Recent comments

  • A Winter Visit to Grand Canyon National Park's Phantom Ranch   6 years 29 weeks ago

    Diane,

    Sounds like you've got a great trip lined up! While I've hiked down into and back out of the canyon, with a stop at Phantom, I have yet to run the river.

    Not sure how large your CamelBak is, but obviously you want the largest you can get your hands on. The hike up out of the canyon is a lot tougher than the one down into it. It might not be a bad idea to carry some packages of electrolytes that you can mix in your CamelBak I like the small packets of "Emergen-C," which are handy to carry. Also, a large-brimmed hat and a small assortment of Band-aids you can use to ward off any blisters from your new boots would be wise.

    Something to munch on -- granola bars, jerky, hard candy, trail mix -- also wouldn't be a bad idea.

    Have a great trip!

  • Interior Secretary Opens Door for New Gun Regulations in National Parks   6 years 29 weeks ago

    I just have a few questions:
    1. Is it just a security issue that makes you want to carry a weapon into a National Park?
    2. If it is just a security issue then what do you now? Do you visit the parks or take the family somewhere else? If you visit the parks do you carry anyway?
    3. I've only been to a few National Parks out west, which I've never had issues with, so which parks seems to be the dangerous ones?

    Just to let people know... I'm not a gun owner. Don't really care if people own guns, it's not my place to say if they should. Three of my brothers own and actively hunt/target shoot. I have no issues with it. I worked with weapons in the Navy and will use weapons when I'm visiting with family members who own them.

    I'm more interested in why this is such a big deal for people. Most people will agree it's a risk going anywhere today, or so it seems. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have no issues hiking alone in the many open spaces here, only encounters here were with a couple mountain lions, to which I came out ok. I think we can all agree California has it's fair share of the criminal element and I've failed to encounter such things on the trail.

    As for the controversy I guess I'd be against people packing 'heat' if that was the only problem we have in the parks. However as Paul stated above we have other concerns in the parks. Lack of funds, motorized sports eroding/polluting, conservation of wildlife and an ecosystem. Perhaps we should deal with them first!!!!! Oh yeah let's not forget the people who are abusing the land to grow illicit substances.

    In the end I guess I just don't care. This is just one more item that is a non-issue. Something to keep people busy arguing while the status quo goes on in the federal government.

    I just hope people are as passionate about the parks when funding cuts are announced!

    My humble opinions.

  • Dinosaur National Monument: Paleo's Not The Only Responsibility   6 years 29 weeks ago

    This paints quite a different picture of the situation than the other articles did. It sounds like a reasonable approach under the circumstances. Instead of trying to do more with less they're really doing a lot more with a little more money. There is no stronger advocate for the National Parks and all their resources than the NPCA. The NPCA would not be supporting this plan if they didn't think it would benefit Dinosaur National Monument.

  • A Winter Visit to Grand Canyon National Park's Phantom Ranch   6 years 29 weeks ago

    Was glad to see some "been around the block once or twice" ages posted here as I am a 58 year old woman :)

    This June I will head out on a very personal journey - 2 1/2 days rafting into the canyon, an overnight at Phantom and then hiking out on the Bright Angel Trail. Obviously this trip is special by any measure but more so because in Sept. of 2006 I had bilateral hip replacement. I am feeling better and stronger than I have in years and have my Doc's blessings. My 2007 physical goal was race walking a 10K that I used to run back in the day - Got thru that with no problem and energy to spare. I have been researching a lot of training material and reading as many of these types of posts as possible to prepare as I know my upfront prep. will be the difference between an amazing journey or an agonizing one!

    I am breaking in wonderful hiking boots and am starting to practice with the trekking poles. As all my "stuff" from the rafting portion will be hauled out via duffel service I will be using a Camel Bak hydration daypack with just enough room for the day's necessities. Of course, one of my items will be a camera with LOTS of memory to record my journey!

    Does anyone have any additional tips and/or suggestions for me as I move closer and closer to June.

