Recent comments

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Travis Mason Rushman, thank you for your posts. I enjoy both Harry's and Alfred Runte's posts and usually find I am in agreement with them, but on this issue, I am with you. I understand Mr. Runte's concern about the "population bomb' and in the larger context he maybe right. But I did find Harry's suggestions on this issue not to my own way of thinking. You are right about delisting NPS areas, An excellent book on the subject is Dwight Rettie, "Our National Parks". As both Alfred and Harry know, much administrative history written at the park level is farmed out to an educated staff person, who may or may not be an historian (or knowledgeable of the area), with strict time frames and the unwritten code on not being critical on past or present decisions made by management. It is not career enhancing to find fault with the public/private entity you are working for. That has been my own experience and is quite human.

    Turning these areas that represent the national ecological, historic and cultural heritage over to 50 states is, in my own view, not a good idea. . That the states could find the funding, resources, unity of purpose, etc. for them is highly doubtful, California State Parks a good example. The money is there Alfred, but the perpetual war machine is taking up over 50% of the discretionary budget, our 30 plus year war (longer really) in the middle east is a drain on the nations wealth, creating many problems nationally and internationally and well documented in such books as a recent New York Times best seller, "Dirty Wars" by Jeremy Scahill.

    I understand Alfred's basic premise, population is a very big issue, however many people are seeking solutions. Cultural and deep seated religious values, other considerations, make it a tough nut to crack. Most politicians do not want to touch the subject, it is "we will talk about it after the election". I understand the historian's frustration, but we might also want to consider how difficult it is to get the scientific expertise plugged in. Then of course there are the boots on the ground that are often ignored completely. I really enjoy history, but its the science that we are not paying attention to that is my major concern. It is difficult sometimes to find the line between the two fields, as history does delve into the decision process. Thank you Alfred, others, including a very recent jewel of a little book on willdlife management "Speaking of Bears" by Rachel Mazur.

    Finally, and please excuse this lengthly post, I think we must contiune to work for solutions, difficult as they maybe. In my over 50 years of working for the NPS, I have found the vast majority of employees at all levels to be competent, well trained, working hard to pass on the legacy, Todd Bruno (Worth Fighting For), Paul Berkowitz, (The Case of the Indian Trader), Barbara Moritsch (The Soul of Yosemite), just some recent examples and the list is endless of those persons making the effort (and include most on this websit. By the way Alfred, I ran into one of your old supervisors today during your tenure at Yosemite, Mr. Len McKenzie. He said to say hello.

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 4 days ago

    What do you mean by a national standard, Travis? Do you have one? All too often, the "standard" is what local interests make of it. After that, should their congressional delegation have the power, they get it pushed through Congress. The same applies to the truly NATIONAL parks. From snowmobiling to overflights, the locals get far more say than they deserve. Or am I wrong?

    As for parks that are "trending down," sorry, but all of the parks I know are trending up. Once again, the Park Service has nothing to offer but a news release suggesting that the parks are "deficient" because some group or class has found them "wanting." That is bunk. My "minority" friends and colleagues do not need to be patronized as if they were freshmen in a university. They do not need to be "led" by the hand, as it were, to appreciate nature. 187 countries in the world out of 240 have significant national parks. When "those" people come here, too, they will know to appreciate nature, that is, if first they can land a job.

    Worry about that and the rest will take care of itself. Now, "professional in the field." Do you think we are not professionals, too? Stick my head in the sand? Why, because I disagree with you? You are no professional if you cannot handle that. I spent much of my afternoon going back and forth with you to see what you have to say. I am not asking you to agree with me, but yes, I will hold you to the facts. And the fact is: With current generations it is not so much about "disinterest" as it is about paying off their student loans--at last count, $1.2 trillion. Just how many parks can you see with that debt load? Among the many recent college graduates that I know, the answer trends to few or none.

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Who gets to keep "their" national park? Those who are willing to staff it properly and pay for it. Will some fight the process? But of course. They don't want to pay for it; they want someone else to pay for it.

