January 4, 2008

Access issues

Not sure if this is just me but I have had a really hard time accessing the Internet files related to the rulemaking process for Off Road Vehicles (ORV) in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CAHA) Bill pointed out that the rule making process is now opened up and that there is a great opportunity for us to participate but when I followed the links to the National Park Service site I couldn't access any of the files.
Before I start my rant, I have provided a copy of the Workbook that enables you to offer your opinion on the issue. Follow the instructions below:
  1. Right click on the link in 3
  2. Select "Save Link As"
  3. Workbook Link
  4. Then download the file and open it from your computer with Adobe Acrobat Reader.
When you open the workbook ignore the link that says you can download the file here. It doesn't work (OK I'll wait while you try it but planning only has 2 n's not 3). Now you get to start your way through an 86 page document. Don't worry if you don't finish reading and checking the boxes in one session, if you stop you can start all over again from the beginning next time since you can't save the file.
OK, short story, you can't open the files from the web site unless you figure out that you can download them and then rename them as pdf files (see my comment on Bill's blog). If you are savvy enough to figure that out then you have to devote about an hour (if you are familiar with the issue) or a lot more to make your views known. Of course you can go to a meeting and get a copy of the workbook but if you bring it home and suggest a friend use the link printed on the cover to share their thoughts it won't work since the link printed on the workbook isn't valid and if it was then they probably would have the same problems getting the files described above.
The NPS has gone to a lot of trouble to open up the rulemaking process. They are being driven by environemental groups who want to stop all beach driving (see Monty here and here) and a judge in Raleigh who thinks (for some inexplicable reason) that they should comply with Federal rules issued in 1972 requiring the park to adopt ORV regs.
I'm not going to comment on the issue, I will do that in a separate post. I will say that this is pitiful. The NPS apparently doesn't care enough about public input to make it accessible on the web. I have a simple poll on my site. Bill and Ronnie do it all the time. We discuss sophisticated issue, post photos, files, even allow comments and it it all works but when the bureaucracy (and I use that term as a long term bureaucrat) solicits public input it somehow just doesn't work very well.
  • Use a word file
  • Use an excel spreadsheet
  • Break up the workbook into sections (You have chapters)
  • Create an online survey
  • Create an online comment site
  • Code the thing so you can come back to your comments (Java, javascript or something else)
  • Find some way to people to participate that does not REQUIRE an 86 page document that must be printed or processed online in one shot.

OK enough. Download the workbook from here and send it in or attend a meeting. I will talk about beach driving, user conflicts and habitat/species protection in a future post. Right now I just want to scream at the NPS for a really bad job of doing the right thing.
Ciao

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2 Comments:

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Ronnie Roach said...

Bob,

I hope it is a matter of "them not getting it" vs. "them not wanting to hear it". Technology is available that could make this process so much easier.

If a private business operated in this manner - they would probably not be around for long.

 
At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can follow this issue in a number of places, http://www.reddrumtackle.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=7, http://www.obxconnection.com/forum/forum.asp?FID=10, http://fishmilitia.com/forum/forum_topics.asp?FID=12, to name a few. You can also get information from

www.obpa.org

At present, the NPS plans to make the 80 (not 20) page workbook available as a word document that can be saved so you can work on it piecemeal. The word is they also plan to extend the deadline for submission to 2/15.

You can follow this at

http://parkplanning.nps.gov./projectHome.cfm?parkId=358&projectId=10641

 

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