Recent comments

  • What's the Latest On The Search for An Interior Secretary?   5 years 45 weeks ago

    And, it looks like Salazar may indeed been offered the job -- see http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/dec/15/ken-salazar-mum-possible-interior-secretary-appoin/ .

    The AP's new list of possible appointments has taken down Grijalva's name from its list -

    INTERIOR SECRETARY
    Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo.
    David J. Hayes, head of Obama's transition teams for energy and natural resources agencies and former deputy interior secretary under Clinton.
    John Berry, director of the National Zoo

    Reuters also lists Salazar as the top candidate: http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE4BC14N20081215 .

    And, I don't think everyone will be none too happy with this selection, at least those who care.

    Wow, and we almost had Grijalva -- God help us.

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

  • Is Florida's Blockbuster Sugar Deal to Help the Everlgades In Danger of Collapse?   5 years 45 weeks ago

    There are several important points missing in your article - the price tag of close to $3B after interest on the certificates of particpation - the halting of projects in the works because the district will not have money for any projects - the possibility that an further downturn in the economy (property assessments) could bankrupt the agency. While Everglades Restoration is important all of ENP currently receives water at the 10 ppb P mandate. It is only the water conservation areas that were created for just that purpose and now are Everglades Protected Areas that need refining. Everyone from Orlando south changed the Everglades - forever. The price of restoration should not include the demise of inland communities to be sacrificed for coastal water supply and pay for a plan that is not a plan. You see it will take years to come up with one and the remaining acres for restoration 65,000 (more than those of USSC) aren't in the deal. The dream of restoration under this deal will turn into a nightmare.

  • What's the Latest On The Search for An Interior Secretary?   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Obama is just another hack politician spawned in the infamous and mightily corrupt Chicago machine; which has, down through the years, given us the likes of Richard Daley, Dan Rostenkowski and now Governor Rod Blagojevich to name but a few.

    To think that Mr. Obama possesses a vision that is more sophisticated than the art of backroom political maneuvering, shady cash infused deal-making and altruistic sounding taxpayer shakedowns is nothing more than pure hope-filled naivety on the part of any NPT readers that think otherwise.

    He will pick the most politically expedient people for ALL of his cabinet positions, regardless of their qualifications. The politicking has just begun and the ways of the Imperial Presidency will now reflect the modus operandi of Crook County, dead voter rolls and all.

    If you're well connected enough he can probably get your cousin a superintendency somewhere out West that he won't even have to show up to work for.

  • What's the Latest On The Search for An Interior Secretary?   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Things are pointing today, unfortunately, to Ken Salazar being appointed. According to the Denver Post, this is likely. I think you'll hear from a lot of environmentalists who would have wished they had Mike Thompson, if they knew they'd get stuck with a guy like Salazar.

    Is it too soon to talk about the re-emergence of the Green Party four years from now? I don't think Obama realizes the degree to which he will anger people with this Interior choice. The sense a lot of people have is that Obama has no understanding of interior issues at all, which is why this selection process for interior has been so bungled and contentious.

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

  • What's the Latest On The Search for An Interior Secretary?   5 years 45 weeks ago

    I agree with d-2. One of the attractive features for Democrats of the suggestion that Raul Grijalva from Arizona be appointed is that there is little chance that they would lose that seat in a new election.

    I heard Rep. Grijalva speak this weekend at the annual meeting of the Association of National Park Rangers in Santa Fe. His message of the restoration and reinvigoration of the National Park Service was refreshing to hear. I know there are frequent posters on NPT who believe that government agencies such as the NPS are incapable of managing a complex system of protected areas. I don't buy that. Given sufficient support and resources, the NPS can manage the National Park System. But, as d-2 points out, it will take enlightened leadership at the DOI and the appointment of a first-class professional as the Director of the NPS to make that happen. We can't afford to have political affiliation or geographic location be the determining litmus tests.

    Rick Smith

  • What's the Latest On The Search for An Interior Secretary?   5 years 45 weeks ago

    I would think Mr. Obama would want to hold on to Democrats, like the Udalls, in previously Republican seats. Too dangerous to re-open those seats.

    But it is interesting that so few substantial candidates are in the mix for the Secretary of the Interior's job. Once held by distinguished statesmen like Harold Ickes, Rodgers Morton, and Cecil Andrus, you would hope the Obama people could identify a stronger field of candidates.

  • What's the Latest On The Search for An Interior Secretary?   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Tommy Franks...let's get a military man in there to shape things up (or perhaps he would be better as NPS Director). The parks were run extremely well in days past when the military ran them. Sharp-looking rangers in sharp uniforms, who had good core values in service to the American people. "Yes sir", "yes ma'am" versus "yeah, dude."

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   5 years 45 weeks ago

    As a Liberal, I disagree with Bush 95+% of the time. However, I like this regulation change. I believe in all the Bill of Rights, not just those that are supported by the left or right. You are also fooling yourself, if you think that people aren't already bringing concealed weapons into National Parks for self protection. Another misconception I hear is that gun owners are looking for a fight. I think the reverse is true. Every CCW holder knows that if they use their weapon to protect themselves they could still face some legal and certain civil repercussions even if it is for self defense.

    I am a father of a 7 and a 9 year old daughters and CCW permit holder. When I go camping, I am always thinking of how to avoid confrontation with other campers and animals. I am more concerned about people than animals. If the lives of my family are seriously threatened, I intend to ensure they walk away alive. It is better to be judged by 12, than have your child carried by 6.

  • What's the Latest On The Search for An Interior Secretary?   5 years 45 weeks ago

    I would second the Udall connection and suggest newly-elected Senator Mark Udall from Colorado. As the former head of Colorado Outward Bound and a long-time congressman from CO as well as a whitewater kayaker, he understands the West, the public lands, and politics. I had the privilege of paddling the Yampa River years ago with Mark Udall as well as one of my heroes Mo Udall. Of course Stewart Udall was a great Sec of Interior during the 60's. It would be great to see Mark continue the family legacy.

  • Petrified Forest National Park is Still Being Stolen One Piece at a Time   5 years 45 weeks ago

    A synopsis of relevant information is available at http://www.nps.gov/pefo/parknews/park-boundary-expansion.htm. Here is a map that shows the authorized boundaries of the park:[url= http://www.nps.gov/pefo/parknews/upload/Draft_singlecolor_map.pdf] http://www.nps.gov/pefo/parknews/upload/Draft_singlecolor_map.pdf[/url] For more detailed information and updates you can contact the park's public information officer, Lyn Carranza at 928-524-6228.

  • Comment Period for Proposed Gun Rule Change in National Parks Extended 30 Days   5 years 45 weeks ago

    This is indeed a political matter, I will agree. This is not about trust, but about power and control. I simply don't understand the logic which equates an indiscriminate homicidal maniac with any responsible, law abiding citizen who happens to be carrying a gun. You might as well argue banning fire extinguishers in buildings with good safety records. Or why not legislate mandatory seat belt free zones because there have been so few people injured in those specific locations? Ridiculous is exactly my point. "Lack of a need" doesn't hold water. As with any prophylactic, it's a preventive measure, there is no actual need for it... until a need actually arises.

    To be civilized is to restrain the ability to commit mayhem.
    To be incapable of committing mayhem is not the mark of the civilized -- merely the domesticated. Count my vote for change in our parks and on our streets!

  • Wilderness Designation for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Will Have to Wait   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Dang, I HATE when they move lakes around. Thanks for the pointer, Joe.

  • Wilderness Designation for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Will Have to Wait   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Lakeshore officials even went to lengths to ensure that Lake Michigan boaters could pull their boats up onto portions of beach that would fall within the proposed wilderness boundaries. While there had been consideration of extending the boundaries one-quarter-mile out into Lake Michigan to match the lakeshore's boundary, many boaters like to land their craft so they can have a picnic or take a hike, said Superintendent Northup.

    Somebody should politely suggest the proposal be resubmitted to include the proper Great Lake..!

  • Arches National Park Finds Its Birthday Overshadowed By Drilling Concerns   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Connie W, sounds to me your more worried about your oil stocks then saving the environment from rape, greed and pillage. We had eight years of Geo. Bush's non-sensical environment policies which are hell bent on pure exploitation of are natural resources. And, without a clue what conservation of are natural resources means. If Bush was smart, we would be far ahead of the game in alternative energy management. But, playing ear to the Big Oil companies is one of the main reasons why were in this energy pickle. More oil drilling close to the National Parks is not a solution to are energy crises but an insult to rational thinking and planning towards the future. Your idol Geo. Bush (I assume) has publicly admitted we use too much oil. A surprisingly strong comment from a oil siphoning lame duck President. With President elect Obama, soon to take office, I'm sure we can get this country rolling again and become a world super power (with integrity to spare) soon as we get are priorities straight and act together...and with less corporate shenanigans...were going to be just fine. Plus, take care of our of National Parks like good environmental custodians should. As far as wind, solar and other alternative energies (outside of are one way energy system called pro-oil) this should be a big priority and a huge step into the 21st. century...ask Boone Pickens! Connie, unless you live afar from the oil drilling areas in the U.S., you probably don't have to worry about the water table pollution (noted recently in parts of the country). I think you will be a lot healthier and happier with solar and wind power, instead of massive oil rigs drilled everywhere that burns the eyes. Let's step ahead into the 21st century and stop regressing towards a draconian life style of the 1900's...called the pre-industrial era. Something that Geo. Bush failed to see and do! His approval ratings at 28% (or less) is a testament of failures and misdeeds as President.

  • On the Political Front: Good And Bad News From the Bush Administration   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Good news, thanks. I tend to not like enforcing "pristine park" standards on lands outside the NPS boundaries, but I'd rather not have power plants immediately nearby.

    The parks don't have a voice to say "not in my backyard", unlike the rest of us.

    ==============================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Arches National Park Finds Its Birthday Overshadowed By Drilling Concerns   5 years 45 weeks ago

    What's the difference if it's an oil well or one of the damned ugly windmills.

    Evironmentalist don't seem to mind when windmills spoil scenic vistas. Drive along I-81 through the Poconos and enjoy the spectacle of these monstrously ugly windmills along the ridgeline. It's a liberal mindset against oil that makes a windmill somehow less of an eyesore than an oil well. (Unless, of course, you're Teddy Kennedy or John Kerry and someone wants to put a windmill farm off the coast of your beloved Cape Cod, then it's suddenly unacceptable.)

    And I find it interesting that liberal environmentalists always throw down their trump card - "there really isn't even enough oil there to justify drilling". They're obviously idealistic academics unfamiliar with the business world, otherwise they would understand that an oil company isn't going to invest in the expense of drilling where there isn't much oil to be found. It's either fantasy or bold-face lying to suggest otherwise. AND... if oil companies did follow such a poor business plan as to drill where there was only 6 months worth of oil, than guess what...in six months the oil well would be gone along with the oil. No more ugly well...but we're still stuck with those damned windmills. How would a string of windmills along the Canyonlands look to you?

    It's the same old sorry song that most Americans are getting tired of. The militant environmentalist don't want us to drill for oil anywhere because it violates their Environment/global warming religion that they worship at the alter of St. Al. Their goal is to rid the world of carbon based fuels and have us all live on wind and solar. Yeah, good luck with that. Unless some more efficient means of alternative energy is discovered we either cover every inch of available space, including the national parks, with solar panels and windmills or we get real and drill, baby, drill!

  • On the Political Front: Good And Bad News From the Bush Administration   5 years 45 weeks ago

    I believe you can add Great Smoky and Shenandoah to those three, and possibly Mesa Verde. There have been recent efforts to build one in Utah, and it possibly could have impacted the air quality at Capitol Reef, but apparently the EPA rejected its permit application due to a lack of controls over carbon dioxide.

  • What's the Latest On The Search for An Interior Secretary?   5 years 45 weeks ago

    John Berry is a personal friend. I have known John for 21 years. He would be an outstanding choice as Interior Secretary. Make no mistake about John's conservation credentials. Conservation is a passion. Upon leaving Interior in 2000 (having served in the #3 position for 3 years -- Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget) he became Executive Director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. He left NFWF to become Director of the National Zoo where he has brought to the zoo his commitment to conservation.

    John has been involved in the coaltion you mentioned. As I understand it it has a mandate far beyond the issue mentioned in the your posting. John is a strong proponent of wildnerness areas and believes strongly that no mechanized vehicles belong in the wildnerness. He also recognizes that balances on other public lands must be reached that allow such vehicles but that are also protective of wildlife. He worked hard to make sure that the vehicles that were allowed in were less polluting and less noisy.

    John will be a great and creative Secretary of the Interior if nominated by President-elect Obama. The country will be lucky to have someone of his quality.

    Kevin Bliss
    Washington DC

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Victory for Human Rights! We can now carry in National Parks legally.

    Hooray!

  • What's the Latest On The Search for An Interior Secretary?   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Berry is the best choice out there because he is a committed conservationist, the only candidate with experience within Interior and a track record of leading and managing large organizations, and is highly respected by Members of Congress from both parties. Beyond the serious conservation issues the next Secretary will face, they will inherit a Department that has not been effectively managed for decades. He turned the National Zoo around...can any of the other Interior Secretary candidates say they have done something similar?

  • On the Political Front: Good And Bad News From the Bush Administration   5 years 45 weeks ago

    I'd love to see a list of national parks threatened by proposed coal-fired power plants that will be helped by keeping the existing air quality rule in place. Here's three I know of: Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Badlands National Park, and Wind Cave National Park.

  • Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Yoy know in terms of being environmentally friendly Wal-Mart is not as bad as many people think. That being said, I was not so sure as what should be done at first. The park has to end somewhere, but the store would very close to the park in fact too close and the land is historically. In the end, I hope the Wal-Mart is not yet good points have been made on both sides.

    Dan as for ypu point will it ever end........no. Example: Cutting down a historically tree in New England.

  • Petrified Forest National Park is Still Being Stolen One Piece at a Time   5 years 45 weeks ago

    I do hope the problem is solve in time, but in the mean time does anyone know what is going on in terms of expanding the park.

  • Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Dan,

    What needs to be said, and folks need to be educated on with regard to the Wilderness site is it is ON the battlefield, not adjacent.

    Fact is the site is included within the boundaries of the original tract of land considered "battlefield" under the initial survey by the War Department.

    This isn't a case where someone is seeking to preserve some locality where Elvis once sang, or where the first cheeseburger was served. This site is linked into the watershed event in American History.

  • Trails I've Hiked: Golden Canyon, Death Valley National Park   5 years 45 weeks ago

    I have to agree, Golden Canyon is worth the effort. I did this particular hike during early May (a few years back). The temps were in the 90s as I recall, and I could not imagine hiking that trail if it were any hotter. We actually did a bit of a loop from the Highway 190 parking lot, uphill to just beneath Zabriskie Point, and then back down through a different side canyon.

    Your point about extra water though can't be stressed enough. There were four of us, each with just one liter of water. In hindsight, it probably would have been wise to carry no less than two liters a piece, maybe as much as a gallon, seriously.

    We had heard a story of a fellow the summer before dying on the trail. He left the lower parking lot feeling very fit. By the time he reached the half-way point (or some point far from his car), he was very thirsty. Apparently the effects of dehydration amplify very quickly, especially in a place like Death Valley. Because his body could not perspire, he found himself physically unable to make it the few miles back to his car and water, his internals shut down under the stress.

    But ... don't let that stop YOU from enjoying this hike! Just bring extra water. :-)