Recent comments

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Beyond the Parks that were pruned in the 1930s, there is also at least one that should have been made a national park but wasn't. The area known now as Anza-Borrego Desert State Park became a 600,000 acre California state park instead and is said to be the second largest state park in the country. The story I've heard from the Park's foundation and research institute is that the area needed to be protected in the early 1930s and was being considered for a national park. But Congress was too busy with the Depression for the necessary designation process to happen. So it missed protection not because it wasn't national park quality, but because the timing of when it needed to be protected was off.

    The sad part about it missing out on national park designation is that had it become a national park, it would have been spared what it's going through right now. Despite there being abundant viable alternatives, a local utility company wants to build a high-voltage transmission line through the heart of the park. It would go right through state-designated wilderness, federally designated critical habitat for endangered species, Indian burial grounds, you name it. Because it's a state park, not a national park, there's no guarantee that the line won't go through. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a National Natural Landmark and a UNESCO world desert biosphere reserve site, but none of those designations offer the protection of national park status.

  • National Park Service Admits Mistakes With Proposed Little Bighorn Visitor Center Expansion   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Intermountain Regional Director Mike Snyder said:

    "Sometimes you just have to admit that you didn't do your homework as well as you might have thought."

    When I read an upper-level management figure make a 'cute' statement like this (and only after having been forced to by court-action) I start to worry. Trying to appear merely juvenile and vulnerably-human makes him appear to be pleading to a lesser charge, of trying to "skate" as we used to say in school.

    The management-professional & executive then says:

    "The proposal to expand the visitor center was one way to solve the problem of crowding during interpretive talks and the lack of a great room or theater to view the park’s film. But, after regional office staff reviewed the issues, we’ve concluded there are other ways that we can achieve those goals without encroaching further onto the battlefield”

    This is slick-talk. It's all about 'defining talking points' that are peripheral to and aim to redefine the problem & issue that has arisen - it's deflection. The second part of the statement coyly declines to take responsibility or accept accountability, but simply rolls over and smiles pretty at its accuser: it's an attempt to disarm. "Wow - I see that you're so much smarter than me. You win."

    Frankly, the response of Director Snyder raises my suspicions.

    What really was the process that lead to the plan to erect a large structure in the center of an historic battlefield that has been deliberately kept open & unobstructed for over a century? Why are we listening to this white-collar prattle - "Oh, we must have boo-booed" - instead of a more grown-up rundown of the events?

    Maybe there ought to be an investigation: perhaps the mere proposal could prompt Director Snyder to set aside his cow-lick & school-knickers routine.

    True, this is just one post on the National Parks Traveler with a few quotes. There could be more information that puts Mr. Snyder in a better light. What I'm coming away with here, though, is distinctly shady.

  • Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 6 weeks ago


    I'm not sure we can rush to judgment on what the parents did or didn't do. Obviously, they were close enough nearby that the father could rush to his son's rescue. Too, rangers who responded noted that the bear charged them, as well, so merely standing and watching from a distance might not have worked in this case.

    I hiked the same trail in early August and the thickness of the vegetation, the way the landscape rises and falls, and the boulders could very well have hidden the bear from the family until it was too late.

  • Is It Time to Overhaul the National Park Service and the National Park System?   6 years 6 weeks ago


    I appreciate your honest thoughts. However, my point is that in an imperfect world, the National Park Service has provided the strongest protection for the largest amount of land for the benefit of the largest number of people for so long. No state or private entity comes close (the closest is New York State with Adirondack Park, but that is an anomaly). Yes, the federal government has problems. So do the states and private nonprofits. I have hope and confidence that the American people will work together to solve the current problems with our federal government. I guess you've lost hope.

  • Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Park Rangers are quick to tell you to keep your children and any pets close when bears are around. Where were the parents? It's unfortunate that a bear had to lose it's life because of careless humans. These people should be ashamed of themselves for not following the most basic rules while visiting the Park. We hiked Rainbow Falls in June and also encounterd a black bear on the trail. We stood back, waited for him to finish eating insects in a downed tree - we took beautiful pictures of him - he went his way - we went ours. We respected his space and never felt even remotely threatened.
    I'm sorry a child was injured. But I'm also sorry a bear had to be destroyed in the very environment which is supposed to protect him.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Ah, GoogleEarth, one of my favorite new toys of the past 5 years!!!