    As best I can parse this sentence, you are saying that national parks should be established and maintained not on the basis of any standard of national ecological, cultural or recreational significance, but on the basis of whether they have a community of interest willing to pay for that park to exist. Is that correct?

    The national parks already have "a broad constituency." Are you saying that the constituency is too "white" and affluent? Then say so. Stop beating around the bush with the PC jargon of a more "representative and relevant National Park System."

    It's not "PC jargon" to note that visitation at "traditional" nature-based national parks has been trending downward for some time, or that there is significant writing and research to suggest that my generation is not as connected with, or attracted to, natural and cultural resources-based experiences as much as ones have in the past (c.f. Richard Louv). If you wish to stick your head in the sand with regard to that trend, you are welcome to do so. As a professional in the field, a land management agency employee and as a person who believes in the ideals of public lands, I am interested in reversing that trend. If we are to enjoy our national parks, forests and conservation lands for another 100 years, it must be so.

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 4 days ago

    What do I want for my country, Travis? I would start my wish list with common sense. In the 1960s, my student colleagues trashed the State University of New York at Binghamton to make their statement about "The War." Trouble was: Those jets you mention were their future paycheck, too. When they started work for General Electric and IBM, the love beads came off and the suits went on. Hypocrites? Yes, and Americans. Here in Seattle, that military budget still supports 85,000 workers at Boeing--not to mention another 65,000 at Microsoft, et al. How many can we possibly "retrain" for something else, that is, something that will support a family? Not many, and so again, the article this morning by Dr. Butowsky rests.

    As you say, change is never easy. Nor has it been easy these past 50 years. The lack of jobs, rather than the abundance of them, explains Ferguson, Chicago, and Baltimore. And Binghamton, New York, my hometown. 25,000 jobs making shoes. Gone. 1500 jobs making furniture. Gone. 4,000 jobs making film and chemicals. Gone. 25,000 jobs building main frame computers. Gone. 5,000 jobs working for three railroads. Gone. What's left? The welfare line and a few hamburger joints. And the Little Venice, the best Italian restaurant in the world. Unfortunately, the sauce and meatballs don't make up for all of the losses, recently described as the Detroitification of upstate New York.

    If you can find me 93,000,000 good-paying jobs (the number of adult Americans NOT working), then yes, you can talk about the military, and military spending, and all the rest. I will agree with you. Turn those weapons into plowshares, and yes, properly fund the national parks. However, that statistic is also misleading. It's us old folks--now 65 plus--eating up all that Social Security and Medicare. One day in the next 20 years, I'll go to the boneyard. Meanwhile, I am gobbling up the budget and contributing more than my fair share to the national debt. What is the legacy of my generation? Debt! Do I want it to be that? No, but no one listened when Paul Ehrlich published THE POPULATION BOMB way back in the year of Our Lord 1968.

    How did all of this happen? While America was asleep--and yes--growing ever more politically correct as it outstripped its resources. Consequently, the deeper issues were never aired. Where are all those jobs I mentioned? In China. Is that bad? Not for China, but what does it do for us? A cheaper television set? A cheaper video game? Sure, and no interest paid to savers for the past six years.

    National parks first flourished in that other society--the one that started disappearing in the 1960s. It was still the society of "America First." Tax the wealthy? Put all their booty in a pile, and they still could not run the country for a year. Repeat after me. Middle-class jobs, and middle class wages, and middle-class retirements--that's America. And the minute you say that these days, someone will accuse you of being a protectionist and an opponent of "free trade."

    I've watched it unfold my entire life, and taught it, in the 1970s, as the inevitable conumdrum of population growth. "But Dr. Runte. The Green Revolution is feeding more people than ever before!" Yes, and now all of them want and need a job in an economy destroying jobs left and right. What did I read the other day? In 25 years, computers will be doing everything? In the movie Sleeper, Woody Allen got that right. The only thing left is the orgasmitron. Just don't turn it up to high.

