Recent comments

  • Designations Just One Example of Disparities Within the National Park System. Web Sites Are Another   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Thanks for the insights from the inside, Tim. Providing templates is one thing, finding enough folks with the time to populate them is another;-)

    The additional multimedia content that more and more parks are providing hasn't been overlooked. Indeed, it's been a valuable resource for the Traveler and well-received by many of our readers.

    As you noted, the NPS stewards a wealth of information. Bringing much of that to the Internet is a great way to help educate and inform the public about those treasures in their backyards.

  • At the Lincoln Memorial, Marian Anderson Delivered an Easter Sunday Performance for the Ages   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing, LD. I never got the chance to see Marian Anderson perform, much less get to meet her personally. Wow! That anecdote about the piano pedal is a hoot. Marian had a tremendous stage presence and seemed to know how to handle any situation.

  • At the Lincoln Memorial, Marian Anderson Delivered an Easter Sunday Performance for the Ages   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Random, I didn't even know that Eleanor Roosevelt was a DAR member. Not surprising that she resigned. She was an activist on a lot of fronts and was never afraid to speak her mind. Quite a lady.

  • Sky Diving at Denali National Park? A Florida-Based Company Thinks It's a Great Idea   5 years 20 weeks ago

    At incredible-adventures website tickets are already on sale.
    Our Wilderness, National Monuments and Parks are not a commodity to be sold for profit by private elitist corporations.

  • Sky Diving at Denali National Park? A Florida-Based Company Thinks It's a Great Idea   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Mr Burnett failed to mention the reason for my confidence in our jump team. Jump leaders are former members of the elite US Special Forces and train NATO forces from around the world in military freefall. A special forces medic/flight surgeon will jump with every group. Staff are highly trained in wilderness survival and will jump with their own arctic survival gear. The jump equipment they use is the same equipment trusted by our US military. They have sophisticated GPS and communication systems. He also failed to mention that this is to be a one time event. There is no plan to do this again. This isn't a normal skydive and the costs and challenges are high.

    Last year, some of these same jumpers were the first to skydive over Mt Everest. Government officials there welcomed jumpers with open arms and encouraged organizers to come back. Another Everest Skydive is being planned for this October.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 20 weeks ago

    i'm headed back to grant grove in two weeks for work, and would be really disapointed if i have to listen to cell phones all summer. if you need your phone that bad, stay home and out of nature.

  • Injuries From Fall Prove Fatal to 73-Year-Old Hiker In Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I knew Robert and his wife, Judy. My wife and I have hiked many trails with them . They are excellent botanists and have wide knowledge of wildflowers in the southeast US. Knowing the two of them, I am sure they were on a hike to view pink and yellow ladyslippers which are known on that trail. I will miss Robert and his gentle kindness. My sympathies are with his family.

  • The Forge of Vulcan   5 years 20 weeks ago

    It is a classic. The guitar work in the background distinctly sets it apart as being made in the late 70's and early 80's. It was well written and very enjoyable. Thanks for making it available. I wonder how many such documentaries that have been made over the last century are lying in a vault or perhaps a cardboard box, waiting to be rediscovered. What treasures.

    Thanks,
    Don

  • At the Lincoln Memorial, Marian Anderson Delivered an Easter Sunday Performance for the Ages   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Not long before I managed to start a Park Service career in Yellowstone, I had the great privilege of attending the last public concert given by Marian Anderson in Cleveland, Ohio. Through a mix-up by the ticket office, my date and I were seated in about the fifth row center directly in front of the stage. Surrounding us were many dignitaries of the time including Roy Wilkins of the NAACP. As she sang, Ms. Anderson was acutely annoyed because every time her pianist stepped on one of the pedals below the piano, it squeaked badly. She finally stopped the concert while a stage hand came forth with an old-fashioned pump oil can, applied a few drops and stopped the squeaking. After the concert, Roy Wilkins invited my date and I backstage where we had the grand opportunity to meet and greet Marian Anderson.

    It was one of those always-to-be-remembered moments.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 20 weeks ago

    The attitude of the trauma nurse is understandable since they try to repair the damage done to a human from bullets. But the bullet and the gun is just the tool used b y the human. I really do not care about the bad person killed by gunfire, It doesn’t matter from gang warfare or not. I care about the innocent victim of bad people. I refuse to be that victim and believe in the right of self-defense. The best tool of self-defense for women and the elderly is the gun.

    This is totally unrelated to carry in NP. The fact is that I already have the ability to have a handgun or rifle in NP as long as they are stored and ammo store separately.

    Those that hate guns and focus all there negative feelings about damages from guns on the guns rather than the bad guy. They will feel that way no matter whether the carry is in the city or the park. Others do not feel that the parks and their neighborhoods require self-defense measures. I hope they are right. But the unfortunate fact is that death comes at inopportune times and places. And that has been by a murderer in parks, schools, and restaurants. The simple fact is that man does murder and wherever man is, the possibility of murder exists.

    The isolation of the NP reduces the chances of rescue by another person and thus the victim is required to depend on him or herself for rescue. If that rescue is from a bad man then a gun is a useful tool. If the rescue is from a fall then other tools may be needed. Being lost the tools are whistles and cell phones. These risks exist and we plan for the contingency.

    CCW holders plan for the human risk. Many others have no fears of the human risk. That is good. That means that most human interactions are positive rather than bad or malign

  • At the Lincoln Memorial, Marian Anderson Delivered an Easter Sunday Performance for the Ages   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Eleanor Roosevelt did more than speak up, she resigned from the DAR.
    Besides being at the forefront in the fight for civil rights,
    Eleanor Roosevelt also took a stand against the commercial exploitation of the redwoods in California.
    My kind of woman :-)

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Sends $15.2 Million to USGS Volcano Observatories to Improve Monitoring   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I'm not quite sure I understand your point, Nick. Are you implying that volcanoes in the U.S. don't really threaten to injure or kill tens of thousands of Americans -- that it's some sort of hoax? Are you implying that it's not the Federal government's business to warn people of impending danger to property and human lives?

  • Injuries From Fall Prove Fatal to 73-Year-Old Hiker In Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Sad, but there are worse ways to go.

  • The Forge of Vulcan   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Ah, great memories! Katmai is undoubtedly one of the most dramatic and awe inspiring places on earth.

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I once read that one way to visualize the earth's atmosphere is to think of a standard desk model of the earth. The atmosphere would be represented by a single coat of varnish on the globe. The envelop of gasses critical to life on earth is literally tissue paper thin. Now, imagine countless millions of tons of CO2, methane and other human generated greenhouse gasses being released into this amazingly thin layer. Can we impact our climate? The answer seems obvious.

  • Yellowstone and the Snowmobile: Locking Horns Over National Park Use   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I, too, will look for this book. The issue of snowmobiles in Yellowstone is only the tip of a much larger iceberg. Off-road vehicles (ORVs) and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are slicing and dicing ever expanding vast stretches of public lands across the nation. Conservation lands in Alaska are particularly impacted. This includes fragile parklands in Denali, Wrangell-St. Elias, Katmai, Gates of the Arctic, etc.. For those interested, Shredded Wildlands, published by the Sierra Club and Alaska Conservation Foundation addresses the ORV/ATV issue in Alaska. http://www.sierraclub.org/wildlands/ORV/shredded_wildlands.pdf

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I agree with the last few comments; I wish to articulate as such; patience over rides I wrote back about the inner city trauma nurse who evedently understands nothing about CWP

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Sends $15.2 Million to USGS Volcano Observatories to Improve Monitoring   5 years 20 weeks ago

    We got people out of work all around this country, and we waste 15.2 MIL on this crap?

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Sends $15.2 Million to USGS Volcano Observatories to Improve Monitoring   5 years 20 weeks ago

    The link to the USGS Cascades observatory in the story has a lot of information about Mount St. Helens. Although their services aren't specifically tied to NPS areas, a number of the volcanoes the observatories monitor happen to be located in parks.

    The USGS volcano observatories seem to provide a very useful function, and I trust the added funds will be used efficiently.

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Sends $15.2 Million to USGS Volcano Observatories to Improve Monitoring   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Don't forget Mount St. Helens, just because it is administrated by the forest service. On October 2 2004 the USGS issued a full blown level three alert about an imminent major eruption.[*] Fortunately the pressure was reduced by steam and ash venting and the uprising magma did not erupt but spilled slowly in form of dacite in a new lava dome.

    *http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/Cascades/CurrentActivity/2004/current_updates_20041002_volcano_alert.html

  • The Forge of Vulcan   5 years 20 weeks ago

    The "Forge of Vulcan" - now there's a great name for a place with volcanic activity!

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Not to meantion the insane bill sitting on the governor's desk in Montana. A bill that would eliminate the need for federal background checks and registration on guns that are made and sold in the state of Montana. My first question would be: Why in the world would any "law abiding citizen" object to a simple background check to verify that they are a "law abiding citizen" when purchasing a firearm? This will make Montana the "gun capitol" of America. If I were not a "law abiding citizen", I would surely buy my guns there. Indeed, if I were a crime "kingpin", I would set up a dealer there. Oh sure, these guns are not supposed to be transported out of the state, but exactly how is that going to be prevented? And, hey! The fact that these guns are being used to commit crimes in Miami or L.A. isn't Montana's problem. Right? My second question would be: Just what are Montanans afraid of? Or for that matter Idahoans or Wyomingites? Big rash of home invasions in Harve' or Lincoln that I haven't heard about? These states have pretty low violent crime rates compared to the National average. And that's not because of liberal gun laws; it's because of low population densities. Is it the feds themselves that they fear? Do they really think that the Obama "gestapo" is going to bang on their door and take away their guns? And if, in some sort of Bazarro world, that really did happen, do they really think that they would stop at the doors of those who had background checks or registrations? Or do they really think that they could stand up against federal tanks and military weapons with their hunting rifles and handguns? How'd that work out at Waco and Ruby Ridge, BTW?
    Thank goodness the Montana legislature only meets every two years!
    I worry that it will take another national tragedy, like Bobby Kennedy or Martin Luther King, for people to wake up and tides to turn again. People have just become numb to news stories about ten people shot and killed, or twenty or fifty seven. Unless they personally know one of the victims, they are just numbers.

  • Yellowstone and the Snowmobile: Locking Horns Over National Park Use   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Gerald Mernin, the ranger quoted above in Kurt's review of the book, is one of the most astute observers of Yellowstone. He spent almost his entire career in the park and loved it as much as anyone whom I know. He constantly fought against the trivialization of the park, recognizing that making it just like every where else would ultimately lead to the loss of what made it unique and wonderful. He once told me, "There are no bad days in Yellowstone, just different days." It's too bad the former administration and the current park management didn't/don't have the same reverence for the park that Jerry did.

    Rick Smith

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 20 weeks ago

    All I can say on the gun issue is, spend a day at your local hospital emergency room and see the terrible consequences of gun violence: the deadly aftermath of gun violence and carnage that fills the hospital morgue with the most pitiless and senseless acts of mans inhumanity to man. If one has witness the incredible and horrendous pressures that a highly trained ER trauma team has to go through to save the life of an individual that has been shot to pieces (like swiss cheese) by a semi-automatic rifle...then perhaps you might think of promoting tougher gun laws. I have seen ALL the aftermath of gun violence (as a former surgical tech) and tagging the toes of the dead before their entry to the morgue. Just the very cold sickly smell of the morgue leaves me with one question...WHY? Why this chronic love affair with guns and more guns in the home and with society? It's just pure stupidity mixed with paranoia that has run amuck with society...and with baseless irrational fear.

  • Yellowstone and the Snowmobile: Locking Horns Over National Park Use   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I will buy and read the book; but, I sure hope he has also captured, not just what snowmobiles do to the Park, but also to West Yellowstone the town. Snowmobiles have damaged the environment and cheapened the experience of the Park; but, it's nothing compared to the effect of the blue smoke, noise, and gangster-controlled environment in the town. Snowmobiles have made West a horrible place to try to live in the winter and it doesn't have to be that way. West has plenty of potential to be so much more; but, the snowmobile racket wants to funnel everything toward their pockets and their control. That's the real "human" legacy of the snowmobiles!