Recent comments

  • Senator From North Dakota Trying to Legislate Elk Management in Theodore Roosevelt National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Just as with the current system, those with the best political connections likely would get the greatest largess.

    Sort of like Bank of America, Citi-Group, GM, Chrysler, Goldman Sachs, Haliburton, Blackwater, Boeing, AIG, General Electric and Wells Fargo?

    Yeah, I see what you mean.

    I wonder what kind of shenanigans the lobbyist representing Yosemite would be able to wangle in Washington? Or the lawyers representing Yellowstone? Could it be much worse than the current system? Maybe.....maybe not.

    Good thread Kurt.

  • Senator From North Dakota Trying to Legislate Elk Management in Theodore Roosevelt National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Tracking earmarks is not always easily done. Sometimes the information quickly pops up under a Google search, sometimes it doesn't. Google today and you'll find a 2005 list of park-related earmarks totaling a bit more than $4 million.

    But as I noted earlier this year, tens of millions of dollars are earmarked for a wide variety of NPS projects.

    I'm not so sure, Beamis, that turning to NGO-administration of national parks would end the earmarks, either. Congressfolk already direct millions and millions of dollars to NGOs for a variety of projects. You can explore this issue at this site.

    As of yet I've seen no convincing argument or model for abandoning the current management system of the national parks as a whole. At least there's a central hierarchy -- regardless of what you think of it -- that in theory tries to balance all the needs of the national parks. Toss that out and turn to a system of 391 NGOs and I fear the unevenness of funding and management will grow even greater. Just as with the current system, those with the best political connections likely would get the greatest largess.

  • Senator From North Dakota Trying to Legislate Elk Management in Theodore Roosevelt National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I'm glad to hear your opinions on this subject Jim and Kurt and believe that this issue touches on a much bigger problem in American life, namely an out of control spendthrift government awash in a sea of unpaid debt.

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20090704/D997DOMG0.html

    The system is what is and as Jim said it probably won't change any time soon. Having said that does anyone have a general idea how much pork per fiscal year is park related? Would changing the present system cut out a stream of funding that is not getting to the parks through the regular appropriation process?

    It goes without saying that I have been a consistent proponent of alternative NGO administration of the national parks. The current malady called Federal governance is beyond repair and the day of reckoning for this house of cards is close at hand. This thread has attempted to address but one small issue in a galaxy of dysfunction and corruption emanating from that den of thieves on the Potomac. The time to get the parks into more capable hands is NOW!

  • Senator From North Dakota Trying to Legislate Elk Management in Theodore Roosevelt National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Beamis, I was going to address your comment, but Jim beat me to it and he certainly hit the nail on the head.

    Frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing a rule that any rider or amendment involving an appropriation be forced to endure a floor vote. If there's money involved, these measures should have to stand on their own merits and not be slipped covertly into a more popular bill certain of gaining passage.

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Frank, a climate change convertee?;-)

    In the parks these shuttles do help reduce overall CO2 emissions by taking personal vehicles off the roads, and some reduce CO2 emissions further by relying on cleaner burning propane (ie, the Island Explorer at Acadia).

    Your sarcasm aside, your point about the greater CO2 emissions being generated by traveling to a park is well made. That said, I'm sure you'd agree there's not a single over-night solution to wiping out these emissions. People are going to travel. But technology continues to evolve and I'm optimistic we'll see cleaner travel options as the months and years go by.

    At the same time, the national parks are working to both reduce their own carbon footprints and help individuals learn how to reduce their own footprints. For instance, on Zion National Park's website you can find this page, which offers tips on reducing fuel use, water use, detergent use by lodges, and even addresses the emissions associated with flying and how you might offset your share of those.

    A perfect, immediate, solution? No. But it's definitely helping move society in the right direction.

  • Senator From North Dakota Trying to Legislate Elk Management in Theodore Roosevelt National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Beamis -

    Will you see these very same "riders" on Congressional appropriations bills as being so detrimental when it produces funding for something you agree with?