    First a most needed clarification. As noted in my initial post, I most certainly was not inferring any regional illiteracy exists, whether selectively unique to this issue or in any other manner. But I don't agree with the "if A, then B" theory pertaining to an ability to sort out legal briefs beings the equivalent to proper dissection of scientific publications. The major difference between the two is the rendering of credibility through the use of multiple citations in scientific publications, generally referencing specific previous findings; some hypothetical, some theoretical, some accepted laws or postulates. Without prior knowledge of the entirety of those works, dissemination of the final data sets supported / contradicted within any given paper is difficult at best, impossible at worst. True, legal decrees often site "State vs. So-and-So" as a precedent for a finding or opinion. These are most always far more limited in number than in the typical sci-publication, as legal briefs tend more toward a legal outcome, while publications in science are intended to present findings as a piece of evidence, similar in scope to supporting / denying a small piece of a 1000+ puzzle. More often than not these findings are first subjected to internal professional review by a committee comprised of disciplines both pertinent to and different from the group who conducted the study (alleged to be more objective than simple "peer review") and then by external forces who in many cases have a "pro or con" ax to grind regarding the inferences of those data. Comprehension of these papers in nothing as simple or enjoyable as sitting down with Beowulf of The Iliad. It's more akin to finding the true author's intent in biblical verses. Often, the interpretation of these data are variable from reader to reader, or from reading to reading, and it takes quite literally dozens and dozens of attempts at various papers to begin to be able to grasp the overall scientific process; understand the scope of the experimental design, determine validity of such, determine if methods, controls, instrumentation and general "lab" conditions were properly controlled and maintained throughout the study, check to see if graphs, charts and calculations are accurate representations of data or otherwise manipulated to, intentionally or not, falsify data.......the list is quite complex. It's not as easy as turning to the "conclusions" section of the paper and seeing what the author(s) have to say about their study. If only..........

    In addition, back to my post, I wasn't claiming that the simple proposals were the only acceptable options. Obviously, without a detailed survey and a few competent CE's, the structures that could be acceptable and their locations are completely arbitrary suggestions on my part. The suggestion, as put forth by someone, of placing them directly over existing nesting grounds was foolish and emotionally charged, and not the least bit objective. Neither am I supporting any "enviro" group's stance and itinerary by intent. These groups have political agendas with which I do not stand in allegiance, period. If my "lame" notions have been previously discussed and dismissed, through political pandering, objective studies, or whatever the case, so be it. Sorry to bother you, it won't happen again. But at least try and maintain some objectivity in your long-term plans, as did I, and realize that two sides working to achieve a suitable solution stands a better chance at success than two sides dug in and fortifying the trenches.

    Back to some intelligent and insightful references by dapster, I fear the "democratic process" as it pertains to this issue is being clouded by too much disinformation from both sides. While I personally don't own an ORV, I can't say that I've never utilized them from time to time either. I find the pollution issues raised by some as dubious fabrications, but at the same time, vehicle owners being what we are, I'll willing to bet that some oil-leakers have made it out to the beaches. Probably a vast minority, however, but allowing for the use of the "broad brush" stereotyping by the opposition. I submit I am not in possession of the ideal compromise, but at this moment in time I doubt one exists. If as you say, back in the days of my last visit, the "proper" paperwork had been on file, this discussion would be mute.

    Funny you should mention the snow / sand metaphor. I've trekked through both; gimme the sand, anytime. True story about the difficulty for the kids though. They prefer to fall in drifting snow banks, for sure. I always found the heated soil motivation to keep myself moving at a brisk pace! But I no more favor the preservation of your local migrants over humans in the OBX than I favor elimination of bald eagle nesting grounds from an island in the Mississippi River to build a condo complex 100 miles SW of Chicago, so that those who purchase the condos can boat upriver to commuter train stations to help alleviate interstate highway congestion. Am I an over-the-edge environmentalist? I believe not, but I tend not towards the first idea placed in my lap, either.

    Beamis, I think the doggie colony is partial to the dumpsters behind the Wendy's on the SE corner.

  • National Park Quiz 16: Waterfalls   6 years 6 weeks ago

    You are wrong. Dark Hollow Falls is a classic tier horse the water rides on the rocks...a classic plunge is where the water falls away from the rocks from top to bottom....

  • Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 6 weeks ago

    I hope that this situation doesn't keep people from going and enjoying Cades Cove. This attack really saddened me, a young child playing in the water being attacked. I should first say I wish a speedy recovery to the child and his father. This being said, my family was at Cades Cove at the begining of July and August, and we encountered bears both time. While there in July, we stopped to see what everyone was looking at. It was, what I considered to be a little bear (Living in the West Virginia Mountains, bears in this area seem to be alot larger 200-600 pounds). The bear was grazing in a field and eating berries. We stood what I considered to be a safe distance, since we were at one of the homesteads. And to my surprise, a bunch of these nut cases went out into the field taking pictures, at maybe 10-15 feet from the bear. It sure didn't take long for them to scatter when the bear stood up on his hind legs. When we were the in July, the ranger said they have been in a drought (the worse in 100 years). So it wouldn't be advised to let kids play in the water, if there is no water in the mountains the bears are going to be coming out of the hills to get some. Both times we were there this year, we saw bears in areas where streams were.

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   6 years 6 weeks ago

    I just got back from a cross country road trip where we stopped at Arches. We were there about a week before the Wall Arch collapsed. I was blown away when I heard it collapsed because I, like many of you are probably thinking, "I was just there and it looked fine!" What's really scary to me is the fact that I took some pictures sitting under the arch and for those of you into geology, 2 weeks is like a fraction of a second in geology time. Just to think that I could have collapsed when I was there...

    What else is very interesting is the size of the Wall Arch compared to others like Landscape. Wall Arch looked so much thicker at the top compared to Landscape. Landscape is so long and thin, I would have though that would have collapsed years, if not decades before Wall.

  • Is It Time to Overhaul the National Park Service and the National Park System?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Mr. Kellett-----with all due respect, the federal government of this country is flat busted broke. Years and years of running a welfare/warfare state on Asian credit cards is about to come to a crashing end. The reckless spending binge has finally caught up with the Beltway Bandits and they are about to become members of the poorhouse, dragging along many of us with them.

    Your enduring faith in Leviathan to do the right thing is frankly astounding. It ain't just Bush my friend. The whole system is rotten and everybody in the world besides the average American knows it. (You can thank our government run schools and compliant mainstream media for that.)

    We all need to plan now for the inevitable bankruptcy and be prepared to take care of these parks under a variety of different umbrellas. Advance planning will save the day for many places now under federal control.

  • Is It Time to Overhaul the National Park Service and the National Park System?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Just because something is important doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be subjected to federal control. In fact the places I've mentioned are much better off without the politics, budget shortfalls and institutional neglect that is inherent in a massive federal bureaucracy. It would be a sad day indeed if any of the places I've mentioned above were to come under the administration of the Department of the Interior.


    And just because something is not federal doesn't mean it's good. No one can seriously claim that state governments are free from "politics, budget shortfalls and institutional neglect." In fact, that's exactly what many state park systems have suffered from. And nonprofit organizations are certainly not free of those problems. I think I cited the example before of the huge problems facing the California State Park system. The Massachusetts state park system has been starved for years. Other states that are having major problems with underfunding and inadequate protection of parks include Texas, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Michigan. It would be absurd to say that special places would be better protected and managed by these states than by the National Park Service.

    I'm glad that Florida parks seem to be doing pretty well. But that's the exception, not the rule. I'm also happy when states do a good job of protecting special places. My point is that they often cannot be depended on to do so. And to advocate off-loading national park areas to states assuming that they will do the job is simply not based on the real situation.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   6 years 6 weeks ago


    Your quote:

    "As my time as a Senior volunteer at a National Park has taught me "Mitigation funding" is something you come to both love and hate, and thanks to the current adminstration the NPS's increasing reliance on it has become a serious problem."

    Can you please explain what you know about this situation? That's new terminology to me, and I would like to know how it might come into play in the CHNSRA issue. Thanks in advance!


    Beamis, You hit that nail on the head, Sir.

    The Piping Plover's Southernmost summer range is, you guessed it, Southern N.C.! They are more a northern bird, and are apparently prolific in the Cape Cod area, as well as parts of the Great Lakes shorelines, and the Canadian Maritimes. They are sadly being used as a "Poster Child", or political football, as you put it, in this game we now play. They have a very hard time making it on the Cape against nature alone. Overwash, storms, and predation all have a larger impact on their ability to survive than humans and ORV's will ever have. Predation is actually UP this year due to the lack of humans to scare them away! Therefore, the NPS is now either trapping and "relocating" or outright killing predator species including Foxes, Muskrats, Nutria, Opposum, Feral Cats and Dogs, and Raccoons, just to name a few. Some are "relocated" into a dumpster at Ramp 44. Does this border on playing God? I certainly believe it does.

