9 of 12 National Park System Advisory Board Members Quit: Chairman

Ryan Zinke Secretary of the Interior

Ryan Zinke Secretary of the Interior

In response, three-quarters of the members of the board resigned Monday night.

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. Tony Knowles (D), handed in their resignations. As a result, this year's board has yet to hold a single meeting with Mr Zinke, or even among themselves. The board members cited the fact that Zinke has refused to convene a meeting of the board for the last year and had not consulted them while making decisions that will affect the parks and the millions of people who visit them every year. However, from 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.

The board was established in 1935 and is required to meet twice each year, though that has yet to happen under Trump.

According to The Washington Post, this move means the federal government lacks a functioning body to "designate national historic or natural landmarks".

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The advisory board, however, has not met with the new interior secretary in the 10 months he's been in office.

In addition to Knowles, the former governor of Alaska; eight other members joined the exodus. "But we wanted to make a statement as a board as we left what our concerns are, because we don't think they (the new policies) reflect the vast number of public that support the national park system".

Faustinos said she's leaving the board with "the deepest respect" for the Park Service and its staff.

In a strongly worded statement, the Interior Department said the resignations were "welcome" and denied that it had not attempted to engage the panel. "We expect to have a full board meeting soon", the statement said. The Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council and the Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science were shuttered by direct order.

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"We keep waiting for a pro-park agenda to emerge", Francis said, "but we are now convinced we are waiting in vain".

Zinke and the administration have meanwhile made some notable decisions about park service operations, such as jacking up the entrance fee per auto to $80, which will make visiting parks prohibitively expensive for many Americans, and reversing a ban on plastic water bottles in parks, which had reduced pollution.

Since January 2017, a new National Park Service Director has not been named, leaving a deputy director now in the role. In 2017, Zinke also raised a furor when he proposed tripling the entry fees for some of the most popular national parks in the nation.

"It was, for many members, a matter of frustration that things really were not getting done", said Judy Burke, the former mayor of Grand Lake, the Western gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.

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