Recent comments

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Ted, et al.,

    Nothing in the universe is totally permanent. But in the world of human institutions, America's federal government is the closest thing to perpetuity that we will get. It is literally the oldest democracy, and one of the oldest continuous governments, on earth.

    Certainly state governments are not as likely to keep areas protected for a century or more -- virtually none have to date. And there is no large-scale private holding that has been protected for anywhere near that amount of time. So the claim that special places would be as well off in state or private hands is based on ideology, not reality.

    Once you offload a national park area, it's done. It's virtually irreversible. I think it's very interesting that there is such a fervor today for decommissioning national parks. It is an artifact of the anti-federal/anti-public Reagan and post-Reagan era. And we have see how well that ideology has worked for America.

    I am totally willing to revisit old ideas. One example is the Mather/Albright concept that we should ration national park designations. That was an artifact of the days when much of America was undeveloped and it was almost unimaginable that the entire country could be developed. My guess is that they would have a very different take in light of today's realities. With the extinction crisis, global climate change, and the need to offer more open space near major populations, that approach makes absolutely no sense.

    Ironically, every Mather-opposed area listed in FrankC's quotation from anti-public land advocate Randall O'Toole is seriously threatened and should be designated as a national park area as soon as possible:

    Mather opposed many proposals for national parks--including parks at Lake Tahoe, Wasatch in Utah, Big Horn in Wyoming, Sawtooth in Idaho, and a Cascades park in Oregon and Washington that would cover Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and other Cascades peaks.

    So, yes, I agree that we need to constantly reassess. And when we do that today, there is an overwhelming argument that our current National Park System is woefully small. We need a dramatic expansion of the system, to protect dozens of imperiled natural areas, to ensure the protection all of the nation's more than 100 ecoregions, and to bring more parks to the people. The talk of getting rid of parks is so early 20th century. We need to double or triple the National Park System, the sooner the better.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    James R. Pepper,

    Thank you for the opportunity to give a more detailed treatment of subsistence practices in Alaska Parks, and other lands.

    The use of ATVs (and other motor-driven vehicles) in Alaska Parks by those who hold subsistence rights is widespread (and in some Parks, by recreational users as well), fully authorized ... but also carefully regulated. They are using the machines for specific purposes: they are not permitted everywhere, nor for 'whatever' may strike their fancy. Some places & contexts are off-limits. There are resources & habitats that can't withstand vehicle-usage, and are withdrawn, while in some settings, ATV-movement may be at the discretion of the user. Most commonly, though, ATVs are used on specific trails, and moving off the trail is avoided, to reduce impact.

    On the Wrangell-St. Elias Park's All Terrain Vehicles page, we see:

    "Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve was established under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) in December 1980. In abidance with ANILCA, Wrangell-St. Elias provides reasonable and feasible access to inholders, subsistence, and recreational users in the park. The most common means of access is by ATV or all-terrain vehicle." (underscore added)

    Likewise in the Gates of the Arctic terrain around Anuktuvuk Pass, locals are not free to use ATVs for hill-climbing recreation on the scree-slopes, or other 'free-wheeling' indulgences, and some areas are closed to machines. They generally keep to established paths. Often there is a seasonal consideration: places that can be damaged in the summer, may be open in the winter.

    The matter of the responsibilities of ATV-users also raises related issues.

    Consistently, about 60% of the subsistence has been fish, in early times as today. In many areas, the main fish has been salmon, but in Alaska as elsewhere, salmon-runs have been down. If wildlife managers find that a run is dropping below safe usage levels, then that resource is withdrawn from subsistence until it rebounds. Similar controls apply to big-game and fur animals. Subsistence users are not permitted to harm the resource, just because they qualify under subsistence provisions.

    The main test in specifying subsistence activities, is that they have been "customary & traditional", and ATVs (as well as numerous other machines) are allowed on that basis.

    There has been some abuse, misuse, and controversy, but subsistence & access use of ATVs (and in some settings by Park visitors - tourists) is solidly established in Alaska Nat'l Parks.

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Rick makes a good point about some state park systems not being able to take NPS units due to their own quagmires of funding and political issues. I hadn't fully considered that.

    I also think Chris is onto something with his notion that "the system would benefit if more parks were run as affiliated areas not run or funded by the federal government but governed by federal law, monitored by NPS, and have a title that comes the economic benefit that of gaining a 'national title'." This might provide a nice middle ground for those who call for complete severing of federal ties and those who cling to federal administration.

