TOPIC: National Park Service

Back in the real world, saving one dam salmon at a time

King salmon

While Washington, D.C. was solving another self-created crisis, real American solutions were emerging in the other Washington.   As William Yardley writes in the New York Times, massive dams that have prevented salmon from migrating upstream on the Elwha River are to be physically removed, allowing salmon to move naturally to their spawning grounds.  Experts predict that “392,000 fish will fill 70 miles of habitat now blocked by the dams, matching the predam peak. Chinook here once grew as big as 100 pounds, and experts say they should reach that size again.”  (more…)

House Republicans have their cake, eat it too

Sean Duffy

Ron Nixon of the New York Times looks at several U.S. House Republicans who were elected on a platform of spending cuts but who are also pushing for spending projects of questionable merit in their districts. This is a timely report as House Republicans have taken a “No, more cuts!” position during deficit-reduction negotiations. These Republicans are hypocritical, effective, or both.


Public parks: If it worked for FDR, it could work for Obama

William Yardley of the New York Times delivers a pretty upsetting picture of where our public spaces are headed in this look at state parks.  Beautiful parks that belong to everyone have been hit hard by the budget hammer and are raising fees, firing staff, or just closing down.  But there could be a bright spot here if the Obama administration is willing to push for more public spending. (more…)

The Greening of Detroit

Most news out of Detroit is either bad or really bad, so it’s refreshing to see this report from Paul Egan of the Detroit News that the Motor City has planted more than 600 trees via $200,000 in the stimulus bill. The project will be winding down soon, but the city has a goal of 40 percent canopy cover by 2035.


The New York Times editorializes today against – hold on to your seat – the Environmental Protection Agency for overruling the environmental protection recommendations of staff scientists. The struggle in question involves the White House’s Office of Management and Budget successfully pressuring EPA not to put pollution controls on coal-fired plants near parks.

Readers of Understanding Government or any national newspaper are well versed with EPA’s conflicts over performing its own mandate. What is interesting in this case is that President Bush has always spoken of his devotion to improving the national parks. Maybe OMB has since shown the wisdom of the anti-regulatory, anti-park point of view. Read the New York Times here.  MB