Recent comments

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Nicely said Jim. It is amazing to me that it is so incredibly difficult for some people to understand such a simple concept. Please continue voicing your opinion on this issue. You have a very good way with words.

  • Our Endangered National Parks   6 years 33 weeks ago

    With the Bush administration running out the clock as are do nothing president, expect the worse from the NPS. The next administration will have a monumental task in cleaning up the Bush & Cheney environmental mess with the Park Service. Such a travesty of a administration without a conscious!

  • Appellate Court Rules Against Yosemite National Park   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Raising the fees for the most admired parks will exclude that part of the people, that has the most limited options anyway. Limit the number of admissions by reserved tickets will lead to a secondary market of tickets with very much the same result. If the NPS wants to have even the most crowded parks open for all, they need to divert part of the visitors to secondary areas. In Yosemite that would mean to reduce the capacity of the valley and compensate by creating options elsewhere in the park.

    At least returning visitors must be diverted out of the valley, as I doubt it will be possible to tell first time visitors not to go to Half Dome, El Capitan, the Merced meadows and of course the waterfalls.

    The Wawona area can take more visitors. The Sequoias of Maripose Grove and Chilnualna Fall should be put in the foreground in marketing the park. The visitor capacity there should be expanded. Maybe that is possible with the Hetch Hetchy area too. The upper Tuolumne Meadows probably are ecologically too fragile to allow for mass tourism, but the White Wolf/Yosemity Creek/Porcupine Flat region might be another possible part of the park, where visitors could be diverted to.

    To make this viable and relieve the valley, I believe, fast and reliable mass transport from those more remote areas into the valley is necessary. Have busses with good on board information systems go there.

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Who the heck is "Claire Burtons"? If you mean Clara Barton and somehow think that her life and story aren't worthy of a central place from which to tell it, you are sadly mistaken. Now Glen Echo Park -- that's certainly a big question mark...

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 33 weeks ago

    On the "Parks are safer than cities so you don't need guns." argument;
    If that is true then drivers in rural areas don't need insurance because there are fewer fatalities - even on a per capita basis.

    It also seems like every time I read about a mass shooting / crazed parent / gang shootout (no drugs in parks right?) / or run of the mill assault, the reporter will elicit a response similar to "We're just shocked that something like that could happen here, So-and-so always seemed so nice...".

    Crime is not restricted to any particular class of people; not by race, religion, ethnicity or geography. How many grains of sand in a heap? How many murders in a "safe park"?

    "Gun crime" (ever hear of knife crime or club crime?) is used by unscrupulous politicians in an effort to control other peoples' behavior and expand government's power in an effort to protect their jobs at the citizens' expense.

    Criminals in parks or elsewhere will continue to be armed, even if just with fists, if they plan on raping a wayward hiker. Law-abiding citizens have the right to be armed in defense. This is not a privilege granted by the government, but in inalienable right recognized as such in the national and most states' constitutions.

    The argument that law-abiding citizens will all become drunken, enraged murders if "allowed" to be armed has been dis-proven 44 times in the past 30 years or so. That's how many states allow concealed carry. And each time before the law was enacted the press wailed about the rivers of blood to follow. And they were wrong every time. The fact is law-abiding citizens don't turn murderous if they come in contact with a pound or two of steel in the shape of a gun, or a knife (kitchens must terrify some folks), or a club, etc.

    It is not the governments job to limit the options of free people unless those people are proven guilty of a crime.

    Carrying a handgun for self-defense is a major responsibility that I would not demand of anyone. However, for those of you who have accepted that responsibility and cause even a little caution in the criminal population, thank you.

  • Decommissioning National Parks: Some History, And Some Ominous Clouds   6 years 33 weeks ago

    I have been on a hiatus from commenting on this website due to a request that I got from the webmaster of said website that I let up on my view that the NPS is essentially a politically motivated, self-serving, self-perpetuating myopic bureaucracy. For good or for ill I still hold steadfast to that view.

    Having now gotten that off my chest at the outset I am again posting a comment because a good friend forwarded me a link to Kurt's recent articles about decommissioning parks. This person thought that it harked back to one of my main ideas for reforming the national park system about which I posted many comments on this site in the past.

    All I can say is that it is high time such a movement be promoted and that the whole way national parks are created should be throughly questioned and analyzed. Way too often in the past few decades the Congress has used its authority to create parks as a means to promote economic development in depressed areas, politically pay back key constituent groups or saddle the agency with inappropriate recreation sites better suited to other land management agencies.

    Within the NPS I find most employees are very reluctant to say that specific units are inappropriate for agency protection due to the perceived backlash it might deliver to their careers, the job security more park sites provide (regardless of their worthiness) and a resignation to the political reality that what they think matters very little to the mandarins on Capitol Hill dispensing the pork.

