Recent comments

  • Gustavus Moose Hunt: If You're Heading to Alaska for a Moose Hunt, You Might Want to Read This   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I've shot a few moose over the years and depended on them for winter meat. Sometimes I was lucky and go one on the first day. Other times I had to camp for several days before finding a legal animal. Shooting a moose is fairly easy, because it usually makes a good size target. However, that is where the real work begins. Field butchering a moose is a brutal job, especially if you are alone or have to pack the meat any distance.

    As I recall, moose are a relative newcomer to the Gustavus area. I seem to remember that they didn't really get established in the lowlands around the park until recent times. Wolves have followed them into the area.

  • Grand Canyon National Park Crews Installing, Ahem, New Vault Toilets on South Rim   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Shouldn't it be P U?

  • Should the National Park Service Rescue the National D-Day Memorial?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I traveled to the D Day memorial yesterday. My dad served in WWII and died on Memorial Day this year. He never spoke of the war. He operated anti-aircraft generators at the top of the cliffs, after thousands of lives were lost. When I arrived I had no idea what operation Overlord was, and a tearful woman told me. The water blasts that are part of the beach scene had a chilling effect on me. I will write my congressman to support the effort for this to become a National Park.

  • Reader Participation Day: Are You An East Coast, West Coast, or Gulf Coast National Seashore Person?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    I know the area well. I lived in East Windsor for a number of years before setting off in a round about way to move here. I used to ride my bike on the towpath up there and spent considerable amount of time in Princeton going to the movies and what not.

    It really is a small world and getting smaller thanks to the Internet.

  • Reader Participation Day: Are You An East Coast, West Coast, or Gulf Coast National Seashore Person?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Heck, we're practically neighbors. I spent my formative years in Somerset County, just north of Princeton.

  • Reader Participation Day: Are You An East Coast, West Coast, or Gulf Coast National Seashore Person?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Beach Haven. I did spend some of my younger years farther north in Seaside Park because my aunt had a house there, but once I could drive, Beach Haven it was. I'm from Middlesex County. And you?

  • Gustavus Moose Hunt: If You're Heading to Alaska for a Moose Hunt, You Might Want to Read This   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Yeah, but a parked Buick won't try to trample you if you miss and piss it off....

  • Reader Participation Day: Are You An East Coast, West Coast, or Gulf Coast National Seashore Person?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Island Paddler, Surf City, or Beach Haven?

  • Gustavus Moose Hunt: If You're Heading to Alaska for a Moose Hunt, You Might Want to Read This   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Shooting a moose is about as challenging as shooting a parked Buick.

  • Reader Participation Day: Are You An East Coast, West Coast, or Gulf Coast National Seashore Person?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Since I live in V.I. National Park, that's where I'm headed on my next beach day. But, like Kurt, I grew up going to New Jersey's Long Beach Island, so I know you can't beat that salty tang in the air.

  • Reader Participation Day: Are You An East Coast, West Coast, or Gulf Coast National Seashore Person?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I'd choose the Virgin Islands because I've never been there and I prefer to scuba dive in WARM water.

  • Various Care-Taking Projects Under Way in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I completely endorse RMNP's analysis and actions.

    NPT should be aware that the (re)construction of such a Patrol Cabin would be illegal in Olympic, Mt. Rainier and North Cascades NPs, because they lie within the jurisdiction of the Federal District Court of Western WA. Its 2005 Burgess decision referenced above is the reason. Alas, the DOJ was embroiled in an internal political scandal at the time, and failed to act on NPS' appeal of this decision. So it stands.

    As a direct result, Olympic NP alone has since forever lost wilderness shelters at Home Sweet Home, Low Divide, Twelve Mile, Falls, Wilder and Pelton Creeks. Despite the facts that all were listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Wilderness Act itself (Chapter 4(3)) states "'The designation of any area of any park, monument, or other unit of the national park system as a wilderness area pursuant to this Act shall in no manner lower the standards evolved for the use and preservation of such park, monument or other unit of the national park system...".

    Similarly, the USFS just rejected the use of a mini-excavator within wilderness to reopen the Pacific Crest Trail, despite the fact that it almost triples the manual labor required. http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs/projects/pct-repair-suiattle-crossing/

    NPT should be aware that the Wilderness Act has been interpreted by one Federal Court District in Western Washington differently than in the rest of our nation. And that this has resulted in the permanent loss of historic structures, deemed by the NPS essential to visitor safety and administration of the Park. This conflicts directly with NPS' mission: to "preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations." This should deeply concern us all.

