Recent comments

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   6 years 13 weeks ago

    And what are we getting for NOT having local control? How effective is managing Crater Lake from Seattle or Washington DC? How effective is managing Zion from Denver or DC? How practical are overarching federal mandates, such as banning pets in parks, when urban parks in DC must comply with the same ban? If administering these far-off places from the banks of the Potomac is so effective, why is one of the categories on this blog "Plight of the Parks"? (And please don't tell me parks faced no plight under Clinton.) How effective is managing 21st century parks with a flawed, early 20th century charter made malleable to special interests of the time?

    How is a 674-page budget (FY2009) helpful to local parks? What are local parks getting from $170,000,000 it takes to operate regional offices? What is $220,000,000 in service-wide programs netting local parks? And $150,000,000 in "external" administrative costs? Is it really necessary to local parks?

    Local lobbyists are so effective with the present system because of its oligarchical nature and lack of accountability. That can be addressed through implementing of individual park trusts, operated by an accountable board of directors, and comprised of members from the local and regional community. Try influencing a board of eleven comprised of local academicians, scientists, businesspeople, policy makers, planners, community members, nonprofit representatives, etc. With diverse local control comes insulation from national politics.

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   6 years 13 weeks ago

    My goal as an NPS employee, supervisor and manager was to attempt to accomplish in every park to which I was assigned three fundamental tasks: preserve and protect resources; provide high quality visitor services; and to maintain productive relationships with park interest groups. Among those interest groups were the communitiies that surrounded the park areas. Obviouly, park staffs have special relations with these communities in ways that they don't with people living, let's say, in Milwaukee. This does not mean, however, that the people in the surrounding communities should have a greater voice in park decision-making than others living in more distant areas. Make no mistake, these are national park areas, not state, county or municipal parks. This is a system of national park areas to which each generation of Americans gets to add the areas they believe merit protection in perpetuity. We ought to apply to these areas the highest standards of ethical, transparent management as a matter of generational equity. The shoddy, last-minute rule making that we have seen in the last several months is the antithesis of those standards.

    Rick Smith

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   6 years 13 weeks ago


    Wish I had more time to delve deeply into this, but all the fresh snow of the past few days is too inviting to ignore;-)

    That said, Alaska I don't think is a good example to point to regarding the intent, need, desire, or benefits for local rule in the context of the entire park system, not in light of how the Alaska park units were put together. As I'm sure you know, there was much local opposition to creating parks in the state, and President Carter and others tried to ameliorate those concerns as much as they could. My post of December 2 touches on that organization and the need to insert local concerns into the package. In part:

    Of historical significance, President Carter wielded the most substantial use of the Antiquities Act when he proclaimed those 15 national monuments after Congress had adjourned without passing a major Alaska lands bill strongly opposed in that state. Now, Congress did pass a revised version of the bill in 1980 incorporating most of these national monuments into national parks and preserves, but before it did so it saw that the act was worded in a fashion to prevent further use of the proclamation authority in Alaska. (Similar language was seen back in 1950 when Congress placed most of the Jackson Hole National Monument into Grand Teton National Park.)

    Some believe the act's passage marked the most significant moment in Alaska's history, both because of the lands it protected and because of the 103 million acres of land it allowed the state to pluck from the federal landscape.


    But don't get the idea that ANILCA was controversy-free. After all, it placed scads of acreage off-limits to mining and logging, created access problems by designating wilderness, and generated concerns over how the legislation might impact Native American subsistence and access rights. The results regarding the latter point have been mixed. On one hand, recreational all-terrain vehicle use within Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve has been controlled, if not banned, while ATV use for subsistence purposes was permitted.

    (Now, in light of that recognition of Native American rights to the landscape, if we went back in time and honored those rights in the creation of all other parks, the Yosemites and Yellowstones, etc., think what we'd have. But that's fodder for another post....)

    Further insights of that controversial creation in Alaska can be found in some of the comments to that post.

    As for using the gun issue as an example of trying to return local control to the parks, in light of the recent history of that rule change I would borrow some of your words and suggest that the Interior Department's move "appears to be a conscious & intentional nod - nay, "bow" - to that grand-daddy" of all lobbying bullies and power grabbers, the NRA.

