Recent comments

  • A Major Overhaul at Ford's Theatre National Historic Site Raises a Few Eyebrows   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Not sure where to start, so I'll just ,well, say my 2 cents worth....
    First of all, a quick definition in term as a reminder: The word history comes from Greek ἱστορία (historia), from the Proto-Indo-European *wid-tor-, from the root *weid-, "to know, to see".This root is also present in the English words wit, wise, wisdom, vision, and idea, in the Sanskrit word veda, and in the Slavic word videti and vedati, as well as others.(The asterisk before a word indicates that it is a hypothetical construction, not an attested form.)

    With this definition in the English lecticon and use in this circumstance, Fords Theatre would have a "fat" asterisk in front of it and here is why in my opinion.

    I have visited Fords Theatre three times in my life 1989,2007,2009. The first time in 1989, I was alone 17 years old, traveled by bus from Minnesota just to visit D.C. At that time, Fords Theatre was alive with the moment of time of when the tragedy that took place there on April 14th, 1865, basically restored to original condition. I was amazed to see the original flag "bunting" that John Wilkes Booth caught his spur on located hanging outside the Presidents viewing box. It had a small tear in the location where Major Rathbone tried to grab Booth as he jumped out of the box down to the stage appox. 18 feet below causing Booth to lose balance, rip the bunting and severly injuring his leg. The flag is gone, location unknown to ANY NPS official.
    The second time in 2007, Fords Theatre was closed for renovations, so my focus was to go to the Peterson House across the street. Truely an astonishing feeling to go inside the Peterson House, as if I had just traveled back in time to the incident. The smell, the sounds of the floor creaking beneath your feet, to see the original garments, pictures on the walls, china in the china hutch, the table where Secretary of War Stanton signed the decree to find those responsible for this cowardly act in American history. It was all original, except for the bed and the pillow where President Lincoln had his last breath and as Stanton said " he belongs with the ages". This was history at its best, the way its supposed to be. To temorarily live, smell and feel it as eery as it was.

    5/26/2009
    This is where the term history is being lost at Fords Theatre as I see it. I like the fact that the NPS has gone to a timed ticket. I was not happy to find out that the museum downstairs was closed for renovations ...again! 2 years between renovation seems a little extreme to me, but who am I to complain.
    This was the most disturbing... Now I understand this is a "functioning" theatre with numerous productions going on through the calander year. On this day, the stage was in the process of tear-down from a play that was held over the Memorial Day weekend. Upon enetring the theatre, I had seen and took pictures of hand tools,power cords, traffic cones, stage lighting hanging from the ceiling that was lowered down to the stage, stage supply boxes. Basically the theatre looked like a stage from my former high school, all cluttered up taking away from the ambience and completely distracting the eye. I found this VERY disrespectful and wanted to talk to someone in charge as to the "ethics" if you will call it that. It was NOTHING like I remember it in 1989.

    Now before I recieve the 3rd degree, think back to the term "history". So the "roots" in this case are literally the four external walls of Fords Theatre, the original picture of George Washington hanging under the Presidential bax and the back door in which John Wilkes Booth escaped out of with his horse just outside it. That is it! No access to the Presidential box anymore, no more access to the door with the hole in it that Booth used to view his prey, the board which he used to jam the back hallway door and that flag"bunting" which seems to lost in history. Having it be an active theatre, who is to say that the NPS is trying to save face because of a "stagehand" from the productions wanted a souvenier and the flag was stolen, or the flag was damaged due to a "stagehand" had dropped a power tool and it ripped the fabric that is literally 150+ years old.

    That theatre is not owned by anyone other than the people of the world and is paid for by the tax dollars of the American people. I say no more stage productions at Fords Theatre. You think its a good idea to have a "summer camp" at Auschwitz? A block party in the middle of the former World Trade Center Complex? Or perhaps scuba diving the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor? (I believe its a third degree felony to do so) Ford's Theatre should be no different. Not only is allowing performances to go on in the historic place disrespectful, it is also extremely risky. Who is to say that the electricity that has been put into the theatre for present day performances may be faulty. If there was an electrical fire over night, the entire building could be burnt to the ground and then our history would be completely lost. Why take that risk simply so that the theatre could be used for present day performances? The thought is absurd.

