Recent comments

  • Economic Greed Tarnishes Our National Park System   6 years 40 weeks ago

    What Gerald seems to be proposing is that the national parks should function like the national forests, national grasslands, and BLM lands when it comes to accommodating recreational use. I submit that Congress knew exactly what it was doing when it ordered the National Park Service to adhere to a higher standard of resource protection than that which prevails in these other public lands.

  • Economic Greed Tarnishes Our National Park System   6 years 40 weeks ago

    The abundant extractive resources that exist in these parks are already off-limits to the American people (yes, the corporations are the American people via the fact that most of us own mutual funds in mining, oil, & timber companies). But that's O.K....we want to see them a common-sense point.
    Nothing humans can do short of mining, pumping or cutting (although I have always felt that many of the larger parks could self-sustain thru timber on a few set-aside acres in limited watersheds) can damage the parks...the 60's-spawned junk-science "holistic" enviro movement thinks that one footprint in a meadow will...OH MY!...not allow any flora to exist there ever again! Oh, the humanity!
    Good science says that deer, bear and other critters also trample the meadows and therefore we know that that one visitor who steps in the meadow for a good angle for a picture is O.K., just don't do a dance out there, O.K?
    Likewise, snowmobiles, jet-skis all have their place and should be allowed and monitored. No harrasing wildlife, and in the case of sleds, make sure there is enough snowpack to not cause damage to flora.
    I keep repeating, if the American people cannot have varied use of the parks, then they need not exist; sell them off for development. 60's era junk science (some would say it's a pagan religion) cannot be allowed to reign in the parks...spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer money for a friggin EIS to fix a road washout is unacceptable. Here common sense vs junk science is epitomized: Adding dirt fill, some of which may go in the river and "damage the fishery" is way less than THE WASHOUT ITSELF! Duh!
    All said, I hope to go to Yellowstone myself soon and both ski and snowmobile.

  • Are The National Parks Not Part of Our Federal Lands?   6 years 40 weeks ago

    You are right on, Lone Hiker.
    An individual park yearly pass is a pittance to pay for what the visitor a cost of one meal for two in your average restaurant. Two meals for the America the Beautiful Pass.
    Keep the fees. User pays. Low income folks spend lots of money on beer and cigarettes, so no lame excuses there either.
    I get so sick of many in this forum who want to socialize everything...get off your butts and get to work, and if you don't have the education to make good money, then work for that too. The gubmint owes you nothing except your security via our powerful and admired armed forces.
    The great thing about this great nation of ours is that you have the freedom to work as hard as you want to achieve your dreams. That is why we are the envy of the world and people board rickety old boats in treacherous waters and brave the heat to cross the southern border.

  • Are The National Parks Not Part of Our Federal Lands?   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Lone Hiker is right on target with that complaint about government officials using important words like "federal" and "democracy" without due regard for their nuances of meaning. If elected officials or other public servants have so little respect for the English language that they don't even bother to use the correct words for particular concepts, it raises serious questions about their commitment to effective communication. More to the point, we on the receiving end of this blather are left to assign meaning to the misused words according to their context and our personal preferences. A particular word can therefore mean anything you want it to, which is the same as saying that it means nothing in particular. Losing the connections between symbols and the concepts they represent can only spell big trouble.

  • Are The National Parks Not Part of Our Federal Lands?   6 years 40 weeks ago

    I sure there's a reasonable explanation, something akin to nobody in government being aware or making public admission of the nuances separating the terms "federal" from "national" and "democracy" from "republic". These four terms are bandied about freely and without concern for the distinct differences between the two ideals. I guess the general public is supposed to have it automatically ingrained in our colloquial linguistic societal speech patterns that the terms are interchangable at the "federal" level. By utilizing this technique, another layer of teflon is added to the insulation of the actual words spoken by elected officials, as they can always use the ever popular, yet ever lame, "that not exactly what I said when I was quoted" or "I believe that when you examine the text of my speech you'll find I was misquoted" excuses.

