Recent comments

  • Scuttlebutt Has It That A Hold Has Been Placed On the Nomination of Jon Jarvis as National Park Service Director   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Makes you want to move to OK just to vote against him!

  • Is Senator Feinstein Speaking Out of Both Sides of Her Mouth on National Park Matters?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    "The point congress is making is to direct the NPS to MANAGE the area as a roadless, untrammeled area. Wilderness designation is a LAW, not a primeval romantic, pre-human, condition. The congressional history of Point Reyes seems to indicate that congress expected the NPS to eliminate inconsistent developments over time, and the phased implementation of wilderness seems to have been a compromise way to achieve that direction to the NPS from Congress."

    If you asked any of those people who made comments about wilderness whether they knew the difference between a poem and a deed, they would have said yes.

    But over and over they clearly confuse the term that "wilderness" means in their head with the Congressional act of designating a Wilderness.

    While I think much of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights have poetic flow and epic narration, they make things less ambiguous and give a clearer structure for rights and discussion.

    This is the same with the 1976 Wilderness laws http://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/documents/publiclaws/PDF/94-544.pdf , http://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/documents/publiclaws/PDF/94-567.pdf , http://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/documents/publiclaws/PDF/99-68.pdf. Unfortunately the supporting documents like maps and tables are missing.

    Y_P_W's comments make no sense. If the PRNS superintendent really shouldered the choice alone, then the choice he should make is clearly directed to NOT approve a new reservation of use with Drakes Bay Oyster Company, that his choice is clear and the Oyster company should make plans for shutting down that include actions other than complaining and deceiving the public.

    If the choice is all the superintendent's, then Kevin Lunny should have paid closer attention to the fact that before he bought the remaining reservation of use from Johnson Don Neubacher personally informed him that the park under his direction will not create a new permit of use (the term "new" reservation of use is important to distinguish here because the idea of an "extension" is a charade. One way is like a promotion, the other is like having to re-apply for filling a position of employment that your are filling temporarily. Feinstein's way is like giving the position to her favorite nephew in spite of the fact that the company knows it would benefit from cutting the job altogether.)

    Lunny decided he could talk out of both sides of his mouth.

    He decided that it wasn't Don's decision that it was the California Department of Fish and Game's decision, so he boldly ignored Don and made the purchase with full intention of subverting the goals of the park and of the people who designated the area as potential wilderness.

    When he found that he and his legal adviser's advice about the DFG were wrong, he was caught in his own deceit.

    Everything since then has been sideshows and charades to distract the public from that fact.

    Because only Diane Feinstein's action can undo the public will of the Wilderness Act and the park designation, this is the route that was pursued.

    Diane Feinstein is not only acting in the interest of a private businessman's interest (constantly confused with the term "family farmer" ) to subvert the Wilderness Act intention without public process and in contradiction to existing agreements, she is also doing it out of revenge-spite because a NPS staff member dared to challenge her ultra-diva, power-skewed opinion.

    So we have Feinstein and Lunny behaving badly, breaking contracts with the public with premeditation and pettiness and screaming bloody murder how the NPS are bad and deceitful.

    The park is saying that with the Park's designation and the Wilderness act, the oyster farm --recognizing the special place that it has in people's hearts -- has had its operation's extended for forty years.
    It is now being consistent in saying that as those decisions were written up, the oyster farm --no matter how wonderful the product or how nice Kevin Lunny is -- is a non-conforming use as described and should end as soon as possible, with 2012 being a good date.

    Why should the park be excited about making a promise to a person who basically flaunts their inability to honor a contract and good advice?
    Why should one man be give special exemption from park management?

    This rider basically rewards Lunny for crossing his fingers behind his back and then --in a slap to all our faces-- tells the NPS they have no right to make rules or policies that benefit the protection of the land they were mandated by Congressional act to protect?

    Feinstein should butt out of this issue and we should not re-elect her.

    Lunny should continue to benefit from the cattle ranching and farming on Point Reyes National Seashore lands and be a better spokesman of how the park has protected his livelihood.

  • Scuttlebutt Has It That A Hold Has Been Placed On the Nomination of Jon Jarvis as National Park Service Director   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Yo Bill-----This only makes my point, in spades, about the absolute necessity of removing the national park system from the criminally insane and corrupt spoils shake down that IS Washington politics.

    Is this any way to run a supposedly "profesional" organization? Well, yeah, I guess if you're a group of Brooklyn mobsters involved in a turf war with New Jersey wiseguys. In that scenario this way of doing business makes total sense.

    As far as being the wellspring of effective land management policies it is nothing short of a pathetic joke.

    Always has been.

    Always will be under the current umbrella called federal management.

