Recent comments

  • A New Exhibit at Ellis Island Tells the Story of the Lenape, the People Who Were There First   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Bob.

    Grandfather Commanda of the Circle of Nations holds some of the Wampum belts
    http://www.angelfire.com/ns/circleofallnations/page2.html [Click on the Enter icon]

    The way things used to work in America was: a small gift [i.e. international exposure on a National Park Service web site] would almost always compel the recipient to respond with a larger gift [i.e. photos and written explanations of the Wampum belts and the treaties or other events they commemorate.]

    Good Luck

  • Gold Strike Just North of Glacier National Park Another Concern for Park's Environmental Health   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I have been exploring the fathead headwaters for 6 years. it is beutiful. There might be one way to stop all of this. To find something historical. Something big.

  • Rediscovering the Lowly Lichen across the National Park System   5 years 23 weeks ago

    You're quite welcome for the article, Lauren. I'm not a lichenologist, I just like to point out that such creatures exist!

    I know Kerry Knudsen did a lichen talk/tour at Santa Monica Mountains NRA a couple weeks ago. Hopefully that is, or will become, a regular event.

  • National Park Lodging Rates, On Average, Stay Ahead of Inflation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I liked the Roughrider cabin, although the whole place smelled of smoke after we burned 4 logs in the stove. I didn't think the two they supplied were enough and requested more at the front desk. I also had the toughest time getting the thing to stay on fire. I had some alcohol gel hand sanitizer and used that when we had no more of those firestarter chunks. We could also park our car right next to the cabin.

    The way we got it was from my father - a former travel agent - and his persistence. This was a trip I'd promised my folks. We were staying at one of the Canyon Lodge cabins and he inquired about availability at Roosevelt for that night we were at the cookout. He really didn't want us to take that road to West Yellowstone at night. He gave them his old IATA number and apparently they were able to take us for one night and wrote up a reservation confirmation at the Canyon Lodge front desk. The hardest part was canceling our reservation. I had the phone number and it was a national chain, but we had to find a pay phone to make the call.

    I was talking to one of the employees whose wife handled group tours for Xanterra. He relayed that apparently some people complained about the quality of accommodations with the Roughrider cabins. They didn't quite understand that "rustic" should mean bare bones basic and not luxury cabins like (let's say) at Jenny Lake.

  • A New Exhibit at Ellis Island Tells the Story of the Lenape, the People Who Were There First   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Claude,

    You are leading the flock down the correct valley.
    Thank you, greatly, for sharing.

  • Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park Offers Winter Lodging Packages   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I tried to get the Winter Family Fun Package, but the operator could not tell me when it was available. She took my number and said someone would call back that day. No one did. I emailed the concessionaire, explained what I wanted and got no response. A week later I emailed the manager about my request and lack of response, and got no response. I then got a reservation at Grant Grove Village, run through Sequoia-Kings Canyon Park Services Company.

  • Updated: NPS Director Jarvis Ends "Core Ops" Budgeting Across The National Park System   5 years 23 weeks ago

    A career NPS ranger friend of mine has been reading this thread of posts and has also heard lots of offline talk about how the NPS will soon change for the better. Noticing the abundance of "Anonymous" postings above from present and former NPS colleagues, here is what was sent to me:

    "When we no longer feel intimidated to use our names when we submit comments, I'll know that change within the NPS is real."

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • A New Exhibit at Ellis Island Tells the Story of the Lenape, the People Who Were There First   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Hello Run.

    On the contrary you might be on the right path as this is part of our Wabanaki history. As europeen landed to the eastern door of norht america ( turtle island ) They noticed some aboriginal people of the Wabanaki Nations had already some blond hair, blue eyes and light skin with strong facial traits known to belong to the Anishinabe . Anishinabe means original people. This is why some of us were called the white indians of America by many of our peoples . The term used was Bemdinyik ( meaning vikings among you ). Would this means the Wabanaki People were Métis from their pre Columbian inception with their contact with Vikings ? Inerestingly the brother of Tecumse who was considered a Prophet used a prayer stick similar to the one use by the Vikings or influence by them .

    Many Wabankai family like the Thomer family , The Thomas the Dennis and the St Aubin family were among the families labelled that way.

