Recent comments

  • Appalachian Trail Hiking Death Prompts Call For Hikers To Be Safety-Minded On The Trail   1 week 11 hours ago

    Other news reports indicated the tree that fell on this unfortunate hiker had been slated to be taken down by the National Park Service. An example of the potential impact of deferred maintenance?

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   1 week 23 hours ago

    The press in turn did their usual trick, and made the story into a big propaganda lie – saying the ice was “shrinking” at -30C.

    If the experts at NSIDC actually paid attention to what was going on in the Arctic, they would have known that ice is growing rapidly and is past 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2011 levels – and headed towards the middle of the pack for the last decade.

    icecover_current (12)Ocean and Ice Services | Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   1 week 1 day ago

    Head of the Episcopal Church says denial of human-caused climate change is immoral:

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/24/climate-change-denial...

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   1 week 1 day ago

    http://climate.nasa.gov/news/2256/

    <<The sea ice cap of the Arctic appeared to reach its annual maximum winter extent on Feb. 25, according to data from the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado, Boulder. At 5.61 million square miles (14.54 million square kilometers), this year’s maximum extent was the smallest on the satellite record and also one of the earliest.

    Arctic sea ice, frozen seawater floating on top of the Arctic Ocean and its neighboring seas, is in constant change: it grows in the fall and winter, reaching its annual maximum between late February and early April, and then it shrinks in the spring and summer until it hits its annual minimum extent in September. The past decades have seen a downward trend in Arctic sea ice extent during both the growing and melting season, though the decline is steeper in the latter.

    This year’s maximum was reached 15 days earlier than the 1981 to 2010 average date of March 12, according to NSIDC. Only in 1996 did it occur earlier, on Feb. 24. However, the sun is just beginning to rise on the Arctic Ocean and a late spurt of ice growth is still possible, though unlikely.>>

  • Birding In The National Parks: New Festivals For Birders In National Park Settings   1 week 1 day ago

    The neat combination of birdwatching and flora gazing that you mention is something that can be readily done by visitors to the Acadia Birding Festival. Late May, when the festival is going on, is also a great time to see the Wild Gardens of Acadia and other area gardens - including one designed to attract butterflies. And this is a less crowded time to visit. Here’s a link to our blog post of some of these springtime activities: http://www.acadiaonmymind.com/2015/03/hope-springs-eternal-for-springtim...

  • Opening Roads In Mount Rainier National Park: The Good And The Bad   1 week 1 day ago

    The 2015 Rainier road openings have been announced:

    http://www.nps.gov/mora/learn/news/opening-schedules-2015.htm

    Note that the Cayuse Pass date has been pushed back to April 3rd. Unfortunately Megaera, Sunrise is not 'projected' to open until June 5th, which might be past peak flower season this dry year.

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 1 day ago

    and bias

    Everyone is bias. That doesn't make their facts wrong.

    You would be skeptical of anything from Reed College or Evergreen in a similar manner.

    I might be skeptical, but my rebuttal wouldn't be an attack on the college. It would be based on an understanding of their position and a reasoned response to their arguments.

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 1 day ago

    One thing the extreme right wing has gotten good at is selective editing.

    You quoted me as saying "Noticing a level of quality" when what I actually said was "Noticing a level of quality and bias". Not that you, being 47 degrees off center, would notice an institution which was also 47 degrees off center as being out of balance.

    It is a conservative bastion. You would be skeptical of anything from Reed College or Evergreen in a similar manner.

    By the way - US News & World Report was a money losing magazine, but has been documented and noted to turn a profit now that they are selling college rankings.

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 1 day ago

    Noticing a level of quality

    Hillsdale is ranked #69 of National Liberal Arts Colleges out of several hundred by US News and World Report. It is ranked the #1 college for vererans. Apparently he didn't "notice the level of quality". The college hasn't been around for 160 years because "its a joke".

    http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/hillsdale-co...

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 1 day ago

    Also, JT, don't forget that early in college is taught a class in 'Research 101', which includes "Evaluating your Sources".

