Recent comments

  • Park History: Everglades National Park   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Frank, I'm with you on this "alter" vs "destroy" point. And I'm sure you are right that this ecosystem has seen many dramatic fluctuations in water levels in the last 4,000 to 2 million years. Correct me, but aren't mangroves opportunists that have adapted to endure in just this scenario? I see similarities to the fire/forest succession analogy regarding how the everglades will adapt to climate change. Will there not be some poetic justice when suburban ruins become the foundations for mangrove islands? Just as Calusa shell middens became keys.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 19 weeks ago

    So it's agreed that political considerations tend to dominate and often subvert the stated conservation mission of the NPS. This seems to be the general consensus among most contributors to this website, regardless of which end of the spectrum they find themselves on. From Merryland and Jim MacDonald to Frank and Lone Hiker to Fran Mainela and Ranger Melissa it is obvious that intrusive politics are the true bane of the national park system.

    Maybe it's time to forge a different path. I've stated my views on some of the alternatives in many previous posts so I'll refrain from a review of them at this particular juncture.

    I think that a cursory review of the articles and comments from this valuable website over the past year would amply highlight the problems, and most stem from partisan politics, whether it is Fran Mainela telling us she was urged, by her bosses upstairs, to ignore compelling science (which cost $10 million to obtain) in Yellowstone or caving in to pressure that sanctioned the wanton slaughter of bears in Alaska or forcing the NPS to accept a marginal park unit in New Jersey (that they deemed unworthy in their own assessment a few years back) simply because a Congressman wants to create some tourism pork in his district that the local government would never fund but will now use the coercive force of the federal leviathan to squeeze the taxpayers of Montana and Hawaii for a brand new park on the Passaic.

    Will this type of system remain viable over the long haul? Would we be better off with something else? Do most people even really care?

    These are the questions we need to seriously consider.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 19 weeks ago

    I just said that the misconception was a popular one, not that it should be ignored as a factor affecting public attitudes toward specific park management decisions. Remember that the Park Service didn't establish the "preserve it absolutely unimpaired, but let the public use it as a pleasuring ground" policy. Congress did. And if you are a bureaucrat, you do what you are told -- or at least you fake it to the best of your ability. BuRec didn't give a hoot about any of the values you mentioned when the agency built the Hoover and Hells Canyon Dams and impounded those reservoirs. The dams were built to provide irrigation water, generate electricity, reduce flooding below the dams (now THERE'S a joke on us all!), and enhance flatwater recreation opportunities. When the Park Service was eventually given administrative responsibility the National Recreation Areas focused on those impoundments, the scenic canyons, Indian artifacts, and all the rest had already been inundated for a good long while and the Park Service had exactly zero-zippo-nada to say about whether that was a good idea or a bad one ( I vote for bad). Would Stephen Mather understand this kind of park? That's a very interesting question. Mather was a pragmatist who labored long and hard, twisting plenty of arms, to improve access to the parks and get more and better recreation facilities and lodging built in and near the parks. Mather believed that boosting recreational use of the parks would curry public favor, get Congress to provide more money and staffing for parks, and generate lots of ancillary benefits. That said, I believe that Mather would see the mass recreation excesses at Lake Mead NRA and the Glen Canyon NRA (encompassing Lake Powell) as examples of the extrapolation-to-absurdity syndrome. As a wise man once observed, and as many of us have learned the hard way, "up to a certain point, the more, the better; beyond that point, the more, the worse." Incidentally, I meant no disrespect to Anon and I have nothing against tax paying citizens.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 19 weeks ago

    So Bob, how do Lake Mead and Powell fit into that paradigm? The Native American artifacts, cliff dwellings and rock art have all been destroyed by the government built dam and the natural canyon ecosystems have been inundated by hundreds of feet of water. Jet skis now rule the surface of the water column! Can you understand the confusion?

    Would Stephen Mather understand this kind of park? Anon is not without merit as an entitled taxpaying park user.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Anon's lament arises from a popular misconception about what Congress intended the national parks to be. Providing for public access and recreational use of the parks is most emphatically not ancillary to the central mission, it is a central OBLIGATION. Preservation and public use are explicitly identified as co-equal concerns. Here is the gist of it. Congress passed the Organic Act in 1916, creating the National Park Service. Two years later, Congress issued a Statement of Administrative Policy that instructed the fledgling agency to operate on the basis of three clearly enunciated principles, to whit:
    • The national parks must be maintained in absolutely unimpaired form for the use of future generations.
    • The parks are to be set aside for the use, observation, health, and pleasure of the people.
    • The national interest must dictate all decisions affecting public or private enterprise in the parks.
    Adhering faithfully to both of the first two principles is clearly impossible, of course, and therein lies the rub.
    .

