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Tour Of Utah Bike Race Hopes To Pedal Through Zion National Park

Dec 29th - 12:24pm | Lee Dalton

Excellent comments, Alfred.  Unfortunately, you are right on the mark.

Dec 29th - 11:40am | Alfred Runte

All of you are missing the point. The whole purpose of this bike race is a human event; the whole purpose of the national parks is to make room for natural events. Where do you draw the line on human events? By the very fact that they are human in the first place.

Dec 29th - 10:49am | Lee Dalton

It's very easy for a chronic critic to call others "fools" and claim that there is no reasonable reason to think that anyone's vacation plans might be disrupted by a for-profit professional bike race if they have properly "planned" their vacation.

Dec 29th - 10:19am | ecbuck

Kurt, you are using the "unaware" argument again.  If someone is "planning" they certainly could plan around the event if they thought a few hours of a bike race would be disruptive to their vacation.  The are many alternative Parks or days they could "detour" to.   Here in Colorado, those highway detours would be hundreds of miles.

Dec 29th - 08:54am | Kurt Repanshek

EC, I'd disagree with your "inconvenience" comment. Parks are destinations, with (in the case of the entire park system) hundreds of millions of folks heading to them with a specific reason in mind: to vacation, to explore, to enjoy.

Dec 29th - 08:42am | ecbuck

Kurt, you make some good arguments, especially the case against the timing.  I was merely pointing out that the "unaware" argument was not a good one.  However, whilte "here's no need, reason, or justification to shut down the park" the same could be said for public highways yet they are closed for races and the public seems to think it is worthwhile to do so.

Dec 28th - 16:28pm | Kurt Repanshek

I would have to disagree with you, EC. There's no need, reason, or justification to shut down the park for a bike race, especially a pro race. Sure, it'd be a beautiful backdrop. But the race goes against the Park Service's own Management Policies, against the stated mindset of the director of the National Park Service, and plays no role in the national park experience.

Dec 28th - 15:22pm | ecbuck

 while being unaware (until you arrive) 

Dec 28th - 14:18pm | Waning gibbous

To call this a commercial activity or commercial enterprise is something of a bugaboo, as each occurs in parks from time to time. What is most offensive about this concept is that a bike tour or race requires an exclusive use of park roads and facilities.

Birding In The National Parks: Some Reasonable Resolutions

Dec 29th - 10:16am | David Crowl

Your last resolution is a great idea for keeping up the habitat that was available for your addition to your life list.

Favorite National Park for wildlife? Tips for viewing?

Dec 29th - 08:56am | Kurt Repanshek

Cole, a nice list! I'll be interested to see which park you rate highest for wildlife by the end of your trip. Yellowstone definitely ranks high, and we enjoyed the marinelife at Virgin Islands National Park and the birdlife at Glacier Bay National Park. Any ranking, I think, would have to be formatted by season, wouldn't you agree?

Arlington House, Home of Robert E. Lee

Dec 29th - 08:35am | Shaun Driscoll

Could anybody tell me about the distinct grave directly in front of the Arlington House with flat raised surface...is it the grave of union soldiers? Thanks

Record Visitation Strained Some National Parks This Year, Creating Concern Over What 2016 Might Bring

Dec 28th - 20:58pm | Lee Dalton

" . . . and start working on park specific visitor enhancements that do double duty of enhancing park experiences while preserving resources." How about giving us some examples of what you mean?  Perhaps your ideas might be well worth considering.

Dec 28th - 17:05pm | Anonymous

Quit wasting money on "carrying capacity" studies, a concept largely discredited by social scientists, but required by law, and start working on park specific visitor enhancements that do double duty of enhancing park experiences while preserving resources.

Dec 28th - 12:58pm | Rick B.

I agree Eric. The old "my right to swing my fist around ends just before it strikes your nose". If my wife choses to Google info on a particular native plant on her phone, it doesn't really 'strike your nose'. Making absolute statements as our friend Ree does is not very workable. No matter how Ree decides my vacation should be defined it has no functional effect on me.  

Dec 28th - 09:16am | ecbuck

Ree - not sure who your comment was directed towards but let me respond.  When I hiked the AT there was a saying "hike your own hike".  There are no rules on how one is to vacation.  Many people have many different ways of "vacationing" - even in a National Park.

