Traveler's View: National Parks Are Boring, Outside Magazine? Really???

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Are these people bored? Fayette Station Rapids, New River Gorge National River/NPS

Did you hear the news?

National parks, those wondrous and scenic expanses of Nature's eye candy, those wild and rumpled landscapes that test your skills and will kill you if you're not careful and prepared, or maybe just in the wrong place at the wrong time, are boring. They've been transformed -- or, perhaps, kept since their creation -- as "drive-through museums."

How did this happen with the National Park Service on watch for the past 98 years?

Apparently because the parks, the Western landscape parks, at least, are managed primarily to protect and preserve their landscapes, not as testing grounds for the latest recreational fad. They are, as Park Service Director Jon Jarvis told us back in March, losing their relevancy with the American public.

“There’s a real relevancy problem with the parks,” Adam Cramer, the executive director of the Outdoor Alliance, told a writer from Outside Magazine. “They’re shutting off vectors like bikes and kayaks for people to have the kinds of meaningful experiences that are the genesis for a conservation ethic.”

Really?

Paddlers have been having "meaningful experiences" in the national parks for generations. In our Essential Guide To Paddling The Parks we list more than 90 units of the National Park System that welcome paddlers. They measure themselves (and have meaningful experiences) against the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park and Canyonlands National Park, down the Green and Yampa in Dinosaur National Monument, and against the Alaskan rivers that flow through Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, and Noatak National Preserve, just to name some of the possibilities.

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It takes a good deal of effort, and lust for adventure, to kayak the far end of Glacier Bay in its namesake national park/Kurt Repanshek

Sea kayakers tour the lakes of Yellowstone, Voyageurs, and Acadia national parks, lose themselves for days and even weeks in the waters of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, explore the sea-like waters of Lake Superior in Apostle Islands and Pictured Rocks national lakeshores, and venture out into the watery landscapes of Cape Lookout National Seashore, Everglades National Park, and even Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Lake Powell). Do they go in search of boredom?

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Kayaking the Potomac River at Great Falls Park. Boring? No. Crazy? Perhaps/NPS

White-water kayakers can choose from among the New River Gorge National River in West Virginia, the Gauley River National Recreation Area, also in West Virginia, Big South Fork River and Recreation Area in Tennessee, as well as the parks through which the Green and Colorado rivers run. There is no shortage of opportunities. There's even one in Washington, D.C.'s backyard, the Potomic River that roars through Great Falls Park.

Consider the climbing possibilities in places such as Denali National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and even on the cliffs of Acadia, and swallowing this "boring" concept gets tougher and tougher.

Really, the issue is not that the parks are "boring." Rather, the Outside article bemoans that they're not flung open to all recreational comers. But then, they weren't intended to be larger manifestations of your local city park.

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This Denali climber doesn't look bored/NPS

There's not a "relevancy problem" with the national parks, at least not when it comes to outdoors recreation. If you're bored with the opportunities in the national parks, you're not realizing the possibilities.

Set off, as Andrew Skurka did in 2010, on a 4,679-mile circumnavigation of Alaska on skis, packable raft, and hiking boots, and you won't be bored. You'll be challenged to stay alive in one of the most glorious and demanding settings in North America. Hike the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail as blind hiker Trevor Thomas did, or the 2,184-mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail as Jennifer Pharr Davis did in record-setting time, in one five- or six-month bite and you'll be transformed, physically as well as mentally. You'll likely reorder your life. Discover, as two cavers did in Carlsbad Caverns National Park last Halloween, the largest subterranean room found there in decades, and you won't stop talking about it for a good while.

Are those the types of folks who are being "ostracized," as Grayson Schaffer put it?

