July 27, 2009

Wyden Issues Statement on Jonathan Jarvis, Park Service Nominee

Washington, D.C. - Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) released the following statement today after meeting with the nominee for the position of Director of the National Park Service, Jonathan Jarvis.

"I met with Mr. Jarvis today and told him I intend to do everything in my power to stop any plan to allow helicopter tours of Crater Lake. Oregonians and our visitors visit the lake to enjoy nature's sights and sounds, not to see and hear helicopters.

Allowing helicopter tours of Crater Lake is just plain bad policy. It would forever change the character of this beloved natural treasure, putting the priority on commercial activity over the protection of pristine beauty. Further, the vibrations from these overflights would almost certainly have impacts on wildlife in the park, and wildlife in truly natural conditions are a natural resource that are part and parcel of the very best our national parks have to offer.

Helicopter tours have proven to be extremely controversial in national parks like the Grand Canyon, where flights are frequently reported to ruin the tourist experience, not improve it. Oregonians chose Crater Lake to put on the Oregon quarter for all the nation to see because we have done such a phenomenal job to this point of protecting the wonder of its natural experience. We cannot allow our state identity to be so thoroughly diminished for so little potential gain.

I made Mr. Jarvis aware that I plan to get answers from him on the record tomorrow at his confirmation hearing. I want to make sure he understands the importance of Crater Lake to Oregonians. If he's to be confirmed as Director, I want to know that he's going to be a guardian of Oregon's fragile beauty."

Wyden is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests.