Friday, June 30, 2006

Yellowstone 4th Of July

Yellowstone On Fire
Patrol Snares violators

civilization encroaches
help wanted
-- There is some good news for visitors to Yellowstone National Park on this, the (traditionally,) busiest weekend of the year. The extensive road construction that is part of the 20-year road rehabilitation project, will be canceled for the weekend. This will allow 24-hour access to the park through all entrances. Read about it HERE.
-- Visitors will also have a small fire in the park to talk about this weekend. Reduced budgets mean that the 'fire cache' is at an all time low. Read about the fire HERE.
-- Visitors will also see many of the 'pull-outs' jammed with red-tagged vehicles. These vehicles are awaiting removal as a result of the first commercial vehicle inspection sweep that we announced. It should be noted that not a single vehicle operated by any park concessionaire was stopped. Read about the results of the inspections HERE.

-- Many news outlets have carried the Associated Press Article about 'civilization' encroaching on our National Parks. The development is favored by more than 40% of Americans surveyed. This growing trend is part of the demographic shift documented by Professor Andrew Hansen (PDF) at the Department of Ecology; Montana State University. This concern has been with us since at least 1985, and is being poorly addressed by both the National Park Service and the various advocacy groups. Cranky bloggers have addressed it, so have some of the less cranky, (here, here, here, & here.)
-- Much of this discussion is fueled by emotionalism and mythology - such as the belief that there is something wild about the bison or elk in Yellowstone National Park. One of the big attractions in Yellowstone is "THE ANIMALS;" particularly Elk, and Bison. And, both of these animals are causing developmental problems as well.
-- Alston Chase has addressed the problem several times in several ways, and has seemingly been ignored. Yellowstone has responded with an "Official Response" but not action, by publishing "PRESERVING YELLOWSTONE'S NATURAL CONDITIONS; Science and the Perception of Nature" by James A. Pritchard. The situation is also documented in the popular press entry in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. On a grand scale, even the WORLDWATCH INSTITUTE has commented on both the development, and the impact of tourism, and been ignored.

-- President Theodore Roosevelt is often associated with Yellowstone. He anticipated the problem; had interesting views about it, and suggested that taxing the rich would help. Teddy is currently enjoying a resurgence of popularity. Even NPS bloggers have found him.
-- The popularity of Yellowstone, the encroaching development, the continuing motor travel by affluent Americans, and the 'Baby Boom,' have combined to produce an interesting byproduct in the National Parks and their gateway communities:
-- In National Parks across the nation, and in the gasteway communities that thrive on their attractions, non-English-speaking foreign nationals are appearing. No longer is a summer job desired by many American students. That role is being filled by students from across the world - and by geriatric millionaires in their 40' mobile homes.. You can read about this trend HERE, HERE, & HERE.
-- As we enjoy our celebration of Independence Day, it might be of value to reflect on how we use our freedoms, and how they were won.