Recent comments

  • Are National Parks That Recommend Bear Spray Encouraging You To Break the Law?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Was there an Environmental Impact Study done on this chemical loaded weapon? Chemicals used in this weapon can be lethal and will leave a large carbon footprint when the contents are expelled. I think the Brady group should file a lawsuit to force an EIP?

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

    I have not seen any mention of water quality. As i see it, Wahweap Bay is mostly backwater (except when Wahweap creek is flowing), or when water from the Castle Rock cut is flowing. With the deepening of the Cut, however, fresh water would flow into Wahweap Bay, and eventually to the dam, for at least a longer time during the year.

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park Looking For Volunteers To Help With Elk Education   5 years 26 weeks ago


    What a wonderful opportunity! I have been a volunteer with the Elk Bugle Corp in Rocky Mountain National Park for much of the last 10 years. The gentle giants are such an attraction for large groups of people. The genuine awe that viewers have for the elk and a great desire to learn about them is truly inspiring. To be able to stand among them as the herds move past in relative silence is amazing. Participation In Elk Bugle Corps is an honor and a responsibility you won't soon forget. Their amazing antics during the fall rut are a wonder to behold.

  • Are National Parks That Recommend Bear Spray Encouraging You To Break the Law?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Isn't the key word here "missiles" ? A tear gas cannister would be a missile but not a spray?

  • Interior Department Agrees To Conduct EIS on Gun Rules for National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Laws are broken every day, sometimes because of the individual, and sometimes because of the law. So, yes laws will be broken, none have not been. An EIS should be a review to determine if an ecosystem will be harmed due to a decision. If they want to slow down and take another look at the rules, then do that, but don't hide and anti gun position under the sham of an EIS. EIS are important, no doubt, and some wildlife will be harmed, but the impact clearly would be negligible. You want to have your EIS on that point then I say go ahead, but it better come back as no significant impact and allow the guns. I can think of a hundred ways that our everyday use in the parks has a greater (and accepted) impact on wildlife. I repeat my earlier comments and point, have hearings on the rules, get public opinion, make the rule whatever these debates end up as, but don't soil the idea of an environmental impact statement over a non-environmental political issue. It harms the very core of what an EIS is for, and would diminish their effectiveness.

  • Interior Department Agrees To Conduct EIS on Gun Rules for National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    This gun issue gets more bizarre as time goes on. As Anonymous said “Create enough bureaucracy

    and then you can guarantee that nothing gets done.” The wildlife, trees, and humans have

    nothing to fear from the licensed gun owner, as Anonymous wrote “Do you think the NPS current rule

    keeps criminals from taking their guns into Parks?” That’s the danger if there is any.

    Looking at the crime statistics in the parks, very few incidents, this whole argument is about groups of

    people making enough noise to keep and improve their positions and their finances.

  • Rescue of Injured Woman from Isolated Canyon at Death Valley National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    It's Always Good TO HAVE THE FACTS WHEN WRITING AN ARTICLE!!!! First lets clarify the issue that has many people complaining about. The hiker was hiking with her husband!!! They had earlier seen the rangers so initiall he yelled for help. Eventually - he went looking for the rangers and was able to locate them to come help his wife. According to the victim and her husband - the rangers and the CHP were terrific and they are very grateful for the successful rescue!!!! She has had two surgeries and expected to have another this week... so when she is able she may have time to clarify for everyone!!! Again thanks to the rescue team YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!

