Recent comments

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Find the word 'back country' in any of my commentary in this thread.

    When I talk about going for a hike it isn't around the parking lot.

    My point above, which you obliterated in the way of making your point, was that people generally arrive at a park already having a water bottle or three in the car.

    Then why would they need to buy bottled water? The fact there is a market for bottled water in the park proves your thesis wrong.

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   3 weeks 5 days ago

    "And you are right Rick, no family ever goes into the backcountry unprepaired. LOL"

    There ya go again, Wall Street, putting your spin on words I didn't say. Find the word 'back country' in any of my commentary in this thread. We carry water bottles of some sort driving across country - don't you? Hell, we carry water bottles in the car just driving around town. My point above, which you obliterated in the way of making your point, was that people generally arrive at a park already having a water bottle or three in the car. I tend to make gift shops happy because I always like buying new ones.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   3 weeks 5 days ago

    No none has mentioned the fact that both Lakes Powell and Mead evaporate enough water every day of the summer to supply the needs of Las Vegas or Los Angeles for a day. In addition, the evaporation leaves behind water so saline by the time it reaches Yuma that farmers find their fields being slowly destroyed by saltation.

    What was that slogan that was so popular a few years ago? Something about It Ain't Nice To Fool Mother Nature.

    Yup. But we keep trying.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   3 weeks 6 days ago

    Michael,

    At first I thought your objection was to damming in general. As our discussion has progressed I have realized your issue is more with the Glen Canyon Dam in particular. As I understand, you deem it redundant since Mead will never be filled.

    I will admit I don't know enough about either of those bodies of water or their watersheds to decide if that is true or not. However, given how wrong climate predictions have been (remember the ice age predictions of the 70s) I don't know that I am ready to declare we will never need/want, Glen Canyon Dam in the future. And certainly not based on a supposed 14 year drought. I must say where I live in the Colorado River headwaters, the precipitation has been pretty darn good the last few years.

    I would also note, I know far more people that like Lake Powell as a lake than want it to be returned to a dry canyon.

    But, keep the data coming, I am always willing to learn.

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   3 weeks 6 days ago

    harping on a merchant who decides for himself what to sell or not sell.

    If it were the merchant making the decision - the NPS would not have to "ban" them and I wouldn't have any problem at all - though I would think the merchant foolish.

    And you are right Rick, no family ever goes into the backcountry unprepaired. LOL

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   3 weeks 6 days ago

    EC,

    Even if that study's conclusion is true, how would blowing up the dam fix the problem?

    I just discussed that question in my response to Alfred Runte's comments on our dialog. However, just to be clear, I am not calling for blowing up Glen Canyon Dam. Perhaps the dam should be torn down some day, but that would have major environmental, cost, and logistical ramifications that would need to be analyzed carefully. I do support a dramatic change in its operations, including a partial or complete bypassing of the dam.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   3 weeks 6 days ago

    Alfred,

    You are certainly right that drought is nothing new to the Colorado Basin. However, I disagree that climate change is just being introduced to "make the sale." There is a rapidly growing body of scientific evidence that the Colorado River deficit caused by rising water demand and what is probably the worst drought in the last 1,000 years is being greatly exacerbated by the impacts of climate change — and that these impacts are going to get a lot worse in coming years. Because of climate change, we potentially face droughts that are far worse than any experienced in the human history of the Colorado Basin.

    My main point has been that this situation renders Glen Canyon Dam unnecessary and we should take advantage of this second chance to restore Glen Canyon — one of the most biodiverse and culturally significant portions of the Colorado River. Of course, developing mega-solar energy facilities in inappropriate places is not acceptable and I join you in strongly opposing them. But those projects can happen with or without the dam. We should oppose them for what they are, whether or not the dam is producing hydropower.

    Because of declining river flows, both Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams are already producing at least one-third less electricity than their capacity. Glen Canyon Dam represents a tiny portion of the western power grid and that number continues to decline. In contrast, Hoover Dam has a significantly greater generating capacity, so just from a hydropwer standpoint, it makes more sense to keep Lake Mead full instead of Lake Powell. That is aside from the huge water savings that would result from storing water in Mead instead of Powell.

