Recent comments

  • National Parks Conservation Association: Interior Buckled to NRA Over Park Gun Laws   6 years 18 weeks ago

    "We believe that enabling individuals to carry loaded guns in national parks will alarm families visiting the parks, and heighten the possibility for deadly visitor conflicts."

    You believe or you have empirical evidence to support this statement? The presence of a firearm does not imply a greater level of danger.

    "New responsibilities for overtaxed park rangers: In a post-9/11 environment, where the safety and security of our national parks and visitors is pre-eminent, park rangers will now have to be alert to the fact that individuals are carrying loaded guns in the parks."

    Actually, by restricting fire-arms you are foisting this requirement upon them now. If everyone is allowed to carry (a 2nd amendment right) then no checks are required. In the event a criminal is carrying (they will not care about carry laws) then would it not be prudent to have a unknown number of law-abiding citizens able to respond if said criminal decides to act according to his or her nature?

    "Increased opportunities for wildlife poaching: A genesis for the Park Service's original firearms regulations, wildlife poaching is still a serious concern in our national parks, causing the decline of nearly 30 species."

    Poachers are criminals and unlikely obey any of said laws anyway. If carry laws are allowed but hunting is still banned how is this any different than the current laws?

    "Deferring to state laws creates confusion: The Federal Government has a unique responsibility to set the rules for and manage our national parks."

    The 2nd amendment is pretty clear in this regard and national parks are under federal jurisdiction. Most states have explicit carry regulations and should be more than sufficient. The Fed cannot arbitrarily violate our second amendment rights any more than our 1st amendment rights. Suggesting they can invites all sorts of abuses by the Fed in the future (say maybe no demonstrations or rallys?). This cuts both ways and depending on the administration in power you might find your pet rights being violated if you persist in weakening our constitutional rights in this manner.

    The NPCA's arguments seem to be feeble at best and hint at a political agenda. If you truly seek the correct approach then begin the process of repealing the 2nd amendment.

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   6 years 18 weeks ago

    I just hiked Angels Landing for the first time on Easter last week and I was more afraid watching the confusion of people not being able to get around each other on the last part than the fact its a long way down. It felt like 'any moment now' something bad is going to happen. And like Lea said about the audio recording on the shuttle, inviting everyone! There were lots of people up there that shouldnt have been. I didnt like the chains either. I didnt need them and didnt like watching people scared and nervous trying to grab a chain thats moving all around!! They just make it that much more tempting for people that have no buisness up there. But I will say what a perfect place to go WHEN its your time.

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 18 weeks ago

    With 90 registered firearms per 100 people in this country, I'd say we pretty well qualify as an "armed society". Gun advocates would have us believe that since "bad guys" are generally in possession in illegally obtained firepower, and don't bother to obtain the required FOID and subsequent registration and permits, it follows that the vast majority, if not the entirety of those 90/100 are in the legal possession of their owners. Nobody is suggesting that 90% of the citizens of this country actually own weapons. Statistics suggest that well less than half of Americans are firearms owners. I'd say that makes a strong case for most of those who acutually own some sort of gun being armed to the teeth, to say the least. If, in spite of all your ordinance, you can't feel "safe" under the current standards, nothing can possibly be changed to alleviate your paranoia of the world around you.

    If A=B and we are also therefore a "polite society", why all the fuss about needing to carry concealed weapons to feel safe when you leave your house? I guess polite doesn't equate to civilized.

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 18 weeks ago

    If you are interested in the topic, it is well worth checking out Dr. Alan Hogenauer's interesting, fun and well researched article "Gone, But Not Forgotten: The Delisted Units of the U.S. National Park System" in The George Wright Forum, Volume 7, Number 4, 1991

    You can download a copy here:
    http://www.georgewright.org/074.pdf

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 18 weeks ago

    Based on encroachment, gentrification, motorized recreation, and other threats to natural and historic treasures, I'd love to see more NPS involvement, not less.

    The answer to an underfunded and over-worked NPS is to properly fund and staff it, not knuckle under pressure to decommission sites.

    BTW, an absolute NO to DoD taking over national battlefields. The DoD has one purpose and one purpose only: to defend the nation. Putting them in charge of historical parks would be counter to both that purpose, and to the goal of protecting historical treasures (which is NOT a DoD mandate).

