Recent comments

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Thanks for the feedback, d-2. The examples of partnerships and cooperative stewardship that you've cited show that confrontation should be the last resort, not the tactic of choice. The Hot Springs brouhaha is a no-win game for the Park Service. Let's hope it gets settled soon so it can get out from under the media spotlight. I share your feeling that Jarvis will make a difference.

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Another park where the dividing line between Park and City is indistinct is Lowell National Historical Park and the City of Lowell.

    They have a great cooperative relationship, each really valuing the other, each helping the other out where the one has capacity the other lacks.

    This is the nature of such a park. Same thing should be, at Hot Springs. Professional park management needs to understand the distinctive nature and legislative history of the specific park, and not always try to impose a 'one size fits all' approach to everything.

    At the Franklin Roosevelt home in Hyde Park New York, generations of national park superintendents and Presidential Librarians fought out just such macho nonsense over who is the real leader, who's rules should apply.

    At Jamestown, VA, there are 3 landowners, a state park, a national park, a non-profit. There have been recent (sometimes successful efforts) to make things right, but there has been too much poison over the years about who is the REAL Jamestown. But ya know what?? The public largely pays no attention to bureaucratic boundary distinctions. When they go to Jamestown and Williamsburg, to the vast majority of the visiting public, it is ONE experience of an important place. Same thing at Lowell. Same thing at Hyde Park. True, everybody knows West Yellowstone is outside the park. But under any circumstances, it is smart for all parties to figure out a way to work together, and focus on the visitor and the resource, not their administrative perogatives.

    Yes, it is critical that national parks protect their lands, and follow the exacting laws requiring non-impairment. But that is not the issue here. It is about the "what if" paranoia that the reputation of the national park, or the city, will be undermined by the bad behavior of the other. It is usually -- not always -- a far fetched concern.

    I know this superintendent, and she is not a bad person. She IS inclined to listen too hard to central office bureaucrats, and it would do all parties -- THE CITY JUST AS MUCH AS THE PARK -- to consider what really matters, to consider that the success of the other is essential to its own success, and figure out a way to work together.

    My expectation is that the new director, Jonathan Jarvis, understands what does and does not matter in these things, and understands you must make an effort to work together, rather than find needless points of combat.

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 32 weeks ago

    What is it exactly that the city should knock off? The city has done nothing wrong. The Hot Springs Advertising and Promotions Commission did things right. They have a letter dated 8/7/02 from the former Superintendant Giddings giving permission to use the words National Park in the logo. Bernard Fagan, Chief of the NPS Office of Policy, was deposed recently and acknowledged that he does not know of any policy of the NPS requiring a written license agreement with any vendor who wants to use a mark that incorporates the words "national park". So tell me why after 7 years all of the sudden the city is in the wrong?

    Without the dollars that the Hot Springs A&P Commission spend on advertising, our sleepy little town would be dead...instead it is thriving. Bringing not only transient visitors to town but also convention goers. It is a win/win for the park and for the city to allow the logo to remain as is.

  • PFDs Are Proven Lifesavers. Should Boaters be Required to Wear Them?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I'm a commercial river guide, and we would let no one on the river without a PFD. Neither would you ever see a guide without one. The more you know about the river, the more respectful you are of what it can do. In some cases, not even a PFD can save you. But it's clear that you are much, much safer with one than without one, and the designs they are coming out with now make them very unobtrusive. I wore a bulky "Mae West" jacket all the way down the Colorado on a 30-day trip and was thankful for it. Now you can get good PFDs that you're barely aware that you're wearing. But when it comes to requiring their use, I'm thinking we might just want to let evolution take its natural course.

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 32 weeks ago

    This is ridiculous. The City of Hot Springs needs to play by the rules. The National Park Service needs to play by the rules. If one or the other doesn't, they should have to deal with the consequences. What if West Yellowstone, MT went around calling itself West Yellowstone National Park, Montana?

    I used to work in a park with a similar problem. The nearby chamber of commerce visitor center called itself the "Blah Blah National Park Visitor Center" and it greatly confused visitors, especially when the chamber gave out downright false information and often dangerous advice (eg, 'even if the gate is locked, just drive around it..if you're truck is stuck, the park will come pull you out).

    If the city doesn't knock it off, the Park Service should hold them to the fire and make an example out of them.

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Hot Springs National Park actually has a second Bathhouse in operation. The Quapaw was recently renovated and is operated under a private lease. A third, the Fordyce Bathhouse is NPS run museum/visitors center.

    The visit by Secretary Salazar was disappointing to say the least. We (the majority of Hot Springs residents) had hoped for a more productive visit. It is so unfortunate that the relationship between the city and park has become so contentious in just the past 5 years. It is our hope that Superintendent Fernandez finds herself promoted to a new park ...

    This comment was edited to remove a gratuitous remark. Ed.

