Recent comments

  • Have High Gas Prices Deterred Travel within Theodore Roosevelt National Park?   6 years 15 weeks ago

    I assume that Theodore Roosevelt Nat'l Park is a proxy for examining the wider potential impact of rising fuel costs on Park visitation.

    With sustained high fuel prices, there will be continuing pressure on the motor home, travel trailer, and large pickup markets. Ford - who's bread & butter is the big pickup for towing - is already reporting a steep reduction of sales in that specific recreational market.

    Downward trends in RV-related sales would go on for years, and be cumulative. People who have a nice, comfortable unit now, will wait until it no longer makes them happy, to buy a new one. At that time, they will assess and decide whether to replace their unit, or exit the market.

    So it's much more than just a question of the cost per mile for gas; it's also the long-range decisions about what kind of vehicle to buy. Many will choose to no longer buy & maintain a large recreational vehicle at all. Instead, they may just fly to Banff or the Bahamas and hang out for a week or two.

    The fundamentals of the petroleum industry clearly suggest that prices may continue to rise. Presumably, until they price themselves right out of the market, until demand drops significantly and prices fall to what the market will bear. Some say, "Demand will never drop": There is an element of truth in this, in that many will stubbornly cling to their preferred patterns & lifestyles. To the extent we accept this as broadly true, though, we should also recognize that it probably points to a form of 'brittleness' in public behavior. Instead of a gradual adaptation, it could instead mean a sudden large-scale shift in folks' views & actions.

    How high will/can fuel prices go? It seems an oversight to take up the general questions of this post, without acknowledging what we all know: Prices could (and we assume will) go higher. The main question really is, how much higher?

    I have seen believable economic assessments that we can go to $5-6/gal, and still sustain a close semblance of our present economic dynamic. Beyond that, and we begin to suffer various forms of internal breakdown. If that is the case, and that is (therefore) the target price-range, then I'd say we are not so far from it now that the additional increase will make too much basic difference. If prices go beyond, though, then both the fuel-bill & the collateral economic turmoil could devastate the tourism industry.

    If the Richard Cheneys and Saudi families of the world figure that fuel should go to $7-8/gal, then tourism as we know it may be one of the sectors of our economy that have already been slated for sacrifice. (Its emphasis on fuel-use could very well promote it high up the list for deprecation ... as would appear has been the fate of commercial airlines.)

    Many people are now becoming 'concerned' about our long-term economic outlook. This may apply especially to those who have the latitude to decide whether to buy a quarter million dollar RV ... a half million dollar RV ... or skip the RV thing altogether and go a different route. These are people who often got where they are by being smart with money, and who patently have an 'estate' to protect. Wage-earners are commonly 'just along for the ride', and also have little latitude in their fiscal affairs, even if they decline to embrace the typical fatalism.

    It does seem to me that the price of fuel, the future price of fuel, changes in vehicle-purchase patterns, and the mounting indication of a long stretch of rough road ahead for the national & global economy could all be pointing at serious-to-grave effects on Nat'l Park visitation.

  • Paying To Understand U.S. History in the National Park System   6 years 15 weeks ago

    This has been a long and meandering thread that has provided a wealth of insights that I did not expect to emerge when it was first posted.

    Some of the main points I've gleaned: 1) That maybe the NPS does not do enough market based research before it builds visitor related facilities or understand the tourism business well enough to price admission fees to cover their costs.

    2) The way visitor counts are collected is not consistent and probably inaccurate in many individual instances.

    3) That

    the NPS needs to do a much better job of understanding its guests, why they do and do not visit and market mission-based experiences based on individual needs.
    (thanks to the RoadRangers).

    4) Many people would be willing to pay as they go for facilities and services, especially if they knew that the monies being collected were being used to sustain the individual park and not being sent to Washington, DC.

    5) Parks were originally intended to be somewhat self-sustaining and that guiding principle has gradually been lost in the maze of politics and bureaucratic inertia that defines the modern NPS.

    Good thread people. We'll give those duffers on that upcoming commission a run for their money when it comes to thorough and reasoned analysis of the national parks.

