Recent comments

  • Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves   5 years 18 weeks ago

    When the fact of the matter is that any object, including a human fist, can be used as a weapon with deadly force, a gun is just another option. The intent of both wild and domesticated animals, humans included, is what harms. Guns are not to be feared, the inhumane nature of some people is, how do you regulate that? Leave our guns and freedome alone.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 18 weeks ago

    There's not enuf rangers to enforce the stupid rule...so do as I do...keep on bikin'!
    I've been bikin in national parks on trails for 3 years and have never been caught!

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 18 weeks ago

    The judge's ruling won't hold water. The 2nd Amendment is absolute...if the USSC hears this case, we will never have to worry about this issue again.

    Editor's note: This comment was edited to remove a gratuitous comment.

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 18 weeks ago

    The NRA got involved in this issue because they saw through the smoke and treated it as another attempt to usurp an individual's right to bear arms. Isn't that why Brady got involved...to restrict/eliminate one's rights under the constitution, they certainly don't care about Condors or the effect of lead sinkers on fish.

    The Constitution certainly gave the right to Congress to establish laws and the appropriate agencies can promulgate regulations, rules, etc. Such laws, regulations, etc must however, be constitutionally sound and yes, I am saying the 2nd Amendment does trump any law/regulation, etc. that is contrary to the right to bear arms. The fact you cannot take firearms into certain places or that certain persons cannot legally bear arms is because the Supreme Court has ruled such a law as constitutional or that particular law has not been challenged, period! No government body can create a law, etc. that is contrary to the Constitution.

    And yes, I do feel the prior gun regulation was unconstitutional as there is no law barring concealed weapons in NP's. I am not a 2nd amendment zealot nor an avid NRA or Brady supporter but I do believe the latter two serve a purpose in that they don't let each other get out too far. I believe in the three branches of government and I don't want any of them to usurp my constitutional rights and the last time I looked, the NPS is not one of the three.

    While you feel there are places where concealed weapons should be barred, only a law that has passed the constitution test can grant your wish. I am unaware of any law that passed the constitutional test specifically barring individuals from bearing arms in NP's, therefore, it should not be barred. You all may disagree but such disagreement lacks legal validity or status.

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Kurt--

    Give it up. You cannot argue with 2nd amendment believers. It's their way or the highway. I liked Anon's perspective. If one favors any kind of gun control, you are immediately labeled as a member of the Brady bunch or some kind of wild-eyed liberal by them. What I am most tired of is the statement, "what part of 'shall not be infringed' do you not understand?" There are places where concealed weapons are not appropriate. I happen to believe that one of those places is in areas of the National Park System. All that means is that I don't agree with those who think that guns are appropriate any place. It doesn't mean that I want to hug-a-thug. It also doesn't mean that I think everyone with a concealed weapons permit is a law-abiding citizen. We have ample evidence on this blog that concealed weapons permit holder carry, no matter what the law or rule.. So much for the statement that they are law-abiding citizens.

    Let's let this play out in the courts and see what happens. That's the way issues get settled in this country. I worked in parks for 31 years. I never saw parks the way Tom sees them: "Welcome to your National Parks! A place where you may be assured that you have no right to protect yourself and where criminals have the assurance that they may attack you unimpeded." Nor do I think that the injunction is, as Dan sees it, "This is nothing more than classic legal obstructionism, wasting the court's time and resources to further a back-door political agenda." This is an issue about which intelligent people disagree.

    Rick Smith

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 18 weeks ago

    I appreciate Chris Sanderson's comment, but by its logic no mountain biker could ride any trail where horses were present. Which would pretty much close off all trails to mountain biking. As for the point that there are other trails out there to enjoy, it's true, but I look at it just the opposite: what makes the PCT so sacrosanct that no cyclist should be allowed to ride it? Nothing really.

    I congratulate Chris on hiking the whole thing. That is a great accomplishment. The two people I hiked the Oregon stretch with many years ago also completed the entire distance, meaning we had to hike 18 miles a day, sometimes in rain, with full heavy backpacks. Blisters formed on top of blisters and I still have areas of darkened skin from the rubbing and jostling of the pack staps.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 18 weeks ago

    I am reflecting on Kurt's latest reply.

