Recent comments

  • A Quick Tour Of Germany's National Parks   1 week 2 days ago

    Thanks for the nice reminder that the national park idea has caught on in other parts of the world. For comparison sake, a hectare = about 2.5 acres, and a sq. kilometer = about 0.4 sq. miles or 247 acres.

    That means the "largest unbroken area of protected forest in central Europe" in Bavarian Forest National Park (243 square kilometres) includes about 60,046 acres, which is a little larger than our Mesa Verde NP or about 25% larger than Acadia NP.

  • Big Bend National Park Proposing Slightly Higher Entrance, Backcountry Fees   1 week 2 days ago

    Ok, so part of me understands the public hue and cry over increased park fees because of NPS money management issues. But, part of me also understands the cost to park infrastructure; I don't do so much backcountry roughing it and therefore appreciate a clean restroom to use rather than having to squat behind a bush. I also appreciate a well-maintained trail, facilities that would allow physically-challenged individuals to see and enjoy the wonders of a national park as much as everybody else, and a decent road over which to traverse the park. Heavily-visited parks require alot of maintenance (snow plows, road mainetnance, etc. etc.). Yes, perhaps a little better management of existing funds would go a long way to improving items in various states of disrepair, but I can't imagine how a park fee would remain static year upon year while everything else that costs anything is raised due to inflation. Yes, I understand that national parks are public lands and should be open to everybody and not just those people who can afford to pay to get in - I get that. And I'm pretty certain I'm opening myself up to the ire of those of you who can't stand the idea of *ever* increasing park fees. Nonetheless, if an increase in fee will help keep or improve existing infrastructure from going completely to hell, then I'm one of the minority who is fine with that. Of course, the real test, then, will be to see if the NPS has improved their money management abilities.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   1 week 2 days ago

    Owen. If 2000 was the highest temperature ever and the 13 of the next 14 years were the same temperature then, 14 of the last 15 years would be the hottest on record. Yet, the trend would be flat for those 15 years - despite a steady increase in co2. The predictions have been horribly wrong.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   1 week 3 days ago

    <<LIMA, Peru (AP) — With temperature data showing 2014 currently tied for the hottest year on record, the U.N. weather agency on Wednesday rejected claims that global warming has paused.

    The World Meteorological Organization said the global average temperature in January-October was 0.57 Celsius (1.03 Fahrenheit) above average, the same as in record hot year 2010.

    The ocean temperature set a new record in the nine-month period, while land temperatures were the fourth or fifth highest since record-keeping began in the 19th century, the WMO said in a report released at U.N. climate talks in Lima and at its headquarters in Geneva.

    "The provisional information for 2014 means that 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement. "There is no standstill in global warming."

    Climate skeptics point to a perceived hiatus in the temperature rise since 1998, an exceptionally hot year, to support their claims that man-made warming is not a big problem. Most climate scientists reject that idea. Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University said the long-term warming trend is combined with natural variations that tend to be cyclical, with a period of lower-than-average warming followed by a period of rapid warming.>>

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   1 week 3 days ago

    Increases in regional droughts and floods

    Do you mean like California?

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2014/12/08/california-drought-cause-noaa/20095869/

    Just another example of the alarmist citing natural fluctuations as "evidence" of AGW.

  • Senate Poised To OK Legislation That Would Grow National Park System, But Questions Loom   1 week 3 days ago

    "[This] Bill ... contains no funding for the Park Service to administer the parks the measure would create or the studies it calls for. Exactly how much would be needed was not immediately clear..."

    About the only thing that's "immediately clear" about this bill is Congress is more concerned about getting out of town for a long vacation that it is on giving any thought to the longer term ramifications of this legislation.

  • Big Bend National Park Proposing Slightly Higher Entrance, Backcountry Fees   1 week 3 days ago

    Jarvis, the Fee Czar. Pricing the public out of public lands, a legacy upon which to proudly retire.

