Recent comments

  • FAQs for Yellowstone's Snowmobile Decision Revealing   6 years 19 weeks ago

    The Park doesn't owe those people a living. No one told them to set up shop there to exploit the Park's tourists. If the park eliminated all snowmobiling in the park, they'd have to find some other way to make money. Just like horse breeders and carriage makers and farriers did after the automobile was invented. Just like typewriter manufacturers did when the word processor came about. They'll need to adapt.

    The majority of these gateway communities are parasites anyway, pure and simple.

    The NPS has a duty to protect the parks, first and foremost. Not the gateway communities.

  • Climate Change: What Implications Does it Carry for the Parks?   6 years 19 weeks ago

    RIGHT ON Re'bekah and Roger!!!
    Pretty arrogant to think that we have much impact on global climate...there have been MANY warming and cooling periods before we got here!!
    Too much Algore disease goin' air (lol).

  • Climate Change: What Implications Does it Carry for the Parks?   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Mr. Repanshek states that the rising temperatures in Yellowstone and Grand Teton are affecting the lifestyles and possibly the quality of life among the parks' wildlife. If the many scientists who say that the earth is millions of years older than humanity are to be believed however, thousands of species evolved and became extinct long before Homo Sapiens was ever thought of. Every ice age and following warmer period has forced animals and plants out of areas that they had lived in for centuries. It is the hight of arrogance to think that simply because we are now on the scene, habitat change and/or extinction must be stopped. (Don't get me wrong, I don't think that this gives us the right to be irresponsible by killing animals unnecessarily, or developing every acre in sight.)

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

    Rangers do now writer permits for the Wilderness. You do not need a permit to enter the wilderness. Only to camp in it. The NPS did not ask for the beach to be excluded from the wilderness. In fact, the NPS did not want the wilderness at all. Local people wanted it to stop the NPS from making more visitor facilities. Residents on Fire Island agreed not to block the wilderness designation if driving access on the beach was maintained. Finally, the original post does not say that the wilderness is threatened by the communities - it says the park is. And it is. Dredging, bulkheading of the bay shoreline, and building on the dunes is damaging the island's integrity and interfering with visitor use.

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

    Frank-----I thought you'd enjoy these ripostes from H.L. Mencken on the subject of democracy:

    "Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage."

    "Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance."

    "Democracy, too, is a religion. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses."

    Oh how we could use another Mencken here in the 21st century.

    The founders abhorred democracy because they saw it for what it was, pure and simple mob rule. A system that uses the ballot box to elect proxies which can then use state derived force to steal from one to give to another, and thus gain immense political power, is nothing more nor less than immoral tyranny. With the modern-day ability to electronically stuff ballots in a given candidates favor (remember Ohio in the last presidential election?) the contemporary American plebiscite is as big a farce as those that were held in the old Soviet Union.

    Frank, don't expect a population that was indoctrinated in government run schools to grasp this concept with any degree of ease of comprehension. The democratic principle has been so thoroughly drummed into their heads by their government masters that it will take a long period of recovery after the nation has dissolved into ruin for them to wake up to other more tangible forms of truth, justice and the American way.

    In the meantime keep the faith and remember that there are still many sincere folks in Russia who pine for the "stability" of Stalin and others in our beloved land that fervently cling to their belief in the tooth fairy and the democratically pure and sacred principle of group entitlement embodied in a check from an Orwellian sounding agency called Social Security.

