Recent comments

  • Latest Pastime of Yellowstone National Park Bison: Human Tossing   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Death in Yellowstone is the GREATEST book.  Unfortunately, the fools that put themselves in harm's way would either not read it, or read it and take it as a challenge.  I have a pic from last summer of two picture-taking fools about 20 - 25 feet from a bison.  Nothing happened to them, thankfully, but I almost wish it had so that the 50-or-so bystanders might have learned a lesson.  I also have a pic of about 10 people standing less than 15 feet from a Yellowstone coyote.  What fools these mortals be.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 8: Well, It's Kinda Oval   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Right on the mark, Tahoma, and I'm impressed. Are you sure you weren't there when this photo was taken?

  • Latest Pastime of Yellowstone National Park Bison: Human Tossing   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Personally, and I know this is true of a lot of people who live out here, I'm terrified of moose. They are known to be real bad asses, who will kick the @#$! out of you.

    But, I try my best also to give bison space; sometimes, in these car situations, idiots make the situation more dangerous by forcing the bison off the road, sometimes moving them right into the area you are parked - then you are left with little choice. Another time, they came running out the side of the forest, right where I was in a line of cars - there was no way around them - they came to you, and you were stuck, and they were running by the dozens and dozens. Another time, bison were forced right into my parked vehicle by an NPS snow plow, in full run and in a panic. That snowplow's work ended up being pointless, as the road was closed the next day due to snow - all it did was scare buffalo and create a dangerous situation for everyone. I've also seen buffalo while skiing on that Tower Fall road, and once we completely turned around and gave up any hope of getting through - it was too late in the day to wait them out. Another time, they were very intimidating on both sides of the road, and I was amazed out how nonchalant the other skiers were.

    Luckily, though, I personally have never been charged by one ... yet. And, I have the sense that usually the buffalo will move on; the moose doesn't seem to have that mentality, and I'm often on the trail - especially in the Tetons - imploring with visitors to be careful about the moose. I'm often surprised we don't read of more incidents in the Tetons. Bison may cause more incidents; their numbers are greater. But, soon, I'm afraid, especially in a place like the Tetons, we are going to hear a real tragedy that knowledge could have prevented.

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

  • National Park Mystery Photo 8: Well, It's Kinda Oval   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Well, Dr Watson, there are multiple questions...I'll go with natural, looks like a basalt lava bomb with a
    fracture pattern from cooling, and probably geologically young. The narrow depth of field suggests it's
    smaller than a breadbox. The blurred background looks drier than Hawaii or the Cascades. My guess is
    Craters of the Moon.

  • Latest Pastime of Yellowstone National Park Bison: Human Tossing   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Don't get me wrong. I do not mean to diminish the possible danger that bears pose; but when I am out hiking in the park I give bison a much wider birth than bears. I have been charged by these big guys from over a hundred yards away. I was watching one roll around in a dust bowl on the other side of the Yellowstone River once when it put its head down, crossed the river and ran right at me! I barely made it back up to my car (which I started walking toward as soon as it entered the river). Another time I was skiing the Tower Road in the winter when a big bull was standing in the middle of the road. I tried to ski past, but every time I tried, it put its head down and started toward me. I had to go way up the hill and around. Also, while driving past a herd on the road last year (something we have all done many times) a big bull head butted my car, leaving quite a dent. Now I don't pass them; I pull over and wait for them to clear the road, no matter how long it takes. Statistically bison are far more dangerous than any other large animal in the park. 98% of the time they just stand there and you go by, but look out if they start staring intently at you!

  • National Park Mystery Photo 8: Well, It's Kinda Oval   5 years 17 weeks ago

    It's not a dinosaur egg.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 8: Well, It's Kinda Oval   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Dinosaur egg, Dinosaur National Monument

  • National Park Mystery Photo 8: Well, It's Kinda Oval   5 years 17 weeks ago

    It is dinosaur dung!

  • National Park Mystery Photo 8: Well, It's Kinda Oval   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Nope and nope -- it's not Pele's tear or dinosaur dung.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 8: Well, It's Kinda Oval   5 years 17 weeks ago

    dinosaur dung. dinosaur national monument.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 8: Well, It's Kinda Oval   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Ok, I'll go with Pele's Tear from Volcanos NP.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 8: Well, It's Kinda Oval   5 years 17 weeks ago

    No fair submitting multiple answers, Terry.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 8: Well, It's Kinda Oval   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Is it a volcano bomb or Pele's tear from Volcanoes N.P. in Hawaii?