    Thanks in advance for any and all information :)
    Diane

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 29 weeks ago

    Jim MacDonald wrote: "At what point do we hold people culpable who do what they do even though they hate it? Isn't it a horribly cynical world where we will have to depend on lawyers to make things right? And, then, will it? What's really changed? I think all it does is change the playing field, but it's still the same game."

    It seems to me, Jim, that we do not hold culpable the Yellowstone personnel in the field; rather we hold culpable their superiors that signed onto the IBMP.

    Again, the subject of the photograph at the top of this page is despicable.

    I don't think it's a "horribly cynical world where we will have to depend on lawyers to make things right." Our court system is not perfect, but it's among the best in the world. You can be cynical or you can be realistic or you can be realistically cynical.

    --

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net
    http://wildlifewatchers.jottit.com/

  • National Parks Conservation Association: Interior Buckled to NRA Over Park Gun Laws   6 years 29 weeks ago

    Our national parks have many visitors, some of them families, some of them illegals (armed) and growing their drug crops, some of them human predators looking for weak victims.

    Our world is a dangerous place due to many factors; whether or not to arm ourselves is an individual decision; where to exercise this decision , and under what circumstances to do so, is a matter of judgement left to the individual by our constitution.

    The armed person may, or, may not be a threat to his fellow man; that depends upon many factors; the armed person is a threat to those he believes have harmful intent towards him, or, others; the armed and un-lawful person is a universal threat and a predator upon weaker citizens.

    The arguement could be made that the odds of being attacked in our national parks, and needing a gun for defence are so large that there is no chance on average of this happening.

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 29 weeks ago

    Sorry for the delay Jim in responding to your well versed response to my comments, my head was spinning for several days. I just have to revisit my original thoughts about the beef industry being responsible and the park service being caught in the middle of it all. I'd like to ask you a few questions. In your opinion why did the park service begin killing bison? Why exactly in your opinion, did they decide this was to be their new mandate? What reason did they give for changing their management practice concerning shipping bison to harvest. I can't help but wonder why it's up to the park service to stop their practices but you say it's ok for the USDA to not change theirs just because their principles have been set in stone for decades, and therefore are resistant to pressure from outside sources pushing for change. I'm a bit confused. You let the USDA and Livestock Dept. off the hook when they are the ones I think putting pressure on the park to keep beef brucelosis free. I admit you lost me in your poetic, epic responses, but after all the words the basic questions remain. Who started it? Did the park service suddenly start worrying that wandering bison were going to taint the beef herds? Did they make the first move? Or did someone somewhere else start making noise about their beef herds being tainted by sick bison. Ok so I'm being slightly sarcastic and simple here but I think you get my drift. It all had to start somewhere and I doubt it STARTED in the back offices of YNP or NPS. So the source of the beginning of it all is responsible. Period. I think I can remember back when this all started and the first thing I saw were articles in the paper about the beef industry complaining about sick bison, and "what is the park service going to do to keep their wildlife away from our beef so we won't lose millions of dollars worth of livestock..." No that's not a direct quote, more like a summary in my own words of the general theme of all those articles. Why can't we just hold responsible parties accountable...period? I have to admit, I looked at the BFC with humor when I saw them parked in front of tower falls many years ago, sitting with their posters and speeches and props. I wondered what they thought they would accomplish that day, and wondered if they were getting tired of people walking by them and not paying them any attention. What do they accomplish by holding court in the park they are attacking, trying to talk to a public that just wants to see an elk or moose or bear or waterfall? What do these transient tourists have to offer the BFC in terms of any power to change anything? This is why I think BFC will have greater success camping out in the halls of beefdom. I have to agree with some of our other responders who think it'll take legal wrangling with the likes of our retired judge to get anything done on this front. If what you say is true, and there is no way for change to occur on its own, then we need someone to step in and make the change, to make the "new law" in town. To tell the beef industry to find it's own answer for brucelosis, and tell the park service to close down the likes of the Stevens Facility and let bison be bison. Am I missing some thing? I'm sure you'll let me know if I am, and that's exactly why I love this site....

