Recent comments

  • Updated: Searchers Spot Missing Backpackers On Ledge In Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I can not believe all of you can only talk about the cost it took to save these 3 men. Thats whats wrong with society today... while these 3 were trying to survive, all you can think about is who is getting paid. I'm soooo happy that they all are ok. I see one of these men every day, and I couldnt imagine what it would be like to know that anything happened to them... i dont care how much it should costs... the lives of those 3 should not have a dollar amount attached to it.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 26 weeks ago

    As a hiker and a mountain biker, I see no reason why hiking, equestrian, and mountain biking can't share the wilderness. We all love being in nature, which is why we enjoy these activities. I have encountered rude people in each of these camps. Rudeness is not a trait exclusive to mountain bikers as politeness is not exclusive to hikers. I have scene hikers stray from marked trails and fail to leave no trace. The key here is that we try to understand each others concerns, be respectful of others & the land, and work toward shared goals. We have many more shared goals than different ones. As naturalists, we have plenty of enemies of the environment with become balkanized amongst ourselves.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Random Walker,

    Thanks for clarifying the origins of the CDNST and addressing the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

    The GDMBR is a mapped route that roughly follows the path of the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. This route is mostly dirt roads, some pavement and very little of the actual Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. Too often the conservation community has stated that being excluded from the CDNST because we have the GDMBR should not upset bicyclists. The “route” is in no way, shape or form a substitute for continued bicycle access to the CDNST. It is not even close to the same experience. Random Walker – you should be happy to enjoy the paved path because it is the same experience as the remote, alpine trail. No issues – right?

    Concerning the CDTA’s position statement on bicycles – it really says nothing and commits to even less. It completely sidesteps the issue of continued bicycle access to this national treasure. Even more concerning is the recent removal of references to bicycles in the CDTA’s communications and marketing materials. Why? From where does this mandate originate?

    From CDTA position statement - “However, since mountain biking is not a form of motorized travel, the CDTA believes that mountain bikers should have qualified access to the Continental Divide Trail outside of Wilderness and National Parks under certain restrictive guidelines whereby both physical and visual impacts would be kept at a minimum and the Trail’s primitive and aesthetic values are protected.”

    Okay – so what’s the problem? It seems that quiet, non-motorized bicycles that have a similar impact to trails as hiking, considerably less that pack animals, fit nicely into this description. Or is it the primitive and aesthetic value thing – fear of lycra or what? Let me tell you – when I see hikers with brightly anodized walking poles or black cowboy hats and pearly buttons, my backcountry day is ruined! Come on?!

    “The CDTA recognizes that a foremost concern of managing the Trail must be the immediate personal safety of all users, and mountain bikers will be expected to always share in that responsibility.”

    And so? I would hope that ALL users share OUR PUBLIC LANDS with everyone’s SAFETY considered, respected and cheerfully honored. In my extensive experience out on the CDNST, the bicyclists are not the users that have a problem sharing responsibly.

    Concerning the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail Comprehensive Plan:

    A few observations:

    In the original language of the 1978 National Parks and Recreation Act that established the CDNST states “one of the PRIMARY purposes for establishing the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail would be to provide hiking and horseback access to those lands where man's impact on the environment has not been adverse to a substantial degree and where the environment remains relatively unaltered.”

    The word PRIMARY is important here. It does not say EXCLUSIVE.

    This Comprehensive Plan that was released October 5th, 2009 concludes:

    “The Agency is adding the following statements under ``Recreation
    Resource Management Along the CDNST,'' Chapter IV(B)(5), in the 2009
    CDNST Comprehensive Plan:

    Manage the CDNST to provide high-quality scenic, primitive
    hiking and pack and saddle stock opportunities. Backpacking, nature
    walking, day hiking, horseback riding, nature photography, mountain
    climbing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are compatible with
    the nature and purposes of the CDNST. Bicycle use may be allowed on
    the CDNST (16 U.S.C. 1246(c)) if the use is consistent with the
    applicable land and resource management plan and will not
    substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the CDNST.”

    In reading through this entire blog and watching the national trends, I believe that the cycling proponents have made a compelling case of the appropriateness of continued bicycle use on our wild PUBLIC, backcountry trails including the CDNST. The presence of bicycles on the CDNST does not interfere with nature any more that hikers or equestrians. Using the argument of potential conflict between user groups to ban one group is no way to manage our public lands. Education, respect and the ability to share is the democratic answer. If it comes down to individual users not wanting to share their (w)ilderness experience with bicycles, might I recommend a trip to any of our National Parks or Wilderness areas that offer thousands of miles of trails leading to millions of acres of bicycle-free opportunities.

    Bring bicyclists into the fold and we all benefit from an expanded, invested and motivated conservation constituency. Together we can share for the good of all!

  • Wolf Biologist Killed In Plane Crash in Denali National Park, Pilot Survived   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I am appalled at Priscilla Feral's comments. There are two sides to Predator Control. Those of us that understand that have no desire to have anyone on the FOA side die like this. Priscilla your hateful about those who disagree with your views are to be expected. Why not just grieve a lost peer and stop attempting to express the views of hunters and trappers; which you could not possibly know or understand?

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I was thinking that Lynne was meaning the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route?

    Anyway, concerning your statement of bikes on the CDT Highest Trail (not verified), the CDT was not "conceived and sanctioned by Congress to include bicycles." Here is a Position Statement from the CDTA on mountain bike use of the CDT.

    (Approved February 20, 1997) When the CDT was added to the National Trails System in 1978, mountain biking had not yet appeared on the horizon as a question in public land management. Accordingly, no legislative history was established by Congress with respect to mountain biking on the Trail, nor has formal consideration ever been given by stewards of the CDT to this relatively new recreational activity, except that Federal land management agencies prohibit mountain biking in designated Wilderness Areas and National Parks, and, therefore, on segments of the Trail which pass through designated Wilderness Areas and National Parks. However, since mountain biking is not a form of motorized travel, the CDTA believes that mountain bikers should have qualified access to the Continental Divide Trail outside of Wilderness and National Parks under certain restrictive guidelines whereby both physical and visual impacts would be kept at a minimum and the Trail’s primitive and aesthetic values are protected. In reaching this decision, the CDTA recognizes that a foremost concern of managing the Trail must be the immediate personal safety of all users, and mountain bikers will be expected to always share in that responsibility.

    Forest Service
    Continental Divide National Scenic Trail Comprehensive Plan
    October 5, 2009

  • Behind the Lens With a National Park Photographer   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Nice stuff, inspiring, but it reminds me of what a poor photographer I am. And yet, even so, when I come back from my park trips I get compliments on my shots. The trick, I tell everyone, is not that I'm any good, but that I go to interesting and beautiful places. "That's why they're national parks," I add, just in case they miss the point.

  • Elk Herd at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Surpasses 100 In Number   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I visited the park in July of this year & was lucky enough to view an elk. He was eating grass in a field north of Cherokee, NC. A ranger was there protecting the area. I was so tickled as I had never seen an elk. I took pictures of him on my cell but forgot to save them because I was so excited. I was so disappointed! Anyhow, it was truly was a wonderful experience for me.

  • Lost to Hurricanes, the Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park Will be Hard to Replace   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I am sad to learn this place is gone. I had a nice solo stay there many years ago, and was planning to go there next month with two little kids and their mom - to show them an interesting place. We will still go to the Everglades, of course, but will miss the chance to stay in this historic, quirky, "all American" place. (I remember the screens around the pool, and the walkways between buildings.)

  • Behind the Lens With a National Park Photographer   5 years 26 weeks ago

    This video has made my day and has given me much renewed energy in seeing nature with fresh eyes. Thanks Kurt and Mr.Shive for sharing.

  • Wolf Biologist Killed In Plane Crash in Denali National Park, Pilot Survived   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I met Gordon Haber briefly at a wolf conference and was fascinated by his love and enthusiasm for the wolves.
    As the editor of the German Wolf Magazin I have written a few articles about him and admired his work.
    We all from the wolf communities worldwide will miss him a lot.

  • By the Numbers: Crater Lake National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    2: the number of sewage spills that have contaminated munson creek, crater lake's drinking water supply

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 26 weeks ago

    On ages, I first fell in love with the mountains and parks in my early teens. I'm 60 now. There are many people every day in the parks on the scale between my first and my most recent age and older. Seeing older or younger people around are simply a matter of perspective.

    On spirituality, now, I plead guilty. I have Rainier on my horizon here in Seattle and am inspired every time I see it. I defy anyone to gaze upwards in the Grove of the Patriarchs and not feel it to be a cathedral. I'm no elitist, though. I don't care if a Harley rider is parked next to me, as long as he turns his ignition off. I don't care if a Hare Krishna is on the other side, as long as he doesn't keep chanting while there.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Lynne,

    Thanks for your insights and suggestions.

    By Great Divide I take you to mean the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail that runs down the spine of the Rockies from Canada to Mexico.

    Unlike the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails that bans bicycles, the CDNST was conceived and sanctioned by Congress to include bicycles. We are presently allowed to ride where it doesn't pass through designated Wilderness areas. Unfortunately there is a movement 'a foot' that seeks to remove bicycles from this iconic trail. The CDNST by design and concept is truly the holy grail of what is mountain bicycling. We as the cycling community need to go-to-the-mat to protect our ability to ride this trial.

    It is a national travesty and embarrassment that the ability to ride a bicycle on the CDNST is not already permanently protected in its entirety by Congressional decree! It is disappointing and short sighted of those individuals and organizations who claim to support the CDNST in concept to distance themselves from the enormous conservation group found in the bicyclists.

    BOGUS!

    Captcha - "Shared Vision"...

  • Wolf Biologist Killed In Plane Crash in Denali National Park, Pilot Survived   5 years 26 weeks ago

    My thoughts and prayers are with Gordon's friends and families. Having talked to him a few times I realize that much of what he says makes sense. And having driven the park road over the last few years wolves are now seen and enjoyed with great regularity. I have met many who want to see a wolf more than the bear or the mountain. May that opportunity continue! Thanks for your efforts on the behalf of wolves and a sensible ecology Gordie! Bo and Sharon--hello from someone who worked with you many years ago in Denali.

  • Wolf Biologist Killed In Plane Crash in Denali National Park, Pilot Survived   5 years 26 weeks ago

    It is a sad day for the Park, but Gordon died doing what he loved best. We should all be so lucky. To those of you who care about his mission, carry on in his place. We hope to be there soon to do the same.

  • Is It "Elitist" To Try to Visit All 58 National Parks?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Years ago I resolved to visit all 50 states and had visited about 45 of them by the time I graduated from college. I got to Alaska in 1995 and thereby completed the quest. I'm glad I did it. I learned a lot about the country socially (especially during thousands of miles of hitchhiking) and saw a lot of scenery. Except when hitchhiking, I stuck to two-lane roads whenever I could do so without crawling through suburbs or densely settled areas. That meant that west of, say, Ohio I was able to avoid freeways almost all the time. I still avoid them as much as time permits.

    I've also been to all Canadian provinces except Prince Edward Island (which I saw from a distance across the frozen sea in the 1970s). I learned a lot about Canada too, y compris le Québec. I do need to visit the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

    Whether visiting all of the national parks is a worthwhile goal I don't know, but it sounds like it would be unless one only drove into the visitor center parking lot and then moved on.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I think it would be best to focus on what the land needs, rather than categorizing users by their preferred means of travel. I bike, I hike, I kayak, and I ride horses. No nature enthusiast wants to see a wilderness area overused or misused by any group. If an area is damaged by recreation, then attention should be paid to making a sustainable trail, or limiting use by issuing only a limited number of camping permits or even by closure to all users during some periods.

