Recent comments

  • Reader Participation Day: Are Park Entrance Fees Fair?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    "Now, as for whether or not fees are impediments. Why else would the NPS suspend fees if they were not some sort of impediment? Seems as though the creation of these fee-free weekends is a tacit admission that fees are preventing some people from visiting parks so have no fees will get them to come."

    If fees are impediments - and I'm not arguing that they aren't - then it's based on psychology rather than the real economics of it. The fees are trivial compared to the costs of simply getting to the parks for a vast majority of the population and a vast majority of the parks. (I'm thinking the big parks here, not urban NPS units.) It seems like a lot of folks that would shell out a few hundred to go to an NFL game, $50 to take the family to a movie, or a couple hundred for an amusement park will cry hardship about $20 for a week in Acadia. (Ten bucks if you go in Mid-June before the crowds!)

    You can't convince me that most of the people pouring into parks on these free weekends aren't living above the poverty level and wouldn't blink at losing $20. They're showing up because of the word "FREE". That's Sales 101. If they were free all the time, the luster would wear off and things would be back to normal.

  • International Park News: "Nappies" for Horses Spur Controversy in Irish National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    So what is the problem? I don't see here why they are opposed to these "nappies." I assume it means the operator will be responsible for emptying the "nappy," but that doesn't sound too bad...

  • Reader Participation Day: Are Park Entrance Fees Fair?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I've had a few visitors complain about the fees and I always look at it this way: It would cost well over $25 to take a family of 4 to a 2 hour movie. For less than that you're able to take your family to a beautiful National Park for a week where they will be able to learn new and exciting things and gain memories that will last a lifetime.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Reader Participation Day: Are Park Entrance Fees Fair?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I have no issue whatsoever paying to get into our National Parks. National Parks are the most inexpensive vactation there is. Besides, buying a pass for $80 for my family for a year is the best deal around. We usually break even within the first month of the year.

  • Reader Participation Day: Are Park Entrance Fees Fair?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Entrance fees are a needless system. They generate less than 5% of the NPS budget and their use is restricted to certain things. Plus, it has set up a have and have-not park system where parks with entrance fees (less than one-third of them) get more money for maintenance projects than the parks with no fees. Most of the time, the parks that do not collect fees do not do so because they are not permitted to by law, or it is impractical. You can bet that parks like Santa Monica Mountains, Indiana Dunes, and Fire Island would love to collect fees if it were feasible. Most or all the state parks around them do, making the NPS a poor step child to the state parks nearby.

    Congress could add 10% to the NPS operations budget and eliminate all the entrance fees. The public would make out, no one would fail to visit a park because of a fee, and the NPS can get out of the entrance fee collection business.

    Now, as for whether or not fees are impediments. Why else would the NPS suspend fees if they were not some sort of impediment? Seems as though the creation of these fee-free weekends is a tacit admission that fees are preventing some people from visiting parks so have no fees will get them to come.

  • Reader Participation Day: Are Park Entrance Fees Fair?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I have no problem with entrance fees, especially since you generally see the benefit in improved facilities, great ranger programs and better preservation of nature.

  • How To Avoid A Bear Attack in the Great Outdoors, The Cartoon   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Well, that appeared to be a black bear. I'm confident that 99.9% of the time a punch to the nose of a grizzly will get your "head ripped off." Funny video.

  • Reader Participation Day: Are Park Entrance Fees Fair?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I just got back from a tour of several national parks in Atlantic Canada, and the admission was quite expensive. They have daily fees per person, while most parks in the U.S. have weekly fees per car. So for two of us to spend several days in Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland cost about C$80. The annual pass would have been only C$10 more, but we weren't going to be back this year, so why bother. The two of us spent only two days in Fundy National Park in New Brunswick and had to shell out C$40 for that. I'm not sure if Canada has an equivalent to the America the Beautiful card. If it did I was an idiot for not looking into it.

    That said, I didn't mind paying those fees, and generally don't mind fees in American parks. It usually feels like I'm getting more than my money's worth. As for taxes and that argument, there are so many things done with my tax dollars that I find utterly reprehensible, I don't even think about the fact that I'm "double-paying" to get into parks. I'm just glad our enlightened leaders are still funding things like parks at all and I'll continue to be happy to chip in a few extra bucks beyond that.

  • Bridge to Somewhere Stirs Debate at Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I think the bridge should not be built for the reasons stated earlier regarding habitat destruction and soil erosion due to the bikes off trail. Don't build the bridge save the money, habitat, and topsoil. I don't see a easy compromise as the nature of mountain biking is to go "off road".

  • Reader Participation Day: Are Park Entrance Fees Fair?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Kirby's correct. There's no entrance fee at Congaree National Park. There are, of course, loads of other NPS units that don't charge entrance fees. When in doubt, visit the park's website and under Quicklinks, click on "Fees and Reservations." For Congaree, you'll find this single-sentence jewel:

    FREE! Congaree National Park does not charge any entrance or tour fees.

    For Grand Canyon National Park, you'll find this under Fees & Reservations

    $25 per Private Vehicle is the entrance fee to Grand Canyon National Park. The fee for an individual entering by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, or non-commercial group is $12.00 per person. Admission is for seven days and includes entrance to both the North Rim and South Rim. No refunds are given due to inclement weather.

    Grand Canyon National Park Vehicle Permit- $25.00. Admits one single, private, non-commercial vehicle and all its passengers. Organized groups are not eligible for the vehicle permit.

    Grand Canyon National Park Individual Permit - $12.00/person. Admits one individual when entering by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, or non-commercial group. Individuals 15 years old and younger are admitted free of charge.

  • Reader Participation Day: Are Park Entrance Fees Fair?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I don't believe Congaree has an entrance fee. At least it didn't a couple years ago.

  • National Park Quiz 63: Pools   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Finally! The best personal score....10 of 12. Missed the room rates at Ahwahnee and didn't know Abrams Falls are in GSM.

  • Got Long Ties to Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Park Officials Want to Hear From You   5 years 23 weeks ago

    My great uncle has traced his roots to Cades Cove. He's an Oliver.

  • Reader Participation Day: Are Park Entrance Fees Fair?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I became a Lifetime member of the the Great Smoky Mountains Association this year. I'll help the parks anyway I can!

    What parks do not have a entrance fee? Hot Springs National Park, The Great Smoky Mountains...

  • Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    When a bear attacks a human, you kill the bear. It's as simple as that. Yes, they are magnificant animals and I love them too, but this bear was obviously trying to eat the 8 year old boy. I bring Bear Spray and a 12 ga slug gun with me when I go into bear country. I'm not looking for an encounter with a bear and I certainly don't plan to hurt an animal, but I have an 8 year old son too and there's no way I'm not going to be prepared to protect my family.

  • Let's Start a Tradition: "Thank a Ranger Day"   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I thank them everyday ! Of course I depend on them everyday for medical assistance and law enforcement. They are part of our family here at the Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley. A finer bunch of dedicated people you will not find than the Park Service than here in Death Valley. They are always friendly and willing to help with any situation. They give us lots of information in the morning and then save our lives in the afternoon if required. If you see a Ranger here at the Ranch stop by the General Store and offer to buy them a cup of coffee or an ice cold drink. You will be rewarded with big smiles, some of the friendliest people you will ever meet and lots of information about the Park.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    We were camped at the Mather Campground on the south rim when this happened and the NPS set off a very loud siren for about 5 minutes. It woke everyone in the caqmpground up and we were all wondering what had happened. I talked to a ranger later in the day and she said she knew of only one other instance in the last 18 years (how long she had worked there) where a vehicle went over the edge. She was amazed that an open spot had been found. She told us the other incident took place near Desert View where a man lifted his motorcycle over the rail and was setting it up so he could take his Christmas pictures and the bike fell over and tumbled off the edge, thankfully without the owner.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I just experienced Snow Canyon for the first time in June. Hiked the Hidden Pinyon Trail; didn't have time for others. It was a high point of my visit. I have to say I liked it better than Zion. So different from the Pacific NW where I hail from.

