Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Official who improperly helped Redskins owner cut down trees tapped as National Park Service deputy director

"A former National Park Service official who improperly helped Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder cut down more than 130 trees to improve a river view at his Potomac, Md., estate has been chosen by the Trump administration to be one of the agency’s highest-ranking leaders," Darryl Fears reports for The Washington Post.

Google Maps view of Snyder's home next to the Potomac River
P. Daniel Smith was expected to replace acting director Mike Reynolds yesterday, according to an internal memo obtained by the Post and National Parks Traveler. Smith most recently served as superintendent of Colonial National Historical Park before retiring in 2014, but met with controversy in his role before that, as a special assistant to the Park Service director.

In 2004 he helped Snyder cut down 50,000 square feet of trees in a national park that stood between Snyder's house and the Potomac River and planted saplings to replace them, Terence Cullen reports for the New York Daily News. "Smith pressured lower-level officials to approve a deal that disregarded federal environmental laws, harmed the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park and left the agency vulnerable to charges of favoritism, according to an inspector-general report," Fears reports.

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