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Charting National Parks Traveler's Future

Dec 25th - 20:19pm | Steve Nelson

What makes me nervous is when the founder and board want to go in different directions, the board wins and then the organization goes downhill.  I realize Kurt that a lot of work goes into this and maybe you need more paid staff, I don't know.  I also realize that you might want to retire some day (you look fine in your photos).

Dec 25th - 19:14pm | Rob Wilson

Well done, Kurt. You've done a yeoman's service in creating an important news outlet regarding our national parks. Congrats on this big move forward!! 

Dec 25th - 19:05pm | Matt McGrath

Great idea, Kurt, good luck with it. Our public lands are better off with NPT around. 

Dec 25th - 16:38pm | Surprised

Very surprised to see coverage of oil exploration in the preserves, which not a lot of folks know are usually quite close to parks. You guys really are in and around the areas and not afraid to hit on the issues! Best wishes for 2017.

Dec 25th - 16:37pm | Kurt Repanshek

We appreciate your concerns, Jenn. Perhaps we can ease them a bit by pointing to these articles:http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2016/07/travelers-view-park-service...

Dec 25th - 16:27pm | Jenn Grover

Best of luck in your ventures I hope to see you expand do your coverage of the parks to include a more balanced reporting on the management of the parks, including fair criticism of Superintendent Jarvis and including the systemic sexual harassment issues that have plagued the system, recently.

Dec 25th - 14:56pm | Harryb3570

Good luck with your application Kurt. National Parks Traveler is a unique publication that informs the public about the issues pertaining to our National Parks. I have come to rely on your publication and consult it every day to catch up on the latest news. There is no other publication that even comes close to covering the stories I find in the Traveler. 

National Park Service Director Jarvis Announces Retirement

Dec 25th - 16:00pm | Lee Dalton

I have a very bad feeling that with the incoming new administration, we may be looking back on the days of Jarvis wishing he was still here.

Dec 25th - 11:25am | Ghost of NPS Se...

We hoped for a career NPS Director to work with our career seasonal workforce and try to help them obtain retirement and health care.  Jon traved well but rarely made any changes culturally or organizationally. 

Dec 24th - 19:12pm | Ghost of Steven...

He failed us.  Failed the parks.  Failed the people.  Failed our President.  Embarassed us in the context of our proud history and traditions of excellence.  Led us nowhere, counting on the big party to cover his lack of leadership.

Dec 23rd - 17:25pm | R. Wilson

Good riddance. This is an opportuntiy to change a damaged culture of the National Park Service. Let's hope 2016 was the low point.

Dec 23rd - 15:28pm | Alfred Runte

Yes, SmokiesBackpacker--universities. They run a job search and 250 people apply. The next thing you know, the spouse of the president, provost, dean,, or department chair has the job. It just so happened that out of 250 people, he or she was the most qualified. The polite term for it is "spousal insert," in which the search is just run for show.

Dec 23rd - 12:58pm | SmokiesBackpacker

Harry, I just wonder if it is even possible to change the NPS culture presently.  Aren't there so many with such an ingrained mafioso mentality?  These are lifers and Nepotism seems to be rampant.  Are other agencies this fruaght with relatives working with and for each other?  

Dec 23rd - 11:41am | Harryb3570

Mr. Jarvis's tenure as Director of the National Park Service was marked by many more low points than high points. He was a severe disappointment to the employees of the National Park Service and to the American people. We can only hope that with the new year and new administration a more capable and better person is appointed as Director.

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

Dec 25th - 15:58pm | Lee Dalton

I don't know Mr. Caldwell or anything about him other than what I've read here.  But I have to take exception to the idea of giving him a pass for this conduct.  In my experience, and I'm sure others have observed the same, when someone is caught in something like this, it's usually not the first or only time it has happened.

Dec 25th - 14:49pm | Harryb3570

I totally agree with you Green Thumb. He is a Regional Director and should be held to the highest standard. I really do not believe that his previous career is the issue here. The issue is that he comitted fraud. His did this knowingly and only admitted the fraud when confronted with the facts. He should be fired. He has admitted his guilt.

Dec 24th - 19:21pm | Ghost of Steven...

