Recent comments

  • Key Concessions Contracts Up At Yosemite National Park, Along Blue Ridge Parkway   1 week 1 day ago

    The lodges in the National Parks were built by railroad/business magnates with old money. They were built for wealthy easterners on thier vacation. The idea that 'the parks are for the middle class' did not come about until the 1950's, well after these lodges were built. Those middles class families were pitching tents, and as far as I am aware of, the middle class has never been staying in the Ahwanee.

    I am far more upset about paying an entrance fee to get in the park then I am about a concessionaire pricing me out of a hotel that is in my opinion the antithesis of a Yosemite Valley expirience

  • Key Concessions Contracts Up At Yosemite National Park, Along Blue Ridge Parkway   1 week 1 day ago

    I don't know all the details, but if prices are strictly based on some cost plus basis related to some national formula (a very bureaucratic way of seeing the world), it seems that it would have the following implications:

    - no incentive for the concessionaire to lower costs. On the contrary, the higher the cost, the higher the revenue

    - additional costs of complying with all the various margins based on bucketing producst according to a government matrix

    - weird prices where beer is cheap and ice is expensive (as per the link given before)

    On the other hand, if we simply let the concessionaires sell at whatever the market would bear, there would be cost optimization to maximize profits. The NPS should just then collect a portion of the profits. It'd be more efficient than coming up with a 4 page list of product and allowed margins.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 1 day ago

    I agree Gary.

  • Key Concessions Contracts Up At Yosemite National Park, Along Blue Ridge Parkway   1 week 1 day ago

    Dittos on Rick's comment Alfred Runte, I appreciate your posts and think you are right on. We are bombarded by money transactions, bottom line is all that matters. It has become an obsession even in NPS management levels. I think even Alan Greespan is having second thoughts

    about the teaching of the Chicago School of Economics (the Chicago Boys).

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 1 day ago

    I wish people wouldn't refer to other people as trolls. It adds nothing useful to the discussion.

    And ec, for goodness sakes even if God Herself brought it to you carved on stone tablets, you'd still try to troll her wouldn't you?

    Moreover, ec is not a troll, even if such characterizations were warranted generally. He has a point of view and if he expresses it vigorously, as far as I recall he does so reasonably.

    Let's please desist from the name-calling.

  • Key Concessions Contracts Up At Yosemite National Park, Along Blue Ridge Parkway   1 week 1 day ago

    So, what do you mean by "...let the market play out...", Zeb?

  • Key Concessions Contracts Up At Yosemite National Park, Along Blue Ridge Parkway   1 week 1 day ago

    Sara,

    This is fascinating. So, somebody at the concessionnaire has to figure what they buy and kind of mark up they're allowed on each product. That seems silly. It'd probably more efficient to let the market play out and have the NPS take its cut.

  • Key Concessions Contracts Up At Yosemite National Park, Along Blue Ridge Parkway   1 week 2 days ago

    I think the answer of why that 1.5lb of hamburger cost $16.27 at Mesa Verde can be found in this NPT article by Kay and David Scott:

    http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2012/05/pricing-convenience-items-n...

    This is NPS's most recent markup bulletin:

    http://www.concessions.nps.gov/docs/concessioner%20tools/2014%20Convenie...

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 2 days ago

    I think any of us that has lived in both the east and west, can attribute that turning the public lands of the west over to state hands would be a bad move.

    Well I have live in both the east and west and I don't think it is necessarily a bad move.

    Of course. Since you are a realtor, you would profit off the exchange of titles from those lands. Some of us want to see beyond such greed and see lakes, valleys, and mountains protected from the onslaught of misguided development. Let's hope the west never fully turns into what happened east of the Mississippi.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 2 days ago

    Ideally, here at the Traveler we'd like to interview a number of political candidates this year to explore their views on public lands. But that's an ambitious project, and would require some substantial monetary resources to commission the writers to generate the interviews. Figure a minimum of $500 per story. We could create a special fund-raising drive if there's enough interest (both in the stories and in contributing to the cause).

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 2 days ago

    Seriously, where do we find these idiots, and why do we even give them the time of day?

    People make them up to have a strawman to attack.

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 2 days ago

    Eric, he did state that he wants to put the federal lands into the hands of the state!

    No disagreement there

    That would mean Yellowstone.

