Recent comments

  • How Low Is the Bar For National Park System Inclusion When You Add a Gas Station?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Anonymous is right, the old Magnolia Mobil gas station is part of Little Rock Central High School NHS. I assume it was acquired with the rest of the land, but if it wasn't, I believe it would have been a candidate for later inclusion. It is directly across the street from both the new visitor and the high school and, if I recall correctly, served as the central hub for reporter during the events. It's actually a great example of a gas station that plays a meaningful and appropriate role in the National Park System.

  • Interior Secretary Plans Free Weekend Entry to National Parks to Boost Tourism   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Interesting op-ed in New West today by Bill Schneider calling for the end of all user fees for both economic and non-economic reasons. See http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/salazar_permanently_waive_national_park_entrance_fees/C41/L41/

    Personally, I'm against ALL user fees for public goods. They are fundamentally unfair to lower classes (to me, the most important point), but they also don't solve the problem they are intended to solve - funding for that public good. Just because you pay to use a park and the park gets a portion of that money doesn't mean that that's additional money. All it means is that a percentage of the money allocated comes from those fees rather from some other source. What is given with one hand is taken away with the other. Should a park have to justify its funding on the basis of the number of users, if in fact society deems it is a PUBLIC good? What about in bad economic times? In fact, user fees make funding more unstable, and the need to attract more users, paying more drives up the overall cost (ask states like Ohio that use the lottery in part to fund public education whether schools are adequately funded because there is a successful state lottery).

    All that said, I do have more fundamental problems with the national parks and don't actually advocate more funding. Yet, in as much as they are funded and held by us all to be for the good of all, user fees are a contradiction to that - and not just for parks but for any and every public service.

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

  • Land Trust Hopes To Add Nearly 1,000 Acres to Joshua Tree National Park`   5 years 17 weeks ago

    A nice idea, hope it pans out.

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    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • House Approves Measure to Direct North Cascades National Park to Stock Barren Lakes. What Do You Think?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Stocking lakes is a goofy-assed practice anyway, except for restoration of native species. Most lake stocking is simply to put game fish in there so people have something to do with their spare time. I've seen more inanities in fish stocking than I care to.

    Stocking alpine lakes is doubly stupid.

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    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • House Approves Measure to Direct North Cascades National Park to Stock Barren Lakes. What Do You Think?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    No I don't think they should.

  • House Approves Measure to Direct North Cascades National Park to Stock Barren Lakes. What Do You Think?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    The lakes have already been stocked - if there was going to be any damage it was done a long time ago. Protect the bodies of water that have never been stocked from being stocked. An EIS would probably be required under NEPA prior to stocking a park lake that has never been stocked.

    The Organic Act doesn’t really address fish stocking but it does clearly permit the issuing of leases, selling of lumber, and the destruction of detrimental animals and plants. I suppose if the fish in those otherwise barren lakes were deemed detrimental to the ecosystem after 90 years of stocking, the Park Service could hire summer interns to spray Rotenone in those lakes to kill those pesky trout and return the lakes to a lifeless state.

  • House Approves Measure to Direct North Cascades National Park to Stock Barren Lakes. What Do You Think?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    You know, it seems like every time we try and do something like this to the ecosystem, the ecosystem ends up rebelling. While stocking lakes with trout for sport fishing sounds fun, I think the balance of the ecosystem gets tilted in some very subtle ways, much like Dave mentioned. If the frogs go, then that upsets the ecosystem. of course, the question gets begged because this is a practice that has been done for years, and therefore that IS the ecosystem. Still, I say sport-fish elsewhere, leave the lakes alone.

  • Interior Secretary Plans Free Weekend Entry to National Parks to Boost Tourism   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Kitty...you make an excellent point. I remember how appalled I was when the fees jumped up. It didn't stop my using the NPS parks but it certainly felt unfair to have to pay to use or enjoy something that by rights is already the domain of all citizens. I know that when I was raising my kids back in the day, there was no way we could have afforded being regular patrons of the parks. I don't think the fees will ever go away entirely nor do I believe they should. A dramatic rollback would work nicely and without having the overwhelming human crush effect that I mentioned in my earlier comments

  • House Approves Measure to Direct North Cascades National Park to Stock Barren Lakes. What Do You Think?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    The stocking of non-native fish to high alpine lakes and other lentic habitats has been shown to be detrimental to native amphibian populations (e.g. the declining Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged frog in locales such as Yosemite and Seqouia/Kings Canyon NP's). As an amphibian biologist, I sincerely hope the process of stocking the lakes of these parks is put to an end.

  • House Approves Measure to Direct North Cascades National Park to Stock Barren Lakes. What Do You Think?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    I'm always amazed at our elected goof balls. Here we are in a economic free fall and thousands more are about to loose their job and these goof balls want to put fish in a lake that normally doesn't have fish. Why? I'm sure someone will make money on this deal. I see fishing lodges and camps going up and now you will find this to be the rest of the story. Maybe Our New President will have a grasp on the real needs of our nation and can this idea.

    Let's take this money and doing something good with it. Bail someone else out!!!!

    Thank and enjoyed your web site.

  • House Approves Measure to Direct North Cascades National Park to Stock Barren Lakes. What Do You Think?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Stocking with non-native fish is incompatible with the Organic Act and must be banned immediately.

    There should be areas that are free from human intrusion, and national parks are the perfect natural habitats to keep free from all destructive interferance by civilization.

    I totally agree with both statements.

    Anyone wanna bet what's going to prevail in this policy debate; the bought and sold politics of Washington, DC or the principles embodied in the Organic Act?

    I wouldn't hold my breath for the triumph of principles if I were y'all, since they are in such very short supply in the inner sanctums of the Imperial City.

  • House Approves Measure to Direct North Cascades National Park to Stock Barren Lakes. What Do You Think?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    I do not think they should stock the lakes in any national parks. There should be areas that are free from human intrusion, and national parks are the perfect natural habitats to keep free from all destructive interferance by civilization.

  • House Approves Measure to Direct North Cascades National Park to Stock Barren Lakes. What Do You Think?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Glacier NP stopped this nonsense in 1971. Almost 40 years later the principles of conservation should have reached even northern Washington. Stocking with non-native fish is incompatible with the Organic Act and must be banned immediately.

  • House Approves Measure to Direct North Cascades National Park to Stock Barren Lakes. What Do You Think?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    I can see this from both view points. While the NPS is spending millions trying to get rid of non-natives, this park is going to add them. But since there do'nt seem to be any native fish for them to impact and the low nutrients will stop them from becoming invasive, then maybe we should preserve the tradition of stocking. It's like in other parks where we tell the visitors that everything is protected, but we let them pick fruit because it's a traditinoal activity. I think this is a tough one.

  • Fall At Haleakala National Park Kills Man And The Horse He Was Riding   5 years 17 weeks ago

    My dad was in excellent condition and always traveled with his horse. He could have easily walked the Halemau'u trail. He was taking his grandchildren and neices for the first time and thought it would be nice to give them all a ride once he got to the bottom. His horse was 28 years old and was not very enthusiastic about making the trip. The trail was dry and not wet. Please be sensitive of what you write. Mahalo -Kitty Kehaunani

  • Raising Hay At Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park also has a cattle operation as part of their historic preservation.

    18 NPS units report having Bos taurus present in park.

  • Interior Secretary Plans Free Weekend Entry to National Parks to Boost Tourism   5 years 17 weeks ago

    This is a watershed event: the first official recognition that - wait for it - fees deter visitation!
    (DUH)
    In prior administrations (both Clinton and Bush) the party line was that if you could afford to travel to a Park you were rich enough not to mind the entrance fee. Low income people just didn't visit Parks, so there was no need to accomodate them.
    Then something funny happened. A whole lot of us suddenly found ourselves a whole lot lower income than we used to be. We feel the pain of that $5 or $10 or $25 entrance fee.
    Perhaps the new administration has seen the light.
    NPS began to implement entrance fee increases at 95% of fee-charging units between 2005-2009, starting as soon as they got permanent authority to set rates without Congressional review in the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. They were planning to peg fees to the Consumer Price Index, with automatic increases every three years starting in 2011. Thank goodness Congress pushed back and that plan has been shelved. Bomar froze fees at 2007 levels and I have not heard of any plans to change that. Salazar should make sure that stays in place.
    Canada has announced a two-year freeze on their Park entrance fees as well, with the stated intent of boosting tourism.
    Despite their importance to tourism-based economies, our public lands were not set aside as commodities to be marketed and sold back to us. They are places where everyone should have access and be welcome. I wish Park entrance fees would go away, but there is little political support for that. Lacking that support, they should at least remain frozen and any increases should undergo public notice and congressional review. These fee-free weekends are a great idea, one that should grow and spread.
    Thanks Secretary Salazar!

