Recent comments

  • Minnesota Climber Summits Mount McKinley -- In January And By Himself!   1 week 5 days ago

    Lonnie is to be congratulated for this incredible accomplishment. His perserverance and drive is legendary. As someone who climbed Denali in good weather, I can attest to the difficulties a "regular" ascent of the West Buttress can present. Kudos, Mr. Dupre. Now be careful on the way down.

  • National Park System Visitation Was Up More Than 20 Million In 2014, To A Record 294 Million   1 week 5 days ago

    Hi Acadia,

    Thanks for your kind words. And yes, you are absolutely correct that bringing more national parks to the people will expand and diversify the base of volunteers who generously help to support our park system. Moreover, as I also failed to mention, they will help to reconnect urban Americans to nature and their cultural heritage.

  • National Park System Visitation Was Up More Than 20 Million In 2014, To A Record 294 Million   1 week 5 days ago

    No Smokies, three times this year. But thanks for asking. Of course, had you actually read what I wrote, you would know that.

  • National Park System Visitation Was Up More Than 20 Million In 2014, To A Record 294 Million   1 week 6 days ago

    The word is "dearth", not 'dirth'. When you try to use a word fancier than you're used to and screw it up you just look like a subliterate wannabe.

  • National Park System Visitation Was Up More Than 20 Million In 2014, To A Record 294 Million   1 week 6 days ago

    Another day, and another bunch of whiney condescending BS from John Quillen (smokiesbackpacker) on the Traveller. Seriously Quillen, using early January as any sort of reference point in regards to vistation statistics to beat your chest and blurt out that the Smokies is uncrowded most of the time is very disingenious. Any of us that live here know that the first week of January after New Years ends until Spring break period in mid-march is pretty much the only slack period around this area. But hey...spinnin' that angry johnny routine has to be tiring over time. Regardless, those of us that were actually in the park all the time, and not just a few times a year as weekend warriors saw the crowds and experienced it. The park was quite busy last year. And yes, I could write books and make films about the Smokies.. .Opps have I spoken to soon?

    And seriously, I-40 is a much bigger thoroughfare between NC and TN, then Newfound Gap.. . Come on, quit sounding so off kilter and ridiculous. Cades Cove if it just stood on it's own would be the 4th most visited NP in the country. And Newfound Gap road doesn't go near it.

  • Board Finds Canaveral National Seashore Managers Wrongly Punished Biologist For Whistleblowing   1 week 6 days ago

    I predict a promotion and a transfer. Atlanta will get a little more crowded, isn't that where they send all the other NPS misfits...

  • Board Finds Canaveral National Seashore Managers Wrongly Punished Biologist For Whistleblowing   1 week 6 days ago

    I hope we will soon learn what action has been taken to discipline those held responsible in this report.

  • National Park System Visitation Was Up More Than 20 Million In 2014, To A Record 294 Million   1 week 6 days ago

    Hi Michael, just wanted to let you know we appreciate your comments about making national parks more inclusive, by adding more of them closer to urban areas, where there are more diverse populations.

    Just came across this article that also highlights the need to diversify and broaden the appeal of the outdoors: www.newrepublic.com/article/114621/national-parks-popular-white-people-n...

    And this suggests a topic worth exploring in our blog about Acadia. Stay tuned at www.acadiaonmymind.com. 

    It's not just about diversifying the visitor base. It's also about diversifying those who work and volunteer at the parks. In fact, they're related.

  • Board Finds Canaveral National Seashore Managers Wrongly Punished Biologist For Whistleblowing   1 week 6 days ago

    “Unfortunately it is not limited to this park, there appears to be a sick pattern in the Park Service of first failing to hold people accountable for wrongdoing and dishonesty and then rabidly pursuing those who actually stand up for ethical behavior.”

    No doubt about that, Jarvis and this disturbingly lawless administration have allowed this fester and grow.

