Recent comments

  • Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Kurt: I agree. So I guess I will be "Preaching to the Chior".

    Basicaly, I have always believed that if you wish to control what occures on any piece of land, then you need to own that land. If you do not want to SEE what is done with somebody's land, then again, you need to own that land also.

    We have enough land use and zoning laws. After you see what business has to go through so that they can open their doors for business, people would have more respect for the process.

    I have as yet to ever see an occasion when Walmart, or any other business, go to the time and expence to open a business just so that they could "clutter up the landscape".

    We recently had a Walmart store open up in our community. I view their store as just another option when I go shopping. They have never forced me to come into their store nor made me purchase any item. It is all free choice.

    If you do not like a store, DO NOT SHOP THERE! I personaly do not shop at "Smoke Shops"or "Adult" stores, but I defend their right to exist within the same scope of laws that govern all "Growth".

  • Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Beamis, as much as I'd like to hear your rebel yell...while Wal-Mart certainly is a favorite punching bag of many, I'd venture that folks would get similarly upset if Whole Foods or REI or Best Buy moved to develop this much acreage next to a park.

    Heck, I was bummed when a nice open field on the outskirts of Park City was turned into a commercial development with two groceries, a hotel, timeshares, a bank, and more. Did you know you can see the Golden Arches from atop the Olympic ski jump?

    As far as some "concerned group or individual" having moved to buy the land to preserve it, I'd hazard a guess that their pockets aren't quite as deep as Wal-Mart's.

  • Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Not too surprising, considering the "Yellow Tavern" battlefield just North of Richmond is the site of an expansive mall complex today. The site where JEB Stuart received his mortal wound can be found nearby, after a tedious search through suburbia, surrounded by homes.

    To have more of these sites compromised would be a travesty. Let's hope the coalition of groups listed above can influence the final decision as to where to build yet another supercenter.

  • Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Would a Whole Foods or let's say an REI outlet cause as much ire from the NPT readership as a Wally World? If this parcel of land was so important to preserve you'd a thunk by now that some concerned group or individual would've purchased it. Am I right?

    I'm sure the new store will sell a wide range of Civil War souvenirs and memorabilia, just like their Tuscaloosa, Alabama store which has a whole section devoted to the Crimson Tide or their Destin, Florida outlet that sells a wide range of seashells, sand dollars and conchs for way cheaper than the roadside rip-off shops strung along U.S. 98.

    I can't wait to visit the new Wilderness Super Center when it opens for business. Think I'll buy me a Confederate infantry hat and give a great big rebel yell in the parking lot.

  • Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Frank and Anonymous, you both hit on a point that comes up time and again when there's talk of development beyond a park's borders, whether it's the case of the American Revolution Center near Valley Forge, this Wal-Mart proposal, or oil and gas drilling in Utah.

    Does an amicable solution exist? Where do a park's borders end, its viewsheds? What's appropriate in those settings?

    My concern is that as more and more growth and sprawl occur, many of these places are going to become isolated islands and slowly wither on the vine. But private property rights are private property rights. That's not a complaint; that's just the way it is.

  • Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Absolutely, Anonymous. If the land is outside the park and privately owned, the owner does have the right (at least under a free society) to develop the land. How long has this land been there, unused, sitting? How long has there been an opportunity for a conservation easement, for someone, like the Nature Conservancy or other concerned citizens, to buy the land and set it aside permanently?

    But let the Wal-Mart bashing continue.

    Let the looting continue.

    Why?

    Who is John Galt?

  • Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield   5 years 18 weeks ago

    I agree with the previous comment that this is not about Walmart. Would people be as concerned if it were a housing development? If the land is privately owned, does not the owner have the right to use the property as he/she pleases?

  • National Park Service Draws Criticism for Winter-Use Plan for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Following this, what I keep noticing is the somewhat more timid stance on the issue that GYC has taken. First, when it appeared after Sullivan's ruling that they could have stopped the entire winter season, they suggested that 280 or so snowmobiles would be appropriate as a daily limit for this season. Before that, NPS was suggesting there might not be a winter season. That's when they came up with 318.

    Then, when Brimmer's ruling comes down and NPS decides to go with 720 as a temporary rule, GYC decides to go back to Brimmer's court and makes a point of saying that they aren't going to worry about this winter season. I'd be curious why these tactical choices have been made.

    Is it simply to fight the characterization that GYC is somehow a radical environmental organization? (wish they were, but they're not). Or, is their pressure from within to make sure that there remains some snowmobiling in Yellowstone?