    And I refuse to believe that a $50 annual park pass is too much of a burden for most ANY family with the mobility to visit the various NPS units. Even the "daily" fees passes, which hover somewhere around $20 system wide, come with the built in provision for "in and out" privileges for up to a week per park unit. And how many families stay in one unit for more than one week? This is sure as hell cheaper than DisneyWorld, Six Flags, DollyWood (God forbid), museums, aquariums, or even family pack admission to the Sears Tower. Get over this alleged issue with entry fees already people. It truly is a non-factor, whether you enter the parks alone or with a van load of kids and/or adults. It's more of a vehicle fee anyway, since they don't charge individual fees unless you enter alone. Think of it as a weekly (or yearly) parking permit if that makes it more palatable for you. And don't try and make it sound as though a family intending to visit the NPS units is overburdened by being forced to allocate an additional $20 in the vacation budget, making is so "we just can't afford to go there this year, little Jimmy. Mommy and Daddy just can't go without their lattes and baguettes for a day to save the little bit of extra money that we'd need".

  • President Bush's Dog, Barney, a Junior Park Ranger at White House   6 years 40 weeks ago

    I wonder if Barney received the same Jr. Ranger activity kit that my kids found 10 minutes of amusement with, or if he got the special "Milk Bone" edition.

  • President Bush's Dog, Barney, a Junior Park Ranger at White House   6 years 40 weeks ago

    I highlighted this on my website as well, and I have to say that the dogs were the better actors in this flick. Bomar and W were pretty awful. And when Kempthorne was making various points with his index finger pointing here, there, and at Barney, you can tell Barney thinks he's being scolded (look at those eyes!).

    However the kids will love it. And if you really want to educate, entertain, and motivate the kids to help the parks and the planet (and perhaps motivate yourself as well), I'd suggest a great 20-minute film at

  • Are The National Parks Not Part of Our Federal Lands?   6 years 40 weeks ago

    This comment will probably not be added to the website (its too political): If we have money to take care of Iraq, why don't we have money to take care of America?

  • Secret Service View Teddy Mather As Protestor, Not Presidential Material   6 years 40 weeks ago

    If I may steal these immortal words from one of our country's supposedly noble "presidential material".......
    Let me make one thing perfectly clear.

    Whether or not Teddy the Bear was due his 15 minutes as made possible my Fox News is not the issue that I was trying to address. Enabling the issues to be elucidated upon due to costume and circumstance instead of having them judged on there relative merit is one of the trademarks of Fox journalism. I'm sure if they could, they'd put a naked girl on the cover of every story, as well as on their nightly newscast, ensuring the "big splash" to the crowd to which they pander. Rather, it is the circus surrounding the specific circumstances of this particular "bear" event, directedly targeting the political subterfuge pertaining to the 1st Amendment rights of ALL Americans, not just those deemed "presidential material" that irks me. So, you don't like protesters? Get the hell out of politics, or have the stones to admit that we most certainly do NOT live in a "democratic" society. This was by no means a civil distrubance, a riotous act, a nuclear attack, or any such attempt by the NPCA to "steal the spotlight" and deny the candidates the opportunity to do whatever it is they were attempting to do. So I guess what our ever-lovin' government is saying by these actions is that it is illegal to pass out literature and wear campaign buttons at a political rally, debate, side-show or whatever UNLESS you have the proper literature, buttons, bumber stickers, etc. that are APPROVED IN ADVANCE by the candidates participating in the freak show AND by your friendly SS guards.

    Didn't we just live through this exact circumstance not 70 years ago on the European continent?
    Democracy my @$$. PLEASE, lose the RED and the BLUE. VOTE THE WHITE, VOTE INDEPENDENT.

    Independent thought + Independent mind = A BETTER AMERICA.
    (That's my new campaign slogan.....whacha think?)

