Recent comments

  • Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Removal of historical crosses on federal land sets a dangerous precedent, in my opinion. Yes, the cross is associated with Christianity, but it has come to mean much more than that. How about all the crosses federal cemeteries? Shall we remove them, too?

    I grew up in the remnants of Camp Tulelake, a Japanese "relocation center" in northern California. Countless times, I crossed Highway 139 to climb The Peninsula, a 700-foot high mountain that towered over the basin. At the summit is a cross erected in memory of those forced to live in prison camps. When I see that cross, I don't think of Jesus or Christianity at all. That cross is on Fish and Wildlife land, so I guess it will have to go, too. If I go home and don't see the cross from Newell (as the internment camp is now known) it will be a huge disappointment. More than that, it will mark the tipping point toward fanatical politically correctness in our country. It will be a slap in the face to people of all religions and cultures.

    ----------------------------------------
    Reform the National Park Service!
    http://NPS-reform.blogspot.com

  • Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve   6 years 45 weeks ago

    What if the erection on this hilltop were a Swastika, put there in 1939, well before the NPS was on the scene.

    What if some person in the dark of night decided that the Al Queda symbol should dominate the hilltop.

    What would the reaction be?

    The cross was not the result of any official memorialization, it received no permission at the time. Was allowed to stand only because of neglect. It has no place on public lands. It should go. At least that's how I see it.

    Art Allen

  • Mt St Helens as National Park?   6 years 45 weeks ago

    As a former Forest Service, Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument employee, and a resident of Toutle who lived the eruption, I must first correct some inaccuracies in the article. #1 No land in the Monument will ever be logged. Monument designation permanently removes 110,000 acre-Monument from resource extraction, period. This is a non-issue. #2 The land is permanently preserved for scientific research, which has the highest priority, even over recreation. #3 Currently, all ATV, except snowmobiles serviced by snowparks and snowtrails, are banned.

    Funding at the Forest Service is a problem, but the area was overbuilt to start with. Coldwater should be used for something else, such as a overnight facility for education/research/ or seminars. The Monument plan is outdated by 12 years, and needs reviewed. Basic legal public access through private timberland to official trailheads needs to be a priority.

    We must fund the Monument in the same direct appropriation as a park, while keeping Forest Service management. Bringing in the National Park service will create immediate problems. ( I've also worked in the backcountry for N. Cascades Nat. Park) Many popular area trails would wind between the park and forest service. These are areas where hunting and horseback riding are very popular, but the park service usually bans both, and the transport of firearms. There is a current elk overpopulation which the state is managing with the cooperation of the USFS, and more regulated hunting is planned to address overbrowsing in the monument. The park service would take years, and have to hire sharpshooters at millions to address this problem. Community distrust will increase with park service management, while the Forest Service has been here for over 100 years.

    This area must stay under Forest Service management, and folks who love the mountain should be rallying to fund the forest service instead of pushing for a park.

  • Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve   6 years 45 weeks ago

    I neglected to mention in my initial post that the cross long pre-dates arrival of the Park Service, as the preserve wasn't created until 1994. Of course, prior to that year the land was managed by the BLM.

  • Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve   6 years 45 weeks ago

    I know that old tin cans and tobacco tins from the 1920's & 30's in Joshua Tree N.P. are considered historical objects and now warrant protection under federal law as "artifacts" (I used to collect this stuff in the early 1980's legally, because the NPS considered it trash). Isn't there precedence to grandfather this cross in as an equally "historic" structure? It has been there for nearly a century (older that the formerly worthless trash turned "artifacts").

  • GAO: Interior Failed to Provide Park Service With Tools To Cope With Climate Change   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Lone Hiker, I assume you have not read any of Dr. Hanson's research work at NASA on global warming. If you did, perhaps you might think twice before blogging your complete distortion of the facts what causes global warming. Corporate America could use you as there poster child to enhace their agenda that rape and pillage is good for the atmosphere. I guess the religious right wing shake there booties every time Al Gore speaks the truth for a cleaner world. Remembering the tobacco industry and there pack of lies that cigarette's are not harmful to your health, it's the same line that corporate America sheds: disinformation, misinformation, bad information and no information on accurate research on global warming...and you Lone Hiker help to follow such distorted route...to most Americans that doesn't fly!

  • Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve   6 years 45 weeks ago

    The cross was put up as a war memorial to the fallen of WWI. It's a war memorial, not a call to Christian religious services. The cross is frequently used as a memorial to the fallen whether they were Christian or not. There is no question that if it were over 100 years old, the National Park Service would keep it as a historical monument.

  • Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve   6 years 45 weeks ago

    It's appropriate if the reaction is different (for the totem pole than for the cross) for many of the same reasons I give above. And, not just those, but more besides ... though all of them related.

    As it stands, in the parks I know something about (Yellowstone and Grand Teton), tribes have not been able to pursue activities related to their faith historically because the National Park Service has so often denied their connection to the history of the park. Even today, there's a scholar trying to claim that Sheepeaters didn't even really exist. I think the issue with religion as it relates to the tribes isn't always so "protect 'the minority'" as it is caricaturized. And, actually, from my point of view, as someone who calls himself a Christian, I think that's too bad! I'd sooner part with a cross than with a totem pole given the historical and social context of how those symbols have ended up in and are used across this country and in the parks.

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

  • Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve   6 years 45 weeks ago

    I wonder what the reaction would be if the religious symbol being removed was a "Native American" totem of some sort?

  • Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve   6 years 45 weeks ago

    how long does something need to stand in a national park before it becomes part of the tapestry of the story of a park itself and protected by law? i seem to remember something about trash (not referring to the cross, have no interest in the can of worms here) becoming historical after a certain period of time.

  • Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve   6 years 45 weeks ago

    THAT CROSS ISNT HURTING ANYONE, THE PERSON WHO SAID IT WAS OFFENSIVE ONLY WANTS TO BE A BIGSHOT SO HE CAN SAY SEE WHAT I DONE. HE PROBABLY LIKES PULLING THE WINGS OFF OF FLYS ALSO.

  • GAO: Interior Failed to Provide Park Service With Tools To Cope With Climate Change   6 years 45 weeks ago

    The aren't any scientists at ANY level, academic or governmental, who have a solid enough foundation regarding this topic that qualifies them to redirect environmental issues, that if incorrectly altered, could have the same effect on our species as the misguided mountain lion hunts of the early 20th C did on the mule deer population on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I guess only the Rev. Al Gore is all-knowing enough to tell us how to effectively respond to the changes in world environment without causing any additional damage......he and his team of celebrity energy wasters telling me, a degreed molecular biochemist how to fix the world! There are only a few known pieces of evidence pertinent to this issue. Most importantly, we have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA, given the lack of historical data that are available for collection and proper dissemination, if this change is truly representative of a cycle, a unique event, or a true shift / change in the OVERALL conditions that have existed for THOUSANDS of generations. It should be common knowledge that the earth's environmental conditions have followed this "wave" pattern, not a flat-line, for the span of it's existence. The events that relate directly to the shifts in these cycles are simply NOT understood, only unsubstantiated and under-studied hypothesis are known, and none of them have garnered enough solid data that would lend credence to support any particular theory as to the overall direction in which we are currently headed. In it's infancy, when anaerobic atmospheric conditions ceased and when the planet was indeed MUCH warmer than it presently stands, and the land mass was whole, world-wide (as it were for the period) tropical conditions existed on most every inch of land. Carbon dioxide (and methane, the real culprit in the warming process) emissions were at levels estimated to be relative, although obviously not equivilent to where they currently stand. Yet, the planet gradually cooled, mammals evolved, and we progressed(?) to the mess in which we currently reside. Hypothetically, the planet should have overheated millions of years ago under just such conditions as outlined, albeit very superficially, above would indicate. But here we stand debating what to do that will correct the current allegedly man-made situation.

    Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are NOT the major issue that needs to be addressed, in terms of the oxidation / reduction theory specific to the ozone molecule. And for the sake of our environment, PLEASE stop attending the First United Church of Gore and do a bit of independent investigative research on your own, or better yet, with some guidance from a credible chemist (any junior college or higher level instructor would suffice) in order to have as solid a foundation for grasping the true nature of the issues in these changing times. Bad sources of information lead to bad choices; don't let yours be among them.

  • Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Don't you - Anonymous - answer your first question with your second question? It seems common sense that you don't have freedom of religion if you don't protect minority practice of religion. Whether this cross is or isn't, I have no idea.

    Back at the beginning of my time in Yellowstone, I went there with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks; I have very mixed up feelings about the experience. On the one hand, I felt it was a wonderful way to express religious faith; there was no better and thought-provoking setting. On the other hand, the uneasy way that the parks worked with and didn't work with religious groups was a constant reminder of just how many faiths (as well as atheists) have an interest in Yellowstone. It could feel stifling at times. Ultimately, I think people are better off not applying for government permits, not trying to get government sanction for religious expression, and simply doing it, and as part of that religious expression, facilitating that for the use of others. As it stands now, it's like a competition, and the government stands as arbiter in protecting the ability for under-represented groups to worship freely.

    As usual, the government is arbitrating over forces and issues much bigger than itself. As the arrangement currently stands, I think they have no choice but to take the sort of approach they do -- issuing permits, trying not to endorse a particular religion. But, as people with beliefs, whatever one's beliefs happen to be, it's up to us to facilitate the expression of people of different faiths. Instead of trying to protect and enlarge our piece of the pie, one would hope that people are secure enough in their religious faith that they will show the love and sacrifice required so that those voices can have expression. If it means removing the symbols of faith to do so, we should do so merrily. That seems to me to be the mission of love upon which faith is generally centered.

    I don't know if that's educated or common sense; whether the call to turn the other cheek is educated or common sense. I do think that religious belief is merely the outward expression of one's philosophical ideology, and of course, ideologies conflict. In my case, I believe in standing up for those most victimized by our actions. That happens, in our society, to be those who don't happen to be Christians; it seems the Christian thing to do (at least the right thing to do) is to do what we can to make the space in parks as comfortable as possible for them to express their faith. If they in turn become the oppressor, we can cross that bridge when we get there. At present, it's not the current reality, which is exactly why freedom of religion and protection of minority points of view belong together - and that's common sense.

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

  • Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve   6 years 45 weeks ago

    You're right Kurt, you've definiately stepped in a pile with this article. First someone demands that the pledge of allegiance be removed from public schools. On the other hand, public school facilities and other public buildings are still allowed to be utilized for denominational religious services. Both positions are vehemently supported by the ACLU. Am I the only one to oppose the hypocritical nature of this whole mess? I was under the impression that we functioned as a democracy......one person, one vote, majority rule. Not that I actually am naive enough to by into this concept. As I've pointed out on prior occasions, we're a capitalistic republic in reality. But as long as we continue to misrepresent ourselves to the world as the foremost democratic society in the world, how to we manage to allow for the thin-skinned minority to subjugate the wishes of those who are theoretically empowered within the framework of constitutional law? How do we allow for the rights of one self-serving group of nitwits whose only agenda is based solely around total removal of diety from our public consciousness? By all rights, shouldn't our currency also be modified to eliminate a certain phrase involving the Almighty? Oops, sorry, I guess I shouldn't have capitalized there, I'll probably be getting contacted by those ACLU morons next, since this is afterall, a PUBLIC forum.......

    As you are all aware, the majority of our public lands contain ceratin sites of religious significance to native peoples in this land, yet their's are a minority voice that is conveniently and regularly overlooked. What makes the concerns of godless invaders more politically concerning than the ancient stores of artifacts, sites of centuries old tribal customs and ceremonial import of those who actually know these lands far more intimately than do we? As you mention, this one miserable legal group cries and a symbol is removed, probably with an apology that is was allowed to be erected in the first place. The REAL natives try to reclaim ancestral holy places, or in other cases reclaim their RIGHTS to at the very least utilized these places for their periodic ceremonial purposes, and in the legal forum they are brushed aside like a gnat, without apology or fanfare. How convenient to ignore those with a true legal basis to justify their claims, and bend to the breaking point for a group with MONEY to contribute (or withhold) during election campaigns. I'm of the opinion that the hypocracy that is the American Civil Liberties Union, who will also defend non-citizens of this country as if they were naturalized, tax-paying, contributing and productive members of our society, feels that true natives are neither American, Civil, or entitled to the same Liberty (and justice for ALL!!) that is accorded to illegal members of this community. Or am I missing something, again?

  • GAO: Interior Failed to Provide Park Service With Tools To Cope With Climate Change   6 years 45 weeks ago

    This article is almost insane. The total amount of "could's", "might's" and "may's" in each paragraph tells me that conditions could or might not get serious. But the one thing I do know...almost every time humans try to control a natural environment, the effects are usually worse than if the condition was left alone. I'm not saying we shouldn't plan for adverse effects of global warming but we have to also look at this in a different light. Nature is a hugely powerful thing and we don't really don't understand how it is connected and interacts with changes.

    I'm sure there will be plenty of folks that will say we have a great understanding of how nature reacts to change. The only thing I will say is take a long look at history and you'll understand that the science of natural order will always find a way to surprise us.

  • Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve   6 years 45 weeks ago

    THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE EDUCATED IN SPITTING OUT WORDS AND NOT EDUCATED IN COMMON SENSE . WHERE HAS THE FREEDOM OF RELIGON GONE ?? WHY ARE WE BOWING TO MINORITY RULE ????? THIS ALL APPLIES TO MANY MANY EVENTS IN OUR COUNTRY.

  • Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve   6 years 45 weeks ago

    You raise some very good questions. The answers are neither simple nor easy. At the risk of sounding too self-promotional, I will direct you to my book “Blessed with Tourists: The Borderlands of Religion and Tourism in San Antonio,” which addresses the conundrum of religion in national parks at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. There the main attraction of the park are Spanish colonial mission churches that continue to serve as active places of worship for the Roman Catholic Church. Another site you could have mentioned is Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site where King’s home church, the Ebenezer Baptist Church, is a main attraction.

    Certainly, religion has had a long and conflicted role in the nation’s history. Sorting out when the government’s involvement crosses from merely interpretation of that history to devotional participation in it is not easy. But the distinction is very important to many citizens across the religious and political spectrum for all sorts of reasons, far too many to go into now. This has been one of the courts’ most serious issues in the last century, and likely will not go away soon. But much of the public debate has been poorly informed and relies more on opinion than historical fact (for instance, the notion that the “Founding Fathers were pious men” is simply not true, at least not in the way that many people who make that claim think of piety).

    I continue to be intrigued by the whole debate, especially as it pertains to the National Park Service. My current project is a book on the history of religion in Yellowstone National Park, which hopefully will shed more light on the issues and how American attitudes have changed over the last century-and-a-half.

  • Pot Farmers Tilling Ground in Yosemite   6 years 45 weeks ago

    I wonder how many users/contributors of this site have used cannabis in national parks? I bet the answer would surprise many. The secret life of drugs in park, indeed.

  • Pot Farmers Tilling Ground in Yosemite   6 years 45 weeks ago

    It is not the government's business what I choose to voluntarily ingest into my own body. As long as I am not harming other people it remains a victimless act, no worse or better than sitting down this afternoon and belching my way through six cans of beer while watching the Georgia-South Carolina game.

    Let's start to save the wild places from illegal cultivators by allowing everyone the right to grow the stuff in their own yard or apartment window box. As long as it remains illegal it will always attract criminals, because the artificially high market price created by its illegality is too much of lure for those wishing to cash in (just like the prohibition of alcohol created the greatest crime wave in U.S. history).

    Let's go after real criminals and leave the personal decisions of adults about what they choose to ingest up to their own discretion. By the way, hemp is a wonderfully renewable and adaptable resource that is being unfairly restricted just because some finger wagging nanny-state power mongers are afraid someone might grow a little smokable bud out in the green fastness of their hemp field. God forbid! It would be just like restricting the cultivation of corn because some folks make some moonshine from it. Oh the HORRORS!

    Is it too much to ask to be left alone and not have the government trying to regulate every aspect of people's personal behavior. Unfortunately I think most of you out there support Big Brother and his crusade to save us from ourselves.

