Recent comments

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   6 years 12 weeks ago

    I have mixed feelings on the issue of downhill ski facilities in the National Parks. On the one hand, thousands of sharp ski edges and the oil dripping from the lift cables & grooming machinery cause noticeable vegetative impacts. Ski areas do provide more incentive for the NPS to provide access for other types of non-motorized winter recreation, though.

    When the small poma lift & rope tows operated at Paradise here at Mount Rainier until the early 70's, the Park Service seemed to take pride in meeting the challenge of opening the road daily and most of the Rangers actually ranged on skis. Even with 2WD GSA patrol vehicles and surplus beater plows & trucks from Bremerton that the Navy had given up on, on average the road opened about one hour past eight AM for every six inches of new snow. Currently that figure is about one hour for every two inches and declining every year. This despite less average snow, more powerful equipment, and a fleet of SUV's that would make a Saudi prince blush.

    Non-openings and extended closures are also increasingly common. A large percentage of local winter recreationists are choosing not to waste their time here, to the dismay of local businesses. It seems as though the NPS would rather raise the drawbridge and polish their brass buffaloes all winter.

  • Resolved: I’ll Visit at Least These Five National Parks in 2009   6 years 12 weeks ago

    I envy you your itinerary, Bob. Death Valley & Great Sand Dunes are both underappreciated gems. I still vividly recall watching the changing moonlight shadows on the distant dunes while shivering all night during an unplanned bivy near the summit of Colorado's Crestone Needle. If you have time, don't miss the very impressive Anasazi ruins Betatakin & Keet Seel at the misnamed Navajo Nat'l Monument.

  • Resolved: I’ll Visit at Least These Five National Parks in 2009   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Good point, DWalker. For several years I've been pondering a backpack trip there, and since it's in my backyard, relatively speaking (what's a 5-hour drive?!?), I should add that to my 09 list.

  • Resolved: I’ll Visit at Least These Five National Parks in 2009   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Don't forget to visit Great Basin, my personal favorite.

  • Resolved: I’ll Visit at Least These Five National Parks in 2009   6 years 12 weeks ago

    2008 was a good year for me, park-wise, as I made stops in Great Smoky, Cape Cod National Seashore, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Death Valley, Yosemite, and Devils Postpile.

    But......there still are many units out there that I have yet to step foot in.

    If the gods are willing, I hope to check off at least Hawaii Volcanoes, possibly Haleakala, Great Sand Dunes, Colorado National Monument, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Redwoods, and Lassen Volcanic in '09.

    And heck, Bob, if you make it as far West as you're threatening, perhaps we can get you in Arches, Canyonlands, and possibly even Natural Bridges!

  • Happy New Year from the Traveler!   6 years 12 weeks ago

    To all of you who make Traveler exist and endure. Thanks for this site. People who care about our parks like we do need a site like this to make sure everyone else out there knows where we stand. Thanks for all your hard and dedicated work to bring us the issues that matter, and those that are just plain interesting. No doubt, the next year will be full of issues for us to discuss (and I use that word loosely!), so bring on '09 and keep up the awesome work you all do at Traveler.

  • What's Driving All The Shaking At Yellowstone National Park?   6 years 12 weeks ago

    To consider the new year as we are all prone to do, I've written my two cents on this doom and Yellowstone stuff (and there's many more posts on the newspaper on this on all sides of the doom continuum).

    Anyhow, for anyone interested, check out my brand new essay: Yellowstone doom: Imagine better this new year - and by "better" the surprise of the essay isn't that I ask that we imagine better things than doom but rather that we do a better job of imagining. What seems to be quite imaginative yearnings for the Apocalypse to come (or fear of the same) really has been dull and quite predictable.

    I at least hope what I've written is very unlike anything I've read so far online.

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Resolved: I’ll Visit at Least These Five National Parks in 2009   6 years 12 weeks ago

    TR Nat'l Park is one of my favorites in the NPS. It's beautiful, and it's remote, meaning less travelled. I like my solitude when I travel in the parks, and TR is one of the best places to get solitude.