    In any event, we're still smarting over the Royal Teton Ranch deal over buffalo -where GYC and other groups have raised money in support of a deal that spends a lot of money to the Church Universal and Triumphant for not much (perhaps less than not much) for bison. And, others on the wolf issue have noted that GYC has supported de-listing the wolf, one of their people even blasted the feds recently in a very conservative newspaper in Cody, Wyo.

    So, what is the deal here?

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is Established by Presidential Proclamation   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Why would President George W. Bush have used the word "Valor" to name this national monument?

    Is "Valor" the best word to describe a national monument or national historical park, or the best description of this national monument? There is no "valor" or any comparable word, in the title of Valley Forge, or Gettysburg, or Shiloh, or Cowpens, or African Burial Grounds, or Guam/War In the Pacfic.

    Are these the best exemplars of "Valor" represented in the Pacific war?

    Does "Valor" come closest to describing what makes each site within this new National Monument distinctive? I would have thought the key story with the USS Arizona was an unprovoked sneak attack, perhaps adding the related story of the vulnerability of the American Fleet and our sailors in the way they were positioned at Pearl Harbor. The heroism of American sailors fighting to save their doomed ship and comrades seems to be the equal of the greatest stories of valor in the war in the pacific; but, were there not many, many examples of equal valor by Americans all over the Pacific? With Attu, I had thought the key story was the only occupation of American soil; my history books always said the war in the Aleutians was treated, and was, a sideshow -- not to take anything away from the suffering and courage of American troops and Aleuts. But is Attu particularly notable for "Valor?" And, is "Valor" the best way, or first way, to describe what makes the Tule Lake Relocation center nationally significant?

    Is it a good idea to stick descriptive words of human behavior in the titles of national parks? It the past, the name of the place itself has overwhelmingly had the greatest dignity and meaning.

    Why would the President in this case so title a new national monument? Would somebody in the National Park Service have recommended the word "Valor," after careful professional analysis, to the President? Something the NPS apparently did not do for two of his other national monuments, African Burial Ground and Governors Island: in their way, couldn't each of them have an argument for a valorous history?

    Or did the President choose this title because he was trying to bring attention to himself, he was pandering, after a decidedly un-valorous Presidency, and trying to enhance his "legacy?"

    National monuments, national parks, don't need this President's editorial opinion of the significance of the experience of the participants at each one of these sites. The experience of the heroes and/or the perpetrators stands for itself, just as it does in all national historical parks.

  • Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield   5 years 18 weeks ago

    If it isn't Walmart, will it just be some other development? Walmart is always an easy target bash. The real issue is what to do about this property if it is important to the battlefield.

  • Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Walmart = Greed.....plain and simple.

  • Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield   5 years 18 weeks ago

    NO NO NO NO NO!!! Have respect for this precious land! ! ! !...............there are ENOUGH Walmart's & shopping centers!!!!

  • World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is Established by Presidential Proclamation   5 years 19 weeks ago

    While I am certainly happy that those sites are protected as Monuments and Memorials , I hope this National Monument will not stay for long. This hotch-pot of nine different sites in three states and under the jurisdiction of four cabinet departments will be hell to administer and impossible to cherish as a visitor.

    Hopefully congress will create some decent umbrella park unit for all Hawaiian Wold War II sites, the Alaskan sites are out of the focus anyway and no one cares how they are administered. And finally Thule Lake deserve to become unit in its own right. A NHS would be nice, following Manzanar and Minidoka. Or to think bigger, how about a highly visible Memorial for the Japanese internment in downtown LA or SF at the site of one of the assembly centers? Besides the actual internment/concentration camps that were of course in very remote parts of the country. Have any of those first assembly points been in a federal building that still is owned by the federal government? Could a part of the first floor be cleared as a small museum and visitor center? Something along the African Burial Ground NM in Manhattan?

  • National Park Service Draws Criticism for Winter-Use Plan for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Sabattis,

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you're confusing Judge Brimmer with Judge Sullivan when you refer to who wanted the Park Service to revert to the 720 limit "because of the inherent impossibility of going through all the necessary procedures to set a new limit in time for the 2008-2009 Winter Season."

    Indeed, as I read Judge Sullivan's ruling it's silent on directing the NPS on how to remedy the problems/flaws raised by the plaintiffs. Rather, it was Judge Brimmer who directed "that the NPS shall reinstate the 2004 temporary rule until such time as it can promulgate an acceptable rule to take its place."

