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Traveler's View: Would You Rather Have Wi-Fi Or Water During Your National Park Vacation?

Apr 12th - 12:35pm | ecbuck

As much as I would like to sit down will Al and share my bottle of Breckenridge bourbon with you, I have a nephew getting married on the east coast and won't be able to make it.  But definately have one of your trips on my bucket list.

Apr 12th - 11:50am | Kurt Repanshek

No, but we have a handful of seats left on our Gates of Lodore trip in mid-June and Al would love to meet you face-to-face to discuss parks and solar energy!

Apr 12th - 10:44am | ecbuck

Kurt - Got any ins at the Majestic?

Apr 12th - 10:40am | ecbuck

I'll just check to make sure Amarillo isn't around ;)

Apr 12th - 10:37am | Lee Dalton

Just don't check your emails without a parachute.  ;-D

Apr 12th - 09:59am | ecbuck

In each of your examples yes, as long as it is not interfering with those around me. (#2 would violate that rule so no on that one)   Reading my email on top of Half Dome doesn't disturb anyone - except those that want to tell others how to enjoy the park. By the way, just got a notice indicating I won the Half Dome Lottery.

Apr 12th - 09:08am | Kurt Repanshek

I get what you're saying, EC, but let's take your point other areas:* Should folks sit in a movie theater and conduct work on their cellphones and laptops while you're trying to watch a movie?* Should people take flash photos of theatrical productions where it's banned?

Apr 12th - 08:30am | ecbuck

 But if I ever see some bozo sitting on the edge of Half Dome checking his email, he might get a real quick flying lesson. Once again the attitude of "I know whats best for you better than you"  

Apr 12th - 00:17am | Amarillobymorning

I'll forego both "amenities" in favor of upgrading park infrastructure (including drinking fountains to refill bottles) and hiring more rangers (and paying them more) to provide information, answer questions and intereact with visitors in ways Google never could.

Apr 11th - 20:17pm | ecbuck

Why is this phrased as a binary question? Because the budjet isn't unlimited.  Now perhaps you want both but then something else would need to be eliminated. Suggest where the cuts should be made to fund both.  Kurt was merely assessing the readers preference between these two. 

Apr 11th - 18:50pm | Rick B.

Why is this phrased as a binary question? Kinda like: "Who do you want to spend the weekend with - your mother-in-law or an IRS auditor; there are no other choices."

Apr 11th - 16:45pm | ecbuck

Hiking buddy: Concessionaires pay a concession fee.  Many (most?) times that fee has a component based on sales. Higher sales, higher fees.  Even if there is no sales based fee, the concessionaire bid for a franchise will be based on expected sales.

Apr 11th - 16:41pm | ecbuck

Parks should be places where one can escape the rapid pace of the electronic world.  The only valid use of a smart phone at an overlook should be for taking photos, not instantly posting such photos to social media, or reading e-mail. That is how you want to enjoy the park but what gives you the right to dictate how others enjoy the park?

Apr 11th - 15:43pm | Retired Ethical...

So they're fast-tracking Wi-fi in the National Parks, but falling behind their goals on reducing unnecessary waste from plastic bottles.  Sounds like par for the course.  I appreciate PEER and others who are promoting the water refill stations and plastic water bottle bans.  Besides the litter and solid waste, water in those non-refillable containers has not been shown to be an i

Apr 11th - 15:11pm | Owen Hoffman

I can see wifi being provided at park headquarters, park residences, visitor centers, and perhaps at concession lodges, but that's it.  Parks should be places where one can escape the rapid pace of the electronic world.  The only valid use of a smart phone at an overlook should be for taking photos, not instantly posting such photos to social media, or reading e-mail.

Apr 11th - 14:56pm | Geogypsy

How about WIFI for the benefit of the employees in National Parks?  We all seem to do business that way.

Apr 11th - 13:34pm | Hiking buddy

profit?  How exactly?  Water and soda is sold by concessionaires, not the park.