Dec 28th - 00:42am | Ree

Your whining?....... Vacation away from city means completely disconnecting. Not rushing to get to nowhere; not bringing cell phones or other crap; not timing how long it took to get through the gate.

Dec 27th - 10:50am | ecbuck

 But the shuttles a on winter vacation right now. Perhaps it shouldn't be.  

Dec 27th - 09:28am | Lee Dalton

I was in Zion yesterday. Although not nearly as crowded as last Christmas, it was still impossible to find a parking space in any parking lot up the canyon. Automobile carrying capacity had been reached and exceeded. It was about equal to a summer day in the 1980's before the shuttle. But the shuttles a on winter vacation right now.

Dec 24th - 18:57pm | raybane

Alfred Runte's post made me recall my first full-time job with the NPS as an environmental planner.  I worked under the direction of John Kauffmann, chief planner for what was them the proposed Gates of the Arctic National Park in the central Brooks Range.  John proposed setting up a reservation system for visitors who wished to experience true wilderness in the park.

Dec 24th - 10:46am | Michael Kim

As an Arizona resident & landscape photographer, I have found the solution is to abandon going to national parks & go to national monuments & national forests instead. More breathing room, less stress, less-crowded trails, less-photographed landscapes. John Muir's suggestion for the national parks was to make them car-free & road-free zones.

Op-Ed | A Protective Firewall For Grizzlies

Dec 28th - 12:17pm | Mina Thevenin

As Yellowstone National Park settles into its balanced ecosystem--particularly after the reintroduction of wolves in 1995--I am hopeful that as Americans we continue to value & preserve our first national park and its current status of health. Daryl Hunter's proposed firewall boundary makes logical sense to simply not allow hunting of grizzlies within the PCA recovery zone.

Dec 28th - 11:35am | Loren Nelson

Good insights from one of the most experienced wildlife behaviorists in the region. A must read for all of us who live in the region.

Grizzly Bear Shot and Killed By Hikers In Denali National Park and Preserve

Dec 28th - 09:37am | Lee Dalton

Bear spray!

Dec 28th - 08:08am | Some Dude

I think the park allows backpackers to arm themsleves to avoid being eaten by a bear, no need to wait and see what happens next once a big bear moves in danger close, thats just stuck on stupid, shot the damn thing!! 

Camping In The National Parks: North Rim Campground At Grand Canyon National Park

Dec 28th - 08:06am | Kurt Repanshek

No dirt road to the campground, Robert. Pavement all the way.

Dec 27th - 23:12pm | RobertGjr

Is that dirt road accessible by RV/motorhome or by 4X4 only ? Thanks in advance. 

UPDATED: While Some Rangers Head To Greener Pastures, Their Horses Aren’t So Lucky

Dec 27th - 09:13am | Lee Dalton

Another catch 22 for government agencies. Although I completely agree with sentiments of others here, we must remember that this is the place where while people demand services of all kinds from our government, they simultaneously sceam and whine when asked to pay for it. So comes the Big Question, where do the dollars come from?

Dec 26th - 19:17pm | Jo Deasy

This is disgraceful and disgusting! How can this happen?? Time to treat these horses with DIGNITY not death!

Dec 24th - 18:04pm | Joyce Eikenberry

It was once the same with military dogs:  they were "excess equipment" and were abandoned among the enemy.  In this case, the kill buyers are the enemy. 

Dec 24th - 09:44am | Barbara Moritsch

It has come to my attention that Yosemite National Park does have a retirement plan in place for equines.  I hope that YOSE's plan can be used as a starting point (and strengthened, if necessary) for a national policy that is applicable to all NPS units.

Dec 24th - 08:03am | Kurt Repanshek

Here's a photo of one horse, "Fern," with its NPS brand showing. It was taken at a feedlot.

Dec 24th - 07:29am | JD - Pendergrass GA

Words are cheap and easy. It's actions that are hard and make the dfference What will you do to make a change? Write your congressman, get a sponsor for a bill, contact horsewear/equipment manufacturers, QH congress and Breed associations to band together to facilitate change. It's not only NPS but th eslaughter industry itself is a problem.

Dec 24th - 00:56am | Susan Humphrey

What sort of brand or tatoo does a NPS horse have that identifies them as having been in the serivice of the NPS? I can see the black horse in the phot has a BLM brand, but don't see and have never heard of a NPS horse being branded or identified as such. 

