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The problem with our national parks is that they are no longer for the people

Tuesday 14 July 2009 at 2:44 pm In an interesting blog posted on the New York Times Web site last week and republished as an op-ed piece in some newspapers, Timothy Egan, Seattle bureau chief for the newspaper, bemoans the state of the national park system.

He cites the declining visits to the parks and that all visitors look the same – “generally white, fairly prosperous, sensible-shoe-wearing adults.”

He links this decline of interest in the parks to today’s youngsters – too overweight, too devoted to electronic media, and lacking an interest in nature and the outdoors.

It’s a good blog, and Egan makes many good points about the state of our parks and the need for “a new generation of stewardship.”

His solution is an interesting one – get first lady Michelle Obama to make the parks her next mission – sort of do for the national parks what she did for growing lettuce.

Egan says we need a “superstar” and a “style shaper” to help the parks, and he says Obama is just the right person. Read More

Let the air out of your tires – PLEASE

Thursday 09 July 2009 at 4:28 pm It happened again.

It was another summer holiday weekend, and once again there were problems with off-road vehicles stuck on the seashore’s ramps.

Lots of them.

John McCutcheon, Hatteras Island’s head district ranger for the park, said that there were 91 “visitor assists” for the week that ended on the July 4 holiday.

Almost all of them, he added, were for vehicles stuck on the ramps. Read More

SELC's latest spin on the fantastic consent decree

Thursday 02 July 2009 at 09:33 am The Southern Environmental Law Center, which represented Defenders of Wildlife and the National Audubon Society in their lawsuit again the National Park Service over ORV use on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, has just released more of its fantasy thinking on the terrific success of the fantastic consent decree.

This time the SELC spin comes in the form of a four-minute video by SELC lawyer Julie Youngman that was released on June 15.

In it, Youngman, a colleague of SELC’s lead attorney Derb Carter, reminisces about her childhood summers on the seashore – the beautiful beaches and plethora of wildlife.

“Many of these species,” she says with a serious and straight face, “are listed as threatened or protected by the federal government.”

Many? Oh, really? Read More