Recent comments

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Zebulon,

    I favor the part of this that shifts discretion to the local Park-unit ... which is also what the bike-opposition, the 'pure hikers', are objecting most strongly about. This is the way these user-decisions should go: The central Park HQ should be concerned with high-level policy and the overall-management of local managements. They should not be stroking their chin over each & every stretch of trail, nor should they be making up one-size-fits-all blanket rules to crudely regulate a range of situations across the NPS ... which is how your opposition hopes to ensure that what you'd like to see, neva happens.

    Really though, this is a corruption of the American way, which says that central authority deals with the stuff that only the central office can deal with, while all the decisions that pertain to local stuff, should be made by the local offices. Written right into the United States Constitution ... and good enough for the Park Service, too.

    Centralized authority was how they did it in the USSR, who now exist only in the history books.

    Obama will make the call on the new bike-rules. None of this comes out of the oven, until middle of next year. So yeah yeah, it's the evil Bush crafting this cunning violation of Mother Nature, right? Well, might be a good move to think again.

    Everything Bush does after his meeting with Obama a week or two ago, he very likely arrived at in consultation with Obama (during that meeting - which both of them refuse to discuss). It is now time for Bush to earn brownie points with everybody who has the future in their hands (#1, Obama) because that's how he minimizes the amount of crap he ends up carrying in the history books ... which at this point is looking like a helluva crap-load.

    Do we have clues to how Obama is leaning in matters of Parks-management? Yes we do: He just appointed Ken Salazar as Sec. of Interior. That gurgling sound you hear is the enviro-purists, on the floor choking until they're blue. Salazar is Evil One In Training, in their view.

    The selection of Salazar informs us very strongly, how NPS policy will go under Obama. There are 2 posts current on National Parks Traveler about this selection:

    Updated: Salazar Pick For Interior Secretary Labeled a Failure, and

    Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration

    The Salazar decision is far, far away from where 'enviro'-Obama was supposed to go, and is an indication of potentially historic changes in the management of our common resources ... which some have long presume should only be handled according one narrow (purist) point of view.

    I think the correcting of that longstanding situation is overdue - and may now be in the offing.

    Ted Clayton

  • Twenty Boats Destroyed by Fire in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Given the time of night and year, the remote location, and the unusual challenges (and dangers) presented by a fire in a marina, the staff did an incredible job in this situation! Under the circumstances, it's amazing that they saved the majority of the boats.

  • Gun Rules for The National Parks: Will They Really Make It Easier To Pack in the Parks?   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Kurt wonders:

    ... if this rule change really wasn't intended to be an economic stimuli of its own.

    In English & Spanish, right?

    Don't we have regulations for the mounting of signage? What do we do about buildings that don't offer proper mounting surfaces/structures? Rebuild them!

    And structures like trail-signage that are smaller than the gun-signs - oh no!

    This should keep half the country busy for years ... must be a genius of economics behind it. ;-)

  • Upon Further Review – Does the River Run Downstream?   5 years 48 weeks ago

    People with this lack of experience should not be out alone ----- travel with others to gain knowledge before heading out alone.

  • An Ancient Road System Still Puzzles Us at Chaco Culture National Historical Park   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Thanks for the article. I just visited Chaco Canyon in October, and was astounded. I still have a hard time understanding how such a large native population could seemingly thrive in such a difficult (i.e. dry & hot) climate. The ruins there are spectacular, the American version of Tikal.

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

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 48 weeks ago

    There are some simple solutions to cut down on the user conflicts. Some places have instituted an even-odd day regulation for some more crowded trails. On odd days, horse riders can use the trail, on even days, cyclists can use it. Hikers can use it all the time, but also know what kind of other users they'll encounter. This seems to me like a very fair and reasonable way to share a common public good.

    Dave, you make some great points. I would add that the way Yellowstone was intended to be used say 50 years ago can change over time as users change. As long as the use of the park does not harm it, I don't see the problem. At the end of the day, if we restrict the parks to a diminishing number of people (horse riders numbers are dwindling and kids tend to gravitate more toward biking than hiking), it'll do the parks no good. This regulation has the potential to bring practical solutions to the bike access issues (I'd rather see these issues solved on the ground than in Washington) and as a result more users to the park. This seems like a win win to me.

