Recent comments

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 3 days ago

    It is no wonder Lee that you would cite articles that totally mischaracterize the legislation. Is that where you learned your strawman tactics?

    Selling public land is hardly "killing the parks". In fact the Section 107 a 1 B ii specificaly Excludes lands and water managed by the National Park Service from the provisions of the Act. Were you ignorant of that fact or just thought everyone else was and lied about it?

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 3 days ago

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 3 days ago

    Exactly, EC! Beware of falling prey to the "Narative."

    There is a real world out there and folks would appreciate getting back to it.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 3 days ago

    Gary, please show us where either Cruz or Paul expressed their desire to "kill the parks"

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 3 days ago

    I think, maybe foolishly that all the monkey chatter from the likes of Ted Cruz's and Rand Paul's won't have much effect in diminishing and destroying the parks we have. They can scream that they are going to kill the parks, take aways the funding, and remove the department of the interior - and trust me they have tried, but in the end the parks are still here and they still endure. I also think my sons generation, and his sons generation will also experience places like Yellowstone, and the Tetons, and Maine Woods like they exist today. Heck, it might be a little bit wilder by then. I just read that Yosemite is reintroducing big horns. And, i'm sure the wolverines, and grey wolves will be next. The Smokies introduced elk and otters over the last decade, and the Smoky Mountain Madtoms and other fish species are on the rebound, when at one point they seemed doomed. So, we are slowly recovering from the mistakes made from the past century in our National Parks.

    Many industrialized and western societies have declining birth rates. In fact, at this point, a majority of western civilization are barely at replacement rate. The Chinese and other cultures like Brazil are starting to age in their population pyramid. Japan and many countries in Europe are already in a decline, as many couples decline to have more than 1 kid. As long as we don't start popping out clones, I think the population will get smaller, and wealthier on a global basis. Granted, there are a lot of issues. We have to move beyond fossil fuels, and we have to solve the trash, and fresh water crisis's that is starting to plague even counties like the USA. I still think there will be vast wilderness areas in 100 years, and the United States will still have many National Parks. At that point, there probably will be a centralized global government (or a few factions of countries like the ever evolving EU), and many of our National Parks will be protected at a higher level than they are today. So, i'm not in great fear of the future. it will be different, but it might be better....and yes, it could be worse. But, I try not to look at it with a glass half empty approach. The National Parks are one thing i've always been optimistic about in this country. They will endure.

  • Presidio Expected To Add An Additional Lodging Facility   4 weeks 3 days ago

    Agreed, Lee. Blame those soulless fiscal fools trying to judge everything by whether or not it makes a profit. I believe the NPS is something that we should do because it is right, not because we can squeeze additional coinage out of it.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 3 days ago

    You're absolutely right, Gary. Living is dangerous to everyone's health. When Johnny Carson asked George Burns how he had lived so long, Burns replied: "I don't know. I'd ask my doctor, but he died last week."

    Perfection? No one is perfect. However, as a generation, the World War II generation gets my vote. We Boomers? Spoiled brats, I agree. We went to college and took over the administration building. Boy, that sure brought the Vietnam War to an end!

    Of course, I didn't get to participate. I was working my way through school--totally. Mom didn't pay a dime and couldn't. As a secretary in the Binghamton City School District, it was beyond her means even then.

    But she did take my brother and me to the national parks. And it stuck. What is "sticking" among young people today? Just this morning, I heard there will be 90 million more people in this country by the year 2050. In other words, we will add to the population in just 35 years what it took this country 300 years on the first go-round (1607-1900). You think wilderness will survive that? I hope so, because yes, it will be entirely up to you.

  • Ten Signature Projects In Yosemite National Park To Help Highlight National Park Service Centennial   4 weeks 3 days ago

    Great projects, especially these:

    Restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

    Meadow and River Corridor Restoration

    Recovering Two Endangered Sierra Nevada Amphibians

    Returning Endangered Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep to Yosemite’s Wilderness

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 3 days ago

    I've seeked out a lot of wilderness in my life, and I don't think large swaths are being destroyed. I'll never see it all, or explore all that there is out there. Someone could spend their lifetime just trying to make it into every drainage and mountain top in the Frank Church Wilderness.

    But, I agree we should protect more. I also think outreach via the web is a crucial aspect of keeping park and wilderness protection in the minds of people, both young and old. The east coast is in need of a lot more wilderness and large scale parks. The high allegheny, maine woods, and the expansion of the congaree should be considered.

    But trust me, the world is not going to stop when the last boomer is buried, nor will the protection of parks and wilderness lands.