    Ted also makes a great point that past political decisions should be subject to review. Jefferson thought that the dead should not rule the living and that the nation should adopt a new constitution every 19 years (although some argue that Jefferson was referring to being saddled with debt by previous generations).

    At any rate, this is a fruitful discussion. I am happy to be a part of it.

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    After taking many South Carolina history classes in middle and high school while I was growing up in Charleston, the significance of Castle Pinckney was certainly under the radar and was hardly mentioned. It's a shame Congress turned it back to local government when it could have been protected as part of Fort Sumter National Monument just like Fort Moultrie is today so that the public could learn of its significance.

    Now, as a resident of Colorado, I've learned that many people revere the Wheeler Geologic Area as one of the most unique, scenic and hard-to-get-to geological spectacles in the state. Perhaps it should have remained a unit of the NPS, just left undeveloped and relatively inaccessible so that it could be protected under NPS standards without having to endure the impacts visitation as high as surrounding parks. I never knew about Holy Cross. Interesting.

  • A Century of National Parks in Utah To be Celebrated Labor Day Weekend   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I consider Natural Bridges to be one of the greatest units of the national park system on the Colorado Plateau. In celebration of this anniversary, I hope the federal government will begin to respect the national treasures we have in Utah and not abuse or destroy them with oil, natural gas and oil shale development outside Utah parks' boundaries. Tar sands deposits exist not far from Natural Bridges and are identified in the Department of Energy's Oil Shale and Tar Sands Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement as having development potential, though admittedly, northeast Utah is much more likely to see tar sands exploitation. That said, energy development is already encroaching on Arches National Park, where under a proposed final resource managagement plan, the BLM is allowing most public land adjacent to Arches' boundary to be open to energy development. Already, oil wells can be seen from within Arches. On some nights at the Windows section, you can see oil wells flaring if you look carefully. Indeed, in 2006, I visited a drilling rig five line-of-sight miles from Delicate Arch. Just as disturbing, drilling rigs could be seen a year ago from the entrance station to Canyonlands National Park's Island in the Sky District. That rig has since moved, but the BLM land immediately adjacent to Canyonlands' northern boundary isn't just open for polluting oil and natural gas development, the land is already leased and companies are actively exploring there.

    The threats to Utah national parks are numerous, with air quality problems stemming from regional coal-fired power plants and energy development to the encroachment of energy development itself, uranium mining and errant off-road vehicles. The federal government should take this opportunity to renounce its free-for-all resource extraction policies around Utah national parks and declare that these most special places shall be protected from such development forever. There should be no compromise on these parks' protection becuase there is no other place on earth like them.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Ted Clayton is explicitly WRONG about ATV's in Alaska.

    ATV's ARE NOT considered "customary and traditional" vehicles. The village of Anaktuvuk Pass tried to maintain that their '70's-era ATVs were "customary and traditional", but instead had to trade land with Gates of the Arctic National Park so that the park could protect undamaged tundra valleys and the Nunamiut people of the village could continue to use ATVs. The issue was only provoked because Sec. James Watt unwisely acquired the Native-owned land right around the village to add them to the Park as a cover to permit him to trade away Arctic Wildlife Refuge subsurface land to permit Watt and an oil company to permit a pro-oil development Native Corporation to be able get proprietary oil exploration info within the Refuge. It was a prelude to opening up the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, and Gates of the Arctic park and the people of Anaktuvuk Pass paid the price. The Natives immediately asserted they had "customary and traditional" rights to drive 8-wheeled vehicles on their former lands, as well as the rest of the park. You could clearly distinguish the recent damage from the ATVs from the undamaged areas. Clearly, there was nothing "customary" or "traditional" about it. However, the brilliant argument was uncorked that the Nunamiut people have always been adaptable and creative in the pursuit of the subsistence way of life, therefore, new technology is "customary and traditional."

    It did not work. ATV's are not and never were considered to be "customary and traditional" in the national park laws of Alaska.

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Lepanto said:

    ... "Rick Smith is exactly right at the core of this."

    On the contrary, it is precisely at the core of it, that he sets fact & reason aside.

    On the periphery of it, Rick made several valuable statements, and I acknowledged that. His core assertion, however (that "generational equity", etc., precludes second guessing previous decisions), is not only fallacious, it's nonsense.