  • Have High Gas Prices Deterred Travel within Theodore Roosevelt National Park?   6 years 15 weeks ago

    I don't buy the fuel cost scenario. Roosevelt may be right on an Interstate (literally), but it's a long drive from anywhere and not even all that easy to fly into. If someone has driven there, they aren't going to blink at driving another 75 minutes to the North Unit, regardless of gas prices.

    June may have been an anomaly. (I was there the first week of August.) I think you're going to see declining visitation as a percentage of total visitation in the North Unit and similar outlying areas of parks simply because people aren't interested in them. Instant gratification and family-friendly entertainment are becoming more and more mandatory for the vast majority of travelers. The North Unit is not very interesting to Joe Tourist. Neither is the Schoodic Peninsula in Acadia, North Manitou Island in Sleeping Bear Dunes, the South Unit of Badlands, etc. All of those outlying parcels require extra effort for little entertainment reward. Listening to the rangers explaining to people at the VC what the North Unit of Roosevelt was, they were almost warning people not to go there. Of course, the rangers were talking to busloads of senior citizens and families that looked like the Von Trapps. Those are the visitors that are raising the numbers in general, but they certainly aren't going to visit remote areas. There are no horse rides at the NU, the road isn't a friendly loop, and it's too far from Medora - which is quite an extraordinary tourist trap (emphasis on the word trap).

    Just my opinion, based on a similar dearth of data as the gas theory. I think it's more the "Last Child in the Woods" phenomenon.

    -Kirby.....Lansing, MI

  • Paying To Understand U.S. History in the National Park System   6 years 15 weeks ago

    The NPS Public Use Statistics Office can be found at:
    http://www.nature.nps.gov/stats/

    The counting methodology apparently varies by NPS unit and through time, but most seem to use a traffic counter multiplied by some constant (assumed average occupants per vehicle).

    Here at Mount Rainier the total visitation figures are "Recreation" and "Non-Recreation" combined. I couldn't find an explanation of the latter category (as much as 30%, but sometimes zero or even negative), but presumably it includes employees, volunteers, concession workers, contractors, etc.

    There is no commercial traffic allowed, so it appears the NPS inflates the numbers by essentially counting themselves. Interesting that even this way, they have reached the commonly used PR figure of 2 million/year only a few times in the past fifteen years.

  • Paying To Understand U.S. History in the National Park System   6 years 15 weeks ago

    RoadRanger;

    Absolutely & dramatically, Olympic Nat'l Park is counting visitors multiple times. Furthermore & worse, I believe they are counting those who merely drive through at certain points, because the highway cuts through the Park.

    Specifically, I recently sought out the NPS statistics page for ONP and saw they break down the visitor count by month & major 'destination' within the Park. They list "Lake Crescent" as receiving a quarter million visits a month at peak season. This is an outrageous exaggeration of what the Lake Crescent facilities could accommodate. No, the vast majority of those people are simply driving past anything & everything at Lake Crescent, using the highway to get from point A to point B.

    And it gets worse. The highway that goes by Lake Crescent is virtually the only way to get from the West End of Olympic Peninsula to the East End ... were all the main lumber mills and all the log export is located ... while the great bulk of logging takes place on the West End. Since the Park is evidently using a traffic-counter on the highway to count 'visitors', they are counting logging trucks and multiple forms of business traffic, plus quite hefty portions of local residents traveling back & forth (a delightful part & circumstance of the lifestyle here).

    On the Olympic Peninsula, logging trucks make 2-3 trips from west to east each workday and are in all likelihood counted as a 'visitor' 4 to 6 times each day!

    I see no reason to doubt that other Parks are not likewise enthusiastically padding & spinning their visitor-count. I would not be surprised if the 'error' at ONP is a full order of magnitude. RoadRanger's figure of 50 million could be twice too high.

    If any are interested, I will find & post the link to the NPS stats page again, but I have to get off to work now.