  • Court Ruling Blocks Some ORV Access to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Other Federal Lands   5 years 32 weeks ago

    One less "road" that off-road enthusiast can enjoy thanks to courts. Another right taken away by environmental extremist. Sad day.
    -rich
    San Diego, CA

  • Another Gettysburg Witness Tree is Lost   5 years 32 weeks ago

    poor tree we will miss you =(

  • Wanna See Something Too Gorgeous for Words? Check Out the New Non-Narrative “Living Death Valley” DVD   5 years 32 weeks ago

    This is BEAUTIFUL. I camped in the mountains above Death Valley for many years (I live in Fla now). It is my very favorite place. This film shows why. Love it.

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 32 weeks ago

    You can still get a massage at several resort lodges within NPS units, like Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort at Olympic National Park. Is it a massage parlor? Hardly so. However - they do list rates for massages.

    http://www.visitsolduc.com/hotspringsandpools.cfm

    Still - I been part of online discussions of what should be designated a National Park today. One very strong theme was that Hot Springs National Park wouldn't likely to receive a "National Park" designation if it were to be considered today. The gist seems to be that it was declared a National Park at a time when nobody was really sure what should or shouldn't be declared a National Park.

    Still - I understand the concern that the NPS has. It seems that the city is blurring the line between what is Hot Springs NP and the city. Anyone walking in West Yellowstone, MT is acutely aware that it's not NPS land. The visitor to the city of Hot Springs may not be so aware.

  • It Ain't Sexy: Charting The Next Two Decades At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Thanks Mike!

  • It Ain't Sexy: Charting The Next Two Decades At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    In case you need a little fodder for a future update, here is my post after going to the open house meeting in Madison, WI.

    http://www.parkstamps.org/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?16604.last

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Well, Anonymous Robert, other than some sly word-play here and there, I don't see anything 'written' here by Bob Janiskee that besmirches Massage. Unless you are talking about his quote of our Secretary of the Interior from Colorado. Who knows? Maybe in Colorado 'Massage Parlor' remains a euphemism, or has at least a double meaning? Nothing against Colorado, of course, just guys who never take off their hat.

    And Bob Janiskee, since you are the King of Naming & Classification for National Parks, this very early national park at Hot Springs is one of the best examples of the limits of rigorous logic or jesuitical precision to the language of national parklands.

    The town and the park have always been rolled together. The somewhat bizarre effort of the current superintendent to create a distinction is surely inconsistent with the history of the town and park, whatever it says in the Management Policies or CFR. When the distinguished Senator Dale Bumpers as one of his legacy efforts at the end of his career in Congress (performed about the same time he served as chief counsel for the defence of W.J. Clinton before the Senate impeachment trial) was to try to put the park up to a higher level, after years of neglect and want. Does any one in the NPS doubt that the main reason that happened is Bumper's concern for the town? You'd think a smart superintendent would wrap her park's future around the town.

    The rank-and-file-Yosemite-mafia-type-Ranger of course has always been uncomfortable with Hot Springs, because it is really so different from the purple-mountain's-majesty-type national park, or the Basin and Range ideal. But because it is a throwback to an earlier era, and is one of the very earliest national parks in the United States, most of these guys don't know whether to attack it or support it. It is a perfect topic for Bob Janiskee's List of Anomalies. Truth is, it is the American take on the Victorian or 19th Century European 'pleasuring ground,' in the original concept of 'recreation.'

    I mean, where would 'The Last Year at Marienbad' be without the spa? Or all the other famous European or English resorts? You didn't just go for the scenery and the hiking.

    Although we have people today who see any resort in a national park - even the one at Yellowstone - as an intrusion, there was a time when the relationship between the place and the resort was inextricable. Like, at Hot Springs.

    Even a cowboy from Colorado in a cowboy hat will have a hard time extracating this one. I suggest, we need fewer lawyers involved, and a few more people with a sense of the cultural history of recreation. And a superintendent with a sense of humor.

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 32 weeks ago

    As someone who grew up in the shadows of Naval Training Center and Marine Corps Recruit Depot, and is now married to a licensed, certified, massage therapist (life is good!), I thought that the operative term was "parlor". Therapeutic massage at spas, day spas, salons, resorts, athletic clubs, medical centers, etc., is a wonderful treatment, especially welcome after a couple days of fieldwork. At least in California, Virginia, and Colorado, even massage therapists consider massage parlors to be sleazy, and don't call their places of business massage parlors. Even the massage chains don't call themselves parlors. Robert, is that different where you live & work?

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Jeez, anon, it was Interior Secretary Ken Salazar who implied that massage parlors are sleazy. I just reported what he said. Some western frontier saloons are said to have sported a sign that read "Please Don't Shoot the Piano Player." Here at the Traveler, we have one that says "Please Don't Shoot the Messenger." If you still think I'm a massage parlor-hating dingbat, check the comment immediately preceding yours.

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Massage gives a bad immage?
    Was this written in the 1800s?
    Wow.
    I work in an athletic club where massage
    is used to draw health oriented people.
    Please come to the 2000s.