  • Rangers Association Points Out Flaws In Secretary Kempthorne's Weapons Logic   6 years 29 weeks ago

    As a retired peace officer I don't feel that my right to carry a concealed weapon should not appply to national parks

  • Rangers Association Points Out Flaws In Secretary Kempthorne's Weapons Logic   6 years 29 weeks ago

    This is a classic case of the leaders (or head idiots) just not getting it. I believe if you polled all employees and visitors (aka Citizens) as to wether they would feel safer knowing that an armed law abiding persons were allowed in the parks that a large portion would agree that is a wise idea. What I have never understood is why people put up such resistance to allowing law abiding citizens to arm themselves when criminals don't care if they are breaking the law by carrying a weapon. The criminals are going to do it anyway. I can't rely on the Park Service to protect me at all times, I shouldn't expect them to.

    The most rediculous comment however is "If you truly believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms, then that right applies to all places at all times including federal buildings, airports, schools, and any area prohibited by state law," Mr. McElveen says.

    What a dumb comment and idea. The difference is you are not protected in the wild, it is not a secure environment. All federal buildings, Courthouses etc. have Law Enforcement and Security protecting the Civilians and Employees. This mentality is exactly what brings us down as free persons and makes visiting these wonderful locations a little less safe. It is proof positive that the leaders have also never worked the front lines, have never walked a mile in the shoes of the employees and visitors, they are nieve. It's a real shame that political correctness always overshadows public safety and even more concerning their employees safety.

    Take it from someone who likes to roam the wild and works in Law Enforcement, I would rather explain myself after the fact than see God tommorow.

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 29 weeks ago

    Mack,

    At what point do we hold people culpable who do what they do even though they hate it? Isn't it a horribly cynical world where we will have to depend on lawyers to make things right? And, then, will it? What's really changed? I think all it does is change the playing field, but it's still the same game.

    Randy O.,

    When I said that the "need for compromise" is vacuous what I was getting at is that it doesn't really say anything about the situation at hand. If you are a serial rapist, and I am the person you wish to rape, is there any way to compromise in that situation? Not from my point of view. If you are a person lacking civil rights, and a society says you must get that civil rights inch by inch compromise by compromise, is there really room for compromise if you are wrongly being treated as less than equal? On the other hand, if you want to go to the lake today, but I'd rather go to the movies, we probably can work something out. The point is that the call for compromise on the bison situation says nothing to the principles involved, whether something is right, or whether compromise really is an option.

    Secondly, on bison, no doubt it's not enough to stop managing buffalo while people keep on with the pretenses that they can manage everything else. I agree with you entirely on that. And, yet, that's exactly the human vanity that must be resisted. And, maybe you find yourself on the bright side of the world's management decisions, but others - whether they be bison, those suffering on homeless benches, dying of AIDS in Africa, dying in wars overseas, people of color, people with different sexual orientations, different genders, they are not necessarily doing so well in a world where everything is controlled and managed arbitrarily. And, as a lover of compromise, someone who wants to work with other people, it should be frustrating for you that the world has these unnecessary barriers that actually keep people from working together.

    Thanks for your concern for me getting by in Bozeman. I have had little trouble making friends here. I have no interest in telling people how they should live their lives, but being an anarchist, I'm not a relativist or a libertarian. There are some behavior that none of us should tolerate, not because it's the rule of law, but because it's the rule of reason. One of those things is the purposeless slaughter of Yellowstone bison no matter who is doing it. There are many things - in fact most things - where reason doesn't give us a guide one way or the other. One reason people aren't living as freely as they ought to be is because we have made too many compromises to those would enforce their will (call it the rule of law if you will) over others. It's hard to find actual compromise in a world so divided when it should be relatively easy. However, since we often decide to enforce intolerable boundaries, we make actual compromise and plurality and self expression impossible.

    I have no doubt that most people in the world aren't looking to break down all the hierarchies (that is, anarchy) in the world, certainly not in Bozeman. That's hardly an excuse for me not to look for those here who are willing to stand together, work together, speak together, and take action. If most of the people are okay with the barriers that separate people, that still doesn't mean it's okay.

