Recent comments

  • Take the Interstate to One of the Largest Units in the National Park System   5 years 50 weeks ago

    I used to be stationed near here when I was in the Air Force. This is an incredibly beautiful landscape. It is a very worthy addition to your travel plans!

  • Is Bush Administration Moving to Shuck Some Congressional Oversight on Public Lands Management?   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Bob, very cleverly put! But, my strong discontent for the man (too put it mildly) and his unconscionable disregard for the protection of our natural resources and heritage runs high. Maybe he isn't sipping but smoking foreign tobacco of some sort...it sure shows with his bizarre behavior over the past eight years.

  • Is Bush Administration Moving to Shuck Some Congressional Oversight on Public Lands Management?   5 years 50 weeks ago

    As a reformed alcoholic, George W. Bush no longer consumes alcoholic beverages. Thus, while gazing out over the smoking ruins of his failed presidency may make him melancholy or vindictive or whatever, he doesn't laugh over, cry over, or do anything else with beer -- at least nothing stronger than the O'Douls (<0.5% ABV) depicted in some scenes of "W."

  • Is Bush Administration Moving to Shuck Some Congressional Oversight on Public Lands Management?   5 years 50 weeks ago

    I'm not surprised by Bush's political chicanery to remove public lands (within national parks boundaries) for more rape, greed and pillage. What precious resources we have left must not be exploited by this careless and reckless administration. This last ditch efforts by the Bush administration is another example and tactic to continue with it's ruination policies without a care or concern for it's destructive practices to the environment. Watch this administration burn bridges to cover it's tracks of dirty misdeeds before leaving office. Bush is probably laughing in his beer knowing and marveling at his destructive empire...which is soon to crumple.

  • Rockefeller Family Turns Over More than 1,100 Acres to Grand Teton National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Beamis and I often have very fundamental disagreements in the past; however, I can't agree more with the sentiment that we need to be consistent in our ethics. I think the discussion on the other thread that I linked to says quite well why I think so. Conservation at all costs is not actually pragmatic at all. And, if we wonder why there is so much resistance in the West to environmentalism, looking at the history of misdeeds tells us why we are in some of the unreasonable fights we are in now.

    Think of everything going on in Grand Teton and the immediate area - with the National Elk Refuge, with cattle grazing (ironically alongside bison with brucellosis), with CWD coming soon, and think of why those problems seem unsolvable. There's a lot of history of mistrust.

    In any event, for the most part, Jackson Hole as it is now is mostly a happy accident, not a process of establishment I can celebrate. And, again, if anyone can actually convince me that I'm wrong to link ends and means so tightly, I'll be happy to stand corrected.

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

  • Is Bush Administration Moving to Shuck Some Congressional Oversight on Public Lands Management?   5 years 50 weeks ago

    As far as federal lands go anything that is a energy or mineral resource is all being fast tracked (stolen) by administrative directives. The Bush Texas model, now the Colorado resource raid, and now what is left is now being handed away on a silver platter. Heck even the rents where recently reduce by 20%. Given that the housing market has no more liquidity Bush and his Spoiled System cronies are going for what is left.,.. OUR natural resources! That is why the Endangered Species Act was eviscerated over the summer by administrative directive. There has been very little time or no time for public given at all for public comments. I call it Corporate Feudalism.

  • How About Some Economic Stimulus for the National Park System?   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Funding for projects such as the mass transit systems that have been mentioned would be a great thing. However, let's not be entirely negative about funding badly needed repairs for existing roads. While I certainly agree that we should have concerns about new roads in parks, keeping existing roads in safe condition doesn't necessarily mean increased vehicle use - and those same roads can just as easily be used for mass transit system as for private vehicles. Work which is long overdue for the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier is a good example. That project is underway, but it sounds like funds to complete all of the necessary work are not available.

    Letting roads revert to gravel, as has been suggested, simply increases maintenance costs over the long run, and anyone who has spent much time driving on unpaved roads might question if all the dust put in the air from traffic on those roads - not to mention the mud and siltation problems for adjacent waterways - is a great trade-off to pavement.

