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  • Former NPS Director George Hartzog Passes   6 years 30 weeks ago


    Here below is an Obit for Director Harzog, published today.

    Although it smacks of hagiography, the broad scope is accurate.

    At the time of his firing by the Nixon administration, two stories circulated at the time that are different than the one presented below, that personally blames President Nixon. One alternate story was that Haldemann demanded resignations of ALL senior government employees and agency heads, and Hartzog refused to resign, and so was fired. The additional spice in that story is that Harzog was a known Democrat holdover first spotted and moved into the line of succession by Jack Kennedy, and, under President Johnson, Harzog typified the kind of big-government of Johnson that the Nixon administration slowly squeezed out. According to this account, Hartzog was the last Democratic holdover in the Nixon Administration, and it was just a matter of time. The other story was that Harzog had a conflict with another major personality and ego, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior Nat Reed. Hartzog was not used to dealing with anyone other than the Secretary, the President and Congress, and Reed was not about to permit Harzog to go around him. Reed told everybody, in this version, that the superintendent of Grand Tetons NP was "the best in the NPS" and hired Gary Everhardt to replace Hartzog. Everhardt was a fine superintendent, but not up to the battles Hartzog regularly fought with relish. Everhardt surrounded himself with tired former aides to Hartzog (people who were expected to be sent to pasture, but Hartzog's departure saved them) and aides of Reed's. Whether one of these three stories or another, NPS was never to have a powerful and capable Director like Hartzog again.

    Here is the Obit:

    CharlestonPost&Courier / 7/1/2008
    George B. Hartzog Jr.
    COLLETON COUNTY - Former director of the National Park Service, George B. Hartzog, 88, died Friday in the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington. Despite several years of failing health, he had lost none of the mental powers for which he was noted.
    Under the dynamic leadership of Mr. Hartzog the National Park System doubled in size during his nine-year tenure, which ended in 1972. Hartzog served as director of the National Park Service from 1964 to 1973 - years of national turmoil, but also years that provided a political environment of extraordinary opportunity.
    President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, Interior Secretary Stewart Udall's aggressive environmentalism, and a Democratic Congress receptive to the cause of the national parks conferred advantages that no director before or since has enjoyed. Hartzog possessed the bureaucratic and political talents to exploit this combination. His most conspicuous achievement was expansion of the National Park System.
    During his nine-year directorate, the system grew by 72 units - not just national parks, but historical and archeological monuments and sites, recreation areas, seashores, riverways, and memorials - more than at any comparable period in its history. Hartzog was especially proud of advancing workplace diversity. Under his guidance the Service gained its first black park superintendent, its first career woman superintendent, its first Indian superintendent, and the first black chief of a major national police force. The Service took on a different public appearance as more women and minorities rose in the ranks to important positions.
    He sought to bring park resources and values to urban populations. New York City's Gateway and San Francisco's Golden Gate national recreation areas took form during his tenure, and he spawned a host of environmental education programs that touched and inspired urban dwellers, especially inner city youth. Hartzog played a critical role in the passage and implementation of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, whose financial, registration, and protective features have saved structures, sites, and entire districts in every state and Indian tribal lands.
    Of enormous consequence, working with Senator Alan Bible, Hartzog played a critical role in laying the legislative groundwork for the selection of "National Interest Lands" in Alaska. Ultimately, when finally enacted by the Congress, the park selections doubled the size of the National Park System.
    Hartzog introduced programs and professional attitudes that made national parks more welcoming to people of color and different economic classes. Recognizing the encroachment of urban crime into the parks, he began the training of rangers in law enforcement. Hartzog's directorate ended abruptly in December 1972. President Richard Nixon, re-elected a month earlier to a second term, fired Hartzog. His political dexterity and intimate relationship with congressional barons discomfited the White House. Also, unknown to Hartzog, one of his superintendents had offended Nixon pal Bebe Rebonzo. The vigorous appeals of Secretary of the Interior Rogers C.B. Morton failed to persuade the president to change his mind. Hartzog told his story in a 1988 boo, "Battling for the National Parks."
    Born on March 17, 1920, and reared in poverty in rural South Carolina, George Hartzog absorbed the compassionate values of family, community, and church - he even became a lay preacher - and carried them with him to his death. Forced to support a family impoverished by a disabled father, he could pursue education only sporadically. With a high school diploma and a few months of college, he applied himself to reading law in the office of a local attorney. That enabled him to gain admission to the South Carolina bar in 1942. After service in World War II as an Army military police officer, Hartzog entered the ranks of government as an attorney and soon found a position in the National Park Service. He did both legal and concessions work in the Washington office and gained management experience as assistant superintendent of both the Rocky Mountains and Great Smokey Mountains national parks.
    Beginning in 1959, Hartzog made his name as superintendent of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the St. Louis waterfront, a park that commemorates America's westward expansion. Employing imaginative legal and contract stratagems, he surmounted daunting obstacles to revive the stalled construction of the massive arch, the creation of famed architect Eero Saarinen, that symbolized the gateway to the West. Hartzog's work in St. Louis and on the proposed Ozark National Scenic Riverways caught the attention of Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall.
    The Kennedy-Johnson administration signaled major changes in the federal government, none more so than the National Park Service. The two presidents sought bold changes. Udall thought Hartzog would bring to the job a "new dynamism." He became director early in 1964. Parts of the entrenched bureaucracy disliked and feared the new director and his style. He prevailed with strong, decisive leadership - and a vision to take the national parks places they had never gone.
    He was a workaholic and demanded the same from all who answered to him. He could be an abusive tyrant one moment, and a compassionate, caring friend the next. Whatever his mood of the moment, he cared deeply and personally about everyone in the National Park Service, and he let them know it. Hartzog remained controversial throughout his directorate, both in and out of the National Park Service. But as his achievements multiplied and he emerged as incontestably brilliant, quick-minded, and impressively articulate, he amassed a loyal following that labored tirelessly to further his objectives.
    Former Interior Secretary Stewart L. Udall said, "[Hartzog]... was a consummate negotiator, he enjoyed entering political thickets; he had the self-confidence and savvy to be his own lobbyist and to win most of his arguments with members of Congress, governors and presidents."
    Famed writer Wallace Stegner captured the essence of the man he came to know so well: Hartzog was the "toughest, savviest, and most effective bureau chief who ever operated in that political alligator hole... Among distinguished public administrators he was one of the most distinguished, one of the friendliest, and one of the most honest." For those who worked for Hartzog, even those discomfited by his frenetic pace of change, he is remembered as a great director. In fact, Robert Utley, who served as chief historian of the Service during the Hartzog era, speaks as a historian when he judges Hartzog the greatest director since the founding duo of Stephen Mather and Horace Albright in the years after passage of the National Park Service organic act of 1916.
    Reflecting the apprehension with which field employees greeted the "new dynamism," longtime Park Service deputy director Denis Galvin looked back on his early years: "I was a new park employee when George Hartzog became director. When the peripatetic director visited the park where I worked I found some vegetation to hide behind. I still wound up in New York City as part of his urban parks program. As usual, he was right."
    After his directorate, Hartzog practiced law in the Washington area. He donated his papers and established the George B. Jr. and Helen C. Hartzog Institute for Parks at Clemson University, S.C., which is a major research center for study of the national parks and National Park Service. Hartzog is survived by his wife of 61 years, Helen, of the McLean, Va., residence; also daughter Nancy Hartzog of New Bedford, Mass.; sons George III of Chicago, Ill.; and Edward of New York City; and two granddaughters, two grandsons, and one great-granddaughter. Funeral services will be held Wednesday morning at 11:00 in the Green Pond United Methodist Church.
    Published in the Charleston Post & Courier on 7/1/2008.

  • Natural History: Northern Elephant Seals   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Another good place to see Elephant Seals is Piedras Blancas on the Coast Highway just north on San Simeone. We were there in October, 2007 and there was a lot of seals, mostly young. This was supposed to be the off season. My understanding is that there are seals there all year. Good parking lot right off the highway. I have placed a few pictures at Nothing fancy, just pictures.

  • Park History: Olympic National Park   6 years 30 weeks ago

    The beauty of the Olympic peninsula is absolutely awesome! No place quite like it. We came here from Iowa & just never could leave. This is a very interesting piece, and I will send the link to my friends & family. Thanks for the information!
    -Cat K

  • “10 Best National Parks”? National Geographic, You Have Got to be Kidding!   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Now you're talking. I've had the pleasure to sample Yoho and, I think, Kootenay. Definitely need to head that way soon for a longer stay.

  • Park History: Mammoth Cave National Park   6 years 30 weeks ago

    We were there in May 2008. There are no more tours on the Green river, the Captain and owner died. The cave tour is awesome. I have never been in a "wet" cave before. There are a lot of caves in the Cave City area, we tried to get four of them in 3 days.