  • Gun Rules for The National Parks: Will They Really Make It Easier To Pack in the Parks?   5 years 48 weeks ago

    You know, I wonder if this rule change really wasn't intended to be an economic stimuli of its own. Think of all the signage that will have to be changed throughout the national parks: gun ban signs at entrances, at trailheads, etc, etc.;-)

  • Gun Rules for The National Parks: Will They Really Make It Easier To Pack in the Parks?   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Gary Slider said:

    [The law (18 USC 93) says] they must post the building if they don't want anyone carrying.

    You're right, unambiguously.

    Certainly, I see these postings when I go to 'real' Federal Builds & Courts, in the big city ... but I don't see them on many Park-buildings.

    Could we be looking at some kind of "Don't ask, don't tell" situation, in the Parks? ;-)

  • More Fishers Soon To Be On the Loose in Olympic National Park   5 years 48 weeks ago

    First of all, it does seem like a very good idea, to focus on species-reintroductions that are less controversial & polarizing. The fisher is being used in this way in many places across the U.S.A, and it's a good thing.

    There are some potential issues and even risks with this project, though. See Feasibility Assessment for Reintroducing Fishers to Washington September 2004, by Washington State Fish & Game, for additional details.

    Ecologically & biologically, the Olympic Peninsula has a small population of marten, which are very much a smaller version of the fisher. Both are upland & forest weasels, and dry-ground, semi-arboreal versions of the mink. The range of fisher & marten does overlap in some regions, but in other regions only one species is present. It seems that the risk to marten got a fairly easy 'pass' in this project, and certainly it is not publicized that a potentially unfortunate conflict exists.

    From here, the issues become less certain, but no less potentially problematic.

    First in this category of considerations is the role of trapping in the demise of Olympic Peninsula populations of fisher. Although trapping took place in the Olympic Mountains (now the Park), this is extremely inhospitable trapping-country. Trapping was mainly a low-land occupation on the Peninsula. The interior regions of the mountain range were entirely "terra incognito", until the 1890s. Penetration thereafter was generally slow & light (that's why it's a Park today..). The terrain is a great barrier to the sorts of 'blanket coverage' or 'saturation' trapping-patterns that generally lead to severe reductions of fur bearers. There are very generous swaths of the mountains that will & did serve as 'reservoirs' or 'refugia' within which target-animals had protection, and from which they could later rebound and repopulate over-worked adjoining districts.

    Let me emphasize the terrain-consideration: Although the Rockies and others are higher & grander than the Olympics, there are few features on Earth that approach the sheer ruggedness of the Olympics. You have to go places like The Grand Canyon and the worst of the dissected Andies to find such impediments to entry & travel, as exist in the Olympic massif. Without the installed trail-system, entry into the Olympics would be a world-class and extremely unusual adventure.

    I - and others with experience in this country - will find it highly unlikely that the Olympic Mountains fisher were "trapped out". Furthermore, habitat was not significantly disrupted within the mountains either. Habitat was heavily altered in the low-country, but not in the high Olympic country, which is now Park.

    It may be too snowy to support high-country fisher in the Olympics, especially during the colder swings of the climate ... which we may well be watching take place today. Fisher found in the high country, may be on summer outings from the low-country. It could be a slight embarrassment, if the introduced animals soon prove to like the lower country outside the Park better. Slightly worse, this is also where the remnant population of marten are also most likely to reside.

    Inaccurate assumptions about the cause of the original extirpation of Olympic fisher could result in the introduced population simply suffering the same fate.

    That one of the introduced fisher was found killed by a bobcat in the Elwah Valley is an immediate Ah-ha! Many do not realize the extent to which the Olympic Peninsula is 'cat-country'. It is more than passably possible that the more-important reason for the downfall of fisher, was the increase in cats brought on by the opening up of the low-lands and timberlands, which causes 'explosions' of prey-species. The cats then multiply, supported by the increased food-supply. With a higher density of cats, the fisher (and wolves & coyotes, etc) could not avoid their natural enemies as well as before, and declined or vanished.

