Recent comments

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Pleading down to a misdemeanor from a felony is not new. In perspective, Oliver North confessed to treason before Congress, and they made him a millionaire in a body armor company selling to the government, ran him for the Senate, and gave him a television show.

    What has happened throughout government since the days of "Jolly Ollie" is a reflection of the society at large, where the "ME" generation has taken over. Ethics and a concern for perserving not only the planet, but self-respect, has all but disappeared in a search for either wealth, power, or both.

    NPS, BLM, Forest Service and the resource agencies have taken severe hits, budgetary, and through an infusion of the incompetent at top levels through a process that has been corrupted. Civil Service reform since '78 has led to the return of the spoils system.

    Today an attorney who left government to work for Lockheed Martin stated on CNN he went where there was a higher ethical standard. Considering Lockheed has the contracts for much of the illegal interrogation we are conducting, one can only wonder what's up. Reading Valery Plame Wilson's book "Fair Game" the redactions in the text display the pernicious psychosis and contempt for honor and ethics at CIA.

    We face a society that accepts a video game version of both war and the National Park experience as an acceptable alternate reality. Ethics is also an "alternate reality".

    Fraud and theft are totally unacceptable and discharge and a little jail time is the minimum penalty acceptable. The real problem is that our society and too many within our agencies only perceive being stupid enough to get got as the crime.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    A few facts for the uninformed. There are too many boats in that stretch, but until CRC is open, it is the only way to access the rest of the 100+ mile long main channel or the 2000 miles of shoreline. How many of you realize that at full pool, the shoreline of Lake Powell is longer than the entire west coast of the US, from Mexico to Canada. When CRC is open, there is only a short wakeless zone through the cut. Then boats start to disperse into the side canyons. If you look at the photo at the top of this, the cut is through the flat area just to the right of the rock tower in the center of the photo.

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 22 weeks ago

    This will be my last comment on this thread. Most of the people with whom I worked owed their allegiance to the National Park System, not the National Park Service. Our work was our avocation, not a vocation. I wanted my actions to be measured by what I did for parks, not how well I executed budgets or performed other routine tasks. Maybe I was lucky and the people who post on this site, unlucky. I don't remember seeing any cases of administrative lawlessness or criminal behavior committed by the managers for whom I workied. When I left the protection division to become a manager myself, I dealt with other superintendents and senior staff. Sure, there were some who weren't very good. Some even had to be removed from their positions. But, again on balance, it was an honest, hard-working group of people who were trying to accomplish the three things that every park must do: preserve and protect the resources within the park (I know that some posters on this site don't like the word "resources", but it serves as useful shorthand here); provide quality visitor services; and maintain productive relationships with park interest groups. I always thought that any superintendent who did those three things well was successful.

    Look, what Ms. Buccello did is regretable. I don't believe, however, that her conduct is the norm in the NPS. either among its law enforcement personnel or its managers. I guess others of you do. That makes me sad because I was proud of being a ranger and proud of what we were doing to help connect park visitors to their natural and cultural heritage. And when I visit parks now, I still see that process of discovery occurring. I suspect some of you will think that that's a bit sappy, but I believe it is an essential part of why parks are important in a country that is rapidly closing in on its remaining wild places and increasingly careless with its history.

    Rick

    Rick Smith

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    A quick tutorial in the art of Creative Financing and the World of Contact Bidding:

    With the NPS being the "limiting factor" in the final pricing structure of goods and services being charged within their jurisdiction, and vendor wishing to operate and represent the NPS is obligated to ensure their stockholders that acceptance of new contracts, whether for the NPS, school lunch programs, stadium concessions, airport concessions, etc. will enhance the overall bottom-line, not in any way, shape or form detract from existing profit strutures. While on some few operations, business is accepted (always short-term) at minimal profiteering or even under drastic circumstances, at a marginal loss, those contracts have a direct effect on the pricing charged to the consumer throughout the remainer of the corporate business units. That is why you might see a Target store, for instance, erected and operated in one location with a perpetually "empty" parking lot, designed to service a relatively remote local community, and retain the ability to keep their doors open, versus another Target store some miles distant with check out lines constantly 10 people deep. The "failing" store is supported by the corporate entity for whatever time they are willing to operate that location at an overall loss, as its sales and store profits cannot, on it's own merit, justify keeping the doors open for that "remote" community.

