Unintentional dry humor from CBO; don’t make a Denali out of a molehill, though

June 21, 2013

A mountain by any other name would be just as high. Image of Denali from Tiny Green Cabins

A mountain by any other name would be just as high. Image of Denali from Tiny Green Cabins

I get e-mail from the Congressional Budget Office.  I asked them to keep me posted on the studies they do, and they have.

Today, this:

S. 155, a Bill to Designate a Mountain in the State of Alaska as Denali

cost estimate

June 21, 2013
read complete document  (pdf, 27 kb)

As ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on June 18, 2013.

CBO estimates that enacting this legislation to name a peak in Alaska would have no significant impact on the federal budget and would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. S. 155 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.

Calling a mountain by its name won’t affect the budget?  Good news, I’m sure.  Shakespeare was right.

The testimony of National Park Service Deputy Director Peggy O’Dell is instructive:


April 23, 2013

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior’s views on S. 155, a bill to designate a mountain in the State of Alaska as Denali.

The National Park Service appreciates the long history and public interest for both the name Mount McKinley and the traditional Athabascan name, Denali. The Department respects the choice made by this legislation, and does not object to S. 155.

Located in what is now Denali National Park and Preserve, the highest peak in North America has been known by many names. The National Park Service’s administrative history of the park notes that, “The Koyukon called it Deenaalee, the Lower Tanana named it Deenaadheet or Deennadhee, the Dena’ina called it Dghelay Ka’a, and at least six other Native groups had their own names for it.

“In the late 18th century various Europeans came calling, and virtually everyone who passed by was moved to comment on it. The Russians called it Bulshaia or Tenada, and though explorers from other nations were less specific, even the most hard-bitten adventurers were in awe of its height and majesty.

“No American gave it a name until Densmore’s Mountain appeared in the late 1880s, and the name that eventually stuck—Mount McKinley—was not applied until the waning days of the nineteenth century,” a gesture of support to then-President William McKinley.

In 1975, the State of Alaska officially recognized Denali as the name of the peak, and requested action by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to do the same.

In 1980, Congress changed the name of Mount McKinley National Park to Denali National Park and Preserve (P.L. 96-487, Section 202), but did not act on the name change for the mountain.

In Washington, Congress designates mountains.  In Alaska, mountains designate you.


Mount McKinley

Near-antique poster advertising Ranger Services at the National Park Formerly Known as Mount McKinley. Photo by Kirt Baab

Holes in the wall, Glen Canyon NRA

June 11, 2013

Ever get one of those days you just want to find a nice, warm hole and crawl inside?

Then head out to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area:

There are many unique areas within America’s public lands. Case in point this spot in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  Photo: Cassandra Crowley

Caption from America’s Great Outdoors: There are many unique areas within America’s public lands. Case in point this spot in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Photo: Cassandra Crowley


Sounds of the Yellowstone in winter will haunt you, lovingly

February 14, 2013

This is a heckuva research project: What is the sound ecosystem of the Yellowstone?

Film from Yellowstone National Park:

The film was produced by Emily Narrow for NPS, with financial assistance from the Yellowstone Association.

From NPS:

Published on Jul 13, 2012

Many people come to Yellowstone to see the fantastic landscapes. Wise visitors also come to experience the amazing soundscapes. This video provides some insight into the value of natural sounds in wild places and how the park is monitoring those sounds as well as the sounds created by humans.

Nothing matches the sound of a western river, to my mind.  I love the sound of the tumbling waters, and it was on one of those roaring creeks that we scattered the ashes of my Yellowstone-loving oldest brother Jerry Jones.

Poster for Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/...

Classic, vintage poster for Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other sounds will captivate you.  The rush and gush of the geysers, and the gurgle and plop of heated pools rivets you for a while.  Once you hear the chuff of an interested grizzly bear, you don’t forget it.  And while it can be scary if you’re relatively alone on the trail, the howl of the wolf tells you about the wilderness in a way no other sound ever can.  The honks of the geese, the trumpets of the swans, the grunts of the bison, the scolding of the many different squirrels and chipmunks, the slap of a trout jumping out of the river — these are all worth making the trip.

After you go, these sounds will lovingly haunt your life.  You’ll smile when you remember them.

I hope you can go soon.  (I hope I can go, soon.)

Sad note:  Only 1,553 people have watched this video since last July.  Can you spread the word a bit?


Mount Ranier by Milky Way light

January 28, 2013

Stunning photograph posted by National Park Service people in Mount Ranier National Park:

Mount Ranier by Milky Way light -- Dave Morrow photo, October 2012

Photographer Dave Morrow photograph of Mount Ranier and the Milky Way, from October 2012

Information from the Mount Ranier NPS site at Instagram:

Some images are just plain extraordinary — and often, the photographer has invested a great deal of time and effort to make that image happen. Photographer Dave Morrow describes the process of among this image from Mount Rainier National Park in October 2012. “I went up to Sunrise Point at Mt. Rainier last weekend with my buddy Keith. After a lame sunset, we waited for the Milky Way to come out. The placement was just perfect and the sky was pitch black!  Time to jack up the ISO and shoot some stars . . . this was one of many from the night.”

See more of Mr. Morrow’s work, here:  DaveMorrowPhotography.com

Difficult to know whether the streaks are airplanes or meteoroids.  No doubt it was a long exposure.

(Links added here.)

[Update, June 2015:  Morrow has protected his photo from linking in most places; go see this photo, and many others, at his site: http://www.davemorrowphotography.smugmug.com/]


In 90 seconds, National Parks stuff you should see in Washington, D.C.

January 27, 2013

National Park Service video, and of course, featuring some stunning time-lapse photography.



Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina: Wright Bros. National Memorial

December 17, 2012

Kill Devil Hills monument to theWright Brothers

Wikipedia description: Standing sixty feet (18.3 meters) tall and perched atop a ninety foot (27.4 meters) stabilized sand dune known as Kill Devil Hill, this monument towers over Wright Brothers National Memorial Park in Kill Devil Hills, NC. The park commemorates and preserves the site where the Wright brothers launched the world’s first successful sustained, powered flights in a heavier-than-air machine. The inscription that wraps around the base of the monument states “In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright. Conceived by genius, achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith.” Photo by Ken Thomas, taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 in Dare County, NC, USA.

At this site, on December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright first achieved flight in a heavier-than-air machine.

Teacher and student resources for Hispanic Heritage Month, from the cultural agencies of the federal government

September 16, 2012

Resources listed at the Hispanic Heritage Month site:

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month 2012

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.

Read More »

Children of the Plumed Serpent: the Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico

 Pectoral with Calendrical Notations (AD 700–1300), Children of the Plumed Serpent exhibit

Unknown, Pectoral with Calendrical Notations (AD 700–1300), gold, 4 ½ x 1/16 in (11.5 x 2 cm), 3.93 ounces (112 grams), Museuo de las Culturas de Oaxaca. Photo © Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (CONACULTA-INAH-MEX), from the exhibition Children of the Plumed Serpent: The Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California.
Courtesy, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. http://www.lacma.org

The culture-hero and deity, Quetzalcoatl was believed to be the human incarnation of the spiritual forces of wind and rain. Quetzalcoatl was typically portrayed in art as a plumed serpent. This exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

More about the exhibition »

Department of Interior’s American Latino Heritage Initiative

Department of Interior's American Latino Heritage InitiativeNumerous projects are being undertaken to increase the opportunities for historic places associated with American Latino history to be documented, preserved, and interpreted and for the public to better understand and appreciate the role of American Latinos in the development of the United States.

Status of current projects »

U.S. National Archives on Flickr

Eloy District, Pinal County, Arizona. Mexican irrigator. He came from Mexico 12 years ago...11/1940 - Library of Congress image

Sample of works available at the Flickr site:  Original Caption:  “Eloy District, Pinal County, Arizona. Mexican irrigator. He came from Mexico 12 years ago, works the year round on this large-scale farm. These fields are being prepared for flax; have never had a crop before.”
U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: 83-G-44021
From:: Photographic Prints Documenting Programs and Activities of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and Predecessor Agencies, compiled ca. 1922 – ca. 1947, documenting the period ca. 1911 – ca. 1947
Created By:: Department of Agriculture. Bureau of Agricultural Economics. Division of Economic Information. (ca. 1922 – ca. 1953)
Production Date: 11/1940

Photos from the U.S. National Archives that relate to Hispanic Heritage on the photosharing site Flickr.

View the Images

Hispanic American Veterans

Staff Sgt. Ernesto E. Gallego, Gulfport, MS; World War II Veteran - Stories from the Veterans Project, Library of Congress image

Portrait of World War II veteran, Staff Sgt. Ernesto E. Gallego in bomber jacket, inscribed “To the sweetest girl I know…Ernest.” Gulfport, Mississippi; Stories from the Veterans Project, Library of Congress

Asked to serve their country in time of war, Hispanic Americans displayed courage and valor in the face of adversity. Familiar with discrimination back home, many saw their service as affirming the ideals of democracy. In this presentation, the Veterans History Project recounts their inspirational stories.