The cherry on top of the Jarvis cake. Of course he would leave us all with another scandal, underscoring his amazing failure of leadership.  However, it is also on us, for we allowed it and constantly defended the train which was happening in front of our own eyes.

Dec 24th - 17:57pm | oldbuffalo

RD Calwell committed fraud to the tune of $17,000, and only after he was caught did he admit it. There is no way, regardless of how good a boss he may have been in the past that someone who steals thousands of $$$ from their employer, and the public should be kept on in any capacity.

Dec 24th - 17:40pm | Rick B.

Al. I'm familiar with your experiences at the UW, both the many recountings you've made of your side here and also what is available to those of us in the greater Seattle area and on the internet. Sorry to disappoint, but my comments in this thread were not directed to or about you; the wandering detail of your comments about you are then immaterial.  

Dec 24th - 16:56pm | Green Thumb

I'm not familiar with Mr. Caldwell or his long tenure with the National Park Service, and I don't take a black and white view of someone being all good or all bad.  Even considering his work history and prior performance as a mitigating factor, there are so many aggravating factors.  In his position, he is expected to be held to a higher standard.

Dec 24th - 16:36pm | Alfred Runte

Rick B., as you will recall, I wrote here in defense of Jarvis's right to author a book "without permission." This is different, and now, in the form of Michelle and Bottom Line, has taken on the character of a "campaign." Okay, I'll bite.  The "defense" here rests on the premise that when confronted, Mr. Caldwell confessed.

Dec 24th - 16:02pm | Rick B.

Bottom Line - don't forget the feeding frenzy of the Jarvis Haters. No shades of grey, only black/white, hate/love stuff.

Dec 24th - 15:44pm | Retired Ranger

Not sure who the commenters are who claim he is/was a great boss. Perhaps you are GS-12 and above. My experince was the opposite, he was the worst boss I ever had in 35 years of service.  Everything done to advance his career to the detriment of the park and its employees, in particular to us grunts.

Dec 24th - 14:29pm | The bottom line...

i said he should be appropriately disciplined. I disagree with dismissal. He has had a stellar career with no past disclinary issues. He also admitted wrongdoing. These things are always factored into final decisions when doling out discipline - no matter where you fall in the food chain. 

Dec 24th - 11:36am | Atascadero

No, Bottom Line. The bottom line should be dismissal. This is exactly what got Trump elected, gibberish to the effect that any bureaucrat should get a pass. How is any bureaucrat "an asset" when he or she steals from the public trust? So he "owned" his stealing. What does that mean, if not that any bureaucrat is entitled to steal?

Dec 24th - 11:34am | Michelle

No one is perfect.  I believe the "good" he has done for NPS definitely outweighs this obvious lapse in judgment.  People make mistakes everyday including all of you negative commenters.  It appeared that he accepted responsibility when he was confronted.  That's commendable.

Dec 24th - 10:31am | The bottom line...

The damage is done and he has owned it. Sure, he should be appropriately disciplined but quite frankly, I'm rooting for him as he has otherwise, been an asset to the NPS. 

Dec 24th - 08:45am | wild places

"considering disciplinary action" Wow, says volumes about the leadership (or lack there-of). My sympathies to the ethical people still working for the NPS.

Dec 24th - 06:49am | Calypso

He should be fired immediatel, arrested and tried just the same as if he were in the private sector.  The good old boys club does it again.  Until people like him are knocked off their pedestals this kind of behavior will continue to take place.

Dec 24th - 03:24am | Anonymous

As a long-time NPS employee, this behavior is another example of a generation of leaders whose sense of entitlement is no longer being accepted and that group of "good old boys" is nearly gone.  I would NOT put Mike Reynolds in that group.  He is part of the change this organization needs.

Dec 24th - 01:10am | Matt Holmes

He should try to hang on for the new interior secretary to decide since also violated travel regulations by flying his special ops team to work on his house in Montana. #swampthing

Dec 23rd - 21:34pm | Anonymous 1

No reason to mitigate intentional wrongdoings of senior managers who blatantly scoff at accountability and ethical behavior. This is a poor reflection on those of us who choose to behave otherwise.