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 19 weeks ago

    The parks were not created for us to enjoy,they were created to preserve natural habitat.Any use we get is and should be ancillary to that mission.

  • Park History: Everglades National Park   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Frank rightly points out that a forest ecosystem is not destroyed when wildfire burns it to the ground. The forest ecosystem is just temporarily restored to an early stage of ecological succession. After the fire you get weedy-fast growth (grasses, shrubs), and then the seedlings grow into trees, the canopy closes, and you've eventually got your mature forest back. That's the way secondary ecological succession works in a forest ecosystem. BUT it is only able to put the climax forest community back because the soil was not removed by the fire and and the temperature, precipitation, and other controlling variables have remained essentially the same. If a glacier were to arrive on the scene, obliterate the forest, and scrape away the soil right down to bedrock, you would have to wait until the glacier melts away and start all over again with a soil formation process that turns rock into topsoil at the rate of maybe five hundred to a thousand or more years per inch. Several thousand years or more might elapse before you've got your climax forest back. That's the way primary ecological succession works. I'd have no qualms whatsoever in claiming that the glacier destroyed the forest, since it obliterated it so thoroughly that putting it back takes thousands of years. Now let me get to the point. If sea level rise puts the existing Everglades ecosystem under several feet of salty water, it will destroy that ecosystem -- no ifs, ands, buts, or whats. None of the plants living on the landward side of the mangroves can survive salt water inundation. Not the sawgrass in the true Everglades "river of grass", not the hardwoods in the hammocks, and not even weedy crap like the invading melaleucas. They will be gone, and so will the algal mat and lots of other things that are down there at the base of the food chain and without which the higher-order life cannot survive. I'd hate to have somebody burn down my house and then say that he merely "altered" the footprint on which it stood.

  • Park History: Everglades National Park   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Bob makes some interesting points. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, it's 90% likely that humans are at least partially responsible for climate change and that there's likely nothing we can do to stop it. Sea levels might rise over the next century (although the sea level rise depicted in An Inconvenient Truth probably won't happen for centuries).

    Given this, Bob's observation that some might consider CERP to be like "pounding sand down a rathole" seems valid. I do question the use of the phrase "destroy the ecosystem", though. A more accurate and less loaded term might be alter rather than destroy (just as forest fires don't destroy, they change).

    Maybe someone with more knowledge about Florida's natural history (like Beamis) can fill me in, but hasn't Florida and the Everglades been submerged under salt water before? Weren't parts that are now ocean once swamp (maybe during the last ice age)? And if in the past parts that are now exposed were submerged, how did they recover and how long did it take?

  • Park History: Everglades National Park   6 years 19 weeks ago

    How sad that on this day, exactly 60 years after Pres. Harry Truman signed off on the legislation establishing Everglades National Park, the park is in such sorry shape and has such gloomy prospects. Recent commentary on this state of affairs has centered on the CERP's many shortcomings, and especially on the federal government's failure to hold up its end of the bargain. Reading this stuff is enough to make even the most optimistic park advocates sick at heart. And if all of this CERP news weren't bad enough, consider this: CERP or no CERP, a sea level rise of just two or three feet would cause salt water to flood the Everglades and destroy the ecosystem. "Walling off the sea" to save the park, even if it were possible, would be ecologically absurd. There is no higher ground for some of the park's rare and endangered plant and animal species to “retreat to," either. Farms, ranches, residential neighborhoods, and other developments have already laid claim to that higher land and will not budge. So there you have it. If you believe that global warming is real, and that a sea level rise of at least several feet is inevitable, you cannot logically believe that the CERP can save the Everglades. A cynic (though certainly not yours truly) might suggest that the feds have already decided that the risk of substantial sea level rise is now so serious that funding the CERP is the budgetary equivalent of pounding sand down a rathole.

  • Grand Teton Puts Down Another Bear   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Melissa,

    Do you worry that your supervisors know who you are from the posts you have made here? In any event, I admire your bravery for speaking out.

