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Old 05-10-2003, 07:46 PM   #1
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cars in parks

just clipped this from abc news...

what do you folks think? good idea or more clintonista tree hugging?



Updated 8:15 PM ET May 10, 2003

- The Yosemite Valley Plan, which aims to take the storied park into the 21st century, is in jeopardy.

Created after numerous public hearings, 11,000 public comments, and millions of dollars worth of research, the plan is being challenged by Rep. George Radanovich, who recently chaired yet another public hearing here.

"It was hastened to conclusion at the close of the Clinton administration and made it far more restrictive than it needs to be," said Radanovich, R-Calif.

Radanovich, who was recently named to head the House's national parks subcommittee, favors more usage of the park, not less.

The Yosemite Valley Plan doesn't discourage use, but it does try to curtail automobile traffic and congestion by severely reducing the number of parking places and by putting more people in buses.

"The public won't stand for that," Radanovich told ABCNEWS. "I think there will always be cars in Yosemite Valley."


How Many Is Too Many?

For environmentalists concerned that Radanovich could force a congressional override of the plan, too many cars is exactly the problem.

As he stood in a parking lot at the foot of the spectacular Yosemite Falls, Jay Watson of the Wilderness Society wondered why it was so difficult to convince lawmakers to reduce parking and cars.

"Everyone who comes here has to walk through this crowded parking lot with horns honking before they even see the falls," he said.

The Yosemite Valley Plan mandates removal of the lot and calls for the 1,600 parking places in the park to be reduced to 550. Radanovich has no quarrel with ripping up the Yosemite Falls lot as long as parking places are added elsewhere. In all, he would prefer about 1,200 parking places in the valley and questions whether a shuttle bus system would be needed.

The parking issue is critical because it determines how many cars may ultimately be allowed in the park. The Yosemite Valley, made famous by photographer Ansel Adams, measures only 1 mile by 7 miles.

Merchants Don’t Want to Lose Business

The Organic Act of 1916, which set up the National Park Service, says parks like Yosemite should be protected. In part, it says: "The purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

The Organic Act does not deal specifically with parking spaces and it says nothing about business operators trying to earn a living from park visitors. Business complaints could influence the administration, especially during the current economic climate.

A recent demonstration by merchants here called for more parking spaces and cars. "What do want? More parking spaces!" they chanted. "When do we want them? Now!"

At the recent public hearing, the administration's new national parks director, Fran Mainella, stressed the importance President Bush places on "gateway communities" — small towns and cities at the entrance to the parks that derive much of their income from the hospitality industry; hotels, restaurants, car rentals, and camping outfitters. "We want to work closely with you," she said.

‘Fear of the Unknown’

At other parks, such as Zion National Park in Utah, the Park Service made a deal that protects businessmen. In exchange for removing cars from Zion and replacing them with shuttle buses, the buses also stop at local shops. At Montana's Glacier National Park, vintage red buses have replaced some cars.

Rangers at both parks say there are now more frequent sightings of wildlife including mountain lions and wild turkeys. Tourists say they enjoy the park experience more without cars, traffic and congestion.

But here at Yosemite, merchants aren't convinced. "They can't see the benefit in change, " said Watson. "It's really about fear of the unknown."

There is some relief from the overcrowding. Down by the Merced River, which runs through the park, hundreds of campsites and acres of asphalt are no longer to be found. A flood washed them away four years ago and they have yet to be rebuilt. There is disagreement over how many should be rebuilt. Politics, again.


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Old 05-11-2003, 09:08 AM   #2
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I have mixed feelings on it.

One the one hand, Clinton was kind of a sissy in general and I do believe that he went too far here when in reality he should have gone further elsewhere.

On the other side of the arguement, I too don't want to see the national parks degrade. I am sure that there is a balance to be found, but I do believe that it will cost a bunch of cash, of which I would not be opposed to rather than forgive every debtor that ows the United States money!

See, I don't think the real issue at all is the traffic. I know the traffic sucks, but it does all over. In state park, our towns and our cities. I feel the real issue is the 1/4 of the folks that go out, treat every place they go like their personal property. Throw garbage all over, drive where they shouldn't, dump various types of pollution where they shouldn't and as a result, everyone gets to feel the branch creek.

