Recent comments

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park Officials to Outline Paving Options for Cades Cove   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Kurt - don't know if you receive Smokies Life Magazine (excellent publication from the Great Smoky Mountains Association) or not, but there's an extensive interview with Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson in the current issue. Ditmanson stated that he's looking for ways to solve some of the heavy traffic problems in Cades Cove. He mentioned using buses as a possible solution, but cited issues with parking as being problematic.

    FYI.

    Jeff
    HikingintheSmokys.com

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park Officials to Outline Paving Options for Cades Cove   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Answering my own question. Here's what Bob Miller at Great Smoky tells me:

    "None of the scenarios for repaving include any new construction. The existing road is in miserable shape. The Federal Highway Administration has provided the funding to fix it in-kind -- although it will be structurally much sounder than the current one. Next week's discussion is about HOW the repaving could be done.

    "The result won't include any of the things you mention, but neither would it preclude adding them once the Cades Cove Planning Process is completed."

  • Election 2008: Fearless Forecasts, Foregone Conclusions, and Prescient Prognostications   6 years 2 weeks ago

    MRC,

    It is not a "paper" by the Mises Institute, and you'd know this if you'd delved deeper. It is a book titled "America's Great Depression" by economist Dr. Murray Rothbard, a member of the same economic school of thought as Nobel Prize winner Friedrich Hayek. It's more than a "paper"; it is a treatise, as are Karl Marx's "Das Kaipital" and Charles Darwin's "The Origins of Species". "America's Great Depression" is one of the most thorough and meticulously documented accounts of the Fed’s inflationary actions prior to 1929, and I suggest you read the entire book before dismissing it as not being analytic or scientific.

    You also really didn't counter any of the claims put forth with solid data; you just called it "ideology".

    "Investing" with printed fiat money based loosely on foreign credit isn't really investing at all. It spells disastrous consequences for the economy. We've been "investing" in private banks, and look where that has gotten us.

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park Officials to Outline Paving Options for Cades Cove   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Does anyone know if there are any alternatives that mention mass transit? Perhaps some sort of shuttle system for the masses, with hiking and biking trails on the side?

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park Officials to Outline Paving Options for Cades Cove   6 years 2 weeks ago

    It will be interesting to see if there will be any "outside-the-box" alternatives offered at this meeting for helping to ease the traffic problems that plague the loop.

    One definite positive impact that will come out of the repavement project is that road cycling will be a much more viable option on the loop. More people will be willing to ride their bikes once this is completed. Right now, you really need a mountain bike to ride over all the pot-holes.

    Jeff
    www.HikingintheSmokys.com

  • National Park Service Signs Off on Decision Not To Allow Bombing of Avalanche Chutes in Glacier National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    You wrote:
    "Business has to adapt to market conditions, the government doesn't need to coddle it all the time. While the market isn't perfect, if you're somewhat against regulation and the needed bureaucracy, i suggest you google "bailout" or "savings and loans" or "sub prime mortgages."

    Don't want to stray from the subject, however you mention something that needs to be addressed with criminal indictments for those "bureaucrats" who where supposed to be monitoring and responsible for that segment of government control.

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park Officials to Outline Paving Options for Cades Cove   6 years 2 weeks ago

    It's past time to pave the cove. That road has been crumbling for a very, very long time.

  • Election 2008: Fearless Forecasts, Foregone Conclusions, and Prescient Prognostications   6 years 2 weeks ago

    @ Frank C.: Come on, you point me to a paper on the New Deal by the Mises Institute to prove something? That paper is not analytic, it's not scientific, it is pure and simple ideology. The same ideology that got us into the mess back then and now.

    Regarding the national parks this papers description of the New Deal and the Public Works is one sided and (deliberately) incomplete. It mentions that the Roosevelt administration noticed the short comings of the projects but it completely ignores that the programs were not carved in stone but used flexible and adopted over time to cover more people and more regions.

    Contracts for local businesses under the New Deal were widely spread, from building the chalet at Oregon Caves National Monument to blasting a tunnel and building a paved road on top of Scotts Bluff National Monument in Nebraska to the parkway that was recently covered here on the Traveller. The CCC worked at and around Grand Canyon and in remote parts of the West such as Devils Tower NM.

    Infrastructure has been neglected - remember the collapsing bridge in Minneapolis? Investing into it seems to be the most efficient way to support small and mid-size businesses. Invest in bridges, in insulation of public and private buildings, and in the maintenance backlog of the national parks.

