Recent comments

  • Natural Bridges National Monument Poised To More Than Double Entrance Fee   2 weeks 2 days ago

    entrance gate, visitor center... I stopped and paid. And talked with the only other person I saw the entire time there. We drove the loop (and saw no one). We hiked (and saw no one). I greatly enjoyed it and have planned a return trip.

    I suspect many people passing through the park are on the "Grand Loop" and are checking off another box on their list. And I suspect most, as such, have a national parks pass.

    I'm not sure how less visitation is a sacrifice. Less people means less wear and tear. About 100,000 people per year visit and, since it isn't really close to anything or on the way to anywhere, I'm pretty sure the visits are intentional (i.e. - one is less likely to turn around and leave after driving all the way there). But what if they aren't? What if visitation drops by 20% by 50%? What changes? Nothing, most likely. The lady all alone at the visitor center will still be alone. The bridges will continue to defy gravity, at least for a time until they don't. The federal government will continue to protect it for future generations.

    I'm sure visitation would increase somewhat with a National Park designation. But what would the area gain with visitation?

  • Concerns, Opposition Voiced To Proposed Entrance Fee Increases At National Parks   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Okay. Don't raise the fees. Then operate the parks with only the money available. Lay off personnel. Don't maintain facilities or roads. No snow plowing or shoveling in winter. No visitor services. No search and rescue. Close the campgrounds. Let trails go to pot.

    Won't be long before there will be a different tune being howled.

  • Concerns, Opposition Voiced To Proposed Entrance Fee Increases At National Parks   2 weeks 2 days ago

    As they should. About the only place you find staunch defense of double taxation for the use of public lands is on this forum by folks associated with the NPS.

  • Possible Congressional Battle Looming Over Parks Legislation Attached To Defense Authorization Bill   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Agree, Lee. I realize Congress is in a rush to start yet another long holiday break, but I've never been in favor of lumping totally unrelated measures together. Far too often, that's a strategy used to push through some items that might not pass muster if voted on independently; attaching the "guns in parks" bill to a credit card reform bill several years ago is a good example.

    One has to wonder how much time for committee review and hearings has been given to the various park-related items in this measure.

  • Natural Bridges National Monument Poised To More Than Double Entrance Fee   2 weeks 2 days ago

    The NPS's across-the-board fee increases are going to have the effect of sacrificing small but wonderful places like Natural Bridges in order to maximize revenue from the cash cows like Grand Canyon.

    The funny thing is that it isn't accross the board since certain small park superintendents (like CHIR and ELMO and I'm sure there are others) have figured it out and have eliminated fees altogether so they don't get sacraficed. Visitation to these small parks has remained static or declined for years now, I can't imagine how a superintendent thinks that doubling an entrance fee would not exacerbate this apparent lack of interest.

  • Worth Fighting For   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Accountability has gone out the window. Character in those that are suppose to serve the public's interest seems to be on the wane, in all sectors. Just give it up and be accountable. Much less of a burden. Spin justice is right. Seems simple.

  • Natural Bridges National Monument Poised To More Than Double Entrance Fee   2 weeks 2 days ago
    The only other person we saw while there was the poor lady at the entrance gate.

    Interesting since there is no entrance gate at Natural Bridges. Traffic is routed through the Visitor Center parking lot, and you're supposed to park and go inside and pay your fee there. Past that point you're on the honor system, subject I suppose to spot checks by Law Enforcement. Being very familiar with that unit, I would have to say that Natural Bridges is a drive-through park, expendible on most peoples' itineraries. There are lots of beautiful places in the vicinity that you can drive through without any fee. My guess is that once this is implemented, there will be a lot more u-turns at the boundary sign. Too bad. It's an interesting place, well worth preserving, but doesn't rise to the Canyonlands/Arches/Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon/Lake Powell level. The NPS's across-the-board fee increases are going to have the effect of sacrificing small but wonderful places like Natural Bridges in order to maximize revenue from the cash cows like Grand Canyon.

  • Worth Fighting For   2 weeks 2 days ago

    I find it very interesting to come on this site and find so many issues with Kevin Brandt. He is a highly incompetent weasel and I have the other side of his dirt regarding the Dan Snyder tree cutting scandal. He seized my property and everything I owned after putting nearly $200k into a historic property and provided fraudulent paperwork to the Federal Courts in an effort to conceal his fraud...The courts ultimately relied on his fraudulent document and ruled in his favor as he had seized all of my computers and paperwork...and it all just disappeared. Erased my life existence and then failed to produce the documents during discovery process.

    I filed for FOIA and they subsequently sent me a bill for $148,189 (cost of locating and producing my documents they seized from my home) and gave me 20 days to pay or my FOIA request would be, and ultimately was dismissed. Book will be released in coming months called Spin Justice... and tells the whole story and how dirty this piece of crap really is....

