National Public Lands

Did you know that September 28th was National Public Lands Day?  Note that the holiday is National Public Lands Day not National Federal Lands Day.  The National Park Service is defended by the National Park Police, complete with a SWAT team and all manner of arms to protect federal lands.

The National Park Service comes under the auspices of the Secretary of the Interior, Sarah (Sally) Margaret Roffey Jewell. A British-born American businesswoman and the 51st United States Secretary of the Interior, serving in the administration of President Obama, she is the second woman to hold the position, after Gale Norton. The former president and CEO of REI, a Seattle-based retailer of outdoor gear, she studied as a mechanical engineer, and previously worked in the oil and banking industries.

Jewell was born in England as Sally Roffey, the daughter of Anne (née Murphy) and Peter Roffey. She moved to the United States at age 4, when her father, an anesthesiologist, took up a fellowship at the University of Washington. She graduated in 1973 from Renton High School, and in 1978 was awarded a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington.

Jewell worked for Mobil Oil Company on oil fields in Oklahoma from 1978 through 1981, when she joined Rainier Bank, which was hiring engineers to help them understand how to go about making loans to oil companies. She worked in banking for 20 years, staying with Security Pacific, which acquired Rainier Bank, until 1992, and working for WestOne Bank from 1992 through 1995, and for Washington Mutual from 1995 through 2000.   In 1996, she joined the board of REI and in 2000 was named chief operating officer.  In 2005, she succeeded Dennis Madsen as CEO.

Jewell has sat on the boards of Premera (a Blue Cross health insurance provider), the National Parks Conservation Association, and the University of Washington Board of Regents.  She helped found the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, a Smart Growth-oriented conservancy meant to prevent “suburban sprawl” in Washington State.

In 2009, Jewell received the National Audubon Society’s Rachel Carson Award for her leadership in and dedication to conservation. The Rachel Carson Award honors visionary women whose expertise and dedication advance conservation locally and nationally.  Jewell was named the Puget Sound Business Journal CEO of the Year in 2006.

She started making campaign contributions in 2008 and gave almost “solely to Democratic candidates” according to USA Today.

On Feb. 6, 2013 she was nominated by Obama to succeed Ken Salazar as United States Secretary of the Interior.   Her nomination was approved by the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on March 21, with only three of the committee’s 22 members opposed.

On April 10, 2013, the Senate confirmed Jewell to be Secretary of the Interior in an 87-11 vote. Because she was born in the United Kingdom and is a naturalized American citizen, Jewell is not eligible to hold a place within the presidential line of succession.  Normally, the Secretary of the Interior would be 8th in line of succession to the presidency.

In nominating Jewell, President Obama said, “She is an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future.  She is committed to building our nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country.  She knows the link between conservation and good jobs.  She knows that there’s no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress; that in fact, those two things need to go hand in hand.”

As Secretary of the Interior, Jewell leads an agency with more than 70,000 employees. Interior serves as steward for approximately 20 percent of the nation’s lands, including national parks, national wildlife refuges, and other public lands; oversees the responsible development of conventional and renewable energy supplies on public lands and waters; is the largest supplier and manager of water in the 17 Western states; and upholds trust responsibilities to the 566 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Natives.

Prior to her confirmation, Jewell served in the private sector, most recently as President and Chief Executive Officer of Recreation Equipment, Inc. (REI). Jewell joined REI as Chief Operating Officer in 2000 and was named CEO in 2005. During her tenure, REI nearly tripled in business to $2 billion and was consistently ranked one of the 100 best companies to work for by Fortune Magazine.

Before joining REI, Jewell spent 19 years as a commercial banker, first as an energy and natural resources expert and later working with a diverse array of businesses that drive our nation’s economy.  Trained as a petroleum engineer, Jewell started her career with Mobil Oil Corp. in the oil and gas fields of Oklahoma and the exploration and production office in Denver, Colo. where she was exposed to the remarkable diversity of our nation’s oil and gas resources.

Jewell has worked to ensure that public lands are accessible and relevant to all people from all backgrounds, and to build a connection between the great outdoors and a new generation of Americans.

The National Park Service (NPS) is the United States federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments (the World War II Memorial is not one of them), and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations.  It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act.

It is an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior.  Most of the direct management of the NPS is delegated by the Secretary of the Interior to the National Park Service Director, who must be confirmed by the Senate.  The current Director of the National Park Service is Jonathan Jarvis, a career civil service employee.

The 21,989 employees of the NPS oversee 401units, of which 59 are designated national parks.

The National Park System (NPS) includes all properties managed by the National Park Service (also, confusingly, “NPS”). The title or designation of a unit need not include the term park; indeed, most do not. The System as a whole is considered to be a national treasure of the United States, and some of the more famous national parks and monuments are sometimes referred to metaphorically as “crown jewels.”   The system encompasses approximately 84.4 million acres, of which more than 4.3 million acres (17,000 km²) remain in private ownership. The largest unit is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.  At 13.2 million acres, it is over 16 percent of the entire system. The smallest unit in the system is Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Pennsylvania at 0.02 acres.

