Recent comments

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 20 weeks ago

    People looking for attention do stupid things sometimes. And by the way, has anyone actually "proved" that there is man made global warming besides the guy that invented the internet?

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Beamis, while I appreciate the elevated stature you've given me -- "Even Kurt Repanshek is on board..." -- I think you've taken my declaration just a tad out of context. That context, if you read my entire comment, does contain a dose or two of sarcasm. That said, yes, I'm fairly comfortable with the IPCC's conclusions given the global scrutiny they receive.

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Al Gore says this battle is the same as fighting Hitler, so what's wrong with using four dead American presidents in granite to take up the cause against such a readily apparent EVIL? Even Kurt Repanshak is on board with his recent declaration that "I've pledged blind faith to the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change, a scientific body comprised of some of the best scientific minds in the world, one that is said to reflect the consensus of the international scientific community, one that publishes reports -- based on peer-reviewed studies, mind you -- only after they are gone through line by line and word by word and approved by all member countries."

    What more do you need? This is a fight against a global evil. Get on board or live with the guilt of your inaction for the rest of your life. It would be like anti-Nazis hijacking a New York Yankees game in 1939 and spreading a banner across the scoreboard to bring attention to the impending Holocaust in Nazi Germany. You'd say "what does enjoying baseball and Lou Gehrig have to do with Hitler?". The very fate of the Jews in Nazi occupied Europe would have depended on your awareness and support. So what gives?

    Is this any different? Or is it even more of a grave threat to human existence?

    After all we're talking about the fate of a planet! So you say Mount Rushmore is off limits????!!!!

    REALLY?????

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Looks like the protest worked; we're all talking about it. I'm not a fan of Greenpeace (not because they are too far left, but because they often are very poor at solidarity with other groups - see "Whale Wars" for a good example) but good for them. Since Mt. Rushmore is about "tourist dollars and honoring expansionist leaders," then I don't really see the harm. I suspect they thought the place relevant because it has to do with presidents, and they were getting a message to the president.

    Absurd in most respects? You bet. That's what the voice of reason has been reduced to on a lot of questions of injustice. People protest and raise their voices loudly, obnoxiously, and provocatively when they feel there is no real conversation, no real seat at the table for what's right.

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Interesting topic. A little while back I read a book called "Cities of Gold" where the author (D. Preston) traveled through the southwest re-tracing (or attempting to) Coronado's journey beginning in SW Arizona to Pecos. In it he talks with a lot of people in the southwest, and I have to admit I gained some appreciation about why there is opposition to some of the federal agencies' management of lands there. The complaints in this case seem primarily directed at the USFS, but I think they apply to other agencies too. In general I would say I sympathized with some specific complaints about management, but also generally about how it impacts an entire lifestyle for people out there. Now of course someone's lifestyle has to be balanced against other concerns too, such as conservation/preservation of what could otherwise be lost forever. We also have a guy at the National Park Travelers' Club who's working on a new ethic of management within the BLM that sounds like it strives to be more attentive to local concerns while still achieving some preservation. If that's more realistic than for example making it a national park, then maybe that's a good thing to go that route. I don't know too much of the details, but check out "The National Landscape Conservation System" for more info.

    That said, Google "rock crawling" and you'll see something that concerns me a lot. I'm from Wisconsin and needless to say I don't think we have this activity where I come from (though we do have our own challenges), but I think I can safely say that such high impact activities run counter to the goals of conservation in the minds of many and I think there are things which are so high impact that you might just want to say no, but I'll see if any rock crawlers here can make their case...

    But in any case, NPS management does invariably mean more people coming to visit. While USFS may have some different rules and a different ethic, they also mean less visitation which may sometimes be a good thing.

    As for Mount St. Helens, I am not quite sure about all that NPS management would entail, but I thought that it actually had too many visitors centers already, including several private ones which have their own pros and cons. But I don't necessarily think that the one that closed was needed. How many visitors centers do you need telling of the day of the eruption? I thought the main VC there was pretty nice, although some of the exhibits looked a little old (but so did Mt. Rainier, which I think now has a new VC that was about to open when I was there). So if there could be genuine opportunities to enhance or expand the public's access as far as hiking and other such activities, or if better conservation there would have great benefits, that would be great. But as far as interpretation of the disaster, I think the current visitors centers do a fine job, even if the one managed by the logging company is a bit slanted toward promoting logging, which irked me a bit.

    I also think that the USFS does a nice job at the Mendenhall Glacier. Most people would assume I am sure that that one is indeed an NPS site. So in general if there will be genuine benefits to switching management away from the forest service to the park service, I'm all for it, but I don't think we should assume that it will necessarily make a big or worthwhile difference.

