Recent comments

  • Higher Entrance, Camping Fees Coming To Olympic National Park   3 days 3 hours ago

    Yep, slashed. In 2013, for one example, the park budget at Olympic was cut 5% due to the infamous sequester. Given already lean operating dollars, that was significant. Ec seems to think that park's budget hasn't been cut in recent years, so perhaps he could document that fact.

  • Higher Entrance, Camping Fees Coming To Olympic National Park   3 days 3 hours ago

    Yes, the post was a duplicate and I deleted it. Unfortunately you can't delete totally, there has to be some text. Dupe stands for "duplicate".

  • Reimagining Maine’s North Woods: Is A National Park Hidden Among The Trees?   3 days 4 hours ago

    Some excellent observations by Dr. Runte. Unfortunately, he's right.

  • Higher Entrance, Camping Fees Coming To Olympic National Park   3 days 4 hours ago

    Dupe?

  • Higher Entrance, Camping Fees Coming To Olympic National Park   3 days 5 hours ago

    dupe

  • Higher Entrance, Camping Fees Coming To Olympic National Park   3 days 5 hours ago

    With Congress continuing to slash park budgets

    Slash budgets?

  • Higher Entrance, Camping Fees Coming To Olympic National Park   3 days 6 hours ago

    Park managers have made the best of a bad situation here. With Congress continuing to slash park budgets, entrance and user fees have to pick up a larger share of park operations. Local conservation groups asked the park to phase in the fee increases, and for the most park managers have done that. It's a shame that wilderness use fees exist at all, but in this budget climate, everyone has to pony up. Ideally, Congress would fully fund our national parks. That should be uppermost on everyone's political agenda.

  • Reimagining Maine’s North Woods: Is A National Park Hidden Among The Trees?   3 days 7 hours ago

    Actually, the Park Service said "no" to Olympic National Park--and got it anyway. Nor were they "happy" to have it. Read Carsten Lien's book, OLYMPIC BATTLEGROUND.

    Obviously, directors (and policies) come and go. But in general, Park Service employees have always "prioritized" the system, much like the faculty in universities. You don't want to move to a "career-ending" park. You rather want to stay in the Ivy League. That is probably the best indication, between the lines, of what the Park Service wanted and didn't want.

    Do you say "no" in a Congressional hearing? Never. But directors often plead their case to the Secretary of the Interior. Remember. The Park Service director does have a boss. As boss, the President--through the Interior Secretary--determines what the agency will "want"--and not want. By the time Congress holds a hearing, the director has his marching orders. And they do not include embarassing the president in public. All of that discussion goes on behind the scenes.

    As I said to retired Park Service Russ Dickerson years ago in response to his quip: "Why should I fall on my sword?" "Russ, I don' expect you to fall on your sword, but yes, I would like to see you flash it once in a while." In this administration--or any administration--we need to concede how difficult that is.

  • Reimagining Maine’s North Woods: Is A National Park Hidden Among The Trees?   3 days 9 hours ago

    Today, according to THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, your government and mine is backing the bankie wankies to the tune of 26 TRILLION.

    A total mischaracterization of the issue. They aren't backing the banks the are backing your pensions, your deposits and your mortgages and are taking insurance payments to cover any losses. But I agree, the government should get out of the "guaranteeing" business.

  • Reimagining Maine’s North Woods: Is A National Park Hidden Among The Trees?   3 days 9 hours ago

    How things transpired after the NPS said 'no' I can't say,

    So, you can't say whether a park was in fact established over the NPS objection. The point here (Alfred) is not whether the NPS ever said no its whether it ever said no and had a park established anyway. The original complaint was that Congress was establishing parks and not funding them. My point was that NPS was happy to get these new parks despite their lack of funding.

  • Reimagining Maine’s North Woods: Is A National Park Hidden Among The Trees?   3 days 10 hours ago

    Just for the record, the Park Service has said "no" to scores of potential units, especially in the 1920s under Stephen T. Mather. The point is: He was a millionaire and didn't give a damn what Congress happened to "think." Under Mather, the National Parks Association (which he formed) attacked so-called inferior units. As president of NPA, Robert Sterling Yard was good at it, too.