  • Senate Poised To OK Legislation That Would Grow National Park System, But Questions Loom   1 week 3 days ago

    Adding to the park system at the same time that they're claiming they can't get enough funding for existing parks without raising the entrance fees prohibitively for a lot of people is Just Wrong.

    Fund what you've got properly *first*, Congress!

  • Tri-Park Pass Lets You Enjoy Three Hawaiian National Park Gems   1 week 3 days ago

    Just returned from Haleakala. Like most parks, they are taking comments on increasing fees from $10 to $25. Generally, I don't have a problem with fees. I do have to question this 150% increase.

    This park seems to be averaging around 1 mil visitors (though 2013 was way down) which at its 2.7 multiplier means about 370,000 vehicles paying the $10 fee. That is $3.7 million of collections time 80% or about $3 million going to the park on top of what is paid out of the NPS budget. I must say, it is hard to see how $3 million could be spent in this park. Two tiny visitor centers, a couple of cabins and a few dozens miles of trials represents its total infrastructure. Why would it possibly need another $4.5 million every year?

    I also noted a number of tour buses with foreign visitors. I see from the fee structure, these buses end up paying $1-2 per person. Heck, my group paid more than that to see a nearby 15 acre lavender farm. Seems to me these folks should be paying much higher rates since they make no other contribution to the NPS.

  • For Some Park Visits, Getting There Is Definitely Part Of The Fun   1 week 3 days ago

    Often when friends or family visit us here at Klondike Goldrush NHP in Skagway I'll recommend that they take AML on arriving and Wings of Alaska [the local bush plane between here and Juneau] for the trip home, or vice versa. That way one gets both adventures. Subsequent trips up here I recommend renting an RV to drive around Alaska and the Yukon for a month or so. It takes big bites out of things, where a short trip or even a week long cruise only scratches the surface of what is to be seen and experienced up here.

  • For Some Park Visits, Getting There Is Definitely Part Of The Fun   1 week 4 days ago

    Yes, Jim, a very nice article. I recall when the new president of the Alaska Railroad came to Seattle in 1984, only to complain about the Denali Star [then called the Aurora, as I recall] as an "albatross." The railroad had just been transferred to the state. I wrote him a long letter suggesting otherwise, as did my friends at Princess Tours and Holland America. The rest is history, as they say. Now look at that train. Alaska would not want to be without it. You beautifully remind us why public transportation is still the most responsible way to see the parks--and much more fun than driving, since the husband always gets to drive!

  • For Some Park Visits, Getting There Is Definitely Part Of The Fun   1 week 4 days ago

    What a great article! I would have LOVED to have been on that bumpy airplane ride for the pure adventure of it all.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   1 week 4 days ago

    Perhaps you might benefit in these types of discussions if you knew the difference between 'predictions' and scenario 'projections when used in global climate change science.

    (carried over where I posted on wrong thread)

    I'm so sorry John, let me correct myself. Your "scenario projections" have been horribly wrong. Its tough keeping up with this Orwellian double speak. Oh, and the "predictions" have been horribly wrong as well.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   1 week 4 days ago

    This graph, which you present, is not used in making assessments of on–going global climate change or future projections.

    Of course it isn't because it proved the past predictions horribly wrong.

    For example, if one plots global mean temperatures and uses confidence intervals, one finds that from 1999–2010 there has been an increasing trend of 0.175 C per decade.

    I though you were an expert in math. If so you are well aware that in proper trend analysis the start year has no more influence than the finish year, or any othe year for that matter. 1999-2010 may indeed show a rising trend. Its a different period. For the last 18 years, the trend has been flat despite steady increases in CO2 emmissions. That's not what the AWG models predicted. The AWG models have been horribly wrong.

  • Senate Poised To OK Legislation That Would Grow National Park System, But Questions Loom   1 week 4 days ago

    Ecbuck

    I think you meant for your comment to be included in the comment section for our article "Is Global Climate Change a Threat to National Parks: Another Response."

