Recent comments

  • Are Yellowstone's Geysers At Risk From BLM's Leasing Proposals?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    The email address Amy gives above is specifically for feedback on this issue:

    This is the best place to address this (otherwise it winds up lost in the shuffle). There is actual accountability on a feedback to an EIS, so send in your comments!

    Thanks, George! I hope all of us go on this!

  • Vice President Cheney To Dedicate Grand Teton Visitor Center   6 years 50 weeks ago

    Dennis, in all due respect, why should we respect Mr. Cheney and his administration when they make back room deals with the oil, gas and utility companies without public oversight.
    It's quite obvious that Mr. Cheney could careless how majestic the Grand Tetons's about rape and pillage that concerns many Americans about the Bush & Cheney public land grab. In regards to Sen. Craig Thomas, perhaps one of the better republicans who had some sympathy for the NPS.

  • What's Your Vision for the Centennial Initiative?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    Certainly, the tension between humans, between humans and non-humans, and the value judgments and rationalizations we make about all of those things will matter a great deal on our world view and our sense of parks management. If we don't believe in humans first, we still have to come to grips as humans deciding what we as humans ought to do, how to come to terms with our place in the equation (that's why I think that the wilderness purists are actually anthropocentric in many respects). If we do believe in humans first, we still must come to terms with the way everything else relates to us. We have to understand the boundaries and the rationale.

    I don't believe that humans have any more intrinsic value than anything else, not as far as I have ever been able to prove to myself. Unfortunately, others who share my belief have sometimes not understood that anthropocentrism is a curse toward preventing humans from loving each other. Instead, they have sometimes created new hierarchies with human beings at the bottom. Then, we see racism and classism, especially, seen as secondary ills to the environmental ills.

    One of the puzzles constantly in my mind when coming to a site like this or thinking of my own site on Yellowstone is whether it's possible to focus on such important ethical questions with only a parks-only focus or a Yellowstone-only focus, and of course, one can't get around the reality that these places are political realities, human creations, of places that seem to be created by acts of God (keep the historical sites alone for a moment). Yet, the more we learn, the more we realize the human component for the last many thousands of years of the human role in all of our national parks, the more we realize that humans continue to have impacts on the ecosystem within and without those places. That's the way it was; that's the way it is, naturally or unnaturally for better and for worse. We cannot parcel off questions to a place, to a policy unit, to a before or a present state. We are bound to consider the whole. Yet, at the same time, if we simply spoke of the whole, without reference to a place, we wouldn't be speaking about anything at all. We need focal points, experiential reference points, a tree here, a person there, a touch there, a smile there.

    All of this is to say that however we take the value of humans and the value of what's not human (the romantics called nature the "not me"), which is in itself an important question, we have to realize that we cannot draw too many conclusions without also recognizing the relationship of the one to the other and the values implicit in that both at the macro and micro scale. To recognize that humans are not at the top or that they are worth something hopefully will not lead us to some of the conclusions we see (like that AIDS might wipe out most of humanity - forgetting who is hurt most by AIDS, like hoping that user fees will keep more people out of the parks - forgetting who that hurts most).


    On a vision for the Centennial Initiative, I don't have one. There are far too many visions for a tomorrow we cannot control with too many variables. We don't need any more vision than our eyes provide for us; if we realize that our eyes aren't performing as well as we'd like, then life must be spent deconstructing the obstacles that have made us more interested in abstractions like bureaucracies and ownership rights. This isn't to say I advocate blissful ignorance of what government is doing, or what corporations are doing, or what people do in the name of abstraction (actually, quite the opposite), it is to say that I see them as obstacles to clarifying my relationship (smelling that lodgepole off the Grant Village employee boardwalk) with all that's "not me."

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

  • What's Your Vision for the Centennial Initiative?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    The truth is I am not a digruntled employee, but was a highly regarded mid-level supervisor with awards and performance bonuses dotting my employment record. I enjoyed my work but left the agency because I could see that at its core it was a politically driven government agency full of careerists and self-promoting image mongers whose priority was not the lands under their purview but power and greedy self-advancement. Once in the system it was impossible to fire anyone, so highly incompetent people were shuffled around and generally promoted into higher paying positions where they could do the least harm.

