The New York Times reported today (Felicity Barringer: “Top Official Urged Change in How Parks are Managed”) on revisions to National Park management proposed by Paul Hoffman, a deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Interior appointed by the Bush administration. Among the revisions in Mr. Hoffman’s proposal, the Times indicates, were greater opportunities for snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle use in the National Parks. Mr. Hoffman, reported to be a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney when he served in Congress, also proposed changing educational programs in the Parks. His proposals, the Times reports, “would have eliminated virtually every reference to the theory of evolution.”
For now, it appears, the Park Service has scraped Mr. Hoffman’s proposals, but this bears watching. As evolutionary biology disappears from K-12 education, institutions like the Park Service remain critical for public education about the natural world.