Recent comments

  • Congress Authorized Expansion of Petrified Forest National Park, But Forgot to Fund It   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Sabattis, good to hear from you again. NPT has missed your voice.

    My point, and obviously it failed to clearly make it from my brain to the page, is that Congress loves to designate NPS units, but fails to follow through by adequately funding them. In the past I have questioned the propriety of some proposed park units (Paterson Falls comes to mind), but today's intent was to focus on the failure to properly fund NPS units.

  • Congress Authorized Expansion of Petrified Forest National Park, But Forgot to Fund It   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Kurt,
    I think that you fell one step short of making your point here. A priori, there is nothing wrong with Congress debating the creation of new National Parks will not fully-funding previous-authorized expansions of existing National Parks. After all, the resources in the proposed National Parks may be just-as or even-more threatened than the resources adjoining the existing National Parks. I think that your point, which you hint at, is that you consider this list of proposed National Parks (and to be fair, National Heritage Areas - which are much different animals) to represents resources that are in far less urgent need of protection that these resources adjoining Petrified Forest National Park.

    With that being said, it is a little unfair to take a dig at the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee in this context. The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee has the power to propose bills to *authorize* Parks, but does not have the power to propose bills to *appropriate funds* for Parks. That responsibility falls to the Senate Appropriations Committee...

    Sabattis

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

    From the Plaintiffs "Memorandum of Law in Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss filed by the Defendant-Intervenors (the “Motion”)."

    The following is provided to illustrate how DOW, AS, and SELC are misrepresenting certain stated facts in their injunction. It is similar to misquoting or taking verses in the bible out of context.

    This is how the present their introductory first fact:

    "Congress created Cape Hatteras National Seashore in 1937, declaring that it be “permanently preserved as a primitive wilderness” and that “no development of the project or plan for the convenience of visitors shall be undertaken which would be incompatible [] with the preservation of the unique flora and fauna of the physiographic conditions now prevailing in the area.” 16 U.S.C. § 459a-2.

    The above said fact was extracted in part and does not represent the true fact as written by Congress.

    Here is what Congress actually states in 459a-2, "Except for certain portions of the area, deemed to be especially adaptable for recreational uses, particularly swimming, boating, sailing, fishing, and other recreational activities of similar nature, which shall be developed for such uses as needed, the said area shall be permanently reserved as a primitive wilderness and no development of the project or plan for the convenience of visitors shall be undertaken which would be incompatible with the preservation of the unique flora and fauna or the physiographic conditions now prevailing in this area.

    The truth of the matter is that the areas DOW, AS, and SELC want to close are especially adaptable for recreational use, particularly to all the items listed by Congress and it is worth noting that ORV use is considered a recreational activity of similar nature.

    The point of the matter is that once you start looking at the real facts, it is clear that DOW, AS, and SELC are misleading.

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

    A long term solution would be to restore the Hetch Hetchy valley by removing the dam. This would probably take 50+ years to accomplish, but at least there'd be another valley to visit once it's complete.

  • Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Two words: Invasive Species.

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

    No fear, ReBecca, help is on the way in the form of the new superintendent, Chas Cartwright, former superintendent of Shenandoah, and prior to that Dinosaur National Monument's superintendent. And yes, it was Chas's brainchild in 2002 to eliminate the paleontology staff at DNM; I imagine he must be delighted that his efforts have finally come to fruition. I would also imagine that if he could save money at Glacier by getting rid of the glaciers, he would do so.

  • Our Endangered National Parks   6 years 34 weeks ago

    One can only hope that the "green" movement can be enlisted to protect the parks. Their voice and political clout is increasing, if saving the parks can be considered a green initiative, maybe that will turn the tide.

    ===========================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

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

    A reservations system works well for Denali National Park. The only entry into the park is by reserved seats on the bus, which must be made well in advance. And they aren't exactly cheap either. But it protects Denali from being overrun with vehicles and people.

    Reservations are required for spaces on the boats to to Channel Islands National Park.

