Recent comments

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I believe the "fools" are already carrying loaded weapons in the National Parks. Laws such as this one don't keep lawbreakers from breaking laws (see the "war on drugs" for an example). This law will affect the law biding citizens who don't carry because it's illegal; these are the same folks who don't rob a liquor store because it's wrong and illegal. Those you are concerned about (justifiably) don't care about the law.

  • University Shooting Doesn't Bring A Halt to Interior Department's Review of Weapons Ban in Parks   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Well, I see that, just as is the case of most mass shootings, all of the weapons used at NIU were legally obtained. Guns are just tools, gun advocates tell us. They sure are, I say. Tools of death. Guns don't kill people, they say, people kill people. Wonder how many folks would have died if that fellow had stepped out onto that stage with a couple of baseball bats? Wonder how much better things would have been if all the students and faculty in that hall had been armed, and bullets had been flying every which way?
    Gun advocates tell us that, if bad guys know that everyone is (or may be) armed, they will think twice about using a gun in a crime. What they don't realize is that people who use guns in this manner don't care if they die. Indeed, they often kill themselves, as this fellow did.
    Tell the parents, grandparents, siblings and friends of those who lost their lives all about the second amendment.

  • University Shooting Doesn't Bring A Halt to Interior Department's Review of Weapons Ban in Parks   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I am not sure what prompted this desire to permit folks to bring in concealed guns. The parks have allowed firearms ,broken down,. There are plenty of folks who will be reminded to bring their guns if this law passes. The seasonal staff at most parks has been cut back . I find it pretty expectable that one stressed out camper after another will aim a gun at someone over some campground issue or take it with them when they head over to the dark bathrooms in middle of the night. The seasonal law enforcement rangers , yes have their training/commission yet I can imagine that as firearm incidents rise that a kind of change will need to occur about staff qualifications, years of experience. I would suspect that in time the flavor so to speak of what kind of person wants to work in the park might change. I spent 9-10 yr. in National Parks.. working as a seasonal commissioned Law enforcement ranger for many of those years. I doubt I would have done the commmissioned L.E> route if campers were flashing their weapons.

  • University Shooting Doesn't Bring A Halt to Interior Department's Review of Weapons Ban in Parks   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Dave, as I read Utah law, while the mall could post a sign saying it was a "gun-free zone," that by itself does not prevent those with concealed carry permits from entering:

    "... the only statutory restrictions on a permit holder are secured areas such as airports and federal buildings."

  • University Shooting Doesn't Bring A Halt to Interior Department's Review of Weapons Ban in Parks   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Kurt, you fail to mention the Trolley Square Mall is a gun-free zone. No law-abiding citizen would have been carrying a gun in the mall. The off-duty officer was from Ogden, not Salt Lake City, and unless specifically allowed by local law, was violating the gun-free zone.

    Here in Wisconsin we had a young deputy shoot 6 young adults last fall before killing himself. That does not prove that all police officers are gun-toting lunatics.

    I would like the ability to carry a weapon out in the back country. I would pray my wife and I never need it, as we do with our first aid kit, PLB, etc. I have legally carried an encased and unloaded pistol in my backpack on non-national park land. It didn't jump out and shoot anyone. When I go out on our own land I usually carry a weapon just in case I encounter a rabid or otherwise aggresive animal. Maybe someday police officers and park rangers can "beam in" to protect people at a moment's notice. Maybe someday we can have an Orwellian society where we can know ahead of time what a person is planning and stop them before they do it. Until then we will each be responsible for our own safety.

  • University Shooting Doesn't Bring A Halt to Interior Department's Review of Weapons Ban in Parks   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Joel,

    For starters, it's "Kurt."

    Biased view? I think I've mellowed over the years;-) I quite correctly pointed out that this is an emotionally charged issue, one that folks can't agree on, and lamented the fact that the national parks have been dragged into the fray.

