When I was 10 my parents acquired an unfinished home in a nice neighborhood that bordered National Park Service Property that is part of the "Colonial National Historic Park" which encompasses the Yorktown battlefield and a narrow ribbon of road constructed in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps that leads to Jamestown/ Jamestown Island; sight of the first permanent English colony in North America. All of the above is managed by NPS though Jamestown Island, the site of the first capitol of Virginia, is actually owned by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities and merely managed by NPS with APVA oversight.
I wish it worked that way here. It should. After all, WE own this land, not the NPS.
I spent my early years teaching colonial history and performing with the Colonial Williamsburg (CW) Fife and Drum Corps. CW was, and remains independent of government control in spite of a strong NPS presence around and literally, for a few hundred yards at least, under the property owned by the Foundation.
Back then, NPS respected those of us that worked at CW and it worked the other way around as well. So when I started hearing the complaints about how NPS was dealing with CHNSRA and the visitors and residents, my first instinct was to ask why we couldn't work together. It would be an understatement to say that I got an ear full regarding that question But I was also enlightened. And as such, my journey into the issues about access and such began.
If you've read this blog from beginning to end, you'll have undoubtedly noticed that I don't have a penchant for pulling punches and I have no intention of doing so now.
NPS has gone from being a thoughtful and reasonable partner in the management of this Seashore to an unmanaged, money hungry, unfriendly and even openly hostile part our community.
I believe that this is in great part due to the actions, words, lack of knowledge, and attitude of one federal judge, Terrance W. Boyle. Every time he opens his mouth, it seems, NPS becomes more aggressive in their actions to eliminate access to our beaches. And according to those that I and others have spoken to, their treatment of visitors has become deplorable.
Instead of what at this point be considered (since we have to pay for access) customer service, we get harassment. Unfortunately, I hear about this constantly.
Obviously this is at least in part, due to hostility NPS employees face at local businesses or locally in general but if you came to my place and set it on fire, burning it to the ground, it's not likely I'd be sending you a dinner invitation. And if you were to burn down my house and continue to harass me, I'd have something to say about it. Bob Eakes, owner of Red Drum Tackle had this to say the other day:
Of course, there are also the most recent antics of hizzonner, King Boyle, who has repeatedly exhibited his lack of knowledge of the Seashore over the last few years. This time he managed to completely distort the reality of access and make analogies that boggle the mind. Stories of his recent antics can be found here:
The war for access is in full swing and we need all the help we can get. Please work to make a difference.