    And so doing, I conclude Kurt is right that I shouldn't belittle one person's cause as less worthy of pursuit than another's just because less is at stake objectively. So I retract that aspect of my prior post.

    Conversely, however, I make no apology for complaining of unfair discrimination and comparing (not equating) it to other forms of unfair discrimination. Here in the Bay Area, where I live, there is a constant dispute between gay people and black people about who can claim to speak of civil rights violations. (Just to explain, some black people around here tend to be offended when gay people assert that their issues are civil rights issues. Gays are furious in return that their deeply felt issues are being belittled.) Ultimately such attempts to create a hierarchy of grievances are unresolvable and it's fruitless to pursue them. (What about people in Mauritania who are still literally enslaved? e.g.).

    It comes down to this: we're probably both obsessed with these issues precisely because they are so important to us and have become deeply woven into our respective beings. I completely identify with Kurt's quotation from "Natural America." It sums up how I feel too! (And might not the Native Americans discussed in the article have looked askance at GoreTex and GPS receivers that both mountain bikers and hikers use today? But wait: that's returning to the hierarchies, here one of comparative naturalness, that I think it best to try to avoid. Maybe hang-gliders are the least invasive wildlands visitors of all because they don't tread upon the earth until the moment they land! I'll set my comments aside.) It's unfortunate that our respective obsessions with the beauty and importance of the natural world lead us to different conclusions about how that world should be experienced. I know many people who are uninterested in the natural world—e.g., they live in Manhattan and prefer nightlife and dining out—and who would be left indifferent by the quotation from "Natural America." That's certainly not the case with anyone blogging on this site, be he or she a would-be concealed weapon carrier, a mountain biker, a traditional hiker, or a birder.

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 18 weeks ago

    You say you don't recall Brady getting involved with other "environmental" issues. Well, while you're probably right, what other national park issues has the NRA gotten involved with other than this one (or similar gun issues)?

    As to your initial point, are you saying that even though the Constitution gave Congress the right to enact laws (in the case at hand the National Environmental Policy Act), and Congress directed the agencies to promulgate rules and set up a process for that, and the Supreme Court has upheld those laws and processes, that it doesn't matter when it comes to 2nd Amendment, that nothing trumps the 2nd Amendment?

    If that's the case, why can't you carry your firearm on a plane or into a courthouse or the U.S. Capitol?

    And if I understand your point, doesn't that conflict with last year's Supreme Court ruling in which the court struck down the District of Columbia's gun law but also held that the 2nd Amendment right "is not unlimited."

    And really, was the prior gun reg for national parks out of compliance with the Constitution? It didn't ban licensed gun owners from traveling with their weapons or ask that they hand them over; it simply required that they be broken down and out of easy reach. Was that regulation a denial of a constitutional right, or rather an inconvenience?

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 18 weeks ago

    I do agree that laws should be upheld and such law must be constitutional to be enforced. This was a "rule" change that was in compliance with something higher than a law...the Constitution. An individual's constitutional right's cannot be abridged or usurped by a "rule" or "policy" even if the law is constitutional.

    This has everything to do with the 2nd amendment otherwise why did the Brady Foundation get involved. I don't ever recall the Brady Foundation getting involved in any other "environmental" issue within the NPS, or any other "environmental" issue for that matter.

    If it walks like a duck; talks like a duck; then it's a duck. The fact the other plaintiff's left the Brady Foundation in as a plaintiff certainly questions their agenda.

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Upset,

    Anyone who supports constitutional rights should also want to see the laws upheld, no? And that's what this case is about, whether the Bush administration followed the National Environmental Policy Act. The ruling had nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 18 weeks ago

    I hiked the entire length of the PCT in 2003, and I ran into a number of cyclist on the trail. I ride a bike everyday to work and back here in San Francisco, so I am not ashamed to say that MOUNTAIN BIKES DO NOT BELONG ON THE PCT! For one, it is a trail shared with equestrians, and a mountain bike tearing around a corner could do a lot to create a hazardous situation for horse and rider. Second, I have had mountain bikes tear around the corner towards me and sneak up from behind and scare the bejesus out of me. For one who is out to experience solitude, a mountain bike can do a lot surprisingly disturb one's experience. Third, there are plenty of other trails out there for cyclists to enjoy, why conquer the PCT?

    Thanks for the article.

    Chris Sanderson

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 18 weeks ago

    It seems like this administration's judicial supporters are just like their congressional supporters since they will will trample our constitutional rights without even blinking an eye. As usual, the descenters want to know who drew their weapons, who felt threatened, who fired their guns...give us your names!!!! Sound familiar?

    Why don't they see the issue is the preservasion of constitutional rights?

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Just a couple of comments and observations about this whole thing. First, I am a gun owner, I don't hunt anymore and am not anti-gun or anti- hunting. I have read most of the comments about this over the months and made a few of my own, but what has struck me today is the name calling remarks by some of the Pro carry folks, ya I know, sticks and stones. It just strikes me as funny that this language is coming from only one side, (if there are the same type of comments from the Non-Carriers please set me straight!) Things such as "Paranoid delusions of Hug-a-Thug Anti-Gunners or "Brady Bunch" just to Quote a couple. Another type of phrase that keeps popping up - "Among the most law abiding in our population" or "exeedingly law abiding", as if to say they are more law abiding that some one who chooses not to carry. But the best part of the "Most law abiding citizens" was a comment a few weeks ago where a Pro Carrier stated "No matter what the law is I will carry anyway!". Huh, I guess there is always one in the bunch. My last thought is, and mind you I am not taking either side on this at this time, just curious, Would or have any of the Pro Carriers out there just carried anyway in the Nat. Parks? Since its not visible who would know, kind of thing. Be honest... law abiding citizens, I am really curious to read your (honest) replies to that question or would that blow all the law abiding comments? I think alot of us have done something that was a bit illegal no matter how small, no seatbelt on when just going down the block to the store etc... Sorry, one other question to "concered" , what Nat. Park did the people you know get mugged and tied to a tree? i am also glad they were OK after that, but maybe you could let people know where if it happens as often as you say.?

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 18 weeks ago

    You're comparing the mountain biker's fight for access wherever your tires can roll with that of black civil rights? Please tell me you're not serious.

    As for gnashing your teeth, your complaints about "stupid rules" and "absurd restrictions" seem to indicate otherwise. What do you think about IMBA's rule that "(w)et and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options." Is that stupid or absurd as well?

    Perhaps your complaints over these matters would carry more weight if there were no other place to mountain bike, but that's not the case in the least. As for obsessions, some might say that saw cuts two ways, no, in light of your outspokenness on this issue?

    In the big picture you're absolutely right. Concerns over where mountain bikes are ridden pale considerably to the lack of health care in this nation, our questionable education system, the skyrocketing debt, foreign affairs, and a multitude of other matters.

    But just as you see mountain biking as an important part of your life, I see national parks and the experiences they offer just as importantly.

    I was thumbing through National Geographic's book on "Natural America" the other day, and ran across the following passage. It was set up by a few graphs on how Native Americans -- the Navajo, Hopi, and Lakota -- viewed and respected the earth. It pretty much sums up how I feel.

    Whether we are still able to find that level of harmony with the world is something that may be open to question, given all the encumbrances -- also called conveniences -- with which we have saddled ourselves of late. It may be a perfection that we will never reach, but perhaps the journey is as important as the goal itself. Aldo Leopold, the person who defined the respect we should pay to the natural world and its creatures, believes this perfection to be unattainable. "We shall never achieve harmony with land," he wrote in his journals once, "any more than we shall achieve justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive."

    In striving, then, we can still walk in beauty, and if so, the national lands give us our most enduring pathways. "In these areas it is as though a person were looking backward into the ages and forward untold years," wrote Harvey Broome, a colleague of Aldo Leopold and one of the founders of the Wilderness Society. "Here are bits of eternity, which have a preciousness beyond all accounting ... May they remain for all time -- islands in time and in space, where living men can detach themselves from their civilization, and walk into eternity."

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Kurt, I'm sorry I irritated you to this extent.