Apr 11th - 13:25pm | argalite

That is just sick, needing wi-fi to enjoy the outdoors

Apr 11th - 07:43am | dahkota

I can do without the internet for a few days. I can't do without water. But, I typically carry plenty of my own in refillable gallon jugs... I don't think I have been in a national park that didn't have a water fountain. Yes, a little awkward to fill my bottle, but works in a pinch.

Apr 11th - 07:27am | John Veninger

"since the water-filling goal, which has transformed into an aspiration" Bottled water and soda is a profit center for the Park Service. Why would they want to give this up for the good of the visitors and the enviroment......

Photography In The National Parks: Year-Round Photography In Yellowstone National Park

Apr 12th - 10:09am | Jane Timmerman

Good article!  Thanks very much.  Heading there mid-May.

Apr 12th - 08:48am | Lee Dalton

Swimming bison and grizzly making snow angels.  Wow!  Thanks for sharing those two very special shots. (Of course, the others were mighty good, too.)  

Mammoth Cave National Park Looking For Help Battling Pot Growers

Apr 12th - 10:09am | Azle Hill Beckner

You may recognize the pot farmers trucks by the high suspension they require for off the road driving.  The high suspension prevents the damage to the oil pan by rocks when driving off the roads in the back country.

Group Identifies 20 "Anti-Public Lands" Politicians

Apr 12th - 09:46am | Lee Dalton

An article from today's Salt Lake Tribune about some comments made by the Outdoor Recreation Industry Council:

Apr 11th - 12:56pm | ecbuck

While the paper's title calls the politicians the "Anti-Park Caucus," most of the legislation cited by the group involves U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service lands, not those managed by the National Park Service.)

Apr 11th - 11:11am | Bill G.

While I'm not supporting LaMalfa, he has introduced H.R. 4387: Tule Lake National Historic Site Establishment Act of 2016. The bill would break off the Tule Lake Unit from the WWII Valor in the Pacific NM and make the Tule Lake NHS it's own site. Senator Boxer has sponsored a similar bill in the Senate.

Grizzly Bear Trapping For Research Scheduled In Grand Teton National Park

Apr 12th - 09:19am | Kurt Repanshek

That is a concern, Moe.

Apr 11th - 21:36pm | Moe

Question re: paragraph 1.  It sounds as though hunting grizzly bears in Grand Teton will he permitted if they are delisted.  Is that the case?

Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument Latest Addition To National Park System

Apr 12th - 08:42am | Lee Dalton

Pssst . . . Hey Mr. Obama, how about a place called Bears Ears in Utah?

Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park Selects Site For New Visitor Center

Apr 12th - 00:27am | Rashelle Leishman  

National Park Service Far From Achieving Hydration Station Goals

Apr 11th - 13:20pm | argalite

I would like to see that study on banning plastic and the impact on the environment.  There is one right, I mean, you aren't just saying things without backup?

Apr 10th - 21:34pm | ecbuck

You can't explain in your own words.  Tell us. How is paying $57 billion in taxes with $16 billion of net a subsidy.    Tell us in your own words how Walmart is being subsidized by the feds.   You just drink the Kool Aid and have not concept of the facts.  By the way, did you read the articles you linked?  The Guardian article had nothing about Fed subsidies.

Apr 10th - 21:30pm | Lee Dalton


Apr 10th - 19:38pm | ecbuck

Once again Lee, you create a strawman.  Not what I proposed and not workable.  However, putting a deposit on water bottles inside the park would address more effectively the stated problem (litter) than eliminating sales inside the park.  

Apr 10th - 19:11pm | Lee Dalton

Great idea!  Fee collection rangers at park entrances require visitors to gather all their disposable containers so they can be counted.  Then add the NPS deposit to the park entrance fees and allow them to enter the park.  On the way out, the visitors present all the empties to the rangers, who count them and return the deposits.

