Legacy of the Yosemite Mafia
The Ranger Image and Noble Cause Corruption in the National Park Service
Calling upon his own background in law enforcement and his unique experiences as a criminal investigator in the National Park Service (NPS), Berkowitz shows how an over-emphasis on image (the "ranger image") instead of contemporary professional standards has led to a culture in the NPS that accepts a broader form of noble cause corruption; that is, misconduct perpetrated in the name of the agency and its mission. Legacy of the Yosemite Mafia demonstrates how that practice has had self-destructive consequences, leading to diminished agency credibility and reduced support for environmental protection and the establishment of new NPS sites. Citing verified news accounts, internal agency documents, and personal notes, the book offers a dramatic case study challenging conventional wisdom and official accounts of agency history. Agency culture set in motion nearly a half-century ago, beginning in Yosemite National Park with a group of employees known internally as the Yosemite Mafia, includes a demonstrated bias against professional law enforcement and a reluctance to hold senior managers accountable or to adhere to conduct and performance standards. This book fills a gap in existing literature dealing with noble cause corruption and corrects popular assumptions about the NPS, its history, and its law enforcement responsibilities.