    I don't feel better because I never felt bad. I'm not sitting here gnashing my teeth over what appears on your website. I do sometimes, however, roll my eyes at the absurdity of what's expressed on it by a number of people. I would return to the theme of my last message: in a country that lets people operate millions of bloated, fuel-wasting SUVs and pickup trucks to take mom and junior a half-mile down a flat road to the supermarket for a Big Gulp, why are people so obsessed with the idea of a bicycle on a trail? You could do everything the most demanding mountain bikers want—open all Wilderness, National Park, and National Scenic Trail trails to mountain biking—and the world would not change an iota. You might have slightly fewer obese kids and a few management headaches in a few areas, but overall the effects, positive and negative, would be negligible.

    Yes, I would prefer that you list each group that has objections and complaints to the notion of a bicycle on a trail in their bailiwick each time you refer to them. To do otherwise is to leave your readers wondering whom you're talking about. If all of the traditional antibicycle groups are tub-thumping in a particular case, just put "the usual suspects" or "the traditional antibike forces" and your meaning will get across.

    As long as I am putting myself out here for criticism, I can't agree with your implicit criticism that I'm anonymous and you're not. It won't advance the discussion for me to use my own name as a handle. Seriously, I am too worried about identity theft, offers from former Angolan finance ministers to hide millions of dollars, and other scams. I hope you have remained immune to those problems.

    True conservationists are interested in any number of issues. But I wouldn't criticize blacks for having been preoccupied with black civil rights during the Jim Crow era even if African-Americans like James Baldwin were interested in a number of issues. Mountain biking is an important part of our lives and we bridle at the absurd restrictions imposed on the activity we treasure and the overblown complaints that help keep those restrictions in place.

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Persons with concealed carry permits have demonstrated to the issuing state's satisfaction that they are responsible law abiding citizens and can be trusted to safely and responsibly carry concealed firearms because they are not a threat to themselves or others. After reading the judge's ruling it appears that the Brady Bunch's case is primarily based on an underlying assumption that concealed carry permit holders, as a group, are not capable of being responsible (lawful) with their firearms.

    In addition, the Brady Bunch is insisting that, as a group, concealed carry permit holders will use their firearms on federal land in a manner which would essentially violate the issuing state's laws and regulations (ie. careless, criminal, and unwarranted discharges).

    The failure of the park system to recognize state carry permits makes no more sense than banning the use of automobiles for fear that drivers with valid driver's licenses as a group are incapable of operating their vehicles in a lawful and responsible manner.

    One of the most absurd arguments in the document was the question: why reverse such a long standing rule? I have two words for Brady: second amendment (actually I have many more but those two should suffice).

    I would think that a concealed carry permit holder (responsible, law abiding, non-felon, state approved etc.) would not want to use their firearm, unless their life was in jeopardy, since discharging their firearm for any other reason could (and likely would) result in:

    1) a trip to jail;
    2) a felony record;
    3) loss of the carry permit; and
    4) loss of ALL OF THEIR FIREARMS (felons can't own them)

    Brady Bunch also says most concealable weapons are ineffective against animals. As someone that has been attacked and nearly killed by a wild animal - I would prefer to have a firearm the next time.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Feel better?

    Or would you prefer that in every post on this topic I point out that the American Hiking Society, the Wilderness Society, the National Parks and Conservation Association, the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, and the Pacific Crest Trail Association all have concerns? Oh, and equestrian groups in the area of Mammoth Cave National Park have concerns, as well.

    It's tough running this ship. You get criticized for taking a stand, and now, apparently, for not taking a stand. At least I don't do either one anonymously.

    As for "true conservationists," are those the ones who voice their thoughts on many of the issues confronting national parks and public lands, or just the mountain bike issues?

  • National Park Designation is an Unholy Mess   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Thanks, MRC. I understand everything clearly now........... I think.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Kurt says "some have concerns . . . ." Talk about the ultimate voiceless passive construction, rather like "mistakes were made," or the Latin American torturer's remark "se me fué de las manos" ("the person left me from the hands") instead of saying "I killed him."

