Recent comments

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 31 weeks ago

    RE:"The fact that the Bush-era "ETHICS" board would have approved such a clearly unethical arrangement is beyond belief. The fact that Latschar could have downloaded that much porn when rank and file employees could not even get on to many legitimate research search engines just goes to show how far NPS has sunk and how currupt the system has become. HELLO Obama Administration, time to take the NPS back to being a government agency above politics and curruption."

    Typical hypocritical political response. Sorry to burst your holier then thou bubble, But Lastchar was appointed to the superintendent position in 1994. I figured a self-proclaiming, long-term employee of the NPS would know that? I wonder, what was the name of that administration?

    Oh yeah, you misspelled corruption...

    MV

  • By the Numbers: Crater Lake National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Yes, Annie Creek is the water source today, but not in 1975, at least according to news sources linked to your website, The Crater Lake Institute:

    "While properly functioning treatment of Munson Springs water appears adequate for removal of bacteria and parasite contamination, it does not assure protection from disease-causing viruses."

    http://www.craterlakeinstitute.com/crater-lake-news/paper-charges.htm

    So add "at the time" to the end of this statement, this comment makes sense in historical context.

    But these things always get swept under the rug and don't end up in cutesy little by-the-numbers articles. That would be too negative for NPT's new corporate sponsors.

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 31 weeks ago

    It is always Bush's fault when someone does not like something that happened in the last four years. I believe that the man discussed above was appointed to his position during the first term of that very clean individual in his own right, Bill Clinton. He had nothing to hide.

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 31 weeks ago

    ... If you move problem people around, you move their problems right along with them. I've heard of this happening before - they won't be doing the next park any favors. The powers that be should deal with their problem children right away ...

    This comment was edited.-- Ed.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 31 weeks ago

    You all sure know how to put words in people's mouths, don't you? I am saying: let the National Parks be National Parks. Let the wilderness areas be wilderness areas. Period. And yes, it is indeed only a percentage of visitors who can truly enjoy the backcountry and wilderness areas, for many, many reasons. I am not saying cut the wilderness. I am saying leave the Parks alone; most people can enjoy them and those that want to go on into the backcountry can do so. Designating it as a wilderness is a whole new ballgame and you know it, or you wouldn't be condoning it. This does not mean I am saying build hotels and whatever else Kurt seems to think I was saying.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Took this article and all the comments into my public lands class today to see what type of discussion would take place. We discussed it for a good hour and I heard some good opinions and theories about it. As a hopeful future NPS employee I wanted to see how my fellow students felt. Most agreed with the Ranger, as well as I. Interestingly enough those that agreed were only students. The few that disagreed were students as well as parents. My instructor compared it to one of our other courses where we are learning how to manage a high ropes course and a huge part of the class is challenge by choice. The concept refers to the participant choosing how far they want to challenge themselves. So if there was a student up on the ropes course and didn't want to complete an element and a parent on the ground wanted them to what would the facilitator do? This situation would not be much different than the one discussed in this article. There were inherent risks involved regardless of whether we understand them or not. Kudos to the Ranger.

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 31 weeks ago

    " ... or shanghai him to a national park with less exposer (sic). "
    I think that is a solution all too often employed by the NPS. Too many parks suffer from less than adequate leadership because the powers that be just shuffle the problems around, often promoting them to affect the necessary shuffle, rather than growing a pair and firing the ne'er-do-wells that have no business inhabiting their positions of great responsibility.

    The fact that this man was "cleared of all charges" (and remains in his job despite clear evidence that he misuses government property) does not speak only to NPS corruption, it speaks to corruption that infects ALL Federal agencies.
    Proper discipline of wrongdoing and poor performance is sorely lacking in the NPS, because it's feared that the accused will litigate their way to job security. Or because the accused are too well connected to money makers that pick up the tabs our government should be paying. (HELLO MR. LATSCHAR! THE GETTYSBURG FOUNDATION PUT YOU IN POWER, IS THIS ANY WAY TO REPAY THEM??)

    I long for a day when managers and administrators of our Federal agencies, the NPS included, regain the courage to support ethics in the workplace, rather than cower in the corner for fear of litigation, or damaging financially lucrative "partnerships".

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I read this in the Washington Post today; and I thought at first whatever, we are human. At least he was honest and ethical as nothing is even near in truth of what appeared to be the original allegations against him. I wondered if he could or will sue those making those complaints; if you have been through BS like that - you would understand.

    But then I read the posts here by chance and.....what the heck!

