Recent comments

  • Whatever Happened to That Rule Change To Allow You to Pack Heat in National Parks?   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Anonymous,

    You're making assumptions. My "whole life" is not "consumed on the gun issue".

    When I was a national park ranger, on ten occasions I swore to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. Not part of it. ALL of it. All ten amendments in the Bill of Rights. All articles and sections. As a park ranger, I took that oath seriously, and as a private citizen, I still consider that oath binding.

    I have never advocated that people should be able to "pack heat...to anywhere and everywhere." You are intentionally misrepresenting my argument, setting up a strawman. Of course the Second Amendment does not apply to private property. It does, however, apply to federal lands. I do not "fan the coals toward more hell bent gun ownership". I don't care if people own guns.

    But I do care that the Constitution and its civil rights protections are protected and enforced. Like it or not, it is the law of the land.

  • Interior Department To Be Sued Over Cape Hatteras National Seashore Plover Habitat Decisions   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Anon/Anchorman,

    How about we let the court decide just whose attempt is "pathetic", shall we? Ginny covers the details quite concisely and thoroughly, so I'll take your stance to task.

    Remember, this issue has already been in the courts for a decade. Environmental groups petitioned and sued to get critical habitat designated, CHAPA sued to get it overturned, the FWS took three years to redesignate it, and now here we go again.

    So, by your own words, you cite who began all the lawsuits over this issue. Enviro groups, who would've ever guessed? The fact of the matter is, it's pretty obvious that the Federal Courts agree with the pro-access groups, since they've sided with them twice! Now just who is wasting the taxpayers money and tying up courts yet a third time?

    And the irony is this suit won't do anything except waste money. NPS still has to do an ORV plan.

    Enviro groups don't seem to care about money wasting or tying up the court system. How very nice of you to employ a double-standard when the lawsuit comes from your foes. How about the millions of dollars that have been spent since the inception of the Consent Decree, with only a few more fledged birds to show for it? How about the money spent on signage for closures? How about the fact that the CHNSRA park rangers, who used to dress like the "Crocodile Hunter", now look like Marines on patrol, body armor, sidearms and tasers worn to protect against "Perceived" threats? How much taxpayer money has been spent on these items alone, not to mention all the other mandates required by the CD? Don't preach about wasting taxpayer money. It's the DOW creedo!

    We would not be having any of these conversations if the Enviro groups had not left the negotiating table and filed their own lawsuit while everyone else was attempting to hammer out the final plan. They are the one who left good-faith negotiations, and they hold the distinction of being the first to sue over this matter. It's like an analogy of the brat on the football field who actually owns the ball. They took said ball and went home when they didn't get their way.

    This lawsuit will likely shine the spotlight on much of the fuzzy science and questionable tactics employed by the enviro groups in both this matter and the matter of the final ORV plan, as they are intertwined. Much of this will not stand up well in court. You and your pals need to face that fact.

    I'll leave this thread for now with a parting picture for you. Below is the front cover of a brochure for ther Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area Circa 1955. This is just a gentle reminder that the intention of this area is, and always has been, to be used as a playground for Human Beings. The fact of the matter is, we can coexist with the other wonderful species that inhabit this area, just like we always have, ORV's included.

    The area must be managed, not shut down.

  • Interior Department To Be Sued Over Cape Hatteras National Seashore Plover Habitat Decisions   5 years 41 weeks ago


    So, george53, tell us what "for EVERYONE" really means to you?

    For "EVERYONE" all at once? For "EVERYONE," with each one bringing in an ATV? For "EVERYONE" with the same level of use and the same technology used at the time the Seashore was established? For "EVERYONE" without regard to more recent environmental laws, passed by the representatives of all citizens of the United States, because of the recognition that America's environment was deteriorating, and those citizens had learned no national park exists in isolation?

    For "EVERYONE" even if it means the destruction of the very special qualities that caused the creation (for "EVERYONE") of the National Seashore in the first place?

    Maybe "EVERYONE" is beginning to realize America is not so big that it can any longer afford to let its resources be abused, poluted, and twisted beyond recongition for the thrill and diversions of a "FEW."

  • Leave it to the Beaver   5 years 41 weeks ago

    I love it! I'm guessing those two boaters went snipe hunting for their next outing! Great story, Thanks!

  • Hikers, Bikers and National Parks   5 years 41 weeks ago

    One would think the change in administrations would make a perfect time for the folks at DOI and Ag to sit down and sort through their maze of properties and see which really fit best where. From time to time one hears rumors of the Forest Service being moved over to Interior. Perhaps BLM would fit better under Ag. But that would be just for starters.

    When one starts talking about trends, I think one of those that is obvious is that there are more than a few questionable NPS properties. In light of the current economic crisis, and the NPS's long-term fiscal crisis, would it be unwise to not just consider where the various BLM, FS and NPS properties best fit, but which ones should fit? We'll examine this question a bit more closely in the not-too-distant future.

    The challenge if one went down this road, though, is producing a sound and amenable solution. What one person sees as a waste of federal time and dollars, others see as a personal favorite.

  • Climbing is Capped at Mount McKinley and Climbers are Left to Wonder What’s Next   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Sabattis, as attractive as your ration-by-price scheme might seem at first blush, I doubt you'd find many Americans who'd endorse an access rationing system for our premier national park experiences that unabashedly favors wealthy people (especially foreigners) over people of ordinary means. Yes, let's cap the number of permits at a reasonable level. Yes, let's price the permits in relation to the park's cost for providing the services. But let's distribute the permits via a lottery or other means (such as a reservation system with waiting list) that doesn't ration by price. In any event, when the crunch comes -- that is, when the demand for permits far exceeds the supply -- we should never employ a rationing process that allows wealthy internationals to push aside Americans and go to the front of the line.

  • Climbing is Capped at Mount McKinley and Climbers are Left to Wonder What’s Next   5 years 41 weeks ago

    It seems self-evident that some sort of limit is the right way to go. After all, the capacity of Mt. McKinley is not infinite - if you think 1,500 is too low, could the mountain handle 3,000 climbers? 6,000? The real question is how should the National Park Service allocate the slots. It doesn't seem like its on the table, but the one that would have the most benefit to the Park System would be an auction - and given that climbing Mt. McKinley is an activity primarily for the wealthy (and very often for international travelers that are not contributing tax dollars), an auction seems a very reasonable way to go for allocating the permits once the limit starts being reached.

  • Hikers, Bikers and National Parks   5 years 41 weeks ago

    I've noticed an interested connection between several Traveler articles recently, including this one, the article on China's "First" National Park, and the article on "Did the NPS Ever Manage this National Monument". It seems that many National Park issues are arising from the fact that the "Big Four" Federal Land agencies no longer really have definitive lines drawn between them based on the purpose of the of the lands that they manage. I mean you have protected places of National significance like Misty Fjords being managed by the Forest Service, large remote tracts of wild land that are not really suitable for visitation like Bering Land Bridge National Preserve being manged by the Park Service, a mix of the same resource being split between BLM's Canyon of the Ancients National Monument the Park Service's Hovenweep National Monument (which although it came first, is now a National Monument within a National Monument), and there are probably any number of other combinations in between. With the various Federal lands such a mess of designations, its no surprise that there is no right answer to figure what is the right level of use in one area vs. another.

  • Interior Department To Be Sued Over Cape Hatteras National Seashore Plover Habitat Decisions   5 years 41 weeks ago

    My comment was directed at those who wish to take away the area,s that was designated as recreation area,s That is what Hatteras seahore was set aside for.. For EVERYONE not just birds And turtles. It has been proved time and again all can coexist.

  • Interior Officials Release Draft Reports on Climate Change   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Ummm, scroll down to the third graph from the bottom and click on that blue link that says "this site" and you'll be taken to the page where you can download the reports.

  • Interior Officials Release Draft Reports on Climate Change   5 years 41 weeks ago

    where's the report? this only tells us what they're supposed to do and who they're made up of, what happened to the report? is this just to tell us we're to stupid to know, just pay someone to pretend they're doing something?

  • Interior Department To Be Sued Over Cape Hatteras National Seashore Plover Habitat Decisions   5 years 41 weeks ago


    Ginny ! What a hoot !

    Greedy Environmentalist Attorney's !

    I guess you don't know where money is getting spent these days, and what you can do if you want when you leave law school. Just today I heard the campaign for what they are calling "clean coal" has already spent $1 Billion THIS year. But, fighting for endangered birds is where you want to be if you are REALLY looking for a huge paycheck.

    Yiikes !

    Go be an environmentalist, and just watch the money roll in!

  • Interior Department To Be Sued Over Cape Hatteras National Seashore Plover Habitat Decisions   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Are you aware of the Center for Diversity's campaign to ban ORV use in all critical habitat areas and to remind the government of the real meaning of critical habitat? In this light, the contention that critical habitat won't result in additional restrictions is dissingenuous.

