Recent comments

  • National Park Quiz 56: Memorials   5 years 21 weeks ago

    That's quite a story, RoadRanger. Thanks for sharing.

  • National Park Quiz 56: Memorials   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Bob, your memorial quiz has hooked me. I am surprised you did not have a question about the informal memorial to country rock legend, Gram Parsons, at Joshua Tree NP. It is quite a story. Parsons loved the park and when he died of a drug overdose nearby, his friends "removed" his body from L.A. International Airport and attempted to fulfill his wish to be cremated at Cap Rock. Over thirty years, the site became a memorial shrine to Parsons and his Cosmic American Music. It was so popular it became a resource management issue that was assessed for significance around 2000. I believe the park attempted to mitigate impacts on the area by moving one of the memorial rocks - or similar - to the Joshua Tree Inn where he had died. I'm not sure if this was a successful option, but I can guarantee you the Parsons Memorial was the most bizarre resource management consultation I ever had during my 36 years with NPS.

  • Yellowstone National Park's Wolf Population Down More than 25 Percent   5 years 21 weeks ago

    If the population was too high to support them, then a natural reduction is better than a planned hunt. It seems the mechanism to adjust population to the terriortory by natural means is in effect.

    Many animals die from distemper. If you want a wild population that means you do not vaccinate.

    Vaccination in human population areas by leaving out food with rabies vaccination is done to reduce rabies in rabbits, foxes and skunks to name a few and to reduce the possibilty of contamination into pets such as cats and dogs.

    In a park are it is not ecofriendly to vaccinate wild animals.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Reasonable restrictions in Heller were felons such as the restriction that were listed back in the 1700's .Carry was defined in Heller and the NPS regulations did violate the keep part of the 2A. Heller recognized a preexisting right to keep and bear arms. Bear meant to carry , the Heller Supreme Ct decision actually explored that definition and how many time keep and carry were listed regarding arms in the colonial times.

    I suggest you read the Heller decesion carefully again. Reasonable does not mean to ban firearms as DC did regarding handguns. Plus NF and BLM allows handguns according to state law.

    As a citizien I have the right to own and use arms for lawful purposes. If I can not carry a handgun then I can not use one for lawful pupose of self defense, That violate the purpose of the 2A. Now this decision did not get into the arguement for or against carry handgins in DC.The first step had to be declared that DC was in violation since they banned handguns and it was impossible to even register a handgun.

    Mr Heller did not request to carry but just the right to posess a handgun and to be able to register a handgun, That is why the registration was left in place since Heller did not argue against the registration. Many states do not have registration and that has not been declared allowed or not alllowed under the 2A. The are new cases against the registration that may or may not get to the Supreme Ct.

    Besides It is the law that NPS has to allow lawful carry as per the state laws. Tha law was signed on Friday by the President. It was voted in by a majority of the Senate and House. This will not effect any Dc parks since currently lawful carry by citizens except police is still banned. Also guns are not allowed in facilities under another regulation. At this time that is not being contested.

  • National Park Quiz 56: Memorials   5 years 21 weeks ago

    If you are going to tell the story, Anon, please tell the whole story. The ACLU has never argued that it is inappropriate to honor war veterans, or that there's anything wrong with a Latin cross, per se. What the ACLU has argued, and the lower courts have affirmed, is that it's inappropriate for a monument on Federal land to honor war veterans with only a Latin cross. This controversy will be resolved in the U.S. Supreme Court this year, so we should know soon enough how it will all shake out. This case will be watched very carefully because it'll be the Roberts Court's first chance to decide a lawsuit directly involving the First Amendment's establishment clause. BTW, this controversy isn't about honoring WW II vets. The first cross, which was erected in 1934, honored WW I vets. Subsequent ones are said to have honored all of America's war vets or Americans who died in military service.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 21 weeks ago

    If 281 fugitives choose to hide out in the USPP areas makes you wonder how many fugitives may be hiding out in the other areas, doesn’t it?

    No, it doesn't. USPP officers are based primarily, if not entirely, in the Washington metropolitan area, where the largest contingent of Park Police is located; in Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City; and in Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the city of San Francisco, California. These are all large metropolitan areas with crime rates far more significant than exist in other areas where the NPS operates.

    In more than a few instances these officers go outside NPS units to assist local authorities:

    * Members are frequently detailed to local and Federal task forces created to combat specific types of crimes.

    * Operating primarily in the District of Columbia and 10 surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia, this Unit targets the heads of mid-level street distribution organizations and wholesalers. The Unit also targets prostitution, open-air drug markets, and assists investigations in drug-related homicide cases.

    * Since 1985 the U.S. Park Police has been involved in the seizure and forfeiture of assets that have facilitated the illegal trafficking of drugs, represented the proceeds of such activity, are involved in any number of money-laundering violations, or are a combination of all three. In 1991, the U.S. Park Police became the only U.S. Department of the Interior entity to be recognized by the Department of Justice as a "Department Component" in its Asset Forfeiture Program.

    Even if the fugitives are arrested within NPS units in these cities, the settings are entirely unrelated to those found in Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Acadia, etc, etc, etc.

    To imply that the entire National Park System has crime rates equivalent to those found in New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., and to drop a murder tally on the national parks without noting that in more than a few cases these murders 1) occurred outside the park in which the bodies were dumped, 2) involved domestic disputes, or 3) were murder-suicides, seems to be little more than fear-mongering.

    And please don't misunderstand: I'm not saying crimes are not committed in national parks. And I think the data you offer merits further investigation. But it also needs to be placed in its proper context.

  • 8-Mile-Long Multi-use Path Opens in Grand Teton National Park On Saturday   5 years 21 weeks ago

    @RAH, rode the path last weekend (opening) and the path is actually GREAT! Roads in the park are narrow, poor shoulders, and overloaded with RV's. They were a lousy place for bikes. The path parallels the road, and is great to separate bikes from the cars. It is not a wheelchair path in any way. It is a great use of our parks to provide increased access for non-motorized visitors.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Re: Kurt Repanshek.

    you failed to complete the sentence from the report, which added that those numbers were compiled from "crimes committed on park lands and adjacent areas and captured 281 fugitives and wanted persons. (my emphasis).

    I left the statements incomplete and provided the link simply because I assume any interested party will take the time to review. That being said there was no reason for me to continue the point. However, since you feel the need to further examine them let us see what meaning we can put to them.

    1) If these numbers are correct then NPS is making essentially true and supportable statements used in their FY accountability report that is taken into consideration by congressional budget committees, otherwise… big trouble!
    2) FBI, DEA, US Marshall et al do not handle speeding tickets or disorderly conduct. Therefore arrests made by NPS personnel included all of the non Part 1 crimes also, so no direct correlation to clearing rates.
    3) NPS only reports felonies that were not turned over to other jurisdictional authorities to be investigated and reported by that jurisdictional authority.
    4) Operations are in some very metropolitan areas as well as rural areas. Therefore the breakdown of felonies versus non felonies will be very close to the general area. The FBI Unified Crime Report statistical rates should be applicable for any given city, state, or regional area across the country. More especially considering the shear depth of these records.
    5) NPS reported officially they handled a total of 5,992 felonies including a 24 murders and 299 aggravated assaults. Since the park rangers handled 4,400; 15; and 299 that means USPP had 1,592 felonies including 9 murders and 141 aggravated assaults in additional to the fugitives and wanted persons.

    If 281 fugitives choose to hide out in the USPP areas makes you wonder how many fugitives may be hiding out in the other areas, doesn’t it?

    Given that the Office of the Inspector General’s annual reports from 1981 to current addressing this issue conclude that the NPS stats are under reported what we are really engaged in here? Answer, an exercise to approximate the degree and since the IG say that USPP has been making significant progress in the last few years I am only going to do the bigger number here. Plus, we can assume the park rangers didn’t “go to town” to find crime.

