Recent comments

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 42 weeks ago

    I don't believe, in my heart of hearts, that anyone was trying to berate or take you to task Coach. Personally, I was, as I stated, just curious about his train of thought. I was thinking perhaps his belief was that these (the items highlighted in the above listing) stood for the most obvious examples within the park system, but then I started recalling a certain excursion over the Lava Falls Rapids, and wondered aloud (I glad there wasn't anyone in the room at the time) how this section of a very well known and studies park wasn't fit for inclusion. In the history of our little corner of the world, dating back to the pre-Cambrian era, and maybe a bit prior, you'd be hard pressed to find some little corner of the continent that is totally devoid of volcanism at some level, so in actuality, the list could be all-inclusive, to some degree. But I think he did a fairly competent job with the major examples, without splitting hairs between the parks, monuments, preserves, etc.

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 42 weeks ago

    OK, I realize it was just a "highlight film" for volcanic parks, but technically every park on the Hawaiian Islands exists because of volcanism and even the cultural parks are inextricably linked to the volcanoes on which they lived.. moreso in some Hawaiian parks than others, of course. I wouldn't attempt to connect the USS Arizona with volcanism... although... those pesky Japanese pilots sure did come from a volcanic chain of islands across the Pacific, now didn't they?

    The massive layers of fish fossils at Fossil Butte are also believed to have been caused by periodic local eruptions which caused massive fish kills in the former Fossil Lake. The potential tangential references are endless!

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    My apologies for mixing up the roles of Mr. Wade and Mr. Allen.

    Mr. Allen posted a comment on the first article on this subject (before the price tag was revealed) where he stated in part, "We are convinced that this project will be very illuminating to the public and beneficial to the entire National Park Service". "We", I assume, means CNPSR. Now that the price tag has been revealed for this particular plan, I wonder if the CNPSR still supports the project?

    My apologizes for not getting my facts straight on this very convoluted issue.

    I'd like to be able to find more facts to back up my assertion on franchise fees. I have found a news article by the Billings Gazette which states that in 2005, Xanterra was awarded a contract in Yellowstone with a 2 percent franchise fee. And I have my personal experience at Crater Lake. I wish concession deals were more transparent, and that I could click on the NPS website and see exactly what each concessionaire was paying the NPS. If anyone could point me to such information or such a site, I'd be very grateful.

    carping: persistent petty and unjustified criticism

    I think it is every American's duty to point out waste, mismanagement, and fraud, so I believe my criticism of the NPS is completely justified. Additionally, I think I have generated positive energy about the exciting future of depoliticized public land management. And I will continue to advocate for reform. I'm sorry some see this as mere complaining.

    My many thanks to the editors for providing a medium for spirited debate (the political and controversial posts generate far more discussion than other types of posts).

    "Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive." Henry Steele Commager

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 42 weeks ago

    I wasn't trying to beat up on you. Just sharing.

    Thanks for the opportunity.

  • Grand Canyon National Park: Open To Some Faiths   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Thanks, Lone Hiker, I do tell my students that the heavy metals decomposition protocol, of course in simpler terms, is the way scientists are coming up with these dates. I definitely do not tell them that the scientists are wrong or right. I tell them these are the methods that the scientists are using. The Christian Science movement perplexes me because I think Jesus would have us to be charitable towards one another rather that proving to be argumentive, for what reason? Especially if they are dead wrong! That makes them as Christians look dumb, and exasperating to those that are merely trying to educate people on geology. If something new comes along in science, the sensible scientists will be the first to use the new methods! The "Christian Scientists" should be nice, I think, but unfortunately as Christians, they seem to have their priorities misplaced.
    I love the Grand Canyon, by the way! I have hiked down to the Phantom Ranch a total of four times in my earlier years! Once I did the whole hike, down and up in one day!

  • Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Kurt, I'm with you on this one. Many times when I take to the coastal foothills for a good days hike, I prepare myself for the weekend yahoo boys with their mucho trail bikes screaming OUTA MY WAY bellow... and blasting by me with a curse look in some cases. In all fairness, there's many well meaning and polite trail bikers that maintain a decent code of mannerism in "share-the-trail" guide lines. But, in my opinion, trail biking is something that parallels with dune bugging, snowmobiling, and off the road SUV touring that creates one the most distructive forces to nature in the National Parks. Sports utility trucks ripping up the terrain around famous legendary petroglyphics, dune buggies ripping up the cacti vegetation in the fragile desert ecosystem, and snowmobiling sprewing gas and oil along with there whining obnoxious noise, and there's the trail bikes that leave deep ruts into the soil that creates massive erosion (and water run-off)problems during heavy winter rains.

