Anonymous National Park Service Employees Speak of Broad Discontent

They showed up for a news conference at the National Press Building cloaked in dark glasses, hats, and scarves, used a voice disguiser, and hid behind a thick curtain. But they weren’t mafia informants or witnesses in a spy case; they were longtime employees of the National Park Service speaking out against the Bush administration for “enacting policies and laws that will destroy the grand legacy of our national parks,” as one put it. Although the anonymous critics were just two of the NPS’s 17,000 employees, a recent survey by the Campaign to Protect America’s Lands suggests widespread unhappiness within the agency. Of 1,361 respondents, 84 percent expressed a “great deal of concern” about the effect of current policies on national parks, 59 percent said the situation had worsened over the last few years, and 79 percent said morale had declined over the same period. CPAL recruited the two anonymous Park Service employees to present the results of the survey at the conference after trying unsuccessfully to convince employees to speak openly.