    In the case of Aramark, many of you who are posting arguements against my knowledge of business practices and negotiations have all already lent enough evidence to my hypothesis.

    For the corporation to successfully win a contract bid process, they must account for ALL the elements that will be under that all-encompassing umbrella entitiled "overhead". For a company (i.e. the contractee) to allow for a percentage of gross or net revenue to be allocated to the contractor, and NOT have a fail-safe built into the corporate cost of business leads to fiscal hemorrhaging and insolvency in the short-term, many times prior to the fulfillment of the contract period. For these reasons, smaller corporations, who do not possess the abilty to "hide", or pass along these costs further down the corporate stream, cannot effectively compete in these bidding wars and are more often than not eliminated from consideration. That again is why the names of these operators changes little as contracts expire and are rebid and renewed.

    For a sports analogy, consider how many teams can effectively bid for a commodity such as A-Rod. Of the whole of the available options, the sum total of professional baseball franshises, how many are actually viable candidates to complete the bidding process considering the overall expenditure? MLB supports teams in Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Minnesota, and others through financial stipends resulting from contractual agreements with television and other sponsors. Without the "corporate" powers who can sustain themselves like the Dodgers, Cubs, Yankees, Mets, Braves, and Red Sox, do you really believe the Royals or Pirates would exist? The picture is the same with Aramark. Only by raising profits in other corporate entities can an contractual agreement such as the one at GCNP be allowed to perpetuate. Have baseball ticket prices remained the same since the inception of the $15-20MM dollar player? Neither have concession prices remained intact during these times, and those rates are not "locked in" by the owners, but the base costs are indeed a direct reflection of the food service suppliers and unit operators who support their corporate bottom-line and enable their infrastructure to survive and expand based partially on their contributions to the profit structure.

    It was not I who stated that funding was to be collected "off the top" from the corporation. Nor was it I who made mention of how the NPS was to utilize the appropriated funds. Nor does it ultimately matter how or when the monies were collected and what their final disposition might be. those bits of information, factual or otherwise you can credit to RainyRoad. Incorrrectly stated by same is this ridiculous notion that only Lake Powell users are subjected to the "tax" from which the funds were to be drawn. It comes from the corporate entity and ALL Aramark customers across the corporation, from a pack of gum at the airport to a pack of peanuts at a ball game, and from the cost of milk at school lunches to watercraft rentals at the Lake.

    I proposed no additional laws regarding operations, just enforcement of existing common-sense vehicular operating techniques. Or maybe inadvertently I did suggest "new" laws regarding alcohol consumption, but they are not new where I reside. Due to the many annual collisions, damage, personal injuries and deaths on our local waterways, we already have said laws on our books, as would and civilized locale, in order to properly deal with criminal vehicular activity.

    And you're absolutely correct, I'm not stupid enough to join the masses on the lake during the holiday periods. Lake Powell is over-crowded, just as is Lake Mead, many major inland riverways, the California coast, the Florida Keys, the costal Gulf of Mexico, the Bays of Maryland and Virginia, and the Intercoastal Waterway of the Carolinas during prime season. Renting a "blue top" and converting me? Not a chance. That's akin to suggesting that I'd approve of having my local fuel costs adjusted to allocate funding for a road project in Juneau. Ain't gonna happen. If it's as dangerous as many claim, and I'm not insinuating that it isn't, and they insist on "riding the washtub" even in spite of these treacherous conditions, what does infer about judgement?