  • Rescue of Injured Woman from Isolated Canyon at Death Valley National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Just a couple bits of clarification about the rescue. First, the injured woman was not hiking alone. How do I know.... I am her husband & we were hiking together. The hike to Darwin Falls takes about 45 minutes one-way, I've done it many times. There is no maintained trail & no sign-in box at the trailhead. Definately lucky for us the two NPS rangers were starting the trek at the same time. Less then ten years ago this area was just BLM land, then annexed into Death Valley when it gained National Park status (it used to be a Monument). We are experienced hikers that had an accident. My wife slipped off a slick rock area & fell about 20 verticle feet. Once again, lucky for us she had no serious injuries above her knees so a bad situation could have been much worse. She was not able to move & I backtracked through the canyon until I spotted the Rangers below me & called for help. The two Ranger did work above the call of duty & we are forever greatful. I should also mention the other true heroes were the CHP helicopter crew. Basically working with just GPS coordinates because radio communication was non-existant, the pilot was able to hover above us with absolutely no margin for error. Rotor blades were extremely close to the canyons narrow walls. What the pilot successfully accomplished would probably not even be attempted by most. This was our first ever (& hopefully last) request for public aid. As far as the comments about the cost of tax dollars being spent for rescues such as ours, all I can say is if you were in my shoes at the time, I'm sure you would be glad that someone heard your cry for help.
    P.S. -- My wife has had two operations so far with a third coming up. She will not be able to put any weight on either leg for 3 to 6 months but hopefully will make a full recovery, thanks to the supreme efforts of the NPS & CHP.

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I have pictures of my daughter and I under this arch, from july '07, before the falling of it. I'm so glad we were able to see Wall arch before this happened. It was a really cool arch. Arches N.P. is an awesome place to go. Words just just can't discribe the awesome views and just the feeling of hiking to these arches to get up close and personal with them. I can't wait to go again.

  • Worth Considering: A Trip To Canyon de Chelly National Monument   5 years 26 weeks ago

    "With the exception of one short hiking trail..."

    Yeah, but what a trail. It's an exhilarating hike to the bottom of the Canyon to see the White House dwelling. I was sorry that I didn't have enough time to go into the canyon with a guide. Next time.

  • Clock Ticking On Decision Regarding Stocking North Cascades National Park With Non-Native Fish   5 years 26 weeks ago

    There need not be any hue and cry over this--continued stocking would not set precedent for parks not currently stocking--this practice in this place goes back more than 75 years. When the NCNP was created, agreements were made between sportsman's groups, such as the Trail Blazers and Hi-Lakers, to allow stocking to continue, in exchange, the sportsman's groups would not oppose the creation of the Park. It is true that there are some lakes that are over-reproducing, and NO ONE WANTS THEM STOCKED. The 42 lakes in question have low stocking densities (that's per acre per year) and the lakes' biotas are healthy. Current high lake management practices are scientifically sound, and there really is no harm in having a few (42 out of a total 561 lakes in the North Cascades Complex) lakes stocked lightly for recreation purposes. Please do not rush to judgement on this issue until understanding the historical and current facts and practices.

    Allison Woods
    member, Trail Blazers

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Reason Not To Own A Gun

    http://www.cleveland.com/brett/blog/index.ssf/2009/04/the_best_reason_not_to_own_a_g.html

    ".......But fear isn't a good reason to own a gun.

    Own one because you love to hunt, shoot targets or bust up clay pigeons.

    Own one because you love the shape and style of an AR-15 rifle or a Colt single action revolver or the curve of the wood on a Smith & Wesson .45.

    Own one because you like to shoot it, carry it, fix it, clean it and just plain touch it. Own one because your daddy did and his daddy did and there's a history in it.

    But don't own one because you fear your neighbor will come steal your lawnmower....."

    The above is an excerpt from an editorial in a Cleveland paper. It gives an interesting perspective on the carrying of personal firearms.

  • Rescue of Injured Woman from Isolated Canyon at Death Valley National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    We hope visitors will do their part to minimize their risks...but, in order for them to do that, the rangers must do a vigilant, aggressive, and dynamic job at providing the public the information and advice they need to prevent accidents. Ideally, rangers are the experts on how to travel safely within the park.

    I think Anonymous makes a valid point from his perspective. For example, the NPS should adequately fund rescue operations and public safety education programs before they take on global warming.

    .

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park Looking For Volunteers To Help With Elk Education   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Great opportunity for people living in Western North Carolina or Eastern Tennessee. You get more out of volunteering that you put into it. Have a great time and hope the program is successful.

  • Snow Storm Still Battering Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    These late spring storms can be a bit of a hassle for travelers--and some of the locals are a bit weary of shoveling by now -- but the moisture will be a big help for the upcoming summer.

  • Rescue of Injured Woman from Isolated Canyon at Death Valley National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Re: Anonymous' comment about NPS spending.

    There's probably unlimited opportunity for debate about spending priorities for NPS dollars, and everyone interested in parks will have their own take on that subject.

    Re: the comment that "this woman was hugely lucky." As the story and several comments indicate, the outcome of this incident hinged on the fact that two "rangers on patrol" happened to discover the woman in time to initiate excellent emergency medical care and a timely rescue. We'll never know what may have happened if those rangers hadn't been in the area.

    In terms of how SAR and other emergency services costs are related to "patrols, searches and rescues," one of the functions that suffers from NPS budget limitations is the kind of "routine patrol" that made a positive difference in this case, and dollars spent on incidents such as the one at Buffalo River are often diverted from funding for badly needed seasonal staff and even permanent positions.

    It's unrealistic to expect ranger patrols to cover even a fraction of most parks on a regular basis, but there's sure room for improvement in staffing for that function to allow better coverage than currently exists in many parks.

    A chief ranger and district ranger get their slice of a park's annual budget, and it doesn't take too many significant incidents (or a lot of smaller ones) to eat up enough dollars to require leaving a field ranger position unfilled. That doesn't mean it's realistic to bill most victims for the the cost of emergency services, but I felt it was important to clarify earlier comments that suggested all costs for SAR incidents are already built into a park's budget.

    There will always be debate about priority-setting and budget allocation by NPS management, and there's also plenty of support for other valid activities as well - including resource management and interpretation.

    So .... given the fact that there will never be as many rangers on the ground as many of us would like, I'll also second the comments about visitors doing what they can to minimize their risks. That includes careful evaluation of the wisdom of solo trips into the backcountry, and the importance of making sure a responsible individual who is not part of your trip knows your plans in enough detail to sound the alarm if you don't return on schedule.

    In this incident at Death Valley, the woman was not hiking solo.

  • Worth Considering: A Trip To Canyon de Chelly National Monument   5 years 26 weeks ago

    This is an absolutely beautiful place. It is on the Navajo reservation which is an interesting place in itself if you've never been on the rez. Also be sure to go by Hubbell Trading Post. I remember reading about that place when I was a kid and it looked exactly the same as those old pictures. Prices are very reasonable at the Post and they offer authentic goods. Arizona is a wonderful place - every square inch of it.

  • Interior Department Agrees To Conduct EIS on Gun Rules for National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    EIS's are not a waste of money (in my opinion). They are used to help ensure we think about what we do before we do it. It also gives the public more time to weigh in on issues. And further, it catalogues the decision making process so that if things get challenged in court in the future (with any decision) it can be shown that park Admin did or didn't consider it.

    The reason that an EIS should be done, in this case, is because guns have the power to kill or injure wildlife. I completely agree that very few people in their right mind would set out on their NPS vacation to shoot a bear, but wildlife will be shot. And while CCW holders are well educated about how to handle a gun, they may be completely out of their comfort zone in a wild NPS setting. They may misread a bluff charge from a bear or other animal and instead of using bear spray (which is proven much more effective at stopping a bear), either end up escalating the charge to an attack or end up injuring a bear (perhaps fatally).

    As a critic will point out, there are a lot of "if" and "may" statements piled in that last paragraph. But only a few sow grizzly bears would have to be killed or injured over a period of years to cause a big setback in the population of bears in a place like Grand Teton NP. That would be a significant environmental impacts.

    Finally, just because someone is normally a law abiding citizen doesn't mean that they will always be. Just look at people who are tested, licensed, and registered in databases to drive automobiles. But this EIS is not about if laws will be broken (it is a certainty that laws will be broken), it is about the potential for this new activity to impact sensitive ecosystems.

