Recent comments

  • Rescued Park Visitors Return to Yosemite National Park to Thank Good Samaritan   5 years 20 weeks ago

    It sounds like this couple's guardian angels were working overtime that day, including Ranger Dan. Thanks for the happy-ending story.

  • Cape Lookout National Seashore To Mark 150th Anniversary of Lighthouse This Fall   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Please note: The October 10th and November 1 events will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the November 1st lighting of the 1859 Cape Lookout Lighthouse and almost 200 years of public service by members of the Lighthouse Service, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Life-saving Service at the Cape.

    While the focus is on the event is the U.S. Lighthouse Service and the Cape Lookout area - we will also welcome those identifying themselves as descendents of other stations.

    [As for the U.S. Life-Saving Service, it operated three stations on Cape Lookout: The Portsmouth (1894), Core Banks (1888) and Cape Lookout (1896) stations.]

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Thanks for the clarification and additional information, tomp. I'm obviously way out of my depth here.

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Locoweed is a common name for many species of Astragalus. Astragalus species are also in the Fabaceae, also have compound leaves composed of leaflets, also occur in numerous western US NPS units, also are toxic to cattle, goats, sheep, etc.. The reason Astragalus isn't the right answer is that there are _many_ more species of Astragalus than of Lupinus: ITIS lists 39 species of Astragalus where the species name begins with the letter 'a', and over 100 total species. The flora of Utah (at least used to) list ~300 Astragalus species and subspecies.

    OK, another slight difference is that most Astragalus are toxic enough (with somewhat different toxins than Lupines) to be somewhat distasteful to cattle, but cattle will eat many species of Astragalus if there's nothing better around. Lupines are tasty enough that they can be preferred over grass. [But, then again, sheep will overeat non-poisonous clover (also Fabaceae), bloat, and die.] The problem with peas (Fabaceae) in general is their soil symbiont can fix nitrogen and thus peas tend to have higher N and protein content, and thus are higher-value food for grazers and browsers. Therefore, natural selection has favored them investing more resources into toxins to prevent or at least reduce their being eaten. Non-native grazers like cows & sheep often haven't evolved to be able to "taste" those toxins, so they taste the high-protein and not the toxins and can poison themselves.]

    Locoweed is also the common name for many species of Oxytropis, another legume (Fabaceae). And milkvetch is also a common name for many Astragalus species.

    Larkspurs are almost always Delphinium species, in the Ranunculaceae or Ranunculus (buttercup) family, about as distantly related to Fabaceae as there is within the dicots.

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 20 weeks ago

    They're not of the same family. The lupine (or lupin) is a member of the genus Lupinus in the legume family Fabaceae. Larkspur is the common name for the genus Delphinium (also the genus Consolida) in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. I believe that the variety of larkspur commonly called "cow poison" (and other vernacular names) is the Delphinium Glaucom.

  • Rescued Park Visitors Return to Yosemite National Park to Thank Good Samaritan   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Just doing his job like everyday and without fanfare. You would be surprise of all the heroics deeds that the NP rangers do...and without merit, commendations or even a small thank you. But, I'm surprise of all that loaded fuel didn't burn down Yosemite National Park. A powder keg ready to go with the slightest spark.

  • Upon Further Review: If It Smells Like Gasoline...   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Well, I guess that's another way to exterminate any unwanted mussels. Next!

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Bob, I'v photographed Larkspur/Poison Larkspur, known by many other common names and comprising a large group of plants. They are also called "cow poison". I believe it is a native to us here in Oregon. Is this plant related (taxonomically) to lupine?

    rob
    ---
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Locoweed is a specific type (several species) of poisonous plant, not a generic term for poisonous plants such as lupine, larkspur, and broom snakeweed.

  • Hot Springs Hoopla Goads Government   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I'm not positive that I'm reading this correctly, but my understanding is that the Interior Department resorted to the courts only after it had exhausted efforts to resolve the problem amicably. Having this thing fought out in the media spotlight can only benefit the city, since city boosters can put a David vs. Goliath spin on the confrontation and the federal government can be made to look like a bully.

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Is lupine the same thing as locoweed or is that a more generic term?

  • Upon Further Review: If It Smells Like Gasoline...   5 years 20 weeks ago

    In fairness to the individual involved in this situation, there was no indication in the park's report that alcohol was involved.

    Based on the available information, it sounds like another example of what can happen when folks are in a hurry to start having fun on the water.

