Recent comments

  • Jumping Off Bridge an Annual Tradition in New River Gorge   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Just curious Jeremy.....ever considered jumping out of a perfectly good airplane from between 5-10,000'? Most people classify us as certified loonies for that manuever as well, but BOY does that get the epinephrine circulating! From my perspective, at an altitude of only 876' you don't quite enough time to enjoy the surroundings before splashdown. Which brings me to the part I really don't understand....parachuting into that gorge? That's not exactly minimizing your risk/reward factors, which is supposed to be the top priority of any jumper when planning and executing these types of endeavors. Updrafts and swirling wind currents, trees, water; too dangerous for me. Must be a similar experience to the champagne-laced and tuxedoed goofballs that bungee jump 1000' from Royal Gorge Bridge.

  • Director Bomar: Let Science, Not Politics, Decide the Yellowstone Snowmobile Issue   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Lone Hiker, you're right on the money. Such double speak from Bomar! The NPT editors are also right on the money that science, not politics, should guide decisions.

    I've got an observation based on the following:

    Historically, NPS has acknowledged that its legal responsibility in regards to protecting wildlife is established through regulations and Executive Orders that prohibit disturbance of wildlife.

    Regulations and Executive Orders? Why do we need more red tape when it is in the Organic Act:

    which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

    Wouldn't it be nice if, like an Etch-a-Sketch, we could turn the system upside down, shake it, and start over again with a new charter--based on science--that is simple, explicit, and doesn't prompt politicians and bureaucrats to write hundreds and even thousands of pages interpreting/distorting that charter?

  • Jumping Off Bridge an Annual Tradition in New River Gorge   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Unfortunately, not all jumps go as planned. Last year a BASE jumper died when his chute didn't open until he was only about 25 feet above the river.

  • Director Bomar: Let Science, Not Politics, Decide the Yellowstone Snowmobile Issue   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Just one other little thing.....

    "I do feel the Park Service has always monitored, inventoried, and studied their resources and know more about their resources than we've ever know," Director Bomar told me last week in Austin. "We just need to listen and we need to implement their recommendations."

    Two-part boneheaded response but highly inter-related. First, as the Director, if not your's, then whose ultimate responsibility would it be to familiarize themselves with the Park Service studies, and fully comprehend the resulting data and thereby the implications and possible impact resulting from interference or alteration of the local environmental factors pertaining to the system's resources? And and even more troubling and telling comment pertaining to you just being a good little peon and following orders......yup, just what we need from Director-level administration. You should pin that gold badge through your nose to facilitate being more easily lead. Oh, that's right, you're easily enough lead already........maybe the sky IS falling around the NPS.

  • Director Bomar: Let Science, Not Politics, Decide the Yellowstone Snowmobile Issue   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Posted October 16th, 2007:
    "I support the superintendent (Suzanne Lewis). I wanted to be supported as a superintendent. I feel that she’s been in the field, she's an expert in that area," Director Bomar told National Parks Traveler while in Austin, Texas, attending the National Park Foundation's Leadership Summit. "She feels that the science supports her decision. In fact, very strongly supports her decision."

    Posted October 22nd, 2007
    ...the latest preferred alternative supported by Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis more than doubles the allowable traffic levels from where they've been when those studies were conducted.

    "But I will say over time that I've come to really appreciate that, that we make good decisions based on good information." ...the director went on to say that throughout her Park Service career she has "worked with archaeologists, historians, biologists ... and often we don't sit down and listen to their information that they've gathered."

    Either this poor excuse of a person possesses the world record for short-term memory loss, or is guilty of purposefully misleading the public, and most likely her departmental subordinates, or she is just plain goofy. Mary, PLEASE explain to me how, in the course of the same interview conducted on the same day, you can make ANY sensible case for speaking literally out of both sides of your twisted mouth when you first say you make "good decisions based on good information", which granted is a relative and subjective determination most often gathered in good old 20/20 hindsight, while in the same breath and with what appears to be all sincerity, you "often don't sit down and listen to the information they've gathered"? My God woman, you should run for President! Are you sure your first name isn't Hillary, or Bill?