    TO THE FiRST poster:
    First - - you obviously do not understand computers and the numbers mentioned versus hits, searches, etc. And was it a laptop and did he use it from home or on travel where the net connection was not Gov-owned? And were they from him or the last person to use it? Initially it can look bad, but then when you consider the crap the typical PC will pick up as Temp files from loading one page, it may not be as serious as it appears.
    Second - I am impressed as you must personally know the Almighty himself (or herself) as from this very small amount of information you are somehow able to make a huge judegment about him, much less think you are so beyond reproach that you in fact should be allowed to make such a decision or comment.
    Third - the wording of your comments make it sound like you perhaps have a personal grudge. Maybe it used to be you computer and those were your searches and you were disciplined for it??? Or maybe you were one of some that had made a complaint against them??? And you are upset that none if it was true and are just happy to see something totally unrelated used to ping the dude instead??
    Fourth - I have read about so much BS about this park and the new center that it makes me sick (I live south of there) - in fact - it appears that many people living on the public's back were RIF or retired because of the way the "system" actually change for the better for once. Were you perhaps one of them??? What - should Obama make it into a welfare Park again for your benefit??? Even though you work for the Government, you still have to actually do that "work" thing also......
    Fifth - from what I hear is that he did get some time off for that sole violation. And he did it to get the all of the BS behind him - he would not file a complaint against the NPS nor file suit against those making false allegations (to spare the Park anymore distractions), and he would simply take the punishment for the Internet stuff even though they said he did not believe it was all from him.

    I am fairly informed of news, esp local news. And simply put - nothing even was remotely found to be unethical about him....thats something good, esp for a NPS director. ....

    Oh yeah - as someone that works for a different Fed Agency - I think it woudl be neat to see the identity of the leak and put him on the street perm, jailed for IG report violation, and sued by the Latchar guy. Hehe.

    This comment was edited. -- Ed
    .

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Not every governmental agency is squeaky clean or full of lies and hypocrisy. At least let's hope that we can do a lot better then the last administration. And, we all can be thankful for the fact that we now have a new national parks director that carries a code of ethics that shines better then the last two. At this point, I would demote Superintendent Latschar or shanghai him to a national park that has less exposer.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Park development for access is a thorny issue whether or not there's designated wilderness. In Yellowstone there are some lakes with only hike-in access as well as several backcountry geyser basins. I understand that there isn't likely to be any road access to Shoshone Geyser Basin.

    I certainly understand the question of "designated wilderness" as it sets an area such that there is a baseline expectation that it won't be developed any further. Still - building new roads is one of those things that's generally unlikely given the state of NPS budgets and the current maintenance backlogs. Fixing current roads is probably a greater concern these days than building new ones deep into the backcountry. I really don't see new roads being built into what are currently backcountry areas in Yellowstone.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 31 weeks ago

    What is elitist about wilderness? It requires one to leave one's car and be in a modicum of shape with a modicum of planning. Certainly the vast majority of Americans can enter wilderness areas on at least day trips of some sort. Equality of opportunity - yes. Equality of accomplishment is up to you.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 31 weeks ago

    You're absolutely correct, Dottie, that National Parks are for all people to enjoy. As one of the "people", I enjoy hiking into the roadless, structureless, machine-less backcountry. Just because you don't enjoy or are unable to explore the wilderness doesn't mean everyone shares those desires or limitations. The parks are for everyone, not just you.

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 31 weeks ago

    As a former long-term NPS employee I am grieved by the extent and by the general sleezieness of Latschar's conduct. The fact that the Bush-era "ETHICS" board would have approved such a clearly unethical arrangement is beyond belief. The fact that Latschar could have downloaded that much porn when rank and file employees could not even get on to many legitimate research search engines just goes to show how far NPS has sunk and how currupt the system has become. HELLO Obama Administration, time to take the NPS back to being a government agency above politics and curruption.

  • Investigation Of Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Finds Cybertracks to Pornographic Images   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I am a to each his own type person. However there is a time and place for everything. Latschar should really use some of that $145,000 salary to buy a personal laptop. He seems to think he can do what he wants when he wants.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Interesting situation, but being fearful of heights myself, I'm glad the ranger spoke up for the child. There are parents that just push too much. Firefly was right, the stairs are the ranger's responsibility. Was there conversation about the child's safety or why she did not want to go up? We don't know the cooperation levels between mom and child. If the child was rebelling, let her miss out on something so beautiful, she will think about it later in life. Too many unknowns, so just on the possibility of a fear of heights and the dangers/problems that can produce, I side with the ranger.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 31 weeks ago

    In many ways I think the way "wilderness" has been designated under the 1964 Wilderness Act has been haphazard with all sorts of exceptions thrown in. I've seen pictures of Lake Aloha in Desolation Wilderness in the Lake Tahoe Basin. It's clearly within a wilderness boundary by I've seen photos of it with a big dam and understand that the water is stored there for irrigation purposes. I've personally visited Gilmore Lake with what's definitely a small man-made dam. I've seen maps of several wilderness areas showing narrow corridors in some wilderness areas where existing roads were left in place or large-scale commercial interests or frontcountry campgrounds were left in place within hundreds of feet of designated wilderness.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 31 weeks ago

    A place like Yellowstone has a whole lot of nuance to the backcountry. My understanding is that they effectively operate most backcountry areas as designated wilderness would be. However - the status as is allows for certain historical structures (which would otherwise need to be removed) to remain in place, such as the Observation Peak cabin, which I fell short of reaching.