    Morover, the operation of Glen Canyon Dam continues to degrade the Grand Canyon ecosystem downstream. No viable option has been proposed that would solve this problem as long as the dam continues to operate as it does. If for no other reason, everyone who cares about Grand Canyon should support the goal of partly or completely bypassing Glen Canyon Dam — or tearing it down if need be —to protect and restore the Grand Canyon ecosystem.

    So I totally agree with your condemnation of the foolishness of trying to continue water business as usual in a desert. But the growing water supply-demand imbalance is an opportunity to save and recover some of the extraordindary natural places that have been damaged by the unbridled quest for Colorado River water. I contend that we need to take advantage of that opportunity.

    Best,

    Michael

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   3 weeks 6 days ago

    I previously asked you for any reputable studies that disagree with the basic trends projected in the peer-reviewed paper published in 2008 by scientists at Scripps Institute of Oceanography,

    I do not and have not looked for any. One study hardly reflects the conclusion of the entire industry. In 2021 we will know if they were right. As Beach noted earlier, there have been many other chicken little studies about our climate and most have been wrong.

    Even if that study's conclusion is true, how would blowing up the dam fix the problem?

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   3 weeks 6 days ago

    Right - pay $80 or die. What a red herring. Going to Mariners games at Safeco presented a green challenge. They did not allow hard sided refillable bottles [dangerous projectiles when thrown at an umpire, I guess] and the only water solution allowed was to bring in an empty 'disposable' bottle, fill it on the inside. Over grumbling we would buy one bottle each at the start of the season and use it for the entire season. It was a compromise that worked.

    I don't see the disposable water sales ban in the parks as being burdensome, as there are so many solutions. Buy a Traveler water bottle, or one of scadzillions at gift shops nationwide, and use it forever. I have refillable water bottles from many parks, museums, Pride parades, and every other which thing. That mythical family of four will really not have any problems getting their hydration. Their life is ongoing, and they can certainly use a solution that they had in place prior to arriving at a park. Surely they had water needs on the drive across country to get to the park.

    It is sort of ironic to see advocates for the free market harping on a merchant who decides for himself what to sell or not sell.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   3 weeks 6 days ago

    EC,

    You ask,

    Can you show me the study where the body of hydrologists 20 or more years ago predicted the current western drought?

    I previously asked you for any reputable studies that disagree with the basic trends projected in the peer-reviewed paper published in 2008 by scientists at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, which predicted that Lake Mead could go dry by 2021, if existing trends continue; the 2013 Colorado River Supply and Demand Study, which found that there is already a significant water deficit, and that it is likely to rise to 3.2 million acre-feet by 2060; or numerous other studies that have come to consistent conclusions. You still have not answered my question.

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   3 weeks 6 days ago

    Just wait until the Medical Marijuana folks "discover" the national parks.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   3 weeks 6 days ago

    Okay, good people. Let's get back to basics. Whether or not the current drought is being exaccerbated by climate change, a prolonged drought in the Colorado Basin is not unusual. Now 41 years ago, the PBS film "Where Did the Colorado Go?" (NOVA) was predicting the crisis we have today. It's even on You Tube, I believe. I used the film every year in my American Environmental History class as my introduction to the big-dam era. So, what's new about today's debate? Nothing. If you build in a desert, you had better get used to drought. Or is there something about the term "desert" you don't happen to understand?

    But no, we were smarter than Mother Nature and started building dams. And now those dams are drying up. Oops! Should we blame our own stupidity? Of course not. Because now we can scream climate change! The subliminal in play is what? That now we must remake the earth again. If the dams didn't work, perhaps 100 desalination plants will work. We get to "tinker" with the West all over again.

    Of course, our "base line" data needs a comfortable floor, and so we make it 1,000 years. I have not watched the film since the 1980s, but I believe the data goes back much farther than that. I recall the film talking about 30-, 50-, and 100-year drought cycles, based on the tree rings of the Bristlecone pine. The point is: That "desert" did not form overnight, and in earth time, 1,000 years is the blink of an eye.

