Recent comments

  • Staying Safe and How Not to Become A SAR Statistic in the National Park System   5 years 17 weeks ago

    With over 25 years of backcountry experience in the Sierras and Cascades I have been fortunate to never need any help despite taking many long solo trips in all types of terrain and weather conditions. I feel many SAR rescues could be prevented by simply having knowledgeable people with backcountry experience issue wilderness permits at Ranger Stations or as they say in Yosemite - Information Stations. Many of the Rangers are little more than campground cops and are totally clueless when it come to giving advise on important things like the danger present at creek crossings and the navigational skills required to "do your route" above the snow line. Hopefully some of the additional money going to the the National Parks system will be spent on educating the park employees.

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

    Anonymous -

    I think much of the debate on this issue - and there's been plenty - is not based on "a problem with the 2nd amendment," but rather in how it is interpreted. It's pretty clear that a vast gulf exists between the ends of the spectrum on that matter, and it certainly won't be resolved here :-)

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

    I don't understand the fuss about carrying a concealed weapon in a park. What is the difference between carrying a weapon in public (which someone can legally do with a permit) and carrying a weapon in a park. Are parks not a public place as well? When I got my permit there was a background check, fingerprinting, and an explaination of the laws that applied in my state. Through this process the state was basically confirming that I am an upstanding citizen with no history of committing violent crimes. Therefore, if I am allowed to carry a firearm while standing next to you in the grocery store line, then why would it be illegal for me to walk beside you on a park trail doing the same? If anyone would have a problem with either scenerio then I would say they don't have a problem with carry weapons in national parks--- they have a problem with the 2nd ammendment.

  • A U.S. – Mexico International Park. Will This Long-Standing Idea Be Revived?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Seems unlikely anytime soon. Just opening the border crossings would be a big step, and right now amid swine flu and the drug problems it's hard to see that happening. But would love to see it happen.

    My trip to Big Bend was amazing. One of the "lowlights" was to see the crossing place, now closed, into Boquillas. NPS has a photo at their site, which seems to be intentionally ominous looking as it is in black and white.

    http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2720400170059461204mXpCOs

    NPS Photo: http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/border_crossings.htm

    Nice article on Boquillas here. Also Google Victor the singing Mexican (and search for him on YouTube) to get a taste as well. I did not see Victor, just his hut.

    [edited: The linked article did not download properly]

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

    @Bob -

    Townsend rates about a 2 or 3 on that scale. The area has traditionally been relatively remote and less developed, thanks to the foresight of the Blount County government. A few years ago, though, then Gov. Don Sundquist (R) decided he wanted to four-lane the road into Townsend. He faced much local opposition, especially when TDOT began grading for the road and uncovered a fairly significant Native American burial ground, but Gov. Sundquist being Gov. Sundquist, he just built the road anyway.

    Anyway, point being that while there's a giant, uneeded 4 lane road in the area, Townsend is generally the most peaceful spot you'll easily get to. There's only three or four hotels, and some rental cabins. The new addition lately was a small Dollar General and grocery store well off the highway. You'll not ifnd a neon light in the whole place, and the only crowds are at the resturant. Note also that if you go during the off-season (Halloween-April), Townsend is a ghost town.

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

    Tomp - You are right on. I also think the Fire Island High Dune Wilderness, which starts at the edge of a road, may be the only federal wilderness directly accessible by public mass transit since the county bus line has a stop there.

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

    What do you have against Cabrillo NM (10-30 minutes from SAN, depending on whether you stop at Point Loma Seafood for a sandwich) with birds, relatively intact coastal chaparral, and nice tide pools?

    You probably can't get to Pt. Reyes from SFO in under an hour, but you can get to all units of Golden Gate NRA, most of Muir Woods, and the Presidio.

    What about Gateway & Fire Island (JFK?)?

    If you fly into Hilo, certainly parts of Hawai'i Vocanoes NP are within an hour's drive.

    For me, the harder question is which of the NPS units is the furthest in time or distance from commercial air service (separately for Alaska & the contiguous 48)?

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

    Here we are back to the national "park" issue again. I am sure there are more than 100 units of the National Park System within 50 miles of a major airport. Heck, there are probably a hundred within 20 miles. They just aren not national "parks," they are by other designations.

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

    Fly into Cleveland OH and you are 16 miles from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park's Canal Visitor Center. Not the best National Park, possibly the worst, but close to the airport.

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

    One can fly from Seattle to Kalispell but why not take the train. Less expensive, good views, and helps support the train system. I'm going to Glacier for the first time this summer and I plan to take the train from Minneapolis. My thoughts on the Amtrak system, not all of which are good, could fill a page and this isn't the right forum so I'll just say "good traveling"

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

    Crater Lake's southern boundary is less than 50 miles from Klamath Falls Airport, which is served by United from Portland and San Francisco. Lava Beds' boundary is only 30 miles away.

  • Electronic Technology in National Park Backcountry: Good or Bad?   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Just as Kurt, I grew up learning to get around outdoors with map and compass, so, I view SPOT as a very interesting and useful accessory (I do not own one, as of yet) for keeping others up to date. I know that this has been a long and ongoing question in the climbing community. I don't think it is a bad thing to rely on electronics for navigation, but, people should have a sufficient understanding of map and compass in the event their electronic do-dads fail.

    rob
    ---
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography,
    www.robmutch.com

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

    The Grant Grove Section of King's Canyon National Park is almost a perfect 1 hour's drive from Fresno-Yosemite International Airport in Fresno California. (Assuming you don't get behind a motor home driver who doesn't believe in using turn-outs!) Yosemite used to be an hour from the same airport, but with higher traffic levels it now takes a little longer.

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

    Don't forget the San Bernardino Natl. Forest that is within an hour's drive from Ontario, CA and the Ontario Intl. Airport.

    [Ed: The San Bernardino National Forest may be well worth visiting, but alas, the recommendation is not applicable here because the San Bernardino NF is not a unit of the National Park System. This national forest is administered by the U.S. Forest Service.]

  • Kurt's Yampa River Sojourn Marks Step for a Day   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Somebody who's a lot more GPS-savvy than I am will have to answer that, Robert. I do know that Kurt has a Garmin 60CSx GPS unit with him, but I know nothing about its communication capabilities. And if you've read Kurt's article about his SPOT GPS gizmo, you know as much about SPOT communication capabilities as I do.

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

    A few more to add to that list:

    Arches National Park's entrance is about 15 miles or so from the Moab/Canyonlands airport, which features direct non-stop commercial flights to and from Denver on Great Lakes Airlines. Add another 20 miles or so, and you'll be at Canyonlands National Park's Island in the Sky District.

    Colorado National Monument is about 10 miles or so from the Grand Junction Regional Airport, which features direct flights to all the major hubs in the region from all of the major airlines.

    Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is less than 20 miles of the Montrose Regional Airport, which primarily serves Telluride skiers more than an hour away. Several major airlines fly to Montrose from regional hubs.

    Saguaro National Park borders Tucson's suburbs, and isn't far from that city's airport.

    Finally, Rocky Mountain National Park is within view of Denver International Airport, but it'll take you nearly two hours and more than 80 miles to get there by car. Nonetheless, we on Colorado's Front Range consider ROMO to be in our backyard and an easy day trip from town.

  • Kurt's Yampa River Sojourn Marks Step for a Day   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Bob, is Kurt's GPS unit automatically uploading his lat/long to Google Maps?

    rob
    ---
    Robert Mutch
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography,
    www.robmutch.com

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

    Is it true, Anon2, that Townsend anchors "The Quiet Side of the Smokies"? On a scale of one to ten, where Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge and Cherokee represent a ten, how would you rate Townsend on the scale of Gateway Clamor and Visual Noise?

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

    I live just behind McGhee-Tyson Airport, and we can be at the Townsend entrance to the park in under a half-hour, and in the Cove in 45minutes. It's great!

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

    sure you can fly into any one of these secondary airports, but what is the cost... Typically these airports are way more expensive than a "hub" airport and only serviced by smaller commuter jets. With today's economy, saving money is a major factor in vacation travel. Also the service is not as convenient so 1 must be really flexible in his/her itinerary. But thanx for pointing out these options.

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   5 years 17 weeks ago

    I hiked through Wall Arch in 2001. I stopped under each arch I visited and looked up wondering when that split second would happen. I missed it by about eight years.

    I hiked to a lot of the arches, and I never saw anybody on top of any of them. But people are, as a general rule, stupid. "Because it's there" mentality will always overcome good judgement.

    The one thing missing from Arches is a sign at the entrance to the park. How am I supposed to get my motorcycle poser shot with no sign?

    Could somebody mention something to them for me? Thanks.

  • Staying Safe and How Not to Become A SAR Statistic in the National Park System   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Dean -

    You've hit on some of the keys to greatly reducing the chances of becoming a SAR statistic: "hyper-prepared, informed, and ready to turn back and change my plans if things aren't going right."

  • More Low Water Woes at Lake Mead – but This Isn't the Worst Drought on Record for the Lake   5 years 17 weeks ago

    Frank_C

    Thanks for sharing that!

    I suppose it would be also possible to tout the "expanded shoreline availability" that goes along with the "reduced water reservoir."

  • More Low Water Woes at Lake Mead – but This Isn't the Worst Drought on Record for the Lake   5 years 17 weeks ago

    More Low Water Woes at Lake Mead

    Lake Mead employees have been instructed to say "reduced water reservoir" instead of "low water" level. Come on, use the newspeak!

  • Staying Safe and How Not to Become A SAR Statistic in the National Park System   5 years 17 weeks ago

    As a frequent visitor to the more rugged parks - often as a solo wilderness traveler (and previously as a climber in Yosemite many times), I might be considered at greater risk to need a SAR by some. But I am also hyper-prepared, informed, and ready to turn back and change my plans if things are going right. Being out there is more important than any particular goal. It probably also helps that since I go a lot, I'll have other chances to accomplish a goal,though I don't frequently do repeat visits except for the closest places.