    While I understand the sentiments against roads in parks, the reality is that without continued reasonable access, visitation to and public support for parks would drop off to the point that they would no longer be politically sustainable. I'm concerned that parks are already facing an increasingly serious fight for survival as competition for scarce dollars increases and the nation's population becomes increasingly disconnected from the natural world. Alienating an already dwindling support base by some of the measures suggested would not seem to be beneficial in that environment.

  • How About Some Economic Stimulus for the National Park System?   5 years 50 weeks ago

    It certainly wouldn't hurt if some of that money were put into a mass transit system for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon....the one Congress has looked into in the past only to conclude it's too expensive.

    It is way past time that some logic be applied to economic development projects. Mass transit systems in the parks are just one example of wise-spending, in my opinion. They get cars off the roads, negate the need for more parking lots and constantly repaving parking lots, and carry environmental dividends, regardless of whether one believes in anthropogenic global warming.

  • Rockefeller Family Turns Over More than 1,100 Acres to Grand Teton National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Lepanto and Rick Smith----you label me as over the top and "great entertainment value" and then tell me I'm overly pessimistic (because it must be hard for me to get up in the morning with such a dismal view of my imperial masters in DC) yet have nothing beyond personal attacks to offer in rebuttal to my observations.

    All I can say is I hope your guy wins and you'll be able to force everyone else to bend to the will of the new more "progressive" majority.

    As for Grand Teton N.P. I've read the history and know quite well that it was the same members of the power elite, that most readers of this site love to regularly bash, in this case a baron of BIG OIL, who used his incredible wealth and connections to swindle and cheat small landowners out of their land, just as was done in Shenandoah, the Great Smokies and other so called "national treasures" for the "common good".

    It seems that you have no quarrel with practices and ethics you would otherwise condemn as long as they are used for causes and purposes you agree with and support. This is the very essence of mob rule.

    Long live democracy!

    Long live the oligarchy!

  • Rockefeller Family Turns Over More than 1,100 Acres to Grand Teton National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Last time I checked, this article was about Grand Teton, not the economic policy....

  • Rockefeller Family Turns Over More than 1,100 Acres to Grand Teton National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    I find Beamis to be very optimistic, particularly when he resists giving into the fear propaganda surrounding global warming and other world environmental "crises". Beamis is optimistic that change is around the corner. His assessment of the two candidates isn't pessimistic; it's accurate. Socialism is "state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and the creation of an egalitarian society". Certainly both candidates, having voted to nationalize our banking industry, are somewhat socialistic. And please review the economics of fascism before you dismiss Beamis. You'll find "the nationalization of all businesses which have been formed into corporations" among other descriptors that I find particularly apt with both candidates.

    Look at what happened in Italy during the Great Depression and World War II:

    In 1929, Italy was hit hard by the Great Depression. The Italian economy, having just emerged from a period of monetary stabilization, was not ready for this shock. Prices fell and production slowed. Unemployment rose from 300,787 in 1929 to 1,018,953 in 1933. Trying to handle the crisis, the Fascist government nationalized the holdings of large banks which had accrued significant industrial securities. The government also issued new securities to provide a source of credit for the banks and began enlisting the help of various cartels (consorzi) that had been created by Italian business leaders since 1922. The government offered recognition and support to these organizations in exchange for promises that they would manipulate prices in accordance with government priorities. A number of mixed entities were formed, called instituti or enti nazionali, whose purpose it was to bring together representatives of the government and of the major businesses. These representatives discussed economic policy and manipulated prices and wages so as to satisfy both the wishes of the government and the wishes of business. The government considered this arrangement to be a success, and Italian Fascists soon began to pride themselves on this outcome, saying they had survived the Great Depression without infringing on private property.

    Sound familiar?