    I've heard of similar situations to the Prairie Dog issue you brought up. Apparenty the same thing is happening with Osprey nesting in trees along privately owned waterfront property, where landowners are clearcutting trees along the shoreline to prevent nesting. If an Osprey does indeed nest, the property owner cannot build any structures that nesting year or the next, as the birds must be allowed the ability to renest the following season per EPA rules. This, and your example as well, are but a few instances where these wacky rules are actually hurting the species that they set out to protect.

  • Will Second Century Commission Succeed With Its National Parks Assessment and Recommendations?   6 years 6 weeks ago


    I agree that process is important. I don't know exactly what that process will be, but I hope they do reach out to include different voices. But this is something that has to be carefully done. If the commission casts its net too widely, it risks getting a mishmash of issues and concerns that lead to gridlock. I don't think the public has any sense of where the National Park Service has been or where it should go. On the other hand, special interests know very well what they want and are relentless in fighting for it. They already have a disproportionately strong voice in national park affairs.

    I think what is needed the most right now is a bold, positive vision and equally bold leadership on behalf of existing and new national parks. This is certainly not coming from the browbeaten National Park Service, the anti-park Bush administration, the clueless Congress, or uninvolved NGOs. I think the commission has an opportunity to set the tone and agenda for discussion. Then it can put their ideas out there to get a reality check for their final findings and report. But that report needs to be on the cutting edge, not "consensus"-based pabulum that plays it safe.


    You're right that the NPS needs money. But if that means locking in bad things that could become permanent, we could gain in the short-term but lose in the long term. Look at the Fee "Demonstration" Program, which was obviously intended to be permanent. Then it became permanent -- what a shock. It will be very difficult to reverse this retrograde program. The approach of begging for funds each budget cycle has not worked very well for us.

    I know there are things like buildings and artifacts that need desperate help. But regarding the natural parks, there was a lot of truth in Newton Drury's statement, "We have no money; we can do no harm." That doesn't mean more money is not needed, but we should not let privatizers and anti-government ideologues blackmail us into agreeing to more of their agenda. We need to start undoing it.

    Now is a chance to start fresh and do it right for a change. We need to be ready to demand that the new president and Congress address this issue. I think it is worth muddling through another year of inadequate budgets if it leads to permanent reform and progress on funding and management.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Unfortunately, environmental rules are used more and more frequently to achieve goals that have less to do with protecting animals and are simply another tool in the activists arsenal to stop an undesirable outcome (in their opinion) that they were unable to prevent using other means.

    A good case in point is the use of the Endangered Species Act to thwart development of privately owned land in southern Utah on behalf of prairie dogs which some government wildlife biologists have deemed a "threatened species". In most cases the prairie dog is nothing more than a political football used as a last gasp measure to prevent unwanted "sprawl" or commercial development when all other means of prevention have been exhausted. The end result of this so-called "protection" is that local people have begun to kill any and all critters that even look remotely similar to a prairie dog on their property out of a very real fear that the government will deprive them of their private property rights on behalf of a rodent. The end result is wanton slaughter of a creature the law was designed to protect.

    Far from endangered the Utah prairie dog is thriving amidst the new development and if you want to see some firsthand they have a huge colony on the cloverleaf of I-15 in Cedar City (Exit #59).

    I think the use of plover nesting grounds on Cape Hatteras is a similar ploy to achieve what can't be done through honest negotiations. I've never been bothered by the vehicles on the Cape and don't think the turtles or plovers have been either.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   6 years 6 weeks ago


    Thanks for the agreement on the fishing issue. The state of NC indeed has both salt and fresh water fishing license requirements, as well as min.-max. size limits per species. The money collected from these fees goes to good uses throughout the state.

    The area of the highest contention in this issue is the ‘”Cape Point” to “South Beach” areas that run from Buxton to Frisco, NC. These areas lie between 2 access ramps over the dunes that are numbered 44 to the North and 49 to the south of the “Point”.

    This part of the barrier island is the largest landmass in the whole chain. The only highway in the area departs from the Atlantic seaboard at Buxton, and closely follows the opposite coast along the Pamlico Sound. There simply are no hard surface roads in the area at all, with the exception of the two roads that lead to aforementioned ramps.