    The trouble is: Yard also attacked worthy eastern units, since they did not live up to the geology of the West. He didn't like Shenandoah, for example, although he begrudingly came to accept Great Smokies and the Everglades. Nor did the NPA properly defend Olympic National Park, preferring to axe the trees. Jackson Hole, in Yard's view, "borrowed" its grandeur from the Tetons. With Yard it was all geology, just as it remains today for many folks.

    Meanwhile, Mather told the states flat out that it was their responsibility to preserve "local" scenery. Of course, Washington State would NEVER have done with that the Olympic rain forests; its own congressional delegation was also opposed. Nor would Wyoming have spared Jackson Hole. Arizona would have dammed the Grand Canyon, no matter what the nation thought.

    The issue before us with 407 units is a throwback to our past. As a country, we have never properly funded the national park system--never, never, never. Even when it was one unit--Yellowstone--Congress waited five years to fund it. In the end, the railroads wound up funding the parks, that is, developing them for tourist travel.

    We always prefer the "fix." We'll "raise" the money from "outside." We'll find another Rockefeller, or a couple hundred Rockefellers. If not, we'll raise the fees at the gate. Why do we do this? Because we are broke, and always have been broke. We just don't admit it. We just keep issuing bonds in hopes that no one calls them "junk."

    Today, according to THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, your government and mine is backing the bankie wankies to the tune of 26 TRILLION. Yes, TRILLION. And you want parks? Ha! Get to the end of the line--way to the end of the line. The very back of the line. There is no one in back of you. Everyone with a hand out is ahead of you, starting with the banks.

    This is what Harry Butowsky has been trying to say. As for the Park Service not saying "no" enough, how do you say no to people who only know how to say yes? Congress just can't say no. The American people themselves don't want to hear it. In that case, we can hardly expect the Park Service to be immune, although yes, I think it is still reasonable to ask that they take the high ground and allow Congress to push them off the cliff. In the end, history will tell who did the pushing--just in case anyone at the back of the line really cares.

  • Reimagining Maine’s North Woods: Is A National Park Hidden Among The Trees?   3 days 10 hours ago

    EC, you wanted an example and I provided it.

    How things transpired after the NPS said 'no' I can't say, just as with more than 400 units of the park system, and who knows how many studies, I can't immediately point to any other examples where the agency opposed a designation.

    But I'd wager that some NPS eyes rolled when Ohio Congressman Regula pushed through the legislation to create the First Ladies National Historic Site in his home state. And despite Dr. Runte's fondness for railroads, Steamtown is another head scratcher.

    In Traveler's Call for Papers, you might recall that we raise the question of whether the Park Service is more and more turning into a catchall for places that might better be cared for by the states, or perhaps a National Historical Service. I think that's a good and timely question to ask as the agency approaches its centennial.

    But really, do you expect the NPS to say "no" to many -- if any -- proposed additions? Their job is to manage what they're given, and while it'd be nice if their position on prospective units would be accepted by Congress, that's politically untenable. Rick Smith made that quite clear.

    I don't see any irony in my position on Paterson Falls and Maine North Woods. You can't compare the two sites; apples and oranges.

    There are very few places left in the country where large expanses of natural landscape can be added to the National Park System, unless you start transferring national forests or BLM landscapes. As the NPS said, many other sites already in the system interpret what Paterson Falls offers.

    As for Salazar's comments, what's he going to say? "This is an atrocious addition that's been foisted on us, but somehow we'll manage."

    Frankly, I think the Interior Department position in 2001 was one that needs to be echoed today with some force, damn the politics.

  • Reimagining Maine’s North Woods: Is A National Park Hidden Among The Trees?   3 days 11 hours ago

    The NPS initially opposed

    One example out of 400 plus units. I see you used the term "initially". Did they change their stance? Did the unit get approved after that change?

    Oh, and I kind of like the irony of your position then and now.

    "If this is such a great site, why can't it stand on its own by drawing tourists without having to resort to the NPS logo and annual infusions of federal funds?"

    BTW - Salazar seemed pretty delighted to have the unit when he spoke at its dedication.

  • Reimagining Maine’s North Woods: Is A National Park Hidden Among The Trees?   3 days 11 hours ago

    . It's hard to say NO to the nine thousand pound gorilla.

    No it is not. The Pentagon did just that. They may have not gotten their way, but at least they said "no".

