For a decade you've heard me speak of "The Corporate Takeover of Nature and the Disneyfication of the Wild". Some may have even read my 1998 essay titled "The Commodification of Nature" in which I detailed who was taking over America's outdoor recreation policy and what they intended to do with it once the transformation was complete.
What I've never done in all these years is put a face upon those who have come to own/ dominate/ control/ dictate federal public policy. Let me do that now.
Here's a photo of a recent meeting of recreation industry kingpins with their long-time ally, Interior Secretary Kempthorne. The man on Kempthorne's left is Kym Murphy of Walt Disney Attractions and board member of the American Recreation Coalition. ARC's president, Derrick Crandall appears in the foreground on the left hand side of the photo.
Here's another photo of Crandall speaking with Kempthorne and Kempthorne's boss, President Bush. It was taken exactly one month before the meeting photo pictured above
Pasted below is Crandall's description of what transpired at this second meeting.
I'll just add that the President's National Park Centennial Initiative is a fraud being perpetrated by the men you see in the pictures above. The Centennial Initiative is an ambitious campaign intended to accomplish two tasks -- to burnish the President's extraordinarily tarnished reputation by presenting the illusion that he is doing something good for National Parks and to advance the Corporate Takeover and Disneyfication of America's Crown Jewels by the people you see in these photos.
Recreation Leaders Share Their Vision for Boosting the Impact of the Centennial Initiative with Secretary Kempthorne
Washington, DC (March 7, 2007) - A group of outdoor recreation leaders
met today with Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, Mary Bomar,
Director of the National Park Service, and Dale Hall, Director of the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to share their ideas for companion
efforts that could significantly expand the impact and benefits of the
President’s Centennial Initiative for the National Parks.
Recreation leaders participating included Gary Kiedaisch of The Coleman
Company, Dennis Szefel and Kevin Kelly of the Delaware North Companies,
Rex Maughan and John Schoppmann of Forever Resorts, Kym Murphy of The
Walt Disney Company and Derrick Crandall of the American Recreation
Coalition. Melissa Johnson of the President's Council on Physical
Fitness and Sports, Richard Barton of the Maryland Park Service, Gina
McCarthy of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and
John Doyle of Ruder Finn Inc. also participated.
In the meeting, which lasted more than an hour, the recreation leaders
offered examples of creative efforts underway by federal, state and
local recreation interests to connect Americans to the outdoors. These
initiatives, together with an effective communications and marketing
strategy, can increase public awareness about benefits of active time
outdoors, they said. The goals of such efforts include: increasing
actual participation in outdoor activities; increasing the overall
benefits of public lands to the nation and establishing programs and
policies that support the environmental and economic sustainability of
The leaders emphasized the multiple benefits of this expanded effort
from improved health, new educational channels, enhanced support for
conservation and stewardship today and tomorrow, national unity and
pride, and increased resources for agencies managing the federal lands
from fees, volunteerism and philanthropy. “We were excited by the
Secretary’s receptivity,” said Derrick Crandall. “Our view is that such
efforts will add significantly to the value of the Centennial
Under the National Park Centennial Initiative, President Bush has
proposed up to $3 billion of new public and private investment in the
national parks over the next ten years to prepare the parks for their
100th anniversary in 2016. To see images of the meeting, click here.