Tag Archive: National Park Service


Americans Pay $33.10 For Every Visitor To Clinton Birthplace

National Park

 

 

 

” It costs the federal government $33.10 for every visitor to the national park created to commemorate President Clinton’s birthplace — which averages just 24 people a day, according to a scathing new report that says Congress has created far more parks than the system can handle. “

 

 

 

 

” Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and Capitol Hill’s top waste-watcher, said in the new report that Congress is more intent on creating new parks than it is on spending money to maintain existing ones, which has led to major problems at some of the gems of the system, such as a $24 million backlog on work on trails at the Grand Canyon or the $2 million in tort claims the government faced one year from patrons tripping on bad sidewalks at Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia.

But the Clinton park, located in Hope, Ark., is particularly stunning since it was Mr. Clinton who signed a law in 1998 to try to clamp down on frivolous new parks — only to see Congress break that rule in 2009 to create one for his birthplace.”

 

 

The Hope , Arkansas national park is just the tip of the NPS waste machine . Read on :

 

 

” “The NPS is subsidizing Washington D.C. area concerts, preserving parks in foreign countries, and purchasing even more park property — including real estate on the U.S. Virgin Islands for nearly $1 million per acre,” Mr. Coburn wrote in the report. “At the same time, the crowned jewels of our National Park System have become tarnished.”

The 208-page report takes a hard look at some of the park properties and how much use they are getting.

Mr. Coburn said more Americans were struck by lightning in 2012 than visited Aniakchak National Monument in Alaska, which saw just 19 visitors that year. Indeed, Alaska accounted for three of the six parks with the highest cost per visitor in 2012, according to the Coburn report figures.”

 

 

     The Daily Caller offers many additional details in their reporting of the findings in Dr Coburn’s new report on waste and lays out some examples besides the NPS waste mentioned above . It makes for very disturbing reading and thus should be spread far and wide .

 

 

With 401 “park units,” 27,000 historical structures, 2,461 national historic landmarks, 582 national natural landmarks, 49 national heritage areas and over 84 million acres of land, just 10 percent of the National Park Service’s $3 billion annual park budget goes to the 25 most popular parks. And this year, maintenance will be underfunded by a quarter of a billion dollars, according to “Parked!.

The report explains that National Park visitor experiences are threatened by deteriorating facilities as resources are provided to “inessential activities,” duplicative programs, the purchase of more park units, preservation of foreign parks, and even subsidizing Washington, D.C.-area entertainment.

The more than 200-page report further highlights that while well-known entities like the National Mall deteriorate, lesser-known and unvisited parks suck up funding.

The report also delves into various categories of questionable parks:

1)                  Political or special interest rather than national importance;

2)                  Inaccessible to the public;

3)                  Important but would be better honored in a different capacity; and

4)                  Lacking national significance or authentic historical value.

 

Some of the waste highlights from the Coburn report include:

$30 million campaign to celebrate 100 Year Anniversary Celebration: To prepare for the National Park Service centennial celebration in 2016, the National Park Service has hired the Grey Group, a high-end international marketing firm. The NPS will reportedly pay the firm $6 million annually for five years to manage “a multiplatform communications initiative.”

$367,000 for music festivals: Despite the uproars of budget constraints during sequestration, NPS spent $367,000 to support various music festivals during the summer of 2013. NPS spent $29,000 on the Richmond Folk Festival, $18,000 for the New Bedford Water Front Festival, $58,000 for the National Folk Festival Showcase in St. Louis, Missouri, $32,000 for the Blue Ridge Music Festival, and $230,000 through two separate grants for a series of folk festivals in Lowell, Massachusetts. NPS even provides the Lowell Festival Foundation staff a “government-owned cell phone for official uses and the performance of assigned duties.”

$174,000 3D HD Underwater Imaging Project: NPS has provided $174,000 to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to document underwater natural and cultural features in 3D high- definition (HD). The project’s purpose was to show “rarely seen resources to the public through a stimulating and immersive 3D HD technology” surrounding various national park units, including Isle Royale National Park and Pearl Harbor National Historic Site. Instead of funding an expensive photo-shoot or rarely seen objects, the $174,000 could have been used to fix the too often seen degenerated structures.

NPS provides funds for Inflatable Fair Rides: The scope of the NPS has expanded to funding inflatable rides at county fairs. In August 2012, NPS provided $2,500 to rent inflatable rides at Hoover Hometown Days, an annual festival in West Branch, Iowa.

7 years, 3 studies and $731,000 spent investigating Gateway Arch for cleaning without any cleaning getting done: The NPS spent at least $731,000 on three studies over a seven year span to inspect the Gateway Arch for stains to be cleaned, without actually doing any cleaning. A public information officer said that “One of the reasons it takes so long is it’s not easy to access to look at closely…. We’re taking it step by step, we want to do it correctly, we don’t want to cause any harm, we don’t want to waste dollars starting a process that’s incorrect.”

NPS Video Game Production: The NPS National Center for Preservation Training and Technology awarded a $25,000 grant to a Rochester Institute of Technology professor “to develop an interactive video game that will transport students to virtual worlds of preservation and conservation archetypes.” The video game is based on the role-playing game, Elderscrolls IV: Oblivion, and players will be able to assume “the role of a conservator, conservation scientist or collection manager by virtually interacting with objects, materials and data embedded in quest narratives.” Various game options will allow players “to manage a library and protect it from the elements that accelerate deterioration. Another quest will allow players to take samples from ancient artifacts and analyze them to discover the secrets of its past.” NPS also developed “Hold the Fort,” a video game that allows players to be “in charge of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore, responsible for the defense of the fort and the city.” In the meantime, the real Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Site has accumulated $3.58 million in deferred maintenance needs.

NPS spends $79,000 to collect data on “Visitor Perceptions of Climate Change in U.S. National Parks”: In August 2013, the Park Service awarded a $79,000 to the Center for Climate Change Communication “to investigate the climate change perceptions of visitors to National Parks and their reception of place-based climate change messages.” The survey will be based on Yale University’s “Global Warming’s Six America’s Survey,” which divides the public into six groups along a spectrum of attitudes towards the impacts of climate change from Alarmed to Dismissive. It is unclear what the connection between a visitor’s attitude towards climate change and whether they are inside a National Park boundary or not, but it is clear that NPS funding would be better spent fixing the visitors’ reality of $11.5 billion worth of crumbling infrastructure. The NPS expenditure is especially questionable given the massive investment the federal government already makes towards climate change programs. Between FY2008 and FY2012, 14 separate federal agencies spent $68.4 billion on climate change activities.

-And NPS spends $3.4 million per year for a Natural Sounds Program, which works to “protect, maintain, or restore acoustical environments throughout the National Park System.” The program produces documents that provide practical advice such as “visitors and park employees can improve their natural and cultural soundscape experience in our national parks by simply becoming more aware of the sounds around them.”

You can read the report in it’s entirety here .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Park Service Paramilitaries

 

 

 

” But the one place where a full-scale shutdown is being enforced is in America’s alleged “National Park Service,” a term of art that covers everything from canyons and glaciers to war memorials and historic taverns. The NPS has spent the last two weeks behaving as the paramilitary wing of the DNC, expending more resources in trying to close down open-air, unfenced areas than it would normally do in keeping them open. It began with the war memorials on the National Mall — that’s to say, stone monuments on pieces of grass under blue sky. It’s the equivalent of my New Hampshire town government shutting down and deciding therefore to ring the Civil War statue on the village common with yellow police tape and barricades.

Still, the NPS could at least argue that these monuments were within their jurisdiction — although they shouldn’t be. Not content with that, the NPS shock troops then moved on to insisting that privately run sites such as the Claude Moore Colonial Farm and privately owned sites such as Mount Vernon were also required to shut. When the Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway declined to comply with the government’s order to close (an entirely illegal order, by the way), the “shut down” Park Service sent armed agents and vehicles to blockade the hotel’s driveway. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armed Park Rangers Hold Senior Tour Group Captive

 

 

” Stories of citizen mistreatment have abounded during the first week of the federal government shutdown. From World War II veterans being threatened with arrest for visiting the memorial dedicated to their service to a man being fined $100 for taking a jog at Valley Forge National Historical Park, it has become obvious that this administration intends to make this congressional stalemate as difficult as possible for the average citizen.

