Recent comments

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Conversations are fluid, and I have merely responded to certain elements from other commentors' writing. Conversations, like rivers, meander--but all is ultimately related. As for politics: As long as the NPS is controlled, affected, influnenced, framed by politics, then there are bound to be political discussions on this blog. As for being off topic: If you think I'm off topic, simply ignore my comments--rather than responding to them--and read the topics you find most relevant. Please don't try to control the various threads of the fluid conversation. As for my take on Glenn Canyon, if you read my earlier comments, you'll see that I support restoring the canyon which makes the cut unnecesary.

    My many thanks to the NPT editors for providing a place for fluid, rambling, interesting discussion on issues affecting national parks. There's no other place on the web quite like it.

    PS
    "Wars" on ideologies are never won.

  • Park History: National Parks Built Around Caves and Caverns   6 years 36 weeks ago

    There's one more important cave park to be aware of -- Lava Beds National Monument (one of the 'other park units in ... California', mentioned above by Dr. Janiskee). Spelunking is probably the #1 visitor activity in this park. The caves are all lava tubes (like those in Hawaii). There are a few highly visited caves, but a majority of the 300+ caves are in the park's wilderness area. Many of the caves don't appear on maps, but if you talk with a ranger, they can really help guide you find some neat places that are pretty remote. Exploring these caves couldn't be more fun. I used to work in Lava Beds, as did one of this site's frequent commenters, Frank.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Frank,
    Abortion is not in the constitution but it is a political, judicial and medical reality across the land. I am pro-choice BTW, just using this issue as an example of the error in your logic of a literal read of the U.S. Constitution.

    Beamis,
    Even if there is some legal or constitutional procedural ambiguity about the constitutional reality regarding income taxes, doesn't make it any less real. Every pay day a host of governmental entities take their share of my income.

    All,
    Now back on the topic at hand, the latest buzz is that GCNRA will use funds set aside for park upkeep and maintenance, and the CRC project in my opinion falls under this category. Like I've said before, its a win-win proposal for all parties. Everyone should be writing to the NPS during the public input and urging the NPS to save money by waiving this whole absurd EA process.. Let the bull dozers roll!

    Castle Rock Cut in 2008!
    -rich
    San Diego, CA

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LakePowellFishCampBoat/

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 36 weeks ago

    "Just to be clear" what Beamis says is not really true. A number of people (Most notably a Mr. Bill Benson) have challenged the validity of the process that took place adding the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. It was however ratified by Congress and as such it remains "The law of the land" until such time as it is removed via the normal legal process. That has not happened and simply because someone or some partisan group says it isn't legal and binding, that doesn't make it true. Definitely NOT so "Pure and simple," rather more like an "Opinion."

    Now...can we get back to the topic at hand? That would be the deepening of the Castle Rock Cut on Lake Powell. While some may find discussions on Constitutional law interesting, there are many places on the web to conduct them. This, IMO would not necessarily be one of them. Just my opinion and, being a newbie, I don't want to upset anyone, but I am a frequent user of the Glen Canyon Recreational Area and Lake Powell, so the stated topic is important to me. Thanks!

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Just to be clear the 16th Amendment was never ratified by the required state legislatures, so it is an invalid law. It is theft pure and simple.

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Here's a stretch. Did you know there's evidence of volcanic activity in South Florida's Biscayne National Park? In this land of limestone, you can find pumice on the oceanside shoreline of Elliott Key. Amidst the piles of other marine debris (both natural and unnatural), this floating volcanic rock likely came from Caribbean volcanoes which have erupted over the past several decades.

  • Park History: National Parks Built Around Caves and Caverns   6 years 36 weeks ago

    When the Lehman Caves complex lost its stand-alone status as a national park in 1986, becoming just one of the many attractions of the new Great Basin National Park, many park advocates feared that these magnificent caverns would henceforth get far less publicity than they deserve. That is exactly what has happened. As Bill Bendix's Chester A. Riley would have said: "What a revoltin' development!"

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Frank:

    I'm new to this site. I discovered it just a few days ago. I did not understand it to be a political forum however. Do you have a position on the proposed Castle Rock Cut at Lake Powell, or do you have some other drum to beat?