Apr 10th - 16:18pm | ecbuck

The NPS doesn't need a national deposit law.  They can implement that themselves. 

Apr 10th - 15:34pm | Lee Dalton

Meanwhile, Congress and most state legislatures, reacting to political pressures and dependence upon financial donations from the plastics industry refuse to pass legislation to mandate bottle and can deposits.  In many places even residential recycling is not available or is available only if the family pays extra for it.  Slow but steady progress is being made, but if our lawmakers

Apr 10th - 12:10pm | ecbuck

Ron, plastic water bottles are a miniscule portion of any sold waste land fill.  And while trash is definately an issue in the parks, although most is other than plastic bottles, a simple bottle deposit would address the  issue, either by encouraging people to turn their bottles back in or providing funds to pay for trash pickup.

Apr 10th - 11:48am | rmackie

Thank you Traveler for the informative post on the effort of eliminating sale of plastic water bottles in the National Parks. Still being employed on an emergency basis in a large western park, plastic waste, particularly water bottles, but everything you can think of, is a huge problem.

Apr 10th - 10:26am | Amarillobymorning

While I don't think it a "quixotic adventure," I agree with ecbuck that it should not be a high priority on the spending list now. Use the money to repair infrastructure, increase staff pay and hire more staff. We've filled our bottles from drinking fountains forever. What's the problem?

Apr 10th - 08:34am | ecbuck

It would be nice if the NPS put their time, effort and money into meaningful efforts to address the maintenance backlog rather than this quixotic adventure.

Op-Ed |National Park Service Undermines America's Best Idea

Apr 11th - 12:46pm | Ray Bane

I fear that it is death by suicide.  The threat is more within than without.

Video Makes Case That Maine's North Woods Is ‘Worth Saving’

Apr 11th - 11:07am | Marsha Donahue

Great piece, Scot.  Such a worthy effort, preserving this piece of the Maine Woods and hoping to share it with the rest of the world.  The economic benefits to the region that could result from an establishment of a national monument, and eventually a park, would be significant and bring people back to the area.  Rural and northern Maine are continually passed over for economic d

$1,000 Reward Offered For Return Of Historic Ahwahnee Hotel Sign

Apr 11th - 07:21am | hatrasfevr

I would bet a $100 that the sign resides with Delaware North since they own the rights to the name "The Ahwahnee".

Car, And Body, Discovered Below Grand Canyon National Park's South Rim

Apr 11th - 01:47am | Theresa Karlowitsch

this report is regarding my brother, Emile K. Prevost Jr.  Could you please report on toxicology, that should be done by now.  How and when will the car be brought up/out of canyon.  An update please.  Thank you.  

A View From The Overlook: Nudity And The National Parks

Apr 10th - 21:38pm | rmackie

Traveler ,fun to see PJ on post again. Thanks.

Apr 10th - 21:04pm | Doug Gilbert

For the national forest service in the forest NOT the parks, if there is no specific order against nudity, then it is allowed.  Here in Arizona this covers a LOT of area and swimming holes.

Musings From Yellowstone National Park's Buffalo Ranch

Apr 10th - 08:18am | Lee Dalton

National Geographic's May issue is devoted entirely to Yellowstone.  One article will explore the age old conflicts between the NPS mandate to "conserve while enjoying."  Here's a link to an online version:

Lifetime "Senior" and "Access" Park Passes Now Available By Mail

Apr 10th - 04:37am | Fred Fox

The Senior Lifetime Pass is $10.  If you order through the mail it's $20.  The extra $10 is for processing. Use this link: The Senior Pass is halfway down the page.

Apr 9th - 12:34pm | Jacob. S. Kaplan

I live in. Waterbury,Connectcut Interested in obtaining a. Senior pass From what. I've read there are two versions One for $10 another for $80 . the main difference and is there a local office  Where   I can get it.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide