Recent comments

  • Study Says Loss of Wolves Damaging Olympic National Park's Forest Ecosystem   5 years 33 weeks ago

    the hunters need to stay away and the wolfs need a reservation to keep pochers away

  • Study Says Loss of Wolves Damaging Olympic National Park's Forest Ecosystem   5 years 33 weeks ago

    hunters need to stay the hell away and it would all be fine

  • Reading the Fine Print – Did the NPS Ever Manage This National Monument?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    All good points on wilderness. On the other hand, without the provision to land on skiis or floats, we probably would not have gotten nearly as much Wilderness in Alaska.

    Plus, although perhaps NOT in Southeast Alaska, in Interior Alaska there is some strange connection between the small, single-engine airplane and the sense of what is wild in Alaska. I know it seems weird, but the mythos of wild country in Alaska is as much about airplanes as it is about sleddogs. There is a whole literature on this Alaskan romance of the small plane. Read Sheppard's "Flying North."

    We also thought at the time that restricting flights to small, fixed wing aircraft would have minimal physical impact, due to landing on snow cover, or landing on lakes or rivers. We tried to make it clear that by definition aircraft could not be a subsistence means of access, but the ambiguity of the language, and especially the interpretation, of the law means that preverse interpretations of the law have seemed to allow ATVs and aircraft. But during the debate, the very powerful republican Senator Hansen, who had been trying to show some flexibility to the need of some money even in the subsistence economy, had finally had enough. He barked: I don't care: if it is by air, it is sport hunting, NOT SUBSISTENCE!

    A series of weak leaders and strong pushes in the Reagan and the two Bush administrations have slowly confused an already complicated law.

    I was moaning one day, years after the law was passed, about the way the Reagan-Bush people had twisted the Alaska lands act (ANILCA), to a very senior and very distinguished chief of staff to the Senate committee with jurisdiction. I said something infantile about how this law cannot handle the bad faith from the people implementing it. This guy looked at me like I was born yesterday and said: ALL laws are like that. ALL laws require good faith!"

  • Reading the Fine Print – Did the NPS Ever Manage This National Monument?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    MRC -

    Good comment about wilderness in Alaska, and the impact of a lot of small aircraft.

  • Climbing is Capped at Mount McKinley and Climbers are Left to Wonder What’s Next   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Beamis,

    I doubt the NPS spends an "exorbitant" amount of money on SAR at Denali. (Compared to pork barrel spending and the millions spent on planning, research, etc, NPS SAR expenses are mere pennies.) They do, perhaps, risk an exorbitant amount of rescuer's lives on Denali.

    I suspect that the poop on Denali is more impact on the aesthetics and safety of the human experience than it is on the environment.

    This may be a justified case of limiting access to improve the quality and the safety of the human experience.

    I think your Parunaweep (Zion) example is a better case of the NPS participating in unjustified closing of an area to human visitation.

  • Climbing is Capped at Mount McKinley and Climbers are Left to Wonder What’s Next   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Interesting questions, Beamis. Unless you made the purchase of (costly) insurance mandatory, it’s likely that the fatality rate would increase dramatically after you announced that climbers must pay the full cost of SAR operations conducted in their behalf. People in desperate trouble would be disinclined to ask for help, and that’s a ticket to disaster. Anyway, climbers have always been disposed to “take care of their own,” and that is the ethic at work on Denali (no mountaineers that I know of call the peak “Mount McKinley”). The SAR team positioned at about the 14,000 foot level on Denali during the climbing season consists of ranger volunteers. They are there because they love it, and because they care about fellow members of the climbing fraternity. I’m not sure the NPS would save much money if this service were discontinued. For one thing, the SAR personnel would still be on the NPS payroll and working in some other park. (I do understand that military/contract helicopters needed for high-altitude rescue are expensive.) BTW, the SAR work on Denali is more dangerous than most people appreciate. There are lots of ways to get killed, and that includes the air shuttle from Talkeetna. Several years ago, three ranger volunteers and their very experienced pilot died when their plane crashed in bad weather en route to Denali. As for your Obamacrats comment, I can only say this: Please don’t ever again mention feces and “sink your teeth into” in the same posting.

