Recent comments

  • Should Ocmulgee National Monument Be Transformed into a National Park By Stimulus Funds?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    At least OCMU sits in a relatively accessible place - it's a perfect place to stop for people en route to/from Florida on I-75. Perhaps some more money spent on outreach?

  • Should Ocmulgee National Monument Be Transformed into a National Park By Stimulus Funds?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Beamis,

    Is it after 5 p.m. where you are? I think you're reaching with your latest comments. More isn't necessarily the merrier. Indeed, from where the Traveler is sitting, the NPS has more than enough on its plate right now. That's been our view for quite some time, and I reiterated it in the post above.

  • Should Ocmulgee National Monument Be Transformed into a National Park By Stimulus Funds?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Aww come on MRC don't be such a spoil sport. The more national parks the merrier. Why let such minor details as authenticity and actual significance get in the way of the federal spending party?

    Since most of you out there in NPT-land desire continued federal governance of the national park system you should be more than ready and willing to take all of the booty you can while the gettin' is good.

    National parks for everyone! Have another round on we the taxpayers!

    I mean, after all, this is a serious proposal by someone in power in Washington, DC. It sure sounds legitimate. Why look a gift horse in the mouth?

    This is what a "stimulus" package is all about my friend. Overpasses, public housing projects, agriculture subsidies, Mafia museums and national parks. Dig in. Enjoy. It's all about saving our country.

    Don't be a such spoil sport! You really should try and be a little more patriotic.

  • Carefully Providing Wheeled Access To Denali National Park and Preserve   5 years 19 weeks ago

    The Ken Burns series on National Parks due out this September has a segment on the history of the road in Denali, including the plan to widen & pave the entire loop and build a fancy visitor's center at Wonder Lake, and the fight by Adolph Murie that stopped the paving.

  • National Park Quiz 45: Green   5 years 19 weeks ago

    It does count for something. It is, in fact, one of the most amazing wildlife displays in the whole National Park System. What is equally amazing is that there are often more than 500 visitors who attend this nightly show.

    Now, the real bat aficionados also would not miss the once-a-year bat flight breakfast that allows people to see the bats returning to the cave following their evening foraging. It is a special treat.

    Rick Smith

  • Should Ocmulgee National Monument Be Transformed into a National Park By Stimulus Funds?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    According to the Earth Lodge Historic Structure Report from 2005 http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/ocmu/ocmu_earthlodge_hsr.pdf its reconstruction in the 1930s and the subsequent activities were faulty and while the lodge is spectacular for the visitors it is not historically accurate. Most probably it was not covered in earth, but only the walls were earthen.

    The most important features of Ocmulgee are the early mounds.

    The proposal to redesignate Ocmulgee seems ill reasoned: As others mentioned, NPS units which are designated National Park are not necessarily appropriately funded. If the site is not mentioned in scientific or popular literature on Native Americans in the south east, it most probably is not because the site is a National Monument, but because the Earth Lodge does not fit in with anything elsewhere - and we know why by now.

  • National Park Quiz 45: Green   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Well, Rick, I did sit in that little amphitheater at the natural entrance and watch about a gazillion Mexican free-tail bats fly out at dusk to forage for mosquitoes and such. That should count for something, right?

  • National Park Quiz 45: Green   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Bob--

    If you only saw the Big Room via the elevator, it's time for you to go back to the park. You must walk down to the Big Room via the main entrance. It's stunning!

    Rick Smith

  • Congressman Seeks Stimulus Funds For Restoration Work at Gateway National Recreation Area   5 years 19 weeks ago

    .... last September a federal appellate court in New Jersey upheld a lower court's opinion that the Park Service was within its rights to lease the buildings.

    With the political climate and goings-on of today, it is not insignificant to remind everyone wherever we can that CITIZENS have rights. Government has POWERS specifically delegated to them. In this case it would be preferred to say NPS was acting "within its discretion," or "within its power."

  • National Park Quiz 45: Green   5 years 19 weeks ago

    John: I forgot to mention to mention that I've already seen your fine park. I was with that University of South Carolina tour group that came through in July 1985 -- the ones who arrived almost too late to catch the last elevator of the day down to the Big Room.

  • Should Ocmulgee National Monument Be Transformed into a National Park By Stimulus Funds?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I'm sure the Congressman from Macon would love to get this Indian mound site designated into a national park (making it the first one in Georgia) because it would surely help bring more tourists into his district. Win, win!

