Recent comments

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 47 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 47 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 47 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 47 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 47 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 47 weeks ago

    By the way Kurt, nice pig...

  • Grand Canyon National Park: Open To Some Faiths   6 years 47 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 47 weeks ago

    But is this a win-win solution?

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

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 47 weeks ago

    Our friends, my family, and I watched, with great dismay, for years, as the National Park Service DROVE OUT many locally-owned and operated shops that were scattered throughout the streets running along and including High Street. It was a disgrace that the attitude of 'we can do as we wish' was openly and disgustingly displayed through comments made by park employess, when asked about the closing of so many small business. They did excellent business, throughout the years, and the excuse given, that 'many simply went out of business' never did make any sense. If someone wants to build a business, or conference center up in Bolivar Heights, as long as it leaves historic site alone, I'm of the opinion that they should be able to. It seems that what the NPS can't control in the Harper's Ferry area, they don't want there. Of course, that's pure arrogance, but that's to be expected by the NPS there.

  • Giving a Name to Yosemite Area Peak for Longtime Ranger Carl Sharsmith.   6 years 47 weeks ago

    To me, Dr. Carl W. Sharsmith was no mere mortal. He is an integral part of Yosemite's history. His Yosemite legacy stands with that of John Muir and Ansel Adams.

    However, unlike Muir and Adams, there is not a wide-spread collection of published works or photographs. Instead, there are an estimated 75,000 individuals whose lives he touched as a park ranger-naturalist, and thousands more as a professor and botanist, providing for memories and personal experiences that will last far beyond a human life-time.

    By honoring the man, we also honor the profession of outdoor education in our national parks. The process of naming a peak to commemorate the man and his accomplishments began well before this region was formally designated as Congressionally established wilderness. In 1984, when the Yosemite Wilderness was formally established, Carl had completed his 53rd season with the NPS and was in his 82nd year of life.

    After Congressional establishment of the Yosemite Wilderness, Carl continued serving the NPS and the park visitor for another ten years (including his final season of 1994 in Tuolumne Meadows at the age of 91)!.

    At present, Sharsmith Peak is the name for this feature used locally by hikers, skiers, and naturalists. It has been in local use for more than a decade, if not longer. Officially, the peak is unnamed. It is located on the eastern edge of the park in which Dr. Sharsmith spent 63 seasons introducing park visitors of all ages to the virtues of the Range of Light.

    If you would like to take a walk with Carl today, read his 1957 Yosemite Nature Note at

    or visit

    for additional information about the man, his legacy, and the effort to support the naming of Sharsmith Peak.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Grand Canyon National Park: Open To Some Faiths   6 years 47 weeks ago

    I concur with Merrland's assessment of the building's lack of usage, and some might go so far as to label it "inappropriate" usage. While the location of the unit is not quite what would be deemed "prime", I believe that strong resistance would be encountered in seeking to demolish anything with the word "Shrine" attached to the name, although that term is quite a stretch in just about anyone's imagination in this particular instance. At best, Theatre of the Ages, or Ancient Hall of Commons is perhaps more descriptive.

    In past postings I have made a sincere attempt to place parameters on the term "Bad Science" as it pertains to any sort of research that is purposefully designed towards a specific end. The Creationist movement is currently hiding under the term of Creation Science (or Creation Scientists, akin to another religious organization popularized by a current celebrity) in an effort to lend credence to their views of a "real time" Biblically based Earth history. I have attended their meetings, read their propaganda, witnessed their debates, and made sincere efforts to understand their experimental data which would allegedly support a claim of a "young" Earth. The meetings are nothing short of rallies, the printed literature is biased, the debates are like an Oprah show, with an audience stacked almost unilaterally in facor of their positions, but to me the real issue is with the positively sophmoric design of the experimental design processes. I've stated, and will be supported by scientists across all diciplines that anyone seeking to uncover evidence to support a view can and will find such evidence if they are seeking it through poorly designed and conducted experiments, biased in their controls and flawed in their analysis by a closed mind with a predetermined agenda. Their data does indeed support their view. But in reality, all contradicting data has been eliminated from research parameters, and only that data which support their "faith" has been included in their studies. It's very similar to the old joke about a frog with four legs jumps four feet, a frog with three legs jumps three feet, two legs, two feet, one leg, one foot, but a frog with no legs is deaf. This is a perfect example of a great experimental design and conclusion, eh?

