Recent comments

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I am always reassessing the nature of trail-use conflicts. I no longer toe the party line of some of my fellow mountain bikers that nonmotorized user groups can all get along on every trail. And as I stated in my prior post, I acknowledge that the social impact of mountain biking can be, in certain senses, in certain places, and at certain times, higher than that of hiking. The environmental impact is usually the same, or even less, but the social impact on the trails is sometimes greater because we move faster (enabling us to scare people) and are more able to range farther into remote wildland interiors (enabling us to disrupt others' sense of solitude, which a number of people prize; I know I do). I believe we mountain bikers must acknowledge these issues and offer shared-use models that take them into account and neutralize (or minimize) any problems.

    The question, though, is whether other user groups will work with mountain bikers in good faith. I doubt it. A number of Wilderness purists have been so fanatically devoted to their model of hikers-and-horses only that they have been willing to make the ultimate sacrifice: a virtual halt to Wilderness expansion for many years. This attitude shows that ideological purity prevails over the putatively fundamental goal of wildland protection. Given such a mindset, I fear that mountain bikers have little to offer that the purists will be willing to consider.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    To all those who respect their First Amendment rights but have no respect for the Second Amendment. Show me any animal in any park, anywhere in the world, not just our national parks, that can carry on an intelligent conversation against the second amendment, & I'll give up my rights under the second amendment!!! Like the animal's in the article that cannot speak, those who trample our second amendment rights, also cannot conceive those of us who respect our second and first amendment rights!! I also find that most of them also cannot carry on an intelligent conversation about the second amendment! I feel truly sorry for those people who are ignorant about guns and the people that respect them and use them as many people who like to use Golf clubs.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I read the National Park Conservation Association and Wilderness advocacy group attachments. NPCA's position boils down to an argument that bicycles are fine for parking lots and for battling Winnebagos on NPS's paved roads. Despite NPCA's perfunctory statement that bikes may be OK on some trails somewhere, I've never heard of a trail that NPCA would find suitable for cycling. I wonder how many people under 40 would be excited to belong to an organization like this.

    The people and organizations, like NPCA, who/that oppose giving individual park superintendents authority to decide on trail usage and want Washington to decide everything, would be the first to support the idea that some states, like California, should be allowed to set their own more stringent air-pollution control rules and not have to follow dictates from Washington.

    So hypocrisy abounds. Nonetheless, one can dismiss the "concerns" (complaints) of hidebound groups and still acknowledge that mountain biking has an impact. All uses have impacts, some intrinsic, some extrinsic. Here's how I assess various traditional user groups' impact on wildlands:

    1. Mountain bikers: low environmental impact, moderate intrinsic social impact (i.e., on the trails; see my following post), low extrinsic social impact (willing to share with others, do lots of volunteer trailwork, not hostile to other users).

    2. Equestrians: moderate environmental impact, low intrinsic social impact (on the trails), moderate extrinsic social impact (hostility to mountain bikers and some other user groups; don't do much trail maintenance).

    3. Hikers: low environmental impact, low instrinsic social impact (on the trails), moderate to high extrinsic social impact (insistence on keeping parks off limits to almost all nonmotorized users but themselves; don't do as much trail maintenance as mountain bikers do).

    So no one can make a claim to social or environmental purity, notwithstanding the posturing of people and organizations who/that assert in substance that they possess a monopoly on both.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I guess we really should ask the Bears. After all, we certainly know that all the rapists and robbers and murders don't want us to be able to protect ourselves. So I'm sure a bear would be plenty pissed off if he attacked someone and they pulled a 44 out on him? What do you think? Remember, once your dead, by ANY means, YOUR EXTINCT.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Concealed weapons in parks don't bother me, as long as the guns stay concealed. If some idiot gets caught brandishing it, or poaches an animal, throw the book at him! It should be difficult to prove that some animal was a real bodily threat. Also, if they are making noise by shooting cans at dusk, they should be easy to find, and fined.

    While weapons might provide a level of comfort to some, I think most hikers would get tired of carrying a heavy hunk of metal in their otherwise lightweight pack.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    If the bear shoots alot you could really be in trouble, unless he runs out or rounds

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I bet if someone was getting their butt chewed on by a wild animal . They would not Complain if someone who happened by had a concealed carry permit , I bet they would be more than happy then.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    @ Zebulon- One more thing- If you take a look at the stats (take yer pick - typically generated from user surveys) you'll see that in heavily used public lands, hiking is the #1 activity.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    @ Zebulon-

    I would bet that the NPS managed lands are such a minuscule percentage of the overall public lands that I don't think you lose out by not being able to mountain bike in National Parks.

    I am a mountain biker, I live in an area with tons of mountain biking opportunities but little equestrian and the trails (wilderness) that don't allow bikes are not as shredded as the ones that allow biking (non-wilderness.) Let me say this again, I mountain bike and love it. I'm all for trail development but feel there is a time and place for everything.

