Recent comments

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    any chance we can get all of you to care about getting children back into parks or reducing our carbon footprint?

    Kids hardly want to play pick-up games of baseball or touch football anymore much less explore a national park. Why heck, if they're missing for more than a few minutes off the fear wracked radar screen of constant surveillance someone's liable to issue an Amber Alert. The post-modern world has not spawned the most adventurous children that civilization has ever known but don't blame them.

    As for carbon footprints----how come every time I see a national park patrol vehicle stopped for any length of time it always has its engine running? Recently I watched as two LE vehicles, that were parked by the side of the road, while two rangers were chatting, were running and spouting out greenhouse gases galore the entire time. I came back 15 minutes later and the vehicles were still at it, idling away a carbon footprint the size of the Jolly Green Giant. No make that the Jolly Gray Giant.

    While we're on the subject of carbon footprints how about doing something about that gas belching volcano in Lake Clark? That things throwing up enough gunk to keep Al Gore in the carbon offset business until the dawning of Aquarius. When Yellowstone blows y'all are really gonna have some egg on your face. At least the whole planet will smell that way.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    any chance we can get all of you to care about getting children back into parks or reducing our carbon footprint?

    Sure, Chief. Let's talk about reducing the carbon footprint in national parks. How much carbon is emitted maintaining nearly 10,000 miles of NPS roads? How much carbon is emitted by plowing the Rim Drive at Crater Lake as well as those in other snow-covered parks? And the boat tours on Crater Lake? How much carbon for that? Are there any plans to reduce/eliminate these emissions? How much carbon do NPS patrol vehicles emit and what is being done to limit that? How about gas-powered leaf blowers? Are those still allowed in national parks? Gas-powered mowers still maintaining yards in national parks?

    I find it very odd that such environmentally impacting activities are carried out without the save level of scrutiny as a constitutionally protected activity.

  • Flamingo Lodge is No More   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Bob mentioned mosquitoes. I worked in Everglades for 3 years. I probably traveled to Flamingo at least twice a month from park headquarters. One of the most comical sights in the Flamingo area was to watch foreign tourists in Flamingo during the summer--they were really the only ones there besides a few die hard fishermen and the park and concession employees. There were large patches of grass between the parking lots and the visitor center and the lodge. These areas were cut by sidewalks so people could get to these buildings without walking on the grass but it was a little longer walk. Many times you would see these foreign visitors, usually dressed in shorts and tank tops because of the warm, humid weather, begin to walk across the grass. After about 4 steps, they would have disturbed the mosquitoes lurking in the grass. The first sign would be that the visitor would slap the first mosquito to land on him/her. The rest of the way to the building became a mad dash with numerous slaps to various parts of the body. They looked like whirling dervishes. It was an absolute lock that they would walk back to their vehicles on the sidewalk.

    Rick Smith

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

    Ray Bane, your message rings well and clear into my ears. I too, must surrender to the physical elements of old age with a bad back and neck. But, this doesn't stop me from hiking the the beautiful majestic trails of Yosemite National Park or Point Reyes National Seashore. What does disgust me, is the very idea of allowing mountain biking into the national parks. I cannot imagine and seeing something that is so awkward and out of place as mountain biking in the national parks. I do cycle and a lot, but in the most appropriated and designated parks where there is the least minimal harm to the environment. Good in put Ray!!

  • Flamingo Lodge is No More   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I never had the pleasure of an overnight stay at Flamingo myself, Dick, but I've heard plenty of feedback from people who have. The Flamingo area of Everglades NP is an outdoor recreational cornucopia, offering great birding, fishing, boating and paddling, and other delights. I won't let the Lodge's demise keep me from enjoying those things when I get the chance. That said, I will make sure to avoid the place during the warmer/wetter months when the mosquitoes are at their worst. I don't mind tenting, but I do have strong objections to donating my blood to mosquitoes. It's in my hard wiring. Growing up in Michigan, I dealt with mosquitoes that were as big as eagles. They worked in teams of three. Two of them would hold you down while the other would drill you.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Here we go again. To both sides I applaud your conviction to what you believe is right. Please remember that with every decision there is a considerable operational impact. For those of us who are charged with keeping the resource safe from the people, the people safe from the resource and the people safe from the people we'll continue to stand by while this gets properly vetted. Until then and in no way am I trying to be disrespectful, any chance we can get all of you to care about getting children back into parks or reducing our carbon footprint?

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

    Seriously, Zeb, chill out and quit speaking in ultimatums. And no one ever said anything about North Face jackets and fancy boots. Myself, I prefer a flannel work shirt and shoes I've had for years. It does no good to paint everyone with one stereotypical brush. What if a hiker said you are just someone who blows hundreds of dollars on a bike because you're too lazy to walk?

  • Flamingo Lodge is No More   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Too bad! We stayed there several times over the years and always enyoyed ourselves...even the lizards in the room. It was all part of the experience. Had some pretty good meals in the restaurant too. I'm sure that those people expecting the "Hilton" experience were disappointed, but we never were. After all, it was the Everglades.

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

    Zebulon -

    It's true that everyone won't share the values of Ray, or Zebulon, or ... in terms of "how we're supposed to enjoy the parks." However, I'd suggest that there is a very rational justification for a government role in managing parks and other public outdoor space.

    There should be places where users with differing preferences can enjoy parks, national forests, BLM lands, and similar sites - and many of those uses are not compatible. Although many of the mountain biking supporters who have made comments clearly don't accept the idea that their activities detract from the ability of other uses to safely enjoy trails, the point is that the hikers feel differently. I suspect (hope) that at least some mountain bikers would also feel negatively about motorized dirt bikes or 4-wheel drive vehicles using their same trails.

    Without oversight by the managing agency, what we'd have on public lands is chaos and destruction of the resource, and even the mountain bikers would have a hard time finding places to enjoy their activity. The difficulty for both the agency and the public lies in finding acceptable compromises among conflicting users. From my perspective, parks can't be all things to all users, and some type of "zoning" of areas for different types of use is necessary. Attempts to accommodate every type of user dilutes the value of the experience for everyone.

    In the not so distant past, in very general terms, most national parks were used primarily for more "passive" activities - such as those described by Ray Bane, and the vastly larger number of acres managed by the USFS and BLM were open to more active recreation - such as mountain biking, ATV's, snowmobiles, etc. That seemed to be both fair and workable. Unfortunately, that system is breaking down under the assault of users who insist on their "rights" to engage in their favorite activity. In the end, all users are the losers if that trend continues.

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I never met Timothy Treadwell, but I am quite familiar with the area and circumstances relating his and his companion' demise. Personally, I consider Treadwell's fate the outcome of a death wish. From any objective perspective, Treadwell's behavior was bizarre and self destructive. He did almost everything wrong in re: to his interaction with bears. He literally set up himself and his friend for a fatal attack. Being armed would not have changed the outcome. I once encountered an individual camping at a site on the Katmai coast. He had established a long-term camp in a location with intensive bear activity. There was a resulting buildup of human waste and other debris around his camp. I informed him that he had to move the camp and clean up the mess. Fortunately he decided to leave. You might be interested to learn that park visitors and brown bears regularly interact at close quarters in the park, including the primary developed visitor facility, Brooks Camp. Visitors to Brooks River are not permitted to carry personal firearms, even though bears may approach them within a few yards. This facility would likely have to close if park visitors were permitted to carry personal weapons and to use them at their own discretion.

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

    Ray, that's all fine and dandy, but I don't think that we live in the "world according to Ray Bane". I don't see how your carbon poles, North Face jacket and high end hiking boots are any less mechanized than a bike with 2 wheels. Furthermore, there is no rational justification for the government to decide how we're supposed to enjoy the parks, as long as we don't negatively impact them. Ray likes to stop and smell the flowers. I like to flow while smelling the flowers.

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

    You know, I cannot hike for more than a few miles due to bad knees, but I can ride for many many more because there isn't the impact on my knees. Richard Smith.

