Recent comments

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Some unthoughtful, unedited and mindful mosey meanderings…
    Americans all excited and satisfied with voting every four years for the presidency bothers me. It is difficult for me to believe in and support a government that is voted into office by 51% of 47% of eligible voters. I believe that only when "We the People" vote wholly at the State and Local level (do you know your commissioner of the sewers?) will these states be united.
    It is a pacified public which allows the incorporation of the feds. When did freedom become defined as a choice between a ford or mercedes?
    Seceding from the union perks my interest, it does have its romantic side (as in a departure from the public’s pacified sensibility, towards idealistic expectations.) Though talking outright revolution, a take over of the federal government gets me down right excited (as I believe it should all Americans.) I will even start it with a rewording of the Declaration of Independence, from the stale “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” to Aldo Leopolds "Adventure without regard to prudence, profit, self-improvement, learning or any other serious thing"
    Anyway.... should probably head outside, rake up some leaves and check the gutters.

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    What do you propose "we the people" do Random Walker?

    I think individual states seceding from the union and a tax revolt would be a good start. Short of that "we the people" are as responsible for the current state of the regime as the peasants under Stalin or the Vietnamese boat people were for their corrupt political rulers.

    Until the Constitution is again reinstated as the law of the land it is no longer "we the people" who are in charge.

    Oh and by the way support Ron Paul for president.

  • What is YOUR Favorite Park Experience?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    My second trip to the Grand Canyon, when I made it down 1.5 miles and back with my best girlfriend from college. Truely a life changing experience that made me promise to come back when my sons are in their teens and make it all the way to the bottom and back.

    Lisa

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    No Random! I't's corporate America and the media...and the rich & the powerful. Rome lives on!

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    What, or who, is behind the failures of the current political system?

    We the people

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Yes Kurt I suppose I am an "anarchist" in the real, or classical sense of the word: "Absence of any form of political authority."

    My disdain for political power as opposed to free markets notwithstanding I think many of the ideas put forth by Lone Hiker, Frank and others to keep the lands public but to place the management of them in other hands is a good start. I think a wide variety of entities should be encouraged to look into taking over many of our national park units and other management teams should be created as the need arises.

    I disagree that it is the process and not the underlying system that is at fault. The "system" is a colossal failure in everything it attempts to do. If it was so good why does it have to resort to the force of arms to get citizens to pay for it? Don't you think people would volunteer to pay for foreign wars, an obvious Ponzi scheme for their retirement and lifelong careers for civil servants if they thought these were wise investments that contributed to their overall well-being?

    Is it because we are too selfish and unconcerned with the good of society to truly understand the superior moral values inherent in the benevolent actions of the federal government that they must coerce us into paying for their good works, most of which would land all of us in jail if we attempted to perpetrate them ourselves?

    The sooner these lands can be taken out their sullied hands the better. How it starts matters less than the notion that it MUST be done.

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Kurt-

    Your concerns for the long-term health and future stewardship of the parks is well justified. But in many aspects Beamis, Frank and others are also quite justified in their contempt for the current NPS management regime, specifically their inability to effectively handle the exact issues that you all are addressing in your latest series of posts. True, I am also a blatant advocate of scrapping the current system as a whole, based in no small fashion on this particular ineptness. The list describing the reorganization of the network is far too vast for this forum, but I would like to submit a few short notions for your consideration.