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Ohh those days are coming closer and closer, Lee. I saw it in the Wood River Valley of Idaho when I lived there. People just sucked up ground water like it was unlimited and dosed it on kentucky blue grass which was not even close to being native to the great basin desert. Just last year, people's wells started going dry from the "unlimited abundance" that they thought they had under them. And that is in "underpopulated" part of the lower 48 that has suffered through a 5 year drought cycle that has not been very pretty. It's not going to be fun during the next few decades watching the desert regions implode (the new rust belt), while a good portion of the US population sits next to depleting water sources. In my opinion, it's already not very pretty. The money people are going to save on "cheap gas" because of the fracking wars will instead be spent on increasing food prices due to the drought having its way on vast regions of this country. And as they deplete the Ogallala aquifer to fuel the breadbasket, it's only going to hit a tipping point. Fortunately, urban gardens and farming in old industrial warehouses is becoming a booming cottage industry in places like Japan and old industrial rust belt areas, so not all is lost. And maybe some will realize that water is more precious than oil. Eventually, more will figure that out when their faucets do go dry.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Gary, the really frightening thing about it all is that water woes are not unique to California. Here in Utah, water is vastly overexpended. Las Vegas is still trying to pirate ground water from Snake Valley to slake its ever growing thirst and waste. But as long as most Americans are still able to have water coming out of their faucets when they want it, nothing will change.

    When the water no longer flows, it will be much too late.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Its pretty evident that a warming climate is vastly affecting the central valley of California. It's not a stretch that 20 years from now people will be saying "remember when the Central Valley was one of the most productive food production regions in the country". The way it's going, it will be a desert. They are depleting the ground water at a rate that is unsustainable, and southern California's population is not sustianable, and will collapse under a long term drought. I wouldn't doubt we see a mass migration out of LA in the coming decades. People cheer 3 inches of rain and think the problem is solved, but that's not nearly going to recover the demands placed on the water resources. This problem just doesn't stop and end in California. Same thing has been happening in most of the interior west, in Texas, and many other areas of this country.

    And I don't take this site that seriously. It's just mere entertainment. The battles of the free Earth are not going to be won in the discussion forums of NPT. It seems this site is a battle between a lot of people that don't like the NPS because they were once slighted by an action around their "local park", and a lot of retired personnel that once worked in the system decades ago. I can't speak for everyone, but i've already long forgotten about the original article and whatever ECbucks stance was.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Hi Owen, Yes, I was on the seasonal staff in Valley District from 1980 through 1983. A very memorable time indeed. When the concessionaire asked that I be--how should I put it?--"retrained," I began my research on YOSEMITE: THE EMBATTLED WILDERNESS. I am slowly revising it now. Little has changed, and then again everything has changed, led by academic attacks on wilderness. It just wasn't like that in the 1980s when the history of the achievement seemed secure.

    Meanwhile, all of us who were privileged to be a part of those "days" have much to be thankful for. To be sure, this debate reminds me of what Environmental Studies used to be like, again, when our best idea needed no apologies. At least on that point we all still agree.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Well, Owen, congratulations on that PhD. We've exchanged some communications, but I wasn't aware of that. You and Ron are two of several folks I remember from Yosemite for whom I've always had very high regard.

    Keep smiling and have a wonderful Christmas!

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Hi Lee Dalton, yes you and I worked together in Yosemite in 1969 and perhaps early 1970. I never did obtain that elusive NPS permanent position, so I went on and got a Ph. D. instead. However, I really enjoyed my work Yosemite as a park ranger-naturalist, and it was a pleasure this time to collaborate with my former Yosemite colleagues, Dr. John Lemons, Lyndel Meikle, and Ron Mackie, some 43 years later, to produce this special article for NPT. Dr. Alfred Runte is also a Yosemite NPS alumnus, but I believe he worked in the park some years, if not a decade or so, after the rest of us had left (except for Ron Mackie of course).

  • Natural Bridges National Monument Poised To More Than Double Entrance Fee   2 weeks 2 days ago

    SmokiesBackpacker - Given the negative tone of many of your previous comments on this site, your earlier post on this story came across to me as a sarcastic comment rather than an honest question. If I misinterpreted your intentions, I apologize.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   2 weeks 2 days ago

    My thanks to the authors for their hard work.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Very good, Lee. Dan's classic work is THE MOON IN THE NAUTILUS SHELL: DISCORDANT HARMONIES RECONSIDERED, which is a second, wholly revised edtion of DISCORDANT HARMONIES: A NEW ECOLOGY FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY. For that volume, Dan was awarded a full-year fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., where we were colleagues, I on the staff and he a fellow. That was in 1978-79, after which he became chair of Environmental Studies and Professor of Biology at UC Santa Barbara, where we first met.