    Why is it that we can't enjoy the simple things in life anymore. Why does it have to be this thrill seeking avenue of enjoyment...always has to be this adrenaline rush? Trail biking to me is another extension and example of bringing another piece of junk from your backyard, and to take it with you to the hills, the mountains or to the desert...and everthing but the kitchen sink. Give me my fifty pound pack and a silent trail, and I'll show you how not to destroy a trail with two feet...tread softly biker!

  • Grand Canyon National Park: Open To Some Faiths   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Oops, guess I got the T-bird mixed up with the one that did get torn down... was it the Moqui then? But that's not near the rim, so nevermind on that reference!

    And Linda's right about it being the middle of nowhere. The Grand Canyon School sports teams travelled many many hours to find their competitors. We even went as far as Phoenix School for the Deaf for a volleyball match.

    Like I said, I'm in agreement for the need, I just don't like that facility. But then again, I don't live there now do I? ;-)

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Lone Hiker,

    Boy, this is a tough crowd today.

    The list was not intended to be all-inclusive. As the second sentence of the post said, there are "at least 13..."

    There was no misleading nor intention that the list was complete. Rather, it was merely intended to show a representative sample. That other sites have been mentioned is great; shows there's some thinking going on out there.

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 42 weeks ago


    And open exchange of ideas is NEVER a waste of time, unless you're part of Congress and you're soliciting ideas to build into a bill that has the sole intent of becoming aencyclopedic volume which nobody will peruse in it's complete form, thereby hiding "pork" in the voluminous final edition of the "Bill to Save America from International Terrorism, and ensure proper snowplowing of the roads leading to my house, and repaving my driveway, and oh, that new mailbox I was thinking about, and don't forget my mistress needs a necklace, and of course the private jet to the golf course and casino in Bimini for the lobbyists, and season's tickets to the ......". I understand the frustration that is being put forth by current and ex-employees, but who better than true insiders from which the rest of us can gain that albeit one-sided perspective, since most of us have no manner of inclusion in the innner-workings of the system? Just as long as folks realize that these people are indeed just one side of a multi-faceted arguement, we have the basis for an informative dialogue and with any luck, the opportunity for some true brainstorming on a multitude of issues, park related and otherwise. I personally claim no ties to the "organization", but does that render my insights into certain portions of these articles useless? Lets all of us bear in mind that the Park Service is on part service orgainzation. It is also part business, part science, part administration, part political, and a large part public. The last part is the portion that seems to have been either lost or at least overlooked, and that's what we're all working to reclaim. I hope.

  • Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks   6 years 42 weeks ago

    I see no need to cut any new trails (hiker or biker) in any of Our National Parks.
    In fact I believe there is way too much time and money spent on maintenance of trails already established.
    When I visit I like nature to be wild, free and spontaneous (to borrow from Mr. Abbey) which must be hard for her as we endlessly cut, gouge, pave, fence, sign and bridge.

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Hey Kurt-

    Could you ask the distinguished professor what his criteria were when he responded to your inquiry? There were obviously some omissions in his reply, as is evidenced by the readers, and I'm quite certain that he did not purposefully intend to mislead anyone into thinking that his was a complete compilation. I'm just curious as to how his determinations were made for the article.

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    In all honesty I really feel I'm wasting my time contributing to this site, but I plod on because I believe we all have a responsibility to speak our minds...for what that's worth. It gives me much more satisfaction to be out in my park than pecking away at this blasted computer, but I, like Frank & Beamis, feel committed to some innovative thinking...for once! Give these two guys their fair shake for speaking passionately.

    As a federal government agency, the NPS is very much about process & procedure, rules & regulations (PPRR). Examples of bureaucratic PPRR are so profuse that I'm at a loss to cite one, the same way I can't recall a single one of my own breaths. The outfit is so hog-tied by its own bureaucracy that new employees see a certain mystique in it all, sometimes leading to rumors about PPRR that don't even exist. "Gee, I thought I couldn't do that because I'd heard there was a rule from the Regional Office stating..."

    It's no secret that bureaucracy is appalling. To me, it creates in employees a perfectly diabolical, soul-sucking combination of tedium and stress.

    A few years back I took a supervisory training course facilitiated by a private company, which had spent a lot of time analyzing the NPS. The instructor--a bright, observant, and outspoken woman in her 30's--wasn't too complimentary of the agency. Much to the dismay of many attendees, she constantly reminded the class that most PPRR aren't laws. You can bend and break them without being thrown in jail. She also reminded us that it's nearly impossible to get fired when you work for the federal government. Her wise advise: you SHOULD bend and break rules when they're stupid...which they frequently are.

