Recent comments

  • Bikes in the Parks: A Look At What's Up at Grand Teton and Big Bend National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Again, the ban of bikes from wilderness came from a reinterpretation of the law in the mid 80s. That suits the Sierra Club and others just fine, but technically, the ban could be reversed without any action from congress. That being said, as a cyclist, all I see is a constant push from the self professed "environmentalists" to keep expanding wilderness and thereby restrict cyclists' access to trails. No wonder IMBA is fighting so hard to realign wilderness designation, but it's still a long term losing strategy since it seems that the quest for more wilderness will never end. A smarter way of doing it would be to reallow bikes in wilderness, since they're no more mechanical than kayaks, carbon fiber hiking poles, etc.
    That way, we'd stop that inane internecine fight between cyclists and other user groups.

    User conflicts are way overblown. We all know that the large majority of park users don't venture much past 1 mile from the trailhead. Separate cyclists from other user groups for the 1st mile, and then let people share trails.

  • Where Can You Find the Best Fall Foliage In the National Park System? Here Are Ten Contenders   5 years 24 weeks ago
  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 24 weeks ago

    My tax dollars pay for maintaining that land. When i drive that road the cross is prominent. I want my Flying Spaghetti Monster memorial to the war dead of the Civil War placed prominently on that rock too. In fact, I want mine on a post at the top so everyone passing by can't miss seeing it. I don't give .... care ....if life isn't fair as you say. If we're talking about my tax dollars and federal land it better be about as close to fair as the Supreme Court justices can make it.

    This post was sanitized just a teense. -- Ed.

  • The Priceless Value of Parks: Wounded Warrior Rafting Trip at Dinosaur National Monument   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I'd like to applaud all veterans and the many local groups helping them. Thank you all for your service to our country. Here's a similarly inspiring story from last year about a wounded veteran, one the few blind persons to have summited Mount Rainier: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008045927_rainier11m0.html

  • Delaware Can Relax; The New National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Series Will Celebrate “National Sites” Too   5 years 24 weeks ago

    [re Merryland] In the case of Devils Tower this would be very difficult as over 22 tribes claimed use the Devils Tower. They each had different names, Bear Lodge and Grey horn Butte among them. It would be unfair to use one name above the other. In controversy or not the only name that is universally used by all (weather they like it or not)-is Devils Tower.

  • Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park   5 years 24 weeks ago

    For what it's worth, an anonymous employee stating that it was the largest rockfall ever seen in the Valley doesn't mean very much, unless they had extensive rockfall knowledge (like the park geologist, for example). A statement like that has the tendency to imply that it was the largest rockfall to ever happen in the Valley, which this one wasn't (I hope that much is plainly obvious). One of the unique things about YV is that relatively minor rockfalls (and this one WAS minor, as were the ones behind the Ahwahnee in August and September of 2009) have the tendency to get exaggerated due to their proximity to developed areas. Just to illustrate a point, the rockfall from Ahwiyah Point in March 2009 was somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 times the size of the one behind Curry.

  • Too Many Deer Has Valley Forge National Historical Park Officials Turning To Sharpshooters   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I agree. Hunters could do the job just as quickly. If you don't believe me look at the decimated deer herd in Pennsylvania. Since the P.G.C. upped the doe harvest and put doe season in with buck season there is without a doubt alot fewer deer running around. Especially on public land. Hunters would also be buying hunting licenses and contributing money not only to the conservation effort, but also local business' would greatly benefit. But instead they will hire "sharpshooters" to come in at the taxpayers expense, not to mention paying someone to process all the meat also at the taxpayers expense I'm sure.

  • Too Many Deer Has Valley Forge National Historical Park Officials Turning To Sharpshooters   5 years 24 weeks ago

    it a shame . hunters eather archery or shot gun could do the job and contribute to the recureation the parks are intended to offer . we the common folks without land, relish a good hunt in the lap of mother nature and also like the natural flavor of a meat that is unafordible to us. a user paid for raffel is the way to go if the burocrats would just pull it out and get user frendly.