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 47 weeks ago

    Call me naive, but why should either development be approved? Trump it up as a "win-win" situation for the pretty trees and tweety birds.

  • Grand Canyon National Park: Open To Some Faiths   6 years 47 weeks ago

    PEER didn't 'suggest.' PEER claimed falsely, severely discrediting themselves in the process.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 47 weeks ago

    Is it illegal if morally right to interfere with a hunter attempting to murder a life. Like making so much to noise to scare the bear out of harms way or just plain getting in the way so he can't shoot. Or prepare yourself if he does shoot in YOUR direction that you can claim self defense when you blow the coward away?

  • Grand Canyon National Park: Open To Some Faiths   6 years 47 weeks ago

    I teach ancient history to sixth graders and before I introduce the Australopithecines, I give them a lesson on radiocarbon dating, and then show them the movie on Kennewick Man. Next I tell them that scientists use an atom pair like uranium and lead to date the oldest rocks, and we start looking at the age of the earth first with the Hadean Era, I telling them the only rocks that date to that time are the moon rocks. As I'm telling them about the Precambrian Eon, I say, "ok, some of you are Christians, and you must think I am teaching nonsense, but please consider what God said to Job..."Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding." and then I mention Psalm 90 and say to them that God's time is not the same as ours." With these two Scriptures, which I usually even paraphrase from my memory, I can teach the Geologic Time Scale with enjoyment and ease! Then I can fit the Australopithecines into their more recent three million years. I joke a little and say...I don't know what God did, but if Adam was a farmer, then he would have had to live in the time after about 9000 B.C....and then I perplexedly say, "I don't really know!"

  • Grand Canyon National Park: Open To Some Faiths   6 years 47 weeks ago

    Right next door to the old visitor center, we used to use the Shrine as our indoor evening program facility in the winter months. Now that there's a new visitor center much further away, I doubt the Shrine gets much use... they should tear it down like the Thunderbird Lodge was a while back. It's by no means a concert-quality structure -- more like a school cafetorium at best.

    As far as the age of the rocks in the canyon, there are creationists who also believe the billion plus age is much closer to reality than the 6,000 year figure. There's not only one variety of creationist out there.

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 47 weeks ago

    So in essence, the opinion you're all expressing is that the NPS system is no different than corporate America or our wonderful governmental corruption. Is that a surprise to anyone? The bigger they are the less they fall. The lower and middle classes comprise well over 99% of the residents of your local jail, but is anyone naive enough to believe they're the only ones responsible for crimes against the American public? Can someone sit there with a straight face and claim that by percentage the wealthy are only 1% of the populace? The wealthy have better access to the upper echelon of shyster lawyers and can afford to pay off a corrupt judicial system. This country's current state of affairs reads suspiciously like France before Lou and Marie went to the chopping block. Anybody care to assist in construction of the scaffold?

  • Hunting Across the National Park System: Good or Bad?   6 years 47 weeks ago

    Your view is logical and currently in practice around the US. Look into Hunters for the Hungry. Unfortunately, your method shows some naivety (Atlatls, spears, basic bows). All of these weapons were of the best technology those cultures could develop in order to ensure the quickest kill possible, thus the least fear and suffering by the animal and minimal chase. But they were designed to rip and cut as the animal continued to run. Traditionally, "one shot, one kill" was not accurate and many animals required significant "chase" and multiple hits or piercings before falling, filled with fear, adreniline and waiting for the final blow or slice to end their suffering. (Think of the Alaskan Bear "hunting" IDIOTS). A quality hunter studies the animals patterns and environment. Then using stalking and stealth, moves as close as possible to the animal to ensure a rapid and human "one shot, one kill". Ideally, the animal is blissfully unaware right up to the end.

    Quality hunters do not support "canned hunts" or anything less than fair chase, but every sect of society has its morons. Just like some animal rights activists who enjoy their chicken salads, some stupid people kill animals while carrying a hunting license. The main stream of hunters are also strong supporter of fair chase, quick and human kills, preserving out natural resources and the environment. Outdoors amongst nature is our preferred place to spend time. If we truly embrace the idea of being stewards of the flora and fauna then we must also take the responsibility. This requires logical and balanced management, laissez-faire and fringe activism are equally detrimental to the environment and all our flora and fauna.

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 47 weeks ago

    Maintenance discretionary mistake for $120.00 (likely a honest accounting error) and the guy gets canned...sounds like a set up.

