Recent comments

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angels Landing At Zion National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I was on my way up to one of the west rim campsites on Friday night and decided to do a side trip to the top of AL. I too was amazed at how many people were up there who seemed like they may not be well equipped to do so (slick bottom shoes etc.).
    About two thirds of the way up I heard a strange noise and looked back to see the woman sliding. I didn't see her go over the edge, but the edge was just past my viewpoint. It was clear that she went over. I'll have that view in my head for the rest of my life. I think I actually talked to her too when I passed her earlier on the trail. I'm not 100% sure if it was the woman that I talked to or not, but I barely got a wink of sleep that night. My heart goes out to her, her family and friends, and all others who have been so unfortunate.
    It is terrible that things like this happen, but I do feel that the parks are doing a fantastic job at warning us and preparing us before we set out on these adventures. I was warned by two different bus drivers, and two rangers about the Angels Landing hike. Anyone who does that hike or any others in our parks must know that there is a certain amount of risk involved, but there is a certain amount of risk involved in driving your car there too. If 6 people died from Angels Landing this year, I wonder how many died in car accidents on their way to Zion. More than 6 I would assume. There is a certain amount of risk in everything that we do and I for one believe that we should appreciate every moment that we have with each other.

  • Natchez Trace Parkway is Rehabbing the Meriwether Lewis Site   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I haven't read your book yet, but To the Ends of the Earth is on my "some day" list. BTW, Mary/Liz, how did you come up with the "Frances Hunter" pseudonym?

  • Natchez Trace Parkway is Rehabbing the Meriwether Lewis Site   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I am so glad to hear that there is rehabilitation in the works for the Meriwether Lewis site. Captain Lewis was truly a great American and a wonderful human being. We traveled on the Natchez Trace Parkway several years ago in a combination vacation/research trip for the book To the Ends of the Earth, a novel about Lewis's violent death along the Trace. The beauty and history of the Natchez Trace are without parallel in the United States. I look forward to a return visit and to the improvements. This is great news.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angels Landing At Zion National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I happened to come upon Angles Landing near the end of a hike from Lava Point Friday within an hour of when the woman had fallen.People waiting in line to go to AL were talking about it.There were at least 100 people on the rock trying to get to the top of AL.It was sheer insanity.People were trying to come down while people were trying to go up.They were all hanging onto the chains.As an east Coast climber it made my blood run cold.Complete idiocy.It is amazing no one else died.My hat goes off to the obviously pregnant woman that was a third of the way up the chained trail.IN sandals.There was a ranger watching helplessly.Everyone has an inalienable right to kill himself if he wants to but killing yourself would be merciful compared to surviving a fall like that and living as a paraplegic.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angels Landing At Zion National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Just went up Angel's Landing on Wednesday - it appears two days before this latest incident.

    The long and short - adults can choose whether to go or not go up -- but what really upset me was that there were kids, not more than 10 years old, going up with their parents. They may have the advantage of "no fear" - but they also have the disadvantage of not knowing when fear is a good thing.

    PARENTS - people have died on this mountain just in the past year - what in the world are you doing taking your kids up??? Most will disagree I'm sure - but I think this is as irresponsible as driving with a child in the car after having a few drinks - and you know the outrage the community makes when parents get a DUI with their kids in the car....

    Just my two cents from a someone that was beside himself seeing kids scampering around on this pretty scary and obviously dangerous place.

  • Man Dies in Fall From South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Maybe they should close down the Grand Canyon as well...

    Condolences to the family.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angels Landing At Zion National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Parks can plaster hiking trails with warning signs for all the dangers, but you still run into the same problem; most people do not read signs or follow their advice. At every park I've been to, I've seen people breeze by big warning signs wearing flip-flops and carrying no water or supplies.
    This accident is unfortunate and my prayers go out to her family.

  • Groundbreaking For Tamiami Trail Bridge That Will Aid Everglades National Park Water Flows Set for Dec. 4   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Cool, good news.


