April 6, 2020 – The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks expressed shock and disappointment at the news that Department of the Interior (DOI) Solicitor Edward Keable has been named the new Superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park.
Phil Francis, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks:
Ed Keable is not qualified to manage and lead a complicated park such as the Grand Canyon. While Mr. Keable may possess the ‘passion’ and ‘leadership skills’ that Acting Director Vela referenced in his statement, it does not mean that Mr. Keable has the knowledge, skills, and ability to be superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park, one of the most high-profile, complex, and heavily visited national park operations in the System.
Individuals named to Senior Executive Service (SES) level positions have historically demonstrated significant skill in complex park management, earned through experience working in the field. Mr. Keable’s selection sets a terrible precedent and robs the National Park Service (NPS) career workforce, who have decades of expertise working in national parks, of opportunities to lead the agency in senior superintendent posts.
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In addition, Mr. Keable, who has worked closely with Secretary Bernhardt for years, will need to contend with efforts to develop a resort in Tusayan, just outside the gates of the park. Coming as no surprise to anyone following Secretary Barnhardt’s actions at the helm of Interior, Secretary Bernhardt’s former law firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, has been hired to lobby for its development. At this crucial time, when leadership is desperately needed, Grand Canyon needs an experienced and strong advocate, not a politically appointed superintendent.
On the heels of Secretary Bernhardt showing such disregard for NPS employees during the escalating pandemic by keeping parks open and putting their health and safety at risk, the decision to put someone with no national park experience in charge of a crown jewel of the National Park System is appalling.
We are men and women of the National Park Service, joining together to support the NPS mission, working to protect the parks and ensure their survival for generations to come. www.protectnps.org