  • Paying To Understand U.S. History in the National Park System   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Re Kurt's comments on the 275 million or so visitors in the parks last year. Those who support fees as a means of significant funds for park budgets need to keep in mind that this figure counts visits, not visitors. Does the NPS have any idea how many individuals made multiple recreation visits to parks last year? I'd say we probably have more like 50 million Americans that make at least one visit to a national park in any given year. That figure may be high, I simply don't know. When you run these smaller numbers with the $2.4 billion budget, that American the Beautiful pass at $80 is beyond reasonable.

    I believe this is a valuable way to measure interest in parks, potential constituency, etc. Urban parks with significant recreation components - C&O Canal, Chattahoochee River, Timucuan, Golden Gate, Gateway, etc. - could easily have thousands of visitors who make 200-300 or more visits to a park in a year. In the last twenty years, several of our smaller historic parks in urban and suburban settings have watched the primary reason for visiting the place shift from "history" to "recreation." That translates into a huge increase in multiple annual visits by a small group of individuals. I'd like to know the impact of this shift on Gettysburg's usage. I suspect it is growing, but will be tempered by an increase in use - and an improved revenue stream - when the buffs visit during the CW Sesquicentennial.

  • Paying To Understand U.S. History in the National Park System   6 years 16 weeks ago

    This Libertarian approach equates the National Park System with your local Wal-Mart or Wall Street enterprise, and it never was intended to be.

    I must respectfully disagree. (And may I ask that you use the small-l "libertarian" here to distinguish between the political party and the philosophy?). The libertarian philosophy of land management does not advocate managing parks for the profit of shareholders or a private family. Rather, libertarian philosophy advocates cutting political influence and encourages park management to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining; historically, at least one national park was meant to be self-sustaining. In 1914, William Steele, "father" and superintendent of Crater Lake National Park, wrote:

    The frequent changes of administration in this Government, together with the unsatisfactory condition in which the national park service is left by Congress, are so pronounced that capitalists are unwilling to advance funds on park concessions in amounts adequate to their needs. . . . Under such conditions it seems to me imperative that the General government acquire possession of all hotels and other permanent improvements of a private nature within the parks. . . . This would be an important step toward making the parks self-sustaining, which they should be. With the road system completed, this revenue, together with that received from automobiles, would make the Crater Lake Park self-sustaining from the start . . .

    Of course, Will Steele, was a bit of a development nut. He advocated a road inside the Crater Lake caldera and a road up Wizard Island as well as a parking lot on top of Mt. Scott, so . . .

    But my larger point is that at the early 20th century, the overall goal seemed to emphasize a self-sustaining nature of national parks:

    Roosevelt's Bureau of the Budget in 1935 instructed the Service to develop a fee structure for all the national parks and the national monuments as well, the object being to make the National Park System more nearly self-sustaining.

    I've seen historical evidence in the other parks I've worked that parks were originally intended to be self-sustaining, although I do not have access to those resources. So, I don't think that the claim that parks should be dependent on federal funding holds much historical weight.

  • Paying To Understand U.S. History in the National Park System   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Two words: Corporate Sponsorship. Anyone been to a sports stadium lately? Who wouldn't want to visit the "Frito Lay National Military Park at Gettysburg"? Or perhaps "General Motors National Park"? (It's in Maine. The tallest mountain there is already named for a GM brand.)

    -Kirby.....Lansing, MI

  • Paying To Understand U.S. History in the National Park System   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Sounds good Frank....until you work the economies of scale, no? You're not talking about one or two locations, a city zoo here, or an art museum there.

    At last count there were 391 units of the park system (and countless more in the incubation chamber we call Congress). The Park Service's annual budget, at last tally, was around $2.4 billion/year. There were roughly 275 million visitors to the parks last year.

    A rough estimation -- and correct my math, please, if necessary -- is that each of those 275 million visitors would have to pay around $875 a year to meet that $2.4 billion. We're not just talking adults, either; we're talking teens, tweens, and toddlers. Family of six? That'd be $5,250 for your annual parks membership. Kinda makes that $80 America the Beautiful Pass seem downright reasonable, doesn't it?