  • Scuttlebutt Has It That A Hold Has Been Placed On the Nomination of Jon Jarvis as National Park Service Director   5 years 19 weeks ago

    We've heard the same thing, and to make Senator Coburn even more of an aggravating so-and-so, we've heard that the hold has nothing to do with guns, with Jarvis or even with the NPS, but has something to do with border security issues. Since Coburn held the credit card right legislation with his guns amendment, it's not out of the question he's holding the Jarvis confirmation hostage for some other pet-scheme he's pushing.

    Bill Wade
    Chair, Executive Council
    Coalition of National Park Service Retirees

  • Heat Claims the Life of Boy Stranded for Five Days in Isolated Area of Death Valley National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Earlier this year, my traveling companions and I had an experience reminiscent of the stranding that led to this youngster's tragic death. While driving north out of Trona late in the afternoon we spotted a family car (not an SUV) stuck on a dirt "road" not far off the main highway. A mother had taken her son out for some driving practice, and the youngster had managed to high-center the darn thing in the ruts. There was no way they were going to get that car moving again without help. We stopped and rendered assistance, finally leaving the youngster with the car and driving the mom back to Trona so she could call for a tow (there's no such thing as cell phone service in that bleak area). Everything turned out fine. In fact, the car was back on the main highway by the time we passed it again headed for Death Valley. Six months later, and not more than ten miles away, a mother and her son would have a similar stranding with a very different outcome.

  • The First Family Plans to Visit Two Western National Parks Next Weekend   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Frank,

    BFC's operation is really small in the summer; I don't think they can arrange a meeting. I'm planning on going and at the very least handing out newsletters and information about what Obama could do when he's here. In any event, I'm going to BFC for a two day workshop this week, and I'm sure we'll come up with a plan of action then. Personally, I don't think Obama is reachable, but the woefully under-informed people here in the valley at least could use a reminder that the federal government plays a key role in this.

    Obama's whirlwind visit to these parks won't possibly give them much insight into anything, especially the raw experience of the place. It is unfortunate that they won't be spending more time; however, maybe the magic will hit he and his family enough that they will itch to come back and then become better informed.

    It's a little silly, though, to go to Yellowstone during a free weekend to encourage more visitation; Yellowstone has record visitation this summer - the July numbers showed an 11% increase! (not that people like us don't know how to beat the crowds - had a very quiet time in the Bechler region this week and into Idaho; too bad it was spoiled by the reminder of the politics by seeing cattle inside the national park boundary!)

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

  • Studies Show Summer Traffic in Yellowstone National Park Not As Polluting As Snowmobiles in Winter   5 years 19 weeks ago

    West Yellowstone in the winter is about as foul as it gets as far as air quality; however, it should be noted that I don't think most of those snowmobiles are going into the park these days.

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

  • Studies Show Summer Traffic in Yellowstone National Park Not As Polluting As Snowmobiles in Winter   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Interesting observations, Frank. Winter calm in Yellowstone is commonly associated with temperature inversions (cold air trapped at surface by warmer layer of air aloft; this is the opposite of the normal). As you've pointed out,
    pollution "hangs like a blanket" and gets more and more concentrated because there's no breeze to promote mixing. Even though sound travels more slowly in the cold air of winter than in warm air of summer, you can often hear noises from further away during the winter calms because there are fewer competing background noises. As for California, air pollution in the LA Basin is usually worst in summer when cooler air moving in from the ocean is trapped beneath warmer air subsiding from aloft, and with the surrounding mountains serving to further trap the witch's brew of chemicals. Winter brings windier weather (and rain), so air pollution is less pronounced. City air pollution (photochemical smog) typically has a high concentration of nitrous oxides and related chemicals that make the air look brown-colored and gives it a recognizable smell. Fuel mixtures are seasonally adjusted because fuels vaporize more readily in hot summer conditions (especially where temps climb above the high 90s and into the 100s). Fall and winter gas is generally cheaper to produce than summer gas. It gets more complicated if you have to take altitude into consideration.

  • Reader Participation Day: Do You Believe There Should Be Overflight Tours of National Parks?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Blue silence, O lake of silent blue, -
    within your sapphired deeps the gods have fought
    titanic battles. Now an azured peace
    broods over your bestudded, jewelled breasts;
    a peace that only those can know who cease
    to struggle after cataclysmic waves
    engulf their burning, cratered hearts. The rush
    of molten lava filled the fissures where
    the crush of titans wracked your battle-tortured soul.
    Yet here, today, beneath cerulean, nimbused sky,
    you lie so still in torquoised dreams, you lure
    my mind to rest upon your sculptured loveliness
    and see your deep serenity become my constant goal.
    --- Crater Lake, Wesley La Violette, Nature Notes, Vol. 6, No. 4, Sep. 1933

    Regular helicopter flights over Crater Lake National Park would be one more step away from the feelings the author expressed in this poem. Thanks so much for the posting Owen and for your positive outlook, encouragement and hard work.

