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Who are the National Park Travelers?
My interest in joining this forum are related to my concerns for Yosemite National Park and how the park intends to manage resources, moving forward, subsequent to the recent litigation, where the Ninth District Court has ruled in favor of Friends of Yosemite Valley, and their associates, of whom I have high respect for. As the late David Brower said, and I quote, "Yosemite should be a nature center, not a profit."
Mr. Brower was a staunch supporter of Friends of Yosemite Valley and of their efforts to protect the park. Had he lived on, I am confident that he would be celebrating the court's recent decision.
Yosemite will be the better for it. Fredrick Law Olmsted saw such a place and reported on it, while talking about how to preserve such an atmosphere for future generations, forever. But, no one listened.
Because the public didn't listen to the first park planner, Mr. Olmsted, we now have to manage multiple millions of people in all manners of lodging units, who need ever wider and straighter roads, and require resturants and creature comforts to the extreme.
Maybe we just need to remove the pavement, gravel the roads, put the tight road bends back in, and narrow them so that it isn't as easy to get there. You know, it used to take days to get there from the bay area. There may have been something good to say about that.
Either way, I am in favor of limiting visitation, not only for the protection of Yosemite Valley, and the rest of the park, but also for the restoration of the flooded campgrounds, if the park were to go back to the planners of the 1980 Yosemite General Management Plan (the GMP) and adhere to the extensive plans that were a part of that plan that had to do with all of the campgrounds. The GMP pulled campsites away from the river and seperated them, but used all of the old real estate of the since flooded campgrounds to accomplish what should have become a camping experience for more natural that anything before or since.
Long live the GMP, where it spoke of campground planning for Yosemite Valley, and hopefully, this court ruling will deal a death sentence to the old Yosemite Valley Plan which was rushed through to completing at the end of the Bruce Babbitt administration, a time when the then Yosemite Park Superintendent, Dave Mihalic, who was broght to the park by Babbitt to push through a hasty agenda, succeeded in destroying not only plans that were in the making for the park going back fifteen years, but also destroying the public confidence of all those who contributed to the public planning process going back to the mid 1970s, like myself.
To rebuild trust, the new park planners need to put the Yosemite Valley Plan back on the planning table for review, in order to gain the public's trust, and to do what is right for future park visitors. In the future, we can expect that the world population will explode, and wars may expand and the morals of future generations decay, but when all of the world around Yosemite spins to a demize, we can hope that Yosemite will be a preserved and protected from these outside influences.
We can only hope that this landmark decision by the Ninth District Court will protect Yosemite for future generations of campers, who will learn about nature the way John Muir would have recommended, from a campsite.
Student/Park Naturalist currently living in Lexington, Kentucky. Eric is a former NPS seasonal ranger, having worked three seasons at Wind Cave National Park and three seasons at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Stephen R. Brown has been a professional photographer and writer for twenty-five years. His images and articles on photography have appeared in Smithsonian, Life, Newsweek, Time, Fortune, the New York Times, Natonal Geographic Books, Broadcasting & Cable, American Photo, Photo Techniques, etc. His work been exhibited in solo shows here and abroad and in "Indelible Images: 100 Years of War Photography" and "Odyssey: 100 Years of NGS Photography," both of which were initiated at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and traveled around the world. His work is available at srbphoto.com
Hi - I'm a 59 year-old married man with two grown children. Employed by a major airline as an aircraft maintenance technician. Spent 21 years in the USAF, and I'm a VietNam vet. My wife is the world's best homemaker. My son is on active duty in the USAF. My daughter is attending law school in California.
I love the National Parks, and I feel they are a legacy for our grandchildren's grandchildren. I enjoy hiking, camping, and sailing. I'm an animal lover. My wife and I share our home with two dogs. We recently moved to Washington state and are really looking forward to exploring the Parks here.
I am a member of the NRA. My Dad and brother both were in the Air Force, My Dad served in Korea. My son is on active duty with the Air Force, stationed in Georgia.
I like to think that I have an open mind.
President, Association of National Park Rangers.
Served for 25 years in 12 park units of the National Park System in 12 different states as a commissioned law enforcement park ranger, rising to the position of Chief Ranger in several parks.
I'm an NPS alumna of Capitol Reef (8 years seasonal interpreter) and Dinosaur (5 years seasonal, 6 years permanent interpreter), and stayed in Vernal, UT, near Dinosaur after switching to a part-time writer/illustrator position with Dinosaur Nature (now Intermountain Natural History) Association. Am now retired but a frequent volunteer for Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum, and active in community recycling, pet spay/neuter efforts, and a grassroots environmental group, the Uintah Mountain Club. Favorite recreational pursuits are birding, photography, and travel to parks around the Colorado Plateau and Greater Yellowstone areas.