    It would be a better tack for Congress to limit the scope and range of future NPS units and also to set up its own commission to reevaluate existing parks with a tangible set of criteria that would test the true depth of their supposed "national" significance.

    I ain't holding my breath.

  • Appellate Court Rules Against Yosemite National Park   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Raise the fees, that will keep the numbers down, and the rif-raf out.

  • Electric Map Going Away at Gettysburg National Military Park   6 years 33 weeks ago

    I saw the electric map on yesterday. I was sad to see on the internet that it would be going away. Having the map puts things into perspective and it gives some a view of what actually took place in Gettysburg.

  • Valley Forge: Once Again A Battleground, This Time Pitting History Against Development   6 years 33 weeks ago

    The development plans horrify me--what can an average citizen like me do to stop this?

  • Decommissioning National Parks: Some History, And Some Ominous Clouds   6 years 34 weeks ago

    This has been an interesting discussion. I have followed it here and on our “retirees” group site. I would not be surprised if some movement is made in this area; the public certainly needs to know.

    As we head down the broadening road of even greater national debt, driven, in part, by our out of control, seldom monitored, military spending, and the continued grazing of the halls of congress by big buck lobbyists on behalf of the big cats getting who want more, the NPS and other small discretionary budgets are going to get wacked.

    Our government is first corporate based with a bit of attention given to the remaining constituents. With the Bush Administration in the wheelhouse of our damaged ship, who knows what they may want to do next -more military action or further empire building.

    With that said I would like to say that the NPS has dropped the ball, historically at least, in doing the work required to protect resources it was charged with. Case in Point: Fossil Cycad National Monument, South Dakota.

    This is what happened:

    “In 1922, Fossil Cycad National Monument was established as a unit of the National Park Service through the authority provided in the Antiquities Act. Hence, the monument and its resources were entitled to the same levels of protection and management provided through the National Park Service Organic Act.
    By the 1930s, most of the fossilized plants called cycads were depleted from the surface at Fossil Cycad National Monument. Years of neglect, unauthorized fossil collecting, unchallenged research collecting and a general misunderstanding of paleontological resources, lead to the near complete loss of the resource in which the monument was named and designated. In the early 1950s, it had become apparent that the National Park Service failed to uphold the mission addressed in the Organic Act at Fossil Cycad National Monument. Therefore, in 1957, under the request of the National Park Service, one of America's important paleontological localities lost its status as a unit of the National Park System.”

    Source: http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/paleontology/pub/grd3_3/focy1.htm

  • Decommissioning National Parks: Some History, And Some Ominous Clouds   6 years 34 weeks ago

    We wouldn't need this discussion if we weren't spending $12,000,000,000 (thats 12 billion!) a month on our Iraq occupation not to mention the half trillion dollar defense budget. When will we realize that the military industrial complex is the 800 lb gorilla of our federal budget?

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 34 weeks ago

    That's funny that you think that folks who carry have any intention of harming another human or wildlife in a national park. Will you be thinking that when when of those "fools" is saving your life when you're being attacked by a bear? You are more likely to be attacked by wildlife because you're wearing perfume than you are being attacked by a citizen acting on his 2nd amendment right to bear arms and protect himself. Good luck to you, you're going to need it.

  • FY2008 Budget Provides Seasonal Increases At Glacier National Park, But Hamstrings Other Operations   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Excellent! I am glad to hear Glacier is going to be able to hire more people (even if they are seasonal) and will be able to keep moving forward. It is such a wonderful park!! It is too bad there are some short falls, but at least they are able to do more than some can.

    As far as Dinosaur National Monument goes, those jobs are being done away with. It is no longer a suggestion, but a reality!

  • Appellate Court Rules Against Yosemite National Park   6 years 34 weeks ago

    There's only one way to limit Yosemite visitors: reserved tickets for entry. A limited number per day. No big block reservations.

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Eric, we owe you a vote of thanks for drawing attention to Alan Hogenauer’s article “Gone but Not Forgotten: The Delisted Units of the U.S. National Park System.” It provides an excellent history of sites that have been entirely removed from the national park inventory after having been established. A surprisingly large number of parks have been erased from the inventory for various reasons. There were 34 such delisted (“decommissioned”) park units in 1983 when Hogenauer wrote this article and some others have been delisted in the last 25 years. The concluding section of Hogenauer’s article emphasizes four main points: First, delistings are highly selective; there has been no wholesale pruning of manifestly worthy national parks. Second, there has been no geographic bias to the delistings. Third, delisted units almost never become inaccessible to the public; indeed, there has been only one such occurrence (Shoshone Caverns). Finally, and very importantly, no delisted unit that Hogenauer identified lost its integrity as a historic, natural, or recreational resource after being removed from National Park Service administration. Does this mean that national park delisting is such a great idea that we should have lots more of it going on? Certainly not! But Hogenauer’s findings do show that the occasional pruning of units is a normal, not necessarily harmful process in the National Park System. Additional delisting is surely going to occur. Instead of condemning delisting out of hand, perhaps we should be fine tuning the process. It’s especially important that we know which criteria are best suited to the task of identifying units whose continued existence as National Park System components least serves the national interest.