  • Latest Pastime of Yellowstone National Park Bison: Human Tossing   5 years 17 weeks ago

    That story you are referring to was reported here. It happened last June - see http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2008/06/yellowstone-national-park-bison-unhappy-photo-shoot-tosses-pennsylvania-boy .

    This particular case reported here seems to be one of relatively bad luck. However, it's just good to know that bison may look like they just stand there and are barely moving; this is not true. They move all the time and can cover ground very quickly. They can move up to 30 mph, though they usually don't. They do move much faster than you think, though.

    A concessions worker in Canyon recently reported being charged by a bison; see http://robyninyellowstone.blogspot.com/2009/06/charged-by-bison.html for her account.

    So anyhow, it's helpful to look around wherever you are in the park; however, it's probably not practical advice. Sometimes, there's just bad luck, and that comes with the price of admission. I'm glad the woman wasn't seriously injured.

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

  • Is Senator Feinstein Speaking Out of Both Sides of Her Mouth on National Park Matters?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Those who don't see the national significance or merits of wilderness designation obviously weren't there or did not look beyond the indisputable scenic values of Point Reyes.

    The Point Reyes peninsula includes the prime California coastal prairie. Nowhere else the whole ecosystem is preserved virtually untouched, but on top of the cliffs and in the other exposed open lands. The Douglas iris has its largest habitat there, Lilium maritimum and Sonoma spineflower are endemic to Point Reyes, the two flowers - beautiful flowers I might add - do not grow anywhere else in the world. The Snowy plower has its greatest density of breeding pairs within the National Seashore.

    The exposed open land on top of the cliffs and on the slopes are wilderness. It is untouched by man - other than the former dairy farms further inland in the center of the peninsula. If the deep fingered bay (Drakes Estero is not an estuary) should be wilderness, I will leave to marine ecologists, the use for oyster farming is not necessarily a reason against it.

  • A Major Overhaul at Ford's Theatre National Historic Site Raises a Few Eyebrows   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Not sure where to start, so I'll just ,well, say my 2 cents worth....
    First of all, a quick definition in term as a reminder: The word history comes from Greek ἱστορία (historia), from the Proto-Indo-European *wid-tor-, from the root *weid-, "to know, to see".This root is also present in the English words wit, wise, wisdom, vision, and idea, in the Sanskrit word veda, and in the Slavic word videti and vedati, as well as others.(The asterisk before a word indicates that it is a hypothetical construction, not an attested form.)

    With this definition in the English lecticon and use in this circumstance, Fords Theatre would have a "fat" asterisk in front of it and here is why in my opinion.

    I have visited Fords Theatre three times in my life 1989,2007,2009. The first time in 1989, I was alone 17 years old, traveled by bus from Minnesota just to visit D.C. At that time, Fords Theatre was alive with the moment of time of when the tragedy that took place there on April 14th, 1865, basically restored to original condition. I was amazed to see the original flag "bunting" that John Wilkes Booth caught his spur on located hanging outside the Presidents viewing box. It had a small tear in the location where Major Rathbone tried to grab Booth as he jumped out of the box down to the stage appox. 18 feet below causing Booth to lose balance, rip the bunting and severly injuring his leg. The flag is gone, location unknown to ANY NPS official.
    The second time in 2007, Fords Theatre was closed for renovations, so my focus was to go to the Peterson House across the street. Truely an astonishing feeling to go inside the Peterson House, as if I had just traveled back in time to the incident. The smell, the sounds of the floor creaking beneath your feet, to see the original garments, pictures on the walls, china in the china hutch, the table where Secretary of War Stanton signed the decree to find those responsible for this cowardly act in American history. It was all original, except for the bed and the pillow where President Lincoln had his last breath and as Stanton said " he belongs with the ages". This was history at its best, the way its supposed to be. To temorarily live, smell and feel it as eery as it was.