    Again, I fear that the introduction of climate change is to "make the sale," now to industrialize the West to death. Without climate change, what would the Wizard have to sell us? Dorothy, you should not be here, but now that you are, click your heels together and repeat after me: "There is no place like my home in the desert! There is no place like my home in the desert!" Good, Dorothy, now go to Washington, D.C., and ask for $100 billion to save the desert from climate change. And don't forget to share with the Wizard!

    I am all for tearing down Glen Canyon Dam, but then what? How will that solve the problem, either? Certainly, if I must trade Glen Canyon Dam for what the Interior and Energy Departments now plan for the desert in its place, I'll stick with the dam and take my chances. Perhaps it will snow, and perhaps it won't, but at least I won't be denying it is a desert. It's the denial, good people, not climate change, and yes, we started denying it the moment we read the Bible and determined to make our desert bloom like the rose.

  • Traveler's View: Economic Engines Are Nice, But Let's Not Overlook The True Value Of National Parks   3 weeks 6 days ago

    The news about national parks and their economic benefits is getting big press here in Utah. At least two TV channels have featured it on their nightly news and both big newspapers have run two articles each.

    But the best was the second one run by Deseret News. It's headline said,

    Take a look at the views that made Utah top 10 for national park visitor spending

    "http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865627192/Utah-in-top-10-for-visitor-spending-at-national-parks.html

    It actually mentioned something else that's far more important than money.

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   3 weeks 6 days ago

    Hey, that's a great idea! A $5 deposit per bottle should work very well. Outstanding idea.

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   3 weeks 6 days ago

    Mike, never said it wasn't within its rights. Again what is legal is not always the right thing to do.

    The question is whether the ban is the most, or even an, effective solution to the problem. I submit a deposit fee would be as or more effective. The fee would encourage people to bring the bottles back and would cover the expense of cleanup for those that didn't. It could even help with cleanup of bottles that weren't purchased in the Park. Meanwhile there would be no inconvenience to the public.

    I am just waiting for the family of four that comes to the park expecting to buy bottled water for their hike and can't. Unwilling to buy $80 worth of water bottles, they head out unprepared and suffer (die from?) dehydration. Such is the potential outcome of a symbolic gesture that will have no real impact on world or Park waste.

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   3 weeks 6 days ago

    The Park Service is responsible for waste disposal, recycling, and trash pick-up in the National Parks. If plastic water bottles are too large a contributor to any of those, and NPS provides alternatives in the form of reuseable bottles, drinking fountains, and/or filling stations (which it seems to have done in most places), it is well within in its rights to ban the sale of water bottles.

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   3 weeks 6 days ago

    OK Lee and EC, please take your debate off-line to email or perhaps the telephone.

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   3 weeks 6 days ago

    How about asking you to present some solid proof of the assertions you've made here

    The Highway Loss Data Institute info isn't "proof"? The fact that no insurance company has lowered rates after seatbelt laws were instituted isn't "proof'?

    but it could ....... that might

    "could", "might" get people to change behavior. Beyond the nebulus "could" or "might", why is it you want to change other peoples behavior? Why can't you let them live their lives. You and Owen who wants to ban smoking. I don't smoke and think the practice is unhealthy and disgusting. Nevertheless, I have no desire to prevent someone else that wants to smoke from doing so.

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   3 weeks 6 days ago

    There are many factors playing into insurance rates. Primary ones are increased costs of health care and fancier cars that require more expensive repairs. However, the fact remains that states without mandatory safety belt or motorcycle helmet laws do have higher rates. It's certainly not attacking anything to point out that "facts" presented by dubious sources may not be valid. How about asking you to present some solid proof of the assertions you've made here? You frequently ask others for "proof" but never seem to provide any of your own that can stand up to scrutiny.

    And yes, perhaps banning sales of water bottles in national parks will not have an immediate impact on world consumption of plastic, but it could and would provide an educational opportunity that might cause a few people to stop and think. They just might change some behavior. If enough people do that, then there will be some meaningful impacts.

    Refusing to understand things like that is willful myopia.

