Recent comments

  • Reader Participation Day: Tell Us Your "Dream" National Park Vacation   5 years 16 weeks ago

    My dream trip would be to repeat the bicycle trip I did a few years ago across southern Utah taking in Cedar Breaks, Zion, Bryce, Escalante, and Capitol Reef. It would be nice to extend the route to include Arches, Moab and, possibly, Lake Mead. Love that red rock country.

  • All Major Roads at Yellowstone National Park Open for the Season   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Hi,
    if "This same section of the road through Gibbon Canyon will be completely closed to all travel between Artists Paint Pots and the Tuff Cliff Picnic Area beginning August 17" is the case, the road between Norris and Madsion will completely be closed, right? Thanks.

  • Is the National Park Service Wise to Be Promoting The Use of Segways?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Objectively...

    In the hot & humid Southeast U.S., which will include the Timucuan Preserve near Jacksonville, Florida, there is a long-established military protocol designed to limit & control exertion in accordance with weather conditions. Even hardcore Marine bootcamp observes a graduated series of restrictions on exertion.

    So in terms specifically of the Deep South - yes, there is a solid body of medical practice and institutional precedent for minimizing exertion in the sweltering heat. If that's their 'cover story', they're covered.

    To take Segways to Yosemite, they'll need a different cover story.

    Subjectively...

    1.) Should the Parks promote lifestyle modes? Ans.: [ No. ]

    2.) Are Segways compatible with Parks? Ans.: Very limited. They have a short range, fragile surface-competence, and on steep terrain will occasionally pitch riders over the precipice (so can't be used for liability reasons).

    3.) User conflicts? Ans.: Minimal. In popular places, pedestrians will greatly outnumber Segways. In unpopular places the machines can't make enough money.

    4.) Are they (intended as) the thin edge of the wedge? Ans.: Absolutely. I will have my gasoline powered version passed by CARB.

    Commentary...

    The Segway is competent to trundle people around a short tour of no-terrain Timucuan, but it is not economically competent. It's a business failure, and has been since Day One. That's why we see these torturous exercises to ingratiate it with new venues.

    While it's intended to serve as a wedge to open the door for other gadgets ... every other gadget under the sun has already been tried ... and defenses found, limits put in place. Jet boats were jacked back, or banned. Snowmobiles are regulated into obsequitousness. "Motorized Vehicles" is an 18-letter sneer.

    They can wedge all they want, but kids (of any age) still aren't going to dirt-bike down into Grand Canyon.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 9: What Sort of Reviewing Stand Might This Be?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Yes. This was used for hanging. I saw it at Fort Smith National Historic Park . On the Arknsas River in Arkansas. How cool is that...hanging and all...

  • Land Swap Moves American Revolution Center Out of Valley Forge National Historical Park   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Well, Jim, they get a ready-built museum building out of it, right in the heart of the historic district of Philadelphia.

    this is the 'old' Independence park visitor center, one that was originally conceived to be connected directly to an off-ramp off Rt 95, straight into a parking garage and via ramp into the VC. But the ramps were never built, although the parking garage and VC were. I put 'old' in quotes because it is a piece of relatively modern architecture, in a sort of a Denver-Service-Center-way.

    the building has 3 distinguished works of architecture directly next to it: most important, across the street is the First National Bank, a National Historic Landmark. The old VC is designed with a glass front just to reflect the majesty of this National Landmark, which is really the start of the historic buildings leading to Independence Hall on Chestnut St.

    Just south of the 'old' VC (new museum) is the Exchange Building, also owned by the American people and managed on their behalf by the National Park Service. The Exchange Bldg is the favorite piece of architecture of many Philadelphians. When the NPS needed to give it a major rehab (the original interior of this old stock exchange was completely gone) many visionaries advised the NPS to open it to the public to interpret the history of American commerce. What a wonder it would have been ! Instead, the superintendent turned it into offices for herself, and quite grand offices they are, with towering floor to ceiling windows. When the then-mayor, now Governor and several inside the NPS pressed this superintendent to reconsider, the one compromise she made was to eliminate the shower she had in her office, but otherwise, keep the building for administrative purposes.

    Just east of the new museum building is a Moderne tower, operated by the General Services Administration. It is covered with spectatular deco, inside and out. the new museum building stands right on the cusp between the historic Society Hill on one side, Old Town on the other, and just west, Independence Mall. This is a first class bit of real estate, that you can imagine making millions and millions for the NPS were it to be disposed of on public auction as many assumed it would. Instead, without competition, it will be a negotiated deal. For this, Mr. Lenfest gives up 78 acres of undeveloped land with no real utilities or sufficient road access, that would cost well more than $100 M to build, money he had not been able to raise via fundraising, and would not get for years and years and years, if at all. It would have been better if properly sized Valley Forge museum, with a combined ARC-NPS historic collection, could have been built, which could have happened if the NPS had been led by better leaders during the Bush years, and the ARC leadership had a little less ego an a bit more sense of public responsibility. But, we are lucky the Obama people at least saved the day in Valley Forge, and got all the Alpha Males into a place where they cannot make as much mayhem.