    And then, of course, there are the parks that don't have large visitations and yet still have to pay the bills year-round for their infrastructure. How do they pay the bills? Or do you sell them off? If so, to whom? Who would want them if they can't be self-sufficient? Mining and logging companies perhaps, or gateway communities.

    Sure, I suppose you could have federal taxes pay part, but not all, the bills, but how do you come up with that formula?

    Part of the problem I see is that if you start charging folks not just to come through the entrance gate and to pitch a tent but also to hike this trail or that trail, to paddle on that lake or down that river, or pay a membership fee, ala the local country club, you are indeed going to create an elitist preserve. It's going to be so elitist, in fact, with the dropoff in visitation, that the parks decommissoning commission will be back in a heartbeat.

    This Libertarian approach equates the National Park System with your local Wal-Mart or Wall Street enterprise, and it never was intended to be.

    I would much rather see Congress bite the bullet and adequately fund the parks. How they do it in the end is up to them. Put all the money in the appropriations bill, create endowment funds that individuals and corporate partners could contribute to, start a national lottery with ticket sales going to the parks for five years, and then the interstate highways for five years, and on and on, whatever.

    The problems I see with charging more and more and bigger and bigger fees to fund the parks is 1) it's never going to be equitable across the 391-unit board, 2) it puts the parks out of reach for a larger and larger segment of the population and, 3) the resultant decline in visitation will force those fees to grow at a more and more rapid pace.

  • Plague Kills Many Prairie Dogs and Black-Footed Ferrets in Grasslands Near Badlands National Park   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Nope, missed the sarcasm completely due mainly to multiple references in prior threads pertaining to the same culprit as the basis for all the world's ills, along with the same self-righteous fool of an ex-VP being touted as the "hero" of the planet. Global warming advocates consistently point to carbon dioxide as the sole evil, which is by far not accurate, and also quote the Goremeister chapter and verse without any qualification or background on the matter, just parroting his position as though the research was their own. The planet is cyclical, like it or not, and unfortunately the "how, why and when" behind the process of it's timing to shift magnetic poles, alter orbital paths or axis orientation along with multiple other factors are not currently within the comprehension of mankind. Alas, it becomes a sensitive arena within which to open a conversation.

    I offer my sincere apologies to any offended contributors. But I don't recant my position.

  • Paying To Understand U.S. History in the National Park System   6 years 16 weeks ago

    National park funding should be switched from tax-based to one that is at least partially user supported. The current double-dipping system is unfair, though. Shouldn't be able to have it both ways.

    At the summit of Devil's Rest, I asked my friend, a retired ranger, if he would pay to hike the trail we'd just enjoyed, and he said he would pay $10 or $15 to hike it. I, too, would pay. Some of the people who hiked the lower part of the trail, the Wahkeena #420 trail, might not willing to do so, but as an elitist, that's acceptable to me. It might exclude people like the guy who was heavily intoxicated and drinking beer near Fairy Falls. "I had a long week landscaping," he slurred as I passed. I sure hope that guy made it down the slippery trail without plummeting to his death. (But on a more serious note, I think that if anyone can pay to drive to the National Scenic Area, they can probably pay an entrance fee. And perhaps the entrance fee can be flexible, a "suggested donation as it is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.)

    I also asked my friend, "Wouldn't it be great if you could buy a membership to an individual park or a system of parks? What if that membership came with voting rights so that you could vote for the board of directors of that park or the system?" He liked the idea.

    What if such memberships could fund a substantial portion of a park's budget? I would gladly pay hundreds of dollars a year to be a contributing member, like I do for the Oregon Zoo or the Portland Art Museum. If that membership came with voting privileges, I'd pay even more. Wouldn't you be willing to do this to fund our national parks?

    I agree with the contributors who suggest piecemeal user fees. It's commonplace in portions of Europe I've visited. All fees should supplement the membership revenue described above and go directly toward park operations.

    It works for zoos and museums. It works for the Tower of London, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is governed by an unpaid board of trustees. It could work for national parks.

