Recent comments

  • Rare Motion Pictures Show Civil War Veterans at the 75th Gettysburg Battle Anniversary Reunion   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I have a picture of a veteran at the 1938 reunion which I attended at Gettysburg, I was 8 years old and would like to see if there is a list of veterans that attended, to see if the name on the picture is right. How could I get copy of the veterans that were there?

  • It's Official: Picky Yosemite National Park Bears Prefer Their Meals in Minivans   5 years 20 weeks ago

    And yes we tried to haze the bear but it didn't get phased. Only the park ranger - with threats of rubber bullets or paintballs - got it to take off.

  • It's Official: Picky Yosemite National Park Bears Prefer Their Meals in Minivans   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Tagging the "repeat offenders" is already something that's done. Check out the photo with the bear with two ear tags. Last summer I saw a bear manage to break into a malfunctioning bear box. That bear had ear tags and a transmitter collar. The campgrounds have antennas/receivers to determine when collared bears are visiting campgrounds and rangers on bear patrol get alerted. We had a park ranger there in less than 3 minutes although that was enough time for the bear to have munched quite a bit of food.

    My favorite story from Yosemite is of "Camaro Bear". Just take a wild guess what his favorite vehicle was.

    One of the main problems (and possibly the hardest to solve) is that there isn't a vehicle parked in Yosemite that hasn't at one time transported food. There might be food spills in the car or maybe some crumbs. There are some concerns that maybe just maybe some bears breaking into cars may be doing so more or less randomly after scoring food once or twice. Of course particularly odiferous food stored in a car might send off the jackpot meter for a bear to break into a particular car.

  • An Unusual View of the Arnica Fire That Burned in Yellowstone National Park This Past Summer   5 years 20 weeks ago

    WOW My girlfriend and I entered Yellowstone on Sept. 15, and hiked the Natural Bridge trail on the 21st. I'm having a hard time understanding how a fire that turned so big could have been 8 days old already during our hike. We left the Teton area the morning after this pic was taken. We could see the smoke from the Bearpaw fire from our cabin at Signal Mountain, but never any smoke from the Arnica fire. We consider ourselfs very lucky that this didn't cause us to have to change any of our plans.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I am a hiker first and foremost, but like K Dostal, I am disappointed by the irrational rhetoric of mountain biking haters. Still, I have no problem with bikes being kept out of designated "Wilderness with a Capital W" areas as long as the NPS and the USFS recognize mountain biking as a use they should allow in other management zones.

    Anon and Betty H need to take some deep breaths, sit in a lotus position for a few minutes, and find a little more "loving kindness" for other recreational users.

  • It's Official: Picky Yosemite National Park Bears Prefer Their Meals in Minivans   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Naw, the most interesting statistic was "most of the break-ins resulted from a maximum of 5 bears and possibly as few as 2 individuals." If true, this proves that the "criminal mind" exists in the bear kingdom, just as it does in human. They could tag the repeat violators with a tracking device so a warning system can be developed.

  • It's Official: Picky Yosemite National Park Bears Prefer Their Meals in Minivans   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I think the most interesting statistic that should be pointed out, if I understood their report, is that only 7% of vehicles present were mini vans but the break ins of mini vans accounted for 26% of all break ins. Also the sedan represented about 28% of vehicles present but only 13.7% of break ins. So in conclusion, a sedan might be a good choice to go to the park for the night.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I find mountain bikers to be a polite crowd and have had few conflicts. I think this is a generational issue and also a little bit of ignorance on the realities of mountain bikes and it tends to be the older, politically savvy crowd who hate mountain bikes, while the majority of us have few problems with them.
    Let's 'fess up here folks. Hikers are more invasive to wilderness or recommended wilderness than mountain bikes. There are bigger groups of hikers going into remote areas. Hikers are able to spend multiple nights deep in the backcountry. Hikers are the first to wander off trail, tromping on fragile wildflowers or sensitive tundra. Hikers trash trails just like all user groups do. Hikers widen trails because they don't want to step in the mud, or walk through a creek. Personally, when I hike, I love to go off trail and explore areas that see little human use - unlike bikes, I will travel across tundra, bushwack through the forest. My best chance of seeing wildlife is off a trail, on foot. Bikes can't do that.
    This argument that mountain bikes can go farther (Mr. Bull) is true, but also not true. If a trail is steep or technical they travel about the same distance as a hiker. And if a bike is going to ride deeper into the backcountry it is usually limited to a single day unlike hikers who can spend multiple days deep in the backcountry. A very long ride for your average mountain biker is about ten miles in one direction and that means ten miles back to the car. Hikers can travel fifteen miles in one direction, easily in one day and then spend the night, and go further the next.
    The bottom line is the older hiking crowd controls the voice of the lobbyists in this argument. It is truly sad. Mountain Bikers are conservationists as much, if not more, than hikers, at least where I live this is the case. For hikers to keep kicking mountain bikes off of their trails is extremely selfish. Mountain Bikers are now relegated to share trails with the motorized crowd and yet we're kicked off of those trails as well because they are too trashed to ride without a motor.
    Lastly, most of the trails in these wild areas are off limits to bikes because they are too technical to ride. Mountain Bikers are not asking for much. If these areas were left open to bikes, hikers would still enjoy the majority of all trails in the west to themselves.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Mountain bikes should stay off Wilderness Areas but they certainly have a place in the NPS. The wording of "mechanical" in 1964 likely went beyond "motorized", contrary to IMBA's assertion. Perhaps this was not a direct exclusion of bikes, which was likely unforeseen. But other mechanical uses are possible, such as horse & buggy and sleds. However, I'd be interested to know if wheel chairs are also disallowed.

