A powerful Republican chairman in the House of Representatives just shared with his constituents his desire to begin selling our national parks. Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida was caught on video in a local town meeting. Here is what he said:
How is it that an oil and gas industry rolling in profits can manage to receive government subsidies and tax breaks while conservation programs that are only a small part of the federal budget are threatened with the ax as Congress attempts to balance America’s budget?
America's public lands are instrumental in protecting and connecting our wild areas to the communities they sustain. In order to assure that the benefits and opportunities our public lands provide are a key component of America's Great Outdoors, The Wilderness Society recommends that the Obama Administration identify 10 diverse landscapes across the country as pilot projects for fully implementing this bold and critical Intiative.
This document is a written copy of testimony of Melyssa L. Watson, Senior Director for Wilderness, The Wilderness Society, before the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. The testimony was given April 7, 2009.
I'd come to Yellowstone for just the sense of awe I was beginning to feel, what Thoreau called "the tonic of wilderness." That tonic was already starting to cure my New York City-induced nature deficit disorder, blotting from my consciousness screeching F trains, drop-dead deadlines and fickle WiFi connections. But Jason wasn't impressed. "Too much prey around here," he said. "Let's find some predators."
We left the bright valley and drove into Lamar's darker side, a splinter canyon of thick forest.
Amy Argetsinger & Roxanne Roberts, Washington Post
Aug 14, 2009
The Obama family heads to Yellowstone National Park on Saturday — thanks, in part, to Douglas Brinkley.
…The off-the-record dinner, reported Thursday by Vanity Fair, must have made an impression on the president. A few days later, Brinkley got a call from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar inviting him to drop by. The men spent two hours talking about conservation history, wildlife protection and where Obama should visit if he went to a national park.
Johnson, a musician, storyteller and interpretive specialist at Yosemite National Park, is determined to inspire young inner-city African Americans to experience what he says transformed his life. Less than 1 percent of the visitors to Yosemite are African American, a number he's eager to improve.
Laura Joss, deputy director of the National Park Service's Intermountain Region, said the park's biggest threat now is apathy. A new generation must be educated about the importance of preserving such wild places.
"We have to reaffirm our determination to make others care about the park for now and the future," she said.
Zion's importance as a scenic refuge was reaffirmed earlier this year when Congress passed a bill designating 85 percent of the park as wilderness and the Virgin River inside Zion as Utah's first Wild and Scenic River.