    As you stated, you have not been to the OBX in some time, although I can find no reference to the “Jam” period. That being the case, please go to this website, provided by the CHNSRA NPS and ‘Google Earth”:

    The ramps are numbered as I have indicated for easy reference. Please look at the large wilderness area known as “Buxton Woods” that borders the entire Cape Point/South Beach seaboard. Note the total lack of buildings and/or roads. Note the relative distances from road ends to beachfront. Now take into account that the sand is more like deep snow than hardpack. Also consider that the sand reaches temperatures well over 100 degrees F on a typical sunny summer day. A hike from the closest parking area to the point would be a tough job for a marine, much less a family with young children. There are no public showers, no public areas in which to house lockers as you suggest. Any and all structures near the coastline are subject to destruction from storms that range from Nor’ Easters all winter and spring to Hurricanes most of the summer and fall. Any infrastructure required by your suggestions would be swept into the sea again and again.

    Once the barrier island leaves the point area, it becomes quite narrow again, many times just a few hundred feet wide. In these areas, public parking is provided at occasional “turnouts”, and wooden walkovers are employed for beach access. These areas are far and few between, however, and would not work for the Cape area proper.

    As to the amount of education we Beach Access proponents possess about these matters, especially in relation to the species in question would surprise you. If there has been one good thing, in my opinion, to come out of the mess that is the Consent Decree, is that we are ALL much, much more learned about birds and turtles and their conservation.

    However, I will state that the ORV/Fishing/Beach Access public has been talked down to by just about every one on the other side of this issue since day one, and you sir, continue in that same vein. Do not dare to question the intelligence and comprehension abilities of these folks. If they can read and discern what is relevant in all the legal documentation concerning the Consent Decree, as well as the original NPS charters and such, then they can do as well with scientific biological reports. Most of these same people are not fishermen by vocation, it’s just what they love to do away from their jobs. They are employed in every faction of the working world imaginable. Please do not add the insult of being called uneducated to the injury of these folks already losing their access rights to their favorite places in this country.

    No one wants to cause harm to any of the species in question. We just ask that a democratic approach be taken in these matters, and that public opinion AND peer-reviewed science come into play. To say that the Audobon Society and the Defenders of Wildlife are the one and ONLY authorities on species conservation is absurd. Yet their mandates are exactly what is running the CHNSRA today. They simply refuse cross examination and sue if they find their way to their means blocked. That, Sir, should bother you as well.

    The Interim Plan that was killed by the Consent Decree was making great strides in species protection, and numbers were on the increase due to it. On that basis alone, the SELC could not have sued. However, they found the “chink in the armor” in the guise of the NPS/DOI’s failure to submit their “Final” ORV/Species management plan for 30+ years. There, our government officials failed us big time, and allowed for all that we are currently discussing to ensue. Had the final plan been in place for years, I sincerely believe we would not be having this discussion. I also firmly believe that ALL species, including humans, would be flourishing on these beaches, ORV’s and all.

    As I sat on South Beach last weekend, watching my nearly 2 year old son frolic in the sand and surf, a thought came to me. I realized exactly what it is that makes this area so special to me and thousands of others: It’s place where the common man, through no more means than owning a 4WD vehicle, can provide for his family beachfront living that is usually only available to the very wealthy, if just for the day.

    Lastly, let’s just suppose it were indeed possible to make the hike to the point while laden with fishing gear and all sustenance needed for a family of three just for the day, using good packing techniques as you suggest.

    You might just find a sign in your way, once there, excluding pedestrians as well.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    As my time as a Senior volunteer at a National Park has taught me "Mitigation funding" is something you come to both love and hate, and thanks to the current adminstration the NPS's increasing reliance on it has become a serious problem.

  • Will Second Century Commission Succeed With Its National Parks Assessment and Recommendations?   6 years 6 weeks ago


    I agree with you on the Centennial initiative issue but the fact is NPS needs money, and fast.

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   6 years 6 weeks ago

    I think to help solve the delisting problem the National Natural Landmark system needs to be reworked, because there are many places of national value that should be honored and could help greatly from this but probably would not make such a great National Park. Also, a local and regional designation should be created as well.