Dec 24th - 00:27am | Becky

So sad, the same thing happens to horses at kids camps every fall. They get rid of them at auctions, and the next spring they replace them with new horses. I guess these horses are considered disposable, instead of paying for winter upkeep, it's cheaper and easier to dump them like a piece of trash.  

Dec 23rd - 19:42pm | Deborah

It's about time people should step up and make sure that these animals are well taken care of instead of being slaughtered by these monstrous persons.  Don't I humans have a heart and soul not to make them suffer these atrocities.

One Marina Project On Hold At Coral Bay, Another One Proposed

Dec 26th - 20:41pm | Larry Wilson

As a full time resident of the Coral Bay Quarter of St. John, I know that the asserions by the developers are untrue, regarding the economic benefits of these projects.. St. John has a successful Eco Tourism brand, dependent on the natural environment of the National Park and National Monument.  There are several underutilized marinas nearby to St.

Unknown Cache Of Letters Mailed To A Ghost Town May Rewrite History Of Big Bend National Park

Dec 26th - 17:13pm | E. Garcia

The color maps look very interesting.  I wonder if there are other copies elsewhere? 

Dec 26th - 13:35pm | Jason Abrams

Hello Randy.  What a small world!  My brother and I were in Alpine at Sul Ross this past November 13-17 for the Center for Big Bend Studies annual conference.  It is a really nice campus.  We exhibited the letters and copies of the Dorgan maps.  I am not in Raleigh at the moment but would be glad to show you the letters when I return.

Dec 26th - 11:04am | Randy Wilson

Hey Jason, my name is Randy Wilson and i graduated from Sul Ross State, located in Alpine, Tx, gateway to big bend. It was truly the best 4 years of my life. I now live in Raleigh, would love to read over your letters. you can drop by Sharky's Place, 5800 Duraleigh Rd. a sports bar that I own, or call me there at 919.783.5448 and leave a message. This is awesome stuff. rw

Dec 26th - 10:35am | David Marshall

Your comment on the "differing views and objectives, which translate into political intrigue" is what I gather from this article.  Well said.

Dec 25th - 23:28pm | Richard Wilkes

I have been to the Dorgan ruins in Castolon several times over the years.  It has been awhile but I don't remember reading about this at the historic site.  Seems like Dorgan was an active fellow.  I believe the post office is still there.

Dec 24th - 17:50pm | Doug Hay

When volunteering with BIBE interpretation in the late '90s, I.wrote a program and gave local history tours of the area between Castolon and Terlingua Abaja, which included the Dorgan homestead ruins. The comments of AW are absolutely correct.

Dec 24th - 17:40pm | James P.

I read the website.  It reminds me a lot of the Elephant Butte irrigation district scandal in New Mexico.  Fascinating stuff.

Ambassadors Of Beauty: The Rose Parade And The National Parks

Dec 26th - 15:41pm | Al Richmond

Great article on my favorite parade.  As usual, Runte is right on target with his reminisces and also the honor to be bestowed on Ken Burns.

Canada's National Park System Saw Boost In Attendance In 2015

Dec 26th - 14:09pm | Rick B.

Sure is incongruous with the massive cutting of Parks Canada staff a year or so ago.

Is The Human Footprint Strangling Old Faithful In Yellowstone National Park?

Dec 26th - 11:47am | alan

A number of years ago there was an earthquake in the vacinity of Old Faithful.  After the quake is when Old Faithful became just Old. The article stated that the quake altered the undeground structure of Old Faithful which caused the geyser to "spew" at a different tim, whi is now abount every 90 minutes. The pre-quake time an average 66 minutes.

Would You Love Zion National Park As Much If It Were Called Mukuntuweap National Park?

Dec 26th - 11:15am | Michael Flaherty

I'm commenting well after this article was written, but as I was writing myself on Zion, and have spent quite a lot of time there, I thought I'd weigh in.  While I wouldn't visit a place or not visit based on name alone, I do admit to feeling a bit of a draw when presented with particularly romantic-sounding place names.

Three Days At Virgin Islands National Park

Dec 24th - 22:04pm | Steve Nelson

It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it.

“Pop-Up” National Park And NPS Centennial Set For 2016 Rose Parade

Dec 24th - 09:43am | David Crowl

Thanks for the heads up on the Parade. I will set the DVR. I look forward to your follow up story, with pictures, after the Parade.

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