Recent comments

  • Reader Participation Day: So, What Do You Think of the Ken Burns Film So Far?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    This is very exciting, informative and inspiring. I will order the DVD. Ken Burns always raises the bar, and has done so again. A new respect for our National Parks, and the devotion to keep them intact.

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Ed, just to clarify, the situation in Chesapeake Bay was not entirely human-caused. True, increased oystering down through the years greatly depleted the stocks, but of late warmer ocean water, diseases, and pollutants washing into the bay are greatly responsible for the decrease in oysters.

    You're absolutely right about the job they collectively do as mini-filtration systems. Of course, one question to explore at Drakes Bay would be whether managing for natural oyster beds could provide the same benefits you outline without a need for cultured beds.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, What Do You Think of the Ken Burns Film So Far?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I love the history aspect of the film. it so far brings everything home. I do plan on ordering a copy of this film. so far I have to put it up with his other masterpieces. great job Mr. Burns!!!!

  • Find Your Spot in the National Park System Via the National Park Foundation   5 years 22 weeks ago

    One problem for some reason I get a message that I need to upgrade to explorer 7, when I use explorer 8. I don't think this site was tested very well.

  • Updated: Tsunami Waves Slam Into American Samoa and National Park of American Samoa, Leaving Death and Destruction in its Wake   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I used to work as a volunteer at the Pago Pago National Park Visitor Center located in the Pago Plaza building. It is such a terrible tragedy to see and read about the damage that has been caused not only in the visitor center area/pago pago but in American Samoa and Samoa overall. May God bless my people and get them through these tough times. I send my prayers out to all of pago pago's NPSA employees and volunteers. May God and peace be with you all.

    Soifua & Mahalo

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 22 weeks ago

    To the family who lost their loved one, My very sincere condolences.

    I just came back from Angel Landing hike. My opionion is that they should put in more chains; At least i can see one place there 's a gap.
    People (including me) have problem of reaching the next chain.
    If there 's not enough safety, then this hike should be closed! Safety first!

  • Arnica Fire Continues to Burn in Yellowstone National Park As Weather Begins to Turn   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Thank you, Jim. My wife and I and another couple were caught in that detour on 9/24. It was a long 240 mile drive from Old Faithful and late, late arrival in Gardiner. On the following day, the beauty for us was the extraordinary light from the smoke cloud over the Canyon drive to the east gate. It was surreal and added much to our first visit to the mother park.

  • Arnica Fire Continues to Burn in Yellowstone National Park As Weather Begins to Turn   5 years 22 weeks ago

    As we say over and over again, fire is a natural and beautiful part of the process in Yellowstone. The only thing to hate is the 270-mile detour, and that's not going to last for long, as winter is coming, anyhow.

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

  • An Analytical Look At The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 22 weeks ago

    After 3 episodes, it's a magnificent, captivating, addicting story. Can hardly wait until the next night, to hear the great anecdotes.
    I think, as opposed to making all travelers flock to the "big 10"
    I think it will cause many people to click on the internet, aiming for Yellowstone, and discover there's a national park nearby.

    And, the big ones are already hugely crowded in the peak summer travel, what's an extra 10,000?

    As a dweller on the edge of GrandTetonNP and Yellowstone, I hope millions of Americans pile into their cars next year and
    head out here to see these great places. We'll make room.

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 22 weeks ago

    After reviewing nemerous media reports on this issue, I believe another view might help. Those of you who oppose the continued culture of oysters in Drakes Estero need to review the situation in Chesapeake Bay where the loss of the oysters has added to the ecological problems of that bay. The oyster therein filtered sediment from the water and deposited those sediments on and around the oyster beds, thus promoting water cleanliness and clarity that permitted the submerged grassbeds to thrive. They also removed microalgae and plant detritus (their food items) thereby further cleaning the bay's waters. Without plentiful oysters the bay's waters are now turbid, the grassbeds die for lack of sufficient solar radiation, and the animals that depended on those oyster beds and grassbeds are dying off. Is that what you all really want to happen in Drakes Estero?

    Natural and cultured oysters in Drakes Estero do the same same thing---they promote clean bay waters! They also promote vertebrate and invertebrate abundance, and hence, aid the bay's overall productivity.

