Recent comments

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I don't see the public or the system fightin' all that hard "to protect the long-term viability of our parks".

    I should have been more specific. The public being your average visitor has little input in how the parks are run. However, NGO's (non governmental organizations) Like NRA, Shooting sports foundation, Sierra Club, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and many Friends of the "Name your favorite park" groups are all organized and actively pushing to protect the parks in ways they see fit.

    While this is off topic, I'll take a second to list some more auto related accommodations. Visitor education (handouts...even though many don't read them), wildlife road signs (not the average dear crossing signs), whenever possible managing road traffic with rangers when wildlife gather near roads, interp exhibits, interp safety messages, and creating more open roadsides to make wildlife more visible. Wildlife is not the only reason that the speed is lowered in park borders, car vs car is probably more hazardous than wildlife. Finally, in response to your comment about being skeptical about the influences of speed on auto induced wildlife mortality it seems that you are correct to be skeptical. Some animals, like the whitetail and bighorn sheep, don't always show the expected trend of slower=lower incidences. However, other species do react better to lower speed, like elk. Do a google scholar search for wildlife and road mortality for supporting evidence.

    Now back to the topic. Here are some opinions about nonlead ammo that run counter to many of the claims read in this blog. Note, this is on the "condorinfo" website, so they will be biased in the support of non-lead, second it is a PDF.

    Also, another google scholar search using lead ammunition produces finds over 100,000 sources of information. Many identifying the hazards of lead. But as RAH noted, some folks are not going to see this purely about limiting lead exposure to wildlife, people, and land. Maybe, it does have some political influence behind it. And it is right to call that out. But the science behind heavy metal poisoning is irrefutable. If sportspeople want to ensure that their hobbies and needs are protected they should be proactive in their use of science, and they should push back when their rights are challenged. I have seen a lot of the latter but less of the former in this discussion.

    As our ability to measure our own impacts on the environment increase, we should expect to see rules like this one change. Where there is room to lessen the impacts of use, the park's organic act pushes us to make the decision that are more likely to protect the long term viability of the resource.

    My god I sound preachy.

  • Carefully Providing Wheeled Access To Denali National Park and Preserve   5 years 24 weeks ago


    Our family went to Alaska last August and one highlight was the Tundra Wilderness Tour. I think it is a good balance between preserving the wilderness and allowing access. I would hate to see it opened to more traffic and reduce wildlife sightings. Being able to see the sweeping vista of Polychrome Basin was a memory I will carry with me for my lifetime. It also bolsters my belief of the need to protect places like these and take interest in our parks.

  • Campgrounds Opening This Weekend In Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Since these are the popular parks and they will have the most interest. Since there is no staff to visit all the parks and post stories I think we are lucky to have the informative articles.

    I like know about the new amenities and lunches and horseback riding and the camps. Thanks for the article.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 24 weeks ago

    The anti lead ammo agenda has been growing. It started from some legitimate concerns, like lead concentration in water from waterfowl hunting. The condor study was another legitimate concern.

    But the lead ban in ammo is a back door attempt to ban hunting and guns. There has been a lot of attempts to stop guns by going after ammo. The micros stamping is just an example. Taxes on ammo are another. So yes the gun rights people question the need for lead ban ammo in NPS when there is no need in NPS lands since hunting or shooting is not done there except rarely.

    There are some statutes that ban copper bullets and tungsten is very expensive. The are ballistic issues also with no lead bullets.

    I find the timing suspicous after the NPS was forced to allow guns with CCW rules. So I do suspect that weapons and ammo checks is the next step to prevent CCW holders with guns in NPS lands.

    There is strong agenda against fishing and hunting by PETA and the Humane society and they have use the lead in ammo as one of their strategies to stop those sports. Any sportsman who enjoys those activities have a reason to worry.

  • Why, sea horses, of course!   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Been to Assateague many times and camped there. The mosquitoes are very bad. The horses are very friendly they check out campgrounds and steal food regularly. The come up to be petted and do not bite and kick, unlike thouroughbreds. These horse are extremely good natured. They have patterns like at 5 pm they go to the beaches and if they find food. Chips in bags they go from being carelful not to step on towels to a rush and then kick and squeal amoung themselves in a pecking order on who get the goodies. It is highly amusing to watch the people get stuck in the waves by the herd taking over the beach. Until the herd has left.

    Being an expert horseman I had no problem, a slap and yell will turn the horse away from you with no harm to either.

    But the horses are beautiful.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Just like with ammo and sinkers, the parks have made adjustments within their boarders [sic] to try and accommodate for a more environmentally friendly use of autos.

    A more environmentally friendly use of autos? Ok, slowing to 45 mph in the park *might* reduce roadkill, but I'm skeptical. I've had too many coworkers with tales of carnage while driving at 45 mph, including one who hit a black bear. What other accommodations has the NPS made for "a more environmentally use of autos"? Please keep in mind that closing roads to traffic does not fall under this category.

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

    I don't see the public or the system fightin' all that hard "to protect the long-term viability of our parks". The public and the system together arguably make up the government, and the new administration has proved itself as icy towards the financial needs of national parks as the last administration.

    The current system for managing parks is anything but sustainable. The federal government is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, with tens of trillions in debt and unfunded future obligations.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 24 weeks ago

    My problem with this one size fits all approach. If we have a problem with condors, address it. Most people are sensable on these issues. If there is PROVEN problem, most people will agree something needs to be done. I read the study and I believe there are holes in it. It was worded to make you think that the data was conclusive, it is not. This is what happens when the group doing the study already has an agenda.
    Mark

  • Campgrounds Opening This Weekend In Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 25 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 25 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 25 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