Last week at one of our school, I saw an 8th grade student thow garbage on the floor because she was too lazy to put it in the trash. Two days ago, a 18-25 year old man, threw his empty beverage bottle (non-alcoholic) into the neighbors bushes when he was done. Yesterday, I can't even begin to tell you how many smokers threw their cig butts out the window of thier cars. At all times, these loud subwoofer stereos in cars, so loud that you can hear them 2 blocks away. Poorly maintained cars that are spewing oils, coolants and noxious exhaust every day...and round and round we go.

At any rate, this issue is perhaps a bit more complicated as I see it, but it as most important subjects are, the finding of the right mixture.

Regards,

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Old 05-11-2003, 09:17 AM   #3
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eric

i agree, bring out what you bring in, that applies to camping hunting etc.

what i am afraid of is that the granola eating bunny hugger saw your arm off because you were dumb enough to get trapped by a rock(and no one knew where you were) types are going to close off our national treasures to all vehicles.

airstreams too.

case in point, no snowmobiles in yellowstone...

what is next?

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Old 05-11-2003, 09:25 AM   #4
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See, I am against closing the parks to vehicular traffic and the closing off of snowmobiles and ATVs. The problem is simply that no one can be everywhere at everytime and there are people that have a total lack of respect for the parks. As such, they just tear everything up.

What the parks need to do is setup areas or paths. Deviations from such paths on vehicles would be met with several thousand dollars worth of fines and or jail time.

Littering and such, the same fate.

Closing them off and doing what they did in theroy sound like a good idea, but in the end, I feel there are better ways to look at the problem.

Also, foot traffic should also be somewhat regulated whereas if it is not enacted already, you would need a permit and a general sense of where you were going on file. It's not big brother, but more of what they already do with any type of planes. You need to file a flight plan.

As of the man that had to take is arm off, I feel for him, but as there is no liablity for the parks, as long as it's "as is" and
at your own risk" there should not be a good enough argument to close the parks off due to stupidity.

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Old 05-11-2003, 10:54 AM   #5
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I'm genereally not a tree-hugger per se, but I recall vividly my experiences of twenty-five years ago when you could spend a week in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the Upper Yosemite Valley, or a dozen other such magnificent places and not see another soul while you were there. We (the general public) have embraced the 'great outdoors' with such vigor that Yosemite, Yellowstone and our other natural wonders of the modern world have become suburbia.

Quite honestly, I have never gone to a national park to buy trinkets or souvenirs. That's not my thing. I'm not sure how much sway the vendors should have in determining the use of our national parks. Where are our priorities here?

Unfortunately many of 'our kind' who enjoy the 'great outdoors' have little respect for nature or their fellow transient residents. They choose to make our parks and preserves look like the very places we all seek to escape. It's a shame.

Ansel Adams recorded views of our great national resources that will never be seen again in the same way because the air quality has become so poor. We will not see it the same way again in our lifetimes. The big question is this: How do we as a nation continue to make these great resources available to the public while continuing to maintain them in their natural state as wonders?

What can we do as the Airstream community to preserve our natural heritage and to encourage everyone who enjoys our natural resources to be responsible stewards so generations to come will have the same splendor and natura majesty to enjoy that we have been endowed with?

We have the organization (WBCCI), we have the membership, and we have the resources. We need to begin to become more active politically for our own sakes, and work to have a say at the national level regarding these issues. The precedent was set by Wally Byam. We should continue spreading his message among RVers and Congress.
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Old 05-11-2003, 11:00 AM   #6
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Interesting perspective.

I agree with numbers come clout. Perhaps you are right that our fourm can make a difference.