    Also thanks to Kurt, I enjoyed your Everglades update in Audubon mag. It was good to finally hear some good news after everything I had read over the last few months seemed to suggest that progress was being scaled down significantly.

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 20 weeks ago

    They should protest quietly in their own homes! Mt Rushmore has nothing to do with the President nor his stance on global warming. Mt Rushmore is about tourist dollars and honoring expanisionist leaders. And, it won't even be hurt by global warming.

  • Yosemite National Park Returns To Square One on Yosemite Valley Plan   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I was in Yosemite over the holiday weekend. I didn't go to the valley because it is so crowded, it's just not enjoyable at all. Tuolumne is the place. (Don't tell anyone). The reason it is so nice is because there is almost no lodging there. There's the small tent lodge at Tuolumne Meadows and the Tuolumne campground. There's one small store and hamburger stand. As a result, it's much nicer. No souvenir stands, no movie theater, no hospital, courthouse, art gallery, none of the strip mall mentality of the valley services. The less 'stuff' the better. I hope the new Merced Plan strips Yosemite Valley to the bare essentials.

    The only intrusion on the pleasantness were the large groups of motorcycles that roar through en masse.. Why does the park allow this? It's a park, not a speedway.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Yeah, MRC - Jumbo Rocks is a great site, and I really love Joshua Tree.

    I don't mean to suggest that NPS-managed land doesn't include back country areas - I have enjoyed various parks across the US very much (both front-country and back-country). I am not anti-NPS, and have really enjoyed the visitor accommodations and the backcountry at places like Mount Rainier, Denali, and Yellowstone (to name but a few).

    My comment arose in response to a discussion of a specific parcel of BLM-managed land, and the suggestion that it should have been NPS managed, instead. My experience is that I can access low-impact back-country camping options more easily, without requirements for reservations or exorbitant fees, with fewer people and less development, on BLM-managed land than on NPS-managed land. Since that kind of camping experience is important to me, I mean to ask what the perceived advantages of NPS management are over BLM management.

    My biggest concern about BLM management is the issue that Kurt raised - mineral leases, or other energy leases. I always get sad when people propose massive solar installations in the southwest on this "unutilized land", for example.

    So, I appreciate the NPS conservation ideal, but I certainly prefer the BLM management model to the NPS management model from an end user perspective. Wouldn't it be great to figure out how to get the best of both worlds? The low-hassle factor of the BLM, with the perpetual conservation ideal of the NPS?

  • Social Networking Site Pushes Petition for a "Maine North Woods" National Park   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Blackwater Falls is a state park but a lot of the area surrounding it is National Forest. The USFS was underfire a few years ago for wanting to clear-cut parts of that forest which holds several endangered species.

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Jail Time!!!! Thats unacceptable

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 20 weeks ago

    We visited Mt Rushmore for the 4th of July (a wonderful experience) and I'm very thankful we are out of there now with this going on. I want to see the monument - not some banner hanging up. Sad that people can't find an acceptable way to voice their opinions.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    @anon: If you are looking for no frills camping in undeveloped desert environment, there are lots of NPS units, where you can experience that. Usually you have to go to the backcountry, but for example in Joshua Tree NP, CA there are designated campgrounds with no infrastructure besides road access. I can really recommend the Jumbo Rocks area. The campground in Arches NP, UT has toilets, but that's it. Not even drinking water is provided.

    In general the NPS's mandate includes development to a degree. But in all larger parts that is limited to the frontcountry. The developed areas are provided to raise attention, to be the "public park or pleasure ground" that the enabling legislation of the first few parks mentioned. But the frontcountry should be limited and absorb the recreational pressure. The "real park" is the backcountry. I have seen this idea attributed to John Muir, to George Grinnell and to Stephen T. Mather. I don't know if any of them really said it, but it is plausible. And it is the way national parks are run. From the very beginning national parks had a strong touristic component and to be honest, I doubt anyone here did his or her first steps in a national park with a backcountry trip. The accessibility is important to get people to the parks in the first place and once there they can hear about the marvels of backcountry and explore it - or not.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I AGREE 100% I've been retired 20+ yrs and have camped with a travel trailer all across the US many times and have found the same conditions --- I will add that National forests satisfy my wants without all the rules and over development that national parks must have. And I do enjoy the BLM lands !!

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 20 weeks ago

    You wanted change.... well here it comes

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 20 weeks ago

    These people need to be arrested. What if every experienced climber in the world decided to climb Mount Rushmore. No one is allowed even near the monument but they think that because they have a cause it is OK. Lock 'em up.

