“Patricia Trap assumed her new role as superintendent of the Southeast Utah Group Area National Parks on August 2. Kate Cannon, who held the position since 2006, retired in January. The group includes both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, as well as Hovenweep and Natural Bridges National Monuments.
As deputy director of the Midwest region for the National Park Service, one of the areas Trap oversaw was Effigy Mounds National Monument. The monument is a roughly 2,500 acre area along the Mississippi River in Iowa which contains over 200 mounds built by prehistoric Native Americans. According to the nps.gov website, 20 modern tribes are associated with these ancient earthworks.
A 2014 document titled “Serious Mismanagement Report: Effigy Mounds National Monument” outlined how NPS administration had violated the very burial sites that the monument was created to protect. The report mostly focused on the construction of a system of boardwalks and a maintenance shed that damaged land surrounding some of the mounds, citing a “complete lack of compliance” with both environmental reviews as well as consulting the numerous local Native American tribes whose heritage lies under the mounds.
“She seemed more interested in the Park Service’s image than its mission,” said Jeff Ruch, the pacific director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, when asked to comment on Patricia Trap by the Moab Sun News.