Recent comments

  • Body, Presumed To Be That Of Missing Backpacker, Found in Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I am so sorry for the family. Since I have signed up to receive the national park traveler news, I see that there are so many dangers in the parks. Everyone should go with a group and follow the rangers advice as to what to take with them.

  • Body, Presumed To Be That Of Missing Backpacker, Found in Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Hi Kurt, I have mixed feelings about this. i am so sorry a father lost his son, i can't imagine losing one of my kids. wasn't he required to have a backcountry permit? who oversees these things, that somebody might be going on a potentially dangerous hike without other people? i for one am not happy about the thousands, perhaps millions of dollars that have been spent just this year on people doing things that ended up in loss of life. i really don't think the public should foot the bill for this. there has got to be another way. if nps had to post people at trailheads, might take care of some of these things or deny access altogether. it's sad these thing happen, but there has to be a better way.

  • Body, Presumed To Be That Of Missing Backpacker, Found in Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Too bad. Hard to tell what led to his death, although rough terrain and weather may have played a part.

  • State of Wyoming Heads Back to Court To Argue Higher Snowmobile Numbers in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I have to agree with the last comment only I would take it further and say the 318 that are allowed should be group haulers and be run llike a bus service through out the park and people could get on and off at different points and x-country ski or snow shoe from the stops. That would make the park more ego friendly.

  • State of Wyoming Heads Back to Court To Argue Higher Snowmobile Numbers in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    As one who rides snowmachines in Alaska I appreciate the fact that this activity is banned in the wilderness section of Denali Park and I advocate that it be banned in all sections of the park and preserve. There are plenty of beautiful places to ride in Alaska and we do not have to have every acre of the state available. I enjoy riding snowmachines and I also enjoy winter hiking in still and quiet park. I appreciate the National Parks and realize there are many uses for which they should not be subjected. I cannot drive my car in Denali and that is OK for it is for the greater good that traffic is limited. I imagine there are many places in Wyoming that fellow snowmachiners can enjoy without degrading our first National Park.

  • New Visitor Center Coming to Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Betty,

    I don't think you'll have any problems. There aren't many overpasses in the park and only one tunnel on the road (now part of Foothills Parkway) that runs from Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg.

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

    Glacier National Park for it amazing views and wildlife.

    Grand Teton for the same reasons as well as having a little more solitude compared to it's northern neighbor...Yellowstone

    Lassen Volcanic National Park for its splendor, views, awesome hikes through the devastated area with forest, lava beds, baby cinder cones, stinky sulfur works, small alpine lakes, Manzanita Campground, Kings Meadow...etc...etc...etc.

    Mesa Verde National Park for the education that we received about the native civilizations on the Colorado Plateau and the impetus that was created to explore a lot of the other cultural remnants of the Ancient Puebloans

  • State of Wyoming Heads Back to Court To Argue Higher Snowmobile Numbers in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Cue the circus. Wyoming needs to get out of the business of trying to manage federal lands. If they want recreational snowmobiling, that's what state lands are for.

  • Visitation to National Parks Is On the Upswing, Entrance-Fee-Free Weekends Partly to Blame   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Could all the time, effort and expense that goes into tallying and crunching those numbers be better spent?

    Probably so, but the "bean counters" in Congress, OMB, General Accounting Office and similar locations wouldn't stand for it :-)

  • Visitation to National Parks Is On the Upswing, Entrance-Fee-Free Weekends Partly to Blame   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Jim,

    I've heard anecdotally that passengers on river trips on the Snake in Grand Teton are down this summer.

    As for tracking visitation, my guess is that it's not a pretty science at all. Are all entrance gates staffed 24/7? Do those at the stations count all heads in vehicles? How do parks without entrance fees -- such as Great Smoky and Mammoth Cave -- tally heads?

    That's not necessarily a criticism of the NPS, but perhaps further evidence that all the concern over visitation is much ado about nothing. As many others have pointed out, visit Yellowstone, Yosemite, Mount Rainier, the Grand Canyon, or many, many other parks in the summer months and there certainly doesn't seem to be a lack of visitors.

    Could all the time, effort and expense that goes into tallying and crunching those numbers be better spent? Perhaps.

  • Visitation to National Parks Is On the Upswing, Entrance-Fee-Free Weekends Partly to Blame   5 years 21 weeks ago

    "But the beauty, wonder and incredible value -- educationally, historically, and recreationally -- of the national parks shouldn't be squandered. Throw open those doors, Mr. Secretary! Permanently do away with the entrance fees! Stare the Congress, which loves to create new units of the National Park System but doesn't always love to provide the necessary funding for their operation, directly in its collective eyes and dare 'em to blink! And if they refuse to blink, shut down the parks and see where the chips fall. It wouldn't be the first time."

    Go get 'em, Kurt! Couldn't have said it any better myself.

  • Visitation to National Parks Is On the Upswing, Entrance-Fee-Free Weekends Partly to Blame   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I don't really understand the visitation numbers in Greater Yellowstone. At the same time Yellowstone was showing record numbers and increases at all gates, including the South Entrance, Grand Teton was experiencing decline. Furthermore, despite record revenues, hotel reservations were down or steady, and overall spending in the region was down significantly - I saw an interview with a person from Delaware North saying spending was down in the park.

    Now, the concessions totals could be explained by more people, spending less - perhaps, higher numbers of locals visiting the parks in part on free weekends. However, the disparity of Grand Teton to Yellowstone makes no sense at all to me, especially given the South Entrance totals.

    The parks have seemed very crowded to me on the roads, not so much in backcountry. People are blogging more than ever about their travels. Yet, the raw number totals are puzzling to me, at least in this instance.

