Recent comments

  • How Low Is the Bar For National Park System Inclusion When You Add a Gas Station?   5 years 15 weeks ago

    Frankly, I'm amazed that some of our more recent presidents are willing to put up with this kind of thing. I'm no fan of President Carter, but surely even he doesn't think his life should be memorialized while he's still alive. I can embrace the idea that it's worth modestly preserving a slice of rural Georgia life, because of its connection to a president--it's meaningless now, but we might be very grateful for it in 100 years. But have the decency to run it with his presidential library, or through a private foundation, until the man is actually dead.

    Likewise with the absurd "William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site." Birthplace shrines (and he wasn't even born there--just lived there until he was 4) are suitable only for the greats and, Washington aside, you can't be one of the greats while you're still alive. A birthplace home dedicated to Bill Clinton is like Rubens' Apotheosis of James I on the ceiling of the Banqueting House in Whitehall--nice try, but you're not fooling anyone.

    Kurt, you're half right. Politicians are bringing home the bacon, and we all know that NPS sites draw tourist dollars at little or no expense to the local economy. But there's also the element of shaping public history. They are a hagiographical effort, aimed at elevating the historical stature of their honorees. But by elevating so crass a structure as Billy Carter's gas station, we dull that particular instrument of public history. A particular Warhol quote comes to mind...

    Bob: There's a decommissioned historic gas station in the historic district of Longmire, at Mount Rainier. However the one belonging to Billy Carter is just... embarrassing.

    Frank C: Jefferson may have forbidden his image on coins, but he spread it all over the West on medals carried by Lewis and Clark.

  • This Just In : Fort Hancock STILL a Mess   5 years 15 weeks ago

    Officers row and all the surrounding historical bldgs MUST be saved. I simply cannot understand why this is debatable. Save Sandy Hook should want to save the bldgs - whatever it takes! They should all be brought back to their formal glory, but it is going to take a ton of work and money. There should be local fundraisers going on. Anyone who wants to stand in the way of that is an idiot! What the heck is going on?!?!?!?

  • No Sign Of Missing Hiker In Grand Canyon National Park, Search Being Scaled Back   5 years 15 weeks ago

    Well, MRC, that was about the most cold-hearted post I've ever seen...glad I'm not related to you. I was a feature writer/journalist for many years and those "personal details" you seem to abhor make people human to readers, make people care about them and everybody needs someone to care about them. How do you think that man's family feels after reading your post--oh well, too bad, bye, gramps. Anyone who travels our national parks--and my husband and I love them--is concerned about what could happen to them and what happens to others and it has nothing to do with sensationalism. It has to do with empathy. Kurt is right, there are no gory details given here--this is not tabloid stuff. But it IS news and the more people know about someone who is missing, the better.. Now, if you wish, if you go out on an outing and vanish somehow I'll make sure not to give it a second thought. As for the others--I'm going to hope and pray and think about them.

  • How Low Is the Bar For National Park System Inclusion When You Add a Gas Station?   5 years 15 weeks ago

    I'm not sold that society has lifted these men up onto statues and so Congress feels indebted to honor them with NPS units. Rather, I think it's simply politicians trying to bring home the bacon so they can get re-elected.

    I think it's a combination of the two. "Society" wouldn't buy into this garbage if there wasn't a predisposition toward executive worship.

    We overthrew the British in part to be free from a distant, single authority figure, but yet we now spend more per year to maintain the office of the president than the British spend on the monarchy. While president, Jefferson forbade his image on coins; now he and others' faces are all over coins and etched larger than life in to sacred Sioux stone in the Black Hills. The populace is more concerned about Michelle Obama's wardrobe (oh my god, is it J. Crew or an expensive designer label?) and the President's dating schedule than auditing the Federal Reserve or preserving national parks. The presidency has been elevated to celebrity status at incalculable expense to our republican form of government.

    This reminds me of my time spent in a former Soviet satellite country in Eastern Europe. To keep people employed, the central economic planners ordered literally thousands of monuments built. Now, they lie in ruins, a testament to the folly of state worship.

    But at least the Soviets didn't memorialize a gas station. Amerika is entering uncharted waters on its journey to the bottom of the ocean.

  • Traveler's Checklist: Yellowstone National Park   5 years 15 weeks ago

    We just returned from a three day stay at Madison Campground over the Memorial Day weekend. There are two things that really struck me.

