Recent comments

  • Trigger-happy Man Shoots Another Rustling in the Brush   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Guns and booze don't mix well anywhere.... Nor do cars and booze.

    Bashing CHL holders for this incident makes about as much sense as bashing licensed drivers everytime a drunk unlicensed driver hurts someone.

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   6 years 3 weeks ago

    SaltSage is correct:

    By the way, Charles Pinckney NHS is also administered by Fort Sumter, but there's no sign anywhere announcing that it's a unit of any other park.

    One would never know the site was more than a dredge island, as the "Castle" is covered by growth. A brief mention of it is made whilst passing by on the ferry to Sumter. Really sad! I tried once to access it on my own boat, but was turned back by "No trespassing" signs.

    Plenty of locals could be seen playing frisbee, flying kites, having picnics and running on the beach.

    There is a really nice beach area in the shadow of the redoubts. I still think Moultrie is quite deserving of its own designation, due to its historical importance and state of preservation. Perhaps it would receive more tourism if only people knew about it!

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   6 years 3 weeks ago

    About Fort Moultrie:
    Fort Sumter gets all the tourist traffic and Fort Moultrie sees a lot of locals. Indeed, Fort Moultrie is both a park and a very significant historic site. While I was in college, I used to take breaks from classes with a drive out to Fort Moultrie to study on its green grass lawn within earshot of crashing waves on the Sullivan's Island beach. Plenty of locals could be seen playing frisbee, flying kites, having picnics and running on the beach. Conversely, while I lived in Charleston, where I was born and raised, I didn't know any other local who had been to Fort Sumter more than once or twice. I've been there only once. You really have to go out of your way to drop the money on the boat ride there and take quite a bit of time to pay Fort Sumter a visit. Tourism drives the Charleston metro economy for the most part, and it's no wonder the high-stature Fort Sumter might get more funding allocated to it than the elder Fort Moultrie.

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   6 years 3 weeks ago

    The National Park Service isn't the only agency guilty of toying with the public's perception of what is and what isn't an agency's unit and merrily confusing people. Here in Colorado, we have a variety of national forests that are combined for administrative purposes, and are referred to by the agencies as their cumbersome, combined names: The Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnision National Forests, commonly referred to by the feds as "the GMUG," for example. We also have the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forests, the Summit County portion of which is administered by and labeled White River National Forest even though it's called "Arapaho National Forest" on USFS maps. So confused are these forests that the popular Benchmark atlas of Colorado doesn't distinguish among the individual forests and just refers to them by their combined administrative names.

    Similarly, on the NPS side, we have Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, two separate units administered as one, but are almost always referred to by the NPS as a single unit even though they count as two.

    I'd bet that in Charleston, SC, where I grew up, that most people don't even know what the Fort Moultrie designation really is because nowhere does it say that it's a national monument by itself, but only a unit of Fort Sumter, whose headquarters are at Fort Moultrie. Charlestonians think of Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter as two separate places managed by the same entity. Does it really matter to them that one is an administrative unit of the other? By the way, Charles Pinckney NHS is also administered by Fort Sumter, but there's no sign anywhere announcing that it's a unit of any other park.

    I don't think the public really cares a bit about what these units' administrative idiosynchracies are. They don't care if three separate national forests or two national parks are administered as one. They want to know which unit they're actually in and, unless visitors are delving into park or forest management issues, little else matters. When I go to Grand Mesa, I'm going to Grand Mesa National Forest, not someplace cumbersomely titled "the GMUG." When I go to Kings Canyon, I'm in Kings Canyon National Park, not Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. The feds should stop confusing people and confusing congressionally-designated units. The public might gain a little more respect for these agencies and and do a little less head scratching if they did.

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Interesting article. Just goes to show how absolutely confusing the whole system has become.

    I know of one misplaced "Recreational Area" designation in the whole works, but anyone who has read my past posts knows my stance on that....

    I find this one the most curious, since I've been there on several occasions:

    (10) a, b, c, and d - Fort Moultrie National Monument (near Charleston, SC) is part of Fort Sumter National Monument. Even though Congress designated Fort Moultrie a national monument, and the National Park Service administers it, Fort Moultrie National Monument is not counted as a unit of the National Park System.