  • University Shooting Doesn't Bring A Halt to Interior Department's Review of Weapons Ban in Parks   6 years 9 weeks ago

    At least you don't have a biased view right Kirk? LOL, why is it that the difficulty of carrying a concealed weapon or the stigma associated and created by media types isn’t to blame for their only being an "off-duty cop" who was carrying a weapon. That same off duty cop, under current gun laws, is under the same restrictions in National Parks anyone else who has a state mandated carrying privilege is. (i.e. If he was in a National Park and the same event happened….it would have been worse.) I know you would love to label everyone with a gun but the reality is that “off-duty cop” is a human being just like anyone else who trains or gets the proper education warranted by the state. Just because you can call him an off-duty cop doesn’t make him a super human. In Utah there is still less than a 3% chance of you having an individual who has a concealed carry permit. Only 1 in 10 of that 3% actively carries. You're still arguing the point about gun control amongst a population of negligible proportion.

  • Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on America's National Parks?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Can we bring back Teddy Roosevelt ?

  • National Park Visitation Debate -- Here We Go Again   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Frank N, your quote "ALL THAT MATTERS IS ME" is slightly bent on the egotistical me-me generation, if not hell bent on pure selfishness. Maybe you can re-clarify your statement for me. What matters to me now, is the holistic sharing and caring about the parks and the general environment by us all...young and old! The failure to educate more young people and it's valuable virtues of the wilderness experience, is to me a national disgrace. I pity those who mock the rugged individualist who conquers fear, laziness and blazes the wilderness trails, and let's it become a learning experience to share. Yank these soft kids out of the stone cold malls and throw them into the wilderness, and start putting some rugged tissue (rid the baby fat) on there bodies for change, and have them develop some backbone.

  • National Park Visitation Debate -- Here We Go Again   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Steve, I'd be interested in reading the whole report, too, if you can find it (or a link).

    "To defrauded town toilers, parks in magazine articles are like pictures of bread to the hungry. I can write only hints to incite good wanderers to come to the feast.... A day in the mountains is worth a mountain of books." -- John Muir

  • National Park Visitation Debate -- Here We Go Again   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Erik wrote:

    wonder if they attempted taking the demographic changes the US has experienced into account in their models.

    By demographic changes, do you mean the decline of caucasians as majority, or something else?

    Somewhere I have a link to the work of an entire team of sociologists the NPS had working on how to adapt park management to the changing U.S. demographic makeup. I know they've invested a lot of study into this question.
    __________
    The WildeBeat "The audio journal about getting into the wilderness"
    10-minute weekly documentaries to help you appreciate our wild public lands.
    A 501c3 non-profit project of Earth Island Institute.

  • Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on America's National Parks?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    The question that I would ask each candidate is: Interpret what the philosophy and the concept of the National Parks stands for and what it personally means to you. Also, what does conservation of our natural resources personally mean to you as well as our natural heritage? It appears that Hillary and Obama are more deeply concerned about our Nation's bread and butter issues, dealing with our out of whack economy...and rightly so! After the Bush regime and the ugly war in Irag (that's help trashed our economy) I doubt the candidates will pledge full funding for the parks and its much needed care. Thanks to Bush & Cheney!

  • Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on America's National Parks?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Yes, I agree with Mookie and would take it a step further to ask the candidate where they stand, more generally, on the matter of encouraging/fostering more private funding for the parks (as was proposed in the "matching funds" part of the Centennial Initiative). I would like to know if they understand the risks of turning the responsibility for supporting our parks over to private donors and funders of whatever sort (whether corporate or not, whether closely tied to the candidate or not). If I were devising a question, then, I would ask them, "What role should private funds have in preserving, maintaining, and enhancing our National Parks?" And I would hope the answers would reveal a deep commitment to the government's fundamental responsibility for generously funding our parks for the common good.

    Anne Mitchell Whisnant, Ph.D.
    Historian & Author of Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History
    Chapel Hill, NC

  • Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on America's National Parks?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    One other question I would love to hear answered by the candidates is where they stand on corporate sponsorship for the parks. Most politicians, the higher they rise the more indebted they are to big business and the corporations that line their pockets. It's no coincidence that current President Bush (and his administration) have big ties to Big Oil and Gas firms and they also happened to have approved more oil and gas drilling on public lands than any other president I can remember. I would be worried about a candidate who decides that the park funding needs to come from corporations such as McDonalds, Exxon or AT&T.

  • Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on America's National Parks?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I wondered throughout the debates where Congressman Ron Paul stood on this. Of course, he's not one of the finalists, but I wondered whether his strict constitutionalist consistency allows for supporting national parks.

  • Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on America's National Parks?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    McCain also has a very shady history actually following through on his promises to restore natural quiet in Grand Canyon National Park. It's still a mess, and it only seems to be getting worse.

  • Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on America's National Parks?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    McCain hiked with his son from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the South Rim. Just a family hike. Not a press photo op. Not only pretty good for a 71 year old, but it shows his love of the parks.

  • National Park Visitation Debate -- Here We Go Again   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I've read the original paper by Pergams and Zaradic. I'd have to dig it out but I remember thinking they had a causality/correlation conflation. I'd be interested in reading their whole report. I wonder if they attempted taking the demographic changes the US has experienced into account in their models.

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    My previous response was not cleared by the moderators for some reason so I will try again.

    If you are asserting that Segway riders have worse weight/health issues than people who ride in cars, motorcycles, RVs, etc., then I'd be interested in any evidence that you have to that effect. If not, what is the relevance of your observation in a discussion about whether one (and only one) of those conveyances should be banned in national parks?

    In other words, why is the poor health of the entire population justification for banning one segment of that population and not the others?

  • Dinosaur National Monument Cutting Paleontology Staff   6 years 9 weeks ago

    The USGS does a great job at Rainier, and the public gets to see what part of this process? Maybe a seismograph needle? The beauty of Dinosaur USED to be that people could see something in action in the field or in the lab. Since the visitor center shut down there have been few fossils to see and only a couple of days of excavation the public could actually see. At a time when services for the public are so stunted at this park, is is absurd to be eliminating the very people who are best suited to give both the public and researchers what they most need- an inspiring educational experience and important fossils. As for the benifits and efficiency of outsourcing this work, since 2002 when the NPS first tried to cut this program, there have been 6 years to prove it can be done. The results of outsourcing have been meager at best, and their work has been almost invisible to the public. At a time when other paleontology parks are thriving and growing, one has to wonder why Dinosaur is crashing and burning.

  • Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Favors Law Enforcement, Maintenance, Interpretation Over Paleontology   6 years 9 weeks ago

    As long as we are hiring out, let’s put up all the maintenance jobs for contract bidding. Certainly they should go first. Actually I am sure there are private Americans who will work for less than government employees and still provide good service. After that we can cut costs further by contracting to firms that hire illegals. Then we can call them "jobs Americans won't do". Is it time for government workers to experience wage competition just like the rest of us? If the parks need funds why should government blue collar jobs be protected when neither politcal party cares about the plight of citizens doing the same jobs in the private sector?

  • Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Favors Law Enforcement, Maintenance, Interpretation Over Paleontology   6 years 9 weeks ago

    This is not an unusual arrangement. Many agencies rely on partnerships to get this type of work done. Partners are frequently better equipped to do certain jobs and this is one of them.

  • Cycling at Haleakala National Park Given "High Risk" Rating   6 years 9 weeks ago

    People don't need commecial tours. Just rent a good bike and do it yourself. If you question the safety, don't go. Too many things are commecialized, it takes the individuality of the experience and creates an amusement style ride that is best left out of a National Park.

  • The Yellowstone Precedent   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Having been to Yellowstone several times - once in the winter. I can from first hand experience say that the pollution from snowmobiles is minute at worst and non-existant at best. Pollution from cars in the summer is much more severe.
    The animals are not even fazed by slow moving snowmobiles.

    The restrictions now are the best compromise between the public use and radical restrictors.

    Why not be honest and just say, there should not be any people in Yellowstone ever! That is what you really want - well except for the radical restrictors.

  • Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Favors Law Enforcement, Maintenance, Interpretation Over Paleontology   6 years 9 weeks ago

    The last time I was to yellowstone the extensive geologic exhibit was replaced with a wild life exhibit. All well and fine for eco systems , but yellowstone park is probably the most significant geologic area in North America if not the world. Maybe some one can say if the geologic exhibit has been restored? So this has been going on at lot longer than you think. As our government employees demand more and more in terms of salaries and benefits what is left over for science and our services declines. We are now working for them.