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For Immediate Release: Dec 27, 2001
Contact: Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337

YELLOWSTONE WHISTLEBLOWER CASE SETTLED

Gag Order Lifted for Backcountry Ranger


Washington, DC -- The National Park Service (NPS) and long-time Yellowstone National Park backcountry ranger Bob ("Action") Jackson today reached agreement in a settlement of a whistleblower claim filed by Jackson, according to documents released today by Jackson's lawyers at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Jackson, famed for arrests of poachers and for documenting unethical use of salting to bait elk by commercial hunting outfitters, had been given an order this August to refrain from speaking with reporters concerning Park Service issues. In addition, various Yellowstone managers had targeted Jackson and threatened to block his return to the Park next season, according to documents appended to a whistleblower complaint filed by PEER last week on Jackson's behalf with the US Office of Special Counsel.

In the week since the complaint was filed, a settlement was reached in which NPS agreed to:

* rehire Jackson as a backcountry ranger in the Thorofare area in the remote southeast corner of the Park where he has served for the past 24 years;

* rescind the gag order issued to Jackson and provide all Yellowstone Park employees written guidance on free speech rights; and

* remove all derogatory information placed in Jackson's personnel file and instead insert a letter of commendation.

"I am happy that the Park Service chose to do the right thing by me rather than have a protracted fight," Jackson said. "I hope to work with the new Yellowstone Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis to address the growing dependence of the Park's grizzly population on the tons of elk meat discarded on our boundaries."

"Bob Jackson is making an invaluable contribution to the wildlife of Yellowstone," stated PEER General Counsel Dan Meyer. "Park Service Director Fran Mainella deserves compliments for the constructive and expeditious manner in which she addressed this case."