Recent comments

  • Pine Beetle Outbreak Leads to Fewer Campground Sites in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Shame that the beetles are damaging so many trees. Would low grade forest fires also kill beetles ? If not we could spray the tree with liquid nitrogen which would lower the temperature enough to kill beetle where they want to diminsh the population like campgrounds.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Oh I am glad you all enjoyed my caption.

    Maybe someday there will be parks where the game animals hunt humans and vice versa. I read SF story where that happened. I would not be surprised if hunters would not take that challenge.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    CCW allowed in NPS should not have any effect since it would only be used in dire circumstance and all here has indicated NPS are generally very safe. Normal prudent human behavior for animal encounters should keep any need for a CCW holder to use the weapon to shoot an animal.

    Visitors shold not be aware since it is concealed. The big diiference is for drivers not having to disarm every time they cross a NPS boundary while driving.

    Enviromental impact is non existant since discharge except for self defense is not allowed and not the purpose of CCW holders.

    As to Mr Bane, I disagee why should not Americans enjoy the second amendment rights in NPS? Why are we to be restricted to National Forests? The restriction is not logical.

    No one has the right to deny another of their rights. So NPS visitors do not have a right to deprive gun holders of their rights. The only right the non gun people have is to their own choice. They can not decide for me what rights I should enjoy or not. I do not have that right to tell them what rights to exercise or not!

    So people who prefer to be where guns are not permitted want to restrict others rights, but think they have a right to dictate what rights other should enjoy and where they can enjoy them.

    Sorry I do not believe that is good reasoning. No one has superior rights to say that another can not exercise their right to free speech, own, keep and bear arms, free expression and practice of religion, and the right of free assciation. My fourth amendment rights are the same in NPS lands as in any city.

    So Mr Bane's suggestion is inherently unfair.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    oh yeah - not to steal RAH's thunder, but his comment was a bumpersticker in the late 70s/early 80s

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I really wish someone would explain to me why anyone thinks they need to carry a concealed weapon in a national park... In fact, why are we the only country obsessed with the desire to carry guns everywhere we go? Any questions about how we got to the point of believing we need to carry a conceal weapon in a national park? This seems ridiculous! & I was raised with rifles & handguns, enjoy recreational target shooting, & have worked in a pack-in hunting camp in Wyoming, so don't tell me I'm anti-gun!

  • Secretary Salazar Calls for Review Of Gun Rules in National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    MRC, Thanks for the links. If I interpreted the bear info it indicates that bluff charges are rare and considered 'encounters" that should be reported. It also says what to do if the charge turns from bluff to real. Which is curl up and offer no resistance. But the advice if how to resist a bear attack to a tent is quite different and indicates to fight back any way possible. So if a bear charges and attacks why should we not take the advice that is given for a tent attack? Any bear that charges a human is dangerous. It seems that bear charges can lead to real charges if the bear gets in the habit of doing bluff charge. Adverse conditioning seems indictated in bluff charges like loud noise ,large size and maybe pulling a gun to shoot if the bear continues the charge. That is if you have enough time.

    As to your expereince with the moose, that behavior in herd animals is common to protect young and usualy will swerve away. I have had horses for decades and they act the same. I would expect a bear to charge if I got too close to a cub or between mom and cub. I still would like the ability to defend myself if the bear means business.

    Yes, I was asking if any here have had a bluff charge? The moose charge is not quite the same since moose are not predators. Bears and cougars are predators.

    Also any info on how to distinguish from a bluff to a real charge before you allow contact?

    Like I said east coast advice does not talk about bluff charges and is not normal bear behavior and any deliberate approach of a bear to a human is considered dangerous.

    I have heard that grizzlies being more aggresive will charge, but I do not believe that I have to suffer a charge and an attack before defending myself.

    If bear bluff charegs are as rare as indicated then the numbers of violant encounters between a bear and a CCW holder would be rare indeed and would not be a significant enviromental impact.

  • Arches National Park Finds Its Birthday Overshadowed By Drilling Concerns   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Connie, you are creating a false choice between two scenarios when the real answer is that wind power AND oil drilling are problematic eyesores. It is not right to drill helter-skelter just because wind turbines are hypocritical (and I agree they are).

    AGW (anthropogenic global warming) is not a "religion" just because some uneducated AM DJ says so. It's common sense that people are causing it, unless you can prove that CO2 has no ability to trap heat, or that people are not releasing it in vast, unnatural quantities. Get with the science.

    There is nowhere near enough oil in the U.S. (including Alaska) to supply our 20 million barrel per day habit (in good economic times it will grow again). Few right-wing reactionaries bother to do the math. To make it very simple, at a conservative 20 million barrels per day we are using a BILLION barrels every 50 days. Estimated reserves in ANWR and coastal drilling combine to about 30 billion barrels in best-case scenarios, so do the math. That's only 30 x 50 days, which equals about 4 years of "independence from foreign oil."

    Independence? All it will do is keep us stuck in an increasingly desperate oil rut, relying more and more on Canadian tar sands or the truly land-wrecking spectre of shale mining, which has yet to be proven practical. Fossil fuels simply have downsides. There was no contract that guaranteed an easy ride forever when the first well was discovered.

    Nuclear may be the best semi-sustainable (electricity) solution that doesn't wreck the landscape. New mini nuclear reactors hold a lot of promise for small towns and rural areas. You bury them deep in the ground and they require very little maintenance. Fear of everything nuclear needs to be overcome.

    The long term solution to energy problems is halting mindless population growth (with global replacement-level birth control) and permanently stopping demand growth. Only then can we get a baseline for rational policies that don't involve continuous pillaging of the land under phony "green" banners or through old extractive industries.

  • Singer Dolly Parton Named Ambassador for Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Anniversary   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I love Dolly, who does'nt? I love the way she works for the preservation and promotion of the Great Smoky Mountains. I wish we could get her to help us stop the destruction of our beautiful mountains us here in East Kentucky by the Mountain Top Removal coal mining process. I was raised in the mountains of Kentucky as poor as Dolly was and she was always adored up here for the duration of her country music career. Dolly darlin if you ever slow down and get some time come up here and help us save the mountains of East Ky. We come down to DollyWood and support the area around Severville with our tourist dollars, beautiful place and it may be the only way we will be able to see a mountain if someone will not help us save ours.

    and then sing "BlueRidge Mountain Boy" to me...lol

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Anonymous of four posts above describes himself as a mountain biker but admits that he rides heedlessly ("I get mad when I have to slow down"). He wants to assign his misconduct to a whole generation of mountain bikers in his region. (Maybe it's midtown Manhattan.) It's fine that he admits to personal misbehavior, but I and thousands of mountain bikers don't want to be lumped in with him, because we ride politely and with sensitivity to others.

    Regarding Anonymous's assertion that "the trails (wilderness) that don't allow bikes are not as shredded as the ones that allow biking (nonwilderness)," here's what one backpacker wrote of his Wilderness experiences with commercial horse pack trains in 2006:

    "My trip to Stanley Hot Springs was full of surprises. This was my first trip into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, which was the 1st Wilderness Area designated in Idaho and one of the first of the entire United States. It lies directly north of the massive Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, and is separated from the Frank by only one road, the Magruder Road.

    "We broke camp at Wilderness Gateway Campground at 4 a.m. in an effort to beat the heat. We were unfortunate to arrive during a week-long heat wave of mid-90s to 100+ temperatures. The last part of the hike down to Rock Creek was rough. There was little water, the trail was thrashed and loaded with horse poop due to extreme outfitter activity—in many places it was like hiking up jagged stairs. And, horse traffic on the trail proved cumbersome as the heat ratcheted up.

    "Horses have the right-of-way here, so every time they are encountered backpackers and hikers have to get off the trail, approx. 5-6 feet below the horses and crush beautiful foliage as a result while the horses pass and kick rocks and dirt all over the party below. This makes for slow going, and if you have heavy backpacks on can really suck. We had to do it 4 times. Some of the outfitters were actually upset at having to deal with us backpackers, I think it was because our dogs spooked their horses and one of them spilled their beer. All in this particular party were drinking beer and smoking cigars while on the trail."

    Source: http://www.idahohotsprings.com/destinations/stanley/index.htm

    No one I know of has offered, with similar convincing detail, a kindred personal account about being displaced or forced to hike radically damaged trails because of bicycles. Moreover, the available science runs counter to Anonymous's assertion that mountain biking damages trails more than hiking.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I have owned and used firearms from my pre-teens. My father trained me to be a hunter. I certainly am not an anti gun nut, but I believe that there should be limits to the right to own and possess firearms. All rights have reasonable limits. I have no problem obeying laws and regulations limiting the carrying of personal loaded firearms on airplanes, trains, busses or in most parks. For those who feel they cannot feel safe without a gun strapped to them, simply go where you are permitted to carry. There are lots of national forests and other public lands that allow the possession of a firearm. Why not respect the right of people who prefer the idea of being where guns are not permitted by the general public? To me that seems a fair exchange.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I am always reassessing the nature of trail-use conflicts. I no longer toe the party line of some of my fellow mountain bikers that nonmotorized user groups can all get along on every trail. And as I stated in my prior post, I acknowledge that the social impact of mountain biking can be, in certain senses, in certain places, and at certain times, higher than that of hiking. The environmental impact is usually the same, or even less, but the social impact on the trails is sometimes greater because we move faster (enabling us to scare people) and are more able to range farther into remote wildland interiors (enabling us to disrupt others' sense of solitude, which a number of people prize; I know I do). I believe we mountain bikers must acknowledge these issues and offer shared-use models that take them into account and neutralize (or minimize) any problems.

    The question, though, is whether other user groups will work with mountain bikers in good faith. I doubt it. A number of Wilderness purists have been so fanatically devoted to their model of hikers-and-horses only that they have been willing to make the ultimate sacrifice: a virtual halt to Wilderness expansion for many years. This attitude shows that ideological purity prevails over the putatively fundamental goal of wildland protection. Given such a mindset, I fear that mountain bikers have little to offer that the purists will be willing to consider.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    To all those who respect their First Amendment rights but have no respect for the Second Amendment. Show me any animal in any park, anywhere in the world, not just our national parks, that can carry on an intelligent conversation against the second amendment, & I'll give up my rights under the second amendment!!! Like the animal's in the article that cannot speak, those who trample our second amendment rights, also cannot conceive those of us who respect our second and first amendment rights!! I also find that most of them also cannot carry on an intelligent conversation about the second amendment! I feel truly sorry for those people who are ignorant about guns and the people that respect them and use them as many people who like to use Golf clubs.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I read the National Park Conservation Association and Wilderness advocacy group attachments. NPCA's position boils down to an argument that bicycles are fine for parking lots and for battling Winnebagos on NPS's paved roads. Despite NPCA's perfunctory statement that bikes may be OK on some trails somewhere, I've never heard of a trail that NPCA would find suitable for cycling. I wonder how many people under 40 would be excited to belong to an organization like this.

    The people and organizations, like NPCA, who/that oppose giving individual park superintendents authority to decide on trail usage and want Washington to decide everything, would be the first to support the idea that some states, like California, should be allowed to set their own more stringent air-pollution control rules and not have to follow dictates from Washington.

    So hypocrisy abounds. Nonetheless, one can dismiss the "concerns" (complaints) of hidebound groups and still acknowledge that mountain biking has an impact. All uses have impacts, some intrinsic, some extrinsic. Here's how I assess various traditional user groups' impact on wildlands:

    1. Mountain bikers: low environmental impact, moderate intrinsic social impact (i.e., on the trails; see my following post), low extrinsic social impact (willing to share with others, do lots of volunteer trailwork, not hostile to other users).

    2. Equestrians: moderate environmental impact, low intrinsic social impact (on the trails), moderate extrinsic social impact (hostility to mountain bikers and some other user groups; don't do much trail maintenance).

    3. Hikers: low environmental impact, low instrinsic social impact (on the trails), moderate to high extrinsic social impact (insistence on keeping parks off limits to almost all nonmotorized users but themselves; don't do as much trail maintenance as mountain bikers do).

    So no one can make a claim to social or environmental purity, notwithstanding the posturing of people and organizations who/that assert in substance that they possess a monopoly on both.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I guess we really should ask the Bears. After all, we certainly know that all the rapists and robbers and murders don't want us to be able to protect ourselves. So I'm sure a bear would be plenty pissed off if he attacked someone and they pulled a 44 out on him? What do you think? Remember, once your dead, by ANY means, YOUR EXTINCT.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Concealed weapons in parks don't bother me, as long as the guns stay concealed. If some idiot gets caught brandishing it, or poaches an animal, throw the book at him! It should be difficult to prove that some animal was a real bodily threat. Also, if they are making noise by shooting cans at dusk, they should be easy to find, and fined.

    While weapons might provide a level of comfort to some, I think most hikers would get tired of carrying a heavy hunk of metal in their otherwise lightweight pack.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    If the bear shoots alot you could really be in trouble, unless he runs out or rounds

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I bet if someone was getting their butt chewed on by a wild animal . They would not Complain if someone who happened by had a concealed carry permit , I bet they would be more than happy then.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    @ Zebulon- One more thing- If you take a look at the stats (take yer pick - typically generated from user surveys) you'll see that in heavily used public lands, hiking is the #1 activity.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    @ Zebulon-

    I would bet that the NPS managed lands are such a minuscule percentage of the overall public lands that I don't think you lose out by not being able to mountain bike in National Parks.

    I am a mountain biker, I live in an area with tons of mountain biking opportunities but little equestrian and the trails (wilderness) that don't allow bikes are not as shredded as the ones that allow biking (non-wilderness.) Let me say this again, I mountain bike and love it. I'm all for trail development but feel there is a time and place for everything.

