Recent comments

  • Grand Teton Puts Down Another Bear   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Melissa,

    I too want to thank and congratulate you! Stick with it.

    My experience is a bit varied. And I've never been a ranger - I'm on the research side of things (and of course, a visitor to many national parks). But my experience this summer - note, I was in Alaska, which is a different situation - is that many of the rangers often get slighted. By this I mean that they do have a tough decision - whether to take reports seriously. Many people may not realize how tough a decision they have, considering the varied sources of pressure they feel when making a decision. Many visitors to our parks - and all public lands - are so disconnected from the animals (and natural environments as a whole) they are watching that they do over-react too often. A couple of the rangers I met this summer deserve to hold on to their cynicism.

    That said, we have too many people doing things in our parks (whether feeding the animals or whatever), that need to be stopped. I know that the interp staff at Rocky Mountain NP here in Colorado says that only about 5% of their 3 million annual visitors actually attend a ranger-led talk or program. Signs get ignored far more than they get read. Park literature is never looked at - even when given out for free. This is an audience problem, in my opinion. People need to be responsible. If you figure out how to force responsibility and maturity on people, let me know!

    And until we reconnect many of our park visitors to the real world around them, situations like this Grand Teton - bear incident are not going to go away. We need to be the ones reaching out and trying to inform our fellow visitors. Maybe this can be some good peer pressure. :)

    Jen

  • Grand Teton Puts Down Another Bear   6 years 34 weeks ago

    That's it "anonymous"...it's all Bush's fault...nevermind that his wife is a huge fan of the parks (unlike Bill Clinton's wife).
    You have absoulutely NO credibility in what you say as long as your ilk want to blame everything on the President and his administration. Did it ever occur to you that these decisions are made at a MUCH lower level???

  • Grand Teton Puts Down Another Bear   6 years 34 weeks ago

    My Dear Melissa, I hear you and do sympathizes with your anger which shows much utter disgust. This is a typical and normal reaction that any decent hard working ranger would have. Don't despair! I do commend you for your dedicated and devoted service to the national parks. In hindsight, this kind of response that you just reflected, does discourage many good potential candidates from becoming professional rangers. Long as we have a administration that's hell bent on exploiting our natural resources for rape, greed and pillage, and use the National Parks as a corporate entity to "to suck it for all it's worth", then the message is clear, are national crown jewels are up to the highest bidder. Melissa, if you can weather the storm regarding this kind of fiasco, and hang in there and not get dejected, then I whole hardily applaud you for your tenacity to stay the course. It's a phenomenal battle to contain when privatization takes the national parks as a gravy train for corporate greed. It's not about the parks but about cronyism and back room deals that rewards the biggest exploiters ( I do remember the MCA dealings in Yosemite many years ago). So, Melissa carry on with future professional endeavors and I wish you well.

  • FAQs for Yellowstone's Snowmobile Decision Revealing   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Must be tough on them during the summer months. Can't imagine many rental contracts are being written from May thru September. Hope they all managed to stash away enough booty from the winter bounty to survive during the economic drought that is the summer tourist season.(?)

  • Park History: How the National Seashores Came to Be   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Anon,

    I am one of the rangers who wrote permits for the Otis Pike High Dune Wilderness Area. My supervisor pressured me to write permits after quotas had been reached. Exceeding wilderness permit quotas was a regular practice at the two visitor centers that write permits for the wilderness area.

    Fire Island's founding legislation refers to the 8-mile strip of future wilderness, as stated in the 1983 wilderness management plan:

    "Section 7(b) of this Act refers specifically to the '8 mile zone' and states 'access.....shall be provided by ferries and footpaths only.....no development or plan for the conveniences of visitors shall be undertaken therein which would be incompatible with the preservation of the..." blah blah blah. (Notice the author's irregular use of ellipses.)

    A 1978 management plan placed that area into a special land use category "with the intent of preserving the unique values" of the future wilderness area.

    Anyway, the emphasis of acts prior to the wilderness act is clearly preservation in as "primitive" state as possible, and they were initiated by the NPS. Additionally, the preliminary proposal resulted from NPS review of the strip of land.

