|OUR NATION'S PARKS|
A Forum with Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt
May 23, 1997
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Questions Sec. Babbitt answered in this forum:
Should cars be banned from national parks? How should forest fires be handled? Why are visits to the Grand Teton or the Grand Canyon so expensive? Does the federal government give mining companies sweetheart deals? Could special tax incentives provide money for the parks? Does the federal government promote clearcutting forests? What was Sec. Babbitt's best experience being part of a National Park Service firefighter? Viewer Comments
March 9, 1997:
Interesting coalitions have developed around the fight for rights to the water flowing down the Animus and the La Plata rivers in Colorado.
March 3, 1997:
Spencer Michels reports on efforts to rebuilt Yosemite National Parks after this year's devastating floods.
April 30, 1996:
Tom Bearden reports on efforts to restore the Colorado River's eco-system by flooding it.
Browse the NewsHour's index of environmental issues.
National Park Service
History of the National Park Service
Interior Sec. Bruce Babbitt
Department of the Interior
Dan Nicoll of Bethesda, MD, asks:
I read that you actually join fire-fighting crews in National Parks and other public lands. you must collect some great stories from doing that. Tell us your best story of fighting fires out West.
Secretary Babbitt responds:
I love being out on fire crews, Dan. I've been doing it since I was 17. Mostly, it's just hard work, that leaves you sore for a week in places you didn't even know existed. But it also in a catalyst for camaraderie and new-formed friendships that cant be beat.
As far as stories... it's a tough call as to which is my favorite. And there are some I've sworn I'd never tell. But I got a big kick last year, when I was working a fire line on my birthday. We're all sweating and sore and overheated, digging trenches to try to cause a fire "break," when these other "hot shots," as firefighters in the forests call themselves, suddenly show up with a birthday cake with lit candles and all.
I was embarrassed, but I was also touched. I was the butt of more than a few jokes about my age. But that cake, after hours of intensive digging and grunting, was the best I'd ever tasted.
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