Christmas Gift selection # 6 For 2017 – Your Very Own National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado

Note: This is a repost of one of our Top Ten Gifts for the discerning buyer originally published in December of 2013, a year that will live in infamy. In what has become a half-assed tradition here at The Institute we have been irregularly reposting these now famous gift selections at this time of year when we remember to do so, in a lame attempt to create a Holiday Tradition and mostly because we suddenly realize it’s Christmas time and we don’t have squat done as far as writing new stuff. It’s fun and we don’t have to spend the time taxing our limited sense of originality making that new stuff up. Enjoy.

Your Very Own National Park!!!

Here it is, your chance to own a National Park known the world over for its scenery and wildlife with no strings attached. That’s right, you would be the sole owner! Keep it like it is, Develop it, Scrape it and put up a better one, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. What an incredible gift this will make for that special person on your list. This National park has it all, towering majestic 14,000′ peaks, the mountains that scrape the sky, teeming wildlife populations that include huge free-roaming elk herds, black bear, owls, eagles, marmots and chipmunks, fish, 11 coyotes, some beaver, Bighorn Sheep, and a pika.

How can this be? you ask. Well what most people don’t know is that *The Institute has a real estate division that often contracts with the Federal government to dispose of property it no longer wants. We were contacted by the Department of Interior to conduct a sale of this National Park due to policy changes that no longer emphasized the focus on Nature and it’s attractions. Since the downturn and sequestering and the lack of attention to the American publics wants and needs it has been decided to liquidate some of our most popular Natural attractions to show our willingness to be fiscally responsible. While this may be disturbing to the few who actually like Nature it is an incredible opportunity for one of you, or a group if you decide to pool your lunch money, to own a huge part of American history, not to mention acreage.

This National Park, which we can not name at this time due to federal regulations, but whose initials are Rocky Mountain National Park, will be offered for sale beginning this week by closed auction. Opening bids start at $20.00 and will continue until we decide that’s enough money and close the sale. Since the Director will have the final say and this is a private sale open only to people we like or that have an impressive amount of money, foreign governments welcomed, any considerations made to the Director personally will be taken into consideration ( for clarification contact the Director at his private number, all offers confidential )  in deciding when to close the sale.

This sale includes the National Park, all 265,761 acres, it’s infrastructure including all buildings, roads, water rights, lakes, ponds and puddles and necessary fencing, any personal effects left by departing staff members, all wild life including any offspring born to said park wildlife outside the boundaries of the park, the food service court located at the visitor center on Trail ridge road, all other concessions connected to the park, anything with the name Rocky Mountain National Park on it, the right to charge admission to enter and set regulations regarding that visit, if you desire to continue allowing access by the public that is, the ability to retain any proceeds from the sale of items left in the lost and found department and other perks to numerous to mention.

Bidding begins at noon December 24th and ends at 12:00am December 31st. Winning bid will be announced January 15th, 2014. All bids are to be in cash or bearers bonds, presented directly to the Director of The Institute by the end of business on December 31st, 2013 and are non-refundable. The Director has sole authority to determine winner in case of tying bids. So here’s your chance to really suck up to the guy. Any inducements no matter how lewd will be entertained. Title will be conveyed by an act of Congress sometime in the future.

National Park bidding begins at $20.00

Take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity and bid early and often. If you aren’t successful on this property there is the possibility that two more properties are on the block for later disposal. We can’t disclose which two but think Big Ditch and Geysers and you’ll be close.

Merry Christmas everyone!

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

Redtail Hawk 1 Rattlesnake 0


As they say out here in Colorado “The mail needed picking up” and since we occasionally get financial remuneration via snail mail and we haven’t had any interns able to pass the strict bonding requirements we have here at The Institute, it fell to the Director to go and get  the mail.

Our mail box is located down the five mile dirt road that gets you up and down from the mountain top The Institute is located on, to the modern one lane highway below. On the way down the ‘hill’ you run the chance of seeing wild animals being wild, such as turkeys walking around trying not to get eaten by the coyotes, elk in both male and female forms, mule deer of course, bears, just the black ones not the big grizzlies that roam further north, foxes, the red ones, the aforementioned coyotes, Eagles mostly Goldens but once in a while a bald one will fly by, and lots of birds. Everything from songbirds to grouse and now some Chukar. Hawks, falcons, pelicans flying by to get to somewhere where there is enough water, lots of migratory birds and our favorite species the Redtail hawk.