    ==================================================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Missing Cavers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Ill-Prepared   6 years 18 weeks ago

    Hey guys...I have been caving and cave diving all of my life.
    Caving is like climbing a mountain...Most of the careless misstakes happen on the way out or down.
    In this case "Out and Up!"
    Cold, Hyp', and loss of strength/weakness is an element that you have to include in your plan. Once your out of the mouth and looking up @ a long , cold muddy nylon Highway...Reality kicks in.
    You need the strength to flash that "Rope Walker!" You guys got away w/ one...Make it count!
    Bite off a little @ a time until you know your strengths and weaknesses in multiple elements.
    Mother nature, and her counter partner "Murphy" have only so much patience.
    See you "Under, Down Under!"
    Stay Safe!
    3, 2, 1, CU!

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 18 weeks ago

    Regarding the comment about the site devoted to the fur trade, Bent's Fort NHS already does the job. But, as a "faithfully reconstructed" Fort on the footprint of the original fort I might question its national significance.

    I would add Thomas Stone NHS to the list worthy of consideration for decommissioning for the same reason as Bent's Old Fort. there are many others (Steamtown) that are not nationally significant.

    However, as was suggested, it seems a dangerous time politically to start talk of decommissioning sites because it is a slippery slope to privatization and sensible people realize that would be a big mistake.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 18 weeks ago

    As a lifelong North Carolinian, I have worked on the outer banks and members of my family have been going to Hatteras and Ocracoke for over 50 years. Being able to drive on the outer banks is one of the things that makes it special. However, we do need to take steps to preserve this precious resource. I think that those people who live there or spend a large amount of time living there should have the right to pay the price for a yearly permit to drive on the beach. People who come down just for a week or a weekend, often not knowing how to drive on the sand and getting stuck, should probably stick to the public "parking lot" beaches rather than driving out the point. Or, they will have to pay the yearly fee -- probably needs to be about $300 for the year -- to be able to drive on the beach. The folks that have homes down there will pay the money or find a friend with a permit. As for the thought that those who drive on the beach are not good stewards of the environment, it is false -- whenever we go on the beach we follow a strict "leave no trace" policy and even pick up trash left by others when we see it. And, we always abide by any NPS rules and avoid any contact with bird and turtle nesting sites.

    Many of the people who enjoy fishing on the beach cannot afford a boat or an expensive charter trip -- fishing on the beach is a lifestyle for people like my father-in-law, and it should be preserved for those who are so dedicated to Cape Hatteras and the outer banks.

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 18 weeks ago

    Due to the powerful economic forces of modern-day tourism, as well as community pride in local green spots on the map officially designated as part of the NPS, I think it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to decommission any unit of the NPS. The only way I see for NPS downsizing to occur successfully is via a recommendation by a high-level "blue ribbon" bipartisan committee and a virtual absence of local and regional opposition.

    On the other hand, there are non-NPS National Monuments, like Mt. St. Helens, and tribal parks like Monument Valley, that I believe are of major national and international significance. These significant natural areas ought to be protected and preserved within our National Parks System.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Missing Cavers Found At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 18 weeks ago

    Incidents like this just amuse me. These fools should be fined and should be liable for the payrolls of all involved searching for them because these rescue workers could be off doing their normal jobs instead of saving morons with last minute whims! It would be different if they were victims of bad weather or event that was not of their own making, which caused their displacement from society, but it was not. Thanks to our great park rangers for their continued support in these type of matters!!!!!

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 18 weeks ago

    I wonder if this argument of decommissioning National Park Service (NPS) units doesn't buy into the hands of those who want to privatize our public lands and sell them off. Wouldn't this be giving them what they want? The problem is not a National Park Service that is too large, but, a philosophy of complete free trade that will cure all our ills...a very bad idea.

    On the other hand, there is some merit to decommissioning NPS units as National Recreation Areas (NRAs) are far over on the spectrum of pure playgrounds. NRAs represent the side of the NPS that loves very intense recreational development. Former director Newton Drury thought they went well beyond the mission of the NPS (I'm referring to Sellars book, Preserving Nature in the National Parks). The historical units, I do think fall well within the mission of the NPS and as MRC says, the NPS has done a good job with them, given the NPS's poor funding. Having the influence of the NPS as managers of the NRAs has perhaps had a better influence on them, than if they had been turned over to some other agency.

    rob mutch
    --
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography,
    www.robmutch.com

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 18 weeks ago

    I am uncomfortable with the idea of turning over any of the historical National Parks to the Department of Defense.

    I have been very positively impressed by the neutral position taken by National Park interpretive rangers, when providing information about sites where people may have strong, differing, points of view.

    At Mesa Verde NP, the ranger who accompanied my group was careful to say that there is no clear consensus about why the people who had dwelled there left. He offered some ideas that various people have put forward, but made it clear that the matter is still unexplained. At other parks where white settlers came in conflict with native peoples, the rangers were careful to explain the point of view of both groups.

