Recent comments

  • At Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Old History Made Way for New History   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Bob & Ann,

    It's too bad that the National Parks System gets saddled with things like the Arch, and Mt Rushmore. They make me queasy. We sure made fun of the Soviets for doing this sort of stuff. I was reminded of our ridicule of Russian pompousness, in the early days of the Iraq war as the populace made sport pulling down Hussein's idolatry, (looting) his palaces.

    Today, we could use those surplus Cold War ballistic missiles & warheads to peen the profile of Lenin ... or Lincoln ... into the face of the Moon. How cool, huh? Both, facing each other!

    I like seeing the use of the phrase, "the slow motion Holocaust that was the Indian Wars". In Washington State, the North Cascades, Rainier and Olympic units are organized in a joint archaeological survey. One of the lead guys at Rainier includes in his main paper that the idea is gaining credence, that disease spread from the colonies in Mexico Indian-to-Indian decimating as it went, first arriving in the Pacific Northwest cultures in the 1570-1590 time frame.

    I have seen reports, that Lewis & Clark included in their logs, that they asked about the 'extra' abandoned cedar-plank lodges at the Pacific Coast where they wintered, clearly enough to house far more natives than then in the area, and were told they had all died of disease. The logs also recorded that the L&C command noticed lesions & scabs on the vulvas of the women, identified them as known venereal diseases, and forbade the men from taking comfort or pairing with the local females.

    The first colonies on the East Coast noted that the natives were present at saturation levels 'everywhere', but then watched them die off massively ... of diseases which they recognized.

    Biotechnology will probably soon enable us to make accurate determination of the diseases that killed ancient people. These techniques will enable us to track in detail how decimating epidemics swept across the continent, freeing up the scene for European immigrants.

    Although the early settlers did not have the Germ Theory of Disease, they certainly knew the nature of contagion, and they were certainly quick to quarantine & burn sick-houses, and to prevent the entry of carriers into their communities. They knew what was happening to the Indians.

    The account of the loss of the North American native population is a long ways from being fully-told, and some of our finest nature-Parks are likely to be caught up in the story.

  • What Were the Top Stories Across the National Park System in 2008?   6 years 19 weeks ago


    I agree, and NPT statists ignored my two cents about the hundreds of millions (inching toward billion) spent yearly on regional offices and "special" programs. They refuse to address the fact that the federal leviathan spends more on regional offices and than on operations of the 58 national parks in the system. Their deafening silence speaks volumes.

  • What Were the Top Stories Across the National Park System in 2008?   6 years 19 weeks ago

    I'd agree with Ted's point that all government budgets are political, but not that the NPS is a "trim if not lean organization". Trim and lean are relative terms; perhaps he meant compared to other bureaucratic agencies. I worked at four NPS units in my career and every one was bloated and top-heavy at the management level: way too many chiefs and damn few indians.

    The National Parks could operate just fine, perhaps better, if future cuts came off the top instead of from the ranks as has almost always been the case. The wildly expensive regional offices should be eliminated. Retire the assistant superindentents, landscape architects, project coordinators, contracting officers and the rest of the development crowd. Times are hard and visitation has been declining for two decades. The NPS needs to learn to be satisfied with what what they have and truly maintain it, rather than constantly pushing for more, more, more. That six-figure marble & slate outhouse that got so much publicity some years back was just the tip of the iceberg. Just my $.02.

  • What Were the Top Stories Across the National Park System in 2008?   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Dear Ted Clayton:

    Your's is a non-answer answer:

    ITEM: There was no reduction of the NPS budget during the time of the economic meltdown. Your original thesis is that Kurt's list was entirely composed of matters that were, in fact, determined by the economic meltdown. This plainly is not true.

    ITEM: You make it appear that you think that political finesse of an Agency has nothing to do with its funding. You cannot really believe this. Is political skill totally determinative? Obviously not: the larger political circumstances of course have an effect on the ability of an Agency to get funding. I used to do this for a living, and was frustrated by a few higher-level idiots who would send me off to get money for a program, even if it was a really dumb program. Ocasionally you can get blood from a rock, but not regularly. You need a good product. The fact is it is not that hard to sell the "product" the National Park Service brings to the American People and their elected representatives.