    Pete K.

  • EPA's Perplexing Position On Snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park   6 years 36 weeks ago

    In my work environment - I'm in a job where we send reviews of state education standards to the states - we generally don't send reviews that are as detailed the second time around as the first time around, deferring to earlier reports. Generally, the final review is in the form of a short letter, much like the short letter we see here from EPA to NPS. However, this last letter often carries more political punch to it than the previous review - because: 1) it's final; 2) high level policy makers are more likely to read it. (That is part of the reason the letter is so brief).

    I have a hunch that NPS won't receive this letter from EPA very well and that EPA meant it to be damning, but couched in the polite prose typical of such letters. When we are critical, we still always, always, always acknowledge what the state has done well and the ways it has responded positively to what we've previously stated. However, inevitably, states will always be focused on anything that's negative. Here, the bottom line is that EPA is not happy. This is very harsh, almost snide language.

    Behind the scenes of this, there was no doubt some communication. If this is the final letter that's been produced, then NPS can't possibly be happy with it. It's too late for EPA to make adjustments to it. That means we're looking at some hardball and the basis for yet another lawsuit (unless NPS makes more changes that it doesn't want to make).

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

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Frank,

    In all fairness to the writer, the word "War," as used above and in the expression, "War on terror," is a metaphor similar to "War on Drugs," War on drunk driving," etc. As such, it is commonly used to describe struggles against many things not requiring congressional approval. It was used extensively in the 50's through the 80's by both parties in the "War on Communism" and the ever-popular "Cold war."

    As for the Income Tax, the U.S. government has been collecting income taxes since 1862 when Congress enacted the nation's first income tax law to support the Civil War.
    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005921.html

    The Constitution does indeed give the right to tax income and has done so since the 16th Amendment of 1913:

    Amendment 16 - Status of Income Tax Clarified. Ratified 2/3/1913

    "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

    But regardless of any of that, What are your feelings about the NPS plan to deepen a small shortcut between Wahweap Bay and the rest of Lake Powell? That is the topic, I believe.

  • Park History: National Parks Built Around Caves and Caverns   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Lehman Caves National Monument was folded into Great Basin National Park when that unit was created back in the eighties. Consequently most people aren't aware of this wonderful attraction tucked away in the Nevada outback.

    The next time you take a random scoot out on U.S. 50 I recommend y'all stop in for a spell; it's just past the saloon in Baker, NV.

  • Yellowstone Bison Population Healthy; Montana Priming For Hunts   6 years 36 weeks ago

    S.M.,

    Or, we also increase the range and not put arbitrary political boundaries (park borders, land rights, etc.) in their way. Human predation was no doubt a control on bison populations (especially, before large Euroamerican settlement in the 17th century killed off many indigenous peoples - which led to a rapid increase in bison numbers over the following two centuries before the mass slaughters of the 19th century). Yet, it wasn't human predation aided by arbitrary boundaries rationalized by an anthropocentric view of the world. Remove the boundaries, allow bison range to expand, and then humans and buffalo might be able to live out some sort of predator v. prey relationship.

    Buffalo were always a marginal part of the Yellowstone ecosystem; the growth of numbers of buffalo in Yellowstone and the subsequent years of slaughter and regeneration to higher and higher number (before another harvest) tell me that the rationale driving the 19th century view has not changed and that the assault on buffalo and the land continues. They need to be able to expand their range outside of Yellowstone. Let's hope that the sale of the Mumms land outside of W. Yellowstone to people who are now wanting the land to be a haven for the bison (and are trying to forbid the state government from bison control measures there - though the state insists on the right; quite the twist on the property rights debate, eh?) are able to allow the buffalo to have another foothold.

    Radical views like the ones I'm putting forward help explain why the Montana Department of Livestock goes after bison; they recognize that an expanded range threatens the livestock industry if not now, over time. And, to that, I say good riddance. That is another imposition on land and animals that goes well beyond the human desire to eat, even to eat meat. But, that's for another time.

