Recent comments

  • Half Dome Hiker Falls to His Death in Yosemite   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Perhaps we are making it too easy for people to get in over their heads. Why are there cable handrails there in the first place?

  • Half Dome Hiker Falls to His Death in Yosemite   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I hiked to Nevada Fall yesterday and two things happened: A little girl got her fingers smashed by a careless hiker on the Mist Trail who was trying to get past her and her parents and another group of people were complaining that the almost fell when a group of Japanese guys pushed their way ahead of them on the way up to the top of Nevada Falls. Wonder if something like that was the case here.................everyone is in such a hurry.

  • KHV Virus Implicated in Lake Mohave Carp Die Off   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I think it's sad. I walked fifty yards of shore line, north side of the island, Lake Havasu this morning and saw five dead and dying carp. My only hope is this is a natural course. It's frustrating there is nothing we can do . Is it ok to take a shovel down and bury them ?

  • Half Dome Hiker Falls to His Death in Yosemite   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I was there...very tragic. This gentelman was not wearing any safety equipment and was on the outside of the cables. The conditions were horrible...rain, hail and clouds which made visibilty poor and the granite very slippery. The man was playing with death and unfornatley it was his time to go. Everyone yesterday day took a chance with there life. Multiple individuals were not properly dressed. Some in shorts, t-shirts and teva sandles. When in the mountains always be prepared.

  • Roped-Together Climbers Die in Fall On Mount McKinley in Denali National Park and Preserve   5 years 28 weeks ago

    the weather on the mountain that day was perfect. light winds and clear skies.
    i was there in base camp. we wonder what happened. may they be at peace.

  • Historical Graffiti   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I think we should keep adding to these names, on a controlled basis of course, so the monument remains a living history and not a museum piece. I'd like to know what other folks think about that idea.

    Here's an essay I wrote about it: http://www.myhandicapparking.com/Morro.html

  • National Park Lodging Concessionaires Creating Their Own Stimulus Plans   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Good God! $150-200 a night for a bare bones cabin with no amneities. That is the price of a nice hotel room for a night. Why pay such an exorbitant price?

    I guess the is limited supply and the people paid that price but no way would I do so. I rather stay in the NPS lodge , many are very nice in the west or in tent which is cheap.

    Actually the most I paid for a motel/hotel room is about $120 for vacation. I rather save the money for gas to travel farther or for entertainment. I paid less than a $100/night in the Florida Keys when I took my son to go snorkling and diving. We saved the money to go on the dive boats in Pennekamp and for food. The motel also had a pool which is normal so that was a nice way to cool down. The room is only for sleeping and I do not want to spend that much for sleeping quarters.

    Now I have paid $125/night for a room in VT but that included the lift ticket and breakfast so I thought is was a good deal.

  • Iconic Trail at Grand Canyon National Park Set for a Major Makeover   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I have been on the Bright angel, North and South Kiabab trail with and sometimes w/o mules. I admired the work it takes to build and maintain the trails. They work 10 hour days in such heat is amazing. I d love to but at 60, not. These trails are not as hard on legs and knees as Half dome and others in Yosemite evan Bryce canyon and Zion. Erosion is what made the canyon and the mules take the whinning wimps and children down and up to enjoy and learn. If too hard to walk take one of them. If you take a river trip down the canyon you ll see how hard it is to hike where the trails aren t maintained.

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I completed this hike May 2008 with my husband. I sat down to contemplate the last leg and decided when there was an opening (very busy - midday) I would go for it. At 47 I felt I hadn't challenged myself enough through life, though thoughts of being away from my grown up children and taking risks did come into play. Head down, concentrating on my feet, I/we got there, and there were simply no words for what I felt over the next hour whilst I sat atop Angel's Landing, looking down the valley floor. It was heavenly, made a million times stronger by the fact that I had conquered a fear - a fear of the unknown. Risk taking is individual, dependent on many things, of which no National Park Service can be, or should be responsible. You take a risk the minute you sit in your car without hesitation, that risk is far greater than falling from a trail, difficult/strenuous or not. Sure footing, common sense, a reasonable amount of physical ability and courage will get you to the top of Angel's Landing, and when you arrive you will burst with pride and a sense of deep satisfaction and ponder how we came to be so priviliged to witness such beautiful sights. I am from the UK, I adore Zion with an impossible to describe passion - it gets under your skin, deep in your head and leaves you never really leaving the place behind.

