Recent comments

  • National Park Mystery Spot 5 Revealed: You’ll Find It At the Bottom of the Grand Canyon   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Interesting. We stayed overnight in one of the little cabins on the night of July 4, 1989. The mule I rode down was named Dolly Parton, my wife rode Socks. It cost $49.00/night at Bright Angel Lodge. The overnight mule trip was $359.00. I wonder what it is now. A great experience.

  • Poaching Charges Pending In Case of Majestic Bull Elk Killed at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Seriously! Why would someone do such a thing? Senseless, inhumane and for just the thrill of killing a poor, defenseless creature. It is one thing to hunt to eat; it is another to just shoot an animal that is clearly very domesticated and not at all afraid of humans. I have seen these beautiful creatures and shooting one of them is equivalent to pulling up to your neighbor's house and shooting their dog in the yard. This is not hunting, it is murder. I hope he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent!

  • Search for Human-Habituated Grizzlies in Glacier National Park Ends With Two Dead Bears   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I completely disagree with killing this sow. This was a seventeen year old breeding female and a huge loss for the grizzly bear population. It's always about people and what they need and want. I wonder how this bear became habituated in the first place? What other measures were tried? Was she relocated, how many times? To gun down a perfectly healthy grizzly sow in the prime of her life, with two cubs? Just a terrible decision. Now one cub is dead and the other will spend a lonely life in a zoo. Worst possible outcome.

  • National Park Mystery Plant: 4: This “Tree from Hell” Smells Like Rancid Peanut Butter   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Thanks for the new info, tomp. I trust you noticed that I left some wriggle room in that list of 29 NPS units provided, as i indicated that there are "probably some not listed here." The map you referenced is not necessarily "better," it's just different. The map I used shows the states where it's considered invasive, whereas the map you referenced shows the 43 coterminous states where it's been certified as "present." (I did say that it was present in just 42, so your suggested map does add new information.) All of this weaselspeak has left me a little worn out, so I think I'll go find my watch and see if the cocktail hour has arrived.

  • National Park Mystery Plant: 4: This “Tree from Hell” Smells Like Rancid Peanut Butter   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I've got it in 87 NPS units, although 40 don't flag it as "weedy":
    ANAC, ANTI, APCO, APPA, ASIS, BAND, BISO, BLRI, BOHA, BOWA, BUFF, CACO, CALO, CARE, CARL, CATO, CAVE, CHAT, CHCH, CHOH, COLO, CORO, COWP, CUGA, CUIS, CUVA, DEVA, DEWA, EISE, ELRO, FONE, FOVA, FRHI, FRSP, GARI, GATE, GETT, GEWA, GRSM, GUCO, HAFE, HOCU, HOFR, HOFU, INDU, JOMU, KEMO, KIMO, LIRI, MACA, MANA, MANZ, MIMA, MOCA, MONO, MORR, NATR, NEPE, NERI, OBRI, OCMU, PEFO, PERI, PETE, PISC, PISP, PRWI, RICH, ROCR, RUCA, SAAN, SAHI, SAIR, SAMO, SHEN, SLBE, STRI, THST, TUMA, TUZI, VAFO, VAMA, VICK, WEFA, WHIS, WOTR, ZION

    You're right that ITIS only lists Simarouba glauca for paradise tree as a common name, but paradise tree is one of those common names that gets applied locally or regionally to at least a handful of species.

    Also, USDA Plants has a better range map for it

  • National Park Mystery Plant: 4: This “Tree from Hell” Smells Like Rancid Peanut Butter   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Hello Bob,
    If you catch the Ailanthus when it is young you can pull it out of the ground. I use a special tool called the Weed Wrench which can be purchased here http://www.weedwrench.com/ When the plants are too large to remove with this tool, I cut them off at the ground and immediately paint with undiluted Roundup (Glyphosate). I really don't like to use chemicals at all but there seems to be no other solution. I have been a big proponent of using native plants in the landscape for years. There are quite a few examples of plants introduced into the country as garden plants that have escaped into the wild places and have become invasive.

  • Lawsuit Aims to Halt Uranium Mine Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Kurt, for an even more dramatic view of park boundaries (Olympic) visible from space:
    http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=9681

    I'd think the potential for contamination via blowing dust from the ore would be significant and expensive to mitigate with water in such short supply on the South Rim.