    It is not clear from your above comment which graph you are referring. If it is the simple temperature graph we already explained why such a graph is not used. If it was the last graph, presumably from Dr. James Hansen's 1988 talk about global climate change, it is not used both for the reasons we stated and because it dealt with three scenario projections–it did not deal with predictions. Perhaps you might benefit in these types of discussions if you knew the difference between 'predictions' and scenario 'projections when used in global climate change science.

    John Lemons

  • Senate Poised To OK Legislation That Would Grow National Park System, But Questions Loom   1 week 4 days ago

    Wrong thread

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   1 week 4 days ago

    Beachdumb:

    Please note the following concerning the graphs and comments you submitted in response to our article:

    1. The first graph you showed from the Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut Centre for Ocean and Ice (Denmark) (http://ocean.dmi.dk/english/index.php) shows total Arctic sea ice extent for 2005–2014. As we mentioned in our article, sea ice extent is an indicator used in making forecasts and conclusions about the state of the Arctic; however, sea ice mass and volume often are more useful indicators. Further, had you read the text accompanying the graph you should have noted that based on satellite measurements the sea ice extent today is significantly smaller than 30 years ago and that in particular during the past 10 years the melting of sea ice has accelerated.

    2. The second and third graphs you show also are from data collected by the Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut Centre for Ocean and Ice. The second graph simply shows, for Greenland, this season’s daily contribution to the surface mass balance in Gts (blue line) compared to mean curves from historical model runs. The third graph shows the accumulated surface mass balance from September 1st to now (blue line) compared to a couple of other years. The grey area shows the high and low mean accumulated surface values for 1990–2011. If you had read the very same report that you took the graphs from, you would have read that based on satellite observations over the past ten years or so that Greenland is losing about 200 Gts of surface mass ice per year.

    3. The fourth graph you showed is without much scientific merit. This graph has appeared on numerous climate change denialists’ websites. Why is it irrelevant? Because as we explained in our article sound science concerning temperature data typically covers longer time periods with the inclusion of running means. The data presented in this graph also begin, basically, with 1998–one of the warmest years of the recent past and therefore using it to draw an inference that there is a downward temperature slope, say, to 2014 is misleading. Choose another starting year and you get a different graph. For example, if one plots global mean temperatures and uses confidence intervals, one finds that from 1999–2010 there has been an increasing trend of 0.175 C per decade. One also finds that 2010 was the warmest year of the recent past, followed by 2005; forecasts are that 2014 will be the warmest year on record, or at least a close runner–up.

    As we also stated in our article, many recent observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia with widespread impacts on human and natural systems–the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen. The changes also are unprecedented with respect to both the amount of change and the rate of change. Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the earth’s surface than any decade since 1850. The period 1983–2012 was very likely the warmest 30–period of the last 800 years and likely the warmest 30–year period of the past 1400 years.

    4. In presenting your fifth graph, you neglect to state that all general circulation models, of which there are about 14 or so in common uses, contain different gaps in coverage. Scientists know the gaps, but take them into account when studying the utility of the models or when making projections based on various scenarios.

    5. Finally, your sixth and last graph is irrelevant. It appears to be an old graph of one of Dr. Hansen’s three scenarios that he used when alerting the world to global climate change in 1988. This graph, which you present, is not used in making assessments of on–going global climate change or future projections.

    Dr. John Lemons

    Dr. Owen Hoffman

  • Senate Poised To OK Legislation That Would Grow National Park System, But Questions Loom   1 week 4 days ago

    "Perhaps what Congress should do is an analysis of the entire National Park System and start getting rid of marginal units that cost many dollars and have few visitors." - Harry Butowsky

    I have a problem with using visitation as the measure for the value of a park. If NP units need to engage in a popularity contest for funding, how long will it be before they all become Disneyland?