  • Dinosaur National Monument: More Than You Can Imagine   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Yes there are. You can find the companies and their contact information at this site.

  • Hot Springs Hoopla Goads Government   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Thanks for the clarification Bob. It still seems to be a petty issue on the part of the NPS and I hope they can find more meaningful things to carp about besides the distinguishing factors that separate them from the town of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

    For an agency that is constantly touting the importance of "partnerships" this type of public squabbling with local stakeholders seems way off base. The superintendent there probably needs to be instructed in how to engage a gateway, or in this case, host community in a cooperative relationship.

  • Zuni-Cibola National Historical Park, the Park that Died A-Borning   5 years 20 weeks ago

    If you are going to name "problem" NPS units on Navajo Nation land, don't forget Rainbow Bridge National Monument. Rainbow Bridge is a sacred place to the Navajo (Diné), and culturally/religiously significant to the Hopi, San Juan Southern Paiute, Kaibab Paiute, and White Mesa Ute. Lots of Native Americans would love to see complete control of Rainbow Bridge turned over to the Navajo.

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Good job, willow. The mystery plant is the lupine (or lupin). We need to be real clear on the fact that there are lots of lupine species -- at least 200 to 500 worldwide -- but not all are poisonous. In the western U.S. the species posing a danger to livestock (birth defects as well as poisoning) include silky lupine (Lupinus sericeus), tailcup lupine (L. caudatus), velvet lupine (L. leucophyllus), silvery lupine (L. argenteus), yellow lupine (L. sulphureus), and lunara lupine (L. formosus), which is also called summer lupine.

  • Hot Springs Hoopla Goads Government   5 years 20 weeks ago

    My article initially stated that the city is named Hot Springs National Park, and that the Park Service is demanding that the city change its name. Both of these assertions are incorrect. The official name of the city is Hot Springs, Arkansas, and the Park Service has no quarrel with the official name of the city. After MRC brought these blunders to my attention (nice catch, MRC), I edited the article to correct these mistakes and added some clarifying information about the specific city actions that have aroused the ire of the Park Service. The bottom line remains the same: the Park Service wants the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas, to quit advertising itself in ways that blur the distinction between the city and Hot Springs National Park.

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I think the plant is a Lupin

  • Rescued Park Visitors Return to Yosemite National Park to Thank Good Samaritan   5 years 20 weeks ago

    If it wasn't for the visitors who had witnessed the accident and stopped Ranger Dan there would be no story.

  • Dinosaur National Monument: More Than You Can Imagine   5 years 20 weeks ago

    Are there outfitters that provide guided trips on the Yampa River through Dinosaur NM?

  • Upon Further Review: If It Smells Like Gasoline...   5 years 20 weeks ago

    No, officer- I haven't been drinking

  • Zuni-Cibola National Historical Park, the Park that Died A-Borning   5 years 20 weeks ago

    While Devils Tower is an important place in the myths of a number of Native American people, it is not and never was part of a reservation on any of the nations. If you want to compare Zuni-Cibola with an existing NPS unit, look at Canyon de Chelly National Monument. This one is on Navajo land and protects resources of pre-navajo Anasazi culture as well of Navajo heritage. Its status is in dispute, as the Navajo nation wants it back.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 20 weeks ago

    I just poached a section of the PCT today on my mtb. I know that mtb's are not supposed to be on the PCT but the short section (less than 1.5 mi.) I rode linked up a huge network of trails. Maybe certain sections of the PCT that have heavily traveled mtb trails linking up to it should be considered as multi-use sections (hike, horse, bike). In these sections, signage can alert the hiker/horse pounder that they will be sharing a certain section of trail with mtb's.

  • Zuni-Cibola National Historical Park, the Park that Died A-Borning   5 years 20 weeks ago

    This is a very good thing. It is a shame that such respect for Native peoples wishes wasn't given much thought when places such as "devils tower" National Monument and many other example were birthed. Maybe progress is being made and lets hope this example becomes the norm.

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

    Well we did the jumps with success on 6-25-09 (3 times). You obviously now nothing about parachutes and you comments are unfound. I have been around parachuting and airplanes all of my 52 years of life and have much more experience to counter your remarks. This includes military HALO and HAHO jumps as a Green Beret. Openings at 22, 000 ft are well away from the the winds below the the mountain peaks. In the military HAHO jumps are done regularly and the only element to deal with was the temparture.

    Jim Horak
    Emerald Coast Skydiving Center
    and
    HALOjumper.com