Recent comments

  • National Park Service Releases Proposal Endorsing "Benefit Sharing" Tied to Parks' Resources   5 years 25 weeks ago

    You don't mention the value of TAQ polymerase, which is crucial to understand why the EIS and policy is needed, and to put the $20K/yr in context. The patent for its use in thermo-cycling (hence the importance of an enzyme from a thermophile) PCR was sold for $330M, and may have brought in as much as $2B in royalties before the patent was ruled invalid in 1999 and other polymerases isolated from other thermophilic bacteria were found with better accuracy. Until 1999, if you wanted to do PCR to amplify some DNA (e.g., before sequencing it), you had to buy your TAQ polymerase from the company with the patent for that use at their (high) price. Compared to those numbers, $20K/yr isn't even peanuts.

    My opinion is that NPS should either get some substantial percentage of the licensing revenue (2%, 5%?), or force the products from NPS resources to be available royalty-free for federally-funded research (I'd bet that the majority of that $2B came from NIH-funded research).

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    You are right to make that decision to turn back. Some of us are bolder than others, and it's important to know your limits. Stretching your boundaries is a good way to grow, but pushing to the point where you have real fears negates the reason for coming to the park--to have a good time. The Parks are great, but there's lots of places where you just DON'T want to play around

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    You know what I think...... If the Gov can spend trillions on war, they could take 1% that they use to kill people and spend it to save people. wow?! Im so fed up with good people losing their lives over the dollar or lack there of, when our Gov waste so much.

  • Kate Kendall To Explain What Bears Really Do in the Backwoods of Glacier National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    This could easily be labeled Grizzly Pole-dancing.

  • Poaching Charges Pending In Case of Majestic Bull Elk Killed at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Please make no mistake here - Poaching is no form of hunting. Also, it is impossible to 'hunt' illegally, that would be 'Poaching'

  • Lake Michigan, Home to Two National Lakeshores, On Brink of Being Invaded By Voracious Asian Carp   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Great article Kurt. And interesting exchange from commenters---

    As to where they came from and why the Asian carp have not been netted...there's just too many. The fish were brought to this country by southern fish farmers (not to eat---apparently, they are not considered an appropriate food item---but to keep fish pools clean of waste and algae) and escaped into the Mississippi River system via floods in the mid-90s. The carp have made their way up the Mississippi and into the Illinois River where they now make up 90% of the biomass in some parts of the river. That is startling---9 out of 10 living things (plant and animal life, big and small) are these fish. They simply take an ecosystem over, eating everything they can (and starving out anything they can't eat) to the tune of 40% of their body weight per day. There are fishing operations in the Illinois River hauling in tons of these fish every day---but that doesn't make a dent.

    As the commenters point out, it is time to bring back the natural ecological barriers that separated the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River system. It is the only way to deal with this problem---and problems like it that will continue to swim towards the Lakes. There are studies out there that show a limited economic impact on the movement of goods, particularly when compared with the multi-billion dollar sport fishing industry on the Great Lakes and the more important healt of the system that accounts for a full 1/5 of the world's fresh water resources!

  • Forest Service Open to Allowing Mountain Bikes on Continental Divide Trail, But What About Park Service?   5 years 26 weeks ago


    It is good to see National Park Traveler addressing bicycle access to the CDNST.

    The recent Forest Service directive for the CDNST management, while vague when it comes to bicycles, does clearly state that continued bicycle access is allowed where not prohibited by Wilderness or National Park. The wording of Primary use for foot and horse traffic is in no way exclusionary to bicycles. To suggest that this means that the cycling community now would want access to the CDNST sections in National Parks or Wilderness areas is needlessly fanning the anti-bicycle flames.

    What does need to be addressed is the non-Wilderness / National Park sections of this iconic trail. Just because the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails bans bicycles doesn’t mean we need to go down that misguided rabbit hole. It is a national travesty and embarrassment that the ability to ride a bicycle on the open sections of CDNST is not already permanently protected by Congress.

    In reading through the related blogs and watching the national trends, I believe that the cycling proponents have made a compelling case of the appropriateness of continued bicycle use on our wild PUBLIC, backcountry trails including the CDNST. The presence of bicycles on the CDNST does not interfere with nature any more that hikers or equestrians. Using the argument of potential conflict between user groups to ban one group is no way to manage our public lands. If the trail is designed to support horses, it will support bicycles. Education, respect and the ability to share are the democratic answer. If it comes down to individual users not wanting to share their (w)ilderness experience with bicycles, might I recommend a trip to any of our National Parks or Wilderness areas that offer thousands of miles of trails leading to millions of acres of bicycle-free opportunities. Bring bicyclists into the fold and we all benefit from an expanded, invested and motivated conservation constituency. Together we can share for the good of all!

