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Newest National Park?..Pinnacles

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Re: Newest National Park?..Pinnacles

Postby Bob Burd » Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:17 pm

mrchad9 wrote:I guess the idea of visitor centers is to make the parks attractive and enjoyable for all types of visitors, not just SP members.

Why should the design be specific to what people here like? Sure would be nice if the road into Yosemite valley were 4wd only... that might keep even some of the riffraff here out at times and I'd have the place more to myself.


I agree whole-heartedly - the National Parks should be made available to ALL visitors, not just peakbaggers, climbers and others I might personally deem worthy. I like that they have handicap accessibility now. I like that they have open top tour buses that let people ride around and see the sights of Yosemite Valley. I like that they rent bikes and rafts. All these things let people focus on the park OUTSIDE. What irks me, I think, is that the Visitor Centers and other attractions (the high end shopping at Yosemite Lodge, for example) seem to be trying to bring a Disneyland-esque or mall-ish feel to a visit to a National Park. It should be an entirely different experience, imo, one that sets it apart from a trip to the Outlet Center. Selling crap at a National Park seems like having money-changers in the temple, to me.
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Re: Newest National Park?..Pinnacles

Postby lcarreau » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:15 am

Bob Burd wrote: ... Selling crap at a National Park seems like having money-changers in the temple, to me.


Yeah, and we ALL know how good the federal government is at making money, THEN spending it ... :roll:
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Re: Newest National Park?..Pinnacles

Postby mrchad9 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:55 am

Bob Burd wrote:
mrchad9 wrote:I guess the idea of visitor centers is to make the parks attractive and enjoyable for all types of visitors, not just SP members.

Why should the design be specific to what people here like? Sure would be nice if the road into Yosemite valley were 4wd only... that might keep even some of the riffraff here out at times and I'd have the place more to myself.


I agree whole-heartedly - the National Parks should be made available to ALL visitors, not just peakbaggers, climbers and others I might personally deem worthy. I like that they have handicap accessibility now. I like that they have open top tour buses that let people ride around and see the sights of Yosemite Valley. I like that they rent bikes and rafts. All these things let people focus on the park OUTSIDE. What irks me, I think, is that the Visitor Centers and other attractions (the high end shopping at Yosemite Lodge, for example) seem to be trying to bring a Disneyland-esque or mall-ish feel to a visit to a National Park. It should be an entirely different experience, imo, one that sets it apart from a trip to the Outlet Center. Selling crap at a National Park seems like having money-changers in the temple, to me.

Well I guess I have to agree. I do tend to see the visitor centers as colossal wastes of money. The newer ones well far into the tens of millions of dollars. Better to get everyone outside via some mechanism.
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Re: Newest National Park?..Pinnacles

Postby SpazzyMcgee » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:46 pm

I guess I don't mind the gift shops as much as others, because I think having people spend time in a visitor center in a national park is better than not visiting the national park at all. If the gift shops are something tourists want, let 'em have it; I don't have to go inside them! The nice thing about national parks is that, almost always, peace, serenity, and the natural world is all you'll experience anyway if you venture more than a quarter mile down any given trail.

Pinnacles, to me, doesn't make much sense as a national park simply because it's tiny and in my opinion less naturally and visually spectacular than the rest of the national parks in CA; also, it's tiny. There are going to be a lot of disappointed Euros making a hot 3 hour drive. We didn't _need_ this as a national park, it was perfectly fine as a fairly low-key monument.
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Re: Newest National Park?..Pinnacles

Postby lisae » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:20 pm

Um, there is a new "Visitor Contact Station" at the West side of the Pinnacles. It was funded by ARRA money and is pretty nice:

http://www.rrmdesign.com/newsfeed/2012/ ... ification/

I tend to check out visitor centers at national parks when I am traveling, to orientate myself to the area. I will also buy books. Anyway, I think Pinnacles will survive becoming a national park, dependent on the new management plan. I think the preferred plan will add more hiking trails in the back country, which would be a good thing in my opinion.
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Re: Newest National Park?..Pinnacles

Postby boyblue » Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:43 pm

boyblue wrote:
Bob Burd wrote:...and they sell tons of crap like stuffed animals and key chains and eskimo pies and DVDs of all the things you could see in the park if you actually WENT OUTSIDE FOR A WALK.


'sigh...' My wife and son are addicted to the gift shops- whether in visitor centers or museums, zoos, you name it. I almost always wait outside- patiently waiting while they shop for trinkets and junk that are (as I like to point out to them) 'Made In China'. We have closets and shelves full of National (and other) Park hats, cups, rocks, refrigerator magnets, shot glasses, stuffed animals, shirts...


My wife's latest acquisition (the cup, not me :) ):

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And...

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Originally, the price sticker covered the "Made In China" label. (Didn't fool me! :) )

Would sure love to see, "Made in USA" on these things. But, what am I griping about? We had a great hike! :D

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Matt and Nora
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Rest Stop
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Re: Newest National Park?..Pinnacles

Postby phydeux » Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:38 pm

lisae wrote:Um, there is a new "Visitor Contact Station" at the West side of the Pinnacles. It was funded by ARRA money and is pretty nice:

http://www.rrmdesign.com/newsfeed/2012/ ... ification/

I tend to check out visitor centers at national parks when I am traveling, to orientate myself to the area. I will also buy books. Anyway, I think Pinnacles will survive becoming a national park, dependent on the new management plan. I think the preferred plan will add more hiking trails in the back country, which would be a good thing in my opinion.


Interesting that the NPS doesn't explicitly mention the new west-side center - and they call it a 'visitor contact station' - and the hours are about the same as they were before the new 'contact station' was built.

FWIW: The east side campground and store (with a small visitors center) used to be a private campground. The NPS took it over 10 years (?) ago but its still managed by a private contractor. The east side also has an 'older' NPS vistors center at the Bear Gulch parking area about 2 miles beyond the campground.
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Re: Newest National Park?..Pinnacles

Postby David Senesac » Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:03 am

Certainly a fun playground for local climbers year round.

I commented elsewhere when they were still mulling this over last summer. Sounded like a sure thing politically to make local tourist industries happy.

Compared to our other national parks, the monument is quite small at 40 square miles, about 10 miles long averaging about 4 miles wide. Some might think that is in any case rather sizeable. However the actual area of the geological features where all the trails are is far smaller, maybe just 4 square miles. Could trails expand into those peripheral areas? Sure but those landscapes are rather ordinary much without outstanding features. In fact much is chaparral that has burned over the decades in periodic wildland fires. Those peripheral areas are valuable to the park's wildlife so have value but not as outstanding or unusual scenery any more than other parks in the region or Los Padres National Forest. California has an abundance of small area features in state parks, national forests, and on BLM lands that would rate well in national parks. However unless such features are part of a larger regional set of outstanding features, I don't think raising them up to national park status is wise.

Like much of the inner Coast Range, the Pinnacles is really only pleasant during fair weather periods of late winter and spring. Its seasonal streams flow, grasses and wildflowers are nicely green, and its creatures are out and about. By June anything green other than trees has turned dry brown with daytime temperatures often as unpleasant as in the adjacent Salinas Valley. And most of its creatures other than birds then only venture out during dawn, dusk, and evening hours.

Although it is true making PNM a national park would increase its tourism value, nearby Point Lobos State Reserve, the 17 mile drive on the Monterey Peninsula, and Big Sur Coast state parks all have higher natural scenic and interest values. It would increase numbers of non-Californians and international tourist visits but I would expect many of those visiting outside of spring will be disappointed reducing their confidence that those areas we designate as national parks are worthwhile visits. Another similar park in the Coast Range is Carrizo Plain National Monument. Absolutely incredibly World Class with vast wildflower displays every few years or so during wet years for a brief month or two and then long periods where it is hot, dry, baked, dormant, of low interest and not scenic.

Can just imagine local motel and businesses in August pushing foreign tourists playing golf on the coast to drive inland and enjoy a wonderful noon climb up the trail at the new wonderpark. Then listening to them cuss later that evening in a bar at their cool coastal hotel about taking out dried stickers stuck in their sweaty socks.
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Re: Newest National Park?..Pinnacles

Postby simonov » Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:00 pm

David Senesac wrote:Although it is true making PNM a national park would increase its tourism value, nearby Point Lobos State Reserve, the 17 mile drive on the Monterey Peninsula, and Big Sur Coast state parks all have higher natural scenic and interest values. It would increase numbers of non-Californians and international tourist visits but I would expect many of those visiting outside of spring will be disappointed reducing their confidence that those areas we designate as national parks are worthwhile visits.


Hmm, interesting point about National Park Inflation. Eventually, the politicians in Washington can be depended upon to debase the vale of National Parks in general, all for the sake of bringing home the pork.

I will confess that if I see an area is a National Park, I expect it to be something really special.
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Re: Newest National Park?..Pinnacles

Postby Bubba Suess » Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:22 pm

The Pinnacles are very cool, but, in my opinion, not as cool as Chiricahua, Dinosaur, Bandelier, Cedar Breaks and Canyon de Chelly, all NPS national monuments that are not anywhere near national park designation. Even the Great Sand Dunes was not deemed worthy on its own and was raised to park status only with the addition of a prime slice of Rocky Mountain real estate carved out of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. This, of course, says nothing of the worthiness of non NPS units like Grand Staircase - Escalante.

National Parks have been unmade in the past and I hope the Pinnacles will be unmade in the futures, demoted back to the more appropriate monument status. Pinnacles NP is a sop to somebody. Perhaps in the future it will be seen as the Platt National Park of the 21st century. If anything in California ought to be made a national park, it is the Lost Coast.
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Re: Newest National Park?..Pinnacles

Postby SeanReedy » Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:20 am

Well, I think CA has plenty of National Parks. David provided some good analysis. I agree that I am more impressed by some of the places Bubba mentions than by Pinnacles. We don't need more. There is much to behold here in the Golden State, but we also have more Congressional Representation than anyone else.
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