  • The Geology Of Canyonlands National Park   1 week 6 days ago

    Canyonlands is fascinating. Anyone looking out from Island in the Sky and comparing the landscape with a map sees that the Park covers only a fraction of the area and that the Park's boundaries are arbitrary. For the last few years a coalition of organizations has been advocating for a national monument to protect the remainder of the landscape. More information and details are at: http://www.greatercanyonlands.org/

  • National Park System Visitation Was Up More Than 20 Million In 2014, To A Record 294 Million   1 week 6 days ago

    Dakhota,

    So you've been to the Smokies three times? Forgive me for not acknowledging your dirth of expertise on visitation numbers. Perhaps you should write a travel guide for the park.

  • The Geology Of Canyonlands National Park   1 week 6 days ago

    Thank you Traveler, Canyonlands a great place. Kurt I was interested in your post on the Galapagos Islands, I could not respond as I was denied access, no big deal. In any case, at several Yosemite Park planing meetings the issue of just raising the fees during peak visitation periods was brought up. One hundred dollars seemed to be the starting point. It gave me pause as I thought about one gentleman on the listserve, in discussing fees and taxation in general, mentioned that they had not heard the term neoliberalism before in the context of economic policy.

    The term, and I am certainly not an expert, is derived from a meeting in Switzerland in 1947 called by the economist Frederick Hayek to develop "a market free from any intervention which would result in making everyone richer and create an economic utopia". One person in attendance, Mr. Milton Friedman, agreed, returned to the University of Chicago and began the neo-liberal school of economics, hence the term "the Chicago boys". The basic concepts included cut all government spending (austerity), eliminate governmental regulatory oversight, privatize all governmental assets and open free trade without interference. Both Mr. Hayek and Mr. Friedman received nobel prizes in economics. The Hayek (others), economic philosophy reverts back to the Harding/Coolidge years of the 1920s.

    In any case, off the tread of the topic, please excuse, but the mania on raising fees on everything from parks to fire protection comes in part from neo-liberal economic policies of the last 40 years starting with President Reagan and continuing to this day. at least in the opinion of many citizens.

  • Mount Rainier National Park's Staffing Woes Impact Winter Fun At Paradise   1 week 6 days ago

    I've been coming to Mount Rainier for some time now. I think this article would have been more appropraite for last year. Last year was a mess for sure for openings and I think alot of the comments in this article are from people expressing their experiances from last year. There were days last year where it was sunny and they wouldn't open because there wasn't enough staff on hand. That was the worse to find out when you've been waiting for the gate to open. They weren't getting the information out on Twitter for folks to know what was going on. This year I have noticed only one day they couldn't open it when it was really sunny out. That was the day they were searching for the missing snowshoer. There may have been more but I follow them on twitter and I don't recall any others off the top of my head. The rest of the clousures seemed weather related. Twitter is being updated more frequently. I agree with Chuck. I don't think it is fair to blame the staff or Rainier it's self. alexanders-I can't imagine they want to be short staffed and keep the road closed. Asking someone to spend money they don't have isn't going to work. I'm sure if they could they would be over staffed. Go to the parks "bosses" and tell them to give Rainier more money. Besides that there is talk of a fee increase. I hope the fee increase will help improve staffing/winter operations and get it back to the way it use to be. $30 now for a year pass is cheap considering what expenses this park has just in the winter alone.

  • National Park System Visitation Was Up More Than 20 Million In 2014, To A Record 294 Million   1 week 6 days ago

    I am curious about why Redwood National Park visitation jumped 88%. Does anybody have an idea?

  • The Geology Of Canyonlands National Park   1 week 6 days ago

    OUTSTANDING! Great work, Kurt. So far, I haven't heard any of these spots on the radio, but I'll be listening.

  • Higher Entrance, Activity Fees Proposed For Arches And Canyonlands National Parks   1 week 6 days ago

    For what it's worth, the fee to enter Galapagos National Park is $100 per person over the age of 12...

    http://www.galapagospark.org/nophprg.php?page=programas_turismo_tributo

    Funds from the entry tax for tourists are used to finance the conservation of biodiversity of flora and fauna, terrestrial and marine, and benefits the local community by improving basic services, education projects, sports, health, environmental sanitation, environmental services and services directly related to tourists.

