Recent comments

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

    If you were to tell a friend you used some chickees during a _recent_ trip, your friend would know you were crazy, or at least slightly addled. The mosquitoes and other biting insects are pretty miserable there until the first cold front in mid- to late- October. And, peak hurricane season is not a particularly wise time to do the full 9 day canoe trip to Whitewater Bay, although the developing El Nino conditions somewhat reduce the chance of a hurricane blowing up in the western Atlantic or Caribbean with only a couple of days notice. [_Maybe_ you could get a tow out of there in time if the water quality folks ran their transect to batten down the sensors.] By November the temperatures are a bit nicer, the rainy season is over, the bugs aren't so bad, and any hurricanes are very likely to arise from western Africa and thus give 7-10 days warning.

    Question 9 had me until I reread it and saw _campground_.
    I remember when hanging your food was the approved method for backcountry camping in Yosemite's Lyell Canyon. I'm proud to say we never fed the bears, even though bears came through our campsite pretty much every year. Now, there are special lightweight bear-resistant tubes for backpacking in bear country. I need to get my act together enough to go backpacking where I'll need one.

    8 correct: pretty darn good or needs remedial NPS camping experience?

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

    I read the actual news release from the park and it does say that they are not drawing a direct conclusion that their efforts resulted in no drownings. I think they are using this success to try to keep the safety message in people's minds.

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

    I'm an east coast kinda gal. I grew up on the Chesapeke Bay and there's something about the eastern shore of Maryland and Virginia that I just love. I love going out to Assateague Island for a day in the sand and then heading to Chincoteague for some fresh oysters and steamed blue crabs! Nothing says summer more than that salty breeze and the sting of Old Bay in the cuts on your fingers.

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

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

    Even though Washington is on the Pacific I will go to the Oregon beaches. They are the VERY best. MB

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

    Cumberland Island. It's pristine and when we were there we were about the only people on the beach. Beautiful!

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

    Salty it is, guys. We'll get to the lakeshores in due time, but what's a summer vacation without a salty breeze?

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

    I was about to say what Mike said: I'm a National LAKEshore kind of guy. Pictured Rocks, Sleeping Bear Dunes, and Isle Royale are among my favorite spots on earth.

    But if we need to be salty about it, I'll vote for the northeast. Acadia's coast is the most interesting and most scenic to me.

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

    I think this is a wonderful idea! This should be done at all national/state parks. What better way to avoid a fire hazard?

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

    This weekend I'm heading to the NORTH Coast. Lake Superior that is. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Grand Island National Rec. Area. and Isle Royale National Park. But if money wasn't an issue, I would head for Olympic National Seashore. I have never been past the Rockies and would love to go.

  • Plague Kills Many Prairie Dogs and Black-Footed Ferrets in Grasslands Near Badlands National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I see that these comments are a year old, but I thought it right to make a clarification. And while I actually am an environmental scientist working on their Phd, I don't see that as any reason to be rude or to use language that the average person can't understand.

    "Sylvatic plague" essentially is just a phrase scientists use to refer to the version of a plague found in wild animals. Pretty much all mentions of plague refer to disease caused by one specific bacteria, Yersinia pestis. This is the exact same bacteria that caused the bubonic plagues you heard about in history classes. The general consensus is that it originated in Asia and then traveled over to Europe and eventually here to North America via travel in fleas on rodents like rats that moved with humans.

    The point being, the "sylvatic plague" referred to in this article is certainly not endemic to the prairies of North America. Endemic implies not only native origin, but also that something is found only in that specific place, which in this case is false on both counts.

    As far as the human measures taken to fight this issue go, I would agree that the implications are very tricky to determine accurately. While I don't think the mass application of pesticides is a sustainable solution, scientists must constantly weigh benefits and detriments in their efforts to undo the damages of the past. We can only hope that whoever is making these decisions is doing so in an informed and cautious way.

    Hope that helped!