  • Trekking to Dick Proenneke's Cabin in Lake Clark National Park   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Just saw your blog entry, I have seen this documentary on Dick Proenneke, it is a wonderful story. I hope your trip went well. I will visit the cabin after my kids are grown and out of the house, so a couple of more years for me. Please let me know how it went and if you have any photos or videos I would love to see them. My email address is listed with this if you can send.
    Thanks and nice to meet ya,
    Natalie
    Kennesaw, Georgia

  • National Park Quiz 57: Canyons   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Great quiz!

    The observance of Arizona time at Glen Canyon NRA's Dangling Rope Marina in Utah is interesting. I visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park over Memorial Day and became a bit disoriented by the time zone split there. The South Unit is on Mountain Time, while half of the north unit -- everything on the north side of the Little Missouri River -- is on Central Time. The North Unit visitor center, almost spitting distance from the meandering river and time zone boundary, observes Central Time. So, visitors traveling north between the two at, say, 3 p.m. or so, may find themselves at a closed visitor center when they arrive at 5 p.m. Central Time. The ranger at the North Unit visitor center said even park staff get confused sometimes. It seems to make more sense for the entire park to pick a time zone to observe despite what side of the river the North Unit visitor center happens to be on. Glen Canyon clearly does it right!

    Also, unless things have changed in the last five or six years, there is one trail leading to the floor of Canyon de Chelly that is open to visitors without a guide. I hiked down to the White House Ruin in 2003, one of the most beautiful canyon hikes in northern Arizona outside of the Grand Canyon. Of course, it's hard to tell if this trail is still open to the public without a guide because the park's Web site lacks a ton of basic information. The park map on the Web site implies that the trail remains open.

    [Ed: Thanks. I'll check further into the Canyon de Chelly rules pertaining to trail use. Meanwhile, I've edited the answer explanation.]

  • Upon Further Review: A Cat on a Leash   5 years 17 weeks ago

    I agree that taking cats for hikes on a leash is a great idea and much safer for the cat (not to mention the birds!). My cat also enjoys traveling and happily hikes for a couple of hours with our two dogs. I think it is helpful to start them when they are a year or younger and walking with an extendo leash works best. With our cat, the trickiest part was getting him to walk at a good pace and not stop and start too much. In part I think he learned from the dogs but offering treats helped him get the idea and picking him up and carrying him when he stopped helped too. It may not be for every cat but it is a joy for ours...

  • The Denali Road Lottery Offers Regulated Leaf Peeping at Alaska’s Denali National Park   5 years 17 weeks ago

    I can't say exactly what method they'll use, but it's a simple matter to assign ID numbers to all entries, however submitted, and then select winning entries randomly.

  • Mules In Grand Canyon National Park: Should They Stay?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    I agree with most of the posts. I took the 1 day mule ride yesterday. It should be on everyones list of things to do if they can. I would certainly understand the complaints of hikers. However, hikers have other trail alternatives that don't have mules. When I was younger I could have hiked the trail, but now that I am able to afford the trip to AZ and the Grand Canyon, I am greatful that I was able to see the panoramic view from the plateau.

  • How Low Is the Bar For National Park System Inclusion When You Add a Gas Station?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Doc, I'll willingly acknowledge that there are more than a few gas pumps scattered throughout the national parks. You can find them in Yellowstone and Yosemite, just to name two. I just can't think of any "gas stations" lying outside a unit of the National Park System that was specifically integrated into a park. It'd make more sense if Jimmy once owned the station, pumped gas, and checked your oil.

  • How Low Is the Bar For National Park System Inclusion When You Add a Gas Station?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    I question two gravity gas pumps as being a "Gas Station" in "Kings Canyon National Park". Billy Carters "Gas Station" in Plains, Ga, is presently a "Museum" which makes more sense in a NP. Also you do not make mention of the Carters world famous "Worm Farm" that used to be advertised in "Popular Mechanics" back in the '50's and 60's. I've been through "Plains, Ga" If you blink, you might miss it. Check it out on "Google Earth".

    There seems to be several "gas stations" within the NPS. Check out the following:


    Mt. Rainier National Park Longmire Service Station - Washington
    N 46° 44.968 W 121° 48.828
    10T E 590601 N 5178007
    Quick Description: This service station is one of the only National Park fuel stations that was never modernized. Outside stand the 2 original pumps, and inside are interpretive signs telling about the station and surrounding buildings.

    Semper Fi
    OMAR

  • Body Recovered in Grand Canyon National Park; Thought to Be That Of Missing Hiker   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Oh no! How very sad. Well, at least the family knows now; not knowing is so very difficult. My prayers are with them.