    5/26/2009
    This is where the term history is being lost at Fords Theatre as I see it. I like the fact that the NPS has gone to a timed ticket. I was not happy to find out that the museum downstairs was closed for renovations ...again! 2 years between renovation seems a little extreme to me, but who am I to complain.
    This was the most disturbing... Now I understand this is a "functioning" theatre with numerous productions going on through the calander year. On this day, the stage was in the process of tear-down from a play that was held over the Memorial Day weekend. Upon enetring the theatre, I had seen and took pictures of hand tools,power cords, traffic cones, stage lighting hanging from the ceiling that was lowered down to the stage, stage supply boxes. Basically the theatre looked like a stage from my former high school, all cluttered up taking away from the ambience and completely distracting the eye. I found this VERY disrespectful and wanted to talk to someone in charge as to the "ethics" if you will call it that. It was NOTHING like I remember it in 1989.

    Now before I recieve the 3rd degree, think back to the term "history". So the "roots" in this case are literally the four external walls of Fords Theatre, the original picture of George Washington hanging under the Presidential bax and the back door in which John Wilkes Booth escaped out of with his horse just outside it. That is it! No access to the Presidential box anymore, no more access to the door with the hole in it that Booth used to view his prey, the board which he used to jam the back hallway door and that flag"bunting" which seems to lost in history. Having it be an active theatre, who is to say that the NPS is trying to save face because of a "stagehand" from the productions wanted a souvenier and the flag was stolen, or the flag was damaged due to a "stagehand" had dropped a power tool and it ripped the fabric that is literally 150+ years old.

    That theatre is not owned by anyone other than the people of the world and is paid for by the tax dollars of the American people. I say no more stage productions at Fords Theatre. You think its a good idea to have a "summer camp" at Auschwitz? A block party in the middle of the former World Trade Center Complex? Or perhaps scuba diving the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor? (I believe its a third degree felony to do so) Ford's Theatre should be no different. Not only is allowing performances to go on in the historic place disrespectful, it is also extremely risky. Who is to say that the electricity that has been put into the theatre for present day performances may be faulty. If there was an electrical fire over night, the entire building could be burnt to the ground and then our history would be completely lost. Why take that risk simply so that the theatre could be used for present day performances? The thought is absurd.

    The original renovation makes sense to me, as it was to get the theatre back into the condition it was in 1865. Any more recent renovations were completely senseless. They should have never been thought of to begin with. All it has caused is for history to be lost. Though on a lighter note, the seats are still extremely uncomfortable, so that was definately a waste of money.

    Thanks for your time and reading my two cents worth. I sure love America.

  • Latest Pastime of Yellowstone National Park Bison: Human Tossing   5 years 17 weeks ago

    We were in Yellowstone in 2007 and there was a buffalo next to the restroom at the Grand Canyon. A little boy and his sister were starting to go near it so their Mom could take their picture. I told them to "Get away from that animal." They looked at me like I was the meanest person in the world. I looked at the Mom and said "That is a 2000 pound animal and it will kill your son. What the hell are you thinking?" She was just dumb founded and finally gathers the kids and left. The park officials give you a packet of park rules and regs when you enter the park and are encouraged to read them. There is also numerous warning signs throughout the park. I bought the book 'Death in Yellowstone' while we were there and have been quiet amused at the stupidity of things people will do that ultimately causes their death.

  • Latest Pastime of Yellowstone National Park Bison: Human Tossing   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Last September, the story going around Yellowstone was about a couple who had posed their young child next to a buffalo to take a picture. Someone slammed a car door, startling the buffalo, which tossed the young child into the air. Fortunately, the child was not seriously injuring. You really have to wonder where some people's heads are at with such stunts!

  • Is Senator Feinstein Speaking Out of Both Sides of Her Mouth on National Park Matters?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    MarkK:

    Yes the cannery & oyster farm were there first. The owner of the cannery & farm & land sold the land to NPS in 1972, with a 40 year reserved use clause allowing him to continue the oyster operation that expires in 2012 as part of the sale. The 1976 law designated the area as wilderness, where unconforming use (commercial oyster farm & packing plant) must be eliminated when the reserved use clause expires.

    A new owner bought the farm & packing operation a couple of years ago, knowing that the reserved use expired in 2012, at a price that certainly reflected that sunset on operations (even the 1976 wilderness designation should have been disclosed on the real estate transaction). The new owner has a sustained campaign to use political pressure from local officials and pr to rewrite the law, and obtain a windfall from an ongoing business where he paid for a sunsetting business. DiFi has been strongly supporting this rewriting of PORE management & now the law, whether from hearing from local chamber of commerce type folks or hearing from the new owners directly.