  • Trial Over What Constitutes a "Road" In Canyonlands National Park: Vestiges of Sagebrush Rebels   5 years 19 weeks ago

    If tearing down gates and signs is against the law, then why didn't members of the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade get arrested? How can it be against the law to assert your RS 2477 access rights? Nobody I know has been arrested for doing that.

    Yes Jarbidge is in NV not UT. thanks.

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

    Just to nit-pick: I'm not sure there's any statistical significance to a drowning-free year at Indiana Dunes, given that since 1995, the mean drownings per year is 0.87 and the median is zero (according to my news searches).

    That said, it's nice to see them using signs and interaction by rangers and volunteers rather than draconian closures of scenic areas. Sounds like a well-planned attack, and the lack of meaningful numbers I bemoan above is no reason to deride the program. A string of many drowning-free years in the future has to begin with the first.

  • Trial Over What Constitutes a "Road" In Canyonlands National Park: Vestiges of Sagebrush Rebels   5 years 19 weeks ago

    "1. This is another example of the NPS allowing the camels nose under the tent in years past, leaving current managers to clean up the mess. Like snowmobiles in Yellowstone, ATV's in Wrangell St Elias or Denali etc." Anonymous

    FWIW, I agree with you. All-too-many regretable decisions were made, in part, for the sake of political comfort. It is much too easy for park and regional management to alter or set policies that expose park lands and resources to long term adverse impacts. ATV access has resulted in widespread destruction of wilderness values and formally pristine habitat in many of the national parks in Alaska, including DENA, WRST, KATM, LACL, GAAR, NOAT, KOVA, GLBA, BELA, CAKR and YUCH. In most cases, these impacts could have been avoided or substantially mitagated. Now, however, it will be extremely difficult to pull the camel's nose from under the tent.

  • Hundreds of Groups Urge Senate to Invest in Climate Change Legislation That Could Help National Park Wildlife, Natural Resources   5 years 19 weeks ago

    The above post caught my attention at a pregnant moment. I just finished reading the book "The End of the Long Summer" by Dianne Dumanoski. It goes into great detail to examine the issue of climate change, drawing on a broad spectrum of scientific research and reports. Global warming will radically change far more than scattered national parks and other protected lands. This is not simply an esoteric question of preserving pleasing natural settings. It is a matter of survival in the most basic sense. The issue is no longer how to avoid climate change but rather how to keep it from being a global catastophe.

    The world's climate is a complex and dynamic system with a propensity to make radical swings with breathtaking rapidity. Indeed, the last two hundred years have been abnormally stable and, at least for us, favorable. By releasing enormous quantities of CO2, methane and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere humans are engaged in an uncontrolled and potentially dangerous experiment. We have been poking a sleeping climate monster. Now it is beginning to waken, and we can only hope it will not be as unpredicable and destructive as geological evidence shows it can be. Regardless, it is too late to dodge the climate bullet. Major changes are all but certain due to the atmospheric chemical changes that have already occurred. Now the emphasis should be on limiting the damage and preparing for a very interesting future.

  • Several New Trails Proposed at Denali National Park. Comments are Now Being Received   5 years 19 weeks ago

    It is a sad commentary that construction of a short (and obviously desirable, to confine foot traffic from sensitive tundra) trailbed on 1.0 acre of the 6 million in Denali NP requires a full-blown NEPA Environmental Assessment, at a considerable cost in limited NPS staff time, effort and funds. While construction of another parking lot does not?

    The appropriate NEPA process for such trail projects is: Categorical Exclusion by the Park Superintendent! i.e. please just do it.

  • Fall From Tokopah Falls Kills Visitor to Sequoia National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Hi Diana,

    I was not present when this happened to your brother, but my best friend's daughter had taken a photo of Scott and his friends just before. I had breakfast with my friend this morning and she is still struggling with this tragedy, so I can only imagine what you and your family are going through. I just wanted you to know that people are thinking of you and that my heart goes out to you all. Sequoia is a place where my family spent many summers, so it really hit home with me when I heard about this. Very sincerely, Juliet

  • With the Fall Rut Beginning, Wind Cave National Park Rangers Leading Elk Bugling Programs   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Olympic National Park's native Roosevelt elk are now bugling, their calls echoing across the high valleys throughout the Park. In rut, they reopen wallows in the high meadows, habitat they inadvertantly maintain for rare amphibians. They are the major reason T. R. designated Olympic Game Reserve, and FDR designated this National Park, so it is fitting that, as each autumn renews their eerie calls, we remember their name.