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

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

    There are 58 National Parks and I hope someday to visit all of them. So far I've visited 29, so I'm half way.

    I obviously cannot speak to the 29 that I haven't been to, but of the ones I've visited, my favorite is Isle Royale. It is wilderness personified and I am deeply moved when I am there. I love bacpacking from one end to the other. Each of you should try it. Thank you.

  • New Visitor Center Coming to Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Betty: I can't answer that question myself. Maybe another Traveler reader can? I take it that you have already checked out the park's Auto Touring site www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/autotouring.htm? You may have to contact the park directly to ask your specific question.

  • New Visitor Center Coming to Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    We have a motorhome 13' tall and need to know if there is any problem traveling the park highways.

  • Ancient Mammal Footprints Excite Paleontologists at Dinosaur National Monument   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Thanks for writing, azborn2001. It's always nice to get positive feedback and interesting comments/questions. I don't know about any claw marks that might be visible in the footprint impressions at this particular trackway. Maybe somebody in the know will chime in on this one. While I have your attention, let me point out something that you may not have noticed in the footprint photo accompanying this article. The ridge of sand at the base of the paw print shows that the animal that left this print was headed up the dune, not down it.

  • Ancient Mammal Footprints Excite Paleontologists at Dinosaur National Monument   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Thanks Bob for all the interesting things you guys put out for us to see. what a find! looks liked a little 4 fingered hand print. i was wondering if there might have been claw marks that wore away. so many amazing things in this world of ours , that have never been seen. keep up the good work. i enjoy this site a ton.

  • What are the New Seven Wonders of Nature? The Polls Are Now Open   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Thank you for sharing this info, good news. I am glad to hear than Mount Kilimanjaro is finally on the list. It is long over due.

  • Search Continues for Missing Backpacker in Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    You can listen to live scanner traffic from Grand Canyon National Park Service:
    (law enforcement, search and rescue, fire, medical, etc) at this RadioReference.com link: http://www.radioreference.com/apps/audio/?ctid=95

    Hearing lots of search & rescue traffic looking for the young man today.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Wasn't the original intention of the formation of national parks so that these wild places could remain undamaged by human intervention? These places used to be open and anyone could venture in to destroy whatever they wanted. This behavior needed to be stopped, so the NPS was founded.
    There needs to be a balance between conservation and pleasure. I noticed that most people in this discussion seem to be frequenting the parks on the western half of the US. So, maybe I just have a different perspective because I have grown up next to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I have been told that the eastern parks are much more lax and where you can go and what you can do in the park. Anyway, I have seen many people acting stupidly in the GSMNP. People leave food out around camp sites and are upset when the black bears forage through camp! If someone is injured by a bear, it has to be tracked and euthanized. Wouldn't a better solution be to educate people about the park before they enter?
    I know this seems a bit strenous, but what if everyone had to get a pass to enter the park? The reguirements for getting this pass would be passing a day long course on the delicate ecosystems in the park and how human involvement can be minimized. Surely the problem is not that people just do not care.
    This page has had a lot of bashing on the younger generations. It is true that most people in my age group (I am 23) only venture into the park when family members require them to or when they want to perform illegal activities in the park. If a requirement to get in the park is a course on ecosystem management and conservation of our natural resources, it would cut down on the number of people in the park (which needs to be done), would educate people, and would decrease the wear and tear on the park.
    Unfortunatly, it has gotten to the point where the parks need to closed for a time to allow the land to heal. It is sad that drastic actions need to be taken, but our national parks are falling apart at an exponential rate.
    The GSMNP used to be know for the smoking mountains, but they are starting to produce less of their own haze and are now only smoky because of all the cars driving around the park.
    If people can't learn to appreciate the park for what it is, they should not be allowed to enjoy it at all.

  • Survey Results Label the French as the World’s Worst Tourists   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I'm sorry, RangerLady, but that "we didn't know you're supposed to tip" excuse was already wearing thin half a century ago. There isn't a French tourist alive who doesn't know that you're supposed to tip the waitstaff in America.

  • Wolverine Photographed in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Allan, I always respect sightings made by experienced individuals like your neighbor, even when there are no photographs or other hard evidence. These and other sightings strongly imply that more than one wolverine may be moving though the park. As to whether any are remaining in the area, well, I guess that remains to be proven.

  • Interior Secretary Scales Back Snowmobile Use in Yellowstone National Park, Calls for More Public Comment   5 years 21 weeks ago

    J.D., your snowmobile-car comparison is very inappropriate. Cars travel the park roads in summer when food is abundant, temperatures are tolerable, and the living is good for park wildlife. Snowmobiles, on the other hand, converge on the park at the worst possible time, the cruel winter when many animals are brought to the very limits of their endurance. Just at that time, when the wintering-over animals need every tiny shred of energy they can muster, and when stress of any kind is quite literally life threatening, is when the snowmobile jockeys converge on the park. Whoeeeee! Kinda selfish, don't you think?

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Umm, no videos at that site, MikeD. Got another link?

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    I find Matthew's response to be pretty incoherent. I am not sure what he's getting at to be honest. To be fair, I'll admit that the type of people who would like to allow very high impact activities on the parks are probably people I might prefer to have out of the parks all together. But I can't recall any lawsuit either aimed at preventing access per se.

    There is a guy on Youtube whose videos I enjoy. He currently lives in a remote canyon in New Mexico, if I understand correctly. Check out his Going Ferral series of videos for advice on a "loophole" on how to live on federal lands indefinitely. In any case, he has an interesting take on national parks, which may or may not be his version of extreme sarcasm (he appears to be pretty far left politically, just to clarify):

    http://elmerfudd.us/dp/nps.htm