    So your assertion that "local people wanted [wilderness designation] to stop the NPS from making more visitor facilities" runs contrary to the history of NPS management of the wilderness area. The founding legislation, the 1978 management plan, and the wilderness management plan all contradict this assertion.

    The same plan details removing 20 structures in the early 1990s when "reserved rights" ended. Basically, the NPS took the land, gave the "structure" (beach house) owners until 1992 before running them off. It also evicted a number of "squatters".

    So, to me it seems like it was the NPS who wanted to halt any human habitation or development of the 8 mile strip between Watch Hill and Smith Point. The evidence runs contrary to the assertion that "local people wanted [the wilderness area] to stop the NPS from making more visitor facilities." If you have some documented evidence, I'd be happy to see it.

    My assertion that the NPS wanted to drive on the beach is undocumented. I have only anecdotes to back up that assertion. I know the NPS controls who may and may not drive on the beach by issuing a very limited number of permits. Many locals asked me what they could do to get a permit so they could get building materials to their homes. Meanwhile, LE rangers cruise up and down and up and down and up and down the beach and resource management cruises many a Polaris and ATV all in the name of the greater good.

    Some NPS employees view the local communities, which predate the park by MORE THAN 100 YEARS, as an obstacle to the greater good, something to overcome. The writers above view them as a "thorn in the Park Service’s side". This is an offense to the hard working people who live in Cherry Grove, Kismet, Ocean Beach, The Pines, and all the other unique and historical communities of Fire Island.

    Dredging and bulk heading have also been done by the NPS. Buildings on the dunes predate the park. The island is a shifting spit of sand and has no intrinsic integrity.

    Again, it is morally offensive for the government to seize land and then to label communities that have existed for almost 150 years as obstacles to progress.

  • Why Is Interior Dragging Feet On Keeping Glacier National Park from Being Shelled?   6 years 34 weeks ago

    I AGREE WITH SCOTT ------ "are these not the same people that used are tax dollars to bail them out of bankruptcy not long ago ? " ------ AND THIS HAPPENS TOO OFTEN OUR NON CORRUPT COUNTRY ! ! ! ! !

  • Why Is Interior Dragging Feet On Keeping Glacier National Park from Being Shelled?   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Sounds typical...the RR's are making the money, and always want the shareholders pocket books fat when pay day comes. Nevermind if it destroys Nature, and, I guess they think the park has to many animals. Grizzleys are off the endangered list right? Thats enough justifacation for them! The rich get richer and , well, you know the rest. With all of the pollution minded people, you would think that it would be great PR, for the RR company to build the snow sheds,maybe people would not look at them like any other money mongur, that cares for nothing but themselves and their money! God knows a Typical Engine belches out more pollution than a hundred cars in an hour of use! Come on RR Guys! Pull your head out of that oriface that it is burried in! For once, Help Mother Nature!

  • Twenty-seven Years Ago, Eight National Parks Came to Be   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Congratulation to all those amazingly beautiful parks.
    However, it's easier to create a national park than to keep and protect one !!!
    How is it in God's name possible that i.e. Katmai National Preserve today
    is a favourite grizzly slaughterhouse for all those so-called sports hunters.
    Instead it should be protected and admired for its beautiful nature and all wildlife
    that have Katmai as their natural habitat !!!!
    Look at it, don't destroy it !!!

  • Grand Teton Puts Down Another Bear   6 years 34 weeks ago

    I worked in Grand Teton this summer as a seasonal ranger, and the bear situation was deplorable. The biggest problem was a lack of a ranger presence in the campgrounds. Some of you may recall that Grand Teton's campgrounds were "privatized" a few years ago. That was a terrible decision that has had a very direct impact on our wildlife.

    Grand Teton and Yellowstone see millions of visitors every summer. I had a friend who was a campground ranger, and he used to spend all day in the campground, contacting numerous visitors about bears and food storage and confiscating food.

