Recent comments

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   6 years 5 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   6 years 5 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   6 years 5 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   6 years 5 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   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Rick,

    Yes, I agree

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   6 years 5 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   6 years 5 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?   6 years 5 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   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Rick,

    I totally agree.

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   6 years 6 weeks ago

    I have said this before on the Traveler and I will say it again. We ought to be very careful when we talk about "delisting" NPS areas. Each generation of Americans gets tp add to the National Park System. speaking through their elected representatives, the areas it believes merit protection in perpetuity. As a matter of generational equity, if for nothing else, we owe these areas the highest standards of care. When I think of the areas that my generation has added--the Alaskan parks, MLK Jr., Kings Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains, etc., I would hate to think that some future generation would second guess us. Think about it.

    Rick Smith

  • Fall Kills Woman in North Cascades National Park   6 years 6 weeks ago

    I have known Bob Terczak since 1978, a very experienced hiker and climber, Bob was well versed in reading maps and knowing what to do in dangerous situations. In 1983 my ex-hushand and Bob went on a similar hiking trip in Maine, they made it to the top of the summit which was sheer ice, it was a clear day and they even have a photo of them both at the top, you can see for miles around. On the decent they got caught in a freak blizzard and lost the trail in snow. They tried to put up a tent but the trees were too close together so they had to keep hiking in the deep snow till they could find a space. Luckily, after 6 hours exhausted and soaking wet, they found a deserted logging cabin with a stove to wait out the storm. After that experience I discussed with my ex-husband that there should be a device that all hikers going into National Parks should be REQUIRED to carry a GPS homing device to call when in an emergency. There is no reason with the current techology of GPS and homing devices that this type of tragedy should occur again. With every expedition there is an element of danger, every climber knows that possibility. Bob knew all about preventing hypothermia and survival skills. There is no doubt in my mind Bob did everything to save his wife and plan out the best way for them to both survive. Simply, this was a tragic accident. My heart goes out to Bob and friends and family of Cathy.

    Diane Kerr.

  • Is It Time to Overhaul the National Park Service and the National Park System?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    "I agree that our government has been substantially captured by special interest groups. However, I don't know how you can say that the American people are the problem."

    I refer you to Jonathan Rauch's Government's End, particularly the third chapter, titled "Hyperpluralism". From page 50:

    "Th[e] lack of uniqueness is one reason I renounce calling the groups 'special interests'. Another is that the 'special interest' label is more than three decades out of date. Groups are interested, yes; often narrow, certainly. But the fact is that seven of ten Americans belong to at least one association (according to a 1990 survey conducted for the American Society of Association Executives), and one in four Americans belongs to four or more. Further, many of these group members have no illusions about what their own and other people's organizations are doing: In the 1990 survey, half of the respondents said that the main function of most associations is to influence government. And so we're kidding ourselves if we pretend there is anything special about either interest groups of their members. Almost every American who reads these words is a member of a lobby."

    I'll clarify my previous statement that the "American people working together IS actually THE problem when it comes to government's dysfunction." By organizing into many, many disparate interest groups to influence government ("working together"), the American people have made government dysfunctional.

    Check out the book. It's illuminating.

  • Is It Time to Overhaul the National Park Service and the National Park System?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Beamis,

    Thanks for the discussion. This is an interesting essay. The Ben Franklin quotation is typically multi-layered in meaning, of course. But anyone involved in the American Revolution had to be a level-headed optimist down deep, no matter how much he protests. And the writer of the essay sounds the same way, speaking favorably about Camus but then saying:

    All in all though, The Audacity of Hope is written by a man who sounds articulate, capable, intelligent, conscientious, considerate, and genuinely committed to a politics beyond the narrow interests of himself or his party. Americans ought to feel, if not hopeful, at least grateful that Barack Obama is in the running.

    I think the author is saying that blind, unrealistic hope is a dead end. But he seems to be saying that hope based on realism can change things for the better. If you agree with that, then maybe we're not as far apart as it may seem.

