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Op-Ed | The Qualities Needed In The Next National Park Service Director

Jan 4th - 11:21am | Alfred Runte

Yes, Lee, some very good comments, which is what Harry hoped to achieve. But look at the bitterness between the lines, and again, the bitterness against the President-Elect. No, he did not say global warming was a hoax. He rather said how we are responding to it is a hoax.

Jan 4th - 11:15am | rmackie

Harry, your post is interesting, thanks for taking the time to express an opinion. I am not in agreement with you, respectfully said.   Rather than elaborate more on the issue, dark ranger, Tomp, d-2 and Michael Kellet summed up my own view of the issue quite nicely. .

Jan 4th - 10:54am | Michael Kellett

The author's vision for the new National Park Service Director is clear. We need to clone Donald Trump! Just like the qualities that made Trump such an awesome choice for President, the new Director will Make the National Parks Great Again because he will also: * Be "bold" leader. * Come from "outside" government.

Jan 4th - 10:20am | Lee Dalton

Some really excellent comments here with a lot to chew on and think about.  Especially those by dark ranger, Tomp, and d-2.

Jan 4th - 03:34am | iamthedarkranger

Jan 4th - 03:31am | iamthedarkranger

Jan 4th - 03:21am | d-2

  Harry Butowsky's piece has the wrong problem.  Harry Butowsky also has the wrong solution.   And the entire piece is riddled with contradiction; he praises one Director for traits he condemns in others.  Then he rips up another Director for what he's written a hagiography for another.  

Jan 4th - 02:33am | tomp2


Jan 3rd - 22:54pm | trailadvocate

 "We have a lot of crap that needs to be cleaned up" and that is precisely why our President Elect is Mr. Trump.  The present POTUS and others in power have had their chance and things have gotten progressively worse, on all counts.  Someone that has actually succeeded at something in the real world might just be what NPS and every other agency at the National Level needs.

Jan 3rd - 22:27pm | tomp2

I agree with pretty much everyone here that there aren't any obvious internal candidates for NPS director, and that even if there were, NPS is in the phase of the cycle where an outsider coming in as director would be beneficial.  We have a lot of crap that needs to be cleaned up, and a lot of ossified patterns that need to be examined and broken.  Contra Dr.

Jan 3rd - 21:19pm | Waning gibbous

I can only hope that the Trump administration will put so much thought into the selection as that which has gone into this article and the comments. For good or bad, the administration's needs and expectations will override the hopes and aspirations of us national park travelers. Nice work, Harry B.

Jan 3rd - 21:11pm | So well?

 Did Mr. Jarvis can Mr Caldwell ???? 

Jan 3rd - 18:55pm | Rick B.

Al, it would be nice if your comments weren't so patronizingly pedagogical. This is a discussion. Trying to be civil. I haven't paid tuition to be talked down to and given reading assignments, and as far as I know you haven't been an active professor for quite a while.

Jan 3rd - 16:07pm | Alfred Runte

Well, Rick, at least you got halfway through. Now, did you read McFarland's speech? I was waiting to see if you would catch the part about running the national parks without corporate influence, i.e., the government should provide all of the services.

Jan 3rd - 15:59pm | tahoma

I think the choice of the next NPS Director, indeed the National Parks themselves, will likely become irrelevant once our fascist Manchurian candidate is inaugurated.  Prolonged economic depression is probably the most benign of the Trumpian futures awaiting us if he somehow avoids blundering into nuclear war.

Jan 3rd - 15:26pm | Rick B.

Al, I was with you until you started demonizing the media and minimizing the actual words and deeds of Trump. At that point, I'm sorry, but you are simply another apologist.  

Jan 3rd - 15:02pm | Alfred Runte

Rick, J. Horace McFarland was giving this speech exactly 100 years ago today at the Fourth National Parks Conference, convened by Stephen T. Mather in Washington, D.C.,

Jan 3rd - 14:40pm | Michele Curran

Interesting article, but I am concerned that the solutions offered for the problems within the NPS are derived from the past.  If we want to join the 21st Century we need to look forward to true innovators; people not afraid to move into the future.