  • Climbing is Capped at Mount McKinley and Climbers are Left to Wonder What’s Next   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Anon, if Bobby Kennedy ever climbed Mount McKinley, I sure don’t know about it. I think Bobby Kennedy Junior may have scaled McKinley in the mid-1990s. (Perhaps one of our readers could help with this?) Be that as it may, you are probably thinking about Bobby Kennedy’s summitting of (the then newly-named) Mount Kennedy in 1965. That climb is very well documented because the mountain (in the Canadian Yukon) was named in honor of President John F. Kennedy and was climbed for the first time ever by a team that included JFK’s brother Bobby. Alas; I can’t help you on the fitness program front.

  • Climbing is Capped at Mount McKinley and Climbers are Left to Wonder What’s Next   5 years 33 weeks ago

    One market focused approach to reduce climbers would be to have them sign a waiver from receiving an immediate rescue or else be on the hook for the FULL amount of a SAR. It seems downright stupid for the government to be spending exorbitant amounts of money and risking their employees lives to rescue those who have willingly exposed themselves to extreme danger. That's how private insurance works and the NPS should be no different. The SAR account should always be full and ready to serve those who have the means and responsibility to shoulder the burdens of their voluntary activity.

    As for the observation that:


    Warming temperatures have already melted enough ice and snow to expose large amounts of human feces originally buried 14 feet beneath the surface.

    This definitely sounds like a public works project that the Obamacrats could really sink their teeth into. Someone should alert Rahm Emanuel that Americorps needs additional funding to procure some pooper scoopers, enviro-hazard bags and a contingent of "volunteers" to set out for Alaska to start cleaning up the mess that global warming has exposed upon the pristine slopes of Mt. McKinley.

    The dawning of the green collar economy is now upon us!

  • Climbing is Capped at Mount McKinley and Climbers are Left to Wonder What’s Next   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Bob, didn't Bobby Kennedy climb Mt. McKinley sometime during the 1960's. I remember a photo of him mastering the peak but not sure when. Since you and Kurt are rich in national park history, I thought perhaps you both would know. I do know that the Kennedy's were great outdoor enthusiast and President John Kennedy instigated the famed 50 mile hike of America. Whatever happened to those fittest programs that Presidents supported and participated? I know this is off the topic but just curious about Bobby K. Thanks!

  • Climbing is Capped at Mount McKinley and Climbers are Left to Wonder What’s Next   5 years 33 weeks ago

    As far as I can tell, Beamis, empirical evidence is the root concept here, not scientific research and analysis. Experience has taught the NPS that the current number of climbers, which is well below the cap, may already be too many. Climbers already clog the trade route (West Buttress) during the brief episodes of reasonably non-rotten weather. SAR capabilities are already stretched dangerously thin. Warming temperatures have already melted enough ice and snow to expose large amounts of human feces originally buried 14 feet beneath the surface.

  • Climbing is Capped at Mount McKinley and Climbers are Left to Wonder What’s Next   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I'd be interested in seeing what sort of documentation and scientific evidence the NPS has on hand that prompted this move. I seriously doubt that there is much in the way of tangible information besides the burning desire to close and restrict yet more access to the public who are out to "trash the park". Can anyone tell us what methodology was employed to arrive at this number?

  • Reading the Fine Print – Did the NPS Ever Manage This National Monument?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Jim, Wilderness in Alaska does not mean the same thing as in the lower 48. In an Alaskan Wilderness some buildings are allowed such as cabins, and sea planes flying in the wilderness and landing on the lakes. Either to bring visitors to their trailheads or cabins or just as day trips from Ketchikan, which usually include a landing on one of the lakes. IN their 2006 monitoring report the FS concludes that the noise from overflights and just seeing all those planes landing and taking off seriously impedes the perception of solitude in the wilderness.

  • Is Someone Missing in the Backcountry of Sequoia National Park?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Twin Lakes is one of my favorite spots to stop for a night in the SEKI backcountry. I hope no one is in trouble up there.

  • Whatever Happened to That Rule Change To Allow You to Pack Heat in National Parks?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Anonymous, I have refrained from using ad hominem attacks and arguments and would kindly request that you do the same. You might be new to the site and might not know of my repeated condemnation of interest groups and lobbyists, but that doesn't give license to attack or mischaracterize me in an attempt to discredit my argument.

    J Longstreet, you are quite right in several regards. I also bet Kurt "gets it" and am willing to guess the topic drives traffic to this site. The comment activity seems to reflect it. Controversy sells.