  • Presidio Expected To Add An Additional Lodging Facility   4 weeks 3 days ago

    Ah, just what we need. More affordable lodging for visitors to our parks.

    But I guess if you can afford $100 a pop for each member of your family to visit Disneyland, you can certainly afford $375 a night for a room at the Presidio.

    Shhheeeeeeesh! And we belly ache over a five dollar fee to try to help a park cover expenses of protecting the backcountry or cleaning restrooms.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 3 days ago

    I might be missing something, Gary, but I thought both Alfred and I were expressing frustration with so many Americans -- no matter what label might be applied to them -- who act like the world begins and ends with them. The Great American Entitlement Mentality.

    I firmly believe that, as Thoreau said, "In wildness is the preservation of the world."

    As we rapidly destroy wildness in the world, we destroy a whole lot more.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 3 days ago

    I disagree Lee. A large % of boomers act like the world begins and ends with them. It used to be funny, but after many years of hearing the same repeating rhetoric over and over and over, it just becomes mundane and boring. Most of those boomers are the ones in the souped up RV's. I've taken my 4 year old into the backcountry and backcountry camped, and I let him take his DS system. He always has a blast, and also plays the DS at night when it's "down time". Some of my friends in Idaho have raised their 1 year olds on skis, and now they are backcountry warriors at a very young age. I'm not the only one doing those activities, and my friends aren't either. Get a grip. Alfred is batting maybe a low .300, but he's not perfect, and neither are you or me.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 4 days ago

    I understand completely what Alfred is trying to say. Unfortunately, much of it is correct. It reminded of some musings I tossed into Traveler a couple of years ago that might be pertinent today.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 4 days ago

    I am grateful that the websites will be (hopefully) standardized. I hated floundering around, clicking on link after link, trying to figure out where someone saw fit to put the information I need.

    I was just browsing the Mohave Preserve Site and really like the "Ranger Perspectives" section. The rest of the site hasn't yet been updated though Organ Pipe Cactus has...

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 4 days ago

    The game continues on with or without you. The same applies to us all, and I hate to break it to you, but you aren't the finality. Neither was Muir, nor Abbey, nor Leopold, nor that website, or this website, or that other website.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 4 days ago

    But I'm not "out of the game," Gary. I just know when to call it a game.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 4 days ago

    Rick, you want specifics instead of generalities? How is this for a specific? Forty percent of young people under 30 are living back home with their parents. What did "college" ever do for them? Now the Park Service. Practically every young person I have met these past several years is either seasonal or permanent, subject to furlough. Again, where are the permanent hires as naturalists and/or historians ensuring the "rich legacy" America alleges to uphold?

    Blame Congress? I am over that. I blame the society that elects the Congress. If it mattered--as in really mattered--these problems would be resolved.

    Thirty years ago, Nancy Reagan whispered in Ronald's ear: "Tell them we're doing the best we can." I am tired of that argument, too. Meanwhile, you can "sit at Muir's side and just listen." All you have to do is read his books. However, if you want to leave a legacy every bit "as rich," you are running out of time. Why? Because the legacy he left demanded great discipline to protect it, and that discipline has nothing to do with technology.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 4 days ago

    I doubt i've lost any "connectivity". I've done my share of "connecting" to the wilds of America, and probably have a lot more experience in that realm than most that post on here.

    The problem with PA is that there is little federal land in the state. So there is no federal wilderness protection, and the "business flavor of the day" is railroaded through by state legislature's whims. It's a state rights advocates dream, and a microcosm of what happens when you have "complete state control". The state forests are wrecked by gas development, and it's a shame what has occurred there.

    And Al, we all have editors and review sessions in our daily work. Come on, you sound like you've been stuck in academia for wayyyyy too long. There is this thing called the real world. I've had editors and review sessions in every job i've worked at. Granted, I don't write for a living, but I have done many other things, and review sessions and an approval process is part of every game. There are clients out there that pay the bills, scientists that want to see what you are saying has accuracy, organizations that want solid products. Come on...QUIT with the generalizations and falsehoods. The world didn't stop when you got out of the game.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 4 days ago

    C'mon, Al. You yourself would have to take a bit of red pen to your own note. Generalities much? "Society only wants what is relativant today?" All of society? Which of them 'only' want it? Relevant to who? And on. Back it on down a bit on the broad brush and the "you kids get off my lawn!" and let's find that middle grey that is most of the real world.

    In your examples, you could easily enough travel with slide trays and use Army surplus topo maps and so on. You chose not to, but to grump along the way about the old days.