    Is it any wonder at all why and how the NPS is totally screwed, with this prime example of universally flawed, convoluted, or as we used to refer to it, "pretzel logic" propagated from its' very own Director? It's truly a dark, dark period for leadership, and for the future concerns of the National Park Service.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Karla, I think there will be others pulling their hard earned dollars from Alaska's economy if this continues to go on!! Well, it's finally over! The bears can now have a little rest. Please everyone write your local Congressmen about the unethical hunting of brown bears on Katmai National Preserve...mention GMU 9C 703.

  • Groups Sue Cape Hatteras National Seashore Over ORV Traffic   6 years 40 weeks ago

    My, my anonymous ("Get your fat butts")...such anger!
    Calm down and go watch a Disney movie or somethin'!
    LOL...doom and gloom, thats all you enviros spout.

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 40 weeks ago

    The other day I was talking to a community member who was lamenting the lack of knowledge NPS staff have of their own parks. Citing the most recent of many examples, he asked an entrance station employee (and one who'd been working there for several years) a simple question about the wildlife. The employee (yeah, that would be a park ranger) didn't have a clue what the visitor was talking about, didn't know where to look for an answer, and didn't seem to care. I've spoken to other park visitors and staff who are appalled by the general lack of knowledge many NPS employees have about the fantastic places for which they're responsible. The problem seems to be getting worse, rather than better. Maybe that's because employees (and their bosses) are too enamored with the latest initiative, their career ambitions, and podcasting to care about rocks, plants, ring-tailed cats and old cabins.

    While many Park Service employees take very seriously their credibility as sources of interesting and meaningful information (I've been extremely impressed with the good ones), most don't seem to have a clue. While I'm not suggesting that everyone be an expert on their park, I do suggest that everyone (including janitors, administrative assistants, and yes, superintendents!) have a moderate knowledge of their site and why it was established. This will not only give the NPS greater credibility as an agency, it will give staff a greater sense of purpose, and maybe even passion, for what they do. Plus, it will make each employee a better servant to his/her taxpaying visitors.

    Every NPS employee should be REQUIRED to learn about his/her park through a variety of means, including attending lectures, accompanying knowledgeable staff or local experts on field trips, reading books, taking tests, etc.

    I know, I know, some folks may reply: "But we're so busy with our jobs, how can we take the time to learn about our parks?" In a previous post I promised to address simple time-savng proposals, and I haven't forgotten. Stay tuned.

    Simple Proposal #2: Know--and Love--Your Park!

  • Groups Sue Cape Hatteras National Seashore Over ORV Traffic   6 years 40 weeks ago

    I agree with ya Theresa, they are particularly onerous for small business owners and the building industry. There are many groups working to overturn them (or at least skirt 'em), as they do nothing for the environment, only fatten the wallets of attorneys and politicians.

  • Groups Sue Cape Hatteras National Seashore Over ORV Traffic   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Get your fat butts out of your toy ORV's and wake up and smell the coffee. This fragile beach area is not a babies play pen to screw around in and make huge doughnuts and ruts all day in your oil dripping OVR's. If your such a gas guzzeling hot rod Harry, with no concern for the enivornment in which your destroying, may I suggest such area's as Crawford Texas. They just love big trucks that mutilate the land, and desecrate the ecosystem, and destroy the wildlife. Hey Theresa, the "Organic Act" was written to protect us from idiots (like a few that I know who are running and ruining this country) from making this country looking like trashed out dust bowl...and it's coming sister! Most Americans want a clean decent environment that can co-exist with wildlife and nature. I know there's a few callous Americans out there that still believe in thee old western philosophy: rape and pillage is good, suck it for all it's worth and greed is good... with the me-me-me attitude! Beaches are for public enjoyment that can co-exist with nature, and not to be used as gasoline alley for oil leaking OVR's...as seen on this blog.

  • Groups Sue Cape Hatteras National Seashore Over ORV Traffic   6 years 40 weeks ago

    You are totally nuts!

  • Groups Sue Cape Hatteras National Seashore Over ORV Traffic   6 years 40 weeks ago

    We need to get rid of a lot of there worthless, overbearing enviro rules like the "Organic Act" and NEPA...let the taxpayer decide these issues...put it up for a vote.