    Every action that our government has taken previously - including the National Parks - is subject to review by us. The Constitution itself is second guessed (as a national hobby, it seems!).

    We cannot stipulate that our personal-favorite enactments of the past are now beyond the reach of the citizens, not only because our better principles abrogate the proposition, but because the citizens will reach past us and act as they chose. We may even incite the action, by trying to stifle it!

    The way to protect our favorite decisions of the past is not to deny the citizen's access to them, but to work to increase the value of them in her mind, and heart. We cannot protect any decisions by fiat: trying will more likely lead to defamation, than reverence.

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Chris:

    Heritage Areas should not be considered as "substandard parks," or at least National Heritage Areas should not be.

    In many cases the resources should be as significant, or more, than any national park. Rather, they are places where the story cannot be properly told unless the resource is in multiple ownership, where living communities are part of the story, and an effective partnership strategy can allow the significant resource character to be sustained and protected. Often, this strategy can include appropriate economic development or land protection strategies.

    They are not just a category to dump some substandard resource. They are exemplars of distinctive living landscapes. The good ones are, in their way, equal to the best national parks. This won't last long if we think they are dumping grounds.

  • "Designing the Parks"   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I would have to agree with the statement provided by Frank C. on the on-line forum, submitted below.

    After having witnessed firsthand what can happen to a National Park Unit when sued by special interest groups, (Specifically the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area (CHNSRA)), I would agree that the need for a decentralized park service is painfully evident.

    Groups like the Audobon Society and the Defenders of Wildlife are simply nothing more than “Special Interest Groups” themselves, although they detest the moniker, and do their very best to distance themselves from such descriptions. However, the AS and DOW, through a partnership headed by the Southern Environmental Law Center, (SELC), was able to successfully sue the NPS for failure to implement a “Final” management plan that took into account both ORV beach access and species protection. The final outcome was a “Consent Decree”, (CD) issued by a single Federal Judge. The CD transformed the wishes of the AS/DOW/SELC into a legally binding document that is essentially running the entire CHNSRA. This decree was reached without public input as well, and although signed by local government officials, was more like a “gun to the head” of the localities. They were faced with total beach closures and certain financial ruin should they not sign.

    These parks belong to the citizens of this great county, but are slowly and systematically being taken away from their rightful users, the taxpayers, and their natural stewards, the NPS itself.

    Is it time for the DOI and the NPS to separate? Should the NPS be broken down into smaller areas, maybe even state-by-state? If the DOI/NPS has to cater to every single special interest group with a questionably relevant concern, we shall all soon find the park operators mired in constant lawsuits, and ourselves locked out of these national treasures that we merely wish to save for our children.

    ****************************************************************
    Retired national park ranger
    written by Frank C., August 20, 2008
    “The bureaucracy that manages our national treasures is out of control. The government spends twice as much on regional offices and national administration than it does to operate the 58 national parks in the system.

    During the last decade, the NPS has been lobbied by 30-50 interest groups per year representing a plethora of interests. There’s an association of museums, mountain bike and ATV groups, “hospitality” groups, and even hiking groups (who lobbied for and got a million dollars for an outhouse in Glacier’s backcountry in the late 1980s).

    National parks are subject to political forces and pressured by interest groups. To cut political interest, it is necessary to depoliticize national parks, and to do that we need to remove national parks from a political system. The Organic Act (the founding charter of the Park Service), written almost 100 years ago, is anachronistic and was heavily altered by interest groups of the time (such as railroads, hotel owners, and the National Park Transportation Association, a government-sanctioned monopoly that promised no visitors to Yellowstone would be “subjected to the hazard and inconvenience of walking … through the park”).

    Special interests shaped the Organic Act by forcing rhetorical changes from the word “preserve” to “conserve” and by redefining “unimpaired”. We need new charters for the management of our national parks, charters that shun interest groups and mandate preservation and scientific management of our national parks.

    We ought to investigate decentralized management of our national parks, and non-profit conservation trusts offer an opportunity to free the national park system from its political shackles and the political tides that wash over Washington, DC.

    Conservation trusts are managed by a board comprised of local business members, university staff, scientists, and conservation organization members. Conservation trust boards, due to their diverse composition, are less likely to be influenced by corporations and political pressures.

