At Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Jeff Ruch noted that the Park Service, in announcing the new policy, made “no mention” of following the National Environmental Policy Act in implementing the policy.
“Are agreements that affect management of park resources subject to NEPA? I would think so,” Ruch, PEER’s Pacific director, said in an email. “There is also no mention of public consultation. Is the public shut out of any new policy development? Do the tribes have superior rights than the public?”
Whether the policy would lead to tribal hunting seasons in the parks remains to be seen. Though it does state that “the NPS is required to honor its treaty and trust responsibilities to protect tribal interests,” Anzelmo-Sarles said the Park Service’s 2006 Management Policies, which govern superintendents’ on-the-ground actions, give the agency discretion to deny hunting not specifically mandated in a park.