  • Rescue of Injured Woman from Isolated Canyon at Death Valley National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    There are more pressing needs than larger visitor centers, though there are more than enough visitor centers with dated exhibits that certainly could use freshening up.

    But there also is trail maintenance that needs to be done, both archaeological, cultural, and paleontological resource work that's been put off, vast amounts of archival work that awaits, invasive species to be eradicated, facility maintenance and upkeep, stabilization of historic structures, campground restoration work, biological assessments, improved outhouses, the list goes on and on.

  • Might The Obama Administration be More Invested in Everglades Restoration Than Its Predecessor?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I hope so because it would be sad if the Everglades were lost.

  • Rescue of Injured Woman from Isolated Canyon at Death Valley National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    ".....but the costs described above are often paid by diverting money from other, urgently needed, park operations."

    Such as what? Bigger, more expensive visitor centers? New office buildings for the staff? More F250 trucks? Ever more "resource managers" that do nothing but file reports?

    I agree with the NPS mission, and many of the personnel are excellent, but the Park Service is GREAT at wasting money for front-country foo foo, regional office overhead, and aesthetic asphalt turn-outs. They'll spend millions on frontcountry development, then whine about how they have no money for operations.

    Patrols, searches, and rescues are one of the few necessary functions that the NPS does. So spare us the tax whining and 'we're so busy' tales of woe.

    And yes, this woman was hugely lucky.

  • Springtime: Roads Opening In Yellowstone National Park, Bears Coming Out in Grand Teton National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Mike, glad to hear things are working out so well for your trip. I'm definitely envious. And this weekend's improving weather should make things even more enjoyable. Let us know if you get any great photos you'd like to share with Traveler's readers.

  • Springtime: Roads Opening In Yellowstone National Park, Bears Coming Out in Grand Teton National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Thanks alot for your hard work and due diligence in keeping us travelers informed. I just wanted to let you know that we made it from Seattle to Yellowstone late yesterday afternoon. My wife and I were greeted with every animal imaginanable. We entered through the north entrance and as we approached Gardiner we saw herds of mule deer being chased by a herd of horses in their pasture, quickly followed by several herds of elk and mountain goats. At the campground below Mamouth at the switchback, the wolf spotters were watching a female wolf being followed by a coyote. As we entered Mamouth we were greeted like always by the herd of resident elk and bison. Thinking that our chances of spotting wolves for the day might be lost we continued our approach toward Gibbon Meadows where to our amazement was several cars pulled over. Could they be looking at the herd of Bison, maybe, but looking beyond the herd of bison nestled down in the new growth of grass, was a small pack of wolves, SCORED!!! After watching them for awhile we proceded to the West entrance. My wife and I were saying that the next animal we need to see is a grizzley. Then BAM!! at about 3 miles from the west entrance there were a slew of cars pulled over and what were they watching we asked?? A grizzley. Accross the river just east of Riverside RD up on top of the hill was a BIG GRIZZLEY bear just laying there watching all of the spectators watching him.
    So far this has been an exciting trip with just the animals that we have seen so far in just a couple of hours. However alot of the geyser areas are closed due to carcases in the area which increase the bear danger.

    Thanks Again!!

  • Creature Feature: Feral Burros are "Equina Non Grata" in the National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Brighty currently resides downstairs in the lobby of the Grand Lodge at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. His nose is still quite shiny.

  • Worth Considering: A Trip To Canyon de Chelly National Monument   5 years 26 weeks ago

    You forgot to mention Cottonwood Campground. Although the sites have no hookups it provides water and a dump station and many beautifully shaded spots. And - it's free. Also, the entire canyon rim is accessible by car and the views are amazing. The tribe keeps the overlooks clean and regulates the vendors so that you are getting authentic Navajo crafts from sellers who sit and wait for business but do not solicit you. We bought native american flutes from a man who played them over the rim of the canyon - amazing!