Recent comments

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I've worked in a few parks where my experience was soured by my co-workers and based on that I have to say Zion is my current favorite, right up there with Assateague Island. I'm a little biased since I"m currently working in Zion but I feel like this is the park that is really taking the mission seriously. The visitor center and the EOC (emergency operations) are both 'green' buildings and will be 100% sustainable when the solar panels are put on. The shuttle system is also a great idea and has really helped the park without ruining the exerience for the visitors. On top of all that, it is one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen and the beauty still takes my breath away. I really feel like this place is a sanctuary.

    And I just really love Assateague because I grew up near the Chesepeake reading Misty of Chincoteague so that place makes me think of home and steamed blue crabs...yummmm....

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Yellowstone is an incredible destination and we hope to visit often over the years to come.

    Living in Seattle, though, I have to second Mt. Rainier as a local treasure. For me, driving onto the mountain, visiting the Grove of the Patriarchs, just driving about the natural beauty, is my version of visiting a cathedral.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Most of the National Parks Iv seen was when I was a kid and each one I visited became my new favorite. Now that Im all grown up, ah, well, at least a lot older, and live in New England, Acadia is my pick. I live in MA, but the entire coast of Maine is spectacular. If you havent been to Acadia give it a shot, you will be glad you did. Here is hoping they go forward and create the Maine North Woods National Park.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I haven't been to Yellowstone in a while, but I think right now I'd have to say Big Bend. It was a rather magical experience being able to look (walk, if you care to violate federal law) across the river to another country, I thought. When we first arrived we'd driven basically 25 hours straight, and as we came up, I thought, "this is it?" But it grew on me very quickly with all there is to see, do and experience there. I hear there is some even neater stuff on the other side of the river!

  • Update: Sylvatic Plague and Tularemia Afflict Prairie Dogs in Badlands National Park   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Betty

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Acadia is by far my favorite national park: http://www.npca.org/parks/acadia-national-park.html
    I visit every year, hike the Dorr Mtn. trail, enjoy a bar-b-que at Seawall, and a beer at McKay's Public House. Ah, heaven.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Glacier National Park is pretty amazing, it has all the right features (at least in high-summer). The Blue Ridge Parkway too is special. This place is an endless adventure, Moses Cone, Peaks of Otter, Linville Falls (filmed last of the Mohicans there), and my favorite campground Otter Creek(it has a restaurant in the campground). The upper stretches of the C and O Canal near Paw Paw is also very special, oh yes, Wolf Trap National Park for the performing arts at the cedar-paneled Filene Center with a picnic dinner is hard to beat, Oh wait, Olympic National Park during a rainstorm with rain pounding on the roof of a hideaway lodge. Shenandoah during the Fall, with a black bear roaming across the yellow and crimson trail is special, or the traveling on the Alaska Railroad in an open vestibule over Hurrican Gulch, less than twenty miles from Mount Mckinley(Denali), on a clear day on the periphery of Denali....so many good choices...so many yet to see (I have not seen the Grand Canyon or Yosemite!)

    Ben Lord

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    My family and I love going to Mt Rainier. Not just because it is fairly close to us but because when it is 100+ degrees here in the Columbia Basin, we can drive to Mt Rainier and find a small patch of snow to cool off. We take in the breath taking views, enjoy the wild flowers, feel the mist from one of the many waterfalls and relax in the peacefulness among the tall trees. It is a real stress reducer and you leave the park feeling better than you did when you arrived.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I'll third Kurt's opinion. Definitely Yellowstone. I didn't know much about it before I worked there during the summer of 2006, but I fell in love with the area for all the reasons mentioned thus far.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    My all-time favorites would have to be Zion, Olympic, and Yosemite. Although not quite as grand, several Washington DC area national parks are also on that list including Rock Creek Park; Fort Washington Park; and last but not least, Shenandoah. Oh, and the National Mall can be kinda cool, too :)

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I'll second Kurt's opinion. Yellowstone is just awesome. A park that you could visit over and over without seeing all of the beauty and hidden spots.
    As a runner up I'll choose Death Valley. Huge, varied and hot!

  • Should the Trains Keep Rolling into Grand Canyon National Park?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    The ticket price can't be made affordable to everyone unless there is some sort of subsidy. The system -- tracks, rolling stock, etc. -- is privately owned and very expensive to maintain.

  • The Oldest Presidential Residence in the U.S. Reopens to the Public. Where it is?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Is the Deshler-Morris house said to be haunted?

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 22 weeks ago

    When you use tax dollars to fund rescue operations you have to rescue the idiots and the others without favor. "Can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen".

  • No Fishing with Hand Grenades in Afghanistan’s New National Park   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Thanks for your comprehensive summary of the park at Band-e-Amir. Just a note to clarify - right now it is NOT recommended for anyone to drive to Band-e-Amir. There have been attacks recently on that road. The main option is to fly to Bamyan or Yakolan and drive a couple hours from there. However, driving is a better option as far as seeing the gorgeous country and experiencing driving in Afghanistan. We will be posting pictures shortly showing some of the fun http://www.about-afghanistan.com/band-e-amir.html

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 22 weeks ago

    How many of the critics crying "idiot" are climbers? Yosemite is the cradle of American rock climbing. There is a long tradition of the sport in Yosemite. Like some other sports, confidence is everything in rock climbing. When you are confident in your abilities, you can make amazing moves. Once that confidence is shaken, such as by sustaining the two "minor" falls mentioned in the article, you're paralyzed. That he survived those falls indicates he had protection in place. That he reached a location 800 feet above the valley floor also indicates that he was an experienced climber.

