Letters to the Editor

August 1, 2014

Wayne Kirkbride: Park staff doesn’t deserve criticism

I usually enjoy Dick Hagerty’s articles. But I was dismayed that he strayed from thoughtful reflection to a biased and negative opinion about the National Park Service (“Has anyone seen Elmer?” July 20, Page D1).

I usually enjoy Dick Hagerty’s articles. But I was dismayed that he strayed from thoughtful reflection to a biased and negative opinion about the National Park Service (“Has anyone seen Elmer?” July 20, Page D1). His ideas on improving traffic moving through the entrance gates made sense. Then he moved from a disgruntledvisitor to a conspiracy theory that the Park Service deliberately frustrates visitors in hopes of discouraging some from returning. “They own the Park, and we taxpayers are just a necessary annoyance,” he writes.

I too miss the good old days when crowds seemed smaller. I too recall the fire fall from atop Glacier Point and seeing Mirror Lake before there was too little water to call it a lake. Because Yosemite is so special, so unique, its fame has spread across America and the entire world. The Park Service is in a difficult position, trying to protect this gem for present and future generations using legitimate restrictions on visitors who are “loving Yosemite to death.”

NPS personnel don’t join the service because of the pay; they have a love of the natural world and its wonders; they seem dedicated to a selfless career of service in the spirit of John Muir. Hagerty can bemoan the good old days when fewer restrictions were imposed, but he must realize times have changed. There must be thoughtful changes to our parks to maintain them.

Wayne Kirkbride, Twain Harte

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