    If this particular unit is worthy of national park status then I definitely think Cumberland Island is also. I say let these funds "stimulate" two new national parks into existence for the Peach State and everyone will be happy.

    Ain't Washington politics fun? We all win and no one loses. All we have to do is just keep those printing presses rolling and we can all have as many national parks as we want! The free lunch party is just beginning!

  • Should Ocmulgee National Monument Be Transformed into a National Park By Stimulus Funds?   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I hate this movement to change monuments to parks. We now have Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park. The monument designation made sense for those two parks, but the names were changed for political reasons. If we're going to negate the monument designation, then we'd might as well rename them all.

  • Believe it or Not, Yosemite National Park Once had a Zoo   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Grinnel wasn't wrong, and neither are the stewards of today's National Park System. National parks preserve habitat, enabling visitors to encounter animals and birds in their "natural" surroundings and watch them interact with each other. Holding wild animals in captivity for the entertainment of visitors is a practice that falls far, far outside the national park mission.

  • Believe it or Not, Yosemite National Park Once had a Zoo   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Grinnel was wrong. The Zoo was a good idea, but likely failed because of a circus like atmosphere...there's a small Zoo in Merced...see blog page....the mandate of the Parks is to provide education about wilderness...and they haven't much nowadays to display wildlife...except the stuffed dusty critters over in the Wilderness Center...small Zoos fill a niche that needs filling.

    David

  • Glen Canyon NRA Releases EA on Castle Rock Cut Deepening   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I am a firm believer in leaving as much of the earth in a natural state as possible(without a viable biosphere we are all toast). If the dam were not there I would be lobbying to stop it. But the dam is there. The lake is unnatural, but it is also one of the wonders of the world! The damage is done! Enjoy what we have, the lake is amazing. Glen Canyon is only a memory now, and will remain so for our life time. Moving a few hundred thousand cubic feet of sand stone, is nothing in the big scheme. Yes, for the Castle Rock Cut. Geologically the area is eroding at a very fast pace because the stone is soft. Someday there will be a concrete plug where the canyon walls have softened and eroded around the dam, and there will be no Lake Powell. But none of us will see it. If there is a man made grove in the rock in some obscure place, it will only be a curiosity to those who pass by. If there is anyone left to pass by.

  • National Park Quiz 45: Green   5 years 19 weeks ago

    John -

    Thanks for the suggestion! Wish I'd thought of the Green Lake Room myself.

    Based on the number Bob assigned to your comment, it looks like he's a bit backlogged, but maybe we can encourage him to get out to Carlsbad :-)

  • National Park Quiz 45: Green   5 years 19 weeks ago

    John, we have referred your remark to our Complaint Department, where I'm confident it will get all the attention that it deserves. Be sure to let us know if you don't get a reply within six weeks. Refer to complaint #031509-10363.

  • The 10 Best of Everything Families: An Ultimate Guide for Travelers   5 years 19 weeks ago

    My husband likes to buy these books and give them to my parents, just to see their reactions and hear the debate. The very word "families" is where the 1st problem of this book began, because the needs of a family with a 6th month old baby are dramatically different than those with teenagers. This book has big problems before even opening the cover. That being said, I am sure my Mother will getting it for a birthday present from her favorite son in law...

  • National Park Quiz 45: Green   5 years 19 weeks ago

    A major bungle on your part: you missed the Green Lake Room in Carlsbad Caverns National Park!

    Shame on you! You need to get down here and see this fabulous park!

    John

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 19 weeks ago

    I don't see the public or the system fightin' all that hard "to protect the long-term viability of our parks".

    I should have been more specific. The public being your average visitor has little input in how the parks are run. However, NGO's (non governmental organizations) Like NRA, Shooting sports foundation, Sierra Club, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and many Friends of the "Name your favorite park" groups are all organized and actively pushing to protect the parks in ways they see fit.

    While this is off topic, I'll take a second to list some more auto related accommodations. Visitor education (handouts...even though many don't read them), wildlife road signs (not the average dear crossing signs), whenever possible managing road traffic with rangers when wildlife gather near roads, interp exhibits, interp safety messages, and creating more open roadsides to make wildlife more visible. Wildlife is not the only reason that the speed is lowered in park borders, car vs car is probably more hazardous than wildlife. Finally, in response to your comment about being skeptical about the influences of speed on auto induced wildlife mortality it seems that you are correct to be skeptical. Some animals, like the whitetail and bighorn sheep, don't always show the expected trend of slower=lower incidences. However, other species do react better to lower speed, like elk. Do a google scholar search for wildlife and road mortality for supporting evidence.