Dec 23rd - 20:29pm | WeCare

i have to agree with SorryNotSorry. He's a great RD. That's no excusing the indiscretion. It's merely acknowledging that his contributions and his otherwise clean record should not be ignored.  Good people make mistakes. We can agree to disagree.

Dec 23rd - 19:30pm | WeCare

He's probably the best boss I've ever had. Sure, this is disappointing news but I still respect him and his meaningful contributions to the NPS. As far as I'm concerned, he's still my boss. 

Dec 23rd - 19:11pm | AreYouMikeCaldwell?

You've got some strange notions. There's nothing dedicated or honorable about using your position to steal. This automatically disqualifies you as a great RD, and only someeone born yesterday wouldn't be skeptical of his long record of public service. The idea of this person posing as a leader or god forbid disciplining his inferiors is appalling.

Dec 23rd - 18:08pm | Hot got two too...

 Well said....

Dec 23rd - 17:36pm | Anonymous

The question: Would a lower level employee be "reassigned" or would they simply be canned? is completely relevant. Shouldn't there be EQUAL treatment of employees at all levels?  Perhaps if it was a less egregious situation or an honest mistake, it could be forgiven.  But for someone at his level to be handed a waiver for behavior he admits was wrong is wrong.

Dec 23rd - 17:15pm | SorryNotSorry

From my perspective, this is awful news for the National Park Service. Personally, it saddens me to read about the very poor judgement of an otherwise dedicated and honorable leader.

Dec 23rd - 15:47pm | michael stronski

Mr. Caldwell will be sent to Washington  to work with Mr. Reynolds. Did you they are both Buddies. Reynolds work with Caldwell in Philadelphia. This will all blow over and nothing will happen to Caldwell. They all know when they are doing this kind of activity that it will all blow over.

Dec 23rd - 11:34am | Harryb3570

Another scandal to mark the administration of Director Jarvis. The man comitted fraud in the submission of his dishonest vouchers. He should be fired and not reassigned. 

Dec 23rd - 10:01am | Lee Dalton

Would a lower level employee be "reassigned" or would they simply be canned?  This guy needs to be sent packing.  Pronto. If, however, he is reassigned, it should be to cleaning restrooms at Tuzigoot or separating recyclable items from the garbage bins at Anacostia.  

Dec 23rd - 09:46am | Anon anon

From my own dealings with NER staff, particularly of the Boomer generation, I've gotten the impression that there's a culture of entitlement among them. They've expressed some bizarre opinions about what they're entitled to as employees, that they deserve the same perks that -- for example -- corporate executives often receive.

New ‘Eco-Tents’ Coming To Campground At Virgin Islands National Park

Dec 25th - 06:55am | Joan

My son and I stayed here about 25 years ago and had the best time.  We stayed for 2 weeks and were able to experience the beauty and laid back nature of the area.  We even took a side trip to the BVI's.  A great location and seriously cool camping experience.  Beats the heck out of a high rise hotel.  

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Completes All Work Related To The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015

Dec 24th - 08:49am | Lee Dalton

A little Congressional micro-managing of a park via legislation by amendment to satisfy some noisy people?

A Winter Of Solitude Can Be Found At Acadia National Park

Dec 23rd - 16:34pm | Acadia on my mind

If you're looking to hike up Cadillac in the winter, we happened to have just answered a reader's question on our blog, about alternate routes up Acadia's highest mountain: http://acadiaonmymind.com/2016/12/planning-a-trip-to-acadia-in-winter-as...

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

Dec 23rd - 16:13pm | ecbuck

 Lots of people budget their money carefully in order to afford a visit. And a $20-30 park fee is likely to be a small fraction of that budget.

Dec 23rd - 16:04pm | ecbuck

And who are those people Rick?

Dec 23rd - 16:00pm | Rick B.

Marc --- some folks, misguided in my opinion, feel that the government in general and the parks in specific, should be run on a profit/loss statement and should be dollarized.

Dec 23rd - 15:52pm | Marc Norton

Ecbuck, if you think plunking down $20 or $30 to get into a National Park is "mere noise," you clearly have never been poor.

Dec 23rd - 11:54am | Kathy

The pass is for US seniors.  

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