Recent comments

  • Building with Notorious History in Death Valley National Park Burns in Mysterious Fire   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I don't understand the reasoning for even wanting to restore a place that has been connected to a mass murderer. Does it have any other significant historical value?

  • A Tough Week for Hikers and Mule Riders at Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Anonymous -

    Sadly, it's true that three young men jumped into the river on Thursday, April 30, with tragic results. That incident was covered in a separate story in the Traveler which has now dropped off the home page, so I didn't mention it again here.

    That search and recovery mission began on the days between the two described in the above story about the hiker and mule rider, illustrating the demanding job rangers have at Grand Canyon - and many other parks.

  • Building with Notorious History in Death Valley National Park Burns in Mysterious Fire   5 years 20 weeks ago

    It is truly sad when a site like this is lost whether by vandals or just a careless act. Everyone losses out, not only the place that is damaged but as time has proven other areas end up being closed to access also. At 51 years old, I know of hundreds of places my kids will never have the opportunity to experience nor will I ever be able to return to with them. That is the real loss for everyone as many times it leads to over protection of a remote area.

  • A Tough Week for Hikers and Mule Riders at Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 20 weeks ago

    my wife was below the area where the mule stumbled - she saw the helicopter etc. but she said she heard that there were 3 kids that jumped from a bridge into the river earlier in the week or last week maybe and died - is that true? just curious.
    thanks

  • Mark Your Calendars: ABC TV's 20/20 To Explore Billing Search-and-Rescue Subjects This Friday   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Double jeopardy in legal terms is the liability to be prosecuted twice for the same crime. We the taxpayers pay for the search and rescue equipment and employees and now you want us to pay again? Ridiculous! And who makes the determination that a person was careless?

    Anyone in government or SAR who feel over utilized or underpaid should find another line of work instead of consistently going into the taxpayers pocket.

  • Grand Canyon National Park Rangers Scaling Back Search For Two Missing in Colorado River   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Saif, Praying day by day for a miracle. stay strongg. ♥

  • Grand Canyon National Park Rangers Scaling Back Search For Two Missing in Colorado River   5 years 21 weeks ago

    No offence, but when you knew saif like me and my whole school did, you would know that all he ever did was help others. we only knew him for a year, and then he moved to arizona. yes he made a mistake, but were all grieving for him. <333

  • Grand Canyon National Park Rangers Scaling Back Search For Two Missing in Colorado River   5 years 21 weeks ago

    We all love you saif!!! were all praying for you and waiting for you too come home!! <3333 everyone at sterling heights high are thinking of you!! come home soon! we love youu!!!

  • Mark Your Calendars: ABC TV's 20/20 To Explore Billing Search-and-Rescue Subjects This Friday   5 years 21 weeks ago

    YES, I believe those that are rescued following deliberate acts of disobeying warning signs or verbal cautions should be held liable for all costs associated with their rescue, as well as being given fines and restrictions on future access to those and similar sites. If these costs cause a financial burden, perhaps they won't do it again? Why (and when?) did we stop holding persons responsible for their own actions? Why also do these people not think of the consequences of their actions on other people? Is this a symptom of a lack of respect for others, as well as for themselves?

    It might be difficult, however, to distinguish between those that were simply unfortunate and caught in dangerous conditions accidentally and those that did things deliberately, so we will have to cater (once again!) to the rule-breaking minority and make costs apply to all. At least in this way, those of the country that don't indulge at all in outdoor activities are not having to pay for those that do through taxes...a small ray of sunshine, perhaps.

    I have been an avid hiker for over 15 years and know there are dangerous places out there. I take caution and am fully aware and willing to take responsibility for my own actions. I have health insurance, which applies if I get hurt and I have been hurt while on my "adventures", even while taking precautions. I have a friend that once required rescue due to having had an accident resulting in a broken bone and the inability to walk. Accidents do happen. Should I ever get into a situation that requires formal rescue, I want that to be an option for me and I will gladly pay if I need to. Perhaps there could/should be a general cost for insurance required at places known to have a higher degree of danger than others, with the addition of fines for cases where it can be determined that those rescued have blatantly ignored the rules?

  • National Research Council Blasts Park Service Report on Oyster Farming at Point Reyes National Seashore   5 years 21 weeks ago

    As stated, it is potential wilderness. It could stay that way with the oyster farm continuing. Just because something is potential wilderness, does not mean it has to become wilderness. They could manage it as defacto wilderness and everything would be ok. A label does not actually do anything.

  • Mark Your Calendars: ABC TV's 20/20 To Explore Billing Search-and-Rescue Subjects This Friday   5 years 21 weeks ago

    This question forces Americans to ask themselves--are we a team or aren't we? How far should the team spirit go? Taxpayers spend trillions of dollars for public employees and have to pay legal and settlement costs when they make mistakes. Public buildings and public universities spend billions--just on landscaping, and most people in the general public will never see these places. Should we spend any less on ourselves? If we billed for search-and-rescue, where would the money go--landscaping? Some families are already being hurt by $400+ traffic citations. Do we really want to ruin families with search-and-rescue fees--take everything they have and put them out on the street? If that's the case, should public workers also pay for reckless behavior when on the job?

  • Does the National Park Service Need a Quota System for Peak Seasons?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    One of the primary functions of the National Park Service is visitor use management. We have 391 park units collecting data 391 different ways. Until we can get an accurate description of who, what, when and why our visitors are visiting it makes it a mute point to discuss long term solutions. Far to often we fail in our visitor use management strategies with short lived solutions that lead to significant operational problems that have significant impacts on the heros that greet our visitors each and every day. Having completed multiple traffic control shifts at the Lower Yosemite Falls intersection that required me to ice my elbow at night well over 10 years ago, it makes me sad when I see a park service employee doing the same thing. What about a traffic light? What about a pedestrian bridge? All way to controversial in a Crown Jewel. Get your traffic vest, water bottle and whistle.

  • Grand Canyon National Park Rangers Scaling Back Search For Two Missing in Colorado River   5 years 21 weeks ago

    miss u saif hope a safe return were praying for u buddy please come back we all miss u

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    HA. bears are THE biggest predator on LAND.. and people give them food. theres a reason they dont fear us.. i for one have no problem with wolves.. do not percieve them as a threat.. and i do not play with fire as in going to veiw bears and feed them. if i moved to alaska i would go with my ccw. and should a bear try to attack me.. whether i was in my car, at my house or throwing away trash. i would shoot it. dead. period. bears are not predictable.. and will turn on you in a split second. why do you defend them?

  • Does the National Park Service Need a Quota System for Peak Seasons?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Having been a manager in several national park sites in administration, budgeting and strategic planning, I can assure you that the big parks are NOT underfunded. My last stint was with Yosemite and they have so much money that they cannot perform the necessary EIS planning to spend it - leaving tens of millions on the table every year.

    Recreation Fee monies are quickly becoming a bane to the big parks. There's only so much money you can spend, only so many development / redevelopment projects to undertake, only so many employees to rationalize the spending through planning efforts.

    In any case, you cannot spend your way out of a finite resource (or damage created by recreational overuse).

    Rationing is the future.

  • Bear #399, And Other Grizzlies, Are On the Prowl In Grand Teton National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I saw her last June, I am returning to Grand Teton in August I hope she will be around

  • Grand Canyon National Park Rangers Scaling Back Search For Two Missing in Colorado River   5 years 21 weeks ago

    You don't know the circumstances. Knowing Saif personally, I can easily say he was the nicest guy I have ever met. If you died like this, would you want people saying stuff like that about you? And also basically mimicing you? Get some maturity, grow up. You must'nt have a concience.

  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Lands Windfall In Donation of Historic Buildings, Memorabilia   5 years 21 weeks ago

    It is true that they have no original artifacts from the building in 1898. However, nor did they have anything for the Mascot Saloon, yet they completely recreated EVERYTHING in the saloon to match the way it looked in 1910. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park has little devoted to the most famous character in the history of the city, and in fact has no buildings (to my knowledge) devoted, inside and out, to the 1898 era, like that of the Mascot display (1910). In my opinion, the best plan would be to restore the Parlor to the way it looked when Soapy owned it, and place the Rapuzzi collection in any other building. As I have said before, people write me every year expressing their disappointment in not being able to go inside "Soapy's saloon." I am not sure of the Park's exact plans but I am sure many Soapy fans will be somewhat disappointed that the building represents anything other than Soapy Smith.