    Here is a link, or at least an address, to a photo of the new museum building, the 'old' VC -- I'm not sure I can download a Philadelphia Inquirer staff photo on this site !

    http://www.philly.com/philly/gallery/20090702_American_Revolution_Center_headed_for_Center_City.html

  • Does the Federal Government Really Want to Seize Six California State Parks?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Unfortunately, our state is unmanageable for a whole host of reasons. Personally, I might be better off with the Feds owning Mt Diablo, since the state parks current policies on mountain biking are pretty restrictive in that park.

    In the end, both sides will agree to some crappy solution that will only deflect the problem until next year but won't solve the systemic issue.

  • Does the Federal Government Really Want to Seize Six California State Parks?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    once i agree with the gov. with the way cal.is now,they cant even pay their employees...to much spending on stupid things,and too many illegals draining their resources.

  • Glorieta Pass Civil War Battlefield Finally Gets an Interpretive Trail   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Apparently, "most other websites for NPS units" clearly lack the inspiration that accounts for the excellence of National Parks Traveler! Heh, only two Q's in their FAQ's. Hopefully the park itself is more inspirational (thought- and question-provoking) than that!

  • Does the Federal Government Really Want to Seize Six California State Parks?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Five will get you fifty that the reversion warning is an empty threat.

    I couldn't agree with you more Bob.

    It is often said that California is the bellwether state of America and if this opening act of fiscal disaster is any indication of things to come, as it concerns the impending bankruptcy of the Feds, it will surely make Arnold's multi-billion dollar financial black hole look like chump change by comparison.

    The Feds are most certainly broke and can't afford these parks any more than the Bear Republic can. It will be interesting to see how all of this shakes out. I'll stay tuned to NPT and hope for the best.

  • Half Dome Hiker Falls to His Death in Yosemite   5 years 16 weeks ago

    I was there too he was wearing right gloves and was not playing with his life. Please dont comment on something that you dont know.

  • Does the Federal Government Really Want to Seize Six California State Parks?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    From the sound of it, the Fed could be open to court action if it does not enforce the conditions of the deed transfers to California. Who would see it as in their interest to file the lawsuit(s), I don't know.

    Certainly, California's behavior is giving 'drunken sailors' a good name. It not only behooves, but is incumbant upon anyone with any kind of stake in the State to speak up loud & clear, reaffirming any claim they have, on the public record. Failure to do so can be construed as giving tacit approval to a process or condition that clearly endangers their claim. That might make the Fed's statements relatively pro forma.

    [Only one bank has announced they will cash California State IOUs - and they have agreed to do so only through July 10. When banks refuse to cash the IOUs, a cascading series of additional fiscal & business crises will likely ensue.]

    Then again, while the Obama Admin clearly wants to appear sympathetic & 'nominally' helpful to California, there are other states also ... essentially in a race to the bottom with them. It is in the interest of the Fed to squelch any notion of Uncle Sam solving these State problems ... to such an extent that they may be glad to have an excuse to appear stern & assertive, while also seeming to protect the interests of the national public.

    Is it really going to happen? Depends totally on California. How far are they willing to push the brinkmanship? If the State really unravels, yes, the Fed will grab the properties.

    It looks to me like the Democrats and Republicans in Sacramento may be engaged in a true death match (they fake it all the time ... WWF has nothing on these guys). They have each other by the throat ... and the media is not even covering the story for what it is (a test-case for national politics).

    Obama is using a very similar fiscal model, in trying to address the economic collapse, as got California in trouble in the first place: Throw money at anything & everything. Events in California are a glaring preview of what could happen to the country as a whole. ("A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.")

    In terms of the National Parks Traveler, failure of the stimulus to effect recovery could (would be expected to) result not only in the absence of the desired economic activity, but a need to return to the budget (as California has) looking for places to slash & prune.

    The punchline is, of course, that just as California looks to its parks as a discretionary outlay that is easily deleted, so also the Fed would look at the National Parks budget as a good place to whittle.

  • Two Children Have a Very Close Call at Grand Teton National Park   5 years 16 weeks ago

    And, outside the park in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, the son of the mayor of Jackson, Wyo. just died in a rock climbing accident. See http://www.jhguide.com/article.php?art_id=4777 for more details.

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Americans' Dream Vacation in 2009? That'd Be A National Park Visit According to Survey   5 years 16 weeks ago

    I won't give it short shrift off-hand, but won't be assuming that its bald conclusions are the simple truth, either. Not until we have better transparency.

    Without access to the "guts" of the survey, statements & interpretations derived from the questionaire could mean a wide range of things ... almost anything, or darn near nothing.

    Do we have other surveys on the shelf, showing the same ranking for Parks as a vacation-destination? I can't say I've heard of them, but that doesn't mean a whole lot.