    These 2 units are literally across a body of water from one another, and the two even exchanged fire during the civil war. Moultrie predates Sumter by something like 100 years! Moultrie's action in the revolutionary war actually gave South Carolina both its State Flag and the moniker "Palmetto State", as the orignial fort was made of stacked palmetto logs, and suprisingly deflected British canon ordinance due to its flexible characteristics. Moultrie sadly lacks the tourist numbers that Sumter enjoys, although tremendously more intact. Moultrie in many cases looks terribly neglected compared to other like parks.

    In my mind, the two couldn't be more different, and should have equal and seperate status.

    dap

  • National Park Quiz 5: Biggest This or That   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Fascinating stuff, love reading these quizzes!

    If you're into NP trivia, visit the county highpoints website, and click on the National Parks and National Monuments sub-pages.

    www.cohp.org

    I'm through about a dozen of Nevada Barr's books. Love 'em. The one about Dry Tortugas is a must-read prior to visiting there. The first ISRO book is good, haven't seen the second one yet. My least favorites are the two set at Natchez Trace. That may be a bit of prejudice coming through, in that that is the only place she has written about I haven't visited. (yet)

    I've stood in 52 of the 58 National Parks, and been to the highest point in 44 of those.

    Dave C

    Denver, CO

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Another intriguing thought-piece by Bob!

    Bob, I think it never gets to the heart of the crazy things that go on in an agency or in the Congress by thinking of either one AS A MONOLITH. The NPS certainly does not act as one voice, especially since most of the people in the NPS think they are working for the American People and The Future, not for some office-holder. Mostly, that is great, but creates confusion.

    But it is not true that the park service does not worry about this thing at all. The main guy in NPS who used to worry about this all the time was the head of the Park Planning office. He seemed to spend about half his time on this topic, frequently even arguing over whether a park really was "administered" by the NPS or not: he never got over the idea that Ebey's Landing was either administered by or a Unit of the NPS. One day he would win his argument over one site. Another day, he would lose. He got into that running fight over the New Jersey and Delaware River designations, for example, even managing to get the authorizing legislation to state explicitly that this or that river was not a "unit of the NPS." The problem with this approach is the Wild Rivers, according to the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, are all supposed to be Units of the NPS, and he was not able to interpose himself and change all the ones he did not think were truly being "administered" by the NPS. He objected to the idea that a River unit with no land ownership by the NPS and "administered" not by NPS people but by others through a "cooperative agreement" could be considered a Unit, no matter what the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act said.

    Two more historical quickies. On the Alaska Rivers, at the time the agency in charge of rivers was a separate agency from the NPS. So if a river was within a park also being designated, it seemed to avoid confusion just to think of the River as a designated river within a national park, rather than a separate Unit. Rivers inside Bureau of Land Management lands, on the other hand, were seen as less restrictively managed, and the River designation was seen as necessary to protect the land within the boundary of the give river. LATER, that River agency, called either the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation or HCRS, was folded by Secretary Watt into the NPS, adding to the confusion. There are still die-hards inside the NPS who dream for the day HCRS/Bureau of Outdoor Recreation is reestablished as a separate agency again.

    Also, the Alaska national preserves: Preserves at the time were thought of as an entirely different kind of management than a national park. Big Thicket and Big Cypress were the examples. The uses, even visitor use, were to be adjusted to meet the ecological goals of management, somewhat like a wildlife refuge, and very different from a national park. There was great angst that all the carefully secured restrictions for national park management would be up for grabs with this kind of system. In Alaska, the United States actually was challenged by foreign governments, especially the Government of Canada, for originally (1973) proposing that the parks in Alaska allow sport hunting. the compromise was to forget about the idea that a "preserve" is an area for ecologically-based management, and use the name only to permit hunting. To zone hunting within the national park was decided as a) opening the door to hunting in other parks and watering down the "national park" designation just as the National Rifle Association was starting to sue the United States to allow hunting in NPS units, starting with their lawsuit over opening hunting in all national recreation areas, and b) undermining the international concensus (?) over what the designation of "National Park" means. Bottom line: the preserves in Alaska were determined to fully merit designation as separate units of the NPS. The guy who dreamed this one up ended his career as Deputy Director of the National Park Service, so somebody must have thought it was a good idea !

  • Appellate Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling on Development at Gateway National Recreation Area   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I hasten to say I agree with Barky that the leasing idea with Wassel is a good idea, but I think NPS should have (IE: get congressional approval) explicit authority to use historic leases to displace public use of prime park assets. I agree that Ft. Hancock is a bad example, and is not a good precedent to use on other parks. (eliminating public acccess to prime park resource, I mean) There are now other proposals in New York to turn primary park resources over to private interests, and this needs to be addressed head on, so no bad precedents come out of this. But, on the merits alone, the idea of restoration via a lease at Ft. Hancock is a good idea. Just not a good precedent.

    But I think Barky is wrong about the money. The money IS there for parks. Like the NPS Directors of old, the NPS needs to go out and get the money. The national park service needs to go back to fighting for the money.

    NPS has allowed the enemies of the NPS to use the justification that the reason they don't want to provide the money is they just don't think the NPS is fully accountable. This justification is a cover for people who began their careers opposing the Mission of the NPS. NPS could double, triple, quadruple its budget and it would be a blip in the federal budget.

    Here is how the cover works. We have had 2 Director's now, and actually several since President Reagan, who keep adding new adminisTRIVIA to the duties of managing the parks, so as to "prove" parks are accountable. None of these efforts lead to more funds, only more administrivia consuming the energy of parks. I am talking about things like "core mission" surveys" "most efficient organization programs" and "GPRA." The United States needs to stop picking Directors the way they picked Sara Palin. We need people able and willing to fight for parks, not media picks. We have people as Director now who are chose because it is known they will NOT expose the Members of Congress and the Executive Branch who get to hide behind this "accountability" argument. We need Directors who will fight for parks in trouble, like Valley Forge and Yellowstone, and not just let them secumb to political rhetoric.

    Barky may be implying there may be middle grounds for the money, and if he is saying this, I agree with him. There are a lot of sources of funding out there, and NPS needs to use all the means of generating revenue or getting appropriations it can, provide it does not violate the Mission of the park service.

    The problem now with the whole Ft. Hancock thing is the delay has been so long and so unconscionable, that there is no way the banks who once were prepared to lend money to Wassel are still willing and able to do so. He won't be able to get the money in this environment. This congressman, Pallone, seems to be without any ability or sense. If he does not want NPS to use the leasing law, then he must fight for straight appropriations for the park. He neither supports the lease, nor gets the money to restore the buidings, and manages to stymie the whole thing so long, these beautiful building will just rot. He should be ashamed.

    Too many Members of Congress just want to make sure they have no responsibility for anything, but just want to attack anyone trying to make something happen. We should start targeting the people who obscure and avoid helping the parks, and stop targeting the people are are trying to get the money.

  • Yellowstone, Grand Teton Officials Searching For Snowmobile, Snowcoach Solution   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Let me say this about jobs because a lot of people don't have the opportunity to visit Yellowstone in the winter and so are lost in the fog of the rhetoric. If you go to the gateway towns, like West Yellowstone, you will be astounded by the high percentage of businesses that are closed for the entire winter, even during the height of snowmobile season. West Yellowstone's air sure stinks and has a kind of bluish haze, snowmobiles are in ample numbers in the town, the gas station isn't filled with cars but with snowmobiles filling up. But, the vast majority of businesses are closed. Most restaurants are closed, most shops are closed, and you can park on the main strips without the least bit of difficulty because they are so empty. Some West Yellowstone businesses, perhaps, rely on snowmobiles, but the town itself makes its money - yes, the snowmobile capital of the world - in the summer. In fact, it's striking how awful and crowded West is in the summer and how relatively empty it is in the winter - though the air somehow manages to smell worse in the latter.

    All the gateway towns have a ghost town like feeling in the winter compared with the summer. It's not even close; West Yellowstone is remarkably empty. Or, look at Gardiner where the North Entrance is open to cars; empty! It's very hard to find much that's open, even in an area that still has tourists coming through by automobile. All the hotels have plenty of vacancies and really cheap rates.

