Recent comments

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 36 weeks ago

    It has come to a point where common sense is no longer the rule. If we don't like a decesion, we sue. Come on folks it is time to start using some good old common sense. The parks were set aside as two folds: to enjoy and preserve not eliminate all activities in the name of nature. Stewardship means just that, oversee at all times in an active role not passive one time rule making that eliminates any and all activities. Stewardship is time consuming and not a one shot deal, so get used to doing some work and USE COMMON SENSE!!!

  • Updated: Mount Rainier National Park Remains Closed Due to Flooding   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Just as in 2006, when construction workers & climbing guide concessions had continuous access, this Park closure is mostly just another scam for the convenience of NPS management. The road is good enough for heavy equipment to go back & forth to the VC demolition. Good enough for news vehicles to cover that event. http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/story/541098.html

    Good enough for several dozen NPS employees to stand around & watch the wrecking ball. Just not quite good enough for the pesky public to be in their way...

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 36 weeks ago

    From reading Judge Brimmer's opinion, it is clear that he was placing a higher value on providing certainty on short-term snowmobile policy to Park users and the surrounding Park communities, rather than on getting the right long-term policy in place for the immediate winter season. Furthermore, the opinion seems to be quite clear that the 2004 rule is to be implemented, and it seems to me that it would have been a major stretch for the Park Service to argue that they will not implement the 2004 rule at all, and would instead try and rush out the new Rule within the next 30 days - and somehow resolve the protests and appeals in that time as well. It seems to me that the National Park Service would be just asking for Judge Brimmer to slap them with a contempt of court ruling in that case.

    And while it is possible that Judge Sullivan may vacate Judge Brimmer's order implementing the 2004 rule for the upcoming winter, it would be very unusual for a concurrent court to override an order of another. If Judge Sullivan did do so, such an issue would certainly be referred to the Court of Appeals - which of course could easily end up tying it up and delaying it even further.

    About the only certainty in this process is that long-term resolution won't be occurring any time soon.

  • The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial You See Over There By the Tidal Basin Is Not the Original   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I'm impressed that you gave credit to the Wiki photographer. I'm sure he appreciates that. :^)
    Interesting subject. It's always nice to be remembered.

  • Are Yosemite National Park Officials Overlooking Safety of Curry Village Guests?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Use the occasion to move some lodging out of the valley. And in a few years some more. The floods were a good start. Safety is a strong argument, but ultimately it should be about restoring serenity in the valley.

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 36 weeks ago

    The NPS (and fed govt.) works for us taxpayers, not us for them. They need to be reminded of that, and allow as much recreation opportunities as feasible in OUR parks. They are ALL our parks, not parks for just for enviros.
    I don't buy all this enviro nonsense, and neither do most of the American people, proven by "carbon" initiatives failing this past election all over the country. You enviros need to get a life...obviously you have way too much time on your hands worrying about a little bit of exhaust from a few sleds.
    I for one am looking forward to riding my new Arctic Cat sled into the park this winter! Why? Because it is FUN!!!!

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Sabbatis,

    But, what's puzzling was that NPS was in fact trying to implement a temporary rule of 318, which they fully intended to have published in time. They only scrapped those temporary plans when Judge Brimmer's ruling came down. Whether they would have succeeded in getting a new rule published is another issue; that they stopped trying altogether suggests they are setting themselves up for another court failure. They could have continued to try on the 318, and then reverted to the 2004 when that process failed. But, they simply stopped trying, which suggests they are accepting a rule for snowmobile use that the courts have now ruled is worse than the rule that has been rejected.

    I would be very surprised in light of that not to see Sullivan grant an injunction. Tactically, what NPS is doing is very puzzling - either, they don't want snowmobiles in the park at all and have taken the bait in order to make that reality; or, they do, and are simply hoping that the current ruling is upheld.

    We'll see how this plays out, but I think the odds went up much higher than I ever expected when Sullivan's ruling originally came out that we might actually not see any motorized over snow use inside the park this winter.

    And, since roads will continue to be groomed, would that then mean they'd let non-motorized users on those roads (winterized bicycles and cross-country skiing?) - that's getting ahead of ourselves, I know. But, that question may soon become relevant.

