Letters from the West

Director to celebrate National Park Service centennial at Boise State

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis
National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis

If you are looking for a way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the national parks in Boise, the Andrus Center for Public Policy has the event for you.

National Parks Director Jon Jarvis will be the featured speaker at its free 2016 Andrus Lecture at Boise State University on Tuesday.

National parks are a lot older than the National Park Service.

As early as 1832, painter George Catlin suggested a national policy be developed to protect the wilderness and natural beauty of the West. Yellowstone was created in 1872, and now there are more than 400 national park units, employing more than 22,000 people, that attract more than 280 million visitors a year and generate $30 billion in economic benefit across the country.

The best way to celebrate national parks and those sites under the system’s domain is to visit them. Minidoka National Historic Site near Jerome and Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument are two of the closest.

Jarvis began his career with the service in 1976 as a seasonal interpreter in Washington, D.C. Over the past 40 years, he has served as a ranger, resource management specialist, biologist and superintendent. His resume includes work at Mt. Rainier, Wrangell-St. Elias and Idaho’s own Craters of the Moon National Monument. Jarvis is welcomed by former national park ranger John Freemuth, the Andrus Center executive director.

“I've known Jon since my graduate school days at Colorado State University when he was a leader in the National Park Service’s first resource management training class,” Freemuth said. “Later I had the privilege of serving with him on the Craters of the Moon Natural History Association Board.”

Then, of course, there is the namesake of the institute, former Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus, who also was an Idaho governor.

“Cecil Andrus is an avid sportsman and his tenure as secretary of Interior working with the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act will probably forever be marked as the single greatest contribution to the protection of wild lands,” Freemuth said.

The talk begins at 6 p.m. in the Simplot Ballroom of Boise State’s Student Union. Parking will be provided in the Lincoln Garage.

Rocky Barker: 208-377-6484, @RockyBarker