Recent comments

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 46 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 46 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 46 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 46 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 46 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 46 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.

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Just to clear up a couple inaccuracies in your post:
    - The Coalition of NPS Retirees supported the proposal for the Museum by sending a letter to Director Bomar several months ago.
    - Art Allen does not "head up" CNPSR, although he is a member and has been a major force in trying to get the Museum on the radar screens of those who need to move it forward.
    - 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. Your statements about pillaging and pocketing are inappropriate unless you have facts to back them up.

    Bill Wade, Chair, Executive Council, Coalition of NPS Retirees.

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Superintendent Campbell told me he's equally curious about the proposal.

    "This is a proposal that's been made. But there have been no meetings held with the National Park Service on this proposal at this point," he said. "I'm sure those meetings will take place at some point. I don't think there have been any meetings with the conservation community, to my knowledge."

    Now if the PEER article is correct that the "plan was presented to Director Bomar . . . and it has subsequently been presented in 4 different official meetings . . .", isn't it strange that the superintendent of the park in which the museum has been proposed is completely in the dark about the aforementioned proposal ("there have been no meetings held with the National Park Service on this proposal at this point")? He's completely unaware that there have been four meetings (according to PEER and CNPSR) held with the NPS. How can this be? What is going on? Who is teling the truth? Is the NPS bureaucrasy so big that all communication has broken down? Does its left hand really NOT know what its right hand is doing? (Or am I just confusing my facts and getting proposals mixed up?)

    And finally, is this any way to manage our national parks?

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    According to PEER (I know, not a reliable source), the plan for the Museum of the National Park Service was put together by a "fairly large group of current NPS employees and retirees". The plan has the Arrowhead right on it, too. You can download the plan at the above link.

    The site also reports that

    "The Plan was presented to Director Bomar this spring, and it has subsequently been presented in 4 different official meetings as a potential Centennial Signature project. The group [former and current NPS employees] did not go for widespread or public distribution at that time because they wanted the NPS and the Interior officials to have ample time to consider it. The timing is now critical for support, because a list of specific Centennial projects is being formulated by the Administration."

    Now, there seems to be a huge discrepancy between how NPT is reporting the story and how PEER and the Coalition of NPS Retirees (which Art Allen heads) approach the story.

    Whose plan is this? Is it a developer's plan or current/retired NPS employees' plan? Based on my limited reading, it's the latter, and that's why I've directed my ire at the NPS. Please set me straight if I've got my facts turned around.

    I also direct criticism toward insiders like Art Allen who complain about lack of funding while advocating a quarter of a billion dollar pork proposal.

    A plan to do away with the Park Service . . . will result in more of the park system being used to leverage for-profit gains.

    Given the pillaging done by concession companies (paying only a 2% franchise fee and pocketing the rest), I don't see how much more "for-profit gains" could be had.

    The organizing charter of a public trust could mandate that 100% of revenue earned in a park could be directed toward maintaining, perpetuating, and preserving that park, thereby deflating schemers' hopes.

  • Grand Canyon National Park: Open To Some Faiths   6 years 46 weeks ago

    I, like Merryland, was under the impression that the structure was intended as a non-denominational gathering place, as was open to more than just the affiliations listed in Kurt's original text. That it should serve as a place for the local inhabitants should be viewed as a bonus. At least SOMEBODY is making use of the building, which should in and of itself raise the ire of nobody except the local atheists. Can't please all the people all the time, can we?

    Susan, the theory of radioisotopic decay is not without its detractors and the Christian Science movement has a world of excuses as to why heavy metal and carbonic methods of dating are flawed. Radio-carbon based methods are typically reasonably accurate, within a window of 1000-5000 years, and only to organic materials less than about 50,000 years ancient. This eliminates rocks fromt the discussion, which is why and how geochemists derived the heavy metals decomposition protocol. While exponentially more reliable than carbon isotope analysis, the religious zealots argue that this method is nothing other than another attempt by flawed theorists to denounce their beliefs in the Young Earth hypothesis, and, they claim. based in the same unreliable dating decay methods as the carbon protocol. They are dead wrong in this assertion, but the followers of this sect have only to view the inconsistencies in carbon dating to be lead down the wrong path by their leaders on this method as well. So much for objectivity on their behalf. Like I said, anyone can gather evidence to lend credence to any viewpoint if that is what you set out to achieve in designing your experimental methods.

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Petroglyph NM contains three small volcanoes too, right at the western park border.

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 46 weeks ago

    You forgot a couple in New Mexico: both Capulin Volcano National Monument and El Malpais National Monument feature volcanic landscapes.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Hi wolfmom,

    Yes, it's against the law to interfere with hunters on a legal hunt. Not only that, getting in the way could be lethal. One must be careful when trying to chase animals as this may result in an animal harassment issue and we don't want to harass the bears. The best thing to do is contact your local Congressmen and protest the hunting of brown bears in GMU 9C 703 Katmai National Preserve. Ask as many people as you can to do the same.

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Given the involvement of Senator Byrd and a group of savvy developers dangling the carrot of a self-aggrandizing ranger museum in the face of WASO bureaucrats, it looks to me like the beginning of yet another NPS debacle in the making. The opinions of a lone superintendent will matter very little in the long run when these much more powerful forces become fully engaged in the arm twisting and money laundering.

    I've been going to Harpers Ferry since I was a wee lad and to tell you the truth I don't care one iota if private or non-profit developers build whatever they want to on Bolivar Heights. It is not the business of a taxpayer funded federal agency to butt into the legitimately local affairs of Jefferson County, West Virginia!