  • Does Hiking Yosemite National Park's Half Dome Still Present a Wilderness Experience?   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Wilderness isn't defined by a lack of people; rather, it's about our relationship with the land. Any managed land, never mind what it's called, ceases to be wild. If the NPS truly "promoted" wilderness as Anon claims, it would leave things be, as it claims does (rangers repeatedly spew the mantra "we let nature take its course" to visitors even though what the NPS does is anything but). For one of the best discussions on wilderness, please see Jack Turner's collection of essays titled The Abstract Wild. Turner shows that "The national parks were created for, and by, tourism, and they emphasize what interests a tourist--the picturesque and the odd. They are managed with two ends in mind: entertainment and the preservation of the resource base for entertainment. Most visitors rarely leave their cars except to eat, sleep, or go to the john."

    The NPS has subverted wilderness by micromanaging it. It has destroyed wilderness by building tens of thousands of buildings and thousands of miles of roads.

    Anon may not be familiar with the case of the Kolob Canyon region of Zion National Park. The January 1962 edition of National Wildland News documents one instance of NPS subverting wilderness. The article quotes the western representative of the National Parks Association who wrote a letter to Zion's superintendent imploring him not to build a seven mile road into the Kolob wilderness.

    Referring to the proposed road, the representative said, "First, it would destroy scenic qualities. Second, it would eliminate entirely the cloak of solitude that rests over the area now. Third, it would forever mar the sense of adventure one inevitably feels when he approaches the region. It would become just another 'accessible' part of the park, and having been stripped of its wild character--a quality that sets it apart from the masterpiece that is Zion Canyon--it would be reduced to comparative mediocrity. . . . I do not believe we should concern ourselves with making every vista, canyon or natural feature accessible. We should work to make this mood of atmosphere available in its purest form. This atmosphere is the very essence of the national park idea."

    The superintendent did what superintendents are best at (ignoring the public), and now hundreds of thousands of tourists traveling from SLC to Vegas can spend 15 minutes driving the road and two minutes taking a photo before hopping back in the car and speeding away.

    I can cite plenty--perhaps countless--examples of what the NPS has done to "promote wilderness." This one example serves my point.

    Wild areas cannot be micromanaged, nor can the animals or plants inside them. They must be self willed. We ought to leave the bears alone and stop tattooing their lips and piercing their ears; we ought not to engineer the wilderness; wilderness areas should be blank areas on maps where nature truly "takes its course" without any meddling from Homo sapiens.

  • Does Hiking Yosemite National Park's Half Dome Still Present a Wilderness Experience?   6 years 22 weeks ago

    I don't care what the legal definition of 'wilderness' is. For me, it's a place where I don't see any other human beings for long periods of time. With the crowds at Yosemite, even on so-called backcountry trails in the high country, that's impossible. (Doesn't matter if they're hiking alone, with a club or a 'corporate' outfitter).

  • Does Hiking Yosemite National Park's Half Dome Still Present a Wilderness Experience?   6 years 22 weeks ago

    I would argue that the NPS has done much to promote wilderness. I know that even though the Great Smokies does not qualify as a wilderness area the NPS treats it as though it does have that designation. I feel certain that many other parks are doing similar acts. I live in Yosemite and have enjoyed the experience of hiking Half Dome, it is spectacular. That is probably why you don't get that widerness experience you feel entitled to. Venture only a little further to Clouds Rest and you will be rewarded. Or you may want to experience Half Dome by entering from somewhere other than Yosemite Valley. Spending the night at Little Yosemite Valley and hiking up in the wee hours of the morning will certainly allow for a less crowded experience. As long as National Parks are in spectacular places there will be crowds. Yosemite offers hundreds of miles of trails that are in designated wilderness areas where you will not be affected by crowds or over development. Its a difficult task to make available for the public enjoyment without having any impact. I think that the NPS does a pretty good job of finding a balance. Of course you can't please everyone.