    I've written against such add-ons on this site in the past, and am opposed to them, whether or not the end result is a project I support. In my case, I'm offended by the process, and would strongly support a prohibition on including unrelated measures in any bill.

    The chances of such changes in Congress are on a par with those flying pigs, since that step would require our elected representatives to (1) understand what they're voting on; (2) take a position pro or con on the specific issue involved; and (3) give up a prime avenue for funding their pet projects.

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 23 weeks ago

    What goes unspoken is that each of these shuttle systems uses fossil fuels and generates evil carbon dioxide. While some shuttle systems in parks where cars are banned might reduce overall destructive CO2, their effectiveness is questionable in parks where cars are allowed to spew tons of dangerous CO2. And the parks detailed above are the exception, not the rule.

    And don't forget that most of the insidious CO2 is not generated driving 30 miles through Crater Lake or 15 miles across Zion; it's the hundreds or thousands of miles zipping from park to park to park that produces most carbon poisoning. Even taking the train or flying generates as much CO2 per passenger mile as they too burn fossil fuels. So stay home and don't increase your carbon footprint for something as frivolous as traveling to a national park! Think about the unborn children!

    And ignore scientists who claim that:

    ...even if cap-and-trade does what is intended, the reduction in CO2 emissions as a fraction of global CO2 emissions will moderate future warming by, at most, around one tenth of a degree C by late in this century. That is probably not even measurable.

    We must curb freedom to save the planet! Can't you see it people!?

    Happy Independence Day!

  • Senator From North Dakota Trying to Legislate Elk Management in Theodore Roosevelt National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    On the other hand, there are times when appropriations for certain parks and specific projects (like visitors centers and such) are put onto an unrelated bill which often results in funding that many of you would say is beneficial. My question is, are most of you offended by the process or just when it produces a result that you dislike? Will you see these very same "riders" on Congressional appropriations bills as being so detrimental when it produces funding for something you agree with?

    This is how democracy degrades us and turns the country into mobs of squabbling, grasping and competing interests. I tend to think there would be no complaining about this form of legislative sleight of hand if it produced results that you agree with.

    "Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods."----H.L. Mencken

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 23 weeks ago

    This article dovetails nicely with comments made on the "Get Your Free National Parks 'Owners Guide' from the National Park Foundation" story (although I think I failed to recognize "tongue-in-cheek" before I responded).

  • Senator From North Dakota Trying to Legislate Elk Management in Theodore Roosevelt National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Anonymous, you're exactly right. And don't forget that Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington state tried to legislate the stocking of non-native fish in North Cascades National Park and that it was Sen. Coburn who attached the concealed carry legislation into the credit card legislation.

    The ability of politicians to slip such things into legislation is problematic, both because it's usually for the benefit of special interests and often goes against the best interests of the parks.

    It seems that at this point the only way to challenge such things is to publicize them well in advance of the floor votes on the piggybacked legislation and raise public opposition.

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Ray -

    I absolutely agree with you about the Denali bus system - one of the best bargains anywhere.

    My wife and I used it two years ago, and had an incredible trip. I was free to enjoy the wildlife and scenery instead of having to concentrate on driving, and even though we chose the less expensive "shuttle" instead of the "interpretative tour," our driver did an outstanding job of narration and answering questions.

    I can also recall the "old days" at Grand Canyon, when the sunset traffic jams on the West Rim Drive were a mess - when the parking areas along the Rim filled up, people just pulled off the road anywhere (no concern about impacts on the resource) or simply parked with their car blocking part of the road. The shuttle system is a huge improvement on all counts.

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 23 weeks ago

    The Denali shuttle bus system is an epic nature tour.

  • Senator From North Dakota Trying to Legislate Elk Management in Theodore Roosevelt National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    This is really no different than Senator Diane Feinstein legislating the ten year renewal of the oyster farm in Point Reyes National Seashore. Same m.o., attaching a rider to the appropriations bill. Its interesting to me that these senators, who may vote generally in favor of parks, do not hesitate to legislate these special exceptions that often are in direct violation of the NPS's Organic Act through something they add on to an unrelated bill. That means they generally not debated. What ever happened to parks being for the people?