    Having run trail rehab programs via a nonprofit and put in a lot of hours rehabilitating trails myself (read: sore back, blisters and sweat...), I feel that I can comfortably say three things:

    1) Mountain bikers don't show up to work on the trails, even when heavily recruited (at least around here)
    2) Trails that allow mountain biking need more maintenance than those that don't.
    3) Trails built or maintained to IMBA standards need TONS more work than those employing USFS standards.
    4) The new generation (which I'm part of) of mountain bikers doesn't really slow down or tolerate walkers/runners/hikers/families on trails (around here) and gets upset when they have to slow down or pull an earbud from their ipod out to have a quick exchange with those not on a bike. I think hikers don't enjoy mountain bike trails because they are always having to jump out of the way. Say what you want, but you must not be riding fast enough to see where the conflict and disrespect comes from. I get mad when I have to slow down and then rebuild my cadence...

    As such, I also don't see where the money to pay for these trails is going to come from other than sucking away funding towards rehabilitating/maintaining what is already there.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    The Wilderness is closed to bikes not for any kind of logical reason, but simply because the ultra enviros managed to get the administration to close it. There is no inherent reason why bikes can't be used in wilderness other than the Sierra Club hates biking. Simple as that.

    I would argue that is is closed to all sorts of mechanized use for very logical reasons. The wilderness designation was created to permanently set aside protected areas that could provide opportunities to completely get away from mechanized society. It has nothing to do with ultra environmental groups, and everything to do with preserving a place that helps provide contrast to how we live our lives.

    I disagree that it is just going to be a matter of time before these rules change for wilderness. The more mechanized our society gets the more important it will become to protect wilderness (and there are some very strong groups who support that viewpoint).

    Finally, biking may grow in popularity during the future... however I seriously doubt that will eclipse hiking (an activity that requires no special equipment and no monetary investment)

    P.S. You are right when you say that there are no inherent qualities in the wildlands that makeup Wilderness that prevent any activity. The qualities (that prevent improper use of Wilderness) were in our society's ability to recognize the importance of pure, untrammeled, and unmechanized spaces and their growing importance to our society.

  • The Confederate Victory at Brices Cross Roads Did Little to Help the Confederate Cause   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Wow, I never heard of this battle, but I am from Maryland, so we tend to focus more locally. Thanks for the post script. Very interesting; incredible, really.

  • Secretary Salazar Calls for Review Of Gun Rules in National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I'm not sure, if I get your intention right. Do you expect us to provide eye witness accounts of bluff charging to assure you that the NPS does not simply makes this animal behavior up in their:

    * Bear management glossary of Denali National Park
    http://www.nps.gov/archive/dena/home/resources/Wildlife/Bearmgmt/Glossary.pdf

    *Backcountry trip planner of Yellowstone NP
    http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/upload/bc_tripplanner9-08.pdf

    * Bear encounter advice of Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP
    http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/bear_encounters.htm

    and the
    * Bear fact sheet of Yosemite NP
    http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/bears.htm

    Or those scholars in their unreliable scientific publications like
    * Jacobs, Schoeder of West Virginia University: "Managing brown bears and wilderness recreation on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, USA" in: Environmental Management, Volume 16, Number 2 / March, 1992 p 249

    or on some other species:
    "Inhibition of social behavior in chimpanzees under high-density conditions" in: American journal of primatology 1997, vol. 41, no3, pp. 213-228 (1 p.1/4)

    But hey, if you need eye witness accounts, I can provide you with one or two. I witnessed a female moose bluff charging a tourist in gaudy clothing, who ventured too close to the moose's newborn in Yellowstone NP, just outside of Norris a number years ago. It was a fantastic situation to encounter a newborn moose calf making its first steps and while I observed and took some photos with a 300mm telephoto lens, this idiot walked in to take a portrait of the calf with his compact camera and a 35mm wide angle. We have to be glad he did not use a flash. On the same trip a buffalo took an aggressive stand against another tourist, ready to charge any second if anything more had happened.

    Is that enough for you?

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Keep Wilderness and National parks backcountry trails for animals ie. human; horses; and of course wild animals!!!

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    The NPS knows what it is doing at Muir Woods, Zebulon. Experience shows that if you let visitors wander around off-trail, they walk round and round and round those big redwoods. The result is dead trees. All of that tromping compacts the soil around the tree roots, eliminates vital air pockets in the upper root zone, and severely inhibits the downward movement of moisture. Fortunately, there are other plenty of other parks where you can go off-trail without endangering redwoods.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    The Wilderness is closed to bikes not for any kind of logical reason, but simply because the ultra enviros managed to get the administration to close it. There is no inherent reason why bikes can't be used in wilderness other than the Sierra Club hates biking. Simple as that.