  • “10 Best National Parks”? National Geographic, You Have Got to be Kidding!   6 years 30 weeks ago

    For U.S. travelers, looking north reveals many more great national parks, some worthy of this Top 10 list. Consider the Canadian National Parks of Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Yoho, Kootenay, and Cape Breton, to name just a few.

  • Prescribed Fire in Grand Canyon National Park Now Out of Control   6 years 30 weeks ago

    It's deja vu all over again Yogi. I guess nothing of substance was culled from the last poorly executed "controlled burn" that torched the area in and around Powell Plateau some years back. Maybe they should only let these fire "experts" play with their matches from November to March.

  • Oglala Sioux Just Might Reclaim Southern Half of Badlands National Park   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Defiling the land with casinos was instituted by Native traditions, eh? I guess you've never heard of such little communities as Las Vegas, Atlantic City, the Chicago-metro area, St. Louis, Blackhwawk (CO), many more do you want me to name?

    Spray painting rocks on the "rez"? Explain to me how that's less dignified than spray painting the tenements, freight trains, garage doors, highway overpasses, store fronts, mass transit vehicles, traffic signs and anything else that's available in urban society, if you have a reasonable explanation into such behaviors. Which I doubt.

    Speaking of destruction of housing, ever visited a low-income public housing unit in a major metropolis, or is your lily-white suburb all you see and know about life in America?

    Ah yes, the inevitable killing and torture of one's own. Show me a society that doesn't have that little black mark on their family eschuteon, again, if you can. European society has been SO civilized throughout the course of history, and continues to exhibit those model behaviors of total self-control to the present date, as have and do the Asians, Africans, South Americans and Australians, right amigo?

    Careful when you point your finger that you're not inadvertently standing in front of a mirror.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Mr. Frank N.Law

    Pick up a copy of "The American Rifleman". Within the first 10 pages of EVERY issue there is column called "The Armed Citizen". It is comprised of 4 or more clippings from newspapers around the nation every month reporting about just such Law Abiding people that you seem to believe are imaginary. The articles are not old or "re-used" but new every issue with the date and the source news organization printed at the bottom of each one. Here is a link to a sight that will give you an example: Of course a dyed in the wool Hoplophobe like yourself will probably continue to find fault with citizens who choose to exercise their 2nd Amendment Right and use YOUR First Amendment right to tell everyone about it! Oh, bye the way, my late father was a Minnesota Department of Resources District Forest Ranger in northern Minnesota from six months after I was Born in 1959 right up until he retired and, against all the proscribed rules, ALWAYS carried a Colt Model 1911 in his day pack. Why? Was he afraid of "bad guys"? No. But he had run-ins with bears, wolves, rabid badgers, and even rutting bull moose (more than once, I might add)! You don't run off a bull moose in rut by yelling "BOO". So I hope you continue to enjoy your many days in the wilderness without event but I know that treks into the woods don't always go the way man plans.

  • Yellowstone National Park Bison Unhappy With Photo Shoot Tosses Pennsylvania Boy   6 years 30 weeks ago

    My feelings echo those of the previous contributors in that whoever made the decision to stand so close to the bison was the definition of stupidity. The question I have is who paid for the airlift and subsequent medical transportation? I would hope that the NPS sent any bill to the family as they were entirely responsible for this incident.

  • Yellowstone National Park Bison Unhappy With Photo Shoot Tosses Pennsylvania Boy   6 years 31 weeks ago

    KDoyle, I completely agree with you!

  • Former NPS Director George Hartzog Passes   6 years 31 weeks ago


    Director Bomar's piece "about" Director "Hartzog" actually does reference Director Hartzog or his wife by name six times.

    In the same message, she refers to "I" or "Me" or "I'm" NINE times. That is not as bad as the comment, as it amounts to only NINE for Bomar and as many as SIX for Director Hartzog.

    This is just to be fair.

  • Yellowstone National Park Bison Unhappy With Photo Shoot Tosses Pennsylvania Boy   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Cindy K;
    And where do you come from? What kind of 'education' school of hard knocks or other wise gives you the 'authority' to ridicule ANYONE?
    Those Bison are conditioned year after year by 'you' Rangers, and DOL agents to despise any form of humans, with the incessant hazing and harassment of these majestic animals. I have lived with and among these animals (grizzlies included) for over 40 years, and I have to tell you they are way smarter than most humans, and especially the "Park Rangers". Your type of attitude does NOT belong in a National Park that is SWORN to PROTECT that which is within it's boundaries.
    WHY didn't the Park TEST those Bison they so quickly hauled to the slaughterhouse? In 'your' own IBMP plan it states to test and slaughter ONLY the positive. Had 'you' done that, the supposed Brucellosis problem in the Bison could have been reduced. Instead 'you' slaughtered everything 'you' could get your 'hands' on. How is that PROTECTING? How is that Scientific?
    The Park Service is nothing more than a pawn in the Cattleman Association's game. The Park service (when it comes to protecting the animals) are WORTHLESS.