The Redtail is the hands down favorite because it does one really neat thing. It hunts, kills, and eats rattlesnakes. Rattlesnakes are what takes the fun out of running barefoot through the tall grass. Rattlesnakes bite. We had a neighbor near us, who was minding her own business doing absolutely nothing provoking, get bit and besides costing what a small Korean car costs it made her foot swell up to the size of your standard microwave oven. And she said it hurt too. A lot.

Most people in this country don’t like rattlesnakes. I mean, there’s a few that like them but they are not the majority by any means. People who don’t like them, the rattlesnakes not the people who do like them, generally hit them with a shovel until they’re dead. It is said by those folks who do like rattlesnakes that one of the reasons we should take these rattlesnakes close to our bosoms, are of the opinion that they do good by eating rodents, therefore let’s have them hang around doing that. Others say “Nope. Don’t think so. Gonna kill ’em”.  We believe that if they, the rattlesnakes, want to act that way they should do it way, and I mean way far away from where good American taxpaying citizens hang around. So there is a difference of opinion there.

It’s amazing that the Redtail hawk sides with the shovel smacking people and kill every one of those rattlers they see. They also pass this trait on to the young Redtail hawks by bringing home the snake, often still wriggling, for their little ones to eat. We at The Institute believe this is laudable behavior and compliment the Redtail parents on their good sense whenever we chance to speak with them.

The image above, which was taken just across the highway from our mailbox, shows the Redtail parent in the act of taking the rattlesnake it has just that moment caught, to a tall telephone pole where it would begin the process of making it not alive. Then it flew it back to the nest for the young to eat. We cheered and gave it the universal thumbs up gesture of approval before returning to sorting out the bills from the junk mail, then throwing the entire mess in the dumpster. I know, you’re saying if you’re just going to throw it all in the dumpster why bother sorting it out. We sort because every once in a while there is a check in there and then we’d have to go back and do dumpster diving which is not very dignified for a Director of a major Institute like ours to be doing. Which of course brings us to, if you’re looking for nominations for the “Most Useful Bird of the Year” award we heartily recommend Nature’s helper the Redtail hawk. Remember vote now and vote often. These birds need our support.

Now Are The Foxes

Red Fox TryptychClick to enlarge

We are continuing with our semi-annual inspection report that The Institute conducts in Yellowstone National park whether anyone wants it or not. As has been described before this is a very comprehensive inspection of all aspects of the parks operation. We leave no stone unturned, no question unanswered, no oddity unexplained, no lunch counter stool unoccupied.

One of the major checkpoints on our report is whether the performing animals are, well, performing. This is a major area of concern for park management as many of the tourist dollars spent here are dependent on how good a show the park provides. The travelling public, especially those from out-of-town, are demanding to see the various tricks, capering’s, sleight of paw trickery, mimicking, scampering cutely, impressions, demonstrations of unique abilities, ability to sing, dance, and perform acrobatic stunts that television has conditioned them to believe is realistic animal behavior.

Consequently nearly all of the parks inhabitants have their own repertoire of acts carefully selected for their particular personalities and physical attributes. Grizzly bears lumber along in a wallowing gait that makes them an amusing sight when viewed from the rear, even if there is a freshly killed elk calf dangling from its jaws you can’t help but laugh at its distinctive big butt roll, Eagles, both Bald and Golden soar and dive providing an incredible airshow for the gaping wide-eyed tourist. You can’t miss the sound of cell phone cameras clicking away to capture them in all their splendid glory seven or eight hundred feet in the air. The many hooved ungulates such as the buffalo, antelope, elk, mule deer, Bighorn sheep and Black-horned rhinoceros, put on a grazing display second to none, ok, that list was just a test to see if you were really paying attention, there are actually no buffalo in the park.

Using the beautiful four-color brochure that the park hands out to each and every paying entrant into the park that shows the time, location and activity to be performed by the various animal performers we headed to the Hayden valley our first stop, to view the amazing acrobatic maneuvers of Americas favorite small hairy predator, the Red Fox. We got there a few minutes early so we could set up our gear and get good seats as the spaces fill up rapidly once the show gets under way.

