Recent comments

  • How We View National Parks Today Matters For Tomorrow   6 years 15 weeks ago

    Just remember Bob.......

    It's only those of us who freely admit that, in the grand scheme of things, we truly are neophytes in the intellect department, and are self-consciousless enough to admit that we don't know everything, that ever have a true chance to increase our knowledge base. After all, once you're omnipotent, what't left?

    FYI- I was almost certain you were perfectly aware of the political processes involved, but my diatribe was more directed towards the masses who may not have been so familiar with the overall scheme of things.
    I never mentioned anything about you and your idiocy. You should know by now that if I had thought so, you would have been made aware. Geez Prof, spit happens, even in the best of families!

    Thank you for not making constant reference to my own level of ineptness, though I've provided ample opportunity for such critique. Keep up the good work, both here and in SC.

    Any by the way, who bothers to proofread and spell-check?

  • National Park Service Considering Commercial Developments for Alcatraz   6 years 15 weeks ago

    It's a fine line between a national park being a "park" and a commercial attraction. A strict limit on commercialization would seem to be needed, allowing revenue for the park and at the same time the park is remaining true to it's purpose.

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 15 weeks ago

    It would seem that the conservationists are not going to be happy untill all human activity outside of the city limits is eliminated and you even have to wonder about there. The parks were established to be used. Yes we have to take care of over use and/or abuse but it was not intended to be reserved for any particular group including the granola crunchers.

  • National Park Service Considering Commercial Developments for Alcatraz   6 years 15 weeks ago

    I hope that Park advocates take a balanced look at this proposal. I think that a "night on Alcatraz" experience has a lot of potential to add value to the Park. Additionally, since this is an island in the middle of the Bay, additional visitor services would certainly have the opportunity to enhance the visitor experience, and to make it more enjoyable and comfortable. If those services also generate funds for historic preservation and interpretation, so much the better....

  • How We View National Parks Today Matters For Tomorrow   6 years 15 weeks ago

    Aha! Yes, the Internet is both virtue and vice - connections and discussions with like-minded people around the world, and all of our msitakes broadcast around the world as well.....

  • Lake Powell Expected to Rise 50 Feet This Summer   6 years 15 weeks ago

    The cut is for recreational boaters and the abiity to save time and more importantly, FUEL. I have read the comments from the various posters talking about climate change and can only smile and wonder to what extent everyone who posts about it really knows. Lake Powell was created for 2 purposes: 1) Provide back up water holding capacity for Lake Mead and 2) Provide employment and recreational oppurtunites to south central Utah and northern Arizona. Boaters spend loads more money then do hikers and backpackers, so unfortunately Lake Powell will rise and fall depending on the CO Basin snowpack or untill Lake Mead is low enought that it becomes the priority for refilling. Projections for Lake Mead this summer are that it will drop between 6 -19 feet more. Lake Powell was built before EIS's (Environmental Impact Study) were required for such projects and will continue to try and fulfill its primary purpose. What many don't realize is that Lake Powell is filling up, not with water, but with CO River sediment. This is going to happen regardless what happens with the SW and the amount of CO River runoff. The more snow, the more runoff, the more sediment, the faster it fills and the less it will hold. Less runoff only means it will take longer to fill with sediment.

    As Lake Powell fills with sediment the dredging and trenching will need to be increased to keep Lake Powell as a viable reservoir for the CO River drainage system--but at what cost? How many millions of dollars will it take to keep the reservoir usable?

    Climate change is happening regardless of who or what is causing it, it is happening. The mean ambient tempature for the world is rising and as the ice shelf's melt at the poles the proscess picks up speed. This has happened before according to the scientists who have been studying this issue. The difference is this time it will have far reaching effects on People and where the majority of the world population lives. Personally, I don't believe we can stop it or change the current course, maybe slow it down, but we have neither the will nor the money to stop it. Tokyo, LA, NYC, and the rest of the large cities that have develped along coasts are not underwater or are being theatened YET. New Orleans was underwater 2 years ago and we see the amount of $ill the Government is willing to deal with that mess. Add LA, NYC, Miami, SF, Seattle, SD, Houston, Boston, Baltimore, Washington DC, Coast of NJ, and numerous other high density areas and at some point there will be a huge mess to deal with--but till then lets leave will enough alone. Or as we have seen in New Orleans, people will just have to move. This will of course will be an economic Boom! More construction, new roads, new schools, Energy efficient buildings, new jobs, and all the wonderfully good things that go with mass relocation of families and business. For the life of me I can not think of any negatives.