    In any event, mountain biking is a wonderful and healthy way to enjoy the back-country. Their inclusion within appropriate places within the NPS only enriches the overall support of NPS initiatives.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I agree with Mr Carroll, a wilderness area should be a wilderness area ! We have a chance to once again to do the right thing and save some of these areas as WILDERNESS !!! Once wilderness is gone, it is gone forever so let's do it now !

    There are plenty of places where people can play with their toys (mountain bikes, snowmobiles, off road vehicles), there needs to be places where nature can just be nature at its best. The federal lands should have something for everyone, including Mother Nature herself.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 20 weeks ago

    My experience on shared trails is: The bikers are rude and don't always stay on the trails. They are yelling to communicate instead stopping to communicate in a more quiet voice. My vote would be to keep them off the trails. Let them fight with automobiles on the paved roads.

  • It's Official: Picky Yosemite National Park Bears Prefer Their Meals in Minivans   5 years 20 weeks ago

    This preference for minivans aside, Yosemite bears have always had their favorite models of cars. In the past (I don't know if this still holds true), Hondas and Toyotas were easiest to break into. Mother bears have taught their cubs how to peel open car window frames “like a banana.”

  • Is It "Elitist" To Try to Visit All 58 National Parks?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Those are sure enough gorgeous NPS units, Marcy, but both Pictured Rocks and Sleeping Bear Dunes are designated National Lakeshore, not National Park. There are four national lakeshores in all. The other two are Indiana Dunes (at southern end of Lake Michigan) and Apostle Islands (in Wisconsin on Lake Superior).

  • Is It Too Early To Plan A Winter Trip to Rocky Mountain National Park? Naaaahhhh.   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I once spent four days walking on snowshoes breaking trail for my dog team in order to travel less than fifty miles. The snow was deep and powdery with a granular base. No one had been over it the entire winter. Local Indian trappers said that snow conditions were too difficult even for snowmobiles. My work required that I reach the next village, Bettles, and continue on to Anaktuvuk, an Eskimo village further north. It turned out to be one of the most difficult stretches of mushing I experienced during my time in Alaska. The only way to make progress was to pack the snow in front of the dogs and help them move the sled. We were on the trail for twelve or more hours a day. In many places It was necessary to go over the same stretch twice to pack it down enough for the dogs to get firm footing. Even then it was necessary to walk in front of the sled just behind the last pair of dogs while guiding the sled with a pole lashed to its side near the bow (referred to as a "gee pole") to keep the sled tracking the trail. At the end of the day camp had to be set up, dogs staked out, food cooked for the dogs, harnesses dried and, finally, fix a meal for myself. Five to six hours of sleep and it was time to break camp, load up, harness the dogs and do it again. It was absolute drudgery. I recall that the same day I made it to the next village three Indians from the village I had left came over my train on snowmobiles making the trip in a few hours. I later traveled over the same trail after it had been packed. The team easily made the trip in about seven hours and were still fresh at the end of the day. Every time I look at a pair of snowshoes I remember that trip.

  • Is It "Elitist" To Try to Visit All 58 National Parks?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I Don't know if these 2 parks are what you're looking for but they are beautiful and well worth a trip. The first one is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Munising, MI in the upper peninsula, with the gorgeous shoreline of Lake Superior, waterfalls and of course the Pictured Rocks. The second one is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Empire, MI. with Lake Michigan and its lovely shoreline and huge sand dunes and a couple of islands to boot.

