Recent comments

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   3 weeks 2 days ago

    Technically an RC airplane is a drone. A drone is an unmaned arial vehicle remotely piloted.

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   3 weeks 3 days ago

    One has to wonder however where the line is between RC Airplanes (commonly viewed as toys) and drones (apparently viewed with paranoia and suspicion)

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Zeb - I don't really like to pick and choose which sort of trash is OK to throw into a NPS hot spring.

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   3 weeks 3 days ago

    While I agree that flying a drone over a hot springs is none too smart, I sense a bit of exxageration with how a single drowned drone (repeat 20 times :)) would pose a threat, other than it's basically akin to trash dropped in there. It's just plastic metal and a few lithium ion batteries.

  • Reader Participation Day: How Would You Structure User Fees For The National Parks?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Smoky, you may not be billed directly for the bombs, but you are still being billed. You are being billed when you must pay for other things that lack money to keep them going.

    Like parks.

    And just a word of advice -- be very careful what you say about NSA. They're listening . . .

    Keep smiling.

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   3 weeks 3 days ago

    I say if you can afford these expensive frivilous toys, you should be able to afford to fund the park's extraordinary efforts to fix the damage you've done.

  • Reader Participation Day: How Would You Structure User Fees For The National Parks?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Lee,

    I absolutely agree with you on one thing. The wasteful military spending and endless foreign wars are a drain and we will today, in Tennessee anyway, re elect the same congressman and senators that voted to keep us there and complain about how everyone else's congressman and senator are the problem. Yes, I would much rather see money go to the NPS than a pet fighter jet project in Alabama that the military doesn't want in the first place or continual funding of the NSA so they can spy on American citizens and store their phone records in perpetuity.

    But I don't get directly billed every time they bomb a village in Afghanistan or a policeman throttles someone and I don't intend to accept it from the NPS.

  • Reader Participation Day: How Would You Structure User Fees For The National Parks?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    I like that suggestion on the tax form, David.

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Why do some people think the rules do not apply to them. How disrespectful can you be.

  • Reader Participation Day: How Would You Structure User Fees For The National Parks?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    I would love to see a box to check on my tax form that says " I would like to contribute a dollar to help the maintainance backlog of the NPS" right next to the one for helping pay for "Presidential elections" Aside from that I do not mind the fees because it seems small to me. In my view parks maintainance should be paid by taxes because we all own the parks and it is everyones responsibillity to take care of them. I guess use fees could cover park personel and things I impact while I am there.

  • Reader Participation Day: How Would You Structure User Fees For The National Parks?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Amen. The goal for food and lodging in the parks should be to make it as affordable for everyone as possible. Those who want luxury should be staying in gateway communities.

  • Reader Participation Day: How Would You Structure User Fees For The National Parks?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Since they "can't" [choke] charge at the Smokies, then they shouldn't be charging anywhere.

    Since that's never going to happen, the fee schedule should be consistent over the entire park system, no exceptions (well, maybe, dubiously, the sites on the National Mall), and the rates should be based on annual visitation. Period.

    I buy an annual parks pass every year the same way I buy AAA coverage [wry g].

  • Reader Participation Day: How Would You Structure User Fees For The National Parks?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    It's true that our parks are supposedly supported by our taxes. But what portion of our taxes actually reach the parks?

    Not much.

    If Congress would spend the money needed to properly maintain and operate the parks, fees would be unnecessary. But Congress doesn't.

    Just taking the dollars spent on one or two F-35s or a few cruise missiles would fund the parks very nicely.

    Priorities . . . . .

    Then there are those voters who cry loudly for gutting government spending who then turn around and scream if their own pets are left wanting.

    Priorities . . . .

    Any suggestions for solutions?

  • Reader Participation Day: How Would You Structure User Fees For The National Parks?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Thanks for your thoughtful post, Andrew!

    I'm pretty much in the 'No Fee' camp also, for several reasons.

