Around The Parks: Audio Tour At Paterson Great Falls NHP, Monumental Politics, Death Valley's Organ

Audio tours at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, potential political tinkering with the Antiquities Act, and reviving the organ at Scotty's Castle in Death Valley National Park are among the items in this week's roundup from around the parks.

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park

Though a relative newcomer to the National Park System, that doesn't mean this historical park trails other parks in technology. This Wednesday the park will debut a free app for its Mill Mile Walking Tour, a self-guided audio tour for park visitors intended to teach about the remarkable history, geology, social and cultural importance of the area around the Paterson Great Falls.

The audio tour is narrated by newscaster Brian Williams and is enriched by the voices of luminaries in government, sports, and the arts, including President Barack Obama, Senator Frank Lautenberg, Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., Giants football star Victor Cruz, Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Díaz, and historian Ron Chernow. Some of Paterson’s leaders and youthful residents also lend their voices to the audio.

The inaugural tour begins at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday following a brief program at Overlook Park, a portion of the Park that overlooks the Falls. The walking tour includes ten stops and concludes at the Paterson Museum with a reception that ends at 7:30 p.m. Members of the Great Falls Youth Corps will be stationed along the tour route to assist participants and answer questions.

Beginning April 24, the downloadable app will be available on both iTunes and Google Play. It is compatible with iPhones, Android phones and iPod touch. An audio version of the tour may also be accessed from any phone by dialing 973-582-0654. The companion brochure for the Mill Mile tour will be available as well.

“I take great pride in sharing the story of the Silk City and am excited that this new project will help tell the story to visitors from across the country and around the world,” said U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg. “The Mill Mile audio tour will highlight what makes my hometown of Paterson so special — from our beautiful Great Falls to our rich history as the first planned city of innovation. Paterson represents the best of America’s past and future, and I’m excited that this project will help more local families and visitors enjoy it and learn about its legacy and beauty.”

Mill Mile is an educational initiative of the Hamilton Partnership for Paterson, a non-profit organization that helped launch Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park.

The centerpiece of the tour is the spectacular wonder of the Great Falls. Towering 77 feet high, the falls are 300 feet wide. Up to two billion gallons of water rush over the Falls into the Passaic River every day, making it the second-most-powerful waterfall east of the Mississippi, just after Niagara Falls. The walking tour’s uniqueness is that it combines the Great Falls’ natural beauty with the history of Paterson and its significance to the nation’s history.

For more information on the Mill Mile Walking Tour, visit this site.

Politicians Being Political

Politicians who disagree with the president's ability to create a national monument by utilizing the Antiquities Act are trying to push legislation through Congress to abolish that path.

Eight bills were discussed last week during a hearing at the House Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation. Of the eight, five call for state-specific prohibitions of the use of the president’s use of the Antiquities Act, with more sweeping restrictions proposed in the remaining three.

“We need a formal process to ensure the public has an opportunity to participate in the discussions and decisions surrounding new federal land designations, including national monuments,” said Chairman Rob Bishop, a Republican from Utah. “Without legislation, there is no way to ensure the public is included in the process and that future designations are done openly and fairly. There are so many concerns regarding the way the century-old Antiquities Act is used today by presidents and therefore, it is imperative that we begin to consider improvements to the law that will safeguard the interests and priorities of all Americans. I was particularly concerned by the Department of Interior’s insinuation that the president is above formal public process. This is hardly the case and I find this mentality very troubling, especially since that style of governance has historically failed in other countries.”

The hearing came in the wake of President Obama's use of the Antiquities Act to set aside five national monuments, including the first unit of the National Park System to be located in Delaware. Contrary to Mr. Bishop's assertions, backers of those monuments applauded the president's actions.

And not only have Delaware officials long sought a unit of the National Park System, but the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, along with northern New Mexico leaders, pushed back against the Utah Republican, claiming he, as chairman of the House's subcommittee on national parks and public lands, had refused to schedule a hearing on the proposal.

“Contrary to Rep. Bishop’s statements, the idea of protecting Rio Grande del Norte has been widely discussed and strongly supported by the people who live in the affected region,” said Max Trujillo of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “Rep. Bishop’s reaction seems guided by his own anti-conservation ideology and ignores the reality that President Obama’s action comes only after years of inaction by Congress. The president is simply using the authority granted by law to give this region what local residents have sought for so long.”

Also defending the president’s use of the Antiquities Act tlast week were the National Parks Conservation Association and Cesar Chavez Foundation, which expressed their support for recent designations, and concern for bills that stand to weaken the law.

“The Chavez family, the Cesar Chavez Foundation and the farm worker movement are deeply concerned over legislation to limit the president’s ability to create new national monuments,” said Paul Chavez, president of the Cesar Chavez Foundation. “Any proposal to prohibit or restrict the president’s authority to bestow the honor of a new National Park site to commemorate important American figures and movements that strengthened our democracy should be opposed.”

Added Kristen Brengel, the NPCA's legislative director, “President Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act has helped to measurably diversify our National Park System. We must ensure that all Americans see their ancestor’s history reflected in the System. When opportunities to bring superlative examples of our nation’s diverse history present themselves, such as with the Fort Monroe, Cesar Chavez, Colonel Charles Young, and Harriet Tubman National Monuments; and when an overwhelming public support is shown for a designation like the First State National Monument - we need to seize, not squander them.”

In 2009, the National Parks Second Century Commission issued a report of recommendations for the National Park Service to consider, as the agency heads towards its centennial in 2016. The commission was chaired by Senators Howard Baker and Bennett Johnston, and included a distinguished group of Americans. One of the report’s lead recommendations was that the National Park System needs to become more diverse, reflecting our nation’s evolving history.

“Last October, President Obama proclaimed before 7,000 people the National Chavez Center at La Paz in Keene, California as the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, the 398th unit of the National Park Service. Now the story of my father, Cesar Chavez, and the contributions of thousands of Latinos, immigrants and others who joined La Causa over the decades is being shared with all of America through the National Park Service. Our country is only strengthened when the stories of farm workers and Latinos are shared with all of our fellow citizens,” said Mr. Chavez.

Of the nine national monuments that President Obama has designated to date, five are managed by the National Park System: Fort Monroe National Monument in Virginia, Cesar E. Chavez National Monument in California, Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio, First State National Monument in Delaware, and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland. Each of the monument designations enjoyed widespread support by community leaders and elected officials, leading up to their declaration.

Sound Of Music From Death Valley

Late last month came word that the Scotty's Castle Welte-Mignon theater pipe organ was out of commission. Without the motor to blow air through the pipes, the Upper Music Room fell silent. This was a very uncertain time for the Death Valley Natural History Association. Without the organ functioning, the association would be unable to hold the single biggest annual fundraising we have for the organ maintenance, the Scotty's Castle Organ Concert.

At its last meeting the association's board voted for an increase in additional aid to cover the cost of repairing the organ and we are happy to report that the organ is already back up and running! The concert will continue as planned.

Scotty's Castle is still in need of donations. If you'd like to see special preservation and restoration projects funded at Scotty's Castle, then the association could use your help! Please consider donating to the Scotty's Castle Historic Preservation Fund.

Remember acknowledgement opportunities exist for donations of $100 or more. You can have a name of your choice listed in the flipbook located adjacent to the wall inside the Furnace Creek Visitors Center. Donations of $1000 or more can have a name placed upon the wall.

Comments

From today's NPS legislative Activities Report:

On April 16th, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation (Bishop) held a legislative hearing on the following bills of interest to the National Park Service. These bills seek, in various ways, to restrict the power of the President to establish or enlarge national monuments through the use of the Antiquities Act. In a statement for the record, the Administration strongly opposed all of these bills:

  • H.R. 250 (Chaffetz, R-UT-3), to amend the Antiquities Act of 1906 to place additional requirements on the establishment of national monuments under that Act, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 382 (Foxx, R-NC-5), to provide for State approval of national monuments, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 432 (Amodei, R-NV-2), to prohibit the further extension or establishment of national monuments in Nevada except by express authorization of Congress.
  • H.R. 758 (Stewart, R-UT-2), to prohibit the further extension or establishment of national monuments in Utah except by express authorization of Congress.
  • H.R. 1512 (Pearce, R-NM-2), to prohibit the further extension or establishment of national monuments in New Mexico except by express authorization of Congress.
  • H.R. 1434 (Daines, R-MT-At Large), to prohibit the further extension or establishment of national monuments in Montana, except by express authorization of Congress, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 1439 (Labrador, R-ID-1), to prohibit the further extension or establishment of national monuments in Idaho, except by express authorization of Congress, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 1459 (Bishop, R-UT-1), to ensure that the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 applies to the declaration of national monuments, and for other purposes.
What's escpecially worrisome are those "other purposes."