  • Are The National Parks Not Part of Our Federal Lands?   6 years 40 weeks ago

    If you want to be taxed only once then you need to pay a true cost the first time. The problem comes from cutting the budgets and expecting improvements at the parks. This forces the park to behave like a private entity that charges at the door. This one example of privatizing public assets through the unending call for "small government". Your right, entrance fees do make parks, and education etc., accessible only to those who can afford it. Unfortunately that is the direction our culture is headed. Everyone for themselves. Unless we are committed to paying the taxes we need to instead of the least amount we can get away with, then these parts of America are up for sale.

  • Secret Service View Teddy Mather As Protestor, Not Presidential Material   6 years 40 weeks ago

    So does the Secret Service (SS) become the arbiter of what's whacko speech? Is that relevant to the free speech issue?

    As to the comment about the SS making a tactical error and giving Teddy Mather some press, that perhaps is true. I can't say I'm a fan at all of the "Teddy Mather" concept; (me wonders what Gifford Pinchot would have thought of this one!) So, that it got some press is almost regrettable. Most people who find themselves abused by the SS this way don't get any type of press at all; they don't have the power of NPCA behind them. And, those who have gotten press still haven't gotten very far.

    I remember seeing one event, where dozens of people were arrested about 600 yards from the White House (that's as close as authorities - in this case, the Park Service) would allow for a commemoration of dead U.S. troops and Iraqis. When the line was crossed in an area so far from the White House, I talked with an immigrant from Syria, who was dismayed. He said it was the first time since he had left Syria where he felt like things had actually become worse than the country he had left. I urged him to get involved in the Chicago area, where he lived. I don't know if he did, and I know that experiences like the ones I have had and the one he witnessed are the exception to the rule (the most we have seen is the sensational "Don't taze me, bro!" episode, but this is a common thing that have happened to people not being obnoxious at a John Kerry event).

    Rather than focusing on the absurdity of this happening to NPCA, who were invited and didn't see themselves as protesting, I hope we can show solidarity with all people, from whack jobs to those who are quite serious, who want to speak out (and who aren't openly stopping others from speaking out - as in the case of the KKK and the Nazis). Unfortunately, that often doesn't happen, as the defense often offered by more mainstream groups is that they were persecuted despite being mainstream. That's too bad.

    In DC, these events - because they often happen in parks - usually fall on the National Park Service (though sometimes, it's the SS) to police. I don't think that irony should be lost on NPCA. If it complains about what the SS has done to it at a particular campaign event, it should push just as hard that the service it advocates for is often guilty of the same thing on public lands throughout this country (while ironically, in places like Harper's Ferry, giving material support to Klan members rallying, offering protection and even rides and escorts to their racist, hateful, and intimidating event).

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

  • Secret Service View Teddy Mather As Protestor, Not Presidential Material   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Welcome back Gerald, you never did say what your so called Ph.D. was in. Look's like NASA recent photo's and weather research reports on global warming doesn't reflect the work done by a bunch of whackos (expert climatologist). Pretty conclusive evidence that global warming is mostly man induced. Now, you wouldn't be working for the coal industry would you? Most park naturalist will tell you that they do agree with most of the NASA reports on global warming. They have seen the environmental changes coming for long time, especially in the upper elevations of our National Parks.

  • Secret Service View Teddy Mather As Protestor, Not Presidential Material   6 years 40 weeks ago

    As long as so-called "conservationists" keep talking the "global warming" hoax, NO ONE is going to take them seriously. They will just been seen as a fringe group of whackos. PARK ISSUES are what they (NPCA) should be focused on. Better campgrounds, better roads, repaired infrastructure, better interp displays.
    We homo sapiens did not create global warming and there is nothing we can do to change it. State of fear is not the answer. How many of you remember scientists were warning us in the 70's about "global cooling" and the coming ice age?? The earth has been warming for a long time with an interval from 1940-1970s that we were cooling. We could begin cooling again in the next few one knows or really understands the totality of global climate and it's interaction with the sun.