    FrankC,

    [T]he American people working together IS actually THE problem when it comes to government's dysfunction. No amount of hope will alter our parasitic economy and pry loose the strings of government from narrow interest groups.

    I agree that our government has been substantially captured by special interest groups. However, I don't know how you can say that the American people are the problem. The problem is that the people have been deceived and cut out of decision-making process by politicians who are beholden to special interests.

    If people have the facts and leadership to help them find the way, they usually make the right choices. That's what happened when Franklin Roosevelt rallied the country during the Depression and World War II. The only way to get our country back on track is to engage and energize the public, as Roosevelt did, and Obama is trying to do. I have hope that he can....

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Don't know the answer to that one. At the time the park service was peddling the line in public meetings that the power company was doing all it could to mitigate the negative impacts of the project and that it had even installed raptor shields on the transmission towers to keep hawks and eagles from getting fried by the high voltage. The resource management chief at the time was all ga-ga for these shields and didn't seem to be taking in the bigger picture when other issues were brought up at these meetings.

    No one filed a lawsuit (it's Utah not California after all) but many in the local community felt that for all its talk about saving viewsheds by mitigating visual blight and restoring landscapes to their "pre-Columbian" pristine splendor the NPS had failed to even pay lip service to the notion that this was an unfortunate outcome for the park.

    The power company was owned by a multi-national corporation at the time (Scottish Power) and they were unmoved to do anything other than the cheapest bottom-line job their bean counters in Europe had dictated. A sad day indeed for Zion.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    I decided to respond since I was the one that used sarcasm to make my point on putting lockers at the point is a bad idea and after going into shock after seeing the response by LONE HIKER.

    First let me state Lone hiker you are correct as Dapster has stated we have tended lately to be more of a shoot from the hip kind of group. I want to say that anyone put in the position of losing something special to a group that when faced with facts holds their hands over their ears and screams to avoid losing ignorance as a defense. I want to also state we do need to work together and if both sides understood the situation as you and Dapster we wouldn't be here.

    I noticed no one is mentioning that this latest attempt in closing the beaches was one of many that has happened. With this one partially succeeding only because they chose to loophole through the system by using ORV managament and Piping Plovers as "Political Footballs" (I really liked that one). These people will stop at nothing. The have tried and lost many times before and they will not win this time either.

    As far as the last paragraph by Lone hiker, I would prefer snow. As a person who lived in both upper and lower Michigan with access to the beach and the snow (though more of the later) I know you can always throw on another layer. Though at the beach you take off too much and you start to offend. The trick is know that line before you cross it.

  • National Park Quiz 16: Waterfalls   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Completely coincidental to this week's quiz, I found myself writing today about waterfalls - focused for points of reference mostly on the Yellowstone ones I have experienced - but really about all waterfalls.

    See Reflections on the beauty of waterfalls.

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

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   6 years 6 weeks ago

    @ Beamis (or anyone else who knows): Was the NPS sued in the Bonneville Power / Zion case for not protecting the Park's resources? Or was there something in the Park's original designation that allowed the power company to put through the power line? I'm asking because it's my understanding that sometimes there's a kind of time bomb in the original designation, just waiting to be triggered by a proposed industrial project.

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Several years ago Bonneville Power built a huge transmission line across Zion National Park which replaced and upgraded an older one. There was a great deal of fuss and bother by a variety of groups opposed to it who had argued that for a few dollars more the power line could've been placed underground along the highway right-of-way leading to Springdale and Zion HQ. Ultimately the NPS was most compliant with the power company and pooh-poohed all those who were concerned about the impacts this large and unsightly eyesore would generate upon a mostly unvisited corner of the park.

    You can see it today on your way into Zion along Hwy. 9, as you crest the hill west of Rockville beneath the ramparts of Mt. Kinesava. There for all to see is the much vaunted "protection of national park status" writ large upon the Utah landscape.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Lone Hiker,

    Thank you for your kind words, and also in taking the time to look at Google Earth in relation to this issue. It certainly is a wonderful tool! I hope that a flyover of the area gave you and other readers a better understanding of the logistical complexities that all possible access related options face on this part of the island.

