Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach — crossposted from my blog, Skating Under The Ice
Let me start by saying that I’m a huge fan and frequent user of our National Park System. I’m also a dedicated and lifelong conservationist, concerned with our natural environment that is the basis of all life. So please don’t take the following as being opposed to true environmentalism. I’m not. I’m opposed to political activism under the name and imprimatur of the National Park Service.
After the Trump Administration told the Department of the Interior to shut down all their Twitter accounts because they were being used for partisan political purposes by Democratic government employees, some National Park Service employees got in a huff about how their rights were being violated. So they put together a new Twitter account called AltUSNatParkService. Here’s the header on their page, in case they change it:
I cracked up when I saw that, I thought “Man, they just hung themselves out to dry, they just blew it bad!”.
Setting that question aside for the moment, under the aegis of this new account they are all about the climate and other virtue-signalling subjects, viz:
They’re organizing meetings and the like because of these fears. Gotta say … I’m getting tired of people trotting out their fears and using these fears to justify all kinds of actions. I get it that folks are afraid. And I know that the fear they feel is real. But that is not sufficient reason for me to automatically take their fears seriously and buy into their fright, particularly if nothing untoward has happened to date. It’s just baseless fears.
In any case, they’ve shot themselves in the foot. They are putting themselves out as if they represent or are part of the real National Park Service, both by their name and even to the extent of using the official arrowhead emblem of the Park Service on their Twitter site, as seen above. Clearly amateur hour. Here’s more about the arrowhead, it’s not some random symbol.
What is the origin of the National Park Service arrowhead?
The arrowhead was authorized as the official National Park Service emblem by the Secretary of the Interior on July 20, 1951. The components of the arrowhead may have been inspired by key attributes of the National Park System, with the sequoia tree and bison representing vegetation and wildlife, the mountains and water representing scenic and recreational values, and the arrowhead itself representing historical and archeological values. Read more about the history of the arrowhead and other elements of NPS visual design.
Why is their using the arrowhead a huge mistake? Because using it is not just a bad idea. It is a crime to use the official NPS “arrowhead” emblem without specific permission from the NPS:
Use of the NPS arrowhead symbol and badge is governed by 36 CFR Part 11. Unauthorized use is a criminal offense, punishable in accordance with 18 USC 641 and 701.
And because that defines it a Federal crime (USC for “US Code”), that lets the Administration call in the FBI to identify the anonymous folks behind this account. And being NFS employees they can hardly claim ignorance of the law. When they sign on, in their New Employee Handbook they are given links to the following:
Documents Containing Selected Topic
As a result, it should be very easy to find and fire these government employees for cause, because they are falsely representing themselves by using the official NPS arrowhead, and they know or should know that’s both illegal and wrong. However … civil service laws may get in the way.
And if the civil service laws do get in the way, I sincerely hope Trump adds those laws to his list.
The best part to me about these kinds of spontaneous outbursts of righteous indignation is their generally Darwinian nature … and after eight years of government employees being allowed to run wild as long as it was the approved liberal and Democratic style of wild, I suspect we’ll see more of these outbursts before we run out of candidates for the Bureaucratic Darwin Award.
The tragedy in this is that it detracts from majesty and mystery of the parks that these folks are supposed to protect, and makes them into a political football. That we don’t need.
PS-If you are commenting please QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU ARE DISCUSSING. That way we can all understand just what your subject is.
UPDATE: 1/27/17 9:45AM
It seems they had to abandon use of the official park service logo shortly after this post by Willis was published:
And this is what their Twitter page looks like now:
Alt-Idiots. They probably aren’t aware of the Acceptable Use Policy for the government run Internet accessible network. That will be their next challenge.