Last week, I recounted my quest for the Rock Creek Park General Management Plan, which was almost impossible to find on either the Interior Department nor the Park Service's Web sites. [Here is my original post... followed by this... and then -- success!]
I did not mean to make a federal case of this, but it was one of those cases that happened to touch close to home for me personally and I would expect is not all that unusual. So I have asked the Park Service folks how complex it is actually to get these kinds of things posted – and posted in a way that people can actually find, which is really almost as important as getting it posted.
Yes, I finally found the information I was looking for, but...
The Park Service has posted this information on the Rock Creek Park page under both "management docs" and the "news" link on the right side of the Web site -- although I did not find it under news, but it is difficult to find on the management document page because they are not really dates so it is difficult to tell what is the most recent item. Instead, I'd recommend just going to this site and selecting the Rock Creek plans.
So it is be up there, but it isn't really easy for Joe Citizen to find.
Again, I want to stress that I understand how difficult this is. It is difficult for us! Most people think you just post the link, but if it is much more complex… not the least of which is making it available in a place that people can find it. But posting information online should be one of the most natural ways of getting information out to the public -- lest we may part of most agency missions?
I would expect that in most government organizations, posting this kind of information is a add on duty – 'other duties as assigned.' Therefore it is decentralized, yet is centralized to ensure a common look and feel. And when things are posted, do they go at the decentralized sites, such as the individual parks, or a central Web page that lists all management changes?
It isn't necessarily easy.
Somewhat as an aside, the Park Service also noted that they also make available "comments and responses," which includes all of the comments we received during the draft review stage and the National Park Service's responses for the management plan.
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