Recent comments

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

    They way I understand it is that most of the webdesign is done through a central office in DC. Individual parks can do very little, and most of the changes they can make are in the photo&multimedia section.

    Let's not forget that NPS website were completely redone in August 2006 (or 07). They've just undergone a massive, system-wide redesign and aren't likely to change anytime soon.

    And if you think that park pages aren't equal, try checking out other sites...ie - http://www.nature.nps.gov/

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 25 weeks ago

    If you are that frightened that you think you need a gun in our national parks, just do us all a favor and stay home.

  • Alaska Game Officials Being Asked to Ease Off On Killing Bears and Wolves in National Park Preserves   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I was alerted to the plight of the wolves by an AARP group member. Researching the info I found more issues with the culling of our nation's Alaskan wildlife. What can I do? Who do I lobby? Why is this not mainstream news?

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

    The really bad thing is that all the websites seem to look exactly the same and that even the Yellowstone website is not that good, at least not given the level of interest the park probably generates. The NPS should maybe consider revamping the entire website system.

    By the way, do webmasters have to use the NPS CMS? Or would the webmaster of, say, Gauley River be free to set up an entirely different website or is he bound to use the NPS-administered CMS?

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

    Wait a second...because a park is small it should not bother with a large website? Now, that IS a weak argument. Especially when you consider how EASY it is for one person to make a huge difference with a website. Kurt is exactly right! We want to build interest in all the parks. Building a great website is the most cost-effective way possible to keep people informed and build interest. Look what Kurt has done with this website. It is so cheap to do. The National Park Service is supposed to manage ALL of the parks, not just the big ones!

    It looks to me like the NPS created a CMS (content management system) at the national level with standard templates and let the parks fill in their own content at the local level. The NPS should have a team of people build content (books, articles, images, etc) into ALL of these different park websites...instead, they leave it up to the local level. If the local park has the resources to add there own content, fine. I have no doubts that one team of people could build up every park website (to the level of Yellowstone's) in a year or two. Then, the only issue is maintaining current information, such as current conditions, news, and so forth.

    Believe me! I'v done it for our non-profit.

    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com

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

    I believe that there needs to be a baseline, or minimal amount of support delegated for all entities within the NPS. In this case, web support. Once this is established, we (the tax payers) should expect to receive the best "bang for the buck" when it comes to allocation and spending. I also understand this is easier said than done. Bottom line here is, not all public lands were created equal. Some require (and deserve), more care and attention than others. Let's make sure that ALL lands are researchable with adequate information. It is not necessary to exploit every resource.
    After all . . . Is it really such a bad thing to have a few lesser known gems to discover and explore?

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 25 weeks ago

    We hear so much about the rights of "law abiding" citizens to bear arms. We hear about how CCW permit holders have "...demonstrated to the issuing state's satisfaction that they are responsible law abiding citizens and can be trusted to safely and responsibly carry concealed firearms because they are not a threat to themselves or others."
    Here are a few examples of that:

    In two reports that focused on the State of Florida, the
    Violence Policy Center found that as of July 1995, 469 Florida CCW licensees had been
    identified as having committed a wide variety of crimes. In just one year, between May 1995
    and May 1996, 159 Florida CCW licensees had their licenses revoked.

    Blacksburg, VA • February 1996. Robert Asbury died of a self-inflicted gun-shot wound after
    he shot and killed his estranged wife and one of his wife’s former co-workers at her home. On
    his CCW license application, Asbury wrote that he had owned and used guns for fifty years and
    regularly practiced at a gun range.

    Seattle, WA • December 9, 1998. Carlton Evans, a 37-year-old CCW licensee, was accused of
    killing his wife and baby daughter after months of abuse.

    Tualatin, OR • November 17, 1999. David Tanski, 53, rammed his car into another car that
    had taken a parking space he felt belonged to him. When the driver of the second car approached
    Tanski, Tanski pulled out a gun. Tanski, who has a CCW license, was charged with menacing.

    Fountain City, TN • December 1999. William Manies, 52, returned to his former office to seek
    revenge against the 45-year-old woman who fired him a month before. Manies, a CCW licensee,
    walked into the office and pointed a .38-caliber pistol at the victim and executed her while she
    sat in her chair, talking on the telephone.

    The Violence Policy Center has published four
    reports on CCW licensees in Texas. They found that Texas CCW licensees were arrested for
    5,314 crimes between January 1, 1996 and August 31, 2001, and since Texas’ CCW licensing
    law went into effect, licensees have been arrested for an average of two crimes per day.

    Florida • Lyglenson Lemorin
    retained his CCW license after two domestic violence arrests in 1997 and 1998. The first
    time he allegedly threw a beer bottle at his girlfriend’s neck. The second time he allegedly
    punched a pregnant former girlfriend, flashed his gun in her face and warned her, “I’ll kill you.”

    Columbia, SC • June 9, 2008. A 4-year-old girl shot herself in the chest after grabbing her
    grandmother’s handgun while riding in a shopping cart in a Sam’s Club store. The grandmother,
    Donna Hutto Williamson, is a CCW licensee and left her purse containing the handgun in the
    cart near the 4-year-old.

    Cincinnati, OH • October 2008. CCW licensee Robert Stahl, 71, was at his daughter’s Halloween party and
    was asked by one of several children there if he was dressed as a cowboy because he had a
    handgun on his hip. Stahl said he was not a cowboy and then took the gun out and unloaded the
    ammunition from the magazine, however, Stahl left a .45 caliber bullet in the gun’s chamber that
    went off and hit 10-year-old Jasmine Vincenzo in the stomach.

    Plaxico Burress had a CCW permit from Florida.

    To obtain a permit in Michigan handgun buyers simply must correctly answer 70% of the questions on a written safety test, but the wrong answers are pointed out and they are allowed to retake the test if they fail.

    There are many, many more such examples. The three things to remember are these: CCW licencees have tempers too; accidents happen; and, every single criminal who has ever lived was a "law abiding citizen" right up until the day that they weren't.

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

    Zeb,

    First you condemn the "majority" of hikers, then you proclaim that once bikers are the "majority" they'll call the shots. So are you condemning the mountain bikers of the future? You're starting to sound like one of those "law-abiding" types who picks and chooses which laws they believe is worth following;-)

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

    man, this is totally flogging a dead horse with the same people commenting the same gripes and no one is giving an inch.

    zeb, your comments are as inwardly focused as those "greedy" hikers you talk about. i'd say mtn bikers are just, if not more, greedy than those hikers... as such...

    1) discriminated? how!?
    there is no federal legislation defining any sort of rights when it comes to recreation, so you mtn bikers aren't being "discriminated" against. look it up... that's why the alta ski area can deny snowboarders on federal property, albeit USFS. so discrimination? on what existing legal grounds?

    2) as one myself, mtn bikers only really care about the "flow" of the ride and aren't typically out to enjoy nature or show up to repair trail. i've said it again, i'll say it before, they don't show up to volunteer trail repair days... too busy riding, i guess? you don't ever really see them checking out the spring wildflowers or stopping to admire a rattlesnake...

    3) in terms of trail impact?
    mtn bikers reek havoc on trails... mind you, not as bad as horses, but they have far greater impact than hikers. especially in mud. AND, the new type of bikers, the downhillers go beyond creating new illegal trails, they even build structures with local materials! scant use or not, zebby, this goes much farther impact wise than hikers... additionally, having created illegal trails (not downhill) while mountain biking in the past, it's just so much easier and such a greater reward to do so on a bike, at least until the trails get ruined and you have to find another adventurous route to create.