  • Higher Entrance, Activity Fees Proposed For Arches And Canyonlands National Parks   1 week 6 days ago

    The devil is always in the details. It would be nice to see a breakdown and comparison of operating expenses and revenues throughout the park system including a breakdown of maintenance costs, salaries and benefits, capital improvement projects etc to see how parks compare and where the real costs are. Breaking out how much is spent on general administration support outside of the individual parks would likely be very interesting as well. I recall writing how I always felt good handing over my entrance fee when visiting the parks however these increases seem excessive. Being an outsider it’s hard to judge if they are necessary but higher fees also come with expectations for a better all around experience, be it crowd control, road conditions or facility cleanliness. I suspect those working in the parks will face somewhat less understanding visitors when things are not up to expectations. I'm more and more convinced the NPS needs to be broken up into more manageable business units. Seperating the parks from historic sites and monuments would seem to be a good place start.

  • Musings From A Very Busy Zion National Park   2 weeks 5 hours ago

    Lee...

    Thanks for taking one for the team.

  • Musings From A Very Busy Zion National Park   2 weeks 8 hours ago

    A very good point megaera, there are areas where peak visitation during the high use visitor season exceeds facilities, Yosemite Valley a good example. I have attended many planing meetings on this issue, some citizens respond so what, in spite of the congestion, it is worth it. Others expect crowding, they deal it with daily in the urban areas, etc. I think you are right, the NPS managers have to deal with an almost insurmountable problem. At some point, either more facilities have to be provided or some type of visitor use capacity set. The Park experience I had in the 1950s is, in some areas, no longer available during some peak visitation periods. I remember visiting Assateague Island NS 4 years ago,

    the entrance signs stated, "expect congestion".

  • Higher Entrance, Activity Fees Proposed For Arches And Canyonlands National Parks   2 weeks 9 hours ago

    The National Fee Service strikes again.

  • National Park Service Places $3.5 Million Value On Intellectual Property At Yosemite National Park   2 weeks 9 hours ago

    Seems the NPS just gave up the argument that the American people own the names by making the offer it did. It would appear that the next year will be full of negotiations and litigation to arrive at a final figure. I'd be interested to know the criteria NPS used to come up with the $3.5 million figure it did. It would seem that by offering such a low ball figure (compared what DNC proposed) that it is telling the American people that the names aren't worth very much.

  • Musings From A Very Busy Zion National Park   2 weeks 10 hours ago

    Exactly, Mega. Now imagine yourself to be a park manager having to try to deal with that while keeping everyone everywhere happy.

  • Musings From A Very Busy Zion National Park   2 weeks 10 hours ago

    This reminds me uncomfortably of trying to drive through Cade's Cove on a fall weekend in 1999 (being stuck for more than two hours in a bear jam with thousands of leaf peepers -- I felt so sorry for that lone bear in the tree), and of visiting Yosemite Valley on a summer weekend in 2011 (and the disgusted fellow next to me on the Valley shuttle referring to Yosemite as Disneyland National Park). Oh, and having to make reservations in Yellowstone a year and a half in advance.

    I do sometimes wonder what can be done when there's only so much space in and around our famous natural wonders and too many people who want to see them. I'm all for shuttles and other crowd-mitigating measures, but, in the end, the most famous of our parks are still just overcrowded, and there's really nothing to be done about the erosion of the experience everyone goes there to be part of in the first place.

  • Xanterra Parks & Resorts Makes Push To Trademark Iconic Grand Canyon National Park Lodge Names   2 weeks 11 hours ago

    Ooops! You're right, Kurt. It is Aramark in MEVE.

  • Musings From A Very Busy Zion National Park   2 weeks 11 hours ago

    They are planning to start shuttle service quite a bit earlier and run it until November 1 next year because heavy visitation begins earlier and lasts longer. This was the Christmas break surge. I'm sure a large percentage was because of the holidays. As for re-routing traffic, remember you're talking about a 7 mile dead-end and a very narrow, winding road to Mt. Carmel that has a mile long tunnel too small for many of the vehicles that try to use it, so either an escort or traffic control rangers are needed. Rangers were handling traffic control, but I noticed that ended at about 5 p.m.

    You pose all sorts of questions in your post here. All valid. All difficult. And all, unfortunately, expensive.