Recent comments

  • Is Your Backcountry Safety Net A Personal Locator Beacon or Cell Phone?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Iam a student of the basics and a believer in field craft over machine. I do not attempt to discredit advancements in technology nor there relative usefulness and am not some new age caveman living without electricty. I simply feel that we have become all too reliant on items like GPS, EPIRB's and have lost touch with the basics. I like alot of boys in my generation was a Boy Scout still carry with me their motto "Be Prepared". Some may say that they are being "Prepared" by having the EPIRB or GPS and they would be correct, right up to the point when I would ask them "Can you associate a compass to a map?" or "If the unit fails, do you know how or did you bring another method of signaling?". The worse case senario is the person that fore gos bringing extra food, water, means of fire and shelter because they have such items as the EPIRB, GPS, or cell phone. These are good addtions to have to a basic survival kit but they do not replace said kit nor the basics. My advice is if you have the knowledge do not fall prey to the "We won't need that its just a day hike" mentality. If you are lacking in the basic knowledge but love the outdoors my advice would be to obtain the information for basic compass use (Staying Found The Complete Map and Compass Handbook, June Flemming, the Mountaineers 1994) is an excellent source and is packable, carry a topo map of the area (USGS web sites, REI....), always hike in pairs, carry a survival kit (most outdoor stores have premade ones and their staff is often an invaluable source of what to buy if you want to build your own), obtain weather info for the area, and let someone at home and someone locally know where your going and when you will return. Make sure you let them know when you get back (I also leave a note on my vehicle with information as to where Iam headed and when I should be back. This allows passing hikers to know I am out there and if they go where I did and do not see me something might be wrong).
    Be well my friends and Happy Trails
    Shawn "Traverse" Baker

  • Lost to Hurricanes, the Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park Will be Hard to Replace   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Pauly. The Flamingo Lodge was demolished last March.

  • Lost to Hurricanes, the Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park Will be Hard to Replace   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Thanks for posting! I wish I had known of this place before Wilma. Could you maybe do an update as to its condition today?

  • Maine North Woods National Park: Has The Time Arrived?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    Oh, you mean the real New York? Yeah, I've heard of that!

  • Maine North Woods National Park: Has The Time Arrived?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Good point, Kirby, and then there's that other place. What do they call it? Oh yeah, Adirondack State Park.

  • Maine North Woods National Park: Has The Time Arrived?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I live in Maine, where you can buy a 4BR home in downtown Millinocket for $39K. I don't see anything happening in Maine that will improve the financial prospects for the owners of that 4BR property. Are the paper companies going to save northern Maine? The shoe companies? Agriculture? Hardly. A new NP would sew the North Woods with the kind of sustainable economic activity that makes Maine viable for Mainers.

  • FY 2010 Budget For National Park Service Can Only Go Up   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I'm sorry to have to say that Anon may be right. After a few seasons, I got the clue that our volunteer crew was being asked to do a lot that maybe paid employees should be doing. The paid rangers put their game face on for the public, but we could tell some were sullen and resentful - especially those who had been seasonals for many years. The younger ones seemed happy enough - but they didn't expect much from the service and many were going back to school anyway. They were the ones who actually seemed appreciative of the volunteers. Most of the rangers, though, were rather cold to us - and some were downright rude, almost as if we were intruding on their turf. I was proud to serve, but I won't go back next season. What a disappointment. I understand Mr. Jarvis came up through the ranks - maybe he will make his employees feel more valued. For the sake of my beloved park I certainly hope so.

  • Maine North Woods National Park: Has The Time Arrived?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    The narrator says:

    "If you're looking for wilderness areas anywhere near the northeast...you're out of luck; there aren't any."

    What? Baxter State Park doesn't count? I'm not saying the National Park is a bad idea, but it's quite misleading to imply that only within the NPS do you find wilderness.

  • Maine North Woods National Park: Has The Time Arrived?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I strongly believe that a national forest would be more user friendly than a park
    I Have travelled and camped accross the US for the past 50 years ( I am 85) and find the national forest much more flexible and less restrictive than national parks.
    More friendly to local residents
    Less sophisticated structures
    Closer to nature
    possibly more economical to operote

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 20 weeks ago

    There was a case a few years ago of the 130 ft tall cross on Mount Davidson in San Francisco. It was located on a city park that was purchased by the city after the first cross was erected.

    They had similar problems to what's now going on at Mojave National Preserve with a singular (i.e. no other displays from other sects) religious display on government property. I thought they initially tried to sell the land with the promise that the cross be preserved, but in the end they put the property up for sale with a competitive bidding process. The buyer was intent on saving the cross, but there could have been a different buyer who could have taken it down.

    I think the sticky situation here is that Congress apparently sold it with a specific requirement that effectively meant that the cross must stay up. That's probably where it runs into the establishment clause, where they intentionally sold it to a group intent on keeping the cross rather than putting it up for a competitive bid where it could have gone to someone who wanted to take it down.

  • FY 2010 Budget For National Park Service Can Only Go Up   5 years 20 weeks ago

    The nps needs to pay attention to the infrastructure of its people before it spends more cash on buildings, expansion of boundaries, and fancy publications. The nps practices slave labor, poor treatment of seasonal and permanent employees, and is a good 'ol boy network.
    I know you won't let this be posted, but it is the truth.

