Recent comments

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 25 weeks ago


    "does the level of national park visitation even matter? Shouldn't it suffice that we protect these unique places"

    I couldn't agree more.

  • Tour Company Wants to Offer Helicopter Overflights of Crater Lake National Park, But Likely Won't See A Decision Soon   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Frank and Anonymous,

    Did you guys miss the memo on condescension?

    Beyond that, Frank, I'd disagree with your perception of Xanterra as a government-granted monopoly. As your own source notes, such a monopoly is created when "a government grants exclusive privilege to a private individual or firm to be the sole provider of a good or service; potential competitors are excluded from the market by law, regulation, or other mechanisms of government enforcement.(my emphasis)."

    As the recent post out of Bryce Canyon clearly illustrates, concession contracts are put up for competitive bid. In that most recent case, Xanterra lost its contract to Forever Resorts, a development that runs counter to your contention.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Reading all the posts prior to mine, the PCT was established for hikers and equestrians. If mountainbike people and dirtbike people want to ride a trail, go through the process and channels and get one established. The existing PCT does see bike and off-road vehicle traffic, mostly dirtbikes that tear up the trail. Living near the trail I see them all the time. The BLM, forest service and PCT association do not have the manpower to patrol or police the usage, nor do they have enough volunteers to repair the damage done by illegal users. So buying a special permit to allow mountainbikers to ride it will not cover that deficit for manpower and repairs. It just does not exist. The mentality of mtnbike riders in some of these posts is childish, you're going to ride it anyway since you haven't been caught and are aware there is little to no enforcement. If I rode in your front yard against your wishes and clearly against the law without your permission I would get a citatioin by the local police, there are plenty of those around in cities. Get some sense.

  • Tour Company Wants to Offer Helicopter Overflights of Crater Lake National Park, But Likely Won't See A Decision Soon   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Xanterra: the private sector at work.

    Anonymous, you missed the part where I described Xanterra as a government-granted monopoly. Xanterra is in no, way, shape or form part of the "private sector". Your entire response after that false assertion is ridden with logical fallacies, so I will not address it other than what I've already mentioned.

    Thank you, and have a good day.

  • Jon Jarvis Questioned During His Confirmation Hearing On Snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago


    When this topic comes up, the argument that I hear most often is that according to our mission statement we are to also provide recreational opportunities. I always remind people that this was written in 1916 when recreational opportunities meant hiking, skiing, swimming, etc. Motorized recreation was not even a thought and even cars were believed to be a passing craze.

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

  • Captured in Stone   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Or, _very_ similar artwork can be found in Devil's Lane in the Needles District. Again, bring lots of water: its 5-6 miles from the end of the "road" at Elephant Hill. I rode past Elephant Hill once in an NPS Bronco driven by a _very_ skilled 4'10" technician: I know I'll never attempt to drive that hill.

    Or, near sunset, grab a good beer, drive 279 toward Potash from the tailings pile across from the entrance to Arches, pull over along the river, and you can see some not quite as nice art (plus recent "additions").

    Craig Childs knows where even better art is located, but he's not saying...

  • Tour Company Wants to Offer Helicopter Overflights of Crater Lake National Park, But Likely Won't See A Decision Soon   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Xanterra: the private sector at work. If it were up to Libertarians there would either be 5000 tour operators at Crater Lake or it would be a private reserve for the hyper-rich. But being the "best idea America ever had" it naturally follows that Libertarians don't like parks.

    I suppose I can quit reading these threads since the majority of them end up as soapboxes for proselytizers of the demonstrably false Libertarian quasi-religion. Whether it's the fault of the True BeLIEvers or of the moderators (who should know by now that said True Believers have no self-control) I won't presume to say. Just had to get it off my chest.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Mountain biking on the Collier Ridge Loop in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area!

    Trail Description from the park's website:

    Beginning from the Bandy Creek Visitor Center the trail starts and finishes on the West Bandy Creek Road.
    1.1 miles after leaving the Visitor Center the single track begins, turning left off West Bandy Creek Road. Look for and follow the marker posts.
    The single track section features creek crossings, jumps, sandstone climbs and drops, short slalom sections through trees and fast downhill runs.
    1.8 miles after leaving West Bandy Creek Road the trail splits offering riders the choice of a novice or advanced section.
    If you are not an advanced rider continue straight to Hwy 297, turn right and ride single file near the white line. Look for the marker to turn right back onto the single track.
    The advanced ride turns right coming immediately to a sandstone ledge with a steep drop. Beyond this the trail features numerous steep climbs and drops with some sharp turns and log crossings.
    Once the two sections rejoin either continue west along Hwy 297 and take the West Bandy Trail (see below) or remain on the Collier Ridge Trail for another 2.3 miles back to the West Bandy Creek Road. Turn right and return to the Visitor Center.