    Funding could become more stable using conservation trusts. People could become members of individual parks or of all parks (similar to how people become members of zoological societies). Conservation trusts would eliminate government-granted concession monopolies in parks, which currently return a paltry (as little as 2-3%) franchise fee. Conservation trusts would receive the lion's share of revenue from camping fees, gift stores, restaurants, and lodging that currently goes to large, multinational, for-profit corporations and their shareholders.

    Only by removing national park management from the grip of the heavily lobbied and fickle federal government can we ensure the preservation of our national treasures.”

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Folks I messed up my grammer, so I edited it. It was originally posted earlier in the day before the posting above.

    Sorry

    Dapster

    Chris,

    Your quote:

    "As my time as a Senior volunteer at a National Park has taught me "Mitigation funding" is something you come to both love and hate, and thanks to the current adminstration the NPS's increasing reliance on it has become a serious problem."

    Can you please explain what you know about this situation? That's new terminology to me, and I would like to know how it might come into play in the CHNSRA issue. Thanks in advance!


    Mitigation funding is when a park get funding from a corporation to offset any environmently or any other damage they have done to a park because of their actions. For example, an oil company drills or drilled for oil near a National Park and to help Mitigate their past or future damage give the park MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. Now just think how this how this can become a problem.

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Beamis,

    Keweenaw National Historical Park is an interesting example. First of, the places with in the park were already designated a National Landmark before it became a National Historical Park, second, is economic development really such a bad thing, and third is where a park located really matter. However, I also agree with you on many levels and that the "park" should never had been created.

    My belief is that the Keweenaw National Historical Park should have been designated a National Heritage Area under the administration of the. This would have given the place the economic benefits the local congressmen wanted, as well all of the other untold benefits that come with a "national title". Nevertheless, it was probably pushed to be designated a "National Historical Park" for a couple of reasons: 1. to get "mitigation funding" to help pay for turning it into a park, and 2. thanks to our current environmental laws get more funding on top of the mitigation funding (which is a benefit of being a NPS unit) to pay for cleaning it up.

    Keweenaw National Historical Park also highlights another problem with the National Park System, its increasing reliance on "Mitigation Funding". This is becoming a serious problem because many NPS units have been manipulated to maximize this type of funding. Some parks are improperly designated. Other parks are too small and don't include areas they should. While even more are too large and include areas they shouldn't or NPS shouldn't deal with. However, it can get even more troubling when combinations of all three.

    The most recent, and quite obvious, example of this the Lower Taunton river being included in the legislation. This my friend is an example of a park being larger than it should to maximize "mitigation funding" using what I call a mitigation zone.

    And Frank,

    That site you talk about acts a research center doing both historical and archeological surveys, which is why it costs so much money to run. Moreover, I do agree with you that the NPS shouldn't protect everything and that the system would benefit if more parks were run as affiliated areas not run or funded by the federal government but governed by federal law, monitored by NPS, and have a title that comes the economic benefit that of gaining a "national title".

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I do not believe in these kinds of exercises, but if we all sat around a table and listed the top ten NPS areas that we would prune, I suspect that our lists would be significantly different. And that's the rub. One person's pork barrel park is another person's crown jewel.

    There is one other potential flaw in the ideas that have been expressed in this thread. I'm not sure I know of one state or one NGO that would willingly accept the financial and supervisory responsibility involved in assuming the management of a national park area. In fact, as we know from history, it is much more likely that local and state jurisdictions try to pass their areas on to the NPS--Gateway and Golden Gate are two good examples.

    This has been a fun, stimulating discussion. I hope we can have more of them like this.

    Rick Smith

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    The simplest answer is that "a national park is whatever Congress says is a national park." But many Park Service leaders, from Stephen Mather to James Ridenour, have been unwilling to accept this answer. Mather worried that "low-grade" parks would set a precedent for reducing the quality of existing parks. Creating a park that had a dam in it might justify damming the Grand Canyon. Creating a park that was heavily clearcut might justify clearcutting Yosemite. So early park advocates believed that parks should be limited to the most spectacular and pristine areas.

    On this basis, Mather opposed many proposals for national parks--including parks at Lake Tahoe, Wasatch in Utah, Big Horn in Wyoming, Sawtooth in Idaho, and a Cascades park in Oregon and Washington that would cover Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and other Cascades peaks. Mather also kept parks out of the system that were added after his death, including Grand Coulee, the North Dakota badlands, Washington's Lake Chelan, and the Indiana sand dunes.