Park protection includes the staff responding to visitor emergencies (medical and criminal), and the protection of the park’s natural and cultural resources from damages by visitors to the park.  The staff includes park rangers, park police, criminal investigators, and communications center operators.

Joanathan B. Jarvis is the 18th Director of the United States National Park Service, confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Sept. 25, 2009.  He has served as Regional Director for the Pacific West Regions when, on July 10, 2009, Obama nominated him for the directorship following the resignation of Mary A. Bomar on Jan. 20, 2009, the day of Obama’s inauguration.  A career civil servant, Jarvis has been with the service for over 30 years.

Prior to his work as Regional Director, Jarvis served for three years as the Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park in Ashford, Wash.  He was Superintendent of Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Idaho and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Service and Preserve in Alaska during the 1990s.

This is the budget for the National Park Service:

Functional area

FY 2010[20]

% of Total

Resource Stewardship

$347,328

15.3%

Visitor Services

$247,386

10.9%

Park Protection

$368,698

16.3%

Facility Maintenance &   Operations

$705,220

31.1%

Park Support

$441,854

19.50%

External Administrative Costs

$155,530

6.9%

Total (2010) $2,266,016

The National Park Service is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior.   The Director is supported by six senior executives. They manage national programs, policy, and budget from the Washington, DC, headquarters. Under the Deputy Director of Operations are seven regional directors, who are responsible for national park management and program implementation. Together this group is called the National Leadership Council.

The national office is located in the Main Interior Building, 1849 C Street NW, several blocks southwest of the White House.  The central office is composed of eleven directorates: Director/Deputy Directors; Business Services; Workforce Management; Chief Information Officer; Cultural Resources; Natural Resource Stewardship and Science; Office of the Comptroller; Park Planning, Facilities, and Lands; Partnerships and Visitor Experience; Visitor and Resource Protection; and the United States Park Police.

The United States Park Police (USPP) is one of the oldest uniformed federal law enforcement agencies in the United States. It functions as a full-service law enforcement agency with responsibilities and jurisdiction in those National Park Service areas primarily located in the Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and New York City areas and certain other government lands.

The United States Park Police is one of the few full-service police departments in the federal government that possess both state and federal authority. In addition to performing the normal crime prevention, investigation, and apprehension functions of an urban police force, the Park Police are responsible for policing many of the famous monuments in the United States . The USPP shares law enforcement jurisdiction in all lands administered by the National Park Service with a force of National Park Service Rangers tasked with the same law enforcement powers and responsibilities. The agency also provides protection for the President, Secretary of the Interior, and visiting dignitaries. The Park Police is a unit of the National Park Service, which is a bureau of the Department of the Interior.

The police functioned as an independent agency of the federal government until 1849, when it was placed under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior. In 1867, Congress transferred the police to the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds, under the supervision of the Chief of Engineers of the Army Corps of Engineers.  In 1925, Congress placed the Park Police in the independent Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital. Headed by an Army officer, Lt. Col. Ulysses S. Grant III, the office reported directly to the President of the United States. In 1933, FDR transferred the police to the National Park Service.

Today they are a full-service agency with patrol, scooter, bicycle, plain clothes, detectives, motors, horse-mounted, crime scene identification technicians, narcotics and vice officers, SWAT, aviation, marine patrol, intelligence/homeland security, traffic safety unit and four state-of-the-art dispatch centers serving Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, New York and California. Additionally, captains oversee NPS regional areas and officers may be deployed throughout the United States and its territories at the request of the Department of the Interior or the National Park Service. One example would be the current deployment to the Dakotas to assist the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The United States Park Police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team has been in existence since 1975. This highly-trained team is proficient with a variety of weapons including submachine guns, assault rifles, sniper rifles, and less-than-lethal  weaponry. The SWAT unit conducts weekly high-risk search warrants and provides vehicular escorts and motorcade support for the President of the United States, the Vice President, and visiting heads of state in the District as well as at Camp David. The Park Police SWAT team often provides tactical support to the many demonstrations in Washington, D.C.  Also, in conjunction with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Casualty Care Research Center, SWAT has trained thousands of personnel from police departments, military units, and fire departments from the United States and abroad in tactical emergency medicine as part of the CONTOMS program.

SWAT conducts basic SWAT schools annually, which are routinely attended by members from outside departments and the United States Armed Forces. The physically and mentally grueling basic training allows officers to see what they are capable of under extreme fatigue and stress. You can also see the SWAT team in their armored vehicle at demonstrations on The Mall such as the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, the Restoring Honor Rally, the U.S. Presidential inaugurations, the National Christmas Tree Lighting, and other major national events in the DC area.

When the Washington Metropolitan area was under siege during the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks, the SWAT Unit was flying daily missions with the Aviation Unit in an attempt to apprehend the fugitives. During the Norman Mayer incident in the early 1980s the USPP SWAT team counter-sniper unit took action from the top of the Herbert C. Hoover Building into a moving vehicle at the Washington Monument.

The Special Forces Branch is responsible for coordinating the many large, high profile events that occur in National Park Service areas in the Washington Metropolitan Area (WMA). These events include demonstrations, festivals, and the presidential inauguration, all of which can have millions of attendees. This branch of the U.S. Park Police, along with the National Park Service, creates incident action plans focusing on concerns such as public safety, emergency management, and transportation entities.