    Editor's note: Parts of this comment were deleted for gratuitous personal attacks. Everyone should focus their comments on substantive issues and not resort to personal attacks just because of a difference of opinion. Failing to maintain civility does no good.

  • Yellowstone National Park Bison Unhappy With Photo Shoot Tosses Pennsylvania Boy   6 years 31 weeks ago

    A p.s. on this,

    It also behoove us to have a frank discussion of the facts, the legal requirements, and the ethics of the situation without the kind of thing in your response to me. Your appeal to your authority as a ranger is not relevant to establishing the facts about actual bison numbers and the issues of right and wrong regarding the bison slaughter and hazing policy. My being a carpetbagger is also not relevant to the issue either - I don't and never would claim to have all the information regarding the bison - certainly not from five years working for a park concessionaire selling junk mostly made overseas. One's appeal to authority or the ad hominem used to show that someone is not an authority is not relevant; what is relevant is the policy itself, how that policy is actually affecting buffalo, and whether that policy is right or wrong.

    Is it right or wrong that 1,613 buffalo were either sent to slaughter or hunted during the past winter? Outside of the buffalo killed by Native Americans asserting their treaty rights, all the others killed were ostensibly under the management of IBMP partners, most of which this winter happened at the Stephen's Creek capture facility? Is that factually correct? Even the Montana hunt was directed by the FWP, an IBMP partner.

    Is it right or wrong that another 100 plus buffalo calves were sent to the quarantine facility near Corwin Springs?

    Is it right or wrong that hundreds of buffalo were held for much of the spring in the Stephens Creek capture facility inside of Yellowstone National Park? Were they fed hay? Were buffalo born there? How many miscarriages were there?

    Is it right or wrong that more than half the herd from the previous fall is now dead? What are those numbers? Where is the research and the methodology used to determine those numbers? Our group has not posted an exact number - statements from me are not statements for the group. Robert Hoskins reports that non-park people doing their own counts - whose methodology I also haven't seen - are coming up with numbers are lower than the 2,100 that have come out from the Park Service. It would be helpful for us carpetbaggers - as well as local people who have worked on this issue for decades in some instances - to have access to those facts so we don't have to trust the word of someone simply based on their ranger experience.

    Now, I have a genuine legal question I don't have the answer to - what is the contractual obligation of the NPS under the IBMP? What I mean is, can NPS pull out of the IBMP? What are the penalties for pulling out? How does the IBMP ever end?

    And, here's another question that might either be scientific or ethical or both - is numbers the only way to measure damage to the bison herds? You criticized me for anthropomorphizing buffalo, and yet that only begs the question of what effects slaughter, hazing, herd reduction and disruption, and winter have on the psychology of bison and the sociology of bison herds. What is the disruption, what is the damage, how might that affect the behavior of individual bison? What studies can you point to so that we could be better informed about this? If I shouldn't see a connection between the context of what happens to the buffalo by the government in the winter and what happens with tourists in the summer, then you point to me research why that is. And, ethically speaking, what other damage is at stake here in understanding the IBMP?

    We can have this discussion, the moron carpetbagger and the group he belongs to and the seasoned veteran ranger and the National Park Service - we would welcome that discussion. The more that people understand what's going on, what could be going on, and what should be going on, then we'd all be better off.

    In the meantime, we all agree that families from Pennsylvania and elsewhere should not be posing for pictures 1 to 2 feet from buffalo for the safety of themselves, the animals, and a whole host of other reasons as well. Still, I fail to see why I shouldn't be curious whether there's more to this story than that. Why shouldn't we wonder if there isn't also a connection to the summer buffalo annoyed by tourists to that same winter buffalo suffering under the IBMP.