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 22 weeks ago

    I have to side with Frank and Bemis, and against Rick, who I respect. I saw so much administrative lawlessness and criminal behavior by NPS managers, at several of the units that I worked, that I left the agency and never came back. Whistleblowing or bringing up such criminal behavior to higher levels only invites reprisal which, while being illegal, seldom results in corrective action against the manager. I can't say that I ever saw a NPS manager really punished for breaking the law; hopefully PB's case marks a step in that direction.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Again, my apologies for posting Simple Proposals that seem to be out of context (but maybe they really aren't?):

    Nowadays NPS staff are charged with constantly writing plans and reports. Years ago we had to write plans and reports, but the number and complexity of these tasks seems to have mushroomed over past decades. Some staff seem to be doing nothing but writing plans and reports.

    Certain folks are so busy writing plans and reports (along with attending meetings, implementing initiatives, and reacting to other bureaucratic processes and procedures), that time doesn't allow for anyone to actually read the countless plans and reports that are produced. These documents typically sit on shelves, gathering dust and slowly yellowing with age. But, unlike aging works of art, these black holes of information don't gain value over time.

    Try a little test. Next time you're at a meeting, ask if anyone has recently read a plan or report which might serve as a guideline relevant to the discussion. I've been making a habit of this recently. It's amazing how many people who are eager to write plans and reports never refer to them later!

    Yes, I know. Some will argue that these documents are essential, since they help highers-up to formulate budgets. But why do these processes seem to grow more time consuming, but less valuable, with each passing decade? Fifty years ago Chiefs of Interpretation, for example, actually had time to write reports on the wildlife they were personally observing in their parks. So...how did THEY get any money?

    Whatever you do, don't waste valuable time and tax dollars on plans and reports. Give them the minimal attention they command, and move on to those things that directly connect caring visitors to our fantastic national parks.

    Simple Proposal #13: Plan for fewer reports...and Report on fewer plans

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Gang:

    I'm going to bypass Simple Proposals #13 & 14 to post my final Simple Proposal, as it seems entirely relevant to this discussion. #13 & 14 will come in due time. Stay tuned.

    My last Simple Proposal is about YOU.

    Are you just a government employee, taking the path of least resistance to career advancement and eventual comfortable retirement?

    Are you content to go along with the latest initiative? To quietly attend meaningless meetings without questioning their value? To see boatloads of tax dollars wasted on bureaucratic processes and procedures? To sacrifice the Mission in the name of vague and irrelevant objectives? To treat your employer (the taxpayer) as more of a burden than an asset?

    And does following such an easy path make you feel your career (nay, your life) has any meaning?

    Or are you prepared to get to know--and love--your park? To resist wateful bureaucracy? To support your most valuable employees? To respect those visitors who matter? To care about things of real substance? And to consider the Mission in your actions...

    ...EVEN AT YOUR OWN INCONVENIENCE?

    Simple Proposal #15: Think. Speak out. Act. And, for God's sake, show some courage!

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Sounds like there are to many boats.

  • Does Hiking Yosemite National Park's Half Dome Still Present a Wilderness Experience?   6 years 22 weeks ago

    I agree Anonymous (not verified), the fact is that the National Park Service manages most of our wilderness acreage.
    I feel Our National Park Service, in almost the entire Wilderness areas that I visit has ignored or stepped around the Wilderness Act which defines an area of wilderness to mean an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements.
    I see an over abundance of permanently developed improvements in over built trails, bridges, signs, scenic flights and in the commercialization of Wilderness as in large groups guided by corporate outfitters.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Lone Hiker must have never been to Lake Powell, or at least not since the CRC became unusable. The hazards in "Maytag Straits" cannot be resolved with more laws. The problem is that it is a narrow channel with sheer rock walls along both sides that do not absorb wakes, but reflect them full strength back into the channel. Couple that with the hundreds of boats that use that channel and the result is like boating in a huge washing machine. The Aramark tour boats leave rollers that are sometimes over 8 feet from crest to trough. Despite his claim of a "few boaters, we counted over 200 oncoming boats in the 12 miles on a weekday in May. Lone Hiker needs to rent a "Blue top", and try it on July 4th weekend. I think that will make a convert of him/her.

