Recent comments

  • Designations Just One Example of Disparities Within the National Park System. Web Sites Are Another   5 years 22 weeks ago

    More data: The NPS has no public access statistics for their website, but Wikipedia does. In February 2009, the article on Yellowstone was accessed 35873 times, The one on Gauley River 298 times. Money is tight, there is high demand for experts time. How should the NPS spend their budget for web development and content creation? On Gauley River NRA?

  • Designations Just One Example of Disparities Within the National Park System. Web Sites Are Another   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I too think this comparison is a bit silly. Yellowstone had 27 times as many visitors as Gauley River in 2007. Don't you think it might be appropriate to invest more time and money into its website? And not only actual visitors count: How many students in all grades and disciplines write papers on Yellowstone and how many on Gauley River? And here on the Traveler 169 articles are tagged Yellowstone National Park, two for Gauley River NRA (both today and including this one).

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Well Kurt,
    I’ve carried a concealed weapon for over forty years and there has been no environmental impact, however, there has been an impact on crime! I’m pretty sure who’s trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I think a more realistic way of saying it is:

    How sad that criminals exist. But they do exist. Thank Goodness that reasonable, intellegent, honest, law-abiding citizens have their God-given right to self protection guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitutions Bill of Rights. But how sad that so many fools would gladly give up not only their individual rights to self protection, but also plot to take these rights away from the sensible people as well.

  • Designations Just One Example of Disparities Within the National Park System. Web Sites Are Another   5 years 22 weeks ago

    This is a pretty weak argument, Kurt. I'd love for the smaller parks to have better websites, but there's no way that a smaller unknown unit like Gauley River would ever have a website like Yellowstone's. And, boy, I'd be pissed if they did because I bet the web traffic is probably 50-1 for Yellowstone and let's be honest, they don't have that much to post up there.

  • Forget the Camp, Send Your Kid to Yellowstone National Park This Summer   5 years 22 weeks ago

    This is an amazing way to teach youth about nature conservation. And at the same time, helping the citizens of the place maintain Yellowstone National Park. Oh and nice summer job, too!

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 22 weeks ago

    If you only knew how she tried to stop this rulemaking, but was over ruled by the White House!

  • National Park Designation is an Unholy Mess   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Jess, I find it hard to accept that every state, a priori, "deserves" to have at least one national park. Political subdivisions have little to do with the distribution of natural and cultural/historical resources meeting the standards set for NPS units. That said, I do understand that there is enormous political pressure to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the standards or lower the bar (pick your metaphor) in this or that particular case in order to spread the wealth. We can therefore confidently predict that various national-parkless political subdivisions (Delaware, for example) will get the NPS unit they have long been denied. Glad to hear that you'll be visiting Congaree in April. You've picked a good month (mild weather, few skeeters). Be sure to do the Cedar Creek Canoe Trail (plan ahead to rent a canoe or kayak; there are none available in the park) as well as one the longer dirt trail hikes in the floodplain forest. The canopy height and sheer size of the forest giants will blow you away! Sorry 'bout the scarcity of historic hotels and inns in the Congaree vicinity.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Why should our 2nd Amendment rights suddenly be stripped once we step foot into a national park? I wish everyone entering the national parks was highly trained in the use of personal protection firearms and had passed FBI background checks. Then, I wish it was well known that qualified people were legally carrying guns in national parks. I am being serious. That would deter criminals from preying on people because they would have to assume everyone was armed.
    Thanks for reading.

    Bill

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Olallie, excellent comment. I'm referring to this part of your message:

    I do wish that more folks in the MTB fraternity would recognize that some of us hikers treasure the stillness and slow pace of travel that comes with our activity, and we don't enjoy jumping off a narrow mountain trail every time a cyclist comes rushing along. (Believe me, it's not the cyclists who make way for hikers, at least not around here.) The level of alertness that is required on "shared use" trails compromises the very feeling I am out there to experience.

    Some mountain bikers do recognize that we run the potential to compromise others' desire for solitude, absence of hypervigilance, and stillness in the wild. There's a lot of dogma on all sides on this emotional issue, and I refuse to be dogmatic. I just read a fine article in the current Skeptical Inquirer magazine on the importance and significance of open-mindedness. The author reinforced my view that being open to criticism, different points of view, and well-reasoned new ideas is vastly important. I know it is to me. I have been condemned often enough by other mountain bikers for departing from the orthodoxy that everything will be fine as long as we ride responsibly, and for embracing the heresy that our mode of travel may impair the qualities you're speaking of, depending on time and place.

