Recent comments

  • Is This the Most Unique Job in the National Park Service?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Why did Sandy leave the job? It is my dream job and I was just wondering why anyone would leave it.

  • Glacier National Park Officials Developing Battle Plan For Lake Trout in Quartz Lake   5 years 24 weeks ago

    There are problems with introductions of any non-native fish species. The biggest question being, how are they going to affect the native fauna of the system? Until you know for sure that the introduction is not going to have a negative affect, then you have to assume that the introduction would not be the right choice. We have made numerous mistakes with introducing biota in the past and many of them we are now trying to reverse the negative affects of. Thats how lake trout got to the western states to begin with. Unfortunately, bio controls are not the best option for reducing lake trout from any system. Gill netting alone with never totally remove lake trout from a large body of water, but if keeping the lake trout population suppressed gives the native cutthroat a fighting chance till better techniques are developed, thats what should continue.

  • Only Snow Drought Likely To Block Your Access To Yellowstone National Park This Winter   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Dave, I think the NPS is blocking your mode of access, but not your ability to enter the park in winter.

    As for your other questions, you can find answers to them in the park's winter planning documents:

  • Programming Note: National Geographic Channel Explores the Appalachian Trail Tonight   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I hope they're not planning on interviewing Mark Sanford.

  • Only Snow Drought Likely To Block Your Access To Yellowstone National Park This Winter   5 years 24 weeks ago

    No, actually the NPS blocks my access to Yellowstone, at least if I want to motor into the park on my own as I can in the main season.

    As things currently stand, one needs to be herded as snowmobile sheep or crammed into a tin-can "snow coach". Since these "snow coaches" are the same vans and truck-based small buses - now equipped for the winter season with tracks - used in the park in the summertime, can I take my own wheeled vehicle into the park if I equip it similarly with tracks? Are the NPS training courses required of the commercial snow coach drivers and snowmobile sheep herders available to the general public? If not, why not? If I was still a regional resident or if I was on a week-long visit to the park, I would willingly take the class if I then was then granted unescorted motorized access to the park in winter similar to what ANY park visitor has in the main season. Why not institute such a program?

  • Studies Show Bear Spray More Effective Than Guns Against Grizzlies   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I would note that a 2.5 oz (maximum legal self-defense) personal protection pepper spray is not the same as a 8-13 oz can of 2% OC bear spray. Theoretically the bear spray is considered a pesticide (California law calls it an "economic poison") and in many states carries legal consequences for its use against humans.

    The big problems seen with stopping drunks or drugged out users is that they might not feel the pain. A bear (not likely to be high on PCP) receiving a fog of 2% OC spray will feel the burn and more than likely won't be able to see well enough to attack anyone.

    Not sure about an AR-15. I thought that one would weight about 9 lbs loaded. I'm trying to figure out who might carry one ready to use like a scene from a Vietnam War movie. In any case, I've heard the recommendations in Alaska for bear country are for 12 gauge shotguns with slugs or high-powered hunting rifles. I'm not sure a .223 (which is really designed as a combat weapon against humans) will stop a charging bear unless it's a direct hit to the head or major organ. It might be able to punch a hole in an engine block, but things are far different when it's a bear with soft tissue that might not stop with only a minor flesh wound.

    I remember the 1988 movie "Shoot to Kill" with Sidney Poitier. His character was an FBI agent trying to track someone in the woods when he and his guide came across a grizzly bear. He asked his guide if he should shoot it with his revolver, and the guide said, "Nah - you'll probably just piss him off."

  • Only Snow Drought Likely To Block Your Access To Yellowstone National Park This Winter   5 years 24 weeks ago

    On other Yellowstone news, a number of organizations and individuals have just sued the NPS and the USFS over their role in the bison slaughter.

    See and

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

  • Is This the Most Unique Job in the National Park Service?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Ray, your definitely a man of all beaten and enjoying every minute of it. A life worth writing about.

  • Studies Show Bear Spray More Effective Than Guns Against Grizzlies   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Just a few points, sir..I don't expect to convince you of anything.

    First off, the pepper spray shot at drunks is far weaker than what you get for bears, as I understand it.

    Second, there's no debate by anyone with a brain that a gun doesn't have the capability of killing a bear. The problem is aim...the bear is charging, you're tense because, as you seem to continue pointing out, the bear is charging your child, and you have to hit what, something the size of a basketball? If you hit the stomach, or the shoulder, or a leg...

    Now, this article isn't here to debate anything. Kurt was simply pointing out what studies show. Studies are studies, sir, and there is now evidence, by actually events, that bear spray is more effective than a gun. Take it as you will.

  • Studies Show Bear Spray More Effective Than Guns Against Grizzlies   5 years 25 weeks ago

    all you have to do is watch a few episodes from cops to see that pepper spray shot directly in the face of drunk suspects tends to only work at times. Although a bad odor sounds like something I would leave my life to as a deterrent (sarcasm) what I do know as fact is that a .223 remington round fired out of an ar-15 will puncture an engine block and bring a semi truck to a stop. For those of you that are unfimiliar with firearms this is basically the smallest hunting round possible.(not some super huge cannon round) Anything able to stop an automoblie has to give you more protection than a can of spray, and you can't tell me that it will have no effect on a bear. As far as cases of bears being put down when "Bluff charging" your right some innocent bears might get injured or killed. In my oppinion however my life, my childrens lives, and that of any humans for that matter comes before that of a bears. The other things to consider is other predatory animals. I saw a "when animals attack" type of show once that spotlighted a young child that was attacked by a rapid mountain lion that had the childs head in its mouth, and luckly for him his uncle had a glock 17 9mm pistol that he was able to use to force the lion to release. and as was pointed out the likley hood of an attack is slim to say the least so instances of firearms being discharge are not going to be running rampant. So if you prefer spray or a high powered metal projectile travling at 3500 feet per second either way you should have the right to choose.