Eric
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Old 05-11-2003, 11:38 AM   #7
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I agree it's the people who are ruining a lot of opportunities for everyone else. Around here it's dogs that seem to be getting negative attention from the press and outdoor enthusiasts lately. The laws regarding bringing your dogs into parks are getting stricter and stricter, but of course there are some people who don't obey the laws, and their dogs cause trouble, and so the parks stiffen their laws even more. In national parks, like the Olympics and Mt Ranier, dogs aren't allowed on trails at all! Problem is, the people who disobeyed the laws in the first place continue doing so (and enjoying the outdoors with their dogs), while law abiding dog owners have to go elsewhere or leave the pets at home. The same thing applies to snowmobiles, 4x4s, ATVs, etc. The people who are a problem aren't effected by the laws enacted to stop them, and there's not enough policing in the world to catch them at it, especially in the wide open spaces.

The other side of that is that ATVs, snowmobiles, 4X4s, etc have powerfull lobbys to look out for their interests, whereas dogs don't. So there are even some state parks where dogs are not allowed. We have reservations later in the summer to take the trailer to The Point RV Park on Emmigrant Lake, a county park in Ashland, OR. Dogs are allowed in the RV Park, but not in the park itself!

I think trailering has many of the same issues. Like we've discussed on other threads, there are people who spoil it for everyone, living in a walmart parking lot, dumping their waste irrisponsibly, and cause those who make the laws to restrict everyone in the group, even if the group is 95% good. There should definitly be lobbying for trailer access, parking, etc from the WBCCI membership as well as other trailering groups. There's a lot of money at stake for those who keep access open to trailers and welcome them, and having a large group of people reminding them of that is a good idea. Likewise, the trailer owners need to do what they can to spread the word on how to be a good guest. There will always be some who don't, but we shouldn't all be punished for it.

Sorry to go off so long. This is a real sore spot with me. I'm tired of seeing my rights taken away because of other people's bad behaviors. Especially when it doesn't really stop the problem.
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Old 05-11-2003, 01:24 PM   #8
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Well here is a sore spot with me.

I am VERY active in this sort of stuff. I am the past land use person for my Off road club. I have been involved in fighting clintons roadless initative. Clinton's legasy crap to lock out 90% of the forest visitor that taxes pay for these lands. I have been involved with my local Forest 10 year revision that has been going on for 4+ years and keeps changing. I am SO bitter at the mismanagement of our forest sytems including our Forest rangers that we pay that then start lawsuits because they are anti access and cost the tax payers millions.

Here is the bottom line.
There are plenty of existing rules and regulations in place to deal with the current problems in most places. Problem is there is ZERO enforcement of these rules and regulations.

They propose to spend millions to rip up parking lots, buy buses , pay bus drivers, apease buisness owners by basicly using our tax dollars to cater to thier needs with their shops on our lands. Isn't that a crock right there?

If they simply took that money and got people in there to enforce the existing rules we could pay them for years with the money they didn't spend limiting access. The fines they issues would again help cover there cost but that's just to simple. So let the 2% of the visitors that are cause 95% of the problem continue to go unchecked.

To give you an idea how much of a lack of enforcment there really is. For my FS in my area there is a total of 5 out door rangers to cover 8 major areas. Non of these Rangers has any enforcement authority. Yes you read that right. the average FS ranger has no enforcment authority. That's a different batch of rangers that are more or less police and have authority to arrest. There is 3 for the whole of North GA for the Chattahoochee National forest. As I understand 2 of them are bassed out of the ATLANTA head office over 1.5 hours from most of the areas. One is bassed out of the Taccoa ranger office 45-50 minutes from the western sections where the enforcment is needed the most.

The problem is mismanagment.
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Old 05-11-2003, 03:46 PM   #9
 
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First let me start by saying that I love the phrasing:
Quote:
the granola eating bunny hugger ..... dumb enough to get trapped by a rock (and no one knew where you were) types
My first comment actually was: it's because of idiots of this type, that rescuers got killed in the winter. No sympathies. Let them rot.

Original question:

I think the problem is much deeper than that. Someone mentioned the need for more law enforcement. It is needed because people do not have the sense to police themselves. They do not see the use for that. They are trashing Parks,....etc...., the same way as they are trashing the cities.

I am going to get a lot of flak for that (what's new) : the majority of people in this country are slobs.. (I did not say: all)

To make things worse, if I don't like seeing somebody throwing garbage around, I will keep my mouth shut: it could be a nut case with a gun.