The Special Forces Branch determines the size and scope of deployment of the department’s personnel before and during an event. This personnel may include specialized units such as SWAT, Aviation, reactionary teams, and Horse Mounted Patrol. The Special Forces Branch, along with the National Park Service and other law enforcement agencies, work to ensure the safety of all that are involved. This unit is also responsible for Presidential security and dignitary escorts.

The head of the United States Park Police is Teresa Chambers.  She took office as the U.S. Park Police chief on Jan. 31, 2011, but previously served as the U.S. Park Police chief from February 2002 until December 2003, when she was dismissed from the position.

Chambers earned her Bachelor’s degree in law enforcement and criminology from the University of Maryland University College and earned a Master’s Degree in applied behavioral science with a concentration in community development from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the FBI’s National Executive Institute.

Chambers was fired after speaking with a Washington Post reporter in detail about her concerns that new requirements instituted by Congress to double the number of stationary guards at Washington, D.C. monuments, together with budget shortfalls in the Park Police budget, were increasing risk.

The U.S. Park Police administration and the force’s union have said they fear that the stationary posts on the Mall have hurt anti-terrorism efforts, because fewer officers are able to patrol in the area.  Chambers said that she does not disagree with having four officers outside the monuments but that she would also want to have officers in plainclothes or able to patrol rather than simply standing guard in uniform. Chambers said:

“My greatest fear is that harm or death will come to a visitor or employee at one of our parks, or that we’re going to miss a key thing at one of our icons.”

During the time in which Chambers awaited her federal employee appeal, she worked as the police chief of Riverdale Park, Md.  On Jan. 11, 2011, the Merit Systems Protection Board ordered the Park Police Tuesday to reinstate Chambers within 20 days. The USDI, the parent agency for the United States Park Police, was also ordered to pay her retroactively dating back to July 2004.  She was granted reimbursement for legal fees. On Jan. 21, 2011, Chambers resumed her position as Chief of the U.S. Park Police after the incumbent chief agreed to step aside.

None of what is happening is coincidence.  Orders to shut down and prevent the public from accessing National Park Service sites is not coming from Congress, but from Obama through his Secretary of Interior, to the National Park Service Director, and finally to the United States Park Police, headed by a community organizer with FBI credentials.  The USPP are supposed to protect national parklands and monuments from Islamic terrorists, arsonists, poachers, drug dealers, illegal immigrants, and idiots who, for example, might try to ski the back country in the Spring when there’s the greatest danger of avalanches.

Since Senator Harry Reid declared that Tea Party members and their Conservative friends are “terrorists”, we, the American Public, are now officially on the USPP’s list of “terrorists” and apparently the USPP have been given orders to shoot to kill, or at least, use their weapons to intimidate.

Obama said as much yesterday, admitting that he has given orders to turn up the political heat on the Conservative American public (those most likely to visit a national historic site, like the World War II Memorial) and give orders to the USPP to pack heat.

If the National Parks are under a budgetary shut down, who is paying the USPP to mount their horses, helicopters, and Humvees to track down the dangerous tourist terrorists?  What right do they have to prevent the public to visit “public lands.”  Most importantly, who is paying them to do so?  Who has the most to gain by the permanent closure and seizure of federal lands, rich in natural resources such as shale oil, natural gas, and coal?  One would guess someone who has the money to pay a small army to seize the lands and hold back the public.

We must get the word out to the low-information voters that these closures are not the act of Congress.  They’re the actions of a president who believes he’s an emperor, operating on the notion that all is being done for the collective good, backed by a supporter with very deep pockets.

People can’t believe a thing like this could happen – that they would be barred from public parklands; that private owners could be evicted from federally-owned lands.  Therefore, it must be the fault of greedy Republicans.  They have their share of blame.  But it harkens back to four years ago when they could have easily defeated Obamacare – but didn’t.  They could have forced the President to sign a budget – but they didn’t.  They could have told the public the truth about the economic meltdown of 2008 and who was behind – but they didn’t and neither did the Media.

If Obama manages to seize those public lands, the government will have access to billions of dollars in energy wealth.  Elections will be useless.  He’ll have enough money to amass an enormous army of police, secret intelligence, and “parklands” police to seize not only public but private lands.  He’ll have no need of the U.S. Constitution.  Obama already makes extensive use of Executive Orders to override the legal law of the land and make his own laws.

Just in case people begin to listen to the TEA Parties (and polls show that Obama’s popularity is sinking fast), he can use an Executive Order to give citizenship to illegal aliens.  Heck, he can give American citizenship to the whole world.  Right now, the notion is too bizarre for average Americans to contemplate.

Believe it, America.  It’s really happening.  Just look at the pictures of World War II veterans, most in wheelchairs, being arrested by the U.S. Park Police.  Open up your eyes.  Shine that light into the darkness of your minds and think about it:  elderly men being arrested for wanting to visit a memorial to their fallen comrades-in-arms.

Is that American?

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Published in: on October 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

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