  • Get Your Free National Parks "Owner's Guide" From The National Park Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    C'mon, Beamis, you know the Beatles were bigger than Jesus.

  • Get Your Free National Parks "Owner's Guide" From The National Park Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Just taking the current enviro-religion to it's logical extreme.

  • Get Your Free National Parks "Owner's Guide" From The National Park Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Well, I would agree that more people should consider taking PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION to our national parks!

    But to "just leave the parks alone and let them heal the scars that humanity has wrought across their sacred faces" would deprive human beings of the beauty of life on earth. Not to be overly religious about it, but, I would think that would not be God's intention.

    Less people, yes. How we can accomplish that democratically, I would not know. The recession is certainly helping!

    More stringent rules on where people can go and what they do there, certainly. Harsher punishment for violators, certainly.

    I would like our National Parks to recover and remain in pristine condition, too. I just don't think quarantining them is the answer.

  • Get Your Free National Parks "Owner's Guide" From The National Park Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    This would seem to be the logical way to eliminate a carbon footprint Frank C. I think all sorts of human activity will now be taxed and discouraged by cap & trade legislation, so it's certainly high time that going to a national park in a carbon based conveyance be discouraged through the tax code as well as legislatively. It is pure evil!

    We need to just leave the parks alone and let them heal the scars that humanity has wrought across their sacred faces. This is no longer a matter of mere sappy pulchritude but a moral imperative!

    Al Gore is now getting bigger than Jesus-----by necessity!

    Praise God for this deliverance!

  • Get Your Free National Parks "Owner's Guide" From The National Park Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    LOL. Trying to cut down on the traffic for your own trips?

  • Get Your Free National Parks "Owner's Guide" From The National Park Foundation   5 years 24 weeks ago

    “We expect more and more people in the national parks this summer as Americans look for economically and environmentally friendly ways to spend their vacations,” said Jamie Patten...

    Here's an environmentally friendly way to spend your vacation: Watch the national park webcams on the NPF site. Don't create all that nasty CO2 flying or driving to Yellowstone or Yosemite. Enjoy these parks from the comfort of your pajamas and monitor!

  • Does the Federal Government Really Want to Seize Six California State Parks?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    California shouldn't foist its fiscal responsibilities on the other states.

    If the State of California can't protect its parks, let voluntary associations do it!

    The time is ripe for voluntary conservation trusts to manage these lands! They've got a proven track record and are far more democratic than the cronyism forced down taxpayers' throats.

  • Get Your Free National Parks "Owner's Guide" From The National Park Foundation   5 years 24 weeks ago

    This is excellent!

  • National Park Mystery Photo 9 Revealed: Reviewing Stand? Hardly!   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Well, you could still call it a "reviewing stand" of sorts, given the people who thought (would still think?) public executions to be a form of popular entertainment.

  • Half Dome Hiker Falls to His Death in Yosemite   5 years 24 weeks ago

    after reading all of the above comments i am surprised that i have been able to take and use something from each and everyone of you.
    it seems to me that caution is of the utmost importance. you can only rely on one's self, not the person in front or in back of you or what they are or are not doing. it all rests on you for you.
    harness or not each and every one of use knows what we can do.
    you all went up there to become part of that rock to feel the on top of the world rush, the rock is not the problem here it is us, SOOOOOOO all of you who go up there think, think, think, common sense.

  • Reader Participation Day: Tell Us Your "Dream" National Park Vacation   5 years 24 weeks ago

    National Park of American Samoa would be a cool trip...beaches, South Pacific coral reefs, Samoan hospitality....

  • Does the Federal Government Really Want to Seize Six California State Parks?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Things are going to change (maybe) in the next few years. The redistricting will no longer done by the politicians but by an independent panel, so that should cut down on the number of districts where the parties are entrenched. Hopefully, that should yield more compromise minded politicians.