Recent comments

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 1 day ago

    A banker would call geothermal development on a popular thermal feature progress and "balance", a conservationist would call it a travesty and destruction. And the best thing about "beliefs" is that it can be tested via the scientific method. And with all the scientific data accumulated at various thermal fields around the world, i'm pretty sure the EIA would be strongly against it in a National Park. On BLM scablands, well that's a different story.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 1 day ago

    There can be no discussion with purists, because anything short of absolute perfect purity is anathema and cannot be even discussed. BTW, I have no idea as to whether geothermal would be a good or bad idea for Yellowstone. I'm just amused by the blinders displayed here.

    Gary, enjoy your trip. Sounds like a blast.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 1 day ago

    Taking action based on a wild arsed guess

    And of course noone is calling for that. Try another strawman.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 1 day ago

    Taking action based on a wild arsed guess that harnessing geothermal in Yellowstone could be done in a leave-no-footprints manner is definitely advocating to allow the camel's nose to slip under the tent flap. Generally I appreciate a sense of balance in things, but advocating for 'balance' in this is to me symantically identical to advocating 'balance' in the evolution vs creationism discussion ----- i.e., has no scientific basis.

    Am I an "elitist" for wanting wilderness to be wilderness? You can call me that. You can call me orange, or a warthog with equal validity. The point is, I don't really care what you call me.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   1 week 1 day ago

    Tom, you are correct. If they can concoct data to justify sleeping on unimproved ground, then they could easily fabricate data to justify a loop fee in the Cove. But here is why, in my opinion, they dont. If they started charging folks to drive the loop, then Sevier County would be up in arms because all those tourists would have no reason to visit the park. Because that is the extent of their experience in the Smokies. Heaven forbid they ever leave their vehicles. Sevier county wants people driving into their restuaruants, hotels and go kart tracks and Cherokee wants folks visiting their casinos. A toll on the road would eliminate that commerce. A tax on backpackers is a foot in the door for a tax on trailhead parking, fly fishing and many other nickel and dime schemes. None of which will affect those loop clogging rednecks because they keep the Pigeon Forge buffets in business.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 1 day ago

    It's probably worth mentioning that Haynes has almost no chance of getting the Republican nomination. The incumbent governor is reasonably popular, and Haynes has to contend with a second challenger joining him to Mead's right. Worrying about any proposal from Haynes is only slightly more profitable intellectually than worrying about what I would do if I were elected governor of Wyoming. His chances are only marginaly better than mine.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   1 week 1 day ago

    A better fee idea would be charging folks who drive the Cades Cove loop (how about $4 per person, per loop!) I'd venture to say it gets the most visitation of any area in the park, and it's probably not even close. It also seems to require a lot of resources (rangers, etc) to open/close, patrol, break up bear-jams, maintain structures, etc. Finally I'd venture to say there is more pollution (auto emissions, trash, etc) generated from that area than any other area of the park. Let a loop fee pay for the upkeep and encourage carpooling, or gasp, walking the loop.

    If NPS can figure a way to charge people for sleeping in the backcountry, they can figure a way to charge for Cades Cove auto access.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   1 week 1 day ago

    The real travesty of this backpacking fee in the Smokies is the park has admitted that the fee money only covers a system to collect the fee! It doesn't help the park budget or other needs in any way. Truly a monumental waste to anyone with the least bit of common sense. I think what happens in this case will go a long way in setting the tone for the rest of the NPS system.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   1 week 1 day ago