One of the most unconscionable incidents of shutdown enforcement involved a group of senior citizens on a tour of the nation’s landmarks. The group pulled into Yellowstone National Guard just before the shutdown took effect and, according to one tourist, the vacation quickly devolved into a confusing, frightening experience.

“It was like they brought out the armed forces,” said Pat Vaillancort, explaining the group was locked inside a hotel for several hours under the authority of park rangers with firearms.

Though they were ultimately allowed to stay for a short time, given the fact they had reservations at the hotel, Vaillancort said that the entire experience was sullied by the harsh actions of federal authorities.

The group of about 50 tourists was prohibited from any forms of recreation while on the property. When a herd of bison came near, a ranger informed passengers that they were prohibited from taking photos.

When tour guide Gordon Hodgson tried to explain the situation, Vaillancort said the ranger “responded and said, ‘Sir, you are recreating,’ and her tone became very aggressive.” “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Feds Shut Down Major Roadway, Block Access To Graveyard

 

 

” Folks who live in the Great Smoky Mountains have just about reached their breaking point with the federal government.

“It’s almost like they are pushing to see how far they can push before the American people say enough is enough,” said Ed Mitchell, the mayor of Blount County, Tenn. “We were founded on a declaration of independence. And they are about to push the people to the line again.”

Nearly a third of Blount County is inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So when the federal government shut down the park, it also shut down one of the area’s chief sources of revenue.

The National Park Service also closed the Foothills Parkway, a major thoroughfare in the county. The closure came without warning and left the local school district scrambling to get children back to their homes.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Civil Disobedience Greets ‘Illegal’ Closure of the Claude Moore Colonial Farm

 

 

 

” On Wednesday, the Tatler broke the story of the National Park Service’s closing of the Claude Moore Colonial Farm. The farm, which re-creates American life circa 1771, has been self-sufficient since the federal government slashed its funds in 1980. It receives no federal funds.

But, for the first time ever, the National Park Service ordered the park closed and placed barricades at its facilities. It has also threatened anyone who enters the park with arrest.

In an update on the farm’s plight, Managing Director Anna Eberly says that the farm has been “critical of the National Park Service because we think they have closed us down illegally according to the terms of the agreement we signed with them in 1981.”  “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IF THERE’S ONE STORY THAT SHOWS HOW RIDICULOUS THE GOV’T SHUTDOWN IS BECOMING, IT COULD BE THIS ONE

National Park Service Now Blocking Access to Scenic Overlooks Due to Government Shutdown

” Since the government shutdown began, we’ve seen the National Park Service do a few eyebrow-raising things. It’s attempted to close a World War II memorial and even parking lots for a privately funded historical site, along with other questionable actions.

Now the NPS says it’s been forced to close…scenic overlooks.

“It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation,” an angry Park Service ranger in D.C. tells the Washington Times. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.” “

WI Gov Scott Walker Defies Feds, Keeps Parks Open

 

 

” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s administration defied the federal government by refusing to close  popular state properties at the behest of the National Park Service.

The park service ordered state officials to close the northern unit of the Kettle Moraine, Devil’s Lake, and Interstate state parks and the state-owned portion of the Horicon Marsh, but state authorities rebuffed the request because the lion’s share of the funding came from state, not federal coffers.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Official.  They Are Shutting All Of Us Down ASAP.  Marching Orders Straight From The White House.

 

” Warren Meyer of Phoenix, AZ, is owner and president of Recreation Resource Management, Inc. RRM employs about 400-500 camp workers and managers across about a dozen states. It is one of a handful of companies that have been managing national parks and campgrounds as tenants for years, through previous government shutdowns including the last one in 1995-1996. Those previous shutdowns never closed any of the parks managed in this way, but the current shutdown threatens closure.

The campgrounds are self-sufficient and receive no federal funding. No government employees staff or manage the parks. The management companies pay the National Park Service out of the funds they generate from operating the thousands of campgrounds. So the reason for the shutdown is puzzling to Meyer.

