Recent comments

  • The Yellowstone Precedent   6 years 39 weeks ago

    Excuse me - your assertions are inaccurate. While you are correct that snowmobiles were allowed in YELL for a decade or so until the late 1990s, the leaders of YELL and the NPS then analyzed the science and determined that the resources were being damanged. They then initiated efforts to eliminate snowmobiles altogether in favor of the quieter, cleaner and more economic snowcoaches. It was in 2000 that the current administration decided against that approach (this came right from Secretary Gale Norton and presumably from just under the top guy in the White House) and to initiate a series of (now up to four) environmental studies - evidently attempting to obtain the answer they wanted. EIS #4 still says there is resource damage, even at the numbers or snowmobiles proposed, and the public - by a margin of 4 out of 5 - say no snowmobiles. The "spin" or interpretation of the data are political, not scientific in nature; made by NPS managers who do not have the latitude to do what's right because of political pressure. To say that "the coalition of NPS Retirees were the guys who had power and control for the last 25 years and did nothing about the snowmobiles in Yellowstone," is inaccurate and unfair.

    Bill Wade
    Chair, Executive Council
    Coalition of National Park Service Retirees

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 39 weeks ago


    I'm not going to turn this into a libertarian rant, but think your faith in politicians is most certainly misplaced. Congress is not an institution that is widely hailed for its virtues nor is much of what goes on in the city of Washington for that matter.

    There are many other violations of the Constitution, way too numerous to mention, that have occurred in the history of the Republic besides the illegal and immoral 16th Amendment. The most currently egregious example of this habitual Constitutional disregard would be the costly and bloody wars being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan without an official declaration from your beloved saviors on Capitol Hill, as is explicitly mandated in the Constitution. Go ahead, read it. I promise you it's all in there.

    There is in fact currently one lone member up on the Hill who agrees that the 16th Amendment is unconstitutional as well as many other actions, decrees and levies of the lawless proponents of the Warfare/Welfare state. His name is Ron Paul and he is also running for president as an avowed constitutionalist. You might want to check out his campaign and stated positions. It might be an eye opener.

    Being a great country has nothing to do with the government. We've manage to succeed, so far, in spite of it, most certainly not because of it.

  • Park History: National Parks Built Around Caves and Caverns   6 years 39 weeks ago

    On a much smaller scale, the northern end of Snow Canyon State Park in St. George (or more accurately, Ivins, I believe) UT. has some interesting caves formed by the same geological phenomenon, repleat with cinder cone visibly scarred by the eruption a scant 10,000 years ago, as estimated in park literature. A great introduction to "raftless tubing" for the younger set or those who think they might tend towards claustrophobia.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 39 weeks ago

    For clarification purposes, the studies I've surveyed make mention of 2 million boaters as an annual visitation estimate and does not directly correlate to 2 million vessels traversing the waterway. This I understand with all clarity. But in the "real world" of business, of which I possess extensive experience, any corporation doing business in more than one location bases their fees for products, services, etc. on the sum cost of doing business. The entity in question must account for the sum overhead package, no matter what nature they be, in the base prices that are charged to the consumer. As you all should be aware, the Aramark Corporation is a national service company. For you to believe for one instance that their entire customer base will not feel the sting for this project is simply not realistic. All costs of doing business will be passed throughout the operating network, whether it is an increase in employee health care rates, pay raises, transportation related fees (e.g. fuel rate increases, maintenance costs, building of distribution centers, tax rates on properties), increases costs of raw materials, handling and processing, or the above mentioned "slush fund" designed to benefit a SMALL portion of their service base.

    Speaking of keeping it real........

  • Misty Hike at Yosemite's Vernal Fall   6 years 39 weeks ago

    What strikes me about this photo is its lack of color. Most photographers are taught to look for that splash of red when composing their shots, but the lack of color, the almost monochromatic composition, of this shot really sells it for me.

  • Park History: National Parks Built Around Caves and Caverns   6 years 39 weeks ago

    For trivia buffs, there's a place with lava tubes, called Mammoth Cave, but it's not a national park.

    Any guess where it might be?

  • Park History: National Parks Built Around Caves and Caverns   6 years 39 weeks ago

    Ah, those were the days, Jeremy! I grew up next to Lava Beds, and lava tubes were the first caves I ever explored. Did you know that Lava Beds National Monument has the highest concentration of lava tubes in North America? The great thing about these caves is that most of them are wild, free of development, and the ones that have been developed don't seem excessively so (like having an elevator or bathroom inside a cave like at Carlsbad Caverns). Additionally, these caves are far safer to explore and more resistant to impact (for the most part) than limestone caves and caves with standing/running water. If you haven't been, go. It's remote, but well worth the trip!

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 39 weeks ago

    O.K....whatever, but you still didn't answer the question. Here, I'll slightly re-phrase it:

    In your opinion, has every government this country has had since at least 1913 been corrupt and run by a pack of "Thieving thugs?"

    Geez, if what you say is true, you'd sure think that a country as great as ours would have had at least one single Congress in those 97 some years decent enough to abolish that illegal 16th Amendment, now wouldn't you?

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 39 weeks ago

    A great country yes! I agree.

    Love of country is NOT love of government.

    "The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it's good-bye to the Bill of Rights."------H.L. Mencken

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 39 weeks ago

    O.K., I'm getting sucked onto a tangent of which I really have little interest, but I would appreciate a simple clarification from Beamis who says,

    'The fact that the U.S. government is run by thieving thugs who subvert the Constitution on a regular basis is not news."

    That's some statement, Sir/Ma'am, especially when you call it a "Fact." If I follow your logic (?), it appears you are saying that every congress and administration this country has had, at least since 1913, has been corrupt. That would have to be the case according to your POV, since the 16th Amendment became law in that year (Illegally, according to you). If this is indeed the way you think, I would suggest to you that you have a very unfortunate view of the greatest country the world has ever known. Again, just my opinion and I'm new around here.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 39 weeks ago

    Just to be clear: a Constitutional Amendment cannot be passed by Congress. It must be ratified by a two-thirds majority of all the state legislatures across the Republic. That is not my opinion but what is actually written in the Constitution.

    The dimly remembered Equal Rights Amendment failed back in the 1980's because it was put up for a vote by the 50 legislatures of the U.S. and was not ratified because it failed to get the needed majority. That's how the amendment process works RainyRoads, contrary to your opinion or what the government says is legal and binding as the law of the land.

    The fact that the U.S. government is run by thieving thugs who subvert the Constitution on a regular basis is not news. Calling what is clearly enunciated in this now largely ignored document an opinion does not change the nature of the crime or the criminals.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 39 weeks ago

    Reality check:

    Those "Few" boaters to which Lone Hiker makes mention actually number in the neighborhood of about 2 million per year. Also, the funding for this project is scheduled to come from a fund collected "Off the top" from Aramark Corp. and represent a percentage of the concessionaire's profits derived from private business activities on and around the lake. In essence, those who use the lake are those who will be paying for the project. What's wrong with that? They have nothing whatsoever to do with Iraq, Afganistan, or any other conflict around the world and would not be increased in the slightest if any of those conflicts were to end tomorrow.

    Let's keep it real, folks.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 39 weeks ago

    We're sorry to interrupt this debate for the following news update:

    "Wars" on ideologies are never won.

    And are ALWAYS lost. And there never was, or is now, just cause to spend billions of US taxpayer dollars, that could and SHOULD be spent improving our domestic issues, of which there are many, on a "war" that has and had no real point since it's inception. The REAL "war on terror" should have been fought in the mountains of the Pakistan / Afghan region, against an alleged "identified" threat, not in the deserts of Iraq against an idiot and his regime who were then and even lesser now a threat against this country and it's citizens. End that pointless conflict, and you can have all the monies you desire for improving the convenience of a few boaters in Lake Powell. Maybe mandatory boating safety classes and enforcement of boating regulations, along with making consumption of alcohol on US waterways illegal, would be a better usage of everyone's time and funding than additional digging, if the area is as hazardous as many posters have claimed.

    The independent voice of political conscience reason is dead in this country. REVIVE IT NOW!

    Now, back to the previously scheduled programming.........

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 39 weeks ago

    Just a slight clarification; The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is NOT a "Park." It is a "Recreation area," and as such it is run under a very different set of rules. Some will disagree with those rules and others will call for a change to the status of "Park." The most extreme will even lobby for complete restoration to its pre-dam state, but for now, it remains a "Recreation area" and as such it is administered for the recreation and enjoyment of the general public, not according to a biased agenda of a small minority.

  • Does Hiking Yosemite National Park's Half Dome Still Present a Wilderness Experience?   6 years 39 weeks ago

    Simply put, NO.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 39 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.

    "Wars" on ideologies are never won.

  • Park History: National Parks Built Around Caves and Caverns   6 years 39 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 39 weeks ago

    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.

    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.

    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!
    San Diego, CA

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 39 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 39 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 39 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 39 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 39 weeks ago


    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 39 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 39 weeks ago


    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.

    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.