    Maybe but not necessarily. Other calls for the transfer of federal lands have been more narrowly focused. It would be interesting to here from him exactly what he does and does not want included. But then, since it isn't even a campaign issue on his website, I'm guessing it is far from a priority.

    I think any of us that has lived in both the east and west, can attribute that turning the public lands of the west over to state hands would be a bad move.

    Well I have live in both the east and west and I don't think it is necessarily a bad move.

  • Key Concessions Contracts Up At Yosemite National Park, Along Blue Ridge Parkway   1 week 2 days ago

    And ec, what would you call this:

    Without seeing the entire P&L I can't answer that, and neither can you.

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   1 week 2 days ago

    Well that is certainly interesting. Just to confirm, that sign and the "trail" cover-up attempt are inside the park??? The hand-painted sign and the alleged use of chainsaws to cover up the "trail" seem so far-fetched as to make it unbelievable!

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 2 days ago

    http://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/establishment-grand-teton-national-park?page=3

    The Real Wyoming State Government: Lest We Forget !

    Ranchers Hated the idea of a Grand Teton National Monument

    A national monument, armed ranchers and a movie actor

    In 1942, Rockefeller advised U. S. Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes that he was unwilling to hold the land much longer. Since there appeared little possibility of getting a bill through Congress, in 1943, President Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order, which created Jackson Hole National Monument and contained the Rockefeller lands. This was, perhaps, the single most controversial action in the history of the park.

    Wyoming Gov. Lester Hunt threatened to remove "any federal official who attempts to assume authority in the monument area," although he never did. Cowboy actor Wallace Beery joined a group of armed ranchers, including future Wyoming Gov. and U.S. Sen. Cliff Hansen, who protested by trailing their cattle without a permit across the grounds of the monument. The Park Service ignored the trespass.

    National media picked up the story, Time Magazine reported the ride, and the nationally syndicated conservative newspaper columnist Westbrook Pegler compared Roosevelt's action to Hitler’s annexation of Austria. The reaction of many local residents was expressed in a quote reported years later by Murie in his Wapiti Wilderness: "We gave them the Tetons! What more do they want?"

    Congress quickly passed a bill abolishing Jackson Hole National Monument. Roosevelt vetoed it, and three more congressional attempts to abolish the monument never made it out of committee. The state of Wyoming filed suit against the monument superintendent (State of Wyoming v. Franke) to prove that Jackson Hole could not legally be preserved as a national monument because the region was of no particular scientific or historic interest. Evidence to the contrary presented at the trial was convincing, however; and the case was dismissed on a technicality.

  • Key Concessions Contracts Up At Yosemite National Park, Along Blue Ridge Parkway   1 week 2 days ago

    Well, "an educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people". As for students choosing to study fields that lead to steady employment, I really can't fault them.

  • Key Concessions Contracts Up At Yosemite National Park, Along Blue Ridge Parkway   1 week 2 days ago

    Al--

    I think you and I shared a mentor, Dr. Roderick Nash at UCSB. His classes there were almost always sold out.

    Rick

  • Key Concessions Contracts Up At Yosemite National Park, Along Blue Ridge Parkway   1 week 2 days ago

    Yes, every concessioniare pays a franchise fee. Now, about that link between universities and the national parks--and why the link is critical. Just where do beginning rangers get their educations? I will give you another name, then, Grant W. Sharpe, the late professor of forestry (wildland recreation) at the University of Washington. The core of his teaching was all about interpretation. As a beginning scholar himself, he designed the Hall of Mosses Trail in the Hoh Rain Forest at Olympic National Park. Before graduating, all of his students had to do something comparable, including learning to give a major slide presentation with dueling Kodak projectors and dissolve. Today, Grant's students can be found in dozens of our major national parks, national forests, state parks, city parks, and other sites. He served 18 seasons as a seasonal ranger himself, principally in Acadia, Shenandoah, Glacier, and Olympic national parks.

