Recent comments

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 18 weeks ago

    My deep condolences go to the Evans' family. Angel Falls is a much-touted spot on the Big South Fork (BSF). For years TVCC (Tennessee Valley Canoe Club) paddlers have respected it - even at low-water levels. Fortunately, the leader(s) of my numerous trips on this beautiful river knew the potential danger - and more importantly - knew where the rapid was located - with or w/o a warning sign on the bank - as we approached several miles downstream from our start at Leatherwood Ford.

    The portage around Angel Falls over a knarly hill will probably now be more acceptable to paddlers. Tony Evans' death may or may not have been due to respiratory compromise. A canoe capsized in swift water, paddler wearing no flotation (life jacket) is a pretty scarey, heart-grabbing scenario.

    Again, my sympathy to Tony's family at their loss. CarolZ

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 18 weeks ago

    To quote the great American socialist--the answer to Hitler (excuse me) and Mussolini--FDR: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

    Get with the program, socialists and statists. You have nothing to fear from guns.

    Your fear of freedom is the only thing you should fear.

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 18 weeks ago

    I want to be sensitive to the emotions of the family and friends of the victim in this tragic situation, and as has been pointed out, a cardiac problem or other medical event may have been a key factor. It will never be known if a good PFD which kept the victim's face out of the water until help reached him would have made any difference in this case, but it sure couldn't have hurt.

    That said, the comments about the importance of every boater wearing a PFD while on the water are right on target. I was involved in the recovery of a number of victims of boating accidents during my career, and they all had one common denominator - none of them was wearing a PFD. Several of those incidents involved fishermen on calm water in good weather, so the need for responsible safety isn't limited to whitewater.

    If this discussion prompts even one person to use good judgment on the water in the future, then at least a little good will come from this loss.

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 18 weeks ago

    1. Never paddle WW without a PFD and helmet.
    2. Never paddle a river unless you know that section of the river very well, or you have someone with you who knows it very well.
    Aren't these "1st grader level rules" of WW paddling?

    Editor's note: Out of respect for Mr. Evan's family and his paddling companions, this comment was edited to remove disparaging comments.

  • Yellowstone National Park Rangers Kill Habituated Wolf   5 years 18 weeks ago

    I really hope that they let the people know they had to do this to the wolf, so hopefully people will quit feeding wild animals. I hate that this happened, it more than breaks my heart, I love all wild animals, and feel, we are in their territory, and we should always respect. I'm the first to get my camera out for a pic, its why I love our national parks, to see the wild life. PLEASE people, don't feed them, their lives depend on you not to feed them for a closer picture or look. You aren't doing them any favors. They aren't your backyard birds.

  • Yellowstone National Park Rangers Kill Habituated Wolf   5 years 18 weeks ago
    Y2Y
  • Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park to Open Wednesday   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Looking forward to the TH Parking and backpacker's camping at Tuolumne Meadows to open up!
    Will be spending 5 days along the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne Canyon in June.
    My first trip to Yosemite since I was a little kid and more than likely my memories are from stories and an old photo or two..

    "I therefore concluded not to venture farther, but did nevertheless."
    ~John Muir~

  • Cables Are In Place On Half Dome in Yosemite National Park   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Gloves and Trash

    "Many people find gloves helpful on the cables. However, if you bring your gloves up, pack them out. Hundreds of pounds of rotting gloves otherwise accummulate."

    (didn't know accumulate had 2 M's :-))

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Tom Tom--

    I agree, but cell phones in many areas in the national parks, forests, wildlife reguges, and BLM areas are useless. There is no service. The only thing that appears to be 100% reliable are satellite phones which few of us can afford to carry. I am in favor of low tech safeguards, one of which is a PFD. They cost about $60 bucks, don't depend on the presence of towers, and, if you take care of them, will last longer than your contract for cell phone service. By all means, carry a phone. If it works in an emergency, you have hit the jackpot. If not, you are still floating.

    Rick Smith

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Cell phones would have been benificial in this situation, assuming they were useable, and would keep SAR better informed and less liable to injure themselves.

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Please, people in boats, use life jackets. Even Michael Phelps could hit his head on a rock and not be able to swim out of trouble. In the Grand Canyon, personal flotation devices are manadatory. Although there are long stretches of calm water between the big rapids, you must keep your lifejacket on. It's just smart.

    Rick Smith

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 18 weeks ago

    "Mr. Evans was not wearing a lifejacket at the time." That could be the biggest problem he had.

  • Cables Are In Place On Half Dome in Yosemite National Park   5 years 18 weeks ago

    On a busy day, the stash of gloves is all claimed. I've heard rumors that now and then they are determined to be "litter" and carried off by park personnel. Better bring your own.

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Which goes to show (Michael Robinson's response) about information vs judgment. If a sign was washed away, then for all we know, the boaters had been told of and were looking for the sign and ignored visual and audible warnings that they were approaching a dangerous area.