  • Groups Sue Cape Hatteras National Seashore Over ORV Traffic   6 years 40 weeks ago

    The sand soaks up what little oil leaks from vehicles. Remember, we are part of the ecosystem, not apart from it, envirowhackers. Humans were there before any wildlife.

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 40 weeks ago

    You all rock. Thanks for posting, for thinking and for not being sheep. Heh. This thread has made my day for some unknown reason.

    Even if you all disagree on what needs to be done, we agree something needs to be done.

  • What is YOUR Favorite Park Experience?   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Wow, this is tough. I don't know if it was the night camping on Bar Island in Frenchman's Bay in Acadia National park, and watching the Pleiades Meteor Shower while my dog munched blueberries off the bushes around my sleeping bag (counted well over 100 shooting stars before falling asleep!) Or my one and only Blue Ridge Parkway from bottom to top road trip, taken in 1976 in Maggie, the metallic blue '56 Ford Pickup Truck. Or the Hike with Don Pace in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area learning about copper mining from 1640 on, and being shown the mines, and seeing the boy scout camp that used to be there through his eyes growing up on it in the 1950's and 60's, before the Tock's Island Dam acquisitions happened that formed the DWGNRA as it is today.

  • What is YOUR Favorite Park Experience?   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Picking one experience is difficult, but there is one that stands out in my mind: my first view of Delicate Arch in Arches NP. I had spent the previous two days in the park, hiking and photographing the surreal formations, as well as building myself up for the hike to Delicate Arch. The hike itself was awesome; climbing the steep slickrock slope was a great challenge with terrific views. But nothing compares to rounding the last corner of the trail and getting a visual (and emotional) kick in the rear as that fantastic rock sculpture comes into view. It's a place that every national park lover should see.

  • Groups Sue Cape Hatteras National Seashore Over ORV Traffic   6 years 40 weeks ago

    It's disturbing to see a beautiful beach get ruined by ORV's. Fumes and oil spills endanger that environment and the wildlife that have the right to be there. There are plenty other places for ORV's to run rampant, such as woodland trails made specifically for that interest group. This is an abuse of nature. Besides, wildlife was there long before ORV's were invented. Hasn't enough of the environment been taken away already by housing for the population explosion. Long overdue to do something about this.

  • Top 10 Most Visited National Parks   6 years 41 weeks ago

    It's easy to see how GSMNP is so popular when you consider that the majority of the country's population is east of the Mississippi and factor in vacation time contraints. Another factor is the proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway. (Two birds with one stone.)

    As far as footprint damage, I am guessing that most are simply passing through on the way to Dollywood or the Cherokee casino, never really visiting the park.

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 41 weeks ago

    What, or who, is behind the failures of the current political system?

    Hyperpluralism.

    "...the fact is that seven out of ten Americans belong to at least one association [interest group]...and one in four Americans belongs to four or more. . . half of the respondents [of the survey cited] said that the main function of most associations is to influence the government. . . . Almost every American who reads these words is a member of a lobby." Source.

    Groups have overrun Washington. They fight not to generate wealth but to transfer it. Hence, interest groups are parasites seeking their slice of the tax dollar pie. As long as government manages public lands, funding and policy will be heavily influenced by interest groups.

    Were government removed from the picture, I doubt NPT would have to run articles on snowmobiles in Yellowstone or the maintenance backlog or Bush or Dick using parks as a photo op.

    And I wouldn't be surprised if you would hold the Park Service in higher esteem if the agency were fully funded and civil service were wiped out.

    Again, if the funds come from taxpayers and are allocated though a political system, the NPS will still be at the whim of politicians and interest groups, and we'll continue to see politicians using parks as poker chips in the election game. "Hey, environmentalists! I'm at Sequoia! Ain't that cool? I'll give the parks lots of money if you just vote for me! I promise!" So, I don't think I'd ever be satisfied with a Park Service that is part of the political process. Certainly, were the civil service wiped out, that would be financially beneficial and would improve efficiency. Is there a way to depoliticize the NPS, and can different sources be found from which to garner funds?