In his article in Outside, Mr. Schaffer would have us believe that we need professional bike races through places such as Colorado National Monument, marathons run through Death Valley National Park, and to be able to launch ourselves, cloaked in a wingsuit, off El Capitan at Yosemite National Park to appreciate, savor, and enjoy national parks. Does base-jumping, an inherently dangerous endeavor that has killed two in Zion National Park in Utah this year already, nuture a conservation ethic...or fuel an adrenalin kick, one with a high-risk downside?

How does any of that develop a conservation ethic? Such an ethic is achieved through soaking in the mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, and glaciers, appreciating them for their very existence, and seeking ways to conserve them.

The fallacy of Mr. Schaffer's argument can even be found elsewhere in Outside. In March 2012 the publication ran a story about "12 National Park Adventures Off the Beaten Path." It pointed to:

* river kayaking in Olympic National Park;

* pedaling over the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park and continuing on to Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada;

* sea kayaking (with fresh lobster for dinner) at Acadia National Park;

* sea kayaking among the whales and icebergs in Glacier Bay National Park, (where you might share your camps with brown bears);

* climbing among the boulders and outcrops of Joshua Tree National Park;

* climbing to the 13,770-foot summit of the Grand Teton in its namesake park;

* hoisting a pack on your back and hiking for five days through Isle Royale National Park with hopes of catching a wolf's howl;

* or mountain biking in places such as Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California, Big South Fork River and Recreation Area in Tennessee, or New River Gorge National River in West Virginia.

And there was nary a mention of boredom or lack of opportunities.

That same year, Outside ran an article by Michael Lanza, an occasional contributor to the Traveler, on "The 10 Best National Park Adventures With Kids," and there were no mountain bikes or wingsuits necessary, (although hiking boots, sea kayaks, cross-country skis, and backpacks were).

Finally, we have to wonder what point Mr. Grayson was trying to make when he wrote:

The nonprofit Outdoor Alliance, a Washington, D.C., umbrella group for human-powered-advocacy organizations like American Whitewater, climbing’s Access Fund, and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), has 100,000 members and skews toward a Gen Y demographic. By comparison, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the historical champion of the national parks, has 500,000 members with a median age in the sixties.

Is he stereotyping older folks as sedentary folks? Surely that can't be the case, can it? I know and encounter plenty of folks in their sixties and older out enjoying the parks in active recreational pursuits. Indeed, one friend in her 70s rows her own raft down the Yampa and Green rivers through Class III and IV rapids in Dinosaur National Monument, and another still climbs mountains. There are other examples, but the point is that entering one's seventh decade doesn't automatically equate with avoiding the outdoors and retiring to the couch.

The national parks were meant for testing our physical skills, yes, but that basic skill still is walking. Hiking, climbing, cross-country skiing, and paddling are part of walking. Those activities say look at the wilderness, not look at me. Extreme sports are the epitome of “look at me. Look what I can do!" Fine, put that in an arena, not in a national park. Give it an X Games channel. If Outside Magazine wishes to be Sports Illustrated, tell us now when we may expect the swimsuit issue. But don’t call that loving the national parks.

Unfortunately, the blame lies chiefly with the National Park Service and its government narcissists, who, too, have lost their sense of history. As Peggy Noonan writes in The Wall Street Journal, government has simply “gone too far.” Government has listened to everyone except the people it should be listening to, and sadly, that also goes for our national parks.

Comments

It's apparent, after reading this clown's list of unboring activities, that if it doesn't generate MONEY for someone, then it's boring.

Outside Magazine is boring...

Hmmmmm. I just got onto Outside Magazine's online site and found a fascinating article about the nether reaches of the Colorado River that certainly was worth reading. Earlier this year I kayaked part of the Colorado just above Yuma and later got to see the dry riverbed where it used to flow into Mexico. The article explains some of the economic excuses for failing to wisely use this river's water. Here's a link in case anyone is interested:

http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/nature/Open-the-Floodgate...

But once again, money trumps wisdom.