    The original renovation makes sense to me, as it was to get the theatre back into the condition it was in 1865. Any more recent renovations were completely senseless. They should have never been thought of to begin with. All it has caused is for history to be lost. Though on a lighter note, the seats are still extremely uncomfortable, so that was definately a waste of money.

    Thanks for your time and reading my two cents worth. I sure love America.

  • Latest Pastime of Yellowstone National Park Bison: Human Tossing   5 years 25 weeks ago

    We were in Yellowstone in 2007 and there was a buffalo next to the restroom at the Grand Canyon. A little boy and his sister were starting to go near it so their Mom could take their picture. I told them to "Get away from that animal." They looked at me like I was the meanest person in the world. I looked at the Mom and said "That is a 2000 pound animal and it will kill your son. What the hell are you thinking?" She was just dumb founded and finally gathers the kids and left. The park officials give you a packet of park rules and regs when you enter the park and are encouraged to read them. There is also numerous warning signs throughout the park. I bought the book 'Death in Yellowstone' while we were there and have been quiet amused at the stupidity of things people will do that ultimately causes their death.

  • Latest Pastime of Yellowstone National Park Bison: Human Tossing   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Last September, the story going around Yellowstone was about a couple who had posed their young child next to a buffalo to take a picture. Someone slammed a car door, startling the buffalo, which tossed the young child into the air. Fortunately, the child was not seriously injuring. You really have to wonder where some people's heads are at with such stunts!

  • Is Senator Feinstein Speaking Out of Both Sides of Her Mouth on National Park Matters?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    MarkK:

    Yes the cannery & oyster farm were there first. The owner of the cannery & farm & land sold the land to NPS in 1972, with a 40 year reserved use clause allowing him to continue the oyster operation that expires in 2012 as part of the sale. The 1976 law designated the area as wilderness, where unconforming use (commercial oyster farm & packing plant) must be eliminated when the reserved use clause expires.

    A new owner bought the farm & packing operation a couple of years ago, knowing that the reserved use expired in 2012, at a price that certainly reflected that sunset on operations (even the 1976 wilderness designation should have been disclosed on the real estate transaction). The new owner has a sustained campaign to use political pressure from local officials and pr to rewrite the law, and obtain a windfall from an ongoing business where he paid for a sunsetting business. DiFi has been strongly supporting this rewriting of PORE management & now the law, whether from hearing from local chamber of commerce type folks or hearing from the new owners directly.

    The situation for the ranches elsewhere in Point Reyes is a bit more complicated, with initial legislation protecting ranching, but there are current problems with violations of grazing limits, and a push for row crops as diversification (never mind that the UCD ag extension report arguing for continued commercial agriculture in PORE justifies ranching as providing ecosystem services and protecting native species argues for allowing ranchers to diversify to row crops, which obviously don't protect native species). My limited understanding is that at least some of the private inholdings have permanent ranching rights, and grazing allotments on NPS-owned land are the major issue, although I stand to be corrected on that.

    Leaving aside the 1976 law (which can be overturned by congress, but should be done with debate, not as a rider), the broader question is priorities for public lands in Point Reyes National Seashore: is it more important to keep the last commercial oyster farm in the area or to have an area where the seals can haul out and birth unmolested and a coastal esturine wilderness? Are commercial oyster operations (with non-native oysters) a good replacement for the ecosystem service of water filtration previously provided by the massive (native) oyster beds that were harvested to functional extinction more than a century ago, or should funds go to restoring native oyster beds (a non-trivial undertaking)? Is it more important to keep more working farms & ranches in Marin County for historical & educational purposes as well as private profit, or to have some coastal wilderness? What do we want from our National Parks, and what do we want from Point Reyes National Seashore in particular?