    In proposing such parks, members of Congress often hoped that the magic words "national park" would help stimulate local economies. If nothing else, the placement of rangers and visitors facilities would bring federal funds into the areas. Mather saw the political benefits of spreading parks across the nation, but was unwilling to degrade the system with substandard parks. Instead, he promoted state park status for areas that deserved protection but were not nationally significant.

    More here

    There are many examples of parks that could be "pruned" from the system and turned over to state or non-profits, as Mather once suggested.

    Take Eugene O'Neill NHS: "This house is no more nationally significant than thousands of other buildings that were home, at one time or another, to various American writers and artists."

    Frederick Law Olmsted NHS: "Frederick Law Olmsted was a big spender when it came to parks, but even he might shudder at the thought of spending $1.3 million per year to maintain a house, one acre, and a collection of documents that together serve an average of less than twelve visitors per day" [in the early 1990s--currently closed to visitation].

    A smaller system means a more efficient system. The federal government simply cannot protect EVERYTHING worthy of protection, and an investigation should be undertaken to see which parks were established as pork barrel, and once decided, those parks should be turned over to other agencies. Pruning these units will only strengthen the entire system.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    LH,

    The "Lip Rippers" moniker is my personal favorite too. Classic! I have seen it in print on other sites, believe it or not. This thread contained some similar sentiments, as I know you are aware.

    Your albiet distant view is quite accurate, I must say. I would also agree with your "simplistic" comment, but I think that the posts on this thread by those of us painfully close to the issue have helped to clarify the situation, and show just how hard an area this is to manage due simply to geography.

    Thanks for your sympathies for our cause. I believe as you do, that this battle is far from over. I do not wish to see it tied up in courts, but would rather see a more democratic process be allowed to settle this affair. We’ll just have to wait and see on that, while breathing normally. Good advice there!

    Chris,

    Thanks for the excellent description of “Mitigation Funding”. I’ve never heard of it coming into play in the NPS areas that I frequent. I can clearly see how that could indeed become a huge problem. Kind of sounds like an area could be “bought/hushed up”, for the right amount of money.

    In the CHNSRA, I’m afraid it’s all about “Litigation” funding these days….

    Thanks again to you all for your insights. I think we’ve all learned something from this thread. I know I certainly have.

    dap

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I respectfully, disagree.

    I for one believe that the country can definitely do without a park commemorating our nation's "copper smelting heritage", most of which was a Super Fund cleanup site to begin with. The Keweenaw National Historical Park in Michigan is a prime example of something that would have never been developed locally or at the state level and was from the beginning a very upfront attempt to use federal money to create a tourist destination in an economically depressed part of the country. The local congressman who pushed it through admitted as much.

    Can we agree on at least one? There are others but let me take this momement to point to one very egregious example of abuse and say that it is very hard to deny that what we are looking at is obvious Congressional pork on display. This area is NOT nationally significant, nobody besides locals even knows where it is and it does not get very many curious tourists trekking into the U.P. to take in our rich heritage of copper smelting.

    Rick I'm more than willing to second-guess the motivations of a Congress that thinks nothing of funding an unjust war and bridges to nowhere. If anything second-guessing is the only natural response a sentient being should have concerning the works of these criminal clowns.

    Do you really think this obscure toxic wast dump of a park is up to the standards of "national significance"? I really have my doubts.

    As I said there are many more.

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago


    Ted Clayton, there is a difference between the mature reflection of a nation and most of what we hear from people shaking their fist at the sky who complain about too many parks and parks that don't deserve designation. This is the context, I believe, of the Rick Smith remarks.

    You may not know it but the effort to undermine wholesale the legitimacy of this category or that of national park system units has been going on since the 1970's. It is even accompanied by its own moronic literature, books like The Thinning of the Blood. You may be outside of it and do not associate your remarks with this context, but without a cultural sense that there is great reverence for a Generation's effort set aside for preservation what it considers the essence of what it Values, our cultural continuity really is in danger. Preservation decisions are not unlike supreme court precedents. They can be changed, but in the main great priority must always be given these commitments.