When Outside began publishing years ago I was excited about a magazine that did the "outdoors." However, very quickly realized that they would "sell" anything for $$$$. They were packed full of cigarette aids and that was the end of support from me! Such a contradiction!! They did eventtually drop the cig ads. Thank you NATIONAL PARK SERVICE for exposing them and standing up to them once again!! Great articlle. There isn't any way to "fix" out of contact with reality at their level of publishing! They make the news media look almost " truthful" and and we all know how FAR off center they are!

I don't get the last paragraph blaming narcisim or or shortsightedeness of goverment officials. It really comes out of nowhere. Can you point to specific examples?

Random Walker on June 16, 2014 - 8:15am."Outside Magazine is boring..." ha ha ha ha ha, bingo.. Random Walker you nailed it. And yes Linda they need to sell Ads to make $. And I can forgive them for that, but still, even though the writing is occassionaly excellent, I haven't been a fan of Outside for a long time. They pander to a certain type of reader: Male readers, young readers, and the type that buys lots of gear that rarely gets used. But, am I mistaken to recall that the NPS itself was the first one to bring media attention to the alleged relevancy "problem" ?

Reports are that Jarvis said this in a major speech to the commercialization/privatization interests at the American Recreation Coalition at their annual lovefest, Partners Outdoors, on June 9th:

“ . . .agency director Jonathan B. Jarvis said he would seek out any and all sources of new revenues for the parks, in addition to appropriations, in anticipation of an NPS Centennial in 2016.

". . .My approach to that is to launch a multi-platform, complicated-partnership, industry-backed, philanthropic centennial initiative that will really build this relationship with the next generation.”

He's already established that the Park Service is a whore. Now he's just dickering over the price.

Yes, really. Over regulated, misguided use of resources, and more have created more than a relevancy problem. If you alinnate, de-prioritize, and reduce visitor access, this is the result. It's a difficult balance which the NPS/DOI have failed miserably. Jarvis and his progressive ilk are the problem. What a mess you guys have created.

Well, if they were so irrelevant, then no one would visit them, and I have yet to see that being the case. The people that write these articles, must not actually go into the parks.

Really, Beachdumb? Every single time you speak up you amaze me at what an appropriate user name you chose.

It's the "progressive" folks who are ruining the parks? Let me mention a couple of names that brought malignancy to the parks, all from the more conservative wing .... James Watt? Gale Norton? Fran Manilla?

Yes Rick, the progressives are ruining the parks and the country. The over regulation and reduction of access in the name of false environmentalism has been pushed by the progressives and has resulted in low revelancy. But your way too smart to see that...

Kurt,I think you may have taken the "boring" too literally. I believe the point of the article was not that exciting opportunities don't exist in the parks but that much of the public is seeking excitement through many other interests that could be compatible with and complimentary to the parks. To the extent the parks embraced those activities, the parks relevence would be enhanced.

Its interesting that many of the folks here are all about diluting the parks mission (or ability to accomplish that mission) to encompass all sorts of social issues but can't see expanding park activities that would actually increase "relevancy" and economic viability.

The author makes a great point that paddling bans and their like are the anomoly in Park Management, not the norm. They are a weird outcome of pockets of weird culture within the park service that operate with impunity, like the Outside article pointed out. Most parks do a great job of welcoming outdoor recreation. With this said, the author of this NPT article offers zero arguments about why paddling should be banned in Yellowstone except for a silly stereotype of beginner outdoor enthusiasts focusing on "look at the Wilderness" and more advanced enthusiasts focusing on "look at me." At what slope angle do skiers suddenly contract a terrible case of narcisism, or at what trail elevation, or class of rapids? Be careful out there folks, if you love wild places enough to spend a ton of time in them you may get good at wilderness travel and suddenly and unavoidably become a jerk. Yes, it seems the only good argument against even studying the paddlin gpotential in Yellowstone is that whitewater paddlers are the Other, they are blind to the wild's charms, less worthy, less pure. It is divisive rhetoric but it is just not true. Paddlers love rivers, wild places, and wildlife at least as much as other park visitors, even paddlers that love these things so much that they build skills that appear "extreme." The Outside article rightly pointed to the Yellowstone issue as a case where the Park Service chose to manage recreation based on dogma and stereotypes rather than science and a welcoming inclusive attitude. It was a shady deal, and I assure you many park-loving paddlers like myself feel ostracized by the paddling bans and avoidance of analysis. Especially if replicated, this approach would absolutely drive a relevancy wedge between Parks and their most strident supporters. This NPT article asks readers to think less of dedicated outdoorspeople, to mock them, and to ultimately support their exclusion from parks. What a ridiculous and manipulative request this is. Parks should be managed based on good science, and should celebrate the connections that Americans have with their parks through sustainable recreation. And on our part we should all try to build a bigger community of support for the Parks, not rip it apart based on false differences.