  • Rockefeller Family Turns Over More than 1,100 Acres to Grand Teton National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Bravo Mr Mcdonald you have once again put your anarchy stamp on yet another story here at Traveler. This discussion centers on the thoughtful and forward thinking of the Rockefellers who have done some amazing things in this country for national parks including making Acadia National Park even possible, since most of the park is their land--no doubt swindled as you might say from misinformed and bullied landowners who had no idea what their oceanside land was worth and got pillaged in the sale. Perhaps th efamily did nothing more than suggest that they would do nothing to hurt the land and indeed protect it from future generations who might want to profit from it--but I digress. You've mananged to once again spark a political debate within an issue that has nothing to do with poltics but conservation. I'm not sure anarchists and conservation go together....so what is your point???? I agree with the grounded folk here in this thread...praise any conservation effort made by any group, because like it or not it's a step in a positive direction. Even if it's not a popular one, it is a step that encourages many more steps. I think you should try your optimist suit on...it might be a much better fit.

  • How About Some Economic Stimulus for the National Park System?   5 years 50 weeks ago

    road, road, roads, Road, road, roads, roads, roads, road, Road

    Wow! Ten uses of the word "road" in one article! Let's just rename the agency the National Parkway Service!

    $440,000,000 (almost half a BILLION dollars) in road construction projects! Think of all the CO2 that construction will put into the air! Think of all the CO2 belched by vehicles driving on those roads. In one breath, global warming is a "crisis"; in another breath, let's pave roads!

    Or let the roads go back to gravel and allocate that fiat money--hot off the presses--to education and resource protection. The NPS doesn't need more Monopoly money; it needs to reprioritize with an emphasis on the cheaper "preservation" over wasteful "enjoyment".

  • Rockefeller Family Turns Over More than 1,100 Acres to Grand Teton National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Sorry, Bemis, but I don't buy your bleak assessment of the world or the US. Nor do I agree with your characterization of the two candidates as a socialist and a fascist. Your unremitting pessimism is hard to read. For you, apparently, the glass is neither half full nor half empty; it's empty. It must be hard to get up every morning.

    Rick Smith

  • Rockefeller Family Turns Over More than 1,100 Acres to Grand Teton National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago


    Jeepers, Beamis, there's not much grey area in your conception of the world, is there? So, our immorality exceeds all other's, and this comic book version of history you would install in place of any kind of real understanding of how things are, and how they work?

    Beamis, i do try to give your stuff the benefit of the doubt. Sure, nothing exceeds like excess. It can have great entertainment value. But this rant in response to the preservation of the Grand Tetons? This gives a new meaning to 'over the top.'

    It's time, Beamis: Get The Hook.

  • How About Some Economic Stimulus for the National Park System?   5 years 50 weeks ago

    d-2

    I agree

  • Updated: Bush Administration: "A Legacy of Failure for Our Public Lands," Claims Congressman Grijalva   5 years 50 weeks ago

    How depressing - we can only hope that the next president makes a concerted effort to reverse some of these dastardly assaults on our public lands.

  • Rockefeller Family Turns Over More than 1,100 Acres to Grand Teton National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    The key quote for me in this entire string is "no matter how the land was acquired, Grand Teton is one of this nations premier national park areas."

    That in a nutshell is the world we live in today. The ends justify the means. The last century was almost exclusively centered on this concept, whether it concerned acquiring territory "for the common good" through stealth, deception and brute force or if it meant deporting, concentrating or ethnically cleansing whole populations of people.

    This twisted concept of social justice also goes to the very heart of the phony election we're about to have on Tuesday between a socialist and a fascist. Democracy has always been about grabbing as much as you can for as long as you can when power temporarily swings into the hands of YOUR mob. The Founding Fathers greatly feared this type of tyranny where the government and the power elite forge an efficient system of organized plunder.

    Today people are simply voting for a proxy that will take from one group to give to another.

    I still like H.L. Mencken's take on this the best when he said that "Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods." Almost 100 years later his observation couldn't be more true than it is today.