2 small personal examples:

I came to Philadelphia in 1978. My parents came for a visit. A stroll to see the usual stuff, Liberty Bell, Independance Mall,....

They were so apalled by the dirt on the sidewalks and the streets, people spitting, casualy dropping trash, ,...., that they questioned one more time my sanity for deciding to move here.

When my sister came, she was a smoker at the time, and had to go outside our place to smoke. Mike saw her looking around, puzzled: she was looking for a place to discard her cigarette butt. I guess, that's a different way of thinking.

We went to Bruxelle with Mike, and I just asked him "How clean would you say it was compared to Philadelphia?". He threw me a look that means "Are you nuts, or what ???".
So, you see, it's not again one of those evil foreigner bashing the US. Mike & his family have always been neat freaks, tree huggers, frog kissers,..... (personally, I don't care what frog or snail need protecting).

If people were behaving a bit better in general, extreme measures like the one mentioned would not be necessary. Maybe.

I just remember:

we camped a few times in a State Park in the Adirondacks, NY.

They have bears' problems. Plenty of flyers handed out & posted everywhere: "No feeding bears,......, keep away, ... no trash,.....etc"
The ranger told us that a few years ago, a bear heavily damaged about 80 cars to reach Coleman coolers inside. He showed us a bear in a trap awaiting deportation.
When they have a problem bear, they trap it, take it north in the wilderness. If it comes back, it's dead meat.

We walked back to our campsite and saw our neighboors, a happy family of campers, taking pictures of their kids handing food to 2 bear cubs.

Any comments? People in Parks are not the problem. Dumb people in Parks are the problem.

May not have much to do with vehicle traffic. Let see: cars bring dumb people to the Parks. So yes, it connects.
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Old 05-11-2003, 05:43 PM   #10
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Toaster and Femuse,

I couldn't agree more.

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Old 05-11-2003, 09:18 PM   #11
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femuse:
It is sickening isn't it when people lack common sense. I agree that many people by nature are slobs and "Just don't get it".

Last year the Atlanta Area 4x4 clubs organized a HUGE clean up. We freaked out the forest service by having over 70 4x4's show up to Amicola Falls state park at 8am for a clean up of ajoining Anderson Creek OHV area and Rich mt Wilderness area (that is bisected by a unmaintained county rd we wheel on). Over 170 people including kids.
The day's haul as I recall.
The remains of 2 VW bugs that were dumped in the 70's that had to be cut up on site and hauled out in peices in several vehicles.
7 Washers
5 Dryers
4 sofa's
8 Lazy boys
several other smaller home appliances including microwaves and taoster ovens.
automobile gastanks ?
many tires
and several TONS! of house hold trash.
We filled a LARGE dump truck and several car trailers full of trash..

Notice the trend of what was dumped? This junk didn't get hauled 60 miles from Atlanta. It was dumped by locals. Of all the problems I have had/seen on the trails almost every one involved a person that lived within 10 miles of the area. Who gets blamed? The people who run the trails that are usualy packing out way more then they brought in like me. We are trying to clean up areas that have been neglected for MANY years by people to lazy and uneducated to give a crap. Then the GAGS (Green Advocacy Groups) have the audacity to try to get us locked out.


As for the comment that the Off road comunity has people that fight for our rights.....damn right we do. In the least 20 years we have lost access to over half the areas we had access too in the first place because of the missplaced blame. We got organized. We promote equal access for everbody. Who are we alinged with?
Trouts unlimited
Mountain bikers
Equestrian groups
Outdoor recreationalist


Who are the people we are fighting.
Such groups as "earth first" that actually have manuals on how to booby trap trails to disable vehicles including clothes lining motorcycle riders. Some of their vehicle traps would do serious damage hikers and equstrian, and mountain bikers. Possibly kill them or their horses. They routinly burn down stuff owned by other. Routinaly Vandalize earth moving equipment.

Who backs them?
Soccer moms that think they are saving bambi and make donations to them without really understanding the big picture. They will never set foot in most forests and are the very ones that stuff like the parking lot deal is going to effect the most and people like me that are a good stewards of the land. That donate many hours a year to help maintain the areas they frequent.

I bet Raptor rider has plenty to add if he reads this.

If you plan to share the forests with your grand children you better get educated. If the GAGS way of thinking went unchecked like it did 15 years ago you would be looking at YOUR forests through a 10ft tall chain link fence and not driving down a old dirt road and finding the perfect camping spot in the middle of nowhere.

Do you realize what a "Wilderness" designation means? It means "foot only". It means any Mechanical transport is OFF limits. Hay that sounds ok right....Well that means NO bicycles, no wheel chairs too not just no ATV. I agree that some areas should be like that but how much is enough?

It also means if a fire starts they let it burn in those areas. The only way it can be fought is with shovel. It takes a act of congress for anything else including air drops, fire trucks, bulldozers to build fire breaks. It means they cannot do controlled burns to prevent huge forest fires like those that ran rampid the last few years. Ask all those people who lost their homes on ajoining properties how they feel about that. Then you will understand why local governements out west are now fighting the FS and BLM tooth and nail and why the clinton garbage is being reversed.

This monument crap that clinton pulled. They were atempting to manufacture roadless areas to eat up more of the public land and restrict access by the average person by making wilderness out of areas that were not fitting the actual deffintion of roadless/Wilderness area in the first place. Not many people actualy understood what the end result of those changes that clinton made. It ment NO ACCESS to most of us including RV folks. Those of us on the east coast really don't grasp the enormity of it all because we don't have open areas. Places like Utah, over half the state is FS land. Their industry and residents depended on the forest areas including the plains where farm animals grazed that feed this nation. It means we are buying more foriegn products from countrys that don't regulate their forests AT ALL.

The day's when they would clear 100 thousand acres is gone. Forest harvestng is much more selective but the fact of the matter large chunks of land being wiped clean every couple of hundred years IS normal. Forest Fires ARE normal and do just that. But man will not alow that to happen these days. So why is it wrong that we use the lands and use the wood and keep Americans employed. To carfully harvest for our needs to recreate the normal cyles and quit sending our money overseas to places that are not going to do that at all.

THIS IS WHY THE "FOREST SERVICE" WAS CREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE. MANAGE THE LANDS FOR THE BETTERMENT OF THIS COUNTRY WITHOUT DESTROYING IT INCLUDING CONTROLED HARVEST AND RENEWAL. PROVIDE RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITY TO THE CITIZENS NOT TO LOCK THE CITIZENS OUT!

OK, somebody elses turn on the soap box.
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Old 05-11-2003, 09:34 PM   #12
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I'm not saying I don't agree. It's just going to take a little bit to digest all that you posted....

Eric
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Old 05-11-2003, 09:38 PM   #13
 
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OK, somebody elses turn on the soap box.
Not me.

I don't have any air left (20 years of breezing down wind from the refinery in Philly).

You just showed us how long someone can go, after breezing all this fresh clean forest air.
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Old 05-11-2003, 10:29 PM   #14
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I used to live in the GREAT NORTHLAND of Minnesota. I didn't move--- the GREAT NORTHLAND did. What took it's place was well meaning people, which wanted cable tv, tar roads, instant fire & police protection, shopping centers, cell phones ( which means numerous tower causing another type of pollution ), etc,etc, etc. They wanted the GREAT NORTHLAND, but want to bring along all they have left behind. Non motorized lake areas has now been decreed by court for accessible by all. meaning mechanized portages & motors. Land of 10,00 lakes & it has been a fight to keep EVEN a few non-motorized. Disgusting to travel many miles by canoe, back pack over many portages, looking for peace & quiet, only to be met by a party with a loud boom box, booze and motors. Come to Minnesota & see our woods and lakes being torn apart by those who care less. Laws are not meant for the law abiding ( this we all know ) ,but they are the ones which suffer. It has been sometime since I've seen the TV ad which really said it all for me. It was the one which had a Native American superimposed over a background of our Nations pollution, etc, with a tear comimg down his cheek. I'm a far cry from a tree hugger sort, but there is a time and place for action. We need not more laws, but enforcement of what is existing. Will it happen? Not in my life time. That doesn't mean we stop trying.
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