    I think when you take the Organic Act, read Robin Winks' interpretation of that document, and toss in the 1978 Redwoods Act, you get a clear understanding of why these should be "national" parks. According to Winks even big business wanted central control over the parks:

    Both railroad and automobile interests advocated more consistent administration of the existing parks in order to protect them more effectively, and also to make certain that accommodations and campgrounds were held to a consistent standard for the public's pleasure. While the railroads wished to bring spur lines to the borders of the parks, they seldom argued for actual entry. Automobilists wished to see roads to and within the parks upgraded so that visitors could tour the parks in greater comfort. All spoke of "scenery" with respect to the principal natural parks, though with a variety of qualifiers, and all referred to the need for preservation of that scenery while also making the scenery accessible for the "enjoyment" of the public.

    The Organic Act outlines the "fundamental purpose" of the parks as being to is to "conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." Note it doesn't say to "leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment" of the local residents. The intent was clear, that these places should be conserved for all to come, and for consistency across the 391-unit system (or is it 392 now?), I don't think you can give them over to local control.

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   6 years 14 weeks ago


    I admit that 'local authority' is hardly a panacea for or protection against mismanagement. Blagojevich is not an aberration, but one of many symptoms in a long history of local-authority-gone-bad, in the Chicago & Illinois region. Louisiana has a reputation for harboring squalid corruption, shielding it behind 'local authority'.

    But local or distributed authority, one of the signatures of the United States, and a celebrated genius of its founders, also confers adaptability and resilience. It enables a system to reinvent and reinvigorate itself. Failure to move with the times and be relevant in new circumstances are hazards better avoiding by letting locals be the Captain of their own ship. The pride and the robes of responsibility lead to markedly better performance (even when it's wrong!), than do the feeble exhortations of centralization.

    Although we call them "National" Parks, and though they are authorized under the "National" Park Service Organic Act, I don't get the sense that the intent was to "Nationalize" anything. To a high degree, Nationalization is associated with inefficiency, decay and decrepitation. No, the fact that the word "National" is used for our Parks is but a 'conventional rubric', and does not imply a commitment to centralization, such as we see experimented with in Latin America or Russia ... with predicable negative results.

    I see evidence that points to recognition at high levels in America, that the localization I refer to is a good thing which they are seeking to gradually work back into the system. (Sudden large-scale radical change is unwise, and I am glad to see it happening gradually.)

    Look at Alaska. Some Parks-aficionados do not like to. It is disturbing to some, that what they see is so unfamiliar, so different. The range of 'customized' Park-affairs in Alaska points to recognition that the local contexts of Alaska "National" Parks are not appropriately addressed, by imposing a "national" directive upon them. Instead, the priceless assets secured in Alaska are handled not only as local to, but also as local in the State. The State is large enough and varies enough, that different Parks within it are 'given their head' to better-fit to the local conditions they are embedded in.

    For a second example, consider an important but 'minimized' aspect of the recent change in Park gun-rules. It is a hugely pregnant 'detail', that the new authorization to pack loaded firearms in Parks is linked directly to the firearms regulation of the local jurisdiction (State) in which each Park is embedded. That is very 'un-National', and appears to be a conscious & intentional nod - nay, "bow" - to that grand-daddy of all distributed authority: States' Rights.

    I do not expect to 'convert' those who have long embraced a view of our National Parks as being above & beyond the local scene they are embedded in. However, I do think we have already embarked upon a course to try out & adapt new ideas for fine-tuning the management of Parks in different regions, to the different local situations of each. We see it with the Civil War Parks. We see it with the East Coast beaches. We see it in Yellowstone, big-time! We see it in the Southwest, and with the archaeological locales. We see it in the contrast between Crater Lake, and Glacier, even between Rainier & Olympic, which on a good day can see each other.

    Local contexts make a big difference, and the way to make the most - and avoid the worst - of them, is to provide a meaningful element of local authority for the different units. Although there will of course be missteps with independence, the risks are a lot less scary than with the embarrassingly skimpy and startlingly flawed National Park Service Organic Act.