Jan 3rd - 13:24pm | drew hanson

Conrad Wirth placed obstacles in the way of the Ice Age National Park being designated and Jon Jarvis prevented the Ice Age National Scenic Trail from becoming a unit of NPS. How about the next NPS Director is someone interested in filling gaps in the System or who does not suffer from Mountain Majesty Bias?

Jan 3rd - 12:29pm | Rick B.

A good read.  

Jan 3rd - 10:56am | Alfred Runte

Harry, this is superb. I hope Ryan Zinke is reading The Traveler, and further passes this along to the President-Elect. Certainly nothing I have seen in the media comes close to your reasoned analysis. Why do great leaders look outside bureaucracy? Even Horace Albright underscored that point.

Chunk Of Land Falls Into Ocean, Nearly Kills 5 At Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Jan 4th - 06:37am | Claude Grandpey

I fully agree with the previous comment. Park rangers are performing a great job to ensure the visitors' safety.

Jan 3rd - 20:37pm | Lance

When we were there in Kalapana in the summer of 2016, Park Rangers REGULARLY warned tourists about dangers of fresh and even old lava flows. They were relentless but polite and friendly as they know the danger is real. LISTEN to the Park Rangers as they quite obviously save lives. In addition they are also extremely helpful and knowledgeable and so are great people to ask for help.

Smartphone Photography Cited In Yellowstone Bison Attacks

Jan 3rd - 23:09pm | Cornell

A lot of people are very disconnected from the wild and do things they would not dream of doing if there was a barrier between them and wild animals, such as in a zoo. On top of which, common sense is no longer a common commodity - not just in the United States.   Selfie-seeking tourist bitten by Thai croc

Lifetime "Senior" and "Access" Park Passes Now Available By Mail

Jan 3rd - 15:33pm | toy cannon

Pass cost $10 which is great but then a 100% markup for "processing?"    That sounds like a rip off.   This should be $2 at most.  I've heard that later this year that the senior pass will go up to $80.  

Stories From 2016 That Merit A Second Look

Jan 3rd - 11:38am | Alfred Runte

27 degrees in Seattle this morning. My cats won't even go out. Meanwhile, all of the television stations are reporting 110 percent of snowpack in the mountains. The ski areas plan remaining open past April, we are told. We are also told to expect three more months of cold and snow.

Jan 3rd - 10:31am | Lee Dalton

I'm not sure where would be best to post this, but this seems as good a place as any.  Here is a link to a very interesting article regarding Global Warming.  Be sure to watch the NASA video of the Arctic ice cap:

Study: Roughly One-Third Of Yosemite National Park Lost For Resource Extraction

Jan 3rd - 11:25am | Rick B.

"Nothing dollarable is safe, however guarded." Should have a correalary - "but better guarded than not".   I've heard apologists hedge that "resource extraction does not necessarily ruin the land", but it nearly always does, and it will be a fear for the next four years.  

Pruning the Parks: Mar-a-Lago National Historic Site (1972-1980) Was a Gift the National Park Service Couldn’t Afford to Keep

Jan 3rd - 11:19am | Rick B.

What an incredible monument to excess.

Jan 2nd - 22:38pm | Paula

Must have been interesting to have been married to EF Hutton! That house must have many secrets inside those walls. 

UPDATED: Price Of Senior Pass Going To $80; Buy It Now For $10

Jan 3rd - 11:14am | S. Adams

Yes there is a pass for persons with disabilities.  See link: 

OIG: National Park Service's Northeast Regional Director Committed Travel Fraud

Jan 3rd - 08:53am | Kurt Repanshek

We're going to shut this thread down for having lost its relevance to the parks.

Jan 3rd - 08:49am | ecbuck

Ron, I would be interested in specifically what "rhetoric" you found objectionable.  I suspect it is more likely others' claims and interpretations rather than his actual words that bother you.  And, somehow I doubt this billionaire was motivated by "the money in politics".  He already has said he would like to forego the Presidential salary - $400,000 a year.

Jan 2nd - 22:11pm | rmackie

Good question EC, but yes, in my opinion, when people are angry and frustrated, myself included, they sometimes strike out, placing the blame on others, a persons gender, ethic background, religious affiliation, economic status, well the list gets complicated.