    Remember to plan ahead, after all it was not raining when Noah built the ark!

  • Yellowstone Officials Now Recommending that Sylvan Pass Remain Open For Snowmobiling   6 years 15 weeks ago

    If you read the inscription on the arch in Gardiner, you see it reads "for the enjoyment of the People". It does not have restrictions on who can enjoy Yellowstone. Just because some people feel their form of recreation is the best, they do not have the right to impose their values on others. Hikers feel only hikers should be allowed in the park. Bicyclists feel there should be no cars. Car drivers want No RVs. It goes on and on. Just like the definition of rich is anyone who makes more money than you. People who should be denied access to Yellowstone are those who use it differently than you. There are a number of people who feel the park entrances should have a sign posted "NO ONE ALLOWED IN, BUT ME" I believe the purpose of our Park system is "for the enjoyment of the people" No the select elitists who believe they are the arbitrator of all that is good and evil.

  • Lake Powell Expected to Rise 50 Feet This Summer   6 years 15 weeks ago

    What gags me are hypocrites that cry about touching the environment for any reason. Do they use roads to go places? Do they live in a home with running water and electricity? Do they use refrigerators or washing machines? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you better start changing you own life before imposing your views on everyone else.
    Deepening of the cut will reduce fuel usage and pollution in the lake, yet, won’t harm the landscape or native habitat that currently exist. The cut was done once before, the new cut will only deepen the original cut.

  • Hamilton Grange National Memorial Relocation Update   6 years 15 weeks ago

    I've been following this story with great interest and it got me to think...I know that buildings have been moved within National Park Sites (for example, the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras), can anyone think of another entire site being picked up and moved?

  • How We View National Parks Today Matters For Tomorrow   6 years 15 weeks ago

    Cuation! Weaselspeak alert! I'm quite aware that it is Congress, not "the National Park System" that designates units. Here is what happened. When I was drafting my comment, I wrote this sentence: .... Since the units of the National Park System have been designated in an outrageously untrustworthy manner, often defying logic, the designations are becoming less and less useful for any practical purpose. ..... Then I thought to myself; Hmmm, that sentence is passive; I need to write it in the active mode. So, I changed it to ....Since the National Park System has been designating units in an outrageously untrustworthy manner, often defying logic, the designations are becoming less and less useful for any practical purpose.... I thereby committed TWO mistakes (including failure to proofread) in one fell swoop. So, here's the bottom line: Yes, I'm an idiot, but not for the reason you think! :-)

  • How We View National Parks Today Matters For Tomorrow   6 years 15 weeks ago

    The answer to your first question is simple Bob. Since the designation and "official" status are Congressional declarations, or movements, or processes, whatever..........it appears that as usual our government has its collective head up it's butt (or in the case of the Indiana Dunes, buried in the sand?) and no proper scientific classification has been awarded these locales. Political pandering, specifically designed to pacify some local nitwit of a congressman, who's had some nepotistic committee "look into the matter" came up with the name, put it on a piece of parchment, submitted it for approval, and viola, there you have it.

    One BIG problem with reclassification of certain areas. National Lakeshores are generally, but not always, thought to have a greater degree of "protection", especially in the environmental sense, than is associated with the Recreation Areas. Now before all you boaters go off on me and cry about how you're limited in scope, when you can't just cruise where you want when you want, save it for another time. History has been literally washed from the face of the earth in many instances for your personal enjoyment, and the local environment has obviously been altered forever, both above and below the surface. In the case of the Indiana Dunes, the local environment was originally designated as a preservation area, based mostly on the fragile nature of the dunes themselves, and the drastic changes in the local environment which no longer support formation or replenishment of the "dunes". A switch in classification to a National Recreation Area would spell the end of the most guarded landscape of the park itself. You might as well bring in a giant fire hose and wash the dunes into Lake Michigan and create sandbars. Big Oil has done more than its share to forever alter the ecosystem in the southern lake and is currently lobbying to increase the levels of pollutants they can "legally" release into the southern tip of the lake, which happens to be the drinking water source for some 10MM residents. The sport fishing industry is all but gone. Air pollution and ozone levels have decreased air quality below that of the coal-fired electrical plant on the South Rim. Now, add in additional boating, ORV's mostly of the ATV and dirt bike nature, jet skis and other personal watercraft, and you might as well bulldoze the dunes and make the park into a perfectly level beach, destitute of native vegetation and wildlife.

