Parks and Public Lands

Protecting America’s Public Lands

Roughly 300 million acres of American lands, most in the West, are set aside as public lands and maintained using taxes paid by all Americans. These lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and National Wildlife Refuge System are by charter supposed to be managed for multiple uses including recreation and provision of wildlife habitat and clean water sources. Increasingly, however, they are run for the benefit of extractive industries and with little regard for the preservation of the rare wildlife or iconic natural beauty for which they are famous. 

With the help of conscientious range management specialists, scientists, law enforcement officers and other workers within these agencies, PEER is uncovering how our precious national heritage is being sold to the highest bidder, often under the direction of poorly qualified and illegally appointed political appointees. 

Grazing and Rangeland Health

Livestock grazing allows heavily subsidized private operators to degrade our public lands.

Plastic Free Parks

Our national parks are drowning in a rising tide of plastic waste.

Cell Tower Invasion

Cell phone towers spread across national parks without proper planning and public input.

Off-Road Wreckreation

Off-road vehicle abuse is a growing problem on our public lands, especially in the West.

Oil and Gas Drilling

Environmental and public health risks are being ignored by regulatory agencies and decisions heavily influenced by profit-driven industries.

“Orphaned” Park Wilderness

Twenty-five million acres of recommended wilderness in our national park system are in limbo, marooned by politics.

Park Service Employee Outreach Effort with Unsettling Results Shelved Since 2018

A detailed examination of the toxic work culture within the National Park Service (NPS) has gathered dust for the past three years despite promises that it would be used as a critical tool for healing. NPS commissioned an outreach campaign called “NPS Voices” that engaged staff in a series of in-person and web-based listening sessions.  All NPS employees were invited to participate in what top officials called “a cornerstone in our efforts to change the culture that has allowed harassment to persist.” Unfortunately, shelving the report likely had the opposite impact on morale.

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Can National Parks Practice Social Distancing?

The still-unfolding pandemic has underlined the public health risks that national parks and refuges pose both to the visiting public and their own employees. How can national parks dedicated to attracting crowds operate in a new era of social distancing?

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