  • Columbus Day is also Native American Day   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Why don't we just rename it Italian New-World-Explorers' Day. In addition to Columbus and Cabot(o), there was also Giovanni da Verrazzano.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_da_Verrazzano/

  • Is It "Elitist" To Try to Visit All 58 National Parks?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Different strokes for different folks. Writer Keith Goetzman is a snob. A snob is a type of elitist. Therefore, this legend in his own mind is an elitist. Who died and put him in charge of determining how people should visit the National Parks?

    Park collecting is not for me. I like to spend at least a few days to a couple of weeks at each park that I visit. I believe that this allows me to see a national park more in depth than windshield tourist do. By seeing the national parks in this manner, I have left the crowds behind me and see things not possible to be seen from the road. However, I realize that what satisfies me is not what satisfies many other people and that not everyone has the time and/or money to take as long as I have taken for some of my vacations in the past.

    The important thing is that people go out and enjoy the national parks in the ways which most suit them. The national parks are for everyone, not just some self-appointed experts.

  • Is It "Elitist" To Try to Visit All 58 National Parks?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I've been to 46. Elitist and Proud!

  • Jon Jarvis Supports More Official Wilderness in National Park System   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I agree, some of have had to work all of our life and didn't have the time to take to explore wilderness. We all don't work for uncle sam or have a trust fund.

  • Is It "Elitist" To Try to Visit All 58 National Parks?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    This is the NPS website that breaks down all of the current 391 units by category:
    http://www.nps.gov/pub_aff/refdesk/classlst.pdf [Ed: If you click on this link, it will take you directly to the list and ask if you want to save the pdf. It's a small file, only around 110 kb.]

    I am a member of the NPTC and am attempting to get to all 391 units of the National Park Service. I think that it's up to each individual to decide what they get out of a visit. I've been lucky enough to get to 309 of the units (42 of the 58 National Parks), and will continue my quest.

    I'm retired and this is what I do instead of going to a job everyday.

  • Is It "Elitist" To Try to Visit All 58 National Parks?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    If Keith wants to get me a job working in Wrangell-St. Elias NP, I'd be guaranteed to get a good "wilderness" experience too.
    Sounds to me like he's compensating.

  • Creature Feature: Meet the Asian Swamp Eel, "the Animal Equivalent of the Kudzu Vine?"   5 years 20 weeks ago

    A few years ago while catching crayfish in a creek we also caught what we thought was a salamander. We put it in our fish tank alone with some other small fish and the crayfish, it was approx 6 inches long at that time. Now it has grown to approx 2 1/2 feet long and eats everthing else in the tank. Now that it is bigger and after doing research we have discovered that it is the swamp eel. It looks identical to what you have in this video. A couple of times he got out of the tank and we found him under the couch in the living room. We live in Florida southwest of Jacksonville. Can you give me an idea of what to do with him (not really sure if it a male or female?). I'm also wondering how he got in the creek this far north of the everglades?
    We don't want to put him back in the creek so any ideas would be helpful.

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Putting up barricades on these landmarks might be a good idea but like the New River Gorge Bridge most "scenic" areas have more than one location to leap from. On each side of the bridge, is walkways and overlooks that are as easily to access as the span itself...I live about 2 hours from there and have visited it several times.. As I walk across it this weekend on Bridge Day, my family and I will condone a moment of silence to those who has lost their lives here... GODSPEED..

  • Is It "Elitist" To Try to Visit All 58 National Parks?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Brad,
    Upon Googling U.S. National Parks List, Wikipedia gave what looks like a very thorough list by state. There are 61 entries but as it explained some are mentioned twice if the park overlaps two states. For example, Yellowstone is mentioned in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Great Smoky Mountains are in Tennessee and North Carolina. The two territories, Am. Samoa and U.S. Virgin Islands, are also included.

    Subtracting the "three" duplicates, I think the math will come out correct for your count of 58. Please double check the calculation!

  • Is It Too Early To Plan A Winter Trip to Rocky Mountain National Park? Naaaahhhh.   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Agreed; that's a beautiful place in winter. The book "Snowshoeing Colorado" by Claire Walter describes several snowshoeing trails in Rocky Mountain in fairly good detail.

    Another consideration in the backcountry in winter: avalanche safety. I took a course in it through Colorado Mtn. School in Estes Park a couple years ago and learned a lot.