    Having run trail rehab programs via a nonprofit and put in a lot of hours rehabilitating trails myself (read: sore back, blisters and sweat...), I feel that I can comfortably say three things:

    1) Mountain bikers don't show up to work on the trails, even when heavily recruited (at least around here)
    2) Trails that allow mountain biking need more maintenance than those that don't.
    3) Trails built or maintained to IMBA standards need TONS more work than those employing USFS standards.
    4) The new generation (which I'm part of) of mountain bikers doesn't really slow down or tolerate walkers/runners/hikers/families on trails (around here) and gets upset when they have to slow down or pull an earbud from their ipod out to have a quick exchange with those not on a bike. I think hikers don't enjoy mountain bike trails because they are always having to jump out of the way. Say what you want, but you must not be riding fast enough to see where the conflict and disrespect comes from. I get mad when I have to slow down and then rebuild my cadence...

    As such, I also don't see where the money to pay for these trails is going to come from other than sucking away funding towards rehabilitating/maintaining what is already there.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    The Wilderness is closed to bikes not for any kind of logical reason, but simply because the ultra enviros managed to get the administration to close it. There is no inherent reason why bikes can't be used in wilderness other than the Sierra Club hates biking. Simple as that.

    I would argue that is is closed to all sorts of mechanized use for very logical reasons. The wilderness designation was created to permanently set aside protected areas that could provide opportunities to completely get away from mechanized society. It has nothing to do with ultra environmental groups, and everything to do with preserving a place that helps provide contrast to how we live our lives.

    I disagree that it is just going to be a matter of time before these rules change for wilderness. The more mechanized our society gets the more important it will become to protect wilderness (and there are some very strong groups who support that viewpoint).

    Finally, biking may grow in popularity during the future... however I seriously doubt that will eclipse hiking (an activity that requires no special equipment and no monetary investment)

    P.S. You are right when you say that there are no inherent qualities in the wildlands that makeup Wilderness that prevent any activity. The qualities (that prevent improper use of Wilderness) were in our society's ability to recognize the importance of pure, untrammeled, and unmechanized spaces and their growing importance to our society.

  • The Confederate Victory at Brices Cross Roads Did Little to Help the Confederate Cause   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Wow, I never heard of this battle, but I am from Maryland, so we tend to focus more locally. Thanks for the post script. Very interesting; incredible, really.

  • Secretary Salazar Calls for Review Of Gun Rules in National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I'm not sure, if I get your intention right. Do you expect us to provide eye witness accounts of bluff charging to assure you that the NPS does not simply makes this animal behavior up in their:

    * Bear management glossary of Denali National Park
    http://www.nps.gov/archive/dena/home/resources/Wildlife/Bearmgmt/Glossary.pdf

    *Backcountry trip planner of Yellowstone NP
    http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/upload/bc_tripplanner9-08.pdf

    * Bear encounter advice of Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP
    http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/bear_encounters.htm

    and the
    * Bear fact sheet of Yosemite NP
    http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/bears.htm

    Or those scholars in their unreliable scientific publications like
    * Jacobs, Schoeder of West Virginia University: "Managing brown bears and wilderness recreation on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, USA" in: Environmental Management, Volume 16, Number 2 / March, 1992 p 249

    or on some other species:
    "Inhibition of social behavior in chimpanzees under high-density conditions" in: American journal of primatology 1997, vol. 41, no3, pp. 213-228 (1 p.1/4)

    But hey, if you need eye witness accounts, I can provide you with one or two. I witnessed a female moose bluff charging a tourist in gaudy clothing, who ventured too close to the moose's newborn in Yellowstone NP, just outside of Norris a number years ago. It was a fantastic situation to encounter a newborn moose calf making its first steps and while I observed and took some photos with a 300mm telephoto lens, this idiot walked in to take a portrait of the calf with his compact camera and a 35mm wide angle. We have to be glad he did not use a flash. On the same trip a buffalo took an aggressive stand against another tourist, ready to charge any second if anything more had happened.

    Is that enough for you?

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Keep Wilderness and National parks backcountry trails for animals ie. human; horses; and of course wild animals!!!

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    The NPS knows what it is doing at Muir Woods, Zebulon. Experience shows that if you let visitors wander around off-trail, they walk round and round and round those big redwoods. The result is dead trees. All of that tromping compacts the soil around the tree roots, eliminates vital air pockets in the upper root zone, and severely inhibits the downward movement of moisture. Fortunately, there are other plenty of other parks where you can go off-trail without endangering redwoods.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    The Wilderness is closed to bikes not for any kind of logical reason, but simply because the ultra enviros managed to get the administration to close it. There is no inherent reason why bikes can't be used in wilderness other than the Sierra Club hates biking. Simple as that.

    It's a matter of time, but hikers are aging and the kids are biking. Guess what will happen in the next 20-30 years when bikers are the majority? It'll be too late for me but not for my kids. In the meantime, there is always night riding. :)

    On a separate note, I took my kids for a hike last week in Muir woods. I was quite amused to see that the vast majority of the visitors were sticking to the paved trails by the creek (nice, flat and covered with asphalt). So much for enjoying the great outdoors, I guess. :)