Recent comments

  • Good Oysters and Bad Oysters   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I know - a little bit old, but I found this in a search for something else.

    Tomales Bay is only partially under the control of Point Reyes NS. The southern end along Point Reyes is private land around the towns of Inverness and Inverness Park. A good section of it is Tomales Bay State Park. The entire eastern end is not NPS save a couple of short stretches that are less than 1 mile and part of Golden Gate NRA. The shellfish farmed and harvested there are not the native Olympia oyster anyways. They're Pacifics, Atlantics, Kumamotos, and manila clams. In any case the State of California holds all fishing rights to Drakes Estero and Tomales Bay, and Drake's Bay Oyster Farm has a state shellfish permit to use the area that currently expires in 2029. They're also trying to reintroduce Olympias back into Drakes Estero.

    The note that Congress designated Drakes Estero to be a wilderness area by 2012 is patently false. I've read the 1976 act (it's very short) that designated the current wilderness and potential wilderness areas, and it makes zero mention of any dates. It's only about 1 page long and the only years mentioned are 1976 and 1962 (for the act designating Point Reyes NS).

    http://www.nps.gov/pore/parkmgmt/upload/lawsandpolicies_publiclaw94_544.pdf

    Here's an alternate take:

    http://www.ptreyeslight.com/cgi/opinion_archives.pl?record=10

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    What about Great Smoky Mountain? It IS the most visited!!

  • Spring Plowing Operations Under Way in Glacier National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    So incredibly glad that the Two Medicine road is being plowed early...East Glacier backcountry skiiers would like to send a big THANK YOU to the park admin.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Not only that, but where is Mt. Rainier National Park? The beauty of Federation Forest and Spray Park should put it on that list!

  • Showdown at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Beamis suggests:

    "My constructive suggestion, as I've made many times before, is to take the parks out of the purview of the U.S. federal government and put them into the hands of non-profit private trusts. Take the politics and careerism out of vital land management decision making."

    If the parks are in the hands of non-profit private trusts, will that take "politics and careerism" out of decision making?

    I work for a non-profit. Careerism is rampant here. It is at every non-profit organization, at every for-profit organization, and at every governmental organization I've ever known. I am not criticizing my organization or any other organization ... I'm simply pointing out the facts.

    Decisions at my organization are influenced by politics. They're influenced by money, by fads, by personalities, by the appearance of the person making the suggestion. (Yes! Suggestions made by beautiful young women are more likely to be adopted than suggestions made by me. Suggestions made by wealthy donors are more likely to be adopted than suggestions made by me. Does this astound anyone?)

    But in my organization, there is no Inspector General to go to. Employees who complain are not reassigned, they are fired.

    While decisions made by the government are influenced by the desires of the wealthy, decisions made by non-profits are dominated by the desires of the wealthy.

    I agree with Bemis that the NPS is imperfect. But his suggested remedy will magnify -- not rectify -- those imperfections.

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I agree that Crater Lake should be on the list!

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    You'll find it tucked away in a slice of southern Oregon......

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Hey! Where is Crater Lake? :-(

  • Trust For Public Land Leverages Land Purchase for Virgin Islands National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Thanks for the extra details, Kurt.

  • Trust For Public Land Leverages Land Purchase for Virgin Islands National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Parking is an incredible problem at VIIS. There simply is not enough to meet demand. For instance, at the Reef Bay trailhead there's room for two, perhaps three Jeeps, depending on how they're parked. At Trunk Bay, the biggest, most popular beach, there's room for maybe a dozen or so cars.

    At Maho Bay the "parking" is on wide spots along the road, and those "wide spots" seem to have been created over the years by Jeeps and other 4WDs simply pulling off the crusty asphalt pavement and onto the vegetation.

    You can repeat those scenarios at Jumbie Bay (room for four Jeeps), Leinster Bay (there is a small parking area for those visiting the Annaberg ruins, but the overflow crowds the narrow road), Lameshur Bay (if you make the effort to reach this bay, and it ain't easy, there's room for about a dozen cars in the identified parking area), and Salt Pond Bay (find a spot somewhere along the road). About the only ones that have even somewhat reasonable parking -- perhaps 30 spots -- are Hawksnest and Cinnamon bays.

    There are plenty of public taxis -- long, bus-like, open-air rigs with multiple rows of seating -- but most seem to stop running to and from the beaches around 4:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.

    For a park of only about 7000 acres, one that attracts roughly 500,000 visitors a year, this situation is woefully inadequate. Does that mean that parking lots sprawling across dozens of acres at each beach are needed? No, and from the looks of things that wouldn't be practical, anyway.

    But unless the park moves to a mandatory shuttle system -- which would seem fairly feasible along the Northshore Road that hits the most popular beaches -- even a little more organized parking would go a long, long way to meeting demand AND preserving resources. Right now the resources are getting pounded in many places from illegal parking.

  • Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    DNC sent this email to me and another family member this week:

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In October 2008, Yosemite Valley rock falls occurred in the vicinity of Curry Village that prompted National Park Service (NPS) and independent geologists to conduct studies in the area. The results of those studies recommended the permanent closure of 234 visitor accommodations, and the NPS has formally closed those units from guest use.

    Subsequent to the closure, we have been working with the NPS to replace approximately one-half of the units lost in another area adjacent to Curry Village; that plan is not final. As of today, there simply are not enough units to accommodate all of the guests that made reservations within Curry Village.

    At this point, we regret to notify you this loss in overnight accommodations will probably affect your upcoming visit to Yosemite. It is imperative that you contact us and be prepared to discuss the following options:
    Downgrade your accommodation to a different Curry Village room type.
    Select new dates for your reservation at Curry Village (based on availability).
    Select new dates for your reservation at an alternate Yosemite property (based on availability).
    Cancel this year's reservation and rebook for summer 2010.
    Cancel this year's reservation and fully refund your advance deposit.
    Relocate your reservation to an alternate property outside the Park (based on availability).
    Please contact us immediately at (801) 559-4963 or by email .

    We greatly appreciate your assistance in helping us resolve this unfortunate situation and thank you for your understanding.

    At Your Service,
    Yosemite Reservations

    ---------------------------------------------------

    When we each called the number, they reservation agent canceled ALL of our respective Curry reservations. We had reserved multiple units, both tent cabins and cabins with a bath for a large family group. No negotiation. No alternative park reservations offered.
    Their email says 234 units are being closed, which is 50% of total units in Curry (tents + cabins). So why did they cancel 100% of our reservation? Reservation agent said she is canceling everyone who calls. If a person does not call, the reservation will be canceled anyway and they will learn about it when they try to check in.
    Are they protecting the tour groups at the expense of individuals?
    Our reservations were for the week of June 14.

  • Trust For Public Land Leverages Land Purchase for Virgin Islands National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Kudos to the TPL. All of that property could easily have been converted to major development, and based on the photo with the story, that would have been a shame.

  • Traveler Editor Kurt Repanshek Spurns Pulitzer, Goes into Hiding   5 years 21 weeks ago

    It's the clowns. Behind that happy exterior lies a lot of muleheaded stubbornness.

  • Traveler Editor Kurt Repanshek Spurns Pulitzer, Goes into Hiding   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Say what? Unicycles and pogo sticks again?! I thought we had already worked that one out.

  • Traveler Editor Kurt Repanshek Spurns Pulitzer, Goes into Hiding   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I'm sorry I haven't had the chance to write earlier today and congratulate you. My phone has been ringing off the hook since early this morning, when a phone call from Stockholm informed me that I have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. It's for working out a trail sharing plan for the national parks and Wilderness that traditionalists and mountain bike access advocates accepted within hours. Unfortunately, I can't disclose the details at this moment because there's one remaining negotiating point involving unicycles and Pogo sticks that's proving to be vexing and difficult.

  • Trust For Public Land Leverages Land Purchase for Virgin Islands National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Once the land transfer is completed, the Park Service plans to...create a better parking area for beach access.

    Does "better parking lot area" really mean BIGGER parking lotarea?

  • Traveler Editor Kurt Repanshek Spurns Pulitzer, Goes into Hiding   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Thank you for the laughs~

  • National Park Quiz 48: Mysteries   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Very informative and educational. Motivated me to get my NTP atlas and find the places I didn't know. Thanks

  • Traveler Editor Kurt Repanshek Spurns Pulitzer, Goes into Hiding   5 years 21 weeks ago

    LOL!

  • Traveler Editor Kurt Repanshek Spurns Pulitzer, Goes into Hiding   5 years 21 weeks ago

    A very large piece of coral placed on him by his wife just to make sure he doesn't surface to soon.

  • Change.gov and the National Park System Under the Obama Administration   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Is there a list of National Parks that are participating in the program of sustainable agriculture

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    The previous post by Anonymous has some excellent comments on the subject of bear spray.

    Storminator - hope you encounter a Canadian customs official who is up-to-date on the bear spray regs, so you can take some along.
    Have a great trip!

  • Traveler Editor Kurt Repanshek Spurns Pulitzer, Goes into Hiding   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I could have sworn that was him I just saw careening around a new ATV trail in Great Smoky with a concealed weapon and a 'just say no to the plovers of Cape Hatteras' sign....

  • National Parks Traveler Back On-Line, Back in Business!   5 years 21 weeks ago

    blog is a contraction of 'weblog'

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    storminator,

    Bear spray can be legally carried through Canada enroute to and from Alaska. Not every Canadian customs official is aware of this, so it may take some explanation, but they are supposed to allow it.

    Ray Bane has done a great job of explaining the advantages of bear spray, and Dr. Tom Smith's recent research into bear attacks in Alaska and the effectiveness of spray on both brown and black bears is worth reading. If you are backpacking into remote areas, consider carrying two cans. Should you need to use one on a bear, you'll want a second can ready as you get out of the area. The same reason those with firearms carry an extra magazine or speedloader.

    Air horns are effective, but spray is better. There are lots of brands out there, so do a little research and buy a reputable brand, such as those recommended by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.

    I know of cases where a .44 magnum pistol (and some smaller calibers) have been used successfully to dispatch brown bears, but again, as Ray pointed out, speed and accuracy with a handgun are difficult in the stress of surprise bear encounter. More than one armed hunter has learned this in a bear encounter. The cloud of bear spray mitigates the accuracy problem and reduces the risk of collateral damage from a stray bullet as well.

    Hope you have a great motorcycle trip this summer.