EC, I think you need to reread the Outside column. The parks are open to paddlers, climbers, and even mountain bikers. They are relevant to those activities. What other activities was he referred to?

There might be no more challenging white-water experience in the Lower 48 than running the Colorado through Grand Canyon National Park. In short, it doesn't get any better for paddlers.

And the climbing in Yosemite? World class.

And I'd still like an explanation for what exactly he was getting at re the over-59 demographic.

Wilderness Paddler, you are leaping to incredible conclusions.

There might be no more challenging white-water experience in the Lower 48 than running the Colorado through Grand Canyon National Park.

Yes, but everyone might not be able to come to the Grand Canyon. There are many places in National Parks that are closer, more convenient, easier, cheaper et al. Every one of those that are closed to paddling diminishes the opportunity for someone to experience white-water in the Park environment. The same can be said for climbing or biking or boating.

So what if everyone might not be able to come to the Grand Canyon. There's countless miles of white water rapids available around the country in many places. I could name many places both within the NPS, and outside from the Gunnison River, to the Salmon, to the Rogue, to the Gauley. All places with considerable recognition for kayaking.

Mountain Bikers have millions of miles in the BLM and NFS at their disposal. What's stopping them? Actualy nothing, because mountain bikers use these areas. Moab has some of the best mountain biking terrain and trails in the country, and it also has two national parks by it. You can still bike the White Rim in Canyonlands if you so choose, or bike countless thousands of miles of trails in the BLM of Utah's vast redrock wilderness. Does the delicate arch need to be meant for mountain bikers so they can get their kicks trying to use it as a ramp? I don't think that is right. All the western states have similar aspects setup for recreationists. Durango, Sun Valley, Teringula, Winthrop, Aspen. All places with a lot of terrain to ride a bike.

And right outside of Zion is some big canyons with huge dropoffs that people could paraglide if they were inclined on BLM lands. Don't see why they can't respect the National Park ideology.

There is a great number of people that come to national parks, not to do extreme activites, but to watch wildlife, or view the plants and wildflowers that they can't see in many other areas. It's a giant part of what makes up a National Park, and the average visitor experience. You aren't going to find the vast wildlife you see in Yellowstone compared to the NFS and BLM lands outside of it. You're not. Not everyone comes to a National Park strictly for an ego trip. I know I don't. I go there to experience a primitive aspect of America that no longer exists, and I find that in many of the wilderness areas suitable to find those experiences.

You are absolutely right Gary. There are other places. And people are going to those other places instead of the Parks. Thats exactly the point the article was making.

And maybe when those folks go to places other than the parks, it's really a good thing. There are parks and there are amusement parks for those who seek amusement instead of the things that make our national park areas special.

And maybe when those folks go to places other than the parks, it's really a good thing.

Maybe. But then don't complain when they aren't willing to fund your "amusement park"

My amusement park??????

Most local school districts have remedial reading skills classes for adults these days . . .

I don't think the National parks are in any jeopardy of becoming irrelevant, ecbuck. That's kind of laughable actually.