    That said, though, I favor allowing mountain biking on almost all trails where it has become prohibited simply because of one-size-fits-all government regulations that have proven to be unworkable, unfair, counterproductive (look at all of the Wilderness that was not created in the last 20 years), and conducive to contempt for the law. Just as you say, reasonable people can work out a mechanism that will give mountain bikers access at times and still give you the experiences of slowness, grandness of scale, stillness, and relaxation (i.e., the lack of a need to be alert to an oncoming bicycle) that you want. It can be done and many mountain bikers are prepared to help do it. Frankly, it's what most municipal swimming pools do when they divide the day up into fast-swimming and recreational-swimming hours. It's hardly rocket science.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Well, Tom J., I would like to think "law-abiding" people have respect for all laws, not just the ones that suit them. In the case at hand, the Interior Department in the judge's opinion more than likely broke the law by failing to consider the possible environmental impacts of the rule change. Now, it's very likely that there won't be any significant impacts, but that's why the National Environmental Policy Act calls for such a study -- to make that determination so politicians can't ramrod things through the system.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Zeb, can't argue with you over the behavior of some hikers. I've seen my share of those who try to cut the switchbacks in half.

  • Yellowstone Cutthroats In Danger   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Storminator, you're right, there is no limit on lakers. I suggest you check either with the ranger station where you pick up your Shoshone boat permit or the visitor center at Grant Village to see if they can recommend a section of Yellowstone Lake where you'll have the best odds of landing some lakers.

    Enjoy Shoshone. It's a fantastic lake with some great campsites and sights to see!

  • Yellowstone Cutthroats In Danger   5 years 23 weeks ago

    as i understand it, there is no limit on lake trout fishing in Yellowstone Lake.

    my brother and i are planning a canoe trip to Shoshone Lake next summer. we also plan to spend an entire day on Yellowstone Lake pulling lake trout out- and releasing the cut throats.

    and we're not really fishermen, either! we just love Yellowstone.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    As usual, people are rationalizing their greed and desire not to share our taxpayer funded trails. Greedy hikers...

    The irony of it all is that people are arguing over miles and miles of trails that see nary a soul most of the time. It's not like mountain bikers cross your path every 2mns. Most people are too busy staying home on the couch watching TV.

    Funny anecdote. On this forum, most of the comments portray the bikers as the evil trail users ("tearing around a corner", "speeding down", etc.). This morning, as I was climbing (because we need to go up to come back down) a local park in the SF bay area, I saw a hiker climbing the hill off trail. Apparently, going up the trail was not thrilling enough for him, so he apparently decided to blaze his own trail. Not the first time I've seen this kind of behavior either. I wonder what the park lovers on this site think of this. :)

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    i love to hike- love to ride my mtn bike, too.

    the thing about the PCT, is it's the PCT!! if you're an OCD avid mtn biker- you like cross off trails you've done.

    so, i think that mtn bikes should be allowed on the PCT- but only so many per year. you buy a special permit that allows mtn bike access. this helps cover that "extra damage", enables the OCD mtn biker to accomplish what cannot be conquered legally, and if you catch people mtn biking without the pass- BIG TICKET. more money to help cover the costs.

    yes, we can all get along.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 23 weeks ago

    well, first of all, i don't think you'll use a comb when a brown bear comes into camp!

    you do not need a gun in the park. i have hiked back country three times in Yellowstone. no gun required.

    my next trip in will be to Shoshone Lake, so i will buy a can of pepper spray.

    if you don't have a gun, like a CONCEALED gun, you won't shoot the gun at a bear. and the small concealed weapon will do nothing but piss the bear off.

    so, if you feel you need to carry a concealed weapoin when you're in a national park- just go someplace else for your vacation.

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Damn straight Mr. Smith!

    We're not going to rely on non-existent protection. As for following the letter of the law I can name quite a few things your beloved federal regime does that is very illegal and far more dangerous to life and limb than a man attempting to protect himself in the wilderness. Your continued dedication to regulations and rules is admirable in a retired agency bureaucrat but does not in any way reflect the reality on the ground. People are going to do what they need to do in order to insure their safety and that's not going to change whether the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) reflects it or not.

    Simple fact.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Conflicts between bikes and hikers can be resolved, but I think it's going to take some form of zoning or other regulation. Here in the Wasatch Range, some popular trails are on an odd-even day system, which seems to work well and allows everyone a chance to experience the woods in the manner they desire. This obviously doesn't work for through-trails such as the PCT, though.

    I do wish that more folks in the MTB fraternity would recognize that some of us hikers treasure the stillness and slow pace of travel that comes with our activity, and we don't enjoy jumping off a narrow mountain trail every time a cyclist comes rushing along. (Believe me, it's not the cyclists who make way for hikers, at least not around here.) The level of alertness that is required on "shared use" trails compromises the very feeling I am out there to experience.

    Hiking trails and singletrack are two very different animals and they don't mix well. That said, there is still much we can do to segregate uses and keep everyone happy. We've had to do it with motors and I'm sure there are reasonable accommodations we can make with cyclists. Just don't pretend that there's no issue here.