    Since the first white Europeen man married the first Wabanaki woman to give birth to Métis is well documented. It is easy to trace a Métis family history to some Norman Breton sailors from St Malo or to English prisonners of the Wabanaki familly . These Métis are called Malouidit in Wabannaki territory. But many of these Wabanaki and Huron who later intermaried with the French or English colonists already had a considerable amount of white caucesian blood in them wich dated back to pre columbian times .

    It is also a very sensitive subject of discussion on our Wabanaki Territory as some Wabanaki peoples are so insecure with their own identity.

    Recognition of that fact do not complied with their contemporary reality and recognition by the governement. On the contrary it might just provide a raison or a justification for governements to exclude them from the Wabanaki Nations.

    The question to find the truth is when this first métissage took place and what we mean by original people? Wabanaki people are inclusive not exclusive purist. This is how they survived the métissage .

    Claude Aubin

  • National Park Lodging Rates, On Average, Stay Ahead of Inflation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Xanterra handles some, but not all, of the Yellowstone campgrounds: Bridge Bay, Canyon, Fishing Bridge RV Park, Grant Village, and Madison. The rest, I believe, are handled by the NPS.

    There are indeed some inexpensive lodging options in Jackson...but also some very high ones. I'm not sure how the NPS folks blend them all together to come up with Grand Teton's rates.

    Sounds like you had a great experience with the Roughrider cabin. It is wise to check when you're in the park for rooms/cabins that might have opened up through cancellations. We'll address some of the "tricks of the trade" for bagging a room down the road.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Do You Think of Lodging Rates in National Parks?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Richard Smith:
    What a great idea! If the Park Service wants to get back to the people, instead of some elitist money grubbing concessionaire, they should encourage the International Youth Hostel Association to run more places in parks. I know that they have a place at Point Reyes National Seashore. Do they have others?

    I stayed a night at that hostel. It's affiliated with Hostelling International. They also have one at the Marin Headlands in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Apparently it's pretty swanky since it was a former officers quarters at Fort Barry. The Point Reyes Hostel by comparison was a dorm for ranch hands.

    http://norcalhostels.org/marin/features

    They've also got a location within Redwood National Park:

    http://norcalhostels.org/redwoods/

    Yosemite Bug is affiliated with Hostelling International. They've got bunks for $25/night for nonmembers and $22 for HI members. They also have cabin and tent cabin options. It's not inside the park though.

    http://www.yosemitebug.com/lodging.html

    I would note that it's not likely that the NPS allows someone to build a new hostel. These are almost always existing housing that were then converted after the NPS took over.

  • National Park Lodging Rates, On Average, Stay Ahead of Inflation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Kurt Repanshek:
    Also, don't be bashful about telling park officials about what you find in the campgrounds. More and more these are being turned over to concessionaires, who need to be accountable. Some years ago I stayed at Colter Bay in one of the cabins, which are located in bear habitat. One morning I found the housekeeping staff bagging up garbage from the cabins and leaving it out front for staff to collect later in the day. In light of the bear habitat, you can image the problem this could have caused. A quick call to the park corrected the problem overnight.

    Doesn't Xanterra run the campgrounds at Yellowstone one behalf of the NPS? I remember reserving a campsite at Mazama Campground at Crater Lake, and that was also handled by Xanterra.

    In many ways I've found that the concessionaire run campgrounds are very well maintained. Bathroom facilities seem to be cleaned on a faster schedule than many NPS run campgrounds. Of course sometimes I've found better service at the entrance kiosk with some NPS campgrounds staffed by enthusiastic volunteers/retirees who return every year or park rangers, while some of the concessionaire campgrounds have been staffed by bored-looking college students.

    Sometimes NPS sites are near other public lands with lodging options. Sequoia/Kings Canyon is heavily dependent on the facilities available in Sequoia National Forest. They've got fine campsites at Stony Creek, Princess, and Hume Lake as three examples that supplement the NPS campgrounds. There's sometimes excellent cooperation between the FS and NPS. I remember visiting the Grant Grove visitor center to report a bear with cubs sighting (just check the photo in my profile page) and I was told the wildlife expert there was the Forest Service ranger on duty.

    As for Grand Teton lodging rates compared to Jackson - there are some really cheap options in Jackson. They do have a Motel 6 on the outskirts of town. Yellowstone probably gets compared to West Yellowstone and Gardiner. I remember booking a motel at West Yellowstone in the peak summer season for $75 before canceling the reservation after someone in my party managed to get one night at a Roosevelt Lodge Roughrider cabin. The original plan was to drive from the Roosevelt Old West Cookout to West Yellowstone at night. The change in lodging allowed us to drive across those windy mountain roads to the exit in the morning on the way to Utah.

