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Around the System: Yellowstone's Snowmobiles, Everglades' Restoration, Glacier's Party, Valley Forge's Developers


There's plenty of news around the national park system, if you take a look. Newspapers are questioning Yellowstone planners on their snowmobile decision, politicians are making hay with the Everglades, Glacier is celebrating its Peace Park status, and Valley Forge is facing development on its doorstep.

Here's what the Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune had to say about Yellowstone planners and their collective shrug-of-the-shoulder response to tens of thousands of public comments that opposed recreational snowmobiles in the park:

"The National Park Service says the comments it invited from the public about continued use of snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks won't guide its decision about that use, because the comments aren't representative of the general population.

"Why, then, did it bother to ask? The Park Service keeps inviting people's responses about the wisdom of letting loud machines disturb the serenity of the parks in winter, and people keep returning with the wrong answer:

"They don't like it. More than 73 percent of those responding to the Park Service's latest request for comments said the park-operated snowcoaches, like buses with snowtracks, are the only vehicles that should be permitted in winter. Ninety-four percent said snowmobiles destroy the parks' natural 'soundscape.'

"Gee, who'da thunk it? Imagine people expecting parks covered with snow in the winter to be quiet."

Down in Florida, meanwhile, the Miami Herald reports that U.S. Senator Ben Nelson claims the Bush administration is dragging its feet on the massive restoration project for the Everglades.

'The River of Grass is under attack from some in the administration,'' said Nelson, a Democrat from Melbourne.

He accuses the White House of playing politics at the expense of the Everglades with two recent actions -- a threat to veto a bill with $2 billion for restoration projects and backing the removal of Everglades National Park from an international list of ''endangered'' sites.

''It sends the signal . . . that the White House is not backing the Everglades,'' Nelson said from Washington before flying to South Florida with Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Cal., who heads a key committee charged with overseeing environmental protection and public works.

Read the rest of the story here.

Up in Glacier, meanwhile, the party commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park was in full swing this weekend.

Glacier bumps hard against the Canadian line from the south, and Waterton pushes down from the north, the only separation in this wildly preserved landscape an artificial boundary drawn by politicians.

Drive across it and the border is solid, stark, armed, well-defended. Fly over it, though, and it disappears, writes Michael Jamison of the Missoulian. The mountains march north and south here. The rivers flow north and south. The critters migrate north and south, and not one gives a thought to the international line. Here, the world does as it pleases.

And back east, at Valley Forge, local politicians have apparently cleared the way for a commercial development to spring up around the American Revolution Center, a museum dedicated to the Revolutionary War. Park Service officials had hoped to work with a non-profit group to preserve the land as open space.

Here's part of the story carried by the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Just before he voted for the ordinance, Supervisors Chairman Craig Dininny chastised the Park Service and its parent, the Department of the Interior, for not offering sooner to preserve the land.

"Shame on them," Dininny told his audience, "for letting this decision get to this board.

"Why didn't you protest it?" he asked Valley Forge Superintendent Mike Caldwell. "Why do I have to be at odds with my neighbors?"

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