    Sometimes, it is EASIER a case to sell than the Pentagon and the CIA. Yes, there are a few cranks (you see them blogging on this website for example) who have an entrenched antagonism to the NPS, but the vast majority of people have a benign attitude toward the NPS. The political problem of the NPS is that the support for the NPS is wide, but not DEEP (compared to the Pentagon, for example). The NPS needs constant object lessons, examples in the real world, narrative stories, great opportunities, to excite the electorate. That is hard to get, unless you adopt a LOCAL political strategy, to get funding on a park-by park, or program-by-program basis. But most Park Rangers are purists who believe the American people should give them the money on a NATIONWIDE basis, and go away to let the Service run the System without political involvement. Even the Pentagon occasionally has a LOCAL strategy, such as when it distributes contracts and defense industries in the congressional districts of key Members of Congress.

    I have personal knowledge of many examples where the NPS brought an issue to the public, even when no funding for the project existed in the President's Budget, and because of political finesse, got the money in the final appropriation, as passed by Congress and signed by the President. For example, the reason the Valley Forge example is so irritating (you do not respond to any of the examples) is that only a few years before, when the Toll Brothers were going to build a suburban development a stone's throw from this newly proposed mega-development by "ARC," very skillful people inside the NPS wired it so that $9 million was appropriated to buy out Toll Bros. The Secretary of the Interior was so livid at the time that, when asked by the Philadelphia Inquirer to discuss it -- the newspaper naively assumed the Secretary would of course see the "victory" over Toll Bros. as HER victory, she refused to even answer the question. But the Secretary had made her bones by opposing federally-acquired land purchases. She was rolled, because the NPS and the allies of the NPS brought the issue to the public and rolled the Secretary and the Office of Management and Budget.

    What has happened more under the two Bush Director's of the National Park Service than ever before, is the unwillingness of the Senior leadership of the NPS to go after the money and fulfill the Agency Mission, despite the White House.

    ITEM: On the meaning of the word "politics" or "policy" as I earlier used it, I meant that it was not the policy of the Secretary of the Interior, or the Director, or of the key congressional Committees to fund certain projects, for their own reasons, NOT because of economic difficulties, or balancing the budget.

    There ARE cases, coincidentally, when you are right, and the policy issue and the budget issue do merge with the NPS. The major example of that is hiring permanent government workers. It is seen widely that the government must reduce permanent employees, so to reduce the long term cost of retirement and healthcare. If the NPS was able to significantly EXPAND its permanent work force -- for example to finally hire enough maintenance workers to make sure park facilities were not in a constant state of decay -- but the hard lift is not the absolute cost of ANY expansion of the NPS, but the possible precedent to OTHER federal agencies who would also want to expand their workforce.

    This permanent workforce issue is huge, but it can be overcome, but to agree with you in one very narrow way, if the public is really aroused. For example, when despite the fury of the White House, the government got rid of all the rent-a-cops at airports and hired properly trained, permanent (and accountable) government guards after 911. What happened at the Boston airport, when terrorists walked through "security" with box cutters was just too much for the American people, and they demanded government employees. Will they also so demand government food or pharmacy inspectors? Or will government continue to be pushed by OMB to "outsource" vital services? It is a matter of how emphatically the issues are brought to the attention of the American people.

    If you don't think bringing such issues to the attention of the American people is an aspect of the political skill the NPS needs to, and once did, have, I suppose the gulf between your sense of what politics is and mine is unbridgeable.

  • What Were the Top Stories Across the National Park System in 2008?   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Anonymous protests:

    If Bush is checking out, what's the real need in even mentioning him anymore?
    Even if we were burying him instead of re-designating him as Former President George W. Bush, he would continue from the grave to play a conspicuous role, for years. Actually, he will remain an active & important figure on the national stage. Heck, we're still talking about Richard Nixon, and rather often...

