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The Casper Star Tribune
Disney can help tout park's amenities
The mouse is coming
Seeking an ever-larger slice of the tourism pie, Disney has announced it will begin offering "Adventure by Disney" tours to Yellowstone National Park and Hawaii this summer.
And although some people see Disney's foray into America's oldest national park as further corporate expansion, the move stands a good chance of being good for tourism, good for Wyoming, and good for the environment.
The "adventure vacation" concept is being aimed at families who already take Disney cruises and go to Disney World and Disneyland. They like Disney's all-inclusive approach, the company's reputation as a travel expert, and they don't mind the extra cost. At a starting price of $5,596 for a family of four -- not including air fare -- the Yellowstone-by-Disney trip isn't for the budget-minded.
A family that's been to Yellowstone on a Disney tour and has seen the numerous existing services and amenities may be inclined to return later for more of a do-it-yourself vacation.
By testing the marketplace for adventure vacations, Disney recognizes that one of the primary selling points is an area's pristine nature. That's something nearly every visitor to Yellowstone appreciates, whether they're part of a tour or traveling solo. The success of such a business venture must be closely tied to the park's condition and reputation, so the park service may find Disney to be a strong ally in the eco-tourism industry.
For five decades, Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks have competed with Disney for tourism dollars, as families decided between a trip to the parks or to the company's theme parks, resorts and cruises. If this venture succeeds, the parks will have a better shot at luring those families using Disney's substantial marketing resources.
Those families, in turn, will join the millions of others who carry with them a lifelong appreciation for our state's wondrous beauty and a desire to see it preserved.
Five "Letters to the Editor" about the quoted editorial position of The Casper Star Tribune
I've been on "adventure vacations" like Disney proposes for Yellowstone and
let me tell you -- there is nothing adventurous about them. Unless you
consider canned presentations, condescending staff and being lead around by
the nose to places you can see all by yourself to be "adventurous."
A couple of years ago, my parents wanted to experience the national parks
and wanted me to come along. They found one of those "adventure vacation"
companies that are all the rage these days. Well, it was a good idea and a
great way to spend some quality time with my folks, kind of like the family
vacations we were never able to afford when I was growing up. It was also a
terrible experience and a horrible waste of several thousand dollars. For a
whole lot less money we could have done the "experience" on our own, making
use of the park service naturalists, who, by the way, knew what they were
talking about. Unlike our adventure "guides."
It seems to me that letting Disney and other companies into our national
parks is nothing less than undercutting the rangers and the ranger services
(who we already pay for through our taxes) so that somebody with too much
money can make even more. Yellowstone is supposed to be for the people of
the USA, a treasure to be admired and taken care of. To surrender it to
Disney as a profit center is as sacrilegious as opening our churches to
And as far as contributing to the local economy, my experience with our
"adventure vacation" was that all the money went to the company's office in
some other state.
PETER STEKEL, Seattle, Wash.
Packaging fakes experience
Are you serious in your endorsement of the "Disneyfication" of Yellowstone?
What possible contribution to a "reality" experience could corporations
I suspect that it would be a "feel good, keep your hands clean ... and your
brain in neutral entertainment experience." Add to that the opportunity to
have your vacation pocketbook emptied so nicely and neatly that you barely
notice, until you get home and realize that you didn't really experience the
national park -- you were merely entertained.
I am a grandmother of an 11-year-old and a 9-year-old who are excellent
students and are heavily into organized sports. It irritates me to no end
how all experiences seem to have to be organized for them. Where is the
seeking of personal dreams through hands-on, undirected personal experiences
which open your eyes to the world of possibilities that you found through
your own efforts? As adults, we know that the world is not perfect, and that
our children need, in order to progress and become responsible adults, to
learn to deal with that imperfection.
Nowadays, money spent by dear old Mom and Dad seems to not be important, as
long as everything is taken care of for all. I suspect that the majority of
those who would like to avail themselves of our national parks, do so with
the intention of seeing for themselves, first hand, what they have come to
regard as their saved heritage, not a commercial enterprises'
This seems to be to just be a money-making scheme for the corporation, and I
want to know why is this being allowed to happen in our national parks.
