Recent comments

  • Reader Participation Day: Is The National Park System In Danger Of Becoming A Catchall System?   5 days 16 hours ago

    I saw a comment a while back, and I think it was on this forum, that the NPS should maybe be broken up into 3 units. One should be for historic, another for military, and a unit for the nature parks. I think this is a better approach. Then those three units are funded and budgeted accordingly. It can get pretty sketchy when it comes to historic sites, because just about anything can be declared historic if it's somewhat aged. I think the original National Park idea was created to preserve landscapes. I think Mesa Verde was where that tide started to shift.I don't really seek out the cannonball sites, but I can see where they are part of the American fabric.

  • Reader Participation Day: Is The National Park System In Danger Of Becoming A Catchall System?   5 days 21 hours ago

    "Is the National Park System in danger of turning into a catchall system? Should a site dedicated to the nuclear arms race, another to union organizers, and another to First Ladies really fall under an agency that started out preserving spectacular vistas and landscapes, that showcases Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon?"

    Morristown was the first National Historical Park; it was created in 1933, 81 years ago. Salem Maritime was the first National Historic Site; it was created in 1938, 76 years ago. the first four National Military Parks were created in the 1890s, and were transferred to the National Park Service in 1933, the same year that the first NHP was created.

    So this seems like a particularly silly question to me. The National Park Service may have started out just preserving spectacular vistas and landscapes, but for the past 80 years it's clearly been managing more than that. It's not like the Park Service's expanded role of preserving sites of historical and cultural significance, in addition to areas of natural beauty and significance, is some sort of new development.

    If it is appropriate for the National Park Service to manage sites associated with the development of maritime industry or the textile industry or trade outposts, then it is appropriate for the Service to manage a site associated with the history of organized labor. If it is appropriate for the Park Service to manage sites associated with the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 and the Civil War and the Cold War (Minuteman Missile), then it is appropriate for it to manage a site associated with World War 2. If it is appropriate for the Park Service to manage birthplaces and residences and memorials associated with various presidents, it's appropriate for it to manage one associated with First Ladies as well.

    The alternatives to this would be either the government jettisoning these historic sites, which I feel would be a colossal loss for our country and our national heritage, or creating a duplicative and redundant bureaucracy to perform the same functions the National Park Service is already performing perfectly well -- and considering many of our National Parks still involve the management, interpretation, and preservation of historic structures (or are you saying there are none of these things at Yellowstone, at Glacier, at Yosemite?) the Park Service would still need to employ historians and archeologists like whatever new bureaucratic agency we create to exclusively manage historic sites. So what's the point? It sounds like an increase in inefficiency and a waste of taxpayer money to engage in such a reorganization.

  • Reader Participation Day: Is The National Park System In Danger Of Becoming A Catchall System?   5 days 22 hours ago

    I think that ship has sailed- the National Park System is already a catchall system. A cursory look at the variety of sites confirms that. I think the underlying reason is laudable: people want to protect and preserve the full scope of the country's natural, historic, and cultural heritage. The reason why all these areas are under the management of the NPS is because there are no real alternatives on the national level. The U.S. does not have Cultural Ministry like many nations, or a National Trust like the U.K. For those who believe an area desrves national recognition, there are few options other than the National Park System.

  • Reader Participation Day: Is The National Park System In Danger Of Becoming A Catchall System?   6 days 36 min ago

    Saying that those sites are in the "National Park System" is a catchall phrase in itself, since the first three are either National Historic Sites (or proposed) or National Monuments. They are under the jurisdiction of the Park Service, but they aren't National Parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon.

    The Park Sevice has different responsibilities for different types of sites and landscapes, and they are the logical agency. The BLM and Forest Service manage a few other landscape-scale monuments, but I can't imagine them in charge of historic sites.

    The real question is, as Jim Burnett raised, whether these sites are important enough to be managed by a federal agency.

  • Doggy Daycare Near Popular National Parks: Five Great National Park Destinations To Visit With Dogs   6 days 40 min ago

    Thanks, Rene. Correction has been made in the story.

  • Reader Participation Day: Is The National Park System In Danger Of Becoming A Catchall System?   6 days 43 min ago

    Thanks for the comment and links, Jim Burnett.

    A northern Maine woods national park may be a good idea. I guess I don't understand the logic of excluding Mt. Katahdin and the rest of Baxter State Park as is the case with this proposal. The scenery in northern Maine certainly qualifies as a National Park. The Northeast currently only is home to one national park -- Acadia outside Bar Harbor. Perhaps Franconia Notch and the Mt. Washington area in New Hampshire should also be considered for a National Park. Before he leaves office after the end of 2016, President Obama should consider some kind of action on a second national park for the Northeast.

  • Reader Participation Day: Is The National Park System In Danger Of Becoming A Catchall System?   6 days 1 hour ago

    Traveler, a tough issue. I am inclinned to agree with you however, my own bias is to try to protect more of the ecological units of the system. On the other hand, respect for our cultural and historical heritage is important also. But it does seem we are trying to preserve all of it, or, as Jim Burnett points out, becoming a catchall for sites that local organizations cannot maintain. Interesting issue.

  • Doggy Daycare Near Popular National Parks: Five Great National Park Destinations To Visit With Dogs   6 days 1 hour ago

    Please Note:

    Regarding California/Yosemite NP: The rate for Mandy's Ruff-Inn-It Dog Boarding in California should say $25/day, not $25/hour.

  • Reader Participation Day: Is The National Park System In Danger Of Becoming A Catchall System?   6 days 2 hours ago

    I have no problem with lots of variety in the system. I guess in my mind the term "catchall" implies the risk of the NPS trying to be so inclusive that the quality of the system suffers. In some cases, the primary motivation for recent or proposed additions seems to be (1) a local group can't afford to keep running an existing site or (2) the assumption that NPS status will result in a boost to the local economy. Neither of those is justification for addition to the NPS system.

  • Reader Participation Day: Is The National Park System In Danger Of Becoming A Catchall System?   6 days 3 hours ago

    Thank you Kurt for providing this thread to continue the "derailed" discussion of Kalaupapa.

    In my opinion, the answer to your question posed above is absolutely yes and it is absolutely the wrong way to go. The NPS should preserve signficant historical and natural assets. It should not be used to create symbols of hero worship or social/political movement celebration. The latter merely dilute its mission, relevance and budget.

  • Reader Participation Day: Is The National Park System In Danger Of Becoming A Catchall System?   6 days 3 hours ago

    What, exactly, is the problem with a catch-all system? There's some organizational challenges but you get to take advantage of synergies - preserving mixed-grass prairie at Little Bighorn or historic sites in the Smokies or archaeology everywhere.If the problem is that Congress likes to add sites without funding them adequately - - well, Congress is a different kind of problem.

  • Reader Participation Day: Is The National Park System In Danger Of Becoming A Catchall System?   6 days 3 hours ago

    In light of this question, it might be useful to look at just a few of the locations currently being touted by various groups for addition to the NPS:

    1. The Pullman neighborhood in Chicago, described by an article in the Chicago Tribune this week as "one of the nation's first factory towns."

    2. The George W. Bush childhood home ("when the family lived in the Midland home from 1951 to 1955, former President George H.W. Bush was in the oil business...") . It's already a museum operated by a local group.

    3. The Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area (Texas coast south of Houston).

    4. The Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana.

    5. The Maine Woods National Park and Preserve.

    A blog called the "New National Parks Project" appeared in January 2011, but hasn't seemed to gain much traction. Its basic premise does, however, touch on the same question asked by this article:" ... our National Park System is far from complete. There are hundreds of priceless natural landscapes and historic sites that qualify as new parks ...Now is the time to preserve these irreplaceable treasures as the next generation of national parks — before they are lost forever."

    The challenge will be figuring out which of those areas are truly "irreplaceable treasures" worthy of addition to the national park system...and which should be operated by other organizations.

    My answer to the the question: "Is the National Park System in danger of turning into a catchall system?" would be "yes."

  • Barge Day At Kalaupapa National Historical Park   6 days 5 hours ago

    Derailed, indeed. Any further comments need to be in a more civil tone, and pertinent to the subject at hand, or we'll just shut this one down.

  • Barge Day At Kalaupapa National Historical Park   6 days 12 hours ago

    No. This discussion was celebrating the annual barge arriving at Kalaupapa. Then it got derailed.

  • Essential Fall Guide '14: The Big Wild: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park And Preserve   6 days 12 hours ago

    Here's the kind of life-changing adventure such a place can provide:

    http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/169211-33-Days-Across-Wrangell-St-Elias-NP-AK-The-Southern-Spiral-(NSR)

  • Barge Day At Kalaupapa National Historical Park   6 days 12 hours ago

    This discussion is why selfish self-centered people are not allowed to make artibtrary decisions based on their ignorance.

    Really?

  • Barge Day At Kalaupapa National Historical Park   6 days 13 hours ago

    I didn't "throw out the race card". I noticed what you had said. "Throw out the race card" is right wing doublespeak for "damn, I got busted".

    You go ahead disassembling the NPS in your mind. Thank the gods and goddesses it isn't within your power.

  • Barge Day At Kalaupapa National Historical Park   6 days 22 hours ago

    just might be mired a little bit in some white privilege.

    Oh, so now we are going to throw out the race card?

    How about I add Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic site, John F Kennedy National Historic Site and virtually every other "privledged white President" whose home is a National Historic site.

  • Barge Day At Kalaupapa National Historical Park   6 days 22 hours ago

    And there is nothing 'unique' about our only isolated Hansen's Disease colony, where one of the people supporting the patients was granted sainthood for his efforts.

