Recent comments

  • Oh Boy! The Prospect Hotel! What Room Will I Be Staying In?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    That's right, Bat. Same S.O.B., different venue.

  • Oh Boy! The Prospect Hotel! What Room Will I Be Staying In?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Bob, is this the "sweet old buddy" you wrote about before? Another LOL story from you, thanks!

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Ummm...actually, Anon, both Virginia and Maryland were named for English monarchs. Respectively, Queen Elizabeth (the 'Virgin Queen') and King Charles' I wife Queen Henrietta Maria, otherwise known as Queen Mary.

  • Oh Boy! The Prospect Hotel! What Room Will I Be Staying In?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Nice to hear from you Fred. Glad to know that you got the paint job finished before cold weather set in. BTW, I ran a painting contracting company while I was in grad school. We painted lots of old houses and apartment buildings that had been coated with lead-based paint. We scraped and sanded and primed the rough spots first, of course. Inhaling all that lead dust undoubtedly contributed to the current sad state of my brain cells. Cheers, Bob

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Oh no. Your reporting on this seems to have been before other sources.

    What I'm implying here is that the Sept 23 rider was a modification spurred as a result of pressure on Senator Feinstein by members of Congress who had received the Sept 17 letter from the California Coastal Commission.

    What I'm trying to figure out (and there hasn't been that much reporting on it recently in the Bay Area press) is whether or not the current Save Drakes Bay campaign is to remove the rider that was inserted in June in the original Senate version of the bill - or to the latest modification of the rider that doesn't contain a mandate.

    Here's the original article you wrote as a reference. I tried entering "Feinstein" or "Point Reyes" and couldn't find it. I had to go back manually through the archives to locate it.

    http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2009/06/senator-feinstein-speaking-out-both-sides-her-mouth-national-park-matters

    I would note that it isn't clear whether or not Drakes Estero can be declared as designated wilderness. I've heard some opinions that the State of California still maintains rights to all waters including bays and can't cede it to the federal government. I finally saw the map, and the "proposed wilderness" is simply the water and none of the land around Drakes Estero. It's rather an interesting situation, as none of the shore operations are on "potential wilderness" as I had thought until I saw the map. As it is right now, I've never heard of any saltwater body of water that's been grated designated wilderness status. Apparently the analysis by the Secretary of the Interior at the time of the 1976 PRWA was that the reasons for declaring Drakes Estero as potential wilderness were the use by the oyster farm along with the rights of the State of California.

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Y_P_W,

    First of all, apologies for the search engine. We know it's a decrepit animal that sleeps more than functions, and we're working on a solution. In the meantime, the best way to search is to use the "Browse By Content" application and go to the park of your choice. It's not perfect, but it's better than the search engine.

    As to your concerns: I don't think I said or implied that Sen. Feinstein's rider was in response to the letter sent by the Coastal Commission.

    As to the timing of the story and what goes on in Washington, with only three bodies at the Traveler and 391 units of the Park System, we are not always johnny-on-the-spot, but we're trying.

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Thanks for the update y.p.w.--

    Given that authorization, if I were in charge, I'd negotiate a lease extension, with requirements that the oyster farm monitor their impacts (hire a consultant to monitor the impacts), and at least some funding going to NPS or outside studies of what it would take to restore native oyster beds.

    Then, in 5 or 10 years, we'd actually have good data to make a solid decision. The current complaints are that only partial data exist, as PORE doesn't have funding to collect comprehensive data on impacts (positive & negative) of DBOC in PORE. I read the NAS report (all of it!), and the major complaint was that NPS didn't consider the potential positive effects of the oyster racks & bags, and didn't have data on the magnitude of the filtering effect.

    I imagine that almost everyone is thankful I'm not in charge, and never will be in charge.

  • Oh Boy! The Prospect Hotel! What Room Will I Be Staying In?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    You three were quite entertaining. We enjoyed your stay - maybe as much as you did! The idea that the Village Idiot's room was already taken rings true - You can't have my room!!
    Who else (in their right mind) would buy a place like this and then take on repainting it? Barbara's photo shows it just prior to the repaint with most of the old paint already scraped off. We have now completed the exterior painting. 45 gallons later it presents MUCH better.
    Thanks for making us laugh, once when you were here and once again now.

    Fred and Karen Wickman
    www.prospecthotel.com

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Let me just clarify. Anyone who has been following this has noted a timeline, and it's unclear on first reading whether or not the author here is fully aware of the details. The letter to the California Coastal Commission was sent on Sept 17 and the latest rider is dated Sept 23. The reporting is that the Sept 23 version was a direct response after pressure from members of Congress who received copies of that letter. Most of the reporting on this story seem to be several days later. An article in the Marin Independent-Journal was dated Oct 5 but was referencing the amendment sent on Sept 23.

