Recent comments

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I don't think that the rescued people should be billed by any SAR group. What happens if one of the members of a SAR group are dumb enough to get lost and have to be rescued? And let's say they were opposed to billing, and they are billed? It's just stupid IMO, and it shows that more and more people are becoming cynical and want payment for something that is mostly voluntary.

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    If you call 911 and you are taken to the hospital in an ambulance, you WILL receive a bill from the ambulance company.

  • Considering a Hike up Half Dome?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    (for Christ's sake, if the top of Half Dome isn't wilderness, where is??)

    As a former Yosemite Park Ranger, trust me Half Dome is NOT wilderness, even if it has that offical designation. It's sickening to see the crowds of people lining up to make the cable climb, and even worse to see all the trash and refuse that goes along with that amount of people.

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Who decides where the line between idiocy and accident is? An interesting subject. I'd really like to see some means of "punishing" people who go off unprepared, willfully ignorant of hazards, expecting rescue when things turn sour. But how do you do that without inhibiting victims of true accidents or freak events from calling in the cavalry?

    Perhaps you bill people, but have a system of insurance for SAR costs. When you purchase a back country permit you tack on a couple bucks a day for insurance. If you don't purchase insurance, tough luck. But can a ranger refuse to issue the insurance if the person seems reckless?

    Not sure where I stand on this.

    -Kirby.....Lansing, MI

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    No.

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

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    If the idiots get lost or hurt without carrying the Satellite location beacon available (low costs) they should be charged for any and all rescue costs.

    And if they failed to file a flight pan, trip journey they should also be fined for bring idiots.

    Search and rescue is for accidents, not the unprepared!!!!

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Bob, I used to work in the Everglades and I was present when the python swallowed the alligator and I want to clarify something. The newspapers (as usual) got the facts wrong. The python did not burst as a result of eating the alligator. The swallowed gator was actually partially digested so the python swallowed it successfully, but with that full belly it was moving rather slowly and another gator came along and ate part of the python. The body burst as a result of decomposition, not the gator it ate.

    Invasive species has been something that I have worked to educated the public on. In every park I have worked at (7 total) Ailanthus altissima has been present in every single one. If you drive the BLue Ridge Parkway now, you can't see the view from most of the overlooks because this tree blocks the way. It stops the growth of any other tree and has no value to wildlife at all. In many parts of Virginia, this tree is the only one that can be seen for miles.

    For Bruce, who says we should just accept them, invasive species wreck havock on native ecosystems. They are a major problem and cost millions of dollars. They usually have no predators in the area they are invading and will completely take over. Go to www.nps.gov/ever/forteachers and check out the curriculum guide Don't Let it Loose. Yes it's for kids, but it has a lot of background information on the problem.

    I should also mention Python Pete. Everglades biologist Lori trained this little beagle to sniff out pythons. So far he's doing a great job!

  • National Park Mystery Photo 1: Wow – This is One Big Boulder!   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Our mystery boulder is located in Yellowstone National Park. More specifically, it's situated along the road leading to the Inspiration Point overlook on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. About 80,000 years ago, an early Pinedale Glacier transported it from the Beartooth Mountains to its present location.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 1: Wow – This is One Big Boulder!   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I think this boulder is in Yosemite.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 1: Wow – This is One Big Boulder!   5 years 24 weeks ago

    It's the Glacial Boulder, situated at the trailhead of the Sevenmile Hole trail in Yellowstone. As I recall, it was dropped off by a glacier several thousand years ago.

  • Snowbound Couple Rescued From Fire Tower at Dinosaur National Monument   5 years 24 weeks ago

    This topic was covered on another thread and I found out that there is overtime pay involved in some search and rescues but other than that all the full time employees are on the payroll and all the equipment is paid for. Part of the job is to do search and rescue, which is usually dangerous, but that is part of the job that you are paid for.

    The tax payers pay EVERY DAY for this and other services so none should belly ache when the tax payer utilizes the service.

    These people weren’t stupid, they made decisions under the conditions that were not as good as they could have made. Let’s see how Anonymous fares under the same circumstances.

    "Unpaid volunteers - some of the often unsung heroes of the search and rescue world." I'll second that.

  • Snowbound Couple Rescued From Fire Tower at Dinosaur National Monument   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Kurt is correct, although in this case, only one NPS ranger and the two county deputies were likely on the payroll. I believe all of those other folks were unpaid volunteers - some of the often unsung heroes of the search and rescue world.

  • Considering a Hike up Half Dome?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I did the hike when I was 17 and 21. One of the most exhilirating things in my life. Whoever suggested shutting half dome down because it is risky is an idiot! Take all the risk out of life and what you are left wirth is oatmeal. Tasteless, lifeless, boring, predictable, utterly mind sucking..but safe. Anyone who suggests this kind of thing should stay home in their nice cozy little houses and leave the adventures to the adventurerous.