    The reservation system is cumbersome when it does work properly. You need a printer, credit card and it really isn't operable on a phone with internet service. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. The lies that drove this fee are the biggest issue and why? To generate less than a couple hundred thousand in revenue? You want to know why Lamar alexander supports the fee? Because his friends are the beneficiaries of the political patronage of which the lawsuit speaks. Both the park and Lamar and the private resorts want folks out of the backcountry because they see people as the problem with the resource. Therefore they fabricated data to make it sound like a problem and successfully reduced visitation to the backcountry by %25. I've seen numbers that say up to thirty percent but the point is clear. Horses are the problem in the backcountry if folks are honest but the horse crowd is also the Lamar voting/Blackberry Farms crowd so instead of addressing something that really causes damage, we will just dispense with the meddlesome backpackers that actually can see the bs being spouted by Ditmanson and his cronies. Everyone except Clay Jordan that had something to do with this fee is gone. The lady who spearheaded the lies was promoted to a superintendency out West, Melissa Cobern. Ditmanson brought this scandal to town and quietly retired like the rest. It was his soul to the devil so he could live well. Charging an entrance fee is a whole other issue. I'd like to see Lamar try to get that on the books. He is vulnerable politically right now. The Southern Forest Watch has exposed him for the Smokies phony he really is.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 1 day ago

    Sure Lee, some might want that. Far more want amenities. What is the count of backcountry permits vs developed overnight stays in Yellowstone?

    Once again it is all about balance. Those of us that accept front country development aren't out to eliminate backcountry experiences.(The same can't be said for the purist like Gary) We just recognize that we need the parks to appeal to a broad range of potential visitiors not just the purists if we are to expect the American public to continue to support the parks concept. We can have our frontcountry development without destoying the backcountry experiences.

    I also believe there could be geothermal energy installations that can be implemented without negative impacts on the geothermal features of Yellowstone. Are we talking about a 10,000 megawatt electric facility - no. But small geothermal radiant systems could be a clean, unabtrusive way to leverage the area's energy. Again its an issue of balance and ALL things should be considered.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   1 week 1 day ago

    I backpacked in Cataloochee last fall before the shutdown. It was a last-minute decision, and I did not have access to make the reservation online. I made well over 20 calls trying to get the permit. One reservation number didn't give the option for GSMNP. No one there could tell me who to call. I left voicemails all over the place, no one called me back. I finally crossed paths with another backpacker who gave me a number to call. There was NO signage at Cataloochee about how to call to get a permit. (Yes, I had cell service in the area) When I finally got someone to make the reservation, it took in excess of 20 minutes - how that is a good use of the Ranger's time is beyond me.

    But, I wonder how charging an acess fee for vehicles would impact things - that requires manning the booths, administration, etc. In the Spring and Fall, it certainly would generate a lot of revenue...

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 1 day ago

    D'ya think there just might be a chance that some of those "urbanites," seeking some quiet solitude in a place of refuge from the travails of urban life might actually WANT some places without development?

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 1 day ago

    Well, this elitist is planning on spending a few nights in Yellowstone's backcountry in the coming weeks. 50.00 to enter a world not found in most of the rest of the country because it's already been developed, shot out, or cut down. So, cry me a river Zebby. I'm going to enjoy it while I can, before people like you and EC take it from us. Maybe when I stop by a geothermal feature in the backcountry, i'll take a picture of it, so kids in the future will know what they lost in the case Haynes becomes Govna' and decides to plop a geothermal plant on it. I've always wondered what it would be like to see all those herds of buffalo on the Great Plains, other than old dated pictures of piled up skulls. But, hey..

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 1 day ago

    Gary wants everyone to enjoy wilderness the way he does. Because only his way is pure enough... Sounds a tad bit elitist to me.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 1 day ago

    I disagree with you. As urbanites get further cluttered into a noisy world, they seek out the slower pace that national parks offer. That's why millions go into them every year. While there are about 10 more places in this country i'd like to see upgraded into National Parks, and about 30 places i'd like to see upgraded to official wilderness, there is a lifetime of exploring already available to us, and the key is keeping them that way. Many already travel into these places, by the millions. There are many organization already around the planet, attempting to maintain these places, and keep them in tact.

