Recent comments

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 3 days ago

    You are probably right Mtnliving I also assume most if not all of the nps people will tow the line. I don't expect them to object after all these new fees help pay their salaries. Our national parks are changing quickly. Luckily the national forests don't charge yet so there is a place folks can still go and experience the freedom of the woods and not have to pay others to enjoy it but I expect that will someday change as well.

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 3 days ago

    It seems the NPS has a culture of loosing you job if you speak up about your beliefs. No wonder the NPS policies are so screwed up. This explains the "I don't agree with this but I'm just doing my job" I have been hearing from NPS for years.

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 3 days ago

    hikerBA -

    We all hope people in either the public or private sector would "do the right thing" and stand up against wrongdoing, even it it costs them their careers. That's a noble sentiment, and easy for us to say when our job (and family's livelihood) isn't the one on the line.

    It's a bit like the pig and chicken discussing ham and eggs for breakfast. It sounds fine to the chicken, who can easily afford to be generous.

    That said, your comment presumes these backcountry camping fees are an example of wrongdoing. Based on multiple comments on this site about this issue over the past year, most people would prefer not to have the fees, but not everyone agrees they the kind of "evil" deed that requires sacrificing a career to oppose. [Yes, SmokiesBackpackers, we've heard all of your complaints and charges plenty of times, so no need to repeat them again.]

  • House Of Representatives Asked To Dilute Antiquities Act   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Those checks and balances were certainly a wise idea. What's hard to evaluate today is whether the Founding Fathers envisioned the kind of partisan roadblocks used by both parties to avoid giving bills such as proposed monuments a hearing.

    The report on this bill from the House Committee on Natural Resources includes some interesting comments from those who voted in favor of advancing the bill (i.e. the Republican members, listed in the report as the "majority") and from those with "Dissenting Views" (i.e. Democratic members)

    Here are some excerpts from the "dissenting views" that pertain to the use and abuse of "checks and balances":

    "H.R. 1459 incorrectly assumes that Presidential proclamations are done in secret, without the support of local stakeholders. Earlier this year, President Obama established five new National Monuments, all with broad support from local communities and affiliated public interest groups."

    "In the 112th Congress, ten bills were introduced to designate monuments or protect areas as historic sites; only five of those bills were heard by the Committee and only two, both sponsored by Republicans, were put before the full House of Representatives. Three of the new monuments established by President Obama had bills filed in the House last Congress; none of those bills received a hearing."

    "The Majority complains about the Antiquities Act and then fails to give new monument proposals a fair hearing. The Majority opposes new monument designations before they happen, but has never sought legislation to overturn a monument after it has been designated. Given this level of dysfunction, it is more important than ever that the authority granted the President in the Antiquities Act more than a century ago remain effective."

    Here's the link for the above information: http://beta.congress.gov/congressional-report/113th-congress/house-report/221/1

  • House Of Representatives Asked To Dilute Antiquities Act   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Yes Beachdumb, our forefathers were smart enough to put checks and balances in our system. No reason that should not apply to National Monument designations as well. Unfortunately, their wisdom and the Constitution has been virtually ignored in recent years.

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Agreed this fee business has gone way too far it is time to take our parks back. I just wish there was someone in the park service who disagreed with these kind of policies and stood up for that belief. I realize it might put their career on the line but sometimes standing up for what you believe is worth it in the end no matter the cost.

  • House Of Representatives Asked To Dilute Antiquities Act   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Why no more than one per state? Why would the emergency only be an emergency if the threatened area is 5,000 acres or less? Would a parcel that is 5,0001 acres be less valuable or less threatened because it is too big? These seem to be arbitrary provisions disjoined from the issue of protecting what is valuable.

  • Budget Constraints Mean No Lifeguards At Cape Hatteras National Seashore In 2014   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Squeaky wheel gets the grease, NPS magically now finds funds to provide lifeguards for 5 days per week. I guess the LEs won't get new guns and tazers this year.

  • Reader Participation Day: Should Congress Restrict The President's Ability To Use The Antiquities Act To Create National Monuments?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    No. Once these places are lost, they are lost forever. And given the ongoing pace of development, I don't think we need MORE hindrances to preserving uniquely American spaces. Congress already has the power to abolish national monuments anyway.

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 3 days ago

    This lawsuit will have implications for the entire NPS system and their culture of fee abuses that are rampant. The smart move for the new superintendent is to drop this hot potato before the ugliness of political patronage is raised and a lot of wealthy people get embarrassed. They lied, cheated and stole to push this fee down the throats of backcountry users to the exclusion of all other parties. It's time to make things right in the Smokies and drop Ditmanson's folly.

