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Old 03-12-2013, 04:44 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 6,019,284 times
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"Make no mistake about it. There is a chill over the National Park Service today," said Denny Huffman of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees in Washington, D.C.' [1]


Quote:
Originally Posted by lovethehighcountry
Wouldn't it be the folks who can't let go of ONE jet for the military to pay for the national parks?

Good point.

So far the Pentagon has spent some $400 billion dollars on the F-35 jet fighter. By some reports with a program 90% over budget. This would be the new jet fighter meant to replace those aging in the various service branches. With a possible cost over its operational lifetime of $769m each. Or by other accounts, rather a bargain at an initial cost of but $130,000,000 per plane.

Those having noticed the proliferation of drones within the United States and elsewhere (that will be weaponized in the US), will have already figured this out. Or that the F-35—the fleet currently grounded due glitches—will essentially be obsolete even before formal introduction. At best, it will surely be the last manned jet fighter ever built. For some time the Pentagon has been working on unmanned fighter aircraft more capable than those existing, both beyond the responses of a human or G forces they could endure.

Meanwhile, our national parks have been underfunded for some time. There is a backlog of deferred maintenance of some $5 billion.[1] Moreover it is suggested that the National Park Service is, to put it kindly, being coy with the facts now.

Chrysandra Walter, deputy director of the Northeast Region division, in an email memo:

'…urges park superintendents not to directly use the phrase "this is a cut" in press releases about such service reductions. "We all agreed to use the terminology of 'service level adjustment' due to fiscal constraints as a means of describing what actions we are taking," [1]

"There's now a culture of fear in the Park Service," said Laurel Angell of the Campaign to Protect America's Lands. "Everyone is afraid to disclose budget cuts." [1]

Among possible "service level adjustments" suggested in Ms. Walter's memo:
• "Close the visitor center on all federal holidays."

• "Eliminate life guard services at 1 of the park's 3 guarded beaches." 

• "Eliminate all guided ranger tours."

• "Let the manicured grasslands grow all summer." 

• "Turn 1 of our 4 campgrounds over to a concession permittee." 

• "Close the park every Sunday and Monday."

• "Close the visitor center for the months of November, January & February." [1]
In consideration, perhaps our suspect government could forego one of its prized F-35 aircraft. Just the maintenance on it alone might more than happily fund our national parks for some time to come. Well, not exactly, but for the cost of a few of these extravagantly expensive warplanes our beloved national parks all brought up to par and beyond. Exactly who or what is being protected here?

1) 'U.S. National Parks Told to Quietly Cut Services,' National Geographic
U.S. National Parks Told to Quietly Cut Services

Last edited by Idunn; 03-12-2013 at 04:56 PM..
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:01 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,697 posts, read 4,330,816 times
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Mr. Rabbit wrote: And some of us are more rational.. (and wildland firefighters too).. There are MANY of us post age 50 - 60 who are working (and volunteering thousands of hrs / month) PRODUCTIVELY to preserve "YOUR" public lands.

Not exactly sure what you mean here, but if you are "post age 50 -60" and actually meet the Federal Interagency Standards for fitness, etc., to be eligible to fight forest fires, my hat is off to you. My ex husband worked for the Forest Service for nearly 20 years when I was still married to him. Every summer he was called out on fires on a regular basis when he was in his 20's and 30's. Never once did I see or hear him talk about a fire crew member much over 40. So are you a Hotshot or a member of an Interagency Fire Crew or what?
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Ned CO @ 8300'
2,019 posts, read 4,322,561 times
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Another article in today's Denver Post: Park cuts may not hit Colorado hard, despite federal warnings - The Denver Post
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Old 03-17-2013, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
9,144 posts, read 5,452,573 times
Reputation: 4020
Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post
"Make no mistake about it. There is a chill over the National Park Service today," said Denny Huffman of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees in Washington, D.C.' [1]





Good point.

So far the Pentagon has spent some $400 billion dollars on the F-35 jet fighter. By some reports with a program 90% over budget. This would be the new jet fighter meant to replace those aging in the various service branches. With a possible cost over its operational lifetime of $769m each. Or by other accounts, rather a bargain at an initial cost of but $130,000,000 per plane.

Those having noticed the proliferation of drones within the United States and elsewhere (that will be weaponized in the US), will have already figured this out. Or that the F-35—the fleet currently grounded due glitches—will essentially be obsolete even before formal introduction. At best, it will surely be the last manned jet fighter ever built. For some time the Pentagon has been working on unmanned fighter aircraft more capable than those existing, both beyond the responses of a human or G forces they could endure.

Meanwhile, our national parks have been underfunded for some time. There is a backlog of deferred maintenance of some $5 billion.[1] Moreover it is suggested that the National Park Service is, to put it kindly, being coy with the facts now.

Chrysandra Walter, deputy director of the Northeast Region division, in an email memo:

'…urges park superintendents not to directly use the phrase "this is a cut" in press releases about such service reductions. "We all agreed to use the terminology of 'service level adjustment' due to fiscal constraints as a means of describing what actions we are taking," [1]

"There's now a culture of fear in the Park Service," said Laurel Angell of the Campaign to Protect America's Lands. "Everyone is afraid to disclose budget cuts." [1]
Right you are about billions of wasted dollars on the F-35 by the Spendagon, which does nothing to increase our safety against the modern day problem of terrorism. In the meantime, we take away money from facilities designed to help people enjoy their lives.

