|10:08 PM EDT||
Jim Moran, D-VA 8th
Mr. MORAN. Madam Chairman, I think we have a problem in the amendment, itself, because it would specifically designate a study that might be interpreted as some type of earmark, which I don't think it really is.
I like what the gentlelady is trying to do. I think it's important. I think we ought to have a consideration by the Park Service of whether they are sufficiently flexible in dealing with local communities.
There was a recent article written in The Washington Post talking about some of the opportunities that exist to bring the community into local parks, urban parks, where far more people could be involved, people could participate, people could enhance the enjoyment of things that take place. For example, if there is a large soccer event at a park that is controlled by the National Park Service, you could bring the whole community in to watch it on a large screen.
There is no question but that we could find ways to discourage automobiles and encourage bikes--have bike sharing, for example, on The National Mall so that people could rent bikes and bike around The Mall. It wouldn't cause any environmental damage; in fact, it would preserve some of the lawn on our National Mall. Some people would enjoy it more and they would get a little exercise. Just all kinds of ideas that might be proposed by communities.
I remember being out in Washington State, San Juan Island. This was a little place. It's a national park because there was a bizarre military conflict that occurred out there. I won't go into the whole military conflict, but the people there love the bunny rabbits that are there. Well, the Park Service decided that they're really not a native species, there are too many of them, so the Park Service decided they're going to use the method they use at other places. First of all, they thought they
would gas them, which the community was shocked by. Then they decided, well, we'll shoot them and so on, reduce the population. You know, if they had just sat down with members of the community, they could have figured out how to keep these bunnies that the community wanted, avoid a whole lot of negative attitude with regard to the Park Service, and in fact enhance the enjoyment of this little national park at San Juan.
I'm sure there are examples all over the country, in fact, all over the world, because the National Park Service has any number of parks outside the physical boundaries of our North American continent. We've got the Virgin Islands and so on.
I don't know what the local neighborhoods might suggest, but I do know that they have a lot of good ideas, ideas that the National Park Service ought to consider thoughtfully. And some will be rejected, but some might well be accepted. But the process of that kind of community input, it seems to me, would generate even more support for the National Park Service.
It's a great institution. Our parks are iconic assets to our Nation. But I do think that the local community could enjoy them more and appreciate the National Park Service's role more if we had the kind of dialogue with the Park Service that Ms. Norton is suggesting.
I don't see any harm in having that kind of study. I think we ought to be able to work with the gentlelady, maybe put together some report language, at least a letter to the head of the National Park Service suggesting that this is an area that the Congress itself, in a bipartisan way, thinks ought to be explored.