    As for your dichotomy between dialogue and solutions, that's a false distinction. There is no solution that doesn't involve the process of discussion and interaction - the roaming around and within a topic and between people. If the solution actually is to get people on some sort of the same page, to reach consensus, that consensus is dialogue par excellence. And, dialogue and respect then is the solution. Those things that tend to break that down - those borders again - ruin dialogue and any solution to the problem. What's happening with bison in national parks - the inherent contradiction in the policy, the inherent contradiction that exists between the different groups feuding on the issue is irresolvable unless certain barriers are broken. That's a principle that goes far beyond the buffalo. And, you're right, it cannot be broken down simply by telling people it needs to be this way; in the case of the bison, it's broken down in part by making it happen, by forcing a change in behavior - i.e., direct action. But, ultimately, it's only broken down by a sincere commitment to dialogue and all that dialogue actually entails. That really is the solution, but without context, dialogue is no doubt just as vacuous as compromise.

    I'm under no delusions of having a commonplace point of view. However, your point of view ultimately is self contradictory, and I cannot go down that route.

    If we met in person, we no doubt would like each other. Trust me; this is not how I talk. I'm quite sincere and waxing a bit poetic - because it's my own perverse sense of humor - but I fit in here a lot better than you think. That's not to say that I agree with you or that what I have said isn't sincere, but it has a whiff of a bison chip to it. But, that's part of the point - we should allow that kind of world. And, we have to recognize that even the most open, pluralistic society is built on certain principles of which there cannot rationally be compromise - since compromise depends first on them being true. I honestly believe that the plight of our friends, the buffalo, are indicative of all of that.

    the vulgar talker.
    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Rangers Association Points Out Flaws In Secretary Kempthorne's Weapons Logic   6 years 29 weeks ago

    From what I have been reading on the gun issue in the national parks there seems to be a very large gap of ignorance in how our parks are used. Some guy from Utah thought I wanted a national CCW even though I had already stated there was no such thing (except for law enforcement and that is NOT always true or accepted) if he had read correctly. Federal land rules should apply no matter what state just because they are being controlled by the Federal Government. Why should a state have control over a state agency? They don't. Except in this case and it's not right.

    I don't carry a concealed weapon in any national park. You damn well better believe that some of the places I go I'm armed though. Stay away from the drug smugglers because they are NOT LEGALLY armed. They don't have to go by NPS rules. However, accidents happen and I could stumble over them.

    We're not talking Yosemite & Yellowstone for those of you reading this. I explore the back roads (legally) from California to Texas in a 4X4 and only see a ranger when I pay my entry dues. There are no back road fees unless you use an extablished campground (not off road). Can't beat it!

    FYI: I have a close friend that is retired from the Border Patrol over 15 years and 22 years service and his advice to me was to move 90 degrees away from drug or human smugglers (same in most cases). They are better armed than me because I have to obey the law. I don't ever want to have to shoot anyone again, but I think I should have the right to come home to America and defend myself on American soil!

  • Dinosaur National Monument Cutting Paleontology Staff   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Whats your beef JTR? Do you have sort of inside information to offer? Have you been to the park? Do you know what is going on here? Do you work there? Have you worked there? Unless you have, I do not see how you can be accusing Tom of stating his mind (this is America after all). Paleo is a pretty small work, there are always personal connections, maybe you know that. So, whats your beef? what are your opinions? IF you do not have anything constructive today button your lip!

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Randy O. wrote "For the record, I find the current bison management policies antiquated and irrational, and am putting my time and resources toward finding some sort of rational solution..."

    Will you describe your efforts, or, at least, can you share what you think would have to happen in order to obtain some sort of rational solution?

    I've maintained, for years, that it will take some sharp legal minds(s) to get the IBMP back into court and substantially modified.

    Jim, I support Buffalo Field Campaign in most of their efforts - except for one: because Yellowstone is bound by the IBMP, it is grossly unfair to paint the involved rangers and others in the manner BFC has done. Those men and women do NOT like what they're doing, I assure you. The subject of the photograph at the top of this page is despicable.

