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Donald Trump appoints senior NRA official to US National Park Foundation board

Susan LaPierre is co-chair of the pro-gun group's Women's Leadership Forum

Benjamin Kentish
Monday 04 September 2017 15:45 BST

A senior member of America's National Rifle Association (NRA) and one of Donald Trump's biggest financial donors, has been appointed to the board of the US's National Park Foundation.

Susan LaPierre is pro-gun group’s executive director, Wayne LaPierre. She is also co-chair of its Women's Leadership Forum.

The NRA poured a reported $50m (£46m) into Mr Trump's campaign, along with those of six Republican Senate candidates in a bid to ensure Washington support for gun rights.

Speaking after becoming President, Mr Trump told the NRA’s national conference: “You came through for me and I am going to come through for you.”

The US leader has consistently backed calls to reduce restrictions on gun ownership and promised to scrap Barack Obama’s attempts to strengthen background checks on people trying to buy a gun.

Ms LaPierre’s appointment, along with that of three other board members, was not announced by either the National Park Foundation or the Interior Department. It is unclear what experience she has relating to the management of parks.

The appointment emerged in connection with a story about changes to park regulations and was reported by National Parks Traveler magazine.

US National Parks have long been used for fishing and hunting. However, some parks were found to be trying to reduce the number of predators that eat animals like deer and elk, which are popular with hunters.

This was leading to the decimation of species such as wolves, and prompted the Park Service to introduce in October 2015 regulations designed to protect them.

However, the Trump administration has told parks to rethink wildlife rules that have a negative impact on hunting and trapping.

Rules that could be overturned include those that forbid use of bait to hunt bears and ban hunters from killing cubs or mothers with cubs.

When the director of the Park Service, Michael Reynolds, objected to the changes, he was overruled.

Upon being appointed to the Park Foundation board in May, Ms LaPierre wrote on Twitter: "As a commissioned board member appointed by Secretary Zinke, I join a distinquished group of national leaders and conservationists."

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