    First, is the massive amount of traffic leaving the park via the west entrance every evening. At one point, we counted over 100 autos in a row. And, none of this was caused by any buffalo on the road - just a huge amount of traffic. Made us feel like we had gone to the big city for the weekend.

    Second, is the massive amount of damage caused by the bison. This is most obvious damage is around the sensitive thermal features. As you walk along the boardwalks and designated trails, you can't help but notice how the bison have trampled the ground everywhere around you. In the Old Faithful area, there are many of the large evergreen trees that have been killed. I noticed no sign of bug infestation, which was my first thought. Then, I began to notice that all the bark had been rubbed off of the trees, causing their death. Many of these trees are probably over 100 years old, and have survived the fires and other natural disasters, only to be killed by the bison. Finally, I notice the destruction by bison of the native vegetation in the riparian areas around the park. It used to be that sightings of moose were not uncommon. Now, with their primary food source gone, such sightings are rare.

    One has to wonder why we never hear from the park service on the issue of bison population within the park. It seems that they prefer to divert attention from that issue. Does the park service consider the population of bison appropriate? Does the park service consider the park to be overly populated with bison? Is it appropriate for the park service, within their misson, to ignore the issue? Does the park service recognize that there is a population problem, but quietly hoping that someone or something else will take care of it for them? (ie wolves, disease, State of Montana?) Why does the park service always dance around the issue? If anyone can answer this issue, I would appreciate hearing it.

  • How Low Is the Bar For National Park System Inclusion When You Add a Gas Station?   5 years 15 weeks ago

    I'm not sold that society has lifted these men up onto statues and so Congress feels indebted to honor them with NPS units. Rather, I think it's simply politicians trying to bring home the bacon so they can get re-elected.

    Perhaps the time has come for an apolitical commission to hold court -- with the final say -- whenever a congressperson comes calling with legislation to add to the park system....

  • How Low Is the Bar For National Park System Inclusion When You Add a Gas Station?   5 years 15 weeks ago

    First off we now live in an age where the occupant of the White House is considered to be a personage of royal or even king-like stature. This is a far cry from the way the Founding Fathers intended this office to be occupied.

    I mean really now folks, do we actually need national parks for the likes of Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter or that low-down scoundrel Lyndon Johnson? Apparently the powers that be on the banks of the Potomac are ever ready to honor these hack politicians from the past with pork laden parks, that very few Americans actually visit, and then greedily clamber for more (witness Saxby Chambliss trying to make Plains a NHP) once they are so designated. In fact the two most architecturally and historically significant presidential homes aren't even in the NPS, Mt. Vernon and Monticello. Thank goodness for that because the tender loving care they receive is not available through the Congressional budgeting process. Besides, these two men would have never considered the expense to the taxpayer as being in any way justified.

    As long as our society continues to consider these men as demigods the government that spawned and sustained them will continue to maintain shrines in their honor for posterity's sake. Is the Bill and Hillary NHP all that far behind? (Will the Monica dress be on display? Or the lamp that Hillary threw at Bubba upon learning of his betrayal?) Is it just a matter of time before the federal government buys Shrub's ranch in Crawford? (With his pruning shears and Yale-era coke spoon in a glass case.)

    In fact Billy's gas station is not all that strange to include when you consider the veneration heaped upon this rogues gallery of scalawags and scoundrels we call the Presidents of these United States.

  • How Low Is the Bar For National Park System Inclusion When You Add a Gas Station?   5 years 15 weeks ago

    As an aside, I'm pretty sure that historic gas stations are included among the many cultural artifacts preserved in connection with the NPS-administered Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. If you are keenly interested in historic gas stations, you should be sure to read John Jakle's The Gas Station in America (1994), Tim Russell's Fill 'er Up!: The Great American Gas Station (2007), and Motoring: The Highway Experience in America (2008) by John Jakle and Keith Sculle.

  • No Sign Of Missing Hiker In Grand Canyon National Park, Search Being Scaled Back   5 years 15 weeks ago

    MRC, I would disagree that posts on accidents in the park are sensationalism. There is indeed high interest in them, and some of that comes from family and friends who are keenly interested in the fate of their loved ones and who can't get information elsewhere.

    I also haven't seen any "gory details," as you refer to them, in posts on these accidents. As for safety in the parks, we've devoted an entire feature to that issue, and kept it up longer than usual with hopes more folks will read it.