  • Is Senator Feinstein Speaking Out of Both Sides of Her Mouth on National Park Matters?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I agree with the previous posts, that Point Reyes as a whole and the estuary in question are NOT wilderness by a long shot. I've been to this park and found it scenic and well managed but didn't understand the national significance of it. It looked like lots of other stretches of coastal California that I've visited and suspect that it was made an NPS unit to stave off metropolitan development rather than any truly unique aspects which make it a natural treasure for the entire nation. If it is I can reel off a lot of places that should be national parks, just on the California coast.

    I would say that most of the national seashores I've visited don't strike me as "crown jewels" but have been told that Cumberland Island in Georgia is a special place, if you can survive the vicious insects which inhabit this Atlantic sea island paradise. I hope to visit sometime this coming winter and I'll let ya'll know.

    Diane may have actually got this one right, which is saying a lot coming from me.

  • Is Senator Feinstein Speaking Out of Both Sides of Her Mouth on National Park Matters?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Agreed with MarkK.

    Pt. Reyes would have been an ideal place to pursue the joint preservation of habitat values, and human values, side-by-side. The eco-elements of interest had survived heavy oppression for a long time, all that was needed was to cut them a little slack. We could have had & respected both - people & nature.

    Pt. Reyes, wilderness? Phewey. It was hammered owl pellets. There are distinctive habitat & biome elements there - but zero wilderness.

    Are Sen. Feinstein's antics a clue that the California Establishment is reconsidering the Pt. Reyes Wilderness experiment?

    Sure, land in many locations & regions could be taken, humans chased off it, and cloak the operation under the Wilderness Act (some day, it will be wild again ... tho maybe not the wild it was before).

    The Pt. Reyes taking was not a smart move, and did not advance the cause of habitat or biome preservation. On the contrary.

  • National Park Quiz 60: Bears   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Nope and nope. Ice Age Floods Trail wasn't a correction, more of an addition or amendment. This was the first quiz I aced, and a couple of the previous quizzes were more related to my "expertise" and still tripped me up.

    question 13:
    How many species of bears are found in NPS units, and how many units does each species occur in? The first is easy (it even has 2 "correct" answers); the second is a guessing game. I'll bet 30 units: do you want over or under? I'll sneak that query in the next time I've got the mammal database open.

  • Is Senator Feinstein Speaking Out of Both Sides of Her Mouth on National Park Matters?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Sen. Feinstein has never been one of my favorite people, but as I read this, there is one significant difference. The cannery was there first and the designation was to try to turn an area that apparently was not wilderness into wilderness. In the latter (renewable energy) case, we are talking about new leases being granted.

    I don't know who the cannery was leasing from before 1960, but if they were there before the initial designation, that should give them at least the benefit of the doubt in staying.

    Mark

  • National Park Quiz 60: Bears   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Yes, Timothy Treadwell was the guy from the Grizzly Man documentary.

  • National Park Quiz 60: Bears   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Is #11 the guy from the Grizzly Man "documentary?"

  • Is Senator Feinstein Speaking Out of Both Sides of Her Mouth on National Park Matters?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    And this surprises anyone? She is as crooked as they come, but what do you expect, she is afterall a politician.

  • National Park Quiz 60: Bears   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Dammit, Tomp! First you point out a mistake I made in the Glacial Lake Missoula Flood article, and now you get a perfect 12 for 12 on a quiz I thought was bulletproof. Are you after my job?

  • National Park Quiz 60: Bears   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Yikes! 12 out of 12 (a first), although #2 was a lucky guess. And I'm supposed to be a botanist.

    As an aside on #10, Lance Craighead got a PhD on grizzly bears and continues the work of his dad & uncle with a small research institute out of Bozeman.