    As a supervisor at the time, I took her advice to heart. If an employee asked how to deal with PPRR that was inane, I would tell them to ignore it. If anyone had problems with that, I'd go on to say, you can tell them that I made the decision. The "consequences," after years of practicing this approcah?...I'm rarely questioned abut blowing off such absurd PPRR.

    Have the courage to resist ridiculous bureaucracy. You'll save the taxpayers a lot of money. And you'll leave more time for the vastly more important job of fulfilling the NPS Mission.

    Simple Proposal #6: Instead of doing things right, Do The Right Thing.

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Ms. buccello's offenses are more egregious because she scammed some of her free tickets by cancelling official duty flights -one was a death notification to the wife of a slain ranger- and then redeemed the tickets for later personal use. Then she lied about it. How low can you get? The posters above are quite right; there is a horrible double-standard in disciplinary issues, depending upon the employee's GS-rank and political status. Few government managers really get taken down as hard as field-level employees for similar offenses. Ms. Buccello will most likely escape prison time, and since she pleaded guilty to a misdemenor instead of a felony, she will be allowed to carry firearms. She will undoubtably receive her government retirement for life, courtesy of the taxpayers she ripped off. This is a real slight to the vast majority of National Park Service field rangers who are honest, and whose pensions will be much less than hers. And, some of the rangers Buccello investigated, presumably for lessor crimes than she admitted to, won't receive law enforcement retirement at all.

  • Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Mountain bikes/bikers are a cancer in National Parks. The chemotherapy is convincing superintendents and the NPS itself that mountain bikes are an inappropriate method of access to National Parks. We're not talking about limiting access, we're talking about limiting the *method* of access - similar to the snowmobile issue in Yellowstone.

    Do bikers want to see the parks or do they want to ride their bikes? Which is it? If bikers want to see the parks, they can lock their bikes up and walk in. If they want to ride, like Kurt mentioned, there's many, many miles of bike trails on other public lands.

    A poll was recently taken in the mountainous west and not a single tourist came to see mountain bikes, gas or oil wells, clear-cuts or cattle crap. >Big smile<

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    It's amazing the way some people interpret the law. Perhaps it's a matter of perception...

    justanotherhunter wrote "The video is mostly fake Bob because I was there..."

    I think justanotherhunter is lying about being on scene.

    As they say in jury instructions, if you find any part of the testimony to be false, you must find the entire testimony to be false.

  • Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks   6 years 42 weeks ago


    Thanks for eventually getting the name right;-) But why do you hide your reply behind anonymity?

    Now, to your points:

    * I can't recall the last time there was a proposal to cut new hiking trails in the parks. But that's not the point.

    * I don't profess a hatred of mountain bikes. There are two in my garage. But I do prefer my road bike.

    * The majority of mountain bike trails go uphill? What goes up, must come down, no? But regardless, mountain bikes carry much more speed on flats and downhills than hikers. Especially if the hiker has a 40-50 pound pack on their back.

    * Mountain bikers aren't thrill seekers? Perhaps not all, but take a look at the accompanying picture. Those are IMBA reps kicking it in Hawaii Volcanoes NP.

    * And really, as much as IMBA lobbies for single-track trails in the parks, shouldn't someone offer a counter argument?

    My bottom line is that I am not convinced the national parks need to be, or should be, open to every form of recreation imaginable. Forest Service and BLM lands are more focused on such multiple use. Perhaps if there weren't already thousands of miles of mountain biking opportunities on those lands I'd be persuaded about the need to open more land in the national parks to mountain bikes.

    And really, there already exist more than a few mountain biking opportunities in the parks. If single-track usage is approved under the "dual-use" premise, and it's found not workable, does that mean bike-only single track should be cut across the parks? Or should wider footprints be cut? And if wider footprints are called for, should they be hard-packed or paved so Segways can travel them as well?

    God bless Ed Abbey.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    It's not illegal to interfere with a legal hunt if you're Channel 2 news in Anchorage or biologists with a "save the bear" attitude. Just ask Megan Balldino. They control the lawmakers; whether it's right or wrong means nothing. What means something is getting re-elected. Sorry but true.

  • Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Ooops, replace every Kirk with Kurt.

  • Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Why is there a need to cut single-track trails in the parks? - Will Kirk ever write a "why do we need any new hiking trails" post or is this a barely veiled attempt to disguise his contempt for bicycles?