    High-traffic looped bike trails would not be any more appropriate than an exercise trail or a paved jogging track in a wilderness. Not all mountain bike rides are the fast, loud events that one sees on the TV. People of all ages like to go for a peaceful ride away from the cars in a place where they can soak in nature's beauty. All over the country there are smooth thin ribbons of trail, lovingly maintained by volunteer riders. I hope cyclists will not be discriminated against and no longer allowed to use important routes such as the Great Divide.

  • By the Numbers: Crater Lake National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Cycle Oregon, an annual bicycle tour, included Crater Lake in 2007. I was fortunate to be on the ride. The Crater Lake day began at Diamond Lake north of the park and ascended road leading to the rim with an option to circle the rim road. It was a beautiful ride. The weather was cool and sunny, and the crater was in its full glory. It really is a fantastic park.

  • Cades Cove Loop Road at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Set for a Major Redo Next Spring   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I visited Cades Cove last spring and the road almost reminded me of the Badlands in the Dakotas. It would be nice to make it a little wider so there could be a dedicated bike lane all day. I would also like to see dedicated buses that do the route to reduce the volume of traffic.

  • Plane Missing at Denali National Park and Preserve With Noted Wolf Biologist Aboard   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Regardless of whether or not you agreed with Haber's viewpoint, you had to respect his commitment and tenacity. He helped to counterbalance those who believe the only good wolf is a dead wolf. His voice will be missed.

  • Updated: Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Parks Release Winter-Use Plan That Reduces Snowmobile Numbers   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Believe it or not, it has been proven that air quality is worse in West Yellowstone and at Old Faithful in the Winter than it is in July! Regarding animals: Well fed, healthy animals in the summer are not bothered nearly as much by all the cars and people as half starved, freezing animals desperate to conserve energy are by snowmobiles and snowcoaches when it's thirty below zero, and most food sources are buried under several feet of snow.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Zeb...touche! Have a good and safe weekend.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Anonymous, we'll have to agree to disagree. I'd rather simply my ride my bike (under 30# with knobby tires) while you chew up the trails with your cleated boots and your heavy backpack. :) (all in jest).

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 26 weeks ago

    To each his own Zeb! I'll hump the brush with my fifty pound pack and you can chew up the trails and with your super cleated bike tires. I enjoy biking just as much as the next mountain biker but not in nature's pristine backyard. It looks to me now our backyard is becoming another potential commodity junkyard for every commercial selling hooker. Just my opinion. Why can't we keep things simple with nature and with life?

  • Is It "Elitist" To Try to Visit All 58 National Parks?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Keith Goetzman can go suck a lemon.

    When I was a kid, I loved roadtrips. Sitting up in the front seat next to dad, listening to the radio, reading the map as we went along. Always loved looking at maps...

    When Reagan was president, there was some concern that the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua would welcome fleets of russian tanks, and that it was just a '4 day drive' from Nicaragua to Texas. I remember thinking "4 days from Texas to Nicaragua, huh? Cool..."

    I have been to 315 of the 391 units of the National Park System. I believe that my life has been affected deeply by the experiences I've had in traveling to them, and will continue to visit units of the National Park System and also visit National Forests, National Wildlife Preserves, Bureau of Land Management areas, State Parks, and Indian lands. I also like lighthouses, museums, ghost tours, old churches, weird roadside stuff. (I'm actually going to go to the Creation Museum that Bill Maher went to in 'Religulous' in Kentucky, not far from Cincinnati. On their website they mention that they're "within a day’s drive of about two-thirds of the U.S. population.") Thats just the U.S. I've camped in and explored historic sites and national parks across Canada and Mexico. The lessons I've learned about this whole continent, land, people, history, culture, humbles me. Elitist? I feel that there's so much more to learn and see, and I will continue to explore and learn as best I can.

    Tell Keith Goetzman to go pick on people who are out there trying to bag all the Hard Rock Cafe's, not people who go to our National Park System.