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Rediscovering National Parks In The Spirit Of John Muir

Oct 10th - 11:15am | Alfred Runte

What both of you are forgetting is that the national parks were "privatized" years ago. Concessionaires (private interests) reap the profits for the sake of a franchise "fee." For that fee, Uncle Sam staffs, protects, and maintains the parks, i.e., does everything that isn't profitable.

Oct 10th - 08:52am | ecbuck

I don't see anyone slinking off.  I see the article attributing the success to state marketing efforts and private investment.  If higher tax dollars are your goal for these lands (its not mine) who knows how much could be raised if these lands were 100% state and privately owned.  I dare guess that tax revenues per acre are far higher on private land than federal land.

Oct 9th - 22:46pm | Lee Dalton

In Utah, we love to hate the federal lands.  But then something like this comes along and the gummint haters kind of slink off into the shadows for awhile until the hoopla dies down. While on the other hand, it also lends a lot of weight to Michael Frome's thesis that our parks are becoming little more than money machines.

Oct 9th - 16:49pm | Lee Dalton

We need more people like Michael Frome.  And at this time of centennial, we should be shouting from the rooftops the story of the conflicts built into the Enabling Act.  We are missing a wonderful opportunity to educate Americans.  Let's not just encourage them to descend upon our parks like plagues of locust.  Let's teach them how they may enjoy their parks while still PRESERVING them. 

Lifetime "Senior" and "Access" Park Passes Now Available By Mail

Oct 10th - 02:38am | June Thornton

Thank You. This is very thoughtful.  

Musings While Drifting Down The Colorado River Through Canyonlands National Park

Oct 9th - 08:56am | ecbuck

By the way, the Omnibus National Parks Management Act of 1998 requires this: SEC. 104. PARK BUDGETS AND ACCOUNTABILITY. <<NOTE: 16 USC 5914.>>

Oct 9th - 08:22am | ecbuck

Lets take RMNP as an example.  3.5 million visitors at a count of 2 per car. That is 1.75 million cars. Some of which will have annual passes (anybody know the number?) Lets assume 30%. That means 1.23 million paying vehicles.  With a $10 increase, thats $12 million in additional revenue on top of $ 24 million already collected.  Thats alot of restrooms.    

Oct 8th - 22:59pm | Kurt Repanshek

One other thing: higher entrance fees can't normally be used for permanent employee salaries...they are used typically for campground improvements, restrooms, etc.

Oct 8th - 22:53pm | Kurt Repanshek

EC, the rest of the story..."Congress just passed a CR which (even though this was not widely reported) included an across the board reduction of 0.2108%. That lasts, of course, through December 11."The Administration's proposed centennial bill, which would increase funding for FY16, has zero chance of passing the Congress -- especially with the disarray in the House now.

Oct 8th - 19:31pm | ecbuck

Seems like if the total request was for $433 million and $150 is infrastructure that leaves alot for personnel.  Another question, are the "fees" outside the budgeted amount and how much did they total in 2014?

Oct 8th - 19:21pm | Kurt Repanshek

EC, I'm waiting to hear back, but a couple things come to mind:

Oct 8th - 16:08pm | HikingDiva

Agreed. More people, increased fees... so please explain.

Oct 8th - 04:48am | Rebecca Latson ...

Ditto ecbuck:  I'd like to read more about your trip and see more photos.

Oct 7th - 08:47am | ecbuck

With an increase in 2015, a 33% additional increase requested in 2016 and substantial increases in entrance fees, why does that one superintendent think the NPS will have less money next year? PS Tell us more about the trip.  More pictures.  

Oct 7th - 08:40am | Lee Dalton

A few days ago in Grant Teton, I heard a thought provoking comment from a ranger.  She pointed to the Enabling Act inscribed above the information desk at the new VC in Moose and asked, "Are we missing the boat in this Centennial year by urging more people to visit our parks, but failing to try to educate them on why these places are here and what we all must do to try to protect them?"

Ranking The National Parks By Visitation In 2011

Oct 9th - 07:06am | Kurt Repanshek

Thomas, if you're traveling in winter, look at Badlands National Park in South Dakota, or Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Lots of solitude in those.

Oct 8th - 21:08pm | thomas harper

where the least busy, most deserted parks? that's where i wanna go!!  

Congresswoman Poised To Force Issue On Packrafting In Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Parks

Oct 8th - 15:27pm | slc72

I agree with EC and don't believe that congress should micromanage the NPS (or any other agency).  However, when constituents complain loud enough about being denied or restricted access by an agency for dubious reasons not supported by science certain members of congress, apparently, believe they now must get involved.

Oct 8th - 11:39am | ecbuck

It's time to leave judgement to other readers. In other words, you can't substantiate your claims.  

Oct 8th - 11:32am | Lee Dalton

It's time to leave judgement to other readers.  Have a smiling day!

Oct 8th - 10:58am | ecbuck

How do you fail to see the irony in your comment:

Oct 8th - 10:37am | Lee Dalton

ec, you need to run for Congress.  You're really good at dodging around and covering tracks. How do you fail to see the irony in your comment: "Meanwhile you have consistently made unsubstantiated claims regarding funding even while admitting that "Trying to discover exactly where political contributions come from is about as easy as nailing Jello to the wall"

Oct 8th - 10:29am | ecbuck

The fact she worked with packrafters to craft the amendments in no way implies she has taken her position only because of money. It is common sense that if one believes that packrafting is appropriate that they would consult with packrafting companies in drafting the legislation.

Oct 8th - 10:14am | ecbuck

That's a complete about-face from many of your past commentaries here. Absolutely false.  I have consitently argued against Congressional micro management of the NPS.

Oct 8th - 10:02am | Lee Dalton

Thank you, Kurt.  Trying to discover exactly where political contributions come from is about as easy as nailing Jello to the wall in this age of funding hidden behind walls of secrecy and funneled through various PACs. Our lawmakers are experts at hiding their tracks within that maze of secrecy.

Oct 8th - 09:41am | Kurt Repanshek

Ok, class, let's be civil. EC, there is a story in the Jackson Hole Guide this morning that said Rep. Lummis worked with two packrafters to craft the amendments. 

Oct 8th - 09:28am | ecbuck

Pray tell, Rick, what name did I call you?  That is more the style of you and Lee (congresscritter)  

Oct 8th - 09:20am | ecbuck

And nary a packrafter outfit on the lists.  I don't agree with her bill but there is no evidence that she is doing anything other than earnestly representing the interest of her constituents - i.e. her job.  That makes your claims pure empty accusations.  

Oct 8th - 09:10am | Lee Dalton

Oct 7th - 21:07pm | Rick B.

Eric - I took a few minutes to do the research. Her funding comes from people you like and I dislike. Have a nice day.

Oct 7th - 21:04pm | Rick B.

It was so nice and quiet in here just of late.   Eric - you go ahead and call me whatever you need to.    

Oct 7th - 21:02pm | ecbuck

So Rick, want to back up the accusation or just be another member of the empty accusation crowd?

Oct 7th - 19:56pm | Rick B.

She's a congresscritter.   Q.E.D.

Oct 7th - 19:45pm | ecbuck

Lee - back to your empty accusations - unless you can prove her position is based on monies from packrafters. 

Oct 7th - 19:31pm | Lee Dalton

Yes, Kurt, you really know better than trying to use the old "carrying water" bit.  Certainly you know it should have read, "Carrying pocketsful of money from packrafters businesses seeking access to rivers and streams." Shame upon you! '-}

Oct 7th - 10:45am | ecbuck

While I believe it is in Congress's perview to broadly define the role of the NPS including requesting studies, I am totally against the micro management that this bill mandates.  What is the purpose of a "study" if it is already determined that certain waters must be opened?  

Oct 7th - 09:08am | David Crowl

Sounds like the time tables are unfair to the NPS. Maybe it would be better to do one river at a time. And NPS could always add a huge fee for packrafting to deter if they are opposed.

Oct 7th - 08:31am | Lee Dalton

Missing from this report is a list of people or organizations that are pushing the Congresswoman to shove this bill through.  Are they a small group of individuals?  A large group of individuals?  Are they mainly outfitters who would be able to open new opportunities to make money using Yellowstone's rivers? 

Spritzing Of Bear Spray Drives Grizzly Off Glacier National Park Hiker

Oct 8th - 11:39am | Anonymous

I was hiking to iceberg lake in September and encountered this same bear. The Rangers had to set off flashbacks to chase her off because she was doing false changes on hikers. I'm glad they aren't going to punish her for being a good mother. Way way to many 60 year old plus hikers in the back country. If you need a break every 100 yards maybe you shouldn't hike 10 miles in the mountains.

Oct 6th - 19:57pm | Lee Dalton

Just back from a week in Yellowstone and Grand Teton.  In YELL, I happened upon a ranger demonstration of using an inert bear spray.  He explained exactly when and how to use it  and gave any interested visitors a chance to try it for themselves. 

Oct 6th - 15:26pm | Dave Smith

The incident discussed here is one reason  bogus "research" shows bear spray is more effective than a firearm. If the hiker had a gun, this would be a firearms failure. During 27% percent of the incidents in Efficacy of Firearms For Bear Deterrence in Alaska, people were injured before they could shoot.

Oct 6th - 14:46pm | Ray Bane

The use of pepper spray can have a potentially negative impact on bear/human encounters.  Obviously, a bear that charges a person is a prime candidate for spraying at close quarters.  However, automatically spraying a bear that you happen to encounter on a trail and which shows no aggressive behavior may do more harm than good.

Oct 6th - 13:54pm | Anonymous

If at first it doesn't succeed...

Op-Ed|Don't Let Solar Project Impact Mojave National Preserve

Oct 8th - 09:40am | Lee Dalton

It has been very difficult to find a map showing the location of this project.  But using descriptions in this and some other articles, I found that it is to the northwest of Mojave Preserve between the towns of Baker and Zzyzx.  While we certainly need to develop alternative energy sources, I hope we will always seek the best balance between energy needs and wise conservation of othe

Arizona Politicians Seek Bison Hunting In Grand Canyon National Park

Oct 8th - 09:21am | Lee Dalton

We humans seem to forget the old admonishment, "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature!"

Pedaling In The Parks: Coasting Through Badlands National Park

Oct 6th - 20:58pm | Jonathan Apple

Thanks for this. I've been searching for a solid ride through badlands. I'll take this route tomorrow, and let everyone know if I have similar experience.

Scofflaws Piloting Drones In The National Park System

Oct 6th - 20:08pm | Lee Dalton

"A true drone, one flown by remote camera, are currently illegal everywhere." Wrong. Here's a link to an FAA website about RC and drone aircraft limitations: And another interesting article:

Oct 6th - 16:56pm | Acadia on my mind

There was a police log item in this past week's issue of Mount Desert Islander, about Acadia National Park issuing summons to Mass. man for operating drone. No other details or explanation, just this paragraph:

Can The Tourism Industry Help Save Africa's Wild Elephants?

Oct 6th - 19:52pm | JeanBjerke

The plight of elephants and rhinos in Africa due to poaching, and Africa's wildlife in general due to an array of factors, is truly heartbreaking. Thank you for an excellent article. Prince William of the UK also recently published an excellent article in the London Financial Times on this topic.

Cedar Grove At Kings Canyon National Park Closed Indefinitely

Oct 6th - 13:18pm | Anonymous

For those who aren't familiar with Kings Canyon NP, Cedar Grove closes for the winter every year around this time. So unless the closure extends through next summer, this isn't anything unusual.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide

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