    Richard, I also can no longer hike any appreciable distance, but I am easily able to cycle. Should I be permitted to ride a mountain bike on backcountry trails in a national park? My answer is, no. Frankly, I want primitive areas to remain primitive. I also want as many people as possible to literally step away from mechanical transportation devices and walk slowly and, hopefully, quitely into the natural setting. I want them to hear the small sounds of nature and to focus on the multitude of details surrounding them. If they chance to see wildlife near the trail I hope they stop and take the time to treasure the experience. Just as most mountain bikers would not want to compete with motorized ATVs on backcountry trails, there should be special places, especially national parks, where hikers can walk on trails free of mountain bikes.

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

    While I don't agree with Kurt on a few subjects, I certainly applaud his desire to engage in dialogue with people he disagrees with.

    Kurt, I don't think that MTBers will call the shots in the future, but I believe that once we reach critical mass, it'll be harder for any administration to keep discriminating against us. I don't wish to kick anybody out of the parks/wilderness. I just want to share.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Do you really think that people who go through the entire course, study the laws, and pay for the permits are that quick to shoot an animal on a "whim"? If the lady with the child ran up to the bear and the bear reacted to this as a sign of agression, who is at fault? Who will you try to save-- the bear or the woman and child? Those who wander into parks armed "illegally" will probably always be illegal and should be prosecuted. Why condemn those of us who play by the rules? I am not a group, but an individual who respects and abides by the law. What have I ever done to you?

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

    Guess you lost that bet, eh?

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

    I agree, Richard...I think it's time to sell off the parks to the highest bidder. Soon we won't be allowed to breathe...too much "carbon!" Frickin' ridiculous.
    Time to write some letters. And I bet the liberal moderator won't post this, just like many of my posts.

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    When I was young..... my dad used to take me out hiking for long 3 or 4 day weekends. We used to hike in for an entire day and never see anyone. I haven't gone in years. I have recently decided to start going again with my son. I also remembered my father used to carry a little revolver in his hip bag. I only saw it acouple times... he called it his snake shooter... we have some fairly poisonous snakes around here. I always assumed it was for overall protection of the family. Long story short, I never thought twice about it and I purchased one for my outings. I was very surprised to find the issue in such in uproar. I guess it where you are from and how you were raised. fearful or not fearful of firearms. I agree. maybe people who are against them are just generally against them in all circumstances. I just always seemed unprepared not to have it. a compass, utility knife, water, rations. Were not all picnic basket carrying all wheel drive station wagon park people. some of us could actullay live off the land if we needed to and sometime choose to on occasional weekends. I do not see this creating anymore confusion than the overally politically interested people

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    don't ask me... inner city chicago is a sewer to me. lots of crime and lots of poor upbringing and bad examples or no examples in alot those families. however, this has nothinng to do with the issue. whether you are pro or anti gun sums up most peoples response on this issue. ..but it shold not be about that. The question must be... if it is legal to carry in a state, what is the reason for not allowing it in the park. In this scenario... fear of irrational people does not fit... because these are the same people allowed by law to carry all over the rest of the state. There is no real environmental impact as the concealed weapons can not be fired unless in self defense or actually even displayed. I know the parks department is against it and I also personally know the heads of the departments are also against concealed carry carry in general... yet it is the legal in almost every state subject to each regulation.....so what is the argument for not allowing it to be state regulated...the only reasonable argument outside of who feels the right to carry is a true right and those who think they should be gone as much as possible... is multi jurisdictional parks... which I am sure can be easily worked out....hell in case of two different states with different policy... agree to not allow them in multi state parks. I do not care... but make a good arguement ... all i hear is the same old speech. I do not own a firearm.. but even I can see the lack of an argument. they need a reason why it should be less legal in the parks... and fear of rampant poaching doesn't seem to work.... poaching will ocur at the same rate as always. I recall the same warnings of massive violent crime increases with concealed carry legal. hahahaha!! I love when people spread idealogy by spreading fear.... please. hahaha!

  • Designations Just One Example of Disparities Within the National Park System. Web Sites Are Another   5 years 25 weeks ago

    There aren't really webmasters for most NPS web servers, but yes there are strong constraints on how public-facing websites must look (both for branding & consistency and for accessibility laws), rules about links to non-NPS sites, etc..