  • National Park Lodging Concessionaires Creating Their Own Stimulus Plans   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Actually, the 2009 rate for a cabin without a kitchen is a little less than $150 per night plus tax that adds another $15. Ten years ago these same cabins rented for $92, so they have increased in price about 55 percent over the last decade. That is about 4 percent annually. Also, consider that cabin rental includes unlimited use of the mineral pools. We have stayed at Sol Duc four or five times and I am unfamiliar with having to take a cabin that has other guests. We did have mice in our cabin at Grant Grove in Sequoia National Park, so I guess they could be considered other guests even though they weren't paying. I would call the cabins at Sol Duc "plain" but not bare bones. They are certainly nicer than some of the cabins we have stayed in at other national parks.

  • Half Dome Hiker Falls to His Death in Yosemite   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Tragic to say the least...But hundreds of people die everyday in car accidents...Higher risk activities doesn't result with implementing more laws to cause less problems...More laws just backs a jacked up judicial system and makes things more difficult

  • Half Dome Hiker Falls to His Death in Yosemite   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I don't have access to summary data on accidents throughout the National Park System for this year, Barky, but even if I knew the numbers I wouldn't get too excited about them. Ups and downs are to be expected in the short run (a few months to a few years). I don't want to speculate about possible causes of these short term oscillations, and I certainly wouldn't want the Park Service to base policy- and decision-making on that kind of evidence. That said, investigations of accidents, even rare ones, may suggest things that can be done to reduce risks to visitors. I'm all for that.

  • Half Dome Hiker Falls to His Death in Yosemite   5 years 28 weeks ago

    We were having a conversation about things like this yesterday. It seems there are more accidents than usual across the NPS so far this year. I'm wondering a) if statistics proves that out, or if it's just higher media reporting than usual, b) if there is a statistical rise in accidents, is it because the economy is forcing more novices to take NPS vacations than normal, or c) if cost cutbacks throughout the NPS has led to a reduction in safety.

    Thoughts?

    =============================================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Surprise Tour Bus Inspections at Yosemite Yield Disturbing Results   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Just this past winter a bus carrying Japanese tourists who had visited Death Valley and Lake Mead overturned on the Hoover Dam. 7 people were killed. I'm not sure exactly what had caused that accident. It could have been something wrong with the bus or bad driving, but maybe an inspection could have stopped that from happening. I commend the parks because often our roads are curvier and steeper than the average road in America. Making sure the busses are in top shape and able to handle this is a way to keep the visitors safe. Obviously the bus companies aren't doing it, so someone should look out for the people who are putting their lives in the hands of these bus companies.

  • Half Dome Hiker Falls to His Death in Yosemite   5 years 28 weeks ago

    This is tragic ----- however, people fall in their own homes more often than in national parks. --- all tragic , but other than some training & education lets not make more laws and rules !!!!!

  • Should the Jackson Hole Airport Lease Extension Wait for Safety Audit?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Amen, D-2. This is pure Wyoming pork at the expense of a great national park.

    Rick Smith

  • Should the Jackson Hole Airport Lease Extension Wait for Safety Audit?   5 years 28 weeks ago


    If there ever was an airport poorly sited, that has outlived its usefulness, THIS is IT.

    Its survival is more testimony of the propensity of right-wing congresmen pumping public support (socialism ! ) to a local development that never would have survived in a world of pure capitalism. This survives because, located as it is INSIDE a national park, the airport can be sustained and subsidized by the kind of people who oppose federal support for nearly anything else.

    If led properly or left to its proper rules, the National Park Service should have eliminated this ridiculous strip years ago.

    Although not quite on the level of spending millions to fly mail into a handful of Montanans, this airport certainly is another slice of the pie for Wyoming. Don't you love it? With this airport you get to degrade one of the best national parks, pump money into a hole, and subsidize people who profess hostility to government waste !

    Only in America.

  • National Park Lodging Concessionaires Creating Their Own Stimulus Plans   5 years 28 weeks ago

    As someone who grew up in Port Angeles, WA, and so want my child to enjoy the Olympic National Park, and specifically for this comment, Sol Duc Hot Springs, I am outraged at the extortion that the ONP is supporting in the concessionaire Aramark. We spent many summers up there in the old cabins (gone now), my single working mother taking five kids, our one getaway. We had very little money but this was something she could do for us. Now, if I want to take my son up there to enjoy it, as of this writing, thanks to Aramark, it will cost me $200. a night for a cabin. The cabins now are bare bones, sometimes with other "guests" in them. This is outrageous. A so-called offer for 10% off one night (and more for more nights) was found to not work at all on a Monday night that was said to have a lot of availibility. I commented to Aramark but received no reply. To make it worse, ONP offers no reservation system for the nearby campgrounds which makes it impossible for anyone that works for a living to repeatedly show up hoping for a spot. Are these parks not for all of us? Why is it only rich and nonworking people get to enjoy these parks?