    I can say, I'm surprised to see this assertion. I would have guessed that Parks would rank 'respectably' high, but if ask do I think they'd rank #1, I'd have comfortably shaken my head no: Too many other more-commanding choices for most of the public, would be my hunch.

    If after proper access is obtained and a common-sense review of how the questions were put together (oh! the very devil!) shows it's all on the up & up, then it will be time to get excited about the implications ... which if true are certainly news to me, and will indeed be of potent interest to Congress and other offical bodies.

    "There's lies, damn lies, sordid statistics ... and surveys". Caveat emptor. ;-)

  • Americans' Dream Vacation in 2009? That'd Be A National Park Visit According to Survey   5 years 16 weeks ago

    For those of us who prefer natural wonders and wildness to theme and water parks, the National Park system is a blessing ! There is nowhere I would rather be and I visit them as often as I can.

  • Americans' Dream Vacation in 2009? That'd Be A National Park Visit According to Survey   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Great news! Let's hope the Ken Burns series does even more to spur interest in our great national treasures.

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    I think segways are neat and look like a lot of fun.
    Its rediculus to say restrict it only for handicap citizens.

    Cudos too for its "greenness" as an alternative mode of short distance travel.

    But having said that, the Segway unfortunately further entrenches our society into our increasing obesity problem because it is a passive mode of transportation unlike a walk or a bicycle ride.

    So, still our two feet and a bicycle are best. It gets you there and it gets you fit.
    Yes you will sweat on a bicycle. You have to shower anyway at the end of the day.
    Yes you will get tired, its called exercise. Nothing a proper diet and rest can't take care of.

    To imagine where compact PT or PUMA segways are taking us just watch the pixar movie wall-e. Notice what became of the occupants on the Axiom space ship? Do those compact transportation devices look familiar?

  • National Park Mystery Photo 9: What Sort of Reviewing Stand Might This Be?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Should put this to good use again to deter Wall Street crooks and crooked politicians. Especially those that ruined this country for the last past eight years.

  • Land Swap Moves American Revolution Center Out of Valley Forge National Historical Park   5 years 16 weeks ago

    After all the acrimony over this project, it sounds like someone pulled off a major negotiation coup.

    I don't have first-hand knowledge about either location, but this sounds like a real plus for Valley Forge, and there's certainly logic in the choice of the site in Philadelphia.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 9: What Sort of Reviewing Stand Might This Be?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Yes, indeedy. As Anon has pointed out, you'll find this particular historic structure at Fort Smith National Historic Site in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (We'll give Rangertoo credit for honoring the point.) Be sure to read Kurt's posting on this topic in tomorrow's Traveler. There's an interesting (if somewhat gruesome) story behind this structure and its use.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 9: What Sort of Reviewing Stand Might This Be?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Fort Smith, Arkansas

  • National Park Mystery Photo 9: What Sort of Reviewing Stand Might This Be?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    It is at Fort Smith Historic Site.

  • Fort Davis National Historic Site, Home of the Buffalo Soldiers   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Have been to the site about 4 times and am really impressed with it. Well worth a repeated visit. I came all the way from England to see it

  • National Park Mystery Photo 9: What Sort of Reviewing Stand Might This Be?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Good job, Anon. This strange looking structure was indeed used for public hangings, and it is no longer in use today (at least, not that we know of!). Now then, can you pin down the location?

  • National Park Mystery Photo 9: What Sort of Reviewing Stand Might This Be?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    The structure was used for hangings and it is not used today ...not sure exactly where it is

  • Reader Participation Day: Tell Us Your "Dream" National Park Vacation   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Frank C, Beamis - c'mon, now!

    The invitation is to dream-up your "dream" vacation.

    Here's a brief example to set the tone.

    Fly to the last airport. Drive to the end of the road. Put in at the furthest river and float for 3 days past the last sign of Man. Pick a nice medium-bank meadow by the river and build a 3-sided shelter. Line a pole bunk with balsam fir boughs.

    Put a fish-trap in the river, and lash-up a drying rack. Erect a cache, and dig a cooler/cellar. Take medium game and cure the hides.

    Once secure & comfy, begin taking radial outings to find other sojourners. Maybe a village. Mark the far corners of your homestead with rock cairns. Make them artistic/whimsical. Find out where the spring rendevous takes place.

    When feeling at-ease and pacing at your natural rythm, but before boredom and nostalgia for the techno-world sets in, activate the Holodeck exit routine. Put on a fresh suit and return to your appointed place in mass-civilization.

    See? That's not so hard, is it? We're talking "dream", right?

    Well, my advice is, don't dream little. :-)

    P.S. No, I didn't overlook the "Park" part. Are today's parks the same as yesteryears'? Are 'living' Parks inconceivable, or even unknown? In the great trans-Europe Park of tomorrow, will whole generations not live & pass in naturalistic lifestyles? Are Europeans that much smarter than we are? Is Nunavut a Province, or a Park?