If you have 100 people, 99 of them are not going to attempt to paraglide off half dome. The other 99 outnumber the 1.

If the National Parks are considered museums for preserving cultural and natural resources, then so be it. People are obviously going to them in great numbers to see and visit those areas. If I want to go to Disneyland, i'll go to Orlando, if I want to see vast ecosystem of Floridian wildlife, i'll go to the Everglades. I think it's wise to keep the Everglades from becoming a Disney World, even if that is what some of you would like to see. Wildlife deserve their ecosystems as well. Not everything should be meant to be real estate for human consumption. The main idea behind National Parks is to preserve the cultural, and natural resources for generations well past the "me generation".

My amusement park?????

Yes Lee, your amusment park. You have your ideal of a park and others have theirs. You may disagree and I fully respect that disagreement. But if you want to lock out others from your definition, don't expect them to pay for yours.

I don't think the National parks are in any jeopardy of becoming irrelevant, ecbuck. That's kind of laughable actually.

Well maybe you should explain that to the head of the NPS (who has stated otherwise). And to Congress which your ilk are frequently condemning for not funding the Parks. Allowing someone to paddle a river or bike a trail is a far cry from Disneyland.

And your ilk just wants to turn the Parks into their own private playgrounds. So of course, my ilk, isn't going to agree with your ilk.

As i've stated, and you have little comprehension reading. National Parks are not National Forests or BLM lands. They come with stricter rules, and regulations to attempt to protect park resources well beyond the "me generation" that you are very much a part of, and those kayakers can spend LIFETIMES attempting to paddle all of those available rivers here in the lower 48 and not even get close to paddling them all.

IF grizzly populations are going to be affected by numerous kayakers going down a river, then yes, protecting grizzlies should be a higher priority than protecting the rights of humans trying to paddle. There are thousands of miles of river in this country where grizzlies aren't roaming.

Plus, why can't people be happy paddling in Lake Yellowstone etc? It's allowed there. It's allowed on Shoshone Lake, and on Lewis Lake I don't get your mentality. You want it all, without considering anything beyond your own ego. You seem to not care about National Parks, so why are you here?

I like peak bagging, but I respect the grizzly management zones in the gallitans during times when they are feasting on moths. At that time of season, no one can trudge to the tops of these peaks, and it's in place to protect the Grizzly populations. If we want grizzlies, then me and thousands of others trudging up a mountain where grizzlies eat moths is going to have an adverse effect on them by creating human/grizzly conflicts. Then they will either abandon their wild food source that they need, or fend their territory from humans. They are already pushed to these islands. Where else do they have to go, but to extinction here in the lower 48, because humans like you think we should do what we want, when we want, and without any rules. Yet, millions come to Yellowstone, with the goal of seeing grizzlies. So something has to give. Either the grizzlies habitat, or human ego.

Turn the parks into their own private playgrounds? Which side of the fence are you on now, Wilson. You just described Blackberry Farms and the Smokies which you so feverishly defended and promised to investigate. Flip flop, flip flop.

Benzar is right. Jarvis is whoring out the national parks and in the Smokies it is in the form of private guide services and the Blackberry farm ilk. Well said, Kitty.

Blackberry farms owns property bordering a national park. They can do what they want on their property. Actually, since you illegally trespassed on their land on one of your ego trips and admitted to it on a blog, I think they could techincally bill you at least a nights stay for using thier property without permission. But hey, i'd be courteous enough to ask for permission before truding onto their property. You on the otherhand just don't get the concept of private and public lands. You think it's all the same.

I certainly don't think the National Parks are boring. Especially when you can pay $770 bucks a night to ride four wheelers where no one has ever been allowed to ride in a national park and chain saw trees on that joyride. There is no price tag on that kind of blackberry fun.