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I am skeptical of the claim that the National Park Service could meet the "promulgate an acceptable rule" alternative in Judge Brimmer's decision any time soon. Indeed, Judge Brimmer says the same thing on Page 14 of his decision: "The Court finds it unlikely that the NPS will have the ability to promulgate and put into effect a rule for the winter season in a timely manner." Thus, Judge Brimmer's order in the conclusion was clearly intended to impose the 2004 rule for the 2008-2009 winter season. Whatever your opinion on this issue, I think it is indisputable that whatever final rule the National Park Service attempts to promulgate in accordance with Judge Sullivan's decision will certainly be immediately challenged by either the snowmobile lobby or the conservation lobby, or both.

    Indeed, it is amusing to note that we are in the current situation because the last time the National Park Service attempted to promulgate this rule, *both* the snowmobile lobby and the conservation lobby immediately challenged the ruling, the former in Judge Brimmer's Wyoming Court and the latter in Judge Sullivan's DC Court. The National Park Service actually simultaneously petitioned Judge Brimmer to consolidate the cases in DC, and Judge Sullivan to consolidate the cases in Wyoming. Both judges demurred on this petition - and thus we ended up dueling court cases.

    Looking at the whole picture, I don't see how anyone could reasonably argue that the National Park Service had any discretion to do anything other than implement the 2004 rule for the 2008-2009 winter season in Yellowstone. There's just no way to reasonably believe that the processes of public notice-and-comment, protest, and appeal could be played out in time for the 2008-2009 winter season. Failing that, the order of Judge Brimmer's ruling seems clear - the 2004 rule will be in effect.

  • Mammoth Cave National Park Produces Its Master Trails Plan   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I second Jim's opinion, and I also note with approval that the final plan provides accommodations for all sorts of different activities, including hiking, horseback riding, and biking....

  • Keeping History Honest When It Comes to Sight Lines In Civil War-era National Parks Is Not Without Controversy   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I think that battlefield preservation is important and worthy. Standing on the site of a battlefield creates a a different kind of connection with those who fought and gave their lives in that place. To that end, I think that it is important to preserve some sense of the original place as possible.

    Obviously, those who went before us made much different decisions about how to mark a battlefield than would be made today, and I think that it would be inappropriate to try and undo those decisions. The clutter of monuments and even the battlefield tour roads are now in a sense part of the historical landscape at places like Gettysburg and Shiloh. But the mistakes of the past should not keep us from making sensible preservation decisions about what things are left.

  • Director Bomar Extends Freeze on Fee Increases Through 2009   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Of course, the letter from Senators Baucus and Crapo is nice populism, but doesn't show much understanding of economics. Our tax dollars go towards preserving and maintaining public lands, but ieach time a person visits a public land, he or she imposes a cost on the oepration of that land. There doesn't seem to be much sense in using the tax dollars that we all contribute to cover those operations costs imposed by visitors, regardless of whether one visits 10 times, one time, or even not at all....

  • Keeping History Honest When It Comes to Sight Lines In Civil War-era National Parks Is Not Without Controversy   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Perspective I think is necessary, both in what the NPS historically endeavored to do, and what one expects the role of today's military parks and battlefields to play.

    Historically, at least when it came to penning their thoughts, the fathers of the NPS seemingly had good intentions. Were they as environmentally sensitive as one might be today? More than likely not. But then, that can be said of the evolution of many agencies, businesses and societies. Hindsight, after all is 20-20. Looking forward is the more difficult task, and I think the initial highlighted passage in the post above shows Sec. Lane, and Messieurs Mather and Albright were fairly well-intentioned for their day.

    I also don't think one can remove political interference from some of the agency's decisions. The Yellowstone snowmobile case is just the latest example.

    As for sight lines in military parks and battlefields, should these hallowed grounds simply be allowed to grow over and be forgotten, or should they be taken care of both to depict the historical nature of the conflict and to do honor to the fallen, as well as to help portray the damnable nature of war?

    Should the Holocaust Museum in Washington be abandoned and the site converted into a 7-11, or is there something far more valuable and far more lasting that society can learn from a visit, something you can't as easily come away with by reading a history book?