  • President Bush's Dog, Barney, a Junior Park Ranger at White House   6 years 40 weeks ago

    My little scottie did but she stayed on the trails!

  • President Bush's Dog, Barney, a Junior Park Ranger at White House   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Does this mean that as a Junior Ranger Barney can now explore our National Parks off leash?

  • Are The National Parks Not Part of Our Federal Lands?   6 years 40 weeks ago

    I hear what you're saying, but it seems like the first step in rolling back all these user fees should be eliminating them in the remote, "non-destination" areas. At least in national park units you usually get at least some "added value," whether that's ranger led-hikes, a bookstore, or at least a visitor center with a map. I have less of a problem paying for some of those costs, though I think the general treasury should pick up the vast vast majority of those costs. However, it's much harder to convince me that I should be paying an additional fee of $4 or more (similar cost to many national monuments and natl historic sites) to hike in a USFS wilderness area where there is no "added value" except for a delineated dirt parking area, trailhead register, and credit card fee machine. At least in the national park, I know the agency is focused on protecting the resources, whereas in some of those other BLM and FS areas, you have to overlook lots of destructive practices like logging, desert grazing, target shooting, rampant ORV use, etc.

  • Secret Service View Teddy Mather As Protestor, Not Presidential Material   6 years 40 weeks ago

    My apologies Lone Hiker,

    I misread, the intern got in. Still, being "off put" by a comment doesn't make it law suit worthy.

    The bear got bluff charged. He'll get over it.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Every single person who contributes comments to NPT is a resource -- somebody with experiences to share, insights to offer, questions to challenge us with. Consider J Longstreet, for example. Isn't it great that a park superintendent wants to share in our forum? There are fewer than 400 national park superintendents in the entire country, for crying out loud, and these are exactly the people we need to be hearing from and talking to and yes, even trying to persuade. We need to engage them even if we don’t agree with all the things they say, all the views they hold, all the things they want to do. And what happened to this superintendent when he joined in and commented? He got dissed by several of our commenters (you know who you are) in a mean-spirited way, as though he were an enemy to be disposed of. No effective leader achieves important goals by throwing away valuable resources, cutting off critical lines of communication, and insisting that “it’s my way or the highway.” Let’s not drive each other away. Everybody’s a resource.

  • President Bush's Dog, Barney, a Junior Park Ranger at White House   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Jeremy, I have had three scottish terriers in the past and plan to get a fourth. Barney makes me well up in tears, reminding me of my dear Keri that I had to put down (cancer) a couple months ago. After 15 years of being a faithful little companion the Christmas time brings back warm memories of her. Barney displays the same disposition and swaggered walk of alertness. Well, in regards to Bush and Bomar and Barney...that's another story! However, a cute Christmas sharing this time of year and a nice warm remembrance of my little dog.

  • Rocky Mountain National Park Officials Select "Lethal Reduction" To Help Reduce Elk Herd--Updated   6 years 40 weeks ago


    Your post states: "With several thousand elk moving in and out of the park throughout the year, and no wolves to provide population control ...." Makes you wonder why the Park Service didn't push hard to adopt an alternative that would bring back wolves. With a quarter-million acres of wilderness in Rocky, and more forested wildlands to the north and south, you'd think there'd be room. Or maybe Rocky Mountain is really just a wild postage stamp hemmed in by development around Estes and Grand Lake, and we should give up on managing it as a truly wild place?

    As for working to bring back the wolves, as Bob suggests, several conservation groups including Colorado-based Sinapu (which means "wolf" in Ute) are threatening to sue the Park Service for failing to return wolves to the Park. See

    Given the successes and lessons learned in Yellowstone from wolf recovery there, and the Park's mandate to protect natural processes, one would think the Park Service could (and should) be on the cutting edge of wolf recovery elsewhere.