Actually, that would be illegal activity, and jail time and/or fines would be handed down in that case. I believe you might be referring to a one time S&R incident, and thats a different animal, and since the many National Park lands are not established wilderness protected by the wilderness act, technically during S&Rs they could use ATV's or park service vehicles in those operations. But hey, i'm sure you inquired about that before jumping to conclusions, since you are such a logical and well grounded thinker.

There was no jail time handed down at all in that particular incident Gary. Because when you own a high dollar resort and have Senator Lamar Alexander in your back pocket, the Smokies is your private playground and you do as you please. If you would like to do a freedom of information act request you can see the reports of different individuals who reported that particular incident. Nothing happened and nothing will because rich folks do as they please in the Smokies and elsewhere. Just ask Ranger Danno. But that may require you to read something. And we know how you are with follow up on fact finding.

Because it was an S&R incident! Do you understand what that is? Your claims of 4 wheelers using the old hurricane mountain manway that was built by the CCC is absurd and just fearmongering propaganda. You know it, and I know it. You might be able to dupe the clueless on your claims, but you aren't going to pull wool over my eyes pal. I'm in the park way more than you.

Now, enough with hijacking this thread.. This thread is not about the Smokies, or your pseudowar that you wish to wage on the NPS. This thread is about National Parks and their relevancy to attract youth by catering to paragliders, kayakers, mountain bikers, snowmobilers, heli-skiers, etc. I think attracting youth to the parks is already fine and dandy. The Smokies recieves over 9 million tourists. Today it was packed with tourists on a very busy day even for a monday. Young adults are in the backcountry, people are on the trails, on the roads, and in the campground enjoying their time. I don't think this park is being forgotten. So what if 4 wheelers, and mountain bikers cant trapese over the AT, or paragliders can't take a flight off peregrine peak to try and parasail to dollywood, or that photographers are not permitted to fly a camera drone to tree mama and her three bears in cades cove to get the shot. That darn pesky NPS trying to maintain some semblance of the ecosystem for the future generations is getting in the way of the tea partiers, some real estate agents, and all the misguided egotists that didn't pay attention to what the mission is of a National Park.

Gary Wilson, I am in agreement with your posts, our National parks (is it still 56 of them) and the nations designated wilderness areas are our most protected public lands. The management of these areas extends beyond just peoples recreational activities, as worthy as they maybe. The ecological value of these areas is enormous and it is the mission of the NPS to to manage them in such a way "and by such means that they remain unimpaired for future generations". I have much respect for the skill, physical fitness and outdoor enthusiasm of the myriad groups of recreational users of public lands. However, the NPS simply cannot maintain its core mission by becoming a mecca for every recreational user. I think the comments attributed to NPS Director Jarvis are mostly political, the Parks are doing OK except for some funding issues which congress refuses to address. Plenty of money for the military/industrial complex that former Republican President Eisenhower warned us about ( more than 50 years ago now), and more tax cuts for the highest income people seem to be the highest priority. Pretty sad state of affairs.

...yet not in the park enough to check out the NPT article and its assertions about a private resort.

This mission of the NPS is to serve the people. Not the well connected and those who make money from the park or are park service employees.

This article is interesting. I revert to Kitty Benzar's comment. Jarvis and his cronies have whored the NPS out to the highest bidder and will, if unchecked, allow concession interests to further rule these lands. Kitty is a hero. And she doesn't work for the NPS or some group tied with them, just us common, taxpaying citizens.

It's time to take the public lands back and put them in the hands of the people. Jarvis has effectively disenfranchised the populace and has folks doing his dirty work that are under his employ. Restoring faith in the NPS will take a house cleaning from the top down. Too bad most are afraid to rattle the right cages. But most people serve their own wallets and those who sign their paychecks.

Rmackie, 59 National Parks in the system, and there could be 60 by the end of the year with Colorado National Monument being upgraded.

