Recent comments

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Let's put aside the question of whether humans are driving climate change/global warming and approach this issue from another direction.

    Here are some givens:

    * The Rocky Mountain West is under siege of a mountain pine beetle attack of historic proportions.

    * Waters in Yellowstone National Park in recent summers have become so warm that the park suspended fishing in some streams to reduce stress on the fisheries.

    * Episodes of coral bleaching, driven in part by warmer waters and aided by disease, are inflicting damage on reefs around the world.

    * Sea ice in the Arctic is melting at record levels, and ice sheets in the Antarctic are collapsing at amazing rates.

    * Oyster beds in the Chesapeake Bay are a fraction of the size that existed when Capt. John Smith piloted his ship up the bay in 1608, in part due to harvesting, pollution, and diseases enabled by warmer waters.

    * Heavy metals and pesticides are polluting the high country of national parks in the West.

    * As MRC noted, as glaciers melt away and snowpacks evaporate earlier and earlier, there will be downstream ramifications not only for wildlife, fisheries, and vegetation but also for human communities that depend on runoff. We're not talking merely aesthetic changes.

    I use these examples to point out that there is change under way out there across the globe. In the case of those instances that some would say are simply natural cycles, the additional stresses applied by those things that are human-caused (ie, heavy metal and pesticide distributions, higher ozone levels caused by power plant emissions, introduction of non-native species via sea-going ship ballast discharges) exacerbate things.

    With that accepted, is it wrong for agencies and individuals alike to strive to lessen their impacts on the environment in whatever manner possible? Or should we simply accept that change is inescapable and let's party like it's 1999?

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    These comments show why there is so little interest in Climate Change. Too many people believe it's a myth. Media are at fault in this case.. So much data comes from NASA and NOAA that demonstrates climate change. So much has pointed directly to human related causes. And yet this information is not commonly disseminated by the major news media.

    It just isn't all that attractive so to do.

    Thus, we have comments coming from lack of information.

    Global Warming is real. It is human-caused. It can be mitigated, although some of the results may be irreversible, such as the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

    We need an informed public; then we ought to be able to bring about a solution.

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Oh my! The humanity! The glaciers are melting, the glaciers are melting!
    Uh...nuthin we can do. The only thing we can do is plug all the vents and fumaroles in Yellowstone, as well as Redoubt, Kilauea, ...well you get the picture.
    Get a life, environmentalists!

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angel's Landing   5 years 19 weeks ago

    We made the trip to Zion in 99. My wife and the 2 boys(ages 18, one which was not ours) decided to hike AL. When we got to Scout's Lookout, we realized that we had quite a ways to go. Well, the 3 of them took off and I remained at SL. After about 5 minutes, I decided that I would follow them. WELL, with huge backpack and tri-pod in tow, I set out. The very first section leading up to the first set of chains is when I knew I'd made a mistake. All of a sudden panic set in. With all of the gear on, I found it very difficult to turn around. After finally getting turned around, I made my way back down. After getting composed, I looked up and here came my son back down. He had gotten frightened and turned back. So me and him both chickened out but both of us are hear today, although he's in Afghanistan with the Army.

    Not sure how far the wife got and the other kid but I don't believe they made it all the way. Well, in 2002, me and my son went to Yosemite. We hiked Half Dome. I didn't even try to make it to the summit but my son tried. Same thing. He came back down. He said"Dad, when I started slidding backwards and I had to hold the chains, I knew it was time to go down".He didn't have hiking boots, but he's like me. Don't think we like heights, I know I don't.

    Don't think the NPS should police the trails. Just do what me and my son did. TURN around and live to laugh and visit more parks.

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    The glaciers at Glacier National Park are not going to vanish in twenty years, the leading researcher reinterpreted his own data and now says they will be gone by 2020: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/03/090302-glaciers-melting.html - That is eleven years from now. The same time span as looking back to 1998. No more glaciers in a mountain area means no or at least much less run off in the creeks and streams. And the little water will have a much higher temperature. This is a drastic change for all aquatic ecosystems and and an important one for all the other life forms.

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Conserving the scenery requires a global carbon cap-and-trade system? The NPS can no more affect global weather patterns than they could roll back the volcanoes of Hawaii. Or should we engage the organization in a crusade to stop continental drift while we're at it?

    Climate change is a partisan hot-button, and well outside the NPS's purview. The deeper the NPS gets embroiled in this, the more likely it is to alienate important supporters.

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    So what? There isn't a damn thing we puny humans can do about it...wake up and smell the sunspots.

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Please get off the global whining hysteria and focus on our parks!

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angel's Landing   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I don't want to see anybody get hurt. It would be so easy to make angle's landing safe by making it mandatory for people to use a harness and having a cable that run the whole length. People could clip into the cable eliminating the risk of an accidental fall. The last thing i want to see is sombody fall while i am on vacation. The sad part about it is the trail is so well maintained and constucted all the way to angle's landing and then you get the last section that has chain lacking in certain spots. People get in situations they don't want to be in, accidents/slips can happen to anyone. I think the park system needs to keep people safety in mind. Alot of different options could be used to make the trail safe.

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    The whole global warming issue is so yesterday. It is so Al Gore with a huge dollop of hippy-dippy Earth Day tie-dyed stoner socialist thinking. It is anti-market, anti-freedom and just plain wrong. If the earth is in fact getting a whole lot warmer, which by most accounts it is not, it certainly cannot be scientifically linked to the activity of humans with any degree of validity. No way, no how. Thankfully a large and growing awareness is forming among the vast majority of the world's population that is quite able to understand what a ridiculous hoax the whole thing has been. In fact one of the greatest fables ever foisted upon the consciousness of humankind.

    I leave it to Czech President Vaclav Klaus to elaborate:

    "Global warming is a false myth and every serious person and scientist says so. It is not fair to refer to the U.N. panel. IPCC is not a scientific institution: it's a political body, a sort of non-government organization of green flavor. It's neither a forum of neutral scientists nor a balanced group of scientists. These people are politicized scientists who arrive there with a one-sided opinion and a one-sided assignment."

    When he was asked: “How do you explain that there is no other comparably senior statesman in Europe who would advocate this viewpoint? No one else has such strong opinions...”

    He responded: “My opinions about this issue simply are strong. Other top-level politicians do not express their global warming doubts because a whip of political correctness strangles their voice.”

    Another interesting question: "Don't you believe that we're ruining our planet?"

    His marvelous reply: "Perhaps only Mr. Al Gore may be saying something along these lines: a sane person can't. I don't see any ruining of the planet, I have never seen it, and I don't think that a reasonable and serious person could say such a thing."

    I couldn't agree more.

    The NPCA is just another Johnny-come-lately spouting off gloom and doom about a subject that makes most rational people smile at the sheer silliness of the concept. We are indeed, as Frank C pointed out, in a historic solar minimum and, as I have said for a quite a few years now, I'll bet anyone that is willing to bet, that the Earth will become much cooler in the next 10 years and NOT warmer.

    Any takers out there? Wanna wager some of your carbon offset credits?

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Anon:

    Human caused?

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which produced the landmark report in 2007 on the state of knowledge on climate change (http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr_spm.pdf), is a body that makes decisions by hard-negotiated consensus of the scientists and government policy people from the over 150 member countries -- including the US and China, nations not known in 2007 for their advocacy of climate change. Hence most knowledgeable observers actually regard the IPCC 2007 report as a fairly conservative document, having toned down its findings in order to build the aforementioned consensus of its members. Yet the report stated that "warming of the climate is unequivocal" and "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [over 90 per cent] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG [greenhouse gas] concentrations."

    Beyond the NPS mission?

    Kurt rightly calls attention to the Organic Act mandate for the NPS to "conserve unimpaired." In addition, the agency's management policies (www.nps.gov/policy/mp2006.pdf) mandate that "NPS managers must always seek ways to avoid, or to minimize to the greatest extent practicable, adverse impacts on park resources and values." [Chapter 1.4.3] The directive for natural resource management is more explicit: the NPS "will maintain as parts of the natural ecosystems of parks all plants and animals native to park ecosystems... by restoring native plant and animal populations in parks when they have been extirpated by past human-caused actions; and minimizing human impacts on native plants, animals, populations, communities, and ecosystems, and the processes that sustain them." [Chapter 4.4.1].

    We are not to work in a vacuum: "Activities that take place outside park boundaries and that are not managed by the Service can profoundly affect the Service’s ability to protect natural resources inside the parks. The Service will act to protect natural resources from impacts caused by external activities by working cooperatively with federal, state, and local agencies; tribal authorities; user groups; adjacent landowners; and others to identify and achieve broad natural resource goals. [Chapter 4, introduction]

    By calling attention to the ongoing and likely adverse changes in the national parks, neither NPCA nor the NPS is "meddling in global economics" or getting involved in "climate change politics." We're raising awareness of a critically important issue and we've found that the public that cares about the integrity of the national parks cares deeply about this. To make sure we don't get dragged into the politics, parks are generally highlighting our own actions to reduce energy usage and greenhouse gases, hoping that leadership by example is more effective than preaching. I've insisted in my park that rangers be able to back up any statements they make about climate change projections or impacts with peer-reviewed science, which makes them very credible.

