Recent comments

  • Campgrounds Opening This Weekend In Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I think it is great that hikers and backpackers will be able to get food and drink at LeConte. This will be most welcome to folks that do LeConte in a day. I am sure that backpackers that are passing through will appreciate it too.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    The parks should be in control of activities within their boarders that contribute to the deterioration of the park setting. However, all the while, they must balance that need with the need to attract, educate, and fulfill visitor needs.

    People who are upset about this need to realize that they are still protecting an activity that many people come to parks for. Further, parks that do often have to "dispatch" injured wildlife will now need to do so with non-lead bullets. This is a step that protects many of the animals that you visit parks to see. Furthermore, for those few parks who do have wildlife population reduction programs (aka hunts) those few individuals will need to jump through an additional hoop. Fishing has also been protected.

    Now to the car thing.

    If the NPS ban things like guns and lead ammo in the name of wildlife protection, why won't it ban cars?

    Cars have been banned is some parks (as others have pointed out). Many other parks offer options other than personal automobiles to get around (i.e., buses, tours, shuttles, etc.). Just like with ammo and sinkers, the parks have made adjustments within their boarders to try and accommodate for a more environmentally friendly use of autos. Outside Yellowstone you can drive your car at 75 miles per hour on a two lane road, inside you are limited to something like 45 at the fastest. The same is true with many other parks and many other activities that trend towards detrimental.

    Scientifically sound rules, taking precautions to protect the environment, are good for parks and are demanded by the Organic Act.

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

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    It seems to me whenever non gun-owners get into bed with the bureaucracy the rules will change and we can expect a ban on chewing gum in the near future. Why are some people so narrow minded.

    And no wonder when some people stray in an effort to do good they go off the chart and are preceived as nuts.

  • Philatelists Rejoice: New Stamps Honoring Zion and Grand Teton National Parks On The Way   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I was a National Park ranger at Grand Teton National Park and that picture is a popular one and will make a beautiful stamp!

  • Congressman Seeks Stimulus Funds For Restoration Work at Gateway National Recreation Area   5 years 23 weeks ago

    The key line in this letter to Mary Bomar is:

    "The fort has tremendous historical significance to the state of New Jersey."

    The national significance of these decayed and moldering military buildings is next to nil and as such are perfectly suited for the federal stimulus funds freshly printed out of thin air by our beneficent and thoughtful masters down on the Potomac.

    The sooner all of this wasteful spending commences the sooner this silly and disastrous charade will come to an end. I say spend away. Crumbling barracks in NJ are as good as bridges to nowhere as long as the, so called, "stimulating" effects of this worthless currency are put into circulation. Wise are the people in charge who have cooked this plan up. I await the results with great relish.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Yeah, that one makes sense, let's ban autos....

    Right. Now how's that for making the parks a)figure out how to move people are using shuttles (aka spend money that NPS doesn't have) and/or b)essentially banning most people from the parks/making them inaccessible for a large percentage of the population.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I'll jump on the no automobiles bandwagon. they're noisy, they smell, they pollute the air.
    Ban them from all parks. It would only make the parks a better place.

  • Campgrounds Opening This Weekend In Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    Thanks for the reminder!

    I camped at Cosby last year. Absolutely loved it there!

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    @Frank C. - But the detrimental effect of cars is well accepted and therefore each and every change in the existing road systems needs a full blown EIS (environmental impact study). Denali NP in Alaska is having a long term study project about a second connection to Wonder Lake and including an option of a new road (that would not be paved and only used by park busses) - but besides that, I am not aware of any plans for new roads anywhere in a National Park.

    On the other hand there are road closures. The Traveller reported about the Carbon River Road in Mount Rainier NP about closed roads in Death Valley NP. True, the Carbon River Road is mainly about maintenance costs but the EIS addresses wildlife issues as well.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    While Mark's remark about gum is flippant, he has a valid point about automobiles.

    Indeed, if "the agency is correct to err on the side of caution" as Mr. Burnett claims, why has it not done so when it comes to allowing automobile traffic in national parks? As I've stated elsewhere, automobiles have been shown to kill millions of animals a year and present a much higher risk to wildlife in parks than either concealed weapons or lead bullets.

    If the NPS ban things like guns and lead ammo in the name of wildlife protection, why won't it ban cars?

    Why won't the editors of and contributors to NPT acknowledge the automobile's deleterious effect on wildlife?

  • Campgrounds Opening This Weekend In Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Well, I suppose you could look at it that way, Rangertoo, but I don't think it's as one- or two-sided as you make it out to be.

