Recent comments

  • Gun Rules for The National Parks: Will They Really Make It Easier To Pack in the Parks?   6 years 8 hours ago

    There are rules o' plenty being broken daily in national parks, many of which deserve far more attention than whether or not a CCW permit holder is packing heat into the john.

    Please allow me to again tweak one of your sentences, Kurt:

    But if that doesn't happen, it'll be interesting to see how many [automobile] owners actually follow the rules.

    How many automobile owners have broken park rules by exceeding the posted speed limit, either intentionally or "accidentally", in a national park? I'd gather that every last NPT reader who's stepped foot--er, uh, in this case, wheel--in a national park has broken this and other traffic rules. Yet, do we see their honesty questioned on the pages of NPT?

    Again, there are more serious rules, rules regarding "property" rights, being violated daily in parks. Petrified forest is such an example (and thank you for the recent article highlighting how some are ripping off the park and other visitors). Flower pickers, artifact hunters, and so forth have far more of an impact than imagined concealed weapons permit holders venturing into a gift shop to buy a postcard, while a 9mm rests safely under their coats.

  • Updated: Salazar Pick For Interior Secretary Labeled a Failure   6 years 9 hours ago

    You betcha! Here's a link to a local newspaper, "The Island Free Press", which has covered all the NPS Negotioated Rulemaking Committee meetings:

    http://www.islandfreepress.org/CatBeachAccessIssues.html

    You can also find links to the first 2 meetings to be videotaped. The viewing is interesting, but long. Watch some if you've got the time. Some of the most intersting to me are on the 11/14 tape, where a UFSWS Turtle expert gave a presentation comparing beach/vehicle useage on Daytona Beach to that on Hatteras. That made for some interesting debate in the Q&A later on.

    I was lucky enough to attend the 11/14-15 meetings, and I don't think I've ever seen such a polarized and deadlocked panel. Word is some headway has been made during the 12/11-12 meetings, but for that group to reach consensus on a decision as simple as "What's for lunch" seems impossible. I smell more lawsuits, sadly...

    Crazy weather out your way and other points West! Snow in your rainforest, snow in Las Vegas, sounds to me like the Pacific Decadal Oscillation has indeed reversed, as has been postulated for some time now. The recent changes in the Humboldt would seem to firm up that theory also. Stay warm and safe out there. Please do share some of those pics!

    You've missed quite a bit! Guns in the Parks has been the issue du jour of late, along with the election, etc. All good stuff from Kurt et al as usual!

    Good to have you back.

    dap

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   6 years 10 hours ago

    Otherwise, what is the point

    Why, revolution of course.

    To awaken people to the wool that has been pulled over their eyes.

    "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security." --Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

  • Updated: Salazar Pick For Interior Secretary Labeled a Failure   6 years 12 hours ago

    Thanks dapster! I did see a CHNSRA comment the other day as I refreshed on NPT, but have seen nothing in the news. Can you point me to a thread that will update me?

    Our Arctic outbreak dumped snow on the Olympic Peninsula last Friday, then froze it, then the winds yanked everything around (fortunately missed the powerlines..), then we got a couple days of cold sunshine. Yesterday, the front return with more moisture and we are now getting a major dump. Six inches of powder on the beaches of Juan de Fuca Strait. A foot or more upland. With a few more minutes of daylight, I'll be out with the camera ... it would a perfect photo-op, if it wasn't still snowing fairly hard!

    Tomorrow is supposed to clear off, and I'm going over to my trail-job and do some shop-work. Hope to hike out and get some snow-pics on the trail, though I won't be able to do any cutting. I'll upload some and post links.

    Yes, I've missed the good coverage on National Parks Traveler, and the quality give & take! :-)

  • Everglades Land Bill Approved, But With a Caveat   6 years 12 hours ago

    Ansley said:

    Without some sort stability in the lines of jobs, we cannot survive ... Why could they not have taken some time to develop a plan to help us...?

