Recent comments

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   1 week 3 days ago

    Y'all don't forget a few months back that Eric didn't think the plastic bottle disposal was a problem, and we decided to dump them all in his back yard.

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   1 week 3 days ago

    There is no government ban on buying bottled water. Buy it anywhere you want. Just not in a national park. Or in any of the numerous stores that have decided not to sell it any more.

    Funny that people who yowl about "choice" want to prevent others of us who have urged our parks to stand firm on this decision from seeking to have our choices honored.

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   1 week 3 days ago

    Sell me a reusable bottle and I'll be fine, thanks.

    Oops. I already have one. It's got Mt. Rainier on it.

  • Traveler's View: Economic Engines Are Nice, But Let's Not Overlook The True Value Of National Parks   1 week 3 days ago

    Singing Amen at the top of my lungs.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   1 week 3 days ago

    EC,

    I do not see how your citation from Hereford, et al 2002 refutes what I wrote.

    I do stand corrected for carelessly citing the statement in the WRA report. The quote, as you accurately cited it, is bad enough that it does not need any embellishment.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   1 week 3 days ago

    Most of the Colorado River's flow is from snowpack during the winter, not rainfall.

    Apparently not:

    "Precipitation on the Colorado Plateau is biseasonal, having both winter and summer regimes (Hereford and others, 2002). In the headwaters, precipitation generally is evenly distributed across the four seasons, accumulating mostly in snowpacks."

    http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2004/3062/

    an unprecedented, 1,000-year drought

    Best you go back and reread that report.

    "being exhausted by a 14-year drought, unprecedented in the last 1,000 years"

    The report claims a 14 year drought which has been unprecedented in 1000 years. Very different statements.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   1 week 3 days ago

    beachdumb,

    All of those projections have so far been completely incorrect. Poor water management practices, environmental policies and low rainfall are the problem.

    Really? You left off the rest of my sentence: "due to the impacts of climate change, reduced Colorado River flow, and rising demand for water."

    Even with the best management practices, the demand for water from the Colorado River has outstripped the supply. This is because the population has grown exponentially over the last half century. Better management can help, but not without a dramatic reduction in demand.

    Most of the Colorado River's flow is from snowpack during the winter, not rainfall. The amount of snowpack has been decreasing and what does accumulate is melting sooner and losing more water to evaporation, because of the impacts of an unprecedented, 1,000-year drought, exacerbated by climate change.

    As to projections being incorrect, maybe you have not seen the peer-reviewed paper published in 2008 by scientists at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, which predicted that Lake Mead could go dry by 2021, if existing trends continue. The continuing decline of Lakes Powell and Mead are consistent with this report's findings. Maybe you have not read the 2013 Colorado River Supply and Demand Study, which concluded that there is already a significant water deficit, and it is likely to rise to 3.2 million acre-feet by 2060. Since then, the trend is consistent with what they projected.

    Perhaps you can share your sources of information that prove that these projections or the data they are based on to be incorrect, because I have not seen any.

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   1 week 3 days ago

    Yeah ed, but at least they only want to give you the opportunity to buy, unlike the government which is forcing you into lifestyles/purchases.

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   1 week 3 days ago

    It's nice that the International Bottled Water Association, is so concerned for me.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   1 week 3 days ago

    Scott, it's the old professor in me, and I apologize. These days, I wouldn't last a day in a university. Simply, when you called my lecture a rant, well, I reverted to type. All of my lectures come to a conclusion that makes sense. You simply have to put down the smart phone and listen! I love The Traveler because people listen, and yes, for the most part intelligently respond. As for what is happening these days in universities, that is a lecture for another time.

    You make excellent points, as well. And here is the point about Lake Mead--dam and all. It's beautiful. During the summer, I pass through there practically every week on my way to give lectures in Zion. It's blazing hot, but still beautiful. Those landscapes (especially the red rocks) are a gem. I can't get enough of seeing them, just as I can't get enough of the Mojave National Preserve and the great desert landscapes along historic Route 66.