    As a result of the bayside dairy farms that obviously drain waste products into the bay via land runoff (which promote algal growth), any and all oysters that can grow in the bay are important for maintaining good water quality. You all need to be promoting all forms of oyster growth---natural and mariculture! The opponents of Drakes Bay Oyster Company need to stop and appreciate what water-cleansing value their oysters provide for the Drakes Estero ecosystem.

    As a former commissioner of Gulf Island National Seashore in Flroida and Mississippi, one of our goals was to promote oyster production on Horn Island, MS,---a designated wilderness area---for the consuming public and for water cleansing. That should be a goal in the Point Reyes National Seashore also.

    Finally, when National Park Service personnel falsify scientific studies and results therefrom to promote their preconceived ideals, someone has to stand up to them and change their inappropriate ways. That, my dear Californai friends, requires Congressional action in this case! Please find a more appropriate environmental battle---such as removing dairy farms from the Drakes Estero drainage basin.

  • Comment Now: Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore, General Management Plan/Wilderness Study/EIS   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I think you should adopt the "preferred" alternative which leaves the land and water resources for visitor enjoyment and protection of the local vegetation and wildlife.

  • Arnica Fire Continues to Burn in Yellowstone National Park As Weather Begins to Turn   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I hate this, my family & I were just there in August hope it doesnt do to much damage.

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Zeb,

    To simplify things a bit, in theory, letting the oyster farm remain within the boundaries of the national park beyond its stated lease would set a precedent that could be repeated throughout the park system.

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 22 weeks ago

    "Private inholdings of this sort are a grave threat to the integrity of our beloved national parks. Her rider sets a dangerous precedent opening the seashore to private opportunists"

    What kind of rhetoric is that? Private opportunists? I never trust arguments that smack of FUD (Fear, uncertainty and doubt).

  • Updated: Tsunami Waves Slam Into American Samoa and National Park of American Samoa, Leaving Death and Destruction in its Wake   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Sad news, and a difficult situation for the park and the islands. It sounds like the park had no advance warning of the tsunami.

    This is definitely an isolated area, with limited emergency response resources. The park website includes the following advice for visitors considering a trip to the park:

    The park's remote location, its lack of search and rescue capability, and the distance from expert medical care require extra precautions…Medical care is limited …Visitors who come down with serious medical needs should get to Hawaii, Australia, or New Zealand.

  • Route 66 Fans Rejoice! Here's a Great New Source of Information On "The Mother Road"   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Those of us who have businesses or museums on Route 66 are grateful for this wonderful site. We hope it brings many folks out to observe the wonders of this 2400-mile attraction.

  • Just Down the Hallway: Saving Money at a National Park Lodge by Choosing a Room without a Private Bathroom   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I remember the Rough Rider cabins. We managed to snag a single night at a late available one rather than drive from Roosevelt to West Yellowstone at night after the cookout.

    It was very much what I expected from a national park experience. We we able to park our car right next to the cabin, and the bathrooms were very clean. The only negative thing I could say about it was that staying warm meant using the stove and the smell of the smoke absolutely filled the room. The other things was that the two logs and single fire-starter chunk wasn't quite enough. Of course one can go to the front desk and request a couple more pressed-sawdust logs. When they extinguished and I ran out of the fire starter, alcohol hand gel actually worked to start the remaining logs.

    I also remember sitting on the porch of the lodge building and chatting it up with the guy in charge of Roosevelt's warehouse. His wife worked in group visits to the area, and he relayed some of the complaints that visitors had about the accommodations. Apparently some people didn't quite realize what "rustic" meant. That doesn't mean a fancy hotel room or deluxe linens. It was a basic room with a cast iron stove.

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I don't see why there's such strong belief that the oyster farm is negatively impacting the seal and bird population. Whether or not the land reverts to a wilderness designation isn't as important as good management practices.

    If you really want to reduce impacts to the seal and bird population, that would require keeping out people as well as aircraft from flying overhead. I remember reports on the seal pupping, which noted that the #1 reason for seal pups being disturbed were the kayakers and hikers. I'm sure that banning hikers and kayakers would be met with strong disapproval.

    As for the CCC's cease and desist letter, I've heard that part of what they're asking for may have been an honest mistake as to where the manila clams were allowed to be farmed, and the owners are making good faith efforts to correct the deficiencies. It even mentions that in the letter:

    "Please send us a written response to this letter by October 5, 2009. We appreciate the progress that you have made so far toward compliance with the Consent Order."