  • Rockefeller Family Turns Over More than 1,100 Acres to Grand Teton National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Well, Jim, it is fine to be a contrarian in the abstract, and it is hard not to be affected by the American romantic anarchistic or libertarian vision, but the bottom line is getting the critical mass of support to make the differences we need NOW.

    Pragmatism is also an american virtue.

    And, lately, the Rockefellers have made the difference in any number of key environmental disputes. And, lately, they tend to support national parks. They are able to get political officals to answer the phone and talk about new environmental initiatives when no one else seems to bother or be heard. No doubt the concerns many of today's Rockefellers have raised about the Arctic Wildlife Refuge does ameliorate to some extent the passion for drilling found in american oil companies, notwithstanding the fact that a lot of Rockefeller money is still tied up in oil companies.

    My guess is the Rockefellers can get a seat at the table when you, Jim, or I cannot. Yes, it rankles my radical roots to think about the affect the Robber Barons and the Priviledged have in the Land Of The Free. But, right now we need all the friends we can get.

    When somebody does the right thing, praise them. We are beyond the point where we can support only the completely virtuous, even if you are able to perceive which individual really truly is virtuous, and who is not. Me, anymore, I just pick up the marbles that are on the table.

    So, Jim: Time for some smart pragmatism. Next time, thank the Rockefellers for what they do, unless you want to discourage any further good acts from others in their Set.

  • Rockefeller Family Turns Over More than 1,100 Acres to Grand Teton National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Rick,

    I agree wholeheartedly with you on Kempthorne's announcement regarding the bison advisory group.

    On the plus side for buffalo - a very small plus but one nevertheless - it's looking like cattle in Greater Yellowstone will be managed differently than outside the area. It's something like Gov. Schweitzer's split state idea applied to the entire area. The hope I have is that because brucellosis transmission inside of Greater Yellowstone won't affect entire states (only those few who are near Yellowstone), then that might buy some time for buffalo.

    But, now CWD has been found in a moose in NW Wyoming, and I'm afraid that just as things felt like they might be turning slightly in our favor, everything is going to hit the fan now - because this truly is a terrible disease. I was talking with Mike Mease of BFC a couple weekends ago, and I informed him about the bad news. He's very worried about this development, though it adds fuel to the fire - why are the feds and states spending so much time on brucellosis when there's this real disease problem on the horizon?

    And, now they want this new advisory board - no thanks.

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

  • Rockefeller Family Turns Over More than 1,100 Acres to Grand Teton National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Jim--

    Thanks for the clarification. And, I agree that there has to be a better way. I admire the work that you are doing on behalf of the buffalo. You and the other activists are making huge sacrifices to support your point of view. I must say that I am not encouraged by yesterday's announcement that Secretary Kempthorne is appointing a new bison advisory group. It smells like last minute politics and will undoubtably take the next president, no matter who he is, some time to un-FUBAR the appointments to the group and its marching orders.

    Rick Smith

  • Rockefeller Family Turns Over More than 1,100 Acres to Grand Teton National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Rick,

    Not to be contrarian (!) - how does one answer such a thing?! LOL - but the truth is that I'm an anarchist. I've said that many times here. So, I do have a worldview, and the intent isn't to be contrarian but because I believe that society is far, far too large, that it's become abstract and that we've lost touch with each other and with the people and beings we love. We care more about abstract ideas like nations, "individuals" like corporations, bureaucracies like the Park Service, than we do about what we live and breathe every single day.