    Well, I offered my 'way over-priced' objection as "First of all", but Ansley's point certainly trumps the squandering of tax-payer money. This project is squandering good people & communities, as well.

    You could say this is a bad habit that environmentalism has picked up - to pursue goals without regard to human costs. However, it's actually worse than that. Even some environmentalists themselves accede, that they view the humans and the communities and cultures, as the real problem, and that they are indeed the real intended target.

    Besides the moral decadence involved, this attitude & behavior ... bears a remarkable similarity to Pres. Bush' war in Iraq, etc, generating massive hostility and providing motivation for the recruitment & organization of opposition forces.

    That so conflicted & compromised a candidate as Sen. John McCain would do as well at the ballot box as he did, against the wildly enthusiastic support for Sen. Barrack Obama, delivers a message that environmentalism should be hearing & heeding. People didn't vote for McCain because they are comfortable with his leadership - in fact, they are not!

    People voted for McCain, in large extent as a reflection of how deeply they despise environmentalism, in large extent due to its disdain for common (esp. rural) people.

    In the end, I expect that attacking the foundations of society will boomerang on environmentalism. Hopefully, the economic crisis will intervene on behalf of the central Florida sugar-workers & communities.

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   6 years 13 hours ago

    DEAR FRANK C:

    The issue in politics for you, for others, I submit, is being effective. That means either creating an advantage, or winning.

    Otherwise, what is the point, other than shaking your fist at the sky or some other form of self-expression.

  • Updated: Salazar Pick For Interior Secretary Labeled a Failure   6 years 13 hours ago

    If the radical leftist Suckling doesn't like the pick, then I guess I love it.
    The Wilderness Society and NPCA are definitely more in tune with the average, working American.

    Roger, I couldn't agree more. Just goes to show that the Radicalized Enviros can't win 'em all!

    I say let's let Mr. Salazar actually work at his post for a while before we start bashing him. Kinda like the way we should let the President Elect serve a few days before we start praising him, and renaming roads and schools. Just a bit premature in both cases, IMO.

    Ted, good to see you back in the fray, Sir! Sounds like you had some great adventures during your absence. I agree with your comment as well. Perhaps Mr. Suckling will try to sue his way around this issue?

    Have you kept abreast of the CHNSRA case? Much has transpired since we discussed it last, a mixed bag for all sides, at best.

  • Everglades Land Bill Approved, But With a Caveat   6 years 14 hours ago

    I could not agree with you more. I am a sixth generation Floridian and have lived in Hendry county my whole life. I was at the meetings this week, and I must say I am DISGUSTED with our government. These seven board members had their strings pulled all week by our 'great' governor. They were conned into doing what they did with the promise of God knows what. Meanwhile, our community is left with the real possibility that we have lost everything we (and those past) have worked our whole lives for. Without some sort stability in the lines of jobs, we cannot survive, and the only jobs we have are the mill. So, with all this said, I agree with you, why are they in such a hurry. Why could they not have taken some time to develop a plan to help us, the people who voted them into office? And yes, the Everglades will ALWAYS survive; it is a part of nature. It has its good times and bad, but it will be there in the end, however I cannot say the same thing for my community.

  • Everglades Land Bill Approved, But With a Caveat   6 years 1 day ago

    First of all, the price of the land is too expensive, even in good economic times. At $1.34 billion for 181,000 acres, that's slightly over $7,400 an acre, wholesale. Realistically, the price is acknowledged to be about $3 billion, or more. That's well over $20,000 an acre, in very large swaths. For cane field.

    I am tooo szzure!

    And that's in good economic times, which these ain't. Oil has collapsed to $40 a barrel. Chrysler just closed every single one of its dozens of plants - shut down the whole shebang. Obama is talking a trillion dollar stimulus package. Millions of erstwhile middle class people are losing their homes.

    I expect this deal to be scuttled, and for fiscal responsibility to intrude in other cases too where many would prefer that it not be a partner at the table.

    There are those who are willing to make such an ecological deal as this - they simply don't care what the cost is - but it is being paid for it with other peoples' money, and those people do care.