  • How Low Is the Bar For National Park System Inclusion When You Add a Gas Station?   5 years 15 weeks ago

    Sorry, Anonymous, can't find any mention of a gas station affiliated with Little Rock Central. Can you provide a link?

    While there are many active gas stations located in and around national parks, I can't think of any defunct stations that are actually part of a park, nor any proposed to be part of a park because they were operated by a sibling of a president.

  • How Low Is the Bar For National Park System Inclusion When You Add a Gas Station?   5 years 15 weeks ago

    Not the only historical gas station in the parks. Another one that comes to mind is the first VC at Little Rock Central High School at Magnolia station as I recall. Still part of the park property.

  • Dead Carp at Lake Mohave Make This Memorial Day Memorable for Wrong Reason   5 years 15 weeks ago


    I went to Mohave last year and saw the big giant carp dead on the beach and thought it was strange as carps can live up to 20 years or more. This year I go to Mohave and 100's of dead fish all over their beaches yet they all are coming into the shores hanging around till they die. I also saw a lot of carp with huge tumors on their bodies. It is so gross and there has to be something seriously wrong. Carp can live for years and years and out live other fish and I thought it was really strange seeing this. The water has to be polluted with some type of bacteria. I'm sure E coli is one of them. That is dangerous. They should close Mohave till it is resolved. Upper Lake Mead the carp are all healthly and lots of them but Mohave it's a big concern. Searchlight is a mining town and the filings can be coming down from water run off into the lake. Mining brings up dangerous toxins and can get into the water system and become a major health hazard. I also noticed they were redoing their water treatment and sewer down at Mohave as well. Sewage can cause a major disturbance. 6 mile cove every weekend is trashed and trash left everywhere and feeces all over the ground, outside their public restrooms feeces on the ground and around their toilets (people don't use the toilet) dirty feeces toilet paper blowing everywhere in the air, dirty poop filled diapers on the beach and in the water. The visitors just dump their trash right on the beach and poop right on the ground where everyone walks, eats, swims and it is no lie. It is a huge health hazard and the health department should step in. If the feeces get into the water E coli is a concern. I don't see the park service giving anyone fines and it is a $2,000 fine to litter in a national park. They should enforce the law to get these people to quit ruining our beaches and making them respect the land and take care of our lands. 6 mile cove is just disgusting like being at a huge garbage dump on a weekend where seagulls fly down and crows fly down to find leftovers on the beach. How could people crowd up on a small beach with a big trash dumpster in the middle, cars on top of each other as they camp out and dump everything right on the ground. They poop where they eat and all that gets into our lake water. That is not civilized living by far. It's like a 3rd world country going into super poverty 4th world county down there. It used to be such a beautiful place to camp, fish, sail, etc and it is ruined by people who are not originally from the US are so lazy trash dumping, breaking glass, pooping on the beach, throwing dirty diapers in the lake, etc. It is just gross!

  • 22 National Recreation Trails Created. How Many Are In Your Backyard?   5 years 15 weeks ago

    Kurt, we can use a lot more hiking trails in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now, only if we can get more kids in shape to build and hike these trails then (hopefully with less obesity) will see a better fit America. Maybe we can get young Chance to help write on this issue.

  • How Low Is the Bar For National Park System Inclusion When You Add a Gas Station?   5 years 15 weeks ago

    How else can they comment on the energy crisis that raged during Carter's term? Maybe they can snake a line of late 60's/early 70's Chryslers around the block to show what a gas line was ...


    My travels through the National Park System:

  • 8-Mile-Long Multi-use Path Opens in Grand Teton National Park On Saturday   5 years 15 weeks ago

    If you people like the trail, Great!. Myself I would ride that trail since I am not into hard and vigorous bike riding. I was thinking about the hardcore bikers who like to mountain bike would not like the trail. This is a case of NPS multiuse for more recreational use. Considering in the future that all gov't agencies have to belt tightening, any funds the NPS gets ought to be devoted not to new projects but maintanence and programs.

    I am sure this project was done when funds were flush so I so not disparage the choice to make this path.

  • More Fishers Soon To Be On the Loose in Olympic National Park   5 years 15 weeks ago

    Many species have adapted to increase human population by feeding off them. Boulder is a prime example with explosion of deer and subsequent cougars that eat deer and pets.

    Perhaps the fisher was less adaptable to the highlands and now had moved toward the lolands for easier food.Also increase predators bobcats and cougar which have adapted to near human areas will hunt the fisher.