Of course the administration opposes these bills. It doesn't want to lose that authority.

What would be the harm in having state approval of national monuments? If local communities want, in effect, a tourism stimulus, why would they be opposed?

Thanks, Lee. That's quite a Who's Who list.

Lee is correct in his comment above.

That term "and for other purposes" in the short description of the above bills can cover a lot of mischief - and unfortunately, in the flood of bills that pass through Congress, it's a pretty good bet at least some members never have (or take) time to delve into the "fine print."

For example, HR 382 listed above in Lee's comment would "provide for State approval of national monuments, and for other purposes."

Included in the text of that bill is the following: "The Secretary of the Interior shall not implement any restrictions on the public use of a national monument until the expiration of an appropriate review period (as determined by the Secretary of the Interior) providing for public input and State approval under section 2.'

Requiring approval of state government for any regulations in a national monument would be a pretty sweeping change.

I called Rob Bishop's office and asked specifically what the "other purposes" might be. The nice lady who answered the phone had no idea. She was nice enough to explain that the bill is "still in the process of being develped" and those other purposes allow for changes if needed.

I also tried to call Jason Chafetz's office, but was not allowed to ask any questions because I told the nice lady there that my address is not in his Congressional district. Can't email him for the same reason unless I fib.

That is especially interesting because until the GOP members of the Utah legislature gerrymandered our districts when we picked up a fourth seat, Jason did not live in the district he "represented." He actually lived in the district in which I lived. But I couldn't contact him without fibbing about my address because I didn't live in the district he didn't live in. It's okay for members of Congress to live outside their districts, but it's not okay for members of the public who live outside the district the representative may not live in to contact the Congressman.

But I guess that makes as much sense as anything else in politics.

Congressman Stewart is our new boy on the block. I didn't bother to try to get in touch with his office.


Requiring approval of state government for any regulations in a national monument would be a pretty sweeping change.


God forbid that locals have a say in the appropriation of the lands in their state.

Lee hit the nail on the head. Congress works for their own needs first then our's.Sad truth

And their works are intended to reward those who have the most dollars to contribute to their election campaigns or other "needs."

Lands are not "appropriated" under the Antiquities Act.


The Antiquities Act doesn't "appropriate" lands.


No, but Presidents invoking it do.

Best you look up the definition before you make a greater fool of yourself.

Nice comment, ecbuck.

When Presidents invoke the Act to "appropriate" these lands, do they get to build their vacation homes on them when they leave office?

Ec seems to feel that national monuments created via the Antiquities Act involve "appropriating" of lands in a state, and invited us to check the definition of "appropriate."

Here's one definition: "Take (something) for one's own use, typically without the owner's permission."

I believe if ec would look back at all the national monuments established since 1906, he would find that the land involved in such designations was almost always already under federal ownership, or in a few cases, were donated to the federal govt.

The monuments simply changed the designation of the land, i.e. from a "national forest" to a "national monument," or changed the management of the land from one agency to another (i.e. from the U.S. Forest Service to the National Park Service.)

I'd challenge ec to provide some examples where land was "taken without the owner's permission" to become a national monument.

And, as an interesting sidelight, Utah - one the hotbeds of anti-federal lands - didn't become a state until 1896, and all of the existing publically owned lands (i.e. federal lands) in Utah predate statehood by nearly 50 years.


Here's one definition:


And here's the one that I was using:

to set apart, authorize, or legislate for some specific purpose or use:

[=#333333; cursor: default]Which is exactly what the invoking of the Antiquities Act does. I'll repeat, I can't imagine how anyone could object to having local input in the decision of a President to [/][=#333333; cursor: default]set apart,[/] authorize, or legislate for some specific purpose or use land in that local's state.

That is one defintion, and a pretty idiosyncratic one, given the context of the discussion. Even with this defintion, the "Antiquities Act" neither "set[s] apart" nor "legislate[s]." It "authorizes," but that's a pretty far cry from "appropriates" in the context of the discussion above.

Jim, a fellow "fool," makes the point I was implying.