    As to whether the NPS had enough time between Judge Sullivan's ruling and the Dec. 15 winter opening day to develop a new rule, well, the agency has nearly a decade of studies, including two full-blown EISes as well as a Supplemental EIS. to turn to, and had come up with a plan in time for this winter when Judge Brimmer ruled.

    Agencies seem to be able to move with incredible alacrity when it's politically expedient to do so.

  • National Park Service Draws Criticism for Winter-Use Plan for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks   5 years 19 weeks ago

    The timeline provided by the conservation groups seems pretty disingenuous. Normally in a timeline you place events in the order that they occurred - only makes sense, right? In this case, though, they put the "Bush Administration published a rule authorizing up to 720 snowmobiles a day", which occurred today on December 9th *before* the US District Court in Wyoming ruling that plainly mandated a 720 snowmobile rule that occurred on November 14th. Its quite some timeline that places December 9th before November 14th, eh?

    Moreover, the timeline provided by the conservation groups completely mischaracterizes the ruling from Judge Sullivan when they imply that Judge Sullivan contemplated the possibility of the Park Service implementing a limit lower than 720 snowmobiles per day for the 2008-2009 Winter Season. The plain language of Judge Sullivan's opinion clearly contradicts this, as Judge Sullivan explicitly sets the 720 limit for the 2008-2009 Winter Season because of the inherent impossibility of going through all the necessary procedures to set a new limit in time for the 2008-2009 Winter Season. So Judge Sullivan made it clear that he was reverting to the 720 limit for 2008-2009 in order to give the rulemaking (and near-certain protests) time to play themselves out, while giving certainty for the short term in 2008-2009.

    I know that the conservation groups want to see a bogey man behind every corner, but I don't think there's a single career official in the government that's familiar with the time needed for rulemakings and protests that would have made any different decision in this instance. As much as the conservation groups might wish that we lived in a world where the snowmobile interests could not protest the 318 rule, we live in a world where the snowmobile groups will get their day in court, just as the conservation groups got their day relative to the 540 rule. In the meantime, wishful thinking won't change the plain reading of Judge Sullivan's decision - and quite frankly they lose a little bit of credibility to me the longer they persist in it.

  • Shenandoah's Camp Hoover   5 years 19 weeks ago

    My wife and I hike to Hoover Camp when we're in the neighborhood at Skyline Drive. Last year we had the opportunity to be the first "visitors" to receive a guided tour of the renovated facilities. What a treat! We were just nosing around peeking into the windows when the curator came over to talk to us. We started to ask some questions and the woman just smiled and invited us in and said this would be an opportunity for her to practice her presentation. We, of course, obliged her and had a delightful visit.

    The place has been restored quite well and the facility is a good look into the past. Lots of photos and you can really get a good sense of the history there. I would imagine sumer nights there would get rather hot and humid.

    This place is quintessentially "rustic." I don't know about Jimmy Carter but I can guarantee you Amy didn't have much of a good time when they stayed there! The fishing stream was nearly bone-dry when we were there but if there's water - and fish - this would, indeed, be a great way to pass the time.

    The hike to get there is (I think) close to 2.5 miles and probably nearly 1,000 feet in elevation. Going back up can be a bit of a workout for those folks in less-than-optimal condition. This hike gives your knees a good workout. You can schedule a ride down to the camp to see it, too. I think it's somewhere around $12 for the round trip (I may be wrong about that). If you look at a topo you'll see this is a winding road that wraps around the hollow to get there. I can't imagine what it was like in the good old days when you would most certainly sink to the axles in crummy conditions.

    This is a nice hike and you won't encounter many - if any - visitors.

    Rick

  • NRDC Calls For Endangered Species Act Protection for Whitebark Pine Tree   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Should we not be concerned for the trees because of their own qualities?

    If you aren't among the charismatic megafauna, good luck getting protection...unless, of course, you have some economic value or direct health benefit to humans. Unfortunately, you're not going to get most people to think of conservation in anything but an anthropocentric context. If you want a bog plant, a not particularly attractive tree, a rodent, or a worm protected, you gotta tie it to something charismatic or monetarily valuable. Fortunately, ecosystems are such that these links are readily there and don't need to be contrived. It's just a shame that the tactic is necessary at all.

    -Kirby.....Lansing, MI

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Anyone have a link to the pre 1979 (?) NPS rules (exactly) before they initiated the ban on open weapons in the parks?