    --

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net
    http://wildlifewatchers.jottit.com/

  • Interior Secretary Opens Door for New Gun Regulations in National Parks   6 years 30 weeks ago

    I'm becoming more and more ambivalent on the gun issue.

    Gun lovers are going to carry no matter what. I suspect many already carry in the parks now, who would know?

    There is also crime in the parks. The Everglades, for example, were once notorious for drug runners (not sure if that still holds true today).

    Not all gun carriers are "nuts", but not all are responsible, either. Just like every other facet of American society.

    The NRA is here to stay, like it or not. I can only hope any new gun regs don't lead to an upswing in brown bear target shooting or other such abuses.

    I'm more concerned about ATVs and snowmobiles in the parks than guns. IMO, they'll do more damage to ecosystems and the natural wonders of the parks.
    ==================================
    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Clinton, McCain, Obama Answer Questions on National Parks   6 years 30 weeks ago

    I suspect McCain's heart is in the right place. The NPS is integral to Arizona's economy and is very important to its voting public. He couldn't have been an AZ senator all these years without hearing that from his constituency.

    ------------------------------------------------
    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Tar Sands Development Could Impact Canyonlands National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Glen Canyon NRA   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Hello from Canada!
    Your Senator McCain has ingnored invironmental issues for years and continues to do so today. I was curious to understand his strange behavior and your page...http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com... explains a great deal! Recently (February 2008) your president Bush has authorized the U.S. Federal Bureau of Land Management or BLM to do exploratory research within the States of Utah, Wyoming and Montana. With your page I am beginning to understand that the exploratory work for: Tar Sands and Shale and Gas deposits, is close or within the boundaries of your National Parks. Montana borders with Canada and Utah/Arizona borders with both California and Mexico. The Republican Presidential candidate, John McCain, is representing Arizona. The Oil exploration company, Canwest, is helping to fund the McCain presidential campaign and Bush is backing McCain.
    The puzzle is almost complete. Within Arizona, the Navajo reserve has potential mineral deposits and all States mentioned create a North South corridor across the United States from Canada to Mexico.
    It is a perfect Oil pipeline corridor and the State of Arizona has the pipe making ability.
    Signed: Joseph Raglione
    Executive director: The World Humanitarian Peace and Ecology Movement.

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Jim-

    Your reply is much appreciated, and quite expected from one who espouses the beliefs that you've articulated in the past. You yourself have identified yourself indeed as an "anarchy activist", and I am not the only one who has commented upon the sensationalistic approach that you and others (perhaps most notably the BFC) have used in describing the plight of the bison. Call those ad hominem attacks if you will (very nice use of vocabulary by the way), however as you say, looking at the "root of what we're saying", that descriptor might not be true.

    My argument with your commentary is perhaps most specifically based upon your position which you articulated on the 18th in this thread -

    I do not think it is up to us to determine how big of a herd that we want, and the key to my answer to your question is that we have to rid ourselves of the belief that we are here to "manage" wildlife. The idea that the role of human society is to manage resources is I think a mistaken one. I don't think we have the knowledge to know how to do this while at the same time grasping all the consequences of our actions. The "management" ethics is based on an atomistic understanding of the world. It doesn't matter whether the atom is managing a particular animal, a particular disease, or even a particular ecosystem, the attempt to make moral decisions regarding what to do about buffalo and other animals is not a closed system. It is not possible to know the variables. So, we cannot really answer how many buffalo absolutely we would want, and we shouldn't even try. The question shouldn't be how many bison should there be but rather why we think we are right to control the number of bison within a certain number. And, more than control that number, why we think we are right to control the movements of these animals.

    Your argument is simply specious to suggest that the wild bison are somehow to be carved out of a very complex regional ecosystem and left "unmanaged" at this point in time. Every aspect of our lives in our regional ecosystem is "managed" in one way or another. The rule of law of in civilized society is a form of "management"; I would suppose that with your "anarchy activism" background you probably don't accept that concept; if that be the case, you'll be eternally frustrated in this world. I'll readily admit my bias, I'm a retired federal judge (30 years), and though I lean to the progressive / liberal side of the current politcal spectrum, I do firmly believe in the rule of law as the glue that binds a society together. Is American society perfect - absolutely not; however, there are societies around the world that are in states of true anarchy - and it breeds savage, inhuman, lawless behavior that is nothing but reprehensible and an unmitigated disaster for those unfortunate souls living in the tumult.