    Noticing a level of quality and bias is not the same as ad hominem.

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 1 day ago

    Noone claimed they were "unbiased". The claim was they had a good lecture series on the topic.

    Hmmmn, makes one ask what constitutes a "good lecture series" if the source is not unbiased. In this case, maybe "good" means it agrees with the recommending individual's views, whether or not the information is unbiased....or accurate.

    I have no idea if that's the case in this situation, and don't really have to time to try to find out. The point was that universities that make multiple lists of either the most conservative or most liberal educational institutions should expect that their published material is going to be viewed with skepticism. Fair, maybe not. Perhaps it's about as "fair and balanced" as Fox News and many other sources. The sad truth is that's is becoming increasingly difficult these days to find information that isn't skewed by idealogy.

  • National Park Service Maintenance Backlog Approaching $11.5 Billion   1 week 1 day ago

    And no doubt about it.

    This is ALL the fault of that pesky Jon Jarvis and his compadres with white mustaches.

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 1 day ago

    There is a section in the Utah Constitution that expressly gives up claim to Federal lands. I believe there are similar clauses in constitutions of other Western states.

    The lands retained by the Federal government in Utah was land that at the time, no one wanted.

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 2 days ago

    And no, being dubious about a school like Liberty U. or Hillsdale as a source of unbiased political information is no more an "ad hominem" attack

    That is exactly what it is. Noone claimed they were "unbiased". The claim was they had a good lecture series on the topic. To attack the school(s) instead of rebutting their analysis is by definition an ad hominem (or in this case ad ludus) attack.

    "An attack upon an opponent in order to discredit their arguement or opinion. Ad hominems are used by immature and/or unintelligent people because they are unable to counter their opponent using logic and intelligence."

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Ad+hominem

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 2 days ago

    Well, we've moved on to the realm of deeply held political convictions, so nothing more is likely to be said that will convince those on either side. As to states like Utah and their "rights" to public lands, a similar, long-running debate ensued on another story some months ago on this site, with similar results. Little to be gained by revisiting that debate, but feel free to have a go if you wish.

    I will say, however, that's it's been nice that, for the most part, this discussion was held without name-calling or other silly tactics. And no, being dubious about a school like Liberty U. or Hillsdale as a source of unbiased political information is no more an "ad hominem" attack that questioning similar sources from Brandeis or New York Univ:-)

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 2 days ago

    Which meant we needed "a deal" that the West would belong to the country.

    The states don't below to anyone put their people.

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 2 days ago

    You might as well take one a Liberty College.

    I think you mean Liberty University. Probably not a bad place to take a course on the Constitution and Federalist Papers either. But your "joke" actually ranks much higher than Liberty. Perhaps you would like to disect their arguments rather than just make ad hominem attacks.

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 2 days ago

    EC? Who established the western states--every one of them west of the Appalachians? Did Utah, et al., "create" itself? No. We the People approved those states. Which meant we needed "a deal" that the West would belong to the country. The Louisiana Purchase would belong to the country. And so on, and so, and so on. The deal was the Articles of Confederation, in which every colony, i.e., existing state, gave up all title to the West. Virginia, Georgia, etc., had sea to sea charters from the Crown.

    The East made the West. You didn't make yourself. You are there because the people of the original colonies made Colorado, etc., possible. And died for that possibilty across the battlefields of the Revolution.

    When it came time to stop dispensing the public lands to settlers, the Articles of Confederation, melded into the Constitution, prevailed. Yes, the American people are the biggest landowners in the nation, but then, history proves that they have earned it.

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 2 days ago

    ec--Hillsdale College is a joke. Don't recommend a course on the Constitution from this ultra conservative organization. You might as well take one a Liberty College.

    Rick

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 2 days ago

    It did not lead to anything obligating the federal government to part with every acre.

    You are correct. There is no Constitutional "obligation" but there is also no " deal our forebears made" either. The practice and expectation as described by Mr Robbins was that the land be distributed.