    My understanding is that most of these fees can't be used for 'Operations', only "improvements" (actually development) that compound the maintenance backlog both by increasing inventory and by diverting staff from existing maintenance.

    The vast majority of my NPS maintenance supervisers didn't really "manage". Most spent much of their time trying to fill the eye of the manager above them & lusting after more of everything, and typically left the actual managing to subordinates like myself.

    It's also hard to support increasing NPS revenues when many park managers are extremely reluctant to share their fiscal details, even after formal FOIA requests.

    Finally, there are many of us like your daughter, who can barely afford to drive to the nearest National Park, let alone be nickel & dimed endlessly by an out of touch, never satisfied, top-heavy bureaucracy.

  • Reader Participation Day: How Would You Structure User Fees For The National Parks?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    First I would like to thank Kurt for publishing the articles he has on topics like this.

    The more I read on this article and comments the more I keep coming back to this point:

    What would the founders of our National Parks think of all this if they alive here today? I can't imagine that John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt and Horace Kephart (GSMNP) would have wanted a tier system of various fees to enjoy our National Treasures.

    I agree with posts like SmokiesBackpacker, hikerBA & Jim Casada, no fees. We already pay for our National Parks through our taxes. The NPS and Federal Government should be able to manage on the budgets they have from our taxes. If not, replace them with others who can. However by saying nothing on this thread is like saying I agree with any tiered fee structure, which I cannot do.

    How many of us like the various fees we now have to pay to fly on any airline today? Why would anyone endorse this same or similar structure on anyone whom wants to enjoy our National Treasures?

    Some have stated that the fees now are a bargain. Really? My oldest daughter is 18 years old, an adult. She makes $8.25/hr. How could she afford to pay entrance fees + tiered fees for activities? Are the National Parks only for citizens and people whom can afford to get in?

    Comparing our entrance fees to the National Parks to Disney and theme parks is ridiculous. Our National Parks should be for getting away from civilization and back to the basics. We do not need luxury in the woods. Have we forgotten where we came from in our Nation?

    Our National Parks are ours to cherish and enjoy and to preserve for future generations.

    Andrew Sisson

  • National Park Service Moves To Ban Public's Use Of Drones In The Parks   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Tahoma, the clip from KSL didn't include it, but after this piece aired, the news anchors were joking about needing anti-aircraft missiles to shoot them down.

    But I did think the young drone pilot's attitude was very good. He understood and wasn't angry. I think he realized it had been a thoughtless act and he'll maybe think twice even in other places.

  • Reader Participation Day: How Would You Structure User Fees For The National Parks?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Great Basin is no Yellowstone, correct. And that's why we enjoyed grandiose solitude in this wonderful park last year. And Baker is to GRBA what Cooke City is to YELL. Better compare West Yellowstone with Ely.

  • National Park Service Moves To Ban Public's Use Of Drones In The Parks   3 weeks 3 days ago

    I spoke to Al Nash at Yellowstone a few minutes ago about the Yellowstone incident. We'll have a story up in a bit.

  • National Park Service Moves To Ban Public's Use Of Drones In The Parks   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Where's one of those 'open-carry' folks when you you need them?

    http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/08/06/3312744/tourist-crashes-drone-i...

  • Reader Participation Day: How Would You Structure User Fees For The National Parks?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Was that your first visit to Great Basin, ec?

    By comparison to just a few years ago, Baker is booming today. As visitation to GRBA continues to grow, so will Baker.

    As for park fees -- let's remember that when compared with other venues, our parks are bargains with a big capital B. One day at Disneyworld will cost $100 per adult and $80 per kid. And that's before spending anything for souvenirs and $12 hamburgers. A family can visit a whole lot of national parks for what they'd spend in one day there.

  • National Park Service Moves To Ban Public's Use Of Drones In The Parks   3 weeks 3 days ago

    There was a very interesting piece on last night's KSL television news out of Salt Lake City regarding a drone at Rainbow Bridge.