    My sense is that these towns would go on and would hardly feel it. West Yellowstone still would serve the recreation industry in the national forests. Jackson and Cody aren't going anywhere. It's a bigger stink than the air from snowmobiles and snowcoaches. There are all kinds of equity issues; it would be nice to talk about those in a better way - than all this woe is me self victimization that goes on from people. Let's figure out how to best care for the place while not making it a special fiefdom for the rich, how to care for the wildlife and the air and snow. Those should be our questions; not first what you and I might be losing by losing our preferred means to Jackson Lake.

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

  • Yellowstone, Grand Teton Officials Searching For Snowmobile, Snowcoach Solution   6 years 3 weeks ago

    How did your parents and grandparents get to the lake, if "you cannot access these areas in a reasonable fashion" without a gas burning engine? Forget your snowmobile, take out the cross country skis and follow the family tradition.

  • Bear #399, And Other Grizzlies, Are On the Prowl In Grand Teton National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    My daughters and I watched this bear and her cubs this past April and videoed them all, from a safe distance of course. Our video like so many others is now on YouTube. I just read today that she has kicked the cubs to the curb so to speak. The three young bears are on their own while their mom searches out a new mate. Let's hope the three kids don't get into any trouble. I'll be back in the park next week. Hope I can get a glimpse, but I'll be happy if I don't ever see them again and they go into the back country to live peacefully without bipeds taking their pix.

  • Yellowstone, Grand Teton Officials Searching For Snowmobile, Snowcoach Solution   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I do live in this area and a big part of being able to ride in the parks is accesibility to the lakes for ice fishing. My family has been fishing on Jackson Lake for over 60 years....it is a big part of our family bonding and traditions. My grandfather fished there, my parents, my kids and hopefully my grandkids. You cannot access these areas in a reasonable fashion without snowmobiles. Now someone is trying to take that away from us. Think of something that is very important to you and your family and imagine some judge from hundreds of miles away telling you that you can't do it anymore.

    As for the national forest lands, why is it OK to ride there and "scare the wildlife" and "damage the soundscape" (give me a break!) but not in the parks? Its the SAME land with the SAME wildlife! The areas affected by snowmobile traffic in Yellowstone is minute compared to the available land where the wildlife resides. Do you realize that the machines are travelling at 35mph and they never leave the groomed trail? Why is it OK for millions of cars to pass over the exact same routes every year but not a few thousand snowmobiles? (at a much lower speed, I might add).

    And what about the jobs that will be lost with the banning snowmobiles from Yellowstone? The Old Faithful Inn and axillary businesses would be shut down and in today's economy the families that try to make a living in West Yellowstone and Gardiner, MT don't stand a chance without their winter tourism trade. You might as well take the towns off the map if this ridiculous ruling is not reversed.

  • Grand Canyon Railway May Expand Rail Service to the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    It's been a long time since I worked at the Grand Canyon, but even then vehicle traffic was a challenge. The train is certainly a great way for people to visit the park and leave their vehicles elsewhere. As noted in an earlier comment, using the train works very well at the South Rim, because the park's transportation system does make it possible to get around the area very easily without a private vehicle.

    I haven't looked at the schedule, but it would be nice if it's structured so that train riders can come on one train and return on a later one, for benefit of those who want more than just a brief visit to the park.

  • Appellate Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling on Development at Gateway National Recreation Area   6 years 3 weeks ago

    We need some context here. We are mixing apples and oranges, and there ARE some scary issues presented by the various cases Kurt has raised:

    -- Charlestown Navy Yard is not following the obvious law in the way it is commercializing the Commodore's House. It is using a cooperative agreement via a third party middle-man, which is the wrong instrument despite extensive congressional effort to provide NPS with the correct instruments. Also, NO revenue is coming back to the NPS. The congress provided either the concessions law, as a mechanism for competitive selection of a vendor plus max revenue, or the historic leasing law. NPS thinks, and may be right, that it can use the historic leasing law for spot occassions (parties, events) rather than the 12-7 type lease happening at Sandy Hook at Gateway NRA in New Jersey. The public opportunity to see the Commodore's house is not completely compromised by these events, that normally do not hinder public visits. But the agreement being used here is a dangerous and lazy precedent. The lawyers for NPS are up in arms over the use of the cooperative agreement for this one.

