Recent comments

  • New Lodge Gives You an Opportunity to Better Know Kenai Fjords National Park   5 years 16 weeks ago

    If you visit the lodge, please let us know what you think.

  • New Lodge Gives You an Opportunity to Better Know Kenai Fjords National Park   5 years 16 weeks ago

    I've been researching an Alaska trip for a couple of years now, and finally will have the opportunity to travel north. As I was doing my research, I found this place along with it's company "Alaska Wildlands Adventures". There's the old saying, "if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is" I think from everything I have seen online and read from various sources, this may be the exception. I really hope it is when I go up there, to this lodage and many others, this August. I look forward to the experience.

  • Snowbound Couple Rescued From Fire Tower at Dinosaur National Monument   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Taxpayers of America....

  • Snowbound Couple Rescued From Fire Tower at Dinosaur National Monument   5 years 16 weeks ago

    And who gets to pay for this stupidity ??

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    I also have difficulties with my knees and could never hike the PCT, however I would love to see it on my bicycle.

    I hope that it happens someday.

  • Damage from Tropical Storm Hanna Created Expensive Repair Problems at Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Anonymous -

    An excellent question.

    Unless something has changed since I retired from the NPS in 2001, here's the answer:

    The federal government doesn't have insurance for such damage - repairs have to be covered out of existing agency funds, or in many cases, by funds appropriated via special legislation to cover repairs from storm damage, fires, earthquakes and similar incidents.

    The theory is that the government saves money by being "self-insured" (in other words, uninsured), because the cost of paying for such repairs on a case by case basis is assumed to be less than the cost of premiums to insure the large number of government-owned facilities.

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Dottie, that's fine. I just then want to see every article mentioning any kind of animal list in detail the ways it could kill you. I feel Bob is using the tactic of describing python feeding behavior to engender distaste for their presence here, when explanations of the facts about the potential ecological damage would serve better. My argument isn't with his facts - which are accurate. It's the delivery. I always appeal to the intellect first before resorting to tapping the emotion - and when that emotion is fear, I try to avoid it altogether. Fear is too powerful, too easy to misuse, and too easily backfires, marginalizing both the message and the messenger.

    As for people equating pythons and rattlers - I guess I spend too much time in public education of environmental issues. Convincing people that all snakes aren't evil is quite the uphill battle. That's especially true for adults.

    Bob, do understand I'm glad you got this topic up here. The points I'm arguing are just some philosophical questions about writing/education that have been on my mind lately. I had a respected expert slam me for sensationalism on one of my freelance pieces last month, so I've been chewing on this topic a lot.

  • When Will the Super Volcano Beneath Yellowstone National Park Erupt?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    I see - so not the hot spot was in Nebraska 12 mya but ashfall from an eruption 12 mya can still be found in Nebraska. That is certainly perfectly consistent with the established theories even though it requires a pretty big bang around that time, that sent ashfall some 1500 miles east of the plume as it was in that time frame. Thank you, Kurt, for the explanation.

  • When Will the Super Volcano Beneath Yellowstone National Park Erupt?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    MRC, perhaps that sentence wasn't constructed as clearly as it might have been. The spot Mr. Breining went to was 1,000 miles east of Yellowstone and its hot spot. It was there that ash from a previous eruption of the Yellowstone volcano had been found.

  • Damage from Tropical Storm Hanna Created Expensive Repair Problems at Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Isn't this the kind of damage covered by insurance?

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 16 weeks ago

    And why shouldn't we know how the python would kill us? Man has survived by knowing how other animals, fowl, reptiles, etc., act. I do not believe that 80% of our population is so stupd that it will equate a rattlesnake with a python. Knowing actions and reactions has been known as survival of the fittest, and I for one, would want to know the actions of this python. Dottie F

  • When Will the Super Volcano Beneath Yellowstone National Park Erupt?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    I'm not familiar with Breining's book, but if he claims that the Yellowstone hot spot moves (relatively to the earth surface) east to west and was in Nebraska 12 mya, then he is in contradiction with everything established about the origin of the Yellowstone volcanic activity. The usual explanation of volcanism in the Yellowstone area is that it is caused by a hot spot moving (relatively) west to east, caused the Snake River plain basalt, the Craters of the Moon eruptions over Idaho's Great Rift and moved to the Yellowstone about 650.000 years ago.

    Wikipedia's graphic at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/46/HotspotsSRP.jpg is based on USGS publications that are digested at http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/Yellowstone/description_yellowstone.html (scroll down to the hot spot chapter).

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Bob,

    I think I failed to articulate where I was going properly. My point was indeed that the Burmese python is a completely different case than the diamondback rattler. One should be protected and one exterminated. I was saying that sensationalisitc accounts of snake problems do nothing to help the cause of the snakes that need protecting. To many folks a snake is a snake and it's a scary, dangerous animal. Reinforcing a fear of Burmese pythons (painful suffocation, eating men whole...) isn't good PR for the rattlers in the eyes of 80% of the public that is ignorant of the value of protecting indigenous species. Let's discuss the ecological impact of invasive pythons without the lurid details of how they'd kill you if they chose to. That's all I'm sayin'. :-)
    .