    Other parks just need to be "refocused". For example, the NPCA believes that the Boston Harbor Islands should focus on there Native American history and as being used as concenstration camps (as it turns out almost all of them were) for Native Americans after the King Phillp's War. The park is sort of littered with Indian burial grounds. However, for better or worse the park is sort of a "new idea" because NPS does not run the park, has a spending limit, and only oversees and cordinates operations at the park. As for what I mean by worse one of the islands was developed as a sewer treatment plant when it arguably shouldn't have.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Customary and Traditional Uses and Rights

    An aspect of the issue of vehicles on the beaches of Cape Hatteras & environs that is at times overshadowed by other arguments, is that this is a 'customary & traditional' pattern of usage. People started doing this soon as cars came along. I expect the archives will yield photos of Model T Fords lined up on the sand, not unlike today's SUVs. They may well have done the same with horses & buggies, before Ford!

    Does that history of usage 'count' or 'matter', or not?

    Certainly, the words 'customary' and 'traditional' have significant legal import these days. We hear phrases made up of those words often, especially regarding Native Peoples. Such language is familiar to the public, and is well-understood.

    Does the consideration of customary & traditional factors apply only to Aboriginal Peoples, and is it facetious to claim 'tradition' for internal combustion propelled machines?

    The answer to both those question is No.

    The famous case of subsistence in Alaska, including (but not limited to) Parks, is explicitly not race-based. The practice of subsistence (based on customary & traditional usage) applies equally to all residents of a region where it occurs. The "preference" is for rural residency, people who live in the regions where the traditions were practiced (newcomers 'inherit' the rights of a region). Subsistence is not a right of Indians, withheld from White folks. On the contrary, approximately half of subsistence activity is by non-Natives, and half by Tribal members.

    In Alaska, machines including ATVs are recognized as traditional and customary. Airplanes, outboard motors, nylon fish nets, and most of modern equipage, are likewise fully qualified as traditional & customary. Machines have the same basic history in Alaska as anywhere else.

    Some people are inclined to object that Alaska is a 'special case', and that what goes on there has no meaning or impact in the conterminous States. However, what is really different about events in Alaska is simply that they are the most recent of our large-scale National trends. They should be viewed as harbingers of legal & social things to come, rather than as anomalies or sub-arctic aberrations. (Alaska should be view as - gulp! - the next California!)

    The accurate way to view what has happened in Alaska is not that it is a 'special' resolution that applies only in some far-off and atypical place - but rather that it embodies the most recent - and future - evolution of Federal law & jurisdiction ... some parts of which will increasingly be expressed & applied in regions & cases beyond the Alaska scene.

    The solid & established reality is, 'customary & traditional' does count - and includes practices on Cape Hatteras. Furthermore, there are many other cases across the United States where customs & traditions have been deprecated. Some of those abrogations will most likely hold permanently, but in other cases the legitimacy of claims to now-suppressed patterns of usage will be brought forward and reexamined to determined whether a "right" of usage had been established, and if so, some may be permitted & protected in the future.

    Indeed, the handling of the controversy at Cape Hatteras suggests that it is being managed as potential precedent for the address of customary & traditional practices elsewhere.

    Does custom & tradition mean bird & turtle nests don't warrant protection? No more than bird & turtle nests mean that established usage ought to be stopped. Neither is legitimately a weapon against the other.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    The title of the article is intended to bring about suggestions for solutions to the ongoing debate about the long-term prognosis for the health of the ecosystem, not the convenience of tourists, locals, and those hell-bent on some off-roading adventure.

    I am guessing the ecosystem you are protecting is to be enjoyed by no one? Without the people you reference this wonderful place would be a bunch of empty islands off the coast of North Carolina. Those hell bent on an off-roading adventure do not come to Cape Hatteras. Even the above pictures show PARKED vehicles not matter how distorted the picture by SELC’s finest. People use the beach to access the shore for fishing, shell collecting and enjoyment of the Nations Recreational Seashore.

    Some of the topics raised in this thread point to a general "personal interest" rather than a sound overall understanding of factors to be considered in proposing some legitimate possible modifications, if such be required, to maintain at the very least, the current status of the area.
    SEE your post for a prime example!

    Golf courses across the nation provide "bag drop" areas conveniently located, generally right next to the club house, for anyone who cares to leave the bag at the door while they park their vehicle. I'll bet a similar circumstance could be arranged for the ocean fishers as well. Leave your gear and one person behind to watch it if you feel the need. Short-term lockers are another notion. There are ways this could easily be overcome.
    Man you just resolved the issue completely. Let’s just put lockers on top of the plover nests so we can keep the gear for thousands of fisherman locked up tight until needed. OOPS the next hurricane will wipe this off the map. Let’s just pave a parking lot over the plover nests and build a large structure to protect the lockers. OOPS that won’t work as we had to move an entire lighthouse because it was unsafe there. Wouldn’t we still have to drive on the beach to use a drop off area? How is that different than just parking out there? Brilliant minds really do exist, No really?!?