Today, he sent a letter to both of his senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, asking for help to keep his parks open.

“My company, based in North Phoenix, operates nearly over 100 US Forest Service campgrounds and day use areas under concession contract. Yesterday, as in all past government shutdowns, the Department of Agriculture and US Forest Service confirmed we would stay open during the government shutdown. This makes total sense, since our operations are self-sufficient (we are fully funded by user fees at the gate), we get no federal funds, we employ no government workers on these sites, and we actually pay rent into the Treasury.” “

 

 

     Anyone who doubted the punitive nature of the Obama White House during the recent sequestration and now the government shutdown need look no further than the closing of privately funded and operated parks .

 

 

 

 

 

 

FULL COVERAGE: 2 Million Bikers Rally To Washington , DC 9-11 TRIBUTE 2013

Published on Sep 11, 2013

” Millions of bikers from around the country roared into the D.C. area on Wednesday in a show of support for Sept. 11 victims and in solidarity against a controversial Muslim rally on the Mall.

The 2 Million Bikers to DC ride might have fallen short of 2 million strong, but the numbers were impressive. A line of shining chrome and steel bikes stretched about a third of a mile from the starting point at the Harley Davidson of Washington store just outside the District in Prince George’s County.
The bikers began departing from the store at about 10:30 in staggered groups of 50, stopped for traffic lights and taking an hour or so to get on the road.

The ride was complicated by the fact that federal and local authorities denied a permit that would have offered the riders a police escort through traffic — a sore spot with organizers who thought the denial was for political purposes.

“We’re here for 9-11,” said national ride coordinator Belinda Bee. “We are going to have a peaceful ride. … But there are people who are sick and tired of their rights and liberties being taken away.”

The National Park Service has denied any political motivation for refusing the permit, which ride organizers sought last month. The Park Service earlier this year granted a permit to a Muslim group planning a rally Wednesday to call attention to social justice issues.

The American Muslim Political Action Committee has scheduled a rally to draw attention to what they call unfair fear of Muslims after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conservation For Big Guns That Opened Civil War

 

 

” Preservationists are using computer sensors and other high-tech methods to protect massive iron Civil War guns at a fort in South Carolina that fired on Fort Sumter to open the war in April 1861.

The sensors and modern rust-fighting epoxy coatings are being used to preserve historic siege and garrison guns, some of which were used to lob shells at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor when the war erupted. Union forces surrendered 34 hours after the bombardment started as the nation plunged into a bloody, four-year war.

Ten massive guns from Fort Moultrie on Sullivans Island, which is part of the Fort Sumter National Monument, were recently conserved as part of an ongoing program to protect the historic pieces from the salty, humid air. The guns were cast in foundries both in the North and South a century and a half ago.

The last of the guns, a 7-ton Union rifled Parrott gun suspended in a yellow sling held by a crane, was slowly jockeyed into place onto a new concrete base last week. It completes what the fort refers to as Cannon Row, where seven of the heavy guns are lined up next to each other.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Things You May Not Know About Alcatraz

 

 

 

 

” On March 21, 1963, Frank C. Weatherman shuffled aboard a boat in San Francisco Bay. The Anchorage, Alaska, native was hardly on a pleasure cruise, however. Bound in handcuffs and leg irons, Convict No. 1576 was serving a 10-year sentence for armed robbery at Alcatraz, but when the maximum-security federal lockup shuttered after nearly 29 years of service, Weatherman became the last inmate to leave “The Rock.” On the 50th anniversary of the closing of America’s most infamous prison, explore 10 surprising facts about Alcatraz.

 

1. Al Capone played banjo in the inmate band.
The notorious gangster and mob boss was among the first prisoners to occupy the new Alcatraz federal prison in August 1934. Capone had bribed guards to receive preferential treatment while serving his tax-evasion sentence in Atlanta, but that changed after his transfer to the island prison. The conditions broke Capone. “It looks like Alcatraz has got me licked,” he reportedly told his warden. In fact, Convict No. 85 became so cooperative that he was permitted to play banjo in the Alcatraz prison band, the Rock Islanders, which gave regular Sunday concerts for other inmates.