    Kurt, on this thread, I was posting the Founders' sentiments regarding the right to bear arms in response to the assertion of user "VERY knowledgable [sic] of US history" that Second Amendment proponents do not examine the issue in historical context. I've quoted the founders to put the debate in context, because, as Jefferson wrote, "On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."

    As far as slavery, many Founders were against it, especially northerners like Adams. Jefferson, himself a slave owner, wrote to Edward Rutledge, "I congratulate you, my dear friend, on the law of your State, for suspending the importation of slaves, and for the glory you have justly acquired by endeavoring to prevent it forever. This abomination must have an end. And there is a superior bench reserved in heaven for those who hasten it." He also initially wanted to blame England for slavery in the Declaration of Independence, but that was struck from the draft. Unfortunately, political, social, and financial factors prevented him from freeing his own slaves.

    So Jefferson, and many other Founders, did see the justice in freeing slaves. Should we dismiss the entire Constitution, rule of law, and the noble concept of individual liberty because they were postulated by (of course) flawed humans?

    I have not read the Supreme Court decision in the DC gun ban case. The Supreme Court is not above reproach, however. It has evolved into a partisan, activist, unelected committee with total disregard for the original meaning of the Constitution's text.

    As Lincoln said, "If the policy of the government, upon vital questions affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court...the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned the government into the hands of that eminent tribunal."

  • Reading the Fine Print – Did the NPS Ever Manage This National Monument?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    d-2:

    Excellent analysis.

    There's no doubt in the The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 that the USFS would manage Misty Fjords. This article was forwarded to another forum, and a couple of NPS veterans on that board pointed out that Misty Fjords was carved out of the huge Tongas National Forest, and there was no way the Forest Service was going to give up that territory to the NPS.

    As stated earlier, the key is that this prime piece of Alaska was protected in a timely manner. Based on my very limited peek, it is a magnificent area.

  • Whatever Happened to That Rule Change To Allow You to Pack Heat in National Parks?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Frank,

    I don't see it as a red herring at all. Here and in comments to other posts about the guns-in-parks issue you've trotted out the Founding Fathers and their intent and that what they viewed more than 230 years ago rings just as true today, or that it should.

    If they were so omniscient when it came to bearing arms down through the centuries, how could they not have seen the justice in freeing slaves and giving women the vote?

    And beyond that, as I recall the most recent Supreme Court opinion did not in fact uphold one's right to carry a sidearm anywhere they wanted, but restricted that right largely to their homestead, AND held that the federal government was within its rights to restrict where guns could be carried.

  • Whatever Happened to That Rule Change To Allow You to Pack Heat in National Parks?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    I guess there's no getting around it. No matter how many times you raise the issue of HOW the gun regulation is being developed, your readers refuse to discuss process and need to drag up the pros and cons of the issue. Folks, how many times do you have to debate the same issue? Do you actually think you are convincing anyone? It's obvious that NPT readers feel strongly and there are many of you on both sides of this issue. I get it. I'm sure Kurt gets it.

    What seems highly pertinent to me, whether or not I agree with the substance of this regulation, is that it is being promulgated -- if, in fact it is going to be promulgated -- in a way that will make it suspect. Every regulation issued at the end of an administration, no matter what the substance, is one that looks like it was hurried through because the administration ran out of time. The best regulations are issued earlier in the four year cycle, so the process they are issued under is above reproach.

    Even if you are a fan of this rule, you should be concerned at how and when it may be issued, and the company of questionable rules that are also being issued in these final weeks of the Bush administration. It will taint it and make it that much more likely it will be vulnerable in a lawsuit.

    J Longstreet
    A national park superintendent

  • Whatever Happened to That Rule Change To Allow You to Pack Heat in National Parks?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Sounds to me Frank C, just loves to jump on the bandwagon about any issue that favors more guns, or any issue that supports the gung-ho gun lobbyist. But, to be frantically obsessed Frank, I think is bit super overkill on your behalf. Right to bear arms...yes! But, keep your nasty guns and peashooters at home and not in the National Parks. For god sakes come up for air!

  • Whatever Happened to That Rule Change To Allow You to Pack Heat in National Parks?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I was a Weapons Specialist in the Army. No one claims that a gun will protect you all the time. As far as my last fact goes, YOU HAVE PROVED IT TO BE TRUE. Guns have been allowed in National Forest Areas with min. problems. If your anti gun, more power to you! I'm pro gun and also by the way, an NRA MEMBER and Proud of it (more power to me).