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

  • National Parks Contribute Holiday Ornaments to White House Christmas Tree   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Gee, Jim, I never could imagine someone so sensitive over Christmas tree ornaments but you obviously are. If you weren’t so, then you could understand how such ornaments will make the public more aware of the NPS, its role, and how individuals can help the NPS. I’ve given 25 years of volunteer service to the NPS in many ways: committees for the National Park Foundation, served on Friends boards for NPS sites, and given time helping at NPS sites.

    I believe that if everyone helped in such ways instead of being so sensitive to Christmas tree ornaments, then our parks and monuments would be in great shape. I’m also confident that all of us can better serve the NPS by contributing more while complaining less, which would be a great lesson for you to learn.

    That is what this year’s White House Christmas tree hopes to do. And, it’s succeeding because of all the good news from it this Christmas season.

    Merry Christmas,
    Bob

  • Why Is Interior Dragging Feet On Keeping Glacier National Park from Being Shelled?   6 years 19 weeks ago

    I think it snows about 300 days a year there.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 19 weeks ago

    I say we just sell off the parks since we can't enjoy 'em anymore. I don't want a cent of my tax dollars supporting them either.

  • National Parks Contribute Holiday Ornaments to White House Christmas Tree   6 years 19 weeks ago

    What's this about Laura Bush being an advocate for the parks? Really? She needs to sit down and have a serious talk with her husband.

  • Grand Teton Puts Down Another Bear   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Wow, you pretty much summed it up right there, Beamis.

    I first started as a seasonal ranger, eleven years ago. I worked for a number of years as a campground ranger and in fee collection at the entrance stations. When i took my first job in interpretation, i was full of enthusiasm and a belief that i could make a difference. I felt like it was such a privelege to be part of the history of our parks, and of course the NPS has a fantastic mission statement. But that's really all just on paper.

    The agency appoints superintendents who try to circumvent the rules whenever they can get away with it. They often follow the letter of the law and not the spirit of it. I have seen permanent career employees who are either shockingly apathetic about resource issues or make decisions that will advance their careers even to the detriment of the park (like agreeing with really poor decisions from on high, instead of speaking up.) I had one supervisor in the recent past who was an amazing man ... passionate, intelligent, vocal and he was consistently passed over for promotion.

    The summer before last i was fairly fired up about a pending decision to "improve" the Gros Ventre campground. It's a large campground on the southern flank of the park, it has several hundred campsites, and hardly anyone stays there. And the reason for that is because it's on a side road that for some reason on the park map looks like it's not paved. After the privatization three years ago, the lodge company began agitating for improvements like 100+ sites with electrical hookups for RV's, and they wanted to build shower facilities and a camp store and a bloody laundromat (i'm not even kidding!!!) Meanwhile, the town of Jackson is a mere 5 miles away! For some reason, the park superintendant was all for this plan which is currently on a back burner, not off the table mind you, due to a lack of funding.

    This side road that the campground is on just happens to go through the area where most of the park's bison and antelope give birth to their calves. It's also one of the few places in the park in June, July and August where you can take a nice leisurely drive to watch wildlife and not pass a thousand other people. I've sat on the shoulder of that road at dusk, watching the bison, deer and elk and also watching across the valley the headlights from hundreds of cars on the park's main road. In both directions ... a solid line of car after car after car. Meanwhile, where i am, i might see two or three vehicles in a half an hour.

    But if you build it, they will come. Adding electrical hookups and services to the Gros Ventre campground would increase the traffic out there by what? A hundred fold? More? I mean, i agree there is a lack of amenities for RV'ers that need hookups but there are also three other campgrounds on the main road that they could "improve" instead. What kind of value should we place on keeping the solitude of that part of the valley? For crying out loud, it's not 1930 ... the NPS should be waaaaaay past the point of development simply to encourage visitation. So .... i was fired up about this topic, and basically i couldn't find anyone else in my district that cared. Supervisors or seasonals. No one cared. No one was even interested in discussing it with me.

    And the situation this summer with the bears was simply the icing on the cake. Several of these deaths could have been averted by having a ranger staff patrolling the campground, and closing trails and backcountry campsites to the public, but no one wanted to make the decision to close trails. Why? Because we have to be a good "neighbor" to the community of Jackson. If we close the trails or campsites some local residents might be unhappy. (This excuse is a political decision i heard repeatedly over the last few years to justify many absurd policy decisions.)