  • Various Care-Taking Projects Under Way in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    RodF et al,

    Here's the park's explanation of how they decided on how best to perform this work:

    Most projects within the park, and specifically projects within designated
    wilderness, go through an extensive project clearance review that asks
    several questions: (1) Is this project/action necessary? (2) What options
    are available to complete the project? (3) What are the minimum
    requirements and what are the minimum tools needed to complete the project?

    For the North Inlet Trail, the decision was made to construct the trail to
    an appropriate standard to handle the horse and hiker use and to provide a
    sustainable trail. As part of this decision, a good trail tread/surface is
    needed so people will walk on the trail as opposed to off the trail because
    it is easier or more comfortable. Options considered for obtaining tread
    material included:

    1. Digging on-site (not viable due to large amount needed, creates other
    impacts from barrow pits located off trail, and this activity is strongly
    discouraged in RMNP Backcountry/Wilderness Management Plan).
    2. Using mules to pack in the material- analysis determined that delivering
    the estimated 200 tons of material would take 270 days and impact visitors
    from increased wear and tear on the trails, to extra manure on the trail
    and safety factors of mixing large numbers of hikers with pack teams of
    horses or mules day after day.
    3. Use a helicopter and fly in the 200+ tons of material in 6-8 days.

    The decision was made to use the last option.

    For the Lulu City wetlands project it was determined that a mini-excavator
    was needed to dig down through sands, gravels and debris deposited during
    the 2003 Grand Ditch Breach. Delivering the mini-excavator to the project
    site via helicopter was preferred over driving the machinery over land.

    For the Little Yellowstone Trail bridge replacement no suitable native
    materials are available in the vicinity of the old bridge and the length
    and weight of the replacement treated logs would be prohibitive to
    transport by pack animals.

    Over one year ago the decision was made to use a helicopter to deliver
    construction equipment and materials to the Chasm Meadows Patrol Cabin
    site, and to use a helicopter to demobilize when the project was completed.
    The project is now complete and demobilization is necessary. Similar to the
    decision for the North Inlet Trail, use of a helicopter was preferred over
    the use of multiple pack teams of horses or mules on the trail.

    The use of motorized equipment is prohibited when other reasonable
    alternatives are available to protect wilderness values. While Congress
    mandated a ban on motors and mechanized equipment, it also recognized that
    managers might occasionally need those sorts of tools. It remains an
    exception to be exercised very sparingly and only when it meets the test of
    being the minimum necessary for wilderness purposes.


  • Reader Participation Day: Are You An East Coast, West Coast, or Gulf Coast National Seashore Person?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    There's nothing quite like seeing the sun set over the western horizon. I saw an incredible sunset at the beach next to Kalaoch Campground at Olympic NP. I've also seen a similar sunset at Limantour Beach at Point Reyes NS.

    For a full day I think Point Reyes would be my favorite. One could start off at the visitor center, take a hike with sweeping vistas of the Pacific coast, visit the Point Reyes Lighthouse (maybe a little whale watching), and then get a few dozen oysters at Drakes Bay Oyster Farm and polish them off at a picnic table. If it were a multi-day trip, it could be combined with various trips to Tomales Point for some Tule elk viewing, the Marin Headlands (possibly Rodeo Beach), and some urban exploration at Chrissy Field at the Presidio of San Francisco.

  • Grand Canyon National Park Crews Installing, Ahem, New Vault Toilets on South Rim   5 years 19 weeks ago

    WOO HOO !!!!!

  • National Park Quiz 69: Camping   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I'd think not everyone who qualifies for the senior pass should be assumed to be that well off. Many are living off of fixed incomes. A few might have invested/saved well. I don't know if there can really be an acceptable economic test for federal recreation use fees.

    However - as a matter of policy, we've got age-related discounts for all sorts of things. Seniors can get into movies at reduced rates and get discounts or special deals at restaurants.

    I have seen the opposite (younger adult) discounts before. The Berkeley Reperatory Theater in Berkeley, California has a special "under 30" half-price deal for theater tickets. Of course they do have blackout dates, but it's a heckuva deal. One can understand that they're hoping to attract younger patrons who might be able to afford full priced tickets as their earnings go up.

  • National Park Quiz 69: Camping   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I remember the old Golden Age pass. I bought a couple for my folks (the price seemed right). Those were also interagency passes (they had the generic "Federal Fee Area" graphic with what looks to be a dove), and I clearly remember they listed BLM, BOR, Forest Service, F&W, and Army Corps of Engineers. It also listed the Tennessee Valley Authority. We used the pass to get into Uinta NF (with a normal $3 day use fee) on the way to Timpanagos Cave National Monument. The pass also got my mom half off the cave tour fee.