    I guess one of the biggest reasons I left, which shocked many of my careerist co-workers, was the overall misanthropy of the rank and file NPS employee. It was in general a real humanity hating bunch. I was constantly hearing how the earth needed a "good cleansing" catastrophe to wipe out a vast quantity of the resource consuming, environment raping species I just happened to be a member of.

    Park service couples have very few children because more humans are a definite burden and detriment to their false god of rocks and trees: Mother Earth. To a wide swath of NPS employees humanity was a scourge and a threat to all that was sacred and dear to them: their home planet. I remember that some were even looking forward to the time when the Yellowstone volcano would blow again so the earth could catch its breath after so much human caused degradation by a massive die-off. I needed to escape such cynical sentiments about my own humanity and become a part of something that worshiped God and the human spirit and not the so-called "wilderness" where the defilement of everything good and sacred that is profaned by our existence can be escaped from and avoided.

    That was no place for a happy boy who loves his own species to hang his flat hat. Disgruntled I am not. Glad to have my own parks oriented business has been nothing but a blessing from God and I am grateful. That I think the parks should be released from federal bondage is a view that I share with many others and is something I will advocate until it eventually happens. It is easy to dismiss this as sour grapes but I'm sorry to say I am inspired by optimism and a belief in my own species to do what is right for themselves and their planet.

  • Are Yellowstone's Geysers At Risk From BLM's Leasing Proposals?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    Hey Glenn
    If you can get me a legitimate e-mail address for the BLM & the forest service I'll start a writing campaign and also get as many friends involved as I can. Thanks

  • Vice President Cheney To Dedicate Grand Teton Visitor Center   6 years 50 weeks ago

    I'd like to quote you from a previous post, Glenn...."There's certainly nothing wrong with passion (see my original post). But when passion and outspokenness becomes personal, it can change the debate from something constructive and problem-solving to something merely mean." I looked really hard at this post, and couldn't find the constructive part, or the problem-solving part.

    Obviously you don't respect Dick Cheney..I'm always disgusted by people that can't respect the office, however.

  • What's Your Vision for the Centennial Initiative?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    I don't understand why all the sudden "swift boating" of the NPS. As they would say in the corporate world...they were just disgruntled employee's!

  • Vice President Cheney To Dedicate Grand Teton Visitor Center   6 years 50 weeks ago

    The irony of Tricky Dick Cheney, lackey to any business interest who can even slightly smell cash in the air, taking a photo op at the Grand Tetons - as if he gives a moose's butt about land if you can't drill, mine or blast a road through it... well, the bitter irony is not lost on most of us.

    That the memory of this august Senator (one who advocated for public lands in a state that often fights against such a stand) will be shamelessly used for such a cynical posture makes my skin crawl.

    Shame on you, Dick Cheney. Stay in your cave and leave the parks alone.

  • Are Yellowstone's Geysers At Risk From BLM's Leasing Proposals?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    This is what I'm talking about! This is why I love this site! This is the kind of information we can DO something about! All those who want to groan and moan about the state of the parks, here's something you can actually DO about it.

    Email these bastards at the BLM & the Forest Service and (let's face it) the Bush Administration and let them know how misguided they truly are. Will it make a difference? I don't know. But when constituents start writing in, politicians begin listening. At the least, there will be someone accountable when the screw-ups begin rolling in.

    Hell, Amy's just about written the email for you here... Just cut and paste and send. OR better yet, write your own version of it and stick it to the man.

    It's one thing to write grumpy blogs about how terrible things are and how the government's crap. Well, the government is supposed to be us. Be an advocate for those who can't advocate for themselves... In this case, advocate for Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful Geyser and Grand Prismatic Spring. They need your voice. Use it.

  • What's Your Vision for the Centennial Initiative?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    The article above states that "the Park Service needs more money", but there are those who would argue that the NPS has plenty of money and should cut or eliminate its massive bureaucracy.