    It takes mentors to make great students who go on to do important things. Students need teachers they can look up to. I am proud of my students, too. In fact, one of them hired me as HER seasonal in Yosemite National Park. When the concessionaire insisted that I be fired (oops, can't tell the truth, you know), she stuck by me--and the truth--like glue. I went through a week of "rehabilitation" that concluded 10 years later with Yosemite: The Embattled Wilderness. Speaking of which, this is the centennial year of Joseph Grinnell's transect of the park, and the 90th anniversity of his Animal Life in the Yosemite. Both were student researched and supported. In 1920, it was Grinnell's students that began the official Park Service interpretive program in Yosemite Valley. Stephen Mather hired them but Grinnell had trained them--Harold C. Bryant and Loye Holmes Miller. George Melendez Wright, who died tragically in 1936, was also a favorite student of Grinnell's, as was Carl Sharsmith, perhaps Yosemite's most famous seasonal and a distinguished botanist/biologist in his own right.

    Behind every national park is a distinguished teacher--or teachers. That is how the parks came to be. Perhaps the first teachers were government surveyors, but soon the tide turned to editors, professors, writers, and other activists. The point is: All of them believed in informing the American public of what the country stood to lose. That is the heritage the friends groups are supposed to continue, not just fund raising. And most of them do, thank goodness. Like the Park Service's interpreters, the field institutes and the classes make the parks come alive. If ever we give up that we give up everything that the national parks are supposed to be. You bet that an educated public matters, which is to explain why higher education should not be allowed to fail the parks.

  • Key Concessions Contracts Up At Yosemite National Park, Along Blue Ridge Parkway   1 week 2 days ago

    I haven't posted on this blog for a long time for the simple fact that when a person of sound judgement posts such as Mr Alfred Runte who appears to have facts and knowldege on these issues he is blasted by a group of I know it all and I want you to know that I have all the anwsers to these growing concerns that face this nation.Thank you Mr Runte for your imput but don't think for one minute that your point of view will sink in to these spammers.

  • Key Concessions Contracts Up At Yosemite National Park, Along Blue Ridge Parkway   1 week 2 days ago

    I like your latest comment, Alfred Runte. The culture of the univeristy does seem to be changing in that direction. (One can see it, for example, in what now passes for assessment of teaching and learning.) There is, I would say, a space for the kind of inquiry you're talking about, and which was the culture of my undergraduate experience in the 90s, but that does seem to be increasingly marginalized within many univerisities and perhaps only sustained in the elite univeristies (although we might disgaree to some extent on this last point). (I have a friend who works at AAAS and teaches in Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, and we often kick around the idea of an interdisciplinary Roosevelt Studies (T.R. of course). Imagine the uphill fight to get that funded.)

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 2 days ago

    Apologists net out to be supporters, no matter how they try to twist the words.

    This guy Haynes is a mouthbreather just showing how desperate he is in his election effort. Congrats to him for being silly enough to get his 15 minutes of fame.

  • Key Concessions Contracts Up At Yosemite National Park, Along Blue Ridge Parkway   1 week 2 days ago

    Mr. Runte, I think that your link between universities and the Parks is tenuous at best, but to each his/her opinions.

    EC, on the subject of university costs (I know we digress again...). In CA, the cal state system tuition used to be nominal in the early 80s (like $50 a quarter or something). When I went in the mid 90s, it was about $600 a quarter (still a great bargain). Today, it's $1,600 a quarter (all costs for a CA resident). The delta is almost purely due to the decrease in state financial support of the university system. As one economic professor of mine said once: since the majority of students in the Cal State system come from families that are well off already, the state support for the Cal State system is a subsidy from everybody to those that need it the least. Something to ponder.

    Ok, back to concessions. Is there some kind of royalty system/profit sharing scheme with the parks? I'm curious.

  • Key Concessions Contracts Up At Yosemite National Park, Along Blue Ridge Parkway   1 week 2 days ago

    An excellent commentary on the pitiful state of our society, Dr. Runte.

    Nauseating, isn't it?

  • GOP Gubernatorial Candidate In Wyoming Would Open Yellowstone National Park To Grazing, Mining   1 week 2 days ago

    Dr. Runte, there is hydrothermal energy available to be exploited. That has been proposed a few times by some of these folks.

    And ec, for goodness sakes even if God Herself brought it to you carved on stone tablets, you'd still try to troll her wouldn't you?

    But hey, keep it up. You can be very entertaining sometimes.

  • Musings From Timpanogos Cave National Monument: To Fee or Not to Fee, That Is The Question   1 week 2 days ago

    Wild, thanks for your comments. Be sure to read the second half of the two articles about fees at Timpanogos. It attempts to explain where the fees go in this case.

    http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2014/07/musings-timpanogos-cave-nat...