  • Search Now In Its Third Day for Missing Hunter At Big Cypress National Preserve   5 years 22 weeks ago

    We're praying for you Jay. I know you're out there, alive and well. Hopefully, today we will find you. I just got down here today from Elmira and we're gonna help with the search for you. Stay strong brotha. See you soon.

  • National Park Mystery Plant: 4: This “Tree from Hell” Smells Like Rancid Peanut Butter   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Linda and appletree: I suspect that calling the tree-of-heaven a "paradise tree" may sow confusion. A completely different tree, the Simarouba glauca (sim-uh-ROO-buh GLAW-kuh) goes by the common name paradise-tree. And it's got pinnate compound leaves, too. The "real" paradise tree is found in the coastal hammocks of south Florida, the Keys, the Caribbean, and areas of the tropics.

  • National Park Mystery Plant: 4: This “Tree from Hell” Smells Like Rancid Peanut Butter   5 years 22 weeks ago

    You're quite right about the urban planting, Anon. The lousier the growing conditions, the more you want a tree that grows like a weed.

  • National Park Mystery Plant: 4: This “Tree from Hell” Smells Like Rancid Peanut Butter   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Our 2 acres in southern New Mexico (near the Gila Wilderness) would be overrun with ailanthus/paradise trees if we weren't vigilant about keeping them under control. Paradise tree is the common name for these SOB's in Arizona and New Mexico--at least in the parts I've lived in. In our experience, digging up the roots is the only way we've been able to keep them from coming back--and in some places, that isn't possible in our rocky terrain.
    WordWoman

  • National Park Mystery Plant: 4: This “Tree from Hell” Smells Like Rancid Peanut Butter   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Aren't modern preservatives wonderful? If you'd like to smell some rancid peanut butter, Anon-yours, just open a jar of natural peanut butter (no preservatives) and leave it unrefrigerated for about four months (three will do if it's warm). It's the oil that goes bad. Actually, you don't need to have smelled peanut butter that's "gone bad" to recognize that the tree-of-heaven gives off a smell reminiscent of peanut butter.

  • Lawsuit Aims to Halt Uranium Mine Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 22 weeks ago

    To expand a bit on the above comments by tomp and Kurt:

    The question of whether there should be "buffers" on public lands owned by other agencies adjacent to parks has always been fertile ground for debate. As tomp notes, one factor in evaluating an activity on public lands adjoining parks should be the extent of the impacts of the activity on the park.

    In the case of uranium mining near Grand Canyon, one of the concerns raised has been possible effects of the mining activity on water quality in the Colorado River, and on the underground water resources in the area. Water is a scarce and increasingly valuable resource in the Southwest. If mining on the BLM land near the park runs the risk of compromising the water in the park, that's an issue which needs serious consideration, and the water in the Colorado River is a critical resource for a much larger area than just Grand Canyon NP.

  • National Park Mystery Plant: 4: This “Tree from Hell” Smells Like Rancid Peanut Butter   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I've had a jar of peanut butter in my cupboard for more than a year and it still seemed edible and didn't smell bad, so that description was lost on me.

  • National Park Mystery Plant: 4: This “Tree from Hell” Smells Like Rancid Peanut Butter   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Bob, I believe the Ailanthus tree was planted in great abundance as a cheap weed tree in New York. Planted as a quick growing shade tree for the streets of New York back in the 1900's and also known as a poor mans tree. Smells terrible when burning the wood.

  • Ranger Academy Suffering From Loss of Experienced Instructors   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I was looking up the SRJC academy to attend in January 2010 when I came across this site. I was very interested in what everyone had to say. For those of you who are in the field, please respond to and let me know if you believe there are opportunities out there in this economy and if, in fact, you believe it is a sound academy.

    Thank you!
    Jean

  • Lawsuit Aims to Halt Uranium Mine Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 22 weeks ago

    To Kurt, y_p_w, and tomp, the three who responded to my questions about the boundaries, I thank you for your professional, concise, and intelligent replies. Those were needed here in this particular comments section. All the responses make sense to both sides. I do not see why there must be an instant cutdown of something as soon as an article is published.

  • National Park Mystery Plant: 4: This “Tree from Hell” Smells Like Rancid Peanut Butter   5 years 22 weeks ago

    What control methods have your tried, Paul, and how long have you been at it?