    However, who would be responsible for erasing the backlogs that are spread across the park system? If Congress can't erase them today, where would it find the funding to create endowments for each park? Who would take on such assets with such financial baggage? Would you look to the existing friends groups to take on the responsibilities of trusts in managing the parks?

    I don't think it's a matter of Congress' lack of ability to eliminate the backlog rather than a lack of desire. Money can always be found, but interest groups and political pressures often prevent it. Annual funding for operations and maintenance (even the backlog) could be raised though donations, memberships, entrance fees, and revenue currently garnered by concessions. Annual costs could be reduced by reducing excessive park infrastructure, too. Yours are important questions that need considering. Thanks for participating and thinking about the issue.

    Bart: That's one simple proposal to do more with less, and it's one I've suggested in recent comments on NPT. You're a great addition to the NPT voices!

    Beamis: I'm supporting Ron Paul for president!

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Firstly, let me again commend Beamis, Frank & others for challenging the status quo at higher levels. Such dialog is essential. For my purposes, I've chosen to attack the problem at the park level, by offering some simple, common sense solutions that I believe will help to get the NPS back on track.

    Not long ago I worked at a park where, within a short period of time, three of its seven top managers moved on to other parks. Their positions remained vacant for a cumulative period of about three years. When I'd ask employees if they missed these managers, the typical response was "H--- no, now we can actually get some work done!" Meanwhile, the park's janitor left his job. The remaining managers convened an emergency meeting, during which they decided to hire a replacement janitor by the following week. Estimated savings to the taxpayers for the lapse of the three managers was over $200,000.

    That was a "good park." The bad ones hire more managers and don't rehire janitors, trail crew staff, and information desk rangers. Those positions siimply disappear, much to the detriment of the parks and their visitors.

    Some may argue that large numbers of managers are needed to complete such processes as writing reports, developing plans, implementing initiatives, attending meetings, etc. In a future Simple Proposal I'll spell out how these tasks can be elminated or significantly minimized, thereby allowing a return of funds to the truly important front-line jobs.

    Simple Proposal #1: Hire more Indians and fewer Rajahs.

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Fallen leaves? Lucky you. I'm still swatting at gnats and sidestepping cotton mouths. See you at the revolution.

    Best regards,

    Beamis

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Some unthoughtful, unedited and mindful mosey meanderings…
    Americans all excited and satisfied with voting every four years for the presidency bothers me. It is difficult for me to believe in and support a government that is voted into office by 51% of 47% of eligible voters. I believe that only when "We the People" vote wholly at the State and Local level (do you know your commissioner of the sewers?) will these states be united.
    It is a pacified public which allows the incorporation of the feds. When did freedom become defined as a choice between a ford or mercedes?
    Seceding from the union perks my interest, it does have its romantic side (as in a departure from the public’s pacified sensibility, towards idealistic expectations.) Though talking outright revolution, a take over of the federal government gets me down right excited (as I believe it should all Americans.) I will even start it with a rewording of the Declaration of Independence, from the stale “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” to Aldo Leopolds "Adventure without regard to prudence, profit, self-improvement, learning or any other serious thing"
    Anyway.... should probably head outside, rake up some leaves and check the gutters.

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 41 weeks ago

    What do you propose "we the people" do Random Walker?

    I think individual states seceding from the union and a tax revolt would be a good start. Short of that "we the people" are as responsible for the current state of the regime as the peasants under Stalin or the Vietnamese boat people were for their corrupt political rulers.

    Until the Constitution is again reinstated as the law of the land it is no longer "we the people" who are in charge.

    Oh and by the way support Ron Paul for president.

  • What is YOUR Favorite Park Experience?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    My second trip to the Grand Canyon, when I made it down 1.5 miles and back with my best girlfriend from college. Truely a life changing experience that made me promise to come back when my sons are in their teens and make it all the way to the bottom and back.

    Lisa

  • Leadership Summit: Building For the Future   6 years 41 weeks ago

    No Random! I't's corporate America and the media...and the rich & the powerful. Rome lives on!