    I have been inside the Parlor when Rapuzzi owned it, and then when Brown had it. I guess the most important thing is that it is still standing. It was beginning to lean to one side so thank goodness Brown finally sold it. I have actually made offers to buy the Parlor in the late 80s and 90s from her, and she once told me that she wanted enough from a sale "to sit in a rocker for the rest of her life." Glad it did not go the way of the Pullen Hotel. It will take close to a decade to complete the project and if I'm still around I'll have to drag myself up there for the opening day.

    Watch my sites below for the coming biography! Did you know Soapy was murdered? That Frank Reid did not kill him? Got to love history.

    Jeff Smith
    Soapy Smith website
    Soapy Smith blog

  • A Tough Week for Hikers and Mule Riders at Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    In 1998, me,the wife and 2 sons, ages 16 and 13, made the day trip on the mules to Plateau Point. The 13 yr old was freaking out on the way down but he made it. Although we felt safe on the mules, it did cause some anxious moments, as it should have.

    On the way down right before one of those 180 switch backs, my mule stumbled, went down to his knees, and then back up. It bout gave me the Big One, but we all made it and had a wonderful time. We still have our certificates that shows we made it down on the mules.

    11 years later we still talk about the trip. Unbelieveable.

  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Lands Windfall In Donation of Historic Buildings, Memorabilia   5 years 21 weeks ago

    It's my understanding the park has almost no original "stuff" from the building as it was in the gold rush when it was Soapy's, but that they have most of the stuff from the Itjen era, including animatronics(!!), so they're replicating the era that they have the actual artifacts for.

  • Floods Sweeping Gateways to Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve   5 years 21 weeks ago

    There is some amazing commentary on this flood on CBC's 'As It Happens,' which is the Canadian Broadcast Company's show out of Saskatechwan, that aired last night (MAY 6). It was a devastating description, with an interview with Andy Bassich, about a rescue. He says no one living has ever seen a break-up and flooding like this. Calls it a "once in a millennium flood" with a huge snowpack and now, unusually warm weather. He is shaken.

    link to listen to the show:
    [/url]http://www.cbc.ca/asithappens/latestshow.html

    This is for the May 6 show

  • Ill-Advised Leap from a Bluff Leads to a Challenging Rescue at Buffalo National River   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Thank you for your comment. It seems that what we thought was bad luck (else we would have not been where we were) was good luck for others.

  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Lands Windfall In Donation of Historic Buildings, Memorabilia   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Stephanie, although I understand that Itjen, Pullen, and perhaps even Rapuzzi are important to Skagway, their stories can be told in any building in Skagway, however, Jeff Smith's Parlor is uniquely Soapy. His story belongs in his old saloon.

    Jeff Smith
    author of Alias Soapy Smith, the Life and Death of a Scoundrel.
    Soapy Smith website
    Soapy Smith blog

  • Ill-Advised Leap from a Bluff Leads to a Challenging Rescue at Buffalo National River   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Mike -

    Thanks for sharing some details on the incident - and for your part in getting help en route to the correct location much sooner than would have been possible if you hadn't been there. The fact that you knew enough about the area to identify the location for the emergency responders made a big difference.

  • Ill-Advised Leap from a Bluff Leads to a Challenging Rescue at Buffalo National River   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I just found this good article and felt impelled to comment. Please forgive the introductory dialogue, but it helps explain a 180 degree perspective on this terrible accident. I happened to be in those woods that night and provided 911 the location information they were seeking. I have copied here a message I sent to a close friend:

    We had fun sort of. The trip was full of “challenges”. We got a late start Friday, but got to the trail head in time to be on schedule by Sunday. This means we still had plenty of time to hike 10.8 miles by Sunday, camping anywhere each night that looked good to us.

