Recent comments

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 8 hours ago

    it turns backcountry into frontcountry

    That's been my thinking as well, Gary. For example, having GPS, even if I never turned it on, would give me a sense that I was not truly off the grid and in the "wilderness." As another GenExer weighing in, I'm not sure where that situates me vis-a-vis Boomers and Millenials. Like rmackie and dahkota, I find this to be a very interesting conversation.

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 8 hours ago

    I'm with Gary W. on this one, at least what I call the Suit Of Armor Syndrome he describes well. I wish he could just state his point and drop the insults, though, I can see the advantages in urban or historic units, but please keep technology out of the wilder parks to the greatest extent possible.

    Remember that improved 'safety' and 'convenience' cuts both ways. How long before all backpackers and (fill in the blank) are required to have transponders surgically implanted for tracking (think of the fee possibilites) and many poor rangers retire early on carpal tunnel disability from a career joysticking survellance drones from some windowless bunker? [satire emoticon]

    FWIW It probably won't surprise anyone that I'm a pre-Boomer

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 9 hours ago

    And that's why I prefer the wilderness. When you enter the wilderness, you should expect that you might be on your own and things could go wrong at any moment. That's why you have to be prepared to survive on your own and be able to handle a situation if it were to occur. A lot of people use technology more like a crutch. I once again, dont think we should be putting cell towers all through our national parks just for safety purposes. One of the reasons the Frank Church can feel like one of the most primitive experiences in America, is that there is no cell service anywhere. A cell phone is completely useless. A 2 way radio will give you some better odds. A spot device may buy you some time. A whistle will be your friend, if you are lucky to see anyone else. But, having some basic understanding of wilderness survival is what is key in those situations. And these are skills that I think people lack when they rely on technology to bail them out. A few years back, I remember it was nearing winter, and this guy and his teen aged kid decided to climb the tallest peak in the Sawtooths. Since they had a satellite phone, they felt invicible, and felt they could challenge the incoming weather, which anyone that lived in the area could tell you would be a hazard to all but the most insanely skilled and intune mountaineer.. Well, they got to the top of the 10,000 foot granite mountain, and a snowstorm hit with freezing rain and turned the granite into a sheet of ice. Since they had a satellite phone, and didn't have the right equipment for the terrain they now had to navigate through, they used their only tool they had to bail them out - their satellite phone. It took S&R about a day and a half to get to them, and they were stuck on a ledge nearing hypothermia. Point is, did the satellite phone give them an extra sense of security? Yes, most definitely. Would they have done it without the satellite phone? More than likely not. At any moment, they felt they could call S&R and get a bail out. This is the problem with technology too. It makes areas that would be out of the league for many feel more accessible. In a sense, it turns backcountry into frontcountry. Same sort of thing happened in the Smokies last year, when 3 wet behind the ears greenhorn thought they could pull off a 10 day excursion during a blizzard in the smokies while wearing cotton, and carrying a blowtorch for heat. BUT they had a single bar on their cell phone.

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 10 hours ago

    EC, your background in communications is interesting. Yosemite Park did not even have radio system when I started, we did have some Korean War backpack type radio equipment and some line of site walkie talkies. Communications were interesting. If you were on horse patrol or on foot and an incident arose, you went to the nearest comfort station where a phone was located in a closet were the cleaning equipment was stored. As late as the middle 1960s, there were no radios for trail crews or wilderness rangers. If you came upon on incident, you loaded the victim on a mule and headed to the nearest trailhead. In any case it has really changed. Expectations of visitors, procedures for handling emergency situations, etc. Initially I was opposed to cell phone towers in developed areas, but in the last 7 years working on fire calls, more and more I think it is necessary.

    Times have changed, when I started in Yosemite, visitation was roughly 500,000 a year (now 4 million plus). Tuolumne Meadows in 1960 had a visitation of less than 25,000, now it is 1 & 1/2 million. Roads have dramatically improved, as have cars, more visitors on buses, well, it is simply a different set of operational issues for the employees as well as the plugged in generation.

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 10 hours ago

    Before working where I do now, I worked for about a decade in the energy and communications industry. I know quite a bit about technology. You can quit with your smarmy attitude. You act like a typical NYer.

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 10 hours ago

    So Gary, tell us, what are your credentials on cellular and satellite technologies. You own an Iphone and a SPOT?

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 10 hours ago

    Yeah, and you sound like youre still stuck back in the 80s.

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 10 hours ago

    Obviously, i'm a lot more techonlogically savy then some washed up realtor.

    Once again, you are showing your ignorance. Perhaps you should do a little research on my career before becoming a realtor. I was a co-author of one of the first investment research reports ever written on the cellular industry (1983) and had a 30 year career researching and writing on communications technology.

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 10 hours ago

    Whatever you want to believe, I could care less, EC. Now go find someone else to troll... loser. Satellite technology is quickly on the horizon. Obviously, i'm a lot more techonlogically savy then some washed up realtor. Now go away.

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 10 hours ago

    I stated most things will be satellite based in the future.