    We can't ask Leopold, or Abbey or others their opinion on many things. It's sad. I'd pay a bucket of negotiable tender to sit at Muir's side and just listen, but those ships have sailed. It's up to us to do the best we can, with the world we have, to ensure that we leave as rich a legacy as they did.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 4 days ago

    Rock on, Mr. Runte! Could be that some are just so full of digits they have missed the loss of the beauty of connectedness, simplicity not going at warp speed. Today's politics are going so fast that factoids of reality are to be avoided. Crucial period and not just for the Parks, I believe.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 4 days ago

    Kurt, My favorite billboard remains "Harolds Club or Bust!" (Reno, Nevada). Before the casino closed, yes, Christine and I were "busted" more than once. Otherwise, I guess Wyoming was referring to Yellowstone, although now, as reported in The Wall Street Journal this morning, it is also known for thousands of abandoned gas wells. Guess who gets to pay for sealing those?

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 4 days ago

    Believe me, I'm not into bashing anything, Gary. And I do happen to like Google Earth. Right now, I am using it to plot all of the gas wells being fracked in northeast Pennsylvania. And take a look at the huge quarry (Pennsylvania bluestone) just east of Lanesboro and the Starrucca Viaduct. Another great American landscape is being compromised, along with the human achievements that made it great. See Jasper Francis Cropsey's magnificent painting, "Starrucca Viaduct, Pennsylvania" (1865).

    My point is: I taught this painting when all I had was slides. Now that I have and use Power Point, the colors are not as rich. But yes, TSA no longer laughs at the slide trays in my luggage, and lets my e-drive through in record time.

    I am just reminded of the price we pay. What would Edward Abbey think of Google Earth? And Aldo Leopold? When does the ease of access become TOO easy? Next month, a group of scientists is meeting in Berkeley, California, and the news release is riddled with errors. Does the Park Service even know what the errors are? Once upon a time, when the country moved at a slower pace, these things could be caught and corrected. Now the errors will be replicated without any thought of the consequences, simply because so many people "trust" the Internet.

    When I wrote my first book, there was such a thing as crotchety editors who cared about accuracy and content. I learned to love them for what they did. I just don't see that kind of attention to detail these days, with a few wonderful exceptions like The Traveler. And don't get me started about my former English teachers who ripped me apart with red pens. We could use a good dose of that again on the Internet, but unfortunately, speed trumps quality practically every time. I know it because I lived the difference, taught the difference, and hoped I would make a difference. But you see, society wants only what is "relevant" today. And a beautiful language is farther down on the list.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 4 days ago

    Alfred, trust me, i've used my share of topo maps over time. However, I use google earth quite a bit too. For example, last year, I spent quite a few hours plotting a route through google earth that I used to get into an area of the painted desert. I'm farily certain this area hasn't seen much foot traffic. It took quite a bit of effort to get back into, and Google Earth was a great tool to scout my trek. And I bought the park quad map at the vc, and it was absoutely useless, compared to the printouts I took. Even the VC brouchures and maps they gave me were useless. If I would have relied solely on the park quad, I more than likely needed an S&R from being lost deep in a maze of badlands that made little sense by just using the quads. My google earth printouts on the other hand gave me pespective when matched with the terrain of the badlands that surrounded me.. I've used google earth extensively over time, and it's a great tool. Sorry, but I'm not going to be that one to say that back when I was a kid that Atari was far superior to today's Xbox. Evolution happens. I realize, you like the way things were, but the planet is changing. One area i'm in agreement with you is for preserving large wilderness areas, and trying to maintain a semblance of wild America. I think in that we find ourselves common allies. But, to bash the digital realm and blurt that your way was greater and more superior makes me question your philosophy and reasoning behind those claims.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   4 weeks 4 days ago

    I am sorry I ever brought up the subject of Scott Walker. He has nothing to do with the NPS or the poor quality of its many web sites. I would just like NPS management to show some competence and have a web presence worthy of the vast diversity and richness of park resources. That means no broken links, up to date material, images that work and are appropriate, and managers who have the courtesy to answer email that may come in from the visiting public. Many of our existing web sites are just not meeting this standard and would not be tolerated by any private business or other government agency. I believe that in this digital age NPS management is clueless about the power of electronic media. I hope that this will change soon.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   4 weeks 4 days ago

    Al, there was a time when the billboards welcoming you to the Cowboy state said:

    Wyoming, Like No Place On Earth!

    So, wonder what the creative minds envisioned it was like??