Recent comments

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Bat, as the joke in the news business goes, never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

    Indeed, outwardly this story doesn't look good for Mr. Latschar. Obviously, there are a number of gray areas that need closer investigation by the Park Service, and not just the misuse of a government computer. But let me play devil's advocate for the most damning revelation -- What if someone other than the superintendent used his computer to surf the Internet, but for whatever reason there was just cause in Mr. Latschar's mind that he should take the blame? To firmly jump to the final conclusion, I think we need full disclosure from Mr. Latschar and the Park Service, and both have made it clear they're not going there.

  • Is It "Elitist" To Try to Visit All 58 National Parks?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    The idea that people don't get into nature enough or travel enough is close to my heart, so I I was disturbed by the article referenced here enough to write to Mr. Goetzman, and now we've exchanged thoughtful and enlightening emails.

    If I interpret him correctly, what he wanted to express was a distaste for "collecting" the parks just to reach a number and do some chest-thumping upon attaining it. He's not denying that the educational, emotional, or perhaps spiritual value for some people may make the carbon expense worthwhile. He says everyone has to look at their activities and decide for themselves if it's worth it. I think he'd be less critical if someone was celebrating the education of the journey (ala imtnbke above) rather than the magical number of 58.

    I told him I thought is was his obligation, as a skilled writer, to visit these places and tell their story. He said he always tries to tell nature's story and will continue to do so.

    He also argued that despite my contention that you can visit National Parks on the cheap, American Samoa is reserved for those with a bit of extra cash. I checked plane fare, and will have to concede that point to Mr. Goetzman!

    Just thought I'd share that, as we are all brutalizing him here, and he seems like a good guy whose point would have been better expressed with an extra 2,000 words in the original article.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 27 weeks ago

    There are indeed procedures in place that you would think would prohibit such developments, but none as ironclad as official wilderness designation.

    For example, take the Grant Village development in Yellowstone. It was built because park officials decided to reduce the size of the Fishing Bridge developed area because it was located in prime grizzly bear habitat. Well, turns out that the land on which Grant Village was built also was rated as prime grizzly bear habitat. Had parts of Yellowstone, most of which is managed as wilderness when there is actually no officially designated wilderness at all in the park, been approved for wilderness designation before Grant Village was built in the 1970s, the developed area might not exist today.

    Of course, Grant Village serves a vital way-station in the park. Twice I've used it as a launching point for paddling trips on Yellowstone Lake, and tens of thousands of other park visitors spend a night or two there every summer. Could the park function without Grant Village? Without a doubt. Would the landscape be richer if the development never occurred and the land was protected as wilderness? Also without a doubt. That's what makes these issues so delicate and, quite often, so controversial.

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Kurt, to paraphrase Rick's more tasteful comment, you're the one in charge of the light bulbs in this forum's transparency viewer. We may not be privy to all the details, but the facts as you've presented them paint a dark and creepy picture. I appreciate your effort not to cast an overly rosy light on these issues. I for one like how you try to keep it real, and appreciate the opportunity to participate.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I still believe the National Parks are there for the enjoyment of all people, including those who like to venture into pristine wilderness with the knowledge that it is protected for as long as the rule of law lasts. For that reason, I believe most of the bigger parks ought to have significant tracts of designated wilderness. For the same reason, I also find Ed Abbey's desire to abandon all vehicular traffic past the entrance gate to be absurd. Most of these parks being mentioned are huge and already have easy access to the iconic sites and representative scenery of the area. They also have undeveloped areas that are enjoyed by millions of tax-paying Americans every year. Call them elitists. Call them the chosen few. But don't deny them the right to see something protected when that protection will do nothing but ensure that the way things are is the way they will continue to be.

    I point to Olympic again as an example. You can drive right up and into an alpine meadow and buy a hot dog while you're there. You can drive right into the middle of the rainforest and make a call from a payphone there. You can drive to, and park close enough to the beach to get salt spray on your windshield. And yet, Olympic is more than 90% designated wilderness.

    The parks are not playgrounds, nor are they simply curios. They can be, and should be, both!

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Sorry, Kurt, I see what you mean now. Although I thought there was more stringent rules in effect that would not allow such activity. A business cannot just go build a big hotel on the Grand Canyon Rim today, nor can they build a ski resort in Glacier, so there are laws in place that forbid these invasive actions. That is my way of thinking.

  • Dr. Gary Machlis Has Ambitious Plans As Science Advisor to National Park Service Director Jarvis   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Thanks for providing that link. I hope people will read the artiole. It's more than just "some people severely questioning the scientific integrity of several NPS reports." The National Academy of Sciences found that the reports in question were wrong and misleading, and the Inspector General of the United States found them to be the result of scientific misconduct. Not just mistakes--wrongdoing. In that context, "backing up employees" is a pretty radical thing to do. It certainly does not suggest a strong interest in scientific integrity.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Dottie,

    I wasn't reading anything into your initial comment. I was trying to point out that without official wilderness designation, those areas currently managed as wilderness and eligible for wilderness can be developed up until the point that designation is bestowed.

