National Parks Service, other govt agencies go rogue on Twitter

Covert NPS Twitter Accounts: National Parks Service, Other Government Agencies Go Underground

Within hours of his inauguration, the 45th president of the United States began walking back many of the civil and environmental strides taken in not-so-long-ago decades. The new administration began restricting many government Twitter accounts. One of them belongs to the National Parks Service.

Last Friday, all employees of the National Parks Service received a memo from their Washington support office advising them to cease all use of the Parks Service Twitter account immediately, according to Gizmodo.

“All: We have received direction from the Department through the Washington Support Office that directs all Department of Interior bureaus to immediately cease use of government Twitter accounts until further notice. Parks that use Twitter as part of their crisis communications plans need to alter their contingency plans to accommodate this requirement. Please ensure all scheduled posts are deleted and automated cross-platform social media connections to your twitter accounts are severed. The expectation is that there will be absolutely no posts to Twitter.”

As of yesterday, there is a new account on Twitter. Ostensibly administered by actual National Parks Service employees, the covert NPS Twitter account can be followed at AltUSNatParkService.

What is the National Parks Service

Mandated by the people and signed into existence by then-president Woodrow Wilson in 1916, the National Parks Service is tasked with safeguarding 59 wilderness areas that are currently designated National Parks. The first of these national treasures was the 2,219,790-acre Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming which received the designation on March 1, 1872.

The most recent region to be added the prestigious list is Pinnacles National Park east of Salinas, California. The area comprises the ruins of an ancient volcano that once straddled the San Andreas fault line. Originally designated a National Monument, Pinnacles was awarded National Park status by President Barack Obama in January, 2013. The park is home to more than a dozen species of bat and is a preferred release location for condors hatched in captivity.

Parks, Monuments, and Preserves

Not all areas overseen by the NPS are designated National Parks. Some are National Monuments, some are National Recreation Areas or Natural Preserves. All come under the watchful aegis of the Park Service. Many travelers use NPS online alerts to know about road closures, weather advisories, handicap trail accessibility, and other important National Parks news. The mission statement of the National Parks Service reads as follows.

“The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.”

Other covert Twitterers to follow

The National Parks Service is not the only government agency that has taken to tweeting though alternate channels. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, more commonly known as NASA, started a covert Twitter account on January 25, according to the Palmer Report. The non-official NASA tweeters plan to continue telling followers around the globe about the latest developments in space exploration, climate change, and other timely — and factual — topics.

As of January 25, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has taken to rogue tweeting, too. Persons who wish to remain apprised of crucial environmental updates are invited to follow @ActualEPAFacts, @AltNatParSer, and @AltNASA on Twitter.

[Feature Image by Bombuscreative/iStock Photo]