    Also, I always mentally translate "concerns" in these contexts into "baseless complaints." "Concerns," like "appropriate" and "inappropriate," is a euphemistic buzzword that kills clarity of language, rendering it into a form of linguistic cotton candy.

    Kurt, don't you realize how absurd these quibbles are? The tempest in a teapot you're talking about originated in a schoolmarmish scold handed down some months ago by the sometimes cantankerous and always doggedly opinionated Tom Stienstra, an outdoors writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, after he saw some mountain bike tire tracks on the PCT. The PCTA followed up by dredging up its sonorous indictment that you're now quoting. I wonder if future generations of true conservationists (as opposed to contemporary puritanical pseudoconservationist social control freaks) will marvel at the fact that, with ice sheets melting and smog blowing over here from Asia, people were clucking about a bicycle on a trail.

    I don't have time to get into it now, but the regulation you and the PCTA quote is antiquated, outdated, and probably contrary to law. Even if the rule is legally tenable, it's a stupid rule. I've backpacked half of the Oregon stretch of the PCT. Because of a requirement that it have a 15% maximum grade and a certain width, it's no technical singletrack. For the most part it's relatively wide and relatively flat even in such Wilderness areas as Mt. Jefferson. There's no reason bicycles shouldn't be allowed on it. Except, of course, that "some" have "concerns."

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Zebulon - not sure what parts of the "Pacific northwest" you're talking about, but it's clearly not Washington state.

    And your comment on mud and hiking obviously shows that you don't hike in the Pacific Northwest. Otherwise you'd realize what a silly comment that was...

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 18 weeks ago

    On this thread and elsewhere on the Traveler there have been claims about drug smugglers and AK-47-toting thugs and how dangerous some areas of national parks are. At the same time, there have been more than a few CCW permit holders who have claimed that they've carried in the parks.

    Just out of curiosity's sake, have any CCW permit holders had to resort to pulling their weapon in a national park? If so, would you share the circumstances? Have any CCW permit holders who left their piece behind when they entered a national park been accosted? Again, would you share the circumstances?

    In either case, did you file a report with a law-enforcement ranger?

    Obviously, there's no scientific validity to this survey, but I sense there would be great interest in the responses.

  • National Park Designation is an Unholy Mess   5 years 18 weeks ago

    The trademark database at USPTO lists 30 live entries including "national park". Pretty much all of them cover only a special visual logo, not a claim for the words as such. And their scope is very limited, mostly to publications, and many were registered by concessionaires which looks like they had permission by the NPS.

    The NPS does not hols any current trademark - but had the Arrowhead emblem registered twice, both now expired. That is because trademarks need not be registered to be valid, just using a name for your goods or services over some time gives you an implied protection from any competitor who might wish to use the same name or one that might be confused with your name. And there can be no doubt that the National Park Service uses the name National Park for quite some while now to describe its goods and services.

    The enforcement of an unregistered trademark is called Passing off and this description at Wikipedia is pretty good: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Passing_off&oldid=271955473

    An unregistered trademark is protected against infringement if the misrepresentation is damaging the goodwill of the legitimate user. Diversion of trade and dilution of goodwill is considered damage. So if a private 59th "National Park" attracts visitors that would otherwise visit a NPS National Park that would constitute diversion.

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Concealed Handgun Licensees SHOULD be permitted to carry within airports and on aircraft. CHL holders are proven to be among the most law abiding people in our population. These are NOT the people you need to be concerned about!

    Welcome to your National Parks! A place where you may be assured that you have no right to protect yourself and where criminals have the assurance that they may attack you unimpeded.

  • National Park Designation is an Unholy Mess   5 years 18 weeks ago

    Frank, I must admit that I'm out of my depth on this one. Perhaps a Traveler reader more familiar with these trademark and copyright issues might want to chime in?

  • National Park Designation is an Unholy Mess   5 years 18 weeks ago

    If you tried to use that name for your park, the Interior department would file charges on you for the fraudulent offering of federal services.

    So "national bank" or "national title" or "National Car Rental" any other title/brand with "national" in it is not a fraudulent offering of federal services?

    It's funny that so many people decry private monopolies (which really can't exist without government help) while embracing governmental monopolies.