Thursday, April 3, 2008

Battle of the letters to the editor

Read Dale Gray's letter to the editor of the Vernal Express regarding the job cuts at Dinosaur National Monument. This is the most recent letter to the editor in a few weeks worth of letters that have gone back and forth on either sides of the issue. There are links below this current letter to other editorials that have been going back and forth, or you can find the links below in this post.

Also worth noting, Regional Director Mike Snyder responded to the letter I sent to various park service officials regarding the job cuts at DINO. While I appreciate his response, it appears he is just echoing Mary Risser's email that started this whole thing (maybe she was echoing him, who knows): the paleo program is being cut back due to budget issues, they are keeping the park paleontologist who has a Ph.D. (but will they replace HIM after he retires? Good question.), they will be farming things out to "educational institutions" that was once done by the people they are doing away with, and they are doing away with the collections manager because (as I read it) most of the collections are elsewhere. He does point out that they hope to move forward with designs and constructions drawings for the quarry visitor center in the next few months. That was nice to hear. He then thanks me for my interest. I appreciate the letter. It appears that they are moving forward with the job cuts regardless.


Timeline (excluding all of the public comments that have been exchanged on the VertPaleo ListServer):

(2-8-08) Park Superintendent Mary Risser announces "plans to streamline the geology, paleontology, and museum programs to eliminate duplicate or overlapping responsibilities" via Dan Chure to the Vertebrate Paleontology community on the VertPaleo ListServer
(2-12-08) National Parks Traveler: Dinosaur National Monument Cutting Paleontology Staff
(2-12-08) The Salt Lake Tribune published an article on DINO's cutbacks (it is now behind a paywall but you can see an excerpt here)
(2-13-08) National Parks Traveler: Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Favors Law Enforcement, Maintenance, Interpretation Over Paleontology
(2-18-08) Desert Morning News: Dinosaur National Monument must release 2 of its workers
(2-19-08)
The Uintah Basin Standard publishes an article on the DINO cutbacks including an interview with the park superintendent
(2-22-08) Vernal Express: Monument paleo program remains intact despite cuts
(2-23-08) National Parks Traveler: Dinosaur National Monument: Paleo's Not The Only Responsibility
(2-27-08) Vernal Express: Late-Jurassic frog fossils return to Basin’s Dinosaur National Monument
(2-27-08) Vernal Express: Saddened over DNM decision (Linda West)
(3-2-08) National Parks Traveler: Of Geologist, Paleontologist, and Science in the National Park System
(3-13-08) Vernal Express: Cuts at monument carry impact (Margaret Imhof)
(3-19-08) Vernal Express: DNM Rebuttal (Lorraine Chure)
(4-3-08) Vernal Express: Response to monument letter (Dale Gray)
___________________________________________________________________

So, lets show the park service that we are still interested! If you so inclined and interested
in speaking up about the job cuts and outsourcing taking place at Dinosaur National Monument here are some links and contact information for your State Senators and House of Representatives Natural Resource members. You are a tax payer and they are there to listen to you and your concerns (whatever those might be, we are all entitled to our own opinions)!

House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Members of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands (click here for their contact info)
1333 Longworth House Office Building
(202) 226-7736 Fax: (202) 226-2301

Mr. Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona, Chairman
Mr. Rob Bishop, Utah, Ranking Republican Member

Dale E. Kildee, Michigan
Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii
Donna M. Christensen, Virgin Islands
Rush D. Holt, New Jersey
Dan Boren, Oklahoma
John P. Sarbanes, Maryland
Peter M. DeFazio, Oregon
Maurice D. Hinchey, New York
Ron Kind, Wisconsin
Lois Capps, California
Jay Inslee, Washington
Mark Udall, Colorado
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, South Dakota
Heath Shuler, North Carolina
John J. Duncan, Jr., Tennessee
Chris Cannon, Utah
Thomas G. Tancredo, Colorado
Jeff Flake, Arizona
Stevan Pearce, New Mexico
Henry E. Brown, Jr., South Carolina
Louie Gohmert, Texas
Tom Cole, Oklahoma
Bill Sali, Idaho
Doug Lamborn, Colorado
Robert Wittman, Virginia

Senate Subcommittee on National Parks (contact info here)
Phone: (202) 224-4971
Fax: (202) 228-0539
Jurisdiction of the Subcommittee includes oversight and legislative responsibilities for: National Park System; Wild and Scenic Rivers System; National Trails System; national recreation areas; national monuments; historic sites; military parks and battlefields; Land and Water Conservation Fund; historic preservation; outdoor recreation resources; and preservation of prehistoric ruins and objects of interest on the public domain.

Democratic Subcommittee Members
Daniel K. Akaka (Chairman) HI
Byron L. Dorgan ND
Mary L. Landrieu LA
Ken Salazar CO
Robert Menendez NJ
Blanche Lincoln AR
Bernard Sanders VT
Jon Tester MT
Republican Subcommittee Members
Richard Burr NC
Lisa Murkowski AK
Bob Corker TN
John Barrasso WY
Jeff Sessions AL
Gordon Smith OR
Mel Martinez FL

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