I blogged about the America's Great Outdoors Initiative a while back. For those of you who don't remember, it's an initiative launched by the Obama Administration to connect Americans to their public lands heritage and to develop conservation strategy for the 21st century.
Well, the Administration released a report detailing all the great accomplishments the program has chalked up since its launch in April 2010.
• $40 million invested by the National Park Service through state grants to support locally-driven conservation work. • 41 local and regional trails designated as National Recreation Trails by the Department of the Interior, adding 650 miles in 17 states to the National Trails System • Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area, the first new national wildlife refuge created by this administration, resulted from a coalition of private and public partners to conserve tallgrass prairie wildlife habitat while working ranches stay on the land. • Over 21,000 youths employed in full and part-time jobs and internships across a range of tasks from building trails to inventorying species. • 24,000 acres of agricultural land in the Northern Everglades to be restored and permanently conserved. The Department of the Interior also proposed a new Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area of potentially 100,000 acres. • 2,000 National Public Lands Day events attended by 180,000 people participating in conservation service projects on public lands and waters.
Not bad, not bad. But with the general tenor in DC these days, it's gonna take a lot more than 21,000 youths to make conservation and connection to the natural world priorities of any administration. Here's hoping this is a good start. Read the full report at americasgreatoutdoors.gov
Sometimes I wish we had a category called a#@holes.
This week, a 45-year-old grandfather was indicted on six counts of alleged child abuse for marching his three grandchildren ages 8, 9, and 12 on two rim-to-river-to-rim hikes in the Grand Canyon during more than 100 degree heat. Yeah, yeah I know, "forcing kids to go hiking," sounds like something we should encourage right. Well, not quite, keep reading...
The Park Service reported that, "The indictment alleges that [Christopher] Carlson took his three grandsons, ages 8, 9 and 12, on two separate hikes in the park in August when temperatures were in excess of 100 degrees and severely limited their water and food, marched and ran them up dangerous terrain, and placed their health at risk."
Wow…a real class act. According to the acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel, "The indictment alleges that the defended repeatedly denied food and water to his grandchildren, physically abused them, and placed them in harm's way."
Rangers observed Mr. Carlson and the boys on August 15th and August 28th. Another hiker encountered the four on the 28th and reportedly told officials the children were hyperventilating and asked the hiker to "call the agency" or "call the emergency."
Fortunately rangers intervened and the kids didn't get hurt. This being a "funny" blog, I had a few mediocre one-liners but couldn't decide which one to use, so they're all below:
-Wow, and I thought my grandfather was tough. -Talk about a way to not get more kids in nature. -Forty-five years old with a twelve year old grandson, I guess there really isn't anything to do in Indiana.
But in truth, this is just a sad reflection of the ignorance and poor parenting skills of some of our fellow earthlings.
I'm really glad the kids didn't get seriously hurt.