Recent comments

  • Rocky Mountain National Park Officials Select "Lethal Reduction" To Help Reduce Elk Herd--Updated   6 years 45 weeks ago


    Your post states: "With several thousand elk moving in and out of the park throughout the year, and no wolves to provide population control ...." Makes you wonder why the Park Service didn't push hard to adopt an alternative that would bring back wolves. With a quarter-million acres of wilderness in Rocky, and more forested wildlands to the north and south, you'd think there'd be room. Or maybe Rocky Mountain is really just a wild postage stamp hemmed in by development around Estes and Grand Lake, and we should give up on managing it as a truly wild place?

    As for working to bring back the wolves, as Bob suggests, several conservation groups including Colorado-based Sinapu (which means "wolf" in Ute) are threatening to sue the Park Service for failing to return wolves to the Park. See

    Given the successes and lessons learned in Yellowstone from wolf recovery there, and the Park's mandate to protect natural processes, one would think the Park Service could (and should) be on the cutting edge of wolf recovery elsewhere.

    It is a positive step that he Park is addressing ecosystem damage. It's too bad the Park didn't (or couldn't) go further.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Frank, it's your constant scab picking at that NPS that irritates. We understand your grievances run deep and hard, but your losing your point by the constant brow beating on the parks. The less said, the better the impact! I think you're being a bit overly sensitive about Kurt's comments about slowing the constant negativity. You have made your point many times over. However, your comments are well taken with some merit.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 45 weeks ago

    "We don't want you to stop commenting. But we think you've more than made your feelings known about what you think of the Park Service and its employees. The Traveler is not the forum for this continued condemnation." Kurt Repanashek

    I will respect the wishes of NPT and cease posting comments at the NPT site critical to the status quo of national parks management. NPT is a private endeavor. NPT is not subject to the protections of the First Amendment; that's one thing it has in common with the NPS.

    It's regrettable that grown adults cannot simply ignore that with which they do not wish to contend. Instead, they censor. They silence. They misrepresent.

    My comments have been called shrill, but if you search the record, you'll mostly find reasoned arguments about wrestling national park management from the quagmire of partisan politics. Occasionally, I've been Abbey-esque, but it's a sad statement that NPT wouldn't welcome Cactus Ed's opinions and writing. Those seeking to perpetuate the current paradigm of political management of national parks mislabel criticism as negativity, and in that way, NPT further resembles the NPS. Because of comments critical of NPS bureaucracy, supposedly "in extreme cases, folks simply are not returning to the Traveler." I would enjoy seeing some hard evidence on that, and would beg to differ. Healthy debate attracts participation, and if you look at the posts with the most comments, they are usually hot topics with a lot of debate.

    Regardless, I'll take the debate elsewhere. Stop by my homepage from time to time. Leave a comment if you support park management unfettered from political partisanship. More importantly, leave a comment if you don't.

    "Everyone is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people's idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage."
    -- Winston Churchill

    "Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed -- and no republic can survive."

  • Secret Service View Teddy Mather As Protestor, Not Presidential Material   6 years 45 weeks ago

    One of us missed something hh-

    The caption on the photo at the head of the piece states that the picture was taken after the Secret Service prevented Teddy from attending a presidential forum, so as I'm understanding things, Teddy never did set paws into the debate arena. Additionally, the author states that they "carefully packed the bear into the trunk, and returned to event", again making reference to the fact that Lil' Teddy didn't gain entry. Are you interpreting something different in all of this?

    I whole-heartedly agree that, as you state,"if the bear did something untoward to the candidates, he'd go down". Nothing less would be either expected or appropriate. But somehow I doubt that Teddy was packin'. And from what I gather, if someone was to state to you that, "unless you do so and so, we're taking you down and it won't be pretty, you might be a bit put off by the tone of the comment. Federal property notwithstanding, for well behaved "protesters" to be verbally threatened and/or abused (and there lies a fine line between the two) is simply not acceptable under ANY method of crowd control protocol.

    Long live the Bear!

  • National Parks Contribute Holiday Ornaments to White House Christmas Tree   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Oh my God. There really IS an Andersonville Prison NHS Christmas Tree Ornament! I thought Beamis was being sarcastic! Read about it here: Unfortnately, there's no photo...

  • Secret Service View Teddy Mather As Protestor, Not Presidential Material   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Teddy Mather should be grateful to the Secret Service.

