this sort of stuff. Obviously they fear for their jobs in this time of drastic budget-cutting and program reduction. It's not the rangers who are the culprits.
posted by Miko at 7:42 AM on October 14, 2005

Is there no conception that this policy could bite them on the ass if the republicans lose power in the next set of elections?
posted by Mitheral at 11:07 AM on October 14, 2005

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