Loyalties of Motorhead Industry Mogul

You might think it difficult to find even one high-profile public figure willing to express unqualified support for someone as loathed as J. Steven Griles. Griles, who served as Interior Secretary Gale Norton's Deputy until being forced to resign for his refusal to cooperate in the investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, is said to have pursued an anti-environment agenda more radical than that of Ronald Reagan's Interior Secretary James Watt. Who in their right mind would support Griles now that he is a disgraced, convicted criminal awaiting sentencing? Then again, who would have supported James Watt? In 1981, Derrick Crandall, President of American Recreation Coalition took on the national Sierra Club for, as Crandall put it, trying to "create a false impression of what the public really believes about Jim Watt." www.wildwilderness.org/content/view/604/ In 1985, Derrick Crandall took on the Wilderness Society as they fought to block the confirmation of environmental enemy Donald Hodel as Interior Secretary. In the national press Crandall applauded Hodel for "his openness and receptivity to outside views." www.wildwilderness.org/content/view/603/ On June 8th, 2006, J. Steven Griles submitted to the court a "Memorandum in Aid of Sentencing" in which he pleaded with the Judge presiding over his case not to incarcerate him, but to instead permit him to work as an unpaid volunteer for ARC's Derrick Crandall www.wildwilderness.org/content/view/806/113/ You might think it difficult to find a public figure willing to express unqualified support for the likes of J. Steven Griles --- and yet there is someone who has not only done so, he has similarly supported James Watt, Donald Hodel, Gale Norton and other world-class Department of Interior environmental villains in their times of need. Pasted below is a extraordinary letter sent last month by Derrick Crandall to Judge Huvelle. It begins: [I am writing in support of J. Steven Griles, who is to be sentenced before you on June 26, 2007. I write to ask you for leniency as you determine his sentence and consider how he might best benefit society. I have known Steve Griles for more than twenty years, both during his government service and his work in the private sector. I have always found him to be honest, committed to the core mission of my organization (connecting Americans with our legacy of the Great Outdoors) and hard-working.] As you read Crandall's entire letter, perhaps it will become more clear how, over the course of two and half decades, the American Recreation Coalition came to so totally dominate the Department of Interior's outdoor recreation policy. Yes, the ARC experienced a setback last summer when their re-write of the National Park policies (as shepherded for them by DoI's Paul Hoffman) was broadly lambasted and eventually rejected. But in 2007, the ARC is fully back in the saddle and today Derrick Crandall is, as he has long been, the undisputed Jack Abramoff of Federal Recreation Policy Lobbying. Very soon, J. Steven Griles may, once again, be working in support of ARC's core mission --- that, of course, being to commercialize, privatize and motorize recreational opportunities upon all of America's public lands. Scott Silver, Wild Wilderness American Recreation Coalition Dedicated to the protection and enhancement of everyone's right to health and happiness through recreation. May 7, 2007 Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle United States District Court for the District of Columbia c/o Barry M. Hartman and Brian W. Stolarz K&L Gates 1601 K Street, NW Washington, DC 20006 Re: J. Steven Griles Dear Judge Huvelle: I am Derrick A. Crandall, a resident of McLean, Virginia, and the President of the American Recreation Coalition, a 501(c)3 organization incorporated in the District of Columbia. I am writing in support of J. Steven Griles, who is to be sentenced before you on June 26, 2007. I write to ask you for leniency as you determine his sentence and consider how he might best benefit society. I have known Steve Griles for more than twenty years, both during his government service and his work in the private sector. I have always found him to be honest, committed to the core mission of my organization (connecting Americans with our legacy of the Great Outdoors) and hard-working. During his time at the Department of the Interior in the 1980's, he championed expansion of the mission of the Bureau of Land Management beyond commodity uses, supporting both recreation and wildlife programs. He was a central figure in the development of the Take Pride in America program in 1985, an effort that successfully combated vandalism of public places through increased awareness and a sharp increase in volunteerism to aid federal agency workers care for the lands and the cultural resources they held. Steve was especially involved in the development of the Ad Council campaign for Take Pride and played a role in recruiting spokespersons including Clint Eastwood, Lou Gossett and Charles Bronson. He also helped develop a volunteer recognition program for all federal land management agencies that was adopted by 49 governors, benefitting public lands managed by state arid local park agencies. Steve has always demonstrated a special interest in children and has provided me with encouragement and counsel as my organization developed, implemented and managed the WOW-Wonderful Outdoor World program in the mid-1990's. In ten years,our efforts have helped more than 20000 economically disadvantaged urban youth learn firsthand about their public lands legacy through camp-outs. The program is made possible under a partnership of my organization, eight federal agencies, The Walt Disney Company, The Coleman Company and city park agencies. Steve has joined us for WOW programs here in DC, helping to introduce Anacostia kids to the fun of canoeing and camping. We are now preparing to dramatically augment WOW beginning this summer, and Steve has helped us consider ways to do this. When Steve returned to federal service in 2001, he embraced my suggestion to the new leadership for re-energizing Take Pride in America. He invested time and imagination in adapting the program for the 21st Century, embracing new means to recruit and measure volunteerism. When we were in need of a national spokesperson for TPIA in 2003 for a national PSA campaign, urging Americans to "Lend Your Hand, It's Your Land," Steve approached and secured the involvement of one of the busiest and most successful American actors and directors, Clint Eastwood. Mr. Eastwood's involvement allowed our invested resources of less than $200,000 to be extraordinarily successful - reaching tens of millions via television and hundreds of millions through a print PSA campaign. And the consequences of the campaign were immediate and direct, with pledges of more than 750,000 hours of volunteer labor to restore fire- damaged forests in southern California and even more hours to restore parks and refuges devastated by hurricanes in Florida. In addition to our professional relationship, I have enjoyed talking with Steve about parenting - one of the most difficult tasks in the world. My daughters attended Steve's alma mater, and he wrote a wonderful letter of recommendation for my younger daughter to the University of Richmond's Leadership School. I have enjoyed seeing firsthand the pride he has in his own children. I firmly believe that Steve Griles has served the nation well in several capacities. Regardless of any errors in action, his overall support for good decisions on behalf of the American people and his commitment to protecting the ability of the American public to gain physical, mental and spiritual benefits from our nation's public lands and waters is clear. I hope your sentencing will enable him to utilize his skills, his energy and his experience to further contribute to the nation - and perhaps to young and disadvantaged Americans, especially. Sincerely, Derrick A. Crandall (signature) President DAC/mm Scott Silver Wild Wilderness