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Yellowstone does not exist to support a small number of businesses in West Yellowstone. It is a NATIONAL Park. In fact, Yellowstone is more even than that. As the world's first National Park it is, and has been, a model that kind of belongs to everyone. There are people who would enjoy hunting in the park, or ATVing. Many folks could make money off of these activities. The Park Service is not obligated to provide them. The Service IS obliged to allow enjoyment (only) in such a manner that will leave the park "unimpaired". Despite Shelly's assertion above, the fact is that the Park Service's own scientists have determined that snowmobiles ARE harmful, and that the best course of action would be to eliminate them in favor of snow coaches. They have been ignored. Anon #2: Yellowstone is not a local park, it is a NATIONAL PARK.

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Politics are at the heart of this battle and are clogging the arteries of our national parks. How much longer until we move to remove the life-threatening plaque of politics? This incident exposes the dismissive attitude some (many?) NPS managers take toward public comment and input. They pretend to care, gather comments, pay for expensive studies, and do what they wanted to do anyway in the face of evidence and public opposition. The whole system of public input is a sham.

  • Keeping History Honest When It Comes to Sight Lines In Civil War-era National Parks Is Not Without Controversy   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Historically, the Park Service's role has been to be thoughtful when it comes to tinkering with the environment.

    Debatable. Think fire suppression, quarries, roads blasted out of glacially polished domes, predator reduction programs, cutting down sequoias to save cabins, blasting waterfalls so the flow is more aesthetically appealing, digging a trench with a backhoe right next to the Grant Tree, and so on and so forth ad infinitum.

    I'm not saying these things to be a Negative Nancy; certainly things could have been worse in the hands of different loggers and different miners; but let us remove our rose-colored glasses when examining the effects of the NPS management, which amounts to significantly more than mere "tinkering with the environment".

    MRC makes some good points; this type of "preservation" is very morbid indeed. Perhaps a better memorial to those so cavalierly sacrificed would be to let nature retake the battlefields so that their spirits may finally rest in peace.

    Beamis is also correct, and to quote Ben Franklin: "There never was a good war or a bad peace."

  • Are Yosemite National Park Officials Overlooking Safety of Curry Village Guests?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    The problem is that although the risk of injury is quite small per person-day of residence at Curry Village, because of its year-round operation, the relatively high density of tent cabins, and the fact that rockfall has occurred during the crowded summer season, the occurrence of any such event above Curry Village is likely to result in injury or death to a few, unless cabins are relocated.

    It seems to me that park visitors who reserve space at Curry Village should be made aware of the relatively small risk of rockfall occuring during their stay in this section of the park. In this manner, what appears to be an unadvertised risk can be turned into a voluntary risk that the individual chooses to take.

    Of course, there is always the concern that negative information of any kind, such as official warnings of rockfall above Curry Village leading to injury and death, might affect overall reservations and park visitation as a whole, which would have a local and regional economic impact.

    At present, a major section of Curry Village remains closed due to the last rockfall that occurred in October. I stayed at the end of that month in an unheated tent cabin at Curry Village for nearly a full week. The risk of rockfall was less of concern to me than how to get access to food after hours.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Shelly,

    I'm not sure West Yellowstone would go out of business; most people using snowmobiles are doing so outside the park - or at least that's how it seems. But, if the economy of West Yellowstone really is going into the toilet if no snowmobiles are allowed in the park (and considering that most of town stays shut down even in the middle of the winter season, that seems doubtful as well), then NPS's move should not be welcome news to snowmobile enthusiasts because there's no way that Judge Sullivan will allow this to stand, which could mean zero snowmobiles instead of 318 per day and zero snowcoaches as well. I saw from a Wyoming politician in one news source some worry that that is in fact what will happen; it seems from a purely tactical standpoint, the snowmobile lobby should have hoped that the limit was set at 318 and then sued - instead of NPS going back to 720 (a number that simply will not be allowed to stand and may threaten all snowmobiling whatsoever).

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 36 weeks ago

    The Department of Interior has become a political stronghold and a disgrace to America.
    So what are we going to do now, spend many millions to once again do a scientific study and then ignore it ?!?

    I dearly hope that the President-elect has a plan to clean house in this Department before they manage to destroy all they have been entrusted to protect and save !