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Very well stated. I concur. I don't understand the panic of having a licensed and trained hiker or camper in the wilds with you. Some of these writers must go to some very trashy and over crowded campsites. Drunks? Guess I get too far off the beaten path in most cases. As far as wild life dangers go, I've never had a problem because I didn't do anything stupid like leave food out or not watch what was going on around me. Never had to kill a snake and move rattlesnakes out of the road. Am aware there are the occasional rabid animals that will attack and defy all the "normal" behavior patterns and that's when you want a sidearm.

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Capt:

    Thank you for your thorough arguments here. I must say I do enjoy a good debate.
    And I applaud you for your conviction to your beliefs, as I would hope you would so for me. Believe it or not, I try embrace all viewpoints and do not automatically dismiss those whose opinions differ from my own. But this being a forum set up for comment and debate, I cannot resist the invitation.

    I will tell you that I am not an employee of the BATFE. (The standard abbreviation is actually ATF.)
    So, someone who feels as strongly as I do about keeping guns out of our National Parks could only be an employee of a Federal law enforcement and regulatory agency? A fair question, and one that I would probably ask if I were on your side of this debate, feeling as passionately as I do. However, I am not an ATF employee.

    I guess I feel so strongly about this because I was not brought up in a household that owned guns. But then again, there are many gun owners and enthusiasts that also believe personal firearms have no place in the parks. Only time will show us all how this new rule will play out.
    Again I will say that I do not wish to overturn any law, governmental, universal, natural, or otherwise, that you feel grants you a right to protect yourself. I would however hope that we are all following the same rules set forth for the society we live in, and operating within the established guidelines to effect change if we see fit to do so.

    Thanks to you, Capt., and all bloggers here, I have enjoyed this debate a great deal. I think we can all agree that no matter what happens with this new rule under the incoming administration, the debate will never go away.

  • NRDC Calls For Endangered Species Act Protection for Whitebark Pine Tree   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I was able to meet Louisa Wilcox of NRDC in person for the first time the other day at a presentation I and my group were giving on the buffalo situation in Yellowstone. She has a lot of great ideas of things.

    On the whitebark pine and grizzlies, I've got a more general question. I've read that grizzlies are highly adaptive and have for instance taken a liking to a lot of exotic species that have replaced what used to be their habitat. Is there some hope that grizzlies could survive even if the whitebark pine continues to decline?

    On the other hand, do we need to justify our concern for the whitebark pine because of its importance to other species? Should we not be concerned for the trees because of their own qualities? It's interesting to me how we seem to have expanded the moral community to include large wildlife - it's obvious that they need protecting - but we still haven't gone a long way toward other species only deemed important if they provide something in the moral community some other good. I guess we are still moving in the right direction, though, on Aldo Leopold's scale.

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • The Green Blood of the Coalition of NPS Retirees   5 years 19 weeks ago

    The real scandal is the government policies that forced the NPS to reduce or in many cases eliminate the seasonals. Some parks are left with aging managers, and no seasonals, no new green blood. I don't think I "toe" anybody's line, but you will think so when I tell you, Frank C, that I think -- I know -- we have had several generations of Presidential Administrations that WANTED to deplete the morale and capacity of the National Park Service. Maybe other agencies, too, but I know for sure they wanted to drain away the blood of the NPS. And there was no better way to do it than drain away the eager idealists, and sow division between people within the NPS, and between the NPS and other preservation organizations. "Starve the Beast" they call it.

    Doesn't exactly make the case for continued federal government administration of these areas now does it?

    Yes, it's my broken record and I'm sticking with it, especially when others can make the case of what an obvious disaster federal management has been just as forcefully and with the same gusto and disdain.

    I don't mind saying it again: It's time for totally new management and a transition away from the politics and shenanigans of Washington, DC by pointing these parks towards independent and self-sustaining models of administration. Now more than ever, since the federal gummit is flat busted broke, we need to seriously consider how to save these areas from the incompetence and self-serving motives that are the hallmarks of federal control.

    Nuff said?

  • Interior Department To Be Sued Over Cape Hatteras National Seashore Plover Habitat Decisions   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Everone = taxpaying Amercians All are welcome at Cape Hatteras it,s the few who want to take it away

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Warren Z

    You do want to put words in other peoples mouths don't you ?
    Where did I mention the Bible ? or the Torah ? or the Koran ? Upanishads ? Medicine Wheel ? Any Organized Religion ?

    YOU might be talking about the united States of America but I was discussing the right to defend myself. That exact same right shared by every living thing in every country of the world and all of the oceans as well.
    Why do you suppose the Acacia tree has those thorns ?
    Are they landing places for insects ? Or a defense against herbivorous predators ?