  • The Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges   5 years 25 weeks ago

    The lodges are a great place to stay, but , they are pricy. Have been to many National Parks and stayed within the parks but stayed away from the lodges because of the price. Now that the children do not travel with us, maybe the lodges will fall into our price range. At least I hope so.

  • Naked Hikers Let It All Hang Out On the Summer Solstice   5 years 25 weeks ago

    amen!

  • Grand Canyon National Park Crews Working to Restore Endangered Humpback Chub To Shinumo Creek   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Great story. Be sure to read "Fifteen Years in the Grand Canyon," by USFWS fish biologist Dennis Stone, in the summer 2008 issue of Eddies. Go to http://www.fws.gov/eddies .

  • Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    well evan was my boyfriend and i am not kidding he does come to my neighborhood a couple times a week and i am so sad that he got attack but now he only has scares and he has recovered fine oh yeah just so you know he lost six pints of blood

  • Ice Age Floods Trail Commemorates Floods of Unimaginable Ferocity   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Keep going, you guys. You got your Black Sea flood, your Genesis flood, .......

  • Naked Hikers Let It All Hang Out On the Summer Solstice   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I suspect that people who walk down trails nude are often 'in it' for something besides the simple 'naturalism'. They are going to encounter clothed hikers who are not prepared for nudity, and will thereby create a socially & psychologically challenging scene. This activity seems pretty closely related to 'flashing' people by opening a trenchcoat, or unzipping the fly.

    Nude or clothing-optional *locations* are a whole different thing.

    RangerLady is right: most people - WAY most people - accept the nudity taboo ... and the facts of childbirth are bogus.

  • Ice Age Floods Trail Commemorates Floods of Unimaginable Ferocity   5 years 26 weeks ago

    And wasn't the Mediterranean Sea a dry below-sea-level depression until about 5 million years ago when the Atlantic ocean broke through the Gates of Hercules and flooded it? ;-)

  • Considering a Hike up Half Dome?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I think people just like to exagerate. think about how many people climb up to the summit. you probably have a higher chance dying driving up to yosemite than climbming half dome. think about it, that is just three fatalities in one year. have you guys looked at how many people actually die driving in yosemite. its way more!! so i dont know why people are complaining that hiking half dome is not safe enough.

  • Ice Age Floods Trail Commemorates Floods of Unimaginable Ferocity   5 years 26 weeks ago

    You are quite right, tomp. I should have written "some of the biggest" rather than "the biggest." Big difference there.

  • Ice Age Floods Trail Commemorates Floods of Unimaginable Ferocity   5 years 26 weeks ago

    The rapid draining of Lake Missoula was not the largest flood event, but left some of the clearest signs still visible. When Lake Bonneville broke Red Rock pass in Idaho (not ice dam, probably cut through volcanic cap over softer material) it drained something like 1000 cubic miles of water in a few weeks. Lake Agassiz held over 2000 cubic miles of water in what is now Minnesota, North Dakota, Manitoba, & Ontario, but I don't know how fast it drained when it got an outlet to the north (it didn't leave as clear of evidence), and I suspect that the St. Croix NSR wasn't part of the drainage.

    I look forward to seeing the education & interpretation Ice Age Floods produces.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Releases EA on Castle Rock Cut Deepening   5 years 26 weeks ago

    "That Damn" is what has been responsible for the continuious supply of water to much of south western United States as well as Mexico. This drought would have nocked out entire cities if it weren't for lake powell. And beleive what you will about "evaporation pond" Look at the numbers. Out flows exceeding inflows during the past dry years. That means that it IS doing more than it isn't. Besides it provides habitat for all sorts of animal life that would not have been able to survive in that area. Glen canyon is all the more beautiful becuase of it. If you want to see a dry canyon go to bryce canyon. Leave lake powell alone. It has been way more enjoyed then it ever would have been. It is benificial to every one including naiive ungreatful people like you.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angel's Landing   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I'm really sorry to hear about your brother, Joni. I hope you're doing okay. I guess I haven't seen or talked to you in 33 years? Please stay safe.