    And no, it can't. Energy development always comes with environmental costs, regardless of what some misguided cheerleaders will say. Some forms of energy development are less intrusive, but all have costs. I know for a fact, that we need energy development world wide. So, i'm not clueless about this subject, or naive to think that we need to sacrifice parts of the planet to maintain a certain standard of living world wide. Solar thermal while less damaging than coal plants comes with costs to wildlife, and still requires land use and a lot of chemicals, and toxic materials that go into the production of the facitlies. Wind farms also affect wildlife, and also require materials in production (which also create toxins to the envrionment). Geothermal also has negative reprucussions to the surrounding lands in which they are built. So, plopping one down on popular thermal features in Yellowstone will have a negative effect on the surrouding thermal areas (which Lee and Kurt have already brought to light in various articles). My suggestion is before you go attempting to debate a subject you know nothing about, get some facts first. Yellowstone should be kept as wilderness. That's my take and my stance. It's a simple stance, actually. Outside of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, it's open to debate, and 9 times out of 10 I think geothermal is better than ripping mountains down for coal, so i'd be in favor of those plants. I also think Hydro is important, and don't want to see the dams removed on the columbia, because the alternative is not prettier. So, the salmon in large portions of the columbia has been sacrificed for energy needs. Just like major mountain tops in West Virginia... While, many mountains in WV are being sacrificed for coal, a good alternative to that is getting the High Allegheny protected as a National Park or more wilderness (which i'm for). Not everything needs to be an all systems go.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 1 day ago

    Gary, talk about reading comprehension. I didn't say wilderness couldn't be done. My point is that the more you limit access to the parks or disuade the urbanites you seem to dislike, the less support there will be for the parks. In the long run, that means you will have more and more people that don't appreciate them and won't be willing to set aside (or maintain) worthy lands as parks. If you don't understand that, you are living in lala land.

    As to Geothermal, you yourself think geothermal energy development is "great" and has potential elsewhere. Can it been done in a more pristine manner than other alternatives in Yellowstone? We will never know if it is never considered. Maybe it can't, but I would like it looked at rather than dismissed at hand.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 1 day ago

    Then why should they give a hoot about the parks? You need to get outside your lala land.

    Actually, i'm not living in lala land. The following National Parks have the wilderness act applied to them, and have VERY limited development compared to Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon - Rocky Mountain National Park, Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, Saguaro, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great Sand Dunes, Congaree, and Joshua Tree. You won't find restaurants, heated lodges with showers, etc in those places. You can find those accomodations outside of the park boundaries. The parks in Alaska and Hawaii are also ran this way. Many of these (other than Rocky Mountain and Olympic) were established as a National Park after the 60s. I think Zion is the model for the future. The Smokies (outside of 7 cabins that comprise LeConte lodge which was grandfathered in), has built a tourist economy outside of the park, and has done a good job keeping the hotels, cabins, and even food concessions outside of the park. It's also the largest engine in the National Park system and generates close to a billion dollars a year for these local communities. So, lala land, or what I see everyday?

    In some instances in the past perhaps. But to totally dismiss its potential now and in the future is foolish, especially relative to the alternatives.

    As for your complete lack of scientific knowledge on a topic like geothermal energy development, which I am very much knowledgable in, since I spent a portion of my career associated with this field, you sound like a typical banker that hasn't a clue on the science. Maybe in the future they can use fairy farts and unicorn horn dust for the chemical injection wells. So, to handle what you and loyal lapdog tea party politicians want, because you think it's not going to have any effect on the land, they are also going to need to pump a lot of water out of adjacent streams to power the turbines. They will have to frack into the crust. Then create a building over the well to run the turbines. So, not only will they be using elements like mercury for the heat injection wells, but they also will need thousands of gallons of water per megawatt hour. Yes, you should consider courses in reading comprehension. While I do think geothermal energy development is great, and has a lot of potential in Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and California (basically spots outside of National Parks), I think Yellowstone should be kept pristine... I also know a few geothermal engineers that would agree with me. Boy, is there coal fields in Yellowstone too?

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 1 day ago

    ec, I just heard that Dr. Haynes wants to hire you as his spokesman. He says he needs people with highly creative imaginations to help him find a way to make his ideas at least somewhat believable. He might even make you his lieutenant governor.

  • Yosemite National Park Concession Prospectus Includes Significant Lodging Changes   1 week 2 days ago

    So much for ordinary working folks to be able to afford to stay anywhere in Yosemite. Not that we haven't been priced out long since.

    And they ought to just spend the time and money cleaning up what they've got. God knows they haven't been doing that for years.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 2 days ago

    but they should be done outside of the National Parks, not inside of them.