    My travels through the National Park System:

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angels Landing At Zion National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Volpe: The nine deaths from Angels Landing over a 20 year period does not make it the most dangerous trail in the service. In fact, it may not even put it in the top ten. Many more people have died while hiking the Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails at the Grand Canyon.

    I agree they should not close the trail or require permits. Perhaps more or different signing or creative trail barriers should be considered.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angels Landing At Zion National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I was curious about deaths at Angels. My web search only turned up the August, 2009 fall and a reference to the 2007 fall.

    I was amazed that the AL trail is open, and my thought was that if they were developing this park today, no way that trail would be open without permits or guides or some risk-reducing restriction. Thankfully, the Angels Landing trail was there before the U.S. became hyper about eliminating risk. There are lots of other places in the park where a stumble could be fatal. I was there in October and here are a couple pictures taken at spots where you could take a looonng mistep:


    Angels landing is no more hazardous than many places in the park. The chance of an accident is very small. But spread that minuscule chance across the thousands of people that make the hike, and I'd say it's mathematical certainty that people will die there. What is the park supposed to do? Put up fences everwhere? Keep everybody on the canyon floor? The risks are pretty well advertised, so if you set out on that trail, you've opted in. Sad that accidents happen, but risk is part of life, and at least she was warned.

    My heart goes out to her loved ones.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angels Landing At Zion National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    It would seem that nobody is keeping an accurate account of the true number of deaths at Angel's Landing. The Park service hasn't updated their "FAQ" since 2006. Here is a list someone gleamed from the web for a Wikipedia article. I'd swear I've read about 3 deaths since the beginning of the summer (2009), so this list may also be incomplete, but the total shown here is 9, not 5, as alleged on the Park Service web site:

    * November 2009: Tammy Grunig, 50, of Pocatello, Idaho [4]
    * August 2009: Nancy Maltez, 55, of Glendora, California[5]
    * June 2007: Barry Goldstein, 53, of St. Louis, Missouri[6]
    * August 2006: Bernadette Vandermeer, 29, of Las Vegas, Nevada[7]
    * June 2004: Kristoffer Jones, 14, of Long Beach, California[8]
    * May 1997: Patricia Bottarini, 36, of Medford, New Jersey (husband later acquitted of murder)[9]
    * Jan 1997: John Christensen, 36, of Provo, Utah[10]
    * April 1989: Jeffery Robert Dwyer, 28, of Sandpoint, Idaho[11][12]
    * May 1987: Denver woman[13]

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angels Landing At Zion National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    According to the local newspaper (The Daily Spectrum) it was the 2nd fatal fall from Angel's Landing this year:

  • What Priorities Should The Next National Park Service Director Address?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    My first visit to Steamtown was in May 2009. I was appalled at what I found--basically a superb physical plant that contained a junkyard of priceless artifacts being permitted to rot away. To be sure there are some indoor and preserved exhibits, but by and large the treasures of the site's collection are unstabilized and outdoors. I don't know if this sorry situation is the fault of the NPS, the current staff at Steamtown, or of declining NPS budgets. Whatever the reason, Steamtown is, for me, an unpleasant reminder of the worst of political boondoggles.

    A comparison with what I think is the closest equivalent to Steamtown, the UK's National Railway Museum at York, is illustrative. The York museum is a showplace and its exhibits are well-maintained. It's a lively place, as well, having a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere in contrast to the funereal impression I derived from Steamtown. Admittedly the preservation culture in Great Britain is different from that in the United States, and funding is evidently more generously available for the York museum than Steamtown could ever hope to receive. But more than these things is the feeling that York is being operated in a professional and respectful manner, whereas Steamtown appears to be regarded as an unwanted stepchild of the Park Service.