    With the privatization, rangers from other divisions were asked to "fill in" with campground patrols in addition to their other duties. I can tell you for a fact that the campgrounds had days when there was zero ranger presence all day.

    I might have had one or two hours to patrol the campground once or twice a week. And every time i did, i found major food violations. I would then contact park dispatch who usually sent someone from the lodge company to confiscate the items - i.e. no ticket for the offender - i.e. no lesson learned. Absolutely ridiculous!

    Privatization is one of the most evil things currently being foisted off on the National Parks. It makes no sense to remove rangers from the campgrounds in such a high use park and replace them with a private company who then hires teenage workers from foreign countries to staff them.

    It's no wonder visitors are breaking the rules and bears are being killed.

    I had friends visit me this summer who stayed in the campground. When they registered, not only were they not given any warnings, but one of my friends asked the young man from the Chzek Republic working at the booth if he should worry about bears and the response was "No, we just have black bear. No worry."
    Awesome, since we have both black and grizzly bears. And this was during the time period in which we were about to kill one of the "problem" black bears in the area.

    I was so fed up and angry by the end of this summer, i seriously began to consider other career options. But then i remembered that it's about the parks. I love the parks and despite all the bureaucrats in charge, i can make a difference. I can change the operation from the inside.

  • FAQs for Yellowstone's Snowmobile Decision Revealing   6 years 34 weeks ago

    The Park doesn't owe those people a living. No one told them to set up shop there to exploit the Park's tourists. If the park eliminated all snowmobiling in the park, they'd have to find some other way to make money. Just like horse breeders and carriage makers and farriers did after the automobile was invented. Just like typewriter manufacturers did when the word processor came about. They'll need to adapt.

    The majority of these gateway communities are parasites anyway, pure and simple.

    The NPS has a duty to protect the parks, first and foremost. Not the gateway communities.

  • Climate Change: What Implications Does it Carry for the Parks?   6 years 34 weeks ago

    RIGHT ON Re'bekah and Roger!!!
    Pretty arrogant to think that we have much impact on global climate...there have been MANY warming and cooling periods before we got here!!
    Too much Algore disease goin' around...hot air (lol).

  • Climate Change: What Implications Does it Carry for the Parks?   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Mr. Repanshek states that the rising temperatures in Yellowstone and Grand Teton are affecting the lifestyles and possibly the quality of life among the parks' wildlife. If the many scientists who say that the earth is millions of years older than humanity are to be believed however, thousands of species evolved and became extinct long before Homo Sapiens was ever thought of. Every ice age and following warmer period has forced animals and plants out of areas that they had lived in for centuries. It is the hight of arrogance to think that simply because we are now on the scene, habitat change and/or extinction must be stopped. (Don't get me wrong, I don't think that this gives us the right to be irresponsible by killing animals unnecessarily, or developing every acre in sight.)

  • Park History: How the National Seashores Came to Be   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Rangers do now writer permits for the Wilderness. You do not need a permit to enter the wilderness. Only to camp in it. The NPS did not ask for the beach to be excluded from the wilderness. In fact, the NPS did not want the wilderness at all. Local people wanted it to stop the NPS from making more visitor facilities. Residents on Fire Island agreed not to block the wilderness designation if driving access on the beach was maintained. Finally, the original post does not say that the wilderness is threatened by the communities - it says the park is. And it is. Dredging, bulkheading of the bay shoreline, and building on the dunes is damaging the island's integrity and interfering with visitor use.

  • National Parks Contribute Holiday Ornaments to White House Christmas Tree   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Frank-----I thought you'd enjoy these ripostes from H.L. Mencken on the subject of democracy:

    "Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage."

    "Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance."

    "Democracy, too, is a religion. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses."

    Oh how we could use another Mencken here in the 21st century.

    The founders abhorred democracy because they saw it for what it was, pure and simple mob rule. A system that uses the ballot box to elect proxies which can then use state derived force to steal from one to give to another, and thus gain immense political power, is nothing more nor less than immoral tyranny. With the modern-day ability to electronically stuff ballots in a given candidates favor (remember Ohio in the last presidential election?) the contemporary American plebiscite is as big a farce as those that were held in the old Soviet Union.

