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Poll

Do you agree with Martin?

yes
3 (50%)
no
1 (16.7%)
don't know
1 (16.7%)
don't care
1 (16.7%)

Total Members Voted: 0

Voting closed: June 27, 2006, 08:04:59 PM

radical changes to national-parks policy....

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Offline Casa Grande

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Offline Joe

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Management Policies
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2006, 08:13:47 PM »
I haven't had time to read the Vanity Fair article yet, but here's a link to some more info (be sure to check out the links at the NPCA website):

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/index.php?topic=1200.0
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http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/el-saloacuten/joe-a-memorial/

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Management Policies
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2006, 08:56:54 PM »
Quote from: "Joe"
I haven't had time to read the Vanity Fair article yet, but here's a link to some more info (be sure to check out the links at the NPCA website):

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/index.php?topic=1200.0


oh yes, sorry joe, i must of missed that post...

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Offline Al

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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2006, 09:40:46 PM »
I assume we're talking Steve Martin and your question is about the endgame statement?

The obvious question is why go through the process if there is no endgame.
Al

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Offline Doc Savage

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radical changes to national-parks policy....
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2006, 10:22:13 PM »
I'll have to spend some more time reading that in detail to make a real decision on it. I personally tend to strike more of a middle ground on this issue. I personally think both sides are WRONG. OK OK don't kill me yet hear me out first. This is my soapbox for the moment, you'll get your turn in a minute... there there, no shoving.... yet.

OK first off, I think the National Parks do need to be managed for conservation first and recreation second. However these two areas do need to be somewhat balanced, but conservation should get the upper hand in the NPs.

One of the first problems is that Congress in their typical stupidity, has lumped almost all the National Recreation Areas under the NPS. So now our NRAs are being managed for conservation NOT for recreation which is the whole reason they were created. I could go into a longer discussion of this, but 'nuff said for you to understand the point.

Secondly Congress isn't beyond passing what amounts to illegal legislation because it sounds good. Biggest offender here is Designated Wilderness as defined in the Wilderness Act of 1964. I can cite several examples of where Congress has designated areas as DW that DO NOT meet the definition of wilderness per the legislation. One classic example was here in AL with the Dugger Mountain Wilderness area. Area got designated, but the legislation noted that a structure and road already existed on the mountain, but the FS had 2 years to dismantle the structure and decommission and restore the road... AFTER the area was designated. There were 2 legal options open to them, Wait and let it be done first, or cherrysteam the road. They chose not to do so.

The article delt with Death Vally (our second most favorite park) and I'm real disappointed with what was done there. I was excited that it finally raised from NM to NP status, but alot of what was done in doing that amounted to a major miscarrage of the law. Once again many areas where motorized travel, structures, and man's presence was clearly evident were grabbed and turned into Designated Wilderness. Several documented roads have been closed as a result of this.

Now you might get the idea I'm aginst Designated Wilderness. I'm really not. I think we need it. What I'm aginst is the misapplication of the laws and limitation of certain forms of recreation out of hand. I've heard a movement for a new land designation that I think will solve most of the concerns. That would be a "Backcountry Recreation Area", a place where development and extraction industries are limited, but ALL forms of recreation are allowed. There are several National Park units that allow multiple "incompatiable" forms of recreation and do so without impacting the experience for the majority of the visitors. Big Bend, Canyonlands, Arches, and Death Valley (with some execptions) come to mind.

This designation matches the results of a survey taken in CO over a Designated Wilderness area proposal (I think it was White River or something like that). The initial survey showed about a 70% support for the designation. After the respondants were read a list of prohibited activities in Designated Wilderness areas, they were resurveyed and the support dropped to 40%. Most people think of a Designated Wilderness area just like a NP or NF, a place to drive to with the family and go camping away from the hustle and bustle.

A big problem is also that most land managers don't understand exactly how Designated Wildreness works and mismanage the areas. Case in point, after the passage of the ADA, a federal panel was put together to determine how the ADA and Wilderness Act impacted each other. There report stated that the ADA didn't really impact the Wilderness Act, but noted that most land managers didnt' properly manage them, even to the extent of their CFRs. Most often, the report cited, the land managers tended to prohibit more activities than the legislation actually allowed. (I've got an electronic copy of the report somewhere if anyone is interested in it).

OK OK quit pushing... I'm getting off the soap box now. It's someone else's turn now.