    Say "hi" to the wild horses for me. :D


    My travels through the National Park System:

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   6 years 12 weeks ago

    The ski area in Rocky Mountain National Park mentioned above was originally called Hidden Valley and briefly renamed Ski Estes (after the town of Estes Park on the east side of the park). It was established in 1955, and although it did cease operations in 1991, it was several years before the Park Service actually took down the lifts (a couple of T-bars, a couple of Pomas and for a time, also a double chairlift) and not until 2002 that the old day lodge was demolished. There is now a warming hut and restrooms, plus sleddiing/saucering on that was once the beginner slope. The ghost ski trails are popular w/ snowshoers as well as with telemarkers and snowboarders who hike high up to the ghost runs on the upper mountain. Trail Ridge Road, which is not plowed, bissects the upper and lower parts of the former ski area.

    Also in Colorado, the Berthoud Pass ski area, though on Forest Service and not on NPS land, had the first double chairlift in the state and a base lodge built in 1937 in a National Park style (i.e., boxy and brown). In the '40s, roughly 1/3 of all Colorado skiers skied at Berthoud. I-70 and the big resorts later eclipsed it, and it limped in and out of service through several owners. In the end, the USFS removed the lifts and tore down the old lodge in 2005, later replacing it with a warming hut. It too is a popular area for backcountry skiers.

    There was also once a ski area at Lassen Volcano NP in California. Its old A-frame lodge is still standing, or was when we went there five or so years ago.

    All, some or none of this may relate to the ultimate fate of the Badger Pass lodge.

    Claire @

  • Some Things We'd Like 2009 To Bring to the National Park System   6 years 12 weeks ago

    1. Land Acquisition. The most important thing is to protect the land. That means significant funding for the land acquisition program. The Land and Water Conservation Fund, that pays for the land from revenues derived from oil leases, should be funded to the full level indicated by federal oil revenues.

    2. Valley Forge. This is a subset of the above. We have many parks that are slowly withering away because of the failure of the NPS leadership to protect land within park boundaries. According to the people, ARC, who want to do a mega-development on private land on an undeveloped parcel on the north side of the park -- instead of the already-developed visitor center portion to the south that SHOULD be the only place new development is allowed -- the ARC people said the NPS leadership was fully aware of the development idea and either encouraged it or went along with it. WHO in the NPS? Why has there been no public planning process for this development, as there was at Gettysburg, when a similar decision was made? The difference is, because of the planning at Gettysburg, an appropriate parcel was selected, but at Valley Forge someone in the NPS seems to have winged it.

    Many other parks have similar problems of private inholdings inside parks. Cape Cod, for instance, is a horror with massive development expected inside the boundary, and, like at Valley Forge: NO REQUESTS HAVE COME FOR FUNDING TO BUY THE THREATENED PROPERTY BY THE NPS. How could a superintendent leave Cape Cod, as the last one did, with $50 Million in threatened private land inside the boundary, and be considered a "successful superintendent" when no land funding was even requested? This has got to stop. If you don't first protect the park resources, nothing else is important.

    3. Re-professionalization of NPS people. Stop the "outsourcing." The National Park Service needs people on its staff who know what they are talking about, as it once did, but now is losing. The "backlog" program is more than just money: NPS needs professional maintenance and historic preservation professionals who are capable of ON-GOING MAINTENANCE' NPS needs to stop treating maintenance as a construction program. The way it is now, no sooner have you restored a building, than it starts to decay because of the lack of park staff. Another example is the land acquisition staff. The Department of the Interior under George Bush removed all the professional land apparaisers and assigned them to the Department of the Interior (DOI). Under Clinton, the biologists re re-assigned to the US Geological Survey. This means that the NPS loses the ability to make rapid and necessary decisions and redeploy staff when there is an immediate threat. In the case of land protection, it means the NPS no longer can slip to the Congress on the QT the cost of buying threatened land, because the critical staff either work for DOI, or NPS must go out on a contract (with a prior appropriation first from Congress) to protect land. This means, as with Valley Forge, that NPS is not ready when it needs to be.

    -- Barky Dionne is right that more attention needs to be paid to the African Burial Ground. Rather than just a separate entrance -- and that is a great idea -- the best idea would be to get the visitor center put somewhere else, outside the building that was responsible for descrating the graves of enslaved Americans. Another real problem is the NPS decided, rather than having a financial partnership with the group that was responsible for getting public attention focused on creating a national park, it has moved to permit a blue-blooded group to benefit financially for park and visitor center sales and interpretation. The beneficiary had nothing to do with establishing the African Burial Ground, but the original partners were engaged at every step. What is happening here, and how are these financial arrangements being awarded?? This was a non-conpetitive award to pals of the leadership of the national park service, not the partners of the park superintendent.

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Is it "blasphemy" to take out a ski-operation & lodge in a National Park? No, I think it is viewed as blasphemous, to have such a facility in a Park.

    Those who like having a resort & ski development in the Park will not regard proposals to remove it as "blasphemous", but rather as yet another example of environmentalist extremism - and intolerance.

    If an old resort such as described in this article is still popular, well-liked and meeting the needs of an important part of society, then I see no compelling reason to remove it.

    Actually, I suspect that it is really those who dislike the presence of this business & venue, who feel blasphemed.

    Myself, I certainly see no reason to 'carry' a derelict old business on the budget, especially if is no longer filling its role. Just because we have this once-cute ol' chateau up on the mountain, does not strike me as obligating us to treat it as some shrine, pour money into something purely because it's on some 'registry'.

    If the outfit is done-in and unwanted, clear it out. If it's run-down & needs work, but is well-liked and serves many people, then fix it.

  • Resolved: I’ll Visit at Least These Five National Parks in 2009   6 years 12 weeks ago


    Last summer my wife and I did a big road trip and among other parks, we visited Mesa Verde and Great Sand Dunes. I loved Great Sand Dunes. The water surges in Medano Creek were a sort of surreal experience: they looked like waves rushing down the creek and the creek bottom was always changing. Unfortunately I'd had enough sand hiking from earlier in the trip so we didn't do any dune hiking, but it is a great excuse to have to go back again.

    If you're driving in southwest Colorado, I recommend visiting Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Durango, and driving Route 550 if its open.

    If we manage to get to Vegas again this year we will definitely make the short trip to Death Valley.

    Happy 2009 to all!

  • Some Things We'd Like 2009 To Bring to the National Park System   6 years 12 weeks ago

    I think that it is good to make lists like this, and we could do with more of them. I am working on a list of exotic fauna, flora and animal-population issues in the Park system, with an emphasis on those that might use hunting & harvest as a management-tool.

    * Obama leadership. We are experiencing one the most severe economic problems since the Great Depression, and we fully anticipate it could get worse. Hard to say how the funding matter will shake out: If Obama's plan calls for creating a colossal 'stimulus' fund and then looking for contexts in which to 'fertilize & water' the economy, then funding everything the Parks can come up with might fit with the plan. On the other hand, if the plan runs to something more seemingly direct & to the point, like looking for every context in which we can trim, shave and flat drop every expense that we can possibly live without ... then obviously we should be prepared for austerity.

    * Parks Director. With Ken Salazar at DOI, it seems probable that the Parks post will be filled by a compatible pragmatist. Such a person is unlikely to please the greener end of the spectrum.

    * Science. I am quite heavily 'scientific' myself, lacking mainly the institutional tools to fill a formal role in the field. Science is certainly great & powerful stuff ... but unfortunately, like 'business' or 'corporatism', it is also badly crippled in certain of the essential human dimensions. We do not live under a scientocracy or technocracy, in substantial part because the leadership skills of this aspect of the human experience are simply too egregiously underdeveloped. We may as well select extra-bright 3rd and 4th graders to run the world, as place science in a determinative role. I vote to cherry-pick science, use & abuse it as we please, then park it back on the shelf when we've gotten what we want out of it ... and in fact, that seems to be a close description of our actually policy.

    * Politics at NPS. As in other areas of national management, politics at the Parks do suck ... but, as always & everywhere else, politics sucks so much less severely than any of the other options that there is simply no chance it is going anywhere ... and if it somehow did, we'd be fighting to get it back. Politics Forever, slime & all!

    * Locked Funding. Bad idea. Expenditures for Parks need to vary like all other 'obligations'.

    * Mass Transit. I like to see more of the individualism element permitted & accommodated in the Parks. Indeed, I like the backcountry as an escape from the mass-everything of society, and oppose the 'massification' concept ... which I know & acknowledge is motivated somewhat attractively to concentrate & limit 'impact'. Still, what I really want is for the 'controllers' to keep'a their mitts off'a me.