  • Election 2008: Fearless Forecasts, Foregone Conclusions, and Prescient Prognostications   6 years 2 weeks ago

    LOL...you are all so funni...except Frank C.
    Obama has ONE national park in his home state...and how many people of color visit our parks? Not many.
    Frank C is right...there will be NO money to give. In fact, Bush offered up more to the parks in his last budget (Centennial money) than Obama will...as I said, I don't think The One cares much for nature, being from Chicago.
    McCain has 19 parks; Palin 17 in their respective states.
    There isn't much money to be had in this entitlement-rich government. And yes, it is ENTITLEMENTS (including welfare) and Fannie and Freddie...thanks to DEMOCRATS Barney Frank and Chris Dodd that has bankrupted us. NOT the war in Iraq. The money spent in Iraq is a drop in the bucket compared to entitlements.
    Sad to say, McCain/Palin would have given more to the parks if any smidgen of money was available!

  • National Park Service Signs Off on Decision Not To Allow Bombing of Avalanche Chutes in Glacier National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    @ Albertson-

    Lobbing the explosives is not really a long term option, anyway, in the grand scheme of things. Alta ski area in Utah, for example, recently proposed putting in a lift in an area where they now use this type of control because the US military has decided that having this type of weaponry out in the private usage might not be the best and is considering phasing it out. Installation of a new ski lift would get skier compaction (reducing avalanche risk) along with the ability to run control routes with hand charges and is being considered as an option.

    Additionally, when worrying about contaminants in the watershed, the residue left behind from explosives may contaminate things. It has not been proven yet, but that's with today's standards and the current science. As you are probably aware, many items from the past that weren't considered a threat are now considered harmful and detrimental to human health.

    From what I read here, it's a cost savings measure for the railroad, not a do or die situation, but I would be interested if the good folks at NPT could unearth some reports on the efficacy of these sheds.

    Business has to adapt to market conditions, the government doesn't need to coddle it all the time. While the market isn't perfect, if you're somewhat against regulation and the needed bureaucracy, i suggest you google "bailout" or "savings and loans" or "sub prime mortgages."

  • Don't Be Surprised to See Clinton Administration Influence In an Obama Interior Department   6 years 2 weeks ago

    I saw on the Missoula NBC affiliate tonight that Schweitzer took himself out of the running for any Cabinet position.

    As for Salazar, a report in the Casper Star-Tribune today has him pushing Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal for Interior. Let's hope not! Freudenthal has been an enemy of the gray wolf (pushing Wyoming's draconian wolf management plan that ultimately had a court re-list wolves on the endangered species list) and has not been a friend to environmental interests.

    I haven't a clue as to who Obama will pick; Interior Secretaries often come from the West so that's the best hunch I have.

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

  • National Park Service Signs Off on Decision Not To Allow Bombing of Avalanche Chutes in Glacier National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    When I worked at Glacier, I lived in the village of East Glacier, and drove U.S. Highway 2 that runs roughly parallel to the railroad tracks across the Continental Divide on a regular basis. As the photo with this story illustrates, the snowsheds are very effective in protecting trains from avalanches. The area in question is prime wildlife habitat - a large slope just below the highway in one spot is called Goat Lick for good reason, since minerals in the soil attract wildlife to that location.

    I'd say the park made the right call, since the snowsheds are a viable option to explosives.

  • Election 2008: Fearless Forecasts, Foregone Conclusions, and Prescient Prognostications   6 years 2 weeks ago

    I am not expecting a whole lot of change real quickly.. but am hopefully that the move to the left will result in better policies to protect our environment & endangered species. Stopping the economic slide I hope will be top on the radar.

    OnDaRoad http://www.unpavedroadslesstraveled.com

  • National Park Service Signs Off on Decision Not To Allow Bombing of Avalanche Chutes in Glacier National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Albertson, there was no use of explosives. The railroad was seeking permission to use howitzers to trigger avalanches, a fairly common practice in snow country where roads or ski areas have to be protected from avalanches.

    I think there are about a half-dozen avalanche chutes of concern along the park's southern boundary. As for wildlife being endangered, the park is home to a wide range of wildlife, including grizzly bears, wolves, wolverines, elk, mountain goats, and more, that could be impacted, directly or indirectly, by this form of avalanche control.

    Snow sheds long have been used to accomplish the same goal -- to protect trains from avalanches.

  • National Park Service Signs Off on Decision Not To Allow Bombing of Avalanche Chutes in Glacier National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Hats off to Supt. Cartwright & staff for not rolling over in response to commercial (and probably political) pressure as has too often been the case. Permitting these compromise permanent structures hardly seems "overboard".

