Recent comments

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    My favorite is Pinyon Flats Campground at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado. Always quiet and peaceful with a beautiful view of the sand dunes at the base of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Cottonwood Campground at Canyon DeChelly National Monument. It's free, it's not usually very crowded, and the cottonwood trees are amazing.

  • Forest Service Open to Allowing Mountain Bikes on Continental Divide Trail, But What About Park Service?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    MVD has lost credibility a long time ago. At least his posts are always a good laugh.

    This comment was edited to remove unnecessary gratuitous attacks. Let's play nice, folks. -- The editors.

  • National Park Service Opposes Redesignation Of Pinnacles National Monument as a National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I hope this doesn't happen. I just don't see Pinnacles as worthy of "National Park" status. I enjoyed my visit there, but it just doesn't seem to fit the profile.

  • Lawsuit Aims to Halt Uranium Mine Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    There are extensive clear-cut swaths of forest near Olympic NP on private and NF lands. There are many towns right next or really close to the border of national parks with the kind of development that wouldn't be allowed within the parks themselves. Think Tusayan or the area outside the Niqually entrance to Mt Rainier NP.

    There's a campground with full hookups in Pinnacles NM. It's really more the kind of KOA-style campground with lots of grass. It used to be just outside the border until the NPS bought them out and incorporated the campground into the park boundaries.

    However - if a uranium mine has the potential to affect areas within Grand Canyon NP, then the consequences have to be considered.

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Devil's Garden Campground in Arches National Park is my favorite. The expansive redrock scenery speaks for itself, but the absolute silence you can experience there is magical.

    Runners up:
    1. Toroweap Campground at Grand Canyon National Park: Remote, silent and unparalelled in its beauty.
    2. North Rim Campground at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park: Feels as remote as Toroweap, with cliffs nearly as precipitous only steps away, but it's closer to both home and civilization.
    3. Wheeler Peak Campground at Great Basin National Park: The stars, the mountain, the wildlife and the lushness of this place keep me coming back. And, the crowds are missing!

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Only stayed one night, but Kalaloch Campground at Olympic NP. The coastal loops (RV only I think) had spectacular views of the ocean, and the interior loops are some of the best forest campground I've ever seen. The sites are very well maintained and well spaced.

    We saw sunset on the beach there.

  • Lawsuit Over Deer Culling At Valley Forge Highlights Troubles Of Squeezed National Parks   5 years 27 weeks ago


    The only point is the deer hunting will not significantly reduce the regional deer population, and therefore is an empty gesture if the real policy objective is dealing with road hazards or impacts on gardens.

    If it is true that the NPS was only pushed to think up a park purpose for the deer reduction in order to deal with gardens and fear of accidents, then the park-policy justification is a joke. RodF, don't you ever get to the point where pious double-talk is unacceptable? The real public safety issue is the state road through the park, which has been allowed to become a commuter road. So, should the park be managed to permit the ever-increasing expansion of thru-traffic in the park?

    Personally, I am all for healthy, and natural, wildlife populatons in parks. Ideally, this would be accomplished by an effective and imaginative reintroduction of predators. If this (really) is not possible, then I believe hunting by park agents is often the only real and effective method. But in Valley Forge hunting deer will have next to no impact on the reason visitors come to this park, and no impact at all on what is seen as 'the deer problem' by surbanites in eastern Pennsylvania.

    It is only the illusion of action by local elected officials. Why pretend it is science, or the responsibilities of park management?

  • Poaching Charges Pending In Case of Majestic Bull Elk Killed at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    As a member of the Elk Bugle Corp group of national park volunteers I can tell you there is no way to describe the outrage that we have that someone killed one of our "pets". Our group was disbanded for the season just 2 weeks prior to the poaching incident.

    A Memorial Fund has been set up for bull elk 21(http://yoursmokies.blogspot.com/2009/11/memorial-fund-set-up-for-slain-bull-elk.html) and the donations will be used to fund the Elk Bugle Corp which last year had a budget of $0. Donations of any size would be greatly appreciated. 100% of the donations go directly to our equipment needs and educational materials. Nothing goes to administration or any other overhead expense.

    Elk Bugle Corp and Poaching Information: http://yoursmokies.blogspot.com/search?q=elk+bugle

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Cinnamon Bay Beach campground, St. John, Virgin Islands National Park. As long as you don't mind sharing your tent with a mongoose.

  • Forest Service Open to Allowing Mountain Bikes on Continental Divide Trail, But What About Park Service?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    "Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and (worst of all) teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it's NOT!). What's good about THAT?"