    -Kirby.....Lansing, MI

  • Might The Obama Administration be More Invested in Everglades Restoration Than Its Predecessor?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    WE WANT TO KEEEEP THE EVERGLADES FOOOREVER PLEEEASE

  • Might The Obama Administration be More Invested in Everglades Restoration Than Its Predecessor?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    yes, it would be very sad. :(

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 16 weeks ago

    I guess this is my response to your list of "American this and that," from my previous post: "We humans need not always intervene unless the ecological balance will be way out of whack as a result." Some on your list definitely meet that criterion, from what I have heard and read (I am no expert). OK, I will read with an open mind your second installment about how disruptive this snake can be to the Everglades and beyond. That should include demonstrating how this new predator will be putting other walks of life out of business. Given the low survival rate of newborn pythons that you cite and the deteriorating ecology in general (a much bigger story) that may be hard to do, I think. Not meaning to challenge your expertise, obviously, just interested in a discussion.

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 16 weeks ago

    If it "does well", accept its presence? Let me see: American climbing fern, American swamp eel, American piranha, American walking catfish, American snakefish, American python, American anaconda..... :-) In a more serious vein, you make a very good point about doing a better job of explaining the disruptive effects of the Burmese python. (Weaselspeak alert!) I will be doing that -- also discussing control strategies and tactics -- in the promised second installment.

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 16 weeks ago

    As I was reading this article, for the first time I questioned the idea of "indigenous species." It seems that we often seek to protect certain "indigenous species" because we find them more desirable than, say, a big snake.

    However, if the Burmese python does so well in the swamps of the southeast U.S., why not rename it the American python and accept its presence? Yes, we don't like the idea of a species being introduced in a new environment by pet owners dumping their unwanted animal toys, but what about the other ways that species can spread to new habitats naturally?

    I guess what I am groping toward here is the idea that newcomers need not be badcomers just because they are new to an environment or introduced in a way that we deem "artificial." We humans need not always intervene unless the ecological balance will be way out of whack as a result.

    You do not make a strong case for that here. You do make a case that this new animal is dangerous to child and man. Heck, I would not venture, nor allow my child to venture, into such areas because of the alligators and other nasties that already inhabit those swamps.

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Kirby, I will accept your "borderline sensationalism" criticism at face value, but you and I are going to have to agree to disagree on the rest of it. I contend that it's not fair to compare the Burmese python, an invasive, disruptive non-native, to the diamondback rattlesnake, an indigenous species. You get rid of the former if you possibly can, because it should not be loose in the wild here in America. Period. You protect the latter, which has long occupied its niche in proper balance with other species that share its habitat.

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 16 weeks ago

    $70 pythons can be imported as pets, yet people can't bring a bottle of wine along from their trips to Europe?
    Looks like protectionism is rearing its ugly head...

    P.S. My browser (for better or worse) only displays the upper half of the picture.

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Bob,

    The Burmese Python issue absolutely is of critical importance and I'm glad to see it getting some press. The ecological damage is real already, with the potential to escalate exponentially.

    All that said, I think your piece here borders on sensationalism in a few areas.

    "...See if that doesn’t make you glad that damn thing isn’t on the loose!"

    "This thing is on the loose in America."

    So are European starlings, emerald ash borers, and marauding herds of feral house cats. If you're referring to the potential ecological calamity, then yes, this "thing" is a menace and we should fear its presence here. But it seems like you're playing to society's supposed innate ophidiophobia and that's not a good thing. Western diamondbacks are pretty dangerous too, and a bite can easily kill a man - nearly as gruesomely as constriction by a python. Should we support rattlesnake roundups where children may be present? I know your answer is no, so let's focus on environmental impacts and not feed a fear of snakes.

    -Kirby.....Lansing, MI

  • What Is The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory?   5 years 16 weeks ago

    Great series on Yellowstone with the interview of YVO

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 17 weeks ago

    "I’m afraid that there are too many ignorant people out there in the parks that are unaware that a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm, is not only protecting themselves and their families but everyone around them!" Tom J.

    You seem to see this issue and yourself in excessively heroic terms. It is one thing for you to carry a concealed weapon for self protection, but it is quite another to see yourself as the protector of "everyone around them" even if you have had law enforcement experience. If you indeed have this perspective then you are probably the last person who should be armed. It implies that you are looking for trouble and anxious for an excuse to use your weapon. Whether or not you are willing to admit it, that makes you a danger - to everyone. For what it is worth, I also had a law enforcement commission.

  • Accessible National Parks, Airline Division   5 years 17 weeks ago

    I agree with anonymous. Bigger airports are cheaper to fly into, example Salt Lake City go south to Arches/Canyonlands (about 4 hours), Las Vegas and drive 1.5 hours to Zion. We did Rocky Mt. from Denver in 1.5 hours, Mamouth Cave from Nashvile in 1.5 hours, Shenandoah from Baltimore and Everglades from Ft. Lauderdale in a little over an hour.
    Smaller airports have multiple stops and are costly. It's also nice to drive to many national parks with the beautiful scenery and pleanty to see.
    Thank you for the information.

  • Our Only Privately-Owned National Park Celebrates a Birthday and a Vital Conservation Easement   5 years 17 weeks ago

    The National Park Trust is not a government agency or a commercial entity. It is a private, nonprofit organization that the National Parks Conservation Association created in 1983 for purposes that include helping to establish new national parks.