    The Natural Laws of Life I was referring to are such things as; Keep breathing or die, Eat to survive or die, Defend yourself or die.

    You seem to be intentionally missing the point. Do you work for the BATFE ?

    To All ....
    Have you ever asked yourself ... If guns are so bad that we need to completely control them why do we allow government employees to carry them ? Are government employees more trustworthy than you or I ? What does it say about a government that thinks you [all of its citizens] are not to be trusted ?
    The Department of Agriculture Agents need guns ? Agriculture ?
    Are the corn plants in open rebellion ?
    Has the wheat harvest threatened secession ? Why are not the farmers up in arms ?
    What are the Agriculture Agents doing to American citizens that requires that they carry firearms to defend themselves ?
    Whatever it is must be pretty horrendous ?
    LIKE FOOD RAIDS IN OHIO !?! Yes, you read that right.
    Scroogle scraper[scroogle dot org] this: LaGrange,Ohio +Food Raid. You may or may not be amazed, shocked and angered.
    Vicky Weaver was murdered over 3/8ths of an inch of wood too short on a shotgun stock and the $200 fine it incurred because of that length discrepancy. Her 14 year old son was murdered by a gunshot from the same sniper that same day.
    Scroogle Ruby Ridge or Lon Horiouchi. Our government and our citizens.

    The framers of the Bill of Rights put The Second Amendment at the number two place because it was that important to them. Not number eight or ten but number two right behind freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and redress of grievances.
    How do you redress grievances to an armed tyrant that seems intent on ignoring and abusing you ? Ta Da .... the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is not about saving hunting rifles or shotguns .... its about saving our Republic from tyranny whether foreign or domestic. Now where did I hear that before ?

    And while I am on the subject of antique documents that the government ignores If you will read the Militia Act of 1792 you will find that All males from 17 to 45 Are REQUIRED to own a gun and the ammunition for it. That law has NOT been struck down by the way. 216 years old and still in force.
    So .... the militia is not about "helping" the standing army it's about defending the common citizen FROM the standing army in the event of a tyrant trying to usurp the protected rights of the People.
    And where have we heard that recently ?

    I have spent a considerable time in some of our National Parks and I have yet to see an incident where firearms were used. I know it has happened and that I was not and am not omnipresent but it sure seems to me that this whole brou-ha-ha sure is "Much Ado About Nothing".

    Anti-gun proponents raise enough hue and cry you would think that every single gun was operating itself and attacking the populous by itself. There are Hundreds of Millions of guns in this country why haven't they killed us all off before now ?
    Guns don't kill people, people kill people and if you're a government employee you can kill without punishment, right Mr Horiouchi ?

    A law abiding citizen should be able to openly carry a firearm or a two handed sword if s/he desires. The framers thought so as well. They wanted us to have and carry the same arms as our own army. It sure makes a possible tyrant planning a takeover think first doesn't it ?

    I am done here.
    I want to thank the National Park Service for the excellent job they have done of keeping up the parks for the People of these united States of America. And I would like to thank them for this opportunity to express my opinion here in public about this rule change which I heartily endorse but you must have figured that out by now.

    Liberty for All,

    Capt

  • MSNBC’s Top 10 National Park Lodges List Draws Curmudgeonly, but Gentle Criticism   5 years 19 weeks ago

    For the bargain hunter, the beauty of Yosemite can still be enjoyed with an inexpensive stay at Yosemite Pines RV Resort & Family Lodging. The resort is now offering Yosemite-area lodging starting at only $29.00 for two nights for a yurt that can accommodate up to five people. Yosemite cabins start at only $39 for two nights for a basic cabin that can accommodate four people. With the Yosemite National Park entrance fee of $20 per car for unlimited entries for seven days, a family can spend less than $100 for two days of Yosemite-area lodging and admission to the park. These special rates are available at http://www.yosemitepinesrv.com/yosemite-lodging-camping-specials.html during the fall and winter season. Some restrictions apply. Yosemite Pines (http://www.yosemitepinesrv.com/) is an RV resort, campground, and lodge located near Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Pines offers Yosemite camping near Yosemite National Park with full hook-up RV and campsites ( http://www.yosemitepinesrv.com/yosemite-camping-rv-tent.html). Yosemite Pines also offers Yosemite lodging and cabins near Yosemite National Park with cabin and yurt rentals ( http://www.yosemitepinesrv.com/yosemite-lodging-cabins-yurts.html). Amenities include a clubhouse, gold mine, gold panning, petting zoo, swimming pool, hiking trail, general store, children's playground, horseshoe pit, and volleyball.