Recent comments

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Myself and most of my family do not go to your parks because not everyone is a law biding citizen because I am not allowed to carry concealed, you will find most criminals do not obey the law and are usually carrying a weapon you will find most convected felons have or do carry various weapons. Carrying concealed legally gives me or my family a 50-50 chance instead of a 100-0 chance in a bad situation.

  • Commentary: What Would An Economic Stimulus Package for the National Parks Buy Us?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Frank never saw a government program he liked. It's useless to point positive things out to him.

    Rick Smith

  • Commentary: What Would An Economic Stimulus Package for the National Parks Buy Us?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    C'mon, Frank, not every cent (most perhaps, but not every) of taxes goes to waste...heck, if it weren't for Federal need-based student aid such as Pell Grants, I wouldn't be in college right now.

  • Commentary: What Would An Economic Stimulus Package for the National Parks Buy Us?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Jees, Frank, I pay my taxes...

    You make it sound as if you have a choice. Try not paying them and see what happens.

    ...realizing that I get services for them.

    Services such as a $700 million embassy in Baghdad, hundreds of thousands of maimed and murdered Iraqis, bridges to nowhere, and a 80,700 pages long Federal Register.

  • Commentary: What Would An Economic Stimulus Package for the National Parks Buy Us?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I definitely think that stimulus package money put into National Parks would be an investment. It would be an investment in the people employed on stimulus package projects, who would not otherwise be employed. It would be an investment in the future availability and desirability of our parks. It would be an investment in quality of life for our children and grandchildren. All investments do not have to have a monetary return, though even there I am sure that many projects will cost less if done now, rather than put off to inevitably be done later.
    Having said that, we should not spend money frivilously. Backlogged projects should be completed, maintenence brought up to date, before we even consider any new projects.

  • Commentary: What Would An Economic Stimulus Package for the National Parks Buy Us?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Jees, Frank, I pay my taxes, realizing that I get services for them. I don't regard that as forced extraction.

    Rick Smith

  • What Priorities Should The Next National Park Service Director Address?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Kurt, here are a few further priorities for the new Director that the National Parks Conservation Association has been discussing internally:

    1. Facilitate a renewed vision for the Park Service Centennial.
    2. Help garner support for increased funding for the parks in the Stimulus Package and Transportation Bill.
    3. Help garner support for increased funding for the park operations and maintenance.
    4. Obtain funding to purchase inholdings within national park units from willing sellers.
    5. Work with DOI to overturn or mitigate the impacts of the Bush Administration's "midnight regulations" that threaten park resources.
    6. Work with DOI and other agencies to protect park lands from inappropriate adjacent land uses such as oil and gas development, hardrock mining, and commerical development.
    7. Help make parks more welcoming and accessible to under served Americans.

  • Commentary: What Would An Economic Stimulus Package for the National Parks Buy Us?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    "...if an economic package is approved for the parks, let's be careful with it....if Congress deems such investment worthy..."

    An economic package for the parks is not an "investment". To invest is to save or to defer consumption. Congress appropriates money, which is taken forcibly from from taxpayers, borrowed from foreign creditors, or printed through the inflationary process.

  • Park Rangers, Active and Retired, Lament Change in Gun Rules for National Parks   5 years 32 weeks ago

    That's neo-conservative wisdom, Frank N.

    You call the Federal Reserve System a "triumph"?

    Just as Congress doesn't have constitutional authority to delegate its enumerated power to declare war to the president, Congress doesn't have constitutional authority to delegate its enumerated power to coin money and regulate the power thereof to a cartel of private banks.

    The Federal Reserve creates the business cycle of boom and bust by tinkering with interest rates; the Fed created the housing bubble through this method. The Fed inflates the money supply, which enables us to maintain our vast empire. Inflation disproportionately hurts the poor who find the "value" of fiat paper in their wallet greatly decreased. The Fed has devalued the dollar to 5% of the value it had before the Fed took over.

    FDIC. What a joke! Unnecessary if we abolished the fractional reserve system.

    Social Security is an unsustainable Ponzi scheme. A report from the National Center for Policy Analysis estimates that paying Social Security and Medicare benefits to current workers will cost $52 trillion. If these programs were funded by investments, they say, the government would have to set aside $102 trillion ("about 7 times the size of the U.S. economy") to keep the programs solvent. Assuming the government continues to use current tax revenue to pay for Social Security and Medicare, the two programs will consume one-tenth of the federal budget by 2012, almost half by 2030, and 80 percent by 2070. If these and other entitlement programs are factored into the national debt, it is staggering.