  • Mules In Grand Canyon National Park: Should They Stay?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I have hiked the Canyon numerous times over the years. I do consider the mules and their mess to be a great inconvience. However, they are not going to go away. Over the years I have decided that the corridor trails (aka: the freeway) are occassionally useful to connect to other trails. I have no problem with maintaining the status quo re: the corridor, as long as it prevents the concessionaires from using other trails for mules. I strongly oppose expanding use of stock on any trails other than the corridor. There are alternatives for serious canyon hikers that are mule free as well as very little contact with the hordes of people who utilize the corridor. Leave the corridor and the South Rim for the tourists. That makes the areas that require more effort (e.g. the North Rim, Tanner, Nankoweep, Red Canyon, Tonto, Point Sublime and etc.) freed up for those of us who are more willing and capable of making the extra effort.

  • Iconic Trail at Grand Canyon National Park Set for a Major Makeover   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I work on the trails at Grand Canyon. To answer the concerns about the log/rock checks, or retainer bars perpendiculiar to the trail...I hate them, and so does everyone else I know. BUT, they are necesary in preventing deep rutting caused by mules and rain, and used for 'pulling grade', otherwise we would never get up that steep hill. Don't forget, we build the corridor trails (Bright Angel, South and North Kaibab Trails) to accomadate mule traffic. Want a hiking trail? Go to the Grandview, Tanner, Hermit trails where you will see a fraction of the people and have a much more enjoyable experience.

    A current design we are working on (one fine-tuned over the course of many years of culminated trail experience specific to Grand Canyon topography), should alleviate some of the 'high-stepping' of the checks. This includes using a cobblestone rip-rap as a sub-base to the trail tread, built into the log/rock checks 2-4" below the surface, then covered with a 2-4" cap of dirt. All materials except the juniper poles are native and found adjacent to the trail in the locations they are being installed. The Juniper log poles are cut on a Forest Service plot marked for thinning, so essentially, the logs are being recycled, and we are assisting the USFS in reducing hazardous fuels in out forests.

    With re-occuring cyclic maintenance, the trail should always be covered with dirt, creating a 'ramp' effect, eliminating steps. If we lose the 2-4" dirt cap due to erosion (Grand Canyon happens to be the PRIME example of erosion in the world, and the Trail Crew there in effect are fighting it's erosion), then the trail tread will only erode down as far as the top of the rip-rap stone. The most you will have to ever step up, is 2-4".

    We take pride in our work, and these trails are our passion. Thanks for hiking. =)

  • Olympic National Park Has New Food Storage Requirements For Backcountry Travel This Year   5 years 28 weeks ago

    The great thing about this that one can get a bear canister to use during your backpack adventure from the Ranger's for free!
    (a $3 or more donation will be asked for)
    Unlike Yosemite where it will cost you $5 (for up to two weeks) with a $65 deposit (cash or credit card only).

  • Roped-Together Climbers Die in Fall On Mount McKinley in Denali National Park and Preserve   5 years 28 weeks ago

    My heart goes out to my dear friends Eydie and Gene Swanson and their family, Kyle, Molly and Heidi et al over the loss of their beloved son and brother, Andrew. It is unbelievable to me and heart wrenching to suddenly lose such a vibrant and talented young man as Andrew was. I send all my love and sympathy. My heart is broken for you.
    All my love,
    Dana Wigton

  • Olympic National Park Has New Food Storage Requirements For Backcountry Travel This Year   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I read this about problems with bears in TN Great Smokies and they did close some trails and camps to reduce incidents with bears and visitors.
    http://www.thedailytimes.com/article/20090613/NEWS/306159988/-1/RSS&rssfeed=RSS

  • Should the Jackson Hole Airport Lease Extension Wait for Safety Audit?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    You make some very good points, Anon. It's very likely that some of the runway accidents can't be wholly attributed to deficiencies of the airport. For example, the NTSB thinks that a brake problem (cross-wiring of the brakes on one set of wheels) may have caused that United Airlines jet to veer off the runway. Nevertheless, the alliance expects (rightly so, I think) that the safety audit results will recommend improvements, such as runway extensions and better lighting, that will make the airport safer to use. The alliance has steadfastly maintained that such considerations belong in the airport lease EIS.

  • