Recent comments

  • Reader Participation Day: What Do You Think of Lodging Rates in National Parks?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I find the cost to be quite high for what you get.

    Camping: What happened to being able to pitch a tent for $15.00? Now you can't even do that at some parks without permits and per person charges in addition to your permit charge, and you may not even be able to get a permit since they only give out a certain amount.

    Cabins: $150.00 for a cabin that is so slanted you are falling out of bed at night? That was a sad experience.

    Lodges: I can understand some being more expensive when there are several to choose from, but when you only have one or two available, it prices me out of staying. When possible, I stay right outside of the park, which is inconvenient, but affordable.

    Other lodging: Again, $150.00 a night for a room with no bathroom? At that point, camp out with an air mattress.

    So sad when parks have no nearby lodging. I know when our family was first stating out, we could not take out children. They would get carsick after a two hour drive into a park. How sad they had to miss out.

    I'd like to see some hostel type places to stay.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Do You Think of Lodging Rates in National Parks?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I live near Glacier N.P. IF I want to stay in Glacier (or the surrounding area) in the summer we have to camp. My friend is 74 y.o. and I'm pushing 60. ....... and I mean CAMP ! .... on the ground, in a tent. When I retire (if) will we STILL be camping??? Cabin/motel/hotel rates are getting way out of control for the "common folk" who ALSO own the National Parks.

  • A New Exhibit at Ellis Island Tells the Story of the Lenape, the People Who Were There First   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I forgot to mention . According to the migration charts done on eastern Algonkin birch scrolls and the knowledge provide on the Wampum belts holograms connected with the stars and our constellation, the migration of my people came from an island in the atlanctic ocean called Atlantisaalso called in dakota Mdewakantatonwan also called Midewin by the other Algonkin tribe. The Mayans clain the same island . In Ica Peru there is a pyctoglyph which was thought to be over 50,000 years and on it there is a map wich identified north america , south america and a large island in the Atlancitic ocean . It is also said that the language of the nations of the Wabanaki confederacy are related linguistically to the Egyptians. We do find Wabanaki hieroglyph that compare to Egyptians ones .
    There is so many evidence found in craft and symbols and ceremonial ground found also on our territory or in Crete.
    According to the scrolls and pictographs done by my ancestors the migration of our people went from east to west and not from the Groenland straight in the north. The one that came from that passage were Asian descent and are now called the Inuit. They have no connection with the southern population

    As for the Aboriginal people of the west cost and south america many of them came from the Mu island in the pacific ocean .

    Scrolls ,ceremonial keys languages and Wampum belts are just some examples.

    Wampum belts are know to be cerebral microchips for the best computer in the world , the human brain . They are the helpers to retrieve information in space- time continuum rather than space and time .
    Claude

  • Interior Secretary Calls For More High Colorado River Flows Through Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 24 weeks ago

    this proves the efficacy of periodic high flows to rebuilding the emaciated sandbars resulting from present flow regimes. a yearly high flow would restore the sand bars to their former glory.

  • Updated: NPS Director Jarvis Ends "Core Ops" Budgeting Across The National Park System   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Dear NPS Colleagues and NPT Friends,
    I am an employee who lost my job as a part of Core Operations in an IMR park.
    I was forced to move in order to stay employed. The move has caused me and my family immeasurable hardship. Reading this long series of comments is both cathartic but intensely painful as well. I have reeled from the highs of seeing our story finally told - to the depths of despair at reliving our shared experiences through the posts here. I suspect that many of you can relate to this mix of feelings. After all, we are part of the same family – the National Park Service Family.
    I deeply appreciate Kurt giving all of us a forum to have a voice for we have not had one in nearly four years in the IMR. That is changing now with the turn of the Administration and a new skilled and compassionate Director. I suggest that we consider ending the cyber blood letting for the good of the agency we love so much. Our story has been told, our voices heard and the winds of change are blowing.
    Let's re-commit ourselves to our agency's noble mission and in the spirit of Horace Albright's wise dictate.
    “Do not let the service become just another Government bureau; keep it youthful, vigorous, clean and strong.”

  • Should Timpanogos Cave National Monument Replace Switchbacks with Stairs?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Paul "Barky" Dionne:
    Why does everything have to be so "safe"?? There's nothing wrong with the switchbacks. Has there been an actual incident with rockfalls??

    I guess I'm tired of living in a bubble-wrapped world. Life is full of danger, we can't pave it all over.


    Deadly rock slab at Timp Cave prompts new exit trail
    http://heraldextra.com/news/local/article_9a0fac4e-ceef-5e9f-a23d-42c3fe3d6a9a.html
    The problem is that rocks at the cave exit "fall from very high up, and fall silently" thus giving anyone on the trail no warning, said Davis. "They are not bouncing, so the rocks that come down there are potentially very deadly. About four years ago we had a student (visiting the cave) and she was exiting the cave and she literally had the backpack ripped off her back. I said we need to do something about this."

    Seems to be a little bit different path of the rock or maybe a slightly different time to be there and this student gets konked in the head with a rock big enough to rip a pack off her back. We're not really talking about a normal trail but a paved path. We reroute roads (see Yosemite in 2007) when rocks take them out and blast away. They've determined that a rock there is poised to fall and is big enough to kill someone.

    I'd think rerouting the public exit should be a no brainer. I've been there before (85 deg F outside and about 50 deg inside) and I could see how rocks might be a problem.

  • Should Timpanogos Cave National Monument Replace Switchbacks with Stairs?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Why does everything have to be so "safe"?? There's nothing wrong with the switchbacks. Has there been an actual incident with rockfalls??

    I guess I'm tired of living in a bubble-wrapped world. Life is full of danger, we can't pave it all over.

    ================================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Reader Participation Day: What Do You Think of Lodging Rates in National Parks?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    How about the most expensive cabins I've heard of for an NPS authorized concessionaire?

    http://www.gtlc.com/lodging/jenny-lake-lodge-accommodations.aspx

    Who the heck pays $599/night for a rustic duplex cabin? I actually cringed when I paid $150 for a night at one of the Bryce Canyon Lodge cabins, although it was a really nice cabin.

  • Updated: NPS Director Jarvis Ends "Core Ops" Budgeting Across The National Park System   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Not to appear ungracious or malicious but you have an extremely naïve opinion on the implementation of Core Ops. I have gone through three of them in my tenure and each one was executed in an arbitrary way. In all three cases we were told what our outcomes would be regardless of analysis. IN each instance the park tried to develop its own priorities with varying success but the outcomes and final reports were all dramatically different than what the park originally wanted. When the superintendent was asked the response was always “Denver didn’t like it.”

    A classic example is what happened in the Vanishing Treasures Program – a grass roots program developed by and run by parks in the IMR to deal with an ageing preservation work force, priceless prehistoric architectural sites needing emergency treatment, and a lack of resource professionals to deal with the boarder issues. The VT Program was a grass roots organization run by the parks in the IMR – not through the IMR office. From 1999 – 2004 the VT program successfully got Clinton and Bush administrations to fund the program to the tune of several million dollars and added over 62 resource professionals and craftspeople to the ranks. The program manager was base funded out of the FLAG areas. In 2004 the VT Program was Core Oped. The base funded program manager positions was pulled from FLAG (ONPS dollars removed) and reinstated in the IMR. Funding for positions dried up 100% (6 to 7 positions were getting funded in the old system) and now the program struggles for its very existence to dole out a few project dollars.

    The program was viable and successful when run by the parks but dried up to nothing as soon as it was Core Oped and transferred to the IMR. Snyder had a personal history with the program manager and made this move as vindictive as possible. The program manager was removed from his job and the pulled funding was given to an IMR Curator was in turn losing her operations to Core Ops. See a theme…

    So don’t tell me that Core Ops was a well thought out tool to financial sustainability. It may have had its origins like that but it was used vindictively and destroyed successful parks and programs and actually made them less efficient and more costly while reducing benefits to visitors and resources.

    Your naïveté is too much to bear. I’m sorry.

  • A New Exhibit at Ellis Island Tells the Story of the Lenape, the People Who Were There First   5 years 24 weeks ago

    For your information to all there is no R in most native languages exept for word borrowed from languages spoken in Europe.

    Claude Aubin Wabanaki also Bemdynick .

  • Dark, Starry Skies Above National Parks Celebrated by Posters, Forthcoming Book   5 years 24 weeks ago

    One of the things a lot of park rangers told me is that while their astronomy programs are some of the most heavily attended programs their park gives, they (by their nature) only occur after park administrators have gone home for the evening. As a result, they have a very low visibility within the larger park administration. In terms of what Owen commented on with regards to "Core Ops" the ironic thing is that these evening sky-watching programs are, in a sense, at the very heart of why the parks were created. The sky is now a landscape that we have lost in much of the rest of the country and the world. The U.S. is almost alone in the developed world in terms of still having regions with almost pristine skies. In the same way that visitors come to the parks to see the grandeur of the natural world that is no longer visible elsewhere, the night sky is now firmly fitting within that category.

    Thanks for being interested,
    Tyler

  • Updated: NPS Director Jarvis Ends "Core Ops" Budgeting Across The National Park System   5 years 24 weeks ago

    This is to "Anonymous of December 9th who speaks of generocity of spirt and A76":

    It is preposterous to think of either A76 or Core Ops as being "committed to the Mission," "thoughtful," "strategic" and especially, as reflecting generocity of spirit or the spirt of the National Park Service.

    Core Ops and A76 both arose from a political strategy of pitting the parks and the programs and the people of the NPS against each other. It worked. It was a race to the bottom. The smallest mindedness predominated. "Strategic?" Referring to core ops as 'strategic' is the most ridiculous of all. There was nothing strategic about it. Its purpose was to slash the bone of the National Park System and programs and to render the NPS a less effective, less admirable agency.

    Charging a lack of transparency for carefully selected and leaked targets such as the Delaware Water Gap outhouse or Sperry was just a means to remove necessary management discretion in program management. When critical needs -- such as an environmental review for a pending court case or unusual engineering solutions to mitigate potential impairment of park resources -- often demanded by Congress or the courts intervened, and there was no line item to pay for the item, the professional offices of the NPS had to take on those projects in addition to the line item projects without waiting for additional appropriations. This kind of flexibility is necessary for effective management, & operates within existing authorizations and legislation. There is no need for congress to micromanage at this level, and other agencies with FAR larger budgets with LESS exacting Mission-related restrictions, have far MORE discretion in budget mangement. The packaging and promotion of many of these leaks of supposed unaccountability came from a disgruntled old dinosaur and regional manager from that part of the country trying to hang on to his preeminence. This is where the breakdown in 'graciousness' started showing itself in the successful right-wing tactic to turn one part of the NPS against another. Those who went for the bait had no strategy: nothing they were doing would enhance the programs or the funding needed by the NPS.

    You say "Congress" demanded this. Interesting. Few in congress were engaged in this. It was hardly "Congress." It was mostly a staff-driven crusade by the most self-regarding, unelected staffers who felt senior park leaders with profound experience and judgement did not pander enough to these unelected staffers. The least politically sophisticated advocates of Core Ops and similar programs keep saying "Congress" asked for it, when no real congressional mandate was established, and the NPS 'leadership' never attempted to make a better case of better solution for the sake of the public interest. At first, Congressman Regula tried to stand outside of the whole orchestrated thing, until he too got dragged into it, and ended up endorsing and declaring the whole thing a victory for 'accountability.' When Director Stanton said that he personally would review each project at the Washington level, Mr. Regula even warned him that would be a waste of Washington's time and the Director's time, but the congressional staff had gotten to OMB and departmental staff and the damage was done. Thus began this incredibly expensive entirely wasteful series of top-down inquisitions, none of which had ANY strategy to them.

    One real strategy would have been to forcefully explain why the funds and flexibility are needed, and the consequences of letting such staff-driven micromanagement go on. The NPS 'leadership,' instead of surrendering to the propaganda by adocating for harmful cuts, could have stood up and fight as NPS leaders had in the past. Can you imagine George Hartzog permitting this lack of management flexibility. Can you imagine him being intimadated by some dottering dinosaur? But they were intimidated, and the Bush administration hired the dinosaur's hatchet-person as Director of the NPS.

    This could have been fought. NPS could have gone after the attacks. Afterall, this was not like Eisenhower standing up to Senator Joe McCarthy in the Army-McCarthy Hearings. Instead, every regional director -- non-political jobs -- was removed during the Bush Administration. Everyone did not roll over to Core ops, but this was no time for what used to be the standard courage of the NPS.

    The most ridiculous charge is to say Core Ops would be the basis for funding increases. Just look at the NPS budgets during the time. The NPS asked for less money for park operations increases during this time than only the cost of the 'accountability' programs like Core Ops, maintenance consolidations and GPRA. The NPS even ACCEPTED OMB's proposal that meant the NPS COULD NOT EVEN ASK FOR FUNDING RESTORATION for activities stripped by cost of living increases or across-the-board cuts. Wake up! It did not MATTER what justification you had, if you were asking to restore a cut activity. Once cut, it was against the "rules" to request that funding to be restored. If there was any amount of real insight among tha advocates of this program, they were cynical and culpable. The rest were too inexperienced or too easily led to know any better.

    If you had put the same amount of effort that went into Core ops and the really stupid way the NPS implemented GPRA, into strategies to build support among the American people -- or even just managing the parks -- the NPS would be way ahead today.

    People are angry, not gracious, because of the stupidity and viciousness of this diversion of the spirit and purpose of the National Park Service.

  • The New River Raisin National Battlefield Park Highlights One of the Bloodiest Conflicts of a Seldom Mentioned War   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I just want to say how nice it is to finally get some recognition for the Old Northwest with it's cultures, historic figures and battlefields.

    I am a life-long native of Fort Wayne, IN and have a better appreciation than most concerning the events of the "French-Indian" Wars, the War for US Independence, the early Indian Wars and the War of 1812 (If you look at these from the Native perspective, it might all seem like the same conflict). I have become a historian specializing in this time frame because of the "make or break" aspects of US nation-building that occurred in this region.

    Unfortunately, the venues and interest (particularly the dearth of discussions in school textbooks) are quite limited. Only a handful of us have been "bitten by the bug" of this regions history.

    At any rate, congratulations to the River Raisin Park!

  • Updated: NPS Director Jarvis Ends "Core Ops" Budgeting Across The National Park System   5 years 24 weeks ago

    "One of the great joys of working for the NPS is that we share a remarkable mission. We are all dedicated to that mission, whether we are in the parks, running programs, in the regional offices, or in the Washington office. Until this debate on Core Operations, I truly thought that we all believed that each of us was dedicated to that mission. We may have disagreed about how to carry it out, but we knew that we were all equally deeply committed to it. Are those who have posted on this web page, questioning the motives or intent of others, really so certain that they have a corner on how to carry out that mission? Have we lost the graciousness and generosity of spirit seemed to be the hallmark of wearing the flat hat?"

    Can't speak for everyone posting here, but I certainly don't think that most of us feel that we have a corner on how to carry out the mission. I do think that Mr. Snyder and his minions such as Tony Schetzle felt that THEY had a corner on defining the mission, carrying out the mission, and that other opinions from park staff were simply either not allowed or ridiculed. The graciousness and generosity were removed, not by those posting their opinions on this web page, but by the the violation of trust and respect that was so clearly portrayed by those implementing the "reign of terror" as more than one person has described this debacle. The IMR will need new leadership before we can begin to heal these wounds.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Do You Think of Lodging Rates in National Parks?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I would love to stay at the Ahwahnee, but will not, due to the inflated prices. There is no reason this place should cost so much. Another fine lodge, not on NPS land is the Timberline Loge on Mount Hood, which has peak rates at $290, and the Ahwahnee has rates that start at $399 at peak. This is elitist!

  • A New Exhibit at Ellis Island Tells the Story of the Lenape, the People Who Were There First   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Fascinating stuff, Myron. I'll be sure to keep that info and your recommended translation in mind when writing about the Leni Lenape.

  • The New River Raisin National Battlefield Park Highlights One of the Bloodiest Conflicts of a Seldom Mentioned War   5 years 24 weeks ago

    You need to wait a little while, casorock. As the park development process moves along, the Park Service will be holding public meetings in your locale. During these meetings, and throughout the public input phase od park development, you'll have the chance to address issues like the one you've described. You should feel free to comment on or offer suggestions about anything related to the development and operation of the park.

  • Dark, Starry Skies Above National Parks Celebrated by Posters, Forthcoming Book   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Under the auspices of Core Ops, interpretation of the "other half of the park" sometimes fails to qualify as a core park activity. Thus, when park budgets are tight, night sky programs might be discouraged, even when volunteer amateur astronomers are available with telescopes to interact with the visiting public without charge.

    Fortunately, as is highlighted in the above article, there are a growing number of parks in the NPS system that feature the night sky as a natural resource worthy of priority in their interpretive/educational programs.
    This past October, I found regularly scheduled NPS night sky interpretive programs to be active at Zion, Bryce, and Capitol Reef National Parks.

    Another park where the night sky experience is truly outstanding is the rim of Crater Lake with the expanse of sky above and the great caldera below.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Reader Participation Day: What Do You Think of Lodging Rates in National Parks?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I agree with Kate Wilder, the prices at the Ahwahnee Hotel, at $500.00 per night for a standard room and over $1000.00 per night for a suite, seem far beyond what the average park tourist can afford. These prices seem outrageous to me, unless the objective is to preserve a historic facility in the park that is managed as "exclusive."

    Of course, these high prices at the Ahwahnee might seem reasonable compared with $105.00 per night for a spartan Civil War-style unheated tent cabin at Curry Village (bed, sheets, and wool blankets provided, and space to hang clothing is very limited; wash facilities and showers can be some distance away).