    Those who appeal to the Organic Act invariably 'cherry pick' a couple sentences from it which they reiterate over & over, while shunning & disowning the rest of the document, which can be described as a mixture of babble & venality. The Organic Act is very short: anyone can easily pick it up and within minutes know for themselves just how inappropriate this document is for managing any national resource. It resembles the kind of nonsense you'd expect to find on a Blagojevich tape.

    Sorry, but I honestly don't see the Organic Act as a credible instrument on which to base any rational national-scale management-plan for the Parks. Acknowledging that nobody is willing or able to fix it or throw it away and start over, then our present course - to ignore the Organic Act and move forward without much regard to it - seems the prudent & pragmatic ... option which we have evidently already adopted.

    One last point: recognizing & empowering local authority does not "remove the hierarchy". On the contrary, the assignment of local or distributed authority creates, implements & structures the hierarchy. Although the United States explicitly distributes local authority to States, Counties, Municipalities, and Citizens, the hierarchy of authority within the system is intact & orderly throughout, clear & understood by all, and perfectly secure. It would be exactly the same, within a local-authority-endowed National Park System.


  • Twenty Boats Destroyed by Fire in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Anyone have information about affected slips, or the section that caught fire

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Ted, with all due respect, I disagree that the discretion over park-specific activities should be given over to the local parks.

    Perhaps I'm over-reaching on your comment, but think about the problems giving control to park units over many of their management decisions could produce. Even though an overwhelming majority of those who commented on the Yellowstone snowmobile winter-use plan thought snowmobiles should be phased out in favor of snowcoaches, snowmobiles are on the ground in the park due to local influence/interference.

    Where else might something like this happen to "national" parks? Wherever there's a well-connected political lobby that can manipulate the process.

    When you're talking about national parks, I like to think the National Park Service Organic Act is the over-arching authority that should be followed, and if you remove the hierarchy from the process, you end up with situations like snowmobiling in Yellowstone where the science clearly speaks against the numbers the lobbying arm has managed to achieve.

    That said, if the Washington office says bikes are perfectly fine in the parks, then I'd agree that local park managers should be given the discretion to say, 'Yes, we have great biking terrain that can fit with our management plan,' rather than having biking (or whatever activity) stuffed down their throats.

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   6 years 14 weeks ago


    I favor the part of this that shifts discretion to the local Park-unit ... which is also what the bike-opposition, the 'pure hikers', are objecting most strongly about. This is the way these user-decisions should go: The central Park HQ should be concerned with high-level policy and the overall-management of local managements. They should not be stroking their chin over each & every stretch of trail, nor should they be making up one-size-fits-all blanket rules to crudely regulate a range of situations across the NPS ... which is how your opposition hopes to ensure that what you'd like to see, neva happens.

    Really though, this is a corruption of the American way, which says that central authority deals with the stuff that only the central office can deal with, while all the decisions that pertain to local stuff, should be made by the local offices. Written right into the United States Constitution ... and good enough for the Park Service, too.

    Centralized authority was how they did it in the USSR, who now exist only in the history books.

    Obama will make the call on the new bike-rules. None of this comes out of the oven, until middle of next year. So yeah yeah, it's the evil Bush crafting this cunning violation of Mother Nature, right? Well, might be a good move to think again.

    Everything Bush does after his meeting with Obama a week or two ago, he very likely arrived at in consultation with Obama (during that meeting - which both of them refuse to discuss). It is now time for Bush to earn brownie points with everybody who has the future in their hands (#1, Obama) because that's how he minimizes the amount of crap he ends up carrying in the history books ... which at this point is looking like a helluva crap-load.

    Do we have clues to how Obama is leaning in matters of Parks-management? Yes we do: He just appointed Ken Salazar as Sec. of Interior. That gurgling sound you hear is the enviro-purists, on the floor choking until they're blue. Salazar is Evil One In Training, in their view.

    The selection of Salazar informs us very strongly, how NPS policy will go under Obama. There are 2 posts current on National Parks Traveler about this selection:

    Updated: Salazar Pick For Interior Secretary Labeled a Failure, and

    Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration

    The Salazar decision is far, far away from where 'enviro'-Obama was supposed to go, and is an indication of potentially historic changes in the management of our common resources ... which some have long presume should only be handled according one narrow (purist) point of view.

