Recent comments

  • Reader Participation Day: So, What Do You Think of the Ken Burns Film So Far?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Maybe I missed it, but I would have thought that Burns would have had some mention of Edward Abbey. His views on park transportation (only appropriate by horse, foot, or bicycle) would have been an interesting counterpoint to the earlier successful integration of roads into many of our National Parks. I think I watched all 12 hours, although some of it was joined mid-episode where I tried to view parts I missed on the web.

    As for footage of crowds enjoying our national parks - I do recall some. If you check some of the extra material that didn't quite make it into the final series, they filmed footage of Shelton Johnson leading interpretive programs at Yosemite and Park Superintendent Gerard Baker greeting visitors at Mount Rushmore. The one thing that I'm surprised didn't make it was the group of schoolkids touring Death Valley.

    The extra footage is actually quite interesting. Most of the narration is by Ken Burns himself. I think only the final cut was actually narrated by Peter Coyote. Still - a lot of the quotations were still performed by talent such as Tom Hanks before they were cut out of the final series.

    http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/watch-video

  • Clash of Viewpoints on Public Land Ownership and Protection Arrives in Congress in the Form of Red Rock Wilderness Legislation   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I am not coming down on one side or the other with this issue due to my current lack of knowledge. However, I am coming down on someone who posts a picture like this that is wildly out of context and has no explanation. I've grown up around livestock and seen what horses do to land, and I would be willing to bet that this horse walked through after a precipitation event when the ground was soft...thus, the hoofprints. The other tracks were almost undoubtedly left at other times, when the ground was drier and firmer. Posting information like this that lacks context and is subsequently misleading is not only irritating to people who are trying to become truly informed, but irresponsible in the extreme. People will base their opinions on policy decisions based on 'evidence' like this...I only hope most will research it more thoroughly than Zebulon.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I would love to see both segments of the Hiawatha National Forest made into the "The Three Great Lakes National Park". By designating these Federal lands as a huge National Park, we could connect three of the shores of the Great Lakes--Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior by a continuous forest. Imagine a National Park at the doorstep of the Midwest--accessable to Chicago, Detroit,Milwaukee, Minneapolis etc. All this could be made into a National Monument by the stoke of the President's pen. What a great addition to our nation, and gift to the people of the MidWest and the nation. Gabe Sheridan

  • Bikes in the Parks: A Look At What's Up at Grand Teton and Big Bend National Parks   5 years 20 weeks ago

    There are mountain bike trails (shared use in some cases) at Mammoth Cave National Park and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, just to name two park units.

    George, I do not believe the NPS has come up with uniform standards for mountain bike trail construction. The folks at the International Mountain Bicycling Association believe they have strategies that work. You can learn more at this site:http://www.imba.com/trailsolutions/services/index.html

    If you browse around that IMBA site, you'll get a feel for what IMBA wants in terms of mountain bike trails. Here's a snippet from their description of trail work at Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest in Wisconsin:

    The existing trails open to mountain bikes at these locations was routed on the 12-foot wide nordic ski trails. Not only was this situation not satisfying the singletrack experience being sought by the mountain bikers the fall line ski trails were beginning to erode from summer use and also encouraged very high speeds near many blind corners. Those trails are being replaced with stacked loops of trails that will allow riders to customize their ride to their ability and time constraints without having to ride the same trail twice on any excursion.

    To expand mountain bike use in national parks, will existing hiking trails have to be rerouted and redesigned to "satisfy the singletrack experience" or to mitigate erosion tied to biking and slow high speeds? Or will new trails, such as the one proposed for Big Bend, be the answer?

    A potential conflict with mountain bike use and national parks is that current regulations prohibit mountain bikes in officially designated wilderness. While IMBA professes a respect for wilderness areas, the group also works to realign wilderness boundaries to allow for mountain biking on public lands. Currently, a lot of national parks manage portions of their landscapes as wilderness, though no official wilderness designation might exist. For instance, there is no official wilderness in Yellowstone National Park.

    Under IMBA's current push for mountain bike trails in national parks, lands that merit official wilderness designation could be impacted by the group's plans.