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Suffice to say this is an extremely delicate issue. As a result, some comments were edited for taste, some for clarity.

    It must be remembered throughout that the Inspector General's Office cleared Mr. Latschar of all charges of misconduct. As to the instances of surfing the Internet inappropriately, neither Mr. Latschar nor the National Park Service is commented, so we are not privy to all the details.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Wouldn't it be more elitest to pave paradise and install a bunch of those machines to suck the refuge out of 24' Winnebagos?

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Well, it's certainly visible now.

    Perhaps the new regime could put in some brighter light bulbs in the transparancy viewer.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 27 weeks ago

    "Would that mean the demise of Phantom Ranch as a non-conforming use?"
    Areas such as this would likely not be included as wilderness, but millions of acres surrounding them would be.
    Wilderness isn'y really about us. Why does everything have to be about us? It is about saving a little of what was for future generations, yes; but far more importantly, it is about preserving it for its own sake. I am getting a bit too old and crippled up to hike into many of these areas anymore; but I still want them preserved and protected. It doesn't matter if no one ever visits them, they still need to be there. God created the heaven and the earth, and all of her creatures; not just man.

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 27 weeks ago

    RE:"The fact that the Bush-era "ETHICS" board would have approved such a clearly unethical arrangement is beyond belief. The fact that Latschar could have downloaded that much porn when rank and file employees could not even get on to many legitimate research search engines just goes to show how far NPS has sunk and how currupt the system has become. HELLO Obama Administration, time to take the NPS back to being a government agency above politics and curruption."

    Typical hypocritical political response. Sorry to burst your holier then thou bubble, But Lastchar was appointed to the superintendent position in 1994. I figured a self-proclaiming, long-term employee of the NPS would know that? I wonder, what was the name of that administration?

    Oh yeah, you misspelled corruption...

    MV

  • By the Numbers: Crater Lake National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Yes, Annie Creek is the water source today, but not in 1975, at least according to news sources linked to your website, The Crater Lake Institute:

    "While properly functioning treatment of Munson Springs water appears adequate for removal of bacteria and parasite contamination, it does not assure protection from disease-causing viruses."

    http://www.craterlakeinstitute.com/crater-lake-news/paper-charges.htm

    So add "at the time" to the end of this statement, this comment makes sense in historical context.

    But these things always get swept under the rug and don't end up in cutesy little by-the-numbers articles. That would be too negative for NPT's new corporate sponsors.

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 27 weeks ago

    It is always Bush's fault when someone does not like something that happened in the last four years. I believe that the man discussed above was appointed to his position during the first term of that very clean individual in his own right, Bill Clinton. He had nothing to hide.

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 27 weeks ago

    ... If you move problem people around, you move their problems right along with them. I've heard of this happening before - they won't be doing the next park any favors. The powers that be should deal with their problem children right away ...

    This comment was edited.-- Ed.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 27 weeks ago

    You all sure know how to put words in people's mouths, don't you? I am saying: let the National Parks be National Parks. Let the wilderness areas be wilderness areas. Period. And yes, it is indeed only a percentage of visitors who can truly enjoy the backcountry and wilderness areas, for many, many reasons. I am not saying cut the wilderness. I am saying leave the Parks alone; most people can enjoy them and those that want to go on into the backcountry can do so. Designating it as a wilderness is a whole new ballgame and you know it, or you wouldn't be condoning it. This does not mean I am saying build hotels and whatever else Kurt seems to think I was saying.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Took this article and all the comments into my public lands class today to see what type of discussion would take place. We discussed it for a good hour and I heard some good opinions and theories about it. As a hopeful future NPS employee I wanted to see how my fellow students felt. Most agreed with the Ranger, as well as I. Interestingly enough those that agreed were only students. The few that disagreed were students as well as parents. My instructor compared it to one of our other courses where we are learning how to manage a high ropes course and a huge part of the class is challenge by choice. The concept refers to the participant choosing how far they want to challenge themselves. So if there was a student up on the ropes course and didn't want to complete an element and a parent on the ground wanted them to what would the facilitator do? This situation would not be much different than the one discussed in this article. There were inherent risks involved regardless of whether we understand them or not. Kudos to the Ranger.

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 27 weeks ago

    " ... or shanghai him to a national park with less exposer (sic). "
    I think that is a solution all too often employed by the NPS. Too many parks suffer from less than adequate leadership because the powers that be just shuffle the problems around, often promoting them to affect the necessary shuffle, rather than growing a pair and firing the ne'er-do-wells that have no business inhabiting their positions of great responsibility.