    Frank, don't expect a population that was indoctrinated in government run schools to grasp this concept with any degree of ease of comprehension. The democratic principle has been so thoroughly drummed into their heads by their government masters that it will take a long period of recovery after the nation has dissolved into ruin for them to wake up to other more tangible forms of truth, justice and the American way.

    In the meantime keep the faith and remember that there are still many sincere folks in Russia who pine for the "stability" of Stalin and others in our beloved land that fervently cling to their belief in the tooth fairy and the democratically pure and sacred principle of group entitlement embodied in a check from an Orwellian sounding agency called Social Security.

  • National Parks Contribute Holiday Ornaments to White House Christmas Tree   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Don't feel too badly Frank. I've tried in vain to educate some of the posters that our "democracy" is actually a fabrication, a media and politically driven term, and has absolutely nothing to do with the actual governmental practice in this country. I've been berated by the less than well informed for my ignorance of how our system works. These same contributors don't understand the nuances between the systems of democracy and republic any more than they understand the unique separation between Facists and Nazis. A fully functioning, literal democracy is not feasible in our modern society, yet we, then general public, tend to believe the media hype surrounding our alleged form of government. And unfortunately, the differences between these two forms of government are quite wide. If we were an actual democracy, special interest groups would find it much more difficult and costly to operate effectively. But on the other hand, you would be at the mercy of the uninformed voter to have a say in every issue. Not that this point would be any differrent from things as they currently stand in our general elections, but currently we vote on representation, not actual issues concerning and governing the people. That, to me, is the major deficiency is our practice. We elect numbskulls who will outright lie in every campaign speech about what they stand for, based on what the gathered crowds want to hear, and then we have the nerve to act indignant when the "vote their conscience", as directed by the afore mentioned interest groups of course. But we deserve exactly what we get until the public has the balls to admit to their ignorant and nonchalant attitudes, educate themselves, then take the required actions to corrrect the faults that lie within the existing system.

    Our national ignorance is so complete that we still insist on "spreading a democratic system of government throughout the world". The world doesn't know how lucky it is to be devoid of true democratic regimes. It doesn't work, it never has worked, and in the world societies as they exist today, it never can work. It requires too much cooperation among those governed, too much time invested on personal education of issues, too much time actively taking part in the system, and a thorough understanding of the "best interests" of the nation, which in our current US example, the government says we're not capable of understanding. That is a perfect example of those in power wanting to sequester knowledge, which is after all the only power, from the masses whom they were elected to represent and SERVE. Some system we've got, and yet we have the arrogance to try and infect the rest of the world with our "advanced" form of government.

    But don't the ornaments look pretty? If they only meant something beyond lip service and window dressing......

  • National Parks Contribute Holiday Ornaments to White House Christmas Tree   6 years 34 weeks ago

    So this is tangential, and I'm sure to take heat over it, but:

    they undermine the so called democracy this country has even when doing that

    If you search for "democracy" on NPT, you'll get 3 pages of results.

    Until recently, I had no idea that the United States of America as set up by the Founders is not a democracy. The word democracy does not appear in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. In fact, the founders were wary of democratic rule:

    At the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin told an inquisitive citizen that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention gave the people "a Republic, if you can keep it."

    Madison, the father of the Constitution, could not have been more explicit in his fear and concern for democracies. "Democracies," he said, "have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death."

    The Founders clearly understood the dangers of a democracy. Edmund Randolph of Virginia described the effort to deal with the issue at the Constitutional Convention: "The general object was to produce a cure for the evils under which the United States labored; that in tracing these evils to their origins, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy."

    Read more here.