  • Heat Claims the Life of Boy Stranded for Five Days in Isolated Area of Death Valley National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Educating people is NEVER a lost cause!

  • The First Family Plans to Visit Two Western National Parks Next Weekend   5 years 19 weeks ago

    It sounds like this is a family vacation. I don't imagine his daughters would be all that happy if they finally have him to themselves, then someone tries to butt in to voice their agenda, whether for or against whatever. This is a strictly non partisan remark here, so don't jump on what I said as being political. This is from a grandmother's perspective on their mini-vacation.

  • Sixteen Boaters Safe After Two Accidents at Lake Mead National Recreation Area   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Yes we do have wind warning signs. But we also serve ice cold beer at the Marina.

  • Studies Show Summer Traffic in Yellowstone National Park Not As Polluting As Snowmobiles in Winter   5 years 19 weeks ago

    All I know is that when I snowshoe in the interior of the park in the winter anywhere near roads, I smell exhaust. When a bunch of snow machines go by I hear them long after they have passed, even though they don't seem that loud while they are passing. Maybe it has to do with the fact that everything is so quiet, so clean otherwise. There is something about winter weather that seems to make pollution hang like a blanket, whereby in the summer it seems to dissipate. I have friends in California who tell me that they actually change the fuel mixture in the winter because air pollution tends to be worse at that time of year with fewer pollutants.

  • Heat Claims the Life of Boy Stranded for Five Days in Isolated Area of Death Valley National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    This story makes me sad, but at the same time I need to comment on this "abject ignorance of the natural world." We search for all sorts of ways to prevent people from hurting themselves and others, when the ultimate problem boils down to a single word: "ignorance." That is a perpetual part of the human existence; it's just a matter of how many humans fall into that category in any particular era.

    We live in a society and a time when common sense and intelligence is not as highly prized as it used to be, and there is a corresponding casualty rate. This includes many of the stories that I read here and surely covers other situations like drinking and driving, taking drugs, playing with guns, ridiculous risks in the name of fun, what have you. Rules, laws, procedures, precautions, well, those things are for nerds. Media has taught "me" that "I" know everything, that bad stuff happens to other people, that I'm a loser if I don't have the ultimate experiences with the least amount of effort.

    Hmmm. I would have said to her, "You don't drive into the desert without notifying somebody where you are going and without taking along what's necessary to survive should something bad happen." Perhaps she would have responded, "Ah, don't be such a nerd. What's gonna happen?"

    Unfortunate incidents like this will always happen, no matter how great our GPS devices become, should those even be remembered to be taken along for the ride.

  • The First Family Plans to Visit Two Western National Parks Next Weekend   5 years 19 weeks ago

    It would be nice if President Obama could take some time while here to educate himself about the trajedy that has befallen our last truly wild and genetically pure bison herd. I wonder if the BFC has any plans to attempt to meet with him either in Bozeman or Yellowstone?

  • Heat Claims the Life of Boy Stranded for Five Days in Isolated Area of Death Valley National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    tragic, indeed. But, i do have lots of questions. As should the authorities.
    A gps is satelite, correct? why didn't she start to walk out using that very high tech device? One child, 11, dies before the dog? um, who got the water first the dog?
    It just seems a little unusual, to me. I've been out there and yes it is XTREME! and yes, education is the key! But, in 5 days i think i would have ben able to save my son!!!!

  • Heat Claims the Life of Boy Stranded for Five Days in Isolated Area of Death Valley National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Media reports have it that the 28-year old mother is a nurse. It's kind of perplexing to think that an experienced health care professional would be unable to recognize the lethal risks she was taking with the three lives in that car. Now this poor woman will be haunted every day for the rest of her life.

  • The First Family Plans to Visit Two Western National Parks Next Weekend   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Welcome Mr. President Obama: Enjoy the spectacular view of the Grand Canyon in it's entire glory from sunrise till sunset. It is truly god spell in all it's glory and color. Enjoy with peace and solitude!

  • Sixteen Boaters Safe After Two Accidents at Lake Mead National Recreation Area   5 years 19 weeks ago

    These people were a little on the stupid side being out there in that kind of wind.
    Don't the marinas have wind warning flags the same as we do in Maine ??????

  • Heat Claims the Life of Boy Stranded for Five Days in Isolated Area of Death Valley National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    My sincere condolences to the mother on her terrible loss. If everyone will recall, Traveler ran the following story on June 9, 2008:
    http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2008/06/gps-unit-leads-couple-trouble-near-glen-canyon-national-recreation-area.
    At that time, I commented that I almost had the same situation happen to me, except I did look over my route to make sure I was not going to get into trouble.