  • Savoring Rocky Mountain National Park’s Past While Looking To The Future   3 days 13 hours ago

    A wonderful park that offers a range of great resources and experiences. All of us who get to enjoy the park today can be thankful for those who worked to establish the park a century ago. One of the biggest challenges for the coming years will be dealing with the 4 million or so people (and growing) who live close enough to make a day trip Rocky Mountain.

  • Reimagining Maine’s North Woods: Is A National Park Hidden Among The Trees?   3 days 13 hours ago

    The NPS initially opposed addition of Patterson Great Falls in New Jersey.

    While the Great Falls Historic District has many resources relating to the thematic concept of Developing the American Economy, it does not appear to have particularly unique resources unlike those already represented in the national park system or protected and interpreted by other public and private entities.

    Based on the analysis of many comparable resource types and interpretation already represented in units of the national park system or protected and interpreted by others, this study concludes that the resources of the Great Falls Historic District are not suitable for inclusion in the national park system.

    In fact, the Interior Department back in 2001 asked Congress not to do it until the NPS could whittle away its maintenance backlog.

    The Department of the Interior recommends that the Committee defer action on H.R. 146 until the National Park Service (NPS) is able to make further progress on the President's Initiative to eliminate the deferred maintenance backlog within five years. We are seeking a temporary moratorium on new park unit designations or authorizations of new studies so that we can focus our existing staff and resources on taking care of what we now own. We also want to use our available planning funds to complete previously authorized studies with a close examination of the life-cycle costs of establishing a new park unit, expanding an existing unit, or adding new NPS funding obligations.

    http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2007/10/new-jersey-delegation-undul...

  • Burros Inadvertently Save Life Of Hiker Lost In Death Valley National Park   3 days 18 hours ago

    Our Wild Burros are Federally Protected, and unless we all fight to keep them on Public Lands, there will be no more. Forever is a long time.

    Last of Wild Burros

    http://farawaypeachgarden.com/2013/11/30/last-of-wild-burros/

    June 30, 1987 was the deadline set in 1983 for capturing the animals and putting them up for adoption. To make sure wild burros do not return to Death Valley, Park Service rangers beginning July 1, 1987 were authorized to kill any stragglers they encounter while on patrol

  • Reimagining Maine’s North Woods: Is A National Park Hidden Among The Trees?   3 days 23 hours ago

    Exactly my point. It's hard to say NO to the nine thousand pound gorilla. Which is probably why no one can come up with an example.

    Yup. But talk about messed up priorities . . . . . .

  • Reimagining Maine’s North Woods: Is A National Park Hidden Among The Trees?   3 days 23 hours ago

    And just how, pray tell, does the NPS say "NO" to Congress?

    Well Lee, since none of you have come up with an example of where they said no and Congress went ahead and approved a park, I guess the answer is, the NPS can't say no.

    Oh, and while there might be legitimate reasons to not want the F-35. Congress approved and FUNDED it.

  • Reimagining Maine’s North Woods: Is A National Park Hidden Among The Trees?   4 days 40 min ago

    And just how, pray tell, does the NPS say "NO" to Congress?

    The Department of Defense, which is the darling of at least one side of Congress, tried to say NO to something called the F-35. What happened?

  • Reimagining Maine’s North Woods: Is A National Park Hidden Among The Trees?   4 days 2 hours ago

    However, the National Park System is full of places that first were advocated by people like you and me

    Yes it is, but there are many places advocated by "people like you and me" that aren't in the system. Just because people like you and me advocate for them, doesn't mean they should automatically be included.

    As to which parks were established over over the objections of the NPS, here's a story for you.

    A story but no identification of a park that the NPS said "No" and Congress created anyway. Yes, Congress should fund parks it creates but the NPS should say no to parks that aren't/won't be funded.

  • Burros Inadvertently Save Life Of Hiker Lost In Death Valley National Park   4 days 3 hours ago

    Wild Burros of the Black Mountains

    CBS

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uPorL42iJ4

  • Burros Inadvertently Save Life Of Hiker Lost In Death Valley National Park   4 days 3 hours ago

    The burros have never had it easy with our government agencies. They are symbols of our culture and living natural icons of our pioneering history. Because of this important connection to our past, is cavalierly managing them to extinction without remorse.

    The Black Mountain HMA is presently 1.1 million acres, but if developers of wind, gas, and agriculture have their way this HMA will soon be reduced and all the wildlife living on it will suffer. In the BLM count of 2013 the burro population came to just over 700 animals, yet they would have us believe that the population has grown to a whopping 1600-1800 burros in one short year and a half. This means even the jacks are having twins and they are all immortal.

    When the HMA was set up in 1974 there were over 2000 burros living easily on this land. Now, the number allowed has been reduced to a mere 500 burros for this vast HMA. Meanwhile cattle are grazed with well over 5000 acknowledged as grazing on the land. At the scoping meetings held by the BLM at both Bullhead City and Kingman, photographs showing small sections of chopped grass were shown. The public was told the entire HMA was degraded by burros. Of course, no cattle were mentioned as being detrimental. I had to pry an acknowledgement that cattle were even present on the HMA out of them. Roger Oyler then answered questions I had about the mapping. He then confirmed that the ruling in WY concerning wild horses on checkerboard land gave them the right to remove the checker boarded areas from the Black Mountain HMA. He further explained the yellow area west of Kingman, called Golden Valley, will also be taken from the HMA.

    It was also distressing to learn of the loss of a 10 mile long, 3 mile wide section of the HMA that runs parallel to the Colorado River and Bullhead City. The only way the burros have to get to this important water source is to cross Hwy 95. No provisions were made for crossing points over or under even though the area was slated as being a part of the original HMA and these provisions could have been made when the roadways were under construction. Now, resulting collisions with burros are providing an excuse for their removal from the area. As we delve deeper into the reasons for the inflated new burro numbers and safety accusations toward the burros we are finding reports about wind development with several projects in the works and others moving through the approval process. Other contributors are proposed agricultural development which along with wind development will further deplete already depleted water resources. It is important to note, that the Black Mountain HMA boasts the largest population of bighorn sheep in the nation. In fact, it is well documented that the hunting clubs have long wanted burros removed from habitat where bighorn sheep reside, citing resource conflicts as their reason for wanting them removed. http://www.sierraclub.org/policy/wildlife/feral-animals

    As I traveled hundreds of miles exploring, what I saw was a beautiful desert full of life and forage. Burros were scarce, but to be fair, one week is never enough time to investigate an area. And so, friends in the area, who acted as guides on this trip, will continue to dig into the fitness of the range for me while WHFF continues its investigation into the real reason large sections of the HMA are about to be stripped away from these mountain canaries. What a lovely song I heard as I stayed during the night listening to the burros call each other through the mountains. Each voice was different and ethereal as the sound echoed through the mountain. It was magical. It saddens me to know that their song may soon be quiet and never heard again if special interests get their way. My history and culture are worth fighting for, and these burros deserve to be considered as a part of these lands now and forever more. They earned it.

    Marjorie Farabee

    Director of Wild Burro Affairs

    Wild Horse Freedom Federation

  • Reimagining Maine’s North Woods: Is A National Park Hidden Among The Trees?   4 days 6 hours ago

    ec--

    That isn't how our Constitution works. And you should be thankful for that.

    No, it is not how our Constitution works. You and I don't have a vote in Congress. However, the National Park System is full of places that first were advocated by people like you and me and then established by the Congress.

    Fully agree, but exactly what parks were established over NPS objections?

    So, other than those areas created by a President using the authority of the Antiquities Act, all were created by the Congress so you must agree that the Congress has the obligation to adequately fund them. As to which parks were established over over the objections of the NPS, here's a story for you. When I worked in the Legislative Division of the NPS, I testified in front of the National Park Sub-Committee chaired by Rep. Phil Burton of California. I can't remember which area we were discussing at the moment, but I told the Committee that the area did not meet the national significance standards of the NPS. Burton peered over his glasses and responded, "Young man, the Congress of the United States will determine what is nationally significant. You just tell me how much it is going to cost."

  • Musings From A Very Busy Zion National Park   4 days 7 hours ago

    The first commentor on that article seems to have a pretty good idea. Could plant quite a number of sizable cottonwoods for $7 million.

    The deer hunt idea sounds good too - though I must say, I didn't see any deer while I was there. Don't know if they are really an issue or not.