  • Plague Suspected In Death Of Grand Canyon National Park Employee   5 years 20 weeks ago

    hi, my name is bill and i had been suspected of contracting pnuemonic plague back in the early 1980's in kitsap county, wa. state. there, i had been in contact with a stray cat that had been living under the buildings in the area and it had been eating the rats and rabbits that were found to be dwelling in a make-shift gravesite that had washed out due to some bank erosion. the gravesite contained the remnants of immigrant loggers and other workers, or so said some of the elderly residents in the area, and the such, and whatever was exposed in the site was being pilfered by the rodents. the cats were eating them, and apparently contracted something that, when this one cat in particular, i don't know if it was when it scratched me or when it sneezed all over my arm when i tried to chase it away from my open window, gave me something that i hope i never encounter again. i got so sick that i barely made it to a hospital. i can understand how this man in this article died and i think it is so tragic. my thoughts on how this occurred is, that just like the unrecorded burial site that spawned the incident in wa. state, maybe there are other sites doing the same, or that the infected animals that come into contact with the infection are so sparsely spread apart in the wild that the chances of a hit or miss are rare, but the infection could be getting slowly worse by the animals eating other infected animals. do the wildlife officials test for this infection or other types on a regular basis, just curiously concerned.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I would love to see the north shore of Moloka'i added to Kalaupapa NHP. The sea cliffs are a stunning sight and provide rare native habitat for threatened or endangered Hawaiian plants and animals. The 24,000 acres include the pristine stream valleys of Pelekunu and Wailau and their watersheds, along with the upper watershed of the Halawa Stream. This area also contains cultural significance. There has been human occupation from as early as 1000 A.D. and many places still need to be surveyed for prehistoric Hawaiian archeology. This location has already been determined and area of national significance when it was designated as the North Shore Cliffs National Natural Landmark. The park service can provide the resources and skills to protect the north shore for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.

  • Storms Batter Cape Cod National Seashore Beaches And Destroy Most Piping Plover and Least Tern Nests   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Although this breaks my heart, because the plovers are so darn cute, this story is an example of how Homo Sapiens is not always the bad guy. The Cape Cod piping plover population has bounced back several times. Nature willing, they will again.

  • Yosemite National Park Returns To Square One on Yosemite Valley Plan   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I agree with Sierra Mark. This is more time and money wasted on "planning to plan." If only park managers had stuck to repairing what was damaged from the 1997 flood, they wouldn't be in this mess.

    y p w: $5 for a shower? Yikes. But after five days it seems worth it. No? With California's water problems, we may soon be paying that all across the state.

  • Staying Safe and How Not to Become A SAR Statistic in the National Park System   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Those 2005 SAR costs seem very reasonable to me. The dollars are worth it. It is the lives lost or bodies injured in the process of rescuing someone that are not.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Hi Kurt -

    I appreciate your open response to my concerns! I do think a discussion of management priorities would be interesting. There certainly are questions about the land management approaches of each of the federal agencies you mentioned, and I'm not very educated about them. I'm sure that discussion happens a lot within the agencies, and discussion of expanding the area managed by the NPS naturally gives rise to defining the goals of such management.

    I agree with what seems to be a consensus that preservation is a goal. I'm not sure that livestock grazing, logging, and other uses have to be more detrimental to that goal than the building roads and visitor facilities approach of the NPS - though I also recognize that as practiced by the BLM and Forest Service, those activities have been very detrimental. And I share your concerns about mineral (and energy!) development.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Oops. Forgot a few additions.

    - Angeles National Forest, California
    - Cleveland National Forest, California
    - Los Padres National Forest, California

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 20 weeks ago

    i am truly sorry to hear about these idoits hanging the flag at mt. rushmore,i worked there for the summer a few yrs. ago,and every nite would help do the evening shows..i wish that greenpeace people would of fell off the faces..they should be arrested and pay a heavy fine for doing something so dumb,what the hell has mt. rushmore got to do with there stances.????and where do these people get paid?or work?

  • Accessible National Parks, Airline Division   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Nice list. If you are in Ohio check out Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Crooked River.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Surprise Canyon, Castle Mountains, the Bowling Alley, and Ibex Hills are just of a few of the National Park quality lands in the California Desert that deserve additional protections. Currently these areas are all managed by BLM, and these areas are managed under their "multiple use" mission. I believe the BLM does a good job managing huge swaths of land with limited available resources; however, I also believe that the most sensitive, scenic, and biologically diverse lands deserve to be protected in perpetuity to retain their essential characteristics. Adding areas like the ones mentioned above to the National Park Service, which are migration corridors, desert tortoise habitat, and riparian habitat that possess significant scenic and natural values benefits us all.