    I am not confident that representatives of the DoD would be as even handed, especially at parks where members of the armed forces played a role.

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 18 weeks ago

    Excuse me Dave! What church do you preach from? I hope these comments of yours aren't coming from the sermon at the mount...if they are I'm aghast!

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 18 weeks ago

    And while I am at it:

    A high-profile NPS unit of the fur trade is clearly missing. There are some at the Columbia River and Grand Portage NM at Lake Superior exists, but there is no unit to showcase the history of the fur trade in the Rocky Mountains. Daniel, WY would be the ideal place, I'm sure there is suitable federal land, it's in easy driving distance from Grand Teton NP, and it is the place where more of the Rendezvous toke place then anywhere else.

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 18 weeks ago

    The National Park System evolved over time. All those units were seen as of national relevance at one time. And the scope of the National Park Service changed: The very first National Park was founded as a playground or park for the enjoyment and benefit of the people. Since the Organic Act conservation moved into the fore ground. And Mission 66 was instrumental to make interpretation and education of the visitors a priority. Throughout the 20th century, various historically important areas were added to the National Park System as NM, NHS, NHP and what ever.

    Clinton made the BLM a key player with establishing huge National Monuments under their jurisdiction. The Forest Service has a few of them since 1978/1980 in Alaska and the Cascade Range too. And very new in the game is the FWS with two NMs (Hanford Reach, WA and Papahānaumokuākea, HI).

    Maybe it is time to sort this out. Areas with primarily recreational use may not be served best, if they are administrated by the NPS. That would deal with the NRAs and the city parks in DC. Give them to the mayor of DC, the states (in the east) and the BLM in the west. How about the National Seashores/Lakeshores? Some of them see a lot of recreational use, but large parts are valuable nature.

    How about the historical units? You proposed that Battlefields (and maybe all of some of the military forts that are NMs, NHSs and NHPs) could go to a new agency of the DoD. I'm not convinced. The NPS does a tremendous job in providing interpretation about the military history. Their publications, print or websites, on the War of Independence and the Civil War are excellent. Much of this experience would be lost - at least for some time - with transition to a new agency. And there are units where the national importance isn't universally accepted any more. Thaddeus Kosciuszko NM might be one, Claire Burtons NHS? African Burial Ground NM? Pipe Spring NM? All of them relevant historical persons/places. But monuments of national interest?

    And I believe all high-profile areas that are protected for their natural features should be concentrated with the NPS (maybe with the exception of Alaska, the FS seems to do a good job with the two NMs within Tongass National Forest). But Mount St. Helens, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and the rarely talked about but highly interesting Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument IMHO should be made NPS units, and preferably National Parks.

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 18 weeks ago

    Take this from a retired lawman and current minister:

    Let the ordinary citizen carry his/her gun in the park!
    It makes me sick to hear some of the rangers,etc. use the argument that people will draw their gun and fire at everyone they have an argument with. How sad when they take the ELITIST attitude like that.
    What the officials are saying is that ONLY trained police have the sense to know when to draw a gun.
    Police training has NOTHING to do with teaching morals. The only thing it does is teach gun retention, legalities and accuracy training. MOST of the lawmen I worked with had horrible temper problems and many o f them, quite frankly scared me when they got into an argument.

    The public officials that oppose such legislation should be removed as they think their constituents are dumb,ignornant sheep that need to be led by them.

    The most dangerous place you can go is in the mountains and remote areas of our nations parks. Why?
    Because the predators KNOW you are a sitting duck out there. I would NEVER take my family or myself
    ANYWHERE that I couldn't carry my weapon. If you knew what I knew was out there walking around free,
    you's carry TWO guns.

    Remember this: an armed society is a polite society!

  • Missing Cavers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Ill-Prepared   6 years 18 weeks ago

    This story reminds me of a preacher from small town Ohio who took a group of people from his church on a wilderness trip to Alaska, TWICE! Both times they had to be rescued. Kids trying to negotiate glaciers in tennis shoes, wearing cotton, and peeing orange from dehydration. Of course he had all the proper gear. These guys are lucky anybody found them, let alone alive still!

  • Missing Cavers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Ill-Prepared   6 years 18 weeks ago

    adventures are fun, but rule of thumb always be prepared for the unseeable, waterproof matches,dry packaged food or drink, blanket, proper clothing.
    When will people learn? So many deaths could have been prevented in mountains caves and other places if only a little time spent studying and preparing.These kids were lucky this time.