    Wise stewardship of our planet has to start somewhere. The war on disposable plastic water bottles is one front in a much larger battle.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   3 weeks 6 days ago

    Yes Michael, as the report says, precipitation comes throughout the year.

    The last 15 years is just the real-life confirmation of what hydrologists have been projecting for years.

    Can you show me the study where the body of hydrologists 20 or more years ago predicted the current western drought?

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   3 weeks 6 days ago

    Lee, I know it is a favorite tactic of yours to attack the source when the facts turn against you but the reality is that insurance rates didn't go down with mandatory seatbelts and you can't provide any evience that banning the sale of water bottles in the National Parks will have any meaningful impact on the worlds consumption of plastic or would be any more effective in reducing waste in the park than a bottle deposit.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   3 weeks 6 days ago

    EC,

    You wrote that the water is primarily from winter snows. The report clearly states that the water contributrion is equivalent through the four seasons. That is important as the non-winter precipitation isn't held for any considerable period, it just flows. Without resevoirs it flows on by.

    Perhaps you didn't read the USGS web page that you cited closely enough. Here is what it says (emphasis added):

    In the headwaters, precipitation generally is evenly distributed across the four seasons, accumulating mostly in snowpacks. Winter and spring frontal systems originating in the North Pacific Ocean, provide the largest and most important source of moisture. These large-scale systems tend to carry moisture at higher levels in the atmosphere, with orographic effects of the mountainous West causing an increase in precipitation with elevation. Cold frontal systems produce substantial amounts of snow above about 5,000 feet and rainfall at lower elevations in the Rocky, Uinta, and Wind River Mountains, which constitute the headwaters of the Colorado River and its principal tributary, the Green River. These storms build snowpacks that melt in the late spring, providing runoff to the Colorado River. Warm winter storms, which may tap moisture from the tropical Pacific Ocean, may produce rainfall on snowpacks, resulting in high runoff and floods on major rivers.

    Or, if there is still any doubt,

    Snowpack accounts for 50 to 80 percent of Colorado's average annual water supply, says Colorado Snow Survey Supervisor Brian Domonkos, with USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).

    Your other question is totally spurious.

    You want to base our water policy based on 14 years?

    Seriously? I suggest that you read the studies that I cited, which draw on historic data as well as tree-ring data going back more than 1,000 years. The last 15 years is just the real-life confirmation of what hydrologists have been projecting for years. I do not know of any other reputable studies that disagree with the basic trends projected in these studies.

    If you have anything factual information that contradicts these projections, which reflect overwhelming scientific consensus on this issue, by all means share it with us.

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   3 weeks 6 days ago

    People who are capable of actual thought don't post links to propaganda from special interest groups.

    Now it's time to let the jury of fellow readers make their own decisions on whose points here are most valid.

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   3 weeks 6 days ago

    I'd be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to remind folks that we still have a few Traveler water bottles on hand! Order your's today!

    http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2014/07/rehydrate-your-hike-nationa...

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   3 weeks 6 days ago

    The argument that their "freedom" was actually costing the rest of us money in increased auto insurance rates fell on deaf ears and dumb minds.

    A prime example of the pitfalls of running other peoples lives to save the world. The fact is that insurance rates have risen dramatically since mandatory restraints were put in place. The restrictions did not have the effect you expected or desired.

    'Fast-forward to 1996 and we find 49 states with seatbelt laws, 10 of them backed up by primary enforcement (i.e. you can be stopped and ticketed for not wearing a seat belt). Air bags are the norm and multiplying like rabbits. The same public that has seen its auto insurance and medical insurance premiums double and quadruple since these safety mandates were initiated has been convinced that these devices reduce their insurance premiums."

    http://www.motorists.org/seat-belt-laws/onslaught

    "As for the promise that seat-belt laws would reduce auto insurance rates, there is no record of any insurance company ever reducing its rates because a seat-belt law was passed. A study released in August 1988 by the Highway Loss Data Institute compared auto-accident injury claims before and after the enactment of seat-belt laws in eight states and could find no clear-cut evidence that belt-use laws reduced the number of injuries. “These results are disappointing,” the report added.7"

    http://fee.org/freeman/detail/the-fraud-of-seat-belt-laws