    This past summer i finally realized ... i have no ideals or enthusiasm left for the National Park Service. The beaureaucracy has crushed it out of me. Stick a fork in me, i'm done.

    I still want to live in a national park ... how can i do anything else at this point? And for the most part, i still like the job that i do. I do good work. I get positive feedback from the public, if not from the agency. And i have no intention of quitting. When i say that i believe i can change the agency from the inside, what i mean to say is ... i can do exactly what i did two summers ago. Write anonymous letters to the local papers, call up local environmental organizations and fill them in on the issues (which surprisingly they often know nothing about), and give them information that they might not have otherwise.

    I worked with a gentleman who had met Ed Abbey when he was right out of college, and he likes to tell the story of what one of Abbey's supervisors had to say about him ... "You better keep an eye on that one. He's a thinker."

  • Grand Teton Puts Down Another Bear   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Let's face it folks, mavericks and outside-the-box thinkers don't have long term careers in the NPS. All of the independent minded people that I ever knew in the agency are all long gone, except for one person (who admits that working for the green & gray really sucks but stays on because this person actually enjoys the natural wonders of the park they are currently stationed in). Go figure.

    I know that my experience is only one single example but I hear this same refrain from other colleagues who have left the agency that tell me the people that they admired the most as former co-workers have also left the NPS. Most of those that remain are what I call the "go along, get alongs", people that ride the wave to retirement and are quite content to give a sub-par performance as government careerists. These are also folks that would be totally unable to land the same high level of pay and benefits in the competitive marketplace. They know a good thing when they see it. Then there are the newly entitled, as I like to call them, federal hangers on like non-combat military veterans milking the 10-point cow as well as specially targeted classes of government decreed victims who are given preference over more qualified personnel due to their membership in a supposedly oppressed group or race. (I always put a check mark in the Pacific Islander box whenever I was required to fill out any government forms about my identity. It never seemed to get me the promotions I was looking for though.)

    This is not the snapshot of a workforce that will tend to be overly eager to shift paradigms or rock the boat. A nice quiet glide towards a comfortable retirement on the good ship green & gray is more their speed (with all the paid holidays you can shake a stick at). I believe this is what upper management rewards and it is why the agency is the stagnant and inefficient morass that most outsiders see today. Most insiders do as well, but are generally way too afraid to say it all that loud.

    I truly wish Melissa the best. I myself have built a successful company that conducts natural history tours and lectures to a wide spectrum of clients in a variety of national park areas across the country. I'd suggest that she think through all of her non-NPS options first before giving too much time and effort to an organization that values group-think and conformity over change and re-invention. The NPS often talks a good game but if you take a really close look at who actually works in the agency you'll find a strict obedience to the chain of command, along with a deep-seated fear of retribution and an overall mindset that highly values loyal soldiers who will march in lock step to the latest WASO initiative as the path of least resistance to a successful career in the dreary uniformity that is the way of the green & gray.

  • Grand Teton Puts Down Another Bear   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Jeremy,
    Thanks for pointing out those resources. While possibly helpful, they’re external to the NPS. There is no internal NPS structure that I know of (and someone please correct my ignorance on the subject) to assist current employees who would like to "make a change". That intimates that the NPS is inherently a conservative (small-c "conservative", not the big-C political term) organization; it resists change and prefers to perpetuate the status quo.

    Again, I have to come back to our former mentor. Gary also said something like, "Perhaps the tacky myrtle wood sign in gift shops sums it all up: Grant me the ability to change the things I can, the ability to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference." It took Gary an entire career to learn that.

    Gary tried to "make a difference", but he--as a GS-11 chief of interpretation--was marginalized by an inflexible system and those who vehemently defended it. (In fact, I believe that the system and those who marginalized him, those who stripped him of his pride, are partially culpable for the cancer that ended Gary's life.) I understand and even shared Melissa's idealism and I think Gary would have, too. But if someone in a loftier position can't change the system, how in the larger scheme of things can a seasonal ranger change it?

    Jeremy, you say Melissa can be the change she wishes to see, and in this arena she has the most power to affect change: her own actions. However, conservative elements in the NPS may view her behavior as non-conformist and dangerous and she may suffer for it. I truly hope that won't be the case.