    Student loans account for one-third of the two to three trillion dollars of consumer debt. Inflating the money supply in the educational sector caused tuition prices to skyrocket over the last 20 years, and graduating students are now the equivalent of indentured servants. Luckily, Obama, and his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, seem big on compulsory volunteer service and would like all citizens 18-25 to give two years of their time to the State. After all, as Mr. Emanuel has stated, "Citizenship isn't an entitlement." I certainly prefer the Porn-to-School Act to indentured servitude.

    Big government is not an answer. It is not a solution. It is a problem. It almost always exacerbates any situation rather than helping, like a doctor letting blood from a patient as a cure, but the treatment actually weakens the patient. If you think the Leviathan can be tamed if only we chain it to the right masters, think again. History has repeatedly shown otherwise.

  • Park Rangers, Active and Retired, Lament Change in Gun Rules for National Parks   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Consider a short and incomplete list of 20th-century liberal triumphs, all vehemently opposed by conservatives at the time: the Federal Reserve System; women's suffrage; federal deposit insurance; Social Security; the investor protections of the Securities Acts of 1933 and `34; public power; unemployment compensation; the minimum wage; child labor laws; the 40-hour work week; the Wagner Act, which gave private-sector workers collective bargaining rights; the Civil Rights Act; the Voting Rights Act; federal fair housing laws; Medicare; federally sponsored guaranteed student loan programs; and Head Start. Sandi: Don't try to turn "liberal" into a dirty word. You bet your bippy I'm a liberal. Every ounce and every inch of me; and proud of it.

    Conservative wisdom:
    "You've got to kill the terrorists before the killing stops. And I'm for the president to chase them all over the world. If it takes 10 years, blow them all away in the name of the Lord"?
    - Rev. Jerry Falwell

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Fortunately it fell naturally, not due to some idiot, like that artist who set fire under one of them.

  • What Priorities Should The Next National Park Service Director Address?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Wow! What a courageous series of comments by experienced folks who know whereof they speak. I appreciate all of your candor.

    I think the funding and staffing problems are key. Nearly every NPS office I come in contact with is down a significant number of staff from earlier periods. There comes a point when you cannot carry out your mission when people are harassed and overburdened all the time. Morale suffers, and time cannot be spent doing anything but putting out the latest fire, which doesn't encourage longer-term thinking, planning, research, creativity, or thoughtful and patient visitor contact. The huge staffing deficit seems to be affecting every corner of NPS work. Even if you are going to carry out some work via partnerships, contracting, or other means, there is no substitute for a full staff of knowledgeable professionals within NPS to guide and coordinate the work. I know that there are lots of people out there (young, and not-so-young) who *are* committed to the NPS mission and have the skills and expertise that they would love to bring to NPS. But with the exception of seasonal positions, there seem to be few jobs, and that *is,* I think, fundamentally a money issue.

    Anne Mitchell Whisnant, Ph.D.
    Historian & Author of Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History
    Chapel Hill, NC

  • Commentary: What Would An Economic Stimulus Package for the National Parks Buy Us?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    First, I would like to commend Kurt on his outstanding picture of Mesa Verde National Park. I've never been there, and the picture has convince me I should go.

    I don't understand why we need a stimulus package to get ADA compliance for national park restrooms. Seems to me when the federal government passes rules, that they should budget compliance for all federal facilities including National Parks.

  • Park Rangers, Active and Retired, Lament Change in Gun Rules for National Parks   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Anonymous wrote:

    I submit that guns are very effective on offense, somewhat less so on defense.

    I suggest you read Professor Gary Kleck, an award-winning criminologist cited in DC v. Heller.

    The data "show that, far from defensive gun use endangering them, gun-armed victims who resist robbery or rape are injured far less often than either those who resist with other weapons or than those who submit. Gun-armed victims are also much less likely to be robbed or raped than those who take Handgun Control's advice never to resist."

    Do you have any suggested reading for your claim, Anonymous?

  • Photography in the Parks: How To Solve Exposure Problems in Snowy Landscapes   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Thanks for a timely and informative article.

    Cold weather does present its own set of photographic challenges, but too many of us tend to leave our cameras indoors during the winter. Some of my favorite shots were taken on a December visit to Nome, Alaska, but at -21F I found after the first few minutes I didn't spend quite as much time composing every shot!

