National Park Service
The National Park Service (NPS) is the division of the U.S. federal government's Department of the Interior charged with overseeing the country's national parks and monuments. The director of the National Park Service is Mary Bomar. The NPS has 15,000 permanents employees and 5,000 seasonal employees. It's annual budget in 2006 was $2.256 billion.
The National Park Service drew attention in August 2003 when Park Superintendent Joe Alston attempted to block the sale at park bookstores of a book titled Grand Canyon: A Different View by Tom Vail, which claimed that the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood instead of geologic forces.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a national group of local state and federal resource professionals, protested the book. PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch stated in a December, 2006 press release that "In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology." He continued, saying "It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is 'no comment.'" PEER also lobbied to have Director Bomar approve a pamphlet, suppressed since 2002 by Bush appointees, that provides guidance for rangers and other NPS interpretive staff in making distinctions between science and religion when speaking to park visitors about geologic issues.
- How old is the Grand Canyon? National Park Service won't say. Press release. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, December 28, 2006