Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blatant attack on premier national park

In what I deem a blatant attack from Congress (High Country News), earmarks in a recent transportation bill have once again opened up Grand Canyon National Park to the noisy drone of helicopters. Having never been to this park, I still feel that this is in blatant disregard of the National Park Service's mandate "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to 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.” How can one preserve the scenic quality of a place such as the Grand Canyon while allowing helicopters to race throughout the park so tourists too lazy to hike down in on their own two feet can get a glimpse of it? Scenery, in my opinion, is more than just the sights you can see but encompass a full aesthetic value ranging from sights to smells, noises, and even emotional feelings.

A visit to a national park (state park, municipal park, or any public land) is a holistic experience, one that for many people can take one a religious, spiritual (or at the very least..utter relaxation) tone to it. These feelings get ruined when one is forced to listen to the loud noises of helicopters buzzing throughout the park. Our own John McCain, supposed lover of public lands and open spaces, was the one to earmark this into the bill and for that I denounce him. Bad move.

Would kayaking in the Everglades be the same if you were constantly inundated with the buzz of helicopters or being almost run over by speed boats? Would watching the geysers of Yellowstone take on the same appeal should there be ATV's running around on the algae mats. I think not. Our public lands are designed to be a tranquil place where one can get away from it all...the true form of recreation is to re-create oneself, yet this attack on the aesthetic experience in one of the nation's most visited national parks seeks to destry that.

Do you part to protect our public lands from intrusion. We are loving our parks to death. Hop on a mule, walk on your feet, or ride a bike...but do not permit helicopters, ATV's, snowmobiles, and other gas-powered forms of travel to disrupt our ethereal experiences.

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