    Indeed, President-elect Obama himself is not shunning or ignoring Bush. On the contrary, the two are working rather closely & constructively together on affairs of the nation, and we should anticipate this role to grow & expand. It is in the interest of both men, and the country, that they succeed at it.

    I disagree strenuously with most of Bush's decisions, and voted for other people. To suggest, however, that we ought to be berated for talking about him is a mistake.

  • What Were the Top Stories Across the National Park System in 2008?   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Dear Lepanto,

    I know that it has for years been the norm among Parks-aficionados to ascribe the failure of the government to fund the Parks at the level sought by Parks & their boosters, to "politics", as though this is a special and even nefarious situation.

    But, isn't that how most funding is determined? By politics? Doesn't the funding of the Pentagon go up & down, depending on political alignments? Haven't we funded welfare at high levels during periods dominated by Liberal politics, then slashed that funding during periods dominated by Conservative politics? Etc?

    That the funding of our National Parks is political, is not a unique burden borne by the Parks. It is more the norm that funding is political.

    Furthermore, it does not seem that the funding of agencies is primarily driven by the internal political skills & resources of an agency, but rather by the goals & preferences & orientation of external political parties & entities who apportion funding and other considerations by their own criteria. Agencies may indeed be well-advised to hone their ability to best-deploy what political leverage might be available to them, but the utility of this enterprise is ultimately subordinate to factors external to themselves

    Again, the Pentagon & CIA & Co. are all very well endowed with political savvy & connections, yet when it's their turn in the political doghouse all they can do is grab a blanket and shuffle off to the backyard.

    I doubt that the economic crisis will lead to dramatic budgetary problems in the National Park Service, immediately. The agency is already maintained at a modest level without luxuries (which is how both government & the voters seem to prefer it) ... which politicos like to slash during hard times as a display for the voters. It's a trim if not lean organization already ... no sense creating an unnecessary spectacle by precipitously goring the Park budget.

    Instead, the consequences of the economic meltdown for the Parks will tend toward decisions that foster an image of being 'connected' to the events affecting the country as a whole. I expect decisions - originating from the economic distress - that help present the Parks as 'relevant', as attuned to the trials being borne by 10s of millions of Americans.

    Look for such courses & policies as will resonate well with average people, that avoid the appearance of enviro-experimentation, and that put out the welcome mat for non-elite lifestyles ... and if those lifestyles also involve the purchase of recreational machines, and travel to Park destinations to use them, then all the better.

    The new bicycle regulations, the changes to firearms rules (priced a pistol lately?), the selection of Ken Salazar for DOI, these and other matters current with the Parks, I think should be seen as exigencies in response to or reinforced by the economic downturn. And I expect momentum for this sort of thing to build, rather than dissipate, and the main explanation behind this broad shift will be the economic meltdown.

    Yes, as you say, in 2009 (and beyond) we could see the Parks budget slashed, but if so that will because the economy has badly deteriorated. Under such circumstance the distress of the country will make dire budget problems at NPS seem unremarkable, since others will be receiving the same treatment.

    The economic challenge will likely foster a turn to 'populism', and reduced influence by theoretic, scientific, and enviromental input. Populist, very pragmatic, and on account of the economy.

  • What Were the Top Stories Across the National Park System in 2008?   6 years 19 weeks ago

    If Bush is checking out, what's the real need in even mentioning him anymore? Too bad you still suffer from BDS. I'd just as soon move on and not read about it everywhere, including here. He's old news.

  • Heavy Rains and Flooding from Hurricane Ike Remnants Left a Mess at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Save the Dunes has lobbied several times to try to get a name change for this national treasure. While our Congressman has been very supportive, the Interior Department has not. Maybe with this new administration they will try again. I hope so. If you are from Indiana, please be sure to tell Congressman Pete Visclosky that changing the name to "Indiana Dunes National Park" is worth pursuing. The economic benefits would be invaluable, as folks have found when the name of the Great Sand Dunes National Monument was changed to Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.

  • Elk Population Growing at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Please bring back the Red Wolves. I seen a red wof as a teenager & have never forgotten it. It was the most memorable event in my life. Sooner or later the ungulate population will get too large and offset the natural order & huntin IS NOT THE ANSWER!!!!