    Yes, you did disclaim yourself as to not “Dissing” (sp?) anyone as to their intellect in your original post, but many others have not been so kind in the past. The pro access folks really have taken a verbal beating over this issue, and have been called everything from rednecks to fish-lip-rippers. I only took up that issue out of respect for their hard work in attempting to educate themselves and others to better understand what’s going on and why. I surely meant no offense. I get emotionally charged over this issue daily as well, and have to continually remind myself to remain objective. Otherwise, I get “all wound up” too. Not so easy to do, sometimes!

    I agree with your statement concerning peer review/professional committee review of data. There have been many independent studies of the area made. The SELC et al choose to rely on their own data, and simply will not compromise. The Reg-Neg board is apparently at a standstill due to the SELC’s unwavering demands for even MORE beach closures than the consent decree provides. Many of these closures would be year-round and permanent. Here’s a quote from the “Island Free Press” that details what’s happening in that arena:

    “Negotiated rulemaking has become increasingly contentious and polarized as the two major stakeholder groups have put their requirements on the table. Also playing into the process is the consent decree that became effective April 30 to settle a lawsuit against the National Park Service over ORV regulation. The groups that sued have a seat at the table, and beach access groups feel increasingly that the “victory” of the environmental groups with the consent decree gives them little motivation to compromise.

    Cape Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent Mike Murray has asked the Department of the Interior to evaluate whether, considering the increased polarization, negotiated rulemaking process should be pursued for seashore ORV rulemaking.”

    There’s even been talk about bringing Federal Environmental mediators in to help sort things out. That might be the only way to keep it moving forward, or it could make matters worse. I also think that it is way too early in the study of this decree for the SELC to claim “Victory”. For them to state that a one-summer snapshot is adequate enough time to complete a study of this magnitude is insanity. Next year’s numbers on species AND economic/tourism impacts will tell the true tale. Tourists with reservations already made for this year could not change their plans, even if they were lucky enough to know anything about it before arriving on the island. Next year, they will be aware and may choose to vacation elsewhere.

    Your comment about entrenchment is absolutely accurate on both sides. The pro access folks, myself included, feel that they have had this whole issue shoved down their throats, especially since there was no public comment allowed or even requested. The Consent Decree, while agreed to by both sides, was basically a “Gun to the head” of the pro-access groups. NOT signing it would have resulted in TOTAL beach closures for the 3-year decree timeline, and quite possibly forever. However, the Eco groups have used this in their favor inferring that “Well, you guys went along with it, so what’s your beef now?”. I believe that to be a terrible injustice, and just plain immoral. There is a great and very realistic fear that if we do not fight as hard as possible, with every means available, that we will simply be steamrolled over and the entire area will become another NWR, and the villages will be turned into ghost towns. Independent mediation of some sort may be the only way to end the warfare, though I fear that option as well.

    There has been some debate as to just what NOT signing would have produced. Many believe that total closures would have brought about a counter-suit and/or more national attention, and that the decree would have been reversed. Others have stated that the judge at the center of this, (Federal Judge Terrance Boyle), has one of the lowest reversal rates around, and to be overturned would not be a possibility. Personally, I won’t take a stand on either side of that issue, as I was not present in the meetings that lead to this, and will not try to second guess their wisdom. While I have not been happy about the amount of areas closed and which areas were closed, I have been pleased to have at lease SOME access this summer. For this I thank them for signing. No access would be truly heartbreaking…

    I don’t have the solution for this issue either. I wish I did. I firmly believe that a compromise can be reached that would allow both ORV access as well as serious species conservation.

    Whether or not that compromise WILL be reached is another matter.

    As Dave Vachet posted, the Consent Decree is certainly illegal. The biggest hope of Congressional Bill # HR6233/S3113 is that the illegality of the decree will be seen through the smoke-screen of half truths and fuzzy data the Mr. Derb Carter of the SELC has already put into public record during a recent Senate Subcomitte meeting on this bill. Thanks for your nice comments as well, Dave. It is indeed funny how some run for the bushes once science, logic, and truth appear on the scene.