    Total novice ride is 8.0 miles with 3.6 miles of gravel/paved road and 4.4 miles of single track.

    Total advanced ride is 7.7 miles with 2.2 miles of gravel road and 5.5 miles of single track.

  • By the Numbers: Death Valley Weather   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Your assumptions are right on the mark, Kirby. Annual physioclimatic stress (total annual mount of heat stress plus cold stress) can be calculated for any location if you've got the requisite weather data (daily temperature, humidity, windspeed, and sunshine conditions). Once you've done the calculations for hundreds of weather stations, it's a simple matter to create maps showing the distribution of physioclimatic stress. Geographer Werner Terjung was doing this back in the 1960s. I can dredge up some of his "comfort climates" maps of the U.S. if you're really interested.

    BTW, I wrote my masters thesis in human physiological climatology (a domain of biometeorology) using Terjung's nomograms. It was entitled "The Comfort Climates of Grand Rapids, Michigan: A Dynamic Approach." It's available on microfilm, though I can't imagine why anyone would want to read the damn thing.

  • By the Numbers: Death Valley Weather   5 years 25 weeks ago

    @ RangerLady: The Korean visitor you mentioned, a 52-year old woman, was one of six South Korean nationals who ran afoul of heat stress problems last Sunday afternoon while walking in Death Valley's Mesquite Dunes (near Stove Pipe Wells). It was 123 degrees at the time, and ground temperatures were closer to 140 degrees.

  • Jon Jarvis Questioned During His Confirmation Hearing On Snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Lucia,

    I totally agree ! There are literally millions of acres of "piblic" land where these activities are allowed...........can't we and our beloved wildlife have a few places without snowmobiles, off road vehicles, watercraft, armed visitors, etc ?

  • National Park Quiz 65: Dunes   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I haven't tried that trail yet, Kevin, but I'll sure put it on my to-list for my next visit.

  • First Greenpeace, Now Motorcyclists Drawing A Bead On Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Motorcycles are loud and disrupting but I mostly fear for the lives of the bikers. Motorcycles are dangerous even if you happen to be an excellent driver. If there is some other person who can't drive out there and they happen to hit a biker, there is nothing between that person and the front end of a SUV or other vehicle. Although I really hate motorcycles, I do hope that all the bikers come out of this ok as with all the law enforcement. I know every year there happen to be some major issues between biker gangs.

    I do want to say one redeeming thing about the Hell's Angels. When the DC Sniper attacks were occuring, the HA volunteered to pump gas for people who were too scared to get out of their cars.

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

  • Tour Company Wants to Offer Helicopter Overflights of Crater Lake National Park, But Likely Won't See A Decision Soon   5 years 25 weeks ago

    The multinational, government-granted monopoly Xanterra charges up to $37 a person for a trip to Wizard Island. Of that $37, maybe $2 goes to support the national park.

    More like $1.11

  • Tour Company Wants to Offer Helicopter Overflights of Crater Lake National Park, But Likely Won't See A Decision Soon   5 years 25 weeks ago

    "I can't predict the final outcome on this, but I do believe it would be our responsibility to ensure that the visitor experience and ultimate quiet that you find at Crater Lake is preserved," said Mr. Jarvis.

    The "ultimate quiet" at Crater Lake? Either Jarvis has never visited the park in summer or he is delusional.

    Preservationists lost the battle to preserve Crater Lake's silence a century ago. Joaquin Miller in 1904 wrote in Sunset magazine:

    The plan is now to build, have the government build, a drive around the lake, so that all these points may be considered in a single day from a carriage. And a great hotel is planned! And a railroad must be made to whisk you through the life-and-vigor-giving evergreen forests of Arden. Well, so be it, if you must so mock nature and break this hush and silence of a thousand centuries, but I shall not be here. No hotel or house or road of any sort should ever be built near this Sea of Silence. All our other parks have been surrendered to hotels and railroads. Let us keep this last and best sacred to silence and nature. That which is not worth climbing to see is not worth seeing.

    When I lived and worked at Crater Lake, I found little silence but constantly heard car horns and alarms, boats buzzing around the lake, the drone of fixed-wing aircraft, heavy machinery, snowplows, snowmobiles, Harleys, and the howls and screams of invasive primates echoing through the forest and around the Rim.

    Helicopters are just the latest machine proposed to join the Crater Lake cacophony. The desecration began a century ago after government-granted monopolies lobbied the federal government to build roads and lodges and ushered in the Age of Industrial Tourism that would benefit a select few while irreparably impairing the serenity.

    The Sea of Silence disappeared a century ago. Where has the outrage been?