  • At Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Old History Made Way for New History   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Ann, I think only a very tiny minority of Americans consider the Arch boring or think of it as a symbol of hardship and horror (the suffering of the pioneers, the slow motion Holocaust that was the Indian Wars, the environmental devastation in the prairies and mountains, etc.). The history-polishing has been very successful. These days, symbols like the Gateway Arch are taken pretty much at face value by the typical American, which is to say a person whose understanding of history is half a mile wide and half an inch deep. As for Greenfield Village, it's a museum for "hodge podge history with a capital H" that blends concepts honed to perfection by Disney, P.T. Barnum, and "Believe it or Not" Ripley. Never mind that history has a place and time. It's novelty and curiosity that matter. Display the chair Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot ("is that real blood on the head rest?!"), haul Thomas Edison's lab in from New Jersey and put it on display (and don't forget to bring the dirt under the building), etc., etc. etc. If that's the way we should be remembering and teaching history, Lord help us.

  • What Were the Top Stories Across the National Park System in 2008?   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Dear Ted Clayton:

    I am unaware of any changes in the NPS funding during 2008 that were cut or affected by the economic meltdown, except perhaps fundraising. Were there any cuts because of federal revenue shortfalls? I do not think so. It seems to me, failure to fund parks has been a political decision.

    For example, in the major example of the Valley Forge failure to acquire the private lands in the park, from news reports it appears the Director of the NPS was unwilling to either initiate a planning process, as had happened at Gettysburg, or even request funding to acquire the land. No one said no; in fact, according to the the developers, they were even encouraged to build the development within the park by "high" park service leaders. Either policy weakness or inexperienced leaders seem to be the problem, not an economic meltdown.

    As another example, the Centennial Challenge, again NPS seemed to lack political experience, and the Democrats who took over the Majority in Congress were unwilling to let President Bush give out plums to his favorites with money appropriated by the Democrats. The funding distribution system for the Centennial Challenge seemed designed to cut the Democrats out of a roll in selecting the projects, except to pay for them. It was not the money, it was the unwillingness to trust the Bush Administration and the Bush appointees at the national park service. That lack of trust happened because of Iraq and New Orleans. By the time the morgage crisis finally got up on President Bush's screen, the Centennial Challenge program was already dead. Rather than trying to build public support for this initiative, the Administration spent their time on guns, bike trails, and snowmachines in parks. Bush responded to a lack of Congressional deference to him by threatening to ignore any direction by Congress to federal agencies in the Committee Report of the Appropriations Committee? The result? Congress decided not to give Bush the chance, and refused to give him an Appropriations Bill or Report, and just funded the government through "Continuing Resolutions," in other words, continuing last year's funding at the same level. Presto, Bush and Bush's appointees in the National Park Service are thwarted, BUT THE FUNDING LEVEL DID NOT DROP.

    Perhaps, as I said, fundraising is the exception. For example, the NPS has spent more on additional staff costs in New York for the extra layer of bureaucracy set up to develop a fundraising group, than all the money raised for the parks by the fundraising group. Most of the funds raised for the new "National Parks of New York" partnership has gone to pay salaries for the fundraisers, I believe. Fundraising will be even more difficult for National Parks for 2009, as most funds that still have money will be taking care of real social hardship cases, not funding federal agencies.

    Perhaps in 2009 the economic meltdown may affect park budgets; we will have to watch that one. But it is possible that the Obama Administration will want to enhance infrastructure in parks, will not want to cut federal payrolls, and will want to attract domestic and international tourists to parks.

  • At Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Old History Made Way for New History   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Lost to many, but not all, and I never saw the arch as glorified. Once it made it past boring-yearly-field-trip status, it became a glistening monument to the hardship and horror of pushing white men Westward. It became a monument to the ability to polish history into a happy, child-friendly, textbook-like story. Yet, the architecture of the monument and its visual appeal draw me there every time I return to St. Louis. We Missourians know more of Lewis and Clark than anyone west of the state, and its appeal as a statement to history has waned.