  • Should Uranium Mining Be Allowed Outside Grand Canyon National Park?   6 years 18 weeks ago

    Nuclear energy proponents never bring up the waste issue, that's true. Nor do they ever mention the the vulnerability-to-terrorist-attack issue. But what no one EVER brings up about nuclear is the carbon intensity it actually requires.

    According to a study by the Oxford Policy Group, nuclear power emits a lot more CO2 than is commonly believed and, more importantly, CO2 emissions from nuclear power will increase over time. This is due to the carbon impact of the entire life-cycle of nuclear power production, including extracting increasingly low-grade uranium ore from the earth's crust (which involves a sequence of physical and chemical processes that use energy and produce CO2), but also, transportation to plants and long-term maintenance of waste.

    When the entire life-cycle is considered, in fact nuclear energy's emissions falls somewhere between renewables and fossil fuels (depending on the quality of the ore that is being extracted). It is most certainly NOT a "clean energy" source, as industry has already brainwashed many of you into believing, and parroting here. Go here to obtain the Oxford report: http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/publications/briefing_papers/
    secureenergy.php.

    There is no easy way out of global warming, folks. Instead of crying for more nuclear -- itself a dirty source of fuel -- start looking at your own energy consumption -- your SUVs, your McMansions, your long commute to work, and your diet. Making the seemingly difficult choices now could very well save us from catastrophic climate change not too far in the future (or your 2.3 kids' futures) -- when our choices will be very, very limited, and all available options will be even more painful.

  • Missing Cavers Found At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 18 weeks ago

    That is why I could not be a park ranger, to risk my life and the lives of other park rangers and rescue personnel to search for a group of nimrods like this. Yet the national park rangers do it every year, throughout our national park system. My hat's off to the brave park rangers, which is more than I can say for the stupid "hikers" that take unnecessary risks and chances. You idiots better be thankful that our park system has such dedicated personnel that will try to rescue you. Your children do not have much of a future if they inherited your brain cells..........

  • Should Uranium Mining Be Allowed Outside Grand Canyon National Park?   6 years 18 weeks ago

    If there isn't any visual polution, damage to the landscape, a threat to the wildlife, and finally if there isn't an increase to the air polution, then I don't see any problem with the mining. It might help put some people back to work. New Mexico, Arizona, and a few other states in the west are in dire need of fresh water, thus another way to restore jobs in that part of America, would be to build more desalination plants. This would be a win for the states needing the water, plus it would help their industry. Maybe this would be one way to keep jobs in America, rather than going to China, India, etc.

  • Should Uranium Mining Be Allowed Outside Grand Canyon National Park?   6 years 18 weeks ago

    Those who advocate nuclear power as an excellent alternative to oil never seem to recall the issue of nuclear waste. The words "long-term storage" is entirely inadequate to explain what is needed for the used waste any increase of nuclear energy will produce. What are we talking about leaving to the seventh generation?

    Perhaps what's really needed isn't a "quick fix" like nuclear energy, which is replacing one bad idea (oil) with another (nuclear). Maybe we need to create a serious, forward-looking energy policy for this nation that will get us out of this mess for the long-term.

    In the meantime, mining for uranium is neither efficient nor a boon for the environmental stability of the region. The parks grow more and more isolated from the rest of the land around it and (to touch on Donne) no ecosystem is an island... encroachment usually leads to compromise.

  • Should Uranium Mining Be Allowed Outside Grand Canyon National Park?   6 years 18 weeks ago

    Yes...we need more nuclear!!

  • National Park Service Revenues Down $1.3 Million On Transition to America The Beautiful Pass   6 years 18 weeks ago

    This headline of this post seems to be VERY misleading. When I do the math it looks like the NPS ended up with increased revenue for the year. (Almost $8 million dollars) The only thing that was down was the ATB annual pass, all other revenue categories were UP, park pass sales, entrance fees and senior passes. What this clearly shows is that people are purchasing the passes as a value, to avoid paying entrance fees, not really to support the NPS. A lower priced pass only takes revenue away from parks and their ability and provide services and protect resources. Good job to NPS for creating a balanced program that offers many choices and many different price ranges.

  • Should Uranium Mining Be Allowed Outside Grand Canyon National Park?   6 years 18 weeks ago


    Marylander,
    Oil is 100 a barrel. Nuclear energy is an alternative energy source. If we follow the french model we will have a lot more nuke plants and be less dependent on oil. I wonder if this has something to do with it? The site selection depends on lots of things like grade of ore, ease of extraction and transport and who has the lease. Even solar will demand more mining activity to supply the raw materials necesaary for batterys, cable,etc. We may be in the process of trading oil pumps for open pit mines.
    Joe