Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The best thing you will read in the NY Times...

... perhaps ever.

Entrance question: What do we want our National Parks to be? A window to the Wild or theme parks?

A rash of accidental deaths at Yosemite National Park this summer has sparked that debate. Left Coast Rebel turned us on to this article by Timothy Egan. He writes:

So, the conundrum: More than ever, an urban nation plagued by obesity, sloth and a surfeit of digital entertainment should encourage people to experience the wild — but does that mean nature has to be tame and lawyer-vetted?

My experience, purely anecdotal, is that the more rangers try to bring the nanny state to public lands, the more careless, and dependent, people become. There will always be steep cliffs, deep water, and ornery and unpredictable animals in that messy part of the national habitat not crossed by climate-controlled malls and processed-food emporiums. If people expect a grizzly bear to be benign, or think a glacier is just another variant of a theme park slide, it’s not the fault of the government when something goes fatally wrong.

Egan nails it. There's a reason the great outdoors are outdoors... and we find shelter, food and comfort within four walls and under a roof: Mother Nature's a bitch.

This is Angels Landing at Zion National Park. We've been to Zion 4 times in our lifetime, 3 as adults and we have yet to bring ourselves to climb out to the promontory.

How it is that this trail on public land remains open is a mystery to us but guess what? We revel in the fact that though there is no way in hell we're hanging our ass out over a couple thousand feet of nothingness, challenges and risks like this exist in our National Parks. This is a good thing.

We're pressed for time so we may be back with some follow-up thoughts. Pax.


Foxfier said...

There's a third aspect-- a lot of the time, when they make things "safer," they remove your ability to do anything for yourself. Does anyone know if you are allowed to pack a gun in Yellowstone? I know you're not allowed to fire a weapon, even to save your life....

Dean said...

I think Egan makes that point in the article.

Wasn't there a rule change under Bush whereby you could pack on certain federal land?

Doo Doo Econ said...

Yes you can, pack! I am currently in Las Vegas. Compared to the over-taxed, over-regulated state of my residence[CA], I feel as if this is a "natural preserve" ... a natural law preserve that it.

Harrison said...

I'm not falling off a rock and I'm packing heat where legal.