    Thanks again, Kurt, for providing this forum.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I’m afraid that there are too many ignorant people out there in the parks that are unaware that a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm, is not only protecting themselves and their families but everyone around them! This Judge that listened to the ignorant misinformed people who don’t have any respect for the “Law-abiding” person who will not be there in case of emergencies. Many of these people like myself have worked in law enforcement for many years before retiring. Now we go through the process of getting a permit to continue our “To Serve & to Protect” training while trying to enjoy the many parks ourselves! I really feel sorry for those who cannot tell the difference between a Law-abiding citizen and a “CRIMINAL”, who doesn’t play by any one’s rule! I personally have seen many of these people that wouldn’t think twice about killing you or yours without a second’s thought! I only hope you don’t get to meet one of these “Criminals” that will teach you the difference. The hard way.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 23 weeks ago

    NRA members in good standing carry firearms to give ourselves a means of protection against those who do not believe in our constitutional, God given rights to life liberty and justice for all. We fight for this right because we are aware there are unfortunately people that live in this nation that believe they have the right to abuse us, rob us, steal from us and use the NRA and any other agency that we have created to protect us from them to take from us even our lives in anyway, anywhere they please. The NRA by standing up for us by fighting for an individuals, any individuals right to bear arms, allows us to remain a free country. Animals in our national Parks however are not allowed to carry firearms to defend themselves, so they must rely on their instincts to attack and defend those creatures that evade there homes and territory. After living and working in the Park system for 6 years I can assure you that there are already some individuals that enter the National Parks armed illegally now. Now they will venture into areas where they surely would not go without the security of firearms to defend them selves from the vicious, aggressive attacking animals that they run into on the trails. If anyone out there thinks this is not the case then you must disbelieve any of the stories told in any of the sporting and hunting magazines. Anytime a person hiking, camping and visiting our National Parks confronts any of these "wild" animals viciously attacking either themselves of anyone else that has ventured too close to these poor animals, the animals always lose. I myself did not believe this until I spent time trying to educate park visitors, not to try to touch the animals and give them the space and respect they deserve. I have personally witnessed a park visitor running towards a grizzly bear with a young child in her arms so the child could see the bear. I am sure that if this grizzly bear had felt aggression from this act that it would have defended itself. If a concealed carrying park patron witnessed this act of aggression I am sure the outcome would have been radically different for the bear. If we as a Nation can not control crime in our cities why do we think we can control crime in the National Parks by carrying concealed weapons. The real problem is the crime we can not or will not control so we feel safer arming ourselves.

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Once again, we hear from a law-abiding concealed weapons permit holder.

    Rick Smith

  • Early Tourism in Yellowstone National Park Caught on Camera   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Yellowstone is amazing. If you hike back country, you can still get up close and personal with the geothermal features. Yellowstone National Park is one of the MUST SEE places. Go before you die. It is incredible.

  • National Park Designation is an Unholy Mess   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I find myself falling squarely on , err..., both sides of this issue. A few years back my wife and I decided to try to visit all the States in the USA, and we generally look for a National Park to visit when we go to a new state. (Next up: Congaree National Park, SC in mid-April 2009, I'm already excited about it! Only disappointment is that I haven't been able to find a historic hotel in the area to review. But I digress.) While there I take a lot of pictures and write about what I see, then put it on my website for friends, family and anyone else who can stand to look at it. At any rate, we are disappointed when we find that a State does not have a NP for us to visit as we consider a NP the highlight of our short trips. Is every State deserving of a NP? I would argue that every State, no matter how plain, has it's own ecosystem and "Original Appearance" which are worth preserving, if only just a small area of it. This allows a history lesson as future generations visit these areas and realize "this is what it looked like before logging, farming, or home building changed it." Seeing this historic approach has helped me to better understand why each State so badly wants, and perhaps deserves, a NP of their own. On the other side of the coin, I lived for many years within an hour drive of King's Canyon, Sequoia, and Yosemite NPs and have admittedly become a bit spoiled by the experience. Julie and I would often take a "long lunch" and drive up to Grant Grove Village in King's Canyon for a picnic lunch or maybe even lunch at the park coffee shop. We were frequent enough that the staff there knew us by name. But as a result of over-familiarization with that spectacular scenery, I find myself at times disappointed when visiting a new park and realizing there really isn't anything too exciting or different to see. That "back home" it would not likely be considered worthy of more than a regional preserve. So I don't know that there is an easy, or even a workable solution to the problem. The situation is that the Western USA is truly blessed with more awe-inspiring scenery, and so it really is difficult to try to set a uniform standard for the entire country.

    Jess Stryker
    www.Historic-Hotels-Lodges.com
    www.JessStryker.com

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 23 weeks ago

    This ruling will do nothing to stop visitors from arming themselves when they venture into wild and possibly dangerous places. I know many folks who currently do it, with nary a bad incident to speak of, and they will continue to secure their personal safety with the best means at their disposal.

    I've run across some pretty sketchy characters in some of the remoter parts of Death Valley, Joshua Tree and in Organ Pipe Cactus N.M. and boy oh boy was I glad that I was armed. If one of these nut jobs started to get violent with me and my family I was ready. The rangers can't be everywhere and as long as there are wide open spaces with potential hazards both natural and man-made many of us will continue to take the park service at its word when it says that our safety is our own responsibility.