    We are all facile enough to disparage the simple clarity of the concept of preservation, or to trivialize this or that example of government action. We can say that culture, language, taste, climate and nation-states are all forever changing, and so nothing really matters. But Rick Smith is exactly right at the core of this. It seems to me as a people in America we do seek to establish excellence in our culture and civilization. Like expanding freedom, we have to fight to retain these best elements of what is best in our civilization. We will lose the best if we cynically parce the very concept of reverence for the things that sustain the excellence of our culture.

    As Rick says: "think about it."

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I agree with you, Beamis, that it is important to subject policies--feeding bears, killing wolves, etc.--to constant scrutiny. In my mind, "delisting parks" is a significantly different issue.

    Rick Smith

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I might add that without second-guessing the NPS would still be having tourists come to enjoy the spectacle of bears eating garbage at the Yellowstone dump, while the deliberate killing wolves would continue to be standard operating procedure as would the stocking of streams with non-native species of fish and suppression of all fires.

    Without second-guessing civilization ceases to move forward.

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Ted,

    You make very good points, and agree with you on many points, but we have to be careful what we call and define a National Park. A National Park does not have to be as grand as the Grand Canyon. The current system and definition has created both an imbalance and a misunderstanding. A National Park should represent what is important national and the best a region has which is important for everyone to have.

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Rick Smith & Michael Kellett,

    I have to agree with Lone Hiker. Little or nothing about the United States, its citizens or anything else human, is established in perpetuity.

    Certainly - absolutely - as Rick said:

    "We ought to be very careful when we talk about "delisting" NPS areas."
    Being careful and using our best judgment in these matters goes without saying ... but we should certainly apply & exercise our judgment.

    However, neither I nor my grandfather nor my grandchild possess the ability or circumstances to make decisions that are beyond review or second-guessing. If anything we create or decide survives perpetuity, it won't be due to our original far-sightedness.

    Again, yes, as Rick says:

    ... "we owe these areas the highest standards of care."
    Yes, of course - do our best by selections made in the past. But set the decisions of the former generations apart as inviolable and beyond review or reversal? Of course not. We can in no way afford to make our Grandparent's (or our own) judgment-calls 'untouchable'.

    Rick concludes:

    ... "I would hate to think that some future generation would second guess us. Think about it.
    I am thinking about, and I think that it is essential and in every human sense inevitable that those who come after me, will & ought to second guess me, will look at what I did from another point of view and through a different tint of glasses.

    To create the first Parks where there had been none before required a major reexamination of the values & perceptions and fond recollections & preferences of the generations that preceded those who conceived the possibility of Nat'l Parks.

    Had the practices & conclusions of earlier generations not been questioned & reversed, Rick & Michael, our Park system would never have come into existence in the first place!

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Rick,

    Yes, I agree

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Beamis - Yes, Platt became an NRA and is now Chickasaw NRA http://www.nps.gov/chic/

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    The ebb and flow of units within the NPS isn't exactly the most catastrophic event that might occur within our lifetimes, or the blackest mark attributable to the current generation "in charge". The system as a whole is modified based on situational criterion that also possess the ability to ebb and flow along the lines of generational concerns, regarding issues environmental, cultural, political, and a governmental need to "pacify" any given local or regional authority, special interest, personal interest, or "other". Second guessing is in our nature....."armchair quarterbacking" is becoming almost a right of passage on all issues great and small. I personally wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    "Fish lip rippers"? Now I've heard everything........that's the best someone could invent? Sounds more cartoon than derogatory.

    Closing the beaches is an obvious attempt, in my view, of headline grabbing and stirring up emotion amongst the "all access" side of the debate, a thinly shrouded and poorly conceived notion that by, in essence, pissing off the locals and completely trashing the local economy, movement can be expedited on one side or the other. This, I grant you, is the view from a comfortable distance, and may or may not be totally accurate. But since I have no vested interest in the program, per se, maybe I'm being overly simplistic in my assessment of the situation. But I admit to taking umbrage with ANY "political football" that people try and simplify into the "Enviros vs. Human Progress" issue. Too convenient, too simplistic, and WAY too inaccurate in ALL cases. All emotion and limited substance is a poor way for EITHER side to affect the desired result. I, in all honestly, wish you well with achieving a resolution that both /all parties deem acceptable. But I certainly wouldn't be holding my breath if I was on EITHER side of this debate. I smell a protracted legal battle about to ensue. As if what's currently happening isn't protracted enough!

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Rick,

    I totally agree.