  • House Natural Resources Committee OK's Legislation For Upper Stehekin Road in North Cascades National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    This legislation would simply allow the NPS to realign the wilderness boundary onto the historic 1890 wagon road, which is well away from the Stehekin River, outside of the flood plain. This route is slightly shorter (2.2 vs 2.4 miles), so results in a slight increase in wilderness area. The NPS Environmental Assessment concludes that this reroute "would allow the 100-year and 500-year floodplain reclamation and revegetation initiated by the 2003 flood to continue between Car Wash Falls and MP 15.3. These floodplains, riparian, and wetland areas are high value wildlife habitat, and this would be a major, long-term beneficial affect. Individuals who would like motorized vehicle and bicycle access to southern portions of the Wilderness reestablished would perceive implementation of Alternative D (Road Reroute) as a moderate to major, long-term beneficial affect compared to the No Action Alternative."

    See the full EA at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/documentsList.cfm?parkId=327&projectId=15383

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

    I am gratified to see NPT's implicit support of these projects, even though they involve use of a mini-excavator and construction of a new cabin within a Federally-designated wilderness area. This work is essential for visitor access, safety and administration of the Park. However, it would be illegal within USFS-administered wilderness areas, and within National Parks in western Washington (due to the misguided 2005 Burgess decision http://www.peer.org/news/news_id.php?row_id=562). A more reasonable, uniform, national wilderness policy would go far to increase public support and decrease tensions over wilderness areas.

  • Off The Usual Paths   5 years 19 weeks ago

    This is interesting. Multicolored rock tells us about different ages and interesting geographic facts.

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

    Its undoubtedly a fact that the proactive action taken by the staff of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in putting up warning signs and reaching over 7.7% of the visitors during last summer is a milestone in the park history. With no incidents reported during the active period means alot to the people of this country and hence i wish to congratulate the entire staff of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore led by Consta Dillon and all the volunteers who made this possible. I also say thank you to the over a million visitors who toured the beach and behaved as requested hence leading to the success of the program.

  • Several New Trails Proposed at Denali National Park. Comments are Now Being Received   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Denali National Park; Alaska is 6 million acre land of exotic mammals, birds & small animals as well. Famous black & grizzly bears, wolves, dall sheep, moos, caribou & elusive kinda animals like foxes, hoary marmots, arctic ground squirrels, beavers, pikas & snowshoe hares. It’s a bird paradise with Raven, owls, ptarmigan, waxwings, Arctic Warblers, pine grosbeaks & tundra swan.

  • Woman Drowns In Yellowstone National Park's Backcountry   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Drowning confirmed by autopsy; not clear whether the illness had anything to do with the drowning. http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/article.php?art_id=5060

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

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I thought of you often this past week, and can only image how hard it had to be for you. I miss him dearly...as I closed my pool this weekend, the thing he & I did together every year, I still have a hard time believing he is gone. My thoughts and prayers are always with you.

  • With the Fall Rut Beginning, Wind Cave National Park Rangers Leading Elk Bugling Programs   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I heard my first elk bugling on this very ranger program 2 years ago. The various participants drove out in their own cars to a pullout north of the campground. When we got there we discovered a huge bull bison grazing just feet away in the dark. The ranger thought about it for a while and decided that if we were quiet and stood at the other end of the pullout we'd probably be okay. We listened and heard elk bugling in the valley below us. I was really elated to finally hear bugling in person and so glad they happened to be offering this program when I was visiting. As it turned out, every night in my tent I could hear elk bugling in the hills around the campground.