    The Everglades will survive, not as big as could be, but the biome will persist. And under perfectly natural regimes, the health of swamps such as this is very much a boom & bust affair anyway. The idea that the Everglades is a steady-state system, that it does not crash, burn, dry up, flood, drowned ... and rise up from the dead again & again, as the natural way of such places ... well phooey - it has for centuries & millennia.

    Wait for the populace to wake up to the fact that sugar-consumption beyond a few pounds per year shortens the life and reduces the quality of what we have - then we'll get all of U.S. Sugar's land holdings and much more besides, for a fraction of today's price. ;-)

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   6 years 1 day ago

    Concentrating power in one person, a monarchical tendency, defiles the basis of which our country was founded and for which revolutionaries gave their lives. We wouldn't want to antagonize the monarch, because he might punish us or we might loose his royal favor.

    Frank C - I agree 100%. Unfortunately, that's tended to be the situation in recent years.

    Only time will tell if that changes under the new regime. Even with the best leadership, I continue to believe that wisdom dictates you shouldn't kick the anthill unless it's your goal to break up the picnic.

  • Updated: Salazar Pick For Interior Secretary Labeled a Failure   6 years 1 day ago

    I read the Wikipedia entries for the Center for Biological Diversity, and for Kieran Suckling, and what I see is very close to a one-man entity with a specialty in media-promotion, and lawsuits.

    It appears they do not actually do much of anything else.

    Kieran Suckling, in his response to prospective Sec. of Interior appointee Ken Salazar, strikes me as the fellow at the protest with extra-strong lungs, and a chunk of brick cupped in his hand.

  • Updated: Salazar Pick For Interior Secretary Labeled a Failure   6 years 1 day ago

    If the radical leftist Suckling doesn't like the pick, then I guess I love it.
    The Wilderness Society and NPCA are definitely more in tune with the average, working American.

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   6 years 1 day ago

    "the person who holds enormous power for good or bad in terms of our parks and other resources"

    Concentrating power in one person, a monarchical tendency, defiles the basis of which our country was founded and for which revolutionaries gave their lives. We wouldn't want to antagonize the monarch, because he might punish us or we might loose his royal favor.

  • Updated: Salazar Pick For Interior Secretary Labeled a Failure   6 years 1 day ago

    When all one can say is that "almost anyone will be an improvement" or "anyone the new administration selects should be a step up", what does that say about the management of public lands? A step up from a steaming pile of poo is a cold, crusty dung patty. How can people lend their support to this broken political spoils system, this bellum omnium in omnia? Please, someone enlighten me.

    And it doesn't stop with the DOI. Take a look at what some are saying about Obama's pick for Dept. of Ag., Vilsack. In short, he supports ethanol subsidies, even though bio fuels "contributed substantially to steep increases in global food prices earlier this year" and cause "land to be plowed up which actually boosts greenhouse gas emissions".

    Government is broken, people. Take a look around. The evidence is EVERYWHERE.

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   6 years 1 day ago

    Re Frank C's response to my earlier post:

    Ah, yes. This is the "go along, get along" philosophy of those in power in the NPS. Heave forbid we examine the voting record and actions of political appointees and make critical statements about them.

    "Go along and get along" are vastly different.

    I certainly wasn't suggesting we should "go along" with anything contrary to the best interests of parks, but I agree that for groups such as NPCA, it's important to try to "get along" with the new Secretary, until his or her actions require otherwise. If pro-park groups can't establish good communications - and a willing audience - with the Secretary and his staff, the opportunity to influence policy in the department will be greatly diminished.

    As to critical statements about new political appointees, the above also applies. Those who feel there is a potential problem for the new Secretary based on previous voting records and actions should certainly be free to speak out - but they need to consider what they'll gain by doing so. I seriously doubt an "outcry" at this point will change the Obama team's choice for Secretary, so there's a trade-off between speaking out about past voting records as a matter of principle and starting out with an antagonistic relationship with the person who holds enormous power for good or bad in terms of our parks and other resources.