  • Let's Start a Tradition: "Thank a Ranger Day"   5 years 23 weeks ago

    OK, so I'll admit it here for all the world to see, I suffer from "Ranger Envy"!!

    Who, in their later years, haven't said, " I sure wish I'd have been a park ranger, what a life"!! Of course that's coming from someone that has only seen the good side of their jobs. I think they are truly the unsung heros of all the parks in this great country, and a national day to thank them is way overdue. Where do I sign the petition?

    At least I can thank them personally every time I come into contact with one, right?

    "The world is a great book, of which they that never stir from home read only a page"--St. Augustine

  • Rangers Looking for Missing Paddler at Glacier National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    A friend and I overturned our canoe in the "30 mile" section of the Yukon River years ago. I was SITTING on my life jacket at the time--what a dumbass I was!! NEVER AGAIN, no matter how uncomfortable that thing feels on a hot humid day. We both made it out ok, found our canoe about 10 miles downstream after getting rescued by a few cargo canoists that just happened by and finished our journey.

    PLEASE--always use your safety gear, your life may well (and usually does) depend on it.

    My prayers go out his friends and family.

    "The world is a great book, of which they that never stir from home read only a page"--St. Augustine

  • Visitation On Record Pace in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago


    We went in mid-June, and while there were crowds, they were easily avoided (except at Old Faithful).

    We had cancelled this trip last year when gas was at 4 a gallon.

    I think some park lovers with cabin fever have decided not to wait anymore.

    I can understand why those of you with this treasure in your backyard are reluctant to see the summer onslaught, but I thought the crowds were much less of a problem than we'd been lead to anticipate.

    Simply by seeing many sites later in the evening, we avoided much of them. We strolled around Mammoth at dusk and had the place practically to ourselves.

  • Rangers Looking for Missing Paddler at Glacier National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    It is a pity they did not wear a lifevest, or whatever they are called these days.
    See link below - the young man was found deceased.

    http://www.statesman.com/news/content/gen/ap/MT_Glacier_Canoeist_Missing.html

  • Latest Pastime of Yellowstone National Park Bison: Human Tossing   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Jim, Bison can move rapidly and for fairly long distance. Two weeks ago we watched a day old bison calf and cow run at least two miles being chased by a grizzly. The bison won the race along the bank of the Yellowstone River in Heyden Valley. Some people literally appear to leave their brains at home when visiting Yellowstone. On the next day, I attempted to exercise some common sense by telling a bunch of people to get back in their cars as a large grizzle was coming downhill toward them and out of their line of sight. The tourist only knew that a bear had been sighted and wanted to see what was going on. They at least listened to me and got back in their cars to be rewarded by seeing the bear pass withing 25 ft of their cars. Yellowstone is, afterall, still a wild place and not tourists back yard.

  • Rangers Looking for Missing Paddler at Glacier National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    No offense meant to the family of the missing boater, but WHAT were they doing in a canoe on Swiftcurrent Lake at 3 o'clock in the morning!

    This comment was edited to remove a disparaging comment. -- ed.

  • The Monkey Wrench Gang: Coming to a Theater Near You?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Ahh, the voice of reason! Yes, we are always disappointed or bemused by certain scenes that are in our minds that get portrayed by another’s point of view. It is inevitable. I am lost as to how you get Keanu Reeves in there though. I don't think he even knows how to use profanities! Drew?? She's too young. Let's just enjoy the book as we do and welcome the arrival of our favourite environmental heroes to the big screen. For better or worse.