    And no, I don't like sound bites, but I don't need to know every vote and vote count taken on legislation that didn't pass.

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 2 days ago

    EC--The "book" was our Our Landed Heritage by Roy M. Robbins, and I am sorry you found it tedious. The complexity of democracy is always tedious, certainly, much more difficult than rolling out sound bites. You like sound bites; I like history. History tells me where the sound bites fail.

    So, let's do history. There is nothing in the Constitution that says the federal government has to give up the public lands. Nothing. The Ordinance of 1785 provided for the distribution of the public lands to private buyers (speculators) as a means of funding the government. The West protested because bonafide settlers kept losing out to the speculators. That led to preemption and the Homestead Act. It did not lead to anything obligating the federal government to part with every acre.

    If the people of Utah (and the West in general) were better stewards, I might sympathize. But I don't. I can see every summer from Interstate 15 what the good people of Utah have in mind. St. George just can't wait to put up another electronic billboard. Blink! Blink! Blink! Come to my furniture barn. Blink! Blink! Blink! Our ATV barn is waiting for you!

    If the simplest acts on behalf of beauty escape the people of any community, I know better than accept the argument that these people really care about the land. For caring about the land means to care for beauty. Anyone can say they care, but I want to SEE they care before parting with my public lands.

    I say most "locals" across the West have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they refuse to grow up and care. It may be your "room," children, but it's the country's house. First clean your room before you tell me you deserve the house.

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 2 days ago

    Dr. Alfred Runte, thank you for an excellent post. Living in a rural county for the last 55 years, I hear the local state rights/anti public lands sentiment daily. Some need to get out and broaden their perspective a little. Many are friends, but they are usually uniformed on the issue, except for protecting and perpetuating their own interest. It is amazing to work with many of them when they actually get a chance to work for a land management agency, they begin see the the importance of these lands and the laws that regulate them. You hit the nail on the head in my opinion. Been out on a fire for 6 days, doing some prescribed burning in Yosemite National Park. The Central Sierra is extremely dry for this time of year, the Park staff is doing some RX fire that has been on the back burner for many years. The one parcel in Wawona has no recorded fire history, will be an important defensive line for protecting the Grove and the Wawona area in general, let alone the ecological benefits. Three fishers have been spotted in the area, good news. Thank you again Dr. Runte.

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 2 days ago

    Jim et al,

    Hillsdale College has an excellent, free, online lecture series that discusses the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. I highly recommend you take the time to listen. Then you can better appreciate the principles that founded our nation.

    http://www.hillsdale.edu/

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 2 days ago

    Just out of curiosity, I looked up the following:

    An interesting history here of the Great Seal of the U.S. - whose design process began in 1776 and therefore predates the Constitution. The motto, or slogan, chosen for the seal also appears in a mural inside the capitol dome in Washington:" 'E Pluribus Unum' describes an action: Many uniting into one. An accurate translation of the motto is 'From Many, One' or 'Out of Many, One' – a phrase that captures the symbolism on the shield."

    That site also notes, "On Continental Currency (fractional notes), the emblem designed by Benjamin Franklin had a circle of 13 interlocking rings surrounding the motto, "WE ARE ONE."

    Like most other topics, one's reaction to such information is filtered through a host of previously stored ideas, so interpretations of this history can be expected to vary :-)

  • Report: House Natural Resources Committee Wants To Transfer Federal Lands To States, Tribes   1 week 2 days ago

    You know that the "locals" are bureaucrats, too.

    Yes they are. But they are bureacrats that are much more familiar with the local issues and are directly accountable to their constituents.

    That was the deal our forebears made back in 1777.

    Could you point me to where that "deal" was made? As that tedious book someone recommended earlier (whose title escapes me at the moment) describes, it was anticipated (and executed) nearly from day one that the lands would be distributed to the citizens.

    Brave men and women built this country--not on the basis of states' rights but rather what the country itself needed.

    That is the anithesis of what our Constitution stands for and I believe our brave men and woment fought for and built this country based on the principles of our Constitution.