    A respectful version of history preserved is in Greenfield Village in Detroit. Quashed by city growth, a moment of time is revived by a small plot of property of historical performance and modern maintenance. Can St. Louis care to reconstruct a portion of what lies beneath the footprint of who rewrites history? Not likely, but many a ghost town take you back nonetheless.

  • Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves   6 years 19 weeks ago

    "People 'still willing to torture'"

    That link is the BBC's report of a new repetition of the famous Milgram Experiment (circa 1961), in which experimental subjects are tricked into thinking they are giving higher & higher voltage shocks to an unseen subject. This experiment was designed by Milgram to explore how & why such social events as the Holocaust can happen.

    The original and the new experiment both show that 70% to 90% of the population will easily collaborate in social activities in which their actions hurt, injure, or even kill an unseen victim, when the harmful actions are encouraged by an 'authority figure' (the scientist managing the experiment), or, more candidly, by peer-pressure and the desire to please/participate.

    Here is the the Google News thread for reports on the new experiment (and plenty of review on the original, too).

    The public focus of the analysis of the experiment is always the ~80% who are willing to hurt others, under the influence of mere encouragement. However, what has always stood out about this experiment for myself, is that about 20% of the population is relatively impervious to the blandishments of 'authority' in questionable contexts, and remain capable of perceiving the ethical merits of situations, even when their peers promote folly.

    In other words, about 20% are actually "independent", and remain capable of setting & adhering to their own coarse & principles, when all around them are 'going crazy'.

    There are major implications of this experiment, pertaining to both the nature of contemporary armed citizens, and the reasons why America protected the right of private armament in the first place.

    Highly recommended reading ... and reflection.

  • What Were the Top Stories Across the National Park System in 2008?   6 years 19 weeks ago

    I think that by far and away the dominant National Parks story of 2008, is the economic meltdown.

    Several of the nominees for top story of 2008, are actually sub-plots of the unraveling economy.

    Everything that President-elect Obama tries to think about, now & going forward, will be framed & driven by economic considerations. Including the Parks

    And what, after all, is really the definitive perennial lament from Park-aficionados, if not that the Parks are chronically under-funded?

    The big story 0f 2008? "It's the economy, stupid"! ;-)

  • The Interior Building in Washington, D.C. Gets a "Green Roof"   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck ... and most likely is a fad.

    Eric "Griz" Grunwald offers the rejoinder:

    Don't all roofs eventually leak?
    Yes, true enough, but the impervious layer that needs fixed isn't covered by a layer of soil, preventing inspection & access.

    Although it is easy enough to apply a layer of dirt to a roof using efficient heavy equipment, it is going to be very tricky (expensive) to remove it in order to fix a leak, without ripping the membrane beneath and causing a lot more leaks.

    Have you never tried to figure out just where a compromised roof is actually leaking, Griz?

    And when is it that we normally find out that a roof is leaking and needs attention? Why, normally at the beginning of the rainy season, of course, and the green roof is now saturated, and the weather will be bad for several months. Oh boy.

    The #1 ecological drawback of this idea, is that the living roofs will have to be watered during dry weather, if they are not to die ... and then watered again and again and again ... much more frequently than the suburban lawns we criticize for gobbling up water.

    Water is fast emerging as the leading environmental limitation being encounter by especially urban culture. Does Germany have an excess of water? How about California? Maybe they can take control of the Columbia River and canal it down to LA...

    Did we forget that dirt is heavy, and the building will have to be built more strongly than with a lighter roof, heavier, more-massive, and use more resources, emit more CO2 in added concrete & steel to supply the strength to support the dirt on the roof?

    Green? Good grief.

  • Twenty Boats Destroyed by Fire in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   6 years 19 weeks ago

    "Investigators pull burned boats from Lake Powell marina"

    Seattle had an environmental terrorist group torch newly-built (even unfinished) multi-million dollar elite homes, fairly recently. Difference here was (as is often the case), they signed their handiwork.

    Marinas can catch fire by themselves in the middle of the night ... but the response of the investigators suggests they are treating this fire as a possible crime scene.

