Recent comments

  • Rebranding Logos For National Park Service Centennial Draw Criticisms   2 weeks 5 days ago

    disappointing-

  • NPS Director Jarvis: National Parks Are Losing Relevancy With Americans   2 weeks 5 days ago

    The NPS is just starting to get over the attitude that Jarvis mentioned -- "if we build it, they will come." The NPS management has had an overwhelming cultural tradition focused on conservation, preservation, and keeping things unchanged (that's the mandate). Those are good ideals, but the present NPS management doesn't know how to explain them in a way that convinces others of their veracity. Even in today's world, these managers, and most superintendents, don't understand that the people (visitors and potential visitors) they are trying to attract are an ever-shrinking population in the U.S. They apparently still use a 25-year old visitor survey model that is fundamentally flawed in execution and analysis (http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/survey-says-mount-rushmore-is-awesome-but-could-use-tweaks/article_7505a94d-9590-568a-a7d8-7217c4fdf2b5.html), and they make little attempt to understand the cultural and social makeup of Latinos, African-Americans, American Indians, urban dwellers, the Millenials, etc. According to the survey assumptions, all "visitors" (from age 10 up) come from the same ethnic, social, and economic strata because the survey doesn't actually ask any questions about those things. People do not view leisure and travel the same way they did 25 or 50 years ago. Both attitudes and opportunities have changed. The NPS spends little time trying to learn why urban-dwelling Hispanics prefer large family picnics over camping in the wilderness, or continue to attach meaningless relevance to the vapid idea that African-Americans don't visit parks because they are afraid of being in parks. Or people lack transportation; which may work if you're referring to Yellowstone, but not if you're referencing the multitude of urban and metro-area units.

    As many people have said, radical change is necessary from the top down in NPS management, attitude, and support for keeping up with a society that changes faster than ever. Unfortunately, the good-old-boy network is alive and well; hiring is more about who you know than what you know, and waiting for younger staff to ascend the ranks is probably going to take too long for the NPS to survive as a relevant institution.

  • Nearly Two Dozen National Parks Ban Sales Of Disposable Plastic Water Bottles   2 weeks 5 days ago

    ec, you have more dodges and twists than Union Pacific has railroad ties. Jim's comment provides an excellent explanation.

    Additionally, a few many years ago, Connecticut (I think it was) tried taxing purchases made in convenience stores and earmarked proceeds for litter cleanup. The reasoning was that much of the state's litter came from things purchased in those stores.

    Guess what happened as soon as that "grossly unfair tax" hit the courts? That is one of the reasons cited in Utah, at least, for several defeats of bottle deposit laws.

    (And, yes, ec, I agree that it was an unfair tax. It should have been levied against all stores selling disposable containers of any kind and not just convenience shops.)

  • 4.8 Quake Shakes Yellowstone National Park   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Here is a link to a seismograph located at the Norris Museum. You may update the recording by refreshing the page once you have downloaded it. Mountain time is marked down the left side of the recording, Zulu time down the right.

    http://www.quake.utah.edu/helicorder/ynm_webi.htm

    Ooops, you will need to download it in a separate browser in order to update. Traveler's link won't permit that.

  • Nearly Two Dozen National Parks Ban Sales Of Disposable Plastic Water Bottles   2 weeks 5 days ago

    I agree that a deposit (or some kind of surcharge) on plastic bottles would be a good idea, especially if the revenue went to some related purpose, such as litter pickup costs for those that aren't returned.

    However, there are potential issues. As Lee suggests, the deposit would likely be challenged as a "tax," which would require some kind of legislative approval. The term "deposit" implies that the buyer can return the bottle and get a refund of some kind. On a park level, that's pretty impractical, without a way to confirm the bottle was purchased from that same seller. And ... in these days of computerized cash registers, there's the issue of programming the system for another type of transaction, and keeping track of the income and outgo for bottle deposits.

    The world isn't a simple as during my childhood, where a deposit on glass soda pop bottles was universal, and kids could collect empty bottles and return them to any store, anywhere, to claim the deposit.

    There are lots of estimates of the number of plastic water bottles used - one source claims 60 million per day in the U. S. alone. Governments at various levels count heavily on tax revenue from products like tobacco, so an easy way to help balance the budget would be a tax of say 50 cents on every plastic water bottle sold. My old-type calculator couldn't compute that many zeros, but I believe that could raise almost $11 billion a year :-)

  • NPS Director Jarvis: National Parks Are Losing Relevancy With Americans   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Thank you, JLlewllyn and Owen for two refreshing bits of wisdom.

    Here is a link to a news item in today's Salt Lake Tribune regarding this topic. Jarvis made his remarks while attending a conference here.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57739508-78/national-jarvis-park-service.html.csp

  • Nearly Two Dozen National Parks Ban Sales Of Disposable Plastic Water Bottles   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Lee, the NPS doesn't need legislative action to implement a deposit rule in the park. If they can outright ban the sale of plastic bottles they surely could institute a deposit on bottles that are sold.

