Recent comments

  • Valley Forge: Once Again A Battleground, This Time Pitting History Against Development   6 years 3 weeks ago

    The development plans horrify me--what can an average citizen like me do to stop this?

  • Decommissioning National Parks: Some History, And Some Ominous Clouds   6 years 3 weeks ago

    This has been an interesting discussion. I have followed it here and on our “retirees” group site. I would not be surprised if some movement is made in this area; the public certainly needs to know.

    As we head down the broadening road of even greater national debt, driven, in part, by our out of control, seldom monitored, military spending, and the continued grazing of the halls of congress by big buck lobbyists on behalf of the big cats getting who want more, the NPS and other small discretionary budgets are going to get wacked.

    Our government is first corporate based with a bit of attention given to the remaining constituents. With the Bush Administration in the wheelhouse of our damaged ship, who knows what they may want to do next -more military action or further empire building.

    With that said I would like to say that the NPS has dropped the ball, historically at least, in doing the work required to protect resources it was charged with. Case in Point: Fossil Cycad National Monument, South Dakota.

    This is what happened:

    “In 1922, Fossil Cycad National Monument was established as a unit of the National Park Service through the authority provided in the Antiquities Act. Hence, the monument and its resources were entitled to the same levels of protection and management provided through the National Park Service Organic Act.
    By the 1930s, most of the fossilized plants called cycads were depleted from the surface at Fossil Cycad National Monument. Years of neglect, unauthorized fossil collecting, unchallenged research collecting and a general misunderstanding of paleontological resources, lead to the near complete loss of the resource in which the monument was named and designated. In the early 1950s, it had become apparent that the National Park Service failed to uphold the mission addressed in the Organic Act at Fossil Cycad National Monument. Therefore, in 1957, under the request of the National Park Service, one of America's important paleontological localities lost its status as a unit of the National Park System.”

    Source: http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/paleontology/pub/grd3_3/focy1.htm

  • Decommissioning National Parks: Some History, And Some Ominous Clouds   6 years 3 weeks ago

    We wouldn't need this discussion if we weren't spending $12,000,000,000 (thats 12 billion!) a month on our Iraq occupation not to mention the half trillion dollar defense budget. When will we realize that the military industrial complex is the 800 lb gorilla of our federal budget?

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 3 weeks ago

    That's funny that you think that folks who carry have any intention of harming another human or wildlife in a national park. Will you be thinking that when when of those "fools" is saving your life when you're being attacked by a bear? You are more likely to be attacked by wildlife because you're wearing perfume than you are being attacked by a citizen acting on his 2nd amendment right to bear arms and protect himself. Good luck to you, you're going to need it.

  • FY2008 Budget Provides Seasonal Increases At Glacier National Park, But Hamstrings Other Operations   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Excellent! I am glad to hear Glacier is going to be able to hire more people (even if they are seasonal) and will be able to keep moving forward. It is such a wonderful park!! It is too bad there are some short falls, but at least they are able to do more than some can.

    As far as Dinosaur National Monument goes, those jobs are being done away with. It is no longer a suggestion, but a reality!

  • Appellate Court Rules Against Yosemite National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    There's only one way to limit Yosemite visitors: reserved tickets for entry. A limited number per day. No big block reservations.

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Eric, we owe you a vote of thanks for drawing attention to Alan Hogenauer’s article “Gone but Not Forgotten: The Delisted Units of the U.S. National Park System.” It provides an excellent history of sites that have been entirely removed from the national park inventory after having been established. A surprisingly large number of parks have been erased from the inventory for various reasons. There were 34 such delisted (“decommissioned”) park units in 1983 when Hogenauer wrote this article and some others have been delisted in the last 25 years. The concluding section of Hogenauer’s article emphasizes four main points: First, delistings are highly selective; there has been no wholesale pruning of manifestly worthy national parks. Second, there has been no geographic bias to the delistings. Third, delisted units almost never become inaccessible to the public; indeed, there has been only one such occurrence (Shoshone Caverns). Finally, and very importantly, no delisted unit that Hogenauer identified lost its integrity as a historic, natural, or recreational resource after being removed from National Park Service administration. Does this mean that national park delisting is such a great idea that we should have lots more of it going on? Certainly not! But Hogenauer’s findings do show that the occasional pruning of units is a normal, not necessarily harmful process in the National Park System. Additional delisting is surely going to occur. Instead of condemning delisting out of hand, perhaps we should be fine tuning the process. It’s especially important that we know which criteria are best suited to the task of identifying units whose continued existence as National Park System components least serves the national interest.