    Re.: “park rangers reported more than 74,000 offenses with 20,000 arrests in 1996, you dropped the following sentence that noted that of those totals, 4,400 were felonies, "including 15 murders and 158 aggravated assaults."

    Based on 74,000 offenses that would statistically imply 27,000 felonies of which NPS handled 4,400 leaving 22,600 felonies reported and investigated by FBI et al. NPS did not report and turned over to other agencies an estimated 22,600 felonies. If these felonies have any direct relation to the NPS supplied ratios 15/4400 and 158/4400 would imply that NPS turned over to other agencies felonies including 77 murders and 811 aggravated assaults for deposition by those agencies. That data would then be collected into the UCR for the region and not show up in official NPS felony statistic, showing up only in the accountability reports at budget time. This tells me that someone at NPS is tasked with keeping these other data strictly for non crime related purposes... maybe funding requests? Sure would like to see that file.

    Based on the foregoing the effective crime rate would be off for Part 1 crimes, or felonies if you prefer, by a factor of about 9. Using the highly touted crime index number of 1.65 and DOI’s last report of 14.5… 14.5/1.65 equals 8.78. Well, I am satisfied with my analysis here as being reasonably accurate.

    The other question here is “How understated are the meager data NPS has presented?” Based on the IG report USPP is working on it and making progress. However, their Part 1 crime rate is increasing when the rest of the country’s crime rate is decreasing. See DOJ/FBI “ Preliminary Semiannual Crime Report”, http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/2008prelim/table_1.html#top, for 2008. That begs a simple question- how can that be?

    Whether off by a little or a lot the point that is important here is this. Loud noise and emotional ploys rarely get funded or anything else except blow off as an irritant. NPS current budget is 2.5 billion dollars. Their ongoing costs are 2.1 billion and operating cost is 400 million. Anyone heard of a report by The Ranger Lodge titled "The Ten Most Dangerous National Parks." If you looked at some of the budget reports you would have realized that the budget committee has taken away 30 plus million dollars from the NPS operating budget one year because of this very type of nonsense. On the other hand some individual parks (see that Ranger Lodge report for clues) received several million dollars additional funding just for security and law enforcement that year. Those parks did not have to divert other park operating funds to security and LE as some parks had to do.

    With this pending law going into effect in nine months now would be a great time to get this new administration, congress, and the states behind putting NPS on FBI UCR properly. A simple executive order is all it would take. NPS crime stats should be handled just like the rest of the country. We would know the answers to all the discussed questions. When it comes budget time LE funds, assets, and resources could be allocated where they are needed. Park managers would not need to divert other program funds to security and LE efforts in their parks. That’s a win-win situation.

    This new law is a done deal! If we can get some people over their own rhetoric of a 1.65 crime rate and no problem mentality this could be good all the way round. I have covered this with the officials I know and made my case there. I have other things on my agenda I’d like to see accomplished in my lifetime. Therefore, I am done with this topic here. If interested or concerned enough, there are other email addresses that can be written to. So, what are you going to do now?

  • National Park Quiz 56: Memorials   5 years 21 weeks ago

    THis is nice but no mention of the 3 crosses in Mojave National Perserve that were erected to honor WWII vets but the ACLU wants to have removed. I guess the ACLU doesn't care about honoring WWII vets!

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 21 weeks ago

    RAH -
    The existing NPS regulations could be viewed as reasonable restrictions on the right to bear arms. You can argue that it was in violation of the 2nd Amendment, but that was never proven in court. Heller, while an extremely important case, was not on point regarding the NPS regulation. In fact, if you read the decision, the Supreme Court notes that some reasonable restrictions are constitutional. You may believe that the department or the agency should have shared your perspective on this issue, but that is a far cry from them declaring themselves sovreign and not subject to the Constitution.