    * Alaska. I look forward to watching Alaska further-develop its progressively emerging leadership of the United States and even global Parks theme. Especially in areas of large-scale habitat management & 'preservation', I think the future of our National Parks can be discerned best, by looking to Alaska.

    * Predator control. I think we are heading for a wildlife management "train wreck", by setting carnivores up as Sacred Cows. I expect we will find ourselves in a dramatically traumatic social experience, if we do not keep humans established as the dominant predator ... and the outcome of the trauma will be that humans will reassert their dominance, anyway.

    * Radio Towers. I am licensed in Amateur Radio, and know that many antenna options exist for whatever communication format we want to support. It is possible to conceal antennas and to make them very unobtrusive. Many amateurs find they must hide antennas, for social reasons, so it is an advanced skill-set. The military also finds invisible antennae an intriguing field of study. It can be done in Parks, too. With the popularity of actually rather inappropriate cell phones as a 'safety measure' in the backcountry, we will probably end up with saturation tower-coverage in all large Parks.

    Nice list!

  • Some Things We'd Like 2009 To Bring to the National Park System   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Nice list. I have two minor additions, both of which have to do with apparent disinterest in African-American history in the NPS:

    * that the NPS web site be fixed to include the African-American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C. It used to be there, I stumbled across it back in 2005. But now it's completely gone from the web site. This is a travesty. Yes, the AACW Museum is privately owned & operated, but the memorial itself is still within the NPS as far as I can tell. The George Mason Memorial still has it's page, why not the AACWM?

    * That the African Burial Ground NM visitor center receives its own entrance, so visitors do not have to go through the metal detectors required for entrance to the federal building. This is easy to do, there is a revolving door right there, they can build a wall through the lobby separating the two areas. They may need to build restroom facilities, so that would be a problem, but it's not unworkable. Very few NPS sites require metal detectors & security screening, I can only think of two (the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty). I don't think it's required here if they had their own entrance.

    With all the history of mistreatment of minorities in this country, these two issues are serious thorns in the lion's paw.

    [I editted this for typos, that's why it appears below Bob's reply to me. Sorry about the confusion -- Barky]


    My travels through the National Park System:

  • Some Things We'd Like 2009 To Bring to the National Park System   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Funny you should mention African American representation in the Park System, Barky. I recently finished an African American-themed quiz for the weekly series and loaded it for "release into the wild" on Wednesday, January 21st. I'd be interested to know how you do on this quiz.

  • Some Things We'd Like 2009 To Bring to the National Park System   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Excellent! You have my support on every point.

  • Cats on the Prowl   6 years 12 weeks ago

    That is awesome. I visited Capitol Reef National Park this summer, I didn't see any cats. I would have loved to see that cat and get a photo.

  • Happy New Year from the Traveler!   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Happy 2009 to Traveler.
    I don't get to travel much these days, but I've spent time in many of the Parks from coast to coast in the past, and I still try to keep up with the goings-on, especially in the one's that have always been my favorites.
    I appreciate all the time and hard work you put into this site, and am grateful.

  • Lost to Hurricanes, the Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park Will be Hard to Replace   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Why only 30 rooms? We need 103, like before, at least.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Warren Z.,

    Ah, thanks for the clarification of the Brady group's role in the gun-control community. I was unaware of them being the leader, but sometimes such things are the case even though not evident (sometimes, by design).

    It is of course understandable that the personal tragedy of Mr. Brady became the impetus for a new gun-control organization (he was shot in the brain during the assassination attempt upon President Reagan; survived, but with substantial neurological damages). While again acknowledging that I may not have all the facts, I think that although the group is named for the man, it appears to be quite independent of him. Mr. Brady may have a formal seat or honorific role with the Brady operation ... but I saw him on TV a few years ago, and he was clearly 'in over his head', just trying to make a largely passive appearance in front of the camera.

    Warren Z. objects:

    "... I do not support politically manipulative legislation and idiosyncratic interpretation of the Constitution to suit the needs of a few while ignoring the consequences to the larger society we live in.
    In "D.C. vs Heller", the Supreme Court sweeps aside the characterization that you assert here, on the record. SCOTUS slices through the "manipulation" and "interpretation" issues, as a primary task they set themselves to. Much of the historic 65 page ruling they brought down, concerns itself with the question of what is extraneous & irrelevant to the nature of the Second Amendment, and just what item #2 of the Bill of Rights really does provide to citizens.