  • Ensconced on a Desert Isle....   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Now that's what I call a happy camper!

  • Is This the Most Unique Job in the National Park Service?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Many older NPS employees look back on the early days of their careers as some of their best years in the Park Service when they were field rangers, interpreters, maintenance helpers, naturalists, etc.. In my case, the most unique job I had was when I first went to work for the Park Service as an Environmental Planner assisting a park planner named John Kauffmann in the planning for the then proposed Gates of the Arctic National Park. My job, in part, was to travel through the proposed area by light aircraft, boat, hiking and dog team while evaluating natural and cultural resources. The summer months were spent backpacking and doing float trips through areas rarely visited by non-Natives. Once winter set in I would explore via dog team, sometimes flying my dogs and equipment to distant sites to begin a trip. Occasionally, John or another Park Service person would accompany me. Sometimes my wife went along to assist. Actually, I wrote my own job description.

  • Visiting National Parks by Train – Eastern U.S.   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Thanks for the comment Daniel.

    Yes, an article about train travel to some western NPS areas is in the works. Look for it in the next few days.

  • Visiting National Parks by Train – Eastern U.S.   5 years 25 weeks ago

    My wife and I recently took the Northeast Regional from Boston to NYC and thoroughly enjoyed it. Very peaceful (if you sit in the 'quiet' car) and pretty scenic in some spots along the coast. In Boston we did the Freedom Trail and in NYC the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. In Boston we stayed at Hotel 140 which is withing a block of the AMTRAK station, very convenient. Is there an article about train travel in the western NPS area?

  • Ensconced on a Desert Isle....   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I few years ago I was all ready to make the trip, although I wasn't planning on overnighting on Fort Jefferson. I had my reservation with Sunny Days all set.

    The Tropical Storm Ernesto sort of shut down all tourist businesses in Key West for a couple of days, including my reserved date. I got a call that my reservation was automatically canceled as a result of the storm. I actually got to Key West after the storm was over, and was told that they had plenty of space the next day, although I already had plans.

    I'm thinking if I ever try to make this trip again, I'll avoid hurricane season.

  • Is San Juan National Historic Site Haunted?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    The San Juan National Historic Site is a place a recommend to every traveler. You can visit 3 distinct forts: El Morro, San Cristóbal, and El Cañuelo (located on the opposite side of the San Juan bay).
    I really appreciate you choose a photo of mine and please don't hesitate to contact me if you need more stuff for your posts.

    Alessandro Cai

  • Fire at Historic Lodge at Bryce Canyon National Park Won't Delay the 2010 Season Opening   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Simple technology prevents frozen water lines in RV's and winter cabins. Adding a Redytemp circulator to a RV or winter cabin prevents frozen pipes in even the coldest weather. Redytemp requires a hot water source and power. Connecting to the farthest faucet on the hot water line, the system monitors the water temperature in the water line, intermittently pumping warm water throughout the lines prevents freezing. This uses less energy than heat tape and protects the water lines from the inside out. Search the internet to find additional information.

  • Stimulus Money Will Help With Rebuild of Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Very enlightening good news. One of the most beautiful highway stretches in American. For a photographer or an artist a dream route to illustrate on paper or canvas.

  • Is This the Most Unique Job in the National Park Service?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    There are definately some NPS jobs with unique qualifications and job duties. How many folks get paid to decorate the Vanderbilt Mansion for Christmas or to scuba dive in Crater Lake? Oh yes, it furthers the visitor experience or increases our scientific knowledge of a unique resource, but it can also be fun.

  • Ensconced on a Desert Isle....   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Birder's World has a feature on Dry Tortugas NP this month, check it out!

  • Is This the Most Unique Job in the National Park Service?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I think that this might be the most unique "extreme, hardship conditions" job, but when I was with Harpers Ferry Center, I was the only scientist in the NPS who ran a research and analytical support laboratory for NPS cultural resources. When I left, they didn't fill my position, but had they recruited, they would have had the choice of only 80 people globally truly qualified to do the work. The musher position is without question unique, but I bet you'd find other postions in the NPS with equal uniqueness. Interesting article and definitely interesting KSA's.

  • True Tales From the National Parks: Get Me Off Devils Tower!   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Seems the story is a little off. According to the 10/13/41 Time magazine the rope was recovered by Hopkins but he lost his nerve:

    While a crowd held its breath and stared, Hopkins tried to lower himself on a length of rope which had been dropped to him from an airplane. When his foot slipped, he clambered fearfully back. The rope was too short, anyhow.

    Read more:,9171,766204,00.html#ixzz0WNAp5oPo

  • Center for State of the Parks Gives Lassen Volcanic National Park A "Fair" Rating   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I wonder to what extent the problems identified by the NPCA affiliated Center for the State of the Parks are unique to Lassen Volcanic National Park, and to what extent these same issues repeat themselves system-wide?

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Glacier Bay National Park Rangers Use Satellite Technology to Help Tangled Whales   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I'm curious to know how many whales have been disentangled since the creation of the training program.

  • Ensconced on a Desert Isle....   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I'm so happy that I finally made it to Dry Tortugas. Although I found out the hard way that I get seasick it was all worth it.

    Ranger Holly