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

  • 4-Year-old Dies in Fall off South Rim of Grand Canyon   6 years 36 weeks ago

    My principal was the Grandfather of this tragedy and left the school to go to Arizona for the funeral an dgrieve with his family for two weeks it stunk.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Lover,
    Read the Constitution and you'll find that only Congress can declare war, and war can only be declared on another country, not an idea or an -ism. Read further and you'll find that the power to take money directly from people's paycheck is nowhere in the Constitution.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Hotwheels,
    Well said. I forgot to mention that point, boating at Lake Powell opens up GCNRA in so many ways. The bottom line is that getting the CRC open to navigation (assuming that Mother Nature will not cooperate next year) does greatly enhance the Lake Powell experience.

    Frank,
    I'm sorry but our Government does not work that way. We are all in this together, our system of taxation does not allow individuals to "opt" out of funding for things they don't like. We have a representative system, we have delegated that power collectively to our Congressional representatives. It is up to them to provide for the stewardship of the park system and provide the funding to support our troops in the field until victory is achieved in the War on Terror.

    ALL,
    Playing Devil's Advocate, although I do support opening up the CRC, I can think of a good reason why some people who boat on Lake Powell would be opposed to this project. I assume the GCNRA budget is constant and any funds allocated to deepen the CRC will mean that some park projects will not be completed or commenced. Therefore, uplakers (boaters out of Bullfrog, Halls Crossing or Hite) may get short changed and some of their pet projects will be put on hold for lack of funding. Since I assume this will be a zero sum game and the NPS won't throw additional dollars into GCNRA to execute the CRC project. I do feel uncomfortable with this situation and it is a shame. However, since close to two-thirds of the GCNRA visitors enter from down-lake, I guess that is the way the cookie crumbles. Sorry folks.

    Castle Rock Cut in 2008!
    -rich
    San Diego, CA

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LakePowellFishCampBoat/

  • Yellowstone Bison Population Healthy; Montana Priming For Hunts   6 years 36 weeks ago

    It's fairly simple: since we limited their range and removed the top predators (Indians, mostly, but also grizzlies and wolves) the number of Yellowstone bison will exceed the cold-season capacity of their range unless some are removed. As the local wolves recover they should make some impact, but wolves are really a little small to take full-grown buffalo. Deer and elk are more their size.

    At no time in the last 15,000 years or more have the bison in that area not been hunted, killed and eaten by human beings. We're top predators too; it's What We Do. Before human beings arrived, there were lions and sabertooth; the paleo-Indians probably put paid to them by killing off their preferred prey species.

    So unless you'd like to introduce and acclimatize Siberian tigers (which would be a cool idea, actually), it's human-as-predators or starvation for the surplus bison.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Well said RainyRoads. I agree with you 100%. I am wheel chair bound. Because I can access Lake Powell by boat, I have seen wonders I would have never seen. I even got to see Rainbow Bridge once, when the Lake was Full. I have seen Dino tracks, petrified wood on the shore line from my boat. These things I cherish and am glad to be alive to enjoy them. The Park Service has done a wonderful job to make this park accessible to all. I have a few friends that hike the Lake and show me pictures of the things beyond the shore lines I have enjoyed seeing very much. It was not for Lake Powell I would have not known these friends who have helped me to enjoy the park even more.
    But to make your point, Lake Powell part of the park is very small compared to the places people can go that is untouched. Many people use a boat to start there journey to get to these places.
    So if digging out the cut makes this park more accessible and safe for ALL, I am ALL FOR IT.

  • With The Off-Season Here, Lodging Deals Are Popping Up Throughout the National Park System   6 years 36 weeks ago

    It's interesting that the first words are "Students are back in school", so now lodging rates go way down. Precisely fits with the previous articles on why kids aren't being brought to national parks as much.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Bart, Thanks for sharing another simple, but elegant, Simple Proposal. I agree the NPS should stick to its mandate: preserving areas. "Shaping hearts and minds" can't be found in the 1916 charter.

    But when I write my annual check to the federal government . . .

    That's interesting. The federal government takes my hard-earned money each pay period before I even get to see, touch, or use it. Guess they figure if I had to write a check every year, I might not write one or I might not pay the full amount. They'd be correct; I'd subtract the percentage that goes toward the illegal invasion of Iraq and send in the rest. Let the people who want to pay for the invasion pay for the invasion, and let the people who want to pay for national parks pay for national parks.