    4) share the trail?
    that's a novel idea, if the bikers would ever slow down, like they are supposed to, and not push the hikers/trail runners/flower sniffers off the trail... not being the fastest of riders i've been damn near pushed off the trail myself from more aggressive (i do have a better word but this is a family site) riders. so share the trail? you mean completely yield it to mt. bikers when they want to pass, right? that or you mean ME FIRST, right? i have a bell on my rig and slow down and often let those on foot pass, but i have plenty of friends who won't and don't. they can, but please. now, you can judge this and come back and say "all of my friends" blah blah blah but honestly you'd be lying if you did. period. it sucks to slow down on your bike and i'd say most people won't for walkers/hikers/etc. admit it. that, or if you disagree, you aren't a solid mountain biker and are a tortoise on your bike, pushing on the uphills and walking the downhills because yer scared.

    it's time all trail users realized that they have an impact, but mountain bikers especially. i've been mountain biking for at least 20 years, depending on how pre suspension mountain bikes really qualify in that definition, so it's not like this doesn't come from some sort of rounded perspective. while they are relative newcomers (again, which i am one) they don't see their impact, but in terms of user experience and impact on the trails. maybe because they are moving too fast?

  • Yellowstone National Park Relocates the 45th Parallel   5 years 25 weeks ago

    My brother & I spent a week in Yellowstone camping last August 2008. We took our picture at the said sign, but have also seen the 45th sign on our way north on I75 headed to Petoskey where our sister lives. Our family lived and grew up in Clarkston MI, our parents have lived in the same house for 58 yrs. We used to have a cabin 7 miles east of Grayling on M=72.

  • March 1st was a Big Day for More Than One Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    GREAT article on the Buffalo River! It's one of the areas BIGGEST and best kept secrets, although the word is getting out! :)

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

    Random Walker: your argumentation is rather pathetic and illogical. Let me explain why:
    - Based on your argumentation, hikers are the majority of park users and therefore should have unrivaled access.
    1) horse riders are a very tiny minority of the park users. So, should we kick them out as well?
    2) this implies that a majority has a right to discriminate against the minority. Wow. What a modern way of thinking!!
    3) the majority of users are not hikers, the overwhelming majority are Sunday strollers. They come in, walk for a couple miles and go back to their cars. By default these people would not be affected much by a bunch of cyclists going out for a 20 miles ride far from the trailhead.

    As for for your comment about money. This makes no sense, the Sierra Club, and its ilk, spends way more money on lobbying its "preservationist" agenda than any other industry I know.

    The good news: the kids are not hiking, they're riding their bikes. Years from now, we'll be the majority and we'll get access to wilderness whether you like it or not.

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

    I feel this law needs to be broken, just like the Bank Executives do to the tax code. I think a person has the fundamental right to protect themselves and their family against a bear attack. I believe this what is called civil disobedience, set forth by Henry David Thoreau. I still plan on carrying my .480 Ruger while backpacking in Glacier.

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

    Here is an idea... Perhaps a suggestion system could draw attention to overlooked parks. Much like Amazon.com, iTunes music store, and Netflix gives users suggestions about what books, music, or movies they may like. It could be interesting to see something like that for public lands. You could go to NPS.GOV and answer a few quick questions (rate things like "I like to learn about History"). You could go even further and build in a rating system.

    As for finding out what people are searching for, check out http://www.google.com/insights/search/#q It is a google tool that allows one to look at search volumes and who is searching. The numbers are sometimes difficult comprehend but still interesting. Also, there are no raw numbers for searches but you can compare places and get relative/proportional data.

  • Yellowstone National Park Roads Opening to Cyclists Sans Automobiles   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I'm going to try and bike in Yellowstone, weather permitting - we had one great weekend last year; so neat to run into friends 100 miles from home, everyone had the same idea.

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

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

    Personally I am against mountain bikes on any trail in designated Wilderness and National Parks.
    Here in my neck of the woods, on federal lands only 45% of the trails are machine free, this by being in National Parks and Wildernesses.
    In all of the surveys I read the (overwhelmingly) most preferred activity on federal lands is camping/sightseeing and walking/hiking by large percentages.
    I despise MTB's corporate industrial lobbyists forcing their commercialism into Our National Parks and Wildernesses, tritely thinking that the $'s they have will give them a guaranteed contract legitimizing their illegitimate abuse.

    "We revere the trail for what it does, not for what it is. We honor the volunteer weed-whackers, but not to the point of wishing to "promote" them to professionals; trail work can be a form of privatization, as it most surely is when undertaken by those who do it to facilitate their wreckreation.” ~Harvey Manning~

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angel's Landing   5 years 25 weeks ago

    that is the dumbest thing i've ever heard...mandatory safety? there are warnings all over. if one sticks to the chains they will stay safe. its usually the avid hikers that die because they think they are more experienced than they really are...thats when mistakes happen

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

    Well here we go again. While staying in a popular California resort, a competent legal carrying gun owner just left his loaded 45 under a pillow for the housekeepers to find. Then he checked out and left the property. Then he ask us to mail it to him in a bubble wrapped package so it won't get damaged. Need I say more?

  • National Park Designation is an Unholy Mess   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Good suggestion, RW. Environmental historian Alfred Runte has written a number of books that bear reading -- and rereading. One of my personal favorites is "Yosemite: The Embattled Wilderness." The 1993 paperback edition is still widely available.

  • National Park Designation is an Unholy Mess   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I highly recommend a little book titled "National Parks: The American Experience" by Alfred Runte
    Which one can read online here, though I prefer the hard copy, a comfortable chair, fire in the fire place and a glass of old brandy.

  • Yellowstone National Park Roads Opening to Cyclists Sans Automobiles   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Thanks for the correction, MRC. I have used the tunnel twice going into the park. I put my bike in a van and took it out on the other side. It's an interesting ride down from the tunnel into the park.

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

    P.S. -- MRC, if you use the Traveler's search function, you'll find a few more articles that reference Gauley River.

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

    Soooo, should the NPS rid itself of Gauley River NRA? If only 298 folks visited the site in February (and I'm not sure how Wikipedia counts those hits), is that indicative that the NRA doesn't belong in the National Park System?

    Don't misunderstand. I'm certainly not suggesting that Gauley River's website be as rich as Yellowstone's. The content simply isn't there, no matter how strong the resources. And I clearly pointed out that larger, more prominent parks such as Yellowstone certainly have more needs to meet than smaller units such as Gauley River.

    But how do you build interest in a unit of the National Park System? By ignoring it? If the 391 units of the National Park System are presented as the best of the best and viewed as treasures that should be preserved, don't they all deserve some even-handedness in how they are presented by the NPS? Shouldn't there be a basic amount of content across the board?

    Gauley River is just one example of the inequities that exist when it comes to NPS web presence. And you don't have to drill down too far into the "designations" to find such inequities. Check out the websites of Badlands, Isle Royale (which on its face appears more Spartan than Gauley River), or Cape Lookout National Seashore.

    As for the costs of updating these websites, there are plenty of web design schools across the country that surely could be involved with a little outreach.

  • Yellowstone National Park Roads Opening to Cyclists Sans Automobiles   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Not in the eastern part of Zion. Bicycles are not allowed in the one mile Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel, no pedestrians either. Meaning you can't enter or leave the park towards or from Bryce Canyon. Of course you might try to hitchhike with an RV driver. Some might give you a lift through the tunnel.

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

    Anonymous (not verified)
    "On March 20th, 2009
    There's not enuf rangers to enforce the stupid rule...so do as I do...keep on bikin'!
    I've been bikin in national parks on trails for 3 years and have never been caught!"

    Interesting attitude. I wonder how you might feel if you found that dirt bikers where cutting trails across a piece of property that you happened to own. Just fair warning, if I see you illegally on a park trail I will tell you so. If I have a camera, be sure that you will be reported. I figure that it's my park you are damaging.