  • Plague Kills Many Prairie Dogs and Black-Footed Ferrets in Grasslands Near Badlands National Park   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Actually the extended allergy season has nothing to do with goldenrod. The pollen of goldenrod is too large to be carried by the wind and cause allergies. The real culprit is likely ragweed.

  • The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial You See Over There By the Tidal Basin Is Not the Original   6 years 16 weeks ago

    My aunt last year gave me a locally-published small book about the history of the logging community & industry on the "West End" of the Olympic Peninsula (NW Washington State). The book and all the stories & (many!) photographs are centered around the slightly-legendary town of Forks (where she lives and I was born).

    Prominent in this delightful book is the story of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt coming through in the 1930s on a tour of the Olympic Peninsula.

    An interesting story and attendant photo relate a plan by the local booster-squad to do something special for the President. They wanted his motorcade to stop along the road, where they would demonstrate the topping of a large, tall tree (to make a natural spar).

    The President's managers nixed the plan. No, it is too dangerous for the President to be halted at a prearranged location. Evil-doers would then know where to find him, immobilized.

    So the local enthusiasts found a way to halt the motorcade at a previously undetermined location - that is, they neglected to inform the Secret Service about it. With the President stopped, they would then put on a show for him.

    Roosevelt was scheduled to make a side-trip to the Quileute tribe village of La Push. This involved going past the Rayonier timber company rail sorting yard. At a rail-sort they had hundreds of rail car loads of logs, and they would "sort" them into separate trains consisting of sensible lots of product. Basically, it means moving numerous trains back & forth a short distance. Move train A out of the way a short distance and park it briefly, then move train B into the position previously occupied by A, then move train C ... and so on. Could go on for hours. Sorting & shuffling cars in & out of the different trains as ya go.

    The road that went past the sorting yard was frequently blocked by a train of log-cars parked just outside the yard. Sure enough, when Roosevelt's motorcade wound along the little road to La Push - here was a train sitting across the road. Imagine that.

    And moreover, in the adjacent timber-stand, here was a big, isolated tree with a climber high up, cutting out the top. When you cut the top out of a big tree, the combination of lateral thrust from the toppling top, and the windage-resistance from all the foliage, pushes the long, tall & cleanly-stripped spar-trunk sidewise quite some distance. As the top falls away, the bare spar then whipsaws back & forth quite dramatically ... with the tree-climber & faller roped to the very top of it (generally hollering, waving his hat, etc).

    The President's men were having fits. They could not find anyone to get the train off the road. But Franklin was having a fine time, watching the show. It was gradually becoming evident that the boys from Washington (D.C.) had been had. Then Roosevelt exacerbated the situation by demanding, "Bring me that man!". And so he was, of course - shaking hands with the President, the two sharing great big smiles.

    With the cameras popping away and media-hacks (Where did these guys come from?!) getting their scoop. Then the train obligingly rolled aside, and the tour continued on to La Push.

    A prize photograph on the cover of the book.

    This was, of course, FDR's inspection for the proposed Olympic National Park.

  • Plague Kills Many Prairie Dogs and Black-Footed Ferrets in Grasslands Near Badlands National Park   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Anonymous;

    For sure, I took your sarcasm hook-line-and-sinker. ;-)

    The reason I did, of course, is:

    • Going by Anonymous, I have no idea who's talking, and...
    • ... I read identical (but earnest!) language every day!

  • Plague Kills Many Prairie Dogs and Black-Footed Ferrets in Grasslands Near Badlands National Park   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Bob-

    I most certainly hope that the referenced statement does NOT come from a previous background or current program of study in biological sciences. My reference is specific to the position that had I been reviewing a thesis related to topics in virology, E&E research, pathogenic microbiology, biochemistry, molecular or genetic research on the specific pathogen mentioned in the article or other subject matter akin to communicable diseases in the rodent species on North America I would have most certainly not conferred upon the applicant the advanced degree that they were seeking. Even though my personal experience was with an advisor who wasn't above keeping things light-hearted in the lab during difficult times, by the same token he also made sure the research projects were directed such that we didn't tangentially alter our thought processes when things went awry. And the above quotation from anon would have most assuredly qualified as thought processes gone awry, unsubstantiated by common sense, current publications or conventional wisdom within the field of knowledge.

