National Park Fee Increases

Both our state and regional newspapers want you to believe that the cost of getting into 17 National Parks is going to increase beyond the middle-class American can afford.  Fortunately, that’s not the case.

If you review the actual notice, you’ll find that the higher price for peak season is for a 5-day pass and/or an annual pass.  That means that families across America can visit their favorite National Park for just $75.00 a year, and that includes the car full of kids and adults.  Or, if you like, you can purchase a 1-day pass for $30.00 – the same price (or close to it) as is currently being charged.

Why the hue and cry?  Because National Environmental groups think they own and operate the parks.  They have huge memberships and lobby groups that are happy to “pay to play” just at what they think is “reasonable”.  This proposal is not going to keep less affluent citizens and guests from visiting our National treasurers, it’s just going to cost the folks that like to hike, bike, and camp a little more on an annual basis.

And since the parks get to keep 80% of the fees, they stand to benefit much more than places like Cedar Breaks and the Grand Staircase, because they are monuments managed by the BLM, whose budget is controlled line-by-line by Congress.

At a time when our parks are overrun with people, human waste, cars, and one-time visitors, isn’t it time to invest in them?  Perhaps it’s time to do what Utah has done, run ads and try and channel some of those visitors to State Parks and special places rather than just Utah’s “Mighty Five”.

I’ll be commenting in the affirmative on this proposal.  I hope you’ll join me.  Comment Here





“How FUBU changed a World of Fashion, Branding and Lifestyle” – A Review

An entertaining read for those interested in the Fashion Industry, How to make a Million, and Black Culture. His purpose in writing the book seemed to be to share his story and how he stumbled into the Fashion Industry and hiked his way up the ladder.

After 40+ years of retailing, I was familiar with the fashion industry schedule, timing, competition and challenges. For me, growing up and spending most of my adult life in mixed race communities, I very much appreciated learning about Black Culture. And, frankly, more of that information should be taught in our schools if we’re really going to have respect for each other within our boundaries.

Daymond’s sharing of his family values, that shaped and molded his business ethics, showed his true self. The comments such as:

  • Focus on what you want!
  • Count yourself a success if you stay out of jail – that was the neighborhood standard
  • He stayed away from major crime because he respected his mother too much
  • Know your business from the ground up.
  • Be able to take over the grill at 6PM Saturday night when the chef walks out.
  • It’s harder and harder to recognize the world we actually live in up against the one we still imagine.

He really didn’t talk much about “power” during the heart of the book, but did finish it with his thoughts on power, and ended with this comment:

“It’s about knowing when and how to play your position in the jungle – be it lion or hyena.”

I appreciated his thoughts, experiences and knowing more about his community. I’m looking forward to a new year of “Shark Tank” to hear him differently.

Full Disclosure – Mr. John provided me a copy of his book via download. My review is my own opinion.

Another Year Comes To An End

I love the end of the year.  It’s the time we get to sit back and review what we’ve done, both professionally and personally.  That assessment is so vital to our mental health, even the news media partakes.

They’ll spend the next few weeks going back and collecting info on what they covered; facts, statistics, people stories – all the major stories of the year.  We’ll get to see those recaps and remember with them.  But have we done the same for our own lives?

Every year end, the shortest day of the year, I put together a list of accomplishments.  I then compare that to the list of goals I wrote down last December and compare the two.  How did I do this year?  I don’t know yet, because the year isn’t quite over.  But I’ll tell you more about it December 21st.  In the meantime, I’ll start writing down thoughts on what is important to accomplish in 2014.  I’ll also revisit my goals for 2013 and see what didn’t happen and should it continue to be on the list or have I moved on without it?

I try and access where I want my life to go, how should I spend my money, what should I focus on for jewelry designs, what changes do Tracy and I want to make at the store, what can I do to improve my health?  All questions I’ll think about and ultimately put down on paper.  I learned many years ago to write it down – I won’t remember a year from now and when I check back in the middle of the year to see how I’m doing I won’t have anything to compare it to.  Lots of questions without answers – yet!

Stay tuned – until next time.

Christmas Day Photo Trip

We ventured off on our usual Christmas Day Adventure.  The backroads were mucky from the melted snow and 24° wasn’t inviting to hike, so we took a little road trip.  It was surprising how many foks were stopped at Head of the Rocks with us.  From 4 different countries and 4 nationalities.  It was pretty much a picture of the population that travels through the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument on an annual basis.  Most visitors are overseas residents with 33% from Germany, 30+% from Europe and the rest Americans.

The view of the snow-capped Henrie Mountains was as crisp and clear as you can ever see them.  The winter days are usually wonderful for clean air and blue skies.  We stopped for a bite to eat overlooking the grand Staircase.  At 8,000′ we expected more snow.  The roads were good and the plows were out cleaning up the wind drifts from the previous nights wind storm.  The storms that come down from the North bring winds and rain/snow to the mountain tops, but rarely to the valley floors.  When the storms come in from the south we can get a great deal of snow on the valley floors.

Just past Mile Post 103 on Utah Scenic Byway 12, there’s a clear view of the Henrie Mountains and the outer cliffs of Capitol Reef National Park.  Their Vermillion walls stand in start contrast to the snow-filled crevices of the surrounding formations.  As the day passes the clear skies revert to brown, the Aspen Grove shadows stretch a long ways across snow-covered meadows, and the temperature begins to fall.  Time to go home.

Hoping your Christmas was full of joy and peace.