Emerson told GMP decision pushed back to at least 2013
In late May, Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, (8th District) was told by National Park Service director Jonathan Jarvis that a decision on a General Management Plan for Ozark National Scenic Riverways would be pushed back to 2013, if not further.
After noticing a lead story in our exchange copy of Shannon County’s Current Wave newspaper, Traveler contacted Cong. Emerson’s Cape Girardeau office, which this news release to us. The text follows:
“Emerson: National Parks Service Agrees to Revisit Plan for ONSR”
“WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO-08) today [May 25] said the Director of the National Park Service, Jonathan Jarvis, informed her that a new General Management Plan for the Ozarks National Scenic Riverways will be not be made final until at least next year. Emerson cited concerns about the economic impact of the proposed changes, as well as emergency operations on the Riverways which would be complicated by limited horsepower requirements in a meeting with Jarvis late last week.
“I’ve spent a lot of time hearing the concerns of business owners and Missourians who enjoy the ONSR every year for camping, fishing, hunting, historical and recreational purposes. I’m glad to report that the National Park Service is going to be responsive to those concerns,” Emerson said. “The heritage of our region is highly dependent on allowing these natural resources to be public. With the new requirements, our pattern of use of the ONSR would change dramatically, posing safety concerns, hurting small businesses and placing unreasonable restrictions on the traditional activities that make the ONSR important to us.”
Emerson met with hundreds of Missourians who want the ONSR to remain accessible earlier this year and shares their concern about property rights and access issues of the proposed General Management Plan.
“My foremost concern is that the stakeholders in the health of the river and the local economy should be heard and consulted as any changes to the management plan moves forward. I hope the delay will give us time to state our case before any extreme changes are implemented by the National Park Service. At the end of the day, we are the people closest to the Riverways and we have the most to lose if they are placed off limits to Americans who ought to be able to appreciate everything the ONSR has to offer,” Emerson said.
Attached is a copy of Emerson’s letter to Director Jarvis to follow up on their meeting:
Dear Director Jarvis:
Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you on May 17th concerning issues affecting the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
I appreciate the National Park Service’s willingness to reassess the General Management Plan (GMP) process and to commit to gaining a better understanding of the issues affecting the local communities. I am grateful you have agreed to arrange for the Midwest Regional Administrator, Mike Reynolds, and newly installed ONSR Superintendant, Bill Black to visit Van Buren to meet with local decision-makers on the issues and concerns we discussed regarding the GMP process. In addition, I was particularly pleased to learn in our meeting that NPS has acknowledged the concerns associated with proposals to reduce boat horse power and that NPS has no intention of making changes to horse power regulations in the GMP that will be released next year, at the earliest.
I look forward to working with you, Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Black in partnership with local residents and businesses in Southern Missouri to find the right plan that doesn’t restrict access and ensures we preserve this wonderful resource for the residents and those businesses that depend on visitors and tourists each year.
Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to address this very important issue for my constituents in Southern Missouri. Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any issue as we work through this important process.”