  • Appellate Court Rules Against Yosemite National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    If you have ever traveled to Yosemite National Park, then you know that something has to be done in that valley. Out of all of the national parks, Yosemite is my least favorite because of the crowds. You simply can't escape the crowds, it is as simple as that. All of the other big parks that have too many visitors, such as Acadia and Smokey Mountains and Zion, have set themselves up so that, although there is congestion, it is relatively easy to escape the crowds and enjoy your experience. The only time I can reach Yosemite is in the dead of summer, height of tourist season, and it is DREADFUL. (And I am used to crowds, I live in on of the most crowded areas of the country!) The very lay out of of Yosemite, by design, crams everyone together and although the scenery is awesome... I can say without hesitation and without doubt that it is my LEAST favorite. If this particular plan has been shot down, which it obviously has been, I hope they keep trying to change the layout of the park. Something needs to be done, and if it isn't this plan, then choose something else and go back to court to fight for it. Until there is a change, I'm personally not going back.

  • Appellate Court Rules Against Yosemite National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Why would anyone expect a sensible ruling from the 9th?

  • Encyclopedia of Life Debuts   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I consider this new website another important tool in the endless struggle to conserve and protect our slowly dwindling natural heritage. A definite must for all college resource majors, professionals in the field of wildlife sciences and those who cherish our natural history.

  • Group's Lawsuit Says Wolves, Not Bullets, Should Control Elk at Rocky Mountain National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Well, wolves have been roaming the greater Yellowstone ecosystem and central Idaho since the mid-1990s, and the Glacier NP region as well as Isle Royale NP for much longer, and I think you'll be hard-pressed to find a single incident of a wolf attacking a hiker -- or any human, for that matter -- in those areas.

  • Group's Lawsuit Says Wolves, Not Bullets, Should Control Elk at Rocky Mountain National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Before restoring wolves to the American west I would recommend allowing us "Westerners" to carry a loaded fire-arm for protection. Wolves are very efficient predators and will naturally attack the easiest of prey, hikers.

  • Group's Lawsuit Says Wolves, Not Bullets, Should Control Elk at Rocky Mountain National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Great comment and my favorit Blog. Thanks and Best Regards

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 3 weeks ago

    clearly NON of you treehugers have ever been to this beach or you would know that the people that cause the issues are the bird watchers, we fisherman stay on the surf area thats REGURALY underwater, thus any bird eggs in the driving area would be either destroyed by the currents or carried out to sea. Now the people I see walking in the "bird areas" are the people with 4 camras and 3 pairs of binoculars around there neck. In 19 years of going to the cape point I have never seen a person in a ORV intentional run over any type of wildlife.

  • Virgin Islands National Park: Another Park Threatened By Inbounds Development   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Either the government or private conservation groups should buy the private land and donate it to the park. But if the landowners bought the land before the national park was created with zoning that permitted building homes, they have to be compensated or be permitted to build.

  • National Parks Conservation Association: Interior Buckled to NRA Over Park Gun Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Fred, feel free to use any of my comments.

    I'm afraid ignorance of our Constitutional rights and their continued erosion by both liberals and conservatives because of personal prejudices are a ticking time bomb. Each has foisted constitutional abuses on the American people. Conservatives are guilty of abusing the Commerce Clause to support the war on drugs and liberals have introduced various gun bans that are clearly un-Constitutional. These represent the slowly warming water that will ultimately boil us to death.

    I think it was said best by one of our brightest founding fathers.

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

    American's need to grow a thicker hide and stop looking to government to solve our problems, because we all know they create more problems than they solve.

  • Studies Show Bear Spray More Effective Than Guns Against Grizzlies   6 years 3 weeks ago

    So here's a few questions to throw out for everyone to chew on...if this proposal passes should something be done to change current laws to deter careless citizens from discharging their firearms whenever they feel threatend by wildlife within the park? Or are current laws that deal with poaching etc, enough to punish those idiots who take it upon themselves to fire first and then look around to see what they could have done differently to aviod the situation. OR do you think citizens will be able to handle the extra responsibility a loaded gun now puts on them? OR will citizens even BE punished if they shoot wildlife claiming "self defense"? Sorry Mr Repansheck, I know this forum is about bear spray but I figured some of these questions are related to this topic.

  • National Parks Conservation Association: Interior Buckled to NRA Over Park Gun Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Mr Anonymous -

    I only wish I could make a point as well as you do. Your statements here are right on the dot.

    May I use some of your stuff in my own arguments? If I do, I will be honest enough to say, "I didn't say that, but I wish I had!"

  • National Parks Conservation Association: Interior Buckled to NRA Over Park Gun Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    "We believe that enabling individuals to carry loaded guns in national parks will alarm families visiting the parks, and heighten the possibility for deadly visitor conflicts."

    You believe or you have empirical evidence to support this statement? The presence of a firearm does not imply a greater level of danger.

    "New responsibilities for overtaxed park rangers: In a post-9/11 environment, where the safety and security of our national parks and visitors is pre-eminent, park rangers will now have to be alert to the fact that individuals are carrying loaded guns in the parks."