  • Park Rangers, Active and Retired, Lament Change in Gun Rules for National Parks   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Ray -

    Thanks for a good reminder from someone with first-hand experience that no defensive measure, including bear spray, is without its risks, and safe handling and use of the product is essential.

    I think the most important part of your comment is the last sentence:

    My concern is that people carrying pepper spray or firearms may have a false sense of security and take unnecessary chances.
    .

    The best defense against bears or any other threat is education about proper behavior in any environment - and then using good judgment based on that information. My experience was that a significant percentage of injuries or deaths in parks (and anywhere else for that matter) were the result of poor decisions by people.

  • What Priorities Should The Next National Park Service Director Address?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I totally agree with Frank N. Yellowstone/Tetons are far away from me but very near and dear to my heart.

    Each National Park has its own issues and should be resolved by the park folks (including scientists !) who know most about its issues......remembering that they belong to all of us and were created for their protection of the natural beauty/features/flora & fauna !

  • Photography in the Parks: How To Solve Exposure Problems in Snowy Landscapes   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Another aspect in addition to your last hint: Underexposure usually can be corrected pretty well after the shot on your computer. But overexposure means that the white is flared out, details are lost and can't be resurrected. So if 2.5 stops looks good on the camera display, it might be wise to take another shot with just 2.0 or 1.5 and check out the details at home on your larger and maybe even calibrated monitor. There you can increase the brightness easily to just the point where white becomes white but the details are preserved.

  • Park Rangers, Active and Retired, Lament Change in Gun Rules for National Parks   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Pepper spray can result in unexpected problems. I have experienced the results of an accidental discharge of pepper spray and can testify to its extremely painful and disorienting effects. I flew light aircraft for the National Park Service in Alaska including moving persons to and from remote sites. I banned the carrying of pepper spray inside the plane allowing it only in compartments of the floats where leakage or a discharge would be harmless. Believe me, if a can of bear spray goes off, even in a tiny amount, while you are flying or even driving a car the chances are that you will crash. I would also caution that you carefully note the direction the wind is blowing before using the spray. It can blow back into your face.

    I hiked and camped in bear country for many years and had several close encounters with bears, both brown and black. Sadly, I had to use a firearm twice in response to serious attacks. The great majority of bear approaches are bluff charges where the bear does not intend to cause injury. My concern is that people carrying pepper spray or firearms may have a false sense of security and take unnecessary chances.

  • What Priorities Should The Next National Park Service Director Address?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    College kids? Like the ones I've seen who have terrible person hygiene and wrinkled uniforms? The ones who answer "yeah dude," and "nah" instead of "Yes Sir" (and Ma'am)? The ones who can't count money without a calculator? I'm sick of seeing these KIDS reflecting poorly on the NPS.
    I agree with Warren Z, lets get some mid-life older adults who want another career, and veterans who know how to talk to people and have learned the definition of accountability and responsibility. Ones who will wear the uniform with pride!

  • Park Rangers, Active and Retired, Lament Change in Gun Rules for National Parks   5 years 32 weeks ago

    When liberals like Frank N refer to goofy TV shows like "West Wing" ya know they are in deep trouble with their argument. Garbage in, garbage out.
    Uh...pssst...Frank...West Wing is produced by flaming liberals!

  • Park Rangers, Active and Retired, Lament Change in Gun Rules for National Parks   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Ya NAILED it, Frank C!!!!

  • Yellowstone National Park's Wolf Population Down More than 25 Percent   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Can't they inoculate the wolves against distemper as well as giving them rabies shots at the same time to control both diseases. This will give us a healthier population. Before anyone complains that we are messing with nature we already have that's why their populations are low in the first place. We exterminated them and then brought them back.

  • Park Rangers, Active and Retired, Lament Change in Gun Rules for National Parks   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Frank C: The goal of law enforcement officials is to "get the drop" on criminals, just as the goal of criminals is to "get the drop" on their victims. I submit that guns are very effective on offense, somewhat less so on defense.

  • Park Rangers, Active and Retired, Lament Change in Gun Rules for National Parks   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Frank N. wrote:

    Guns do not stop crime.

    And conversely, banning guns doesn't stop crime.

    And if guns really do not stop crime, I suggest all law enforcement park rangers give up their Glocks. Oh, yeah. It's a twist on the ol' favorite: Guns don't stop crime. Park rangers stop crime.