  • Whatever Happened to That Rule Change To Allow You to Pack Heat in National Parks?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Kurt, respectfully, I believe the argument you've broached to be a red herring, an "argument, given in reply, that does not address the original issue. Critically, a red herring is a deliberate attempt to change the subject or divert the argument."

    We the People can "tweak" the Constitution through the amendment process, and if times have changed so much that we no longer have to worry about government tyranny, and we feel comfortable giving government a monopoly on gun ownership and use, I suggest that Second Amendment detractors use this process rather than ignoring the Constitution, as even Obama, a Constitutional scholar, seems prone to do.

  • Whatever Happened to That Rule Change To Allow You to Pack Heat in National Parks?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Frank,

    Purely for argument's sake, those noble men you mention had the chance but did not outlaw slavery nor give women the right to vote, so should we now rescind the Emancipation Proclamation and the 19th Amendment because the Founding Fathers were silent on those two points? Or, should we accept that as times change it wouldn't be so outlandish to tweak the Constitution a bit?

  • Whatever Happened to That Rule Change To Allow You to Pack Heat in National Parks?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    VERY:

    I urge you to study the "historical context" in which the Bill of Rights was written and the Founders' statements on the individual right to bear arms:

    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks." Thomas Jefferson

    "[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." James Madison

    "[W]hereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms. . ." Richard Henry Lee

    "[C]onceived it to be the privilege of every citizen, and one of his most essential rights, to bear arms, and to resist every attack upon his liberty or property, by whomsoever made." Roger Sherman

    While the British crown was the tyrant of the day, the Founders recognized government, in a much broader context, as having the potential to devolve to tyranny. George Washington wrote, "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

    Patrick Henry echoed that sentiment when he said, "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined."

    It goes on. Adams. Washington. More from Jefferson.

    Please read about the Original Intent and Purpose of the Second Amendment for more illumination.

  • Reading the Fine Print – Did the NPS Ever Manage This National Monument?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    One hint in President Carter's language about who is to manage can be found when you compare the subsistence provisions in Misty Fjords with a national park monument, such as Kobuk Valley.

    -- In Kobuk Valley, President Carter says:

    “The Secretary of the Interior shall promulgate such regulations as are appropriate, including regulation of the opportunity to engage in a subsistence lifestyle by local residents. The Secretary may close the national monument, or any portion thereof, to subsistence uses of a particular fish, wildlife or plant population if necessary for reasons of public safety, administration, or to ensure the natural stability or continued viability of such population.”

    Because the land in the Kobuk Valley had been managed by BLM, but would be taken over by NPS, the President identifies the need for new regulations, promulgated by the Secretary of the INTERIOR.

    -- In Misty Fjords, President Carter instead refers to the existing statutes, which of course are Forest Service laws, part of the Department of Agriculture:

    “Hunting and fishing shall continue to be regulated, permitted and controlled in accord with the statutory authorities applicable to the monument area.”

    The National Forest had no conflict with hunting, but, a national park monument would usually prohibit all forms of hunting. This was a very big deal at the time.

    So, President Carter indicates here that existing Forest Service law and regulation would apply, with the difference that under the Antiquities Act/National Monument withdrawal and the parallel withdrawals by Secretary Andrus, all new mines, leases, homesteads and other private reservations were excluded from Misty Fjords.

  • BLM, NPS Modify Oil and Gas Lease Auction near National Parks in Utah   5 years 33 weeks ago

    There's still plenty of consternation about the reported "compromise" between the BLM and NPS.

    A recent letter to the Salt Lake Tribune by a Vernal, Utah resident makes a good point:

    Like previous energy booms, this one will eventually subside and tourism will help take up the economic slack -- unless heedless development has engulfed Dinosaur National Monument in an industrial zone that nobody wants to visit.

  • Hikers, Bikers and National Parks   5 years 33 weeks ago

    LOL! Somewhere long ago I read a long report on the amount of trail dirt various hiking boots displaced with each step, average stride and X miles hiked = much more maintenance than I thought.
    Anyway, IMHO mountain bikes no way in hell enhance the National Park Experience.
    And the idea of slashing even more trails through our parks for these playthings is ridiculous.
    For me Our National Parks are a place where nature rules and with humility we humbly get to visit, for a while.

    “Recreational development is a job not of building roads into the lovely country,
    but of building receptivity into the still unlovely human mind.”
    Aldo Leopold