    Actually, by restricting fire-arms you are foisting this requirement upon them now. If everyone is allowed to carry (a 2nd amendment right) then no checks are required. In the event a criminal is carrying (they will not care about carry laws) then would it not be prudent to have a unknown number of law-abiding citizens able to respond if said criminal decides to act according to his or her nature?

    "Increased opportunities for wildlife poaching: A genesis for the Park Service's original firearms regulations, wildlife poaching is still a serious concern in our national parks, causing the decline of nearly 30 species."

    Poachers are criminals and unlikely obey any of said laws anyway. If carry laws are allowed but hunting is still banned how is this any different than the current laws?

    "Deferring to state laws creates confusion: The Federal Government has a unique responsibility to set the rules for and manage our national parks."

    The 2nd amendment is pretty clear in this regard and national parks are under federal jurisdiction. Most states have explicit carry regulations and should be more than sufficient. The Fed cannot arbitrarily violate our second amendment rights any more than our 1st amendment rights. Suggesting they can invites all sorts of abuses by the Fed in the future (say maybe no demonstrations or rallys?). This cuts both ways and depending on the administration in power you might find your pet rights being violated if you persist in weakening our constitutional rights in this manner.

    The NPCA's arguments seem to be feeble at best and hint at a political agenda. If you truly seek the correct approach then begin the process of repealing the 2nd amendment.

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I just hiked Angels Landing for the first time on Easter last week and I was more afraid watching the confusion of people not being able to get around each other on the last part than the fact its a long way down. It felt like 'any moment now' something bad is going to happen. And like Lea said about the audio recording on the shuttle, inviting everyone! There were lots of people up there that shouldnt have been. I didnt like the chains either. I didnt need them and didnt like watching people scared and nervous trying to grab a chain thats moving all around!! They just make it that much more tempting for people that have no buisness up there. But I will say what a perfect place to go WHEN its your time.

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 3 weeks ago

    With 90 registered firearms per 100 people in this country, I'd say we pretty well qualify as an "armed society". Gun advocates would have us believe that since "bad guys" are generally in possession in illegally obtained firepower, and don't bother to obtain the required FOID and subsequent registration and permits, it follows that the vast majority, if not the entirety of those 90/100 are in the legal possession of their owners. Nobody is suggesting that 90% of the citizens of this country actually own weapons. Statistics suggest that well less than half of Americans are firearms owners. I'd say that makes a strong case for most of those who acutually own some sort of gun being armed to the teeth, to say the least. If, in spite of all your ordinance, you can't feel "safe" under the current standards, nothing can possibly be changed to alleviate your paranoia of the world around you.

    If A=B and we are also therefore a "polite society", why all the fuss about needing to carry concealed weapons to feel safe when you leave your house? I guess polite doesn't equate to civilized.

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    If you are interested in the topic, it is well worth checking out Dr. Alan Hogenauer's interesting, fun and well researched article "Gone, But Not Forgotten: The Delisted Units of the U.S. National Park System" in The George Wright Forum, Volume 7, Number 4, 1991

    You can download a copy here:
    http://www.georgewright.org/074.pdf

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Based on encroachment, gentrification, motorized recreation, and other threats to natural and historic treasures, I'd love to see more NPS involvement, not less.

    The answer to an underfunded and over-worked NPS is to properly fund and staff it, not knuckle under pressure to decommission sites.

    BTW, an absolute NO to DoD taking over national battlefields. The DoD has one purpose and one purpose only: to defend the nation. Putting them in charge of historical parks would be counter to both that purpose, and to the goal of protecting historical treasures (which is NOT a DoD mandate).

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

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Missing Cavers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Ill-Prepared   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Hey guys...I have been caving and cave diving all of my life.
    Caving is like climbing a mountain...Most of the careless misstakes happen on the way out or down.
    In this case "Out and Up!"
    Cold, Hyp', and loss of strength/weakness is an element that you have to include in your plan. Once your out of the mouth and looking up @ a long , cold muddy nylon Highway...Reality kicks in.
    You need the strength to flash that "Rope Walker!" You guys got away w/ one...Make it count!
    Bite off a little @ a time until you know your strengths and weaknesses in multiple elements.
    Mother nature, and her counter partner "Murphy" have only so much patience.
    See you "Under, Down Under!"
    Stay Safe!
    3, 2, 1, CU!

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Regarding the comment about the site devoted to the fur trade, Bent's Fort NHS already does the job. But, as a "faithfully reconstructed" Fort on the footprint of the original fort I might question its national significance.

    I would add Thomas Stone NHS to the list worthy of consideration for decommissioning for the same reason as Bent's Old Fort. there are many others (Steamtown) that are not nationally significant.

    However, as was suggested, it seems a dangerous time politically to start talk of decommissioning sites because it is a slippery slope to privatization and sensible people realize that would be a big mistake.