    Image: Noisy road construction at Crater Lake.
    Image: Noisy construction at Rim Village.
    Image: Noisy boat tours on Crater Lake. The National Park Service allows loud, smelly, boats on Crater Lake; there have been several fuel spills on or around the lake. The multinational, government-granted monopoly Xanterra charges up to $37 a person for a trip to Wizard Island. Of that $37, maybe $2 goes to support the national park.

  • Tour Company Wants to Offer Helicopter Overflights of Crater Lake National Park, But Likely Won't See A Decision Soon   5 years 25 weeks ago

    No! Helicopter noise can be very loud if directly under it. The last think our family wanted to see is a chopper overhead when we had just hiked to the top of Wizard Island.
    1500 feet above the rim road is about the same amount as the top of nearby Mt. Scott is above the rim road. When we got there, we wanted to see the view of the state quarter, not a helicopter at our eye level.
    Crater Lake has the clearest water in the world. I am sure flyovers will do nothing to preserve that status.

  • Park History: Arches National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    We were driving through Colorado, took 128 out of 50 and there, few miles down the Colorado river was Arches National Park. Frankly, If we didn't have a mobile internet and google with open panoramino we would have passed but checking the images it was a must see. It took us about another 10-15min from the entrance to reach the parking area, our car overheated the during the steep curly road, but then the arches revealed, it was amazing. It is a must see place, be sure to put it on your adventure map!

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    The Congress Trail at Sequoia. Wonderland exists!

  • First Greenpeace, Now Motorcyclists Drawing A Bead On Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Does anyone want to hear about thundering convoys of motorcyclists descending on the park?
    No. :-(

  • Jon Jarvis Questioned During His Confirmation Hearing On Snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I am a park ranger in a large western National Park. I am also a frequent visitor to National Parks. Part of the appeal for me is that I can go to a place that is relatively pristine and quiet and peaceful. I know my opinion may be extreme to some, but I don't believe snowmobiles should be allowed at all in Yellowstone. Nor do I think we should allow personal water craft in National Parks, or pets on trails. The United States has had the foresight to set aside millions of acres of public lands. There is a place where you can do anything you want, be it snowmobiling, hiking with your dog off-leash, even hunting and logging. Shouldn't there also be places where those things are prohibited? For the rest of us? Is it really necessary to bring a concealed weapon into a National Park? As a woman education ranger, I am already faced with the potential dangers inherent in a job that requires me to speak with hundreds of strangers every single day. I don't need the added worry that the next angry visitor I encounter is carrying a concealed weapon. Yes, most gun owners are reasonable, law-abiding citizens. Why then is it so important to carry a gun on vacation, in a place where you are not allowed to kill anything?

    I just think that by making all of these concessions to lobbyists, like the snowmobile enthusiasts and the NRA, the Park Service is denying the revolutionary ideals that led to its creation in the first place. The Organic Act has been diluted so much that enjoyment of park resources has completely overtaken our other mission, which is to preserve those resources for future generations. PRESERVE, not just conserve. There is a difference.

  • It's July 29, So Don't Forget to Thank A National Park Ranger Today For Their Service   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Some of our Rangers today recieved home made cookies from Sharon Funck and a Thank You too.

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I have lived and been raised in Fayette county most of my life. The New River Gorge Bridge area was known as "lover's leap" in colonial times. The Oak Hill town archives, which are restricted, support this information. It is also recorded that "masses" were held there by local Pastors in the late 1800's. Information about number of suicides, and or related material is a taboo subject around the tourist trap area. I have know several people, and heard several stories of "completely normal" people, just one day up and jump off the bridge. At least once per year. I find the facts, and town practices to be questionable.

  • First Greenpeace, Now Motorcyclists Drawing A Bead On Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Anonymous,

    Beamis was talking about Mt. Rushmore, not Yellowstone.

    Personally, I don't like cars, Harleys, helicopters (speaking of which, when are you going to cover the Crater Lake helicopter story, NPT? If you need a contribution...), RVs, generators, construction equipment, snowplows, snowmobiles, or any other mechanical object that makes loud noise in more "natural" national parks.

    But as Beamis pointed out, there's not much natural about Mt. Rushmore including its proximity to the highway, its parking garages, and its side-show, tourist-trap atmosphere.

    Thank you, and have a pleasant day.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    How about the Glacier Gorge trail system in Rocky Mountain National Park? It's one of my favorites. Beautiful lakes, stunning peaks, wildflowers and usually plenty of wildlife.

  • First Greenpeace, Now Motorcyclists Drawing A Bead On Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Give us a break Beamis. I went to Yellowstone a few years ago and it was ridiculous with the pseudo Hells Angels roaring through the park on their way to Sturgis.