    I'm wondering what an official wilderness status would do for Grand Canyon. Would that mean the demise of Phantom Ranch as a non-conforming use? I do understand that there are some small-scale facilities that exist in designated wilderness areas. I'm familiar with Yosemite and there's a big 'ol outhouse at Little Yosemite Valley, although I'm not 100% sure if it's outside the designated wilderness. At the very least there are the High Sierra Camps (with tent cabins and small lodges) which clearly are in the wilderness boundary.

  • Dr. Gary Machlis Has Ambitious Plans As Science Advisor to National Park Service Director Jarvis   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Kirby--

    Be encouraged!

    At least for natural resource inventory & monitoring, NPS already collaborates with NGOs and universities. TNC, or more often NatureServe, the spinoff from TNC that does science, does quite a bit in collaboration with NPS. Some natural resource inventorying and monitoring is contracted to NatureServe, particularly in areas where they have local expertise in complementary to that of the local NPS folks (e.g., vegetation monitoring where the few NPS scientists have expertise to cover the water quality, air quality, and animal aspects of park nautral resource monitoring). Similarly, a fair bit of work in Everglades is contracted out to university folks (graduate students are very cost-effective).

    But alas, I suppose be disappointed, too.

    Unfortunately, NatureServe doesn't have TNC money to fund work in national parks (NatureServe was spun off from TNC to become a self-funding recharge shop), and while they have some good scientists and naturalists, they don't have very many. That's pretty much the same with Wilderness society or any other NGO: they don't have resources or funding to give to work in parks, but can either be cost-effective for NPS or be great collaborators when NPS can bring some resources to the table.

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Are you suggesting that wilderness designations be tossed out and that roads be built through these areas, Dottie? Should there be a hotel built on the promontory between the South and Southeast arms of Yellowstone Lake that you could drive to for a different view of the lake? Or perhaps a tea house should be built in the high country above Hurricane Ridge at Olympic National Park and a tram installed for a better view of the park?

    Wilderness isn't about elitism. It's about preserving a small slice of America's landscape as near as possible to its original appearance so all generations -- today's and tomorrow's -- can appreciate them. Whether they do that in person or vicariously is beside the point. As Robert Marshall put it so well, "Just a few more years of hesitation and the only trace of that wilderness which has exerted such a fundamental influence in molding American character will lie in the musty pages of pioneer books..."

  • Is It Too Early To Plan A Winter Trip to Rocky Mountain National Park? Naaaahhhh.   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Rocky Mountain is very accessible in the winter, while Glacier is rather limited (and a little frighteningly remote).

    Also, living in Boulder gives me convenient access to Rocky Mountain NP. Very easy for the park to grow on you :)

  • Wilderness Designations And National Parks Don't Cross Paths Often Enough   5 years 31 weeks ago

    National Parks are for all people to enjoy, even as limited access as backcountry may be, it is still for all peple to enjoy. Wilderness eliminates all but the chosen few who can venture forth to see and enjoy it, so the chosen few are the ones wanting wilderness status. Back to elitism, aren't we?

  • Is It Too Early To Plan A Winter Trip to Rocky Mountain National Park? Naaaahhhh.   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Perry,

    Your preference for Rocky surprises me! Perhaps we need an out-the-field comparison, eh?

  • Dr. Gary Machlis Has Ambitious Plans As Science Advisor to National Park Service Director Jarvis   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I certainly hope scientific integrity is the goal. Director Jarvis has been accused of backing up employees who presented information that was incorrect with some people severely questioning the scientific integrity of several NPS reports that he signed off on.

    http://www.hcn.org/issues/41.13/what-we-got-here-is-a-failure-to-collaborate

  • Have You Seen the National Trails System Map?   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Did you know...

    There is another category of national trails called National Side and Connecting Trails. After some digging I found that to this date, only 2 have been designated, both in 1990: The Timm's Hill Trail, which connects the Ice Age Trail to Wisconsin's highest point, Timm's Hill, and the Anvik Connector, which connects the Iditarod Trail to the village of Anvik, Alaska.

    Why only 2? I am not really sure. Actually the better question is why these 2 were designated at all. The designation does not seem all that significant as far as I can tell.

  • Updated: Searchers Spot Missing Backpackers On Ledge In Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    My son is Officer Rogers. He is a very level headed, analytical, responsible man. He received NOTHING but support from fellow officers with San Bernardino Police. He chooses his friends also of strong character. These three men did nothing wrong except get caught in a storm. I could think of many, many things young people could do in their spare time that is irresponsible or shameful. Our families celebrated their safe return yesterday. No, we did not consider the cost of their rescue prior to notifiying park officials; we didn't hesitate when they were late. Even if we were told the cost would be astranomical; we wouldn't hesitate. Paying the cost would be challenging, but these men; who both families considers a blessing; would be well worth any cost. Not everyone can say that about their family members. We are blessed and very grateful of the outpouring support we have received from friends, colleagues, and well wishers. Thank you everyone.

    As for the comments about the cost of their search and rescue; I am a government employee; State of California employee. During this time of budgetary crises, I can appreciate citizens looking to reduce costs in our state budget; there are other areas to consider cutting in our budget. Life and safety concerns should not be targeted before examining other less essential area.