Recent comments

  • 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.

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

    Firstly, on the bike, try a 29er at least. I love mine. Secondly, at least the part of the PCT that I use (through the Lakes Basin Area) would be great for Mountain Biking but not the Downiville type downhill ride. I am drawn to riding this section because it looks like a beatifull and challenging ride, not a thrilling decent. I don't ride it becuase it's illegal and poaching trails doesn't help anyone. But isn't there a way to share the trail? It seems like we are so caught up in arguing that nobody has any creative solutions. I don't think alternating days would work becasue it's used for multiple day treks. (I'll also add that doing a multiple day bike ride on the PCT would be epic if it were legal) What about a permit system to limit the number of bikes at any given time? Find a way to prohibit shuttle runs of the PCT. This would act as a cardio vascular regulator for trail use. If you can't climb it, you can't go down it. This will limit trail use. Maybe require everone to put a bear bell on their bike so hikers can hear bikers coming. Much as I hate creating new rules, this is the basic issue of sharing. We're not children we can figure this out.

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I most definitely would let my 12 year old do it!

    "...adventure without regard to prudence, profit, self-improvement,
    learning or any other serious thing" -Aldo Leopold-

  • Dead Carp at Lake Mohave Make This Memorial Day Memorable for Wrong Reason   5 years 21 weeks ago

    We camped at the lake since the 19th and pick up about a half docen dead fish from my spot along the lake, more than unpleasant it was a sad thing to see.

  • New Life for a Lighthouse at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore   5 years 21 weeks ago

    This is Wonderful News! I am SO happy to see that a lighthouse will be re-lit. I don't think I will be able to make it to the re-lighting, but I am planning on makign a visit to that lighthouse someday.

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I just completed this hike two days ago. It was strenuous and I am in good shape. One must use common sense in taking a hike like this.

    To put this hike in perspective and provide a sense of the hight involved here, ...the elevation from the base of Virgin River to the top of AL is equal to the height of what once was our Twin Towers. This is a fact. Invision hiking 2.5 miles laterally then compund that with an elevation rise equal to that of the World Trade Center. Get the picture now, LOL. This is not Disney folks.

    Would you let your 12 year old do this? Think before you act upon the hike. I saw people doing it in sneakers & flip flops, with gallon jugs of water strung to their cutoff jeans. Insane!

  • Mules In Grand Canyon National Park: Should They Stay?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Mule riders are exactly as much of a "special interest group" as hikers: the last time I was at Grand Canyon I couldn't have afforded a mule trip (however, I was under 200 lbs). I don't think that I as a hiker should have to be a second-class visitor, _frequently_ leaving the trail to make way for mule trains and walking through their excrement. [A couple of meetings with mule trains and dung I can step around seem reasonable to me.] I think that both kinds of visitors should be accommodated, and that the planning process must account for increasing usage for both.

    I highly doubt that NPS will eliminate all of the mules: if total elimination of mules is an option listed in the EA it will be there for completeness, to show that they considered all alternatives and rejected some (a straw horse?). To quote from the superintendent's letter: "The presence and use of mules in and around the canyon is a longstanding tradition and one that the park would like to continue." Everyone please submit your comments to the website: they will help justify rejecting the no mules "alternative"!

    The options seriously considered will be how many mules per day on how many & which trails. I hope that the answer will not be the opposite extreme of "as many mules as possible on all trails every day", benefiting the concessionaire and riders at the expense of hikers and the resources, and making it like a ride at Disneyland or a walk in Cades Cove in the springtime (or time at the top on the south rim for that matter). At the same time I would like to see something that increases rather than decreases the capacity for both hiking and mule trips, so that trips down the canyon don't become a lottery or multi-decade waiting list like the river trips are.

    I don't like having to give way repeatedly to oncoming mule trains. My preference would be either a posted schedule alternating days or weeks of mules / no mules on all of the major trails (staggered so that on any given day mules are allowed on some trails but not on others), which lets mule riders use every historic trail, or designated mule trails and hiking trails, where the mule trails can be built a bit sturdier (they're in the process of rebuilding some of the trails now after 70 years of wear & tear). Either permanently designated mule trails or weekly rotation could allow for requiring the concessionaire to remove the dung from trails or sensitive parts of trails if nutrients are a problem, or if the hiking experience is to be improved.

    Those options alone don't increase capacity. If designated mule trails (fixed or rotating) or sections of trails could be made one-way for each day or half-day, more mule trains might be accommodated without head-on meeting of trains, thus fewer delays and a less-crowded experience for riders, and the ability for some hikers to tuck in between mule trains. [Making all trails shared but one-way on any given day or half day would work for me, as my net speed out of the canyon is about that of mules, so I wouldn't pass or be passed by mules, but runners are much faster and others are slower.]

    If you have better suggestions, please submit them to the park planning website.

  • Mules In Grand Canyon National Park: Should They Stay?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I agree with John's reply. The mules are a part of the history of Grand Canyon and should stay. The National Parks are for all of us to enjoy, there are visitors that are unable to hike into the canyon for various reasons, they should not be denied the only way at this time to enjoy this remarkable natural wonder. The many should not be penalized because of the few who are unhappy.
    Thank you,
    JC

  • Remember, No Mardis Gras Beads or Dry Ice While Floating at Niobrara National Scenic River   5 years 21 weeks ago

    At least they aren't trying to ban beer bongs and jello shots like they've done in Texas.

    http://www.riversportstubes.com/Guadalupe_and_Comal_River_Rules.htm

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

    RAH, just to set the record straight, the NPS has not acted like a "sovereign entity" on this issue. It does what Congress or the administration tells it to do.

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

    Frank, I knew you wouldn't disappoint me. So let me walk you through my thinking.

    My comment regarding the difficulty in fully assessing crime in the parks: The figures Mr. Kane cites are simply numbers in broad categories. They're not broken down enough to fully understand what sort of crimes were being reported, or even where they were committed.

    My comment on the low overall crime rate: Using the document for 1996 that Mr. Kane himself provided, it's clear that crime in the parks is very low no matter what approach you take. When you realize that some of the murders stemmed from crimes committed outside national parks, those numbers go lower.

    One of the problems with this entire debate, and there are many I'm sure you'd agree, is that people cherry-pick data (some intentionally, some unintentionally) to support their arguments. For instance:

    * For those who contend that the latest on guns in the parks stems from an overwhelming majority of Americans who wanted this ruling, data from this site show that no state with a "shall issue CCW" law has a double-digit percentage of its residents holding such a permit. That could be interpreted as meaning that a majority of Americans don't support CCW, no?

    * For those who claim CCW permit holders are more law-abiding than most everyone else, there was a study in California in the early 2000s that "suggests that a shall-issue policy for CCW permits may result in higher rates of violent crime among permit holders..." (Selective trimming of that sentence would delete this telling conclusion: "but the results do not reach statistical significance; larger studies are needed.")

    Does anyone know if such larger studies have been performed?

    Suffice to say, this debate, discussion, or argument, however you want to term it, will continue.

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

    This arguement is over. Gun carry is to be allowed. NPS is not a separate sovereign agency that can make it owns rules contravening the Constitution.

    Now the issue on reporting is a side issue and should be done if only to allocate resources to the NP. Rangers in some parks I have heard are in danger and should get more resources. A ranger is a person that has multiple responsiilties snd should not have to take on the armed soldier hat too often.
    I hope with experience that many here who advocated the restriction of gun carry will change their mind as may have about CCW in the states. Now it is up to us who advocated gun carry to push our fellow lawfully armed citizens to be responsible and be extra careful. The last thing we want to prove the fear of that lawfully carry increases danger in the parks.

    Noe NPS has 9 months to figure out how to manage carry issues. Some places like Washington state courts have storage for gun carry when entering the court. If they would provide that and it would be secure from theft then many would be glad to hand over their firearm when in the museum or the facility. These are the practical issues that come up and need to thought out.

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

    "...it's difficult to get an accurate picture of crime in the national parks."

    "...these numbers show how very, very low the crime rate in the National Park System is."

    First you state it's difficult to get an actual picture of crime but then go on to say the crime rate is low. Which is it?

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

    There's definitely a lot of material here to sort through and digest.

    That said, and without having scoured it all, just a quick note that your statistics in graph six are a tad out of context. For instance, while you noted that the USPP reported more than 11,000 criminal acts with 3,500 arrests, 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).

    As you undoubtedly know, the USPP is called upon quite frequently to matters outside the National Park System, and it'd be good to know how many of those incidents went toward the 11,000 crimes and 3,500 arrests.

    Also, in pointing out that 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."

    Without further detail into those 74,000 offenses or 20,000 arrests, it's difficult to get an accurate picture of crime in the national parks. How many arrests were for speeding? How many for disorderly conduct? How many were in urban settings, such as Golden Gate NRA or Gateway NRA or the National Mall? How many murders were committed outside a national park, but the bodies were dumped in a national park and so were recorded as a murder that occurred in a park?

    Nevertheless, I'm sure everyone would agree that even one murder, whether committed in a national park or in downtown NYC, is too many (ditto with the aggravated assaults). But against the 265.7 million visitors the national parks counted in 1996, these numbers show how very, very low the crime rate in the National Park System is.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angel's Landing   5 years 21 weeks ago

    We just got back from a Memorial Day vacation in Zion. The highlight of the trip was trying to hike Angel's Landing. We are both experienced hikers, and got up early and made the hike up there.

    People call Scout Lookout all sorts of names like Chicken point, etc ... but I am not sure that is true ... After climbing the first set of chains you get to another little plateau ... from which there is a 100 foot "connector" that gets you to the next big climb ... that 100' stretch is where you are looking down a +1000' cliff ... and if you look down Vertigo kicks in and you really chicken out!

    Anyway, thats what happened to us ... we chickened out at the second little plateau. We sat there and watched hundreds of people go up and down ... including two people with infants strapped to their backs ... which is my big complaint ... its one thing to risk your own life ... its another to risk your child's life over a thrill.

    We thought we would get up there early and beat the crowds ... but so did everyone. If I had a second complaint it would be that there were too many people up there for the type of trail. There was a lot of waiting to get around people with death grips on the chain ... which takes your focus off of what you are doing ... and you need to remain focused up there.

    We'll go back and try it again ... but not during a holiday weekend ... maybe mid week when there are no crowds

    Eki

  • Remember, No Mardis Gras Beads or Dry Ice While Floating at Niobrara National Scenic River   5 years 21 weeks ago

    AI can understand some of the rules but it seems to be micromanaging which I dislike on principle. Some areas get popular and have todeal with rowdy people. Styrofoam is a problem in water, it floats and doesn't degrade fast.
    Mardi Gras beads is just too nanny state. Banning containers is stupid and too controlling. If they have a problem with intoxication then fine those caught and punish the people who are causing the problem instead of saying we need to bring lots of smaller containee and cause more litter. These rule are over reaction to a percieved problem and he needs to find anoither solution.

    Dry Ice is not a problem, so what if it explodes on contact, after that it is absorbed and does no harm.
    This superintendent is creating a lot of needless rules. He is employing the hassle method to reduce the users of the river. He wants to dissuade the wrong folk from using his park.

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

    I am glad to hear this. I love Mammoth Cave NP and bad storms do devastate trails and bridges.
    I recall that at Great Falls NP in Va that a bridgw was wiped away in 1972 and never rebuilt until 30 years later.

    Rebuilding infracstructure is expensive and I rather NPS focus on these items.

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

    Yes, I do have an agenda here.

    1) This issue has never really been about guns in the park or crime in the park. These are contrived arguments. It has always been about the individual’s rights. Weather I choose to carry a firearm or not is my choice. Barring certain constraints, which we (the collective country) have agreed to I do not have to prove a need to anyone. Nor do have to prove that I am not a criminal. Some people have cars that will do 200mph just because they want it, the same reason here. “Just because I want to.” The US Constitution is more important than the NPS, now and always. I give you this though – Should the first amendment fail, see the second.

    2) I refer you to my response to DVP. The people, or bureaucrats if you prefer, who tend provide misleading intell and data for their own reasons take the tack that if they say it loud enough and often enough it will be true. After that, we have make decisions based on what?

    I note you cite no references and instead offer conjecture and anecdotal items only. There is usually no need to use a sledge hammer to drive a nail, however in as much as you remain unconvinced I will restrain my references to more traditional types. Since you have chosen to overlook the reason I choose 1996, I will restate it. I reviewed every 3 years; looking for patterns over time. I chose 1996 because Mr. Wade retired in 1997, therefore he would have had input into and review of the data for the last annual report he would have contributed to. Just trying to make it easy.

    As I indicated the number was an average complied from multiple informational sources and intended to be on the low side of the example. I used the-eggman.com just for the complied chart, since nothing like that is available from DOI or NPS, and have found it to be accurate. If you prefer you may look these entries up in the US Dept. Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics “Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics”. It has the same numbers and notes just not as easy to get to. The comments regarding drug arrests, machine guns, other investigators, etc. were quotes taken from “The National Drug Control Strategy, 1997: FY 1997 Budget Year”, http://www.ncjrs.gov/htm/toc2.htm ,specifically under the section of NPS’s accomplishment for the year. These are annual reports so just change out the year to whichever one interests you. Doesn’t it seem a bit odd to say one thing 364 days out of the year and then go before congress on budget day and state something else?

    The actual report, National Park Service FY1996 Interior Accountability Report, http://www.doi.gov/pfm/par/acct1996/nat_nps.pdf , states that Park rangers reported over 74,000 offenses with 20,000 arrests and USPP reported over 11,000 criminal acts with 3,500 arrests. Additionally, a report from the IG office, #97-I-908,Audit Report on the Automated Law Enforcement System, National Park Service concludes “Thus, there is little assurance that the Park Service will be collecting and reporting all law enforcement data from all of the park units.” I think that means understating, but in all fairness in part was due to lack of manpower.

    There are 8 Part 1 crimes in the uniform crime report, http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm, 4 crimes against persons and 4 property crimes- murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. These have very specific conditions associated with their reporting. An attempted rape becomes aggravated assault if there is a weapon, otherwise it is just simple assault and may not be reported as a Part 1 crime. That being the case for 5,992 offenses reported by NPS/USPP out of 85,000 reported offenses would be low by an overall factor of at least 14. If we assume the same percentage (10%) of 85,000 to be crimes against persons than 8500/509 is approximately a factor 17. A report from USPP indicates offense handled by them to be in the 1000 range so 17 divided .83 is approximately a factor of 21.

    Now, an anecdotal story- once a pair of sunglasses was stolen from a convertible while parked in the lot at a visitor’s center, a relatively expensive pair I might add. The complaint was not turned over to the FBI or the US Marshall, the DEA or BATFE, or the state police because apparently they have criteria for what they will send an investigator out for and so it was dutifully reported by NPS. There has been much conjecture that the crime rate for any given park is comparable to the surrounding area. This seems to be a reasonable assumption. One could construe from this that the majority of offenses turned over to FBI et al. are likely Part 1 crimes. What’s a majority? Since we are a republic, how about 2/3rds? (make your own number up based on your opinion) 85000 x .66 / 5992 = 93.6, just conjecture. Based on the reporting all I can really say it the Part 1 crime rate for NPS is off by a factor between 14 and the national average. Weather 14 or 21 or 93 or 459 the point is still the same.

    For whatever reason, officials, bureaucrats, or agencies who knowingly would allow the planning and allocation for assets and resources to be expended based on misleading or questionable intelligence should be sat down hard or at the very least shot down in flames. Yes, yes not intended as a pun... however not a cheap shot either, that's intended.

