Recent comments

  • National Park Mystery Spot 5: A Jenny May Take you There   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Phantom Ranch

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Definitely the Chisos Basin Campground in Big Bend National Park on the Tex/Mex border. Least visited National Park, but the biggest: all sorts of hikes with incredible views, mountains, dessert, and hot springs right on the Rio Grande. The ghost towns nearby are great, too!

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    David and Kay Scott

    One of our favorites is Belle Fourche Campground in Devils Tower National Monument. Situated in a grove of cottonwood trees, a trail leads through a prairie dog town on the way up the hill to the base of the tower. One summer evening we took a ranger-guided stroll while the tower was bathed in the light of a full moon. This was truly a "close encounter of the third kind."

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I'm afraid I must say I've never heard of that one, Mel. And I don't think it's a front-country campground that one can drive to, so where is it and how do you get there?

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    The Grand Palace Hotel campground in Cloud Canyon, Kings Canyon National Park is my favorite (and it's free).

  • Lawsuit Aims to Halt Uranium Mine Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Anonymous, you ask a good question, one that's come up before. The same question can be asked of energy development and national parks in Utah. Of course, at Yellowstone National Park clear-cutting came right up to the western border; you can see it from outer space, I'm told. Why was that allowed and now folks think a uranium mine 10 miles from the Grand Canyon is too close?

    I have yet to see an easy answer to your question, though. I think it's one society has to agree on. And, I suppose, that's why there are lawsuits of this type.

  • National Park Mystery Spot 5: A Jenny May Take you There   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Phantom Ranch

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    One of many secret spots in the backcountry is my favorite campground.

    As far as formal campgrounds go, my best experience was at the Cottonwood Campground in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. When strange noises awaken you at dawn and you walk a hundred yards behind your tent down to the Little Missouri River and find a couple dozen bison crossing the river where you were about to gather water for cooking breakfast....well, my at that point not-too-well-traveled wife knew she wasn't in Michigan anymore.

  • Forest Service Open to Allowing Mountain Bikes on Continental Divide Trail, But What About Park Service?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1994:
    http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande/mtb10 . It's dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don't have access to trails closed to bikes.
    They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else -- ON FOOT! Why isn't that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking....

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it's not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see
    http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande/scb7 ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and (worst of all) teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it's NOT!). What's good about THAT?

    For more information: http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande/mtbfaq .

  • Lawsuit Aims to Halt Uranium Mine Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Again... I will ask how far out from the boundaries of national parks and wildernesses should public domain extend? And if such is the case, why not make that part of the park and/or wilderness, and get it over with? Or does it start over again with THAT being the new boundary and you can't do anything to harm the park another 10 or 20 or 30 miles out. At what point does it all stop? I would like a reality answer to this: not some extreme tree-hugger reply, ok?

  • Yet Another November Storm Wallops Olympic National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Ah, the Great Northwet! Weather geeks may enjoy the graphics and discussion posted Nov. 17 by a noted UW professor: http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/

  • Mules In Grand Canyon National Park: Should They Stay?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    My 10yearold son and I have ridden our own mules to phantom ranch three times in January and February.
    This time of year the trails at the top are frozen with thick ice. There are not many hikers on the trail.
    But at phantom ranch the temperature is pleasant. Also reservations are easier to get. Maybe they should do the majority of the rides in the winter months. It would break my heart if the mules where removed from the canyon because my son would not be able to take his son or daughter.

  • Lawsuit Aims to Halt Uranium Mine Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Why is it that the areas surrounding national parks and wilderness areas are to be zoned the exact same as the areas they surround? Why not just enlarge the parks and wildernesses? Since ten miles out is not far enough, please tell me at what point you reach nil.

  • Lawsuit Over Deer Culling At Valley Forge Highlights Troubles Of Squeezed National Parks   5 years 23 weeks ago

    d-2, the NPS is responsible for managing VFNP, and is not responsible for managing the rest of suburban Philly nor the rest of eastern PA.

    This entire conversation is so perfectly typifies many we read here.

  • Plenty of Options For Visiting Yellowstone National Park This Winter   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Thanks. I follow this issue very closely.

    I did make a mistake in saying that one could drive from Cody to Cooke City, MT, to enter the park by wheeled vehicle in winter. That is incorrect. One has to drive from Cody to Gardiner, MT, via Livingston, MT. Sorry for the mistake.

  • Plenty of Options For Visiting Yellowstone National Park This Winter   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Good catch, Anonymous. Forgot about the week delay in opening that entrance to over-the-snow travel.

    Thanks.

  • Forest Service Open to Allowing Mountain Bikes on Continental Divide Trail, But What About Park Service?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Kurt

    The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail through Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, as well as some BLM and U S Forest Service wild lands traversed by the trail are recommended for wilderness designation by the land managing agencies.

    In recommended wilderness areas the CDNST plan requires that potential for future designation be fully maintained (“unimpaired”) So some parts of CDT --wilderness and rec'd wilderness -- will not be available for mechanized travel (mountain bikes).

