Monday, October 4, 2010

Stuck Between a Rock and Red Tape

If you want a quick look at how maddeningly hard it can be to get anything -- anything -- done on federal land, given the endless layers of "process" one must wade through, consider the case of Kimberly Appelson, 23, whose body has been wedged under a rock in the Arkansas River since July, awaiting a recovery operation knotted in red tape.

Appelson drowned after falling from a raft at Frog Rock rapids, a notoriously tricky spot not far from Buena Vista, but her body remains trapped there, months later, while retrieval options are studied by bureaucrats. From a story in The Denver Post:

"The river's managers hope to erect a temporary dam — possibly using concrete highway barriers — to divert flow away from the sieve and give divers a chance to reach Appelson.

There's plenty of red tape to go through before any work is done. The Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service would require some environmental analysis. The Army Corps of Engineers would need to approve the plan. Wildlife officials require protection for the river's brown trout. If all goes well, work would be done sometime this month."

I'm not diminishing the challenge involved in this recovery, but it doesn't seem right to have a family waiting for the return of a loved one while all the usual agencies are consulted and a pointless "process" drags on. If you can't even recover a body without such delays, what chance do you have of getting anything else done on federal lands (or waters) in a reasonably-timely way? The "process" is broken, as the story proves. Appelson is as much a captive of federal red tape as she is the boulders at Frog Rock rapids.

Cut the crap, move the rock and return this woman to her family. I don't believe retrieving the girl's body will present any threat to the frigging brown trout. Slavishness to a "process" under these circumstances isn't just inhumane -- it's insane.


Dustin Smith said...

You're an idiot. You don't understand anything about the situation (other than the obvious), so why don't you educate yourself before proclaiming your ignorance to the entire world?

Sean Paige said...

My definition of an idiot is someone who would defend leaving a woman's body trapped in a river, while rafters blithely floated past, while the slow wheels of bureacracy hold up a recovery operation.

Dustin Smith said...

Fact #1:
If Kimberly Appelson wasn't a young, attractive white female, this story wouldn't still be news after 3 months. If a 65 year old man was caught in this sieve, the body would remain there.

Fact #2:
Rivers are dangerous and rafters must understand and respect this.

In closing, this natural feature (Frog Rock) must be left alone. Otherwise, families of the future deceased will be trying to alter every dangerous feature on every rapid on every river in the nation.

Sean Paige said...

Verdict confirmed, Dustin: You really are an idiot.

Her age and attractiveness have absolutely nothing to do with it; I only know her age and have never seen a picture of her; nor would it matter what she looked like. If it were a 65-year-old man, I would want the body retrieved and returned to his family. It's just the humane and right thing to do. Treating some configuration of river rocks as a holy and untouchable shrine, which shouldn't be altered, even in a minor way, in order to free Kimberly, is the height of stupidity, since nature itself is a process of constant change, so nothing -- not even Frog Rock rapids -- stays as it is forever. Stop worshiping nature, Dustin, and stop defending mindless and heartless bureaucracy. Show a little humanity and common sense.

Anonymous said...

Most all of Brown's Canyons rapids were man-made by the railroad dumping rocks in the river, therefore Dustin, your protect "natural processes" viewpoint that altering Frog Rock would upset is a moot point.