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

    Don't feel too badly Frank. I've tried in vain to educate some of the posters that our "democracy" is actually a fabrication, a media and politically driven term, and has absolutely nothing to do with the actual governmental practice in this country. I've been berated by the less than well informed for my ignorance of how our system works. These same contributors don't understand the nuances between the systems of democracy and republic any more than they understand the unique separation between Facists and Nazis. A fully functioning, literal democracy is not feasible in our modern society, yet we, then general public, tend to believe the media hype surrounding our alleged form of government. And unfortunately, the differences between these two forms of government are quite wide. If we were an actual democracy, special interest groups would find it much more difficult and costly to operate effectively. But on the other hand, you would be at the mercy of the uninformed voter to have a say in every issue. Not that this point would be any differrent from things as they currently stand in our general elections, but currently we vote on representation, not actual issues concerning and governing the people. That, to me, is the major deficiency is our practice. We elect numbskulls who will outright lie in every campaign speech about what they stand for, based on what the gathered crowds want to hear, and then we have the nerve to act indignant when the "vote their conscience", as directed by the afore mentioned interest groups of course. But we deserve exactly what we get until the public has the balls to admit to their ignorant and nonchalant attitudes, educate themselves, then take the required actions to corrrect the faults that lie within the existing system.

    Our national ignorance is so complete that we still insist on "spreading a democratic system of government throughout the world". The world doesn't know how lucky it is to be devoid of true democratic regimes. It doesn't work, it never has worked, and in the world societies as they exist today, it never can work. It requires too much cooperation among those governed, too much time invested on personal education of issues, too much time actively taking part in the system, and a thorough understanding of the "best interests" of the nation, which in our current US example, the government says we're not capable of understanding. That is a perfect example of those in power wanting to sequester knowledge, which is after all the only power, from the masses whom they were elected to represent and SERVE. Some system we've got, and yet we have the arrogance to try and infect the rest of the world with our "advanced" form of government.

    But don't the ornaments look pretty? If they only meant something beyond lip service and window dressing......

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

    So this is tangential, and I'm sure to take heat over it, but:

    they undermine the so called democracy this country has even when doing that

    If you search for "democracy" on NPT, you'll get 3 pages of results.

    Until recently, I had no idea that the United States of America as set up by the Founders is not a democracy. The word democracy does not appear in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. In fact, the founders were wary of democratic rule:

    At the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin told an inquisitive citizen that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention gave the people "a Republic, if you can keep it."

    Madison, the father of the Constitution, could not have been more explicit in his fear and concern for democracies. "Democracies," he said, "have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death."

    The Founders clearly understood the dangers of a democracy. Edmund Randolph of Virginia described the effort to deal with the issue at the Constitutional Convention: "The general object was to produce a cure for the evils under which the United States labored; that in tracing these evils to their origins, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy."

    Read more here.

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

    So what if it was a downer? If love of the national parks is so sensitive and tenuous that my own experience here with the White House Christmas tree so affects you, then there's really little hope (but of course there's hope). I deeply love the places that are our national parks with an intense passion, especially the places that have touched my experience. I even deeply love places probably no one would think to love - a tree drooping in Lafayette Park, a bench used by a homeless man in Franklin Square, a mile marker on the GW Parkway, a little cave in Great Falls National Park, birds along the C&O Canal. And, that's a smidgen of ink I would care to read.

    I don't care to read about lip service paid by the White House on its annual Christmas tree, a place where I know the context of such events. I know that while the Administration glories in the festivities of the tree (just like pardoning the turkey that dies within a year from the hormones pumped into it) that has been chopped down, they undermine the so called democracy this country has even when doing that. A friend of mine for years has organized protest Christmas caroling, trying to draw attention to the wars of this country - he's treated like a danger to the nation and set off by himself. But, that's just standard fare for detractors in the country - the stories I could tell you (that one's nothing). Jaded? You bet! I'm angry that places that are worth loving have been co-opted by a government that doesn't care at all about them. They co-opt Christmas, they co-opt trees, and they co-opt parks (and create "parks" in the first place - places that are so much more). And, if parks advocates are happy for the scrap of attention, and feel the need for this display to raise our spirits, that's going to bring out the cynic in me every time, especially one placed in the local situation and the local context where I can see the environment, see the homeless freezing on those park benches, having been out there at nights at times trying to check on them. There is plenty of joy even in those moments, but no I'm not prepared to let people just have their fun when I see the expense of that fun all around me; there's more to the ornament on the tree, there's the world around that tree as well - and there's joy there, too - believe me).