  • House Of Representatives Asked To Dilute Antiquities Act   3 weeks 3 days ago

    So this bill would still allow the president to designate a national monument but would require a review and congressional approval. And that is a bad thing?
    We can all see why we would want to limit and scrutinize anything this president does, but I don't see how this bill could be a bad thing.

  • House Of Representatives Asked To Dilute Antiquities Act   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Here's a link to a cartoon from the Salt Lake Tribune about our fine, upstanding, anti-everything Congressman from the First District.

    Val Bagley nailed it this time.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home3/57724837-200/bagley-cartoon-facebook-lake.html.csp

    And here is a link to an article about Bishop's role in opposing national monuments and attempts to gut the Antiquities Act. His opponent in November will be Donna McAleer, a West Point graduate and former Army officer. There are a bunch of people working hard to try to pull off the miracle it will require to get Bishop out and McAleer in.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/57729569-90/act-antiquities-bill-bishop.html.csp

  • Traveler's View: National Park Service Should Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth At Bryce Canyon   3 weeks 3 days ago

    I am a member of the local Back Country Horsemen of Utah, the Canyon Country Chapter in Escalante, Utah, and we are appalled at this new regulation. It's implementation, however, is being postponed for 30 days while the Park receives public comments'(a procedure that should have been done prior to this announcement.) In any case, I urge everyone to please write, email and/or call Bryce to express your views on this. I hope with enough negative comments they will not implement this ridiculous policy. You can email or (he is the Park's concessionaire manager). You can also call Jeff Bradybaugh, the Park superintendent at 435-834-4700 to express you views.

  • Traveler's View: National Park Service Should Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth At Bryce Canyon   3 weeks 3 days ago

    This really sounds like flawed data. I go down to the Bryce area almost yearly with my horses, we are usually in a group of 5-15 riders when we go. I have talked to many other folks who have also made the trip. I just don't see how they can say that only 85 private horses have entered the park in the past 3 years. The various folks I've ridden with have made up a third or half of that number. I can't believe nobody else has ridden in the park. Some how the accounting is skewed.

    In my multiple trips to the park we have never had a problem with the guides and their clients. I just check with them as we start our ride and make sure what time they will be on the trail and make sure we are on a different section at that time. But even if I did encounter them on the trail. The rules have always been that the private stock owners back up and move up a side trail so the guide and his clients can pass. We expect the private stock owners to be more horse savey and better able to handle their private horses than the tourist on his first horse ride on a horse he has never seen before.
    This is just pure money grabbing by the concessionaire and the park service who get a percentage of all money the concessionaire takes in.

    If the outfitter and park service really feel this is problem. Lets reduce the number of days the guides can ride in the park from seven days to five days and let the private stock ride in the park on the two remaining days.

    The Bryce Canyon are has way more riding OUTSIDE the park than the short 8 mile ride on the Peek-a-boo trail. When I go do to ride, We ride 2-3 days with only 4-5 hours of that time spend inside Bryce Canyon Park. This is true of the Outfitter also, I see them guiding clients on trails on nearby Forest Service and BLM land. Is this not as much of a problem on the Forest Service land as is on Park Service land?

    I can honestly say, that if this rule goes into effect. I will stop visiting Bryce Canyon and Ruby's Inn.

  • House Of Representatives Asked To Dilute Antiquities Act   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Only a few days ago we learned that 1665 acres of spectacular California coastline was protected by the President as the Mendocino National Monument. This action was done by executive order during a time when a “do-nothing Congress” with an approval rating in the single digits would have never managed this conservation achievement. Over the years various presidents have protected 108 areas as national monuments. President Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, established the first one in 1906—Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, and he eventually established 17 more.

    Some of our nation’s greatest national parks began as national monuments created by the president. These include Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Acadia and Olympic national parks. Members of Congress were not able to get this done, as they often lack the necessary vision and foresight. A case in point is Alaska. President Carter established national monuments there, many of which are now popular national parks. At the time the Alaskan congressional delegation opposed them. Now Alaskans rave about their parks and all of the resulting tourism and positive economic impact.

    Ironically, only a few weeks ago I received an email from my Representative Steve Daines of Montana lambasting the authority of a president to establish a national monument. Since President Roosevelt took that first step in 1906 our nation’s population has almost quadrupled from 85 million to 317 million! I am thankful that we still have presidents creating national monuments for the benefit of our children and grandchildren. It is sad that my own Montana U.S. Representative opposes this. Today’s Republicans would do well to study the legacy of a Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, who was one of our nation’s greatest conservation presidents.