  • Bikes in the Parks: A Look At What's Up at Grand Teton and Big Bend National Parks   5 years 20 weeks ago

    The only unpaved NPS trails where bicycling is allowed seem to be essentially unpaved roads (think the White Rim Road in Canyonlands) or what are essentially fire roads. Bear Valley Trail at Point Reyes National Seashore allows bikes. However - it's a fire road that's 12-15 feet wide and generally very hard packed. One can even see the tracks left behind by service vehicles that service the trash cans and pit toilets across from Divide Meadow.

  • Bikes in the Parks: A Look At What's Up at Grand Teton and Big Bend National Parks   5 years 20 weeks ago

    If NPS has adopted standards for mountain bike trails, could a web address be posted? In a state park near me, the park agency encourages biking and has a year-round trail crew devoted to this park to keep up with resulting erosion damage. Trails have been rebuilt and relocated in several places to allow the land to recover. The bikers say they do less damage than foot or horse traffic, but it hasn't worked that way here. I've been wondering how NPS would handle this.

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

    Again - no big deal either way for me how this goes down. However - in this case Frank Buono is not necessarily being offended by *other* religions. He is a practicing Catholic himself; some articles on him describe him as a rather devout Catholic. His argument has been that there is a sole religious marker at the site and that the NPS had denied requests to install markers representing other religions before the transfer. In many ways the question is about equal opportunity. When the government provides chaplains, they must do so for different religions. In the US military there are Jewish and now even Islamic chaplains.

  • A New Route for Mule Trips at Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 20 weeks ago

    There's currently a job opening for Chief of Planning for Yosemite. although I believe it is restricted to current federal employees (doesn't increase the federal employee count, and helps ensure relevant experience):

    http://jobview.usajobs.gov/GetJob.aspx?JobID=83612198

    I wouldn't take that job for triple the salary!

  • National Park Mystery Photo 14: You Might Know What This Is, But Where is It?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Virgin Islands National Park / Buck Island Underwater Park?

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

    In visiting Carlsbad NP, we saw many things in the caves left from the mining days. These things aren't pretty and can make the cave look less attractive in places. However, because they have been there more than 50 years, they are considered "historic artifacts" and cannot and will not be removed. In other words, they are part of the history and they stay. So, why is a similar argument not allowed here? If people are offended by it's religious association, can they not look at it as a historic marker? I don't like seeing some of the "graffiti" and other litter in the caves but looking at them as historic makes them more tolerable.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 14 Revealed: A Brainy Block   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Sorry, Anonymous, it was indeed the Danes. Here's some history: http://www.seestjohn.com/culture_english.html

  • National Park Mystery Photo 14 Revealed: A Brainy Block   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I don't think the Danes built much in the Caribbean... maybe the Dutch are whom you are referring to.

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

    I am 23 years old and I practice no religion and this story just pisses me off! Buono should ... be ashamed. I'm glad he was a former NPS employee; who knows what else he would have tried to change or remove. I have realized that it is the people who try to sue over religious intolerance that are the most insecure in their beliefs and religion. If they were truly happy and content with what they believed then they would not be "offended" so easily by other religions. This cross was put up in 1934. That makes it historical and it should in no way be removed and I bet our veterans of WWI are turning over in their graves at what has happened to this country....to take that down would mean they died in vain!!! What's next people??? Are we going to spend more money this country doesn't have on trying to remove "IN GOD WE TRUST" off the back of our money??? This is ridiculous!

    This comment was edited. While we appreciate all comments, we also try to toe the line on decency and respect for views and won't hesitate to use the delete button when those lines are crossed. It's not hard to make your point without being insulting. -- Ed.

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

    If the cross was there when the park became a national preserve, it should stay there. It is part of our national heritage. Just look around people, and learn to appreciate our diversity that makes us a better nation. Get over it, will ya!