    It is a positive step that he Park is addressing ecosystem damage. It's too bad the Park didn't (or couldn't) go further.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Frank, it's your constant scab picking at that NPS that irritates. We understand your grievances run deep and hard, but your losing your point by the constant brow beating on the parks. The less said, the better the impact! I think you're being a bit overly sensitive about Kurt's comments about slowing the constant negativity. You have made your point many times over. However, your comments are well taken with some merit.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 40 weeks ago

    "We don't want you to stop commenting. But we think you've more than made your feelings known about what you think of the Park Service and its employees. The Traveler is not the forum for this continued condemnation." Kurt Repanashek

    I will respect the wishes of NPT and cease posting comments at the NPT site critical to the status quo of national parks management. NPT is a private endeavor. NPT is not subject to the protections of the First Amendment; that's one thing it has in common with the NPS.

    It's regrettable that grown adults cannot simply ignore that with which they do not wish to contend. Instead, they censor. They silence. They misrepresent.

    My comments have been called shrill, but if you search the record, you'll mostly find reasoned arguments about wrestling national park management from the quagmire of partisan politics. Occasionally, I've been Abbey-esque, but it's a sad statement that NPT wouldn't welcome Cactus Ed's opinions and writing. Those seeking to perpetuate the current paradigm of political management of national parks mislabel criticism as negativity, and in that way, NPT further resembles the NPS. Because of comments critical of NPS bureaucracy, supposedly "in extreme cases, folks simply are not returning to the Traveler." I would enjoy seeing some hard evidence on that, and would beg to differ. Healthy debate attracts participation, and if you look at the posts with the most comments, they are usually hot topics with a lot of debate.

    Regardless, I'll take the debate elsewhere. Stop by my homepage from time to time. Leave a comment if you support park management unfettered from political partisanship. More importantly, leave a comment if you don't.

    "Everyone is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people's idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage."
    -- Winston Churchill

    "Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed -- and no republic can survive."

  • Secret Service View Teddy Mather As Protestor, Not Presidential Material   6 years 40 weeks ago

    One of us missed something hh-

    The caption on the photo at the head of the piece states that the picture was taken after the Secret Service prevented Teddy from attending a presidential forum, so as I'm understanding things, Teddy never did set paws into the debate arena. Additionally, the author states that they "carefully packed the bear into the trunk, and returned to event", again making reference to the fact that Lil' Teddy didn't gain entry. Are you interpreting something different in all of this?

    I whole-heartedly agree that, as you state,"if the bear did something untoward to the candidates, he'd go down". Nothing less would be either expected or appropriate. But somehow I doubt that Teddy was packin'. And from what I gather, if someone was to state to you that, "unless you do so and so, we're taking you down and it won't be pretty, you might be a bit put off by the tone of the comment. Federal property notwithstanding, for well behaved "protesters" to be verbally threatened and/or abused (and there lies a fine line between the two) is simply not acceptable under ANY method of crowd control protocol.

    Long live the Bear!

  • National Parks Contribute Holiday Ornaments to White House Christmas Tree   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Oh my God. There really IS an Andersonville Prison NHS Christmas Tree Ornament! I thought Beamis was being sarcastic! Read about it here: Unfortnately, there's no photo...

  • Secret Service View Teddy Mather As Protestor, Not Presidential Material   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Teddy Mather should be grateful to the Secret Service.

    Now he's actually interesting. At least for 15 minutes.

    This is a funny story. I love it. But some of you are taking this WAY too seriously.

    Lone Hiker, what the agent said to the bear isn't intimidation. It's honesty. Besides, this bear WANTS to be watched. That's why he's wearing a bear suit and carrying signs. And yeah, if the bear did something untoward to the candidates, he'd go down!

    The agents were just doing their jobs. They let the bear in for heaven's sake.

    Trust me, a Secret Service Agent's cynicism about politicians pales anything you guys can come up with.
    I say we should give them a break. The government isn't going to give them much of one over the next year.