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Rick,
    Thanks for engaging in the dialog.

    I can't remember if you worked at Crater Lake. I have many, many more examples from Crater Lake. One instance involves a whistle blower who exposed the dangerous conditions surrounding tour boat operations. He was an interpreter, and after blowing the whistle, he wasn't hired again at the park. There was a lawsuit. I can't remember all the details. It was very hush-hush and the park tried to sweep it under the rug.

    About the badges: Each badge has a property number stamped on the back. One employee told about getting two badges--right from the manufacturer--that had never been used and had no property numbers on them. I have heard and witnessed many more examples of such thievery, and while they're not to the scale of Ms. Buccello's crime, they're crimes nonetheless.

    One instance of employment law violation I did bring to the attention of management and was referred to the Regional Equal Opportunity Manager where I filed a complaint. I didn't report other instances due to my precarious position as a seasonal employee who could be terminated at any time for any reason.

    I'm not "chronically disgruntled", nor a "nihilist", and no longer feel "marginalized", although I often did as a seasonal NPS employee. Perhaps that's part of the difference: seasonal employees see and experience things differently than do some who are safely entrenched in the civil service. I love my current life and profession, and reflect upon my overall experience in uniform fondly; I forged many enduring relationships and have albums upon albums of photos documenting an adventurous and exciting period of my life.

    There are, however, some serious issues I encountered with the NPS. The NPS has what I'd call "dirty little secrets" (In fact, my book in progress--if I ever finish it--has a chapter with the same title). While it may be that there are "4 or 5 people making multiple comments", I'd argue these people are commenting because they have nothing to lose. I've chosen never to work for the NPS again, as have several other NPT commentors. Those who work or hope to work for the NPS generally won't risk speaking out for fear of reprisal. This is a well-documented aspect of the NPS. Jeremy even wrote an article on it in Park Remark (Speak Out, Get Fired?). In fact, Jeremy created Park Remark hoping to create a place for current rangers to discuss serious concerns and issues regarding the NPS, but most wouldn't, even anonymously. There's a culture of fear in the NPS, and I'm very surprised you've not experienced or heard about it. Most current and former employees I talk to--again, my circle was mostly seasonal--have similar stories.

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Poor morale, underfunding, maintenance backlogs and such are the common shopworn refrains that I heard all through the Clinton years as well as during both Bush administrations. Trying to pin this on a White House occupant is as disingenuous as saying that the agency has very little control over its personnel policies due to OPM rules. Pass the buck and then sweep the problems under the rug.

    I also know a lot of people who are currently working for the NPS and many are scrambling to get out. Others say it is as bad as it's ever been but are staying because they still think working in a park is a worthy endeavor but even they are keeping their eyes on other opportunities.

    Of course those who retired peacefully aren't going to be the ones raising a stink, that's how they managed to make it to retirement! "Go along, get along" was a mantra repeated to me more times than I care to remember during my career, usually from a fat & happy mid to upper level manager.

    You can continue to marginalize and rationalize the motivations of those who are speaking out and claim that it is news to you that something is terribly wrong with an organization that thinks the theft of $10,000 "may not have risen to the level that would allow the government to deny her annuity." OPM rules or not where's your outrage?

    The American public is increasingly aware of the poor service, shabby facilities and surly attitudes directed their way by the rangers they all once looked up to. If you think this steep decline is going unnoticed by all but a few "disgruntled" people on a website you're dead wrong.