    Twenty years ago, we were right to expand our great desert parks, just as we are now wrong to forget the rest of the desert. I am not against wind and solar per se, but yes, they need to be sited carefully. Instead, we have Siemens and other companies this week taking out full-page ads in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, informing us that concentrated solar and wind power are "good," because the land costs "out there" are so "reasonable." Again, I read between the lines. If the Interior Department were not leasing those lands so "reasonably," would wind and solar--as presently conceived--pencil out?

    We already know the answer. No. That is why the "innovators" need the public lands and tax credits. That is why Interior does not call THESE lands "carbon dioxide sinks."

    Every time my good friend Garrett Hardin was challenged in class (Biology and Human Ecology, UC Santa Barbara), he responded in this way: "What would you think of a man about to jump off the Empire State Building, assuring you he would invent a parachute on the way down?" He might well know the "invention" he needed, but could he pull it off in time?

    That's us--promising ourselves the inventions, but can we pull enough of them off in time? And if we don't, what have we destroyed in the process? Why don't we simply wait and perfect the inventions before proceeding? We did that with the transcontinental railroads and the Space Program. We insisted the technology work. Then we gave the land grants and the government contracts. Only when the risk was reasonable did we take the risk.

    What happened? Well, we have been discussing that, haven't we? These days, the politicians feel obligated to leave their mark on the fire hydrant, even when they have no pee. Look what I brought YOU! The point remains: It's our money they're spending. Those are our public lands.

    Don't tell us that you see "carbon sinks," when what you really see is dollar signs. Kurt's editorial this morning says it all. And it's time we the public said it, too. You haven't given me a thing that I didn't already have. If you want to take credit for stealing it, at least be honest that your parachute might not open in time.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   1 week 3 days ago

    By all credible projections, there will never again be enough water to fill both Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoirs, due to the impacts of climate change

    All of those projections have so far been completely incorrect. Poor water management practices, environmental policies and low rainfall are the problem.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   1 week 3 days ago

    EC and Scott,

    By all credible projections, there will never again be enough water to fill both Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoirs, due to the impacts of climate change, reduced Colorado River flow, and rising demand for water. Glen Canyon Institute has proposed the Fill Mead First plan, which would designate Lake Mead as the primary water storage and distribution facility for the upper and lower Colorado River basins. Operation of Glen Canyon Dam would be changed to allow water to flow through as a run-of-river facility, filling Lake Mead reservoir before impounding water upstream in Lake Powell.

    Fill Mead First would significantly reduce evaporation and seepage into the Lake Powell reservoir basin, saving or recovering 300,000 acre-feet or more of water per year. It would allow Glen Canyon to recover its natural integrity, allowing it to eventually be designated as a magnificent National Park. It would also benefit the Grand Canyon ecosystem, which is declining because 90 percent of life-giving sediment is being held back by Glen Canyon Dam. And it would store the water where it is needed, in Lake Mead, which supplies water to millions of people in Nevada, Arizona, and California — and holds water allocated to Mexico by international treaty.

    With the growing impacts of climate change, Fill Mead First is already happening, without any change in water management policy. Dan Beard, former Commissioner of Reclamation says it is time to recognize the inevitable. He says we should acknowledge that building Glen Canyon Dam was a collossal mistake, and we should tear it down and restore a free-flowing river through Glen and Grand Canyons. His new book, Deadbeat Dams, makes the case for this strategy, as well the abolishment of the Bureau of Reclamation, which he argues is obsolete.

  • Traveler's View: Economic Engines Are Nice, But Let's Not Overlook The True Value Of National Parks   1 week 3 days ago

    Dittos Kurt, i think you hit the nail on the head.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   1 week 3 days ago

    EC -

    You are correct it would be a colossally bad idea to go bust up the dam tomorrow. I was being very flippant and general in my response.

    I would advocate for a well planned destruction of the reservoir that necessarily includes planning for the welfare of the people impacted. It also would necessarily include a more common sense approach to people living in such arid lands.