    Now back to the topic. Here are some opinions about nonlead ammo that run counter to many of the claims read in this blog. Note, this is on the "condorinfo" website, so they will be biased in the support of non-lead, second it is a PDF.

    Also, another google scholar search using lead ammunition produces finds over 100,000 sources of information. Many identifying the hazards of lead. But as RAH noted, some folks are not going to see this purely about limiting lead exposure to wildlife, people, and land. Maybe, it does have some political influence behind it. And it is right to call that out. But the science behind heavy metal poisoning is irrefutable. If sportspeople want to ensure that their hobbies and needs are protected they should be proactive in their use of science, and they should push back when their rights are challenged. I have seen a lot of the latter but less of the former in this discussion.

    As our ability to measure our own impacts on the environment increase, we should expect to see rules like this one change. Where there is room to lessen the impacts of use, the park's organic act pushes us to make the decision that are more likely to protect the long term viability of the resource.

    My god I sound preachy.

  • Carefully Providing Wheeled Access To Denali National Park and Preserve   5 years 19 weeks ago


    Our family went to Alaska last August and one highlight was the Tundra Wilderness Tour. I think it is a good balance between preserving the wilderness and allowing access. I would hate to see it opened to more traffic and reduce wildlife sightings. Being able to see the sweeping vista of Polychrome Basin was a memory I will carry with me for my lifetime. It also bolsters my belief of the need to protect places like these and take interest in our parks.

  • Campgrounds Opening This Weekend In Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Since these are the popular parks and they will have the most interest. Since there is no staff to visit all the parks and post stories I think we are lucky to have the informative articles.

    I like know about the new amenities and lunches and horseback riding and the camps. Thanks for the article.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 19 weeks ago

    The anti lead ammo agenda has been growing. It started from some legitimate concerns, like lead concentration in water from waterfowl hunting. The condor study was another legitimate concern.

    But the lead ban in ammo is a back door attempt to ban hunting and guns. There has been a lot of attempts to stop guns by going after ammo. The micros stamping is just an example. Taxes on ammo are another. So yes the gun rights people question the need for lead ban ammo in NPS when there is no need in NPS lands since hunting or shooting is not done there except rarely.

    There are some statutes that ban copper bullets and tungsten is very expensive. The are ballistic issues also with no lead bullets.

    I find the timing suspicous after the NPS was forced to allow guns with CCW rules. So I do suspect that weapons and ammo checks is the next step to prevent CCW holders with guns in NPS lands.

    There is strong agenda against fishing and hunting by PETA and the Humane society and they have use the lead in ammo as one of their strategies to stop those sports. Any sportsman who enjoys those activities have a reason to worry.

  • Why, sea horses, of course!   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Been to Assateague many times and camped there. The mosquitoes are very bad. The horses are very friendly they check out campgrounds and steal food regularly. The come up to be petted and do not bite and kick, unlike thouroughbreds. These horse are extremely good natured. They have patterns like at 5 pm they go to the beaches and if they find food. Chips in bags they go from being carelful not to step on towels to a rush and then kick and squeal amoung themselves in a pecking order on who get the goodies. It is highly amusing to watch the people get stuck in the waves by the herd taking over the beach. Until the herd has left.

    Being an expert horseman I had no problem, a slap and yell will turn the horse away from you with no harm to either.

    But the horses are beautiful.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 19 weeks ago

    Just like with ammo and sinkers, the parks have made adjustments within their boarders [sic] to try and accommodate for a more environmentally friendly use of autos.

    A more environmentally friendly use of autos? Ok, slowing to 45 mph in the park *might* reduce roadkill, but I'm skeptical. I've had too many coworkers with tales of carnage while driving at 45 mph, including one who hit a black bear. What other accommodations has the NPS made for "a more environmentally use of autos"? Please keep in mind that closing roads to traffic does not fall under this category.

    Be happy that we have a system where public and the system itself fights to protect the long term viability of our parks.

    I don't see the public or the system fightin' all that hard "to protect the long-term viability of our parks". The public and the system together arguably make up the government, and the new administration has proved itself as icy towards the financial needs of national parks as the last administration.

    The current system for managing parks is anything but sustainable. The federal government is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, with tens of trillions in debt and unfunded future obligations.