  • Does Hiking Yosemite National Park's Half Dome Still Present a Wilderness Experience?   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Unless these areas (or other areas in the NPS system for that matter) are within the boundaries of the Congressional designated Wilderness, they are not bound by the laws, prohibitions, and spirit of the 1964 Wilderness Act, nor do many of these areas have a wilderness management plan. Of course, the Wilderness Act didn't set forth use levels. One only has to visit several other wilderness areas across the NPS to realize during the summer, often we are really not alone in the wilderness.
    As we saw with the 2006 NPS management policy fiasco, it is becoming increasingly easy for the NPS directorate to be handmaiden to the White House policy desires and not the Organic Act. Of course, one must only look at the rim of the Grand Canyon to see that development, tourism, and the NPS have always gone hand in hand.

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Well, I read those comments, also. I am tempted to say that it is the same 4 or 5 people making multiple comments, but I can't be sure. Of course, if you are "chronically disgruntled", are a "nihilist" or feel "marginalized, you are more likely to comment on an issue like Ms. Buccello's conduct. Those of us who abhor it are less likely to comment since she is apparently going to pay for what she did.

    As to her retirement, the NPS probably has nothing to do with it. Retirements are handled by the Office of Personnel Management qnd the Civil Service Retirement System. I am not an expert in this area and will defer to anyone who is, but her crime may not have risen to the level that would allow the government to deny her annuity. All I am saying is that we shouldn't be too quick to hang something on the NPS over which it may have little control.

    Once again, I will say that I am sorry that some of the people who post on NPT had such rotten experiences with the NPS I didn't. Most of the NPS retirees with whom I communicate didn't either. I know a lot of current NPS employees. I don't hear anything from them about wholesale corruption or criminality within the Service. When they talk about poor morale, they attribute it to the jpressures of working for an Administration with such a sorry environmental record. It's that record that worries me.

    Rick Smith

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Rick I'm curious about your reaction to the comments from current rangers below the article that I cited with a link. Do you think they are also seeing a side to the NPS that is not often seen (at least by you) or are they maybe telling it like it is? Could there be a kernel of truth in these seemingly heartfelt revelations?

    I sure witnessed my share of cover-ups and criminality, it's one of the main reasons that I left a highly awarded and promising career track. The fact that Pat Buccello was allowed to retire tells me everything I need to know. Where else can you steal $10,000 and then get to retire on full benefits? What you did or did not see doesn't change the fact that a lot of former and current employees understand all too well that the inner workings of this agency does not pass the smell test.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Lone Hiker,
    There is no siphoning. It's a set percentage of revenue the consessionaire agrees to pay for the right to do business in the NRA. The NPS strictly regulates the fees they may charge for ANY goods or services provided with-in the NRA boundaries. I do agree that Aramark may charge more at other venues. That's probably why a beer costs a minimum $5 at any of the myriad ball parks or concert halls they manage. I believe the whole point of this discussion was monies being diverted from the NPS budget. It is absolutely not.

    I've owned a business before. I've worked for Aramark and the NPS. I find you comments about "gullible to a fault" and "the American sucker" highly offensive.

    Ted

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 22 weeks ago

    It should come as no great surprise that some dual career appointments work out well in parks and some don't--not unlike any appointment. I helped make several dual career appointments during my career that worked out very well. As to nepotism being rampant, I doubt it. There are very few places where there is a sufficient diversity of positions available to make husband and wife teams possible. Many couples, therefore, spend long periods of time working apart. Despite what Frank may think, it's not that easy when NPS employees get married.

    I can't speak for Mary Bomar but I do know Wade pretty well. I know that he does not condone the actions of Pat Buccello any more than I do. I don't get the part about rampant criminality. Beamis and Frank are convinced it exists. I'm convinced it doesn't. Frank claims he has seen supervisors breaking employment law on several occasions. I hope he brought those instances to the attention of park management, but I guess he wouldn't because he doesn't seem to trust them either.

    I also don't get the part about badges with numbers. The only use of the numbers of my badgees were for property records. I always wore a name tag on my uniform. When a visitor asked me who I was, I didn't say that I was badge 3016. I said I was Rick Smith and pointed to my name tag.