    Bear with me. I don't understand all the working details of Congress - so I'm having difficulty trying to figure out the paper trail of the original text and the various amendments.

    When the original Senate version of the bill came into being last June, Sen Feinstein inserted language to it that mandated a 10 year extension to the lease. The rider attached to this article is the latest version of that amendment - toned down from a mandate to a mere "authorization" for the Secretary of the Interior to extend the lease. I was unsure about whether the author made that distinction, although I looked up an article by Kurt from last June that mentioned the original language (I'd also note that the search engine isn't working very well when I tried to search for it).

    Perhaps this is a minor distinction. Many have felt that the original terms of the original 1972 lease were clear that the NPS had authorization to extend it as there was a renewal clause. Perhaps the newer language makes a distinction (for the lawyers to sort out perhaps) that there is authorization to extend the lease and that the NAS report should form a basis for considering the pros and cons of extension. Perhaps Sen Feinstein is hoping that this sends a stronger message (short of forcing his signature on a lease) to Secretary Salazar than her letters and phone calls urging him to extend the lease.

    I would stress again that the law as written now does not call for an automatic extension of the lease.

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Jeesh! All I did was search for "Mojave National Preserve" so I could plan my visit, and I came up with this!

    The whole issue, which centers on separation of church and state, is a farce. There has never been separation of church and state in this country. If they were separated, then there would be no Christmas tree on the White House lawn. In fact, Christmas would either (1) not be an official federal holiday at all, or (2) it would - and so would the major holidays of every religion on earth. (Hmmm - what would that do to the economy? We'd all be off work about every other day...) There's more. Here in California, where most cities were founded by the Spaniards, almost all of them have religious names. Should we rename Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Sacramento, etc. etc. etc. because these names purposely endorsed Catholic saints and concepts? How about non-Spanish but still religious place names such as St. Paul, Minnesota? Or the states of Virginia and Maryland? What "Virgin" and which "Mary" do you think those refer to?

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 28 weeks ago

    It's been reported (several days ago) that Sen Feinstein modified her amendment to the DOI appropriations bill. Supposedly the pressure to change it didn't come from Norm Dicks, but from New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman. It doesn't set a mandate but does change the dynamic. I looked up the history and this amendment was passed on Sept 24, which was even before the Traveler posted this article I'm commenting to.

    You can look it up yourself from the Library of Congress database. It's always changing, so I can't really link the bill directly. Just enter H.R.2996 into the search field.

    I'd also note something. The copy of the rider attached to this article does appear to be the latest modified version. Note that it mentions only an "authorization" for the Secretary of the Interior to renew the lease. The original rider was inserted last June, and not Sept 23 as it says in the PDF.

    I'm not sure how to find any full text of previous versions, but I understand that the previous version set a mandate. I saw a summary of the previous version of the amendment, which strictly extended the lease by 10 years. The amendment also gives the Secretary of Interior the final decision. That may have been very much intentional knowing that Jonathan Jarvis was the new NPS director.

  • Gloryland Brings Yosemite National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson Full Circle   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I heard about Gloryland on NPR a few weeks ago and have been wanting to read it ever since. It sounds like it's very well written.

  • When Visiting the National Parks, Look for Historic Lookouts   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Great story -- lots of fire lookouts in our national parks that I didn't know anything about. North Cascades Institute is keenly interested in the historic lookouts in the North Cascades, and the "Poets on the Peaks" literary history that accompanies those lookouts. Here's a slideshow on the topic we put together at the request of Gary Snyder when he gave a reading in Seattle last spring: http://vimeo.com/5804231. Enjoy!

  • Where Can You Find the Best Fall Foliage In the National Park System? Here Are Ten Contenders   5 years 28 weeks ago

    We'll put in a request for some great weather, Sparky. Congrats on the nuptials!

  • Where Can You Find the Best Fall Foliage In the National Park System? Here Are Ten Contenders   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I *hope* this turns out to be the case for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. My new wife and I will be heading there after our wedding next weekend. :-D

  • Bikes in the Parks: A Look At What's Up at Grand Teton and Big Bend National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Again, the ban of bikes from wilderness came from a reinterpretation of the law in the mid 80s. That suits the Sierra Club and others just fine, but technically, the ban could be reversed without any action from congress. That being said, as a cyclist, all I see is a constant push from the self professed "environmentalists" to keep expanding wilderness and thereby restrict cyclists' access to trails. No wonder IMBA is fighting so hard to realign wilderness designation, but it's still a long term losing strategy since it seems that the quest for more wilderness will never end. A smarter way of doing it would be to reallow bikes in wilderness, since they're no more mechanical than kayaks, carbon fiber hiking poles, etc.
    That way, we'd stop that inane internecine fight between cyclists and other user groups.