    In the last week -- March 7-13 -- while there have been four articles on GRSM and two on Yellowstone, there also have been posts on Voyageurs, Zion (2), Grand Teton (2), Bryce Canyon, the Waco mammoth site, Glacier (2), Valley Forge, Glen Canyon, Cedar Breaks and Yosemite. We've also written about the massive lands bill that affected a handful of parks, including Pictured Rocks, Rocky Mountain, Sequoia, Joshua Tree, and Zion; the NPS ban on lead, and delisting of the gray wolf.

    Go back to the first of the month and you can add in stories that touched on Grand Canyon, the National Mall, the prospect of Mount St. Helens in the park system, Chiricahua National Monument, Arches, Acadia, Blue Ridge Parkway, Scotts Bluff NM, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve, Fort Moultrie National Monument, Saguaro NP, Olympic, Mount Rainier, and Buffalo National River.

    Seems like a pretty good mix, no?

    And don't forget, these stories are 100 percent volunteer developed. There's no full-time Traveler staff checking with each of the 391 units on a regular basis (although at times it feels like that).

    All that said, it's not terribly surprising that Yellowstone and Great Smoky turn up at a higher percentage than other units. They are two of the most popular parks in the system, and so there's a great deal of interest in them out there, particularly when bears are coming out of hibernation and campgrounds are opening. Both also have full-time public affairs offices to churn out press releases, something not many other parks have.

    But the bottom line is that we do try to cover the entire park system, and will keep your comment in mind as we move forward.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I like levity as much as the next guy, Mark, but when you equate a very toxic substance like lead to chewing gum, well, that's just not the least bit funny.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    "I'd say the agency is correct to err on the side of caution." That is the problem right there. If we are going to do that, than all vehicle's should be banned from National parks. We don't know how much oil and anti freeze is leaking from vehicle's as they drive through or sit in a parking spot or camp ground, but we do know it happens. So let's error on the side of caution. That's where we are going with this. Has anyone ever studied the effects of chewing gum on wildlife in the park? I would guess there is more of it left by visitors in the parks than lead.

  • Campgrounds Opening This Weekend In Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Good grief. Another Great Smoky Mountains Story? Are you their PR person or something. 15 stories on the front page and 4 on the Smokies. In fact, it seems most stories are Smokies, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, or Olympic with a few smatterings of other sites thrown in from time to time. How many of the 391 areas have never had a top story?

    I know you can do better to be more inclusive. You have shown that you have an understanding of the breadth of the system. Let's have a more equitable range of stories. (For example, lots of parks have summer jobs and summer interns, not just the Smokies)

  • Book Review: Let's Go See:All 50! -- Visiting the 50 States Journal   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Way to go dad, keep on trucking

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    It seems to me that whenever natural resource science "threatens" the gun-owners they start talking about hidden agendas. Why are they all such spoiled brats about everything?

    And they wonder why non gun-owners seem to perceive them as seperationist gun nuts....

  • Echoes of the Cold War in the Tropical Warmth of Everglades National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    The Nike Hercules missile site in Everglades National Park (A Battery 2nd Missile Battalion 52nd Air Defense Artillery) was placed on the National Register of Historic Places July 2006. The complex of 22 exisiting buildings were evaluated and considered worthy due to the historical military significance and cultural impact on America.

    Although several hundred Nike sites were strategically located to surround and defend America's metroploitan cities and industrial complexes in the fifties and sixties, this Cold War missile site is more associated with events, activities, and developments that were the more important than any other in the history of America--the nearness on nuclear annhialiation of mankind? Many of the Nike Hercules in south Florida were loaded with nuclear warheads capable of knocking out an entire fleet of bombers or missiles.

    Even after all the other missiles sites in North America were dismantled by 1974, only Alsaka (due to it's nearness to Russia) and the south Florida Nike sites remained until 1979 to provide a coastal defense system to the extreme norther and southern hemisphere.

    This missile site and the seven others in South Florida (3 Nike and 4 HAWK sites) were the only missile sites awarded the Presidential Unit Citation by President Kennedy for the deterance they served in the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Kennedy stated he believed the presence of the missiles in south Florida with the capability to intercept Russian missiles served such a deterant that it caused the Russian Premier to change his mind about attack. President Kennedy mad his remarks at the presentation to the troops at Homestead AFB on November 26, 1962.

    I hope you will reconsider your position and visit the place we referred to as "Ground Zero" during the Cold War. Our location was to be a target of a Russian missile.

    I have been asked many times to give talks to high school history classes in Miami, I am amazed at the interest by high school seniors in this time in history. Each talk is followed by a tour of the missile base. Let's don't take this away from the future generation.

    I proudly served my country during the Ciban Missile Crisis. Helping to interpret our nation's history is how I continue to serve my country and my community.

