Recent comments

  • American Recovery Act Putting Your Tax Dollars To Work in National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Maybe a better title for this article would be "putting your children's and grandchildren's tax dollars to work". As I understand it, the federal government is running a deficit, and the recovery act funds are coming through debt and expansion of the monetary supply, not through direct taxation. People always talk about preserving parks for future generations. Perhaps it's only fitting that we bill our children.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    The Queets River Trail in Olympic. Pristine temperate rainforest with truly giant western hemlock, douglas-fir, and sitka spruce trees. The trail is usually deserted and if you do run into someone, you know it's a relatively hardcore outdoor enthusiast because the first 100 yards of the trail is a perilous river crossing....especially on a hot summer day when the glaciers are melting like crazy and the river is over waist-high on your return while it was knee-high on the way in. Not that that ever happened to me and almost killed me or anything... :-)

  • First Greenpeace, Now Motorcyclists Drawing A Bead On Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 21 weeks ago

    What I want to know is what the NPS will be doing to keep the noise level down. Those bikes tend to be very loud and completely spoil the atmosphere of our National Parks.

    The NPS makes such a fuss over helicopter noise at the Grand Canyon, when the bigger problem is the noise at ground level by open pipe motorcycles, diesel trucks and buses, and car alarms. Yet no action at all is taken against any of that.

  • American Recovery Act Putting Your Tax Dollars To Work in National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I just got back from the Tetons and the Jackson Hole Airport (inside Teton National Park) is being seriously upgraded with recovery funds.

    Tony Farley

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    A nice slow wander through the Grove of the Patriarchs on Mt Rainier. Majestic.

  • By the Numbers: Death Valley Weather   5 years 21 weeks ago

    My fiance lives in Death Valley (which was my winter park). I love it there in the winter but I went to visit him just a few weeks ago and it's not so nice in the summer! I've been in high temps before...it was 110 in Zion just last week, but there is no relief from the heat there and I think that's what causes so many problems. Not a lot of shade, no major water source, and even the wind is hot!

    On a side note a Korean visitor passed away from the heat just the other day

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I like the Subway in Zion. It requires a bit of map reading and compass work to get to the start of the trail. You then descend into a narrow slot canyon. In part of it, there are two fault lines that run parallel down the middle of the canyon. With the rounded walls carved by eons of water, the place looks like a subway tunnel. It requires a bit of rope work to descend from pool to pool. We found ropes already in place but replaced several that looked too worn for our tastes. This is a day hike with a steep uphill climb to the place where you, of course, have strategically parked your second car so that you can retrieve the first one where you started. Be aware: the water in the pools is cold since they hardly get any sun due to the canyon walls.

    I also like the wiilderness beach hike in Olympic. It's the only hike that I've done that the end of the day doesn't trigger your decision to camp. It is the tides since at high tide, it is impossible to hike up and over the headlands. We camped in late afternoon one day and spend the rest of the day beach combing. It's a great hike.

    Rick Smith

  • Greenpeace Activists Face Slew of Charges For Their Stunt At Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 21 weeks ago

    MRC - thank you, I did mean eminent domain, not public domain.

    But also, thanks all you guys for this indepth history lesson.

  • National Park Quiz 65: Dunes   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Kevin, have you ever stood at the top of the dune and had the upslope wind sandblast the top 0.16 inch off your skin? It's very bracing, but it makes you as mean as a badger.

  • National Park Quiz 65: Dunes   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Loved this quiz. One of the few I have done well on. Also love the picture at the top of the deck at the dune climb at Sleeping Bear. Last time there, we did that the same day as the 4 miles (round trip) through loose sand to Lake Michigan. Either the beach walk or the dune climb (400 - 500 feet drop at appx 45 degree angle) is a good workout; both the same day is very tough.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I've never hiked Panorama Trail, Bill. And I should do that the first chance i get because.....?

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Panorama Trail in Yosemite NP

  • Greenpeace Activists Face Slew of Charges For Their Stunt At Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 21 weeks ago

    @Dottie: Do you mean "eminent domain"? Because Public Domain makes no sense in your posting.

  • Greenpeace Activists Face Slew of Charges For Their Stunt At Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 21 weeks ago

    The US Government claimed the hill under Public Domain, probably. ... Maybe the US Federal Government didn't really break a law - what they probably did was not adhere to their Treaty. Isn't there a technical difference?