    Because, deep down, I'm not the least bit jaded or cynical and know we can do a whole lot better than this, that there's a lot more deserving our ink and our press, in terms of both the District of Columbia (its parks or its people), and in terms of the national parks at large. In this context, it's partly my own fault, as Kurt and Jeremy have invited me to write here, and I have yet to do so. But, it's still frustrating to see things like this in the newspapers. I've been forced to share reports in my own newspaper. There is so much we might say; that there are ornaments on the national Christmas tree featuring national parks is not something worth our time when we consider the full context of this display. And, not just my time, but I'd challenge us to look deep down in our experiences and know that there's much more we can share and do on behalf of the parks, on behalf of places very special to us. Because, deep down, we don't have to take joy in a cynical display but from the community of action and shared experience that can do something better.

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

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

    This listing deals only with national seashores. Gateway National Recreation Area is an urban park geared to mass recreation as well as natural and cultural resources preservation. Its creation in 1972 was a product of the "parks to the people" movement in the 1970s that yielded a batch of NRAs oriented to urban centers like Atlanta, Cleveland, and Los Angeles. Gateway NRA (New York/New Jersey) and Golden Gate NRA (San Francisco) are the two flagship NRAs. Interestingly, both have ocean shoreline and beaches under management. "National Recreation Area" strikes me as a very odd title for a national park, and I personally don't like it at all. It is even a tad confusing. Prior to the 1970s, the Park Service used that title for parks focused on lakes impounded by dams. Lake Mead National Recreation Area is probably the best known of these.

  • Why Is Interior Dragging Feet On Keeping Glacier National Park from Being Shelled?   6 years 20 weeks ago

    Must be a buck in it for somebody, off the books.

  • Park History: How the National Seashores Came to Be   6 years 20 weeks ago

    What about Gateway National Park? It is beautiful! It is on the Atlantic Ocean. It is neglected monetarily and much of it is in NEW YORK CITY while the other side is in New Jersey's Highlands and Sandy Hook. It should be a fabulous resource for Metropolitan area people as well as accessible for visitors from everywhere.

  • National Parks Contribute Holiday Ornaments to White House Christmas Tree   6 years 20 weeks ago

    As the mother of one of the designers of a Christmas tree ball, I would like to see the ball and would like to be able to buy a copy for the benefit of that National Park,

  • Why Is Interior Dragging Feet On Keeping Glacier National Park from Being Shelled?   6 years 20 weeks ago

    as usuall there are those that have and won't let go, even if it is for the common good and there is those that have not. if it's to get done it will have to be our tax dollars that do it. so the haves can keep what they have.
    are these not the same people that used are tax dollars to bail them out of bankruptcy not long ago ?

  • Former Park Service Director Mainella: Interior Department Called Yellowstone Snowmobile Decisions   6 years 20 weeks ago

    We should all aspire to a time when, as would make not only Frank but so many of the citizenry of our nation terrbily pleased, the NPS and other managers of national lands are turned back into the public stewardship organizations that they were meant to be, and not politically laden private interest groups who are subservient to no other than those signing their checks. Acceptance of the current regime and their mindset is not an option.

    True, the park system is indeed financed by tax monies, but not directly. There is no specific tax muiltiplier in the national tax code designed to divert a fixed portion of federal taxed to the NPS. Their budget is at the whims of the afore mentioned special interest groups who control the Senate and House votes, who along with the President, are bought and sold every election. For the proper long-term sustained operation of the park system, the need for a separate taxing body has never been more evident. Akin to the school district on your local property tax bill, this body would levy a tax based proportionally on the national budget of the system, and be responsible for the infrastructure, manitenance, land aquisitions, marketing, scientific budget, and unfortunately, environmental issues that the current managers have absolutely no control over, as the current state of the operating budget is a fluctuating, random, arbitrary figure at best. The only way to effectively resolve this dilemma is to sequester the park budget from the controls exerted by the Washington cesspool.