    Charles

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    People, remember here that the NPS said that IT was going lead-free. It did not say that in areas where hunting is legal that visitors would have to go lead-free. Let's not over read this thing.

    Rick Smith

  • The Monkey Wrench Gang: Coming to a Theater Near You?   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Robert Duvall as Doc and Dennehy as the Bishop seems more apt to me. Woody Harrelson IS Hayduke; we will accept no other and will Crazy Glue your car doors and cut yer fences if you don't agree. No compromise in defence of MWG!

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    That's certainly an obvious and tempting question, Eric....which is why I didn't bring it up in the original post;-) Maybe it's a backdoor way to conduct weapons checks in the parks and ban those with lead, or at least remove the bullets!

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I may be opening a can of worms here, but, how will this translate to the carrying a concealed weapon in Nat. Parks? Will everyone who carries have to switch to ammo other than lead? What would happen if they were caught with lead ammo in a concealed weapon in a Nat. Park? Just feul for thought, have at it.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    There is some good research to support this action. Here are a few highlights:

    1. A study led by environmental toxicologists at the University of California, Santa Cruz confirmed that bullet fragments and shotgun pellets in the carcasses of animals killed by hunters are the principal sources of lead poisoning in California condors. The researchers used a "fingerprinting" technique based on the unique isotope ratios found in different sources of lead to match the lead in blood samples from condors to the lead in ammunition, as distinguished from other sources of lead. You can read the full article here:

    2. A conference on the effects of lead ammunition on wildlife and humans was held at Boise State University in 2008. You can download the abstract of the proceedings here: Here are a few highlights:

    At least 2377 trumpeter and tundra swans have died in northwestern Washington and southwestern British Columbia from 1999-2007. Most (78%) of the fatalities were attributed to ingestion of lead shot.

    Studies have found lead in the blood of 97% Bald Eagles and 85% of Golden Eagles captured as spring migrants in Montana during 1985-1993; they implicated lead bullet fragments in ground squirrel carcasses as one source.

    Lead poisoning by shot or bullet ingestion has been described in 12 species of birds of prey in Europe, some of which are near threatened, e.g., the white-tailed eagle or endangered, i.e., the Spanish imperial eagle.

    Ingested lead shotgun pellets and rifle bullet fragments have been shown to be an important source of lead poisoning in raptors, avian scavengers, water birds, and even seed-eating birds.

    Mourning doves confuse shotgun pellets for grit and grain around hunted stock ponds and accordingly die in large numbers.

    3. In 1991, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned lead ammo in waterfowl hunting — that of ducks and other birds that live on water — which, according to a FWS spokesperson, led to an estimated 64% reduction of lead poisoning in ducks on certain parts of the Mississippi.

    So.... what's the objection to a requirement that hunters shift to other types of ammo that don't contribute to the lead problem? Alternatives to lead ammo are more expensive, and some hunters claim they are not as accurate or "lack the destructive power to humanely kill the target animal," although some presenters at the Boise conference mentioned above refuted that argument.

    There's also a political component. Google this issue and you'll soon find some passionate discussion about yet another attempt to limit the rights of hunters.

    My personal take? Given the basic mandate of the NPS, I'd say the agency is correct to err on the side of caution. There's enough evidence on the potential harm of lead to wildlife and even to humans to support this action in NPS areas. When it comes to the risks posed by lead shot in the natural environment of national parks, there's more than enough data to suggest the presence of a literal smoking gun—and it fired lead ammo.

    Hunter's seem to have adapted to the 1991 ban on lead ammo for waterfowl hunting; they can adapt to this one as well.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    The buzzards at the Pinnacles National Momument have to be trapped every two years (at taxpayers expense) and have their stomachs pumped becauce they eat anything and everything. and that's why they are nearly extinct. I live in Hollister, don't hunt anymore, would like to, copper bullets are a joke, game run off to die. Lead is a poison .... agreeded. Why can't people just come out and say ban guns and be done with it? Hypocrites! Kurt don't let the subject die. I've got five guns that I cannot legally fire where I live. They are locked in a gun safe in an alarmed house. Pretty much sucks. Can't wait to get out of the Kommunist Repiblik of Kalifornia.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    In many states it is a law that you have to wear a seat belt while driving. If I don't who am I harming other than myself? I'm not a public safty hazard, and I don't think it's anyone's business if I wear one. How do laws like that get started? There is usually a larger motivation, like financial gain by certain interests, than just keeping "me" safe and I think the lead ban falls in that category.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 23 weeks ago

    The vast majority of losses to the Californian Condors in Pinnacles National Monument, California is due to lead poisoning. Hunters in the vicinity of the park shoot game but don't recover it or leave parts of the carcasses in the wild. It is not enough to ban lead ammo from the parks, it should be phased out everywhere.