WELCOMING OUR NEW DIRECTOR
On August 1 in Washington, DC, Fran P. Mainella, the 16th Director of
the National Park Service, was welcomed to her first National Leadership
Council (NLC) meeting. After thanking Deputy Director Deny Galvin for
his fine work as acting Director during the long transition, she discussed
her vision of the NPS and her expectations of the NLC. Among other things,
she stressed the critical importance of:
- Meeting the President's goals of (1) eliminating the maintenance backlog,
and (2) furthering the Natural Resource Challenge (NRC), and (3) working
in partnership with the states on the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
These are items where the Administration is pledged to deliver, and
the NPS must do all it can to assist those efforts.
- An even stronger relationship with the Congress. Director Mainella
said that Capitol Hill should be kept fully informed of NPS actions
and direction. The Service - while adhering to its mission - should
welcome the opportunity to work with and assist Members of Congress.
- Good interaction with the other Interior bureaus. Just as good interaction
with Congress will be beneficial, so too the wealth of knowledge and
expertise from which the NPS can draw from its fellow DOI bureaus.
- Full internal communication. The Director said neither she nor any
other NLC member should appear surprised or unaware of Service action
due to a lack of communication. She also said it was absolutely essential
that NLC members communicate with NPS employees, whom she characterized
as the agency's main asset.
- Competitive sourcing is a matter of prime importance to the Administration.
She is confident that the NPS can go about this in a responsible and
caring way, so that personnel are not unduly affected.
- Proactive outreach to partners. Director Mainella said NPS outreach
efforts should be directed across the spectrum of interests, and must
include those groups and organizations that may, in the end, oppose
final NPS action. She cited the outstanding recent example regarding
sports fishermen on the new "no-take" regulations at Dry Tortugas
N.P., where the NPS stressed that the policy was designed to ensure
- Even more volunteer involvement. While she is aware that huge numbers
of volunteers currently assist the NPS, the Director would like to see
even more, as she believes volunteerism is vitally important not only
in helping the Service to accomplish its mission, but also strengthens
- Good interaction with partners. Director Mainella said the Service
should not hesitate to work with those organizations that can help it
advance its mission, as this will allow the Service to do more.
- A Park Service that is as efficient and effective as possible. The
NPS, she said, does stupendous work; but it must always strive to do
so with a minimum of waste, and with the taxpayer in mind.
The Director said that she looked forward to working with her colleagues.
The Director's message to all employees can be viewed at www.nps.gov/npsdirector.
NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM ADVISORY BOARD REPORT
Rethinking the National Parks for the 21st Century, a report of the
National Park System Advisory Board, was presented to Director Mainella
at a ceremony at the National Geographic Society on August 1, just prior
to the convening of the NLC meeting. All NLC members were in attendance.
At their meeting, NLC members engaged in a wide-ranging discussion of
the report. The goal was not only to consider "next steps" in
implementation, but also to envisage the wider implications. The NLC acknowledged
that the report was the result of a tremendous contribution of time and
energy by private individuals preeminent in many walks of life, and, as
such, was an outstanding example of citizen involvement in supporting
the work of the National Park Service.
The report stresses the growing importance of the national park system
given the accelerating rate of change in the environment and in American
society. Likewise, it calls upon the NPS to work beyond park boundaries,
in conjunction with partners. It observes that the educational role of
the National Park Service is crucial, stating that the learning opportunities
available in parks are unique and powerful. It suggests growing opportunities
for the Service to serve the American public. Parks provide each American
with the opportunity to fill in the gaps of their knowledge of the country's
history, in a personal way, emphasizing the importance and values of place.
The report calls upon the Park Service to be a leader in the field of
outdoor recreation and open space conservation. The report is viewed as
a re-expression of what the Service is and can be.