  • Election 2008: Fearless Forecasts, Foregone Conclusions, and Prescient Prognostications   6 years 2 weeks ago

    I am, by nature, an optimist. I think the election means that the new administration will be represented by people who are not relentlessly anti-environment. That does not mean that I think that money will fall out of the sky and land in the budget of the NPS. It does mean, however, that superintendents will be able to count on the support of staffers in the Interior Department. There will, I believe, be greater confidence in the points of view of NPS employees. There will be better working relationships between career employees and political appointees. I think there will be greater reliance on the results of sound science and research upon which to base planning and management decisions and fewer attempts to "doctor" these results to support narrow partian interests. I also believe that the comments of the public that accompany most environmental and cultural planning processes will not be ignored or dismissed as they often have been in the recent past.

    I am hoping that transparency will be the hallmark of the new adminstration. I am tired of the secrecy, the late Friday afternoon press releases announcing major decisions, and the catering to special interests that seemed to be the order of the day at the DOI. I am hoping that I don't have to read anymore Inspector General reports
    on scandals related to oil and gas royalties or influence peddling at the highest levels of the Department. As a former DOI (NPS) employee, those stories embarrassed me. We don't need any more of this kind of abuse of the public trust.

    I was impressed by the dignity of the remaks by Senator McCain in his concession speech on Tuesday evening. As he urged, I hope that we can determine what the highest priorities are for the next couple years and work together to address the issues we face. If, in the process, we decide that some chronic NPS issues must remain unaddressed until later, we can at least be assured that the priorites were chosen based on urgency, not on narrow partisanship.

    Rick Smith

  • Plague Kills Many Prairie Dogs and Black-Footed Ferrets in Grasslands Near Badlands National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    what is being done to try to protect it?

  • Poets, Ports and Politics – The Long Battle for a New Kind of Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Current Superintendent Costa Dillon has been giving talks throughout Northwest Indiana and the Chicago area about the park's tremendous challenges to adapt to the growing industry, increasing population base and the development that goes along with it. He's hoping to re-engage a new set of dedicated individuals to take over for the groups that helped establish the park. A main goal should be to have the growing population take pride in the park again, especially in the Chicago area since it's so easily accessible by public transit, and to capitalize on it being a "national" park for everyone to enjoy. There is clearly a lot of work cut out for Costa and the park so that the next 42 years continue to keep the wonderful natural resource and historic sites intact.

  • National Park Service Signs Off on Decision Not To Allow Bombing of Avalanche Chutes in Glacier National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Was the use of explosives that widespread? Was the railroad firing hundreds of rounds, or 1 or 2 in strategic places? How was it determined that wildlife were endangered? In today’s economy it would appear especially important not to hinder commerce on such an essential link, or is this more bureaucracy, people protecting their government jobs by being an overboard environmentalist?

  • Election 2008: Fearless Forecasts, Foregone Conclusions, and Prescient Prognostications   6 years 2 weeks ago

    A public works bill could spell economic disaster. "Hoover admitted that his public works program, which had nearly doubled Federal construction since the start of the depression, had failed. It was very expensive, costing over $1200 per family aided..." A new public works could have terrible effects on public confidence and could lead to further weakening of bank credit. Money printed out of thin air would increase inflation and the national deficit. Wages must fall in proportion to the decline of commodity prices, in order to eliminate unemployment. Government employment at existing high wage rates would perpetuate the unemployment problem.

    It wasn't public works that got us out of the Depression. In fact, public works may have prolonged the Depression.

    http://www.mises.org/rothbard/agd/chapter11.asp

  • Election 2008: Fearless Forecasts, Foregone Conclusions, and Prescient Prognostications   6 years 2 weeks ago

    An obvious method to support the economy in form of small and mid-size businesses is investing in infrastructure. Highways, bridges, and the like. In this the new administration might look at the New Deal. Working on the backlog of infrastructure maintenance in the parks might become a part of a larger program. It could work all over the country and involve almost exclusively small and mid-size building businesses. And it would be a relatively cheap but highly symbolic strategy if the new president wishes to portrait himself and his politics as "green".

  • Election 2008: Fearless Forecasts, Foregone Conclusions, and Prescient Prognostications   6 years 2 weeks ago

    A great question.... Here's a few of my guesses!

    1. Science will no longer be disrespected.
    2. Some sort of public works bill will be passed to put people to work and to rebuild public infrastructure in parks and forests.
    3. The Endangered Species Act will be restored to its original scope... at least.
    4. The Secretary of the Interior will actually be an environmentally concerned person!

    "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; one must take it because it is right. ......Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Election 2008: Fearless Forecasts, Foregone Conclusions, and Prescient Prognostications   6 years 2 weeks ago

    OK; it’s your turn. Tell us what you think the election results mean for the national parks

    I don't think they mean too much. The new administration and Congress are going to be focused on the financial meltdown, and national parks won't even been the tiniest blip on their radar. As the national debt balloons and the dollar depreciates, look for national parks to be overlooked by the federal government.

  • Bush Administration Poised to Sell Oil and Gas Leases Around Dinosaur National Monument, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Beamis and Lone Hiker have touched on the idea of the Tragedy of the Commons:

    The metaphor illustrates the argument that free access and unrestricted demand for a finite resource ultimately dooms the resource through over-exploitation. This occurs because the benefits of exploitation accrue to individuals or groups, each of whom is motivated to maximize use of the resource to the point in which they become reliant on it, while the costs of the exploitation are borne by all those to whom the resource is available (which may be a wider class of individuals than those who are exploiting it). This, in turn, causes demand for the resource to increase, which causes the problem to snowball to the point that the resource is exhausted. The rate at which exhaustion of the resource is realized depends primarily on three factors: the number of users wanting to consume the commons, the consumptiveness of theirs uses, and the relative robustness of the commons.

    For this reason, I also do not believe the government should own "such vast acreages". I believe we have reached the point where non-government organizations can better protect "the commons".

  • Bush Administration Poised to Sell Oil and Gas Leases Around Dinosaur National Monument, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Jim, I wish I could share your notion that as a nation, we're smarter than that, but the evidence points dramatically to the contrary. We as a nation have been and still are consistently seeking the path of least resistance, aka, the easy way out of virtually every inconvenient truth our lifestyle "demands". If even a temporary, small-scale pool of whatever were found, be it precious metals or other minerals, oil and its accompanying natural gas reserve, or basically anything else you can think of (expect timber), we as a nation would conveniently turn a blind eye, bite the bullet and not only allow but encourage further exploration and exploitation of the land on which we live. Only after the fact would we acknowledge the wisdom in the words from previous generations regarding nuclear meltdown ("and they struggled to protect Her from them, only to be confused by the magnitude of the fury in the final hours") and the loss of our precious open spaces as noted in the infamous 60's mantra ("Don't is always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone"), and of course by then, once the horse has left the barn as they say........

    Mismanagement of the public trust by government officials is catching us by surprise? PLEASE tell me you're kidding. Funny how the reality of the situation dictates that the public has no real, substantive say in how "our" holdings are managed. What's the point in having "public" lands anyway? As a guise to appease the masses? More accurately, they were initiated by our Washington dictators over the years as investments AGAINST public development, which on the other side of the coin equates to insurance policies in favor of PRIVATE "development", in any manner deemed fit by our "trust" managers. Some system we got, eh?

    And Rachael, little in nature is indeed more sensitive than the cryptobiotic soils that are the ONLY form of "top soil" available in wide tracts of the western US, and in particular the desert regions throughout large portions of Nevada, Arizona, California, Texas, New Mexico and Utah. While most of the nation enjoys a thick, nutrient-rich layer of "dirt" for planting crops, grasses, and which support the various flora and fauna that we have come to enjoy throughout the nation, without these microscopically thin (well, almost anyway, especially in comparison to the top soils in most of the nation, which was measured in feet until modern commercial development) layers of ground cover, there is simply nothing to encourage and support germination of plant seeds, which help hold the soils in place with their root systems, which then serve to support various forms of wildlife as sources for food, shelter, etc. which in turn support ANOTHER layer of wildlife, and another, and another.........that's why what used to be commonly referred to as the food chain or pyramid is more accurately described as the food WEB. Without the most insignificant of member, the entire system begins to unravel. So the possible destruction of these soils it is indeed QUITE a sensitive issue that MUST be considered as part of the overall EIS. The replenishment of these soils, IF it happens at all, since they proliferate under a very narrow band of conditions, is measured in CENTURIES. We would effectively be sterilizing the proposed lands for longer than we can possibly imagine. In my view, the natural resource "benefits" derived from simple exploration; just considering those projects that turn out to be totally fruitless in their yield, simply aren't worth the long-term ramifications to the local landscape. The ARE other locales that can and should be prioritized for rape, pillage, plunder and profiteering with far lesser cost to the overall ecosystem, if simple RPP&P your intended goal in the first place.