    Yes, there are costs tied to having an armed citizenry, as provided by the Second Amendment, and they should not be downplayed. However, the governance of disarmed populations is not without costs itself, some of them much worse than what we bear.

    I did indeed compare the legal fallacy of the Parks' former gun-law, to the legal fallacy of the Jim Crow laws. No, I did not make the mistake of comparing the grievance of deprived gun-owners with the grievance of African Americans. Furthermore, I took pains to include language to forestall such a misinterpretation of my wording. Any who actually read my previous comment will see that I did not suggest what you try to credit to me. Perhaps you should read it again, Warren.

    Yes indeed, the former gun-laws of both Washington D.C. and the Parks System are but sophistries not-so-cunningly designed to place spurious barriers between citizens and their fundamental Constitutional Right to arms. The use of this type of sophistry is the same legal fallacy by which Jim Crow laws kept the Black Man from his Rights.

    Or ... those who take refuge out on a legal limb, should not be surprised when it ultimately fails to support them.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 12 weeks ago

    "the terminology they used in discussing limitations ran to words like "longstanding" and "traditional" situations, naming examples like the mentally ill, felons, schools and federal buildings....."
    72 years is pretty "longstanding and traditional" I'd say.
    "the Court did explicitly acknowledge that no Right is without limitations....." Exactly! If you don't want to shut off your cell phone, don't go into the theater.
    "Overall, law enforcement is the 10th most dangerous job...." Is that a valid reason to make it more dangerous?
    "Why should Washington DC be deciding on my ability to Carry in Yellowstone?" Because Yellowstone is federal land, Jason. It is NOT state land. You are not in Wyoming or Montana, you are in Yellowstone NATIONAL Park.
    "And we are not talking about just "ANYONE" carrying a gun on their person, but about those who have been trained to handle a firearm, had detailed State and Federal background investigations....."
    Depending, of course, on what state they obtained their permit. I quote from Kurt above, ""Experience in states that have allowed concealed carrying of firearms has shown that thousands of dangerous people are able to get licenses. In Florida, for example, more than 4,200 licenses were revoked because many of these licensees committed a crime.....""
    " is strictly about self-preservation...." Guess it must come as quite a surprise to millions upon millions of visitors to national parks who somehow manage to get out alive year after year without pack'n heat! This has nothing to do with "self preservation" or the second amendment, just as keeping bison out of Montana has nothing to do with brucellosis. It is about political power, plain and simple.
    "...And hopefully, as a park visitor, others--such as poachers, intoxicated campers, and thieves--won't put me in confrontational situations....." I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, Frank, I've been around a good long time. I learned a long time ago that most "confrontational situations" can be avoided. I don't argue over campsites, parking places etc. You want it, its yours. If there is a problem, I get into my car and drive to the nearest ranger station. That's what they get paid for. On those rare occassions when a confrontation was unavoidable (never once in a National Park, BTW, despite spending hundreds upon hundreds of days camping, hiking and backpacking in them), I was actually glad that I did not have a gun which could have escalated the situation. Finally, in that hypothetical situation where I might be accousted in the back country: The trails that I take are not the busy, popular ones. I often go days without seeing another human being, much less being confronted by one; but heck, it could happen! I believe that in a hypothetical worst case scenario (which I don't spend my life dwelling on as apparently some people do) I would blast the culprit with my bear spray; which I would probably have a better chance of shooting from the hip than trying to get at a conceled weapon buried under a couple of layers of clothes (or in my pack). In a situation involving drug growers (which so many people seem to obsess about), I figure they are going to make themselves scarce because the last thing they want is hundreds of searchers combing the woods looking for a missing hiker.
    Check the statistics that Kurt linked to. No reasonable person can make the arguement for the NEED to carry a loaded gun in a National Park. The only arguement is to prove that you can. Political power.

    Oh, one last thing........Jim Crow? Really?

  • Happy New Year from the Traveler!   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Thank you all for providing a great site! It's the first thing I read every day.
    May 2009 bring health and prosperity to us all!

