Recent comments

  • Don't Be Surprised to See Clinton Administration Influence In an Obama Interior Department   6 years 3 weeks ago

    You asked for it.......you got it........the triumphant return of the Hill and Billary Show!

    All the Libs and Cons have enough fodder to last the next 4 years now. There goes the neighborhood.

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Vince, beautifully expressed with excellent political satire that has good solid punch with words. Out of those four million potential visitors, I wonder how many are unemployed, homeless and sick from the lack of good comprehensive medical care. And, I wonder how many gave up visiting the National Parks due to those rip-off gas prices during the summer months. Remember those obscene oil profits? Bring on and welcome the intelligentsia to the White House. We finally have some good brains running this country again. Soooo, freshing indeed!!!

  • Study Touts Economic Benefits of Mount St. Helens "National Park"   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Unless my math skills have gone the way of the dodo bird, the economic stimulus amounts to just over $36 dollars per "extra" visitor, but nowhere does the study state whether the figure mentioned is an annual, monthly, weekly or daily figure. Since that little detail was omitted, I have to operate under the inference that we're speaking in terms of annually, which in other words means little or no impact at all in the grand scheme of things. Certainly not enough of a "windfall" to expand the civil payroll. Probably not even enough to account for the extra costs to be absorbed by the existing infrastructure to justify the "Oh boy, throngs of people are coming!" attitude. This windfall to the local community (ies) would be without a single dollar spent on new amenities or infrastructure, which presumably means neither by the locales to benefit or by the NPS, who can ill afford said improvements anyway, which is all well and good. The only way I can see this Christmas bonus being distributed is amongst the existing gas stations, Motel 6's and God awful fast-food franchises, with emphasis being overly concentrated on the junk food sector. So good for them, I guess, and the new temporary staff that they employ to adjust to the new Boom Times. However, when the current economy returns to a more even keel, gas prices rise to the $4/gal level that Big Oil now knows stupid American consumers will tolerate, and trekking off the beaten path isn't in the majority of people's itineraries, and the necessary lay-offs come rollin' down the mountain, and all you're left with is what existed in the pre-designation era, how does the new title benefit the local economy?

    I firmly believe that visitation to the area, and in particular the star of the show, happens because of the recent history still burned into many people's minds regarding the cataclysm, who are still trying to grasp the scope of the event, which is now getting my blurred by the year and not because in any way, shape or form due to the moniker bestowed upon the local geography. Call me ignorant, but I wouldn't place one inch of credibility in the study mentioned in the article about how immediately the public is drawn to a "new" park. I'm absolutely certain that the majority of the increase is calculated on a sliding scale averaged over time, and is thereby flawed in its presentation as a viable economic tool for development, as you can't simply turn on a spigot and viola, visitors appear from nowhere. For instance, when and where are previous comparable sample systems that are available for comparison? How did the national economy fare at the time, not just when the change was made but immediately prior to and post modification to the park's renaming? What were other local draws in the area that might have assisted by functioning as a tourist magnet? How long, if ever, did it take for the numbers to ascend to the promised levels? What was the trend over time? Exactly what does the number 11K represent in terms of an increase? Is an extra 11K the equivalent to a 500% increase or a 1% increase? And while no new "infrastructure" will be required, the locals better figure out just who is going to clean up after these additional visitors, and who might be responsible for shouldering the burden for those costs, along with the multitude of other unwanted costs to the local environment and existing infrastructure. The annual supplement of thirty six and change per head ain't gonna go too far, folks.

    Now for the really obvious but at once stupid question that begs to be asked.......

    If National Park status is a slam dunk in bolstering every little local economy in the immediate geography surrounding whatever tract of land you prefer to consider, then why don't we take ALL public lands, be they BLM, National Forests, state parks, recreation areas, preserves, monuments, whatever, and redesignate the entirety as new NPS units? Wouldn't the overall economic climate across the nation benefit? If all it takes to jump-start the rural economy is a new plaque over the entrance and a broad brim at the door that seems pretty much a no-brainer, even for the dopes at the DOI. And if the above study is to be taken at face value, then A=B and everybody reaps an immediate economic benefit. Couldn't the current economy be instantaneously rescued from the doldrums with the simple wave of the DOI wand? What's wrong with this picture?

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 4 weeks ago

    OK, all you right-wing trolls, go back to your Fox/Rush/Hannity fantasy lands. When did the "left-wing" give Bush a chance?? How about after 9/11 when he squandered our international good will? Do you remember the massive international support for us after 9/11? How fast did Bush destroy that? Remember the economy during the Clinton years? How's it goin' for you now that Bush has deregulated us into a depression? Like your park lands? Or would you prefer them drilled, sold, and butchered as Bush has tried to do to them? Remember the Constitution? Oh, no, I forgot, you don't know about that. By the way, I'm an attorney, a teacher, and a former civil engineer and I will be at the inauguration along with my son (who attends an Ivy League school -sorry, I know intelligent people make you uncomfortable) and my wife (who is a.... wait for it... community organizer!!). At last, we'll have a President who makes us proud and who is intelligent. What a breath of fresh air being able to go to sleep each night knowing that the President can actually THINK!