    Unfortunately, none of this is funny. Good people predicted it and wrote about it daily, but all of them were ignored. Now it's here. The world they predicted--5 billion more people, and 4 billion of them still out of work and hope.

    Even if Congress would address it, the problem is now out of control. So I don't expect Congress to say: You're right! We'll cut the military and fund the parks. Why didn't we see it earlier? Gosh, that makes so much sense!

    This century, nothing will be making sense. And if the next 5 billion people predicted should in fact materialize, we'll be lucky to keep the parks at all.

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Sorry, Ghost, but I instinctively distrust any comment that begins with the sweeping "as we all know". It is a mathematical certainty that that statement will always be a self-serving and inaccurate generalization. Next time you might want to check with some of us before including us in your generalization used to support your position.

    In my experience the NPS has always been underfunded, and generally used as a political pawn in any budgeting process. The parks are treated at the national level similar to how, at the local levels, budgeting threats are leveled at schools, libraries, police and fire services.

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 5 days ago

    The money is certainly there. We spend uncounted billions and trillions on unnecessary jet fighters and pointless foreign wars. For the price of a single F-35, we would pay for the entire Tongass National Forest operating budget for a decade. Spending on land management agencies is barely a rounding error on the federal budget as a whole. The United States is not poor, let alone broke. What is needed is the political will to reprioritize our spending on parks rather than drones, historic sites rather than tax cuts for the wealthy.

    If you are suggesting that this will be difficult, I do not deny it. But which is the future you wish for this country's public lands movement: fighting each other over scraps and calling each other's national parks worthless and deserving of being shut down, or standing together to defend, preserve and expand our world-class system of protected landscapes and cultural heritage sites? Which is your vision for the future, Alfred? What do you want the legacy of your generation to be?

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Sorry, Travis, this is not a plan. It is your opinion of what would happen "if" someone else's plan were followed. Your "solution," as you call it, is undefined. The national parks already have "a broad constituency." Are you saying that the constituency is too "white" and affluent? Then say so. Stop beating around the bush with the PC jargon of a more "representative and relevant National Park System."

    Just for the record, I disagree with that news release. Thirty-five years ago in Yosemite, fifty percent of my Park Service colleagues were female, Native American, Hispanic American, and African-American. But yes, interpreation had already fallen from a staff of 75 to a staff of 36. I believe now it is just 18. How do you make the parks more relevant by cutting job holders off at the knees?

    In Zion, another wonderful couple just left the park, knowing they would never achieve permanent status. Again, you aren't going to make the national parks relevant to anyone if all you do is keep adding parks. Every park needs a staff, and if the staff is asked to "volunteer," well, that is Dr. Butowsky's point. It just doesn't work that way.

    Who gets to keep "their" national park? Those who are willing to staff it properly and pay for it. Will some fight the process? But of course. They don't want to pay for it; they want someone else to pay for it. I am not agreeing with Dr. Butowsky about any numbers, but I know that limitless numbers are not in the cards. As it stands, we keep bargaining with the Devil (now Budweiser) to pay for the parks we have, and consequently no park has what it really needs.

    No family can run a household on its credit card forever. "Fighting each other?" The fight is over. Uncle Sam is flat out broke. "Weaken us?" We are already weakened by refusing to acknowledge that. What Dr. Butowsky said today took guts. I don't agree with all of it; in the end, I may not agree with most of it. I will have to think about it for several days.

    But I know truth when I see it. When I see Dr. Butowsky cite our national debt, I know he is struggling to deal with uncomfortable truths. As should we struggle before denouncing his plan simply because our plan is innately flawed. Certainly, all of my plans also end up by saying we need "more money." In other words, I am also forced to go back to the drawing board. The money just isn't there.

