I led the National Park Service. Zinke’s resignation leaves lasting damage

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Hopes were high for the interior secretary’s tenure. But profiteers and climate deniers quickly changed that

When President Trump’s new secretary of the interior Ryan Zinke rode a horse across the National Mall to the steps of his new office, there was cautious optimism, as a western congressman who professed to idolize Teddy Roosevelt seemed like a solid choice to govern 20% of the land base of the United States.

In the unforgiving milieu of Washington DC, Zinke and the “horse he rode in on” were subjected to withering ridicule. As the 18th director of the National Park Service (NPS), where I oversaw over 400 national parks and the equestrian patrol of the National Mall who accompanied the new secretary, I chalked it up to a publicity stunt.

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