  • Appellate Court Rules Against Yosemite National Park   6 years 34 weeks ago

    If you have ever traveled to Yosemite National Park, then you know that something has to be done in that valley. Out of all of the national parks, Yosemite is my least favorite because of the crowds. You simply can't escape the crowds, it is as simple as that. All of the other big parks that have too many visitors, such as Acadia and Smokey Mountains and Zion, have set themselves up so that, although there is congestion, it is relatively easy to escape the crowds and enjoy your experience. The only time I can reach Yosemite is in the dead of summer, height of tourist season, and it is DREADFUL. (And I am used to crowds, I live in on of the most crowded areas of the country!) The very lay out of of Yosemite, by design, crams everyone together and although the scenery is awesome... I can say without hesitation and without doubt that it is my LEAST favorite. If this particular plan has been shot down, which it obviously has been, I hope they keep trying to change the layout of the park. Something needs to be done, and if it isn't this plan, then choose something else and go back to court to fight for it. Until there is a change, I'm personally not going back.

  • Appellate Court Rules Against Yosemite National Park   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Why would anyone expect a sensible ruling from the 9th?

  • Encyclopedia of Life Debuts   6 years 34 weeks ago

    I consider this new website another important tool in the endless struggle to conserve and protect our slowly dwindling natural heritage. A definite must for all college resource majors, professionals in the field of wildlife sciences and those who cherish our natural history.

  • Group's Lawsuit Says Wolves, Not Bullets, Should Control Elk at Rocky Mountain National Park   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Well, wolves have been roaming the greater Yellowstone ecosystem and central Idaho since the mid-1990s, and the Glacier NP region as well as Isle Royale NP for much longer, and I think you'll be hard-pressed to find a single incident of a wolf attacking a hiker -- or any human, for that matter -- in those areas.

  • Group's Lawsuit Says Wolves, Not Bullets, Should Control Elk at Rocky Mountain National Park   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Before restoring wolves to the American west I would recommend allowing us "Westerners" to carry a loaded fire-arm for protection. Wolves are very efficient predators and will naturally attack the easiest of prey, hikers.

  • Group's Lawsuit Says Wolves, Not Bullets, Should Control Elk at Rocky Mountain National Park   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Great comment and my favorit Blog. Thanks and Best Regards

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 34 weeks ago

    clearly NON of you treehugers have ever been to this beach or you would know that the people that cause the issues are the bird watchers, we fisherman stay on the surf area thats REGURALY underwater, thus any bird eggs in the driving area would be either destroyed by the currents or carried out to sea. Now the people I see walking in the "bird areas" are the people with 4 camras and 3 pairs of binoculars around there neck. In 19 years of going to the cape point I have never seen a person in a ORV intentional run over any type of wildlife.

  • Virgin Islands National Park: Another Park Threatened By Inbounds Development   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Either the government or private conservation groups should buy the private land and donate it to the park. But if the landowners bought the land before the national park was created with zoning that permitted building homes, they have to be compensated or be permitted to build.

  • National Parks Conservation Association: Interior Buckled to NRA Over Park Gun Laws   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Fred, feel free to use any of my comments.

    I'm afraid ignorance of our Constitutional rights and their continued erosion by both liberals and conservatives because of personal prejudices are a ticking time bomb. Each has foisted constitutional abuses on the American people. Conservatives are guilty of abusing the Commerce Clause to support the war on drugs and liberals have introduced various gun bans that are clearly un-Constitutional. These represent the slowly warming water that will ultimately boil us to death.

    I think it was said best by one of our brightest founding fathers.

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

    American's need to grow a thicker hide and stop looking to government to solve our problems, because we all know they create more problems than they solve.

  • Studies Show Bear Spray More Effective Than Guns Against Grizzlies   6 years 34 weeks ago

    So here's a few questions to throw out for everyone to chew on...if this proposal passes should something be done to change current laws to deter careless citizens from discharging their firearms whenever they feel threatend by wildlife within the park? Or are current laws that deal with poaching etc, enough to punish those idiots who take it upon themselves to fire first and then look around to see what they could have done differently to aviod the situation. OR do you think citizens will be able to handle the extra responsibility a loaded gun now puts on them? OR will citizens even BE punished if they shoot wildlife claiming "self defense"? Sorry Mr Repansheck, I know this forum is about bear spray but I figured some of these questions are related to this topic.