  • Why Is Interior Dragging Feet On Keeping Glacier National Park from Being Shelled?   6 years 19 weeks ago

    5.5 million for dealing with snow !!, what, does it snow 365 day a year. I want that job

  • Grand Teton Puts Down Another Bear   6 years 19 weeks ago

    In recent years, we've heard that folks on the inside of the NPS have felt their jobs would be in jeopardy if they spoke out about things they didn't like (the 2005 Management Policies 'Hoffman rewrite' as one example). But, there are organizations out there willing to help these folks make a change. These are groups like the Association of National Park Rangers (ANPR), the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees (CNPSR), and the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). ANPR for instance, offers a health insurance program for seasonals -- this is somewhat new. The CNPSR lead the charge against the Hoffman policies. I know you have issues with PEER Frank, but they have stayed on the Teresa Chambers case, years after it has fallen from the headlines.

    My point, it is possible to affect change from the inside, but it takes some guts, the ability to cover your ass, and probably some help from friends on the outside. More power to you Melissa if you are willing to be the change you wish to see in the world.

  • Grand Teton Puts Down Another Bear   6 years 19 weeks ago

    With all due respect -- if you don't like what I have to say, don't read it. HH wondered what I had to say, so I obliged her. Also, nothing in my writing "belittles" anyone else; I'm merely expressing my opinion. "It's thoughts like yours that poison the well and make it that much more difficult." The well is already poisoned. It's comments like this that attempt to stifle dissent, to police the thoughts of others, which--in a society founded on liberty--I find very repugnant.

  • Grand Teton Puts Down Another Bear   6 years 19 weeks ago

    I think we all thought at some point in our ranger careers that we could change things from the inside. Unfortunately change is not something that is welcomed from the vast majority of entrenched bureaucrats who wish to maintain their privileged civil-service status, fat retirements and cushy assignments in paradise.

    I'm pretty tired of being shot down by those who say that my experience was an aberration and that the NPS is just fine the way it is currently run and all that it needs is a lot more money thrown its way. I beg to differ and have done so consistently, as many regular readers already know.

    I was able to affect a lot more change on the outside that I ever could on the inside. In one instance I had a superintendent grudgingly back down after I enlisted the aid of a U.S. Senator to get a totally bogus and onerous regulation removed after first trying friendly negotiation and reason. I would have never been able to accomplish this same feat with my career on the line.

    The superintendent in question only did what he did because of the potential blot his exposed stupidity could've placed on his own legacy. He didn't act out of reasoned analysis of the situation but only because his position and status was threatened by a salvo of outrage from a much more powerful politician.

    What I did worked in the given situation and benefited the park, I was even approached by rangers who said that they could've never accomplished the same thing without seriously damaging their careers and were very grateful for my efforts to curb their tyrannical boss. This is not the best way to manage natural resources or serve the visiting public. Not by a long shot.

    For another slant I offer blog posts from the wonderful Retread Ranger Station: http://snipurl.com/1usfg then read http://snipurl.com/1usdp

    Ranger Bob is a retired NPS ranger who left in good standing and truly loves the parks but is also very realistic about the actual conditions on the ground in a self-perpetuating bureaucracy that more often than not tends towards corruption and self-preservation in the higher ranks. Check out his blog, it's well worth your time.

  • Park History: How the National Lakeshores Came to Be   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is gorgeous. We've visitied the Upper Penninsula a few times in past years, staying in Shelter Bay (a small area outside Au Train). The beaches are clean with sand dunes and sand soft under your toes. Chapel Falls area has a 7.5 mile round-trip trail through the forest that ends at Chapel Beach. It's the only walk-in way to get to a secluded bay unless you come in by boat. This area of Pictured Rocks is so secluded that we were the only people there. However, no amenities are available with the exception of a small outhouse. A nice place for a romantic picnic. There are other scenic trails leading to the lakeshore just as fantastic as the Chapel Falls trail. And, there's always the boat ride out of Munising, unless it's foggy. Miners Castle Overlook gives you a great view of Grand Island National Recreation Area, part of Hiawatha National Forest. We can't wait to go back again this Summer. We haven't seen all of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore yet or traveled all the forested trails in the Upper Penninsula.