    Thanks again to Kurt, and all of you that have taken the time read about and/or comment on this very important issue!

    dap

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   6 years 6 weeks ago

    "Because it's a state park, not a national park, there's no guarantee that the line won't go through."

    There's no guarantee that NPS designation would help Anza-Borrego, either. The power line issue you reference has also been a threat to national parks, including Joshua Tree National Park. In January, it came to light that the federal government wanted to build a corridor through this and other federally protected areas. NPS and federal designation alone is not a "guarantee" of preservation; in fact, some argue just the opposite. Had the NPS acquired the state park, perhaps they would have built a massive visitor center over one of the burial grounds just like the NPS recently tried to build a massive structure in the MIDDLE of the Little Bighorn Battlefield site.

  • Is It Time to Overhaul the National Park Service and the National Park System?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing, Beamis! I particularly enjoyed the Ben Franklin quote, "He that lives upon hope will die fasting." I think anyone who has read Government's End would see that the American people working together IS actually THE problem when it comes to government's dysfunction. No amount of hope will alter our parasitic economy and pry loose the strings of government from narrow interest groups.

  • Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Ted et al,

    Park rangers initially estimated the bear weighed 55 pounds. It later came in at 86 pounds, still probably too small to take on an adult.

  • National Park Quiz 16: Waterfalls   6 years 6 weeks ago

    According to wiki....

    Dark Hollow Falls, near Skyline Drive, Virginia, is an example of cascade waterfall.

    It even shows the same picture as the quiz.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Good stuff dapster and beamis. Very well put. It's funny how the folks that want you off your beaches stop talking when the truth about the critters starts coming up. But, I guess they don't really care about the critters in the first place.

    Kurt, thank you for this forum and your article on this issue

    I'd also like to remind everyone that the consent decree is illegal.

    As JohnAB put it, "the law is the law". The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is also a law. One thing it requires is public comment periods when new or updated environmental policy is proposed. The consent decree is new environmental policy for CHNSRA. It replaced the Interim Species Management Plan for CHNSRA. The Interim Species Management Plan followed the NEPA process. The consent decree did not. A few entities coming up with an agreement called a consent decree is hardly public comment. Therefore it is illegal. I think everyone should be able to agree on that.

  • Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 6 weeks ago

    This bear weighed 55 pounds. A young male like this would not be aggressive toward another bear weighing 100 or 150 pounds. It would defer and retreat. It would know perfectly well that a larger bear could be dangerous.

    A small bear would be delighted to find a fawn curled up in the grass, would attack it, kill it and eat it, but it would know that a full-grown deer is beyond its ability - the adult deer can stomp & kick dangerously, and bucks have head-mounted weapons.

    Yet the bear in this case showed no 'respect' for adult humans who towered far above it (bears are impressed by height), and who outweighed it 3 or 4 times. That's not natural, and it's not good.

    In the world of carnivores & omnivores, all other animals are either 'opportunities' or 'hazards'. There is no middle ground in nature. Any other creature that is not a danger, is an opportunity, including humans.

    The only natural roles available to animals are those of prey, or predator. 'Being nice' is something that humans work at, but for wild animals it is entirely alien. That we are able to view & photograph a bear on the landscape being a bear - and ignoring us - does not mean the bear is being nice.

    The assumption that if we do not bother a carnivore, it will not bother us, is a serious fallacy. The further we go with the idea that viewing & photographing carnivorous wildlife as though they are trees or rock formations or fallen-down pioneer cabins, the more difficult & costly it will be to correct the error.

    It is important that bears be concerned & worried about humans, that they are aware of the capabilities of humans, because if they are not then they will gradually come to view us as opportunities. It would be much better if we begin earlier to form a more natural relationship with bears, than waiting until the necessity is forced upon us.

    In a healthy, natural world, you must be able to stalk a bear and conceal your presence from it, in order to view it & photograph it. You must be able to move stealthily and undetected through the landscape to see carnivores.

    That's how nature really operates, and anything else is not natural ... not healthy, and in the long run, not stable and won't last.