Recent comments

  • Lakota Gather Peacefully at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, But Still Insist that the Black Hills Belong to Them   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Keep in mind, this park is not the only one with this type of problem.

  • Lakota Gather Peacefully at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, But Still Insist that the Black Hills Belong to Them   5 years 47 weeks ago

    First, it's cavalry not Calvary. Capital-C Calvary is the hill on which Jesus was crucified. Cavalry is a group of soldiers on horseback. I made the same mistake until my first Chief of Interp pointed out the difference to me.

    And I don't think Ted was calling for a return to arms. As for tearing up the treaty, the federal government has essentially done that by refusing to abide by its terms. Anonymous mentions "finishing the job" and that is the "job" of total annihilation of native populations (which I dispute was our country's intent), which was never completed. Today, there are about two million American Indians north of the Rio Grande. Estimates of pre-Columbian population in the same area fall between two to ten million, so the modern population equates to the lower end of the pre-contact estimate. Now compare Jewish populations in Europe pre- and post-WWII.

    We must be careful before tossing a morally loaded grenade like the word "genocide". Applying a mid-20th century term to historical actors is problematic at best. As the above numbers show, American Indians were not completely wiped out of North America. Additionally, American Indians played a role in their own fates; they did not submit to concentration camps to be numbered and gassed. They made treaties, traded, conducted warfare, intermarried, and so on. We ought to lay down labels of blame and instead try to understand the complex set of events Columbus set into motion. What happened here was not genocide; it was a lopsided war with one side possessing superior technology and the other side having no immune system to smallpox and other diseases inadvertently introduced by Europeans.

    Ted claims that the U.S. (the federal government?) doesn't have to give American Indians anything, and Kelly brings up a federal threat to the preservation of the Black Hills. While I agree that it is too late for reparations, our government ought to own up to its past legal obligations and transfer all federal lands in the Black Hills to the Lakota. We can't usurp private land, and if we did, we'll, we'd be recreating the same historical process that brought us here. But we can open our eyes to the federal government and its laundry list of lies and broken promises.

    Given the federal government's long history of treachery and deviousness, I don't know how anyone can trust it to manage our public lands today.

  • Lakota Gather Peacefully at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, But Still Insist that the Black Hills Belong to Them   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Hello: This is the only comment on this board that I totally agree with. We cannot change what happened in the past; we can only go on from today. There has to be some means of accommodation that shows respect for the Lakota sacred gounds as well as share the beauty of the land. I know that I would support such action. Thanks again for your comment.

  • Big Bend National Park: Is It Ready For A Mountain Bike Trail?   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Mike;

    It's a pleasure to read your excellent comment!

    Bicycles & biking are a great thing, no doubt about it. That's not to say the venue is without problems & complications ... but 'considering some of the alternatives', bikes are wholesome & earth-friendly.

    Kurt's post mentions ...

    "The trail would be roughly 5 feet wide because of the need to accommodate mountain bikes."
    ... but does not say why that width is needed. I'd say, this is a rather pregnant & pointed oversight that deserves more attention:
    • Firstly, standardizing the width of a bike-trail at 60 inches will radically reduce the range of places & contexts where bike trails will ever exist.
    • The generous width is to accommodate competitive behavior among bikers: so they can race & pass each other.
    • Bicycles and hikers are seriously incompatible on trails. Even slow-moving bikers require that pedestrians get off the track for them.

    Five foot wide tracks are not trails: they are narrow-gage roads. Be real.

    Although many cyclists are nice & considerate people, the dominant cultural expression in the Pacific Northwest is certainly the 'rowdy', go-fast, fly-through-the-air, skid & slide, yee-haw! & yippeee! mountain-biker. Uh, yeah.

    Is that bad? No laughing! No hollering loving obscenities at your friends! No breaking traction! Sounds kinda 'stuffed', huh?

    But those are the realities, Mike et al. Bikes hog the trail, and the main fun of mountain-biking is to get an adrenaline-buzz going. "Hey! Watch this!"

    If I was a mountain-biker, I'd fight that 60 inch trail standard tooth & claw. If that's the direction it goes, that's the end of the line for ya. A token 5-foot wide route here & there, and that's it.

    Here on the Olympic Peninsula, we have bike-routes on forestry-land, but not in the Olympic National Park. Guys 'n gals get all wild 'n crazy, battered & bruised ... you can hear 'em shrieking & bellowing a mile away. They're outside, having a ball. I could care less if they are scuffing up the trail and reveling in rutting.

    But we don't try to mix bikers & hikers on Park trails. They're not compatible.

  • Lakota Gather Peacefully at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, But Still Insist that the Black Hills Belong to Them   5 years 47 weeks ago

    It hasn't made the news much yet, but the energy industry and the U.S. government are gearing up for a new mining boom in the Black Hills, this time for not for gold but instead for uranium. Defenders of the Black Hills is trying to get the word out to people: http://www.defendblackhills.org/.

  • Lakota Gather Peacefully at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, But Still Insist that the Black Hills Belong to Them   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Anonymous;

    Thank you. Nothing I could say would more-clearly & convincingly expose the core problem we face ... it's not the Indians, it's ourselves.

    The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, ANCSA, offers a useful model for moving beyond the 19th C. removal-oriented policies that still influence our stance with Native-issues across much of the conterminous States.

    ANCSA is of course far from perfect, but points in a direction that leads away from an engrained confrontation with & marginalization of (the remnants of) Native groups.

  • Lost to Hurricanes, the Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park Will be Hard to Replace   5 years 47 weeks ago

    We have stayed at Flamingo Lodge on two occasions in the past. Both times were in the early spring and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Sorry to hear about the lodge's destruction but perhaps a newer, better place will be the result. Best of luck to them.

  • Backcountry Volunteer Survives 100 Foot Fall While Canyoneering at Zion National Park   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Anyone wishing to send their support (cmon' and send her some love!) to Kaitlyn can do so at:

    www.caringbridge.org/visit/KaitlynBohlin

    She is in our thoughts and prayers and last week left Las Vegas to Chicago and is healing well and has the greatest personality, strength and determination and I am sure will come out of this challenging experience with many a story to share and a beautiful smile on her face!

    Shalom and GET WELL SOON KAITLYN ~*~

  • Hanna Forcing Evacuations, Closures at Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout National Seashores   5 years 47 weeks ago

    While you follow the progress of the relatively wimpy Hannah, you might want to keep your eye on the hurricane that's following it in the Atlantic. Here's what my unimpeachable source said about Hurricane Ike yesterday morning (September 4):

    Direct from the Scare the Pants off and Cry like Baby Department:
    Hurricane Ike exploded overnight into a 135 kt hurricane in the Central
    Atlantic. Ike should weaken from 100 car freight train status to 75 car
    freight train status over the next day or so. The long range models
    continue Ike westward into the southern Bahamas over the weekend and
    then an ominous, scary music here, turn to the north and along the east
    US coast as a 100-110 kt hurricane. Wunderbar. Charming.

    As you can see, my source (who has Ph.D.-enhanced weather-analytical skills) has a warped sense of humor. I won't tell you her name, but her initials are Madilyn Fletcher. Stay tuned.

    The ferocious-looking Hurricane Ike weakened to a Category 3 storm early today (September 5), but the National Hurricane Center still considers it dangerous.

  • Big Bend National Park: Is It Ready For A Mountain Bike Trail?   5 years 47 weeks ago

    I stumbled across this site while researching a trip to Texas for some mountain biking that we want to take in the fall. I appreciate the thoughtful approach the poster and commenters have taken to what is generally a contentious issue. My wife and I (mid-30's) are avid mountain bikers in the DC area. While I can't speak to anyone else's experience and thus don't want to extrapolate from anecdotes, mountain biking (which we picked up about 5 years ago) made me understand just how precious and important our parks are. Indeed, thanks to the parks we've visited for MTB-specific trips, I now give about 5% of my annual income to park systems, state and federal. Seems like the right thing to do in light of how much I enjoy just being in them.

    I know many people rightly condemn the damage (and occasional, but rare, rudeness) that thoughtless or careless riders can inflict on park systems. Moreover, one commenter noted correctly that there is a slippery slope angle to making exceptions to generate interest in the parks. We spent New Year's '08 XC skiing in backcountry Yellowstone and the snowmobiles -- though rare -- were unfortunate. That said, people who genuinely care about mountain biking and the parks (in my own experience, the vast majority) rigorously self-police, and everywhere we've gone it's been pretty effective. So, I'd love to see a responsible, respectful trail system set up in Big Bend. If it has to 5 ft wide, so be it (of course we'd prefer a foot and a half, but we'll take what we can get!). Looking forward to seeing Big Bend for the first time this October!

  • Lakota Gather Peacefully at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, But Still Insist that the Black Hills Belong to Them   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Perhaps we oughta tear up the treaty and re-commission the Calvary. Then finish the job.

  • Lakota Gather Peacefully at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, But Still Insist that the Black Hills Belong to Them   5 years 47 weeks ago

    The U.S. doesn't really have to give the Indians anything. This has been proven historically, to everyone's satisfaction. It does not have to accord them human rights, and it does not have to honor treaties it signed with them. It has violated both, and gotten away with it.

    However, the U.S. and it's citizens do have an epochal opportunity, to rise to a standard of behavior that is more in keeping with the self-image to which they would like to become accustomed. By doing something right in those situations where possibilities still offer themselves, we could do ourselves a huge favor. We could make a step in the direction of becoming what we like to think we are, but in fact are not.

    Don't think of it as an Indian-issue. Think about the better principles that form the foundations of your country. Think about the core values that guide your personal life.

    Looking at it that way makes it pretty simple, really; we will all be much better off, following through on what our principles & values tell us is right.

    Whatever it costs us will be repaid over & over, forever, in a coin that never depreciates.

  • Lakota Gather Peacefully at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, But Still Insist that the Black Hills Belong to Them   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Damn right the Black Hills belong to the great Lakota Nation...without a doubt! Plus, Custer had it coming with those giant mosquito sticks. My dear white mother was born in the Dakota's in the early 1900's and testifies about the horrible brutality that the Lakota's suffered under. Slow cruel systematic genocide mark with grave indifference by many Americans during that period. The terrible winters were especially cruel and bitter which decimated much of the Lakota Nation. The sacred land of the Black Hills in part is the soul of the Lakota Nation and will always be. Long live AIM!

  • Lakota Gather Peacefully at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, But Still Insist that the Black Hills Belong to Them   5 years 47 weeks ago

    I have been to the Black Hills a number of times, and I cherish it's beauty. We have it as a result of a grave injustice. That is the truth of it. Is there not some way to share administration / responsibility for that area to acknowledge the Lakotas spiritual heritage and hold that land in trust as the treasure that it is. Restrictions on some areas or holy times. Showing some respect to them.and their culture. The pages of history are written in blood, but maybe we can edit them with peace and honor.

    I read this site all the time. You do a good job of keeping people informed.

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   5 years 47 weeks ago

    People are already carrying concealed weapons, getting rid of this rediculous law just makes it legal. 2nd ammendment Duh!

  • Lakota Gather Peacefully at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, But Still Insist that the Black Hills Belong to Them   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Recommended reading: Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown. Very moving and well written book.

    I recently visited Mount Rushmore, and it was moving in all the ways one would expect. However knowing its history and the history of American Indians, particularly in the Dakotas, it is hard to feel at peace with the atrocities our government has committed in order to obtain Paha Sapa- it amounts to nothing short of genocide.

  • Lakota Gather Peacefully at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, But Still Insist that the Black Hills Belong to Them   5 years 47 weeks ago

    When are we going to finally come to terms with the reality of US history? This constant denial of the aggressive history inflicted on Native Americans, which includes early attempts at biological warfare, genocide, stealing, lying, cheating and rape of a once pristine land; impedes our progress and relations more than any other single factor, in my opinion. This country is stuck. Truth, acceptance of reality and amends is what a responsible, intelligent government practices; how long is the US going to look the other way (perhaps it continues to do so because many of the above horrors are still in practice by the US today.) Total amends may never be possible, alcoholism, the disease of greed and the complete disregard for nature is rampant now. However, an attempt to face the truth about the errors of the humans who arrived from Europe and began their outrageous Eminent Domain may at least heal some of the deep wounds that ALL the people of this land suffer whether they are conscious of this or not. I think the Mt. Rushmore Monument is a hideous reminder of the numerous crimes committed against the natural world and Native Americans. The US's huge adolescent ego must surrender to wisdom or our continued demise is almost certain.