Hope I didn't stir the pot too much, didn't mean to spill anything ;)

Robert
Enjoying the Texas life!

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Offline Al

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Existing Roads
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2006, 12:01:05 AM »
I hear you.  There are existing established "trails" that should not just be cut off when a federal land's status changes unless it becomes a National Park which isn't what we're talking about.  The examples of rock climbing waterfalls is not what we're talking about.  That is unacceptable and should be subject to multi-thousand dollar fines, if not criminal violations.

It's the closing of established trails developed by "off roaders" that is irritating. The group I've gone out with stays on the trail, leaves no trash behind and respects the land.  I wouldn't go with them otherwise.

It can be particularly unsettling if the trails remain open to other means of transportation such as the mountain biker.  Like Big Bend, Mountain bikes generally speaking should be resticted to the roads or, if developed, dedicated trails but not be the taking of established 4 wheel trails, with some exceptions.  

I do remember the time I was camped at a Pine Canyon primative campsite and I heard something rushing down the mountain toward me.  A couple of minutes, so it seemed, a mountain biker came banging down the trail.  He stops, panting.  A minute later a second biker comes bouncing down the resticted hiking trail looking pretty ragged.  He says, "WOW, that was a rush!".  They then went, at this point legally, down the road.

The routes Doc is talking about wouldn't exist exept for the 4 wheeler. Many of the trails were developed for mining or other 4 wheeled vehicle use.  The rules should require that you stay on the trail and don't go off.  If a trail's use has had a significant negative impact on an area, it would be appropriate to restrict or eliminate its use.  However, without these "trails" large scenic areas would otherwise rarely if ever be enjoyed, are. We're not  talking about Yellowstone Park.  

It is amazing though what percentage of western states is federal land subject to diddling by politicians.

A thorough NEPA or environmental impact analysis should be done prior to the land's change in status, specifically address the use of existing "trails" and appropriate opportunity for public input should be provided.  

Whether that will happen or not, who knows.  It's an election year and all bets are off!   :?


Al

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Offline 10ftTall&BulletPrf

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radical changes to national-parks policy....
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2006, 09:06:58 AM »
UGH!

I really don't want to see hunters in national parks. I hate the thought of hiking and seeing spent shotgun shells lying around.

I also hate the thought of somebody letting their 12 kids, ages 5-16 tearing up the parks with their 4-wheelers/snowmobiles/jetskis.

Even though there may be some responsible people out there, this is one of those issues where the door is either wide open or solidly shut.

I am a HUGE game bird hunter. I love quail and dove especially. If I had my way, you wouldn't see me in September. I would love to quail or dove hunt some NP territory. Every time I find myself hiking and I jump a bunch of quail, I think to myself "Dead bird flying". But, even though I might be conscientious and hunt down spent shells, trash etc, there are enough bozos out there that wouldn't and thereby ruin a nice park.
"You may all go to work and I will go to Big Bend" - If Davy Crockett were alive today.

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single_malt

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radical changes to national-parks policy....
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2006, 10:18:42 AM »
I second that  UGH !!!

Just finished reading the Vanity Fair article and it is quite disturbing.  

I agree with 10ft that I don't like the idea of hunters in the park (I don't want to have to wear one of those bright orange flack jackets while out hiking !)  And I do not want to have to dodge the 4-wheelers, or even hear them or see their tracks on the trail.  I'm not even fond of mountain bikes on the trail.  More that once I've been literally run off the trail by one.

The idea of privitization and corporate sponsership is not too appealing either.  Can you see yourself vacationing at Minute Maid Park at Big Bend in the future?

As for Martin's rewrite/revision of Hoffman's new Natl Park doctorine, he doesn't sound so sure of himself.  My take on it is if the political appointees don't like it, they will just find someone else to rewrite their way.

My 2 cents (before taxes).

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Offline Casa Grande

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radical changes to national-parks policy....
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2006, 10:46:58 AM »
Quote from: "10ftTall&BulletPrf"
...this is one of those issues where the door is either wide open or solidly shut...


exactly

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BigBendHiker

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radical changes to national-parks policy....
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2006, 12:07:54 PM »
Quote from: "10ftTall&BulletPrf"
UGH!

I really don't want to see hunters in national parks. I hate the thought of hiking and seeing spent shotgun shells lying around.

I also hate the thought of somebody letting their 12 kids, ages 5-16 tearing up the parks with their 4-wheelers/snowmobiles/jetskis.