  • The Interior Building in Washington, D.C. Gets a "Green Roof"   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Don't all roofs eventually leak?

  • The Interior Building in Washington, D.C. Gets a "Green Roof"   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Drip, drip, drip...roof will eventually leak costing taxpayers $$$$ for this nonsense.

  • Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Then there are the studies of the study:

    For example, despite a large body of research, the committee found no credible evidence that the passage of right-to-carry laws decreases or increases violent crime, and there is almost no empirical evidence that the more than 80 prevention programs focused on gun-related violence have had any effect on children’s behavior, knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs about firearms. The committee found that the data available on these questions are too weak to support unambiguous conclusions or strong policy statements.

    Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review

    "The claim of many millions of annual self-defense gun uses by American citizens appears to be invalid."

    The myth of millions of annual self-defense gun uses: A case study of survey overestimates of rare events.

    And this interesting tidbit... :-)
    For three years, John Lott pretended to be a young woman.

    Her name was Mary Rosh.

    Mary Rosh often spoke sweetly of her days as a student of John's, she gave a glowing review of his book "More Guns, Less Crime," she criticized anyone who questioned John's research or his conclusions, and she attacked other researchers in her ardent defense of Lott's idea that more guns on the streets leads to less crime.

    She was also a petite defenseless creature. We know this because John, we mean, she said:

    "Do you really think that most women can out run your typical criminal?…Even if I am not wearing heels, I don’t think that there are many men that I could outrun."

    "As a woman, who weighs 114 lbs, what am I supposed to do if I am confronted by a 200 lbs. man?"


  • Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves   6 years 19 weeks ago

    I have been carrying concealed since before the license was available. I figure if I ever have to use it, I have bigger problems than a fine or even jail time. If it saves my life I will gladly pay the fine or do the time. A friend once told me it’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6. I only use a gun in self defense. If my life is truly in danger, some "law" written somewhere on a piece of paper in a courthouse is not going to save me from someone who does not follow the law yet has bad intentions. The bad guys will always break the law, that is why they call them criminals. I have sent a guy with a large knife and a snoot full of drugs packing one time when he brandished the knife against my family. My gun saved our lives. I did not report it because I would be considered the criminal for carrying without a permit and he was long gone after deciding his life was not worth whatever he had in mind. I now have a carry permit because my state now offers it. I carry often and hope I never have to use it. I also wear my seat belt for the same reason. We should not have to worry about getting a ticket for carrying in an environment that is extremely vulnerable. I do not fear the animals, it is the criminal element I feel is the most threat. If you read the book “more guns less crime” by Dr. John Lott you will understand the firearm statistics much better. Best book I ever read on statistics and how they are manipulated. He actually crunched data from every county in the U.S., not just the ones that supported his point of view. He was actually against guns until he did his research.

  • The Interior Building in Washington, D.C. Gets a "Green Roof"   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Nice article Jim.

    Rob Mutch
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute

  • What Were the Top Stories Across the National Park System in 2008?   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Kurt -- thank you for mentioning both Valley Forge, and also the inclusion of the proposed "Patterson Great Falls National Historical Park," as part of the death, temporary or otherwise, of the Omnibus Land Management Act of 2008.

    "Great Falls" is the actual name of these New Jersey falls, so that part is genuine, and it seems unnecessary to throw in "Patterson" except to emphasize this proposed park is all about local promotion and develoment, and nothing about the integrity of the National Park System.

    Patterson Great Falls, as presently configured, should definitely not be added to the National Park System. The bill in no way has the strategy or the resources necessary to address the highly compromised local situation, and there does not seem to be any enlightened local plan, as there was in Lowell Massachusetts, to take on the large context.

    ALL of the front-line, NPS cultural resource specialists who worked on the Patterson project get the shivers when discussing how blighted this whole Patterson project was.

    You also nailed the main problem at Valley Forge as well. This was a major failure of the leadership of the national park service, as the Director and the Regional Director failed to assist a well-meaning park staff that beyond their depth, and need bosses with integrity. No major development should be permitted inside the boundary of a national park without a public planning, public input and NPS approval, whether or not it is to be located on a private inholding or federal land. NPS needs to kill this proposal by acquiring the private land immediately.