    It is difficult to get info for the past few years since Automated Law Enforcement System, National Park Service this is being replaced by IMARS at DOI. ”Currently, the Department is unable to provide the full range of data and information on incidents when asked, and lacks meaningful information to report…”, http://www.doi.gov/e-government/FY2005%20E%20Gov%20Annual%20Report%20-%20DOI.pdf. The implementation was to be complete by 2006 however meaningful info is still not available. I should warn you that in 2004 it changed slightly to be like this www.doi.gov/pfm/par/par2004/. This table, http://www.doi.gov/pfm/par/par2004/par04_goals_glance4.pdf says that Part 1 crime rate is 14.6 (see page 142) with only 3 of 4 agencies reporting. I wonder which agency is not in here. By the way, LE funding requests from 2003 to 2005 increased by almost 50 per cent for annual expenditures although they only received about a 40 per cent actual increase. Check the annual budget requests and approvals, my math could be off a bit.

    NPS–Park Police, http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/expectmore/summary/10003727.2006.html, program assessment (latest available) indicate that the Part 1 crime reporting is up for 2007 from the establish baseline 2003-2004. From the program performance measures come the following quotes- ”In fact, increases could be a good thing, if it reflects better reporting.” and ”… the 2006 IG progress report showed USPP as the only DOI bureau making satisfactory progress on all of the Secretary's directives for law enforcement reform. These follow-up reports suggest that, while the program still has work to do, the USPP has become more effective and will soon be able to better demonstrate results.” Oh, it appears USPP may be using the UCR and NIBRS, http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm. According to the annual DOI/NPS 2008 report nothing really happened in 2005, 2006, 2007 except a few crimes on the Indian lands. Go check it out, if you can make sense of it, http://www.doi.gov/pfm/par/par2008/. Side note- based on informational reports for 2006, the last year I make sense of, total number of offenses in the parks was in excess 116,000 offenses. Should we we assume the numbers have gone down for 2007 and 2008?

    NPS does not earmark exclusive law enforcement expenses when they request funding from congress. When congress denies or lowers or increases the allocations it is usually due to lack of meaningful data or the inclusion of supporting data in this area. See the following individual sections relating to NPS, http://www.doi.gov/budget/2005/data/pdf/05_HouseInteriorSum.pdf, http://www.doi.gov/budget/2006/data/pdf/06_HouseInteriorSum.pdf, and http://www.doi.gov/budget/2007/data/pdf/07_HouseInteriorSum.pdf. Once the monies are allocated NPS may spend the monies on anything they choose to after received. Which leads to funds needed for law enforcement spent on operations or in the parks that need it- money being diverted from operations to security and law enforcement as an example. This can lead to all kind of unintended consequences. Like the "Chambers treatment". Look it up yourself- see Teresa Chambers USPP or ask Mr. Wade, he was very outspoken about that. No bureaucrat every willingly gives up the power of discretionary spending over even a dollar unless they have to. One wonders why DOI/NPS wishes to re-invent the wheel of crime statistics, to the tune of many millions of dollars, rather than use the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting and National Incident Based Reporting Systems that are already in place. Unfortunately these systems are not mandatory.

    I disagree with Mr. Burnett’s assertion that there are no new ideas to be had here. The UCR is a system which can accurately track crime statistic down to a local junior college. If NPS/USPP reported all criminal offenses by park than there would be accurate data for NPS as a whole and for LE funding that could be earmarked for each park based on need. This could be accomplished by executive order and in place before the new law takes effect. The current administration, which declined to even comment on the amendment due to that rare splitting of the house vote (only 2/3rds required to become law without a presidential signature and if you have 85 per cent going in...why bother), could support it and be on the pro-gun, anti-gun, pro national park, and pro-states rights issue all at the same time. What politician could resist that! When the stats come in then the pro-gun, anti-gun, pro national park, and pro-states rights people could set back and say “See, I told you so” depending on who’s really correct of course. Changes can be made if required at that time.

