A View From The Overlook

A View From The Overlook: Peter And Paul

My previous column, “How do you get a permanent job with the NPS,” provoked a great deal of reader comment. (Had your humble correspondent mentioned the words “guns” or “mountain biking,” the rate of comment would have been even higher!)

A View From the Overlook: “How Do You Get A Permanent Job With The NPS?”

“How Do You Get A Permanent Job With The NPS?” This is a frequently asked question, Neighbors! No doubt about it, the NPS is a feel-good agency that many people would like to join, and they are not easily dissuaded. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is complicated, ambiguous and fluid.

A View From The Overlook: The First National Park (We Think)

After doing a bit of volunteer time last summer at Yellowstone National Park, I decided to do a column on dear old Yellowstone, established way back in 1872, “The World’s First National Park." Or so I thought.

A View From The Overlook: The Advantages Of National Parks

“What good are national parks?” This is a question often raised by the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party when faced by non-utilitarian public land use.

A View From The Overlook: Volunteers In The Parks. Is That Legal?

Recently, the much-esteemed Ranger Ron Mackie, late of Yosemite and the National Park Service, took time off from his new career of fighting forest fires in “retirement” to send me e-mail on the subject of volunteer labor.

A View From The Overlook: A Tale Of Two Rivers, Part I

There is a thread of commonality in the Colorado River as it flows through the Grand Canyon, and the Potomac River as it flows into Washington, D.C. It revolves around preservation.

A View From The Overlook: The Yellowstone Ranger Museum, Take Two

In the last issue of the View From the Overlook, P.J. Ryan, retired park ranger, described his experiences as a volunteer docent at the Yellowstone Ranger Museum. He continues his observations in this issue of The View

A View From The Overlook: A Few Days In Yellowstone

You owe it to yourself to spend a few days working with Harry Yount in Yellowstone National Park.

A View From The Overlook: Fossil Butte National Monument

The two-hour drive from Salt Lake City, to Kemmerer, Wyoming, a gateway to Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, is educational for European and Eastern U.S. visitors.

A View From The Overlook: A Virginia Farmer

My wife suggested that she would like to do something different and interesting on her birthday. Now if I were Bill Gates or that nice Zuckerburg boy that might mean leasing the island of Lanai and inviting friends. Since that is not the case, I suggested a boat trip to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, our first President and Founding Father. It would not only be patriotic but cheap.

A View From The Overlook: Mountain Bikes

First of all, and most paramount, we must say that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with mountain bikes.

A View From The Overlook: Long Shot

One of the many joys of being a national park ranger is that you get to referee America’s culture wars.

A View From The Overlook: A Tale Of Two Songs

Although it was a relatively short war, the War of 1812 was one of our most “Songniferous” wars.

A View From The Overlook: Robber Baron

The robber barons: There were around 25 or 30 of them, depending on who was doing the counting; these were the men (there were no women, unless you count Hetty Green) of almost unlimited wealth and power who dominated America at the end of the 19th century. Their names are familiar even today; Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan, Duke, Harriman and so on.

A View From The Overlook: Nudity And The National Parks

Summer is coming in. The days are getting longer, and lake, sea, and river water are getting warmer. This leads to a desire on the part of some national park patrons to take off their clothes and a similar number of fellow taxpayers to complain about nudity, with the hapless park ranger in the middle. This can lead to problems.

A View From The Overlook: Forbidden Books

What do The Soul Of Yosemite, The Case of the Indian Trader, and Worth Fighting For all have in common? You won't likely find any of these books in a national park bookstore or gift shop.

A View From The Overlook: Comfort Zones

One of the banes of being a high-ranking bureaucrat is the necessity to issue a report on the reason for your existence. That is, your progress in achieving the goal (or goals) of your office, or sadly, the reasons you have not succeeded.

A View From The Overlook: Marshal Reeves And Marshal Obama

Yale University environmental historian, Dr. Robin Winks, once termed America’s National Parks as “The greatest university in the world with hundreds of branch campuses." While Oxford and Cambridge might take issue in a tweedy British manner with Professor Winks’ hyperbole, his point is well taken: The units of the National Park System are indeed educational.

A View From The Overlook: How Hard Can It Be?

Columnist PJ Ryan wonders how hard can it be to come up with a management plan for the Yosemite Valley that honors the valley and all its natural beauty and wonders.

A View From The Overlook: Safety Issue

The National Park Service and other federal law enforcement agencies have always had a guarded, nervous relationship with the National Rifle Association, and with good reason.

A View From The Overlook: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park And The Holy Grail

Might a non-native plant at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park be used to generate power for the Hawaiian Islands?

A View From The Overlook: Conspiracies And The Parks

Interested in a good conspiracy theory? There are plenty in the National Park System.

A View From The Overlook: The Agenda

One of our readers hinted darkly that there was an “Agenda” to “A View From the Overlook.” Well, yes. Astute of you to notice!

A View From The Overlook: Land Access

Is public land always available for the public good? Well, not always.

A View From The Overlook: Forbidden Islands

There are islands open to the public, and there are "forbidden" islands that are privately owned. But there also are islands being held in trust for their environmental assets.

A View From The Overlook: Contingency Plans

Can you imagine how a Romney-Ryan administration would treat the national parks? Heck, you'd have to summon up the "Reserve Rangers" to fill in the gaps.

A View From The Overlook: Global Warming, Goat Haunt, And North America's Best Hike (Maybe)

Waterton Lakes National Park, copyright Kurt Repanshek
Musing on climate change, International Peace Parks, and North America's best hike. Or maybe it's only Canada's best hike.

A View From The Overlook: Park Legends

Just about every national park unit of any size or age evokes at least one or more “urban legend,” tall tales that are widely accepted as true, but alas, for a good story, are not.

A View From The Overlook: The Petrified Wood Olympics

You'd be surprised by the lengths some folks would go to to take a colorful piece of rock from Petrified Forest National Park.

A View From The Overlook: Sometimes Bad Things Don't Happen -- The Pine Lands Reserve

Every so often, but not often enough, environmentally bad things don’t happen. One example was the predicted destruction of a unique ecosystem: The Pine Barrens of New Jersey.
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