The following is a year old article that acknowledges politicians on both sides of the aisle recognize the waste of money on the F-35:

Quote:
This month, we learned that the Pentagon has increased the price tag for the F-35 by another $289 million -- just the latest in a long string of cost increases -- and that the program is expected to account for a whopping 38 percent of Pentagon procurement for defense programs, assuming its cost will grow no more. Its many problems are acknowledged by its listing in proposals for Pentagon spending reductions by leaders from across the political spectrum, including Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), President Barack Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and budget gurus such as former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Alice Rivlin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and Office of Management and Budget.
The Jet That Ate the Pentagon - By Winslow Wheeler | Foreign Policy
Winslow Wheeler is director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information. Previously, he worked for 31 years on national security issues for Republican and Democratic senators on Capitol Hill and for the Government Accountability Office.

We will lose quality in our lives with the closure of national parks without any corresponding increase in our safety.

We don't have a spending problem, we have a politician problem.
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:43 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 6,019,284 times
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Wink NPS & RMNP camping this year

"Maybe a few campgrounds will be closed? I don't think that will impede anyone's desire to come to Colorado," said Al White, head of the Colorado Tourism Office, which is not planning any aggressive maneuvers to counter potential declines in public-land vacationers this summer.' [1]


Maybe Al should visit Rocky Mountain National Park, and then perhaps not so sanguine. Park Service director Dan Jarvis isn't, writing in a memo to employees that: "A drop in visitation could have devastating effects on the economies of gateway communities who depend on visitor spending." While referring to all national parks and monuments, this will certainly be seen in such towns as Estes Park, being closely associated with and depending on park visitation.

The National Park Service estimates that Colorado's five monuments, two historic sites, one recreation area, and four national parks saw 5.8 million visitors in 2011, who supported 4,809 jobs in spending $334 million.

in RMNP there are the following established campgrounds:

• Aspenglen Campground: 54 sites.
• Longs Peak Campground: 26 sites.
• Moraine Park Campground: 245 sites.
• Timber Creek Campground: 98 sites.

—and—

• Glacier Basin Campground: 150 sites.

Some of these campgrounds are closed in winter, such as Glacier Basin, with others open but with fewer available camp sites. Beyond these listed, there are also backcountry unimproved campsites which can be accessed only by hiking.

One can divide these geographically. Timber Creek Campground is on the west side of the Continental Divide in the Colorado River valley. It would seem to be the only formal campground there, although there may be other options (if unimproved) in the Kawuneeche Valley.

Longs Peak Campground can be discounted, as few sites purposed towards those climbing Longs Peak. As such, it is removed from all else near the base of this mountain, off of CO 7.

In what one might consider RMNP proper (meaning eastern side, near Estes Park), there remains Aspenglen near the north park entrance; Moraine Park Campground in that valley, and by far the largest; and further up the road towards Bear Lake, Glacier Basin.

Glacier Basin is scheduled to remain closed throughout the summer of 2013 due the ongoing bogus Bear Lake road "improvement" near it. It likely would not have opened in any event, due budget restraints. Having hosted 3.2 million visitors last year, RMNP will have to deal with a budget cut of $623,000, presumably due political maneuvering in Washington D.C. Do the math, and of the readily available campsites on the east side in Aspenglen, Moraine Park and Glacier Basin, Glacier Basin represents roughly a third of their total combined capacity.

So good thing Al White may not be visiting RMNP this summer, in having to vie for these heavily booked campsites as is, with now one third less of them to go around. And even if so able at Glacier Basin, then finding his camping experience not as wholesome as in previous years.

For one will find the "stewards" of RMNP have cut down a vast number of trees in this national park otherwise officially designated wilderness. Within the campgrounds of Glacier Basin and Timber Creek are two such places; not sure about the current state of Glacier Basin, but what once was the heavy forest at Timber Creek has been decimated with very few trees remaining. Being all the stranger that any remain, as in often clear cutting—perfectly live trees—the rationale for such behavior is in part:

"Also, trees in lodgepole pine forests grow in dense, protected stands so even if a tree is alive it becomes hazardous if the dead trees around it are removed. A "lone" pine could likely topple with high winds."

Which of course does not account for the trees they have left standing in some instances, and at Timber Creek. Nor the many others which have kind of been on their own from the get go, and having weathered all these many decades rather fine.

Anyway, someone not having visited in several years may be surprised if not shocked. As some of these campsites can be reserved, one might wish to take advantage of that due the decreased supply. Or, as also alluded to in this article, that the U.S. Forest Service expects to have a decreased budget towards fighting wildfires. With the present conditions, reservations or not, wildfire could prove a major game changer for RMNP and other areas in Colorado this year.

