Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Community support lauded by parks director
Published June 13, 2004
"About two years ago,
we declared this as one of the top 12 projects for
America's parks," said National Park Service
Director Fran Mainella, speaking to a crowd of about
200 people Saturday morning.
The National Park
Service is being challenged this year with finding a
way to serve an ever-growing mass of visitors while
trimming budgets. Since the terrorist attacks of
Sept. 11, 2001, Mainella said, more and more people
have been coming to national parks and exploring
Lava Beds Chief Ranger
Terry Harris said several ranger positions will go
unfilled this season, but said volunteers will
enable the park to keep up most its services. Harris
said the biggest hit is in the interpretive
division, which leads tours, staffs the visitor
center and runs campfire programs.
Harris said the
unfilled ranger positions will be supplemented with
three student conservation aides. The aides, which
are primarily college students doing internships,
will be guaranteed at the park this year, where in
previous years it depended on program funding.
Saturday marked the first time any parks director
had visited in an official capacity. She said she
enjoyed touring Mushpot Cave on Friday, but said in
a Saturday interview she couldn't possibly pick just
one cave from the park system as her favorite.
"The biggest thing is
the public was part of the design of this," Mainella
said. "We didn't do this in isolation; this is
exactly what we want to see in our national parks."
Klamath Tribes chairman
Allen Foreman, said the new visitors center
represented a new direction of cooperation between
the U.S. government and the tribes.
The crowd was then
treated to a drum ceremony with traditional American
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