  • Greenpeace Activists Exploited Security Failings at Mount Rushmore National Memorial To Stage Protest   5 years 20 weeks ago

    From the report, it's clear that the Greenpeace crew acted with the skill, detailed planning, and determination that might be expected of professionals. Not bad for screwballs. Maybe NPS should consider signing some of these people up as consultants, in the same manner that computer hacks are hired to test security systems. Hmmm.

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I personally am a practicing Catholic, and believe that the cross should be allowed to stay up. However, it is a matter of basic human respect to allow other religious monuments to be constructed as well. Not only Christians died during World War I; Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, etc. did too and if they wish to have a symbol of their faith put up next to the cross, who is the Congress to say no?

  • Greenpeace Activists Exploited Security Failings at Mount Rushmore National Memorial To Stage Protest   5 years 20 weeks ago

    This country is letting every screwball organization get away with anything they want to do.

    Thank You America!

    "...adventure without regard to prudence, profit, self-improvement,
    learning or any other serious thing" -Aldo Leopold-

  • Greenpeace Activists Exploited Security Failings at Mount Rushmore National Memorial To Stage Protest   5 years 20 weeks ago

    This country is letting every screwball organization get away with anything they want to do.

    (Ed: This comment was edited. )

  • Greenpeace Activists Exploited Security Failings at Mount Rushmore National Memorial To Stage Protest   5 years 20 weeks ago

    someone has to watch the cameras....what about the backside of mt rushmore? gonna cost a lot more money than the park service wants to pay for good security...been there and worked there,not an easy answer...

  • Maine North Woods National Park: Has The Time Arrived?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I have very mixed feelings about the Maine Woods National Park. Having been born and grown up in Maine, and spent much of my life here, I would love to see our north woods preserved. But having spent a number of years in Colorado, I have also seen how the national parks bring more development and roads, and much more use. I have also seen the national parks being poorly managed, and the pressure for roads and trails leading to serious degredation of habitat. Our own Baxter State Park in Maine is much better managed for it's wilderness attributes than the national parks are, and I'd prefer to see an expansion of Baxter State Park over a national park. But, given the lack of money in Maine, and also the lack of political will, perhaps a national park is the best that we can do. In any case, doing nothing is the worst option. Plum Creek has already planned to massively develop their holdings, and other REITs can not be far behind.

  • When Visiting the National Parks, Look for Historic Lookouts   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Thanks for the NOCA lookouts imagery. John Suiter's book Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in the Cascades (Conterpoint, 2002) does an outstanding job of explaining how the splendid solitude of North Cascades fire tower duty helped shape the writing of the beat generation icons. I'd love to attend a Gary Snyder reading, but I fear I'll never get the chance. Snyder is one of the last of his breed -- a pity, that -- and he won't be making public presentations forever (he'll be 80 next May).

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Whoa! I blew that one! Other comments still apply.

  • Where Can You Find the Best Fall Foliage In the National Park System? Here Are Ten Contenders   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I'd also throw a nod in to Zion National Park, particularly the high country of the Kolob Terrace. The black and red and pink rocks are complimented by golden and red trees.

  • Oh Boy! The Prospect Hotel! What Room Will I Be Staying In?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    That's right, Bat. Same S.O.B., different venue.

  • Oh Boy! The Prospect Hotel! What Room Will I Be Staying In?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Bob, is this the "sweet old buddy" you wrote about before? Another LOL story from you, thanks!

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Ummm...actually, Anon, both Virginia and Maryland were named for English monarchs. Respectively, Queen Elizabeth (the 'Virgin Queen') and King Charles' I wife Queen Henrietta Maria, otherwise known as Queen Mary.

  • Oh Boy! The Prospect Hotel! What Room Will I Be Staying In?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Nice to hear from you Fred. Glad to know that you got the paint job finished before cold weather set in. BTW, I ran a painting contracting company while I was in grad school. We painted lots of old houses and apartment buildings that had been coated with lead-based paint. We scraped and sanded and primed the rough spots first, of course. Inhaling all that lead dust undoubtedly contributed to the current sad state of my brain cells. Cheers, Bob

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Oh no. Your reporting on this seems to have been before other sources.

    What I'm implying here is that the Sept 23 rider was a modification spurred as a result of pressure on Senator Feinstein by members of Congress who had received the Sept 17 letter from the California Coastal Commission.

    What I'm trying to figure out (and there hasn't been that much reporting on it recently in the Bay Area press) is whether or not the current Save Drakes Bay campaign is to remove the rider that was inserted in June in the original Senate version of the bill - or to the latest modification of the rider that doesn't contain a mandate.

    Here's the original article you wrote as a reference. I tried entering "Feinstein" or "Point Reyes" and couldn't find it. I had to go back manually through the archives to locate it.

    http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2009/06/senator-feinstein-speaking-out-both-sides-her-mouth-national-park-matters

    I would note that it isn't clear whether or not Drakes Estero can be declared as designated wilderness. I've heard some opinions that the State of California still maintains rights to all waters including bays and can't cede it to the federal government. I finally saw the map, and the "proposed wilderness" is simply the water and none of the land around Drakes Estero. It's rather an interesting situation, as none of the shore operations are on "potential wilderness" as I had thought until I saw the map. As it is right now, I've never heard of any saltwater body of water that's been grated designated wilderness status. Apparently the analysis by the Secretary of the Interior at the time of the 1976 PRWA was that the reasons for declaring Drakes Estero as potential wilderness were the use by the oyster farm along with the rights of the State of California.