    According to NPCA’s report, "Faded Glory: Top 10 Reasons to Reinvest in America’s National Park Heritage", the top 10 reasons America’s national parks need more money: Reason # 1: Parks are vulnerable to crime…

    So, I think everyone concerned should write your President, your Governor, and both your state and national Representatives and Senators to suggest that NPS should report all criminal offenses (even those turned over to another agencies) and be included under the Uniform Crime Report by park. Providing accurate information for the assessment of LE funding needs not only for each individual park but the NPS as a whole based on a standard used by the rest of the country. Life could be simple. Did I say I had an agenda?

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

    Memorial Day, a most auspicious day for our country, yes? Sticking up for something…both an admirable and caring trait. You should take pride in that and pass it along. It is contagious!

    It is and always will be my opinion that the rank and file members of the NPS are dedicated and skilled individuals possessed of the abilities, intelligence, will, and shear heart to accomplish their mission, with or without many of the shackles imposed upon them by their management.

    In my experience, when the objectives of a mission are tarnished it is generally due to a combination of poor assessment of available intelligence, a questionable application of assets and resources, miscommunication, lack of foresight in planning for alternatives and contingencies within the mission plan, or simply poor follow up. These issues all rest squarely on the shoulders of command most of the time, not on the individual men and women on the ground and doing the job! The fact that most serious crimes are turned over to local, state, or federal agencies, who have greater resources and manpower expressly designed to deal with criminal activities, demonstrates both good and sound judgement in the proper utilization of assets and resources. Consider they deal on a daily basis with more than 18,000 permanent structures, 8,000 miles of roads, 4,400 housing units, and God knows how many tunnels, bridges, dams, and other operations over vast expanses of this country. According to GAO reports the average for each law enforcement officer in NPS is over 100,000 visitors and 100,00 acres of land to watch over. Given that, it is an even more remarkable job they do with what they have.

    Their action speaks for themselves and most often with great conviction. Even though one might think they already know… it’s a good thing for them to hear a “Well done!” on occasion.

  • Remember, No Mardis Gras Beads or Dry Ice While Floating at Niobrara National Scenic River   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Seems to me that trying to prevent broken bottles, which can lead to serious injury; countless pieces of Styrofoam, which can lead to eyesores and resource problems; and frat-party atmosphere in a unit of the National Park System, all are fairly reasonable.

    This is the 21st century. Surely people can be a little responsible, no? I've never understood why folks toss cigarette butts or beer bottles out of their cars as they drive down the highway. Do they do the same in their houses?

  • Remember, No Mardis Gras Beads or Dry Ice While Floating at Niobrara National Scenic River   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I guess they still entice the "natives" with shiny beads and trinkets in Nebraska-is this really that big of a problem or is someone making an issue out of a one time occurance? The out-law on pony kegs is a bit severe also..but with respect that intoxication can lead to foolishness I can understand..it just seems that more litter of beer cans, bottles and packaging will be seen. As a former Ranger myself, I've seen it all in the parks and if it's a choice between a hundred beer cans or a few plastic cups-I'll take the latter.

  • Remember, No Mardis Gras Beads or Dry Ice While Floating at Niobrara National Scenic River   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Well, I've been kicking around the idea of a canoe trip on the Niobrara early next summer, but I'm thinking I've missed something in my research.

    Is this a big spring break hang out? I heard there were some busy times and stretches of the river, but I haven't encountered anything about "exposure" until now. Not that I have a big problem with that kind of scenery, but it's not exactly what I was looking for in a wild and scenic river. I really want to avoid as many people as possible, clothed or not.

  • Mules In Grand Canyon National Park: Should They Stay?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I didn't see too much of a problem with droppings, although I didn't take the Bright Angel Trail.

    I would note that the mules don't accommodate everyone. If your entire weight (includes everything) is more than 200 lbs you won't be allowed to ride a mule down.

    As for the way down, it's still possible to get a reservation at Phantom Ranch if you're willing to hike down and back up. People are staying in the campgrounds near the Colorado River, so it's not as if human beings can't get down under their own power, although I realize most people don't have the fitness level to do so. I saw one ranger early in the morning who made it most of the way up, so a reasonably fit person could train to do it.

  • Mules In Grand Canyon National Park: Should They Stay?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I agree keep the mules. Did that when I was child and If I do it again I will use the mules.