  • Clash of Viewpoints on Public Land Ownership and Protection Arrives in Congress in the Form of Red Rock Wilderness Legislation   5 years 24 weeks ago

    In the photo the hoof prints are on the edge of the trail, indicating that the horse may have walked where the soil is less compacted and perhaps even fairly loose.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, What Do You Think of the Ken Burns Film So Far?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Maybe I missed it, but I would have thought that Burns would have had some mention of Edward Abbey. His views on park transportation (only appropriate by horse, foot, or bicycle) would have been an interesting counterpoint to the earlier successful integration of roads into many of our National Parks. I think I watched all 12 hours, although some of it was joined mid-episode where I tried to view parts I missed on the web.

    As for footage of crowds enjoying our national parks - I do recall some. If you check some of the extra material that didn't quite make it into the final series, they filmed footage of Shelton Johnson leading interpretive programs at Yosemite and Park Superintendent Gerard Baker greeting visitors at Mount Rushmore. The one thing that I'm surprised didn't make it was the group of schoolkids touring Death Valley.

    The extra footage is actually quite interesting. Most of the narration is by Ken Burns himself. I think only the final cut was actually narrated by Peter Coyote. Still - a lot of the quotations were still performed by talent such as Tom Hanks before they were cut out of the final series.

    http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/watch-video

  • Clash of Viewpoints on Public Land Ownership and Protection Arrives in Congress in the Form of Red Rock Wilderness Legislation   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I am not coming down on one side or the other with this issue due to my current lack of knowledge. However, I am coming down on someone who posts a picture like this that is wildly out of context and has no explanation. I've grown up around livestock and seen what horses do to land, and I would be willing to bet that this horse walked through after a precipitation event when the ground was soft...thus, the hoofprints. The other tracks were almost undoubtedly left at other times, when the ground was drier and firmer. Posting information like this that lacks context and is subsequently misleading is not only irritating to people who are trying to become truly informed, but irresponsible in the extreme. People will base their opinions on policy decisions based on 'evidence' like this...I only hope most will research it more thoroughly than Zebulon.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I would love to see both segments of the Hiawatha National Forest made into the "The Three Great Lakes National Park". By designating these Federal lands as a huge National Park, we could connect three of the shores of the Great Lakes--Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior by a continuous forest. Imagine a National Park at the doorstep of the Midwest--accessable to Chicago, Detroit,Milwaukee, Minneapolis etc. All this could be made into a National Monument by the stoke of the President's pen. What a great addition to our nation, and gift to the people of the MidWest and the nation. Gabe Sheridan

  • Bikes in the Parks: A Look At What's Up at Grand Teton and Big Bend National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    There are mountain bike trails (shared use in some cases) at Mammoth Cave National Park and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, just to name two park units.

    George, I do not believe the NPS has come up with uniform standards for mountain bike trail construction. The folks at the International Mountain Bicycling Association believe they have strategies that work. You can learn more at this site:http://www.imba.com/trailsolutions/services/index.html

    If you browse around that IMBA site, you'll get a feel for what IMBA wants in terms of mountain bike trails. Here's a snippet from their description of trail work at Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest in Wisconsin:

    The existing trails open to mountain bikes at these locations was routed on the 12-foot wide nordic ski trails. Not only was this situation not satisfying the singletrack experience being sought by the mountain bikers the fall line ski trails were beginning to erode from summer use and also encouraged very high speeds near many blind corners. Those trails are being replaced with stacked loops of trails that will allow riders to customize their ride to their ability and time constraints without having to ride the same trail twice on any excursion.

    To expand mountain bike use in national parks, will existing hiking trails have to be rerouted and redesigned to "satisfy the singletrack experience" or to mitigate erosion tied to biking and slow high speeds? Or will new trails, such as the one proposed for Big Bend, be the answer?

    A potential conflict with mountain bike use and national parks is that current regulations prohibit mountain bikes in officially designated wilderness. While IMBA professes a respect for wilderness areas, the group also works to realign wilderness boundaries to allow for mountain biking on public lands. Currently, a lot of national parks manage portions of their landscapes as wilderness, though no official wilderness designation might exist. For instance, there is no official wilderness in Yellowstone National Park.

    Under IMBA's current push for mountain bike trails in national parks, lands that merit official wilderness designation could be impacted by the group's plans.

  • Bikes in the Parks: A Look At What's Up at Grand Teton and Big Bend National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    The only unpaved NPS trails where bicycling is allowed seem to be essentially unpaved roads (think the White Rim Road in Canyonlands) or what are essentially fire roads. Bear Valley Trail at Point Reyes National Seashore allows bikes. However - it's a fire road that's 12-15 feet wide and generally very hard packed. One can even see the tracks left behind by service vehicles that service the trash cans and pit toilets across from Divide Meadow.

  • Bikes in the Parks: A Look At What's Up at Grand Teton and Big Bend National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    If NPS has adopted standards for mountain bike trails, could a web address be posted? In a state park near me, the park agency encourages biking and has a year-round trail crew devoted to this park to keep up with resulting erosion damage. Trails have been rebuilt and relocated in several places to allow the land to recover. The bikers say they do less damage than foot or horse traffic, but it hasn't worked that way here. I've been wondering how NPS would handle this.

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Again - no big deal either way for me how this goes down. However - in this case Frank Buono is not necessarily being offended by *other* religions. He is a practicing Catholic himself; some articles on him describe him as a rather devout Catholic. His argument has been that there is a sole religious marker at the site and that the NPS had denied requests to install markers representing other religions before the transfer. In many ways the question is about equal opportunity. When the government provides chaplains, they must do so for different religions. In the US military there are Jewish and now even Islamic chaplains.

  • A New Route for Mule Trips at Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 24 weeks ago

    There's currently a job opening for Chief of Planning for Yosemite. although I believe it is restricted to current federal employees (doesn't increase the federal employee count, and helps ensure relevant experience):

    http://jobview.usajobs.gov/GetJob.aspx?JobID=83612198

    I wouldn't take that job for triple the salary!

  • National Park Mystery Photo 14: You Might Know What This Is, But Where is It?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Virgin Islands National Park / Buck Island Underwater Park?

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 24 weeks ago

    In visiting Carlsbad NP, we saw many things in the caves left from the mining days. These things aren't pretty and can make the cave look less attractive in places. However, because they have been there more than 50 years, they are considered "historic artifacts" and cannot and will not be removed. In other words, they are part of the history and they stay. So, why is a similar argument not allowed here? If people are offended by it's religious association, can they not look at it as a historic marker? I don't like seeing some of the "graffiti" and other litter in the caves but looking at them as historic makes them more tolerable.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 14 Revealed: A Brainy Block   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Sorry, Anonymous, it was indeed the Danes. Here's some history: http://www.seestjohn.com/culture_english.html

  • National Park Mystery Photo 14 Revealed: A Brainy Block   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I don't think the Danes built much in the Caribbean... maybe the Dutch are whom you are referring to.

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I am 23 years old and I practice no religion and this story just pisses me off! Buono should ... be ashamed. I'm glad he was a former NPS employee; who knows what else he would have tried to change or remove. I have realized that it is the people who try to sue over religious intolerance that are the most insecure in their beliefs and religion. If they were truly happy and content with what they believed then they would not be "offended" so easily by other religions. This cross was put up in 1934. That makes it historical and it should in no way be removed and I bet our veterans of WWI are turning over in their graves at what has happened to this country....to take that down would mean they died in vain!!! What's next people??? Are we going to spend more money this country doesn't have on trying to remove "IN GOD WE TRUST" off the back of our money??? This is ridiculous!

    This comment was edited. While we appreciate all comments, we also try to toe the line on decency and respect for views and won't hesitate to use the delete button when those lines are crossed. It's not hard to make your point without being insulting. -- Ed.

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 24 weeks ago

    If the cross was there when the park became a national preserve, it should stay there. It is part of our national heritage. Just look around people, and learn to appreciate our diversity that makes us a better nation. Get over it, will ya!

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 24 weeks ago

    GOD BLESS US ALL AND BE THANKFULL THAT WE HAVE THIS BEAUTIFULL LAND. (so i can't spell )

  • National Park Mystery Photo 14: You Might Know What This Is, But Where is It?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Coral muyshroom tjv