    If anything, Dan has been consistent. He believes that scientists promise far too much when they talk about a "balance of nature." No one can promise any outcome when it comes to planet earth. Scientists rather need to study the dynamics of change and work within those parameters. From Thoreau and Lewis and Clark to renewable energy, Dan's books are all about understanding change.

    On that score, his book about "solutions"--insofar as they are possible--is POWERING THE FUTURE: A SCIENTIST'S GUIDE TO ENERGY INDEPENDENCE. Here you will find exactly what the alleged 98 percent of scientists claim they want--solutions to global warming--wind, solar, tides, and the eventual discontinuance of fossil fuels. Dan just will not say that change is human-caused alone, i.e., that we are somehow "responsible" for whatever change occurs just because it in fact occurred, and as much to the point, that simply by reverting to another behavior any change can be "reversed."

    The original environmental movement had that humility. I see none of that humility now. Just as likely, if someone pitched damming the Grand Canyon as a "solution" to global warming, those 98 percent of scientists would go along.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   2 weeks 3 days ago

    Thank you, Dr. Runte. I just checked and found that my local library has Dr. Botkin's book Forces of Change. I'll read it as soon as I can.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   2 weeks 3 days ago

    I have read all of Dan Botkin’s books, so I believe I know what he is saying. And he is not in the least saying what he is accused of saying here.

    What he is saying is that change is permanent. Get used to it, folks. The earth will change. Human caused, sunspot caused, tilt in the earth’s axis caused—God caused. The earth is going to warm, and cool, and warm and cool again. We just won’t be here to see how it all comes out, because our bodies are changing, too. Next up for most of us, and eventually all of us—death.

    Now you know how to read Dan Botkin. There is no such thing as a “balance of nature.” There is only perpetual change. Is he wrong? I sit on the very spot inhabited by ice sheets ten thousand years ago. What melted them? Global warming. And thank God, because I hate ice. There would not be a Seattle had not the forces of CHANGE melted the ice and freed the land.

    That is how to read Dan Botkin. He “admits” to global warming. He just wants scientists to think for once about what they can and cannot do.

    Wring your hands. Beat your chests. Call all of it irreversible. It is not irreversible. At some point in the future, all if it will change again. And change and change and change.

    Is change human caused? Of course it is. But humans are part of the planet—part of the natural order of perpetual change. You don’t like the change? Tell people to stop having babies. And if you can’t force them to stop, you have change again. And change and change and change.

    Bottom line: What are you going to do about it—you in the 98 percent? You agree and have peer-reviewed your agreement. That’s the wonderful thing about peer-review. You get to throw everyone else off the bus.

    The trouble with Dr. Botkin is that he knows how to hang on—how to make people think. Believe me, we have had our own knockdowns over wind and solar power. I hate wind power and he does not. He rather has a whole book about what the human race can do to SOLVE global warming by eliminating fossil fuels.

    Have any of the 98 percent read it? I doubt it. Because that book, like any Botkin book, comes with the humility to know what scientists cannot do. We can tinker and undoubtedly improve some things, but the earth will forever be out of our notion of balance, for after all, it is the earth.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   2 weeks 3 days ago

    An excellent article. Thanks to all of you.

    And is the Doctor Owen Hoffman the same Owen Hoffman who worked with me in Yosemite in the last century?

  • Possible Congressional Battle Looming Over Parks Legislation Attached To Defense Authorization Bill   2 weeks 3 days ago

    This is one more example of the sleazy slipperiness of Congress. A 1600 page amendment to a bill that is completely unrelated. Weren't we told repeatedly that a former 1600 page bill called the Affordable Care Act was so big no one could comprehend it?

    Our Congressional crap is enough to gag a maggot.

    While some of this may actually have some benefits, it simply is not the way the business of our nation should be done.

  • Possible Congressional Battle Looming Over Parks Legislation Attached To Defense Authorization Bill   2 weeks 3 days ago

    Interesting that the Hatteras issue is so prominent here. Guess the beach driver folks will be happy.

  • Natural Bridges National Monument Poised To More Than Double Entrance Fee   2 weeks 3 days ago

    JThomas. All I asked is if they were accepting online comments or not. Your reaction was way over the top. I see no reason why the NPS can't accept online comments in a standardized fashion. They continually tell us that they treat each unit equally and apply NPS standards across the board. Of course, that is when it suits them.

  • Natural Bridges National Monument Poised To More Than Double Entrance Fee   2 weeks 3 days ago

    The most wonderful thing about NBNM is its emptiness. The only other person we saw while there was the poor lady at the entrance gate. She must have been lonely - non-stop talker... It is worth $15 to have the beautiful place to yourself. It is a wonderful respite from Arches and Capitol Reef.

  • Natural Bridges National Monument Poised To More Than Double Entrance Fee   2 weeks 3 days ago

    Natural Bridges would be a bargain at twice that amount.