Jan 2nd - 21:42pm | rmackie

Alfred, thanks for the thought provoking post. I do think you make a good point on the "rule of law" issue, and if it is a poor law, the right to change it is also good .Alfred, as this is a park blog, but must admit it is difficult to address these issues without discussing the politics behind them, I hope our trails cross someday, would like to discuss this with you further.

Jan 2nd - 19:55pm | ecbuck

 as I once again walk away from you. Run, not walk. So typical. Can't stand up to back up your claims and accusations. Tell us, do you really believe that 49% of voters voted for "fear, intolerance and bullying"?

Jan 2nd - 19:47pm | Rick B.

Eric - why did I enter into a mudpile that you're treading water in. Twist this word and that word, and suck all the life out of the conversation. Please feel free to claim the last word as I once again walk away from you.

Jan 2nd - 19:11pm | ecbuck

So Rick, it was only 49% of the voting public that are into "fear, intolerance and bullying".   Nice to know you think so highly of your fellow citizens.  The popular vote differential is infinitesimal when compared to the total vote.  If it was popular vote insteal of electoral, Trump would have campaigned differently and the popular vote would have been quite different.

Jan 2nd - 18:59pm | Atascadero

Actually, "the majority of Americans" (320 million) did not vote at all. Of those who actually voted (130 million), we may agree that the majority voted for Hillary Clinton. And now, the $64 dollar question. How many of those voted legally? The Democrats (and some Republicans) would have us believe the Russians "hacked" the system, but the system was already hacked.

Jan 2nd - 18:06pm | Rick B.

Despite talking points from the revisionists, the majority of Americans did not vote for Trump. Indeed, the majority of voting Americans voted against him.    

Jan 2nd - 17:07pm | ecbuck

Ron, you claim Trump is a demagogue and preaches "fear,intolerance, bullying"  By definition, a demagogue is " a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument".  Do you think that "fear, intolerance and bullying appeals to the popular desires"?

Jan 2nd - 15:11pm | Alfred Runte

Ron, what did the other side "preach?" Here in Seattle, and much of Washington State, Democrats preach that no Republican deserves to hold public office. And so we get the government we deserve, now a government better at inbreeding than upholding the rule of law.

National Park Service Director Jarvis Announces Retirement

Jan 2nd - 20:00pm | Lee Dalton

Maybe we need to resurrerect George Hartzog.

Jan 2nd - 17:32pm | Kevin G. Abney

I worked for the NPS from 1984 through 2006 under several Directors.  In my opinion it is time for someone outside the NPS to come in and shake up the agency a bit.  The history of Directors has gone back and forth with people from inside the agency and others being appointed from outside.  I think this helps keep a balance and benefits the National Park Service in the long run.

Multi-hour Delays Coming To Roads Along Lake Crescent In Olympic National Park

Jan 2nd - 19:04pm | Megaera

I'm glad they're finally doing it, but wow, what a PITN it's going to be!

B-29 Superfortress That Lies at the Bottom of Lake Mead Continues to Draw Attention

Jan 2nd - 15:18pm | Douglas Grayfea...

I just watched the saddest video about the team that worked for over a year up in Greenland to fly a B-29 off the ice.  New engines, props, electrics, etc. Only to have it catch fire and burn to the ground as they watched, I almost cried, all that work and $$$ up in smoke.  Wow.    

Fee Increases Going Into Effect At Parks Across The Country

Jan 2nd - 14:05pm | RickyAZ

Don't mind the increases, still cheaper than movie tickets for 4, much better value. This should encourage purchase of annual passes.  Wouldn't mind seeing an additional fee charged (by weight perhaps) to the RV users which are obscenely large and shouldn't be part of a $10 lifetime pass. Yeah Fairness!   Happy New Year

Jan 2nd - 13:47pm | ecbuck

GA - I think you need to go back and read Wild's post again.  

Jan 2nd - 13:10pm | GA RV TRAVELER

Wild Places - Yours is a typical Left Wing Liberal comment there! If you would raise your head out of the sand and stop drinking the kool-aid long enough you would see that these increases have occurred under YOUR Obama reign of terror, just like everything else he tried to destroy in America, hte National Parks never dodged his wrath and evilness toward America and Americans!

President Obama's Public Lands Legacy

Jan 2nd - 13:36pm | Lee Dalton

Ah, Tomp, there ya go, messing up somebody's fantasies with facts. 

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