  • Lava Beds National Monument is a Geologically and Historically Fascinating Place   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Thanks for that suggestion, Bill. Learning about a park's history before visiting it is a practice we heartily endorse here at Traveler.

  • Lava Beds National Monument is a Geologically and Historically Fascinating Place   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Fantastic scenery, but read up on the Modoc War before you go so you can really enjoy your visit. Once again wear good hiking shoes or boots. I like leather with ankle support. Been 20 years since I was there and they may not let you venture everywhere anymore. Well worth a visit, but once again, know your history to make sure you know your history to make it more interesting.

  • Yellowstone, Grand Teton Officials Searching For Snowmobile, Snowcoach Solution   6 years 4 weeks ago

    I took an unguided tour about 10 years ago, on the groomed trails (ROADS), and was the 2nd most memoriable events of my life. (Sorry WW, but our readers really don't need to know about your most memorable event. -- the editors.)

    I do not understand here in the "Land of the Free" why visitors can not drive the roads without being in a tour. In the future will everyone in America be required to go on a Cruise Ship when they go on a vacation, or required to be in a tour group.

    I had never visited Yellowstone, but truely by accident went 3 times in one year. To me the winter snowmobile was the most beautiful. I absolutely could not stand the summer crowds and traffic jams. I actually fled the park due to the traffic thinking that sitting in Washington DC beltway traffic was better than Yellowstone in the summer. If the NPS wants to cut down on polution in the park then cut down on the summer traffic, prohibit the 4 cylinder pickup trucks that are towing 14' travel trailers, with 14' boat behind them them. If you are towing something then you have to stay out of the park. 500 snowmobiles a day cause more polution than 10,000 cars a day? Reduce the summer traffic and keep Yellowstone open to free travelers, but only on the roads.

  • Study Touts Economic Benefits of Mount St. Helens "National Park"   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Random Walker: Yes, NPS national monuments receive about 20% of the yearly operational funding that national parks receive. Are there possible rational explanations for this? Is visitation higher in national parks than monuments? Do national parks generally have more staff members than national monuments? Is there generally more infrastructure in national parks than monuments? Please also consider that non-national park designations (such as national historical sites, national recreation areas, and so on) collectively receive almost twice the annual operating funds that national parks do. What does this say? I'm not sure. I'm not sure any of these statements have any real significance.

    I will dispute the Wikipedia claim that there is more "diversity" of what is being protected in a national park than in a national monument. Take a look at Lava Beds National Monument. Coyotes, bald eagle roosts, pictographs, petroglyphs, endangered bats, battlefields, caves, cinder cones, and on and on. I also dispute that wildlife receives a lower degree of protection in national monuments. This might be true in the few monuments outside the purview of the NPS, but this is the exception, not the rule.

    As for designating Mt. St. Helens a wilderness, I've advanced on these pages that the area should be left to recover on its own, and I think we'd agree on this. Call it laizze faire preservation. A leave-it-alone area. More than wilderness, though. Something new in name and spirit.

    Kurt wonders "how much weight economics should be given when decisions are made on additions to the National Park System." I don't think the establishment of national parks should be used as an economic stimulus of local economies as this leads to the tendency to dole political pork; however, we should consider the economics of how parks will be funded and whether or not they are economically sustainable when considering whether or not to add them to the system. Had the NPS looked honestly at these issues, sites like Steamtown, regardless of their historical integrity, would not have been created.

  • Study Touts Economic Benefits of Mount St. Helens "National Park"   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Why is it that the creation of a new national park area is always initially touted for the positive economic impacts it would bring, yet when these factors are brought up in critical decision making, such as the recent brouhahas in Yellowstone and Cape Hatteras can attest to, park managers and park supporters alike look upon the "economically impacted" local businesses as little more than selfish vampires wishing to suck freely on the flesh of the sacred wilderness?

    I wish park promoters would stop bringing up the economic aspects because it is something that they eventually abhor once the park is created and soon conveniently forget that it was a factor that they touted in the beginning when they were looking for support in establishing their preserve. Let the chips fall where they may and create parks with a serious set of definable criteria and let the free market adjust to and serve the needs and wants of consumers as it sees fit.

  • Study Touts Economic Benefits of Mount St. Helens "National Park"   6 years 4 weeks ago

    I agree with Oregon Dude (not verified)
    I say Bah! to the surrounding communities and business's, local and federal governments and corporations who view Our Wilderness, National Monuments and Parks as a way to make a quick buck, as nothing more than a commodity.

    From Wikipedia:

    "National monuments receive less funding and afford fewer protections to wildlife than national parks.
    Another difference between a national monument and national park is the amount of diversity in what is being protected; national monuments aim to preserve at least one unique resource but do not have the amount of diversity of a national park (which are supposed to protect a host of unique features). However areas within and extending beyond, national parks, monuments or even national forests can be part of wilderness areas, which have an even greater degree of protection than a national park would alone, although wilderness areas managed by the United States Department of Agriculture's United States Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management often allow hunting."

    Now if congress were to designate the whole monument as the "Mount St. Helens Wilderness" I would be very happy.

  • Don't Be Surprised to See Clinton Administration Influence In an Obama Interior Department   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Uhhhhhh, no thanks. I couldn't live in D.C.

  • Don't Be Surprised to See Clinton Administration Influence In an Obama Interior Department   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Kurt, how about throwing in your hat for the position? You know more than these clowns who are running Bush's environmental fiasco team, or are so called Department of Interior. At least we can trust you to run the National Parks on a quality basis that's filled with transparency. Give it a shot!

  • Survey Shows Americans Love Bison But Largely Are Clueless About their Plight   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Anon: At this web site.

  • Don't Be Surprised to See Clinton Administration Influence In an Obama Interior Department   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Interesting news here out of Politico.com this afternoon - http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1108/15860.html.

    Rep. Raul Grijalva has definitely been a parks advocate.

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

  • Study Touts Economic Benefits of Mount St. Helens "National Park"   6 years 4 weeks ago

    I would oppose NP status for 2 reasons:

    1) We need to adequately fund the NP's we already have.

    2) Under the current USFS stewardship, the park is very hands on. One can explore the Ape Cave to one's heart's content, for instance. There is no doubt in my mind that NP status would bring about unnecessary restrictions on human activity.

  • Survey Shows Americans Love Bison But Largely Are Clueless About their Plight   6 years 4 weeks ago

    How can I get more info on the ABS?

  • Study Touts Economic Benefits of Mount St. Helens "National Park"   6 years 4 weeks ago

    As we've discovered, to a large degree the names applied to NPS (and handful of USFS and BLM) units have no reliable definitions. The distinction, in this case, between a National Volcanic Monument and a National Park is entirely arbitrary. (See Speaker Pelosi's absurd Golden Gate National Parks kick.) I wish that it were not so, but there it is.

    $443,000 in new visitor spending? Spread across 150,000 residents in three counties? A $3 per capita argument is pretty weak. If you really want to make an economic impact in those counties, start loosening up logging regulations.

  • Upon Further Review - What Visited Your Campsite While You Were Sleeping?   6 years 4 weeks ago

    We have had only (that we know of) a resident mouse of the cabin where we were staying. In the journal left behind by other campers his/her name was Spenser. One morning a shoe was stuffed with a shredded paper towel. Too funny. MB

  • Are Yosemite National Park Officials Overlooking Safety of Curry Village Guests?   6 years 4 weeks ago

    I was present, staying in a tent cabin at Curry Village that morning. What the article doesn't mention is the afternoon before a smaller rockfall sent boulders sailing through unoccupied tent cabins in the same area as the larger one. If the concessioner and the NPS cannot take responsibility to warn visitors and take appropriate action during a known hazardous period, how can we expect them to take the proper management direction on the larger safety issue?

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 4 weeks ago

    And how much (change) is this going to cost us? (And the NPS?)

    Here's another gem from H.L. Mencken:

    "The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are."

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Somehow I don't doubt the estimated crowd for the Big Ball. Every idiot 'round the globe with a press credential will be attending (sorry, Kurt) along with the obligatory circus train of mobile broadcast units. They'll be measuring the total volume of cables / wiring used for this spectacle not in linear feet but in AU.

    Maybe it'll rain.......

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Gerald, Sylvia:
    You are so right:
    A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that THEY CAN VOTE THEMSELVES LARGESSE from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Hey kids----ain't democracy grand?!!!!

    Once again I defer to the Sage of Baltimore:

    "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."
    -----H. L. Mencken

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 4 weeks ago

    LOL...Bob says "open-minded"...so open your brains are falling out.
    Give 'em a chance? When did the left wing ever give Bush a chance?? Why is it that it is O.K. for the left to trash people (aka Palin) but not the right? Answer that one, Bob....
    BTW, just take a good look at the majority of those attending THIS inauguration..."great unwashed" is certainly correct! The inmates are now in charge of the asylum.

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Gerald,
    There are many highly motivated, successful folks who will be celebrating this event. I have not felt represented or well-served by the current administration, or the current incarnation of the Republican party, which I have formerly supported. To suggest that only homeless, unmotivated people support Obama is a typical Republican tactic; if you can't out-argue the message, slander the messenger… Let’s all try to be open-minded and give the new administration a chance to prove itself. Regarding Clinton advisors, they actually did a great job – unfortunately, Bill’s indiscretions overshadowed the positive attributes of what would have otherwise been regarded as a very successful Presidency.