  • Will Delaware Finally Get Its "National Park"?   6 years 1 day ago

    Ted -

    Thanks for the comments!

    In the interest of brevity, I didn't include the history of previous proposals for a "park" for Delaware - the idea has been around for decades, and certainly predates Biden and the incoming administration. This is merely the latest in a series of such plans. Biden's new job certainly adds an extra dimension, and makes it even more awkward for the NPS.

    The authors of the study at least scaled back Senator Carper's plan - in a big way. It would be difficult to determine how much political pressure they felt in preparing their recommendation.

    The project got about the same level of publicity from the NPS as most similar studies - the problem was that the media apparently didn't see it as very newsworthy. Once I started looking on Google, I found a few AP stories outside of Delaware - but not many. I didn't sense any attempt by the NPS to sneak this one through. The timing for the public comment period during the holidays is awkward, but the legislation that authorized the study included a deadline for the NPS to submit the report to Congress, so that may have been a factor.

  • Updated: Salazar Pick For Interior Secretary Labeled a Failure   6 years 1 day ago

    I will hope for the best and withhold judgement until we see what he does after he takes office. At this point, almost anyone will be an improvement !

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   6 years 1 day ago

    Getting back to Frank C and Jim B's points earlier, I think there is a big difference between a "Moderate" like Salazar in this upcoming Obama Administration, and what we have seen previously. There is the possibility that Obama will generally support a pro-environmental stand, and therefore Salazar would lean in that direction. How many people in the upper levels of the Department of the Interior would be White House people, and how many slots would Salazar himself be able to select? That becomes critical in policy direction.

    In the past Administration, VP Cheney had a thumb on the scale with everything going on there. The Obama administration will not have such a malign agenda.

    On the other hand, Obama said next to nothing on the environment when he ran, except regarding global warming initiatives. He has questioned Yucca Mt. My understanding is he said next to nothing on the National Park Service, except continuing to take on the maintenance backlog.

    I think what Obama is really focused on is a sense that the American people are disgusted by partisan, disfunctional government. I am guessing he sees the world very much as an urbanist, with experience in Hawaii, and in the third world.

    I would guess Obama would want a reliable vote in Salazar's seat, perhaps more reliable than Salazar has been for the Democrats. My guess is he wants all political perspectives to think Obama will give their interest a fair shake, and for the American people to think he is balanced. Ending America's political disfunction is Job One. He may have calculated he wanted someone at Interior who had executive experience running a state natural resource department in the west, with experience working cooperatively with Developers. My guess is, on the big issues the White House will direct the overall perspective and Salazar would be the willing ambassador.

    For all this to work, Mr. Obama would need to know he can get a (more) reliable senate democratic vote out of Colorado, and have Salazar on his team in Interior. This seems to me is consistent with how the President-elect is moving in all policy areas.

  • Will Delaware Finally Get Its "National Park"?   6 years 1 day ago

    Jim Burnett said:

    Delaware is a fine state with a rich history. It's certainly not my intention to diminish the value of the state's resources or people, but in view of the existing pinch on park service budgets and staffing, one might be forgiven for wondering whether adding yet another unit of this type to the system is the right approach.

    Jim's forbearance makes him a model of diplomacy. Let me expand...

    I downloaded & read the Executive Summary, and I must say my impression is, if there was ever a serendipitous hunk of steaming pork seasoned with unsavory & undue Legislative influence offered to a President-elect who promised and is on the lookout to challenge Business As Usual and give us Change, this has got to be it.

    Go forth Barrack; smite the enemy.

    On the other hand, that his own Vice President is a primary figure in this scheme, and it applies to the VP's own home-State, sets us up for a bit of classic Greek Theater.

    Obama has still not made a clean escape from the Blagojevich quicksand. And here it is, happening on his own team. Oh sure, nobody is demanding cash in small bills, but I took me about a half second to instinctive wonder, "Who made Delaware first among equals?", and I expect that will be the reflexive reaction of 10s of millions.