    Interesting question, Dottie. A treaty is recognized under international law. The Constitution, the supreme law of the land, gives the executive branch the power to make treaties, which must be ratified by the U.S. Senate. Again, treaties are recognized as law internationally and by the US Constitution.

    The Supreme Court case I mentioned above (UNITED STATES v. SIOUX NATION OF INDIANS, 448 U.S. 371 (1980)), and it's quite complicated, shows that there were several laws broken, including a violation of the Fifth Amendment. The Fort Laramie Treaty stipulated that the Black Hills were to be reserved for the Sioux in perpetuity. Congress used its eminent domain powers when it passed the Act of Feb. 28, 1877, which took the Black Hills from the Sioux. Congress ignored the "Fort Laramie Treaty[provision] that any cession of the lands contained within the Great Sioux Reservation would have to be joined in by three-fourths of the adult [Sioux] males. Instead, the treaty was presented just to Sioux chiefs and their leading men. It was signed by only 10% of the adult male Sioux population." So the second treaty was legally invalid.

    The Supreme Court echoed a Court of Claims decision that the federal government could not simultaneously act as a trustee for Indians and exercise its imminent domain powers. It found that the "1877 Act effected a taking of tribal property, property which had been set aside for the exclusive occupation of the Sioux by the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. That taking implied an obligation on the part of the Government to make just compensation to the Sioux Nation...".

    So, in light of this, I'd say there isn't a technical difference. The federal government broke its own laws. Wasn't the first time; probably won't be the last.

  • Greenpeace Activists Face Slew of Charges For Their Stunt At Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Here are several historical examples of anarchy without chaos. If you'd read the Wikipedia article, you would have found several, including the Icelandic Commonwealth (930 to 1262).

    What puzzles me, Frank, is that the Icelandic community to which you refer, while it may not have had a king or a parliament, still had authority and structure, which is NOT anarchy:

    The medieval Icelandic state had an unusual structure. At the national level, the Althing was both court and legislature; there was no king or other central executive power. Iceland was divided into numerous goðorð (plural same as singular), which were essentially clans or alliances run by chieftains called goðar (singular goði). The chieftains provided for defense and appointed judges to resolve disputes between goðorð members. (From the same Wikipedia article you quoted (and suggested I had not read), granting for the moment that Wikipedia is a reliable enough source on these matters.)

    You're making the case that a peaceful anarchic society is in some way possible, if not a good thing, and I simply cannot agree with that. People without some form of agreed-upon rule will eventually descend into chaos. Even the Icelanders you refer to from 930 to 1262, while they may not have had king, president, or parliament, still had structure and order. The Native Americans most certainly had structure and order, and not the anarchy you imply. My point is back to your original definition of anarchy, that

    each individual has absolute liberty (without the implication of disorder) (from Wikipedia, 3rd definition)

    is patently impossible. Icelanders then did not have "absolute liberty." Does it even make sense to suggest that anyone ever has? No governance, no laws or courts, or no agreed-upon rights and wrongs will quickly descend a society into situational ethics, and then all bets are off.

    And please, I, too, do not condone ad hominems, but I think it's valuable for you to know that while you may not be actually making direct ad hominems against other writers, you most certainly and clearly come across in your tone as doing so.

  • Greenpeace Activists Face Slew of Charges For Their Stunt At Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Gee. Bob, just when I was beginning to enjoy it.

    Rick Smith

  • Greenpeace Activists Face Slew of Charges For Their Stunt At Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 21 weeks ago

    The name calling and personal attacks in this thread will cease and desist. Right now.

  • Greenpeace Activists Face Slew of Charges For Their Stunt At Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 21 weeks ago

    The US Government claimed the hill under Public Domain, probably. You know, like they took ranch land from other people to make up the LBJ Ranch National or Historical Whatever. Like they take land and houses now; i.e., in Arlington to build a foodball stadium, whether people who lived in those houses for years wanted to move or not. Maybe the US Federal Government didn't really break a law - what they probably did was not adhere to their Treaty. Isn't there a technical difference?

  • Greenpeace Activists Face Slew of Charges For Their Stunt At Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 21 weeks ago

    And what happened to NPT's policy of no personal attacks?

