Recent comments

  • Off The Usual Paths   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I'm having trouble with the sense of scale in this photo. Is this a close-up of a head-sized rock, or a scalable boulder with landscape in the background? In any case it's an interesting photo, thanks for posting it.

  • U. S. Mint Announces Sites Selected for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Now that I think about it, a couple of US paper bill denominations do display NPS sites.

    The back of the $5 bill has the Lincoln Memorial. The back of the $100 has Independence Hall. I guess they're not grand natural areas per se, but they're still NPS sites.

  • Great White Sharks Being Monitored Along Cape Cod National Seashore   5 years 28 weeks ago

    since the mid 90s the seals have seemed to claim Monomoy as home..at that time being fishermen,boater & jet skier we speed across the water, some areas less then a foot at speeds of 60 plus mph..at that time the striped bass was feared to be declining in #ers..over the flats at times we would ski over many large schools of stripe bass(proving the #ers are strong) noticeing pink spots on many..as time went on we found & believe they were bites from seals on many...at times(96-00) we saw large shadows close to shore under are skis in 10-15 ft of water around eastham,welfleet & turo...beliving it could have been a whale..we stopped many times and wait to see it come to the surface for air, but it never came up for air..leaving me to believe it could have abeen a large shark...about 3 years ago at the end of august by the 5 can on the back side coming in from fishing we saw at a distance a breach believing ther were a couple sunfish, as we came up on it we thought it was a real big basking shark or sea beagal...it was a very large white shark as it came with in feet of the boat..the shark was so large the tail leaned to the side...we were in a 25 bertram flybride at the time..i was at the rear of the of the boat as i looked down at the missle shaped head .i felt confused weather it was a white.. i would say the shark was 20 ft or close to that as the tail was out of the water and still in front of the cabin windows...many times we see a kill and birds show up..as have seen 2 seals w/large bites bleeding out on the shore..I feel they show up in july and leave by late september as a friend on a seal tour boat feels the same way and saw a large white take a seal from the shore line about the same time we saw the large white..he felt it was close to 20 ft also..hope this may help understand the water of chatham a little more...thanks John

  • Trial Over What Constitutes a "Road" In Canyonlands National Park: Vestiges of Sagebrush Rebels   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Thanks for the excellent story on this. For readers interested in reading more about the impacts of ORV traffic in Salt Creek, the 2002 EA is available on the Canyonlands web site at: http://www.nps.gov/cany/parknews/upload/saltcreekEA.pdf

  • Bison Hazing Operations Inside Yellowstone National Park Fuel Controversy   5 years 28 weeks ago

    These ranchers get all kinds of breaks to the detriment of the environment. The get subsidies from state and federal governments, and are allowed to move their herds on public land wherever there's grass. It's the cattle that are the invasive species, not the native bison who actually belong there. Just because park officials have been doing their hazing "for several years" doesn't make it a sound practice. If the ranchers want to control disease it might be wise to better control their cattle. I stopped eating beef some time ago and I don't regret it.

  • Yellowstone National Park's Bison Population Estimated At 3,300 Individuals   5 years 28 weeks ago
  • Bison Hazing Operations Inside Yellowstone National Park Fuel Controversy   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I agree. The farmers are my VERY LAST concern.

  • With the Fall Rut Beginning, Wind Cave National Park Rangers Leading Elk Bugling Programs   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I was in Rocky Mountain National Park back in October 2005 and spent many a late night that week listening to the elk make their haunting sound. Anyone who has been to Rocky knows about Horseshoe Park's huge meadow and the parking area there. This was stupid but exhilarating at the same time. The parking lot is about the size of a football field. I was alone there, my car was parked in the middle of the lot and I was sitting on a bench at one end of the lot with a digital audio recorder recording the sounds of elk walking, eating, breathing, crashing their antlers and, yes, bugling. As I was taping, I started hearing something trotting behind me in the parking lot. The footfalls, they sounded like padded feet at the time, came closer and closer very rapidly, then stopped very close to me. It was dark as all get out, I couldn't see what was there. In a past trip I had seen a mountain mama and cub within yards of this spot so I stayed still waiting for what was next. A few seconds after the footfalls stopped a male elk scared the something-or-other out of me with a monster bugle basically in my ear. It was a startling sound to say the least. You can hear it on the audio. Needless to say I shut down the recorder and beat a hasty retreat to my car. It was such a scary experience, but awesome nonetheless. Listening to the recording over and over, I've come to the conclusion that the footfalls were hooves and a male elk came over to shoo me off. UNFORGETABLE!!!

  • Another Gettysburg Witness Tree is Lost   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Not to sound critical but the tree was still very healthy with few dead limbs. The issue is about private and publicly owned properties which the house was private, and if we are talking about historical integrity, there are 3 houses around the tree that should not be there as they were built many years after the battle. As for the day when there are no more witness battlefield trees at Gettysburg, even our children's grandchildren won't see that day as trees on park land are typically protected and have some advantages that others don't when it comes to logging, and land improvement and management. The dominant species of witness trees left are white, swamp white, red, and black oaks along with white ash and black walnut. Some very big witness trees at 150 - 200 yrs old are just entering middle age as some individuals can exceed 300 yrs plus. Anyone wishing to see some of the over 300 trees on the battlefield proper that I have documented let me know at and I will be glad to send pictures, information and dimensions and data on the trees as this is a pet project of mine. The bad thing about the removal of this tree is that not even a small portion of the stump was left to mark its location for the visitors especially since this tree made news. On the positive side witnin a half mile of the cut down tree are at least 100 trees that are doing well and were present as this one was on the starting point along Seminary ridge from the Shultz house area to Spangler woods area. Again ask me for info and pictures and I will send. Thanks for your time.

  • On Canyoneering, Politics, and Teens Studying Climate Change in the National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    This is ridiculous. The debate about climate change is over. There is no longer disagreement among real scientists about whether it is happening & what's causing it [us]. You can argue about the details, whether it matters, & what should or shouldn't be done about it, but continuing this pathetic plaint that it doesn't exist just makes you look like an irrelevant, uneducated religious yokel.

    The topic of guiding in the Parks is impossible. There's yelping that there's no guiding in Zion, while there's relentless, loud yelping that there's too much [river] guiding in the Grand Canyon. There's a long line of people whining that they aren't allowed to run OHV tours of the White Rim Trail, & a long line of people screaming that there are too many guided OHV tours in the rest of Canyonlands.

    The Parks don't exist to provide economic opportunity to citizens who see a way to make a buck on the highly publicized & developed National Parks. Oddly, those people see no irony in their hot desire for this heavily subsidized business opportunity while jabbering on about how government "violating their rights" should stay out of their business.

    Parks exist to "preserve & protect for the enjoyment of future generations"...pretty contradictory & hard to find a balance, IMHO, & certainly not the same strategy works for every park.

  • Woman Drowns In Yellowstone National Park's Backcountry   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Very tragic ... also a tad suspicious; not particularly a time of year you are most likely to drown in the Bechler River ... but as the release says, the incident is still under investigation. And whatever the case, a terrible thing to have happen.

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • It May Be the Prettiest NPS Site You've Never Heard of, But that's Likely to Change   5 years 28 weeks ago

    A beautiful place, thanks in large part to Rockefeller and the fact he had lots of money. He was definitely a conservationist, but he also had his own interest at mind. He liked the view from the mansion, but he knew it would all be developed and his view would be ruined. So he bought every piece of property within eyesight of it. Thus he preserved his view, and we continue to benefit from that today!

    Be sure to check out the ornate "playhouse" located behind the mansion, with it's swimming pool and bowling alley. The Park Service visitor center is in the former car barn and is a great example of adaptive reuse.

  • Yellowstone National Park's Bison Population Estimated At 3,300 Individuals   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Numbers are but one way to measure the health of herd that has been stressed both sociologically but genetically as well.

    I still wish they'd make their methodology transparent. Last year, after a record kill in the Northern Range, they reported more bison on the Northern Range than in the Central Plateau for one of the first times ever. I heard that might have a scientific explanation from a friend, but I can't quite remember it. Now, a year later, distribution is even. I really wish these reports came out in something more than press releases, which are designed to do little more than spin the terrible reality of the Interangency Bison Management Plan. There's so much more that goes to bison health than this kind of release, which says nothing to the individual bison who are hazed both outside and INSIDE the park, as well as those that continue to be killed outside the park. On a week where a buffalo was gunned down in Idaho, I saw cattle grazing inside the Yellowstone boundary near the Bechler Ranger Station.

    Numbers may well be at 3,300; they do recover in that way. Are the herds healthy? Is the management practice sound? What will happen this winter? (word is more hazing) ... how about the next time the population again approaches 5,000?

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Body Thought To Be That of Missing Hiker Found in Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    from clayton north carolina AJ SADLY MISSED YOUR FRIEND JERRY.

  • U. S. Mint Announces Sites Selected for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I'm looking forward to being able, when answering the question I get oh so often about which parks I've worked at, to hold up a quarter when people look at me oddly for saying Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial. "What do mean you've never heard of it? Dude, it's on the quarter." I'm already laughing gleefully at people's looks of shame that they've never heard of it.

  • Body Thought To Be That of Missing Hiker Found in Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I'm truly devastated that this was the final outcome. I know Andrew is home with the Father now. He is now where we strive to be. God Bless him and the family. My prayer is that the Brunelli family has peace in knowing that Andrew is at rest.

  • Upon Further Review: Sometimes Chicken Soup Just Isn't Good for a Ranger's Soul   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Bruce -

    Thanks for sharing the story.

    At least your "haz-mat" material was a lot more palatable :-)

  • Top 10 Most Visited National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Great list. I always though that Yellowstone or Grand Canyon would definitely be at the top....but the Great Smokey Mountains....who knew?

  • It's Harvest Time At Capitol Reef National Park!   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I well remember camping at Capitol Reef in our motor home probably 25 years ago. We were hiking in the rocks above Fruita and wondering what the wonderful fragrance was which was wafting up on the breezes. When we came down, we realized it was the smell of the ripening apples. I always hoped to return in the Spring and see if the blossoms were as fragrant. We did return, but again in the Fall.

  • A Romantic Miscue Led to a Helicopter Rescue at Great Falls Park near Washington, D.C.   5 years 28 weeks ago

    She fell head over feet...awwwwwww :)

  • It's Harvest Time At Capitol Reef National Park!   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Marshall, thanks for your kind words. We do the best we can. As for number of articles, believe it or not with the great help of Bob Janiskee and Jim Burnett through the end of August we've posted more articles than in all of 2008!

    As to your question, it's really not too tough if you remember in which state Capitol Reef is located -- Utah, where the Latter-Day Saints frown on alcohol consumption -- and when you reread that sentence and focus on "grape arbors," which, of course, you need to produce wine.

  • It's Harvest Time At Capitol Reef National Park!   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Great story. I thank you, Kurt. You run a great site and have exponentially increased my awareness and knowledge of our incredible Park System in just a few months. This has become one of my favorite sites, and I just wish there were more articles every day! Haha. Not that I expect it, as I'm sure you put all your time into this as it is. But keep up the good work; it's appreciated!

    Now for my tough question, perhaps. It could also easily be a dumb one. Or perhaps an impossible one! Anyway, the third to last word in that initial quote mystifies me. Any idea as to why such an orchard would be illegal at this time? I can't imagine there were laws about fruit trees in 1880..perhaps I am missing something simple. But I have read the excerpt a few times here, and don't see a glaring answer. Do you know? Or anyone?

  • House Natural Resources Committee OK's Legislation For Upper Stehekin Road in North Cascades National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    It is such a shame that politcal influences had to resort to back room deals. Doc Hastings is known for his anti-environmental agenda. Someone needs to get rid of him.

  • It's Harvest Time At Capitol Reef National Park!   5 years 28 weeks ago

    One of the little-known pleasures of the national parks is that you sometimes find a good fruit tree way off by itself where there was once a farm. I remember one small tree on a remote trail in Shenandoah that bore a few tasty apples. I forgot where it was and never found it again, but I've remembered that tree and that apple for 40 years.

  • It's Harvest Time At Capitol Reef National Park!   5 years 28 weeks ago

    When my wife and I were traveling during October, 2007, from Arches NP to Bryce Canyon NP, we spent some time driving through Capital Reef NP and visiting Fruita. This park is really one of the hidden gems of the park service. The rock formations are astounding and the orchards are beautiful; and there are a lot of them. There are around 2,600 trees altogether comprising an amazing number of varieties of fruits and nuts. The park is located on Utah 24, which together with Utah 12, makes one of the most scenic drives in the US. So you get a lot of bang out of your touring buck.