    Here's the crux of my critical commentary - If you frame your entire argument upon the premise that the bison cannot indeed be managed in any way, shape, or form, there could / will never be a solution to the issue.

    I'm particulary intrigued by your assignment of the descriptor "vacuous" to my call for working toward solutions to the issue; btw in doing so you seem to have articulated an "ad hominem" attack yourself. My abridged dictionary defines "vacuous" as "without content; empty; expressing or characterized by lack of intelligence; inane; stupid". (By the way, I'm not a Schweitzer supporter, I truly find his commentary and behavior vacuous).

    Jim, a call for working together to craft a solution is not "vacuous" - and for a guy that seems reasonably bright by your writings, you critically damage and cheapen your credibility by making such a charge. I'm well aware that there are those in the "anarchy movement" who find that anything short of the total destruction of our democracy and the rule of law is "unacceptable compromise", and if that be your position, so be it, though with that approach you'll never find an acceptable solution to the issue of the bison, much less live a purposeful, contented life. I would certainly hope that not be the case for your sake. You seem to be particularly contemptuous of the word "compromise" - I use the term quite honestly and hopefully, defined as such - "a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands." Rational compromise is not an inappropriate or unobtainable objective.

    Finally, my comments to you about life in Bozeman were sincerely proffered. The bulk of the fine residents of Bozeman, and of Montana and the region, are hard working folk who treasure their ability to live in this area. They are most often vehemently opposed to being told there is only way to do things, or only one solution to an issue, or in fact as you might be saying, there is no solution to an issue (back to your quote above). We don't really need a serious discussion about the absurdities of policy as you've called for, we need rational solutions. For the record, I find the current bison management policies antiquated and irrational, and am putting my time and resources toward finding some sort of rational solution (opps - there's that implication for compromise again). Bottom line - the overwhelming majority of us in Bozeman and the region are not looking for anarchy, we're looking for living the best life we can in this day and age, and the overwhelming majority of us want to live in optimal harmony with our environment. Those of us who are long time "westerners" view with great caution those who spout constant criticism of our way of life, even though admittedly that way of life might be grossly flawed in many ways. You don't have to be an "eastern carpetbagger" (your term); it's in fact entirely up to you.

    I realize you'll probably find my comments to be a bucket of horsesh*t; that's fine, and you certainly have every right in our great nation to do so. I've been called every name in the book, had my life threatened by strip mining and ranching companies over the years - though I've never been called vacuous - that's a first, and has engendered quite a laugh among family and friends; a genuine thanks for the chuckle. I'm just finishing a book about my judicial experiences in Montana that's scheduled for publication early this summer, and I've sent an email to my editor suggesting we include your descriptor of my "vacuous commentary" - she thinks it's a great idea.

    There seems to be a spark of intelligence and potential in you (per your writings) that is so often absent in the venimous, partison inhabitants of these online boards. Best of luck to you, and may you shift your energies toward finding solutions to issues at hand. There is good in the world out there.

    Warmly,
    Randy O., The Vacuous Judge

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Randy O.,

    You'll probably need to do more than brushing my arguments aside with ad hominem attacks to speak to what I wrote. It's easy enough to brush me aside, however many years I have spent actually caring about and learning about Yellowstone (and even living and working there seasonally over five summers in the 1990s). It's much harder to brush aside the force of argument.

    When you and others can give arguments that actually justify the policy (besides that they've been working on it a long time, and the perennial favorite vacuous common sense claim - "compromise is needed" (you should probably work for Gov. Schweitzer), then we can have a discussion.