    In regards to the implementation of the new law, there is little choice in the matter, since the law itself says: "This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall become effective 9 months after the date of enactment of this Act, except as otherwise specifically provided in this Act." Since there was no specific provision for an earlier enactment of Section 512, dealing with guns in parks and refuges, it is effective in 9 months, as directed by Congress. It is not up to the agency or the Department.

    You offer no evidence for the assertion that "NPS has been reluctant to instigate the change, thinking they were special". You might be able to cite a chronology of events to support the former, but I would challenge you to prove the phrase "thinking they were special".

    Your arguments would be better supported by better facts, logic, and spelling.

  • National Park Quiz 56: Memorials   5 years 21 weeks ago

    You're welcome, Bob. Needed every point I could get on this one and still barely avoided having to enroll in your course. I enjoy your challenges. Keep 'em coming.

  • National Park Quiz 56: Memorials   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Good catch, RoadRanger. I've revised the quiz item involved. Thank you very kindly.

  • Yellowstone National Park's Wolf Population Down More than 25 Percent   5 years 21 weeks ago

    what is there to do to help stop the decreasing of the wolf population? theres got to be way to help.

  • National Park Quiz 56: Memorials   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Can you cite a source for your answer re the King Memorial? I can't find anything on the Internet indicating the King family/King Center has returned $800,000 they collected from the foundation for use of King's words and image in fund raising activities.

  • Mud Snares 19-Year-Old At Cuyahoga Valley National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    LOL!
    I'll give ya a first hand tabloid style report here in few weeks.
    (If I make it out of Yosemite alive!)
    :-)

  • Mud Snares 19-Year-Old At Cuyahoga Valley National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Yup, if it weren't for visitors getting into one sort of trouble or another in the parks we'd have nothing to write about. If you were really interested in helping us, Random Walker, you'd quit pounding your keyboard and go get zapped, fried, toasted, flattened, bitten, submerged, trapped, or stranded.

  • Mud Snares 19-Year-Old At Cuyahoga Valley National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Mud Snares 19-Year-Old!
    Lightning Strike Injures Four Appalachian Trail Hikers!
    Search Suspended for Missing Climber on Mount McKinley!
    Zion National Park Officials Close Middle Echo Canyon!
    Body of Penn State Student Recovered from Stream!
    Dead Carp at Lake Mohave!
    Hiker Dies at Death Valley National Park!
    Tips for Staying Alive in National Parks!

    Wow, this place is getting better than scanning the tabloids at the supermarket checkout counter!

    :-)

  • Are Blue Ridge Parkway's Historic Guardrails At Risk?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I was shocked to see how many miles of fragile high and rare ecosystems had been destroyed by the building of the Parkway. I think the prudent move would be to remove all the guardrails and then removing the pavement and beginning the daunting task of rehabilitating the road cuts and parking lots.

  • National Park Quiz 56: Memorials   5 years 21 weeks ago

    That was a very interesting quiz, even though I didn't know any of the answers...:D.

  • New Gun Regulations for National Parks, Wildlife Refuges Won't Take Effect for Nine Months   5 years 21 weeks ago

    The second amendment gives me the right to carry a gun. I have a ccw permit and do not understand why the people in DC think they can overide the Consistution.
    The only people who want citizens are criminals, anti gun nuts and polititions.
    If the criminals think I may be armed then they will leave me alone.
    Why doesn't NPS list all crimes comitted in the parks and brake them down by type and force used?

  • Tricky Conditions Lead Zion National Park Officials to Temporary Close Middle Echo Canyon to Visitors   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Good information and good call by the superintendent.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I have read all the comments and I will state that I do not bike trails. I am have hiked and I am a horseback rider. I have not ridden NPS on horseback since it takes too much time to get there. Plus horses do tremendous damage to trails. In order to ride rough land we have to the horse shod on all 4 hooves and that means 4 steel shoes.

    However as a person who was active in creation of the Wilderness Areas and upkeep of the AT and trail network I will say that the big trail networks were a result of people who enjoyed that activity.