    However cyclists have the opportunity to partner up with hikers, back country horsemen and conservationists on hundreds and hundreds of miles of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail outside designated and recommended wilderness.

    In Montana local mountain bike clubs have proven to be terrific partners, working shoulder to shoulder on the Continental Divide Trail with back country horsemen and women, hikers and volunteers of the Montana Wilderness Association.

    Last year we helped the U S Forest Service complete a brand new 7.5 mile section of the Continental Divide Trail between Butte and Helena.

    Check out “Continental Collaboration” in Helena Independent Record:

    http://www.helenair.com/lifestyles/recreation/article_94afc46c-ee60-5d93-9983-77762f8e30c5.html?mode=story

    Several years ago nine outdoor and conservation groups representing local mountain bike clubs, back country horsemen, hikers and conservationists crafted a pledge of agreement to protect future wilderness and motorfree back country areas offering quiet trails for mountain bikers, hikers and horsemen.

    The agreement covers 240 miles along the rugged Montana Divide and Flints, with unified recommendations for completing and managing the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.

    This unique new quiet trails and wilderness partnership is known as Montana High Divide Trails. http://www.wildmontana.org/programs/quiettrails2.php

    Thank you

  • Plenty of Options For Visiting Yellowstone National Park This Winter   5 years 23 weeks ago

    JoAnne and Kurt: Actually, per the Record of Decision Amendment re: Sylvan Pass, the East Entrance is ONLY open for a core season of December 22 - March 1. The guides/outfitters at the East Entrance will inform her and all interested parties of this. So, JoAnne will not be able to enter the park via the East Entrance on the dates she mentioned.; she could drive from Cody to Cooke City, MT, and enter Yellowstone via wheeled vehicle and drive to Mammoth/Gardiner to pick up a snowcoach or snowmobile tour.

    One can read the ROD Amendment at

    http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/upload/rod_sylvanpass_7-08.pdf

    The key sentence can be found at the top of page 5, where it states:

    "As a result of meetings between the National Park Service and the State of Wyoming,
    Park County, Wyoming, and the City of Cody, Wyoming, Sylvan Pass will be open for
    oversnow travel (both motorized and non-motorized) for a limited core season, from
    December 22 through March 1 each winter, subject to weather-related constraints and
    NPS fiscal, staff, infrastructural, equipment, and other safety-related capacities."

  • Forest Service Open to Allowing Mountain Bikes on Continental Divide Trail, But What About Park Service?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Mark, wish I could take credit for the captcha, but it really is random. Really.

    Zeb, the four bikes in my garage say it's not an "anti-bike" sentiment.

  • Poaching Charges Pending In Case of Majestic Bull Elk Killed at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Well, you can learn something everyday in the oddest places.

  • Forest Service Open to Allowing Mountain Bikes on Continental Divide Trail, But What About Park Service?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Whenever I read a story about biking here, I can't help but detect some anti biking sentiment in Kurt. It's not rabid like some of the folks we have in the SF bay area, but it's there. There's really no good reason why all these wonderful backcountry trails should be closed to cyclists other than to appease the few hikers and equestrians who make it there and just don't want to share.

    " It's just a belief that there should be some places where your feet on the ground provide the locomotion." Does that belief encompass hooves as well?
    The issue with this belief is that it's vague and provides the background for resisting allowing bikes anywhere without any kind of reason. Personnally, I have a belief that horse riders should be kicked out of all narrow trails. Does it mean that we should kick out all equestrians. :)

  • Newspaper Turns Back the Calendar and Calls for "Buffalo Commons National Park" in Kansas   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Geez, sure love the top photo of this beautiful beast. Truly sense the power of this wonderful animal in it's natural environment.

  • Poaching Charges Pending In Case of Majestic Bull Elk Killed at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    azborn2001, you sound like a good man regardless of whatever name label that you prefer. Just like a good farmer called a true hayseed...etc... Say, what does "mule skinner blues" mean? Is that southern jargon?

  • Lawsuit Aims to Halt Uranium Mine Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Why is it that the big 3 (oil,timber and mining) industries insist on defiling our National Parks and Wilderness areas? I find such greed disgusting and those that allow it should be drawn and quartered.

  • Newspaper Turns Back the Calendar and Calls for "Buffalo Commons National Park" in Kansas   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Anyone wishing more information on the Buffalo Commons should look at my Rutgers website, policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/popper. I and my wife Deborah Popper, a geographer at the College of Staten Island/City University of New York and Princeton University, originated the concept in 1987. The only national group explicitly devoted to creating the Buffalo Commons is the Texas-based Great Plains Restoration Council, gprc.org. Its president is Jarid Manos, . (Full disclosure: I chair its board.) Another important group is the New Mexico-based National Center for Frontier Communities, frontierus.org. Its executive director is Carol Miller, . (More disclosure: Deborah and I are on its board.) The group does research and advocacy for isolated small communities throughout the nation, not just in the Great Plains or the West. Best wishes,
    Frank Popper
    Rutgers and Princeton Universities
    ,
    732-932-4009, X689