    As Kate says above, the NPS has the responsibility of approving all concessioner prices. However, I don't think the NPS has much control at all over Delaware North. In fact, the massive out-transfer of NPS permanent staff that took place in Yosemite during the 1970's (and blamed on the aftermath of the infamous Stoneman Meadow Riot of July 4, 1970), is probably more connected with the political influence of high-level Curry Company officials, who reacted quite negatively to the down-turn of park visitation and an NPS emphasis on resource protection over the promotion of visitor use.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • The New River Raisin National Battlefield Park Highlights One of the Bloodiest Conflicts of a Seldom Mentioned War   5 years 24 weeks ago

    i just wanna know are they planning to buy the home along elm ave next to the park there are about seven houses there i dont see them working back there that much and if they are planning to buy the homes how would they go about it thank you

  • Reader Participation Day: What Do You Think of Lodging Rates in National Parks?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I can't speak to other park's lodging, but I feel both the Ahwahnee Hotel and the Yosemite Lodge are priced about twice as high in the "high season" as they should be. The Park Service has the ability to control these prices, but the concession operator in Yosemite, Delaware North, is an extrememly powerful multi-national corporation, and the Park Service tends to buckle under pressure, and to cater to the desires of the concessioner--whose primary motivation (no surprise) is to make as much money as possible. I believe the Park Service should re-establish control over lodging prices in the Valley, and bring those prices down.

  • Rediscovering the Lowly Lichen across the National Park System   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Thanks, Bob. If you really find lichens interesting, you're an uber-geek - but you probably already knew that. And the people that study lichens for a living are real characters. There's a guy in our native plant society here that's studied and described lichens from the Boundary Waters area. I thought he had an interesting story until I talked to Kerry Knudsen before writing this.

    My wife and I play "I spy a lichen" while hiking. Not sure what that says about us.

  • A New Exhibit at Ellis Island Tells the Story of the Lenape, the People Who Were There First   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Bob,

    I was confused about the Leni Lenape name in the beginning. The “true,” “real;” and “original” people labels came from our Euramerican ancestors, who had difficulty describing a “pure” person. Especially because our ancestors brain washed each other into believing the natives had no religion. My Shawnee and Leni Lenape authorities insist they behave more like Christians than Euramericans do.

    Then I found Reider T. Sherwin. He took word lists from 25 Algonquin speaking tribes and combined them. In the Viking and the Red Man, Vol. 1, Page 158 & 159 he lists all those names you and I found. He shows that the Norse “aa bye” turned into “ape.” In America and abide in English. So the end of the name definitely means “abide with.” Norse and Algonquin syntax is different than English so the “Len” leads the “ape.”

    The letters “R” and “L” are formed in the mouth by almost the same mechanics. So “R” and ”L” are often interchanged by people living in different times and spaces. There is the Powhatten Renape Museum and the Lenape High School, both in New Jersey. Whether the word is “Renape” or “Lenape” the ancestors were “Leni Lenape” and Sherwin recorded that they called their fore fathers “Noosh” [Norsk].(pg 130).

    “Len” means “pure” because “Len” morphed from “Hrein” in Old Norse. “Ren”and “rein” still means “pure” in modern Norwegian. Before the Little Ice Age a Catholic Bishop built the cathedral in Greenland. He named the fjord and the island at the mouth of the fjord, “Hrein.’

    I encourage you to honor the Leni Lenape, who have endured so much of EurAmericans actions caused by misunderstanding. Please use the true definition, “the pure, abiding with the pure.”

    I will send you the two pages from Sherwin defining the Leni Lenape and the pages defining the “Noosh” fore fathers.

  • Rediscovering the Lowly Lichen across the National Park System   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Great article on a very interesting topic, Kirby. I hope we can convince you to write more Goode Stuffe like this for Traveler.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Do You Think of Lodging Rates in National Parks?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Actually, I've been to my fair share of National Parks. The experience is priceless whether you are sleeping on nature's floor or rooming into a room. I will admit that the lodging prices are getting ridiculious. As many Concessions are cutting prices to try & fill rooms, it's still not enough. The package deals are the best as they can offer anything from breakfast & or dinner included. With ultimately high prices of gas, hotel/motel taxes, people being laid off or unemployed, It's becoming harder to visit such beautiful treasures!!

    We've planned several times to go & visit several of the National Parks. We haven't been able to get the amount of money needed for any of a visit. Not even a day. So, I do think prices are out outrageous, YES!!