    Unless better attention can be devoted to its management and exhibit conservation, I would suggest that Steamtown be closed and the exhibits disbursed to facilities which are better equipped to care for them.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angels Landing At Zion National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I just hope they don't close the trail. It is probably the most dangerous trail in all the parks however each person should decide whether to climb it.

  • Missing Hiker Found Deceased on Flanks of Mount Whitney in Sequoia National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    There was a group of us that hiked Whitney on Oct.11. Just a few weeks before Mr. Brunette. We trained for months before the BIG hike. Kurt hands down is correct! A 73 yr old man does not idly go out for a day hike up Mt. Whitney. He was obiviously an experience hiker and he knew what risks he was taking just like every hiker does before they set out on a hike of this magnitude. I just hope that when I'm 73 yrs old I still take on awesome adventures as he did. My heart goes out to the family and friends of Mr. Brunette ,And to Judy I'm sorry for all the insensitive remarks made from people who will never take on adventures like your Uncle (who was probably an awesome man and a blast to be around) I'm hiking Whitney again In July 2010 for my sisters 40th Bday. I will have with me a keep sake to put in the metal box at the summit in remembrance of Kenneth Wade Brunette.

    The Timm Family

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angels Landing At Zion National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    You better count again Ranger Lady, there have been at least 4 deaths this year alone; people are still responding to the last article about safety on Angels Landing, then there was another death a few weeks after that one; now this; that's three since the first article was posted. I believe there was another earlier in the year.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angels Landing At Zion National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    3 in the last 4 years. Another 6 years ago on my son's wedding day (he was married on the lawn as the helicopter recovering the boy's body flew overhead.)

    I worked at the Lodge this summer as concierge. When I was asked about Angel's Landing, I got very serious with the people, explaining about how tough the hike could be. I also told them it was worth it (I've been there), but that they needed good balance and to not be afraid of heights. I'd tell the kids, especially teenage boys, that one of their own age group died there a few years ago because he was apparently goofing off. If you go, and you should, be careful.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angels Landing At Zion National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I think the count from Angel's Landing is 6.

    Ranger Holly

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angels Landing At Zion National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    So what is the total body count from hikers falling to their deaths since Zion became a National Park? I'd really like to know, somebody please answer.

  • Naked Hikers Let It All Hang Out On the Summer Solstice   5 years 25 weeks ago

    If humans hike naked deep in the forest, can anyone still be offended?

  • There Was No Happy Thanksgiving for the Lost Colonists of Roanoke Island   5 years 25 weeks ago

    The story of the Roaonke Island colonists has always been one of the black holes of American history and the first true American Mystery. It is great to read where they are making some headway in finding the answer as to what happened to Virginia Dare and the rest. Thanks for the update.

    -- Dan

  • Driftwood Trunk Perfect Showcase For National Park Medallions   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Hey, I recognize that tree!! It is sitting in my living room right now. Stands about 5 1/2 feet tall. We plan on going RVing full time when we retire in a few years. The plan is to take our "Earthquake Lake" driftwood with us and fill it up. I think we will have plenty of room and can't wait to see it FULL.

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    A woman fell today. I turned back to Scouts Landing after only going up 50ft when the hikers coming down reported it. Over the 4 hours we spent at Scout's, they had not recovered her body. Hard to think she is only the "sixth." Tragic for the people with her, not sure if they were family or friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

  • Naked Hikers Let It All Hang Out On the Summer Solstice   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I agree completely with Christian's comment in this string. I would not intentionally offend
    any other hiker. I suit-up when others approach. Sometimes there is a surprise situation,
    I attempt to suit up, and the other hiker says, it's fine, go on. No offense was taken, and
    the attempt to suit up was appreciated for the politeness, I guess.


  • A Gift Guide For National Park Travelers   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Thank you, Bob, for the kind words regarding my book, "Wind Cave National Park:the First 100 Years." I would also like to mention that Wind Cave National Park has no entrance fee. There is a small charge for the various cave tours which vary in length and type.