The days just keep getting busier! We wanted to share something that we shared with the Medora City Council the other night and the two reporters we spoke with this yesterday…
As we know, because Theodore Roosevelt National Park keeps telling us, the National Park Service has a number of policies that each park has to adhere to. You know, like the ones they are feeding to the public to continue with their narrative about why the horses HAVE to be removed from the park.
There is also a National Park Service Document – Directors Order 75A that talks ALL about civic engagement responsibilities that every national park has to comply with. You can read the document here:https://www.nps.gov/civic/policy/policy2.html
What does Directors Order 75A say, specifically?
Here are a few points, but again, please read the document for yourself – knowledge is power 😉
“For the NPS, civic engagement is an institutional commitment to actively involve communities in our mission through the public planning process, in interpretive and educational programming, and directly in preserving significant resources. Civic engagement enhances the focus of NPS efforts to partner with communities, fulfill the NPS education mission, and work with partners and neighbors to preserve sites that represent the fullness of the American experience.”
“We acknowledge that public involvement is particularly critical where parks and neighboring communities interact or where there are communities of interest that are engaged with parks. Members of these communities have a vested interest in what we do and it is often best to face common issues and resolve them with a coordinated approach. We will work with communities of interest, neighboring landowners, land managers, and jurisdictions to address issues and seek mutually beneficial solutions to these issues.”
And hey….how about this one:
“On potentially controversial issues, we will be particularly mindful to plan and design public involvement opportunities at the earliest opportunity, and to use specialized techniques when dealing with controversial issues in order to minimize potential for conflict and achieve a solution smoothly. As issues arise, managers should already be familiar with a range of alternative dispute resolution techniques and resources, including the use of facilitators or mediators, to help resolve controversial issues. If a controversy pertains to a rule-making activity (i.e., adopting a regulation), “negotiated rulemaking” should be considered, utilizing a negotiated rulemaking committee. Special procedures apply to the establishment of such a committee.”
The Park is merely just checking off the boxes with the minimal amount of effort possible to continue on their path to remove the horses from the park’s boundaries. Draft EA – CHECK – Civic Engagement – CHECK.
The Park should – AT A VERY MINIMUM be engaging with the town of Medora, which we know will be negatively impacted by their decision to eliminate the herd of horses.
We asked if they were at the Medora City Council meeting last night. They have NOT.
They are NOT even engaging with local press and media. Every reporter we talk to reaches out to Theodore Roosevelt National Park to give them a chance to refute anything they are reporting. They ALL get the same scripted response that basically is their refusal to respond to ANYONE that reaches out to them for clarification on anything.
So much for Director’s Order 75A I suppose.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Superintendent Angie Richman did comment on this accusation yesterday – it was covered in Patrick Springer’s article in the Fargo Forum:
“Angie Richman, superintendent of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, declined to respond to Kman’s allegations that the park has provided misleading information about public support for the horses.
She did defend the park’s efforts to engage the public.
“Throughout this planning process, we have gone out for public comment three times including this current comment period,” she said in a statement. “We have held two virtual public meetings and will be hosting a third on October 10, 2023, at 6 p.m. (mountain time). With each comment period, notices have gone out by news release, been posted to the park’s website and social media and postcards have been distributed in locations throughout Medora and Watford City.”
The park service has “continued to respond to questions received through the horse and cattle pages on the park website and have held listening sessions when requested. The NPS met with several groups in July 2023 including Chasing Horses.”
Yes, Superintendent Richman, you have definitely engaged the public. In the least possible way that you can.
Please don’t forget to sign up for our Horse Talk TOMORROW: https://secure.everyaction.com/GuZ4T8oYy0qGmfUsw5RrMw2
We also are sooo close to maximizing our $1,000 matching donation! Can you help?
Many of you are aware, the Park’s planning website was down most of the day yesterday. Superintendent Richman emailed us this morning to let us know that the NPS IT team has corrected the issue.
Thank you for your support and have a GREAT day!