    First, total privatization is not the goal. It has too many pitfalls, mainly pertaining to the same sort of mismanagement that we are currently blessed with the burden of under the existing umbrella. If I may, "publicazation" is what I have targeted and advocated mucho times within many posts on this site. This next item won't be popular either, but if the governing bodies can tax and spend for irrational wars and foreign subsidies, then an internal usage of funding, existing or brought through new revenue sources, while not popular, if either in part or wholely derived from those current wasteful expenditures, should prove to be at least palatable for those of us lablelled as the "general public". I, for one, would most certainly prefer my tax dollars to be used on the homefront for security, medical, preservation and the like as opposed to literally bribing foreign dignitaries and lining pockets and making their retirement MOST comfortable, along with their Swiss bank accounts. All this accomplished by a seperate entity, removed from the federal government ranks. I am quite aware that under our current legislature, only governmental bodies are authorized to function as taxing bodies. That can be ammended quite easily and limited quite specifically all in one fell swoop. Not popular, but quite doable.
    Second, the concessionaires are truly non-essential. Although I have previously stated that the park system should be most highly focused on the preservation aspect of the system, it doesn't take a great deal of time of intelligence to manage lodging network. I'll get blasted for that comment, but the truth remains that no matter who is driving the boat, the lodges will maintain their capacity where they currently do, and others will continue to have peak-season vacancies due to less than advantageous locations. Employee-wise, their are many who freely choose to make a career of it in the various hotel / motel chains, so the reality of it is that the jobs themselves aren't that unattractive. Placing the proper people in the proper positions is the trademark of any successful business endeavor, and this would be no exception for the new management team.
    And briefly, third, Congress is most capable and has been enabled to erase the current backlogs that are a justified concern of us all. But the fat and happy old buggers aren't motivated by internal issues as much as they seek continued self-gratification and simultaneously insulating themselves from all blame internationally, along with cementing their precious faces on the Hill for all eternity, or at least their own personal eternity. I believe that we would just be relieving them of a burden that they are neither willing nor frankly, interested in rectifying anytime in the next millennium. Let's face it, what's 8-10 billions dollars in the grand scheme of things, governmentally speaking? It amounts to less than the monthly waste of the current fiscal budget, and yet nobody can find "extra" monies to be dedicated to a domestic issue. On the other hand, a miles-long fence is budgetally obtainable in a heartbeat? Gimme a break!

    I'll send you a more "itemized" proposal, similar to something you can play "W" with, peruse at your leisure and line-item veto while having a good laugh over after ski season commences and you need to relax by the fire for a spell.

  • The Consequences of the Legal Bear Hunt in Katmai   6 years 26 weeks ago

    In my youth I was an avid hunter and I can attest to the attraction of the
    sport. The tracking, the beauty of the woods, finding the animal and making
    a clean kill. These things can be challenging and take skill, especially when
    done with a bow. The animal populations being hunted knew they were being
    hunted which further extended the challenge. The slaughter at Katmai in no way resembles anything that my riends and I would term hunting. This is
    similiar to black bears at a dump or deer at a salt lick. I can't help but wonder
    how many clean, one shot kills can be made from a helicopter.

    As for the shooters; I hope none of them have the temerity to refer to their
    kills as trophies. Trophy implies some sort of special achievement and killing
    a bear that is oblivious to your presence can hardly be worthy of merit.

    With the numbers of the bears dwindling from year to year this population
    must be considered at risk and who benefits from further endangering or
    eliminating them altogether? Certainly not our children or grandchildren.
    Certainly not the state. Eliminate the bears and an entire revenue stream
    ceases which in turn will threaten the continuation of other wildlife projects
    and jobs.

    Though I have not hunted in decades I am not anit-hunting (in the right conditions) nor am I anti gun ownership, but I am anti callous stupidity.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Once again,
    unable to sleep,,,
    WAITING for the 21rst to arrive!
    I don't know how many bears have been slaughtered in the last 20 days. I am pretty sure that I don't want to.
    I've written a few comments here, and I wrote to every person that I know,(also forwarded the video and information from ALL sides), and have asked for their thoughts on this "hunt."
    Most of them ARE hunters, but they didn't brag,or boast, like Mr. or Mrs. "anonymous" did.
    They all seemed amazingly shocked by what they read and what they saw.
    I just needed to hear from all, and how they viewed this issue.
    I am not anti-hunting.
    But this obviuosly is NOT hunting.
    And they all seem to feel the same way.
    "Sport" and "Trophy" hunting is just a "thrill kill."
    I will NEVER understand the killing of ANY animal just for the hide and the skull.
    I CERTAINLY wouldn't be impressed with ANY man who had anything like that hanging on his wall or lying on the floor.
    I now am more afraid of the humans up there, than I am ANY predator.
    Especially the worlds most beautiful Brown bears.
    Please instruct your bear viewing guides and your bush pilots for "day viewers" and also for the fortunate people like myself who get the privilege of staying longer, to tell each PAYING guest,(the ones who work all year like me to save up enough money to take these trips) more of what happens to these SAME bears in October.
    I PROMISE you, if you put that part in your "Alaska Brochure", we will stop coming!
    So, just stop the "hunt" altogether.
    Again, it's 2007, please wake up America.
    PLEASE...............

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Bart, looking forward to your forthcoming comments.

    Anon:

    Politics are reality

    If this is the diagnosis for national parks, and as long as parks at subjects to the whims of politicians, I am afraid the battle for preservation has been lost. Some interest groups will always be able to use our current form of democracy (ha!) to apply pressure to our elected officials who fear being voted out of office.

    I know, however, that cinder cones like Schonchin Butte shall endure long after humanity and its bureaucracies have come and gone. Thirty thousand years from now, the rest will be just details. I only hope that if I have grandchildren, they will not blame me for not doing more to protect our sacred lands.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Hey Karla,
    Calm down, sweetie.
    The film is a fake...it wasn't even filmed in Katmai.
    Dis you see any bears KILLED in this video?

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Ohhhhhhh, Bart! Oh, Oh, we can't wait! *dripping with sarcasm*
    Do you have an inflated sense of self-importance (aka Michael Moore), perhaps?

  • What is YOUR Favorite Park Experience?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Snowmobiling in Yellowstone!!

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I commented earlier specifically to an anonymous supporter of this so-called "hunt."
    I was very upset by his/her careless attitude.
    He/She seemed almost proud of what was happening and it sickened me.
    I still can't figure out if he/she is so for this slaughter, and feels that happy about it,, why wouldn't they gladly put their name up there for all of us to see?
    I visit Alaska for the month of June every year.
    This June,I spent a week in Katmai, and a week at Lake Clark.
    ALL for bear viewing only.
    I can't understand how the state would allow myself and thousands of others to do these types of trips,
    and then let others come in later, to kill these SAME bears!
    These particular bears don't know how to fear us because for months they basically find us non-threatening,
    only the shutter of a camera lens is what they seem to be curious and anxious of.
    Sometimes on this trip I did get a little aggrevated because our guides seemed to bring us in too close for that perfect picture, the "perfect shot."
    I brought no fancy camera, I just wanted to be amongst them.
    It was a lifechanging trip for me.
    But to think these same bears that didn't know the difference between harmless me,
    or a harmfull, life ending bullet, were killed, just ruins me.
    We need a middle ground here.
    If Alaska is going to continue bear viewing, profit, and basically habituate these bears, then they shouldn't turn around and allow this slaughter of the SAME bears, after all the tourists have left for the summer.
    We can't have this both ways.
    I love my Alaska trips,, but if this continues,I will no longer visit or spend any of my hard earned money, to make a bear tolerant by my summer presence,, only later to be slaughtered.
    Because, in a way, then I am somehow responcible.
    And I couldn't handle that.
    Either view them or kill them,,you can't do both. It is TOO CRUEL!
    I stand for the bears. They deserve a fair chance.
    PLEASE give them that.
    I'm absolutely sure Alaska's bears are worth more alive then they are dead.
    It's 2007, please wake up America.
    Once Alaska is done letting all the bears and wolves be killed,, who's gonna travel there?
    Oh yeah,, rich fishermen.

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    The best thing about this forum is that people like Beamis, Frank & others, who dare to speak "blasphemy" against the sacred service, can't be swept under the rug. This is all too often the case when "disgruntled" employees attempt to challenge the system in NPS meetings, usually dominated by those who are content to think and speak in step with the horde.

    You'll be seeing Bart more frequently in these postings. I'll be presenting simple proposals to help clean up the agency. Most, if not all, of my suggestions will deal with changes at the park level...I'll resist the temptation to blame the problem on someone in Washington DC, even though such criticism is often warranted. Stay tuned!

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Beamis- I have worked both seasonally for TNC and NPS and frankly, I don't see eye to eye with you on TNC's ability to effectively manage a large and/or small but heavily used unit of the NPS system. They aren't an organization that manages for recreation, they manage as a private property owner that gets TONS AND TONS of donations (READ: CORPORATE MARKETING BY ASSOCIATION! DONATIONS AS TAX BREAKS!) from major sponsors and grants from.... from... THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT along with state and county entities as well. In my experience, regarding access to their lands, it wasn't the public that got to see some prairie chickens on a lek, it was rich donors. So while I love TNC, I don't see them as a replacement. Also, specific anomaly examples aside, they don't manage for people using the wilderness/resource... they don't need to clean toilets, staff info centers, etc. on the scale that NPS does. Do you KNOW how hard that is to get privately funded? Additionally, given TNC's focus on nonpolitical approaches to operations, I doubt they could handle the middle position that the the NPS must take, or attempts, I should say. Politics are reality and I have yet to see any suggestion that would replace the "broken" NPS. Please don't take this as TNC bashing, but come on, they and/or a similar model can't replace the NPS.

    Kurt, following this line of discussion, it'd be interesting for the hard working staff of NPT to investigate how the park in New Mexico, Valles Caldera or something, is faring under a non traditional, non-federal land management agency approach.

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Beamis, you're starting to sound like an anarchist, not a free-marketer;-)

    Do I look forward to April 15? Of course not. But it's not because of the basic system, but rather the way the system has been bastardized by politicians over the decades. The tax code, and Social Security, both need dire revisions to make them more user friendly, rational, and productive. But as long as those with pockets much deeper than mine control the Congress it's not likely to happen any time soon.

    And really, as easily as you toss out a litany of federal government woes -- "illegal spying, wiretapping, indefinite detention, torture, transporting live nuclear warheads over civilian airspace, burning banned toxic substances in the Nevada desert, suspending habeas corpus, political assassination, supplying dangerous weapons to rogue nations and lining the pockets of corrupt corporations that manufacture products no one in the free market place has any use for" -- one could just as quickly assemble a list of corporate malfeasance starting at Love Canal, running through countless Superfund sites, touching on the manipulation of the electricity markets in California a few years ago, subprime mortgages and more.

    I'm sure we could go back and forth all day, but am equally sure we both have better things to do. (The gorgeous autumn afternoon here in Park City is insisting on a bike ride). Just as the free market has its place, so, too, I believe, does government, be it local, state or federal. In all sectors public and private, though, we need checks and balances to make them work. I would agree that the checks and balances at the federal level are not working as best they could, but would suggest it's the process, not the underlying system, that is at fault.

    And who is controlling the process? Is it not the very free market system you so tightly embrace? I think a sound argument could be made that many of the problems you cite with the government can be laid at the feet of the corporations at play in the free market.

    Yellowstone snowmobiles? This ping-pong case is fueled by one industry, the snowmobile industry, which somehow has gotten the ear of the administration, which has kept this beast alive despite best science that says snowmobiles are not in the park's best interests.

    ORVs at Cape Hatteras or Big Cypress National Preserve? Hunting brown bears in Katmai National Preserve? Anyone want to venture how the Park Service might have come down on these issues had someone in the free market not complained loudly to Washington?

    Frank, I actually think we both have many of the same concerns and desires for public lands management. And I wouldn't be surprised if you would hold the Park Service in higher esteem if the agency were fully funded and civil service were wiped out.

    That said, trusts are an intriguing option for public lands management, but I still have to wonder if they have the capabilities to take on a place as big as Yellowstone or Yosemite or Canyonlands. Bryce Canyon and Arches probably would be more "bite-sized" for such an endeavor, and possibly Acadia, just to name three.

    However, who would be responsible for erasing the backlogs that are spread across the park system? If Congress can't erase them today, where would it find the funding to create endowments for each park? Who would take on such assets with such financial baggage? Would you look to the existing friends groups to take on the responsibilities of trusts in managing the parks?

    Again, it's an intriguing proposition, and one I think could be employed with your previous suggestion that a good, hard look be given to the park system to determine if some units could be shucked off. A move in such a direction perhaps could reduce the size of the national park system as managed by the NPS and thus make it more manageable, and affordable, for the agency, while also creating a network of other public lands/sites managed by trusts.

    Finally, I'll ask you the same question I asked Beamis: What, or who, is behind the failures of the current political system? In addressing the problems of the NPS, we should look beyond the symptoms and get to the root cause.