    That one of the fisher was road-killed near Forks suggests that they are already leaving the high country of the Olympic National Park where they were introduced, and taking to the low-lands outside the Park (the Elwah animal suggests this too). While it doesn't seem like the fisher will come into direct conflict with the humans who live in the low-country, for the species to abandon the habitat that the project-designers placed them in calls into question the planning of the project, etc.

  • Gun Rules for The National Parks: Will They Really Make It Easier To Pack in the Parks?   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Ted, I agree and I read the law that way also. I read it even if the building is posted I can still carry there if I have a permit/license that makes it legal for me to carry in the state the National park is located in. The law also states they must post the buildings. If they post them and they say it applies to those with a legal permit/license to carry is what we have to find out. This will take a court case to decide since I believe the feds say that this means everyone and that section does not pertain to those who can legally carry. But getting back to the law that to me is very black and white they must post the building if they don't want anyone carrying. Every entrance must be posted and it must be very visible.

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 48 weeks ago

    I try to do it all: fish, hunt, bike, bird, photograph, sleep, eat, etc. What I recognize is that groups do not self-regulate and we tolerate idiots in the ranks. As a result I struggle with the mountain bike "issue" in the parks, particularly Yellowstone, in the event bikes are permitted on trails. The nature of mountain biking is the challenge, not simply a conveyance, though would I be tempted to use a bike to convey me faster and easier to the back country with all my photo gear...probably. But I need to think about what I am doing: do I meet the park on its own terms or set up a system of rules which makes its enjoyment easier?

    My answer is obviously selfish: I do not want to see bikes on trails in Yellowstone. I'm 62 now and know I will not be able to enjoy the park as I did years ago, but I do not expect the park to accomodate me at the expense of other users who are using the park as it was intended.

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Apology accepted, Zeb, not that it was entirely necessary. This can be a rough and tumble place from time to time;-)

    I do sincerely invite you to stick around and weigh in on some of the other issues when the mood strikes. There are some important ones out there.

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Beamis,
    Thanks for saying what I meant to say. You missed how government murders its citizens, but I'll cover that in a bit. I wanted to respond to d-2 that if he wants to "govern the greedy and the powerful", he needs to begin with the Federal Reserve, a pseudo-governmental cartel of bankers that operates above the law and without impunity. I was going to mention fractional reserve banking, a return to sound money, and returning to the rule of law through adherence to the Constitution, all of which government politicians sold out in 1913 and 1933, but I think your comment makes the point far more efficiently and effectively. My empirical mumbo jumbo would fall on deaf ears.

    It's how the world works.

    I'm reminded of Ludwig von Mises's motto, borrowed from Publius Vergilius Maro:

    Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito. Do not give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it.

    I'm not sure comparing natural selection to government is accurate. Take, for instance, the worldwide democide carried out by governments in the 20th century. Governments murdered almost 200,000,000 people in the last 100 years. This figure does not include those the state compelled to die in combat. Senseless. Evil.

    And I think Alinsky embraces, rather than proceeds against, evil. After all, he dedicates "Rules for Radicals" to Lucifer, who Alinsky terms as the "first radical". "The most effective means are whatever will achieve the desired results." It took Alinsky 11 words to paraphrase Karl Marx's far more succinct "The ends justify the means." More evil.

    I'm glad to have discovered Obama's mentor, though. It's been eye opening.

    Back to the DOI. The Department has been rife with controversy. Oh, I'm sure some will put this all on Bush while failing to consider the BIA's multicentury screwing over of American Indians.

    It's time to abolish the DOI and other agencies that have limited or no Constitutional authority. It's time to stop concentrating power in unelected bureaucrats. Enough with the czars! Our country was not to be ruled by emperors or autocrats. Returning to the Constitution and limiting government's power and scope is the only revolution that will protect everyone, not just the poor or the rich.

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Agreed. Long day, short fuse, my comment was inappropriate. I sincerely present my apologies to Kurt.

    I had a longer reply typed, but an operator error erased it. :) At any rate, I am certainly an one issue type of guy, not that I'm insensitive to some of the other challenges that the national parks are facing.

  • Gun Rules for The National Parks: Will They Really Make It Easier To Pack in the Parks?   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Here is an easier-to-read copy of 18 USC Sec. 930.