    Robert
    (massage therapist)

  • PFDs Are Proven Lifesavers. Should Boaters be Required to Wear Them?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I guide about 10-12 trips a summer down the river, and always wear a PFD. I think wearing a PFD is a good idea. I think the government legislating requirements is a bad idea. Our freedom in America includes the right to be stupid and dangerous. Is the river really that dangerous? Considering the 10,000 people/weekend that use the river and the 2 deaths per/year I'd say it isn't cause for alarm.

    -Zachary G

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Yup. The Buckstaff Bath House (note spelling), which is the only operational bath house within the park, still offers a full body Swedish style massage. Check it out at

    .

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Is it still possible to get a massage at the Buck(t)horn Baths, the stately bathhouse run by the park service along bathhouse row? After a long day or two crystal mining, soaking in those deep tubs and having an attendant scrub off all that red clay was wonderful.

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Retrofitting suicide "magnet" bridges like the Golden Gate Bridge and the New River Gorge Bridge sounds like a good idea, at least on the surface of it, but the high cost of the work and the negative impacts on bridge esthetics and sightlines are normally considered to outweigh the suicide-deterring benefits. If you believe that saving human lives outweighs these values, you should make your feelings known to the appropriate policy- and decision-makers. In the case of the New River Gorge Bridge, that would not be the National Park Service. The bridge is owned and operated by the state of West Virginia.

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Okay, so I am a little late to this discussion but I just found this site. Let me say "WOW!!!" I can't believe how passionate some people can get over something they have never even tried out for themselves. The point I would like to make about the Segway and obesity in America is simply this, the Segway is not designed nor recommended for anyone over 260 pounds! 260 pounds is a lot if you are 5' 9" but not so much at 6' 5". In addition, it does take physical ability to properly opporate a Segway. Is it going to be a person's primary source of exercise? I hope not!!! For those who want a different, fun and exciting way to see ANY sites, not just our beautiful NPS sites, the Segway can't be beat. The previous comments bashing the use of Segways in our national parks are obviously options formed from ignorance of the Segway. There are currently 2 basic Segway models... the I2 which is more of an urban use device while the X2 has big knobbie tires designed for going off road. In addition the X2 can be outfitted with turf tires for use on golf courses and other mainly grass venues. I would suggest all you naysayers go out and take a Segway tour and then come back and tell us all how terrible they are! Bet you won't be able to... like momma used to say, "Try it, you'll like it"!!! And if you don't, you must be dead!

    In closing, riding the Segway through our national parks isn't about people needing exercise (go to the GYM!!!). Its about giving people who have an interest in preserving the environment and those who may not be able to negotiate the terrain well on foot a new and innovative way to see the sites. A Segway is easier to ride than a bicycle. And for people like my mother-in-law, who have COPD, it is a way to see the sites at all.

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   5 years 32 weeks ago

    My sympathies to those of you who lost someone at New River Gorge.

    There was a time when I also viewed those who committed suicide as selfish. I know much better now. Many times the person who commits suicide is acutely ill (psychologically) at the time. And Brian Logan has an accurate perspective. Studies have shown that a disturbingly high percentage of people who attempted suicide report that they only contemplated the act for minutes before making a drastic action.

    Although there is some controversy over this, some "Magnets" for suicide, such as the Golden Gate Bridge can be barricaded to decrease the amount of suicides that occur there. I've never been to New River Gorge, so I'm not sure if park managers should look into installing some sort of prevention structures on that bridge. Some suicide magnets, such as the Grand Canyon, cannot be barricaded. For these places, the last thing standing between a suicidal person and their desperate act will often be a park ranger.

    For anyone who would like to increase their understanding of suicide and therefore have more compassion for suicidal people, I highly recommend this book.

    Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide
    by Kay Redfield Jamison

  • Court Ruling Blocks Some ORV Access to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Other Federal Lands   5 years 32 weeks ago

    ORV/ATV use has caused severe environmental damage on public lands, including national parks, across the nation. The parks in Alaska are particularly hard hit by off-road travel. Once a park permits ORV use it is extremely difficult to manage it and prevent the expansion of environmental impacts.

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   5 years 32 weeks ago

    My son was the young man who died Sept. 9, 2008. We had his 35th [not 25th as written] birthday Aug.31 and 9 days later he was gone. He was a beautiful , kind , loving man who thought he was a failure because he had failed in his relationship. He could not see past that to realize how much his family and friends loved him and how much his son needed and loved him. I am dreading the approach of Sept. 9 but I know that I can
    get through it with the strength God has given me. I miss his wonderful hugs but I know that he is in the a place where the demons he kept hidden from us have no power. Thank you for your kind words. Remember us all in your prayers. Everyone needs them no matter how strong we think we are.

  • Court Ruling Blocks Some ORV Access to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Other Federal Lands   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Thanks for this excellent summary of the issue. If Kane County had won, it would have been bad news for many other national parks and monuments in the West. Some rural counties still think RS 2477 is their magic bullet to shoot down the management plans adopted by NPS, BLM and the Forest Service.