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Kurt, I have attempted to provide alternatives, and people generally don't respond or create strawmen arguments or distort what I'm proposing. This isn't about privatization of public lands. Public lands should remain public. I agree with the suggestions Beamis has made. I've also pointed out that parks, like art museums, could be run as a trust, although this would be a public trust. I've provided a link, and I'll do so again, outlining how parks could be managed
    as public trusts: http://www.free-eco.org/articleDisplay.php?id=479

    Here's the bulk for those who refuse to click and read:

    When avarice first threatened the Park’s values, the cavalry came to the rescue. At that time, naked private interests tried to stake claims on public resources. Now, their descendents utilize the political process to achieve similar goals. ...
    ...the parks will always offer values that attract potential exploiters, folks with little interest in promoting the public interest. Poaching, a huge problem in the 1870s, remains troublesome. And poaching is trivial compared to the ecological damage caused by ORVs. There are multiple opportunities for exploitation, and their value is growing; there have always been huge political incentives to pander....
    Third, the federal government is facing huge and growing deficits. The park system now carries a maintenance backlog (estimated at roughly $5 billion, twice the entire annual Park Service budget), and it will be ever more difficult to allocate funds to relieve it. Concurrently, there will be seductive opportunities to use the national parks as cash cows. It’s easy to imagine how a budgetary tradeoff between controlling noxious invasive species or vaccinating children might play out.
    A public treasure does not inherently require governmental management. Public, nongovernmental trusts present sensible alternatives to federal management. Both Mount Vernon and Monticello are clearly “public” and both are run by trusts rather than government agencies.
    Endowment boards, like those running museums, hospitals, and private schools, would operate under a legal charter to steward individual parks. After receiving a one-time Congressional endowment, each park’s individual trust would be “on its own.” The board, established by local environmental groups, business leaders, and citizens, would promote ecologically sensitive economic activities as part of their trustee responsibility.

    That's what I'm advocating.

    How would YOU provide access to, and management of, wilderness areas?

    How can something that is wild (self-willed) be managed? Doesn't the management of something make it by definition unwild? Civilized? I think we need to completely rethink the paradigm of wilderness "management". Wilderness ought to be places set aside FOREVER as blank spots on the map, left to nature, without management, without trails, without anything. In a word, wild. (I'm reminded how as an NPS ranger, I was instructed to tell visitors concerned about dying wildlife that the NPS "lets nature take its course". I can cite plenty of examples of how the NPS really does the opposite, but isn't that what it and we SHOULD be doing?) Access? Access would be provided right to the edge of the wilderness and then it's up to wilderness visitors to provide their own access in the form of hiking boots. Education should be provided for those who don't know how to behave in the wilderness. This can be part of the parks' mission carried out by management trusts.

    So my slingshot is down. When anticipating your response to the previous posts, I wondered if you'd use the well-worn phrase "throwing the baby out with the bathwater." Now I urge a move beyond over-used expressions to encapsulate a complex concept and move toward explicit and accurate language and dicsussion.

    Thank you, Kurt, for allowing me to participate in this discussion. My motives come not from bitterness, but from a genuine concern for the protection of our public lands and my perception that the current political system has failed--and continues to fail--to protect them.

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    If you've ever visited a Nature Conservancy property you would know first hand how much emphasis is placed on every detail of preservation and the integrity of the visitor experience. I see the same type of devotion and care being ladled out to other areas that would come under the ownership of dedicated entities serious about the task of preservation and helping individuals enjoy natural and historical lands. If there is a market demand for wild places I know that there will be entrepreneurs willing to provide it. It is true for every other want and desire that has been dreamed up and this would be no different.

    It's interesting that your quote mentions Enron and WorldCom (now shrunken back to Verizon), both companies that no longer exist. It seems that malfeasance indeed has consequences in the world of private enterprise, whereas the corruption of the federal government goes on and on. Every April 15th you either pay tribute to Moloch or get put into jail. This form of accountability results in a situation where 70% of the population is firmly against an un-Constitutional overseas war of aggression, which our so called democratic leaders blatantly ignore. Need I mention illegal spying, wiretapping, indefinite detention, torture, transporting live nuclear warheads over civilian airspace, burning banned toxic substances in the Nevada desert, suspending habeas corpus, political assassination, supplying dangerous weapons to rogue nations and lining the pockets of corrupt corporations that manufacture products no one in the free market place has any use for? That's just a start. I've got more if you want to hear it.