    As for being critical habitat, since the areas do not require special management they are NOT, BY DEFINITION, critical habitat--ESA section 3(5)(A). As for the specific units, check out the NPS Plover Reports and maps, most of the previous habitat was claimed by Isabel. As for the inlets, sandbars come and go--this is clearly not sustainable habitat. I could go on but the real issue here is that USFWS did not originally designate habitat here for a reason. USFWS is only embarking upon this task because of the DOW suit against USFWS. USFWS knew full well that the area didn't qualify under section 3(5)(A). So it is DOW not CHAPA who initiated this wasteful litigation. Furthermore, despite the fact that Padre Island was exempted under section 4(b)(2), DOW is challenging the Padre Island decison as well.

    Bottom line DOW et al will not stop until they get their way or until someone finally stops them in their tracks. I for one hope CHAPA is the group to accomplish just that. My only misgiving is that by fighting this CHAPA is putting more money into the greedy environmentalist attorney's pockets.

  • Interior Department To Be Sued Over Cape Hatteras National Seashore Plover Habitat Decisions   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    Thanks for the article! While it's certainly regrettable that this issue must once again enter the federal judicial system, perhaps it will be put to bed at long last.

    The same groups/counties, in different combinations, have won similar cases over the same designations twice in recent years. There is no reason to believe that the outcome be any different this time, and perhaps the flawed and outmoded Vogelsong study will cease to be a point of reference in future legal proceedings. [Emphasis on future added]

  • Interior Department To Be Sued Over Cape Hatteras National Seashore Plover Habitat Decisions   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Yet another pathetic attempt by the yahoos on the Outer Banks to turn a National Seashore into the Dare County Motor Park. There's no question there's critical habitat at the National Seashore. So this will simply tie the issue up in legal knots for years. Remember, this issue has already been in the courts for a decade. Environmental groups petitioned and sued to get critical habitat designated, CHAPA sued to get it overturned, the FWS took three years to redesignate it, and now here we go again.

    And the irony is this suit won't do anything except waste money. NPS still has to do an ORV plan. And wintering critical habitat doesn't necessarily mean any additional restrictions anyway. The real fight remains over the ORV groups insistence on beach driving in the nesting season, which runs April to November, despite the fact that recovery plans for the piping plover and sea turtles all recommend banning ORVs from nesting areas.

  • Federal Judge Blocks Recreational Snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 41 weeks ago

    All this makes no sense to me. Being an avid snowmobiler myself I hear about this debate constantly and to my knowledge snowmobiles aren't allowed off the trail and have been mandated to become four-stroke motors which not only reduces emissions to that of or even less than the automobiles that enter YELL every day, but it also reduces the noise pollution that these vehicles put out to that of or less than that of automobiles.

  • Interior Department To Be Sued Over Cape Hatteras National Seashore Plover Habitat Decisions   5 years 41 weeks ago

    If aBIG IF . The truth about special interest groups trying to steal public property would come to light it would be a great victory for the average taxpaying American.

  • Whatever Happened to That Rule Change To Allow You to Pack Heat in National Parks?   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Frank C, why is your whole life consumed on the gun issue. It seems like your always splitting hair over the gun arguments to pack heat...to anywhere and everywhere. In seeing my first homicide victim (a police officer with family) as a young surgical tech, just made me puke about the NRA and it's overly hell bent gun fanatics. I duly believe in the right of handgun ownership, but kept in the home and in a SAFE PLACE locked up. In fact, I've had two close friends involved in tragic gun accidents: one was showing off his loaded high powered rifle that went off accidently and killing his best friend, and the other, was in the fit of anger, in which brother shoots brother with a Remington 22 rifle (not sure of the type). Unfortunately, the brother that was shot is totally paralyzed from the waist down...and has been for the past 35 years. ALL TRUE TRAGIC STORIES!
    Yes, an emotional issue on both sides, but I get the impression Frank, you fan the coals towards more hell bent gun ownership regardless of the carnage that it leaves behind. Just work in the hospital morgue for while on Saturday night (in any big mean City) and see the morass that guns play. The poor ER staff beating their brains out to save some poor innocent victim, or some crazy gang banger. Take real hard look Frank and pray it's not your kid or dear family member. I've had my fill of gun violence and hope that President elect Obama squeezes out more gun regulations and pinches out the NRA.

  • Injuries Prove Fatal To Hiker Who Fell in Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Sometimes accidents just happen. I once suffered a concussion while skiing, even though I was only skiing a green run, was wearing a helmet, and did not run into a tree or other obstacle - just fell to the ground (or possibly collided with another skier - the details are not known and I don't recall due to the concussion).

    Hikers, skiers, and other outdoor enthusiasts often under-estimate the risks involved in what appear to be non-risky adventures even when being cautious and following the rules. However, in speaking with numerous park rangers over the years it seems to me that most serious / fatal accidents happen when people ignore safety precautions.