And in Utah's State Constitution, Jim, is a small and hotly debated section that says:

Article 3 Section [Right to public domain disclaimed -- Taxation of lands -- Exemption.]
Second: -- The people inhabiting this State do affirm and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries hereof, and to all lands lying within said limits owned or held by any Indian or Indian tribes, and that until the title thereto shall have been extinguished by the United States, the same shall be and remain subject to the disposition of the United States, and said Indian lands shall remain under the absolute jurisdiction and control of the Congress of the United States. The lands belonging to citizens of the United States, residing without this State shall never be taxed at a higher rate than the lands belonging to residents of this State; but nothing in this ordinance shall preclude this state from taxing, as other lands are taxed, any lands owned or held by any Indian who has severed his tribal relations, and has obtained from the United States or from any person, by patent or other grant, a title thereto, save and except such lands as have been or may be granted to any Indian or Indians under any act of Congress, containing a provision exempting the lands thus granted from taxation, which last mentioned lands shall be exempt from taxation so long, and to such extent, as is or may be provided in the act of Congress granting the same. .

Of course we have a large number of citizens and legislators and even a governor or two who spend a lot of time claiming that it doesn't really say what it says. They also try to claim that Utah loses incredible amounts of tax money from these lands -- completely ignoring the millions that are paid annually by the Federal government in lieu of taxes. But Constitutions, of course, are like the Bible. Everyone is free to read into or out of them whatever pleases or displeases them. Just as we get to choose which definition of a word we prefer at the moment.


It "authorizes," but that's a pretty far cry from "appropriates" in the context of the discussion above.


Oh, so now you get to define the dictionary as well? The question is whether the locals should have a say. You don't want to have that discussion but would rather argue (foolishly with the dictionary) about the meaning of "appropriate".

Invoking the Antiquities Act "appropriates" property for a specific purpose. Please tell us why your think locals should not be able to give their input.


I can't imagine how anyone could object to having local input in the decision of a President to set apart, authorize, or legislate for some specific purpose or use land in that local's state.

In some parts of the country, people might take exception to the idea that "local" means state government as well :-)

However, the issue in at least some of these bills is not one of local input, but rather state government control of not only authorization of such monuments, but also their management.

When we're dealing with people of the mindset personified by Rep. Bishop of Utah, yes, I have concerns about state control when the decisions involve public lands that belong to all Americans, not just the inhabitants of the state.

And ... back to the basic issue, I'd agree that it would always be preferable to have national monuments and other such areas established via congressional action--after open public discussion--rather than by Presidential proclamation. The proclamation route often comes about because "locals" such as Mr. Bishop block action on such bills.

As best as I can tell, there's a long tradition in both the House and Senate that if a representative from the state in question objects to such bills, they'll never make it to the floor for a vote. Such roadblocks don't always even represent the preference of the majority of "locals," but rather those of special interests and/or the political beliefs of an individual congressman.


Oh, so now you get to define the dictionary as well?


I'm not sure how you come up with that from my post.


You don't want to have that discussion but would rather argue (foolishly with the dictionary) about the meaning of "appropriate".


You told me to look up the definition before I became a greater fool.


Invoking the Antiquities Act "appropriates" property for a specific purpose.


And yet you keep using a word that doesn't seem to make any sense in the context of the Antiquities Act. When I try to figure out what you mean by it, you fly off the handle with some bizarre comment about "defin[ing] the dictionary." I have no idea what that's even supposed to mean.

We can't really have a discussion about local rule if what is being appropriated or by whom isn't clear. As usual, this discussion is rapidly becoming pretty incoherent.

To add to Jim's point, "local" in this discussion seems to confuse geographic proxmity with state rule. And since the AA deals only with federal, not state, land, the relevant discussion here would be of geographic proximity. And that's obviously problematic if by geographic proximity, one means the state where the federal lands are located.


And yet you keep using a word that doesn't seem to make any sense in the context of the Antiquities Act.


Apparently you still haven't looked up the word - or you are still trying to dance around the question at hand. Probably both.

Why shouldn't locals have a say?


but rather those of special interests and/or the political beliefs of an individual congressman.


So we should defer to some other "special interest" or individual President? Assuming your premises is correct, your remedy seems to be no better.


Apparently you still haven't looked up the word - or you are still trying to dance around the question at hand. Probably both.

Why shouldn't locals have a say?


You seem to be ignoring my previous posts.


Why shouldn't locals have a say?


According to the original article, it sounds as if they did:

"Each of the monument designations enjoyed widespread support by community leaders and elected officials, leading up to their declaration."

