Posts Tagged ‘Grand Canyon National Park’

National Park Ranger

National Park Ranger

Up to now the public has mostly shrugged its shoulders at the federal cutbacks caused by sequestration. That can partially be attributed to the way in which a variety of agencies weathered what they thought were temporary reductions – “through furloughs and deferral of maintenance and training, with the hope that sequestration would ultimately be reversed.

But that may not happen. And, to be sure, the initial impacts have already been felt in parts of the country, especially at national parks. Over Memorial Day weekend, the Arizona Republic reported drivers sitting in their car for an hour to enter the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park – an abnormally long wait blamed on staff reductions. There were also fewer rangers to protect area parks even after cactuses were vandalized.

Elsewhere, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway, campgrounds and visitor centers have closed and ranger-led programs were cancelled. In Glacier National Park, it appeared the sudden loss of $682,000 from its roughly $12.5 budget million could delay plowing Going-to-the-Sun Road. If that were to happen – if the opening of the park’s signature attraction was delayed – the public outcry and tourism dollars lost would be equally substantial.

Instead, the Glacier National Park Conservancy, which raises financial support for various resources and aspects of park operations, donated about $10,000 to help cover plowing costs. That, and salary savings from unanticipated personnel changes, allowed the road to open on schedule.

But what happens next year? Or the year after that? Perhaps the worst part of the reoccurring budget battles in Congress is agencies have no idea how much money they will be allocated. It’s impossible to plan long-term when funding is short-term. If sequestration is permanent then lawmakers need to say as much and their constituents who reap the economic benefits of living near national parks can brace for the impact.

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Denver, Colo. – Grand Canyon National Park will eliminate the in-park sale of water packaged in individual disposable containers within 30 days under a plan approved today by National Park Service (NPS) Intermountain Regional (IMR) Director John Wessels. Free water stations are available throughout the park to allow visitors to fill reusable water bottles.

The park’s plan calls for the elimination of the sale of water packaged in individual disposable containers of less than one gallon, including plastic bottles and various types of boxes. The waste associated with disposable bottles comprises an estimated 20 percent of the park’s overall waste stream and 30 percent of the park’s recyclables.

“Our parks should set the standard for resource protection and sustainability,” said Regional Director Wessels. “Grand Canyon National Park has provided an excellent analysis of the impacts the elimination of bottled water would have, and has developed a well-thought-out plan for ensuring that the safety, needs and comfort of visitors continue to be met in the park. I feel confident that the impacts to park concessioners and partners have been given fair consideration and that this plan can be implemented with minimal impacts to the visiting public.”

Grand Canyon National Park has experienced increasing amounts of litter associated with disposable plastic water bottles along trails both on the rim and within the inner canyon, marring canyon viewpoints and visitor experiences.

“We want to minimize both the monetary and environmental costs associated with water packaged in disposable containers,” said Grand Canyon Superintendent Dave Uberuaga. “We are grateful to the Director for recognizing the need for service-wide guidance on this issue and for providing a thoughtful range of options.”

“A lot of careful thought went into this plan and its implementation,” said Director Jarvis. “I applaud Grand Canyon National Park for its efforts to reduce waste and the environmental impacts created by individually packaged water. This is another example of The National Park Service’s commitment to being an exemplar of the ways we can all reduce our imprint on the land as we embrace sustainable practices that will protect the parks for generations to come.”

For more on Grand Canyon’s voluntary reusable water bottle program, please visit the park’s web site at http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/refilling_stations.htm.

Cedar City, UT – A Florida couple who shot and killed an intruder in their motor home while it was parked in the lot of the Cedar City Walmart are suing the retailer, claiming store officials knew the man was loitering in the lot.

The couple and their two daughters, ages 9 and 15 at the time, were traveling to Grand Canyon National Park from Florida and had taken the company up on its open invitation to park free of charge in the store’s huge lot.

When Carl Coltellino answered a knock at the door, he confronted Steven Stubbs.

When Carl Coltellino told Stubbs, 26, to leave, Stubbs forced his way into the motor home. Coltellino grabbed a shotgun and a struggle ensued as the couple tried to force him out the door. During the struggle, Stubbs grabbed the gun as the men wrestled for control of the weapon. When the gun went off, Stubbs was killed.

No charges were ever filed in the case.

Now the couple is suing Walmart in U.S. District Court for Utah, alleging the retailer was negligent in not protecting the family, who claim they continue to suffer medical problems and emotional distress stemming from the incident. The suit asks for general damages and coverage of medical and court costs.
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