    I don't know, Anonymous2; what did happen to it? You clearly violated it by calling me a jackass.

    My comments, in contrast, focused on the writing (the unsubstantiated argument), not the person.

    In fact, your whole comment is an ad hominem, which "consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim."

    If you check my history of posts on NPT, you'll see that I have endeavored to avoid personal attacks.

  • By the Numbers: Death Valley Weather   5 years 21 weeks ago

    People living in North Dakota are subjected to very high annual physioclimatic stress (cumulative stress) because it's not only very cold and windy up there in the winter, but also quite hot in the summer. I've never calculated the annual stress or the proportional cumulative stress for Furnace Creek (though I did that sort of thing in a former lifetime), but I'd like to get those numbers and then compare them with the corresponding values for a North Dakota station.

  • By the Numbers: Death Valley Weather   5 years 21 weeks ago

    The hottest day we lived there was 127. Yes, its hot but your learn to adapt and to do things in the cooler hours of the morning. I will take the heat of Death Valley over the cold of North Dakota (lived there too) any day!

  • Greenpeace Activists Face Slew of Charges For Their Stunt At Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 21 weeks ago

    "Your writing contains no facts whatsoever; it's simply an opinion-laden diatribe"

    Frankly, Frank, I find that offensive. Must you insult everyone you disagree, be a jackass and talk down to people? And what happened to NPT's policy of no personal attacks?

    At least other people on this site don't pretend to be know-it-alls who have perfected rhetoric, the English language, and are all-knowing.

  • Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park Officials Launching Work On New Management Plan   5 years 21 weeks ago

    They just finished installing about a dozen interpretive markers at Slaughter Pen. They are working on a 1 3/4 mile long trail that will take you across the property. Civil War Trails will be promoting the walking trail on their web site. Here's a clip from a Fredericksburg.com article:

    Four markers in front of Slaughter Pen's farmhouse will orient arriving visitors. Yet to come there is a 6-foot-tall, four-sided kiosk that will list major donors to the $12 million campaign to preserve the battlefield, now about halfway to its goal. The Civil War Preservation Trust bought the 205-acre farm, its most expensive single effort to date, in 2005 with help from local partners and a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

    If you want to hike the trail now, you have to pre-register with the Civil War Preservation Trust at 800-298-7878 for safety reasons. Eventually you'll be able to just walk onto the property.

    I also donated to save this property and it looks like it will be a real gem once they have completed everything.

    Hope this answers your questions. See you on the battlefield!

  • Greenpeace Activists Face Slew of Charges For Their Stunt At Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 21 weeks ago

    No, azborn2001, you're not reading or not comprehending what you're reading. Let me spell it out for you:

    1. The US government militarily conquered the Sioux.
    2. The US government entered into a legally binding, contractual agreement with the Sioux; it was called the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868).
    3. The federal government made this law and then broke it when it forcibly took the Black Hills, which the law allocated to the Sioux.
    4. The Supreme Court ruled that the Government illegally seized the Black Hills.

    These are the indisputable facts.

    Your writing contains no facts whatsoever; it's simply an opinion-laden diatribe full of logical fallacies and completely lacking in evidence. Come back when you have something substantive.

  • Jon Jarvis Questioned During His Confirmation Hearing On Snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    This past winter here in Wisconsin, where snowmobiling is very big, snowmobilers (note that here it's usually called a snowmobile, whereas "snow machine" refers to a machine that makes snow) killed over 100 ducks and several deer in three separate incidents. The one involving the deer (http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/37692439.html) was especially horrific. In one of the duck cases, the DNR has apparently ruled the killing of 57 ducks an accident. I don't know how that could be (he is still facing criminal charges), but it underscores that we had apparently both intentional and accidental killings of wildlife with snowmobiles. It was bad enough that snowmobiling organizations were speaking out to condemn the killings. This is why a lot of us feel like, regardless of how safe most snowmobilers are or how good the technology is as far as noise and air pollution, this activity should be restricted in one of our nation's most precious resources. It's not about "keeping people out," it's about keeping wildlife and the park safe and healthy. Especially in Yellowstone, if something happens in a remote area it can be even harder to track or discover.

    http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/38465594.html