    This discussion is why selfish self-centered people are not allowed to make artibtrary decisions based on their ignorance.

    Let me see here - Kalaupapa, Brown vs Bd of Education, Tuskeegee Airmen, Manzanar... yup. For some reason it sure looks obvious that someone arguing against each and every one of those at the same time just might be mired a little bit in some white privilege.

  • Barge Day At Kalaupapa National Historical Park   6 days 23 hours ago

    Let's see, how about Brown vs Board of Education? Or Tuskeegee Airmen? Or Manzanar? Or . . . or. . . . or?

    Agreed, those and many others have no business being NPS units. That is one of the reasons the NPS is underfunded.

    There are tens of thousands of "historic" cites in our country. Should all of these be in the NPS? Of course not. And of course the NPS is not the only entity that could serve a "preservation" function. You want to tell a story, then write a book or write a check. Lets leave the NPS for the truly unique properties.

  • Arches National Park Working To Improve Parking Situation At Delicate Arch Trailhead   1 week 1 hour ago

    The partnership between Zion and the town of Springdale would be a great model to follow. Problems of overcrowding are not going to magically disappear. If anything is to be done, it needs to be done before visitation reaches disastrous proportions.

  • Arches National Park Working To Improve Parking Situation At Delicate Arch Trailhead   1 week 3 hours ago

    Plus, for the shuttle system, they could start the route in Moab, where they could have most of the parking areas. There's already a lot of parking available in Moab, and the park entrance is just a few miles down the road. The shuttle costs could all be included and absorbed in the gate fees. Arches is such a small park, that having a lot of cars in that place makes it feel more overcrowded, than what it would feel like if they had shuttles absorbing most of those cars from the roadway. Heck, the model is already in place across the state in Zion.

    I could also see this sort of model put in Bryce Canyon. The government really needs to consider those options as the popularity of these places grow astronoically. I remember 15 years ago going to arches, and having the delicate arch mostly to myself. Now that never happens.

  • Arches National Park Working To Improve Parking Situation At Delicate Arch Trailhead   1 week 3 hours ago

    A good idea, Gary. I suspect one of the issues is the cost of a shuttle system (both start-up and on-going operational costs) but one has to wonder how long a shuttle system could operate on the money spent on "expansion of the existing parking lot, eliminating roadside parking, [and] implementing a future reservation system for parking at the trailhead."

    Part of the problem NPS-wide for such questions concerns the limits placed on federal agencies when it comes to shifting money between various funding streams (i.e. congress authorizes "construction money" separately from "operating" money, and never the twain shall meet.) Most dollars also have to be spent in the year they were authorized, so money saved from not building a parking lot can't be spread over several years to fund a shuttle system.

    This is a case where I would be in favor of a fee to at least help fund a shuttle system. I for one would gladly pay a reasonable fee for a shuttle ride in such situations to avoid hassles of limited parking - and to avoid more paving of the landscape.

  • Arches National Park Working To Improve Parking Situation At Delicate Arch Trailhead   1 week 4 hours ago

    This is where arches needs to work on a tram system for that park. The delicate arch is one of those most iconic hikes in the National Park system, and it's well worth the hike out to see it. However, I don't want to see them build bigger lots to accomodate more autos, when they should consider going the Zion Canyon route, which has been very successful and made that canyon a way better experience after they implemented the shuttles.

  • Barge Day At Kalaupapa National Historical Park   1 week 14 hours ago

    I'm sure the same could be said about many other historic places protected by NPS.

    Let's see, how about Brown vs Board of Education? Or Tuskeegee Airmen? Or Manzanar? Or . . . or. . . . or?

    Just because you or your next door neighbor haven't heard of them doesn't mean they have no importance at all in our nation's history. If they are not preserved, important stories may be lost forever. There is one other similar place in the U.S., located in Louisiana. Here is a link to a travel website. Read the comments posted in it.

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g40067-d2189078-r122238610-Na...

    Remember that a knowledge of history is supposed to guide wisdom for the future. It's terribly unfortunate that to far too many Americans, history is but a dull footnote in a world of clangorous entertainment.

    Apparently, Congress in its eternal wisdom thought Kalaupapa was worthy of park designation.

    Another link. Again, scroll down and read the comments.

    http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/kalaupapa-leper-colony

    And a fascinating article from the New York Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/02/world/americas/02iht-leper.1.18320829....

    One line from the article caught and held my eye. It may say exactly what needs to be said about the importance of preserving this place and its story. " . . . . a national historical park with restrictions befitting its almost sacred nature." Be sure to read the entire article.

    And still another: http://westhawaiitoday.com/news/local-news/hilo-man-recounts-harrowing-e...

    Why do we need to preserve places like these? Could it be because of people with stories like these? Stories that should be remembered.