    To an extent, "on the web, nobody knows you're a dog" should allow small parks to have as fancy of web presences as large, rich parks. But small NPS units like Gauley River NRA or Fort Bowie NHS simply don't have staff available for generating their own websites. [Gauley River has no one in the NPS employee directory, which implies that the staff are listed under New River Gorge or other units or the region.] Fort Bowie has a ranger, a park guide, and a masonry worker (likely on a temporary assignment for a specific project). The 2 or 3 permanent staff cover the duties of superintendent, archeologist, maintenance man, resource manager, planning, interpretation, and everything else. They probably wouldn't have time to supervise a volunteer web developer even if one were to appear at their door. Further, until the past few years, most NPS units didn't have basic information like species lists. The initial priority is to make that information available to the superintendents and managers on the intranet.

    One of several directions that NPS web content is going is the set of virtual learning centers:
    http://www.nature.nps.gov/learningcenters/map.cfm
    Most of these are multi-unit resources at the level of inventory & monitoring network. so a couple of people can provide content for multiple park units (or, less charitably, poor units can piggyback on large rich units). Most are just getting up and running, and few are linked from individual park websites yet. Yes, large, well-resourced units like Yellowstone have more interpretive staff, and thus larger and better virtual learning centers, but the learning centers pretty freely share ideas and code, so the result should be better web resources for all. Some are collaborations with non-NPS partners such as the Learning Center of the American Southwest,
    http://dev.southwestlearning.org/index.php

    As more information is gathered on each park, more will appear on the web, especially for natural resources.

  • Early Tourism in Yellowstone National Park Caught on Camera   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Donna, keep your eye on the Traveler for similar videos from elsewhere in the park system.

  • Ken Burns' National Parks Documentary: Where Does it Stand?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I can't wait. I don't have film, but I've got loads of pictures, just loads. Have been an avid park explorer since my first road trip back in 2001. I just can't wait, and will get this on dvd when it's ready, just so I can say, hey, I've been there.....hurry up and finish, wouldya.....lol

  • Early Tourism in Yellowstone National Park Caught on Camera   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I loved this park the first time I was in it, back in the '70's. Then again 30 years later, not much had changed, it's still amazing. Of course we didn't have the bear come right up to our car. What a lovely video, wouldn't it be way cool to see if other parks have these pieces of history in their archives and would share. I've been to few that have and do. It's truly amazing what you can see and where you can go. thnx for sharing

  • Flamingo Lodge is No More   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Oh my.....I spent a couple of days, more like a week, touring the Everglades. It was May 2006. I loved it. Even the mosquito's. Of which there really weren't that many at that time of the year. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get down to Flamingo, only because it was still closed down due to the hurricane of '05. I would have loved to have seen it before the cane took it out. But then, I'm in love with that type of architecture anyway. Back in the day, built by the CCC, but then that's just me. So, there is NO WAY, it will be rebuilt, not at all? Only die hard campers, I suppose, would go on down there and camp/rv it. But then again, that's just what us "die hards" do, isn't it?

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Storminator -- it's not just brown bears. Most handguns will put down a black bear....but we're also talking wolves, mountain lions (kill people every year here in Colorado), rattlesnakes (which we're allowed to shoot in state parks here), and coyotes.....and that's not counting the humans! Let's not forget the string of murders/rapes that occurred on the Appalachian Trail a few years ago at knife-point.

    The bottom line is this -- who cares? Continue to carry concealed in the park like everyone ALWAYS HAS. The only time you'll get in trouble is if you pull out your gun and use it. If you are smart, you'll be doing this for a life & death situation, and I'm quite sure the misdeamenor that follows won't really be of that much concern to you. If you have a CCW, you should have a good legal/lawyer insurance anyways, which will cover your rear.

  • Flamingo Lodge is No More   5 years 25 weeks ago

    The campgrounds are great and anyone who can't tollerate them can drive on over to Miami Beach. After all, there's nothing in the everglades but grass, water, and 'gaters.