    The situation for the ranches elsewhere in Point Reyes is a bit more complicated, with initial legislation protecting ranching, but there are current problems with violations of grazing limits, and a push for row crops as diversification (never mind that the UCD ag extension report arguing for continued commercial agriculture in PORE justifies ranching as providing ecosystem services and protecting native species argues for allowing ranchers to diversify to row crops, which obviously don't protect native species). My limited understanding is that at least some of the private inholdings have permanent ranching rights, and grazing allotments on NPS-owned land are the major issue, although I stand to be corrected on that.

    Leaving aside the 1976 law (which can be overturned by congress, but should be done with debate, not as a rider), the broader question is priorities for public lands in Point Reyes National Seashore: is it more important to keep the last commercial oyster farm in the area or to have an area where the seals can haul out and birth unmolested and a coastal esturine wilderness? Are commercial oyster operations (with non-native oysters) a good replacement for the ecosystem service of water filtration previously provided by the massive (native) oyster beds that were harvested to functional extinction more than a century ago, or should funds go to restoring native oyster beds (a non-trivial undertaking)? Is it more important to keep more working farms & ranches in Marin County for historical & educational purposes as well as private profit, or to have some coastal wilderness? What do we want from our National Parks, and what do we want from Point Reyes National Seashore in particular?

  • Is Senator Feinstein Speaking Out of Both Sides of Her Mouth on National Park Matters?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    I agree with the previous posts, that Point Reyes as a whole and the estuary in question are NOT wilderness by a long shot. I've been to this park and found it scenic and well managed but didn't understand the national significance of it. It looked like lots of other stretches of coastal California that I've visited and suspect that it was made an NPS unit to stave off metropolitan development rather than any truly unique aspects which make it a natural treasure for the entire nation. If it is I can reel off a lot of places that should be national parks, just on the California coast.

    I would say that most of the national seashores I've visited don't strike me as "crown jewels" but have been told that Cumberland Island in Georgia is a special place, if you can survive the vicious insects which inhabit this Atlantic sea island paradise. I hope to visit sometime this coming winter and I'll let ya'll know.

    Diane may have actually got this one right, which is saying a lot coming from me.

  • Is Senator Feinstein Speaking Out of Both Sides of Her Mouth on National Park Matters?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Agreed with MarkK.

    Pt. Reyes would have been an ideal place to pursue the joint preservation of habitat values, and human values, side-by-side. The eco-elements of interest had survived heavy oppression for a long time, all that was needed was to cut them a little slack. We could have had & respected both - people & nature.

    Pt. Reyes, wilderness? Phewey. It was hammered owl pellets. There are distinctive habitat & biome elements there - but zero wilderness.

    Are Sen. Feinstein's antics a clue that the California Establishment is reconsidering the Pt. Reyes Wilderness experiment?

    Sure, land in many locations & regions could be taken, humans chased off it, and cloak the operation under the Wilderness Act (some day, it will be wild again ... tho maybe not the wild it was before).

    The Pt. Reyes taking was not a smart move, and did not advance the cause of habitat or biome preservation. On the contrary.

  • National Park Quiz 60: Bears   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Nope and nope. Ice Age Floods Trail wasn't a correction, more of an addition or amendment. This was the first quiz I aced, and a couple of the previous quizzes were more related to my "expertise" and still tripped me up.

    question 13:
    How many species of bears are found in NPS units, and how many units does each species occur in? The first is easy (it even has 2 "correct" answers); the second is a guessing game. I'll bet 30 units: do you want over or under? I'll sneak that query in the next time I've got the mammal database open.

  • Is Senator Feinstein Speaking Out of Both Sides of Her Mouth on National Park Matters?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Sen. Feinstein has never been one of my favorite people, but as I read this, there is one significant difference. The cannery was there first and the designation was to try to turn an area that apparently was not wilderness into wilderness. In the latter (renewable energy) case, we are talking about new leases being granted.

    I don't know who the cannery was leasing from before 1960, but if they were there before the initial designation, that should give them at least the benefit of the doubt in staying.

    Mark

  • National Park Quiz 60: Bears   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Yes, Timothy Treadwell was the guy from the Grizzly Man documentary.

  • National Park Quiz 60: Bears   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Is #11 the guy from the Grizzly Man "documentary?"