In 1995 my wife and I had had enough of being city-bound corporate slaves and decided a big change was in order. We sold our nice home in the 'burbs, bought a little travel trailer, and set off to explore as many of America's spectacular natural places as we could get to in 6 months, or so. 18 months later, we had been to the Arctic Circle, Guatemala, and a whole bunch of places in between, including virtually all of the western National Parks. It was pure bliss.
A few months into that adventure, one thing became very apparent. There were a lot of people out there in NPS-land making a real mess of their summer vacations. Many of them were trying to "see it all" in a week or two, and we found ourselves constantly counseling stressed-out moms and dads, desparate to make the most of their precious time together. Most of them hadn't done their homework (they were too busy working!) and were spending all their time driving from one Park to the next.
From that experience, Tracks & Trails was born. (We had to do *something*. We were broke!) Today, our staff of 10 NPS-junkies carefully coordinates hundreds of National Park vacations each year. Customers start by choosing from one of the itineraries outlined on our website, which range from 3 nights to 3 weeks. Then they work with their Trip Consultant to fine-tune their vacation, adding raft trips, horseback rides, and other optional activities, if they want to. For getting around, we’ve found that a “hotel room on wheels” is just the ticket for easing city folks into the outdoors. An RV allows families to enjoy many of the same idyllic places as tent campers, only in much greater comfort. It also allows them to cover ground more easily by avoiding the time-consuming ritual of setting up and tearing down all that gear.
Their fat Adventure Kit travel binder contains a comprehensive set of personalized documentation to insure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. They fly or drive to their gateway city (Denver, Vegas, SFO…), pickup their home on wheels, open up the Adventure Kit, and hit the road.
We are thrilled to be exposing the next generation of American voters and taxpayers to the wonders of our National Parks.
For over 10 years Joan has worked for the Alaska office of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) on park protection issues for national parks in Alaska. Previously Joan has worked as a seasonal ranger for the Park Service in Denali and Sequoia and for the Forest Service in the Chugach and Tongass National Forests.
Hello folks..............Ted here
I live about 20 miles from Yosemite and have visited the park many over the last 60 years.
No matter how many times I visit, every time I go through the tunnel and get hit in the face with
the view of the valley, Half Dome, The Captain, the falls and all the rest it takes my breath away.
I have created a website about the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Yosemite and would like to
share it with others. Please visit me at http://www.campingsierra.com
I am a disabled veteran who enjoys the outdoors and travel in our National "Treasures" Parks. My parents called them our National Treasures when we were growing up. My parents taught me a greater appreciation by our camping often in National or State Parks. I am moving to Alaska in a couple of months and I am actually seeing most of the rest of the parks that I have not been to.
I am going to the following, White Sands, Grand Canyon, Lake Meade, Zion, Arches, Crater of the Moon, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, then Banff and Jasper in Canada.
I am currently the President of the City of Casselberry's Friends of the Park, which is an all volunteer organization for the small City of Casselberry in Florida. Our small parks stand in stark contrast to the monumental expanse of the major National Parks, but they rival all the world’s parks in the simple beauty of creating a space that enlightens if but only for a moment and leaves us changed if but only slightly from that moment past...
I have visited a vast majority of the Neolithic sites of Ireland and the British isles, which is an easy task if you live in England as I did in my youth. Of all of these Neolithic sites, I would add Stonehenge at the Summer Solstice and Newgrange at the Winter Solstice as my favorites.
I am now slowly getting around to the U.S. National Parks in this part of my life.
Randy Johnson is Travel Editor for National Parks Traveler. He's a widely published photojournalist with many awards from the Society of American Travel Writers and North American Travel Journalists Association (he's a member of each). Until 2009, he was the longtime editor of Hemispheres, the inflight magazine of United Airlines, named “World’s Best Airline Magazine” in 2006.
He's the author of a handful of books including the bestselling Falcon Guides Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway, Best Easy Day Hikes Blue Ridge Parkway, Hiking North Carolina and Southern Snow: The Winter Guide to Dixie. His new book is Best Easy Day Hikes Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Visit Randy at www.randyjohnsonbooks.com and check out his videos of the southern Appalachians, including the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains at http://www.youtube.com/user/randyjohnsonbooks.
Randy's experience in parks includes proposing and implementing an innovative trail fee-based backcountry management program that preserved hiker access to Grandfather Mountain in NC (www.grandfather.com). The program helped Grandfather Mountain become the world’s only privately-owned, United Nations-designated Biosphere Reserve and a state park in 2009. During the completion of the final "missing link" of the Blue Ridge Parkway around Grandfather Mountain, Randy helped mesh the mountain’s private trails and Park Service paths into the spectacular hiking network in place today. He lives in the North Carolina mountains near Boone, not far from the Parkway, where he writes widely for magazine newspapers, and websites.