2. There were no confirmed prisoner escapes from Alcatraz.
A total of 36 inmates put the supposedly “escape-proof” Alcatraz to the test. Of those convicts, 23 were captured, six were shot to death and two drowned. The other five went missing and were presumed drowned, including Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin, whose 1962 attempted breakout inspired the 1979 film “Escape from Alcatraz.” The crafty trio chipped away at the rotting concrete cell walls with sharpened spoons and fashioned decoy heads complete with used locks of hair from the barbershop that they placed in their beds to fool the guards. Their possessions were found floating in San Francisco Bay, but no bodies were ever recovered, leading some to speculate that they may have engineered a successful escape. “

 

 

 

Senate Votes To Keep White House Closed, Slaughterhouses Open

 

 

 

 

” Senators voted Wednesday to make the first significant changes to the budget sequesters, shifting money to keep slaughterhouse inspectors on the job full time but refusing to rearrange money to reopen the White House for public tours.

The votes came as the Senate debated and passed a bill to fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year — sending it back to the House for final expected approval later this week and averting a government shutdown.

Without that addition money, federal inspectors were going to have to be furloughed, and meat-packing plants can’t operate without inspectors on site. That would have made a serious dent in U.S. meat production.

Industry officials had predicted that the U.S. would produce 2 billion pounds less beef and pork and 3 billion pounds less poultry if the inspectors were furloughed.

Senators nibbled away what they considered the worst parts of the sequester, but they declined to undo President Obama’s decision to cancel White House tours — a move he made earlier this month as one of the casualties of the budget sequesters, setting off a chorus of complaints from Congress and the public.

Sen. Tom CoburnOklahoma Republican, offered an amendment to restore the White House tours, proposing to cut $8 million from spending on national heritage areas in the National Park Service budget.

Mr. Obama himself had proposed the heritage area cuts last year.”

 

 

 

 

Feds Boot Drakes Bay Oyster Co. From Pt. Reyes

 

 

 

” U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar rejected a proposal to extend the lease of a popular oyster farm at Point Reyes National Seashore on Thursday, effectively ending more than a century of shellfish production on the 1,100 acres where Europeans first stepped foot in California.

The decision will allow the National Park Service to turn the picturesque bay where Sir Francis Drake landed more than 400 years ago into California’s first federally designated marine wilderness area.

Salazar made his decision a day before the 40-year lease allowing Drakes Bay Oyster Co., to harvest shellfish in the estuary expires and one week after visiting the site. “

California Officials Challenge Federal Plans to Shut Down Oyster Farm

” The California Department of Fish and Game is challenging National Park Service staff who are attempting to shut down a family-owned oyster farm in Point Reyes National Seashore.

The California Department of Fish and Game, with the support of Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D), sent an Oct. 10 letter to the National Park Service pointing out the Lunny family has farmed the land for a century and has a state lease to continue oyster cultivation through 2029.

Environmentally Friendly Farming

The Lunny Family’s Drakes Bay Oyster Co. is recognized by several environmental groups for its environmentally friendly stewardship. The company is Salmon Safe, Animal Welfare Approved, and Marin Organic Certified.

“We have 30 families that depend on this farm,” said Kevin Lunny, coowner of Drakes Bay Oyster Company. “And half of them, their homes depend on it, too, because they live on this farm.”

The Drakes Bay Oyster Co. provides 40 percent of the California oyster market.”

“Diseases related to hantavirus have now killed three people who visited Yosemite National Park this summer. What is this virus, and how did this happen?”

image

Yosemite is synonymous with
stunning natural settings and a
chance to get away from it all. But in the past few weeks, Yosemite has attracted unwanted attention after a Hantavirus outbreak in the park.

  So far, eight Yosemite visitors are
confirmed to have contracted the virus,with three dead of Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome—a variation of Hantavirus that’s not communicable between humans, but which can be transmitted to humans through contact with excrement, saliva, or urine from infected mice. The National Park Service, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are aggressively trying to contact people who recently visited Yosemite and could be at risk.”