What has Mr. Bishops and his friends upset is they lost their ability to control the process.

When it comes to federal lands, who are the 'locals'? Should someone in New York or Florida have as much input in a western landscape of federal lands as the residents of the state in which those lands fall? If a poll is taken, and a majority of those polled are in support of a monument, but live outside the state in question, should their views trump those of the state residents who oppose the designation, but are in minority?

Jim,I started in this thread when you seemed to object to the text in the proposal that says:

The Secretary of the Interior shall not implement any restrictions on the public use of a national monument until the expiration of an appropriate review period (as determined by the Secretary of the Interior) providing for public input and State approval under section 2.'

It seems to me that an "appropriate review period" is a reasonable provision.

I think Kurt is asking the key question. Should the thoughts of people that will likely never visit the monument trump those of the locals. I think in most cases not. Perhaps there may be some cases where it would be desirable but not until there has been an "appropriate review period" where both locals and "foreigners" can be heard. If a local representative is blocking a hearing - as charged - that certainly doesn't prevent the President from holding hearings before he appropriates the land.


You seem to be ignoring my previous posts.


Not ignoring a thing justin. I'm just pointing out that you haven't answered the question of why the locals shouldn't have a say.

EC, not sure the folks who manage to visit places such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, or the Grand Canyon...or Acadia, the Everglades, or Shenandoah just once in their lives would agree with your take on majority rules, except when it doesn't.

ecbuck,

See my comments @ 8:17 and 8:23. I can't read them for you.


See my comments @ 8:17 and 8:23.


Neither of which answers the question.


agree with your take on majority rules, except when it doesn't.


Kurt, I don't believe I said anything about "majority rules". All I have said is that everyone should be heard. And, if anyone's opinion should care more weight, it is the locals that feel the most impact.

Ec - I absolutely agree that an appropriate public review period is appropriate and valuable. My objection was to the provision in the bill for "state approval" prior to federal actions on federal lands. That's vastly different from "public review."

ec--After a rare moment of agreement several weeks ago, we disagree again. Certainly, parks have a different relationship with the locals who live in gateway communitiess, but that does not mean that their opinions carry more weight. Parks belong to all Americans. I don't live close to Everglades, but as an American citizen, my opinion on management issues there is equally important and valid as someone who lives in Homestead, Florida, just as yours does. Let's not forget that.

Rick


I don't live close to Everglades, but as an American citizen, my opinion on management issues there is equally important and valid as someone who lives in Homestead, Florida, just as yours does.


But Florida's citizens, through their state's elected officials, had input in the establishment of Everglades National Park. State elected officials have no say in presidentally proclaimed national monuments.

Yes Rick, we disagree. The propriety of decisions get worse and worse the farther the decision maker gets from where the impact is.


My objection was to the provision in the bill for "state approval" prior to federal actions on federal lands.


I own my lands but I can't do anything I want without local or state approval. Why should that be different for Federal lands?

It's funny how Rio Grande del Norte is in the district of Congressman Lujan but Congressman Pearce is the one sponsoring the bill calling for the local voices to be heard.




It's funny how Rio Grande del Norte is in the district of Congressman Lujan but Congressman Pearce is the one sponsoring the bill calling for the local voices to be heard.

Great comment and illustrates something that happens too often. In Missouri for instance, the very state legislators who constantly crow about local control have repeatedly balked when local control did not go the way they wanted it to. I.e. pass state laws that override locally passed ordinances such as happened with the Arrow Rock State Park community when they wanted to keep giant CAFOs x miles away from the park.

The Act is over 100 years old and I have inherited much and benefitted greatly from its use. Ideologically I often wonder about it as it relates to our system of checks and balances. But from a practical point of view, I love the results. I am glad Roosevelt and Lacey were cagey enough to get it passed. I hope these congressman are not as successful.

ec asks, "I own my lands but I can't do anything I want without local or state approval. Why should that be different for Federal lands?"

Really now, ec :-)

But, since you asked, a good place to start would be on a site you should appreciate, The Heritage Guide to the Constitution. It offers a pretty good explanation about Article VI, otherwise known as the Supremacy Clause.

The commentary on that site points out, "In addition to serving a central role in preemption analysis, the Supremacy Clause is often seen as the source of the principle that states cannot regulate, interfere with, or control federal instrumentalities. This principle is generally traced to McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), in which the Court held that Maryland could not constitutionally tax the operations of the Bank of the United States."

