Majority of National Park Service advisory board resigns amid protest

A majority of the members of a National Park Service advisory board resigned their posts Monday night in protest of how Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeInterior fast tracks study of drilling's Arctic impact: report Zinke left some details off public calendar: report House completes first half of 2019 spending bills MORE has treated them, according to a new report.

Nine of the 12 members of the National Park System Advisory Board suddenly quit Monday, according to The Washington Post.

According to its website, the board, which was established in 1935, is made up of “citizen advisors chartered by Congress to help the National Park Service care for special places saved by the American people so that all my experience our heritage.”

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The nine departing members wrote a letter to Zinke, saying they have “stood by waiting for the chance to meet and continue the partnership ... as prescribed by law.” 

“We understand the complexity of transition but our requests to engage have been ignored and the matters on which we wanted to brief the new Department team are clearly not part of its agenda,” board chairman Tony Knowles wrote in the letter obtained by the Post. 

“I wish the National Park System and Service well and will always be dedicated to their success.”

Knowles told the Post that the board hasn’t held a meeting since President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE took office last January despite the board being required by law to meet two times each year.

“We were frozen out,” Knowles told the newspaper.

Another board member, Gretchen Long, told the Post that the departing board members resigned because they were concerned that its work “could be so summarily dismissed” by the Trump administration.

“We worry greatly that the new initiatives incorporated in the [National Park System] are now being rescinded,” Long told the Post.

Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift did not respond to the Post’s request for comment on the board members’ departure.