Recent comments

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

    azborn2001, you sound like a good man regardless of whatever name label that you prefer. Just like a good farmer called a true hayseed...etc... Say, what does "mule skinner blues" mean? Is that southern jargon?

  • Lawsuit Aims to Halt Uranium Mine Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Why is it that the big 3 (oil,timber and mining) industries insist on defiling our National Parks and Wilderness areas? I find such greed disgusting and those that allow it should be drawn and quartered.

  • Newspaper Turns Back the Calendar and Calls for "Buffalo Commons National Park" in Kansas   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Anyone wishing more information on the Buffalo Commons should look at my Rutgers website, policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/popper. I and my wife Deborah Popper, a geographer at the College of Staten Island/City University of New York and Princeton University, originated the concept in 1987. The only national group explicitly devoted to creating the Buffalo Commons is the Texas-based Great Plains Restoration Council, gprc.org. Its president is Jarid Manos, . (Full disclosure: I chair its board.) Another important group is the New Mexico-based National Center for Frontier Communities, frontierus.org. Its executive director is Carol Miller, . (More disclosure: Deborah and I are on its board.) The group does research and advocacy for isolated small communities throughout the nation, not just in the Great Plains or the West. Best wishes,
    Frank Popper
    Rutgers and Princeton Universities
    ,
    732-932-4009, X689

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

    Kurt wrote:

    As for IMBA not asking for access to wilderness, let's be candid. Has your organization in the past not tried to convince the Forest Service to change the wilderness prohibition against "mechanized" travel to "motorized" travel so mountain bikes could gain access to wilderness areas?

    Candidly, Kurt, the impetus behind that request is that the term "mechanized" does more to muddy the waters than to aid management agencies. As you know, there are all sorts of mechanized devices that are allowed in Wilderness (ski bindings, oarlocks, etc.).

    Furthermore, it's demonstrably true that the impacts of non-motorized uses are on the same scale, and the impacts of motorized recreation are of a greater magnitude.

    Yes, absolutely we will continue to suggest adjustments to Wilderness boundaries to preserve bike access. If the goal is to protect public lands (rather than block bike access) why wouldn't a bike organization suggest other designations that allow for biking?

    The NPS, USFS and other agencies are not likely to become confused about what their policies and goals are simply because IMBA suggests boundary adjustments or clarifications of administrative language. We will continue working with our federal partners to find mutually beneficial agreements and improved understanding of how recreation can best be managed on public lands.

    (Since I enjoyed the captcha sharing game last time ... mine is "109 doubts" for this post.)

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

    And from IMBA's Bicycling and Wilderness: A Mountain Biker's Guide to Negotiating Wilderness Politics

    "Wilderness often presents a dilemma to the environmentally conscious mountain biker. While most of us applaud the intentions of the Wilderness Act, we also believe that bicycles are an appropriate, muscle-powered activity that belongs in Wilderness alongside hiking and horseback riding."

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

    Mark, no hyperbole.

    There are actually folks -- former NPS staffers and park advocates -- out there who are concerned that steps such as the Forest Service is taking could eventually find their way to the Park Service's doorstep. Those concerns might be even more realistic when you appreciate that the four land-management agencies -- Forest Service, Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -- are trying to work closer than in the past on land-management issues. And when you consider that there's a proposal in Congress to expand Oregon Caves National Monument by adding some 4,000 acres of Forest Service lands -- but the Forest Services wants to co-manage the addition through a memorandum of understanding -- then it's not too hard to see how regs between the two agencies could get blurred.

    As for IMBA not asking for access to wilderness, let's be candid. Has your organization in the past not tried to convince the Forest Service to change the wilderness prohibition against "mechanized" travel to "motorized" travel so mountain bikes could gain access to wilderness areas? Here's a snippet of a release you yourself wrote a year ago:

    With more than 130,000 miles of trails, the Forest Service provides some of the best riding on both coasts, and nearly everywhere in between. "Mountain biking is incredibly popular in national forests and we believe it's appropriate to clarify the distinction between mountain biking and motorized use. Better policies will foster improved partnerships and riding experiences," says IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel.

    For several years, IMBA has asked the Forest Service to further document its mountain biking policies. While most national forests understand bicycling is a quiet, non-motorized activity, a few have implemented rules rendering bicycles akin to motorized travel. IMBA believes the new revisions to the Forest Service Handbook and Manual-the primary basis for control and management of agency programs-represent an important step in standardizing mountain biking management at the field level.