  • Grand Teton Puts Down Another Bear   6 years 19 weeks ago

    With all due respect -- BS Frank. There are too many people looking to blame someone else. A journey of a million miles begins with one step. And another. And another. Everyone who works at the park and everyone who visits the park is to blame for not doing enough. Everyone. This problem won't get solved by all of us sitting back and counting on the charitable goodwill of the masses to maintain the parks. Also please stop belittling people who have the desire and will to make a difference. If enough people speak up from within change can happen. It's thoughts like yours that poison the well and make it that much more difficult. I don't care that your experience sucked, but thanks for sharing. A public trust still depends on people, and people are the source of the problem, not government. You go Melissa!

  • Grand Teton Puts Down Another Bear   6 years 19 weeks ago

    I love the parks and despite all the bureaucrats in charge, i can make a difference. I can change the operation from the inside.

    Some advice from my mentor:

    "Frank, you will not change the bureaucracy. I couldn’t; Norm Messinger couldn’t; John Krisco couldn’t; Brian Harry couldn’t; Wayne Cone couldn’t; John Muir couldn’t; Stephen T. Mather couldn’t. Thoreau, Jefferson, Michelangelo…the list goes on ad infinitum."

    I got this advice from my mentor on my sixth season out of ten seasons with the NPS, and looking back, I sometimes think that I had gotten the advice earlier or at least understood it earlier; the "operation" of the NPS can't be changed from the inside.

    A lowly seasonal will never be able to change the operation of the NPS. If you ask questions, if you show originality of thought, if challenge any of the NPS's sacred cows as a seasonal, forget about it. You can be fired at any time for any reason, and I know seasonals who were fired for speaking out against unsafe boat tours at Crater Lake and for sticking up for the private property owners at Mineral King in Sequoia. I've seen seasonals get reprimanded for pushing for recycling, opting out of dangerous training exercises, discussing environmental degradation caused by the NPS.

    Try to get a permanent job so you can change the system. But the federal hiring system is so corrupt, so full of nepotism, favoritism, careerism, and more -isms than you can shake a stick at. Other groups will have preference over you, especially those already firmly entrenched in the civil service. Hell, a veteran working for the IRS and looking to escape hell will waltz right into a job in the park you've spent six summers in and know like the back of your hand.

    If you do get a permanent job, by the time you've got it, you'll be struggling to pay back student loans that have pilled up for the years you worked seasonally. You'll get health insurance for the first time in years. You'll finally be on the road to a fat pension. You'll get comfortable. You won't speak out. Too dangerous. Might loose everything you've been working for. Besides, you can make some small changes, here and there, as a permanent ranger. Next thing you know, twenty years have gone by.

    No, the system can't be changed from the inside. The only thing to be done is end the system. There is a better way. There is a way to end the corporate, government-sanctioned monopolies that have invaded our national parks. There is a way to end political influence in national parks. There is a way to create a stable funding source for the national park, that will not be subject to political stalemates (by the way, people were chanting the same "the NPS needs more money!" mantra during Clinton's administration).

    It's called a public trust. I've talked about it before. If you're not familiar, you can read more about it if you want.

    Also, please stop demonizing "privatization". The firms operating in the NPS are government-sponsored monopolies and multi-national corporations. Private art museums manage to protect their art, but I don't hear people screaming about the privatization of art. And for decades the NPS has allowed these corporations to fleece tourists and send the the vast majority of the profits out of the park and out of the country while charging a minuscule franchise fee that is often less than 5%. Sometimes it seems that the NPS was established primarily for the benefit of the tourism industry and concessionaires.

    You have every right to be offended that the NPS is sponsoring such a multi-national monopoly that has no interest in preserving the park and doesn't bother to train its Czech employees. But realize, the such a corrupt system will crush internal dissent and can only be eliminated through external pressure.

  • Grand Teton Puts Down Another Bear   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Wow, Melissa's comments make my heart ache. I wish I could, like the others, tell you to "stick with it" but instead I'll give you my advice; "pace yourself" while trying to change things from the inside or move on.

    I do think she gives a good example of where privatization of park can fail. I'm curious what Beamis and FrankHead have to say about this. Though, I suspect privatization is less to blame here than the undertrained, undermotivated, understaffed ranger force. Surely the Chief Ranger still has jurisdiction in these campgrounds. No?

    There are many not-so-expensive ways to mitigate this campground/bear/human education problem (as Melissa explains it), but alas, I'm no longer on the pension payroll.