    The issue of temporary closure of segments of beaches while they are enlisted as nesting areas by certain species is bothersome? I read this as saying the area simply isn't big enough for more than just bipedal mammalians.

    We have been dealing with these closures for years. I am guessing since you have not been there since the dark ages you have not heard of this. We never complained or sued to have them removed. We simply coexisted with the closures. If you think that the SELC and friends only want Temporary closures you really are in the dark.

    Maybe protected nesting grounds aren't important to you personally. That can indeed be your opinion as is your right to express such. If you want the hard science behind the protected zones required by any given species, and are willing to read the studies conducted on any particular species, who all have a wide variance in their particular "comfort zone / personal space" during times of reproduction, and are actually of broad enough intellect to understand those reports, these data are readily available to you. The last comment is not intended to be a “dis” at anyone in particular. Scientific publications, especially statistical studies and the related data analysis such as of the manner typically conducted by wildlife biologists, is quite difficult to comprehend by the general public who have little or no training in the methods of scientific reading. But the information which you half-heartedly seek is indeed there for your perusal at a time and place of your convenience.

    You, the Autobahn, the Defenders of Wildlife, and the SELC really need a crash course in reading as well. Please also note that it has been documented that the conditions in Cape Hatteras are not exactly what I would call IDEAL for the piping plovers. They build a teacup size nest on a beach that has sustained winds year round that can and do cover the tracks of any SUV within hours. This makes it ideal for humans as it keeps most of the bugs away, but it covers plover nests even faster. Please note there are places that these birds if needed could succeed try Cora June Dredge Island and Pea Island to name a few as there are no human interferences. They do not succeed there either as the conditions for these little creatures are not IDEAL.
    From the ORV crowd, most of what I've read is that they don't /can't drag their coolers, etc. miles from the parking areas to the beach. I guess well-stocked backpacks aren't an option. Sounds more like you want these access areas closer to the endpoint due to convenience rather than necessity. However, there exists a segment of society who CANNOT, as in physically unable to, make the journey from those remote areas to the beach, and thereby have quite justifiable reasons for the use of limited "convenience" areas. But to apply these same rules across the board is ludicrous. Maybe, just maybe, one should take a closer look at the inventory of supplies one is toting to the beach, as one is forced to when embarking on an extended backpacking sojourn. There I go, raining on your parade. Shame on me for planning ahead.
    WOW again a home run of ideas. Let’s drag or even get pull carts to take our gear out to the point. OOPS that will not work as the tracks and drag marks left (per the SELC) will prevent Turtles from getting to the sea and prevent the plovers for accessing the feeding areas. Well let’s eliminate some of our inventory we THINK we need to survive. Well since they are too heavy to carry we can eliminate handicapped Uncle Joe, the kids and even Grandpa. There go some great memories down the drain. OOPS we can just photo shop them into our memories while they waste away on the couch playing Parcheesi (sorry Mr. Pitt) or video games about fishing. Well I got off track now back to lessening my load. I can pack a couple of fishing poles and some extra hooks, but I will need bait. Well that is another pole to catch bait with. What about food and water. Well I could bring dehydrated water, but what would I add? I could bring a desalination system out there I guess now for food. My options are either some healthy granola bars, like a lone hiker would choose, or just eat plover.

    BOY OH BOY you people make it too easy. We should sign you up to represent the ENVIROS at the REG NEG committees and this thing would be long over.

  • Will Second Century Commission Succeed With Its National Parks Assessment and Recommendations?   6 years 6 weeks ago


    I don't disagree with your characterization of The Nature Conservancy, which unless it has changed practice from the Washington Post expose written several years ago, is borderline corrupt and more of a money front for the large corporations that make up its board.

    What I have an issue with again is one of process. If we already know the kinds of people we would like on a commission, we must already have a good idea of what we think the answers need to be coming out of the commission (not that there aren't specific questions to go at - like the kind Rick has outlined). This emphasizes the point I made elsewhere that commissions aren't really important for their substance but as part of an advocacy process toward largely pre-ordained outcomes. I think in some specific fields, they may serve their use; however, in the world of parks, they only exacerbate some of the key problems.