    User conflicts are way overblown. We all know that the large majority of park users don't venture much past 1 mile from the trailhead. Separate cyclists from other user groups for the 1st mile, and then let people share trails.

  • Where Can You Find the Best Fall Foliage In the National Park System? Here Are Ten Contenders   5 years 28 weeks ago
  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 28 weeks ago

    My tax dollars pay for maintaining that land. When i drive that road the cross is prominent. I want my Flying Spaghetti Monster memorial to the war dead of the Civil War placed prominently on that rock too. In fact, I want mine on a post at the top so everyone passing by can't miss seeing it. I don't give .... care ....if life isn't fair as you say. If we're talking about my tax dollars and federal land it better be about as close to fair as the Supreme Court justices can make it.

    This post was sanitized just a teense. -- Ed.

  • The Priceless Value of Parks: Wounded Warrior Rafting Trip at Dinosaur National Monument   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I'd like to applaud all veterans and the many local groups helping them. Thank you all for your service to our country. Here's a similarly inspiring story from last year about a wounded veteran, one the few blind persons to have summited Mount Rainier: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008045927_rainier11m0.html

  • Delaware Can Relax; The New National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Series Will Celebrate “National Sites” Too   5 years 28 weeks ago

    [re Merryland] In the case of Devils Tower this would be very difficult as over 22 tribes claimed use the Devils Tower. They each had different names, Bear Lodge and Grey horn Butte among them. It would be unfair to use one name above the other. In controversy or not the only name that is universally used by all (weather they like it or not)-is Devils Tower.

  • Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    For what it's worth, an anonymous employee stating that it was the largest rockfall ever seen in the Valley doesn't mean very much, unless they had extensive rockfall knowledge (like the park geologist, for example). A statement like that has the tendency to imply that it was the largest rockfall to ever happen in the Valley, which this one wasn't (I hope that much is plainly obvious). One of the unique things about YV is that relatively minor rockfalls (and this one WAS minor, as were the ones behind the Ahwahnee in August and September of 2009) have the tendency to get exaggerated due to their proximity to developed areas. Just to illustrate a point, the rockfall from Ahwiyah Point in March 2009 was somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 times the size of the one behind Curry.

  • Too Many Deer Has Valley Forge National Historical Park Officials Turning To Sharpshooters   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I agree. Hunters could do the job just as quickly. If you don't believe me look at the decimated deer herd in Pennsylvania. Since the P.G.C. upped the doe harvest and put doe season in with buck season there is without a doubt alot fewer deer running around. Especially on public land. Hunters would also be buying hunting licenses and contributing money not only to the conservation effort, but also local business' would greatly benefit. But instead they will hire "sharpshooters" to come in at the taxpayers expense, not to mention paying someone to process all the meat also at the taxpayers expense I'm sure.

  • Too Many Deer Has Valley Forge National Historical Park Officials Turning To Sharpshooters   5 years 28 weeks ago

    it a shame . hunters eather archery or shot gun could do the job and contribute to the recureation the parks are intended to offer . we the common folks without land, relish a good hunt in the lap of mother nature and also like the natural flavor of a meat that is unafordible to us. a user paid for raffel is the way to go if the burocrats would just pull it out and get user frendly.

  • Clash of Viewpoints on Public Land Ownership and Protection Arrives in Congress in the Form of Red Rock Wilderness Legislation   5 years 28 weeks ago

    In the photo the hoof prints are on the edge of the trail, indicating that the horse may have walked where the soil is less compacted and perhaps even fairly loose.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, What Do You Think of the Ken Burns Film So Far?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Maybe I missed it, but I would have thought that Burns would have had some mention of Edward Abbey. His views on park transportation (only appropriate by horse, foot, or bicycle) would have been an interesting counterpoint to the earlier successful integration of roads into many of our National Parks. I think I watched all 12 hours, although some of it was joined mid-episode where I tried to view parts I missed on the web.

    As for footage of crowds enjoying our national parks - I do recall some. If you check some of the extra material that didn't quite make it into the final series, they filmed footage of Shelton Johnson leading interpretive programs at Yosemite and Park Superintendent Gerard Baker greeting visitors at Mount Rushmore. The one thing that I'm surprised didn't make it was the group of schoolkids touring Death Valley.

    The extra footage is actually quite interesting. Most of the narration is by Ken Burns himself. I think only the final cut was actually narrated by Peter Coyote. Still - a lot of the quotations were still performed by talent such as Tom Hanks before they were cut out of the final series.

    http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/watch-video