    Concerning the Great Divide Mountain Bike route - The GDMBR is a mapped route that roughly follows the path of the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. This route is mostly dirt roads, some pavement and very little of the actual Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. Too often the conservation community has stated that being excluded from the CDNST because we have the GDMBR should not upset bicyclists. The “route” is in no way, shape or form a substitute for continued bicycle access to the CDNST. It is not even close to the same experience. It is similar to suggest to the hiking community that they should be happy to enjoy the paved path because it is the same experience as the remote, alpine trail. No issues – right?

    I read Mr. Gatchell’s post and perused the attached links. It would seem that the Montana High Divide Trails did a good job of highlighting the importance of the CDNST to bicyclists and provided adequate protection of bicycle access to a portion of Montana’s CD trail.

    What is concerning is the remaining bicycle access to the CDNST between the Pintlar Wilderness and Yellowstone National Park where the trail passes through the spectacular landscapes of the West Big Hole, Italian Peaks, Lima Peaks, the Centennials Mountains and the Henry Mountains. Most of these sections of CDNST will be closed to bicycles under the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act introduced by Montana’s Senator Tester unless the conservation and bicycle community can do the right thing, like the Montana High Divide Trails, and make adjustments through companion designations, boundary adjustments and corridors to offer permanent protection and continued bicycle access. Since Tester’s bill is a work in progress, there is no reason that bicycle friendly adjustments can’t be made in the Recommended Wilderness Areas.

    CAPTCHA - furthest bull...

  • Officials At Kings Canyon National Park Mulling Future of Concessions in Grant Grove and Cedar Grove   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Marshall, it's probably about 40 miles from Cedar Grove to Grant Grove, but certainly not in a straight line. The Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, aka California 180, is definitely a road you don't want to take your eyes off of for more than a second or two in places. As for employee/staff housing, I'm not sure it would be realistic -- or humane -- to make them drive that road twice a day.

    My initial thoughts on this matter would be to leave the existing facilities in place.

  • Officials At Kings Canyon National Park Mulling Future of Concessions in Grant Grove and Cedar Grove   5 years 26 weeks ago

    How far is Cedar Grove from the nearest (next nearest) grocery store? How many staff are stationed there, in that housing? Would they have other places to be near enough to work if they lost that housing? Don't work too hard to answer my questions, Kurt...just if you happen to know.

  • Lake Michigan, Home to Two National Lakeshores, On Brink of Being Invaded By Voracious Asian Carp   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I've been advocating restoration of this water divide for YEARS; at first it was thought just a crackpot idea. Having majored in Geography in college, I can tell you the learned name for this portage is a "break-in-bulk" point. You have to unload the cargo, put it in parcels that can be transported across the divide, and then put it into boats/ships on the other side. With modern technology, we can graduate from canoes, to railroads and ships using some containerized cargo. Some cargo would be best transported by railroad from some more distant point, perhaps a port in Illinois, Indiana, or Wisconsin. Of course we can figure it out! Some bulk cargo just won't fit easily into shipping containers, so it would go in railroad cars already made for it. I just don't know the percentages of types of cargo which are transported across this breached water divide now. But part of the higher cost of respecting a restored water divide would go as income to many businesses which would benefit from the break-in-bulk point(s), and perhaps more use of other ports in this region, that have railroad connections. As for the "Sanitary" function of the S&S Canal, it's way past time we should have been converting to waterless toilets, both composting and incineration types. There's no justification for Chicago to be sending sewage discharge downstream. The non-domestic sewage must be treated on land thoroughly, so that any water effluent can be safely returned to the watersheds draining into Lake Michigan.

  • When Planning Holiday Festivities, Don't Forget the Traditional "Cave Sing" At Mammoth Cave National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I'd LOVE to do this! This sounds awesome and I fell in love with the caves and surface trails of Mammoth when vacationing there for the 1st time this past October.

  • Lake Michigan, Home to Two National Lakeshores, On Brink of Being Invaded By Voracious Asian Carp   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Why Ill. , how were they freeed in the first place, these are the people to sue!!!

  • Group Asks Public To Support Removal Of Trout From Some Sequoia, Kings Canyon National Park Lakes   5 years 26 weeks ago

    First of all I want to thank The Traveler for all the postings and the opportunity for comment. Thank you all very much. As far as the frog situation is concerned, I support the removal of introduced trout from places where they were introduced for the purpose of being able to fish. If the objective, non-partisan, science determines that the introduced non-native trout has had a negative impact on the frogs and that the removal of said trout will benefit the native frogs, then yes remove the introduced trout. Regarding the matter of " food source ", there are different kinds of food for different purposes. Food for the mind, heart, and spirit are also a necessity. Some say that this is an even more important food than food for just the body. And for me, and I don't think I'm alone here, the reason I seek out the high country is to find places where nature has not been interfered with, places where I may experience the wisdom and love that nature has for me. Such as the voices of frogs as part of the sound scape. Nature can survive without us but we cannot survive without nature. I want nature to be a friend to me so I will try my best to be a friend to nature. And I believe that nature knows who its friends are. This is a matter concerning the higher elevation lakes. If you want to eat fish, then the lower elevation lakes are suitable for this. In this way perhaps the frogs can live for another 150 years. At least. Please.