Even though there may be some responsible people out there, this is one of those issues where the door is either wide open or solidly shut.


Your comments are right on.  Hunters and hikers don't mix well...that is a recipe for a disaster...

And when it comes to an ATV, the damage they do to the ground is substantial.  My son rides his on my father-in-law's 180 acre place and just his one ATV has left ruts and other marks on the ground.  Then, when it rains, the ruts form a place for erosion to take place.  I could only imagine what would happen if we let 10's or even 100's of ATVs out there...the damage would be substantial and likely could never be repaired.  

Let's keep the National Parks as parks for the hikers and backpackers to enjoy!  This one is non-negotiable...


BBH

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Offline Doc Savage

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radical changes to national-parks policy....
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2006, 01:52:16 PM »
Quote from: "BigBendHiker"

Let's keep the National Parks as parks for the hikers and backpackers to enjoy!  This one is non-negotiable...
BBH


BBH I completely agree with you on this, but by the same token let's keep the National Recreation Areas for the recreationists to enjoy... not close them out because some idiot put the NRAs under the NPS. They are RECREATION areas NOT parks.

Robert

edit: Well let me add that proper backcountry roads are a valid use of NPs. It works in BIBE.
Enjoying the Texas life!

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Offline Roy

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radical changes to national-parks policy....
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2006, 02:32:02 PM »
Interesting the different slant these two articles take.  The Vanity Fair article is alarming, the one from the Grand Canyon group that Joe posted is a lot more optimistic.  

I'm definitely writing my Rep. and both Senators.  My opinion is that there is plenty of public land open to hunting, snowmobiles, etc.;  they need to leave at LEAST the Parks themselves alone for Ma Nature and those of us that can enjoy her as she is.

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Offline Joe

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preliminary analysis
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2006, 04:57:53 PM »
Here's a preliminary analysis of the revised draft policies, from http://www.npca.org/policies_preserved

Quote
Released Jointly By
Coalition of National Park Service Retirees
National Parks Conservation Association
Natural Resources Defense Council
The Wilderness Society
 
PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS
June 2006 Analysis of Revised Draft Policies

Fundamental Mission of the National Park Service Restored

Based upon our preliminary analysis, the National Park Service’s long-standing mission of conservation and stewardship of the nation’s heritage has been restored in this current draft rewrite of the policies that govern management of our national parks. At the behest of park professionals, the American public, Congress, this coalition, and others, the National Park Service appears to have largely reverted back to the 2001 policies in virtually every section.

For instance, language in the existing 2001 Management Policies that specifies that conservation takes precedence over everything else in park decisions, which had been excluded from earlier drafts, has been restored in this draft. Moreover, some minor revisions have been made that improve upon the existing 2001 policies.

We reserve final judgment on this draft version until the Secretary of the Interior and the National Park Service Director finalizes the document. This will likely happen following three weeks of input from park staff.

FUNDAMENTAL PROTECTIONS RESTORED BACK TO 2001 POLICIES:

Commitment to Conservation
The existing 2001 policies explicitly state that the National Park Service’s fundamental mandates are conservation and prevention of impairment to resources. This new draft restores that significant language. This draft also retains language throughout the document that confirms the commitment to conserving resources unimpaired during planning and when determining which activities are allowable in park sites.

Protecting Natural Sounds
The October draft policies removed important language about the protection of “the atmosphere of peace and tranquility and natural soundscapes.” In fact, soundscape protection was diminished throughout the entire document. The June (or latest) version restores those protections for natural quiet in our national parks—a key reason many people visit these places.

Cooperative Conservation
Throughout the Hoffman and October drafts, the National Park Service was instructed to employ “cooperation” in the management of the parks, which was defined as giving outside entities equal weight during decision-making. While consultation and public involvement is welcomed at all parks, this language could have impaired park managers’ ability to make decisions to protect park resources when other entities disagreed.

For example, in Sec. 1.6, which addresses consultation related to activities outside park boundaries that affect park resources, the first draft inserted language on “cooperation” in places that create the impression that superintendents are constrained in their ability to oppose harmful developments because they must always achieve consensus. This new draft retains the cooperative conservation language, but includes a provision that if all cooperative efforts fail, superintendents can use their authorities and actions to take action (i.e. oppose development in favor of protecting a resource).