    I think the correcting of that longstanding situation is overdue - and may now be in the offing.

    Ted Clayton

  • Twenty Boats Destroyed by Fire in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Given the time of night and year, the remote location, and the unusual challenges (and dangers) presented by a fire in a marina, the staff did an incredible job in this situation! Under the circumstances, it's amazing that they saved the majority of the boats.

  • Gun Rules for The National Parks: Will They Really Make It Easier To Pack in the Parks?   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Kurt wonders:

    ... if this rule change really wasn't intended to be an economic stimuli of its own.

    In English & Spanish, right?

    Don't we have regulations for the mounting of signage? What do we do about buildings that don't offer proper mounting surfaces/structures? Rebuild them!

    And structures like trail-signage that are smaller than the gun-signs - oh no!

    This should keep half the country busy for years ... must be a genius of economics behind it. ;-)

  • Upon Further Review – Does the River Run Downstream?   6 years 14 weeks ago

    People with this lack of experience should not be out alone ----- travel with others to gain knowledge before heading out alone.

  • An Ancient Road System Still Puzzles Us at Chaco Culture National Historical Park   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Thanks for the article. I just visited Chaco Canyon in October, and was astounded. I still have a hard time understanding how such a large native population could seemingly thrive in such a difficult (i.e. dry & hot) climate. The ruins there are spectacular, the American version of Tikal.


    My travels through the National Park System:

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   6 years 14 weeks ago

    There are some simple solutions to cut down on the user conflicts. Some places have instituted an even-odd day regulation for some more crowded trails. On odd days, horse riders can use the trail, on even days, cyclists can use it. Hikers can use it all the time, but also know what kind of other users they'll encounter. This seems to me like a very fair and reasonable way to share a common public good.

    Dave, you make some great points. I would add that the way Yellowstone was intended to be used say 50 years ago can change over time as users change. As long as the use of the park does not harm it, I don't see the problem. At the end of the day, if we restrict the parks to a diminishing number of people (horse riders numbers are dwindling and kids tend to gravitate more toward biking than hiking), it'll do the parks no good. This regulation has the potential to bring practical solutions to the bike access issues (I'd rather see these issues solved on the ground than in Washington) and as a result more users to the park. This seems like a win win to me.

  • Gun Rules for The National Parks: Will They Really Make It Easier To Pack in the Parks?   6 years 14 weeks ago

    You know, I wonder if this rule change really wasn't intended to be an economic stimuli of its own. Think of all the signage that will have to be changed throughout the national parks: gun ban signs at entrances, at trailheads, etc, etc.;-)

  • Gun Rules for The National Parks: Will They Really Make It Easier To Pack in the Parks?   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Gary Slider said:

    [The law (18 USC 93) says] they must post the building if they don't want anyone carrying.

    You're right, unambiguously.

    Certainly, I see these postings when I go to 'real' Federal Builds & Courts, in the big city ... but I don't see them on many Park-buildings.

    Could we be looking at some kind of "Don't ask, don't tell" situation, in the Parks? ;-)

  • More Fishers Soon To Be On the Loose in Olympic National Park   6 years 14 weeks ago

    First of all, it does seem like a very good idea, to focus on species-reintroductions that are less controversial & polarizing. The fisher is being used in this way in many places across the U.S.A, and it's a good thing.

    There are some potential issues and even risks with this project, though. See Feasibility Assessment for Reintroducing Fishers to Washington September 2004, by Washington State Fish & Game, for additional details.

    Ecologically & biologically, the Olympic Peninsula has a small population of marten, which are very much a smaller version of the fisher. Both are upland & forest weasels, and dry-ground, semi-arboreal versions of the mink. The range of fisher & marten does overlap in some regions, but in other regions only one species is present. It seems that the risk to marten got a fairly easy 'pass' in this project, and certainly it is not publicized that a potentially unfortunate conflict exists.

    From here, the issues become less certain, but no less potentially problematic.

    First in this category of considerations is the role of trapping in the demise of Olympic Peninsula populations of fisher. Although trapping took place in the Olympic Mountains (now the Park), this is extremely inhospitable trapping-country. Trapping was mainly a low-land occupation on the Peninsula. The interior regions of the mountain range were entirely "terra incognito", until the 1890s. Penetration thereafter was generally slow & light (that's why it's a Park today..). The terrain is a great barrier to the sorts of 'blanket coverage' or 'saturation' trapping-patterns that generally lead to severe reductions of fur bearers. There are very generous swaths of the mountains that will & did serve as 'reservoirs' or 'refugia' within which target-animals had protection, and from which they could later rebound and repopulate over-worked adjoining districts.

    Let me emphasize the terrain-consideration: Although the Rockies and others are higher & grander than the Olympics, there are few features on Earth that approach the sheer ruggedness of the Olympics. You have to go places like The Grand Canyon and the worst of the dissected Andies to find such impediments to entry & travel, as exist in the Olympic massif. Without the installed trail-system, entry into the Olympics would be a world-class and extremely unusual adventure.

    I - and others with experience in this country - will find it highly unlikely that the Olympic Mountains fisher were "trapped out". Furthermore, habitat was not significantly disrupted within the mountains either. Habitat was heavily altered in the low-country, but not in the high Olympic country, which is now Park.

    It may be too snowy to support high-country fisher in the Olympics, especially during the colder swings of the climate ... which we may well be watching take place today. Fisher found in the high country, may be on summer outings from the low-country. It could be a slight embarrassment, if the introduced animals soon prove to like the lower country outside the Park better. Slightly worse, this is also where the remnant population of marten are also most likely to reside.

    Inaccurate assumptions about the cause of the original extirpation of Olympic fisher could result in the introduced population simply suffering the same fate.

    That one of the introduced fisher was found killed by a bobcat in the Elwah Valley is an immediate Ah-ha! Many do not realize the extent to which the Olympic Peninsula is 'cat-country'. It is more than passably possible that the more-important reason for the downfall of fisher, was the increase in cats brought on by the opening up of the low-lands and timberlands, which causes 'explosions' of prey-species. The cats then multiply, supported by the increased food-supply. With a higher density of cats, the fisher (and wolves & coyotes, etc) could not avoid their natural enemies as well as before, and declined or vanished.

    That one of the fisher was road-killed near Forks suggests that they are already leaving the high country of the Olympic National Park where they were introduced, and taking to the low-lands outside the Park (the Elwah animal suggests this too). While it doesn't seem like the fisher will come into direct conflict with the humans who live in the low-country, for the species to abandon the habitat that the project-designers placed them in calls into question the planning of the project, etc.

  • Gun Rules for The National Parks: Will They Really Make It Easier To Pack in the Parks?   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Ted, I agree and I read the law that way also. I read it even if the building is posted I can still carry there if I have a permit/license that makes it legal for me to carry in the state the National park is located in. The law also states they must post the buildings. If they post them and they say it applies to those with a legal permit/license to carry is what we have to find out. This will take a court case to decide since I believe the feds say that this means everyone and that section does not pertain to those who can legally carry. But getting back to the law that to me is very black and white they must post the building if they don't want anyone carrying. Every entrance must be posted and it must be very visible.

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   6 years 14 weeks ago

    I try to do it all: fish, hunt, bike, bird, photograph, sleep, eat, etc. What I recognize is that groups do not self-regulate and we tolerate idiots in the ranks. As a result I struggle with the mountain bike "issue" in the parks, particularly Yellowstone, in the event bikes are permitted on trails. The nature of mountain biking is the challenge, not simply a conveyance, though would I be tempted to use a bike to convey me faster and easier to the back country with all my photo gear...probably. But I need to think about what I am doing: do I meet the park on its own terms or set up a system of rules which makes its enjoyment easier?

    My answer is obviously selfish: I do not want to see bikes on trails in Yellowstone. I'm 62 now and know I will not be able to enjoy the park as I did years ago, but I do not expect the park to accomodate me at the expense of other users who are using the park as it was intended.

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Apology accepted, Zeb, not that it was entirely necessary. This can be a rough and tumble place from time to time;-)

    I do sincerely invite you to stick around and weigh in on some of the other issues when the mood strikes. There are some important ones out there.

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Thanks for saying what I meant to say. You missed how government murders its citizens, but I'll cover that in a bit. I wanted to respond to d-2 that if he wants to "govern the greedy and the powerful", he needs to begin with the Federal Reserve, a pseudo-governmental cartel of bankers that operates above the law and without impunity. I was going to mention fractional reserve banking, a return to sound money, and returning to the rule of law through adherence to the Constitution, all of which government politicians sold out in 1913 and 1933, but I think your comment makes the point far more efficiently and effectively. My empirical mumbo jumbo would fall on deaf ears.

    It's how the world works.

    I'm reminded of Ludwig von Mises's motto, borrowed from Publius Vergilius Maro:

    Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito. Do not give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it.

    I'm not sure comparing natural selection to government is accurate. Take, for instance, the worldwide democide carried out by governments in the 20th century. Governments murdered almost 200,000,000 people in the last 100 years. This figure does not include those the state compelled to die in combat. Senseless. Evil.

    And I think Alinsky embraces, rather than proceeds against, evil. After all, he dedicates "Rules for Radicals" to Lucifer, who Alinsky terms as the "first radical". "The most effective means are whatever will achieve the desired results." It took Alinsky 11 words to paraphrase Karl Marx's far more succinct "The ends justify the means." More evil.

    I'm glad to have discovered Obama's mentor, though. It's been eye opening.

    Back to the DOI. The Department has been rife with controversy. Oh, I'm sure some will put this all on Bush while failing to consider the BIA's multicentury screwing over of American Indians.

    It's time to abolish the DOI and other agencies that have limited or no Constitutional authority. It's time to stop concentrating power in unelected bureaucrats. Enough with the czars! Our country was not to be ruled by emperors or autocrats. Returning to the Constitution and limiting government's power and scope is the only revolution that will protect everyone, not just the poor or the rich.

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Agreed. Long day, short fuse, my comment was inappropriate. I sincerely present my apologies to Kurt.

    I had a longer reply typed, but an operator error erased it. :) At any rate, I am certainly an one issue type of guy, not that I'm insensitive to some of the other challenges that the national parks are facing.

  • Gun Rules for The National Parks: Will They Really Make It Easier To Pack in the Parks?   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Here is an easier-to-read copy of 18 USC Sec. 930.

    I believe that published assessments generally recognize a conflict, or at least the appearance of a conflict, between the new guns-in-Parks rule and "18 USC Sec. 930".

    Do note that Subsection (d), explicitly referenced in the first words of Subsection (a), contains 3 paragraphs, providing exceptions to the thrust of the ban on guns in Federal facilities. Subsection (d) and Paragraph (3) jointly state:

    "(d) Subsection (a) [no guns in Federal buildings] shall not apply to - (3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes." [emph. added]

    Paragraph (d)(3) certainly appears to be capable of providing for the explicitly authorized lawful Concealed Carry provided in the new regulations.

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Frank C.,

    Although I am as wary as anyone of the weaknesses & foibles of Government, I don't see any unusual crisis at the moment, and feel no unique urgency to respond to their depredations.

    It's like the lions & zebras out on the Serengeti. The lions eat the zebras. Have, for quite a long time now. Is it unfair? One could say, I suppose. Is it tragic, when the mare zebra goes down, then her colt starves & dies too? Sure it is.

    But is it the end of the world? Certainly not - in fact, it's how the world works ... and in fact, it does work, has for a very long time, conflict & tragedy & all.

    The real problem with governments, is that they are "institutions". All institutions, formal and informal, show a related pattern of internally-arising malignancy. The self-limiting & destructive proclivities of institutionalization have been clearly displayed ever since hunter-gatherer groups coalesced into societies thousands of years ago. "Government" is nothing more than another example in a broad & familiar array of predatory institutional actors in society.

    But we still have zebras ... and we still have human society.

    Vigilance: it works for zebras, and it works for citizens.