    Now he's actually interesting. At least for 15 minutes.

    This is a funny story. I love it. But some of you are taking this WAY too seriously.

    Lone Hiker, what the agent said to the bear isn't intimidation. It's honesty. Besides, this bear WANTS to be watched. That's why he's wearing a bear suit and carrying signs. And yeah, if the bear did something untoward to the candidates, he'd go down!

    The agents were just doing their jobs. They let the bear in for heaven's sake.

    Trust me, a Secret Service Agent's cynicism about politicians pales anything you guys can come up with.
    I say we should give them a break. The government isn't going to give them much of one over the next year.

  • Secret Service View Teddy Mather As Protestor, Not Presidential Material   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Right on Lone Hiker! Incidentally, did you watch that piece by ABC-TV news last night (12/12/07) on the big Christmas dinner bash that the lobbyist put on for the Washington bureaucrats? Talk about special interests, big money and corporate pimping. I'm sure all the jet boat and snowmobile companies were well represented. Yap, Rome lives well in DC! Oink! OinK! here piggy, piggy!

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 45 weeks ago

    It's not just the NPS. There seems to be a moral and ethical decline in our society. I dealt with Pat on another business level and I found that she was not completely honest. This is something I have been experiencing this with increasing frequency with clients. To generalize, I think it's a two fold problem.
    1. There are a lot of people out there who will do whatever it takes to save a buck or keep that "wallet filled with cash" they find on the street if they think they can get away with it.
    2. There are broader issues of trust rampant in our society. We don't seem to be able to trust each other. This is in no small part because of #1, and when the media bombards us with "bad" news it teaches us that there are nothing but villans out there.

    Just remember that there is good AND bad wherever you go - and I'm sure this applies to the NPS. Just keep your head down and do the right thing and at least you can be MOSTLY assured that YOU wont get in trouble.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 45 weeks ago

    The bottom line is that Anonymous and Mr. Smith are attempting to neutralize two critics of the current system by labeling their postings as nothing more than blatant negativity. If the truth be known Frank and I have repeatedly made suggestions and shared our ideas for forging a different path in the management of the national parks. In the meantime we have also continued to point out the failings and political corruption of the current system, as a good many of the featured articles on this website readily attest to, as a means of bolstering our point. This is what caring watchdogs do when they wish to keep the pressure on those in charge to bring meaningful change or a full-scale deconstruction into something totally new.

    I'm glad that Superintendent Longstreet is able to "understand the reasons for my frustrations and anger, and channel that energy into more positive, and more selective, communications." I'm sure those skills are important in maintaining a career in the current system but I do not share the same abiding faith in that system that he does.

    The truth is that I love the parks but don't trust their politically driven administering agency to accomplish the job of preserving and protecting them over the long haul. There is currently too much waste, corruption, careerism and politics for the critical functions to be carried out in an effective manner. That is my stand and as long as there is a forum to discuss better ways to do it I will.

    This website is about supporting the parks, not worshiping the government agency that has a monopoly on their administration. Instead of attacking us I suggest they'd both look a whole lot more credible if they engaged us on our ideas instead.

  • Secret Service View Teddy Mather As Protestor, Not Presidential Material   6 years 45 weeks ago

    I just want to let you know that we’re going to let you in, but we’re watching you. We know who you are. We know you’re with the bear. Any funny stuff and you’re going to be arrested. This is federal property and it won’t be pretty

    First off, in legal circles this type of vocal intimidation is otherwise known as assault, which by definition is paraphrased as "any attempt, whether by act, speech or writing in intended to convey physical or emotional damage upon those parties at whom the act is directed". Personally, I'd sue the bastard who made those comments, if for no other reason, to draw attention to the issue.

    Second, the term "presidental material" disturbs me to no end. Just what the hell is "presidential material"? I've submitted a written request to various organizations for a "legal" definition of that term. I'm estimating my odds of a reply at 20:1. I've also spoken with a couple of professors of political science on the issue, and they cannot justify the term in any political sense either. And they estimate my chances of a meaningful reply closer to 50:1.