  • Rediscovering the Lowly Lichen across the National Park System   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Many thanks from the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area for this article. Kerry has added tremendously to our understanding of lichens in the park. We very much appreciate the publicity!

  • National Park Lodging Rates, On Average, Stay Ahead of Inflation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Richard,

    In short, companies bid for the concession contracts. In the case of lodges, those contracts typically run for 10 years. Towards the end of that period they put the contract up for bid again. For instance, earlier this year Xanterra Parks & Resorts lost the concession to Bryce Canyon Lodge to Forever Parks.

    As for pricing, from what I've been told it's somewhat of a complicated formula, but the rates are supposed to be comparable to the nearest commercial property outside the park. But you also have to factor in upkeep of the facility, the cost of employees, the percentage that goes to the park, taxes, etc. Comparables seemingly can create problems for places like Grand Teton National Park, in which case the nearest lodging outside the park is Jackson, Wyoming, where some of the properties are pretty high-end.

    That said, it would be of wide interest, I would think, to take a close look at lodging rates across the park system and all the factors that go into their determination.

    As for state-run campgrounds vs. park-run campgrounds, I think the state of the campgrounds is pretty much like everything else -- some are well-kept, some aren't. I remember checking out a state campground in Oregon a decade or so ago and there was all sorts of garbage...and there was another that was gorgeous.

    While I don't typically stay in front-country campgrounds, preferring to head into the backcountry, the ones I've seen in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Arches, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, and Glacier, just to name a handful of parks, have been pretty well-kept. I also know that the folks at the Yellowstone Foundation have budgeted nearly $50,000 to do front-country campground restoration in Yellowstone to remove social trails and install tent pads to protect the landscape, among other things.

    Also, don't be bashful about telling park officials about what you find in the campgrounds. More and more these are being turned over to concessionaires, who need to be accountable. Some years ago I stayed at Colter Bay in one of the cabins, which are located in bear habitat. One morning I found the housekeeping staff bagging up garbage from the cabins and leaving it out front for staff to collect later in the day. In light of the bear habitat, you can image the problem this could have caused. A quick call to the park corrected the problem overnight.

  • National Park Lodging Rates, On Average, Stay Ahead of Inflation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I was wondering how the whole process of concessionaires works. Do they bid on the ability to run the lodges for a number of years and decide to charge whatever they feel like? I am glad camping at state parks isn't run like that or I couldn't camp there. I never camp at front country campsites within the National Park System, as they are all trashed compared to my favorite state parks. It seems if they ran Yosemite right (for the people), they would limit the cost of rooms, and not just track the rate of increase. You know how some cities have low cost housing, why not a block of rooms at the Ahwahnee that are affordable for the middle class visitor?

  • Gold Strike Just North of Glacier National Park Another Concern for Park's Environmental Health   5 years 23 weeks ago

    This is so terrible, Kurt. 10 miles away from Glacier--oy. This could wreck havoc on the entire ecosystem!

  • Reader Participation Day: What Do You Think of Lodging Rates in National Parks?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    KLP,
    What a great idea! If the Park Service wants to get back to the people, instead of some elitist money grubbing concessionaire, they should encourage the International Youth Hostel Association to run more places in parks. I know that they have a place at Point Reyes National Seashore. Do they have others?

  • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Officials Concerned Over Indiana's Plans for Seawall   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I was just curious, is this a new lake? Did the people who purchased their land/homes realize that their would be a lake there. Really, the lake has been their all along... hmm then maybe the concept of erosion is new... no?, not that either. Just joking I know that the lake was built by the CCC during the 1930's.

    I have a problem when their is an existing problem, then a comparatively few people build in an area, and they should have known the risks when they purchased or built. Once again tax dollars are spent to protect the property they knew would wash away. I live along another CCC lake from the '30's (Lake Eire) and we have some of the same issues. In our state however, the government is trying to take the beach and the lake shore away from the private property owners, but that is another conversation.

    The seawall should not be built unless it is outside of the park boundaries. Simple enough. However you know the rule, it is sometimes better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

  • More Than A Few Ghost Stories Swirl About Crater Lake National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I sayed at the lodge in 2000- I had no idea of any of these stories or happenings. I was totally un-nerved the entire stay. My husband, my one year old son and I were staying there for two nights after extensively camping our way through OR. We left after the first night- he and I both were almost frantic about leaving. It's not what we SAW, but the overwhelming feeling of doom and dread. I'm no weirdo, and I've never experienced that before or since-
    it's pretty, but, I'd stay away.