  • National Parks Contribute Holiday Ornaments to White House Christmas Tree   6 years 34 weeks ago

    So what if it was a downer? If love of the national parks is so sensitive and tenuous that my own experience here with the White House Christmas tree so affects you, then there's really little hope (but of course there's hope). I deeply love the places that are our national parks with an intense passion, especially the places that have touched my experience. I even deeply love places probably no one would think to love - a tree drooping in Lafayette Park, a bench used by a homeless man in Franklin Square, a mile marker on the GW Parkway, a little cave in Great Falls National Park, birds along the C&O Canal. And, that's a smidgen of ink I would care to read.

    I don't care to read about lip service paid by the White House on its annual Christmas tree, a place where I know the context of such events. I know that while the Administration glories in the festivities of the tree (just like pardoning the turkey that dies within a year from the hormones pumped into it) that has been chopped down, they undermine the so called democracy this country has even when doing that. A friend of mine for years has organized protest Christmas caroling, trying to draw attention to the wars of this country - he's treated like a danger to the nation and set off by himself. But, that's just standard fare for detractors in the country - the stories I could tell you (that one's nothing). Jaded? You bet! I'm angry that places that are worth loving have been co-opted by a government that doesn't care at all about them. They co-opt Christmas, they co-opt trees, and they co-opt parks (and create "parks" in the first place - places that are so much more). And, if parks advocates are happy for the scrap of attention, and feel the need for this display to raise our spirits, that's going to bring out the cynic in me every time, especially one placed in the local situation and the local context where I can see the environment, see the homeless freezing on those park benches, having been out there at nights at times trying to check on them. There is plenty of joy even in those moments, but no I'm not prepared to let people just have their fun when I see the expense of that fun all around me; there's more to the ornament on the tree, there's the world around that tree as well - and there's joy there, too - believe me).

    Because, deep down, I'm not the least bit jaded or cynical and know we can do a whole lot better than this, that there's a lot more deserving our ink and our press, in terms of both the District of Columbia (its parks or its people), and in terms of the national parks at large. In this context, it's partly my own fault, as Kurt and Jeremy have invited me to write here, and I have yet to do so. But, it's still frustrating to see things like this in the newspapers. I've been forced to share reports in my own newspaper. There is so much we might say; that there are ornaments on the national Christmas tree featuring national parks is not something worth our time when we consider the full context of this display. And, not just my time, but I'd challenge us to look deep down in our experiences and know that there's much more we can share and do on behalf of the parks, on behalf of places very special to us. Because, deep down, we don't have to take joy in a cynical display but from the community of action and shared experience that can do something better.

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

  • Park History: How the National Seashores Came to Be   6 years 34 weeks ago

    This listing deals only with national seashores. Gateway National Recreation Area is an urban park geared to mass recreation as well as natural and cultural resources preservation. Its creation in 1972 was a product of the "parks to the people" movement in the 1970s that yielded a batch of NRAs oriented to urban centers like Atlanta, Cleveland, and Los Angeles. Gateway NRA (New York/New Jersey) and Golden Gate NRA (San Francisco) are the two flagship NRAs. Interestingly, both have ocean shoreline and beaches under management. "National Recreation Area" strikes me as a very odd title for a national park, and I personally don't like it at all. It is even a tad confusing. Prior to the 1970s, the Park Service used that title for parks focused on lakes impounded by dams. Lake Mead National Recreation Area is probably the best known of these.

  • Why Is Interior Dragging Feet On Keeping Glacier National Park from Being Shelled?   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Must be a buck in it for somebody, off the books.

  • Park History: How the National Seashores Came to Be   6 years 34 weeks ago

    What about Gateway National Park? It is beautiful! It is on the Atlantic Ocean. It is neglected monetarily and much of it is in NEW YORK CITY while the other side is in New Jersey's Highlands and Sandy Hook. It should be a fabulous resource for Metropolitan area people as well as accessible for visitors from everywhere.

  • National Parks Contribute Holiday Ornaments to White House Christmas Tree   6 years 34 weeks ago

    As the mother of one of the designers of a Christmas tree ball, I would like to see the ball and would like to be able to buy a copy for the benefit of that National Park,

  • Why Is Interior Dragging Feet On Keeping Glacier National Park from Being Shelled?   6 years 34 weeks ago

    as usuall there are those that have and won't let go, even if it is for the common good and there is those that have not. if it's to get done it will have to be our tax dollars that do it. so the haves can keep what they have.
    are these not the same people that used are tax dollars to bail them out of bankruptcy not long ago ?