    And, FYI, I do not support Obama in part because he doesn't really believe in the power and necessity of grassroots activism. If he did, I don't know how anyone like that would ever consider running for President. He can have the white horse. What we need is a serious discussion of the absurdities of policy. And, yes, they've been absurd for a long time, long before 1872, long before John Bozeman came riding into town and started an Indian war, one that in part has brought us to talking about Yellowstone bison. We cannot remake the world as it was in 1872 (why would we want to - the 19th century was no dreamworld), but we can begin to undo the rationale that uses 1872 as a reason for doing stupid things in 2008.

    So, I'd urge you to speak to argument rather than about me and my circumstance. I can assure you I have a lot more skeletons in my closet than being an Eastern carpetbagger, and there's a lot more fun to be had at my expense. But, the beauty is that you and I can have serious discussion no matter who we are if we take the time to look seriously at the root of what we are saying.

    Cheers,

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

  • Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Favors Law Enforcement, Maintenance, Interpretation Over Paleontology   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Whether or not the work at DNM can be done by other partners by outsourcing is irrelevant. The point is, why get rid of a dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled curator/collections manager (Ann Elder) and geologist/fossil preparator (Scott Madsen) when their work of 20+ years is tried and true? Why create a situation that is likely to turn into a management and supervisory nightmare by bringing in people who may not be anywhere near as familiar with the resource as Ann and Scott. Where is the quality control? If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

    I live and work in in the Uinta Basin and I am frequently asked by tourists "How do I get to the quarry", "Where can I go to see dinosaur bones", "where can I go to see a dinosaur dig?", "My kid wants to be a paleontologist when he/she grows up, where can he go to talk with a real live working paleontologist?" , "can I sign up for a dinosaur dig?". "what?..the quarry is closed?..but we came all this way just to see it!"

    "What does the visitor want?"
    Tourists from all over the country and all over the world come to this area SPECIFICALLY to see dinosaur bones. They want to SEE people doing legitimate paleontology. They want the opportunity to talk and interact with a scientist who is prepping out a fossil or making a mold and cast, not read a sign next to a makeshift temporary exhibit thrown together to try and make up for the quarry being closed.

    "Ranger talks" (Interpretation)
    Yes...interpretation is essential. However, there would be no ranger talks and nothing to interpret, if it wasn't for these two talented people who dedicated a large chunk of their lives to DNM doing the fieldwork, preparing the fossils, cataloging, organizing, and caring for the fossil collection, and gathering the scientific information so that it can be made available for research and the edification of the general public.

    "The visitor should be made to feel safe " (law enforcement)
    Safe from what exactly? Safe from dinosaur bones? Safe from sunburns and bugbites while hiking? Safe from muggers and pickpockets? While safety is indeed important, law enforcement is primarily there to help protect and preserve the resource and prevent and enforce mischevous and criminal behaviour such as vandalism of petroglyphs, illegally collecting fossils in the monument, defacing monument property, dumping your trash in the Green River, etc. ,etc.

    "Clean restrooms" (maintenance)
    While clean restrooms are nice, I really don't think that's one of the most important things to a visitor.
    Besides, If you are out on a 2 hour hike, chances are you won't see a restroom (let alone a clean one) for a while until you get to the end of the trail or back to the parking lot. You end up peeing behind a rock or watering a shrub anyway so who really gives a crap? (pun intended). Maybe those fru-fru types do...they'll just have to hold it until they get back to civilization. Sheesh.

    NO....cutting Ann and Scott from the paleontology program, the core mission of DNM, is NOT a very good move on the part of the superintendent. It's ignorant, plain and simple.

  • Interior Secretary Opens Door for New Gun Regulations in National Parks   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Hooray for doing away with another 'dis-armed victim zone'! It's a step in the right direction in eliminating the mis-guided practice of not allowing properly licensed and trained individuals to carry their means of protecting themselves, their families and others from harm.
    There should be no restrictions placed nor laws passsed that dis-arm a person who has a legal right to be armed.
    Concealed weapons permit holders are those that have demostrated their ability to safely handle firearms; undergone and passed background checks, fingerprint checks, found to be mentally and financially stable.
    Criminals are not deterred by any other laws, what makes people think that they are going to go somewhere else just because 'guns aren't allowed here'?

