Don Neubacher, a 28 year veteran of the National Park Service is taking over as Superintendent in Yosemite National Park. Neubacher, formerly Superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore, will have the difficult task of taking over the ill-fated Merced River Plan which has already been shot down once by U.S courts.
Neubacher is no stranger to controversy though, while head of Point Reyes Neubacher drew local ire when a family-owned oyster farm which had operated in Drakes Bay for decades was almost shut down after a Park Service biologist published an inaccurate report and led park officials to believe the farm would be detrimental to the local environment (ptreyeslight.com, sparselysageandtimely.com).
Neubacher was later chastised in a report by the Department of the Interior, “he [Neubacher] could have exercised better judgment and expressed NPS’ position with greater clarity and transparency. Further, he exaggerated the Marine Mammal Commission’s role in responding to DBOC’s impact on the harbor seal population in Drakes Estero when he spoke before the Marin County Board of Supervisors.” (Heartland.org)
Yosemite is a different boat though (pardon the pun). One of the crown jewels of America’s National Park System, Yosemite is watched by no less than 30 environmental organizations, each eager to make their view know. It was 2 such organizations that led to the injunction and later court case that killed the previous Merced River Plan. Already the Access Fund has started a social media campaign to make sure the new plan “doesn’t impede upon the rights of climbers in Yosemite.”
Unfortunately there is no happy end to this post. In the end Neubacher may wish he’d have stayed at Point Reyes listening to the sound of the ocean rather than the sound of lawyers filing motions. Either way, welcome to Yosemite Don, you’ve got a lot of work ahead.