    I would like the fisher , martens and minks to be reintroduced in the east coast. The climate may be better and the reforestation in Vermont and NH would support these animals. Plus the is a reduce amount of predators such as bobcat and cougarson the east coast.

    I appreciate Ted's comment which is well thought out and I hpe the groups that plan these introductions take these factors in account.

  • No Sign Of Missing Hiker In Grand Canyon National Park, Search Being Scaled Back   5 years 15 weeks ago

    While every accident in the parks or elsewhere is tragic for the victims and their family and friends, and sometimes it is possible to learn something from accidents, I believe they got way too much coverage here on the Traveler recently. Individual accidents are not of general interest, they only cater to sensationalistic interests. Of course these kinds of posts are very easy to produce. Just read the Morning Report and look for press releases on the website of the relevant park. No further work necessary.

    I would prefer to have at most one accident related article per month. I would prefer the name and all personal information of the victim to be hold back, we don't need that. And I would prefer the posts to have an angle concentrating on safety in the parks, from the point of view of interested visitors, not on the gory details aimed at Yellow press readers.

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   5 years 15 weeks ago

    I think this is really a call on personal judgement more than anything else. When you get to Scout's Lookout, you can see the trail required to make it to Angel's Landing. You can see the chains and the cliffs and the narrow pathway. Even if the sign at the bottom doesn't give a real clue as to how dangerous this trail can be, your eyes and common sense should be a good detector.

    The thing people like about NPs is that they don't babysit you every step of the way. They require self-determination and intelligence to navigate.

    Angel's Landing [as I said before] is a personal judgement call. You see the risks before you take it and you have the FREE WILL to decide whether or not to take it at all.

    I hiked Angel's Landing because I trusted myself to be smart and careful. My father, on the other hand, took one look and decided his responsibility to his family was more important than the risk.

    Only you know your limits.

  • 8-Mile-Long Multi-use Path Opens in Grand Teton National Park On Saturday   5 years 15 weeks ago

    Rode the path today and it was fantastic. Sure it might be short for hard core riders but for riders who'd like to ride through the magnificent Grand Teton National Park and enjoy the spectacular scenery, it's an incredible experience. The path was created for all sorts of riders--today I saw families, older riders, a pack of guys flying by, a group of five young women riding together--everyone was smiling. What a great way to spend a Sunday morning. Anyone coming to Jackson should try this path. It's a real gift from our parks.

  • 22 National Recreation Trails Created. How Many Are In Your Backyard?   5 years 15 weeks ago

    Thanks Kurt. This was news to me. It's great to see more trails. Here in Eugene, Oregon we are lucky to have the Fall Creek Trail on the Willamette National Forest. It has some beautiful stretches of doug fir old-growth along the Fall Creek.

    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    Robert Mutch Photography,

  • How Did 1940s-era Visitors View Yosemite National Park? Check Out This Video   5 years 15 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing Kurt. Warm memories and nostalgia at it's best. A simple and less complicated time that blends well for it's era.

  • More Fishers Soon To Be On the Loose in Olympic National Park   5 years 15 weeks ago

    State and federal biologists have recorded the first fisher family native-born to Washington since their return to the forests after nearly 80 years. Weeks ago, researchers spotted the female, thought to be pregnant, at a big old snag heavily marked with cavities created by pileated woodpeckers, important den sites for fishers. Remote camera images taken at the snag show a mother fisher carrying her litter of four kits, one at a time, from the den tree in the Elwha. Females commonly move their young to new dens, biologists say, as the kits become more mobile.

    "...adventure without regard to prudence, profit, self-improvement,
    learning or any other serious thing" -Aldo Leopold-

  • Cruising Into Glacier Bay National Park   5 years 15 weeks ago

    This was the highlight of our cruise to Alaska. Sam

  • Where in the World is Paul Fugate?   5 years 15 weeks ago

    Sorry, Anon. We were working from memory since neither of us has access to the NPS or police files. I am sure you are right and I apologize for the mistake. Please be assured that it was our error, not an error on the part of either the NPS or the Sheriffs Department.

    Rick Smith

  • Rangers Narrow Search Area in Grand Canyon National Park For Missing Hiker   5 years 15 weeks ago

    I have been through a lot these last six years and I think I have a pretty good idea of what hell is...but not knowing where a loved one is...that has to be the worst. Especially if it's your beloved grandpa, as an earlier writer wrote. Silence kills. There is no closure. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.