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

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Anonymous sez:
    > having a loaded gun in a national park doesn't make you safer; when you're in one of the safest places in the country

    It does if you're one of the potential victims of a rapist, robber or murderer. Gun control laws don't work (see the DOJ study). John Lott never backed away from his data. Kleck and Gertz, authors of the defensive gun use study have had anti gun hordes try to pick apart their data. Even in a low-ball scenario (I'll spot you this one) an absolute, bare minimum of 100,000 citizens use firearms to defend their lives or prevent crime. That's a hundred thousand people who would have been victims in some way. Right to carry laws DO reduce crime. It's happened in every one of 41 states that have implemented the policy. And with no adverse affect. Toss your Texas data, we've already covered that one. Arrests and convictions are totally different.

    Just as the First Amendment requires no demonstration of proficiency, neither should the Second. There are laws regulating both.

    > in 2007, a mere 12 murders and 380 assaults were recorded in all national parks

    That's pathetic. I don't have a clue who you are but since you've clearly shifted the burden of your personal defense to a non-existent law ENFORCEMENT officer (not a body guard), there is a chance this will result in your "mere" death or victimization.

    Heller 5
    Washington D.C. 4
    Winner - The Second Amendment

  • “10 Best National Parks”? National Geographic, You Have Got to be Kidding!   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Mookie, if even half of what you say about National Geographic operations is true (and I have no reason to doubt it), we should be including National Geographic in our nightly prayers. That noble institution has gotten itself into a deep hole and is still furiously digging.

  • Yellowstone National Park Bison Unhappy With Photo Shoot Tosses Pennsylvania Boy   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Cindy K.,

    We look forward to some hard numbers from NPS. What we have seen are counts that NPS sends out that say right up front that they are not population estimates. We would like to see those estimates and transparency on the method used to determine undercount.

    Even by what's coming out from the NPS press office, the numbers were at 2100 (a handy number for the IBMP), which is still significantly over half the herd dead from the previous fall.

    As for the emotions of buffalo, I am not qualified to say. I have heard others who have said that buffalo will return to the same site that loved ones died for years after the fact and seen video footage suggesting as much. There's no doubt that the boy and the family violated the bison's sense of space. Now, if only the Park Service and the IBMP partners would stop doing the same. Then, we wouldn't have these kinds of discussions.

    We look forward to a direct conversation with park staff about what's happening with buffalo. It's better than being ignored and having the slaughter and hazing program continue.

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

  • “10 Best National Parks”? National Geographic, You Have Got to be Kidding!   6 years 31 weeks ago

    As a former employee of the National Geographic Society, I feel i should point out a few issues that may or may not be at work here:

    1) This was a National Geographic book, and while everything NGS puts their name/brand on should really be treated the same, I can tell you they are not. The Book division hurts for money more than any other division at NGS, and I'm guessing that their editorial standards might not be as strict or go through as many levels as it would on the magazine.

    2) These days NGS, especially the book division since it's hurting for cash, has a high need to make money. (Most of NGS is considered a non-profit organization, and the magazines and books fall under the non-profit area. Their for-profit divisions include things like the NG Channel and their web site. There's a joke at NGS that the only the non-profit part of the company makes money, and I'm sure it's still true.) As someone said above, I'm guessing that they chose the "parks" they did for this article because they wanted to appeal to as wide of a range as possible. If they picked all parks in Alaska, the Rockies and Pacific Northwest, then they would feel that 75% of the country's population wouldn't be interested because they aren't in their backyard.

    3) How they could put a list together of 10 Best National Parks and NOT include Yellowstone is beyond me. Yes, everyone says it's the best. Yes, it's ridiculously crowded on the roads in the Summer. Yes, Old Faithful is a been there, done that phenomenon that is getting old. But I just described less than 1% of the park. Yellowstone is easily one of the most amazing place's on the earth, and its exclusion here shows that the writers/editors were just trying to throw some stuff on a page and get a book published as quick as possible with as little thought as possible.

    Sounds like they did a bang up job.

  • Park History: Would There Have Been a Mesa Verde National Park Without Virginia McClurg?   6 years 31 weeks ago

    The initial version of this article contained a serious mistake, which has been corrected. I stated that Mesa Verde National Park was proclaimed by President Theodore Roosevelt using powers granted by the Antiquities Act, whereas the park was actually created via Congressional legislation signed into law by President Roosevelt. That's a VERY important distinction. My thanks to Ranger Callagan for bringing this to my attention. Let me add that he was actually polite enough to convey this information to Traveler via private e-mail rather than posting a blistering comment. That's better than I deserved. It's not comfortable to have your feet held to the fire, but it sure does keep you on your toes. Please excuse the Archy Bunker-style mixing of metaphors.

  • Oglala Sioux Just Might Reclaim Southern Half of Badlands National Park   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Lone Hiker: You forgot to mention that your "noble" natives tortured and killed their own in mass slaughter, buried the dead in mass graves.
    They now defile the land with casinos, spray paint "native pride" on the rocks on the rez, destroy the brand new, government housing we pay taxes for.
    Noble people? I don't think so.

  • Yellowstone National Park Bison Unhappy With Photo Shoot Tosses Pennsylvania Boy   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Thanks Cindy K for telling it like it is to Mr MacDonald. The bison attacked the kid because it stepped past the boundaries of its comfort zone. Though I've never been in the mind of a bison, but I'm pretty certain that it didn't feel all the pent up frustration from the past winter and the subsequent hardships that followed ultimately resulting in an exposive outburst of rage against the unfortunate victim. It seems to me that we have another east-coast transplant that "found" the west and is now going to tell the world his philosophical views through his big city eyes how things "really are" back here in the rugged west. Please Jim, if you could...go back to DC and tell the tourists there not to walk too close to the wildlife in the ghettos because they've had a rough winter and they feel stressed out. By the way, I grew up in Montana, spent alot of time in the back country in close proximity to wild animals, etc. Now I live on the east coast and I'm constantly amazed by the warped views and misconceptions that people in the city have about so many aspects of life in the west in general. I can't wait to get back home to Montana were people have a bit more common sense. Can't wait to here more of your posts Jim!

  • Comment Period For Revised Gun Regulations for National Parks About to Close   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Bob Janiskee --

    It's probably fair to call it either one, or perhaps more accurately than either, Lee's Strategic Error. Longstreet argued against it but faithfully followed orders, however reluctantly. Pickett was the guy on the front line but it surely wasn't his idea.

    I may have borrowed the General's name but I don't profess to be an authority on all things Civil War. I admire the General, though, for his integrity and courage in respectfully challenging his superior when he had deep concerns about his orders. He remained loyal despite his misgivings, and executed those orders to the best of his ability. He paid a profound price for doing so the rest of his life and in history. It's only in recent years that a more complete picture of the General has emerged. (For the record, I also think he was on the wrong side but the South had a number of leaders worth learning from, even admiring, despite everything.)

    Ah, but this is WAY off the pertinent NPT topic!

    J Longstreet, not the Civil War General but a National Park Superintendent

  • Comment Period For Revised Gun Regulations for National Parks About to Close   6 years 31 weeks ago

    I just read the article posted by the PEER. They sound like gun-grabbers to me. I just can't understand how I will impact the Park environment by carrying my CONCEALED handgun with me. Is it the extra weight causing me to make deeper footprints? C'mon, it only weighs 31 ounces! You've got to be kidding me.

    They actually make a good point to justify how important it is for me to carry my pistol: “Rangers are few, and the miles of roads and acres in the park system are many."

    And please explain to me again how this affects poaching. Any Ranger will be able to tell that I didn't fire my gun. Especially when he sees that the first four rounds are rat shot. If the Ranger is trying to apprehend a poacher, I'm going to offer to help him/her find them!

  • “10 Best National Parks”? National Geographic, You Have Got to be Kidding!   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Sorry, MRC, but saying "if you go by the codes" is a non-starter. The codes are dismayingly unreliable indicators of national park status. There are at least eight instances in which the Park Service has given the same code to two different National Park System units. You've mentioned SEKI, and to that we can add DENA, CRMO, GRSA, LACL, NATR, WRST, and GLBA. Like SEKI, each of those codes is shared by two units of the National Park System, which is to say two different national parks. (I might have missed some examples, in which case we'll probably be hearing from Sabattis.) The Park Service has also given NPS codes to some entities that are not even national parks. The Santa Fe Historic Trail, for example, is not a unit of the National Park System, but has been given the NPS code SAFE. (It is therefore unsafe to assume that SAFE is a national park. How ironic is that?!) The main lesson to take away is this: you can't count national parks by counting codes.

  • Yellowstone National Park Bison Unhappy With Photo Shoot Tosses Pennsylvania Boy   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Possibly the bison, seeing the decline of the human species, was doing his best to cull the herd and allow only the less common sensically challenged to survive.

    When will people realize that this area is not a petting zoo, but is populated by wild animals? Cute and fuzzy. Right.

    In the National Military Parks in the East, relic hunters will have their vehicles confiscated. Possibly the Western parks should consider something similar for those intrusive on an animal's space. A couple of hefty bills for emergency personnel, transportation and services, well publicized, may discourage this type of foolish activity.