  • Former Park Service Director Mainella: Interior Department Called Yellowstone Snowmobile Decisions   6 years 34 weeks ago

    We should all aspire to a time when, as would make not only Frank but so many of the citizenry of our nation terrbily pleased, the NPS and other managers of national lands are turned back into the public stewardship organizations that they were meant to be, and not politically laden private interest groups who are subservient to no other than those signing their checks. Acceptance of the current regime and their mindset is not an option.

    True, the park system is indeed financed by tax monies, but not directly. There is no specific tax muiltiplier in the national tax code designed to divert a fixed portion of federal taxed to the NPS. Their budget is at the whims of the afore mentioned special interest groups who control the Senate and House votes, who along with the President, are bought and sold every election. For the proper long-term sustained operation of the park system, the need for a separate taxing body has never been more evident. Akin to the school district on your local property tax bill, this body would levy a tax based proportionally on the national budget of the system, and be responsible for the infrastructure, manitenance, land aquisitions, marketing, scientific budget, and unfortunately, environmental issues that the current managers have absolutely no control over, as the current state of the operating budget is a fluctuating, random, arbitrary figure at best. The only way to effectively resolve this dilemma is to sequester the park budget from the controls exerted by the Washington cesspool.

    An initial tax offering based less on percentages and more on population (family members per household) could easily be factored. A simple $10/person rate would initially bring a revenue stream of approximately 30 billion dollars. Reduction to a flat rate of $3/person generates an annual budget of around 1 billion. The vast majority of Americans wouldn't even notice the difference in their annual incomes. I'd even offer to submit a proposal from taxing foreign nationals to assist in alleviating the burden on the consumer. This would also serve to help eliminate the alleged need for corporate sponsopship and the related issues that are generated by their involvement in the system, as they (corporations) serve no real purpose other than to disturb the equilibrium and quality of the system as a whole.

    We are all forced regularly to "shut up and pay up". When this pertains to something of which we are all supposedly co-owners, I see no justification for the mentality of silence and ignorance. Speak loudly and proudly to those who can institute changes, or the future of the system as a whole is bleak. Our national lands are too precious a resource for us to allow them to be mismanaged, pillaged and otherwise destroyed. We enjoy a deserved reputation from travellers throughout the world as the home of some of the most unique landscapes on the planet. What nature has taken untold eons to create, once lost, cannot be replaced. Let's collectively demonstrate some pride of ownership and vision for the future.

    While this doesn't qualify with Bart's "Simple Proposal" series, at least not in the simplistic nature of the proposal, it does qualify as a systematic change that can and should be effected for the betterment of the parks, the visitors, and a method of guaranteed preservation of the lands for the appreciation of future generations.

    Next up.......Redesigning the Mission, and Those Who Drive the Boat

  • Should We Be Surprised That Snowmobile Politics Trumps Science in the National Parks?   6 years 34 weeks ago

    So, the "enviros" and the UN are responsible for issuing driver's licenses and universal health care to illegal aliens? These and other related "gifts" of our beloved govenment are doing more to lower our national standard of living than whatever agenda to which you refer. And in neither of the above mentioned instances are either the United Nations or environmental groups responsible in any way, shape of form.

    Additionally, since there is no specific mention of the manner, duration, data, and generalizations drawn from the studies that were performed within the context of the above article, the reference to "junk science" is totally without merit. Without knowledge of experimental design and data analysis, your assumption pertaining to the quality of the study is based solely on emotion and ignorance, and in no fashion related to the scientific method practiced in the study.

  • Twenty-seven Years Ago, Eight National Parks Came to Be   6 years 34 weeks ago

    It might be worth mentioning, that two National Monuments, Becharof National Monument and Yukon Flats National Monument, were downgraded to Wildlife Refuges in the same act of legislation. They are in the jurisdiction of the FWS.