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Frank C. asks:

    Are you speaking of the political party or the small-l libertarian philosophy of government?"
    If one notes that the Democrats or the Republicans or the Greens or the Constitutionalists are pleased or disappointed with this or that, do we parse the spectrum of private political orientation to determine what she is talking about? No. Libertarians - like Greens and Constitutionals - are a bust. No nuance necessary. Has nothing to do with the admittedly complex & certainly fascinating rainbow of actual citizen thought. We're talking Parties.

    By reading my comment, it is seen that all four of my uses of the work "libertarian" in my response to Warren Z. are indeed plainly capitalized ... so it would seem the usage was explicit aimed at - literally - Big-L Libertarians.

    Frank, I endorse & recommend your use of the phrase, "corrupt, one-party system". I'm not going to be drawn into a hair-splitting exercise over what the word corrupt means ... far as I'm concerned the word does not belong to somebody with a tenured chair at the University, nor some lawyer, nor some company selling dictionaries. "Their butts are sucking wind" does fine with me, if "corrupt" is too tricky to handle.

    I do, however, call it "The Two-Party System", a different term meaning the same as your usage. ;-)

    I call the Libertarians "delusional", because they think that because they have a quality argument and more-consistent platform, that should qualify them for an important role. Problem is, they can't get the votes to ... be important. They think they are, but the voting record shows they are not important. That's close enough to delusional to fit as a one-word summary.

    George W. Bush "forced" his views on us, by getting elected President. Jerry 'Moonbeam' Brown is forcing his views on California, by getting elected Attorney General. If the Libertarians ever escape from the Wonderland of their delusion, they will force their interpretation of issues upon us, by getting themselves elected to lead. So far, 'tain't happening.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Ted Clayton:

    When referring to the Brady Campaign as "leading the opposition" I meant to say I applaud the Brady Campaign for being the first entity to take a legal stand against the new ruling, I in no way meant to infer that Brady was the leader of any organized coalition opposing this ruling. (I apologize if the Brady Campaign is in fact not the first entity to do so.)
    However, I find it poetically fitting that a his organization sits on the side of the fence opposed to the ruling.

    I too support the Constitution, Ted, including the Second Amendment, as it was written. But I do not support politically manipulative legislation and idiosyncratic interpretation of the Constitution to suit the needs of a few while ignoring the consequences to the larger society we live in.

    As for the rest of your comments on my opinion as written, your own constructive logic says more about your ideas than I could ever improve on.

    While picking apart one of Frank N's comments did you really compare gun owners to the victims of Jim Crow laws?? Do you really think not being able to carry a loaded gun wherever you please puts you in the same civil arena as an entire race of people that are discriminated against because of the color of their skin? Gun owners are "separate but equal" because the NPS does not interpret the Constitution as narrowly and idiosyncratically as you do? How large a coalition could you build using that argument? How many elected officials will bring that particular argument to the fore in defense of legal carry in our parks? I look forward to watching your progress.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 12 weeks ago


    The Libertarians are an ineffective political delusion

    Are you speaking of the political party or the small-l libertarian philosophy of government? If you're talking about the third party, then I would agree that big-L Libertarians are ineffective at making inroads in America's corrupt, one-party system. (Dispute my use of "corrupt", but how else would you characterize Democratic and Republican collusion to keep other parties' candidates out of the presidential debates?) If you're calling the libertarian political philosophy to be "delusional", please clarify. Are you calling Thomas Jefferson, the rule of law, sound money, and Constitutional government "delusional"? If so, what does that even mean?

    they certainly never had the wherewithal to force it upon us

    Of course. Because libertarians don't believe in initiating force against others, nor does the philosophy accept using the State to use force against others. Democrats and Republicans, however, seem to have no qualms using force and coercion to reach their desired goals.

    Here's an unfolding case in point, and it even involves the NPS.

    Frank N:

    Park rangers are law enforcement professionals who, as a part of their job, are required to put themselves into possibly confrontational situations. Hopefully, as a park visitor, you are not doing that.

    And hopefully, as a park visitor, others--such as poachers, intoxicated campers, and thieves--won't put me in confrontational situations. As long as the possibility for confrontation exists, no matter how unlikely, and as long as government officials carry weapons, law-abiding citizens should be able to exercise their constitutional rights to self-defense in vast open land where the nearest help can be hours away.