  • New Lodge Gives You an Opportunity to Better Know Kenai Fjords National Park   5 years 24 weeks ago

    If you visit the lodge, please let us know what you think.

  • New Lodge Gives You an Opportunity to Better Know Kenai Fjords National Park   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I've been researching an Alaska trip for a couple of years now, and finally will have the opportunity to travel north. As I was doing my research, I found this place along with it's company "Alaska Wildlands Adventures". There's the old saying, "if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is" I think from everything I have seen online and read from various sources, this may be the exception. I really hope it is when I go up there, to this lodage and many others, this August. I look forward to the experience.

  • Snowbound Couple Rescued From Fire Tower at Dinosaur National Monument   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Taxpayers of America....

  • Snowbound Couple Rescued From Fire Tower at Dinosaur National Monument   5 years 24 weeks ago

    And who gets to pay for this stupidity ??

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I also have difficulties with my knees and could never hike the PCT, however I would love to see it on my bicycle.

    I hope that it happens someday.

  • Damage from Tropical Storm Hanna Created Expensive Repair Problems at Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Anonymous -

    An excellent question.

    Unless something has changed since I retired from the NPS in 2001, here's the answer:

    The federal government doesn't have insurance for such damage - repairs have to be covered out of existing agency funds, or in many cases, by funds appropriated via special legislation to cover repairs from storm damage, fires, earthquakes and similar incidents.

    The theory is that the government saves money by being "self-insured" (in other words, uninsured), because the cost of paying for such repairs on a case by case basis is assumed to be less than the cost of premiums to insure the large number of government-owned facilities.

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Dottie, that's fine. I just then want to see every article mentioning any kind of animal list in detail the ways it could kill you. I feel Bob is using the tactic of describing python feeding behavior to engender distaste for their presence here, when explanations of the facts about the potential ecological damage would serve better. My argument isn't with his facts - which are accurate. It's the delivery. I always appeal to the intellect first before resorting to tapping the emotion - and when that emotion is fear, I try to avoid it altogether. Fear is too powerful, too easy to misuse, and too easily backfires, marginalizing both the message and the messenger.

    As for people equating pythons and rattlers - I guess I spend too much time in public education of environmental issues. Convincing people that all snakes aren't evil is quite the uphill battle. That's especially true for adults.

    Bob, do understand I'm glad you got this topic up here. The points I'm arguing are just some philosophical questions about writing/education that have been on my mind lately. I had a respected expert slam me for sensationalism on one of my freelance pieces last month, so I've been chewing on this topic a lot.

  • When Will the Super Volcano Beneath Yellowstone National Park Erupt?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I see - so not the hot spot was in Nebraska 12 mya but ashfall from an eruption 12 mya can still be found in Nebraska. That is certainly perfectly consistent with the established theories even though it requires a pretty big bang around that time, that sent ashfall some 1500 miles east of the plume as it was in that time frame. Thank you, Kurt, for the explanation.

  • When Will the Super Volcano Beneath Yellowstone National Park Erupt?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    MRC, perhaps that sentence wasn't constructed as clearly as it might have been. The spot Mr. Breining went to was 1,000 miles east of Yellowstone and its hot spot. It was there that ash from a previous eruption of the Yellowstone volcano had been found.

  • Damage from Tropical Storm Hanna Created Expensive Repair Problems at Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Isn't this the kind of damage covered by insurance?

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 24 weeks ago

    And why shouldn't we know how the python would kill us? Man has survived by knowing how other animals, fowl, reptiles, etc., act. I do not believe that 80% of our population is so stupd that it will equate a rattlesnake with a python. Knowing actions and reactions has been known as survival of the fittest, and I for one, would want to know the actions of this python. Dottie F

  • When Will the Super Volcano Beneath Yellowstone National Park Erupt?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I'm not familiar with Breining's book, but if he claims that the Yellowstone hot spot moves (relatively to the earth surface) east to west and was in Nebraska 12 mya, then he is in contradiction with everything established about the origin of the Yellowstone volcanic activity. The usual explanation of volcanism in the Yellowstone area is that it is caused by a hot spot moving (relatively) west to east, caused the Snake River plain basalt, the Craters of the Moon eruptions over Idaho's Great Rift and moved to the Yellowstone about 650.000 years ago.

    Wikipedia's graphic at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/46/HotspotsSRP.jpg is based on USGS publications that are digested at http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/Yellowstone/description_yellowstone.html (scroll down to the hot spot chapter).