    Finally, I personally see little that would qualify under ANY definition of that term as viable options in recent years. Hillary? Obama? Mitt? Bill? W? Gerry? Jimmy? Tricky Dick? LBJ? JFK? What a bunch of crap we've had to endure in the past 40-50 years. The bear has at LEAST as much credibility and insight as anything in that group. And Jim is absolutely dead on target. The people are responsible for the current state of affairs by their practice of ignore, then vote. That is the exact reason the system is the cesspool that is has become. You can blame those in charge, but the masses are the ones who placed them in positions of alleged authority, and I use the term authority loosely. Until we, the people, ALL the people, take back control of what was designed and intended to be ours, and regain the power of the vote, we're stuck with this "quality" of "presidential material".

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 45 weeks ago

    If people tell you that your negative energy sucks the life out of a room when you enter it, it's time to take a long, hard look at the way you relate to others.

  • Secret Service View Teddy Mather As Protestor, Not Presidential Material   6 years 45 weeks ago

    What's sadder still is that protesters of all kinds are treated like this. This is a typical, if fairly mild version, of what I have experienced hundreds of times. I'm not that alarmed that a message about the parks and the environment is considered protest (in some sense it is); what alarms me more is that anyone deemed to be saying something different or outside the norm is treated this way and seen as a threat. This is an extremely common story for those of us who have tried, and I wish people would open their eyes to it. Right now, people are talking about Obama or Hillary; Rudy or Huckabee, but if you have anything at all to say about the matter or about something else that matters, you will be kept far from any event that matters. And, people are ho hum about it, ignore it because it doesn't affect them, and then vote.

    So NPCA, a very traditional organization, is now on the outside looking in, and is a little taken aback that they are seen this way. I have to say to them, "Welcome to the club. We're not as strange, those of us on the outside looking in, as we might seem. So, come find a free speech pen and fit right in; the space is a little tight, no one can hear us, but at least they haven't thrown too many of us in jail, yet. (well except him and her and her and him, but they should be out soon)."

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

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Frank and Beamis, I don't read every post; I browse NPT selectively. I'm nonetheless pleased to see that we agree on some things and that you've on occasion been complimentary to NPS employees. It's a nice side of you guys; you should try using it more often. We all agree that the NPS has problems and needs to be held accountable; Rick Smith and I simply want it to succeed where it often appears that you'd prefer it to fail. I'm sure we'd both be happy to be proven wrong about that.

    One of my NPS mentors once told me that MY negativity was a drain on the organization and compromised my ability to achieve my pro-resource objectives. That was a wake up call for me. It caused me to think more critically, to understand the reasons for my frustrations and anger, and channel that energy into more positive, and more selective, communications. It's allowed me to get far more accomplished since then, and win more allies. Which also means more victories and less tilting at windmills. I am pretty confident that the track record doesn't show that as the point I entered the dark side, either.

    Enough about you, and enough about me. I'm signing off of this thread.

    J Longstreet

  • Secret Service View Teddy Mather As Protestor, Not Presidential Material   6 years 45 weeks ago

    It' sad to think that a person in a bear suit representing OUR national parks is escorted out of a political event. what has this world come to? if one of the current candidates had only 1% of the insight of Teddy Roosevelt i would vote for that person. but for now the bear is the best thing going. give em hell teddy you've got my vote.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 45 weeks ago

    I can't add much to what Beamis has said, but will offer the same: "Kurt and Jeremy are free to ask me to stop contributing if they feel my postings are a poisonous cancer on this website and I will respectfully comply."

    Mr. Smith, when addressing Congress, you said, "As a matter of generational equity and of respect for those who came before us, we should manage [national parks] with the highest regard for their resource integrity and their ability to remind us of who we are as a people and a nation. We should not be careless with this legacy nor allow it to be subjected to a political agenda." [Emphasis added.]

    When you addressed the ANPR in 2004, you stated that we are falling "into the trap that Albright warned us about years ago about becoming just another federal bureaucracy"; you attribute this to forgetting traditions, while I attribute it to the growth of the size of the system and government, both of which are not mutually exclusive.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you and have been expressing those opinions, which are based on my experiences and research. We might disagree on a possible solution, but our concern is the same.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 45 weeks ago

    I'd only point out that Superintendent Longstreet was also loudly lamenting the negative politics of an uncaring Congress saddling the NPS with inappropriate parks. He seems to agree with me on at least a few things.

