PROPS & DISSES: Virtually Vacationing

By on April 2, 2013


Grand Teton 2.0: virtually vacationing   DISS

It’s becoming clear where this sequestration stuff is headed when it comes to the National Park System’s incredibly shrinking budget. It is moving, as I’ve always suspected, toward a future where the public lands they manage are perfectly protected by not letting anyone actually set foot in them.

The chain of command, so to speak, for public land use is as follows: Bureau of Land Management property is land you can do anything on – from paintball to fireworks displays to meth labs – it’s pretty much carte blanche. The Forest Service is slightly more civilized. Camping, hunting, firewood gathering all are allowed with minimal restrictions. Then there’s the NPS, where nothing is allowed. No dogs, no guns (until recently), no fun. If you want to actually DO anything like camping, fishing or boating, there are extra amenity fees for that.

In an ideal world, NPS officials would likely believe the most cost-effective way to protect public land is to put it under glass. They just moved one step closer to that end.

The folks at Grand Teton National Park recently announced their eHike program around String Lake – an interactive virtual tour of GTNP without the pesky mosquitoes and cumbersome bear spray canisters. Are you kidding me?

First off, why the sudden need to compete with Google Street View? The ground-level panoramic viewpoint feature is a mildly amusing time-killer for bored cubicle monkeys looking to voyeur a clandestine crack deal in some downtown alley in Little Rock. It cannot substitute for the sights, sounds and smells of the actual outdoors.

Virtual outdoor recreation is, well, indoor recreation. And when the Park Service figures out how to get dummies to fork over an online entrance fee to pretend to walk around a picturesque mountain lake then they will have achieved a utopia in their worldview. It’s a scary Orwellian kind of future that begs the question: At what point will the actual lake be unnecessary?

Namby-pamby NIMBY doesn’t get it   DISS

Dan Cook III was so close to “getting it.” Then he blew it. The owner of two massive tracts of prime wildlife habitat between the Snake and Gros Ventre rivers had his dog eaten by a mountain lion pride.

In the story carried by the Daily, Cook seemed to be of the right mind about the incident. “It’s nature, it’s what happens,” he said, adding that the dog, Cheney, was nearly 13 and lived a “full life.”

Then he remembered he is from a big city (Dallas) and not used to all this nature stuff. “… you can’t have predatory animals where people are,” Cook said. “They either need to be moved or dead.”

Mr. Cook, you chose to lock up 70 acres of the most primo wildlife habitat in the valley and, when learning a trio of mountain lions decided to put the “wild” in wildlife, you don’t have the stomach for it. Maybe the real estate investment opportunity you were looking for was in Vail or Park City or Pittsburgh – places where the only predators you need to worry about wear suits and ties.

This is the last and best of the Old West. Shit gets killed. And eaten. Bring your dogs in at night. It’s part of why we choose to live here. Why are you here?

Tom Mangelsen, Jackson-based Cougar Fund co-founder, said it more politely than I can. “We are not in favor of trapping [the lions] because a dog was killed … I don’t think it helps to move animals just because we’re in their habitat.”

Boone and Crockett crowd stand down, it’s working   PROP

Hunters in Wyoming killed a record number of elk last year – 26,385. So where’s the big bad wolf now, crybabies?

The wolf’s-devastating-impact-on-elk-herds doomsday scenario has always been a lot of bitching about nothing. Little Red Riding Hood’s cry has come mostly from outfitters who are finding it tougher to get their fat-ass Cabela’s clients on a trophy bull. It should be difficult. Big bulls get to be big bulls for a reason. They’re smarter and stronger. They’re first to react to the introduction of a new old predator and adjust accordingly.

There are still plenty of cows to shoot for food but less and less hunters are interested in doing that. If wolves don’t cull the elk herd, we’ll have nothing but thousands of cows with no bulls because that’s all the sport hunters are after. Taking the biggest, smartest, and healthiest animals runs counter to how proliferation of the species is supposed to work. Wolves take the weak and the stupid.

I’m pro-hunting. I hunt. But I hunt for food. Hunting for the taxidermist is penis envy, period.

About Jake Nichols

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