    I understand, and am a little surprised, that you didn't see mismanagement and/or waste, but I and others who have worked for the agency could write volumes about waste and the pervasive attitude displayed by the phrase overheard numerous times: "Good enough for government work!"

    Would you be willing to share in what division you worked?

    Reform the National Park Service!

  • Are Yellowstone's Geysers At Risk From BLM's Leasing Proposals?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    Here we go again, big-oil subsidiaries making another unwanted and unjust impact on "public" lands. Public lands, that's a joke in itself. Regardless, as long as energy companies continue to fund political agenda at the uppermost levels of government, we can expect to feel the environmental decline of this once proud, natural resource rich country. It's funny, with all the geothermal activity to be harnessed, basically for free, by the time these energy barons factor in the expense of transportation to the final destiny, since there is little local market for their services, if you think the consumer is going to be saving any money in monthly utility expenditures, you must have come from as far underground as the "new" energy source.

  • How Much is that Campsite--Update   6 years 50 weeks ago

    How hard would it be for an NPS staff member (reservations agent, security, etc.) to monitor e-bay, obtain the winning bid, and set up a "sting" operation on the seller? How about a nice big check imprinted with "YOU'RE BUSTED!" in the memo section. Let's treat these clowns like the prostitutes they are and shut down this outrageous behavior before it escalates into a greater problem involving the entire NPS.

  • What's Your Vision for the Centennial Initiative?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    I don't know what national park site the two former employees who posted earlier worked for, but as a former employee of 7 different sites, I must say that I am shocked at the level in which you criticized management of the NPS. I'm sure that there are individuals, and even entire units, that are mismanaged, but to say that the NPS in general is the biggest threat to park lands is incredible. I worked with hundreds of dedicated, responsible employees who operated at the highest levels of fiscal responsibilty all while doing an incredible job protecting resources and promoting proper visitor use and appreciation. I worked in mega-parks and small parks. I worked in natural settings and historical settings. In no park did I see gross mismanagement and in every park I saw employees at all levels who did their jobs well. Bad employees and bad supervisors exist in any agency, but unless I lived 5 years of my life in a happily oblivious bubble those types do no dominate the NPS.

    No, I'm not the NPS cheerleader for the day, I just don't want those previous comments to define NPS 'insider' opinion on the matter.

  • Are Yellowstone's Geysers At Risk From BLM's Leasing Proposals?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    Does anyone really think that the BLM would be held accountable for messing up the geysers in Yellowstone? If you do you're living in a fantasy land. I've seen these idiots foul up all kinds of fragile areas throughout the West and not in a single instance was anyone ever held to account for the foul up, much less lose a job or be reprimanded. The federal government is above the law, because they OWN the land that they are despoiling and know that the rules for everybody else do not apply in their vast and sprawling kingdom. Federal ownership of the land is a sham and the people who are purportedly the stewards know that they can act with impunity and get away with it. Where else would it be possible to detonate a nuclear bomb, store nerve gas or lock up Japanese-Americans? At least private property owners are compelled to follow the law.

    Mark my words, if Yellowstone's geysers are screwed up, no one at the BLM will lose any sleep over the consequences. There simply won't be any.

  • Are Yellowstone's Geysers At Risk From BLM's Leasing Proposals?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    If the BLM thinks it is wise to even attempt to disrupt the plumbing of Yellowstone National Park, then the people in charge of BLM should be REPLACED IMMEDIATELY.

    Yellowstone is an incredible place. The plumbing system has been proved in the past to be VERY fragile, and should NEVER be toyed with. There is a reason why Yellowstone was the first National Park in te WORLD. It is beautiful, unique, and ONE OF A KIND. We have very little understanding of how all the basins are linked together. It would be a travesty if something were to go wrong, and the BLM was responsible for OLD FAITHFUL suddenly stopping!

    THINK about it, BLM! You could possibly destroy the best National Park in the world. Research the history of all other geothermal areas, and the impacts of drilling. This area is too fragile to play with for mere monitary reasons.

    Stop before it is too late!

  • Search For Missing 80-year-old Yosemite Hiker Unfruitfull   6 years 50 weeks ago

    She was an experienced hiker, biker and had more energy than a 30 year old.