    It's a matter of time, but hikers are aging and the kids are biking. Guess what will happen in the next 20-30 years when bikers are the majority? It'll be too late for me but not for my kids. In the meantime, there is always night riding. :)

    On a separate note, I took my kids for a hike last week in Muir woods. I was quite amused to see that the vast majority of the visitors were sticking to the paved trails by the creek (nice, flat and covered with asphalt). So much for enjoying the great outdoors, I guess. :)

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Enough?
    Well lets take Washington state, in fact lets narrow it down to the Wenatchee National Forest alone.
    Here they will find 2,500 miles of trail to play on with their toy.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    i don't know as long as they pass the back ground check it seems ok to me but again old Yogi bear being smarter then the average bear (addicted to picnic baskets) could turn to armed robbery to feed his habit. Freedom is always a too edged sword!

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Maybe living in the west, where public lands that are open to hundreds of miles of rideable trails are open to all is gives me skewed viewpoint... but aren't there enough places where people can mountain bike?

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    If that ain't a great caption, I don't know what is... :-D

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Kurt, I believe you've come to the same place I have with this issue. By & large this debate is almost irrelevant as it would appear from the comments left over the last 6 months by those in favor of concealed carry in the parks, that these people will and do carry their concealed & loaded weapons into the National Parks regardless of what the law actually is. It seems to me at this point to be a really frivolous point as to whether it's legal or not. At least that's what I gather reading a large majority of the posts by those in support of the rules change.

    Now, I would like to thank those who do support the rules change, but don't currently break the law against carrying loaded weapons in the parks for their integrity & respect for the rules as they stand.

    As for arming the Bears, I would much rather see them supplied with unicycles, juggling pins, & russian vodka! Drunk Bears with handguns, now that's something to worry about!

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Well, I can forget about a caption contest. I don't think anyone can surpass the genius of RAH.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    " The right to arm Bears! "

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I was active in the push to get Wilderness Areas in the early 1970's and considered myself a conservationist and enviromentalist. But since then the extreme positions of the enviromentalist have left me behind. So I still consider myself a conservationist but not an enviromenatlist. So yes " enviro" is short for the extreme anti human slant of "enviros" that want to eliminate the human part of parks and other activities.

    So gulity as charged. But I blame my own preferred method of horseback riding for trail damage rather than bikes or human hikers.

    I think a solution is a mix of multiuse trails and specific use trails to handle all the methods of travel on trails in parks and forests. Wilderness areas are restricted as to the use due to fragile conditions.

  • Secretary Salazar Calls for Review Of Gun Rules in National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I read hear about "bluff charges" personally I think any animal that chooses to charge a human is dangerous and does not show the proper fear and respect that a human should engender. I have read multiple stories about people hurt and killed by bears and the increasing number of black bear attacks.

    Now if I charge an animal I certainly expect that animal to defend itself, like wise with a human. What I would like to know among the posters here who talk abouth the commonality of bluff charges, is have they ever had that happen to them?

    I live in the east and bears are not common but are slowly moving into the Washington DC area. More counties in theingwest are having increase bear populations and intrusions on property and homes. Most of these the bear is run off. If a bear makes it a habit he is relocated or killed. This is not on park grounds. In Shenadoah the campground Big Meadows used to have the dumpsters out and people would watch them in the 1970's. We still did not have a problem with hostile encounters. Later NPS decided that was a bad idea and took away the dumpsters.

    I have been camping in parks and have seen the bear damage and the bears in campgrounds after dark. They chased some campers away. Since we had dogs and this was state park with excellent trash removal at 8 pm in WV, we did not have any trouble with bears trying to get into the coolers in the cars. I have found that the skunks will also be wary when you have dogs with you and not be as ambitious to intimidate in order to get food. Skunks and bears are creatures of habit , if they find food they came back.

    However in the Smokeys and other NPS parks on the east coast the rangers never talk about " bluff charges". Mostly they say make noise and try to scare a bear away. Most bears avoid humans and vice versa.

    So I have read about the tendancy of a "bluff charge" out west but if a bear attacks me I think it is too late to realize it was bluff. It would be difficult to tell if a bear or cougar charges the intention are truly hostile or not. They are too strong to allow them closer than 5 feet and that is still too close.

    I would take my chances with dogs charging but a bear is too big to and once they strike you may be too damaged to defend youself. pepper spray is the preferred method of scaring off a bear.

    I have no desire to hurt any animal but why should I allow a bear or cougar to harm me? Now the rarity of animal attacks does not require that I have to have a gun with me. But my main concern is the rare risk of human rather than animal predators. The human predator is a higher risk in wild forests and parks.

    If I am in an area that has a higher tendancies of dangerous animals and I am in the back country then I may want to carry a weapon but weapon carry is a hassle and I want the ability to choose to carry if I feel it is a better idea or not.

    Unless there is any studies that indicate the higher numbers of people shooting bears and cougars without need then give the evidence. Otherwise the argument that CCW is going to increase the number of shot bears seems to be a red herring.

    Alos please cite the " bluff charges" and if any here has expereinced that.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    All of this is terribly confusing, Kurt. Just when I got used to being called a "bunny-loving tree-hugger" or an "unresconstructed hippy-dippy ecofreak," now I have to know whether I am an "environmental wacko," an "econazi," or perhaps just a plain old "enviro."