    As to cover ups, I am sure that some have occurred. Frank believes he has tracked down two instances. There are probably more. On balance, however, I found during my career that the NPS was pretty up front about admitting its mistakes. It's also been pretty strainght forward with some of its harshest critics. I remember Bob Barbee, the superintendent of Yellowstone, talking with Alston Chase on network TV about their divergent opinions regarding the Yellowstone ecosystem. Walt Dabney appeared almost nigntly on network news shows during the Yellowstone fires of 1988 to answer critics of the federal government's fire management policies. I'm not sure that the NPS has always been as transparent as I would have wished, but I left the NPS satisfied that the agency did not routinely sweep things under the rug.

    Frank and Beamis' careers seem to have shown them a side of the NPS that I didn't often see. I only worked in 6 parks, two regional offices and the headquarters office in DC. Their experience may have been much more extensive than mine was; it was apparently much less pleasant.

    Rick Smith

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Whether or not funding has been allocated is a non-factor. In order for those funds to have been cyphoned "Off the Top" the have to have been appropriated from some revenue source. If the local fees in the Lake Powell area have remained the same, it is a fact of business that they have been increased elsewhere along the Aramark corporate umbrella. There is absolutely no such thing as a free lunch.

    Faith in this manner of corporate pledge is indicative of the effect that marketing and corporate propaganda can have on consumers uneduated in the methods of doing business. I know from personal experience. Our holding company practiced the EXACT same techniques, quite effectively I add with tail between legs. But it works. And those who we were able to manage to control via this shell game were exactly the types of clientele that every American company relies upon.......gullible to a fault, loyal as the day is long. The American Sucker.

  • About The National Parks Traveler   6 years 22 weeks ago

    I run a on-line travel site for anyone looking to go on vacations so i have been serching the web to find other sites that give informatioin about thier place of vacation and this site has excellent informatioin on Nationial Parks Iam using my Yahoo group to put links so people can see all the beautiful places they can go before they book on my site. My yahoo group page is called Next Stop Vacations and it is new and my vacations site is www.nextstopvacations.com Iam still learning how to make it more fun for everyone to come to my site. Its a work in progress :)

  • Plague Confirmed As Cause of Death for Grand Canyon Biologist   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    The death to biologist Eric York is a shame, but due to the Plague it is a disturbing one.

    When I lived in New Mexico I became aware of the strain of Hunta Virus associated with SW fieldmice. I am certain you are aware of that deadly virus.
    We just have to be very caucious these days and never take too much for granted in nature.

    Take care.

    John Lisa

  • Does Hiking Yosemite National Park's Half Dome Still Present a Wilderness Experience?   6 years 22 weeks ago

    A wilderness experience? You really have to ask?
    Most of the National Parks I have been to have raped the wilderness with roads, lodgings, gas stations, parking lots, buses, trails, bridges, signs, scenic flights, large groups guided by corporate outfitters, etc..
    There are a few of Our National Parks that I enjoy as a wilderness type of experience.

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Nepotism is rampant. In the national seashore I worked, I was told by higher up LEs that in order to get the chief ranger they wanted, they also had to hire his wife as chief interp. She ran interp into the ground, and after her husband retired, they created a special position for her (since they couldn't fire her for incompetence) and took away her chief interp duties. I've seen other examples of blatant nepotism as several other national parks. Cover-ups? How about the 2002 sewage spill in Munson Creek at Crater Lake? It was as serious as the 1970s spill, but few knew about it. I found out during a trip to the Summer Solstice party and poking around Munson Creek, finding yellow biohazard tape everywhere, asking questions, and getting unofficial, off the record answers. That never made the news. Oh, then there was the shooting incident at Mazama Village, too, which was all hush-hush. People I knew who were working at CRLA were told not to say anything to anyone about the incident, and they wouldn't even give me their opinion for fear of losing their jobs. Criminality? I've witnessed supervisors breaking employment law on several occasions. Some have told me how they snatched up badges without serial numbers. The NPS is rife with corruption and career mindedness. It's time to put an end to this atrocious waste of taxpayer money.