  • Online Geothermal Inventory to Yellowstone National Park   6 years 36 weeks ago

    I've never been to Yellowstone National Park; only imagined how it looked by the descriptions of others. Today, I was fascinated. For the first time, I saw the springs, lakes, geysers - all the geothermal features of this amazing land. Through the Research Coordination Network site, I saw these wondrous and beautiful features. Yellowstone and Montana State University have brought the Park to the people that will never get the chance to visit in person. What an adventure!

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Beamis:

    Your second Tilden quote and accompanying commentary have me eager to post Simple Proposal #8...

    An insidious transformation has occurred in the NPS. Many of its employees are now obsessed with shaping the worldview of park visitors.

    Innocently enough, this started with trying to make visitors better "park stewards." You know, don't throw trash, don't pick wildflowers, don't feed the chipmunks. Fair enough.

    But over time, the goals have morphed. Nowadays rangers are often expected to turn park visitors into "global stewards"...obedient soldiers who will march back home to fight the war against environmental destruction. I can see it now...Ethyl & Bill Dokes, retired grocery store checkers from Rapid City, roaring home in their RV while torching every billboard they see along the way.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm very much against environmental destruction. I oppose population growth. I donate generously to private, non-profit organizations which acquire and preserve land. I also donate to organizations which fight for legitimate environmental causes. And, like verbose Freeman, I choose quality over material superfluity. Oh...did I mention that I oppose population growth?

    But when I write my annual check to the federal government, I want my money spent on providing something in return. Regarding national parks, I want my money spent on maintaining trails, protecting wildlife from poachers, and replacing faded signs. I want my money spent on rangers who can tell me about their park...why it was established, how its ecosystems function, and what cultural treasures it holds. I'm also grateful to being informed about legitimate threats to the parks.

    But I'm not happy when the government and its employees cross the line into trying to "shape people's hearts and minds" in a global sense. That role should be left to private interests, who receive their money through voluntary donations.

    As I recall, shaping hearts and minds was a primary goal for the Iraqi people pre-invasion.

    Simple Proposal #8: Think not what your taxpayer can do for you; Think what you can do for your taxpayer.

  • With The Off-Season Here, Lodging Deals Are Popping Up Throughout the National Park System   6 years 36 weeks ago

    It is interesting that the snowmobile package is included in this advertisement considering recent articles on Yellowstone.

    Shouldn't the "Wake Up With Wildlife" snowmobile tour in Lamar be called "Wake Up The Wildlife" instead?

  • Misty Hike at Yosemite's Vernal Fall   6 years 36 weeks ago

    A great shot. I'm not an English teacher, but the correct name is Vernal Fall - not Falls. If water cascades on its journey down it's called FALLS - as in Yosemite Falls. If the water essentially goes straight down its FALL....singular. April, May and early June are typically gushers at the falls in Yosemite. This year the snowack was only 25% of normal, so the flow was way down. Most of the falls were trickles by mid-July.

    Also, I recommend hiking poles for this hike. There are 700 granite steps on the lower Mist Trail - the wet one!

    Rick D
    www.hikehalfdome.com

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 36 weeks ago

    The subject of Glen Canyon and Lake Powell is one that draws a very emotional response from a variety of people. If Glen Canyon was exposed all the way to the level of the Colorado River, I would love it. Now that Lake Powell has been filled, I love it far more. Those who would battle to drain Lake Powell simply do not understand that a huge part of the canyon is now available to thousands of people who would otherwise have no access to this national treasure.

    Before Lake Powell, one had to be physically fit and probably reasonably young to brave the desert heat and sheer sandstone cliffs in order to see much of the canyon on foot. Now, with at least 3/4 of Glen Canyon still above water, it is all easily available to anyone, regardless of physical condition, age or even serious handicaps, all from the comfort of a boat. That to me makes Lake Powell an asset well worth supporting and even improving. I agree with the poster above who stated: "The only reason I can think of why anybody would oppose deepening the "CRC", is someone who has never been to Lake Powell."

  • Haunted House at Antietam National Battlefield?   6 years 37 weeks ago

    Glad to see you liked my story.