Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beringia, The Land Bridge, And Ed

We got you covered.

Last Thursday, the Wild Tundra Foundation (WTF) opened its 2013 international mega-conference in Anchorage, AK.

Keynote speaker and WTF Arctic Expert Mikhail Zhitonztik addressed the issue of the world's first cross-continent national park.

The new park is intended to span the Bering Strait and connect Russia's Far Eastern Chukotka Region with Ed's Bait and Tackle on the U.S. side.

Quoting Stephen T. Mather, first Director of the U.S. National Park Service, Professor Zhitonztik reminded attendees that "scenery is hollow enjoyment."

He went on to say that "tourist who sets out in morning after indigestible breakfast and fitful night of sleep on impossible bed is only go to catch first flight home."

"Polar bear, bird colony, walrus, the fishes of Bering strait not the priority," Zhitonztik said. "We just want national park. One to bring dollars. Like Disneyland."

The idea for this unique trans-national theme park was first proposed by Mikhail Gorbachev, the very last Soviet leader. Gorbachev apparently hoped that cash flow from such an enterprise would prop up the Soviet economy.

Unfortunately for him, no.

But times are different now. The smell of real money is in the air. All noses are tilted upward, and sniffing rapidly.

Just recently Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree creating Beringia, Russia's new far-east national park.

On the US side, the Bering Land Bridge National Reserve has existed since the 1970s, right back of Ed's smokehouse.

First Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shook hands on the deal, and then Ed paved his parking lot and expanded his walk-in beer cooler.

"By welcoming the private sector as a partner in park operations, we broaden the economic base of the region," said Secretary Clinton.

Taking a cue from the U.S. National Park Service, whose 500 concession contracts gross $1 billion annually, the Russian government has encouraged investment by private corporations.

Such as Solntsevskaya Bratva, the Semion Mogilevich Organization, and possibly the last remaining members of the Izmaylovskaya Gang, if any are still alive.

"These people know how to collect," said Zhitonztik, "and my relatives, they cook and operate the fun rides. Will be great opportunity for all. Screw the bears. We got plenty stuffed ones."

When we attempted to reach Ed for a closing comment, we were told that he was "at home with sick headache", and his replacement, a man identified only as "Miroslav", shouted angrily and waved us off with a gun.

The new national park will be accessible via air or sea. Only.

More:

Russian national park Russian national park to bridge US-Russia divide

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NPS Authorized Concessioners

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