    An initial tax offering based less on percentages and more on population (family members per household) could easily be factored. A simple $10/person rate would initially bring a revenue stream of approximately 30 billion dollars. Reduction to a flat rate of $3/person generates an annual budget of around 1 billion. The vast majority of Americans wouldn't even notice the difference in their annual incomes. I'd even offer to submit a proposal from taxing foreign nationals to assist in alleviating the burden on the consumer. This would also serve to help eliminate the alleged need for corporate sponsopship and the related issues that are generated by their involvement in the system, as they (corporations) serve no real purpose other than to disturb the equilibrium and quality of the system as a whole.

    We are all forced regularly to "shut up and pay up". When this pertains to something of which we are all supposedly co-owners, I see no justification for the mentality of silence and ignorance. Speak loudly and proudly to those who can institute changes, or the future of the system as a whole is bleak. Our national lands are too precious a resource for us to allow them to be mismanaged, pillaged and otherwise destroyed. We enjoy a deserved reputation from travellers throughout the world as the home of some of the most unique landscapes on the planet. What nature has taken untold eons to create, once lost, cannot be replaced. Let's collectively demonstrate some pride of ownership and vision for the future.

    While this doesn't qualify with Bart's "Simple Proposal" series, at least not in the simplistic nature of the proposal, it does qualify as a systematic change that can and should be effected for the betterment of the parks, the visitors, and a method of guaranteed preservation of the lands for the appreciation of future generations.

    Next up.......Redesigning the Mission, and Those Who Drive the Boat

  • Should We Be Surprised That Snowmobile Politics Trumps Science in the National Parks?   6 years 20 weeks ago

    So, the "enviros" and the UN are responsible for issuing driver's licenses and universal health care to illegal aliens? These and other related "gifts" of our beloved govenment are doing more to lower our national standard of living than whatever agenda to which you refer. And in neither of the above mentioned instances are either the United Nations or environmental groups responsible in any way, shape of form.

    Additionally, since there is no specific mention of the manner, duration, data, and generalizations drawn from the studies that were performed within the context of the above article, the reference to "junk science" is totally without merit. Without knowledge of experimental design and data analysis, your assumption pertaining to the quality of the study is based solely on emotion and ignorance, and in no fashion related to the scientific method practiced in the study.

  • Twenty-seven Years Ago, Eight National Parks Came to Be   6 years 20 weeks ago

    It might be worth mentioning, that two National Monuments, Becharof National Monument and Yukon Flats National Monument, were downgraded to Wildlife Refuges in the same act of legislation. They are in the jurisdiction of the FWS.

  • Should We Be Surprised That Snowmobile Politics Trumps Science in the National Parks?   6 years 20 weeks ago

    The real and only agenda of the enviros and UN is to lower our standard of living to a third-world country.

  • Former Park Service Director Mainella: Interior Department Called Yellowstone Snowmobile Decisions   6 years 20 weeks ago


    You are so right. From now on I will stop asking questions, stop pointing out how politics are ruining our national parks, and just accept the political game to which the NPS will always be subject. I apologize most sincerely to those who have become perturbed over my whining about how politics are ruining our national parks.

    Those are some fine ornaments, though! I particularly liked the cave ornament. Such a classy design!

    So not to perturb anyone, let me discuss my wonderful winter solstice tree! I drove to the national forest and cut down a noble spruce planted in a clear cut by the Boy Scouts in 1983. For a 25-year-old tree, this one was pathetic! A real Charlie Brown tree! Thanks, Boy Scouts! Anyway, my ornaments aren't imported from China. They're real Sequoia cones (the same cones on the NPS belt, although many rangers think they're merely pine cones--ha!) gathered from one of the 6000 sequoias planted around Portland. I've painted them silver and gold.

    Happy solstice! :)

  • National Parks Contribute Holiday Ornaments to White House Christmas Tree   6 years 20 weeks ago

    I agree about the rant on the ornaments being a downer.It was not in any way helpful to our parks, or really about the parks. It was only negative and jaded. It is good to read other posts about hope and care for our parks.