  • Can Olympic National Park's Enchanted Valley Chalet Be Saved?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Jeff Monroe of Monroe House Moving proposes to move the Chalet back from the river, estimating it would take 4 men 5 days and is "relatively easy". This is a small fraction of the over 2400 hours of volunteer labor donated by the community to its restoration. Backcountry Horsemen of Washington and Olympians Hiking Club endorse this effort and have volunteered to participate.

    Monroe previously moved the 1930 Yeomalt Cabin on Bainbridge Island and the Worthington Mansion in Quilcene, as part of large volunteer community efforts to save and restore these unique historic structures.

  • House Of Representatives Asked To Dilute Antiquities Act   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Short sighted partisan politics. Whenever there is a President of one party, the party out of power wants to dilute the power of the office, despite the fact that it will hurt their own party when the party in power changes back again.

  • Traveler's View: National Park Service Should Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth At Bryce Canyon   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Actually, Yellowstone DOES require that a licensed guide be with all snowmobile parties. Only four-stroke machines are allowed inside the park. That means that probably few snowmobile owners may ride their own machines because most own 2-strokers -- but they still must be guided.

    The reason is that it seemed to be the only way to regulate some snowmobile jockeys who insisted on blasting off trail and chasing elk and bison. In the years this has been in effect, support for it has been overwhelming. Even some avid snowmobilers I know fully support it because it was either this or a ban on snowmobiles because of the foolishness of a few.

    But horses at Bryce? I don't know about that one. Based on what little I've been able to learn, it looks like a hand-out to the concessionaire. Again I need to ask, where is the pressure behind this coming from?

  • Birding In The National Parks: The Hidden Gems Of Everglades National Park   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Kirby, nice story and pictures. You definitely made me add this park to my bucket list.

  • Traveler's View: National Park Service Should Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth At Bryce Canyon   3 weeks 4 days ago

    The fee seems very high. I wonder if snowmobile owners feel the same way about Yellowstone requiring a guide? Is the park worried that the owners of horses will go places they shouldn't?

  • Traveler's View: National Park Service Should Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth At Bryce Canyon   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Julie Trevelyan, thoughtful comment and I agree. Having had some experience with concessionaire rides on narrow trails, where the stock going up meets stock coming down, well it can be a discombobulating situation. It seems to me, and it worked well in Yosemite, that the private stock person just be told of the concessionaire schedule in those spots where there maybe conflicts, then everyone adjust their schedule accordingly. Worked well in Yosemite. Again, I might not be familiar with all the ins and outs here, but a 100.00 concession fee seems totally unrealistic, actually quite outrageous in my view.

  • Traveler's View: National Park Service Should Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth At Bryce Canyon   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Based on anecdotal reports from the concessionaires themselves. No chance of _their_ self interest being involved in what they say, eh?

  • Traveler's View: National Park Service Should Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth At Bryce Canyon   3 weeks 5 days ago

    As a person who likes to ride horses and visit national parks, I think Bryce Canyon's proposed idea is very poorly thought-out. Frankly, if I'm experienced enough to haul my own horses to a park and ride them, I certainly don't need someone else to show me the trails and babysit me. As a wrangler who leads riders (on our horses) into a national park, I think Bryce Canyon's proposed idea is very poorly thought-out. If they're really that worried about private horse groups interacting with concessionaire horse groups, they can revamp their guidelines and encourage visiting private riders to be courteous and smart when riding around rank beginners.

    After all, it seems very true that if "just 85 private equestrians have ridden all or part of Bryce Canyon's 8 miles of horse trails since August 2011, vs. "thousands" of concession-led riders who have -- it doesn't seem like there are enough private riders on the trails to create much of a problem."

    From what's being reported, it sounds like the idea is very heavily based on purely anecdotal evidence shared by wranglers...who work for a private concessionaire...which perhaps wants to own the whole damn pie. Canyon Trail Rides already has cornered the horse ride market with Bryce, Zion, & the Grand Canyon. Frankly, you can't control everyone, so don't be greedy and make a national park experience even more regulated than it already is.

  • National Park-Scented Clothing? You Can Do That!   3 weeks 5 days ago

    I dunno...I guess this stuff can't be any worse than the fragrances (I use that term loosely) that some of the ladies "bathe" in where I work.

  • National Park-Scented Clothing? You Can Do That!   3 weeks 5 days ago

    I wonder if the Glacier Bay scent is Bartlett Cove at low tide? Or whale breath? Both distinctive and wonderful, but not what one would want to be wafting into the air....especially the whale breath!