    Correcting the problem is actually quite simple. Get the damn political process out of the NPS business, of which their lack of knowledge is only surpassed by their lack of funding. Turn the responsibility over to the NSF, as an example, and encourage proper delineation of our national treasures from the perspective of those more qualified than graft-sucking politicians and their lobbyist friend cronies who function as clueless buffoons in this, and most other processes of environmental science.

  • How We View National Parks Today Matters For Tomorrow   6 years 15 weeks ago

    Two points:
    1) I believe that Congress, rather than the National Park Service, designates most Unit Types (with the exception that the President can only designate a National Monument, regardless of the nature of the Unit). A large part of the problem seems to be ignorance... you often see bills proposed in Congress to designated "such-and-such National Heritage Area as a Unit of the National Park System", even though National Heritage Areas are not *Units* of the National Park System. (Of course, in fairness to Congress, National Heritage Areas are usually considered to be "part" of the National Park System, just not "Units" of the System - so no wonder its hard to keep straight! Also in fairness to Congress, its not clear who is responsible (Congress or the NPS) for the bizarre way of counting the 391 Units of the National Park System.))

    2) I believe that there was either a Post or a Comment from Kurt a couple weeks back making the case that all National Park Units should have equal standards of protection, regardless of designation-type. I don't know that I really know what I think on that issue - I probably lean towards your position that designation types should matter, so differences are o.k., but it is hardly a self-evident or universally-accepted point.

  • How We View National Parks Today Matters For Tomorrow   6 years 15 weeks ago

    With all due respect, Sabattis, you're asking the wrong question. It's a given that the designation types should matter. Classification is possibly the most fundamental concept in science or, if you will, scientific management. Each designation type should represent a group of parks having similar characteristics and similar managerial needs. In that sense, designation types most emphatically should matter. Since the National Park System has been designating units in an outrageously untrustworthy manner, often defying logic, the designations are becoming less and less useful for any practical purpose. There are two basic questions we should be posing: Why are many units of the National Park Service designated inappropriately?; and, How can this problem be corrected?

  • How We View National Parks Today Matters For Tomorrow   6 years 15 weeks ago

    Of course, Cuyahoga Valley was originally establised with the same National Recration Area designation as Gateway and Golden Gate, and was basically just "rebranded" for greater publicity. I think it would be hard to get too concerned if Cuyahoga Valley was managed in roughly similar ways to Gateway and Golden Gate.

    On the other hand, should those "designation types" really matter? For example, what if Congress redesignated Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as Indiana Dunes National Recreation Area?

  • National Park Service Director Bomar Scheduled to Meet With Mountain Bike Community   6 years 15 weeks ago

    I'd like to make two points on this:
    1) I'm not a fan of "slippery slope" arguments. I'm not sure why the slippery-slope argument doesn't pertain to hiking trails. Surely it would apply to the construction of boardwalks, or to paved hiking trails in the Great Smokies or to the base of Yosemite Falls. But even back-country hiking trails can show the collective wear of thousands of pairs of feet. If the standard is going to be recreation that will "conserve the scenery.... and leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations", then surely those sorts of hiking trails would not pass the test. The same thing would apply to the Going-to-the-Sun Road or the Old Faithful Inn (and the Old Faithful ampitheatre). And yet, none of the National Park Service's various lodges, scenic touring roads, or other facilities have really led to such a "slippery slope." Thus, I find the main implication of your post - that there is little room for any new mountain biking trails in the National Parks without opening a slippery slope contrary to the mission of the National Park Service - to be fairly implausible. Mountain Biking is a healthy physical activity, creates minimal additional noise pollution, and provides additional mobility to visitors - allowing them to explore deeper into Parks then they would otherwise.