    Obviously, this climber erred in climbing beyond his abilities, hence his need to request rescue. Maybe he was an idiot. But I don't think anyone can make that call based on just what is in the article on this site.

  • Free Digital Photo Workshops at Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Grand canyon is truly captivating.Many people would really want to capture and take pictures so that they will have memories of the visit.Learning how to take pictures properly will help them a lot. I guess it's truly a nice experience!

  • "River Runners for Wilderness" Lose Bid to See Motorized Rafts, Helicopters Banned from Colorado River Corridor in Grand Canyon   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I have had the privilage of running motorboats in Grand Canyon for 6 years. Over the years I have had the opportunity to take so many different people into the bottom of Grand Canyon, including people with disabilities and elderly. My 80 year old grandpa was able to join me on a trip recently and it was a huge moment in his life. I work for a company that is currently pouring money into battery powered outboard engines , along with several other outfitters, resulting in a sucessful test run this spring. In the meantime we are using super low emission 4 stroke outboards. We truely keep Grand Canyon open to the public in a way that oars alone couldn't. I am proud of our efforts towards better technologies and educating our clients about how to enjoy the place with the least impact. The commercial guides work harder than anyone else at keeping the river corridor free from trash, multiple trails, and invasive species. We are not the problem, and the outboards are not the problem. I would like to see a real environmental impact statement regarding the river corridor post dam.

  • "River Runners for Wilderness" Lose Bid to See Motorized Rafts, Helicopters Banned from Colorado River Corridor in Grand Canyon   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Isn't a lot of the helicopter use and some of the motorized rafting done by the NPS and other government agencies? Anybody know roughly what percent is management and research?

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Kurt writes "we as a society have to reach some consensus over is how we want the National Park System managed, and not just for today but for tomorrow."

    I believe we already have a process for doing so. Each Park is charged with preparing a General Management Plan, which takes several years and very extensive public input, both in meetings and in writing. The GMP is a consensus document.

    Alas, that does not prevent special interest groups from filing lawsuits when the GMP is implemented. Here at Olympic NP, one group has advocated closure of 8 of the Park's 11 entrances, and vows to file suit if one entrance (Dosewallips) is not closed permanently. Despite a 71% drop in backcountry visitation since it washed out.

    Loss of access = loss in visitation.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    From many of the comments in this thread, so far, I can readily detect an undertone of undisguised disdain for visitors and their ribald stupidities. It would seem that the very idea of developing these parks and paving massive roads into their sensitive underbellies, just so that Boobus Americanus can mindlessly gawk, litter and generally foul things up, was a bad idea to begin with.

    I stand by my observation that more and more rangers in the NPS these days tend to tolerate visitors but DO NOT see the mass enjoyment of these places as the real reason that the parks were created. The emerging consensus is that they are cordoned zones of preservation that need protection from humans and the degrading effects of their presence.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I am a newcomer to this forum but feel compelled to address this thread. I was certainly not a person in an elevated position or posture. I came to the USNPS from the oil fields of southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. In my experience starting out as a GS-5 subject to furlough I found the average NPS employee to be well read, strong of spirit, willing to go the extra mile for people in need, to risk their lives, sometimes on a daily basis, to rescue others and to serve well the great National Park System and the people to whom that system belongs. Certainly in any field of endeavor there are people who are less than stellar examples of the human race but to use those people as examples of the entire culture is to diminish yourself and everyone else. As Bob Dylan once pointed out in a song: there will always be people “who see themselves walking around with nobody else" and he adds “if you'll let me be in your dream, I'll let you be in mine”, which what I believe the great majority of NPS employees do, let people be in the great dream of the Parks, Monuments and all the other areas for which they are responsible.
    (I have taken some liberties with the Dylan quote from “Talkin’ World War Three Blues”)

  • Should the Trains Keep Rolling into Grand Canyon National Park?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Please keep the trains from Williams! They are fun, educational, and for many people with limited time, the only way to see the Canyon.
    However the cost should me modified. For a family, they are really too expensive for just a day trip. Children and grandchildren should have
    the opportunity to ride a train and experience a little of the old west.

  • "River Runners for Wilderness" Lose Bid to See Motorized Rafts, Helicopters Banned from Colorado River Corridor in Grand Canyon   5 years 22 weeks ago

    The key work here is MOTORIZED. The more we can keep snowmobiles, helicopters and motorized watercraft out of our National Parks the better.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 22 weeks ago

    MikeD said: "That said - although we live in a democracy, it is the job of our government to specialize in managing our resources."

    Please refer me to the part in the Constitution that uses the word "democracy" and the specific parts that grant the federal government the power "to specialize in managing our resources."

    RangerLady said: "But I've also noticed no matter where I go, customer service is lacking entirely in the younger people. What happened between my generation and this one?"

    Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm managing two 21-year-old "women" in a nature center, and my god, they just are totally clueless and lacking customer service skills, content knowledge, and are devoid of a work ethic. Something has shifted. The blame goes to whom or what? Public schools? Parents? Technology? Who knows? But they're infiltrating national parks and becoming managers. Professionals cannot afford to work for the NPS, and many are unwilling to tolerate the unfair hiring practices and bureaucracy. So it's unskilled labor they'll continue to hire.

    Rick Smith said: "But, I still believe that what you report is a tiny minority of the tens of thousands of visitor contacts that occur every day across the System."

    Rick, we must have worked in different times. Perhaps it's what RangerLady noticed: it's the dern kids! I donno. Did you never have law enforcement roommates who left their 9mms laying about? Or barf on the wall of your shack seasonal housing and never clean it? You never overheard fee rangers talk about how they hired someone because she sounded hot on the phone? Just seems like my experiences with the NPS are from Mars and yours are from Venus.