    The word "commission" for whatever reason has some cache - the idea of an independent, god's eye view on things. But, that strikes me as silly when we are talking about parks. The supposedly ultimate grounds for holistic interaction, for engaging with beings in terms of their of whole environment are reduced to the most detached, atomistic way of considering problems. That these commissions are neither independent nor have a god's eye makes it seem all the sillier. Can't we advocate in a sounder way than this?

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

  • Will Second Century Commission Succeed With Its National Parks Assessment and Recommendations?   6 years 6 weeks ago


    A couple of points.

    why are no large conservation-oriented NGOs, such as The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, or the World Wildlife Fund, represented on the commission?

    The Nature Conservancy has been less and less supportive of national parks in recent years. For example, they are unsupportive, if not openly opposed to the Maine Woods National Park proposal. They prefer the private land protection route. That is their right, but they are not advocates for public lands and national parks. Conservation International and WWF do some great work on parks in other countries, but virtually nothing in the U.S. They have not shown leadership on this, so why should they be on the commission? In fact, no U.S. conservation organization -- except for NPCA -- has taken any significant leadership on national park issues for more than a decade. It is a good idea to consult with these organizations, but they should not be on the commission.

    And are there any concerns that the existence of the commission will be an impediment to the administration's Centennial Initiative in that some congressfolk and potential donors might withhold their support pending the commission's report?

    The administration's Centennial Initiative is severely flawed and we would be better off if it goes nowhere in its current form. It greatly increases dependence on private and corporate funding instead of direct federal appropriations -- continuing the unhealthy privatization of our parks. It does not roll back the shift toward funding national park units through user fees -- a harmful trend that is undermining congressional appropriations and needs to be reversed. And it barely even mentions new or expanded national parks at all. But what else would we expect from the anti-park Bush administration? I'd be delighted if members of Congress wait for the commission report and take legislative action in the next session, when we might get a much better Centennial Initiative.

  • The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring   6 years 6 weeks ago

    An update to my previous post ...

    After photographing the Grove of Titans which are described in The Wild Trees, I afterward determined the boundaries of Atlas Grove and acquired images from there as well. The photos are all provided at the same page listed earlier:

    In addition, some VIDEO from both groves has been included.

    The book also spends time describing "Adventure Tree", and the page provided includes that one as well.

    Last week, I was at the base of "Fog Valley" where Hyperion the tallest redwood lives, to get a feel for the terrain. That will probably be next year's adventure. The edges of the main river in the area - Redwood Creek - are where camping is allowed, and it meets the creek tributary coming down from where Hyperion is.

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   6 years 6 weeks ago


    Early in 1970 I shipped out of skid row Seattle on the Greyhound Line to work the Burlington Northern railroad tie-gang refurbishing track through Montana.

    While our camp-cars were parked on a siding near at a spot called Whitehorse (or Whitehall?) along the Jefferson River, I spent off-time & weekends hiking down into the river-canyon, and overland into the surrounding hills.

    One day I was a few hours back in the hills, came around a bend and here below me was an out-of-place fancy asphalt road, and off in the distance some kind of facility. I walked up the road and it was the Lewis & Clark Caverns, then a Nat'l Park. I had no inkling it was there!

    Montana now has a nice webpage for the Caverns. Photographs, information, maps ... and links for all the little & big critters of the area, into a Field Guide they have posted. (Notice that they are using hydrologic data-layers for their distribution-maps ... hmm!)

    But I agree, the cavern was just as well handled as a local feature, and nothing in particular indicated a need for Federal involvement. (I'm one of those who feel that we are better off if the Federal echelon handles only those matters which really require centralized authority, and all other matters be left to lower/local authorities & jurisdictions).

    It was said the Native Tribes (and earlier inhabitants) hadn't used the cavern, and didn't even know about it ... something that always seemed unusual to me. Maybe more has come to light over the years...

    I was really glad to spend a season in Montana!

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   6 years 6 weeks ago

    I have no problems delisting, as pruning a tree sometimes increases the overall health of the plant.

    Unless they've changed the rules, archeological sites don't qualify for National Park status solely on the basis of local or regional antiquity. Those types of sites come under the protective umbrella of other agencies and Lord knows the NPS can't afford to be in the business of protecting every site of presumed historical import, be it of recent vintage or pre-Cambrian Era.

    It the NPS planning on going subterranean? I know their budget is........