    I'd like to know if you think that most of the things that you buy and own are the result of "corruption on an almost unfathomable scale"? Is your personal computer, automobile and toothbrush the result of wholesale corruption? Do you feel morally sullied whenever you go to buy food at the grocery store? When buying mulch at Home Depot? Or shoes at the Foot Locker?

    I don't know where you get the idea that voluntary free exchange is somehow more intrinsically evil than the wholesale theft of wealth through the tax code. The results speak for themselves. I am very happy with my voluntary participation in the marketplace. I enjoy owning goods that were freely produced and which I bought with the fruits of my own labor, get this, VOLUNTARILY! When was the last time you enjoyed giving the government your hard earned money and please tell me what government office was as fun to visit as a Whole Foods store? Or even a gas station?

    What's more fun, a trip to the DMV or the dentist? I'll take Dr. O'Connell any day of the week.

    Also you might want to study some other economists besides Stiglitz. I suggest Murray Rothbard, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek.

    Good string we've got going on your website. It is much appreciated.

  • What is YOUR Favorite Park Experience?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    My wife and I were planning a trip to Isle Royale, but then she was in a car accident and didn't feel up to carrying a pack for a week. We "settled" for a trip to Yellowstone. One of the most enjoyable parts was a hike up to some petrified tree trunks. It is not on the trail map, but the rangers gave us a photocopy of a hand drawn map. We spent the entire day up in the mountains and did not see a single other person. While the trees themselves were fascinating, the views and the solitude were even better.

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Bermis, finally were getting somewhere instead of this anti everything. Some of your ideas do provoke good thought, but I do question in how we might set up such a non partisan commission (or God Squad) that will pick and choose who should go or stay in the NPS. This isn't quite like a pawn shop where we trash something that doesn't benefit or appeal to us, but to a select priviledge few...like developers, gas and oil monopolies...etc... I get the general feel that your more comfortable with strong thoughts of privatization of the NPS. I think Kurt has answered this very well about such thoughts. Why is it that we can't have a ad-hoc commission composing of prominent citizens, environmental groups and the busness community all working together to re-tool the whole (interna and external) apparatus of the National Park Service, but keep the original framework which it stands for. This is not saying destroying the concept of the parks, but to enhance the virtue which it should stand for: to best serve it's people and maintain it's resources to the highest degree of sacred perpetuity for future generations. Not to tear down Frank, but to embolden a new frame work of refreshing ideas that youth might inject. Maybe the next generation has the keys, the ideas, the brains to make it work with less demeaning individuals who rather tear down system then make it work. I say give the keys to the next generation with there cute iPods.

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Are you suggesting the free market would have banned snowmobiles from Yellowstone? And how would a private owner of a wilderness benefit if they didn't sell access?

    Let's not delude ourselves with the "wonders" of the free market. There are many instances of corruption and taking advantage of the public. Remember Enron? Here's a snippet from a story that ran a few years back in the Guardian of London that might be of interest.The author? Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Laureate in Economics and Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia University. I would venture his thoughts are just as true today as they were then.


    Advocates of privatization also lauded the private sector's ability to compete. But I'm not sure these private sector advocates quite had in mind the abilities that American corporate capitalism has demonstrated so amply recently: corruption on an almost unfathomable scale. They put to shame those petty government bureaucrats who stole a few thousand dollars or even a few million. The numbers bandied about in the Enron, WorldCom and other scandals are in the billions, greater than the GNP of many countries.

    Think the snowmobile and personal watercraft manufacturers would be so concerned about the special places known today as national parks and seashores that they wouldn't place rental shops within their borders at a moment's notice?

    And do you really believe that the struggling state park systems across the country are up to the task of managing national parks? How would they go about funding that endeavor? Boost their state's taxes or build bigger entrance stations with higher entrance fees?