    The plan was to drop off both mules and all packs (people backpacks and mule packs) at the starting point, then 3 out of 7 of us took the two vehicles to the end point to drop off one truck and horse trailer at the end, returning in the other truck to the starting point. By road, the end point was only 5.3 miles from the starting point. But that 5.3 mile road had a horribly wet, muddy, steep hairpin turn going downhill toward the end point. We got the vehicles to the endpoint, but had to drive an hour on other roads back to the starting point because the 5.3 mile road was not passable going uphill, even with 4 wheel drive.

    So, we hit the trail much later than expected. We camped about 1 mile down the trail and finished dinner about 11pm. Right after that someone started yelling at us from out in the woods. After some very hesitant yelling dialogue, we found that it was a young man (early 20’s) alone with a prosthetic leg, totally lost. He didn’t have a map and didn’t even know what river and park he was in or near. He was very fear stricken. He had been with 8 other people way down the mountain from where we were at some water falls when one of his friends fell 70 feet out of a tree. The other 7 people were still with the victim, with no cell service down there. After some discussion, we figured out they were at the Hemmed-In Hollow Falls. There was cell service at our location and he called 911 and I gave him all the information on his current location and the location of his friends. Then, Doyle and I walked him up to a trail junction and showed him which way to go to get back to the trail head where he and friends had parked and where the emergency services were going. Soon after, a large helicopter made two passes over Hemmed-In Hollow with a bright slight shining down into the woods, below us down the mountain. We saw no more activity. I don’t know what time it was by then.

    At about 4am, I woke up and for some reason realized I didn’t remember locking my truck at the trail head. I checked and couldn’t find my keys. I woke up my 16 year old son who was in a one-man tent and asked him to go back to the trail head with me to check on the truck. So, we hiked the mile back up to the truck and the parking lot was full of emergency vehicles – police cars, park ranger vehicles, EMT’s, volunteers. Someone met us as we came out of the woods. There were 21 men down at Hemmed-In Hollow and they had the victim “packaged” and ready for evacuation. They were taking him to Henderson House down by the river for pickup by helicopter after day break. Bringing the victim back up hill, total of 3.7 miles of trail would have been nearly impossible because some parts are difficult when carrying nothing.

    Oh, we did find my truck unlocked with the keys in the ignition!

    We slept until 9am Saturday, a breakfast of pancakes and sausage, packed up, and headed out a little after noon. We had already made plans to shorten the overall hike from 10.8 miles to about 8 miles by using a different trail toward the end. The mules did great! We had an older one that is very calm and a young one off the farm for the first time, but she is typically very sweet and calm and well rehearsed with the packs. She did great until we got on a half mile dirt road to connect from one trail to another. 8-10 loud trail bikes came along. When they saw us, they stopped long enough for Doyle to lead the young mule off the road and tie her to a tree. All but one of the bikes passed slowly, but one guy couldn’t get his bike restarted at first. When he finally got it started, it revved WAY up. Foxy, the older mule I had, jumped a little, but relaxed. The young mule Doyle had tied to the tree jumped about a foot into the air when the engine revved, but was OK and very scared. After the traffic was gone, Doyle untied her and as he started to return to the road, they both got tangled in a vine and Doyle tripped. The mule panicked and took off in a dead run down the road toward myself and Foxy. I lead Foxy right in front of her and she came to a screeching halt and let me take her lead rope. She was fine after that, but nervous.

    We had plans to camp that night on the last trail leading to our end point. When we got to that trail, it was marked with a “no camping” sign. So, since it was almost dark, we got on the road and hiked straight to the endpoint. By the time we did the hour drive back to the starting point to get my truck, then back to the endpoint to pick up the rest of the guys and packs, then drove home, we got to my house at 1am and Doyle got home with the mules about 2am. We ended up hiking 7 miles (two of us had 9 miles in).

    Sunday morning, we were all glad we weren’t picking up a wet camp in that freezing wind!

    Most of us had a good time. A few had very sore feet or wet feet because the trails were holding a lot of water from recent rains and were very muddy. Doyle and I were very proud of the mules performance.

    We will plan things differently and more thoroughly next time!