Recent comments

  • An Analytical Look At The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Concentrating on only the national "parks" is a huge disservice to the National Park System and Mr. Burns. As we all know, designations are often political whim. Presumably, if this show was made 10 years ago he would have omitted Cuyahoga Vally and Congaree. Yet those parks did not change when their names did! So Dinosaur National Monument, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Pinnacles National Monument, and other outstanding natural areas are not included - not to mention the historical and cultural places. What's worse, the companion book shows a map of the "national parks" and all these other areas are missing. This show could have been a great opportunity to remind people of the national parks in their full representation of America. Instead, it reinforces a misconception about the National Park System, could lead to even more overcrowding in the parks that do get mentioned, further neglect to the parks that do not get noticed, and worst of all, less support for the national parks because they are "not in my state" or "too far away" to visit.

  • Top 10 Most Visited National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Great Smoky Mtn. National Park is close to high population areas. Went this summer very crowded. If you dont leave early in the day you will be in a traffic jam on the Cades Cove road, this is only one way traffic. People were stopping to view and photograph wildlife. The only thing you can do is wait for everyone to move. Also the more popular hiking trails the eaiser ones also crowded before noon. Laurel Falls trail went about 1 in the afternoon passed about 150 people on their way back down. This is a free National Park; an entrance fee is never charged. This is probably another reason for the high attendance. I am sure they have a lot of school field trips from Tenn. and N. Carolina. It is a beautiful park. I believe it has more hiking trails than any other park (but not positive) This is a big draw for people who love to hike. Both days I went to the park I gave a $20 donation. It was worth so much more. All you cares seem to fade away while your here.

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Hey Chris,
    I agree with you 100%. On my terms, I love to excape from my business world, and disconnect. I deal with the public daily and love gettting into the romote areas of the Sierra mountains and exploring what it has to offer in a friendly enviromental way. You know, picking up the trash of others who don't care, while you enjoy the fruit of the park's beauty. This time does belong to me. I turn off the cell phone, and I don't log on to my company's computers. But, If I need help because my wife broke her leg! You better believe I would like to make that cell phone call. Wouldn't you!
    Kurt, I apprecieate you posting both sides of the story. The popularity of your polls will surely grow. There is always two sides of the story.

    Bruce

  • Mammoth Cave National Park Follows Ken Burns' Documentary With Its Own Film   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I agree with this....wouldn't that awesome.

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Rick,

    I agree with you that people need time to unconnect from the busy world and take time to relax and enjoy the simpler things in life such as nature, my wife and I both like to do just that. My solution to that is simply turn off the blackberry, cell phone and pager. I do this quite often and it works great! If someone tries to reach me, I let them leave a message on my answering machine or cell service and I will call them back at MY conveinience. I owe them no excuse as to why they could not get in tough with me immediately. If they push the issue, simply tell them that YOUR time belongs to YOU and not them. I think this should be the standard answer for everyone to use. If enough people said that, then maybe the rest of the world would stop calling us on our day off.

    Folks, go absoluty stealth for a few days, the world will not have destroyed itself nor could you have changed much of anything in a week by yourself. The world can and will go on without you, just as they will do after you have passed away.

    Chris

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I have to say that as a ranger living in the parks I enjoy having cell towers. I like the fact that I don't have to worry about setting up a landline every few months and this way it makes it easier for my family to reach me. I remember one season when my sister was diagnosed with cancer and I didn't have cell reception. The park headquarters never passed the message on to me and it took a week before I found out. But as a visitor I hate the fact that cell phones are everywhere. I was taking my niece birdwatching one day and we were focused on this one warbler when a woman came by yakking on her phone as loud as she could. There went our bird.

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

  • The National Park to Park Highway   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Within the past few years I've been fortunate enough to drive some of these roads. Magnificent! See America First!

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Kurt,
    In responce to your reply, I quess we don't know until someone you love, has a heart attack in a remote area, and you wish, "Damn, I sure could use some help!"

  • Want a Horse? Theodore Roosevelt National Park Will Auction About 90 Wild Horses Oct 23   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Anon, technically the horses on Assateague are considered feral since they are domestic stock that was just left to their own devises for the last couple hundred years. Although I guess the same could be said for the mustangs as well. The horses on the Maryland side of Assateague are owned by the park service and they administer birth control to control the population. The ones on the Virginia side are owned by the Chincoteague Fire Dept. and they are the ones that round up the horses every year and auction them. THe ones on the Virginia side are a recognized breed, the Chincoteague pony, even though they have a mishmash of breeds, including mustang.