And backpacker, you might be delusional. I am in the park just about every other day on trails or out filming. I have yet to encounter 4 wheelers, and ive hiked, and backpacked about a thousand miles since I arrived here in numerous areas of the park. I have seen my share of things, don't get me wrong, but ATV use isn't one of them. Amazing how the only one to encounter them is YOU, who has an agenda, and is in bed with the tea party clan that wishes to privatize the parks.

Here is the mission of the NPS, obviously you never spent much time trying to interpret it:

The mission of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) is to conserve the scenery, the natural and historic objects, and the wildlife in United States' national parks, and to provide for the public's enjoyment of these features in a manner that will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

"unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations" doesn't include clear cutting a hundred trees along the hurricane gap because you are a private resort and wish to have your Clients enjoy some horseback riding/atv and hiking on your own private trails in the Smokies. For someone who is "in the park" as much as you claim to be, you still haven't found the time to go over to see those private trails, have you Gary? That is because it would be embarrasing for you to have to admit the obvious. I don't support privitization of the NPS. Just responsible management and a house cleaning from the top down. These statements may curry you a lot of favor with your bosses at the Great Smoky Mtns Association but your convenient flip flopping on issues here is laughable.

Yes, i'm in the park A LOT. I think my work over the years can prove that. As ive already stated, but I realize you have the reading comprehension of a 4th grader, the hurricane mountain trail was built by the CCC. Anyone can hike manways, and no ATVs are allowed on trails in the park. Cutting down STANDING trees is also illegal in the park. Your own blogs from your own words expose that your trumped up charges are mere lies.

And i'm not speaking for the Association, but simply as myself here. I've spent quite a few years being an observer in the Smokies studying numerous subjects in the park. I think I might have more of an insight than someone that just uses the park occasionally on their own ego trips. And yes, you do support privitization. I have seen comments from you that state it, especially during the shutdown when the tea party hijacked our government. You support anarchy, and complete destruction of the NPS, it's evident your only agenda is loathing all things that go into the parks. You have no real ideas, obviously. You hate it all, and want to see all the pesky rules eliminated so you can do what you want and have your own private smokies free from anything, including rules. You couldn't walk a day in anyone's shoes that works at the NPS. That I do know. You don't have the education, the intelligence, or the rationale. So what do you want, Johnny? You can use words like "fire em' all from the top down" as if the big broad brush propaganda technique can be applied to all diverse fields and jobs. Only morons are going to fall for that sort of propaganda.

Like i've stated your owls eyes are pretty much shut. A watcher you are not.

the Parks are doing OK except for some funding issues which congress refuses to address.

Because their constitutents don't see it as a major priority. The parks are not relevent to many of them. You can argue that the parks need to be protected and access restricted but then don't complain when those that have been excluded don't want to pay for them.

Ok, folks, it's been a nice, lively discussion. But some folks are getting too lively. Let's stick to the topic at hand and refrain from butting heads too personally, please.

And your ilk just wants to turn the Parks into their own private playgrounds.

Quite the opposite Gary, its your ilk that wants to restrict access - to take public lands and shut them to public activities.

National Parks are not National Forests or BLM lands. They come with stricter rules, and regulations to attempt to protect park resources well beyond the "me generation" that you are very much a part of, and those kayakers can spend LIFETIMES attempting to paddle all of those available rivers here in the lower 48 and not even get close to paddling them all.

And once again, Gary, there is no question there are alternatives. That is the whole point of the Outside article. Some people are not going to the Parks because they can't do certain activities that they would like to do. They go somewhere else. It has nothing to do with ego, its called choice. And the more people that choose the alternatives over the Parks, the less people there will be who find the Parks relevent and want to fund them. Perhaps that is a sacrifice worth making. If so, the scope of the NPS will necessarily have to change and shrink dramatically.

Gosh, ec, do you actually believe that our Congresscritters care one whit for what their constituents think or want?

In Utah something like 80% of our citizens support better funding for parks -- but 100% of our Congresscreeps vote against it.