    I believe that published assessments generally recognize a conflict, or at least the appearance of a conflict, between the new guns-in-Parks rule and "18 USC Sec. 930".

    Do note that Subsection (d), explicitly referenced in the first words of Subsection (a), contains 3 paragraphs, providing exceptions to the thrust of the ban on guns in Federal facilities. Subsection (d) and Paragraph (3) jointly state:

    "(d) Subsection (a) [no guns in Federal buildings] shall not apply to - (3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes." [emph. added]

    Paragraph (d)(3) certainly appears to be capable of providing for the explicitly authorized lawful Concealed Carry provided in the new regulations.

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Frank C.,

    Although I am as wary as anyone of the weaknesses & foibles of Government, I don't see any unusual crisis at the moment, and feel no unique urgency to respond to their depredations.

    It's like the lions & zebras out on the Serengeti. The lions eat the zebras. Have, for quite a long time now. Is it unfair? One could say, I suppose. Is it tragic, when the mare zebra goes down, then her colt starves & dies too? Sure it is.

    But is it the end of the world? Certainly not - in fact, it's how the world works ... and in fact, it does work, has for a very long time, conflict & tragedy & all.

    The real problem with governments, is that they are "institutions". All institutions, formal and informal, show a related pattern of internally-arising malignancy. The self-limiting & destructive proclivities of institutionalization have been clearly displayed ever since hunter-gatherer groups coalesced into societies thousands of years ago. "Government" is nothing more than another example in a broad & familiar array of predatory institutional actors in society.

    But we still have zebras ... and we still have human society.

    Vigilance: it works for zebras, and it works for citizens.

    Ted Clayton

  • Gun Rules for The National Parks: Will They Really Make It Easier To Pack in the Parks?   5 years 48 weeks ago

    You need to read the US Code below and especially (3)(h) The National Parks will have to post all their buildings except for the Park Offices which fall under the law as defined below. The Camp Stores etc are not office buildings they have to be posted or National Parks would have to put up a sign at all entrances to the park stating all buildings are off limits to those who can legally carry in the National Parks. I don't write the laws I just report them. But Title 18 Part I Chapter 44 Sec 930 is what the Federal Government has passed as laws and we have to stay within the law.

    18 USC Sec. 930 01/03/2007

    TITLE 18 - CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
    PART I - CRIMES
    CHAPTER 44 - FIREARMS

    Sec. 930. Possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in Federal facilities

    (a) Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.
    (b) Whoever, with intent that a firearm or other dangerous weapon be used in the commission of a crime, knowingly possesses or causes to be present such firearm or dangerous weapon in a Federal facility, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
    (c) A person who kills any person in the course of a violation of subsection (a) or (b), or in the course of an attack on a Federal facility involving the use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, or attempts or conspires to do such an act, shall be punished as provided in sections 1111, 1112, 1113, and 1117.
    (d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to -
    (1) the lawful performance of official duties by an officer, agent, or employee of the United States, a State, or a political subdivision thereof, who is authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of any violation of law;
    (2) the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon by a Federal official or a member of the Armed Forces if such possession is authorized by law; or
    (3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.
    (e)
    (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm in a Federal court facility, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.
    (2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to conduct which is described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (d).
    (f) Nothing in this section limits the power of a court of the United States to punish for contempt or to promulgate rules or orders regulating, restricting, or prohibiting the possession of weapons within any building housing such court or any of its proceedings, or upon any grounds appurtenant to such building.
    (g) As used in this section:
    (1) The term "Federal facility" means a building or part thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties.
    (2) The term "dangerous weapon" means a weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, except that such term does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2 1/2 inches in length.
    (3) The term "Federal court facility" means the courtroom, judges' chambers, witness rooms, jury deliberation rooms, attorney conference rooms, prisoner holding cells, offices of the court clerks, the United States attorney, and the United States marshal, probation and parole offices, and adjoining corridors of any court of the United States.
    (h) Notice of the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each Federal facility, and notice of subsection (e) shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each Federal court facility, and no person shall be convicted of an offense under subsection (a) or (e) with respect to a Federal facility if such notice is not so posted at such facility, unless such person had actual notice of subsection (a) or (e), as the case may be.