  • Dinosaur National Monument Cutting Paleontology Staff   6 years 30 weeks ago

    This comment is not to cause any more flares. I hope Kurt will forgive my intrusion; I'm not sure how else to do this. Tom and Paleogirl1, look through my profile on here and find my blog/website link - then find my contact info and send me a note.

    Jen

    _____

    "To defrauded town toilers, parks in magazine articles are like pictures of bread to the hungry. I can write only hints to incite good wanderers to come to the feast.... A day in the mountains is worth a mountain of books." -- John Muir

  • Dinosaur National Monument Cutting Paleontology Staff   6 years 30 weeks ago

    It's certainly good to see such concern for Dinosaur National Monument. I have indeed been doing some follow-up to the previous articles on this matter. As they say, there are two sides to every story. Sometimes three or four. With that said, rather than bashing folks for their views, if you can, hold off on further comments until I can provide you with an update. It should be posted sometime tomorrow, and I think you'll find its contents interesting.

  • Dinosaur National Monument Cutting Paleontology Staff   6 years 30 weeks ago

    I have to say that I am with Tom, Jen, DinoMan and the rest of the concerned people who have posted excellent comments and credible information on this site. As a geology student, I to have a passion for paleontology and hope to pursue a graduate education in vertebrate paleontology. I completely agree with Jen in that I also find it “refreshing” to hear such passion and dedication to a cause displayed by a fellow student! As students in science, we are the future of paleontology and geology, it is us that will carry the torch and unfortunately have to correct the mistakes made by the “Old Guard” (NPS management). All throughout my childhood we traveled every summer to many of our countries National Parks and I have fond memories of Dinosaur National Monument (before the closure of course) and the lasting affect it had on me. There are some excellent questions and concerns that have been voiced on this site and I think its high-time that the NPS starts giving us some legitimate answers! It seems to me that Tom has raised some legitimate concerns through his experience at Dinosaur and I will join the cause as well. I will most definitely write numerous letters to the upper management of the NPS as well as politicians (it’s an election year folks!) and outside organizations. This situation also hits a nerve with me because I have recently applied for 2 internships at Dinosaur National Monument this summer (hopefully they haven’t gutted the program by then) and I was hoping to have a valuable experience if I am selected. Hopefully I can help make a difference in this situation. Let me finish by saying that I think it’s disgusting that certain people (refer to above) make it their job to discredit and bash other people’s knowledge and experience. What a complete waste of time and blog space on this page! It sounds to me like JTR might very well be closely connected to this situation and actually part of the growing problem? Before you start minimizing the importance of such interns and an organization such as SCA you might want to do some research into that program and I think you will find the importance behind it. Furthermore, it sounds like interns and volunteers such as Tom (a lowly form of life according to the ignorance of JTR) have done MUCH of the work at Dinosaur? Hmmm let’s ponder that…… I think we (the educated and concerned public) can see rite through the fact-less comments posted by such people. I will spread the word throughout school and my community and keep closely connected to this issue.

  • Dinosaur National Monument Cutting Paleontology Staff   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Just what I thought - a small group of friends with a personal agenda. And we’re supposed to believe that a summer intern has all the facts about what the scientists and management do and all the decisions they make and how they spend their time. It seems that a summer SCA intern is pretty much the lowest level employee in a park and certainly not privy to ALL THE FACTS. Sounds like you just don’t understand what work is going on around you.

  • Bush Administration Plan to Remove Wolf Protections Draws Criticism   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Eric,

    It was a government sponsored action~to eliminate wolves from the landscape~in order to entice ranchers to move their operations out here for a couple reasons. One; it isn't financially viable to operate ranching out here without a "cleansed" environment sans predators: Second; they wanted to have all the land "occupied" to deter the indigenous peoples from leaving their concentration camps... same story on the bison, they eat grass that is in short supply for the multitudes of cattle that they introduced to the region a little over a hundred years ago.

    The reason wolves matter is that they are a key component to a balanced ecosystem, without them things in nature can go awry with unpleasantries for we shameful humans.