Friday, April 24, 2015

Cold Brook Fire expected to boost Wind Cave's tourism numbers

The Rapid City editorial board has lost its way writing drivel about what some have called the Cold Brook Fire's "roaring success."
The episode also has raised questions about Wind Cave National Park Superintendent Vidal Davila's decision to start the fire. Davila, however, has chosen not to address the matter with Black Hills residents, who are among the park's neighbors as well as taxpayers. [RCJ editorial]
The reality:
A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 547,022 visitors to Wind Cave National Park in 2014 spent $52.8 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 919 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $69.8 million. Superintendent Vidal Dávila said Wind Cave National Park welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world. She stated that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and Wind Cave appreciates the partnership and support of neighbors and they are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities. [KCSR Radio]
In the SDGOP one hand has no idea what the other hand does. One unkindness of Republican ravens is considering language changes for a county burn ordinance that would hold the party responsible for a fuel treatment liable for damages caused if the burn escapes control even if that party is state or federal even though those entities are liable anyway.

South Dakota's vulnerable Republican senior senator wants control over the Department of Interior's science-driven prescribed burns.
Before humans began suppressing them, wildfires occurred naturally in grasslands and forests. Prescribed burns are sometimes conducted to mimic the positive natural effects of wildfires. Wind Cave officials hoped to stave off a catastrophic wildfire by burning off some of the thick, dry vegetation that wildfires feed on. [Seth Tupper]
But another Republican with an actual background in forest management calls the Cold Brook Fire a "roaring success:"
The Wind Cave fire reduced the heavy thatch of dry grass, young junipers and young pine trees that are drowning our forest everywhere, opened up much new grazing ground, increased grazing productivity for buffalo and wildlife, and will turn out to be just what the doctor ordered. [Frank Carroll]
Devils Tower National Monument cancelled a fuel treatment as dry conditions threaten a record fire season.

Of course fire managers would rather burn under April conditions than in July or August.

On the same day the Cold Brook Fire was lit ahead of forecast snow and rain land managers should have put the drip torch to every parcel of public ground in a triangle with points at Wright, Wyoming; Bismarck, North Dakota and Brush, Colorado.

Despite negative nattering from Republican nabobs 2015 is expected to be a record year for Black Hills tourism.

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