    I also went to Zion National Park with my folks. I wanted to come back separately and I could enter with them since we came in the same car. However - they have mandatory shuttles during the peak season, and I wanted to leave early by myself to hike up Angels Landing. So they wrote up a 7 day pass for me since I entered accompanying someone with a Golden Age pass. I think they can also do that for people entering together on annual passes who might be breaking up and reentering the park.

    I think the only real differences between the older Golden Age pass and the new Senior Pass are the graphics and card material. My mom couldn't find her old Golden Age pass so I paid for a new Senior Pass. I don't fully recall if that the newer senior pass lists the Tennessee Valley Authority though. Something tells me no.

    The amenities discount still applies.

  • National Park Quiz 69: Camping   5 years 19 weeks ago

    The senior pass is indeed a heckuva bargain (one I'm still too young to appreciate;-)), but it begs a question: Should such an incredible discount be given to retirees, who in many cases probably can afford not only $10 every year to renew their pass but probably five times that much, or should a somewhat similar discount (though not all the way down to $10), be offered to younger generations that are starting careers and might consider the $80 pass a bit much?

    If there really is a problem with attracting younger generations to the parks, shouldn't the ATB be priced more attractively, as well as more logically, across-the-board?

  • Free Firewood At Mammoth Cave National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I don't know if entire trees can be hauled out (I'm sure they can't) but firewood collection has been legal in many NPS units.

    Backpackers have generally been allowed to collect downed wood. I know in Yosemite one can collect downed wood for campfires, except in Yosemite Valley.

  • National Park Quiz 69: Camping   5 years 19 weeks ago

    The question deals with the Golden Age Passport, and the Golden Age Passport remains valid despite having been superseded by the ATB-Senior Pass. Many thousands of oldsters (including me) have passed up the opportunity to buy an ATB-Senior Pass and just continue to use the Golden Age Passport

    Tomp is correct about the advantages of the ATB-Senior Pass. Here are a few more details. The America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass – Senior Pass (One-time cost $10) is

    ...a lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over. The pass provides access to, and use of, Federal recreation sites that charge an Entrance or Standard Amenity. The pass admits the pass holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas and pass holder + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, at per person fee areas (children under 16 are admitted free). The pass can only be obtained in person at the park. The Senior Pass provides a 50 percent discount on some Expanded Amenity Fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services. In some cases where Expanded Amenity Fees are charged, only the pass holder will be given the 50 percent price reduction. The pass is non-transferable and generally does NOT cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessionaires.

  • National Park Quiz 69: Camping   5 years 19 weeks ago

    RangerLady--

    You're part right: The Golden Age pass has been replaced by the America the Beautiful Senior pass ($10 lifetime), which provides a 50% discount on some (but not all) camping and other expanded amenity fees:
    http://www.nps.gov/fees_passes.htm

    However, the new pass works for FS and BOR and BLM and FWS recreation sites, so it has advantages, too. I'm happy I'm not old enough to qualify and still need to pay my $80/year.

  • Fall Harvest Festival This Weekend At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Smoky Mountains are the place where Heavens meets the Earth! It is Heaven on Earth! It is beauty beyond comprehension, beyond comparison and beyond anything I have ever experienced. It is Heaven itself!!!!!
    Blessed are those who who can feel it and enjoy it!
    Bozidar Sicel

  • National Park Quiz 69: Camping   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I may be wrong on this, since I'm not yet able to get one, but I think the new golden age passes no longer have the discount. I remember a friend of mine telling someone to keep their old card because the new ones don't have as many perks.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • A Drowning-free Summer at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Wasn't Just Good Luck   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Anonymous -

    Yes, I quoted the park's "disclaimer" from the original press release in the story, and they're both wise and correct in being cautious about claiming too much credit for this summer's success. It's always difficult to establish cause and effect in such situations. There are a lot of variables, and the staff obviously can't contact every visitor to the area.

    That said, this summer represented a dramatic improvement over last year's 3 drownings, and the park deserves credit for responding to concerns over that number with a proactive program. Given the past history in this, and similar areas, it's difficult to get through a busy summer season with no drownings, and the park's program seems to have made a difference.

    Perhaps most significant is the chief ranger's comment about a change in visitor behavior, and that can be tied directly to this summer's efforts.

  • Various Care-Taking Projects Under Way in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Wasn't the cabin work completed or mostly completed prior to the wilderness designation earlier this year?