Thanks for posting this

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Loon Zone Chat Page Version 1.60 ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 10:34:28 10/06/16

In Reply to: Superintendent Barbee dead at 80. posted by DG


Many thanks for sharing the news. I doubt I would have come across this, other than Yellowstone Forever eventually putting something out in one of their newsletters.

I never had the privilege of meeting the man, but reading his obituary, I see a wealth of info that is new to me. I only knew of Superintendent Barbee as the steadfast steady hand who resisted the shrill shrieks of alarm from the Wyoming Congressional delegation and other freaked out alarmists, like local Chambers of Commerce and other money-centric interests in 1988.

What a history! The guy was a CSU alum and ROTC participant, who spent time at Ft. Benning. He had to have done all the Colorado 14ers a long time ago, back when it was even tougher to access some of the more remote peaks.

I see his background was in interp, which is near and dear to my heart. That background had to have helped inform his judgement in the summer of 1988.

I'm amazed to see that he was an alpinist, marathon runner, and downhill/nordic skier. I'm sure he had a ball being a seasonal ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park, with Longs Peak and other challenging climbs, like the face of Mt. Alice available. I think of the climbing rangers I got to know when I volunteered at Rocky. One in particular stands out, and that is Chris Reveley (sp?), who had the time record for roundtrip ascent of Longs Peak and the Estes Park Marathon. I think of some of the unbelievably talented backcountry skiers in the ranger ranks that I knew. (I still can't figure out how they could do such polished telemark turns coming down narrow, steep, switchback trails!)

Now, I find out Bob did all that stuff and more, a generation before those youngsters. I find it significant that he chose Bozeman as his retirement home, as have countless other long time Yellowstone employees. It is also significant to see where his 3 daughters reside (Jackson, Kalispell, and Steamboat Springs). Any hard core downhill skier will recognize the significance of these towns.

I find myself wondering if the Chief of Interpretation (Glen Kaye) at RMNP in the 1980s, when I was volunteering, worked for Bob, when he was superintendant of Hawaii Volcanoes. Glen's interpretive program on that park fired my imagination and commitment to someday visit that park. I eventually made the trip multiple times.

I hope somebody writes a tell all biography about Bob's trials in 1988. I know that there was intense pressure being exerted on DOI, the NPS, and Bob himself from the highest levels of government. Thankfully, Don Hodel, who had replaced James Watt, as Secretary of the Interior, and William Penn Mott Jr., the NPS Director, backed Bob up.

First John Craighead. Now Bob Barbee. I'm starting to feel like it's the end of an era.


Follow Ups:

Post a Followup

Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL:
Please enter the following value as your Submit Key:     
Submit Key:
Note: The Submit Key is Case Sensitive. Do not Copy and Paste!

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Loon Zone Chat Page Version 1.60 ] [ FAQ ]