NPS Investigation into Staff Use of Private Emails

On May 15, 2017, the National Park Service released a public statement from its Associate Director for Natural Resources Stewardship and Science, Dr. Ray Sauvajot, announcing that he had commissioned a three-member “independent review panel” to evaluate whether or not NPS staff use of private email impacted the NEPA process for its proposed Dog Rule for Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). Click here to view the statement. 

Conducted behind closed doors, the Park Service claims that it is conducting a fair and independent process.  However, WoofieLeaks uncovered that the senior NPS official heading up the investigation, Dr. Ray Sauvajot, played a key role in the dog plan's development during his time in San Francisco and then as the plan's advocate in Washington, DC starting in 2014.  For years, Sauvajot worked side-by-side with the senior staff at the center of the dog plan scandal including Christine Lehnertz (former NPS Pacific West Regional Director and GGNRA Superintendent), Howard Levitt (former GGNRA Director of Communications and Partnerships), and Frank Dean (former GGNRA Superintendent).  

To date, the Park Service has refused to release the names of the three panelists on the review team.  They have also refused to provide a list of the documents given to the review panel. In May, Morrison and Foerster issued a letter to the National Park Service outlining dog and recreation groups' serious concerns with the agency investigating themselves and calling for an independent investigation to be conducted by the Department of the Interior's Office of the Inspector General. Click here to read the letter.

The National Park Service's investigation report is expected to be released in September 2017. 

Sauvajot Serves as Senior Reviewer for Dog Plan SEIS 

In his role as NPS Regional Chief of Natural Resources for the Pacific West Region, Dr. Ray  Sauvajot participated in the development of the GGNRA dog plan as a senior reviewer of the plan's SEIS, working side-by-side with the NPS staff at the center of the dog plan scandal. 

Sauvajot a "Key Voice" During the Dog Plan's Development

Feb. 2014: Michael Savidge (Chief of GGNRA Strategic Planning) coordinates with Ray Sauvajot regarding his attending the final IDT (Interdisciplinary Team meeting) for the GGNRA dog plan in April 2014.  Savidge writes to Sauvajot just after Sauvajot's move from the NPS Pacific Regional Office to its Washington, DC office:

"Recognizing both your [Sauvajot's] participation in the past and the national office's interest in this [dog plan], we thought you might have a continued interest in you were a key voice in the past..." 

Sauvajot Serves as the Main Dog Plan Advocate in Washington, DC

Feb. 2014:  GGNRA senior officials meet with and brief Sauvajot on the latest dog plan developments to ensure that he can effectively advocate for the dog plan in Washington, DC. 

Sauvajot Offers Help Pushing the Dog Plan Forward in DC

June 2016:  Sauvajot emails close colleague and GGNRA Superintendent Christine Lehnertz offering his help in DC to ensure that the GGNRA dog plan stays on the timeline approved by Director Jarvis. 

"Hi Chris,
Anything you need from my end, just let me know.  We'll do all we can to keep this [dog plan] moving as expeditiously as we can."

Sauvajot and Other NPS Staff Try to Push the Dog Rule Through Before the New Administration Takes Office

Nov. 2016: Under orders from former NPS Director Jon Jarvis, NPS staff scramble to push the final dog rule through before the new Administration takes office in January 2017.  Ray Sauvajot is the surname on the FEIS package.