    2) I think a parallel issue to this is that the current Federal lands classification system is a complete mess. I'll say up front that my own thoughts are not fully developed on this subject - but I'm going to toss them into this discussion for the sake of developing them further (as inspired by your most recent response.) In general, one could sensibly classify Federal lands on the basis of *significance* and on the basis of *level of protection.* Unfortunately, the various Federal land designations all have overlapping levels of *significance* and *level of protection* which makes it hard to answer the question of "What exactly is the National Park System" supposed to be?

    All Units in the National Park System are clearly supposed to meet a minimum level of significance. We can quibble about the significance of Steamtown or the Carter G. Woodson Home, but for the most part, everything passes the "significance test." Of course, not all of the most-significant areas in the US are included, some of the most-obvious exceptions are Mt. St. Helen's, Cahokia Mounds, Niagara Falls, Monticello, Mount Vernon, and Papahānaumokuākea (Northwest Hawaiian Islands) Marine National Monument - all of which would passs any "significance test" for inclusion in the Naitonal Park System, but all are managed by other entities.

    Secondly, there is the level of protection. All National Park Service sites meet a high level of protection. Nevertheless, there are variations, even leaving aside the National Historic Sites, Historical Parks, Battlefields, Military Parks, and Memorials. In at least nine cases, different National Parks have been created precisely because of the different levels of protection between them - these are the various "National Park (or Monument) & Preserves" in the system. Around twelve other areas of the National Park System enjoy their very existence to man-made dams - which is perhaps the anithesis of "preserve unimpaired."

    Of course, the other areas of Federal Lands are hardly any more consistent. I have a general sense of a descending order of protection from National Park Service to Fish & Wildlife Service to US Forest Service to Bureau of Land Management - but I probably couldn't articulate the exact differing levels of protection between a National Park and a National Wildlife Refuge or a National Forest and a BLM Land. Moreover, just as a "National Park System Unit" represents some sort of intersection between "significance" and "level of protection" so does the term "National Monument" represent the same sort of intersection. And yet, there are now six different Federal Agencies running National Monuments - the four already mentioned, as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Armed Forces Retirement Homse. Two other entities, the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Valles Caldera Trust, run lands with similar designations as well. That makes a total of eight!

    The last wrinkle to all of this is the Federal Wilderness Designation. Wilderness appears to be the strongest-level of protection that can be applied to an area of land - but isn't necessarily tied to significance. Many areas of the National Park System are Federally-designated Wilderness, and clearly should not have further development for recreational uses like mountain-biking. I think it would be hard, though, to argue that all natural areas in the National Park System should be managed to this same standard. And after all, a wilderness could be designated in a spectacular National Park just as much as it could be designated in some fairly non-descript BLM land.

    At the end of the day, with so many overlaps between things that are "National Park" and things that are "not National Park", I think it makes it exceedingly hard to answer the question of "What should the National Park System be?" And it may well be that the most satisfactory way to answer that question will be to simultaneously answer the question of "How should all of our Federal lands be organized?" Allright - there are perhaps my overly long thoughts for the day.

  • National Park Service Director Bomar Scheduled to Meet With Mountain Bike Community   6 years 15 weeks ago

    MRC - you make some good points. I hadn't thought of actually considering National Wildlife Refuge to be a higher level of protection than a Naitonal Park. I had ordered them the way that I did because the National Wildlife Refuge rather famously can allow oil drilling under at least some circumstance - something that seems almost unthinkable in a National Park. I think that's yet another example that various levels of Federal land classification are very poorly defined, and really aught to be clarified.

  • How We View National Parks Today Matters For Tomorrow   6 years 15 weeks ago

    Skyrocketing fuel prices, budget tightening, and related factors are going to keep people closer to home. This should make our urban-oriented national parks (the ones within day-tripping distance, that is) much more appealing. It will be interesting to see whether highly accessible parks in metro regions -- Point Reyes National Seashore, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and Cuyahoga Valley National Park all being good examples -- can implement higher levels of resource protection when they are under increasing pressure to accommodate the ordinary recreational wants and needs of day-trippers and weekenders. If these pressures persist, one might reasonably expect a tilt toward mass recreation facilities and programs like those of the National Recreation Areas.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 15 weeks ago

    Why does the gun issue extract such incredible outpourings of vitriol and personal attacks?