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Zebulon,

    I'll even tolerate people who cherry-pick their one-issue agenda ... but start slinging the hate-accusation, putting on the hair-shirt and disdainfully looking somebody else's gift-horse in the mouth ... well, no.

    It's like hikers & horse-riders & bicycles all on the same path. A few basic rules will give us a decent 80% or even 90% working-solution. Those who find it too confining to work within a few common-sense rules on National Parks Traveler ... well, the pubescent identity issues can arise in any demographic.

    Zebulon, you owe Kurt an apology.

    Ted Clayton

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   5 years 48 weeks ago

    I find primitive freedom-loving emotionally appealing, but there is no freedom or future if there is no way to govern the greedy and powerful.

    I'm not sure I understand what "primitive" freedom means but there is no entity more greedy or powerful than one which obtains its might through coerced non-voluntary extraction i.e. government, whose greed and appetite for ever more power knows no bounds. It is the kind of "primitive" greed and power that can wage an unjust and bloody war to the tune of 1 billion dollars a month (which compared to some of the recent federal boondoggles seems quaintly cheap at this point) by simply devaluing and debasing our currency and borrowing from foreign countries it has no intention of ever paying back.

    It can give trillions to its buddies in the banking, insurance and mortgage business while letting its national parks and public lands wither on the vine. Come on d-2 don't you think that out of all of those trillions, that have been freshly printed out of thin air, that maybe a paltry few billion could have been scattered over your beloved national treasures? Where are their priorities? Are they just too busy governing the greedy? Is that it?

    I don't know about the rest of you but there is nuthin' on God's great earth more greedy and destructively powerful than the U.S. federal gummit. As it takes us down the hole in the next couple of years you just might want to ponder my words and pray for the future of the national parks under the stewardship of those power mad & blood stained warlords who burrow together along the banks of the Potomac.

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Zeb,

    No bike hater here. There are at least four in the garage, and I'm happy to report that on more than one occasion I've actually taken a mountain bike down through some gnarly trails in the Sawtooth National Forest! And I support the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park, have ridden the rail trail at Cape Cod National Seashore more than a few times, and am happy to see that the folks at Mammoth Cave National Park finally followed the rules and developed a comprehensive trails plan (one, by the way, which exposed the tensions between equestrians and bikers. Did you see that post? I don't recall any comments from you.)

    But really, you don't think I spend all my waking hours and half my sleeping hours at this keyboard waiting for your comments to come dribbling in, do you?

    What I find interesting about one-issue folks such as yourself is that you only show up when there's a single interest dear to your hearts in the national parks, and then you do so anonymously. It makes me wonder if you really care about national parks for their intrinsic values, or simply want more landscape to rip across.

    If you find national parks to be such great playgrounds for you and your bike, why don't we see your thoughts on drilling near national parks, on coal-fired power plants and the air pollution they send into and over the national parks, on insufficient budgets that prevent proper trail management in the parks and which deny park superintendents full staffs to adequately perform their jobs? All these issues threaten the future of the parks that you want your bike to be able to access.

    What are your thoughts on concealed weapons in the parks, on mass transit options, on climate change, on wildlife issues, on the fees not just to get into parks but to camp in them, to participate in interpretive programs? What do you think about the National Park Service's inability to buy inholdings that threaten the integrity of some parks, such as the 78 historically sensitive acres on which the American Revolution Center would build its museum complex, surrounded on three sides by Valley Forge National Historical Park?

    Heck, if you're concerned about your comments not getting cleared fast enough, I invite you to join the Traveler community and create a profile in the system so your comments will get posted just as fast as you can hit the submit button. We'll even allow you to retain your anonymity!

    Zeb, I think it's great that you at least view the national parks for something beyond space holders in the urban sprawl. I just wish you'd step up for the parks in the midst of all these issues they're struggling with so the parks will be there -- largely in their current form, if not a better one -- for your kids to enjoy.

    As I've said more than a few times before, at the Traveler we invite discussion of all viewpoints out there, even ones the editors might not agree with. (Heck, Mark Eller even answers my phone calls and emails!) All we ask is that the dialog be constructive. Who knows, someone just might see something in a different light.