    Then why should they give a hoot about the parks? You need to get outside your lala land.

    and yes, it scars the land, and alters the area.

    In some instances in the past perhaps. But to totally dismiss its potential now and in the future is foolish, especially relative to the alternatives.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 2 days ago

    Gary, I am inclined to agree with you on this. If you have not read "Soul of Yosemite" by Barbara Moritsch, I think you would find it quite worthwhile. Moritsch lays out the issues quite eloquently weather one is in agreement on all her points or not.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 2 days ago

    we really don't know what Haynes is for when it comes to Yellowstone.

    Yes we do, he stated it quite clearly. You can choose not to believe him, but I have no reason to do so.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 2 days ago

    There are some geothermal projects that have been highly successful.

    And you have shown nothing that indicates that could not be the case at Yellowstone. The fact there may have been unfavorable results in some instances certainly isn't proof they it can never be successful. And, despite your claim saying "experts" have totally dismissed a successful process in Yellowstone, you haven't provided a single "expert" that has said that.

    You go for your dollars.

    I'll go for things that are far, far more valuable. But you wouldn't understand that . . . .

    Gee, my local schools failed me in understanding that statement. Perhaps you could explain where my "dollars" come in to play anywhere here.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 2 days ago

    There you go again. Trying to put words into other people's mouths.

    There are some geothermal projects that have been highly successful. Others could be. Some, however, have had terribly destructive results. Have you ever heard of Rotarura?

    Didn't think so.

    http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/geothermal-energy/page-5

    Risking a similar fate for Yellowstone would be insane. And I'd oppose it no matter who proposed it.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=950&dat=19790627&id=UdBaAAAAIBAJ&s...

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&ved=0CEIQ...

    http://blogs.idahostatesman.com/protecting-island-park-caldera-protects-...

    You certainly didn't look very carefully when you Googled. Articles like the ones above jam the internet. Is it lack of reading comprehension or simply carefully selective reading at work there?

    I do have to give you credit for one thing, though. You deserve a trophy for stubborn persistence. Kinda reminds me of my two year old grand daughter.

    As for me, I'm not really an environmentalist. I'm a conservationist. WISE use of resources is what I push for. But I guess that loving the little ball of water and rock and air we call home and wanting to keep it in good shape for the future is somehow foolish if I don't seek to grab every dollar from it that I can.

    You go for your dollars.

    I'll go for things that are far, far more valuable. But you wouldn't understand that . . . .

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 2 days ago

    EC, we really don't know what Haynes is for when it comes to Yellowstone. First he says he would open all federal lands in Wyoming to drilling, grazing, multiple-use, whatever, then he says "I just wanted to catch your attention so I could question" a long-decided plan to upgrade (not build completely new) facilities that have been in the park since the 1950s.

    And, as I pointed out earlier and which you must have missed, the latest position he takes on energy development in Yellowstone is opposing "traditional" drilling. How does he define traditional? Does horizontal drilling meet his definition?

    Of course, that would likely be moot due to the apparent lack of recoverable reserves in the park.

    And now he brings up tapping the park's geothermal reserves in a way that will both "heat and power all facilities in the park" somehow less intrusively than upgrading those 1950s-era facilities.

    There have in the past been proposals to use geothermal energy nearby the park to power buildings -- it was from the Church Universal and Triumphant that no longer exists just to the north of Mammoth -- and there were serious concerns that drilling for geothermal would disrupt Yellowstone's plumbing.

    Some past topics on tapping geothermal in/around Yellowstone:

    * http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2014/04/human-footprint-strangling-old-faithful-yellowstone-national-park24940

    * http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2007/08/are-yellowstones-geysers-risk-blms-leasing-proposals

    * http://www.nytimes.com/1992/07/17/us/feud-over-geothermal-water-rights-pits-yellowstone-against-a-church.html

    * http://pubs.usgs.gov/wri/1991/4052/report.pdf

    Now, of course, Dr. Haynes maintains surface water could be used to "heat and power all facilities in the park." I'd like to see a proposal for that.