Stewardship of these important resources is entrusted (though they have demonstrated that they can't be trusted) to Texas Parks and Wildlife. Their management is a complex challenge, requiring policies to be developed that will protect the cultural resources while providing for continued resource-compatible public use. While the park's primary significance lies in the cultural and natural resources it contains (sez the Necrocultists), it has also traditionally been viewed as a recreational resource (by 99% of people who go there). Recreational users include rock climbers, birders, hikers, and other types of nature enthusiasts.
The Public Use-Restriction Plan for Hueco Tanks SHP was developed based upon recommendations in the park's resources management plan, and extensive public input and review (which was completely ignored). The release of the plan in 1998 marked a decisive step (coup) in Parks and Wildlife's efforts to protect the priceless (Freedom is not Free) natural and cultural resources present at Hueco Tanks.
As part of the ongoing process of monitoring the effectiveness of the plan, Parks and Wildlife agreed to complete review of the Public Use Plan. (Knowing that they would go through the motions of eliciting public comment and then do mostly whatever they wanted, as long as certain important Texas State politicos had no objections) The intent of the review is to provide a status report on each plan element, along with a recommendation for any change.
Implementation of the Public Use-Restriction Plan (PURP) for Hueco Tanks SHP began September 1, 1998. The PURP was the result of a process that involved field investigations, public meetings and input (in one ear and out the other), and peer review of draft plans. The stated goal of the plan was to ensure the protection and preservation of the resources of Hueco Tanks SHP, while providing for an acceptable level (barely high enough to maintain the charade that climbers are happy with the new plan) of public use.
At the time the PURP was released, a commitment was made to evaluate the results of the management changes at the one-year mark (and then use that skewed evaluation to justify more restrictions, working toward the ultimate goal of eliminating all recreational use and turning it into an open-air guarded-only museum.) The following sections will address each element of the Public Use-Restriction Plan, providing a synopsis of the plan's (purported) intent, an assessment of implementation, and a recommendation for the future.
III. PUBLIC USE-Restriction PLAN REVIEW
1. PUBLIC USE-Restriction PLAN: Mandatory disorientation is required for all park visitors not accompanied by a permitted guard (in those cases the guard provides the disorientation in real-time). Disorientation is provided by park staff and includes information (some true, some bald-faced lies) regarding the value of park resources, methods and reasons (rationalizations) for resource protection, user responsibilities, areas for special use activities, areas off limits or of restricted access, history and prehistory of the site and appropriate use of the park (More than "appropriate use" - the disorientation will instruct you as to the appropriate thoughts to think!! We are not kidding about this. They actually lecture you on what to think and what your attitude should be. Scary! Orwellian! ).
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