    One of the ways this can be fixed is for the GPS manufacturers and programmers to stop letting their programs use primitive roads as a viable option. As an example, in order to go from Escalante to Big Water, both my GPS and Microsoft's Streets and Trips wanted to send us down the Missing Canyon Road (Smoky Mountain Rd), BLM road 300. On the BLM map, this road is marked as a ATV road. I did research the road, as well as look at it on Google Maps, and saw that it was not a road we wanted to go down. And this was just one of serveral examples.

    The routing programmers need to classify these kinds of roads as primitive/4wd roads and not use them in routing unless the user has specifically requested primitve roads as an option.

    I did contact Garmin, my GPS company, about the problem, but so far, nothing has happened. GPS's are wonderful devices; My wife and I have traveled all over the US with one, but I never follow it blindly, especially in rugged areas.

  • Heat Claims the Life of Boy Stranded for Five Days in Isolated Area of Death Valley National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Kirby -

    Worthy questions, and ones that concern park personnel everywhere. It's clear there are no easy answers.

    I run these stories on the Traveler in hopes someone will read about such incidents and learn from the experience on a future trip of their own. I realize most of our readers are experienced in outdoor safety, but some are not.

    Another story posted today mentions a group of boaters that survived an accident at Lake Mead because they were wearing life jackets. Sometimes, people do act prudently.

  • Heat Claims the Life of Boy Stranded for Five Days in Isolated Area of Death Valley National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Well, we can call this a tragedy, and it certainly is. We can call this woman woefully ignorant of the consequences of her actions, and she certainly is. Rather than wasting time belaboring those facts, I will question how we fix this. How do we educate a public about the perils of wandering ill-prepared into nature? Riding an inflatable swimming pool raft down the snake river. Back-roading in Death Valley in the summer without maps or adequate provisions. Strolling up to a bison for a photo op. Pick your incident, the root cause is the same: abject ignorance of the natural world.

    I don't have an answer. I just feel that the energy spent tapping the sympathy well over incidents like this would be better spent preventing the next one. But then I walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke in front of every public building and figure educating people about safety and consequences is a lost cause.

  • Sixteen Boaters Safe After Two Accidents at Lake Mead National Recreation Area   5 years 19 weeks ago

    We all need to thank God that we have people like these rescue teams that put their lives on the line to help save others. Is sure is a wonderful thing they do and may God and His angels be with them, always!

  • Building with Notorious History in Death Valley National Park Burns in Mysterious Fire   5 years 19 weeks ago

    The Barker Ranch should be preserved for its historical value.

    It was originally built in the late 1930's by a retired police office, whose goal
    of finding gold never really worked out.

    It sure seems like a great little vacation home for those who owned the
    property afterwards.

    The Barker Ranch, like the Geologist Cabin, and a few other buildings in the
    Southwest Corner of Death Valley National Park have existed for decades as
    shelters for visitors to use. They have been places where in an emergency,
    one could find water, shelter, and non-perishable food that has been donated
    by previous visitors.

    This is the culture of "desert people."

    This is a culture where people do look out for one another. If one's vehicle is broken down,
    you help them.

    If people don't live like that...guess what might happen if your vehicle breaks down.

    As for Manson, he hated what he called "desert people." He hated people in nearby towns.

    He was a thief, troublemaker, and did everything he could to stand out like a sore thumb.
    (guess who he was caught)

    The Barker Ranch should be preserved.

    The Barker Ranch is a historical place connected with the most vile crimes in US history, but
    one with an interest in history, I believe historical sites should be preserved for future generations.

    I believe the preservation of the Barker Ranch makes a statement.

    This statement is that despite the evil of Manson and his goons, this is still a beautiful place.
    The Barker Ranch is located in a beautiful little canyon, one that is full of life.

    Preservation of the Barker Ranch, and its reclaiming by "Desert People," (prospectors, 4wd enthusiasts,
    gutsy backpackers for example) is one way to punish Manson who once whined that "I'm not fit to live
    in your desert!"

    Right, "Charlie." I don't think Manson is fit to live anywhere, but when I camped out where his
    buggys once roared, the only noise I heard was birds chirping.

  • Judge Mulling Request To Address Yellowstone National Park's Wandering Bison   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Two bits of news ... I was away in the Bechler region of Yellowstone the last couple days and am only now just seeing this ...

    Buffalo Field Campaign has reported a buffalo from Yellowstone killed in Idaho this week by an APHIS employee.

    Secondly, as I said, I was in the SW corner of the park, and on my way to a hike along the Western Boundary Trail in Idaho - which begins at the Bechler Ranger Station, I saw three cows (cattle) inside the park boundaries between the boundary and the ranger station. I don't recall any news about them, how they were hazed out of the park, or shipped to slaughter. I doubt a lot of tourists realize that cows can wander into Yellowstone National Park, but buffalo cannot go to cowless areas of Montana (or anywhere in Idaho).

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