Where's Coyote?

Well it has been a busy 10 days for travel.  Last weekend my wife and I were at Harvard for our 25th anniversary of graduating from the business school there.   The way the b-school taught at the time, they basically locked 90 people together (a "section") in the same room for a year and threw teachers and course material at them.  I may have spent more time in a room with those 90 people than I spent in the same room with my dad growing up.  So you get to know them pretty well.  It was fun seeing everybody, though intimidating given all the folks my age running Fortune 50 companies or cashing out billion dollar startups.

After that, I went to Bozeman early this week and discussed free-market options for reforming the National Park Service at an event hosted by PERC, the Property and Environment Research Center.  On Tuesday we went into Yellowstone and met with the Superintendent there, who had also run the whole agency for about a year.  A lot of the discussion was about sustainability - financially.  The NPS raises less than 10% of its revenue from visitors, and so must constantly fight with Congress for cash.   One problem is that Yellowstone (perhaps their premier park) charges just $25 per vehicle for a one week admission.  This is insane.  We have tiny state parks in Arizona with one millionth of the appeal that fill the park despite a $20 a day entrance fee.  And the NPS (or really Congress) takes every opportunity to discount this already absurdly low rate even further.  You can get into all the parks for the rest of your life for a single $10 payment with the Senior pass.  This essentially gives free entry to their largest visitor demographic.

Today I am in Houston for a sort of climate skeptics' conference.  If you are in the area and the agenda looks interesting, they are still selling admissions (I think) for $75 for the two day event at the Hyatt downtown.   Rick Perry is speaking tonight, and that is supposed to be a draw I guess but I am actually skipping that and focusing on the scientists they have through the day.  Hopefully it is interesting, but I am also a conference skeptic so we will see.

  • Onlooker from Troy

    You don't want to hear what Perry has to say (about anything)? I'm shocked! 😉

    Haven't you had your quota of lies (heard) for the month yet? :-)

  • Arrian

    On the climate/conservation front, Kids Prefer Cheese just posted this presentation by Matt Ridley: The world is getting greener, extinctions are down, and it's largely thanks to industrialization and fossile fuels: http://mungowitzend.blogspot.com/2014/09/fossil-fuels-and-green.html

  • Everyman

    Thanks to the opportunism of the AARP, those of us who are elders have become free thinkers.

  • Sam L.

    I got one of those /Senior Passes a few years back.

  • sch

    NPS budget is not even a rounding error at under $3B actual for the past 10 years. At their estimate of 275M annual visits to the NPS as a whole, a $10 charge to each would
    essentially cover the budget. Haven't drilled down to what the expense versus revenue is on the multiple contractors to the NPS to operate park services, but a recent visit to
    Yosemite suggests that contractors employees enormously outnumber NPS employees at least when the resort hotels are open. My most extensive experience is with the Smokies
    which is unusual in that no charge is made there. As a free loading senior I made out like a bandit on a recent trip west that included Zion, Death Valley, Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP. Paying the usual fees would have cost maybe $125 to 150, not much on top of the trip costs of $3-4k, (not really sure so far).

  • sch

    NPS budget is not even a rounding error at under $3B actual for the past 10 years. At their estimate of 275M annual visits to the NPS as a whole, a $10 charge to each would
    essentially cover the budget. Haven't drilled down to what the expense versus revenue is on the multiple contractors to the NPS to operate park services, but a recent visit to
    Yosemite suggests that contractors employees enormously outnumber NPS employees at least when the resort hotels are open. My most extensive experience is with the Smokies
    which is unusual in that no charge is made there. As a free loading senior I made out like a bandit on a recent trip west that included Zion, Death Valley, Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP. Paying the usual fees would have cost maybe $125 to 150, not much on top of the trip costs of $3-4k, (not really sure so far).

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "Where's Coyote?"

    In an undisclosed location, hanging out with Waldo.

  • Adam

    Anybody interesting in the class of 1990?

  • Michael Stack

    Can you explain what you mean by being a 'conference skeptic'? Are you saying you don't expect to learn much of value? I've been to a few conferences that were really interesting -- OSCON and CodeMash.