  • Nevada Barr’s Next Park Novel: An Unauthorized Preview   5 years 48 weeks ago

    You have a good memory for places, Lepanto. However, Liberty Falling (book #7) was published in May 1999, nearly four years before Governors Island National Monument was established (on February 7, 2003, by Presidential Proclamation 7647).

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Interestingly enough, my first reply was not posted. Did I hit a sensitive nerve with the bike hating webmaster? :)

  • Nevada Barr’s Next Park Novel: An Unauthorized Preview   5 years 48 weeks ago

    And, Bob: I may have to re-read it again, but in Liberty Falling, didn't she also get to Governors Island National Monument?

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Frank C: I agree with you on ridicule and Alinsky: ridicule is the weapon of the weak. I don't really think Alinsky was a Marxist or had any kind of belief structure, actually. It seemed to me his value as a political thinker was understanding the power of organization, rather than Movements. He had no use for Movements. Many liberals, environmentalists, and romantic right-wingers can become enthralled in Movements. Alinsky is not alone in this: on the left, right or in some more nuanced dimension inhabited by thinkers.

    Alinsky has many flaws, chiefly among them the lack of faith in (or even understanding of) altrusism. What he really was, was a labor organizer, a street-level theoritician. I think he was more preoccupied with respect for powerless individuals and in power for the underclass, more than Freedom. He would probably have hated the comparison, but I think he shared Theodore Roosevelt's belief in Countervailing Power. At the time, the moneyed class would roll right over most every body else, unless the common people could have enough structure, and disciplined supporters to stop them.

    I only bring it to your attention because I think JimB hit a nerve, in me at least. I think people who care about parks need to stop ranting, and learn to be effective. The thing I thought was useful about Alinsky in this, is his unsentimental belief in effectiveness. I think the tactics and preoccupations of the '30's do not fit in our world, but have useful lessons.

    One similarity between the 1929 and our time is the gap between rich and everybody else, and the leverage extracted by private financial interests over everybody else. Including over parks and environment. It takes a pretty silly person not to see that the threat today to freedom and a healthy future comes much more from these private financial power centers than government, except to the extent that government serves these interests, not the majority.

    As we have seen, this unbridled power even threatens the fools who exercise it. Witness the collapse of the economy, and the confused priorities and "solutions" of these financial elites. As far as Beamis' stuff is concerned, I think government can be a threat, but I think the majority needs to learn to be a force in keeping government civil, democratic and focused on a sustainable future. I find primitive freedom-loving emotionally appealing, but there is no freedom or future if there is no way to govern the greedy and powerful.

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Mountain bikers: yeah, they can be obnoxious. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it's a transparent excuse to act like a pubescent male with esteem & identity issues. Be loud, crash, let the blood run, dry & crust (maybe smear some on the face). Revert to tribal rituals, in groups greater than two. I don't find them very likeable.

    I don't think it's that challenging to effectively address the discrepancies, though. First, bikes yield to everything else on the trail, because they are fast, have a lot of kinetic energy, sharp points & rotating metal rods, and are poorly controllable under the circumstances. Dismount and remove the machine from the path, let people & horses by, then jump back on. Second, maintain traction at all times. Since bikes don't really have the ability to peel-out, or side-slip, this problem is really about going downhill too fast and then braking into a continuous slewing skid (a surfboard on gravel). Knock it off. Get off the bike and walk it down the hill, if it isn't possible to brake within the limits of traction. (Since we know the hills where the offending behavior will occur, it is easy to make a few busts.)

    That bikes create 'user-conflicts', and therefore ought to be banned ... well, no. We have conflicts everywhere. We live with it. We make rules to control the problem. That we cannot tolerate conflicts between different sets of users of the common resource: that's facetious - of course we can.

    I do understand that in other parts of the country, mountain biking is done nicely, and that's cool. No intent here to slight those who have their act together.

    Mountain-biking could be a great asset to the outdoor & Parks venues, bring in lots of new people, for sure. We have to tone them down a few octaves, have to tolerate a few skid-marks here & there, a stray yee-ha! now & then, but most of all we just have to learn to share the outdoors with people who have a different set of attitudes. This is pretty basic stuff, isn't it?

    This may (but may not) be one of those Bush-things that Obama undoes, sooner rather than later.