  • Having Suffered Severe Storm Damage, a Witness Tree at Gettysburg National Military Park is Unlikely to Survive   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Are you sure onetreehillbuzz.com is the right link? That's what pops up when I click on "this site" on your August 11 posting. [Ed. Sorry. I deleted the link to the "after" site because the relevant story about the damaged tree is no longer available at the site.]

  • Lakota Gather Peacefully at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, But Still Insist that the Black Hills Belong to Them   5 years 47 weeks ago

    I recommend that we give the land back -- to whoever the Indians took it from.

  • Brucellosis Solution: Kill All Elk and Bison in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 47 weeks ago

    I know everyone has probably seen the article by now. But those wo haven't....

    http://www.normantranscript.com/archivesearch/local_story_246001307

  • Lakota Gather Peacefully at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, But Still Insist that the Black Hills Belong to Them   5 years 47 weeks ago

    You'll be hard pressed to find one treaty that the US goverment has honored in the past 200 years with ANY Native American tribe, regardless of content and motivation. This country was "settled" by homesteaders in the name of Eminent Domain, with little or actually no regard for peoples already in place across the land. And ever since that expansion the rights, property and even some of the people themselves have been literally stolen by consent of those empowered in Washington. I guess being a thief never goes out of style, politically speaking.

    It's a bit after the fact, but what would the current reaction in the world community be to, say, our government backing away from signed agreements with the G8, UN, OPEC, and the like? Oh wait a minute, we haven't paid UN dues for decades, or supported their "peace keeping" efforts, beyond that is, our rhetoric. And we're on record as saying that OTHER nations should lead the movement to reduce fossil fuel emissions, on the grounds that we are currently lacking the internal mechanisms to do so "economically". And here I thought the world-wide disdain for our citizenry was unjustified. My bad.

  • Is Technology Compatible With The National Park Wilderness Experience?   5 years 47 weeks ago

    So lets leave our cameras behind while we are at it, down with flash lights and plastic cookware! and thermarest mattresses
    One thing that bugs me about the 'wilderness experience' is us ultralight hikers who are forced to shave weight and carry devices to aid us in our travels such as PLB's and GPS units are frowned upon by those who can afford to bring in big groups of horses with dutch ovens massive coolers chairs, thick heavy canvas tens, cots, lanterns, ect ect. What kind of 'wilderness' experience is that!?

    Frankly if I want to sit on a rock and use my ipod in the middle of the wilderness area I should be left alone! after all how much of a wilderness experience is it for me anyways to have to wade through all the horse sh** on my hike up there from all the horses trampling up the trail and making it a fly infested highway in the middle of a wilderness area.

  • Brucellosis Solution: Kill All Elk and Bison in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Kurt-

    It might work, but we'll have to do a blind taste-test for the invitees. I'll tell 'em its diet-lean ground round initially so nobody's the wiser. When everybody has their gullet filled and the truth comes out, clear the path to the vomitorium..........

  • Find Me, Spot. Staying Found in The National Parks   5 years 47 weeks ago

    the problem is not the existance of the device but rather the publics preception as to what a emergency is. This is a great tool and will save many lives. I plan on taking a 3 month road trip to alaska in the future with numerous long hikes and kayak trips along the way, being that I am traveling solo, I am planing on bringing this along to tell others where I am, and have a way to call for help if the situation should exceed my capability.

    Promise you, if you were in a hiking group with Ranger Boyers and the situation reached a point where he was faced with the choice of activating the beacon, or death, he would fire that peice of technology right up. Hes right though, these beacons should not be used for twisted ankles and minor broken bones, but there is a time and a place for them. Education is the key not disdain of the device.

  • Brucellosis Solution: Kill All Elk and Bison in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Lone Hiker, if you're proposing a bison and elk roast, just name the date and location!