    NPS should use the right instrument, where it can control the activities in a thoughtful way.
    I am guessing the reason the park is not using the historic leasing act, is that NPS cannot use a 3rd party as middle-man with the historic leasing act, and must keep all the revenue if it did use that act. the proper instrument here is probably the Concession law.

    -- Gateway NRA, Sandy Hook in New Jersey: this is a bad example for a precedent for anything, and must be examined carefully before it is used as a precedent. These structures are the primary structures of a National Historic Landmark. These are very significant structures, and among the only specific things mentioned the the (really pretty pathetic) legislation for Gateway, that mentions very few specific resources as of prime significance. The weird part is IT IS within the law to use the historic leasing act, at least as the NPS defines the purpose of that act. THE PROBLEM with this, is in effect the historic leasing act conflicts with the NPS Act of 1916, the Organic Act of the NPS. Much of his prime resource of the park, these beautiful historic structures, according to the Gateway establishing legislation, will be closed to public use. The NPS Act of 1916 states that the purpose of parks is public use, yet the leasing act allows the NPS to take a structure out of use to preserve it.

    It is true the NPS cannot think of what to do with the Ft. Hancock structures, it is also true that it never even asked congress for the money. It is also true that practically the real purpose of Sandy Hook is the beach, and Ft. Hancock is not the reason for visiting the park. In theory, the right thing to do, even though NPS now is operating within the authority of the leasing act, would be to go to congress and get an exception in this case. Otherwise, the scary thing is primary park resources are being removed from public use and enjoyment, as required by the Act of 1916. WE CANNOT HAVE CORE PARK RESOURCES COMMERCIALIZED TO THE POINT THAT THE PUBLIC IS EXCLUDED, even if NPS things the leasing act makes it lawful. I am all in favor of adaptive re-use of public buildings, but we are beginning to see some very scary proposals in NY now that would take core nps facilities and turn them over to others.

    [The other pretty scary way Gatway is turning the law upside down is a conflict over wetlands restoration vs preserving military sites as historic. Many thought when Gateway was established that the old airfields were just surplus property, that should be remove. The establishing act says nothing about the airfields in the Jamaica bay protion of Gateway. Yet the NPS is maintaining them, and preparing historic documentation, as if these are prime resources. The higher use may be to permit wetlands to be reestablished at these sites. Those wetlands were destroyed to build the macadam strips, and wetlands loss is killing the Jamaica bay protion of the park. This issue should be taken head on, because we have a real conflict of appropriate use here, created by conflicting laws.]

    -- Golden Gate in San Francisco has a lot of special legislation, permitting special uses not enjoyed (?) by other NPS units. Although former Director Fran Mainella and others constantly put Golden Gate up there as a model for other parks, it is not a good model because the only reason the whole thing works is that Alcatraz is a cash cow that underwrites the corporation that runs much of the parks' partnership and friends-group activities.

    Some of the comments on this thread are right about the NPS taking over management of military sites after the military decides it can no longer afford them. They need to come with an endowment, with all hazmat and maintenance brought up to standard, and maybe with special legislation to enable revenue generation if the NPS is to take them over.

  • Grand Canyon Railway May Expand Rail Service to the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Thanks, Darrel. This must have been a fairly recent decision. The GCR was still using steam locomotives seasonally as of spring 2006.

  • Grand Canyon Railway May Expand Rail Service to the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Not mentioned here is that the Grand Canyon Railway has decided to end their steam locomotive operations and stay with only the diesels.

  • Grand Canyon Railway May Expand Rail Service to the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park   6 years 4 weeks ago

    I love trains, this one included! I am all for adding another train to the schedule. I've personally ridden this train numerous times and have always had a great trip. I'd highly recommend this train ride to anyone and with a 3rd train it will provide more access for people to enjoy it! I hope they approve the proposal.

  • Appellate Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling on Development at Gateway National Recreation Area   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Kurt, I hear what you're saying, but your dream of a Congress that fully funds the NPS, or of taxpayers willing to pay more in taxes to fully fund government projects in general, is a dead one. The NPS has no choice but to allow commercial use of these facilities whenever prudent.