  • National Parks Contribute Holiday Ornaments to White House Christmas Tree   6 years 20 weeks ago

    I'm just amazed at all the STUFF that the WhiteHouse puts out and probably needs to be stored for posterity somewhere in Oxon Hill or College Park in the mother of all warehouses.

    But wait! Where's the White House menorah made from Klondike Gold Rush ore? And how about the White House's Kwanzaa Mkeka made from the Tallgrass Prarie Nat'l Preserve??

  • National Parks Contribute Holiday Ornaments to White House Christmas Tree   6 years 20 weeks ago

    I'd be interested in seeing the ornament for Andersonville Prison (NHS).

  • Former Park Service Director Mainella: Interior Department Called Yellowstone Snowmobile Decisions   6 years 20 weeks ago

    I agree with MRC! Frank get with the program and recognize that Dick Cheney's pals in the Wyoming snowmobile industry have the juice to get the NPS to do it the way they want it done in Yellowstone. That's the way the ball bounces in the real world my friend because "oversight on the use of tax money is the first and foremost task of politics."

    Those with power and influence generally get their way and the poor suckers who point this out are just sniveling whiners. MRC is fed up with your style of contributions Frank, so I suggest henceforward that you just pay your taxes and stop your pathetic "whining over political influence". It is indeed unbecoming of you.

    At least we're clear about the so called objective professionalism and science focused decision-making that is a supposed hallmark of the NPS. We now clearly understand that these vital matters of resource protection "will always be and have to be a part of the political game." Fran Mainiella has now said it out loud (we sorta knew all along didn't we Frank?) and it has been amplified by MRC.

    I'm certainly glad that was cleared up for all of us. Now can we all move on to more civilized matters like Christmas ornaments?

  • National Parks Contribute Holiday Ornaments to White House Christmas Tree   6 years 20 weeks ago

    Wow, that anti-ornament rant sure was a downer!

    I'm not particularly interested in the tree or the ornaments but some people really dig it so why not let them have their fun?

    Happy holidays!

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 20 weeks ago

    Pat was a peer, then - as the NPS attempted to create a 'line authority' special agent corps - she threw in (conspired) with a small group that had a plan to take control... (I and most others were excluded from the plan and dialogue). Not surprisingly, she and most of the group became the new power brokers/managers of the program. The culture of the NPS seems to breed this type of behaviour. As far as blame - she had her dirty big secrets - she betrayed the trust of the position, she violated the law and she was unethical. She would never have been able to testify for the prosecution again because all of her past (and future) statements became suspect the moment she was caught lying. This same scenario would apply to her official statements, personnell actions and decisions. It was apparent to many that she promoted those she favored and that she held back those who represented a potential threat. Blaming the President: The NPS has very few conservatives in its ranks - and this administration has provided more funding than ever before for the NPS - so any finger pointing in that direction is misplaced. To guage how dug in NPS top managers can be - try to find out which of the law enforcement implementation directives - ordered by the Inspector Generals office several years ago, have been fully carried out.

  • National Parks Contribute Holiday Ornaments to White House Christmas Tree   6 years 20 weeks ago

    What is the big hubbub about the ornaments on the tree? I keep reading stories all over the internet about this. First of all, for me personally as a District resident (albeit one about to move to Montana in a few weeks) the only reason I've been to the Yellowstone Christmas tree was to protest the war in Iraq. And, even then, you're forced to stand on a street corner pretty far away from the tree, which I honestly in all my years here have never seen and never cared to see.

    Nice irony that a tree has been chopped down to honor places where trees are generally left to stand, even long after they are dead.

    If you are coming to DC, come see the town. I don't know how many come just to see the Christmas tree (probably too many); I'm astounded every year to hear a million people come every year just to see the cherry blossom festival. And, as for the homage to the parks, I'm at least glad some local artists got some money out of it. Beyond that, I don't know why this has gotten any smidgen of ink in the press (and it's gotten a fair amount).

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