    "Obama, you asked for it, and here it is!"

    No Jim, I think your tendered explanations of the lack of publicity for this hairball of malfeasance missed the mark entirely. No, I never heard of it (my theory will be) because the people responsible for it were hoping mightily I wouldn't.

  • Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield   6 years 1 day ago

    Living in Fredericksburg, Virginia for the past dozen or so years, I have watched the explosion of commercial and residential development in this area. We’re talking less than 150,000 people. The Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania battlefields you could say are my neighbors being less than half a mile to 8 miles away.

    How many Wal-Marts (5), Lowes (3), Home Depot (3), Grocery Stores (numerous, and we will be getting a new Wegmans in the spring), Pharmacies (numerous with CVS and Rite Aid leading the pack) etc. does an area really need? Did I mention the Kalahari Water Park and Convention Center?

    If I choose to shop at a Wal-Mart Supercenter I have three to choose from within a 5 Mile radius. I can travel south for 1.5 miles, or north for 3.5 miles or east for 4.5miles. Thinking about it, I don’t think I have been in a Wal-Mart in years.

    The Orange county folks have been way over due for this kind of development.

    Now those folks that live over in the Wilderness battlefield have been denied the Wal-Mart shopping experience for two long. My gosh they have to travel 14.5 miles east to the Fredericksburg Supercenter or 15.4 miles to the Culpeper Supercenter. It’s probably about time that they should be able to spend their hard earned dollars without such a “terribly inconvenient drive”.

    Semper Fi

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   6 years 2 days ago

    Kurt, Just finished DC v Heller. Whew! Very long, and I only read the opinion of the Court and skipped the dissenting opinions.

    The most important points are that it finds the Second Amendment protects an individual right and that "one should not expect it [the decision] to clarify the entire field". So, we might have to wait for concealed weapons to be banned on a national level before the court takes that one on. Interestingly enough, while "most" of the 19th century cases they reviewed upheld concealed weapons bans, they struck down prohibitions on carrying arms openly. Oh, another point that is relevant to the DOI rule change is the finding that people have a right to defend their homes. Now, can the definition of "home" also be extended to RVs, tents, and cars? I mean, if I live in my tent for 14 days, can't that be considered my home, albeit temporarily? I'm not a lawyer and haven't briefed cases since Con Law class, so I could be wrong legally, if not ethically.

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   6 years 2 days ago

    Kurt, not to get off topic, but I've never shown much aptitude for staying on-topic. I don't quite get it...

    The pedestrian, tawdry - yea, drab truth of it is, the great white north still awaits. I was unexpectedly offered a great piece of work (carving trail through the temperate rain forest) at excellent money ... and then when the economy imploded and my friends went ashen in the face, I was offered additional trail-routes, at even better money.

    The only reason I'm back home and playing on the computer is ... the great white north has come to us. Nearly a foot of snow on my route, and daily highs about 27° (the snickers, I know - but this is the dripping rain-forest!) so it ain't melting.

    And, I got a jury-duty summons, starting April. So we'll see how the weather cooperates - has been very good up to last Friday, and usually snow is a passing thing around here: thus I'm not far from completion and more than ready to head out. I've told people I'd like to escape for awhile, and if I make good on the job for them, I'll be off with their blessings and more work waiting when I return.

    So, maybe playing tourist in Fairbanks a bit after New Years. I'd hoped to photograph the sun-arc from Campus Drive on the 21st (mmm - yeah, the guy at Fairbanks BLM has a version posted), but perhaps that will wait.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   6 years 2 days ago

    So how are you getting to the park? on your bike? what's your point?

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   6 years 2 days ago

    260,000 of a total population of over 15 million choose to carry. The statistics you cite are insignificant for comparing crime statistics. They only prove how well TX does background checks of the permits they issue. Clearly permit holders are committing crimes.

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   6 years 2 days ago

    Jim, thanks for the link. This definitely will be an interesting story to watch unfold. It also will be interesting to see if the Senate asks him some tough questions during the confirmation hearings.