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 5 days ago

    As we all know, the NPS backlog is exaggerated and untrustworthy. That's how we operate; we tend to blame everthing on a lack of funds, so we embelish. Those that have been around awhile know that our budget has increased nearly every year, and for decades, often coming at the expense of other Interior agency's. Its not our lack of funding or being overextended that's the problem, its our leadership, managment and supervison; and lack of sound priority setting. It is not enough to just pour more money on a miss-managed agency and expect new, different and improved results. You must improve our leadership, establish mission based priorities / high standards and hold employees accountable for poor performance. From a history perspective, I agree that understanding our history is a key component for creating and maintaining agency culture / values, which supports high performance and ethical leadership. This is especially true regarding sharing our amazing early history, which created enertia and a pattern of agency success. Our modern-day pattern is fractured and our failing proud agency lies at the feet of our very poor leadership. Improve our leadership and everything else will follow. This leadership issue should have been number one on the listing, especially when the listing was created by a historian. Leadership builds values / agency culture, establishes high standards, clarifies priorities and this drive high performance. It is job number one. Otherwise, we could spend our time throwing a big expensive party and allow our leadership to creat a giant self-promotion campaign as our overarching priority. Oh, wait, that is exactly what we are doing!

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 5 days ago

    While I admired Harry's professionalism as a NPS historian, I think he is forgetting one point when he starts talking about reducing the System or giving park areas to states. One of the enduring virtures of the National Park System is that each generation of Americans, speaking through their elected representatives, gets to add the to the System those areas that they believe merit protection in perpetuity. As a matter of generational equity, we owe it to those who have come before us to take the best care of those places we can.

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 5 days ago

    I can tell you where my solution starts: Building a broad constituency in support of a strengthened, representative and relevant National Park System.

    The "solution" pitched here would pit communities of interest - geographical, social, cultural and ecological - against each other in a frightful and wholly-counterproductive bout of internecine warfare destined to fragment and nullify that constituency.

    Do you want to spend the next 10 years building a stronger national park system, or do you want to spend the next 10 years fighting each other over who gets to keep their national park? I know which one is going to strengthen us and which will weaken us.

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 5 days ago

    So, Travis, what's your plan? Write it up and present it to us. And one more thing. Tell us where you will find the money.

    Meanwhile, I agree that Ethan Carr and Amy Meyer have written wonderful books. And is that not Dr. Butowsky's point? Who in the Park Service has even read those? Pick your seven books; pick your seventeen books. The point about being an educated man or woman is to know what you're talking about. And too many in Park Service management (yes, I will give the electrician a pass) haven't a clue.

    In the 1920s, many leaders--including Stephen T. Mather as director--referred to the national parks as the University of the Wilderness. Mather was a reader, and so was his successor, Horace Albright. And both were writers, too. One of the letters I cherish in my files is from Horace Albright praising my work as a historian. I have no other such letter from anyone else in Park Service management, although Fran Mainella has generously endorsed my work.

    In managing a great public institution, ignorance is no excuse. You have to manage from a position of strength and consistency. And good history is the prerequisite for both. You are right that some administrative histories are awful. Well, think again who gets to write those histories. And consider what they are paid.

    Each of my major books has required 10 years to research and write--full-time. In years past, the Park Service was famous for offering just $18,000 per history. Did I say that right? I did. Eighteen thousand dollars, with a deadline of six months. I helped change that, but again paid the price for it. My gosh! You mean that historians want to be paid?

    The backlog persists because we are cheap. As Americans, we want our national parks on the cheap. So, if you have a plan for how to fund 407 individual parks, let's hear it and see your reading list. We're all for it. We want solutions. Just don't tell us to "volunteer" while the big whigs still get paid.

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 5 days ago

    The "shrink the park system" is an objectively terrible idea and has always been so.

    For one, who decides what parks are no longer "worthy" of being managed by the National Park Service? Is it a popularity contest, and if so, whose popularity are we measuring? You have just said that 200+ national park system units should be closed — please name them. If you aren't willing to come up with that list and defend your choices, then this is nothing more than empty speechifying.

    For two, if you haven't noticed, almost every state is suffering even greater budget issues than the federal government, and funding for state and local parks has been slashed around the country. Dumping 200+ national park system units on local communities is completely infeasible and would result in vast selloffs and closures of public lands and facilities.

    For three, the idea that Congress would consent to massively shrink the park system without simultaneously massively shrinking the agency's budget is purely fantasy.

    Similarly, many of these other arguments and demands are simply nonsensical "sound-bite" ideas that are either useless or counterproductive. Creating a "mandatory reading list" is a good example of this. Force-feeding a personally-chosen and rather arbitrary set of books (I see you're in love with Alfred Runte, but what about Ethan Carr or Amy Meyer?) seems like A Very Bad Idea. As for administrative histories, some NPS administrative histories are great. Many others are, at best, poorly-written, and at worst, utterly misleading and outdated. Your idea would force employees to read these often-pretty-useless documents, to what end? Moreover, you'd subject *every* employee to this? Why does the staff electrician need to take a test on Alfred Runte? What is gained by this?

    I could go on picking this thing apart, but it's clear that this editorial just doesn't bear any resemblance to an actual plan for improving our national parks and public lands. It's rather dismaying to see it appear in the pages of this publication, actually.

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 5 days ago

    An outstand Op-Ed with what should be a mandatory reading list! I would only change the priorities within his list. I would place his # 2 priority "make the park system fit the budget" the last priority, instead of #2. Honest zero-based budgeting, especially with a leaner agency would allow the NPS to address whatever the realistic "backlog" really is and the other priorities listed here. I believe if we had that political will within the agency, we may never reach that final option of turning properties back to anyone.

    When we previously went through the "zero-based budgeting" process, we had to assume that if funds were not there, the first step we would take is purely protect the resources including if necessary closing the gates to the public. If we were sincere in fulfilling the mission given the NPS, i.e., preserve the resources for future generations, we would take such actions in order to meet the other priorities outlined in this article. This step along with his comments about a leaner agency - especially in central offices - would free up more than sufficient funds to handle what is needed. I also applaud his emphasis on history. How many of the issues of today would be solved by looking to the past and "mining" the knowledge of past NPS employees. For me it is truly sad that the National Park Service hasn't the will or the support to do more than what we are seeing for our 100th anniversary.

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Thanks for some very thought-provoking ideas. One key question about the idea to make the size of the NPS system "fit the budget:" I have to wonder if the number of units was reduced if Congress would simply use that as an excuse to cut the NPS budget - or based on pressure from states and cities, simply transfer the dollars from the NPS along with the units to the states or cities in the form of "grants" or some other handout.

    Under either scenario, the maintenance backlog for the NPS would be reduced by eliminating the amount needed for the areas that were "shed" from the system, but there might be little or no net gain in the NPS budget to "fix" the problem in the remaining areas.

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Amen and thank you. This was an excellent report and I regret it was forgotten.

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Those interested in another, longer analysis of what's wrong with history in the NPS might also be interested in the 2011 Organization of American Historians study for which I was the lead author, Imperiled Promise: The State of History in the National Park Service. As you can gather from the title, my colleagues and I concur with Harry's general analysis of the poor state of support for history in the NPS. Things have not improved much since our report was released.

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Thanks for the interesting perspective Harry (and for the list of books). I think you are right on target with most, if not all of your points. While not opposed to transferring some units to the states I am not sure that solves the backlog problem. Assuming the states want (or have a choice) to keep them operating doesn’t it only shift the financial burden to fewer people? I can see where this could become another unfunded mandate by the federal government with other federal funds held hostage unless the states agree to take and maintain them. While I tend to be on the side of states being able to better manage their resources I’m undecided on this one. I do think it is time the NPS puts a moratorium on adding units or even shedding some until it finds a way to address not only the backlog but future maintenance needs.

    Being completely ignorant on this I am also curious as to your insight on how you view or value the historical importance of places and events and does that process differ than other countries given our short history? I assume at some point in time it is inevitable that a review takes place and places would be removed or added? Use China for an example. I imagine they would have valued many things early in their first few hundred years that a few thousand years later become less (or more) significant. What is the process for that?