  • National Park Service Sued Over Termination of Indian Trader at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Since Mr. Malone is an excellent business man he will have all his documentation for his personal Native American collection.

    As any collector of Native American artifacts knows the receipts add to authenticity of the articles purchased.

    Also the IRS will require these receipts for any sales of these artifacts.

    Native American

  • Lake Michigan, Home to Two National Lakeshores, On Brink of Being Invaded By Voracious Asian Carp   5 years 26 weeks ago

    They need to backfill every body of water in Chicago that connects to Lake Michigan and stop this disaster from happening. If they get into Lake Michigan the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois should be held financially responsible for all of the fisheries destruction created in the Great Lakes and all its tributaries by these Asian carp. They have the opportunity now to put an end to this and block it from happening. If they do nothing ... they should be legally held responsible. Should this occur we as a people are obligated to file suit in federal court against the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois for this deliberate destruction of the Great Lakes. Get off your hands people, the time to act is ... NOW !!!!!

  • Lake Michigan, Home to Two National Lakeshores, On Brink of Being Invaded By Voracious Asian Carp   5 years 26 weeks ago

    way too many dumb***** in charge is why things like this always happen. they should have never been allowed to be imported in the first place. just like pythons now in florida, foreign ships allowed to dump bilge in our waters, hence gobys and zebras, killer bees, fire ants, wild boars, and so on and so on. we need to start holding our so called leaders responsible for the policies they allow. jailings and executions will stop there ... moves and there greed for the almighty dollar.

  • State of Wyoming Goes To Court To Boost Snowmobile Numbers in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    The animals have a hard time in the winter without adding the pressure of all those snowmobiles. Give 'em a break! Let them have a rest from tourists.

  • State of Wyoming Goes To Court To Boost Snowmobile Numbers in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    So I guess the governor won't mind 1,000 snowmobiles parking in his own backyard, cutting a swathe through his garden and circling the governor's mansion?

  • Lake Michigan, Home to Two National Lakeshores, On Brink of Being Invaded By Voracious Asian Carp   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Why don't they just drag a large fishing net behind them to catch those damaging jumping carp? Looking at the pictures and films, this seems to be easy to accomplish. Also, if native fish are caught during this 'fishing' process, they can be released back into their water leaving the carp for disposal. It seems that this could be a new sport for fishing for those enthusiasts to see how many they can dispose of before there is irreversible damage done to our fresh water lakes, rivers and streams.

  • Blue Ridge Parkway Bear Poachers Get Prison Time   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Here to weigh in on this poaching thing again.I would be far more drastic for a sentence. It should be a mandatory 5 yr. with no parole and confiscation of anything involved with the crime, no gun ownership period. I cannot tolerate a poacher.

  • Blue Ridge Parkway Bear Poachers Get Prison Time   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Ten months hardly cuts it for illegal bear poaching...try 16 months and two years with supervised release. These poachers don't give a living damn what they kill for a buck. Harsher penalties with hard time might act as determent. I doubt it with the mind set of these degenerate imbeciles.

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Of the front country campgrounds in Yellowstone, I like the one at Norris Jct. It is small--100 or so sites--it has a great little campfire circles where rangers give their evening programs (no electricitt there so they have to paint pictures with words, not powerpoints), and is away from the crowded conditions at many other campgrounds in the park. There's no cell phone service here, no stores, no trinket shops, no gas stations and little infrastructure. It also has the advantage of being near the most active geyser basin in the park--Norris--and is the home of the Museum of the National Park Ranger, staffed during the summer by former NPS rangers.

    Rick Smith

  • State of Wyoming Goes To Court To Boost Snowmobile Numbers in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Jack in case you haven't figured it out by now it isn't about the snowmobile trails, it is about being able to see the beauty of Yellowstone in the winter. Snowmobiles are still the more affordable route than by snowcoach.

    You could use your arguement in the summer then too with hundreds of thousands of miles of roads across America outside the park, why should people be able to drive through Yellowstone in the summer then? As you can see it isn't about the being able to drive through the park, it is about SEEING the park.

  • State of Wyoming Goes To Court To Boost Snowmobile Numbers in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    My assumption (hope) is that Wyoming is only doing this for economic reasons, as far as tourism, the "rest of the state" collectively doesn't have the draw that Yellowstone does. It's all about the bottom line.

  • State of Wyoming Goes To Court To Boost Snowmobile Numbers in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    wyoming should not be worried about the number in the park. they have thousand of acres of snowmobile trails and places to go,without going into the yellowstone.they are wasting the courts time.