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 21 weeks ago

    GOD BLESS US ALL AND BE THANKFULL THAT WE HAVE THIS BEAUTIFULL LAND. (so i can't spell )

  • National Park Mystery Photo 14: You Might Know What This Is, But Where is It?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Coral muyshroom tjv

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Jan,

    A moral and ethical society need not be a religious society. While it is true that many morals, norms, and values have been passed down through religions, that is not and should not be relied upon as the official means. Additionally, where did you hear that the recession was caused by people not being christians!? And by the way, the "official" standard of christian religion has, and continues to change as it adjusts to an ever changing society. So in a sense, religious beliefs are voted on and changed all the time. For proof look at how many different flavors christian churches there are around the world. Would just one be picked to be the real one or would they all be represented? If you really wanted stability and predictability maybe shoot for something like Catholicism or Buddhism.... Religion is far too personal for the government to become involved in. The government should work to show that it is officially neutral when it comes to beliefs (or disbelief) in a higher power.

    -A. Nony-Mous

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I don't really have an opinion either way on whether or not the cross should go down, but the reading of more details on the case are interesting.

    It appears rather clear that the land was transferred to the VFW to get around the currently standing court order mandating that the cross come down. If it's federal land it comes down. The question before the court is whether or not the transfer was a legal means of getting around the court order and if it's legal for the federal government to transfer land with the implied purpose of erecting or maintaining a religious symbol. Part of it was that there were no competitive bids and that the VFW was clearly given preferential treatment in the land swap. Apparently in arguments, the primary concern seems to be about the legality of the transfer and Frank Buono's standing to protest the transfer.

    I'd note that part of the arguments involved discussions about national cemeteries. I've actually been in the San Francisco National Cemetery, which is in Golden Gate National Recreation Area as part of the Presidio of San Francisco. I think they get around some of the thorny issues of having crosses on grave markers or memorial by actually allowing different religious symbols to be displayed. The occasional grave marker does have a Star of David or no religious symbol at all.

    In addition, some sources have noted that Frank Buono is a practicing Catholic.

  • Oh Boy! The Prospect Hotel! What Room Will I Be Staying In?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Ha, very good. :)

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I don't believe in the separation of Church and state. Christianity and all its values should be the official religion of the United States and Europe, too, with tolerance for all the religions of others, including those who have migrated legally and illegally to our shores. Any other position is just contradictory and has resulted in an unavoidable state atheism and failure of our systems across the board, but most notably recently, in our economic platform. Our word is no longer our bond, because we have no 'official' standard outside of those we can vote to change at any time. Not good enough, not strong enough. Let India do the same. Let the Islamic countries do the same.

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Any tribute to a veteran who has fought to keep this country free is fine with me.

    Ed: This comment was edited.

  • Lodging in the Parks: Tioga Pass Resort   5 years 21 weeks ago

    When I worked in Tuolumne in the 70's, the resort was famous for its pies. I am glad that Kurt says that they are still good.

    Rick Smith

  • Reader Participation Survey: Should Hunters Be Used to Manage National Park Wildlife?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    RMNP Lover,

    The fences were a surprise to me as well. I live ~ 45 minutes from RMNP and spend a LOT of time there. The fences were placed around some aspen habitat in Moraine Park and also near Beaver Meadows (Others?), areas of winter concentration for the elk. If you noticed, the aspen in these areas get pounded by elk in the winter, as they eat the outer layer of bark, hence the tree appear to have black trunks. For the size and location of the park, there are actually very few large aspen stands. We really need a decent fire to open up areas.

    Also, the cost of these fences has to be incredibly high. Some of the best fencing I have ever seen!

  • Reader Participation Survey: Should Hunters Be Used to Manage National Park Wildlife?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    The meat from the elk taken in RMNP went to homeless shelters and those less fortunate. The hunters are not allowed to take any with them, at least that is what was stated by Wildlife officials this weekned at Elk Fest in Estes.

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 21 weeks ago

    for what its worth, Brian's #3 is not accurate.

    It was federal land (but not NPS) when the first cross was erected by a private party.

    The congressional transfer to VFW (not American Legion) was not "so that they could do what they want with it". The condition is that if they don't keep the cross up and keep it a memorial to WW1 veterans, the land reverts to federal ownership.

    Ranger Holly: I believe that we can say its a cross to celebrate the first Sunday after the first full moon after the March equinox.