    Senator Feinstein has taken this personally and has been involved in this for years. I recall previous efforts where she literally set up meetings with Kevin Lunny, Superintendent Neubacher, and Regional director Jon Jarvis in the same room where they discussed this for hours. She's spent time being interviewed on this very matter. It's been pretty clear that the Superintendent did have the authority to extend the reservation of use, as the current lease does have a renewal clause. In the past Senator Feinstein expended quite a bit of her time trying to persuade the NPS to extend the lease with no results. It's within her power to place this rider in the appropriations legislation.

    I don't see how anyone really sees this as a threat to other NPS sites where leases are expiring. Point Reyes is a very unique place where continuing agriculture and mariculture was specific in its creation. The oyster farm lease itself was designed with a renewal option. This rider is so unique that I don't really see a similar law being used for anything else.

  • Route 66 Fans Rejoice! Here's a Great New Source of Information On "The Mother Road"   5 years 22 weeks ago

    This is a great website - thanks!

  • Body of Overdue Hiker Found in Remote, Rugged Area of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 22 weeks ago

    The hiker has been identified as Thomas Peake of Atlanta. The Park Service estimates he fell 15 feet-- not a very long fall, but a fatal one. For more, see
    http://www.ajc.com/news/grand-canyon-claims-life-145812.html

  • New Exhibit at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Features 100 Paintings of NPS Areas   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I saw this exhibit at the Grand Canyon -- it is incredible. Thanks to the Old Courthouse and the National Park Service for making this possible in St. Louis. The artists in this exhibition are clearly the best around. Well worth the trip to see it!

  • Just Down the Hallway: Saving Money at a National Park Lodge by Choosing a Room without a Private Bathroom   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Bluegrass, I'd have to agree with you completely, though I'm not sure my bride would;-)

    Those Rough Rider cabins can be trying if you're not used to roughin' it, but they certainly lend to the experience! And I can't think of anything that beats following a dinner Roosevelt with sitting for a spell in the rocking chairs on the front porch and gazing down into the Lamar Valley.

    As for clean restrooms, it's good to hear they're doing such a great job at Yellowstone. I can think of some other parks where the concessionaires don't always manage to keep up with the traffic flow.

  • Just Down the Hallway: Saving Money at a National Park Lodge by Choosing a Room without a Private Bathroom   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I have stayed twice at the Old Faithful Inn in the "Old House" and I would not have traded our rooms to have any kind of a fancy smancy bathroom. It was not an issue at all for us to go down the hall to the public restrooms/showers. The restrooms had at least three toliets and two or three showers. They were very clean and private as well. You really don't see anyone either because only those staying in the "Old House" are the only visitors on that side of the lodging facility. The rooms in "Old House" are wonderful if you like that type of a setting. It was stepping back into "Gunsmoke" only without Marshal Dillon, Miss Kitty, and Doc. Both visits, our rooms opened out on the balcony and a view that was unreal. I highly recommend when making reservations at the Old Faithful Inn to request the "Old House." It's actually challenging to get reservations for those rooms due to the high demand. We had our reservations a year ahead of time! Remember to plan your trip accordingly based on the weather as there is no air conditioning in any of Yellowstone's many lodges.

    Oh - almost forgot - we also stayed over at Roosevelt in the "rough rider cabins" and used the community bathrooms/showers. Again, immaculate bathroom facilities. The cabins are adorable and we highly recommend splurging for the "Old West Cookout" which leaves from The Roosevelt Lodge parking lot. If you cannot get reservations for the cookout, then at least plan to have dinner at The Roosevelt Lodge.

    Happy Yellowstone Trip

  • Route 66 Fans Rejoice! Here's a Great New Source of Information On "The Mother Road"   5 years 22 weeks ago

    In 2007 I drove from Springfield, MO to the Grand Canyon. Most of the trip was on Route 66. I had ordered maps that shows the route in each state that it is in. Absolutely Got my kicks on Route 66! Jim, thanks for posting this, wouldn't have known about otherwise.

  • Route 66 Fans Rejoice! Here's a Great New Source of Information On "The Mother Road"   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I can't wait to check this out. Planing on riding on Route 66 next year. Thanks