    Your speculation. You also stated:

    "Heck, almost all cars today have voice command technology in them." as a follow up implying that it is based on satellite technology today. It isn't. If you knew anything about the technology, you would understand it will be a long time, if ever, that satellite will dominate cellular. If it ever does, the towers can always be taken down.

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 10 hours ago

    EC, get a life. Seriously. Once again, I stated most things will be satellite based in the future. Obviously, like usual you pick and choose what you want to read. And yes, my wife and I own a car that has voice command recognition. It's not all cellular based. In fact, a cell phone is not needed, nor is a cell phone tower necessary. Freakin' derp.

  • Unknowns In Terms Of Funding And Personnel Await New Units Of National Park System   2 days 11 hours ago

    True on the Tenement site, Sabattis, and true on the funding process. And that's the problem that has contributed to the deficit and the woes of the Park Service. It's far easier to create and expand units and demands on the NPS than it is to provide the funds for establishing and maintaining those units.

    It's akin to if your spouse went out and bought everything in sight, leaving you to figure out how to pay for it, all the while you're trying to pay off last year's bills. That's why as a household you actually develop and try to adhere to a budget, something lost on the Congress.

  • Unknowns In Terms Of Funding And Personnel Await New Units Of National Park System   2 days 11 hours ago

    As another correction, the bill will not "create" Lower East Side Tenement National Historic Site. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum was designated as a National HIstoric Site and Affiliated Area of the National Park System in 1997. This law won't really change that - it does expand the National HIstoric Site designation to include a second building, but it doesn't change the Affiliated Area status of the site.<br>Also, it should be noted that "regular order" for Congress is to establish Naitonal Parks without additional funding. That's because national parks, under "regular order," are created by "authorization laws" that come out of the public lands committees. These committees actually do not have the power to appropriate funding for the parks - that power is reserved for the appropriations committees, which under "regular order" pass separate legislation known as "appropriations laws."

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 12 hours ago

    Marilyn,Do you have those wetlands and fragile dunes locations?

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 12 hours ago

    Heck, almost all cars today have voice command technology in them.

    Which, other than the GPS data, is primarily cellular based. Once again you pontificate on a subject of which you appear to be clueless.

    http://auto.howstuffworks.com/onstar2.htm

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 14 hours ago

    What a great idea. Let's have the Park Service go back to it's 1916 roots and 1916 fees. in 1916, the seasonal fee for cars in Glacier and Mesa Verde was $2.00 that would be about $40 today. Yellowstone was $10.00, about $200 in today's dollars.

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 14 hours ago

    If you want to read, in full, Max Old Bear's Forum piece that is quoted in Kurt Repanshek's article above, it is posted on the Sleeping Bear Naturally Facebook page.

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 15 hours ago

    I'm also part of the "MTV Generation" and I do think as time rolls on, you'll see the transition from the baby boomers to gen x over the next few years as the boomers retire and gen xers and millenials become the prominent role players in politics, government, and the corporate world. Heck, the Smokies just hired a gen xer as their Superintendent.

    Dahkota, my issue with cell towers is two fold. One they are only temporary. I don't see them serving a purpose beyond this generation because things are changing very fast. Second, cell towers are not always providing "safety" as everyone thinks. I don't want to see roads built up mountinsides in our national parks to put up cell towers. I like to see unblemished skylines in natural areas, and those natural skylines are a receeding commodity. This was a heated debate in one of the mountainous areas of Idaho a few years back when the USFS was planning a cell tower. The one side stated it was all about "safety", while the other side stated it was more about protecting the landscape and keeping it as unblemished as possible. The stats sort of show that when people are connected they tend to pay more attention to their phones vsx when they have no connection, they pay more attention to the roads. National Park roads can be very dangerous. Anyone that has driven over the passes in Yosemite, Glacier, and various points in Utah can attest to that.

    Regardless, it won't be long till satellite technology overtakes everything. Heck, almost all cars today have voice command technology in them.

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 18 hours ago

    Interesting post dahkota, I am inclined to agree, cell towers located in front country areas seem appropriate to me. On another issue, I thought I saw a comment that the concessionaire in the Grand Canyon who filed the litigation appears to have come to a short term contract extension with the NPS. The press release by the park stated this would be good for park visitors as well. I agree. However, I was disappointed that the NPS press release did not mention that the employees, both for the concessionaire and all others, would benefit also by this compromise agreement. The parks simply cannot function without the dedicated and competent employees of all park operations , it is important to recognize their contributions equally with the visitors and the park resources.

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 18 hours ago

    Because the Front Country moves into the Back Country with such "stuff." NPS fights quite hard for buffer zones around the perimeters that could change the Parks themselves by proximity and actually taking over the natural design and purpose. I suggest they consider the cell towers and the incroaching "virtual" disconnect when they consider buffer zones.

    Dahkota, the youthful Boomers should be granted the possibility of maturity, a short commodity, it seems. The other option is a form of arrested development.

