December 30, 2003
Mr. Joseph Alston, Superintendent
Grand Canyon National Park
P.O. Box 129
Grand Canyon, Arizona 86023
Dear Mr. Alston:
The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) is concerned by recent reports that the book, The Grand Canyon: A Different View (compiled by Vail, 2003), is being sold in Grand Canyon National Park. Geoscientists familiar with this publication have clearly stated that it does not represent state-of-the-art scientific knowledge, but rather a specific religious belief about Earth's natural history. This and similar publications must not be sold or used in our National Park's in such a way as to convey to the public the idea that the material is a valid scientific explanation for the age or formation of the Grand Canyon. Additionally, the National Park Service should provide appropriate scientific guidance and materials for Grand Canyon National Park personnel that provide interpretive services to the public. National Park Service personnel should provide a scientifically accurate explanation for the geological history of the Grand Canyon, which could include explanations of the nature of science, the scientific process, and the methods used to collect and analyze data that explain the formation and evolution of the Grand Canyon.
AIBS hopes these recent reports are not true. However, if they are, we strongly encourage Grand Canyon National Park and the National Park Service to make corrective actions. Materials that present non-scientific explanations of our natural world should not be sold on federal property or used by federal agencies in a way that implies the material represents scientific explanations of the world.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of this important matter. If you have any questions regarding our concerns, please contact Dr. Robert Gropp, Senior Public Policy Representative, at 202-628-1500 x 250.
Richard T. O'Grady, Ph.D.
cc: The Honorable Fran Mainella, Director, National Park Service
Dr. Michael Soukup, NPS Associate Director, Natural resource Stewardship and Science
Mr. Loran Fraser, Chief, NPS Office of Policy