  • A New Exhibit at Ellis Island Tells the Story of the Lenape, the People Who Were There First   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Hmmm,
    For as long as I can remember, Lennie Lenape was a word described to mean "Original People". I dont know who put this meaning forth, but It seemed to make sense, as they were considered "the Grandfather" of several other Algonquin Nations.
    I suppose off-shoots, who moved further away in search of food and hunting territory.To suggest "pure People" perhaps is in line with original people. To suggest pure means Christian, raises some questions. Were pagans then considered not pure? Did the early vikings who inhabited America follow the christian religion at all? Were they not only pretty much abandoned in Greenland by everybody including the church? In the course of several hundred years would they not lose any Christian teachings they once had, and as they blended and had contact with other natives here and go with more natural beliefs which focused on their survival? Just questions, not neccessarily meant to differ on any opinion or propositions. Yours in the search of truth and history.
    Ron (Gunn) Goebel

  • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Officials Concerned Over Indiana's Plans for Seawall   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Props to a superintendent who is standing up for their park! Go get 'em!

  • Dark, Starry Skies Above National Parks Celebrated by Posters, Forthcoming Book   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Tyler,

    Thanks for commenting and thank you for promoting natural light at night in our parks as a natural and cultural resource worthy of NPS administrative attention.

    With respect to night sky programs and "core operations", I recall renowned amateur astronomer John Dobson, now age 94. JD used to routinely travel with his band of San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers to various national parks ("where dark skies and curious minds collide") and conduct volunteer public education programs using their home-made Dobsonian telescopes and special knowledge of the night (in fact, the Sidewalk Astronomers will convene at Death Valley in a few weeks). These programs were very well attended by park visitors. At one park, however, a park ranger, who felt that the forest of large telescopes and growing numbers of visitors had become an unwelcomed distraction, said to Dobson, "The sky is not part of the park." JD is said to have countered, "Ah, but the park is part of the sky!"

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Officials Concerned Over Indiana's Plans for Seawall   5 years 23 weeks ago

    The residents of Ogden Dunes are a very self-entitled sort, it's no wonder they think they do not have to go through the necessary legislative process to get "their" shoreline "protected".
    The only reason Ogden Dunes was left untouched when Indiana Dunes was created is because Dorothy Buell, one of the primary players behind getting the National Park established, lived in Ogden Dunes.
    How ironic that they now feel above and beyond the concerns of preserving and protecting a National Park that belongs to all Americans.

  • Gold Strike Just North of Glacier National Park Another Concern for Park's Environmental Health   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Why isn't someone doing something about this??

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 23 weeks ago

    The number of burmese pythons in the Everglades has been exagerate. There are reports of 100,000 or 130,000 Where are these numbers from? It has also been reported that they lay 80-100 eggs twice a year. Another gross misinfomation!!!!

    Burmese pythions are a non-native species and as such they should be regulated and erradicated from the Everglades. However, pythons in the wild do have predators. A Burmese hatchling would be a tasty morsel for alligators, crocodiles, snapping turtles, otters, ospreys, eagles, and all the herons and egrets in the park.

    The python situation in the Everglades is of concern to everyone interested in the environment and our native species, but all the public must be informed and made aware of all the facts. Playing with the public's fears is not right. No python jas ever eaten a man in the US. There have been a few unfortunate examples of baies killed by pythons, but it has always been in captive situations and the owners are the ones to blame.

  • Updated: NPS Director Jarvis Ends "Core Ops" Budgeting Across The National Park System   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Spot on -sadly PTSD is exactly what so many of us have been silently struggling with who were Core Oped.
    I received this diagnosis from my physician two years ago. I didn't pursue it thru work channels as I figured what was the point. I just had to deal with it on my own and heal myself as best I could. But it is ironic to think about the IMR regional director's demanding performance requirement of zero employee on the job injuries, accidents and illnesses and the penalizing assessments IMR parks pay to the IMR region every time a park has a "reportable" accident, injury and occupational triggered illness. It would be staggering to calculate how many former and present IMR employees who were core oped share this wrenching job triggered PTSD reality. Hopefully there will be some accountability for the incalculable human damage.