    Is that the best use of the resource at a time when there already are innumerable mountain biking opportunities? - Should we ever have more hiking when there is already a plethora of hiking opportunities?

    Can hikers and mountain bikers satisfactorily exist on the same trail? - Can Kirk ever write an article that doesn't ignore the positive experiences of those who have already posted on his other articles regarding this topic? Or, do Kirk and the bike haters always run away at the first sound of a mountain bike somewhere in the vacinity?

    Many mountain bikers love the thrill of zooming downhill. Think those in national parks won't seek that thrill?
    - Is it possible to create a sustainable multi-user friendly trail of moderate speed with uphill portions like the majority of biking trails across America or does he always assume that all trails and bikers participate in X-Games style solely downhill riding at great speed?

    Kirk, I appreciate your other efforts and posts regarding actual detrimental activities in our parks like ORV's and drilling in ANWR, and yes my post is a little on the sarcastic side, but your disdain for mountain bikers is misguided.

    I'm with Ed Abbey. Close the parks to vehicles, give everyone a bicycle, and bus the suitcases in.

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    You must be a spotty reader because I have offered up many suggestions and possible solutions and scenarios about changing the ways our parks are managed, many that a former career ranger like yourself probably would disagree with, but offer them I have. I generally get few comments on them, for the most part (except from Kurt & Jeremy). I notice that no one has yet made any comments on the excellent suggestions offered up by our newest contributor Bart. His insider take into the current management malaise gripping the NPS is fresh and insightful as are his concrete common-sense suggestions for agency improvement but I have yet to hear a peep from anyone except for Frank.

    It's too bad that you see it as a negative that I want to take the parks out of the dirty hands of politicians, park service careerists and easy-money concessionaires and shift the paradigm towards more locally focused, self-interested management.

    I am certainly not being negative about the parks, which I love, but am only pointing out the severe limitations of their DC focused overseers. Your suggestions amount to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It's time for a totally new approach and that's what I will continue to push for.

    Oh, and by the way, support Ron Paul for President!

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 42 weeks ago

    The cliff dwellings in Bandelier are dug out of welded tuff which originated as ash falls from a nearby volcanic area in the Jemez Mountains.

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 42 weeks ago

    North Cascades National Park in Washington also contains a part of the Cascade range of volcanos.

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Frank and Bemis--

    Quite frankly, i am tired of your constant carping about the NPS. NPT used to be an interesting site to visit to read about issues related to the National Park System. There were often healthy differences of opinion among those who visited Jeremy and Kurt's blog. Now, it's one bitch after another from you guys. Sure, I saw some things during my 31-year career with the NPS that made me uncomfortable. I am similarly outraged, now that I am retired, by decisions like the one going down right now about snomos in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. That doesn't mean that I need to complain incessantly about the agency nor does it imply that I have given up on it.

    \What we need to do, in my opinion, is to generate some positive energy to focus public attention on issues that might help things get betteer. Many of these you have already dismissed in earlier posts: an examination of NPS governance; Is Interior the proper place for the NPS? a look at the funding cycle; Are the goals of long-term natural and cultural resources stewardship adequately served by our one-year budget process? the term in office of the Director; Does tying the Director to the current 4 or 8 year political cycle make sense when he/she presides over s System that demands long-term planning?

    Why not channel you obvious interest in the parks to questions like these? There is room for honest disagreement among reasonable people about all these issues. I'd rather read your take on these than to have to read more complaints.

    Rick Smith

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    - Concession companies nowadays pay a substantially greater amount in franchise fees that 2%, although there could be a few who are still under contract at that rate.

    Would Mr. Wade like to give a few examples of these substantially greater amounts being collected? How much and where?

    Thanks in advance.

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Frank, I don't think you've got your facts straight, and it appears as if you're jumping to some incredible conclusions.

    For starters, yes, a former group of NPS employees has championed the creation of a Museum of the National Park Service. And the PEER link you provided does indeed lead one to the formal proposal for such a museum. However, that proposal does not place a price tag on such a museum, and is entirely separate from the developers' $250 million proposal. At this time the two simply cannot be linked in one breath as you're trying to do.

    Regarding Superintendent Campbell's comments, you seem to be taking them out of context. At the time I talked to him the developers behind the $250 million proposal had not made a formal presentation of it to the Park Service, so there was no way for him to know its details. What his knowledge is of the concept of an NPS museum is a separate matter that I didn't raise with him.

    Furthermore, the meetings regarding the museum proposal you reference had to do with the conceptual idea for a museum, NOT the $250 million development currently being floated.