A seasonal park ranger, employed at various times at: Big Bend, Cape Hatteras, Great Basin, Wind Cave and Yellowstone
I read all the VC members. Wow!!!! I don't have a long list of anything like you all do. I just like to road trip. And most of my road trips take me to a National Park. I love State Parks as well. A few years ago my brother and I, while coming back from Portland, Oregon to our home in Ohio. Of course we took a road trip. Scenic Trip, Route 2 all across the US. While in the UP, we visitied Painted Rock, which is where I bought my first passport. Needless to say, I've pretty much filled that one up, because I just recently purchased the "new and improved" passport. All I have to say is WOW!!!!! I've photographed all of my trips, which means I have hundreds of photos from all over. My ultimate goal. Driving the Alkan Highway to Alaska and visiting Denali NP. I'm glad I stumbled across this site. I love it, so just....keep up the good work. I'll be seeing ya!!!!!
I am, quite simply, a National Park System enthusiast and collector. I have visted over 200 of them so far. The parks dovetail quite nicely into two of my interests: American history and the natural world. Having no other qualifications than amateur studies and personal explorations of the NPS, I am posting essays of my observations, experiences, and insights in my own blog, www.americaincontext.com.
Santa Fean Jerry Rogers served in the Old Santa Fe Trail Building as the last regional director of the Southwest Region. He is a member of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, a group of more than 600 former employees concerned about the directions taken by today's NPS leadership.
I spent 35 years with the NPS, retiring in 1998. I started as a seasonal ranger at RMNP while in college. As a career employee I was at Crater Lake NP; Glen Canyon NRA; first Area Manager for Guadalupe Mtns. NP; seved as Supt of Capulin Mtn. NM, Glacier Bay NP & Preserve, and Curecanti NRA and Black Canyon NP. I was also Chief of Ranger Activities and Resource Mgmt. for the former Rocky Mtn. RO;and Asst. Supt. of RMNP. My wife, Jean, and I now live in the Denver area and get to the mountains often.
Following NPS I worked for a company dealing with US Job Corps activites, managing the job placement specialists in CO and WY.
I now work for the Southern Rockies Conservation Alliance and The Wilderness Society, helping educate wildland/urban interface communities in CO on the importance of Community Wildfire Protection Plans.
I am Director of the National Center on Accessibility at Indiana University. We work with the National Park Service Accessibility Management Program in assisting NPS in addressing issues related to physical and program accessibility for individuals with disabilities in the National Park system. We provide training, technical assistance and consultation. We also conduct research on issues of interest to the NPS.
While serving 33 years on the faculty of the University of South Carolina, I taught a national parks course, helped get Congaree National Park established, and worked as a volunteer in the park. Now retired as Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Geography, I want to continue visiting parks, thinking about parks, and writing about parks (at least occasionally) until I assume room temperature.
My favored life involves hiking and looking for elusive wildflowers in the Rockies. Spending nights in some small little cabin way back in the woods. And maybe writing about my journeys and experiences.
I have worked for the National Park Service since 2008 at the Natural Resource Program Center (Fort Collins, CO, Water Rights Program), Mount Rainier National Park, Denali National Park and Preserve, and Rocky Mountain National Park. I love the mountains and want to see them protected.
I am a guide, a naturalist, specializing in brown bears. My husband Ken and I own and operate Emerald Air Service in Homer Alaska-we have spent every day, the past 15 years, from mid May through October sharing the bears of Katmai National Park and Preserve with about 1100 people per season. Bears are not only our vocation, they are our avocation. They give us our living - we in turn advocate for them - active in conservation issues and pro-actively working through the agencies both state and federal on issues involving bear conservation, viewing ethics and management.
Jim Stratton is the Alaska Regional Director for the National Parks Conservation Association, a position he has held since December 2002. Prior to joining NPCA, Jim spent eight years as the director of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and 11 years as the Program & Finance Director for Alaska Conservation Foundation. He started his Alaska conservation career in 1981 as the Executive Director of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council.
He serves on the board of Training Resources for the Environmental Community (TREC), Great Land Trust, Denali Education Center, and is an advisor to the Brainerd Foundation.
When not working or volunteering for conservation efforts, he produces and hosts the Arctic Cactus Hour, a weekly public radio program (music, not talk) on Anchorage’s KNBA. He also likes to fly fish, is into birding, and with his wife Colleen Burgh, travel to wild and exotic places, especially those that provide a stamp for his National Park Passport. Jim holds a degree in Recreation and Parks Management from the University of Oregon and an MBA from Alaska Pacific University.
Credit for Jim's photo goes to Scott Kirkwood of the NPCA.