    It's either that, or as MRC has stated, give these properties over to someone else. The idea that all this property can be properly managed by a government agency or with public funds in this day and age is untenable.

    Sorry.

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

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Floods Washing Across Big Bend National Park   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Once again, mother nature wins. Yet, we'll continue to rebuild and sandbag and rebuild again. We're like little ants with littler brains. Looking forward to visiting Galveston Island National Memorial and Seashore someday too.

  • Backcountry Volunteer Survives 100 Foot Fall While Canyoneering at Zion National Park   6 years 4 weeks ago

    I'm curious as to what other canyoneering experiences anywhere else in the western hemisphere are comparable (or better) than Utah. Strange you chose to single out the "lower 48" but didn't expand that further. If it's a secret, I'll understand. For a long time I didn't tell many (if any) people about the hidden spots at Escalante.

  • At Statue of Liberty National Monument, Save Ellis Island, Inc., Works to Restore Ellis Island’s Time-Ravaged Buildings   6 years 4 weeks ago

    I think the key to these sorts of renovations succeeding is when the final product is actually put to good use, rather than having a giant shell of a building that people come to simply gawk at. And the use of the building(s) should be a good fit with the history of the place. It seems like both those things are at least being attempted here, so kudos to all involved. In other words, hosting giant freak parties like they've done on Alcatraz -- bad. EI Institute and Conference Center -- good.

  • Grand Canyon Railway May Expand Rail Service to the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park   6 years 4 weeks ago

    We did this trip a few years ago with the kids in the month of March... the kids loved it, and you definitely don't need a vehicle once you get to the South Rim. When I worked at Grand Canyon there were trees growing up through the rotting RR ties. Glad to see it brought back to life, especially if it cuts down on the number of zanies looking for a parking spot.

  • Grand Canyon Railway May Expand Rail Service to the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Sharon and myself had a chance this summer to ride the train from Williams to the Grand Canyon, it was a memorable trip. I just hope the new owners are aware of the treasure that they have in it's people especially one.

    We live in the heart of Tourist America near Disney World, so we are aware of what employees and their attitudes make for such an endeavor.
    Victoria was our guide and rode with us to the South Rim and Back. Xanterra Parks and Resorts would be well advised to know this woman was absolutely outstanding in her ability to keep us entertained. She had the enthusiasm, energy, excitement and detailed information about the area that could only found in a National Geographic Program! A rarity in employees. I sincerely hope that when we return we have her as our guide again.

  • Appellate Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling on Development at Gateway National Recreation Area   6 years 4 weeks ago

    With all due respect to MRC, the NPS has a lot more than 2 decomissioned military bases. Cape Cod and Acadia have substantial military bases. Santa Monica Mountains, Indiana Dunes, Gateway, Golden Gate, and a host of other parks have old Nike missile bases, heck, the entire park of Minute Man Missile is a former military base. And that doesn't count all the historic forts. Indeed, the NPS has the former military gun and fort sites protecting almost every major harbor in America including Baltimore, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Charleston, and Boston. I say we re-arm these places and the NPS can REALLY have a funding bargaining chip - they can threaten to close down the harbors! :-)

  • Appellate Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling on Development at Gateway National Recreation Area   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Let not confuse one time events (Alcatraz and Boston) with long term commercial use of historic buildings. Two times now, decommissioned military complexes were handed over to the NPS: Fort Hancock at Sandy Hook and the Presidio of San Francisco. These complexes consist of vastly more buildings then the NPS unit can use for its own purposes - from museums, visitor facilities, eventual concessionaires and administration.

    So what is the NPS to do with buildings it has to maintain but can't use? In case of the Presidio we are talking about 870 buildings, in Fort Hancock only 50 or so. There simply is no alternative to leasing them to commercial uses. And who would want to visit a park full of buildings with dark windows and badly maintained roads and walkways? Get life into the complexes, modern life, commercial life, sustainable uses. About 2500 people live in the Presidio of San Francisco, some in former officer housing, beautiful Victorian or Revival style buildings with a views onto the Bay, the Golden Gate Bride, the ocean or downtown.

    If you believe this is not consistent with the mission of the NPS, then give those installations to some other agency, but it would be foolish not to use them.