    "We're extremely pleased the Forest Service is taking these steps to formally recognize bicycling as low-impact and human-powered. Embedding this information in their employee handbooks will promote better understanding and practices in all 175 national forests and grasslands," says Van Abel.

    And, until that day arrives, is it not also true that IMBA has targeted talks with the Park Service and Forest Service on proposed wilderness boundaries so as not to block some trail access to mountain bikes? Is that not actually what's been ongoing in Colorado with the Hidden Gems effort to gain more officially designated wilderness? Here's a page devoted to that effort, and there's IMBA's logo on the bottom: http://www.rfmba.org/mtb/Advocacy.aspx

    No, I don't think this is a case of hyperbole at all. I think IMBA's track record speaks for itself.

    Finally, this is not "anti-bike sentiment," a phrase intended to foment controversy and rally the troops. It's just a belief that there should be some places where your feet on the ground provide the locomotion.

  • Newspaper Turns Back the Calendar and Calls for "Buffalo Commons National Park" in Kansas   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I also wonder if this habitat could sustain this large number of bison 12 months of the year. With no mountains to catch the windblown snow, where would they find areas of snow amounts they could handle foraging for food.

    I would dearly love to see free range bison doing their natural thing but I would dearly hate to see them starving without forage or being slaughtered because they did the natural thing and migrated to the food supply (aka the Yellowstone Greater Area herds). Hopefully, a bit more in-depth study will be done and answers found to these concerns before more steps are taken and promises made.

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

    Glad to see the coverage of mountain biking on the CDT in the Traveler.

    However, this passage seems over the top to me:

    "Nevertheless, some fear that decision could result in pressure being placed on National Park Service land managers to permit the bikes into wilderness areas as this development potentially opens one more door for mountain bikes to public lands that have long been set aside for hikers and horseback riders."

    Does the Traveler really think that Forest Service's position on bikes access for the CDT threatens a change in the NPS position on Wilderness? Even though the FS clearly states in the CDT announcement that they will not alter their position on bike travel in Wilderness?

    Neither IMBA nor Adventure Cycling asks that mountain biking be allowed in Wilderness, whether it is administered by the NPS or the USFS. So from where is this speculation about pressure to allow bikes in NPS Wilderness coming? There's no source attributed to the accusation, other than the vague "some fear that ..."

    Is the Traveler simply hoping to stir the pot of anti-bike sentiment with a bit of hyperbole?

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

    Hi Bob, i don't think i agree with everthing you say,words mean different things than they used to. i have the education,job,live in a nice place and have traveled a fair bit. pretty good with the techno/social thing too. people that see fit to flaunt the law and do what this man did are not friends of mine. the state of wildlife in our parks is needing some direction. thanks for the answer, i love this site.

  • Traveler's Gear Box: How Do You Cook Your Food in a National Park's Backcountry?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Some years ago I used Google and POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) in gathering the data I posted above (saved on my HD)
    Backpackinglight.com has a FAQ on Canister Stoves and Fuels which is a good read.
    At the WhiteBlaze.net forums, their Canister stove/fuel FAQ say's the Jetboil JetPower fuel is 20-30% propane with the remainder iso-butane.

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

    You make a good point, azborn2001. Calling anyone and everyone who enjoys traditional rural southern outdoor pursuits a redneck is just plain wrong. You need to allow for that interesting breed that southerners call the "good ol' boy." Like a redneck, a good ol' boy drives a pickup and loves to hunt and fish and drink beer with others of similar persuasion. But unlike the true redneck -- an ignorant, racist, xenophobic creature who occupies the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder and deeply resents being shut out of most things that matter -- the archetypal good ol' boy has a good education, holds down a good job, lives in a nice neighborhood, travels a good bit, and is pretty comfortable with the technological and social facets of mass culture. When you call a man a good ol' boy, you pay him a compliment. When you call a good ol' boy a redneck, you do him a terrible disservice.

  • Traveler's Gear Box: How Do You Cook Your Food in a National Park's Backcountry?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I'm curious where the proportions are listed. I've got a couple of Brunton canisters and and some of the older (red/white) Snow Peak canisters. None are listed and I couldn't find anything in their manufacturers specs.