    No, it didn't strike a chord with me as though the statement came directly or indirectly from anyone's program of study. Thank God.

  • Plague Kills Many Prairie Dogs and Black-Footed Ferrets in Grasslands Near Badlands National Park   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Perhaps you didn't recognize the sarcasm! Everything bad gets blamed on global warming and my comments were intended to be tongue and cheek. In fact in VA they recently attributed the extended goldenrod season and resultant elevated allergies on global warming - egad! Actually, Bob wrote a pretty good article on the plague effecting the prairie dogs & ferrets and I should have left it at that. Sorry, Bob.

    "To what evidence do you attribute this lame-brained notion, that the sporadic / periodic appearance of virulent diseases is a man-made event, or a phenomenon with direct correlations to atmospheric conditions?"

  • Paying To Understand U.S. History in the National Park System   6 years 16 weeks ago

    As science fiction great Heinlen said, TANSTAFL, There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. I might accept that there is a compelling interest for the government to set aside area deemed special for historical, geological/ecological, or aesthetic reasons (although I'm not sure where the Constitution gives it authority to do so), but as a basic rule:

    People should pay for what they use. It makes no sense to charge a tax-payer who never goes to the parks for their upkeep.

    Mark

  • At Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Presidio Trust Ponders Where to Put a New Art Museum   6 years 16 weeks ago

    On August 28 the Landmark Advisory Board declared the site on the parade ground of the Main Post "would not be compatible with the massing, size, scale, and architectural features of the historic Main Post buildings, and would therefore violate the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards." http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=15876

  • Plague Kills Many Prairie Dogs and Black-Footed Ferrets in Grasslands Near Badlands National Park   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Lone Hiker, I'm a bit puzzled by that reference to "your dissertation." What makes you think that the (anonymous) person who made that statement has a doctorate or is working on one?

  • Is Technology Compatible With The National Park Wilderness Experience?   6 years 16 weeks ago

    I think it falls on each of us to determine what experience we want in the backcountry. I just don't want some do-gooder, thinking they know better than anyone else, pushing for a rule to prohibit us from taking along things I think will make the experience more enjoyable for me. Two weeks ago, while backpacking in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (up by Da Yoopers!), my wife took along her Creative Zen to listen to some music. She never turned it on all week. There is just too much to do, see, and hear. Besides, she probably couldn't hear it anyway above her breathing as we went uphill, downhill, etc.

    I do, however, draw a line where safety is concerned. We took along the PLB, a weather radio, GPS, compass, water filter, etc. We did take along a cell phone to use as an alarm clock and, if possible, make a call to the daughter to say "Guess where we are and you aren't?" But as expected, no signal.

    If I wanted to really rough it like they did in the old days, I would have joined my mom and dad when they attened their buckskinner encampments. In pre-tech days, there were fewer people and fewer rules. I would have taken a horse where horses are no longer allowed. I would have hunted along the trail for food where hunting is not allowed. I would have been able to drink from streams where I now need to filter the water.

    Noise from other campers is usually not a problem in the back country. Trees, hills, etc., really limit noise. But I expect to never hear music from another campsite and if I do, I may have to get my axe out of my pack and put on a hockey mask!

  • Glacier National Park Officials Plan to Scale Down Search for Missing Hiker   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Anonymous (Sept. 1);

    It seems to me that "risk" & "daring" are important parts of the overall formula that attracts many visitors to our Park venues.

    See for example the recently-revived Considering a Hike Up Half Dome? post, in which a fairly dramatic risk-component draws rather average tourists onto terrain one would think more suited to real (and well-equipped) mountain climbers.

    I expect many would balk, at any systematic & effective approach to risk-curtailment.

