Earlier this week, President Trump’s Department of The Interior nominated Raymond David Vela for the role of Director of National Park Service. In today’s divided political climate, it’s easy to assume Vela was nominated as another pawn in a larger plan to slowly eliminate our National Parks.
In fact, one of his supporters is Utah Representative Rob Bishop. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he was one of the driving forces behind the gerrymandering of the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument to provide easier access for both Oil and Natural Gas companies.
“Vela’s years of service in parks around the country will bring fresh advocacy to this continued effort. President Trump made a superb decision in picking Vela to lead the NPS. I look forward to working with him to further this important work.” – Department of Interior
That quote alone is enough to scare most people who hold a National Park Permit and consistently visit our “Nation’s Greatest Idea.”
However Raymond David Vela holds a unique history with the Antiquities Act that may impact his opinions on Bears Ears National Monument, as well as our other National Parks. Since 2014, He’s presided over Grand Teton National Park as Superintendent. Before GTNP existed as it does today, Jackson Hole National Monument was created in the same fashion as Bears Ears – via the Antiquities Act. So here’s hoping he doesn’t help in the effort to resize Bear’s Ears.
Assuming his nomination is confirmed, Vela would become the first Director of Hispanic descent for the National Park Service.
It’s no secret the outdoor industry has some stuff to figure out when it comes to diversity, and the National Park Service is no different. In a survey released in 2017, 38.7% of National Park Service employees reported experiencing harassment or discrimination.
Assuming his nomination is confirmed, Vela would become the first Hispanic NPS Director. On top of that, Vela also served as “associate director for Workforce, Relevancy and Inclusion” in the National Park Service’s (NPS) Washington headquarters.”
The mission of the Office of Relevancy, Diversity, and Inclusion (RDI) is to champion for an organizational culture that is increasingly inclusive and participatory, which values the diverse ideas, experience and background of every individual, and empowers an innovative, flexible and resilient NPS to engage the opportunities and challenges of the future. – Office of RDI
Who better to fix the social issues facing the National Park Service today than a man who understands the issues at a personal level?
“David’s devotion to public service, commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workforce, and passion in achieving the mission of the National Park Service is to be commended” – Bob Stanton (15th Director of National Park Service)
Also facing Vela is a nearly $12 Billion dollars in National Park Service maintenance backlogs. According to those who have worked with him though, he’s ready to address those issues
Theresa Pierno, who presides over the National Parks Conservation Association, called him a “problem solver” who’s poised to address threats from development, air and water pollution, climate change and record visitation. – JH News and Guide
All we can hope is that Vela’s bi-partisan support will diffuse some of the unproductive back and forth on Capitol Hill and in the process protect our National Park’s for generations to come.
Find the entire JH News and Guide article here: 1 voice disputes praise for Vela