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Steve Lunetta: What I did on my summer vacation

Posted: August 23, 2009 8:54 p.m.
Updated: August 24, 2009 4:55 a.m.
As our kids head back to school, they are invariably confronted with the age-old "what I did on my summer vacation" writing assignment. So, in honor of that tradition, I respectfully submit my vacation essay to you.

Try not to grade me too tough. Mrs. Johnson left scars on my psyche from third grade. Didn't help that Uncle Earl told me to write about our family trip to Tarzana. He told me that's where Tarzan came from and I believed him.

Fast-forward to current day. Our family decided to take the typical family vacation this summer and we went to Yosemite.

To my great dismay and embarrassment, I have never been to this great national park. It sits a mere four hours from my home and I have ignored it all this time.

Sure, we've driven to South Dakota and visited Rushmore, and the Badlands. Visited the Crazy Horse Memorial and I'm not sure who was crazier - Mr. Horse or the nutty family trying to carve it.

We drove to New Mexico and saw Carlsbad Caverns. We packed up the in-laws and hopped over to Niagara Falls. We've seen the Sequoias, King's Canyon, Pismo Beach, Crater Lake, Joshua Tree, Redwood National Forest and Stone Mountain.

We've seen the Corn Palace, the World's Biggest Ball of Yarn, and Wall Drug (ice cold water!).

But never Yosemite.

Yosemite was created by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864 under the Yosemite Grant. It was the first time that land was set aside specifically for preservation and the use of the American people. This was followed shortly by the creation of the first National Park, Yellowstone, in 1872.

The only reason Yosemite was not first is due to the fact that it was ceded to California as a state park.

That's where the trouble started. Back then, as today, whenever Sacramento gets involved, things get really screwed up.

The valley was being ruined through overgrazing of sheep and logging of the giant sequioas native to the valley. John Muir, the greatest environmentalist of his time, eventually convinced Teddy Roosevelt in 1906 to make it a national park.

Muir allegedly told the President, "Teddy, those liberal fools in Sacramento want to take this valley and have it run by state employees. Now, as you recall, these are the same employees that are highly unionized and extremely inefficient. Why, it takes four of them to do the work of two federal employees, or one private sector employee."

"Bully! I see your point, John," said Mr. Roosevelt. "We can't let California take over this magnificent valley. They'd ruin it just like they are ruining the rest of California. Next thing you know, they'll have stage actors running the place!"

As I recall, Lincoln was a Republican. Once again, Republicans were responsible for the creation of something great in this nation but we somehow lost the credit for it.

The Democrats are now viewed as the "environmentalists" but in actuality they often simply copy Republican inventions and ideas.
What would Yosemite look like today if it was still under California state control?

El Capitan would have a big sponsorship sign that would say, "Bank of America Rock - Climb Our Face."

There would be paint stripes on the face to show people where to climb.

Of course, all of the climbing walls would have safety nets. There would even be a climbing route that would be wheelchair accessible.

All of the falls would be mere trickles since the Environmentalists would feel that they wasted too much water just "falling over an edge."
They'd all be dammed and the water rationed out during the entire year to make the waterfalls even and fair at all times.

And, best of all, the state would attempt to dissuade us from seeing the Almighty's magnificent hand in the creation of the valley.

They would tell us "there is no God" and explain that all of the wonders before us were merely accidents and happy coincidences.

No, this is one of the rare times that I can actually say that Federal control is preferable to State.

Sacramento's continuing ineptitude compounded by short-sighted liberal thinking would ruin a national treasure.

Uncle Earl really enjoyed the trip, too. But he told me to wash real good so I'd get all of the Yose mites off me. I don't think I believe him. But, I'm scrubbing extra hard in the shower just in case.

Steve Lunetta is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Right About Now" runs Mondays in The Signal.


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