    LOL!
    Do you really have to ask?

    It is political, and macho, and trite...
    Stephen Ducat at The Huffington Post recently said it pretty well...
    "Cowboys, Prairie Fairies, and Mother Earth:
    The Political Psychology of Gendering Nature Female"

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 15 weeks ago

    Sorry anonymous, but am I to understand that raising one's voice to question management decisions is political? So if one were to question ESA decisions, or fee decisions, or trail-building decisions, one would be immersing themselves in politics?

    If that's an accurate understanding, then should the Traveler restrict its coverage to little more than park histories, lodging deals, and where to watch pretty sunsets? Should it ban any post or comment that points to either a questionable practice or proposal?

    It's been abundantly clear for going on three years now that the Traveler's mission is to build advocates for the parks. The vehicle for that mission is to follow issues that swirl around the National Park System so park visitors know how the parks are being managed. And yes, on occasion we do venture out and editorialize.

    You describe yourself as a fervent parks supporter. What park issues interest you? Have you commented on any other posts, pro or con? Why the need for anonymity? And, of course, if you believe I'm getting political for questioning the gun proposal, aren't you, too, for questioning my motives and insisting this is a states rights issue?

    Why does the gun issue extract such incredible outpourings of vitriol and personal attacks? Why isn't there similar (though hopefully more civilized in expression) concern regarding other issues in the parks? Or is everything OK across the system?

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 15 weeks ago

    It's funny that folks keep using the term "Allow Weapons"
    What many do not understand is that a Criminal is a criminal. Regardless of what laws are in place.
    If they choose to carry and gun and to commit a crime, they are going to do it whether they are not allowed to or not.
    Placing a law to not allow a lawful person to protect themselves is absolutley ridiculous.
    CCW holders apply to protect themselves and their family from those who choose to disobey the law and direct their disobedience toward them.

    What better is a target that you can guarantee doesn't have a gun.
    One gun can protect many, cause the criminal doesnt know if you are holding it or not. Why leave the mystery out of it and give the advantage to the criminal?

    If you Outlaw Guns, Only Outlaws will have them.

    My .02

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 15 weeks ago

    Excuse me, I thought you could read. I said YOU were being political! The NRA has always been political. I hoped you were above that. I was obviously mistaken.

    I have always supported the parks for non-political reasons, I thought you might also. Again, my error!

    Every thing is not political to every one.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 15 weeks ago

    Hmmmm, not political. That's why the NRA -- one of the most powerful lobbies in the country -- admittedly scripted the letters that were sent by senators to Interior Secretary Kempthorne, and that's why the NRA worked with Sen. Coburn to introduce his amendment to open the parks to concealed weapons.

    States rights issue? I always thought Yellowstone, Yosemite and the other 389 NPS units were "national" parks. I also thought the Congress, through the above cited codes, gave the National Park Service legal jurisdiction over the parks. I must have missed the transfer.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 15 weeks ago

    Kurt,
    You protest too much! I've never been an NRA member or backer, but you need to be truthful: 1, this topic has been discussed at governmental levels for 5 years; 2, to imply this is a political issue in an election year is to make yourself political ( not a good or smart idea): 3, this is really a states rights issue, not an NRA issue once you get down to it.

    I support the National Parks as fervently ( and for a longer time) as you. But your RANT against this issue does not support the Parks. Reasoned discussions are ALWAYS more beneficial to all concerned.

  • Hamilton Grange National Memorial Relocation Update   6 years 15 weeks ago


    Actually, Hamilton called the process of getting the land, designing and building Hamilton Grange: ". . . a sweet project." For some reason the NPS release spins it as ". . . he called his 'sweet project.' " Splitting hairs??

    Either Hamilton didn't actually personalize it as much as the NPS release seems to be trying to imply, or Hamilton had actually done a lot of other significant things in his lifetime.

  • How We View National Parks Today Matters For Tomorrow   6 years 15 weeks ago

    Bay Area leaders may have advocated for Point Reyes, but they did not create it. Congress did.

    Also - I recommend you look at Indiana Dunes NL, an urban park older than Golden Gate or Gateway if you really want to see the face of urban/industrial/residential and park interface in a challenging area.