    The fact that this man was "cleared of all charges" (and remains in his job despite clear evidence that he misuses government property) does not speak only to NPS corruption, it speaks to corruption that infects ALL Federal agencies.
    Proper discipline of wrongdoing and poor performance is sorely lacking in the NPS, because it's feared that the accused will litigate their way to job security. Or because the accused are too well connected to money makers that pick up the tabs our government should be paying. (HELLO MR. LATSCHAR! THE GETTYSBURG FOUNDATION PUT YOU IN POWER, IS THIS ANY WAY TO REPAY THEM??)

    I long for a day when managers and administrators of our Federal agencies, the NPS included, regain the courage to support ethics in the workplace, rather than cower in the corner for fear of litigation, or damaging financially lucrative "partnerships".

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I read this in the Washington Post today; and I thought at first whatever, we are human. At least he was honest and ethical as nothing is even near in truth of what appeared to be the original allegations against him. I wondered if he could or will sue those making those complaints; if you have been through BS like that - you would understand.

    But then I read the posts here by chance and.....what the heck!

    TO THE FiRST poster:
    First - - you obviously do not understand computers and the numbers mentioned versus hits, searches, etc. And was it a laptop and did he use it from home or on travel where the net connection was not Gov-owned? And were they from him or the last person to use it? Initially it can look bad, but then when you consider the crap the typical PC will pick up as Temp files from loading one page, it may not be as serious as it appears.
    Second - I am impressed as you must personally know the Almighty himself (or herself) as from this very small amount of information you are somehow able to make a huge judegment about him, much less think you are so beyond reproach that you in fact should be allowed to make such a decision or comment.
    Third - the wording of your comments make it sound like you perhaps have a personal grudge. Maybe it used to be you computer and those were your searches and you were disciplined for it??? Or maybe you were one of some that had made a complaint against them??? And you are upset that none if it was true and are just happy to see something totally unrelated used to ping the dude instead??
    Fourth - I have read about so much BS about this park and the new center that it makes me sick (I live south of there) - in fact - it appears that many people living on the public's back were RIF or retired because of the way the "system" actually change for the better for once. Were you perhaps one of them??? What - should Obama make it into a welfare Park again for your benefit??? Even though you work for the Government, you still have to actually do that "work" thing also......
    Fifth - from what I hear is that he did get some time off for that sole violation. And he did it to get the all of the BS behind him - he would not file a complaint against the NPS nor file suit against those making false allegations (to spare the Park anymore distractions), and he would simply take the punishment for the Internet stuff even though they said he did not believe it was all from him.

    I am fairly informed of news, esp local news. And simply put - nothing even was remotely found to be unethical about him....thats something good, esp for a NPS director. ....

    Oh yeah - as someone that works for a different Fed Agency - I think it woudl be neat to see the identity of the leak and put him on the street perm, jailed for IG report violation, and sued by the Latchar guy. Hehe.

    This comment was edited. -- Ed
    .

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Not every governmental agency is squeaky clean or full of lies and hypocrisy. At least let's hope that we can do a lot better then the last administration. And, we all can be thankful for the fact that we now have a new national parks director that carries a code of ethics that shines better then the last two. At this point, I would demote Superintendent Latschar or shanghai him to a national park that has less exposer.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Park development for access is a thorny issue whether or not there's designated wilderness. In Yellowstone there are some lakes with only hike-in access as well as several backcountry geyser basins. I understand that there isn't likely to be any road access to Shoshone Geyser Basin.

    I certainly understand the question of "designated wilderness" as it sets an area such that there is a baseline expectation that it won't be developed any further. Still - building new roads is one of those things that's generally unlikely given the state of NPS budgets and the current maintenance backlogs. Fixing current roads is probably a greater concern these days than building new ones deep into the backcountry. I really don't see new roads being built into what are currently backcountry areas in Yellowstone.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 27 weeks ago

    What is elitist about wilderness? It requires one to leave one's car and be in a modicum of shape with a modicum of planning. Certainly the vast majority of Americans can enter wilderness areas on at least day trips of some sort. Equality of opportunity - yes. Equality of accomplishment is up to you.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 27 weeks ago

    You're absolutely correct, Dottie, that National Parks are for all people to enjoy. As one of the "people", I enjoy hiking into the roadless, structureless, machine-less backcountry. Just because you don't enjoy or are unable to explore the wilderness doesn't mean everyone shares those desires or limitations. The parks are for everyone, not just you.

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 27 weeks ago

    As a former long-term NPS employee I am grieved by the extent and by the general sleezieness of Latschar's conduct. The fact that the Bush-era "ETHICS" board would have approved such a clearly unethical arrangement is beyond belief. The fact that Latschar could have downloaded that much porn when rank and file employees could not even get on to many legitimate research search engines just goes to show how far NPS has sunk and how currupt the system has become. HELLO Obama Administration, time to take the NPS back to being a government agency above politics and curruption.