  • Are Yellowstone's Geysers At Risk From BLM's Leasing Proposals?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    BLM "protective"? Are you nuts? This is the same agency, under direct orders from the Bush Administration, that has essentially turned the entire western landscape into one big drilling operation.

    I do agree with your assessment that eventually the land will say "enough is enough". The Yellowstone volcano is already about 50,000 years overdue for it's 600,000 year cyclical eruption. Messing with the pipes under the engine can't be good.

  • How Much is that Campsite--Update   6 years 50 weeks ago

    Enforcement would be the key issue. If they could check I.Ds half as well as they check my sneakers at the airport there shouldn't be a problem. I just hope it wouldn't interfere with the purchase of either a campsite or any type of back country permit as a gift to someone that you know would cherish it.

  • Are Yellowstone's Geysers At Risk From BLM's Leasing Proposals?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    I'm a little confused with this article. I thought the BLM was a protective type of agency.( obviously I was wrong ) Aren't there several other means of obtaining energy besides banging on the earth ?? Wind , Solar, & Water power come to mind and seem to be alot safer way of going about it. Haven't they screwed with the earth long enough !! I think if they go ahead with geothermal exploration it won't be long before this planet decides it's had enough !! If something should get out of control under the ground there's no way to stop it. Not only shouldn't anybody, regardless of their title, be doing any type of excavation on or around the National Parks ,the Eco-system on this planet is not going to handle much more.
    I enjoy our national parks and I would love to see my grandchildren have as much opportunity to explore and enjoy them as much as I have. Given the limited knowledge that I have of natural resources and the exploration of them, one thing I firmly believe is there has to be a better way to get them besides tearing up our national parks and for that matter the planet.

  • What's Your Vision for the Centennial Initiative?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    OK, so back to the Centennial Initiative... :-)

    I hope C&O Canal gets all the money they want and then some. I own property adjacent to the canal so that'd be a great windfall for my property values.

    -- Greedy Bastard

    Mr. Gary Kiedaisch's vision of marketing the parks as competitive businesses is truly frightening. And the reference to "destinations" rather than "places to visit" -- ya lost me there, Gar... The entire collection of parks is its strength -- that which allows smaller, otherwise independently unsustainable areas to remain in the national collection of important places to visit (or destinations or whatever you want to call them) -- and the fact that we do some things out of principle, not because there are shareholders to please. Do we need to do more with less? Sure, good idea. Does that mean we need to kill NPS to accomplish it? Heck no.

    Waiter, there's a fly in my soup. Your options:
    1) Eat the fly with the soup (denial)
    2) Pluck it out and eat your soup (pragmatism)
    3) Make a huge scene, blame the waiter, the cook, the busboy, the hostess, and the people at the table next to you, inisist on a new bowl of soup, a new spoon, a new napkin, write a letter to the editor calling the owner "Communist Big Brother", call the health inspector, and never eat out at a restaurant or ever have soup again for the rest of your life (slight overreaction)

  • What's Your Vision for the Centennial Initiative?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    Jim, thanks... Guilty as charged. I really think all the sniping that goes on between people in a forum such as this happens because people aren't required to be fully accountable for their statements, and the presence of anonymity brings out plenty of inappropriate behaviours as well (primarily from but also toward anons). Your comments, coming from an unnamed source, would have certainly carried less weight.

    Regarding EUON, from the Foundation's website:
    "The enabling legislation stipulated that the National Park Service is responsible for operation, maintenance and public programs. The Eugene O’Neill Foundation, Tao House is responsible for artistic and educational programs. The National Park Service’s General Management Plan, signed into the Federal Register in 1991 describes the plans for the site: small scale theatrical performances, an artist in residence program, full public access, seminars and interpretive tours. Through the efforts of the foundation, Tao House became a National Historic Site. The National Park Service has shown tremendous commitment to the project and has restored the house to its original design."