  • Cables Are In Place On Half Dome in Yosemite National Park   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Don't they still have that stash of gloves at the base of the cables?

  • Cables Are In Place On Half Dome in Yosemite National Park   5 years 18 weeks ago

    And don't forget to take a pair of work gloves, unless you prefer to donate skin onto those steel cables, especially on your way back down!

  • Don't Take National Park Landscapes for Granted   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Thanks for covering this critical issue Kurt.

    I know somebody who is deeply involved in land purchases to preserve habitat. He told me that now they are focusing more and more on migration corridors, since habitat protected by their purchases probably will not support the same animals soon. As your articles says, no matter how strongly we act now, the next 40-50 years are probably already fated for significant changes. So we need to do what we can to limit extinction by allowing animals to migrate.

    As to extinction from habitat loss from development (urban and ag) vs climate change, my hunch is that the former is still having more impact, but I'm not sure how long that will last.

    It's probably too late to save the glaciers of Glacier NP, but at least El Cap won't melt.

    Btw, heat waves kill far more people that cold snaps and the glaciation of ice ages usually takes tens of thousands of years to develop.

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 18 weeks ago

    There is (was) a warning sign prior to the Angel Falls rapids location, but the sign was alledegly washed away a couple of weeks ago during flooding of the river.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 18 weeks ago

    What about the concept of natural rights?

    The BOR affirmed what many at the time though did not be discussed that all those rights were to be respected. Howver some states insisted on the BOR in order to pass the Constitution.

    That pesky 2A which has many purposes and one of which is personal defense. This right is not confirmed by fear but an extension of the natural right of a living being to defend his/ her life.

  • Don't Take National Park Landscapes for Granted   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Kirby, I'm not sure habitat fragmentation is as great a threat to extinctions as climate change. We long have struggled with habitat fragmentation and coped -- not solved -- but coped with it via genetic importations (ie. Florida panthers), recovery/reintroduction programs (ie. gray wolf, elk, mountain goats), and even land acquisitions (either outright or via access rights, such as the case with bison range north of Yellowstone).

    Climate change is something not so easily controlled. Just think what would happen if all the pollinators vanished. Who would pollinate the crops that feed society? Where will polar bears go once the Arctic ice sheet melts? When corals die, how will it impact all the marinelife that rely on them?

    There are many, many ramifications of climate change -- some we understand, some we don't, some we probably haven't even anticipated -- that I think it stands to be the major player in extinctions if left unchecked.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Concealed weapons arent necessarily for bears...so stop being ignorant. Aside from that MY 10mm Will take care of a bear, but I carry for the TWO legged predators especially in the wildlife refuge I visit that is carpeted with illegals, and smugglers. AGAIN...stop being ignorant.

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Your question about priorities is not the first time that has been raised, although perhaps not specifically in terms of signage.

    At various times on the Traveler there have been discussions about how far the NPS should go to make the parks safer for visitors. More than a few have raised the opinion that parks shouldn't be sanitized for our safety, that they should remain fairly wild places where we have to rely on our own skills.

    Not having been to Big South, I can't say whether there's a sign alerting paddlers to the rapid or not. Looking at the photo of Angel Falls, and having paddled for many years, it looks fairly obvious that on your approach you would realize that there's a significant rapid ahead, one you surely would hear. But that interpretation is just from glancing at this small photo. Without being on the river under the same conditions it's hard to say what transpired. They very well could have recognized the threat too late to pull off.

  • Traveler Tip: Staying On Top Of News From Mount Rainier National Park   5 years 18 weeks ago

    I've enjoyed watching the Visit Rainier website develop into a world class place for visitors to plan their vacation.

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 18 weeks ago

    This could well be a cardiac death.

    I would have one question. Is there a warning sign indicating the take out site above the rapids? I once investigated a death in the Grand Canyon of the Sturgeon River in the UP of Michigan as a medical examiner about 15 years ago where a kayaker missed an unmarked take out point, got funneled into a high wall canyon with no escape, and went over a large water fall with virtually no chance of survival. When I inquired as to why there was no signage to indicate the take out point, I was told by the US Forest Sevice that because this was a Wild and Scenic River as designated by Congress, such signage was frowned upon. It seems to me that in that case, scenery trumped human life. I wonder if the same situation exists on Big South Fork. If it is the case, imo, priorities are twisted.

  • Don't Take National Park Landscapes for Granted   5 years 18 weeks ago

    After hearing E.O. Wilson's (Harvard's famed conservation biologist) lecture on biodiversity recently, which he stated were in for some deep trouble folks. Professor Wilson gives us many classic examples how man is screwing up the world ecosystems globally. Many of his profound lectures, writings and well written books supports his claim that mother nature is loosing ground fast to repair itself. Just remember mother nature bats last folks. Where's old Ed Abby when we need him most...which is now.