    Wow! More mountain-biker hating rhetoric. Kills small animals on the trail? I've done two long distance, self contained thru-bikes and I'm certain, unless you count tiny insects and microscopic critters, I've never killed a small animal on the trail. I did accidently STEP on a lizard once when I was hiking. And I, unfortunately, hit a rabbit the other night while driving home after dark.

    Mike, please, take a deep breath. This is not a black and white issue.

    Hey Owen, self-contained, thru-biking is fabulous. I ought to take you on one someday.

  • National Park Mystery Spot 5: A Jenny May Take you There   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Yup, it's Phantom Ranch. Congrats to Rangertoo for sniffing this one out, and to Verona for backing his point. Watch Traveler tomorrow for a detailed explanation of the clues and some additional interesting information about Phantom Ranch. BTW, I'm sorry for being so slow in acknowledging your answer-comments. I've been sharing babysitting duties this morning and also struggling (in vain, so far) to get that perfect photo.

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Teklanika Campground in Denali NP is my favorite among the scores of NP campgrounds I have visited. No tenting is allowed due to the high grizzly bear population in the area. Don't leave your wet boots outside to dry at night because a wolf may wander through the campground and take an interest in them. You are on the broad river bar of the Teklanika and you can hike for miles and miles in any direction. The short autumn (mid August - early September) is brilliantly colored and the bugs have all gone - our favorite time to visit.

  • Forest Service Open to Allowing Mountain Bikes on Continental Divide Trail, But What About Park Service?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Mike V, what's that phrase you like to invoke ... bicycles are "wheeled locusts"? Good stuff.

    Fortunately, reasonable people on both sides of this debate have little difficulty identifying your self-proclaimed science and anti-bike views as incoherent and off-kilter.

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Olympic National Park, Hoh Campground, Loop C, Site 65, during fall elk rut.

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Watchman Campground in Zion is my absolute favorite, particularly in the autumn months when the park is less crowded and the leaves are changing. Also, Furnace Creek Campground at Death Valley, listening to the coyotes howl all night.

    Potwisha in Sequoia is beautiful and serene, and is within earshot of waterfalls. And the night skies are unforgettable at Baker Creek at Great Basin.

  • National Park Mystery Spot 5: A Jenny May Take you There   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Phantom Ranch

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Definitely the Chisos Basin Campground in Big Bend National Park on the Tex/Mex border. Least visited National Park, but the biggest: all sorts of hikes with incredible views, mountains, dessert, and hot springs right on the Rio Grande. The ghost towns nearby are great, too!

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    David and Kay Scott

    One of our favorites is Belle Fourche Campground in Devils Tower National Monument. Situated in a grove of cottonwood trees, a trail leads through a prairie dog town on the way up the hill to the base of the tower. One summer evening we took a ranger-guided stroll while the tower was bathed in the light of a full moon. This was truly a "close encounter of the third kind."

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I'm afraid I must say I've never heard of that one, Mel. And I don't think it's a front-country campground that one can drive to, so where is it and how do you get there?

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    The Grand Palace Hotel campground in Cloud Canyon, Kings Canyon National Park is my favorite (and it's free).

  • Lawsuit Aims to Halt Uranium Mine Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Anonymous, you ask a good question, one that's come up before. The same question can be asked of energy development and national parks in Utah. Of course, at Yellowstone National Park clear-cutting came right up to the western border; you can see it from outer space, I'm told. Why was that allowed and now folks think a uranium mine 10 miles from the Grand Canyon is too close?

    I have yet to see an easy answer to your question, though. I think it's one society has to agree on. And, I suppose, that's why there are lawsuits of this type.

  • National Park Mystery Spot 5: A Jenny May Take you There   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Phantom Ranch

  • Reader Participation Day: Where is Your Favorite National Park Campground?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    One of many secret spots in the backcountry is my favorite campground.

    As far as formal campgrounds go, my best experience was at the Cottonwood Campground in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. When strange noises awaken you at dawn and you walk a hundred yards behind your tent down to the Little Missouri River and find a couple dozen bison crossing the river where you were about to gather water for cooking breakfast....well, my at that point not-too-well-traveled wife knew she wasn't in Michigan anymore.

  • Forest Service Open to Allowing Mountain Bikes on Continental Divide Trail, But What About Park Service?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1994:
    http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande/mtb10 . It's dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don't have access to trails closed to bikes.
    They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else -- ON FOOT! Why isn't that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking....

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it's not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see
    http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande/scb7 ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and (worst of all) teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it's NOT!). What's good about THAT?

    For more information: http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande/mtbfaq .