    Does anyone know the specifics of this accident?

  • Whatever Happened to That Rule Change To Allow You to Pack Heat in National Parks?   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Interestingly enough, ReasonOnline just posted an article titled The Trouble With Thomas Jefferson which states in part:

    Does the fact that Thomas Jefferson owned slaves—probably including his own children—negate the wonderful things he wrote about inalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence? To put it another way, why should anyone listen to what Master Jefferson (or other slaveholding Founders) had to say about liberty and equality?

    It’s important to remember that the idea of inalienable rights didn’t start or stop in the year 1776. The historian Gordon S. Wood, in his superb 1991 book The Radicalism of the American Revolution, argues that “to focus, as we are apt to do, on what the Revolution did not accomplish—highlighting and lamenting its failure to abolish slavery and change fundamentally the lot of women—is to miss the great significance of what it did accomplish.” In Wood’s view, by destroying monarchical rule and replacing it with republicanism, the American revolutionaries “made possible the anti-slavery and women’s rights movements of the nineteenth century and in fact all our current egalitarian thinking.” They upended “their societies as well as their governments…only they did not know—they could scarcely have imagined—how much of their society they would change.”

    The article also provides historical background on Jefferson and the issue of slavery. Highly recommended.

  • At 55 and Counting, Wright Brothers National Memorial Enjoys Its Monumental Facelift   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Great article, Bob!

    Thanks for bringing this project to light. Prior to the 2003 "Centennial of Flight" celebration, the entire WBM complex had become rather worn looking, to say the least. Decades of exposure to salt air and simple visitor wear and tear had taken its toll.

    After many years of just passing it by, I have made at least one visit each year over the past two years, and was very happy to see the facelift that the entire unit has enjoyed. It's also great to see that the restoration of the monument itself was financed through cooperation between the NPS and NGO's like the First Flight Foundation, helping the financially strapped park service as well as providing a sense of civilian ownership.

    Another item of note: December 17th marks the 105th anniversary of the Wright Brother's maiden flight, and the First Flight Society will hold it's annual day-long Gala event at the WBM complex. From the First Flight Society Website:

    The day's activities include a ceremony at the Memorial . . . the induction of a major figure in aviation into the Society's Shrine . . . a thrilling fly-over of civilian, military and historic aircraft . . . and an annual luncheon and formal Ball. This annual celebration is a joint effort of the First Flight Society, the National Park Service, the military and many other participants.

    If you're in the area, make plans to attend this unique event!

  • 28 Years Ago, the National Park System Gained Millions of Acres   5 years 42 weeks ago

    d-2 and Rick -

    Thanks for the additional insights into this part of NPS history.

    Rick, you and the others who made that initial foray into the new areas in 1979 did a superb job in laying the foundation for rangers who came after you. That had to be an incredibly challenging assignment - and as you note, one of the most rewarding ones... especially since it turned out so well. The story about the award ceremony is a classic!

  • Rescued Yosemite Hiker Has Lots to be Thankful for This Year   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Lucky guy, glad all ends well. Honestly I can't think of a nicer place to get stuck for a week or 2. If Steve F. would like, I will send him a copy of my photo from above Red Devil Lake from early Sept. (it was much warmer then). I can easily see why a couple of feet of snow would have stopped any progress in country like that. Nothing but rocks , and granite slabs and wind exposure. It's nice to hear a rescue story where somebody did almost everything he should. Again, Lucky Guy! Terrible shame about the Japanese Climbers...

  • 4-Year-old Dies in Fall off South Rim of Grand Canyon   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Anyone who says that they "would not let go of a child's hand for one second" either does not have children or lives in a dream world. This is real life and the world is an imperfect place. My heart breaks for the parents of this poor kid. The memory of this event will haunt them forever. It's too bad that some idiots focus on how such a thing could only be an act of negligence. Wake up, idiots.

  • 28 Years Ago, the National Park System Gained Millions of Acres   5 years 42 weeks ago

    I think they did a pretty good job, considering what was at stake, how enormous the controversy was, how many PRIVATE SECTOR lobbyists were engaged, and how complicated the task was. I thought most of the politicians had more courage than most of the agency people or the private sector. They had to stand out there and take the hits.

    Maybe it could be easier for the private sector to do something slick behind closed doors. but then, how much would the average citizen be able to affect the outcome? The private sector would just tell you what they were going to do, and unless you are a big stockholder or can file a successful lawsuit, you are stuck.

    In the case of this law, more people testified on this legislation than any prior law in history, except the Civil Rights Act.

    I don't think these things should be easy.