    Since my point of view about society at large is in such a small, small minority, I am bound to come across as a contrarian. In truth, I believe in building consensus and agreement. That's how I organize as an activist - that's how I get along with the vast majority of people who are not activists or anarchists - how I keep a job and a family. But, when it comes to things that matter most to me - and Yellowstone frankly matters most to me (and that includes Grand Teton) - then my views are going to come out most strongly, and being from a point of view that only the scantest have, it's going to come off as contrarian. I am suspicious of anything too large - whether that be large corporations or large government. It's not easy being outside the normal political spectrum, agreeing with the right that government has no reason to be so large but disagreeing so strongly that we should simply let the "market" figure things out, agreeing with the left that the smallest in our society should be protected but disagreeing that government is the ultimate answer to that question. Disagreeing with the right (but agreeing with the left) that the individual must be accountable to a community, disagreeing with the left (but agreeing with the right) that the community should ever be synonymous with the state apparatus. And, yet, that doesn't make me a moderate, either! But, I know I am someone, not simply contrary, that my contrariness amounts to something - perhaps the most something a human can be (to believe that the plants and animals and wind and air and our families and our friends are what are left to us when the constructs of society are torn down and that those things that touch us are most important).

    Anyhow, that's why - even in a place I love as much as Yellowstone - I focus right now on one aspect of it, the buffalo and have gotten involved with organizing here in Bozeman. It would be hard to be motivated if I were simply against. There has to be a better way, eh?

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

  • Rockefeller Family Turns Over More than 1,100 Acres to Grand Teton National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    I don't buy Jim's rant about the Rockefellers either. I suspect it isn't "sour grapes" but Jim's contrarian view about lots of issues. It's always good to have contrarians around as they keep us on our toes and prevent us from getting too smug about long-held beliefs. And no matter how the land was acquired, Grand Teton is one of this nations premier national park areas.

    Rick Smith

  • Rockefeller Family Turns Over More than 1,100 Acres to Grand Teton National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Sour or not, as I said in the other post, the discussion can go forward when someone shows why my own reasons for arguing as I have are contradictory.

    Philosophers since Aristotle have argued for a virtue called magnificence (see Nicomachean Ethics); this - i.e. Rockefeller's actions in Jackson Hole - would be a prime example of what Aristotle had in mind. For a lot of reasons, I don't believe that there is such a virtue as magnificence. And, if that suggestion helps move the discussion along, then good. That is, it's a good discussion to be having because there are plenty of policy implications involved.

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

  • How About Some Economic Stimulus for the National Park System?   5 years 50 weeks ago


    This is an excellent time in the United States to fund park infrastructure and enhance visitor facilities in National Parks.

    Especially with the Dollar as low as it is compared to foreign currencies, there is a great incentive for foreign visitors to visit the United States national parks, and an equal incentive for American tourists to spend their money at home traveling to parks and scenic areas throughout the US.

    Enhancing alternative transportation systems, to permit visitors to tour America by almost any other kind of vehicle than an automobile could also be enhanced through enlightened transportation appropriations and stimulus spending.

    Historically, the NPS has actually taken a more restrictive use of transportation funding than the transportation enhancements (ICTEA, etc) legislation actually allowed. NPS wanted to sink its money primarily into western highways, largely because those highways are so expensive to maintain, and so vulnerable to damage. But the NPS, had it had the money available, could in fact have been using more for historic sites and visitor contact centers, exhibits and other ways to make it easier for visitors to enjoy national parks. Studies have shown that tourists who visit parks also spend a great deal of money throughout the United States, and contribute significantly to improving the international balance of payments, which otherwise drains money from the US.

    These efforts to fund visitor infrastructure in parks can also be enhanced if parks think about providing more visitor information in multiple languages. It is striking how few national parks, in high international tourist zones, provide visitor or interpretive information in more than a couple of languages. Go to Italy or France or Japan and see tourism books and interpretation in many languages.

    These investments have a huge pay-back, and it makes sense for Congress to fund APPROPRIATE national park expenditures to leverage big tourism returns.

    And well-considered investments also enhance the quality of life in America.

    Just consider the examples Kurt gives of the parkways built by the CCC.

    Skyline Drive makes an enormous contribution to making the entire Washington, D.C. region more livable. These visits from DC-types also gives them a sense of what their work in Washington is really about, as they see the villages and farmlands, appropriate AND inappropriate development, as well as the beauty and peace available in so many places in the United States.