Good point Jim, but there is a difference between what is legal and what is right. The fact the Feds have the power to manage their lands doesn't mean it is right for them to do so without the input and approval of the locals.

Thanks for another well considered post, Jim. It's very interesting to note that polls of Utah residents find at least a majority of citizens support the idea of a new national monument surrounding Canyonlands. Similar results have been seen in polls regarding protection of other public lands within the state. But our legislators and others who pack the power ignore that or even go so far as to accuse pollsters of dishonesty.

Twisting or ignoring facts seems to be a tactic that too many people accept and use as they try to gain advantages for whatever special agendas they are pushing. Much of the thread of this very discussion have fallen victim to that kind of thing. Look at how much effort has been wasted in playing word games here.

It would seem that much of this discussion has been "appropriated" for some unclear reason or perhaps to simply stroke an ego.

Lee,

If one of the word games you're referring to the distinction I made between geographic proximity and state rule, Kurt's question of who is local is even more complicated. Should residents of Carlsbad, NM have less say over Guadalupe Mts (TX) than residents of Houston?

No, justin, I was mainly referring to the fuss over the word appropriated. Yours and Kurt's comments about proximity and state rule are very valid considerations. Without going back and re-reading all your comments, I think I agree with virtually all you've said above.

As someone else pointed out, when we speak of a national treasure, such as Everglades, it may be something else again. I have never, and probably never will visit Everglades. But because it is a national treasure, I think I should have some input into its fate. The same is true of the national treasures contained in Utah. Shouldn't such things as irreplaceable petroglyphs and prehistoric dwellings, sweeping and mostly untouched vistas and other precious attributes of Utah's already public lands be open to input from people like you or others who don't live within this state?

For that matter, in an increasingly global world, who is to say how close is "local?" Will we not all be diminished if places like Angkor Wat, or Chitzin Itza, the Great Pyramids, Antarctica, or Iceland's geyser fields are somehow destroyed? Will we not all lose something when the last African elephant or snow leopard is poached? LIkewise, won't citizens of Britain or Africa or even the most poverty stricken citizen of Bangladesh lose something if Yellowstone is destroyed by geothermal production in areas around it? In this world, exactly how local is local?

The real problem, as I see it, is the constant deliberate distortion of truth by so many people on so many sides. Whatever happened to honesty? What happens here in Utah is, I'm afraid, too common in other parts of the country. Very often the wishes of many -- perhaps even a majority -- of local residents are pushed aside by political bulldozers fueled by lots of money.

In every situation in which a national monument has been established by presidential proclamation, there had been mountains of public support that had been ignored to appease small but powerful groups of opponents who had dollar signs in their eyes. That was even true of Clinton's creation of Grand Staircase.


It's very interesting to note that polls of Utah residents find at least a majority of citizens support the idea of a new national monument surrounding Canyonlands.


Also, apparently, a majority of voters in Rob Bishop's district vote to keep him in office.

Yes, but Utah also has the lowest percentage of voter turnout in the nation. Most people blame it on the GOP's caucus system that fools many people into believing that their votes don't count. There is also a pervading myth that you can't be a good Mormon and vote for a Democrat. It's powerful enough to discourage many who are capable of thinking independently. Utah's Congressional districts are among the most heavily gerrymandered in any state. Use Google to call up any number of articles from the Salt Lake Tribune and even the conservative, church-owned Deseret News on the subject. Utah is a place like no other. (And I'm LDS.)

Kurt put forth the most important question..."who are the locals". I think that if the land is not federal to start with, than the state includes the locals. But if the land is Federal then we all are the locals.

Ah, ec, you are always quick to point out in your numerous posts what is "legal". Now, after reading Jim's post, you fall back on what is "right", a far more slippery slope. What is
"right" for me may not be "right" for you. I am sure you understand the difference.

Rick

Lee, thank you for all your posts on National Parks Traveler. I'm proud to have worked beside you during our stint in Yosemite.

That goes both ways, Owen.

Rick - Once again you totally misconstrue the facts. While I have indicated that something that isn't legal or isn't Consitutional shouldn't be done (without changing the law or the Constitution) I have never suggested that just because something is "legal", it is right. In fact, if anything I have done just the opposite.