    You have more excuses than Carter has pills.

  • Nearly Two Dozen National Parks Ban Sales Of Disposable Plastic Water Bottles   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Bottle deposit laws have been shouted down or defeat has been purchased in most state legislatures by the packaging lobbies. You ignored that fact as you push your agenda of whatever it is today.

  • NPS Director Jarvis: National Parks Are Losing Relevancy With Americans   2 weeks 6 days ago

    I totally agree with Barbara Moritsch, who in her book, "The Soul of Yosemite" urges that "park relevancy" should be replaced by the more appropriate term: "park reverency."

    Unfortunately, playing wordspeak doesn't fix the issue. The People must think there is some 'value" in having the parks. And I am not talking necessarily economic value. As long as the service continues to acquire marginal units that dilute its mission and funds and pushes concepts largely rejected by the public, it will fail to make the necessary connection. Lacking that connection, the parks are going to continue to suffer from underfunding.

  • NPS Director Jarvis: National Parks Are Losing Relevancy With Americans   2 weeks 6 days ago

    I worry about use of the term "park relevancy." What does this term mean really?

    Is the goal to merely increase park visitation? Is the goal to increase visitation among diverse ethnic and economic groups? Is the goal to increase visitor spending at concessioner facilities and gateway communities and enhance the local economy through stimulating park tourism? Is the goal to increase public awareness and appreciation that parks protect natural and cultural resources of national and international significance?

    If the goal is to increase park visitation, should efforts be made to increase recreational opportunities in parks in order to attract more people, diversify the park experience, and compete with other recreational options, given that free time in the outdoors is becoming limited, even among the rapidly growing number of Baby Boomer retirees?

    In terms of diversifying the park experience, just what is the optimum park experience? How much are local and regional economies affected by those who come to the parks to hike, backpack, or tent camp, versus those who stay in hotels, RV'ers, and the throngs of one-hour, one-stop, day visitors to parks?

    To increase park relevancy, should the NPS be campaigning and lobbying to increase the average vacation time and income allotted to the average worker? If park relevancy were to be increased, would working with the NPS be shifted to among the better places to work in the Federal Government?

    If park visitation were to be boosted to say three times what it is currently, could the parks and local communities handle that kind of visitation increase?

    If private automobiles were to be eliminated from Yosemite Valley and Cades Cove, would the park experience become less relevant?

    My fear is that much of the hype about "park relevancy" is much more of an attempt to stimulate industrial tourism than it is to increase public awareness of park values.

    I totally agree with Barbara Moritsch, who in her book, "The Soul of Yosemite" urges that "park relevancy" should be replaced by the more appropriate term: "park reverency."

  • Nearly Two Dozen National Parks Ban Sales Of Disposable Plastic Water Bottles   2 weeks 6 days ago

    much plastic bottles contribute to waste pickup and disposal costs in parks, and as I've said before, even small reductions in costs are important.

    And I provided a simple solution for that. Charge a deposit. Unreturned bottles forfeit their deposit and pay for the clean-up.

    But then, that wouldn't serve the agenda.

  • Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling   2 weeks 6 days ago

    A Republican Congressman telling a room of Texas oil and gas producers that drilling can be done safely in national parks. A cultural cliche that is just about cartoonish by now.

  • Nearly Two Dozen National Parks Ban Sales Of Disposable Plastic Water Bottles   2 weeks 6 days ago

    ec -

    During this discussion on several similar stories on the Traveler, some have pointed out the how much plastic bottles contribute to waste pickup and disposal costs in parks, and as I've said before, even small reductions in costs are important. To follow along with your line of thought, perhaps you'd like to offer some data on how much paper adds to waste pickup and disposal costs in parks, as compared to plastic.

    A pretty good percentage of paper used and disposed of in parks probably comes from office operations, and we'd hope that is being handled through a recycling program.

    I certainly agree that more needs to be done to reduce the amount of all waste going to landfills - including paper - and digital vs. printed communications is helping in that regard.

    At the consumer level, there's an easy and cost effective alternative to plastic water bottles. For some purposes in today's world, there isn't an easy and cost effective alternative to paper - and that includes a paper product that is widely used by virtually everyone in the country. I'd not aware of a satisfactory alternative to that product for Americans, and that paper product is flushed away after use ... so it doesn't go to the landfill :-)

  • NPS Director Jarvis: National Parks Are Losing Relevancy With Americans   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Relevancy, relevancy, relevancy. Yes indeed! We need it accessible and a vibrant resource in our individual lives and our community lives more urgently than ever. And a vibrant resource it is and always has been. Our National Parks, our National Historical Sites, our National Monuments, and the many other public programs, services and benefits of the National Park Service are there front and center, present and accounted for, on time! Relevancy to me speaks to the resources and opportunities for the deep personal enrichment, growth, learning, connection, refreshment, recreation, and community building that has always been at the core of the National Park Service reality; but has been sidetracked due to hyper consumerism, hyper advertising, and the hyper information age. Now is the time to put out the call, as loud and clear as possible - hey folks, hey new citizens, hey kids, take a break, unplug, take a breather, Find Your Park. I like it! Sums it up nicely.
    Enough of all this meaningless nonsense let's get real again

  • Nearly Two Dozen National Parks Ban Sales Of Disposable Plastic Water Bottles   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Paper decomposes. Most plastic doesn't.