    That said, I agree there should be a close look at all those places that constitute the national park system and perhaps some spinning off of units that could fit better someplace else. And much good also could be arrived at by overhauling the civil service system. But gutting the Park Service as you and Frank propose would be akin to tossing the baby out with the bathwater.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    My comment is directly for "Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous" who wrote on October 15th.
    First of all,, if you are supporting this slaughter,, how come you didn't put your REAL name down?
    Second of all, I trully doubt you have 50 "hunter" friends.
    I would be surprised if you have 50 friends at all.
    I've read all the comments from both hunters and non-hunters, and I heard true feelings from both sides.
    But, I NEVER heard any "whining" from anyone, only by YOU with YOUR cheap talk and threats.
    Call whoever you want, pat yourself on the back, then go kick your dog or beat your spouse.
    That's how we view you and your imaginary friends.
    The world now knows, we all saw this video, we are aware, and this slaughter will be stopped!
    I pledge to make that happen.

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Frank and I have made solid suggestions in the past but these generally get ignored because it is much easier to castigate us for our "anti" stance on federal governance of the national parks.

    Just for the record I will go over a few tangible steps that could be taken to begin to improve things (which, if you review my past comments, I have already stated in this forum).

    A good first step would be to have a non-partisan commission convene to examine the current inventory of national park units and determine if all of them are worthy of national park status, much like the military base closing commissions of the late 80's and early 90's. Since many areas have been created by pork barrel politicians it would be wise to take stock and see what fits and what could be transferred, eliminated or sold off. This would save money for the more important and truly unique areas that very few of us would argue belong in the system.

    For example, I have suggested before that Canaveral National Seashore would make a wonderful Florida state park. There is nothing special about the beaches there, they certainly aren't even close to the most scenic or pristine in Florida. They are NOT of national significance, but would make a great addition to the Florida system or even a nice regional park. The interior marsh and river sections could be easily transferred to the Fish & Wildlife Service, which already maintains adjacent lands. At least it would be worth studying. See where I'm going with this?

    That's just one example of starting a process to streamline the current inventory of parks and begin a prioritizing mechanism to maintain adequate funding for the "crown jewels".

    I could easily see Civil War parks being run by private non-profit historical societies, trusts, universities, states & municipalities or a combination of entities. Do we really need park rangers leading cave tours in Carlsbad and Mammoth Cave? I can easily see these places being run by their respective states or non-profit trusts as well. Am I pricking raw nerves yet?

    While we're in a questioning mood I'd like to ask why the citizens of greater New York (Gateway), San Francisco (Golden Gate) and Cleveland (Cuyahoga) can't run their own regional parks? Why should taxpayers in Alabama and North Dakota be on the hook to provide them with expensive federal parks that none of them will probably ever use? Should money that is needed in Glacier and Yosemite be funneled to urban parks that are definitely not in the category of "national treasures"? Just a thought for further reflection.

    On the subject of the agency itself it vitally needs a good overhaul that would remove it from the same civil service malaise that is par for the course in the rest of the federal government. That, unfortunately, is only a wistful dream as long it remains tethered to the politics and ineptitude of the Department of the Interior. This will remain a central problem in achieving efficient operations and will plague the agency as long as it remains nearly impossible to fire incompetents and to easily hire people outside the cloistered green & gray convent that don't possess the coveted mantle of "permanent" status. Federal government work rules will remain the most compelling reason to privatize.

    I've just gotten started but will stop and see if anyone has comments on what I've already said.

    Remember most of the things you treasure in your everyday life are produced in the private sector economy of free choice and voluntary transactions. Your car, computer, home, food, leisure products and just about everything else. Why is it so hard for many of you to think that wild and historic lands could not also be cared for and shared with the public without the beneficent hand of Big Brother? Why just this week a harmful decision was made in Yellowstone concerning snowmobiles which vividly showed that federal politics are just as venal and corrupt as the so-called sins of the marketplace. I personally think that private owners of wilderness would be more concerned with preserving their product for future use than a career bureaucrat who retires fat and happy, oblivious to the long term long term consequences of a clearly political decision.

    Maybe I'm just a hopeless romantic of the free market but I know that voluntary works better than coerced. There is a lot of good will in the hearts of free people.

    Support Ron Paul for President!

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Kurt, you beat me to the punch with this one. Excellent response, it couldn't be better expressed.