The NLC organized to develop possible actions to respond to the report's
recommendations. Director Mainella asked that working groups report on
their efforts in future NLC meetings. While work proceeds to identify
implementation strategies, the NLC agreed:
- Environmentally friendly visitor access to the parks is a must;
- Recreation must be an integral part of what the Service does;
- The report comports very well with the President's National Parks
Legacy Project; and
- The National Park Service must reflect the changing make-up of the
American populace, not only in the stories it tells, but also in the
storytellers. The report is available on the web, at www.nps.gov/policy/futurereport.htm.
NLC ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Some months ago, the National Leadership Council announced that it was
determined "to strengthen itself as a leadership body" and would
"work with experts in the fields of management and organizational
change" (NLC Journal, 2nd edition). At
its August meeting, the NLC considered criteria for selecting organizational
development assistance. A short list of seven candidates for the position
of organizational development consultant was reviewed. Interviews have
since begun, and are continuing apace.
THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE COMPREHENSIVE SURVEY OF THE
Gary Machlis (NPS Chief Social Scientist) presented results of the NPS
Comprehensive Survey of the American Public, conducted by Northern Arizona
University for the NPS Social Science Program. Randomly selected adults
(3,515) were surveyed by telephone in the spring of 2000. The survey dealt
with a range of topics important to the NPS including: visitor and non-visitor
demographics; barriers to visiting NPS units; public attitudes toward
fees, resource management policies, reservations systems, and park planning;
the public "image" of the NPS; and public perceptions of problems
A technical report provides data on these topics for recent visitors,
past visitors, non-visitors, and the general public (the preceding three
categories combined). National data and data for each NPS region were
presented, including these findings:
- 32% of the American public have visited an NPS unit within the last
- 15% of the American public have never visited a unit of the NPS;
- The most common barriers to visiting NPS units more often were perceived
by the American public as (a) not enough information about NPS units,
(b) length of time to get to NPS units, and (c) the costs of hotels/food;
- 86% of recent visitors believe fees paid were either "just about
right" or "too little"; and
- 48% of the American public supports removing from parks animals not
naturally found in park boundaries, 42% support leaving them alone,
and 10% don't know.
A wide range of information on visitors, non-visitors, and the public's
opinions concerning national parks was presented. Vigorous discussion
ensued regarding what the data means for NPS managers and partners, and
the future of the national park system. The full report can be found under
"Technical Assistance at www.nps.gov/socialscience/waso/products.htm.
IMPLEMENTING OUR VISUAL IDENTITY SYSTEM
The NLC considered the policy issues involved with establishing and maintaining
an NPS Service-wide identity system and the related issues of respectfully
recognizing co-managed areas within that identity system. Discussion focused
on what the Service may want to "require," "allow,"
or "restrict" in terms of using and sharing our identity, and
how much "national guidance" should be exercised over identity
issues versus the degree of "local preference" that should be
permitted. The discussion reinforced that our current identity system
consists of the black band, the arrowhead, and special typefaces that
uniquely identify the NPS as an organization in the public's eye. Options
of sharing all those identity elements, or just our "mark" (the
arrowhead), or modifying colors to recognize co-managed areas, were also
The NLC agreed to discuss the issue further in the context of four specific
- NPS-operated sites
- Co-managed areas where the NPS maintains a uniformed presence
- All other types of areas
Additionally, the NLC agreed that representatives should meet with Parks
Canada, which has been managing an identity program for the last five
years, to learn from its experience. The NLC was also asked to consider
how the identity system should be applied to the worldwide web components
of our communication strategy, as well as how to provide the training
the field needs to successfully implement the identity system. More information
can be found at www.graphics.nps.gov.
Denis (Deny) Galvin
Katherine (Kate) Stevenson
Cultural Resource Stewardship
Michael (Mike) Soukup
Stewardship and Science
Richard (Dick) Ring
Terrel (Terry) Emmons
Robert L. (Rob) Arnberger
Karen P. Wade
William (Bill) Schenk
Terry R. Carlstrom
John J. Reynolds