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Harry Butowsky should be the next NPS Director!

  • Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Thank you, Harry Butowski, for a thoughtful and important essay on how NPS can continue to be a vital and relevant part of the nation for 100 more years. Your suggestions are good -- very good -- and can contribute to a dialogue about just what the Centennial can do to foster broad support of national parks and the important stories they hold for a changing nation that needs to recall and understand its journey.

  • Provocative Bud Light Campaign Doesn't Concern National Park Service, National Park Foundation   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Associating the parks with really crappy beer is the true crime here, especially when we have so many good craft beers. ;)

  • Provocative Bud Light Campaign Doesn't Concern National Park Service, National Park Foundation   4 weeks 1 hour ago

    That is how we properly look at statistics.

    No it is not. If it were, we wouldn't be driving cars, we wouldn't be riding in planes, we wouldn't bicycle, swim, ski, ....... We educate and try to economicily reduce the risk but we don't avoid the behavior. Who are you (generic you) to say living to 80 without drinking is a better life than enjoying alcohol and dying at 70 with liver failure? You can make that choice and I won't interfere but I would rather die early enjoying life than live forever in a bubble.

    is in the suggestion that legal makes everything right.

    I have made the point several times that is not the case and certainly haven't made that the basis of my justification here.

  • Provocative Bud Light Campaign Doesn't Concern National Park Service, National Park Foundation   4 weeks 1 hour ago

    A few weeks ago, a plane went down in France. Horrified, we learned that the co-pilot deliberately crashed it. How many people were killed? "Relative" to the population of Europe, not many. But what if YOU or a loved one had been on that plane?

    That is how we properly look at statistics. In the airline industry, passengers are referred to as "souls." When our National Park Service starts referring to visitors as anything less than that, you know there is a problem. Every "soul" in the national parks is important. That they perhaps die in "predictable" numbers is not to say we should want any to die.

    We have no "official" firearm of the national parks, do we? Official car or motor home? Official potato chip? Official salsa? Official (put your product name here)? Then why are we suddenly allowing alcohol "official" status? It absolutely makes no sense.

    EC is right, of course. We don't penalize the responsible users of any product, provided it is legal. But where he misses the boat--and where the Park Service goes down with the ship--is in the suggestion that legal makes everything right. My mother made the point with the expression "dead right." "Al, the speed limit may say 70, but if it is raining or snowing, going 70 may make you dead right."

    Once again, the Park Service has proved itself "dead right." It went the speed limit and crashed into the wall. It made light--in this case Bud Light--of what we expect our government to do. It did the legal thing, but it forgot to do the right thing. And is that not the common tragedy of our times?

  • Provocative Bud Light Campaign Doesn't Concern National Park Service, National Park Foundation   4 weeks 2 hours ago

    During my years as an ER nurse we had a term for a large class of assault victims - a "2-5-I". It came from the standard "explanation" --- "I only had two beers" ..."there were about five guys there" ... "and I was just standing there!"

  • Provocative Bud Light Campaign Doesn't Concern National Park Service, National Park Foundation   4 weeks 2 hours ago

    Wonderful letter Lee. I could not have said this any better. Thank you so much. I will send a similiar letter to Director Jarvis but based on past experience I will not expect a reply.

  • Acadia Then And Now: 40 Years Is Too Long Between Visits   4 weeks 2 hours ago

    Acadia National Park was also our first-ever national park. Perhaps that's why it stays always on our mind, and why we've written Acadia hiking guides and started a blog.

    The first trip was in November, and we were disappointed there were no popovers to be had at the Jordan Pond House that time of year. But the memory of strolling Ocean Path and being surprised by a chipmunk, stays with us still, more than 30 years, and many Acadia memories, later.

    We just launched a new feature on the blog, "Ask Acadia on My Mind!," with this first Q-and-A, to answer a reader's question about camping in Acadia, and hopefully help him and other first-time visitors create fond memories:

    http://acadiaonmymind.com/2015/05/first-time-visitor-to-acadia-national-...