    The NPS has been charged with administering the old historic district and nearby sites associated with the Civil War. THAT IS IT! The privately owned and legally zoned land nearby is NONE of their business. If they want to micromanage it then they should BUY IT! Otherwise they should stick to what Congress intended as their legitimate concern.

    The current situation is the result of a Soviet-style mentality of command & control and a "we know best because you're backwoods hillbillies" arrogance. I know this sentiment first hand from NPS employees who have worked at Harpers Ferry. I also know this superior-than-thou attitude emanating from rangers at Zion, Capitol Reef, Shenandoah, the Blue Ridge Parkway and a myriad of other NPS administered areas.

    I say get your own house in order before you start trying to re-make the rest of the world in your faulty green & gray image!

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Ken,

    Can't locate a "Lava Cave National Monument." Could you be referring to Lava Beds National Monument?

    MRC, good catch. I thought I had seen Devils Postpile in the list, but my eyes deceived me.

    Kurt

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 46 weeks ago

    The Grand Canyon has Lava Falls, which resulted from a huge cascade of molten rock that flowed from a volcano located on the northern rim of the canyon along the trace of the still active Hurricane Fault.

    The western portion of Zion National Park contains three volcanic cones (Spendlove Knoll, Firepit Knoll and Crater Hill) and a considerable amount of basaltic flow material that is readily visible along the Kolob Terrace Road.

  • Grand Canyon National Park: Open To Some Faiths   6 years 46 weeks ago

    THE THUNDERBIRD LODGE WAS NEVER TORN DOWN....SITS RIGHT WHERE IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN AND IS NOW A HISTORICAL BUILDING AND CANNOT BE TORN DOWN.
    THE NEW VISITOR CENTER IS A JOKE WITH NO PARKING AND MOST PEOPLE CANNOT EVEN FIND IT. IT WAS BUILT FOR A TRAIN THAT HAS NEVER PUT INTO SERVICE AND PROBABLY NEVER WILL BE AND IS A BIG RAMBLING SKELETON.
    THE SHRINE GETS USED QUITE A BIT. I WAS AT A FUNERAL THERE RECENTLY.
    I GUESS PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN NATIONAL PARKS DON'T DESERVE A BUILDING TO HOLD WEDDINGS, FUNERALS, CONCERTS. WE ARE AFTER ALL IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE AND THE LOCALS HAVE NO OTHER VENUE?

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Frank and Beamis,

    Is it not a little ironic, in light of your past positions that the park system should be given over to NGOs and the like, that you're both directing your ire at the Park Service, when in fact this proposal is being carried by a private business aligned with a supposed non-profit? And that Harpers Ferry Superintendent Campbell has not taken a position on it and in fact has said he would not approve of the proposed tramway?

    A plan to do away with the Park Service will not do away with schemers looking to have the federal government pay for their projects and, in my opinion, will result in more of the park system being used to leverage for-profit gains.

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Beamis, keep at it! I recently thought the NPS the best agency to run the national parks even though I KNEW first hand about the waste, politics, careerism, fraud, etc. You questioned my stance and made me question my stance and I looked at all the evidence I'd gathered and it hit me. It will hit others, too.

    "Turn where we may, within, around, the voice of great events is proclaiming to us, Reform, that you may preserve!" Thomas Macaulay

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 46 weeks ago

    How about Devils Postpile National Monument? The basalt columns are the result of a lava flow.

    The US Forest Service has two more National Monuments worth mentioning in this context: Newberry National Volcanic Monument and of course Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

    The BLM has Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument with Pilot Rock, a basalt rock like Devil's Tower, and there are several basalt rocks like that in Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. And I probably missed a few ...

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 46 weeks ago

    You forgot to list the Lava Cave Monument in NE California just south of the Oregon border.

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    It's $250 million today, but what about the actual figure for the finished project? We all know it will be much higher. Now that Senator Pork is involved who knows what heights the final figure will soar to. A boondoggle is not hard to spot.

    Are there still a whole lot of you out there that remain convinced that this agency is the BEST one to run the national parks? I don't know how many more obvious instances of waste and mismanagement you'll need to be exposed to before it finally sinks in that the NPS is NOT salvageable the way it is currently structured. There's way too much politics, pork, careerism, fraud and the endlessly phony cacophony of sentimental nonsense about being stewards for "the enduring relationship between citizens and their national parks" or some such gut turning gobble-de-gook. It is time for a new page to be turned in the administration of the national parks.

    The sooner the better!

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    By the way Kurt, nice pig...

  • Grand Canyon National Park: Open To Some Faiths   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Now looking at both sides of the issue, there are a fair number of permanent residents there and they should be entitled to some sort of worship service without having to leave the park. Grand Canyon School (a public school) is within the park boundary and had about 25 kids per grade when I was there, so that's a lot of families who should be able to congregate somewhere within the park on a weekly basis. Let's face it, some parks are so popular that they need to have things like a bank, grocery shopping, auto repair shops and gas stations, a school, and yes someplace to worship as well. A single non-denominational place to do that seems to be the path of least resistance to make that happen. The building doesn't have a steeple, stained glass, a giant cross, or much of anything else that would tell you it had any religious affiliation whatsoever. I just think it's an ugly building with few if any redeeming qualities. I'd rather see some sort of non-denominational community center closer to the residents' homes where they can walk to it no matter the weather, hold weddings, parties, and barbecues there, whatever...
    -- Jon

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    But is this a win-win solution?

    No. But is this a win-win-WIN solution?