  • Special Fee To Tour Ice Caves At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Covers Park's Expenses...And Then Some   1 week 3 days ago

    Instead, they can just close it completely during the winter so no one can see it.

    Or, they can sell it to a developer who puts in lights, hot tubs, a disco, and a restaurant and charges $50 for entry. Comes with a free commemorative glass so you can remember being there.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   1 week 3 days ago

    I'd like to see both the dam busted

    Scott,

    What would you use to replace that water? Given the current drought conditions in CA and elsewhere in the west and the shortage of water exaserbated by inadequate reservoir storage, that doesn't seem like such a great idea.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   1 week 3 days ago

    Dr. Runte - All the points you site in your response to my post are excellent, except for one: I am aware of Interior managing BLM lands. You are again doing precisely what I had a problem with in the first place. I specifically stated: "..in the case of surrounding NF lands..." which you then twisted into me being "obviously unaware...of BLM". I really just wish you would could get past this kind of stuff.

    Anyway, all very good points, as are Michael Kellet's which are presented without any other distractions.

    For the record, in my opinion places like Lake Mead suck anyway because those big fat reservoirs shouldn't be there in the first place. I'd like to see both the dam busted and the wind farm taken off the table.

    I am in complete agreement that population explosion is #1 problem. But it's not going away any time soon so we are tasked with figuring out ways to handle it, unfortunately. At the same time we certainly should be trying to rein it in.

  • Cost Of Enjoying Shenandoah National Park Going Up May 1   1 week 3 days ago

    On that day, the entrance fee for motorists entering the park will go from $15 for a week-long stay to $20.

    I wonder how many people actually stay for a week. The reality is that many are paying that for a day or two. I'm not an anti-fee guy but I do object to the mischaracterization of these fees. $20 ($25 in two years) for a week is a bargain. $20 for a day, not so much. I wish that had passes for shorter durations at lower prices and maybe higher prices for the full week.

  • Traveler's View: Economic Engines Are Nice, But Let's Not Overlook The True Value Of National Parks   1 week 3 days ago

    Tahoma,

    The NPS used the economic engine ruse long before Jewell came on board.

  • Traveler's View: Economic Engines Are Nice, But Let's Not Overlook The True Value Of National Parks   1 week 3 days ago

    Many thanks, Kurt, well-said and overdue! It's encouraging to me that more people are questioning this 'economic engine' propaganda and it's no doubt inflated numbers. I suppose this is the sort of 'vision' one should expect from the former CEO of the "Official Outdoor Retailer" of the NPS centennial:

    http://www.rei.com/about-rei/newsroom/2015/rei-announces-historic-partne...

  • Bottled Water Industry Urges National Park Service To Permit Bottled-Water Sales In Parks   1 week 3 days ago

    Ah, the scent of money in the morning!

  • Traveler's View: Economic Engines Are Nice, But Let's Not Overlook The True Value Of National Parks   1 week 3 days ago

    That article is absolutely excellent!

    Thank you, Kurt. It's just about the best piece I've ever seen here in Traveler.

  • Traveler's View: Economic Engines Are Nice, But Let's Not Overlook The True Value Of National Parks   1 week 3 days ago

    Well said. The "economic engine" argument is a total sham. Those properties that truly contain "the unique landscapes, human histories, and biological wonders" are worth preserving for their own sakes and for the sake of current and future human generations to enjoy.

  • Traveler's View: Economic Engines Are Nice, But Let's Not Overlook The True Value Of National Parks   1 week 3 days ago

    Thank you, Kurt.

  • NPS: National Park System Is An Economic Engine, And Valuable Carbon Dioxide Sink   1 week 4 days ago

    Agreed, Alfred, WE are the enemy. And yes, overpopulation of the planet is our biggest threat. And yes, we are dithering instead of even trying to think of solutions. Books like Ackerman's are at least attempting to get the story out in understandable terms to average people. Unfortunately, average people are too busy being entertained to pay attention.

    I'm glad I won't be here when the fit hits the shan, but I do worry about my grand and great grand kids. The future looks pretty bleak from where we now stand.