  • National Park Mystery Plant: 4: This “Tree from Hell” Smells Like Rancid Peanut Butter   5 years 22 weeks ago

    It is a very nasty plant and a major problem in middle Tennessee. I am trying to eradicate from my property, but at the moment it is winning. The local park systems in Nashville, TN are trying to systematically remove it as well as Privet, Honeysuckle and a few other aggressive species.

  • National Park Mystery Plant: 4: This “Tree from Hell” Smells Like Rancid Peanut Butter   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Good work, Linda. We'll give you an A- (a clean A, except for the spelling glitch). The mystery tree is the tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima). I'll have more to say about the tree and its control in tomorrow's Traveler.

  • National Park Mystery Plant: 4: This “Tree from Hell” Smells Like Rancid Peanut Butter   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I'm guessing Alanthus (sp?) Around here it's also called paradise tree. While trying to eradicate it's shoots in central Virginia I became very familiar with the peanut butter smell. I had a huge "adult" tree and had runner roots the size of an anaconda through boxwood beds.

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I've been camping at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park since the 1950's. It is away from the crowds of Yosemite Valley and has beautiful granite domes, lakes, rivers, and a big meadow where you can wander out on a moonless night to see the stars. And at nearly 9,000 feet elevation the night sky is spectacular. There are lots of wonderful naturalist walks to join, and we like to drive over Tioga Pass to visit Mono Lake. The best season is about mid-July to mid-September. We reserve a campsite 5 months in advance to assure a spot.

  • Forest Service Open to Allowing Mountain Bikes on Continental Divide Trail, But What About Park Service?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    RodF,
    My experience has been similar. I frequently run in to stock and hikers and bikers while hiking and biking on trails and I don't recall ever having any conflicts.

    And amen to your conclusion:

    "Let's allow USFS and NPS land managers some flexibility. One nation wide policy does not fit all trails."

  • Lawsuit Over Deer Culling At Valley Forge Highlights Troubles Of Squeezed National Parks   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Barbara,

    Those solutions and actions might work in Evergreen, CO. But VF is not in Evergreen, CO, it is in south eastern PA. There are probably more deer in VF than are in Evergreen CO. What is the density of deer in Evergreen, CO? The deer population in SE PA has been documented in several areas at over 140 deer/square mile, or 1 deer for every 4.5 acres. The current number of deer in VF, using the data in the article, is 233 deer/square mile. Ecologically speaking, Evergreen, CO and VF and two very different and distinct ecosytems and biomes.

    Nature will eventually take control of the situation in VF if allowed, but that will take a long time. Nature will cause the deer starve, before and after birth. Nature would introduce a disease to assist in controlling the deer, and they will die a slow, painful death. Coyotes will take and eat deer (young, sick, or injured), but most likely not enough to have a large impact. While VF is waiting for nature to take over, the rest of the nature in the park will continue to suffer, humans will continue to hit them, humans will continue to contract lyme disease and suffer.

    "Thank God someone had enough courage, intelligence, correct research/studies, motivation, and just plain respect, for both animals AND people, to bring about this suit."

    I pose this question to you, what is "correct" research/studies??? From what I have been taught, practiced, and read, pertaining to scientific research, there is no such thing as research or studies being "correct".. Research or studies present their findings on a particular question posed, whether the findings support or fail to support the original question. I'm sure what you meant is that the people that brought this suit about, will only use, quote, or point to research/studies that support their mis-guided thoughts about what should be done in VF, and ignore the research that was conducted directly in VF. They will use, quote, and base their opinion on science that was conducted 20 years ago in some part of the country that has no bearing on what is going on in VF.

    So let me ask you this, killing is OK as long as nature is doing it, the coyotes, the mountain lions, the bears, etc??

    "The famously-gifted Alice Walker once wrote, "The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men." How incredibly honest...and how profoundly TRUE!". I say this is partly right. They were not made for humans, as much as we were not made for them.

    According to your logic, VF has to just deal with the situation and do nothing about! I say that is irresponsible, for the deer and for all other beings in nature, including us humans, the small mammals, the birds, and the plants.

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Wonder Lake--Denali National Park and Preserve--when the mountain is cooperating.