December 13, 2007

Bureaucratic Idiocy: The Park Service

The National Park Service has announced a $6 million plan to deal with Rocky Mountain National Park's overpopulation of elk. They would be killed by "sharpshooters" (contracted through Halliburton, no doubt.)

The lethal reductions, along with fencing and "aversive techniques" such as moving herds with dogs and blank ammunition, are part of a $6 million, 20-year plan to bring down the unnaturally high number of elk in the park and restore native plants.

The plan produced a sharp response today in a news release from the Colorado Division of Wildlife and its governing body, the Colorado Wildlife Commission, through commission chairman Tom Burke.

“Repeatedly, the Colorado Wildlife Commission has said that we are proponents of using qualified citizen volunteers to assist in managing the elk population in Rocky Mountain National Park,” said Burke.

“Culling 100-200 or less elk a year may not have the impact desired on the current population of 3,000 in Rocky Mountain National Park," he said. "The language in the plan falls short of our expectations.”

Why would the NPS, notorious for its maintenance backlog, its low salaries to park rangers, and its other cutbacks, want to spend $6 million when it could have much of the job done for free or nearly so?

I can think of only one reason: The NPS bureaucrats are afraid of the precedent of allowing hunting in the park. And they are probably afraid of some kind of political shit storm--which they may get anyway. The first law of bureaucracy is Cover Your Ass, and never mind the poor rangers living in leaky trailers.


mdmnm said...

Wolves? After all, they seem to be working in Yellowstone.

Wouldn't be much of a hunt, tagging one of those used-to-standing-for-the-tourists-taking-pictures elk. On the other had, meat is meat and the gov't shouldn't pay for a service it could obtain for nearly free.

Ranger X said...

The NPS has a long history of mismanaging Rocky Mountain National Park. For starters, check out Ken Hess's Rocky Times in Rocky Mountain National Park: An Unnatural History at .

The NPS started this mess when the park was created by aggressively exterpating predators and wild fires and encouraging elk. Until 40 years ago, the park managed its elk herd by killing them, then it was hands-off, which led to the current mess.

As for wasting $6 million, that's what the NPS is best at.