    Add to these facts the additional knowledge that EUON is co-managed with both John Muir's home and Port Chicago, it seems on the surface as though NPS is being somewhat responsible in attempting to keep costs down. So my next question is this -- were the budget figures quoted earlier specifically for EUON only, or was that a combined EUON/JOMU budget figure? Here's another question -- all the people that visited EUON for the Foundation's artistic and educational programs, were they included in the visitation numbers? Admittedly, the reservation requirements for visiting the site make it difficult if not impossible for a spontaneous visit to EUON. Heck they don't even give you directions to the place until the reservation is confirmed.

    -- Jon Merryman

  • What's Your Vision for the Centennial Initiative?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    I find the logic splicing and pigeonholing fascinating and fun, but can I say something tangentially on anonymity? I think that it absolutely must be protected on a Web site, especially for those who may be disgruntled ex-employees. They most of all have something to fear from exposing themselves. There are a million reasons why people can't be as out-in-the-open as some of us. Someone's ideas can rest on their own merit regardless of who they are and what their claimed experience is. If their experience is relevant and they are anonymous, that may hurt the force of their argument, but by no means should we call people out. We have to give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them the safety of anonymity. Yes, people abuse anonymity over and over again, but for all those who do, I would never want to exclude those who need its protection, especially in a world of privilege. I have put myself out there, but I am not the more admirable because of it. It's just how I have chosen to operate.

    Women (and in some cases men) trying to hide from abusive people in their lives, children, people with employers watching over their shoulders, people with politically incorrect or radical ideas may all have very good reason to be anonymous. I think we need to respect that and give people the benefit of the doubt. Where relevant, we can point out how anonymity perhaps hurts an argument. Otherwise, so be it. Even in public settings where we see each other, I have known organizing that has found a way to respect anonymity or pseudonyms or masks. As long as the space is being respected, that's all that matters. We shouldn't fear or look down upon those who choose not to open up. We should perhaps work for a world where people feel they can open up, but it should never be a requirement of participation but rather a consequence of the space we live in.

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

  • What's Your Vision for the Centennial Initiative?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    Please show me where I stated that Gubmint "no longer mismanages national parks."

    Conservative leaning? Ha! That's a good one. Let's follow what you learned in Philo001:

    1. I made statements supporting the existence of some National Historic Sites (including some fabricated ones for effect).
    2. I made statements concerning Gubmint that might arguably be interpreted as anti-Libertarian.
    C. I pointed out an error in your use of the word "less", more or less.
    Conclusion: I must be a conservative who believes everything should stay the same!

    Wow, I'm truly impressed.

    Language devolves as well. The collective ignorance of millions of lazy Americans shouldn't be a badge of honour, worn as though you're doing the civilised world some sort of favour. This is the problem many public school systems and the U.S. military have -- lower your ethical and educational standards and people will stoop to meet them. Hck, wh dn't w jst drp ll vwls. Th'r nt ncssr t cmmnct, r th?

    If you want a real "discussion" on issues, I'd like to suggest that you come out of the shadows and perceived safety of anonymity. Otherwise you simply come across as disgruntled former employees on a witch hunt.

    -- Jon

  • How Much is that Campsite--Update   6 years 50 weeks ago

    Kudo's to Sequoia National Park! Top on the list as my favorite park to visit. Great great staff and excellent interpretive center.

  • What's Your Vision for the Centennial Initiative?   6 years 50 weeks ago

    No. Simply defending my writing from your attack. By the way, language evolves. Government should evolve, too, but clearly your conservative leaning (everything should stay the same), exposed by your view toward language, is also reflected in your view toward government.

    Hey, not sure if you ever took a logic class, but here's a lesson right out of Philosophy 001:

    Arguers also often link the slippery slope fallacy to the straw man fallacy in order to attack the initial position:

    1. A has occurred (or will or might occur); therefore
    2. B will inevitably happen. (slippery slope)
    3. B is wrong; therefore
    4. A is wrong. (straw man)

    A=Government no longer (mis)manages national parks
    B="it [will be] more expensive for everyone as these companies attempt to raise enough cash to pay their exhorbitant [sic] contractor salaries."

    The slippery slope claim requires independent justification to connect the inevitability of B to an occurrence of A. Otherwise the slippery slope scheme merely serves as a device of sophistry.

    Nice spelling by the way.