    Boat tours are required to see Kenai Fjords National Park (and they are really expensive).

    So a reservations system isn't impossible. I don't see block reservations being sold on E-Bay anymore than they are for the buses in Denali or for hotel reservations in Yosemite. You put down a credit card and make a reservation. The NPS couldn't require a reservation to enter via the Tioga Pass road, that's a state route and one of the only passes over the Sierra Nevada. But reservations to enter Yosemite Valley would be a workable solution.

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

    Good! The less people the better I say!, It is less likely to interfere with Nature at it's best with Less People!

    Cee

  • Our Endangered National Parks   6 years 34 weeks ago

    Pardon me Kurt, I meant "conscience" not conscious. Sometimes anger gets in the way with words regarding the Bush & Cheney administration. Sorry!

  • Big Cypress National Preserve: Is More ORV Access In Bear Island Unit Wise?   6 years 35 weeks ago

    I have a few things to say one is that i know many OVRer and 98% of them care more about a trail then most vistor because that is there backyard i have seen it from south florida to the northwest. I have lived all over the US and they are in every state and are great people and most adhear to the treadlightly plan. I have seen so called vistor come to the everglade and dump more trash in two to four hours then most off-roader do in a weekend. The other is that in the above writting MR.Matthew Schwartz say " Superintendent Gustin is out of line and is violating a previous park service decision. She should fulfill her duties as steward of an irreplaceable piece of public land and change course immediately. But it was her decision to close said lands and isn't her job to work with all the poeple in the area and its her decision to reopen the the trails. This is something i don't get when the National Park Service shut down an area of land they are doing a great job and has your surrport but when they do something that you think is wrong like reopening land they are in "violation" but thats what my tax dollar are for to pay her to make that decision. He also says there are only 2000 permit holders but this is from lack of knowing the trails are there. I know many people in south florida that would get said permit and use land and its trails. Another thing is that alot of those 30 miles of "trails" are gravel or dirt road something else he leave out. I know because not only have i lived in south florida along time but it is also where i was born, i have been there many time my self riding a bike or walking and i belive that ORVer sould also be welcome.

    Thank you
    Erik

  • Appellate Court Rules Against Yosemite National Park   6 years 35 weeks ago

    This is an excellent ruling! We need to understand that "...in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations" means just what it says. The present NPS leadership seems to be placing visitors ahead of the resource. That's short sighted and damaging to the resource. Again, the courts got it right on this one!

  • World War II Sites in the National Park System   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Jeremy,
    There are a lot of war monuments and memorials that are not in the US Park system. I have been to the two Pacific arena national cemetaries that include memeorials. One is in Honolulu the other is in Manila. Both are very inspiring and a tremendous tribute to the men and women who are buried there.
    Here is the url to the American Battle Monument Commision; http://www.abmc.gov/home.php It includes information for other wars as well.
    Best regards

  • Our Endangered National Parks   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Yes we do need a commission to keep our National Parks a priority in the minds of any and all who hold the power to give or take away funding. However, have we seen anything in the current roll of potential leaders of our country who have any interest at all in changing anything within our park system??? Do you really believe anyone who says they will make changes? Didn't our current administration make hollow promises for change? How do we change the general attitude of all those who don't seem to care about what happens to our Parks? How do we refocus the NPS mission and get it back on track? How does the health of our parks compete with the likes of funding for war, funding for oil research, funding for a green movement, funding for education, funding for cancer research, etc., etc. How do we make our National Parks a priority, indeed how do we even get parks on the list of "things to do" in our country anymore? People have to start caring about the future, have to start paying attention to what's ahead for us, have to start rebuilding and erasing past mistakes that have been ignored and are accumulating and making our park system weak. Maybe this new green movement will help bring attention back to our park system through the lenses of our climate and air concerns. We need this commission to give us our voices back, yes?

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 35 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 35 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 35 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 35 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 35 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 35 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 35 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 35 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 35 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 35 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 35 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?