Maintaining Clean Air
The Hoffman and October drafts erroneously reclassified clean air in our national parks as a “value” instead of a resource, thereby diminishing its importance in a park manager’s decision-making, and put the onus on park managers to work cooperatively with those that might be proposing a new neighboring power plant so as to potentially “mitigate” the affects of such a harmful proposition. This new draft corrects these provisions by instead using the language from the existing 2001 policies.

Preserving Wilderness
The Hoffman and October drafts would have changed the way proposed and existing wilderness areas in our national parks are managed, essentially making it easier to allow off-road vehicles and other activities that would have conflicted with the goal of preserving wilderness in parks. This new draft incorporates the park-protective language found in the existing 2001 policies such as “The National Park Service will take no action that would diminish the wilderness suitability of an area possessing wilderness characteristics until the legislative process of wilderness designation has been completed. Until that time, management decisions pertaining to lands qualifying as wilderness will be made in expectation of eventual wilderness designation.”

ACCEPTABLE CHANGES TO 2001 POLICIES:

Fire Management
This new draft updates the discussion about fire management and provides improved guidance to park managers over that available in the 2001 policies.

Cell Towers in Parks
The June draft improves upon the 2001 policies by requiring park managers to consider the impact of towers on the setting and scenery of a park before approving a siting permit. It also requires that towers that are allowed be located where they will have the least impact on park resources and that their visual impact will be minimized.

Appropriate Use
The process for determining an appropriate use, based upon analyzing whether there are unacceptable impacts, is clearer and simpler, making it a better tool for decision-makers. It also unambiguously shows that when an activity is “unacceptable,” it does not need to rise to the level of “impairment” in order to be rejected.

Determining Unacceptable Impacts
The October draft rewrite introduced the flawed concepts of “appropriate use” and “unacceptable impacts” that sought to permit activities and mitigate problems associated with those activities like off-road vehicle use. These terms have been revised and under this draft, the new terms could aid park staff when determining whether an activity should be allowed by assessing the tranquility of an area—such as its natural sounds—and possible conflicts with other visitors.

CONTINUING CONCERNS WITH NEW DRAFT:

Planning for Natural Resource Management
Language in the new draft that only calls for only certain parks to develop plans for the long-term preservation of natural resources from such threats as invasive species and sprawl, instead encouraging all park managers to develop these important plans.

Harpers Ferry Center
Throughout this new draft, references to the National Park Service’s restoration and resource center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, have been deleted. We are concerned that this change reflects the National Park Service’s ill-considered response to funding constraints and its recent decision to relocate or retire the talented archivists, restoration experts, visual artists, and other skilled personnel in this facility, which serves as an in-house resource for parks nationwide seeking to create new signage, interpretive materials, and exhibits, or research and restore priceless artifacts.

MORE INFORMATION:

To learn more about the new draft rewrite of the parks’ Management Policies, please contact:

Ron Tipton, National Parks Conservation Association, cell: 202-669-9689
Rob Arnberger, Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, phone: 520-743-1717
Kristen Brengel, The Wilderness Society, 202-429-2694
Chuck Clusen, Natural Resources Defense Council, 202-289-2412


By the way, Rob Arnberger was BIBE superintendent before he went to the Grand Canyon and then Alaska.
The real desert is a land which reveals its true character only to those who come with courage, tolerance and understanding. - Randall Henderson

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/el-saloacuten/joe-a-memorial/

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Offline Joe

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before & after
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2006, 05:06:20 PM »
Quote from: "Roy"
Interesting the different slant these two articles take.  The Vanity Fair article is alarming, the one from the Grand Canyon group that Joe posted is a lot more optimistic.


The Vanity Fair article was written before the draft of the revised policies was released, when things did seem pretty alarming.  The letter from the Grand Canyon River Guides was written after the draft was released, when guarded optimism was and is warranted, IMHO.

Let's hope that Martin was right, and Fran Mainella signs it more or less as written.
The real desert is a land which reveals its true character only to those who come with courage, tolerance and understanding. - Randall Henderson

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/el-saloacuten/joe-a-memorial/

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Offline Joe

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Management Policies Draft Document
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2006, 05:11:08 PM »
If anyone has a lot of time on their hands (Shane?), here's a link to the 2.1 MB NPS Management Policies Draft June 2006
The real desert is a land which reveals its true character only to those who come with courage, tolerance and understanding. - Randall Henderson

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/el-saloacuten/joe-a-memorial/

 


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