    I understand that the blends tend to vaporize with a performance somewhere in between that of single fuels. Something like an 80/20 butane/propane mixture will still work at 25 deg F and vaporizes almost proportional to the mixture. The propane is supposed to help the other fuel to vaporize I thought when it gets colder is when the propane would vaporize preferentially. I've heard of cases where people have found that they had poor pressure after the propane likely vaporized considerably faster than the butane (or isobutane if it's really cold).

    Isn't higher altitude supposed to help with canister fuel pressure?

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

    my definition is just a good guy who likes to hunt and fish, maybe drive a pickup. i have seen the effect of people poaching, just to kill something. i have been hunting my whole life,53yrs. as of sunday. i always obey the law and have never done something as stupid as this. i hope they take his truck,gun and whatever they can wring out of his worthless rearend. all of us "rednecks" aren't bad guys.

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

    During our most recent vacation to the Desert SW, we stopped for a night in Grants, NM and decided to dine in a local Chinese restaurant. Sitting in the both next to us we noticed a tall, weathered but good-looking European couple who were frequenting the buffet over and over again. They spoke a language we could not immediately identify.

    Being curious, we asked what language they were speaking.

    "Dutch," came the reply.

    "Where did you guys get a tan like that?" I inquired.

    "It's a long story."

    "Please tell me?" I asked inquisitively.

    We soon learned that this couple from the Netherlands were enroute on a massive long distance mountain bike adventure. Their trip had begun in Alaska. Their route was the Continental Divide Trail. Their ulitmate goal was South America. They said that in general it was difficult to do more than 10 miles per day, and that their bikes often had to be pushed and carried when sections of the trail became extremely difficult. I began to appreciate why it was that they seemed to return to the buffet bar for yet another serving.

    I didn't ask how they negotiated officially designated wilderness areas along the continental divide, which of course included sections that traverse the national parks, but I assume that the Continental Divide Trail comes through Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Rocky Mountain National Park. Mountain biking routes called the "Great Divide" part somewhat from the continental divide itself and often use paved roads instead of trails.

    My understanding is that mountain bike use is avidly encouraged in the backcountry of the Canadian National Parks. While proposals by organized mountain biking groups to increase mountain bike access into the backcountry of US national parks, these proposals are receiving quite vigorous resistance from those concerned about keeping designated wilderness free from any form of mechanized recreational use. It will be interesting to see just how this issue plays out over time.

    I'm personally partial to any mode of muscle-powered transportation.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

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

    azborn2001 - what exactly is a "redneck" in your own definition? There's good rednecks and bad rednecks...will concur. But, trying to look like a menacing redneck with all the bad emblems that match to kill, gives one the huge impression of a violent rogue. As for the slaughter of this beautiful beast...definitely is the work of a very ignorant rogue with a size of a pea brain. I've met a few bad rednecks in my day and I definitely would not allow them to have gun in there hands, house or vehicle. No offense azborn...I've seen carnage in the aftermath of there illegal activities.

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

    It's bad enough he took this animals life in the park, then he just leaves it there and wasted the meat? He should be tried twice, once for the act and once for stupidity.

  • Lawsuit Over Deer Culling At Valley Forge Highlights Troubles Of Squeezed National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    So, Ranger Holly -- assuming all you say IS true: would even killing all the deer in Valley Forge National Historical Park make any difference at all in the situation you describe?

    Isn't the park just being used so local authorities can pretend they are helping, and by blaming the federal government for the problem? If they were serious about deer population reductions, why aren't they doing something about it outside the park?

    Or do you think the park makes up all or most of the deer habitat in eastern Pennsylvania?

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

    My son is a ranger at OVC in NC very upset about this act of senseless killing. I hope the park takes his weapon, vehicle and fines him the max plus time in jail!

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

    B. Grant, kinda offended by your comment, i consider myself a "redneck" and have never poached any animal and respect our parks and wildlife.don't put all in the same boat,an elk is an animal i have alot of respect for and has fed me many times. keep your perspective my friend.

  • Traveler's Gear Box: How Do You Cook Your Food in a National Park's Backcountry?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Funny that they do not and advertise that theirs is best for cold weather.
    Which would mean it has a higher percentage of propane than the others?

    MSR Iso Pro 80/20 isobutane/propane
    Brunton Brutane 80/20 isobutane/propane
    Snow Peak Gigapower 65/35 isobutane/propane
    Primus Powergas 25/25/50 propane/isobutane/butane
    Coleman 70/30 butane/propane
    JetBoil Jetpower ??/?? propane/isobutane

    Of course at temps above 40~45F this would not matter much though during high altitude and/or winter things change.
    Butane will vaporise, lose pressure at 30F, isobutane at about 10F, and propane at -40F or so...

    I advise my customers to purchase Snow Peaks Gigapower canisters for their winter adventures.

    Just sayin.. :-)

  • Firefighter's Death Underscores Need For Promise Of Swift Evacuation From Fire Lines   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I'm a semi retired firefighter who worked on the Lime Complex just to the south of the Iron Complex where Andy Palmer died. I recently read the investigation report and was saddened by the "rescue" that occurred, much less the chain of events leading to the accident. I have ground and aerial fire supervision experience through a 36+ year career. One of the statements made over and over again is "Never base a plan of action based on aerial support". That is for firefighting.
    Injuries at an incident often become an "incident within the incident" and require someone to take charge of the new event. The rescue response in this case was an event without clear management. You can make a statement that correlates to my previous statement about not depending on aerial support to make a suppression plan work and be safe that says "never wait for a rescue helicopter if other means of transport are available". Personnel on this incident became focused on using a helicopter and no one up the chain of command was totally in charge and asked for alternatives if the helicopter was delayed or unable to respond. Ground transport and aerial transport can be coordinated to make a transfer.
    Many problems in decision making are detailed in the report, the most striking fact is that ground transport to a medical facility (rural community hospital with a basic emergency room, not a trauma center) would have taken half and hour while it took at least an hour and a half for a helicopter to arrive at scene. Advanced Life Support additional to the ambulance's Paramedic care could have been provided at the hospital and the next phase of transport, either ground or air, would have been based on their findings and the flyable weather. If readers haven't read the report, please take the time to do so. It can be found at the National Park Service's Fire and Aviation management web page: www.nps.gov/fire/fire/fir_wil_fatality_investigation_dc.cfm
    Canada Guys comments are wonderfully simplistic and not germane to this sad event. While fire suppression policies of the past have affected our forest ecosystems, as have population growth, weather change, and public perspective; this event is not a forum to debate fire policy.

  • Traveler's Gear Box: How Do You Cook Your Food in a National Park's Backcountry?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Random Walker:

    Does anybody know the Iso-butane / Propane percentages in Jetboils Jetpower canisters?
    I use a first generation MSR Whisperlite International where ever I go.

    Not sure. They don't list or publish it. All it says is that it's an isobutane/propane mix. If I were to guess, probably somewhere around 80/20%. Anything with more propane would require a higher can thickness for safety reasons. If it's warm enough straight butane might even work although isobutane has better cold temp performance than butane.

    It's a standard Lindal valve. Pretty much any of them should work. Jetboil has theirs made in South Korea. There's probably nothing special about theirs other than the tiny size - which fits in the cup. About the only other canister I know that's as tiny (110g) is from Snow Peak. I would think that their canister base is designed to work with theirs and the larger 220+ gram canisters. Any Lindal valve canister from Snow Peak, MSR, Primus, Coleman, or Brunton should work. I've used Snow Peak and Brunton canisters interchangeably with my Snow Peak GigaPower and MSR Pocket Rocket stoves.

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

    This breaks my heart and makes me mad as fire at the same time. Rednecks like him give all hunters a bad name. You cannot replace an animal like that. How senseless and selfish...

  • Traveler's Gear Box: How Do You Cook Your Food in a National Park's Backcountry?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Exothermic reaction to water while in a self contained pouch/box.

    Are they full of calcium chloride pellets?

    Hmmm. Just looked it up. Magnesium, Sodium, and Iron. Sounds like the same general composition of the self-heating hand-warmers.

  • Padre Island National Seashore: Wintering Grounds For Sandhill Cranes   5 years 26 weeks ago

    We spend October here in southern Michigan watching the cranes gather before taking off for parts unknown. Several thousand usually gather at an Audubon-owned sanctuary just south of where I live. Last year we went canoeing on the Weeki Wachee River in Florida in February. Around one of the bends we almost floated right into a pair of sandhills. I asked them if we knew them from the past October at the Baker sanctuary. Their lack of response either indicates that cranes don't speak English or they migrated from somewhere else.