National parks are meant for everyone, not just those with deep pockets.
Our citizens need to see beyond the immediate, no effort, "we'll take care
of everything" siren's song of the entertainer to the long term invasion of
a corporate entity into our national parks.
It makes me so sad to see this spreading of "dumbing down" and narrowing of
our, and our children's perspectives.
Please look beyond the glitz and comfort to try to see what is really
happening to our futures. Capitulation to the corporations is, to me, a very
insidious downward spiral of our national parks' independent future.
PATRICIA A. STILWELL, Fair Haven, N.J.
(This letter was shortened.)
Mouse intrudes on habitat
Mouse problems in Yellowstone:
Even though I live 1,800 miles from Wyoming's jewel, Yellowstone, it is
never far from my mind. Recent news articles indicate Disney's cartoon
characters are "leading" trips into Yellowstone.
Having visited both places, I would like to propose leaving Yellowstone to
the knowledgeable Park Ranger and Disney World to the mouse! Each is valued
in its own habitat, but is an intruder in the other.
National parks have a treasured place in the American culture and should not
be demeaned by the commercialism attached to the Disney experience.
ARTHUR ALLEN, Asheville, N.C.
Starve forests, feed companies
I find it extremely disturbing that Disney, or any private corporation for
that matter, would be stepping in to profit off our public lands, as they
are poised to do at Yellowstone National Park.
Contrary to the notions of "free" markets (read paid for by taxpayers), the
unspoiled wilderness and parks that we as a nation have set aside are not
commodities to be packaged and sold to the American people. They are
treasures that we all own and have the right to enjoy freely. The recent
de-funding of the Forest Service is proving itself to be a cynical ploy to
privatize these treasures.
Since the Forest Service's beginning, camping and other simple recreation
opportunities have been funded through our tax dollars. Our current
president is intentionally bankrupting the Forest Service in order to yield
more business opportunities for big corporations like Disney and other
members of the American Recreation Council, which has been instrumental in
pushing forth this de-funding in tandem with the unpopular "pay as you go"
policies. In the meantime, we're still paying timber and mining companies
billions each year to decimate our few remaining old growth forests,
extinguish wilderness species, eradicate wild fish runs, and pollute our
Ensconcing Mickey Mouse or any for-profit company as the gatekeeper to our
public lands will naturally exclude individuals and families who cannot
afford to pay the fees. At what point will we say "no" to this corporate
tyranny and return to full funding of the Forest Service for the benefit of
M. SCOTT JONES, Portland, Ore.
Congress sells out our land
In the 1980s, I served as a wilderness ranger on the Shoshone National
Forest, on what was then called the Lander Ranger District (now the Washakie
RD). I worked in both the Popo Agie and the Fitzpatrick Wilderness Areas. I
took one of the Casper Star-Tribune staff writers on a back-country trip to
the Atlantic Lake Basin to sample acid rain.
The article was also available and published internationally via the AP. The
article was entitled: "The Acid Rangers" (1985).
I write to notify your readership and the Wyoming people of the insidious
intent of the Disney Corporation (and other companies) to privatize our
public lands. I appeal to the people of Wyoming to take a stand against the
corporatization of our freedoms, our rights of access to what were once our
common lands, now quickly being annexed by corporate interests.
Do not fall for their lies that people outside of Wyoming are in support of
this corporatization. They told us the same lies. I can assure you there are
many, many people here who feel as you do ... that corporations have no
place in our national parks, our national forests or our Bureau of Land
There is a larger effort to corporatize BLM, U.S. Forest Service, and
national park lands nation wide. Funding to these agencies are being
intentionally cut by Congress to prepare a false perception that
corporations are necessary and the only means to maintain our forests and
wild places. If you do nothing, in the future you will have to pay corporate
profit rates to hunt, fish, hike, launch a boat or even picnic alongside the
Please visit the www.wildwilderness.org website for more information. I have
no affiliation but I most definitely believe in the cause. I truly believe
that Wyoming and Montana hold the last of the real Americans. Please
understand that our public lands are the physical manifestation of what it
means to be free.
Freedom is not free. Each generation must make a stand to preserve that
which was provided for us by our forefathers. Unfortunately, there are the
elite in this country who have leveraged themselves by profiteering from the
sacrifices of our forefathers. And they continue to do so to this day.
Freedom is something that must be maintained. I implore the good people of
Wyoming to fight this corporate invasion from California.
KENNETH JAMES BOETTGER, Ellensburg, Wash.
Former wilderness ranger, Lander Ranger District
Contributed to TraditionalMountaineering.org by our friend:
Scott Silver, Wild Wilderness
Webmeister's note: Scott Silver was one of the first activists to recognize the real threat of Fee Demo. Please re-read the last letter above. Please take the time to read our postings below. Congress must restore traditional funding to our land management agencies, not sell them off to private enterprise! --Webmeister Speik
Fee Demo and Climbing Fees
Eastern Oregon Adventures
Read more . . .
Western Slope No Fee Coalition
Arizona No Fee Coalition
Fee Demo fees replaced by new Recreation Access Fees
Reserve your next backcountry adventure!
Fees, forests don't always fit, by Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho
Congressman Greg Walden limits fee demo
Fee demo program discriminates against our poor folks
Fee Demo looses to grass roots outrage
Fee Demo Forest Pass dropped at 20 sites on the Deschutes National Forest!
Senator Regula's Fee Demo support and The Wilderness Center, Inc.
Senator Craig calls Fee Demo a failed program
Outdoor recreation in Oregon far from free
Oregon Field Guide: “Pay to Play on Public Land”
National Park Service plans climbing fees increase!
Fee demo rejected by USFS employees
Fee demo has "fallen short" - Senator Craig
Fee demo demonstrations
BLM posts Reward for information on Juniper rustlers
BLM weighing public input on management plan
Oregon's Badlands hit by old growth Juniper rustlers Photos
Congressman Greg Walden to visit The Badlands
Badlands Wilderness endorsed by COTA
OpEd - Unregulated OHV use is being reviewed across the western states
OHV use curtailed by new USFS policy decisions
Sierra Club's Juniper Group supports Badlands Wilderness
OHV regulation discussed at BLM meeting in Bend, Oregon
OpEd - Badlands part of BLM's recreation management area
OpEd - We need the Badlands Wilderness
OpEd - Off-roaders have no reason to fear Badlands Wilderness designation
Speak for the Badlands at Town Hall Meeting
Hiking poles are becoming essential gear
Vandals destroy ancient pictographs in the Badlands
Senator Wyden tests support of Badlands Wilderness
Badlands Wilderness endorsed by Bend City Commissioners
The Badlands: proposed for Wilderness status
The Badlands, a brief history
The Badlands pictographs reported 75 year ago
Map of huge exclusive OHV areas adjoining the Badlands
Mark Fiore animates the Bush Roadless Rule You will love this!
Reserve your next backcountry adventure!
Nation's forests might be on the road to ruin, by President Bill Clinton
Wilderness at risk from new Bush policies
Steens management scandal may affect wilderness study areas
BLM outsourced Steens Management Plan to mining industry leaders!
Owyhee River wilderness study area inventory with ONDA
OHV vandals charged in Yellowstone
Oregon's B and B Complex fire closure modified
Senate says NO to Big Oil in Alaska
Gloria Flora - Environmental Hero
Re-introducing wolves into Oregon
George Bush overlooking the environment
Backpacking Big Indian Gorge in The Steens
Owyhee Canyon wilderness study area in south east Oregon
ONDA's Owyhee wilderness inventory camp near Rome, Oregon
NOLS group on an Owyhee River Canyon adventure
Owyhee River desert lands - Jordan Valley Rodeo
Steens Mountain wedding in Eastern Oregon
Fee Demo and Climbing Fees
Eastern Oregon Adventures