  • Pot Farmers Tilling Ground in Yosemite   6 years 45 weeks ago

    There are ONLY 20 million daily pot smokers???? I have a feeling that is a count of the people who ADMIT to a daily habit and not a realistic number of all daily pot smokers. I am going to guess that the number is much higher, at least double that figure. The solution to the problem lies with us and we are the only ones who have any chance of coming up with a sloution. Past experience has proven that the issue is too volatile for any politician to want to get involved. A candidate who publically takes either side of the issue is committing political suicide. If we wish to be responsible citizens, we have only two choices: 1 - stop smoking pot unless we are growing it illegally for our own consumption (which is never going to happen...daily pot smokers tend to be lazy and not all that industrious) or 2 - legalize marijuana. The latter option seems more feasible. I am not here to promote the use of marijuana, simply to say that illegal usage of marijuana is here to stay unless we change the laws and remove its illegal status. To be honest, as intoxicants are concerned, I think marijuana is probably the least toxic and poses the least threat to the general public, unless of course, you find shelves stripped of Oreos and milk and the general apathetic attitude of the user to be of major concern or threat to our society.
    Sherry

  • Another Black Bear in Grand Teton Put Down   6 years 45 weeks ago

    kurt- maybe i missed something in the previous posts, but how is the overall population of black bears doing in the area, at least before the drought hit, good or bad?

    all those people should be fined. in drought years, educational enforcement just isn't enough.

  • The Secret Life of Drugs in Parks   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Steve,
    Me? Tired of you sharing your stories here? No way! I'm so glad you have added the link. You are correct, it is very on-topic, and it really helps tell the story here. I didn't discover your program until about episode 50, so I wasn't aware of that particular audio program.

  • Another Black Bear in Grand Teton Put Down   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Exactly correct about the citations. The reason these bears are being put down is directly related to the easy access of food due to carelessness of visitors, campers, and backpackers. The NPS needs to get serious with the fines. I'm talking $200 minimum for carelessness, $500 for outright feeding of bears. It's the only way people will learn that their are serious consequences to their seemingly innocuous actions.

  • Federal Real ID May (Not) Be Required For Park Visit   6 years 45 weeks ago

    I do find this upsetting. So, the assumption that those upset with the government aren't also upset with private industry is not much of an argument. Do you think I like getting tons of junk mail, like having my name and information sold so that others can try to sell me stuff? It's all ridiculous. How is it an argument in favor of federal ID requirements that private corporations do the same thing? It's unbelievable that the world divides so neatly for all of you. Also, that governments do this already ... so what? That we all in some way comply in order to survive, so what? Is it right? If not, is it worth resisting? And, to me, this is a no brainer. Anything that gives the government more of an excuse to force people to defend their identity is more onerous than not doing so. I think that's true everywhere, whether we are talking about anonymous postings on a private blog or proving your identity to make a purchase with your credit card at a store. And, yes, there are some drastically radical consequences of being so laissez-faire about identity that I doubt too many people have the guts to embrace. The world we live in now is worse.

    Where are people willing to draw the line on these sorts of intrusions? I think people would draw a line for instance if we thought of forcing all the Jews in the country to wear Stars of David. But, what principle guides this? If it's always going to be the case that we'll justify another intrusion because it exists in some form somewhere else, we are fast on that road. And, if you ask a lot of immigrants in this country, especially people of color, then we are already pretty far along that road. Already, there is a trend against racial diversity in the national parks; do you suppose this helps matters? Instead, it makes us all assumed enemies of the state until our ID proves otherwise. That's really very, very sad.

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

  • Federal Real ID May (Not) Be Required For Park Visit   6 years 45 weeks ago

    "private companies have been collecting more information about us than the government has for years, yet we keep signing the sheet or clicking the OK button that says we understand their privacy policy without reading it, we waive our rights on a regular basis just to get the goods or service we're standing in line for"

    Merryland you are so right on. I too have often wondered why people get so upset over showing their driver's license to a government official when they on a weekly basis allow a greedy corporation to know how many condoms, beers, and tamons they buy.

    Jeremy is right too. We can choose to get "off the grid" in many cases if we are willing to lie about our personal information and do without certain conveinences. Still, if you use a credit card to pay for purchases and give grocery stores your real name on their "savings" cards, then the government already has many ways to track where you are and what you are doing. The Real ID is superfluous. Another 14 billion down the drain.