    Bob Krumenaker
    Superintendent
    Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
    see: http://www.nps.gov/apis/naturescience/climate-change-and-sustainability.htm

  • Latest Lodging Deals at Sequoia, Olympic National Parks and Lake Powell National Recreation Area   5 years 19 weeks ago

    "Earth-friendly" vehicle, hmmmmm...I was gonna stay there next month...I think I'll go elsewhere.

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Gotta wholeheartedly agree with Anonymous and Frank C!
    Follow the money...a whole lotta $$$ going to grants to study this fraud called "global; warming!" Gotta keep them there so-called "scientists" workin'!
    I always ask my global warmed liberal friends...so say it IS warming STILL...(after all, it's been warmin' since the last ice age except for cooling from 1940 thru the 70')...and we can really turn it around...so when do we stop it from going too far in the COOLING direction? Drive more SUVs? (I actually had one lib blurt out NO! We don't need to do that, it won't affect it! I just said...aha...gotcha! and she got red-faced). LOL
    Global cooling will kill us faster than warming ever will!
    We are so puny in the dynamics of global climate...we have NOTHING to do with it!! I urge everyone, just as I teach my kids, to spread the word about how much of a farce this is. And how much it's gonna cost us if we go the route of Kyoto and "cap and trade."

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    "As Americans, we have faced tremendous environmental challenges before," the NPCA representative testified. "We met these challenges with courage, with urgency, and with a coordinated response. ...Our health and economic future depends on how we meet this challenge."

    The NPCA rep has forgotten a most important virtue when intervening on the behalf of mother nature, humility.

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Hmm. Yet the mainstream media continues to ignore fact that we are in a deep solor minimum, the likes of which haven't been seen for a century. According to NASA, deep solar minima were common until relatively recently. The Maunder Minimum, which lasted from 1645 to 1715, is known as the "Little Ice Age". Scientists admit that "no one fully understands the underlying physics of the sunspot cycle". If this is another extended minimum, it seems feasible that we're headed for global cooling and maybe another little ice age. Pray it's not a full-on ice age, which could be potentially more devastating than global warming.

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    As for the Park Service's mission, wasn't there something in the National Park Service Organic Act about the agency's purpose being "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein..."?

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    This tells us more about the NPCA than about the National Parks or "climate change."

    Insofar as climate change is a natural phenomenon, then the parks could not be threatened by it any more than forests could be threatened by lightning-sparked fires, or 'scenic' wildlife was threatened by predatory wildlife 100 years ago. Natural fluctuation in Earth's climate is etched into the stones and recorded in the tree-rings of every nature park. We fall into the same old mistakes when we conclude that the ecosystems we observe now, or measured 75 years ago, are 'right,' and that any alteration is inherently bad.

    Insofar as climate change is a human-created phenomenon, which I do not remotely concede, it is a problem that exists on a global scale, and is extremely unresponsive to bleating about joshua trees. If it is human-created, then it goes far beyond the NPS's proper mission, which does not extend to meddling in global economics. Dragging the NPS into climate change politics can only harm the organization's mission in the long run.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I would like say, I had one the best time camping at dorst creek last nov.08 with my daughter's and one of there cousion,who is a girl also.These three grils thought they were going to DIE! without cell phone's. We get there on friday noon;went on a hike to muir grove and they were still trying to get a call out ,but to no avail the phone's did not work.YEA! it took one full day and then they stoped trying to make calls out.They had a good time without them for two more days,so much to do and see without cell phones in the BEAUTFUL MOUNTAINS.oh ya that's three teen age city girls. It was a good father /daughter trip.I would also like to say we say ranger's every where and often, that was great.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Licensed to kill? Gunmen in killings had permits
    By DEBORAH HASTINGS (AP National Writer)
    From Associated Press
    April 07, 2009 4:45 PM EDT
    They had more in common than unleashing carnage - nearly every gunman in this monthlong series of mass killings was legally entitled to fire his weapons.

    So what does that say about the state of gun control laws in this country? One thing appears certain: the regulations aren't getting stricter. Many recent efforts to change weapons laws have been about easing them.
    Despite eight rampages that have claimed 57 lives since March 10, "it hasn't sparked any national goal to deal with this epidemic. In fact, it's going the other way," said Scott Vogel of the Freedom States Alliance, a gun control activist group.

    Even President Barack Obama has felt that sway. Last month, 65 House Democrats said they would block any attempt to resurrect an expired federal ban against assault weapons. The pro-gun Democrats, led by Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas, wrote Attorney General Eric Holder saying they opposed not only a ban on military-style guns, but also efforts "to pass any similar law." Gun control issues would only produce "a long and divisive fight," they said, at a time when Congress should be focused on the roiling economy.

