When I first sat down in front of this machine this day, as usual, I went through my usual routine of scanning the news, various tackle shop boards and the email as much goes on in the fight for access these days and it's important to keep up.
Today being the first of April I expected to see some rather silly April Fools statements as I entered the information zone. What I did not expect to find was an article on the National Parks Traveller website mocking those of us who have suffered greatly because of the actions of the National Park Service and a trio of well known environmental groups.
Apparently the author, National Parks Traveller contributor Bob Janiskee finds it amusing that many people have lost jobs, including myself, twice, as a result of the draconian closures that have been established these last, very long, three years. Closures that have come at the height of the visitor season.
Remember, it was the National Park Service that, by in large, shaped the economy of the Islands as they followed the direction of the Congress. The very same economy they now seek to destroy without any thought or consideration to either the residents or visitors, some who have travelled to these shores for generations.
Mr. Janiskee takes it to an entirely new level in his "joke". Apparently he finds it amusing that over 54 businesses on the Islands have been forced to close their doors since these massive closures began. It's obvious also that he doesn't own one of the 400+ homes that are now in foreclosure here. Rather dramatic for a set of islands with an average width of only 150 yards.
The article was brought to my attention by an access warrior that I know only by the name of samsdad. And it appears that his vigilant approach, including a call to Cornell University ended up in this sick "joke" being taken down from the National Parks traveller website. Good Job!
The following is a copy of Mr. Janiskee's humor. (thanks Dap) If this doesn't inspire you to write and call your elected representatives, you probably should see a doctor.
(Written by NPT Contributor Bob Janiskee)
At Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a Startling Revelation Forces a Rethinking of Piper Plover Protection
On a breezy afternoon not long ago, birding expert Tim Gallivanter set up his spotting scope, swept his gaze across the beach, and locked his eyes on birds tending nests nearly a fifth of a mile away. Turning to the park ranger at his side, he asked "Are those the birds?"
"Yup," his uniformed companion replied, "and just up the beach there are some more just like them. The 'Beach Closed' signs mark the nesting areas. More birds are due any time now, so we've got lots of extra signs ready to go. Wouldn't want to run out."
Gallivanter, Editor-in-Chief of Birdlife at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, was a man on a mission. In recent months National Park Service officials had been steadily losing public support for their battle to prevent hordes of beach-driving ORVers from wantonly destroying vital nesting habitat for endangered piping plovers at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Alarmed by this turn of events, the international birding community decided to launch its own high-profile campaign to protect the Outer Banks shorebirds and their precious nesting habitat.
An emergency conclave of leading birders decided that the prestigious Cornell Lab of Ornithology should spearhead the campaign. Birdlife would be the voice of the birders and Tim Gallivanter would be their chief strategist and go-to guy.
Gallivanter immediately booked a flight to Cape Hatteras so he could scope out the situation for himself. "I'd gladly walk the whole way," he said, "if that's what it would take to see piping plovers. I like them almost as much as raptors."
During the walk along the beach, Gallivanter had exchanged small talk with his ranger escort. The world-renowned birder was in high spirits. "Just this morning," he said, " I got an email from an Audubon lobbyist who promised that the ORVers will soon feel the full weight of Audubon's political clout. He said that 'feathers are going to fly.' "No matter how many times I hear that little pun, it always makes me smile."
Gallivanter wasn't smiling now. Peering intently into the spotting scope, he muttered something under his breath, shook his head, and began scribbling in his notebook. "This is not good," he said; "This is not good at all."
"What is it?", the ranger asked. "Do we need to close more of the beach? I've got more signs back in the truck."
"I'm afraid you don't understand," said the grim-faced Gallivanter. "There's been a terrible mistake." I need to talk to your boss. I need to talk to him right away."
Less than an hour later, Gallivanter was ushered into Mike Murray's office. "That didn't take long," said the affable superintendent. "I trust you've enjoyed observing our endangered piping plovers? Cute little buggers, aren't they? The bean counters tell us that each egg produced in those nests costs a million dollars or so in related expenditures and lost tourism. Wonder what that figures out to per pounce?"
"Anyway, Tim, I'm sorry we couldn't let you get any closer to those plovers. Regulations, you know. Heck, I've never seen the darn things up close myself. We've never let anybody but our wildlife biologists see those plovers up close."
It was Gallivanter's turn now. "Mike, I've got something to tell you, and I'm afraid that you aren't going to like it."
"Shoot," said Murray, "running this park is like being nibbled to death by ducks. You might as well go ahead and take a nibble yourself. I doubt there's anything you could say that would make my day any worse than it already is. "
"Wouldn't bet the farm on that, Mike" Gallivanter replied. "Let me make this real simple. There are three things you are going to have to do."
Gallivanter raised his right hand, index finger extended. "First, you need to remove all of those ''Beach Closed' signs."
Finger two shot up next to the first. "Secondly, on behalf of the US government you need to issue a public apology for erecting those signs in the first place. This is just a suggestion, but it might help to placate the ORVers if you were to bulldoze a few more access ramps through those dunes and maybe put in a some comfort stations for them to use when the bluefish are running."
Another finger was extended. "The third thing you need to do is fire your wildlife biologists and hire some new ones that can tell the difference between a sandpiper and a piping plover."
Postscript: Further investigation revealed that the sandpipers were usurping nesting habitat that piping plovers might want to use should any actually decide to nest in the park. It was deemed necessary to get rid of the sandpipers, so a variance permit was acquired and the birds were dispatched by rangers using 12 gauge shotguns. Number 9 shot proved perfectly fine for jump-shooting, whereas 71/2's were needed for pass shooting from pit blinds.
Now isn't that just lovely?