    Ted Clayton

  • Gun Rules for The National Parks: Will They Really Make It Easier To Pack in the Parks?   6 years 14 weeks ago

    You need to read the US Code below and especially (3)(h) The National Parks will have to post all their buildings except for the Park Offices which fall under the law as defined below. The Camp Stores etc are not office buildings they have to be posted or National Parks would have to put up a sign at all entrances to the park stating all buildings are off limits to those who can legally carry in the National Parks. I don't write the laws I just report them. But Title 18 Part I Chapter 44 Sec 930 is what the Federal Government has passed as laws and we have to stay within the law.

    18 USC Sec. 930 01/03/2007


    Sec. 930. Possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in Federal facilities

    (a) Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.
    (b) Whoever, with intent that a firearm or other dangerous weapon be used in the commission of a crime, knowingly possesses or causes to be present such firearm or dangerous weapon in a Federal facility, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
    (c) A person who kills any person in the course of a violation of subsection (a) or (b), or in the course of an attack on a Federal facility involving the use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, or attempts or conspires to do such an act, shall be punished as provided in sections 1111, 1112, 1113, and 1117.
    (d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to -
    (1) the lawful performance of official duties by an officer, agent, or employee of the United States, a State, or a political subdivision thereof, who is authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of any violation of law;
    (2) the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon by a Federal official or a member of the Armed Forces if such possession is authorized by law; or
    (3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.
    (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm in a Federal court facility, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.
    (2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to conduct which is described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (d).
    (f) Nothing in this section limits the power of a court of the United States to punish for contempt or to promulgate rules or orders regulating, restricting, or prohibiting the possession of weapons within any building housing such court or any of its proceedings, or upon any grounds appurtenant to such building.
    (g) As used in this section:
    (1) The term "Federal facility" means a building or part thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties.
    (2) The term "dangerous weapon" means a weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, except that such term does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2 1/2 inches in length.
    (3) The term "Federal court facility" means the courtroom, judges' chambers, witness rooms, jury deliberation rooms, attorney conference rooms, prisoner holding cells, offices of the court clerks, the United States attorney, and the United States marshal, probation and parole offices, and adjoining corridors of any court of the United States.
    (h) Notice of the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each Federal facility, and notice of subsection (e) shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each Federal court facility, and no person shall be convicted of an offense under subsection (a) or (e) with respect to a Federal facility if such notice is not so posted at such facility, unless such person had actual notice of subsection (a) or (e), as the case may be.

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   6 years 14 weeks ago


    I'll even tolerate people who cherry-pick their one-issue agenda ... but start slinging the hate-accusation, putting on the hair-shirt and disdainfully looking somebody else's gift-horse in the mouth ... well, no.

    It's like hikers & horse-riders & bicycles all on the same path. A few basic rules will give us a decent 80% or even 90% working-solution. Those who find it too confining to work within a few common-sense rules on National Parks Traveler ... well, the pubescent identity issues can arise in any demographic.

    Zebulon, you owe Kurt an apology.

    Ted Clayton

  • Sen. Salazar Seems to be the Interior Secretary Pick For the Obama Administration   6 years 14 weeks ago

    I find primitive freedom-loving emotionally appealing, but there is no freedom or future if there is no way to govern the greedy and powerful.

    I'm not sure I understand what "primitive" freedom means but there is no entity more greedy or powerful than one which obtains its might through coerced non-voluntary extraction i.e. government, whose greed and appetite for ever more power knows no bounds. It is the kind of "primitive" greed and power that can wage an unjust and bloody war to the tune of 1 billion dollars a month (which compared to some of the recent federal boondoggles seems quaintly cheap at this point) by simply devaluing and debasing our currency and borrowing from foreign countries it has no intention of ever paying back.

    It can give trillions to its buddies in the banking, insurance and mortgage business while letting its national parks and public lands wither on the vine. Come on d-2 don't you think that out of all of those trillions, that have been freshly printed out of thin air, that maybe a paltry few billion could have been scattered over your beloved national treasures? Where are their priorities? Are they just too busy governing the greedy? Is that it?

    I don't know about the rest of you but there is nuthin' on God's great earth more greedy and destructively powerful than the U.S. federal gummit. As it takes us down the hole in the next couple of years you just might want to ponder my words and pray for the future of the national parks under the stewardship of those power mad & blood stained warlords who burrow together along the banks of the Potomac.