Couple other notes. This article mentions that Trail Ridge Road may open later/close earlier due these budget cuts. News on the ground from RMNP indicates this will not likely affect the customary Memorial Day opening of this road. All the more due the lack of snow this winter, even as it can result in high drifts up there. As for its closing date in autumn, who knows. Sequester shenanigans will likely be over by then; as for an early onset of winter 2013/2014, one could only hope.

Also mentioned in this article that the Moraine Park visitor center may remain closed this summer, as well as the Glacier Basin Campground. I was told at the Beaver Meadows park headquarters that they will be closed this summer.

Baring perhaps fair political winds from that former wetland and now swamp . . .


1) 'Park cuts may not hit Colorado hard, despite federal warnings,' The Denver Post
Park cuts may not hit Colorado hard, despite federal warnings - The Denver Post
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:59 PM
 
9,830 posts, read 19,525,426 times
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We have a bureaucracy problem.

If you dig into the F-35 program, it is like many government programs, overburdened with bureaucrats.

I'm not going to derail the thread, but if you want to educate yourself and dig into it, most Americans would be horrified at what goes on that jacks the costs up tenfold. Most military aircraft production lines have 4 government bureaucrats on the line itself for every worker and they generate tens of thousands of pages of reports no one reads.

The only thing to do with this pig is stab it in the heart and start over.

From what I have read over the decades, the national parks have their fair share of pork as well.
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:00 PM
 
Location: high plains
493 posts, read 701,760 times
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This may stir up some controversy, but what's a forum for if not that?

The sequester could act as a catalyst to force us to re-think our notions about national park visitation. If the prime directives were to shift AWAY from costly "luxury" visitor amenities and services, but TOWARD environmental monitoring/research, archeological research, long-term planning, and other more essential operations, the budgets might be spent more wisely. Allow hike-in/out, biking and primitive camping only. Close the interpretive centers, stop the polluting auto traffic, shut down the privies and showers and concrete campsites. The visitor counts will drop to sustainable levels and the surrounding communities will learn to diversify their economies, while their property value bubbles burst and they return to normal small-town lifestyles. The cheesy souvenir shops and overpriced restaurants will go away. Let the parks be wilderness again.

Of course, the critters may get bored without all those SUV people to gawk at.
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:02 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 6,019,284 times
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Wink NPS & our great outdoors

This may surprise some, but I would not favor our national parks becoming less tourist-centric. Aside from protecting their natural environments, their enjoyment by all is rather the point.

God knows a place like Rocky Mountain NP—with some 3,000,000 visitors annually—can become a zoo at times. But if an inconvenience locals will not always be happy with, it also represents a lot of people getting a chance to enjoy the great outdoors in a quite beautiful place. An integral part of that are the few roads and established campsites that many use and enjoy. To limit this, as well as ranger talks and interpretive centers, is to lesson the experience many would otherwise have. All the more as most will never venture far from any trail, if in most cases just their vehicle.

RMNP is officially designated 95% wilderness. The NPS and RMNP officials have rudely intruded upon this, but that is another matter. Presumably the roads within the park are part of the 5% not wilderness, although this somewhat disingenuous. Anyone familiar with such things will understand that but a single road, or even hiking trail, will have far broader reach and implications for that it bisects than to but the culverts on either side. Strictly speaking, a good many of the improvements in RMNP do intrude upon what could otherwise be the pure wilderness nature of the greater 95%. So at least in this some compromise: that in nature visitors come for, versus that they change simply by being there.

Each will have their own standard. Where I would draw the line is much beyond simple access and camping. Meaning the greater park should remain "unimproved" and wild. Or that its full compliment of wildlife once calling it home should be present and left unmolested by the NPS. That includes bears, mountain lions, wolves and so forth—also in elk not running around with dog collars on and being "managed."

This extends to all wilderness areas being preserved and left to the dictates of nature. As well on the outskirts of such places respecting as much; and if not liking such a neighbor and some of its wildlife roaming beyond such borders, then moving. Or, if a park visitor in such a wild place, expecting perhaps toilet facilities now and then—BUT also the possibility of being eaten by a bear or someone else if not cautious enough, or just unlucky.

That, too, is part of the charm of the great outdoors. Which, hopefully, all that wish to can have the chance of visiting within our great national parks.

Last edited by Idunn; 05-03-2013 at 07:11 PM..
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:29 PM
 
825 posts, read 1,604,222 times
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Question: Has the sequester reduced funding this year over last, or just over this year's budget. That is to say, will the NPS have more, less, or the same money in 2013 as in 2012? I do not know, I am asking.

I DO know that total Federal spending will be greater this year than last, sequester or no. So the question is, what agencies are getting as much or more money as last year? And if they could do whatever it is they do last year, what has changed that they cannot do it on the same or more money this year?

Contrary to what many of you already assume, I am not making a point here. Right now I am looking for answers. Does anyone actually have a reference for hard data, specifically for the National Park Service?
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,764 posts, read 16,835,798 times
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I seriously doubt that there is any way to know the real amount spent on anything. Personally, I have little trust in any numbers released by the government. I believe it was George H. W. Bush who coined the term voodoo economics when he was running against Ronald Reagan. However, voodoo economics is a good description for the economic policies of ANY administration....a group of witch doctors pulling the wool over the eyes of the people.
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