Read More about Hispanic American Veterans »

Teaching Hispanic Heritage

paintingPut the power of primary sources to work in the classroom. Browse lesson plans, student activities, collection guides and research aids from:

The Library of Congress

National Archives Experience — DocsTeach

National Archives — Teacher’s Resources

National Endowment for the Humanities

National Gallery of Art

National Park Service

Smithsonian Institution

55th anniversary of the Little Rock 9: Civil Rights festival

September 6, 2012


This month marks the 55th anniversary of the first attempt to desegregate Little Rock’s Central High School, by the nine brave students known as the Little Rock Nine.

Now the school carries a designation as a National Historic Site, managed by the National Park Service.  A Visitors Center for interpretation and information stands across the street — and that will be the center of the official commemoration of the 55th anniversary of the desegregation crisis.  Experts, scholars, celebrities, and a film festival.

Ain’t that great about America?  We have a great crisis; it takes a couple of years but we work through it.  Then we designate the site for historical purposes, and within a half-century we have a festival where, among other things, we note how much progress we’ve made as a nation in living up to the ideals laid out in the Declaration of Indpendence, the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address and the Letter from Birmingham Jail.  Only in America, right?

Here’s a list of events and activities I got in e-mail today.  If you’re in the area Sepember 21 through 25, go see.  Call for reservations.

55th Anniversary Commemoration Events

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, in partnership with the Little Rock Film Festival, commemorates the 55th anniversary of the desegregation crisis with a variety of events this month. The events, which take place in various venues, are FREE and open to the public, but tickets are required.

Events run from Friday, Sept. 21 – Tuesday, Sept. 25 and will include appearances by:

The Little Rock Nine
Tuesday, Sept. 25th at Argenta Community Theater

Tuesday, Sept. 25th at Argenta Community Theater

Sunday, Sept. 23rd at Argenta Community Theater
Friday, Sept. 21 – Tuesday, Sept. 25 – The Reel Civil Rights Film Festival
Miss Representation
The Little Rock Film Festival presents The Reel Civil Rights Film Festival which will be featuring documentaries and films related to past and present civil and human rights issues in the United States and abroad; an intimate conversation with iconic Olympic Gold Medalist Tommie Smith; guest directors; panel discussions; and a special awards ceremony to honor the Little Rock Nine and humanitarian Harry Belafonte.
Saturday, Sept. 22 – MTV’s “Real World” Kevin Powell Speaks!
Kevin Powell
Kevin Powell, activist, writer, public speaker, and entrepreneur speaks at Oxford American Magazine, located at 1300 Main St. in Little Rock at 10 am.
Tuesday, Sept. 25 – Film Screening, Ceremony to honor Little Rock Nine and Harry Belafonte
Sing Your Song
Screening of Harry Belafonte’s documentary, Sing Your Song: The Music, Hope and Vision of a Man and an Era, guest remarks by Mr. Belafonte; and an awards ceremony to honor both the Little Rock Nine and Belafonte at Argenta Community Theater, located at 405 Main St. in North Little Rock at 6 pm.
For a complete line up of events and ticket information, please follow the link below:
To reserve tickets for the FREE events, please visit
or drop by Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
visitor center
About Us
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site is located at 2120 W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive, diagonally across the street from Central High School. The visitor center is open from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., seven days a week.  Admission is free. For more information, call 501.374.1957 or email chsc_visitor_center@nps.gov.
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
2120 W. Daisy L Gatson Bates Drive
Little Rock, Arkansas 72202


Civil War Sesquicentennial: 26 free books on the Civil War

June 22, 2011

Our librarian friend, Judy Crook, sent a link to the National Park Service website where you can download, free, 26 books on the Civil War.

150th Anniversary Civil War

Logo for 150th Anniversary Civil War - Copyright ©2010 Eastern National. All rights reserved.

Eastern National is celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War with electronic editions of eParks’ National Park Civil War Series of books. Read them online or own your own paper edition by visiting our Civil War Series store.

With a color printer, a teacher could assemble 26 readers for use in the classroom, or for homework assignments.  The books sell for $8.95 through the NPS bookstore.  The first listed volume, A Concise History of the Civil War, provides a good, brief summary, with some features in the .pdf version teachers should be happy to find:  A list of 25 battles of significance, and black-and-white maps of battle locations and the Confederacy, for examples.

Great idea to make this stuff available for free, online.  I wonder, how many people will really take advantage of the opportunity?

Buy paper copies here, at the eParks Store; here are links to the .pdfs of the 26 volumes, below:

book cover

Cover for A Concise History of THE CIVIL WAR

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