    Little decomposes in a landfill. One study found meat still on chicken bones 15 years after disposal. Whether it does decompose or not doesn't really make a difference. A landfill is capped, re-purposed and what happens under ground is irrelevant.

    But your stance really highlights your hypocrisy. Paper is 6-10x the impact on a landfill yet you aren't clamoring to ban paper from the parks. Why? Perhaps the issue (for you) isn't what goes in a landfill. Lets be honest. What is your "agenda"?

  • Nearly Two Dozen National Parks Ban Sales Of Disposable Plastic Water Bottles   2 weeks 6 days ago

    So? All any of that proves is that we need better recycling programs and much more strict requirements that everyone must use them or face severe penalties. Paper decomposes. Most plastic doesn't.

  • Nearly Two Dozen National Parks Ban Sales Of Disposable Plastic Water Bottles   2 weeks 6 days ago
  • Nearly Two Dozen National Parks Ban Sales Of Disposable Plastic Water Bottles   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Documentation, please, ec.

  • Nearly Two Dozen National Parks Ban Sales Of Disposable Plastic Water Bottles   2 weeks 6 days ago

    It takes more than 1.5 million barrels of oil to produce a year's supply of water bottles. That's enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars for a year.

    So what?

    Management of our trash and garbage stream is one of the most expensive and most difficult challenges faced by local governments in this country
    .

    Well then lets ban the sale of newspapers and magazines, books and paper cups and anything else made with paper. Paper accounts for 30-40% of the landfill tonnage versus 5% or so for plastic bottles (of all kinds)

  • Nearly Two Dozen National Parks Ban Sales Of Disposable Plastic Water Bottles   2 weeks 6 days ago

    There are a lot of areas to improve in this. In our little town plastics cannot be recycled - they go to the incinerator. Along with trying to reduce the amount we use, we take our recycle along 100 miles up into the Yukon to a town that does recycle plastic. I'm actually heading out to go there in a couple of minutes. The gas in the car would already be spent as this is an every-couple-month shopping trip.

    Less plastic used, better access to proper recycling - every little bit helps. I realized years ago that you can't "save the world" - it just pisses off the world; witness EC's little tantrums. I just try to improve what I can, when I can. Using refillable water bottles helps this.

  • NPS Director Jarvis: National Parks Are Losing Relevancy With Americans   2 weeks 6 days ago

    A Director who protected and promoted a crook like Dave Uberuaga is the real "symtom of ... waning relevancy", not of the national parks, but of the opaque, bloated, increasingly dysfunctional National Park Service management.

    Their scores in the 2013 'Best Places to Work' survey have dropped sharply to their lowest since the survey began: http://bestplacestowork.org/BPTW/rankings/detail/IN10

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Just read up on neo-liberalism. It makes what's happening around us even more frightening.

    Thanks, Ron.

  • Nearly Two Dozen National Parks Ban Sales Of Disposable Plastic Water Bottles   2 weeks 6 days ago

    ec's responses and credibility are simply pathetic. But expected. It's obvious that trolling others into endlessly twisting arguments in Traveler is some kind of hobby for ec.

    But for those whose minds are not clamped shut, here is a link to another Waste Management Company info sheet about recycling plastics.

    http://www.wm.com/thinkgreen/what-can-i-recycle.jsp

    The last two paragraphs in this informative piece are particularly interesting: "It takes more than 1.5 million barrels of oil to produce a year's supply of water bottles. That's enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars for a year.

    Some plastics cannot easily be made into other products, or doing so is not economically feasible. If your local recycler doesn't accept a particular type of plastic, it's probably because the market for that resin is small or non-existent."

    Management of our trash and garbage stream is one of the most expensive and most difficult challenges faced by local governments in this country. A large part of the challenge is trying to deal effectively with a strong lobby of manufacturers of such things as plastic bottles and grocery bags.

    It reminds me of a comment made by a man from Germany I met in Zion many years ago. When I asked what surprised him the most about America, he replied, "The size of your garbage cans!"

  • Nearly Two Dozen National Parks Ban Sales Of Disposable Plastic Water Bottles   3 weeks 19 min ago
  • Nearly Two Dozen National Parks Ban Sales Of Disposable Plastic Water Bottles   3 weeks 23 min ago

    BTW

    This is what happens to those evil landfills to which plastic bottles contribute a minor percent.

    https://www.wm.com/about/community/whc/wildlife-habitat-sites.jsp