    Mountain biking is a new activity and like hikers they want access to the trails. It seems the PCT is ideal trail and if bike trails end on it is inevitable that bike will use it to get from one trail to another.

    From an equestrian point of view I do not like bikes or hikers on the trails, there is a big chance of injury to either. I have run into kids on country trails who thought it fun to ride after horses, They did not find it fun when I turn around and road after them. But idiots aside, many riders also ride at speed and there is possibility of danger to others on the trail. Hikers sometimes act foolishly and horses spooked, can kick, Bikers are moving fast also can run into people and spook horses. I do not want to be responsible for a biker getting injured I will pull all the way off any trail when I run into other users. Horses get restless and can hurt others. Of course, I can also get thrown, but I took that risk when I mounted my horse. However my wishes do not dictate the use of trails by other people.

    My point is that if there is a large group that want access to the NPS lands they will lobby for changes in trail designation and get trails built for them. The NPS is designed for recreation and use so visitors can enjoy the beauty either in a car, from horseback, rafting, canoeing, climbing or hiking. Accommodating to bikers is just another group to use the parks.

    I disagree that NPS is solely to be enjoyed as Kurt indicates. There has been a lot of push to accommodate the disabled and I agree with that. But that involves more development. Thankfully the NPS are large and can accommodate the visitor that wants peace and quite and the person who will roll down a paved trail in their wheelchair. There are a variety of NP’s that are more primitive and some that are more developed to accommodate different users.

    Bikers will get more clout and get more access and as bikers get older they will slow down and impress greater responsibility on newer bikers. That is the way any new sport happens, an upsurge and then it slows down.

    Bikes were not in the picture when the PCT was designated but any new cross-country trail will have to deal with multiuse.

    Foe those who want to expand trails in this country I suggest you ally with bikers, as they have been very successful in getting new trail development. Rather than users of trails fight over their slice of the pie, figure how to get the pie bigger and work with each other than fight

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 21 weeks ago

    The NPS had a regulation restricting carry in violation of the 2nd amendment. They were active in trying to avoid the change in regulations and they are now delaying implementation for 9 months. So yes, I believe that most of the NPS believes they have sovereign rights to create their own regulations and it did not matter that it violated the consitution. They are part of DOI under the executive branch and have to abide by Constitution restrictions like all other agencies. Once Heller was decided in the affirmnative all agencies should have started thinking about the consequences of regulations that restrict the 2A. NPS regulations have been under review because of the problems that CCW holders had in crossing NPS roads and territory oy commutterspn their way to work. Since more people are exercisingtheir 2A rights, any regulation that contravenes that right should be rethought. NPS has been reluctant to instigate the change, thinking they were special. NPS lands are special but the regulations are not There is no reason to restrict the rights of American within NPS lands and that includes carry of handguns.

    All the arguemnents have been red herrings. Poaching, vandalism, rckles shooting are all still prohibited.
    Now residents will have the right retored to carry in the backcountry or carry concealed if they have a permit.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 21 weeks ago

    A lot people just don't get it. There's no excpetion to gun rights in the 2nd Amendment. It doesn't say "you an own or carry a gun everywhere except on NPS land." You left-wing nuts think you can ignore the law whenever it suits your fancy. Newsflash: these wild lands were tamed and explored by people with guns. Guns are what kept (and still keep) people from getting killed from wild animals and criminals. Amount of crime in parks, etc is all a red herring. This about the law and NPS rules violated the law. If you think you are Jet Li or some sort of wizard and can defend yourself from grizzlies and killers with a twig, have at it. The rest of will return to common sense, which is the law of the land.

  • Backcountry Repairs, Cleanup Scheduled For Mammoth Cave National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    We just got back from Mammoth Cave and while we saw trees down, it wasn't as bad as we expected with the photos we had seen. No trails we hiked on were closed or rerouted...though we didn't get much into the backcountry. Good to see that they are able to not only clean up after the storms but to add new features.