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

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Most cell tower mono-pole installations without guy wires can be made to blend in somewhat (painted pine green for instance) and they do have eceological benefits as well. Eagles and other nesting birds can and do build nests at the top, and it can provide a safe resting and viewing area for them. I would resonally much prefer to see an not hear the occassional cell tower and a 12x20 ft building making no noise, than see and hear an RV or van full of noisy people parked by the road. I ask you, which offers more serenity? Give me the unmanned cell site anyday!

    Let us also not forget that eighty years ago, there were similar complaints about building ANY roads into National Parks. Now we have roads, restrooms, restaurants, visitors centers and hotels in National Parks. Most of the complainers of cell sites seem to take the selfrightious attitude of THEY pose no problems and yet demand all the human amenities I listed above. Think of it this way, suppose all human made noises were outlawed in the NPS and everyone had to walk or hike into NP's. Great you say; buy suppose you hiked in, made no camp, spoke no words to anyone, and unfortunately you had a heart attack or found yourself in dire peril due to no fault of your own. Would you not want to be able to call for help and have someone get there quickly (think sirens and helicopters here) to get you out of trouble as quickly as possible? Other than the rare occassions when a cell site loses power and a generator takes over, they are silent neighbors in the NPS. Even the generator can be eliminated and the site go on battery backup for a couple of days. Yeah, I say let them be built to help mankind, not be banned just to appease an itsy-bitsy percentage of the population who want no one else in the NPS than them.

    The National Park System belongs to every American citizen, if folks don't want any modern conveiniences, let them demand a popular vote by ALL Americans, Yes or No, not just the ones living near the park (since we all pay taxes to support the NPS).

    Thanks,
    Kodi

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Bruce, the question isn't whether Mr. Jarvis did his homework, or how long it takes to hike to the trail to the ridge, or whether anyone can see the towers from roads.

    Rather, the question I think is how long must the umbilical cord be for us to feel safe in nature? Where do we stop erecting towers so we can be connected, where we feel safe, where we don't have to rely so much on ourselves because a button push or two will summon help? I think Rick Smith pretty much nailed it above.

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Hello Kurt,

    I have been visiting Kings Canyon Park for the last 50 years. Until I started hiking the trails, I never knew this place existed. Visitors can not see this Look-Out tower from any of the roads leading into the parks. I've visited this sight a couple of times in the last few years. It takes a 45 minute hike on the trail to get to get there. On the surface of the proposed sight, the buildings that support the communication system that is currently there have already scarred the surface of the area. If the new tower is one of the new camouflaged type, I would bet no one would even notice it from any of the park roads.
    By the way, the Look-Out tower usually offers excellent views of the surrounding Sierra mountain tops to the East, and the yucky smog of California's San Joaquin Valley to the West. I think Jon Jarvis did his homework.

    Bruce

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    How ironic. This discussion mirrors the hot middle school book "The Giver". In the book the society has traded in joy, pain, and color for safety. As a 50+ year old teacher I read the book and was totally creeped out. What is so scary to me, is we as Americans might actually give up freedom for safety.

  • A Conversation With Ken Burns on The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Thanks bfp. Check back tomorrow for the podcast.

  • A Conversation With Ken Burns on The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Really good interview! i especially like that you asked about the capitalist aspect of the parks.

    Thanks for posting it!

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Kurt--

    Maybe we have lost the following:

    1.) A bit of self-reliance. If we know that a trained SAR team is just a cell phone call or a SPOT message away, it changes the character of a wilderness trip. We no longer have to rely on our own knowledge, skills, and abilities to stay safe and get back home. It might even cause carelessness or foolhardy actions.

    2.) Authentic wilderness experiences. I have often thought that parks and other wild places stand in stark contrast to the world we inhabit. We live with a of urgent meetings, countless phone calls, and incessant noise. Wild places give us a chance to turn off our blackberries, unplug our computers, turn off our cell phones and live life according to the rhythms of nature or the pace of our history. One of the neat things about an extended river trip is that by the 3rd or 4th day, one begins to live on river time. It takes some getting used to and some people don't adapt very well. But for those who do, it's liberating. I took a 4-day hike once on Olympic's wilderness beach. Where we camped and when we walked was not determined by the rise and setting of the sun, but by the high and low tides. What a contrast to the old up by 6:30 am and in bed by 11:30 pm routine!

    3.) Life without noise. It goes almost without saying that we experience little time without man-made noise. Wilderness parks give us time to to listen to nature or to quiet. Both have lots to teach us.

    I hope I am not sounding too preachy here, but I do think that our push to make everything safe is changing the way we experience wild places. Some are comfortable with the change; others, not so comfortable. One of your posters, Ray Bane, was once asked how Gates of the Arctic should be managed. In what seems to me to be a remarkably good answer, Ray answered that it ought to be managed in such a way that every visitor could experience what Bob Marshall experienced when he went to the "last blank place on the topo maps." I'm not sure we can even create the illusion of that if everyone has a cell phone in his/her pack.

    Rick Smith

  • How To Buy National Park-Related Gifts Without Leaving Home   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I recently visited the website of Inner Peace Designs and saw in their products page under ornaments Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks ornaments are under way. I collect pewter ornaments of places I visit for vacation especially national parks! I thought any one who visits the National Parks Traveler website should check them out. I didn't know they carry so many national parks along with the red rocks of Sedona. Nice work!! Must have items.

  • Would Free "Loaner" Personal Locator Beacons Save Lives and Money in Parks?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I think it would be a great service.

    I go deep into the backcountry where I probably should have one, but only on two short trips a year where a Spot or similar device is cost prohibitive. I think if you limited giving them out only to backcountry travelers, who need them the most, the misuse would be a rarity as most people trekking out for several days seem to be well prepared and more aware of the dangers they are subjecting themselves too.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Aspect(s) of the National Park System Do You Want to Read More About?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I would like more stories about adventures the NPT writers take into our National Parks.

    (I forgot to include the Yellowstone National Park Forum in my last post)

    "...adventure without regard to prudence, profit, self-improvement,
    learning or any other serious thing" -Aldo Leopold-

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    We've had this debate before, when the tower was first proposed. To some it represents safety, to others connection with family far away, to others just one more tower on a ridge brimming with towers. But what new technologies down the road will also sprout in national parks in the name of improving communications and visitor safety?

    As a baby boomer, I at times am astonished that I've lived so long without having grown up with cellphones or the internet. How much of nature should be compromised in the name of communications and safety? Should wilderness parks such as Kings Canyon or Canyonlands or those in Alaska have cell towers erected deep within their souls to better communicate or provide visitor safety? And if so, what have we lost?

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I would say that much depends upon balancing the need for "improved communications for National Park Service operations, and . . . improved visitor and resident safety" with the regrettable resulting damage to the beauty of our National Parks. I don't pretend to be able to make any further comment than that on this matter.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Aspect(s) of the National Park System Do You Want to Read More About?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Some of you may have read Off the Wall, which is a summary of all the deaths in Yosemite since its creation. There is even a chapter on the deaths involved in building the dam at Hetch Hetchy. In the foreward to the book, Mike Finley, former superintendent of Everglades, Yosemite and Yellowstone, writes that the book is not about death, but about life, giving us the chance to learn from the experiences of others. Bat (above) echoes this idea saying that these kinds of stories are warnings to subsequent visitors. I join him in encouraging Kurt and the other authors to continue posting these articles. If one reader is more careful the next time he/'she climbs the cables on Half Dome or walks up to Angels Landing or crosses a swollen stream, NPT has performed a real public service. That doesn't mean that we don't mourn the losses; of course we do. But in almost every tragedy in a park area, there is something to be learned.

    Rick Smith

  • It's Official – Senate Confirms Jonathan Jarvis as Director of the National Park Service   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Good for you, Anon. His appointment has thrilled many of us retirees, also. We wish him the very best in his run at the NPS's new director.

    Rick Smith

  • The "Guide's Guide to Acadia National Park" is the Insider's Handbook for the Area   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I think this is a great idea, but I would prefer the ability to download the entire guide. Not just the smaller files.

  • Would Free "Loaner" Personal Locator Beacons Save Lives and Money in Parks?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    It not only helps rescue the individual but is safer for the rescuer in that they don’t spend time or are exposed to accidents when looking in the wrong places. Everyone should be offered a free beacon with the understanding that if activated and no emergency or injuries are involved the fine would be $1000.