  • Concerns, Opposition Voiced To Proposed Entrance Fee Increases At National Parks   1 week 4 days ago

    Whipperin, your rant is a bit funny. You rant about how the parks gate receipts at YSNP seem too low because they only pull in about 9 million. Then you go off about NPS removing bison trails. BOY, that sounds like a stretch, but i'll consider the upper deck hecklers if they can showcase some evidence. I did a quick search on that and came up with nothing. Can you provide some links to show that this is being the case? And are you talking about the IMAX theatre that is ran by Nat Geo on the south rim, or something else?

    If I do recall, the Superintendent in charge of the Effigy Mounds fiasco was demoted, but to apply that case to a big broad brush is once again a stretch. The parks would be rather hideous looking if they allowed EVERYONE to do what they wanted. I'm not saying the Park is perfect, but man, the hecklers on this site make it seem like they do everything wrong. It gets old. You, like Mr Quillen need to provide evidence, not just hearsay, if you want to be taken seriously.

  • Concerns, Opposition Voiced To Proposed Entrance Fee Increases At National Parks   1 week 4 days ago

    Here's more evidence of Park incompetence and crooked behavior as well as why they don't need to increase entrance fees: http://www.startribune.com/nation/284857071.html

  • Concerns, Opposition Voiced To Proposed Entrance Fee Increases At National Parks   1 week 4 days ago

    Don't raise fees on US citizens, raise fees on non-citizens in any fees really need to be raised. The Parks are for the enjoyment of the American people, so let the foreignors pay for the deficitis in running the Parks. Yellowstone has about 3 million visits per year, but only takes in about $9 million in entrance fees (2013 FY). That's about $3 per visit. That seems low too to me. Maybe the fee collection process needs improvement. How about an audit of the Parks use of money? I have seen wasteful and stupid projects that are about removing the "human footprint" rather than using the money to improve visitor services. Park managment is so stupid that they confuse wildlife trails with human trails and attempt to remove wildlife trails in Grand Teton National Park that were only used by bison. Stuff like that goes to show the ignornace and wastefulness of National Park Service managment. What about the millions wasted in Effigy Mounds National Monument desecrating Indian graves? I went to Grand Canyon NP last spring and the movie theatre was closed at the visitor center. The sign center for 30 days. That was a lie, the theatre had been closed for months and nobody with the NPS could figure out how to get it fixed. What a bunch of incompetenty and waste. The National Park Service has the burden of proof. Let them prove that they really need the money and that they will use the money to benefit the American people.

  • Concerns, Opposition Voiced To Proposed Entrance Fee Increases At National Parks   1 week 4 days ago

    Those of you who are happy to/can afford to pay the higher fees, please just donate the difference. Thank you.

  • Concerns, Opposition Voiced To Proposed Entrance Fee Increases At National Parks   1 week 5 days ago

    John, can you please tell me which wilderness areas the NPS has neglected? The only wilderness areas under NPS control in the southeast are in Congaree, the Everglades, and Shenandoah. Or like usual, are you misinterpreting reality once again by thinking that the Smokies is wilderness? Or are you just pulling stuff out of your behind like you usually do?

    Also, the NPS does have backcountry rangers in the Smokies. You constantly sound like the heckler that sits far up in the nose bleed sections. You have no clue what you are talking about 99.999999% of the time.

  • Possible Congressional Battle Looming Over Parks Legislation Attached To Defense Authorization Bill   1 week 5 days ago

    It is a little more complicated than that, but here is a decent write up of the whats and whys: http://www.adn.com/article/20141203/defense-bill-includes-sealaska-land-...

    What I find more troubling is the land swap with a private mining company in Arizona. But I haven't yet found details of why it is being done.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/03/ndaa-land-deals_n_6264362.html

  • Possible Congressional Battle Looming Over Parks Legislation Attached To Defense Authorization Bill   1 week 5 days ago

    will open the Tongass National Forest's old growth timber to logging.

    You mean the logging that has been going on there since at least the 1950s?