  • The Half Dome Experience in Yosemite National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I've seen this short video as an NPS podcast. It can be viewed relatively instantly at http://www.nps.gov/yose/photosmultimedia/ynn4-halfdome.htm. It's a first-rate NPS "Yosemite Nature Note" video which, in my opinion, successfully captures much of the Half Dome experience, from roaming the meadows of Yosemite Valley, to driving the Tioga Pass Road, to hiking above Vernal and Nevada Falls and climbing the cables to the top.

    I first saw this video when attending the 2008 Yosemite Ranger Reunion. It was played on the big screen without sound, while we ate dinner in the East Auditorium of the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center. But, even without sound, it was quite impressive as a compilation of changing images.

    Upon my return to Oak Ridge, TN I subsequently visited www.nps.gov to search for and re-view this NPS podcast, this time with sound included. This excellent communication tool has the potential to reach a large audience, once the word spreads that the video is definitely worth the effort. I recommend this video to all who may not yet have visited this great park, to any who have already visited, but could only imagine what it might be like to climb the cables to the top, and to the few who once made this arduous journey and are now eager to re-live their experience of a lifetime.

    I hope others will take the time to watch and comment.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Hey Anon-----It's a park whose administrative HQ is located along the banks of the Potomac, where they come under the keen and perceptive purview of federal judges. Get used to it. Yellowstone is no more a LOCAL matter than nuclear testing was for Nevada. Wise up. The overlords in DC are in charge and that should inspire confidence in us all.

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 36 weeks ago

    What the h*%# is a judge all the way back east in DC doing making this decision anyway? Shouldn't this be a LOCAL (Wyoming/Montana/Idaho) decision??

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Fact is, there are businesses in West Yellowstone who have invested huge sums of money into their snowmobile fleets, not to mention the infrastructure to support the public who wish to enjoy the park in this manner. This should be based on sound science...the Park Service has already determined that snowmobiles can and should be permitted in Yellowstone and not be a detriment to the wildlife or environment.
    A bunch of old crusty rangers who have fallen to the envirowacko crowd should not have the only say in this matter.

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Lewis is not the only dictator in the ranks of NPS superintendents.

    It is high time that these unelected bureaucrats get brought back down to earth and stripped of their near despotic power over people's lives and the natural resources that are charged in their care. Lewis is just one of many and this case should open the eyes of all NPT readers and park supporters about the way these virtual Roman proconsuls wield vast powers while often ignoring the dictates of the public, courts and in this case their own park generated research.

    The time to reform this position is long past due as the groundswell of outrage, just seething beneath the surface, is about to explode.

  • Keeping History Honest When It Comes to Sight Lines In Civil War-era National Parks Is Not Without Controversy   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I think MRC brings up an interesting point? What IS the point of battlefield preservation? I was brought up near a number of them and as a child was told that they were set aside to honor the dead and fallen soldiers who gave their "last full measure" for an important cause.

    As an adult I know better and have the good sense to understand that wars have no honor, that dying for politicians is a fools game and that very rarely are wars fought to defend anything that remotely resembles a worthy or noble cause. I was indoctrinated in the glorious fable that the North slaughtered thousands, burned cities to the ground and ruthlessly destroyed millions of dollars worth of infrastructure for the grand and noble purpose of "preserving the Union". When I asked my teachers why that was so important they would just give me a quizzical look and trot out that old canard about strength in unity; and one teacher even admonished me to take a moment and remember the pledge I had taken earlier in the morning about how America was "under God and indivisible". Powerful propaganda for a 4th grade lad.

    Fortunately I'm over its spell.

    I say let the trees grow thick and dense. I agree with MRC. Who needs to learn about 19th century slaughter? We've got plenty of blood on our hands here in the 21st.

    I wonder if there will be a predator drone national park in the 22nd century?

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 36 weeks ago

    While not technically "overturning" Sullivan's ruling, this is clearly a slap in the face to that decision. I just can't see that Judge Sullivan would allow this to stand, though I guess it depends on whether the original plaintiffs want to press it. They certainly should. If zero snow vehicles are allowed in Yellowstone this winter it will not be the court's fault, nor will it be the fault of the "tree huggers" (of which group I proudly include myself); the fault will lie directly in the lap of the Park Service. Hopefully this nonsense will begin coming to an end on Jan. 20th. I hold my breath and keep my fingers crossed that Mr. Obama's promise of a "bi-partisan" administration DOES NOT include Interior. I would also like to see the Lewis dictatorship come to an end.