    Listen to the soundtrack. I wasn't aware that those things were so loud.

    http://www.ksl.com/?sid=31035351&nid=148&title=drone-over-rainbow-bridge...

  • Photography In The National Parks: Avoid Those Bison (And Other Wildlife) Jams   3 weeks 3 days ago

    When John Townsley was superintendent of Yellowstone, he was on the way to an important meeting with a carload of bigwigs. They came across a bear or elk jam and one of the bigwigs suggested they push through it. Townsley just sat and waited. He told the impatient Important Man that most of these people have never seen anything like this and never will see it again. "Let's allow them to enjoy it," he said.

    There are times when some frustration bubbles up in me when I hit another jam. But then I remember how very fortunate I am that for me, a once in a lifetime experience has become commonplace.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Beachdumb,

    Don't believe SELC check the links provided. The spring shoulder season for some very specfic business might be off. I say might because some of the busness doing the complaining are avid ORV users themselves. I don't believe the fall season is at all. Actually I think the fall season is better because the few that didn't come in the spring for Red Drum fishing postponed their trip to the fall.

    Yes I can assure you I do live on HI, in Buxton, and have for probably longer than you have been vacationing here.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Maybe someone else can shed some light on economic analysis and what economic considerations are expected with respect to the Organic Act and NEPA when forming new rules. I'm under the impression that NEPA is the guiding instrument when management decisions are made concerning economic implications of new rules not the Organic Act. As far as CAHA was concerned the government's economic analysis didn't find any problems. I don't see anything written in the EL for CAHA where local economic interest supersedes what was intended for the management of CAHA.

    Beachdumb just making a claim that the local economy has suffered because of new management is not good enough even if you have operate a business near the Park you need some proof to back it up with.

    "With the exception of 2011, when Hurricane Irene cut off access to Hatteras Island for nearly two months, visitation to Cape Hatteras National Seashore has remained steady or increased for the past nine years, from a low of 2,125,005 (in 2006) and a high of 2,302,040 in 2012. In the first year of management under the Final Rule, Seashore visitation was the highest since 2003.

    Cape Hatteras National Seashore visitation

    2012 - 2,302,040

    2011 - 1,960,711 *

    2010 - 2,193,292

    2009 - 2,282,543

    2008 - 2,146,392

    2007 - 2,237,378

    2006 - 2,125,005

    2005 - 2,260,628

    *Hurricane Irene cut access for nearly two months(See “Annual Park Visitation” Report for CAHA at http://www.nature.nps.gov/stats/park.cfm)

    Dare County, NC, where the majority of the Seashore is located, reports that visitor occupancy tax receipts for each year under the court ordered ORV restrictions (2008 to 2012) exceeded receipts in 2007 and prior years, with 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012 setting successive records for all-time high receipts. Tourism revenue for Hyde County, NC (the Ocracoke Island portion of Cape Hatteras National Seashore) has held steady or increased since 2005, to a record high $31.69 million in 2011. The chart below shows tourism revenue data for Hyde and Dare Counties, both before the court ordered ORV restrictions went into effect in 2008 and afterwards.

    www.nccommerce.com/tourism/research/economic-impact/)

    (http://www.southernenvironment.org/uploads/pages/03-14-2013%20Testimony%20of%20Derb%20Carter)

    This analysis agrees with my own observations as a full time resident on Hatteras Island. Right now unless something catastrophic occurs with Oregon Inlet bridge or highway 12 I predict 2014 will be an excellent year for business and tourism, even with the disruption of the 4th of July weekend by Hurricane Arthur. It doesn't appear to be any problems with visitation or the economy: lots of busy restaurants, grocery stores, shops, no vacancy signs and larger than usual number of people in the NPS Oceanside Parking lots. I don't see the smoke the ORV orgs are telling everyone.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Nothing from the SELC is trustworthy. This group is very well known for cherry picking, half truths and misinterepreation. Ask any HI business how the shoulder season economy has been since 2003. Since you claim to live there, I'll wait for your answer.