If our lawmakers on the hill in Washington care so much for their constituents, why do only about 10% of those constituents approve of what the inhabitants of the Capitol asylum are doing?

In Utah something like 80% of our citizens support better funding for parks -- but 100% of our Congresscreeps vote against it.

Then why don't they vote them out? Because while they would like more funding - other priorities take precedent.

If our lawmakers on the hill in Washington care so much for their constituents, why do only about 10% of those constituents approve of what the inhabitants of the Capitol asylum are doing?

Actually, that is the approval for Congress as a whole. If you look at approval of a constitutent's own Congressmen the approval tends to be substantially higher. Its everyone elses Congressmen that people tend to hate.

Here is a discussion of that point:

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/11/17/congressional-ratings

Yep, I think using science to protect the natural order of the ecosystem should take precedence over someones wanton desires to paraglyde, fly drones right up to the face of wildlife, or mountain bike National Park terrain.. I'm guilty as charged, EC.

Most of the Outside Magazine writers are not into the ecology and the science related to the parks. It's painfully evident, as most of their articles are void of any sort of comprehension about ecology and science in our National Parks. Their articles are strictly about thrill seeking and appeasing to the "look at me, ma" crowd. They never mention anything about these things in their "alternatives". It's all about the park rules won't let the egoguy paraglyde off a mountain right next to a perregrine falcon or california condor nest, so the park service is now officially irrelevant because they won't let people do what they want.

You're right, ec.

Unfortunately.

As long as American voters are kept entertained and clueless by big money propagandists and loud voices spewing hate and carefully crafted misinformation from their radios, not much will change.

It's the new American tragedy.

Exactly right, Gary.

It's called the Great American Entitlement Mentality.

Gary, I too believe we should use science. Unfortunately, in many cases it is emotions not science that is driving the decisions.

But back to the point. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You want to "protect the natural order" by shutting access? Then you aren't going to get the support from a large segment of the public. That was the point Outside was making.

BTW what is "wanton" about paraglyding or mountain biking? Is that science or emotion? Could you point out where Outside was promoting flying drones up to the face of wildlife? Is that fact or hyperbole?

As long as American voters are kept entertained and clueless

We might disagree on the source of their cluelessness but not on the fact it exists. Lets institute a "literacy" test for voting.

EC, actually sound science is what is being used to attempt to back park legislation against the emotive political desires being fed by the recreation industry and championed by their two congressmen that pander to them in Yellowstone. I don't see any science being used on that side of the coin, just mere political desires to pander to the industrial tourism industry. But when it gets to congress, not many of them are using science, but politics for their battles. Unfortunately, the parks become a battleground for politics, and that always tends to trump sound science that is needed to back the Park Service mission.

As iv'e stated, people can paraglyde all over the BLM and NFS and private lands. Just because the NPS won't allow it on Zion Canyon, the Grand Canyon doesn't equate to all paraglyding being banned country wide.

And like I said, the parks are plenty busy as it is. So what if 1 out of 99 people refuse to go to parks because they aren't allowed to hunt, paraglyde, or mountain bike in this terrain. It's not really a huge loss when there are more than enough people already in the parks and using them in less intrusive ways.

Literacy test? Okay.

But what shall it test?

Latest NBA rankings? Who won last night's American Ninja competition on NBC? Which celeb is shacking up with whom this week? Which hate radio monger do they listen to?

Asking how their Congresscreep voted on funding the parks or the most recent sword rattling resolution would bring a blank stare, so that won't work.

So what if 1 out of 99 people refuse to go to parks because they aren't allowed to hunt, paraglyde, or mountain bike in this terrain. It's not really a huge loss

If one out of 99 were the number you would be right. But someone tauting science should not just pull a number like that out of their .....hat. According to at least one study (2000), less than 36% of American's had visited a park in the previous two years. 36% was the percentage for whites, latino's only 27% and blacks 13%.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/03/science/earth/03parks.html?pagewanted=...