National park advisory board resigns in protest


BEAUTY. When people think of national parks, they usually imagine the breath-taking views and amazing trails. They do not think about what happens behind the scenes. The National Park Service Advisory Board makes sure that the parks remain clean and work to improve the visitors experience while protecting the environment. Photo courtesy of Taylor Close.

Since his inauguration in January of last year, many people around the country have spoken out against President Donald Trump’s actions. There have been women’s marches, people standing in solidarity with immigrants, and multiple other acts of protest.

One act of protest happened this month when 10 of the 12 members of the National Park System Advisory Board resigned in protest to Trump’s administration, in particular Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his refusal to meet with them.

“It is their [the board’s] job to represent the parks and do all that they can to improve them, but how can they when the government refuses to meet with them to make those improvements,” said Ashwin Chidambaram, 12.

Members wrote letters of resignation Mon. Jan. 15, where they explained their reasoning as Zinke repeatedly refused to meet with them to discuss the future of national parks, even though by law they are required to meet twice a year.

While this brought about attention to the matter, there may have been better ways to go about the situation. We cannot always run from problems–we have to face them head-on.

“I believe that there may have been a better way to solve the problem instead of just resigning because now they have to be replaced with new members, which gives Trump’s administration even more power,” Chidambaram said.

Like with the marches, we need to express our beliefs and speak out instead of giving up and hoping someone else can do better. This does not apply to just politics, it should be something to constantly think about.

Sometimes there can be a point where speaking out is like speaking to a brick wall. The opposing side might have their minds so set on their views that anything contradicting them goes right over their heads.

“We resigned because we were deeply disappointed with the department, and we were concerned that Mr. Zinke appears to have no interest in continuing the agenda of science, the effect of climate change, or pursuing the protection of the ecosystem,” former head of the advisory board Tony Knowles told “The New York Times” in an interview.

This should not deter us from trying to have our voices heard during times of oppression and conflict. Chances are, more than one person will have these views. With enough voices, there is a better chance of being heard.