  • Plague Kills Many Prairie Dogs and Black-Footed Ferrets in Grasslands Near Badlands National Park   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Anonymous queries:

    "What dreadful man made act has caused this plague."
    The Wikipedia Misanthropy entry defines & describes it as:
    "... a general dislike, distrust, or hatred of the human species or a disposition to dislike and/or distrust other people. ... A misanthrope or misanthropist is a person who dislikes or distrusts humanity as a general rule."
    Our English word for it comes from the Greek civilization, over 2,000 years ago. Other cultures & languages have their own words for the same thing. The phenomenon of misanthropy has been plainly visible to & described by alert observers since the advent of organized societies.

    Green/Liberalism, environmental activists, and especially the concern for anthropogenic climate change have taken on increasingly dramatic & strident tones of misanthropy in recent years. In former decades, the preferred distinction of an environmentalist was to be a fine naturalist, but today it is considered more conventional & distinguished to style oneself as a warrior against humanity.

    The Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition displays strong misanthropic themes. Mankind is fallen. Man is in sin. All must repent. Humankind must be punished. Environmentalism is not "religion", but is has increasingly taken on several of the peculiarities & liabilities of it.

    It is hard to explain the prevalence & persistence of misanthropy, considering that it is patently a psychological & emotional disability. In this sense, it resembles a less-debilitating analogy to schizophrenia, in that it is a very widespread & common mental infirmity, or disease, which we would expect to be reduced to a much-lower incidence, by naturalistic processes.

    Like other diseases, misanthropy ebbs & flows. There are times when it seems to have been in recession, while at other times we see it sweeping through the prairie dog colonies of human society, laying waste not so much to bodies & lives, but to the institutions that are the weave & warp of our culture.

    Fascinating natural phenomenon, misanthropy.

  • Plague Kills Many Prairie Dogs and Black-Footed Ferrets in Grasslands Near Badlands National Park   6 years 16 weeks ago

    It appears that the rampant global warming that we have caused by our abuses has bought some time forre the treatment process.

    If I had read this statement in your dissertation, your defense would have failed immediately and I would have ousted you from the program. To what evidence do you attribute this lame-brained notion, that the sporadic / periodic appearance of virulent diseases is a man-made event, or a phenomenon with direct correlations to atmospheric conditions? Does your philosophy simultaneously apply across the continents, also laying blame for the epidemics of Marburg and Ebola at the feet of "global warming"? Am I to assume that, since the disease didn't actually exist with any prevalence prior to the mid-60's, that the HIV epidemic is global warming in origin as well? As is mersa, no doubt. To which specific branch of biological sciences do you attribute your degree sir / madam, and might I ask, which distinguished and learned institution of higher education is responsible for fostering these notions within the confines of their programs? Your claims are not only baseless, they are outright laughable, as is the Tennessee lunatic who touts his beliefs above all mankind and preaches conservation while wasting more personally than a community can save annually. Go ahead, send Al the data, and let him produce another movie. Maybe the folks at Sundance will see fit to have it nominated for Best Amateur Comedy of the Year.

    Just when you think you've heard everything.

  • Creature Feature: The Red-Throated Loon   6 years 16 weeks ago

    It took me a bit to find your wonderful site! I too have been trying to find out which birds were habituating the lake my husband and I went camping at this year and last year. I was sure the two birds I have been seeing were loons, but the sounds they made and the red eyes and chest were what kept throwing me off. I am now glad to see that we were right in assuming they were loons. I just spent the 2nd to last week in August at the lake(Huston Lake, Vancouver Island, BC) and there were only the two loons. I was wondering if there should have been young or not with them. I did not see anymore than the two that were there. Great website!! Thankyou.
    Jeri-Anne

  • Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historical Site Commemorates a Great Achievement in Early Transportation   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Thanks for putting this article on your site. This is an interesting location to visit if you have not been there. Although not in a heavily traveled area, it is worth the stop to see the ingenuity employed at by the people at that time to solve the problem discussed in the article above. There is much other history in the area of Gallitzin and Altoona, including the the Railroader Museum in Altooona and the famous Horseshoe Curve built by the Pennsylvania RR and opened in 1854. That engineering feat was the reason the inclined plane system was no longer needed.