Soon, just as advertised, the Red Fox appeared and began to tease the crowd by scampering over logs, peering out from behind bushes and other shrubbery, posing and posturing out in the open for the many folks wanting photo ops, and generally setting the stage for its climatic last act, the Incredible Leaping Headstand with Bushy Tail Salute. It was an amazing performance. As soon as it was over and our performer retreated into the forest behind it, the crowd immediately dispersed, stopping only to take selfies of themselves and their companions with their cell phones and consulting the brochure for the next performance. Some were even seen photographing their brochures, the  ground they were standing on, the road, their car door handles, each other again, the now empty area where the performance took place. Every thing of interest in Yellowstone that might amaze their friends and neighbors back home must be digitally documented before the next amazing sight comes into view.

We were satisfied with the Red Fox’s performance and gave it four and a half stars out of five and went on to the next performance, a yellow-bellied marmot spitting the shells of seeds over the edge of a rock. We were in for a long day, Yellowstone has a lot of things to see and we hadn’t even gotten to the Buffalo shedding exhibit yet.

Note : To those of you tuning in late the following posts will catch you up on preceding events. There is no extra charge for this service we just want  you to be fully informed.


Stone Eagle



Back many eons ago when Mother Earth was still forming and changing and the people and animals were unsure of who they should be, many of the creatures we know today and think we understand had not yet assumed their final shape and purpose.

During that time there was no thing such as good and bad. There was light and dark but not yet, goodness or evil. The people being the latest creations were also the smartest but they were weak and easy prey for those much bigger and stronger. They couldn’t out run the wolves, or fight with the giant bears, or hide from the eagles who would come and steal their children. And although they were many at first they soon saw that they would be gone, wiped out, by these other animals if something didn’t happen to help them soon.

They called out to Mother Earth saying “Why don’t you help us. They are killing us. They steal our children and we can do nothing. Soon we will all be gone.” Mother Earth replied “But I gave you everything you need to survive and make this earth your own. It is why you were the last to arrive. You have the power to overcome the wolves and the bears and even the mighty eagles who swoop down from the sky. This power lies in your ability to think and plan and work together. No other creatures on earth have this power.”

The people went away and studied her words and saw that this was true. They did something they had never done before and that was gather and choose a leader and decide what to do. They made a plan to capture their worst enemy which was the eagle because it stole their children, catching them as they tried to run and carried them off to their nests to feed their young.

The plan they chose was very smart but very dangerous and it needed someone to put themselves in harm’s way so that all the children would live and be safe from now unto forever. A young man-child of the people came forth and said he would do it, he would be the one. His parents cried and screamed and scratched their flesh in mourning but ultimately gave their blessing and he prepared to be the bravest of the brave that day.

Nearby where the people stayed there was a cave, a magical cave that was filled with living stone. It was fluid and changed shape and color at will. The people knew this but the eagle did not, and it was their plan to have the young man lure the eagle after him by running just fast enough to keep the eagle close but not catch him until they entered the cave. The eagle being arrogant and haughty could only see that the boy was trapped now and easy prey.

The eagle dove into the cave flying faster than it had ever flown before and seeing the boy at the end of the canyon reached forward with its terrible beak to catch him and found itself trapped in the narrow confines of the stone walls. Nothing had ever overcome it before and it began to scream in rage and frustration as the living moving stone slowly enveloped it and turned it into its final eternal shape.

The people were over joyed at their victory and celebrated long into the night, happy that they had saved their children and overcome a mighty enemy. But they were saddened too, because the young man who had so bravely offered himself up to the eagle could not get out of the canyon and he too was slowly turned to stone. He can be seen today as well as the eagle, as a small rounded boulder below the eagle’s wing.

The centuries have added the colors to both the eagle and the boy and they glow in the light of the sun that illuminates the canyon daily, caught there forever in their final struggle. Now visitors to this hallowed ground walk past and note how the stone looks like an eagle but they have no knowledge of the incredibly heroic struggle that took place here in the beginning of time, as the people took the first steps towards taking their place as the favored ones and becoming the caretakers of this earth.

We know this place as Antelope canyon and you can go there and see the eagle and the boy and watch the colors change but you can’t stay long enough to see the stone move.