    A few states are trying to loosen gun restrictions. In the Texas Capitol - where legislators can carry guns - bills easily passed the Senate in recent weeks that would allow employees to bring weapons to work as long as they leave them locked in their cars, and let those packing heat off the legal hook if they walked into a bar that didn't have signs saying guns weren't allowed inside. The state also is considering allowing students licensed to carry a concealed weapon - there are about 300,000 such adults in Texas - to bring guns on campus.

    Kansas plans to put a measure on its 2010 ballot that would rewrite the state constitution to make gun ownership a personal, rather than collective, right. In Tennessee, lawmakers made progress this month toward allowing guns to be carried in state and local parks.

    "I think you're seeing a continuing change of culture," Vogel said. "I think the gun lobby wants to take away any stigma to gun ownership. I think they feel emboldened, like who's going to stop them?"

    The National Rifle Association, the country's most powerful gun lobbying group, declined to comment this week on gun control laws. "Now is not the time to debate politics or discuss policy. It is time for families and communities to grieve and to heal," it said in a prepared statement.

    Groups such as Vogel's, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, say existing laws are already too weak - just look at the men who received gun permits, legally bought high-powered weapons, and then mowed down family, friends and total strangers in these past few weeks, they say.

    Joining their outrage was the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "How many more gun-related acts of violence must we experience before the nation's leaders will decide that it is time to act?" asked president Manuel Diaz, mayor of Miami.
    Gun enthusiasts say there is no way to prevent human beings from committing insane acts. Whether they have a gun permit or not. On Friday, a depressed and angry Jiverly Wong used a 9 mm and .45-caliber handgun to kill 13 immigrants and service center employees in Binghamton, N.Y., police said. Earlier that day, the ethnic Chinese immigrant from Vietnam mailed an envelope to a Syracuse television station. In it were his gun permit, photos of him smiling while hoisting shiny, big handguns, and his driver's license.

    Questions have been raised over the upstate New York gun permit issued to Wong in 1997. Two years later, he was reported to state police by an informer who claimed Wong was planning a bank heist to feed a crack-cocaine habit. Unlike other areas of the state, including New York City, Wong's Broome County permit did not have to be renewed.

    Local authorities, however, have broad discretion in reviewing and revoking such permits, according to legal experts. Especially when it comes to drug use, criminal behavior and violence.

    "In retrospect, this is probably not a guy who should have had a gun," said attorney Jeffrey Chamberlain, a former Rochester prosecutor and chief counsel to the New York State Police. "No one likes to see things fall through the cracks and it looks like this guy fell through the cracks."

    Binghamton police chief Joseph Zikuski said Tuesday that no robbery occurred and there was no merit to review Wong's gun permit.

    In New York City, gun permits are reissued every three years. Yet, regulations differ only slightly between states, Chamberlain said. "They're fairly typical - don't be a felon, don't be a drunk, don't beat your kids or your wife. Don't be so mentally unbalanced that you need be in an institution."

    To Chamberlain, the answer to gun violence lies not in stricter regulations, but in answering the question, "Why are we so tolerant of having guns in this country? The answer to that is historical. We've had guns for a very long time.

    "I can't think of any sweeping law change that would address that."
    To Vogel, the answer to why atrocities happen in places such as Binghamton, and before that Washington state and Santa Clara, Calif., lies in sheer numbers.
    The number 280 million, to be precise, the estimated total of every gun in this country.
    "When you have that many guns, those guns are going to be used in horrific ways," Vogel said. "There's just too many. Inevitably, somehow, some way, those weapons are going to be used in an egregious way."

    Rick Smith

  • Tracing The Postage Stamp-Sized History of the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Dawn, I'm afraid I don't know of any websites where you can gauge the worth of your stamps, other than Ebay. In the past I've been told to take them to a stamp dealer to evaluate. But I believe that might require a fee. The only other suggestion I have is to check out this website and see if it offers any leads.

    Good luck!

  • Tracing The Postage Stamp-Sized History of the National Park System   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I have several of the national park stamps (the 1934 year ones) and I was just wondering what would they be worth if I was to sell them? Also, I have several president stamps that I was wondering wether they were worth anything? Is there a website that tells you how much your stamps are worth? I hope you will respond back. Thanks for your time.

    Dawn

  • Iconic Trail at Grand Canyon National Park Set for a Major Makeover   5 years 19 weeks ago

    While we are into genetic manipulation, let's also make them pee less often on the trail.

    Rick Smith

  • Iconic Trail at Grand Canyon National Park Set for a Major Makeover   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Well, let's at least insist that they design mules that are not so gosh darned wide!

  • Iconic Trail at Grand Canyon National Park Set for a Major Makeover   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I almost got trampled by mules! Need to reduce the number allowed on the trails.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Working / volunteering in Our National Parks is a job unlike many others.
    I still have some great rambling letters from an old ranger friend.