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 19 hours ago

    I find this topic fascinating, if only because I am a member of "generation X" which may be more appropriately called, "the forgotten generation." Sandwiched between the Baby Boomers and the Millenials, I can't help but giggle at the animosity that seems to arise between the two. Baby Boomers seem to have forgotten their push for change and their belief that progress would better the world. Millenials haven't learned that experience matters nor that they still have a lot to learn.

    At any rate, there is enough room in the National Parks to satisfy everyone. In some respects, that is the job of the parks, yes? "...unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." So what if they enjoy it a little differently than you? Chances are, you enjoy it a little differently than your parents. Chances are, your parents parents had no chance to enjoy it at all.

    The National Parks consist of "front country" and "back country." The front country consists of restaurants, lodges, gift stores, roads, paths, trails, and plenty of companies one can pay for various 'experiences.' The back country consists of nature, as natural as we have been able to leave it. What is the problem with adding a cell tower or two to the front country considering how unlike the back country it already is? Would anyone notice them? Probably not.

    The idea that the Parks have to be either/or is ridiculous - they aren't in that state now. Add a cell tower or two "for the enjoyment of future generations;" some of us current generations would be enjoying them, too. Unimpaired doesn't mean unchanged.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   2 days 20 hours ago

    Great piece of writing, sir.

    Merry Christmas mood to you (What's important:).

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   2 days 21 hours ago

    Dear Santa,

    Yes, I have been a good boy this year. I did not buy that SUV in the window or do more than my fair share of flying. But really, Santa, I could use a train!

    You see, Santa, back when I was a little boy, the country was full of trains. Now people don’t know what they are anymore, even as they talk endlessly about global warming. Remember the train you brought me in 1952—the one Mom, Dad, Gus, and I rode to New York City? You can’t do that anymore in Binghamton, Santa. The last train left on January 4, 1970, and Binghamton has been building highways ever since. Mount Prospect has just been blasted into oblivion to “improve” the interchange for Routes 17, 88, and 81.

    Even here in Seattle we only have a few trains, although past governors have promised us many. The current governor is allegedly an environmentalist, but Santa, all he thinks about is building roads. Boeing just announced it will use “green” energy to build its airplanes down in Renton. But isn’t the problem the airplane, Santa? How do you stop global warming without limiting those?

    Meanwhile, will someone please remind the governor that there is no such thing as a “greener” car? If the roads need to be improved for any car, what about the CO2 that generates?

    As for the homeless and the unemployed, they have forgotten trains, as well. Remember all of the African-Americans the railroads let go in the 1960s? You were never able to find them comparable jobs, Santa.

    We Americans thought we were so smart! If we got rid of our trains, and built an Interstate Highway System, we could fight global warming with more hot air! As for all of those middle-class jobs that went to African-Americans, well, they could move to Ferguson, Missouri, and make do.

    Santa, there just has to be a better way to move people—and employ people—than constantly asking for a greener car. How can we save the earth by recasting the problem? How can we protect the land without first slowing down?

    Sure, our highways are clogged from end to end. But that is not what I mean by slowing down. I mean taking the train and looking out the window. I mean flirting with that lovely young lady in the dining car.

    I wrote a book about it, Santa, but few people read it. Environmentalists these days are into wind farms and solar power plants. Can you navigate your sled past those? The eagles can’t, nor the hawks and bats. But hey, we are saving the earth from global warming!

    You see what I mean, Santa, about these environmentalists. They have forgotten what it means to have wonderful trains. They have forgotten what it means not to bulldoze the earth into oblivion just to make room for their favorite “solution.”

    Come to think of it, they need the train set more than I. So please, Santa, stuff their stockings with some common sense. And don’t anger them by leaving a lump of coal. They deserve it, but they just wouldn’t understand the message. They think coal is an even bigger sin than driving. Perhaps a toy wind turbine would do.

    Thank you, Santa, and don’t forget that Denmark recently claimed the North Pole. Now that the ice is melting, they want the minerals and the oil. So does everyone in the Northern Hemisphere, including Russia and the United States. You want consistency? Not in this country, Santa. If you give us more oil, we will gladly burn it, and then blame the other guy for burning his.

    Sorry, Santa. I didn’t mean to sound so cynical, but yes, it does surprise me what people demand in the name of global warming while forgetting how it started in the first place.

    As for the train I want, I’ll take the Phoebe Snow. But I wouldn’t mind The Twentieth Century Limited, either, especially if it comes with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. Now there was a ride up the Hudson to remember.

    You will find your milk and cookies under the tree. Just be careful about those wind farms. All of those blinking red lights are not Rudolf’s nose.

    Sincerely,

    Alfred

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 21 hours ago

    Yup, Ron. And it usually doesn't take very long here for us to see perfect illustrations of what I was trying to say.

  • Reader Survey Day: Should The National Park Service Angle For "A New Generation," Or "Go Back To Its Roots"?   2 days 22 hours ago

    Thank you Lee, a thoughtful post, fear, harboring resentments are human, its hard to get past them sometimes.