  • Alexander Hamilton's "Country Home" on the Move in New York City   6 years 19 weeks ago

    Thank You, RogerB34 for this amazing picture. I think you are on to something in implying that the location is not the 20th Century location for Hamilton's Grange, on Convent Ave. The address in the link also seems weird: "Exterior view of Alexander Hamilton's old house (it looks abandoned) at 1430 Grand Convent Ave.; the grove of 13 trees represents the 13 original colonies." Hamilton himself planted those trees at the ORIGINAL location. "1430" is no street number I know. And the second location, Convent Avenue: I had never heard of "Grand" Convent Ave. before.

    The picture shows the front porch already removed, and the roof balustrade clearly in evidence. The main reason to move The Grange to its new, third location is to be able to fully restore the house, with the complete 360 of porches on all four sides and proper approaches. The historicity of the balustrade is one of the issues, as well.

    As i think many have pointed out before, the house was moved in 1889 because it was going to be demolished if it stayed at the original site. A new development was going in, roads were being layed out to conform to the city's street-grid plan, and moving The Grange to Convent Ave. ameliorated the controversy the erupted over the feared destruction of the only home owned by one of the preeminent Founding Fathers.

  • What Were the Top Stories Across the National Park System in 2008?   6 years 19 weeks ago

    And, in Yellowstone, we also had the largest slaughter of wild bison than at any time since the 19th century. Snowmobiling in Yellowstone is a constant issue and does get more ink across the nation; if that's the measure, then it's certainly a top story (over the buffalo issue). However, in terms of impacts, congressional criticism of management, and then the recent re-affirmation of the IBMP by its own partners (through its new adaptive management plan just signed last week), this has been one heck of a bad year for buffalo. On that issue, you've seen new grassroots groups pop up and others re-emerge, you've seen a growing divide between environmental groups who take different approaches for the buffalo (especially over the recently approved Royal Teton Ranch deal), and you've even seen native tribes (in one case, on the very same reservation - at Wind River) take different stances on the use of bison quarantined outside the park, as well as a second tribe assert their treaty rights to hunt to the park's limits (and in the case of a couple Nez Perce, get arrested inside the park for hunting buffalo). And, to top it all off, you even had a boy gored by a buffalo this summer. That doesn't even mention the various protests that have taken place inside and outside of Yellowstone related to buffalo (don't remember any on snowmobiling)--there have been a number of examples (1, 2, 3, 4), with another to come on January 5.

    Then, of course, you had Montana lose its class free status on brucellosis and Wyoming teeter on the edge of it, probably caused from elk. With Wyoming's testing program on elk (as well as the longstanding controversy on their feedgrounds, which might also finally bring CWD to Yellowstone) and Montana now encouraging hunters to self test, as well as the national cattlemen groups calling for elk to be looked at as aggressively as bison, you finally run the risk of elk in Yellowstone (and other ungulates as well?) being caught up in this, just as a Greater Yellowstone brucellosis management zone seems to be where we are moving. Does this represent a divide within the livestock industry that is happening the same time there is a serious divide in the environmental movement on this issue?

    Many newsworthy things happened on snowmobiling for sure, but the net result has ultimately ended up being the same. The net policy is pretty much the same on buffalo, but the direct effects are more obvious - both to the animals themselves as well as to the region at large. Perhaps, both stories should be there, but it is a large park system.

    But, the big story on buffalo in Yellowstone has to remain the very large numbers killed and the subsequent controversy that remains over numbers. To date in the current winter season, only 1 buffalo has left the park to be killed in Montana's hunt, one of the lowest numbers on record - attributable for the first part of the season to warm weather, but now as snow has come and weather has turned frigid, many wonder if it's because there just aren't nearly as many buffalo to leave the park.

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

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   6 years 19 weeks ago

    That judge in DC should be the one to decide, in the interest of all the people hence the word National Park; not the locals with their own agenda!!!!