    To hear the person who was canned tell the story, they believe it was a set-up from the word go. I don't know the other side of the story so I can't say for sure but it did seem strange to me at the time, especially in light of later revelations of misconduct that were literally swept under the rug for people much higher up the career ladder.

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 47 weeks ago

    Frank and Beamis, crime to fit the punishment...depends who you are. Heard of cases where poor souls get thrown into the slammer (3 years for the first offense) for stealing a six pack of beer. How about being black and crossing the street behind a white women, next thing your accused of rape...later lynched! True case in the deep south! All kinds of discrepancies in crime and punishment...pending on your rank and file in life as a big fish. Maintenance decretionary mistake for $120.00 (likely a honest accounting error) and the guy gets canned...sounds like a set up.

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 47 weeks ago

    I don't know the answer to Anon's question. There seems to be no consistency in NPS punishments for misconduct. I knew a person who lost their pension over a $120 discrepancy in their Maintenance discretionary account but also knew of a departing district ranger who supposedly took six NPS badges as souvenirs and nothing was done about that. It seems to be capricious at best.

  • Giving a Name to Yosemite Area Peak for Longtime Ranger Carl Sharsmith.   6 years 47 weeks ago

    Now for the dissenting opinion. Regardless of the stature of the man in his service to the park, I feel it the height of pretenctious, arrogant, self-serving behavior to connect a human name with the wonders of the natural world. It's a showboating way to immortalize a common human being. And the sorry fact is we, the human species, are quite common is all respects. Rivers, lakes, mountains, oceans, and the other physical features of the environment should be left out of the naming discussion. This isn't a slight against Dr. Sharsmith. I know not the man or his reputation. But I can say the same about Zeb Pike, and I was never crazy about his personalized peak either. Ditto Bill Williams. And a host of others I need not name. You want a monument to the man, fine I say. Take up a collection and bronze the old bugger right outside the visitor's center, replete with full NPS regalia. Give him a nice plaque too. Plant a tree, erect a bench, cultivate a flower garden. A mountain simply isn't befitting as a "memorial" to any one person. Denali, Navaho, Red, Whitewater Baldy, Quartz, Kings, Desert.......there's some good monikers for mountains. At least in some fashion they lend a descriptive character to the landscape. Attaching a human lineage to natural phenomenon cheapens the entire package. I'll send the first dollar to start the fund in anyone cares to undertake the task. But I'll be monitoring the progress of the program with a shyster ACLU lawyer in my pocket, just in case!

  • Will Bear Costume Get Presidential Candidates Talking About National Parks?   6 years 47 weeks ago

    Great idea... long as the poor beast doesn't make a political appearance at Katmai!

  • Museum of the National Park Service Will be Built in West Virginia   6 years 47 weeks ago

    Of course, once the place opens for business, the waste will just be getting started. Speaking of...

    During the past month I was required to attend four meetings. These consumed about 42 hours of my time (that converts to about 1,260 tax dollars). One of the meetings, which lasted a full three days, was attended by 16 people (that converts to about 11,520 tax dollars).

    I have no issue with meetings. I only have an issue with stupid meetings. It so happens that ALL of the meetings I attended last month were stupid. Coincidence? Yeah, right!

    These meetings resulted in the following accomplishments:

    A bunch of people sat around and talked about their accomplishments. If the first person talked for five minutes, the next person had to up the ante and talk for eight minutes, and the next person had to up that ante and talk for twelve. I thought Show & Tell ended in the third grade.

    We also spent a lot of time editing reports and plans. As many as 20 people would debate for up to an hour on the wording of a single paragraph. Really, shouldn't this be the work of one capable editor, if, indeed, the report or plan is necessary at all?

    The third accomplishment, if we should call it that, was whining...LOTS of whining.

    Very rarely did we accomplish what meetings are intended to do: allow for discussion and resolution of issues. Of course, such discussion requires independent thinking, speaking truthfully, and occasionally being contentious.

    But hey....that's not in MY position description!

    Simple Proposal #4: In lieu of the next meeting, get out in your park, identify a plant, clear a trail, or talk to a visitor.

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 47 weeks ago

    I would have commented sooner, but I've just put in a 55 hour week at my 33 hour a week job.

    Six months? In some country club? Sentence her to a season of trail work at Yosemite and make her work off her crime rebuilding America's greatest national park. Maybe then she'll appreciate the error of her ways and see the effects of waste on our national treasures.