    Kurt and Jeremy are free to ask me to stop contributing if they feel my postings are a poisonous cancer on this website and I will respectfully comply. The truth of the matter is that many folks, including a lot of current rangers, do see the NPS as a politically compromised organization in decline and I can tell you this with some degree of knowledge garnered from a wide variety of personal contacts among active rangers in the field. The Pat Buccello scandal is not an isolated incident nor is the political arm twisting that Fran Mainela recently spoke out about concerning snowmobiles in Yellowstone. (As usual she waited until she was a former employee before coming out with the truth). If you think the majority of my postings are simply the bitter ravings of a disgruntled former employee I respectfully declare you to be wearing blinders, which a successful career in the agency often requires.

    This is NOT about having an ax to grind but calling it like I see it. I care about the future of the parks and for the most part see the long-term solution to their continued viability as something other than the current business model of a military-style civil service bureaucracy headquartered in Washington, DC.

    As for any lingering bitterness you think I may possess I have none, as I am quite happy in my current life and pursuits and left the ranks of the green & gray on good terms, highly evaluated and amply awarded. If my somewhat dim view of the bureaucratic machinations inherent in the operations of the NPS is perceived as blatant negativity I challenge you to engage me in a spirited defense of your beloved agency or to politely ignore it. If I'm a crank at least I strive to be an articulate and reasoned one.

    By the way my recent post on the Petrified Forest was laudatory of both the rangers and the park. Did you get a chance to read that one?

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Good evening--

    Longstreet has quite a few things right, Anonymous. And one of them that is most right is that Beamis and Frank have hijacked the NPT site by constantly bitching about the incompetence of the NPS and its employees. As Longstreet observed, this will eventually drive current employees and retirees like myself from Kurt and Jeremy's very welcome NPS discussion forum. I know I don't read it as often as I used to, primarily because of the steady stream of negativity coming from them. It really doesn't matter what the topic is; the refrain is always the same: "NPS supervisors and managers are at best imcompetent, at worst corrupt. Very few of these managers have the courage to do the right things. The incompetent ones climb the GS ladder; the competent ones leave. The NPS is hostage to political influences. Pork barrel parks are everywhere....."

    I am sorry that Frank and Beamis didn't find the NPS a good agency for which to work. I'm sorry that felt they had to leave. I am not sure, however, that I would have wanted their toxic points of view in any park in which I worked. I welcomed creative tension. I despised constant negativity.

    I allso assume that Longstreet has more reason to cloak his identity than do Frank and Beamis.

    Rick Smith

  • Rocky Mountain National Park Officials Select "Lethal Reduction" To Help Reduce Elk Herd--Updated   6 years 45 weeks ago

    There's no escaping it. Whether practiced on elk, bison, feral hogs, or white-tailed deer, the use of firearms for the "lethal reduction" of wildlife populations in or near our parks is a bloody business. Some animals meet a violent end, and even if it is for the greater good, that is certainly a very sad thing. Small wonder that so many wildlife lovers reject hunting as a form of lethal reduction. They want park managers to rely on natural controls. In the case of the elk at Rocky Mountain, that means starvation and disease (there being too few predators to matter much). Think about that for a minute. Have you seen how starvation and sickness (they go hand-in-hand) ravage an animal's body? Being northern Michigan born and bred, I've seen a good bit of that myself. (It happens to over-abundant white-tailed deer in the northern cedar swamps, and the really ironic thing is that it peaks in late winter and early spring just before the landscape greens up and there's forage galore.) Starving to death is one of the most miserable of all ways to die, and I wouldn't wish it on any of God's creatures. Better a quick end from a well-placed bullet or arrow. It is one of the most merciful deaths that an animal could hope to have. If you don't believe that hunters or government-paid shooters should be the pruners of last resort, then let's work to bring back the predators. All of them.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Or maybe the creative tension would create something dynamic and worthwhile. It's always a big mistake to think success comes from marching in lockstep to a rigid set of management plans and top-down policy initiatives. In fact if you look around at many of the world's truly successful organizations they all tend to thrive on the give and take of diverse approaches and opinions. This is certainly true of such entities as Google, Apple, Toyota and FedEx. It certainly does not characterize government enterprise which many of you will soon experience on your next visit to the post office or local DMV.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Geez, I hate to see these four guys working in the same park: Longstreet, Beamis, Frank and Merryland! Could be utter chaos! With each quoting something from Muir to Bernard Shaw, all trying to out do each other rhetorically, if not poetically or politically in words or deeds. Amazing bunch! Long Live The Parks!
    P.S. I think Longstreet is on to something positive.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Superintendent Longstreet in response to your statement: "I suggest you sharpen your arrows for the Congress, which inserted them into the National Park System, rather than at the employees of those parks, who you seem to want to fall on their swords, time and time again", I'd like to say that if you have been a regular reader of this website you'd see this is exactly what I've done. In fact, in this very thread, I wrote about how the Congress was "forcing the NPS to accept a marginal park unit in New Jersey (that they deemed unworthy in their own assessment a few years back) simply because a Congressman wants to create some tourism pork in his district that the local government would never fund but will now use the coercive force of the federal leviathan to squeeze the taxpayers of Montana and Hawaii for a brand new park on the Passaic."

    Could I have made my view more plain about the chicanery that is inherent in the U.S. Congress saddling the NPS with "park barrel" units? For once I'd like to hear a currently employed manager of the NPS stand up and be heard on this subject and not wait until they are safely retired and getting their monthly checks before they'll speak up about issues of great importance to the well being of the parks. The fact that you yourself wish to remain anonymous speaks volumes about the institutional culture you're on the lookout to protect your career from.

    All I have been saying is there are other ways to skin a cat when it comes to protecting park lands besides the 100 year-old model we are currently employing to the exclusion of other, possibly better, models and systems. That this notion would threaten career level managers and seem to be cynical to those with a great stake in the current paradigm does not surprise me in the least.

    Is it merely cynical negativity to suggest that a top-down military style bureaucracy, slow to change and mired in thick layers of intractable politics should be broken up or actually abolished and replaced with a variety of other models of resource protection? I say it is not. This process is not only necessary it is actually what is going to happen.

  • Big Cypress National Preserve: The Latest Battleground Over ORVs in the Parks   6 years 45 weeks ago

    It is the Big Cypress NATIONAL Preserve! Not the "Handfull Of People Who Want To Lock It Up And Bar Everyone Preserve"! I am a Moderate Thinker! I try to always see BOTH sides of an argument. I believe a balance can always be struck. While I'm not for destroying the land, I am for USING the land!
    If everyone STAYS ON THE TRAILS, I don't see a problem. The problem comes in, when people think they can just take their ORV'S ANYWHERE they want, WHENEVER they want! That's when you give fuel to the minority of people, who want to lock up OUR Public Lands forever!
    And they should not be able to do that! Again, it's the Big Cypress NATIONAL Preserve! It belongs to ALL of us!

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Let's respect other opinions.

    This reminds me of a passage in Jonathan Rauch's Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought. Rauch related a conversation where someone demanded: "The least you can do is respect my opinion." The other participant replied, "No — respect isn't the least I can give your opinion; it is the most."

    Respect for an opinion can't be given. It must be earned. I'll agree to respect the individual, but opinions are to be challenged; opinions are fodder for discussion and should be subject to intense scrutiny.

    I and others have shared our observations that there are hard working employees in the DOI and NPS. I have the pleasure to work under several articulate, responsible, responsive, intelligent, and competent supervisors. I can say the same about some co-workers. But for every one supervisor or co-worker cut from this mold, I can cite one or two examples of co-workers who were inarticuluate, irresponsible, unresponsive, doltish, and incompetent. And many of those shining examples have been actively driven from the service or have hit a ceiling while the anti-models have been promoted and have climbed the GS scale. Yes, "the idots are everywhere" as my mentor told me. But in the civil service, they are supported by tax payers and extremely difficult to remove. That's something that Beamis, Lone Hiker, and I have observed and commented on in other locations.

    National parks are not a lost cause, but I believe the NPS has become an unresponsive, calcified bureaucrasy and think our national parks deserve better. I doubt this statement has enough power to drive away others who believe otherwise. I hope that it will drive them to the lifeboats or at least wake them to the fact that the ship is sinking in a political quagmire.

  • Birds Songs From Around The World   6 years 45 weeks ago

    Haunted - thanks for the AuTrain link. I could spend an entire day going through all the information. As an aside to Kurt, where it says "Listen Here", there is nothing to listen to.

  • Conservation Groups Urge National Park Service to Reinstate Jet Ski Bans   6 years 45 weeks ago

    So while we're wandering way off topic I'd like to offer this gem: "A cynic is just a well informed optimist".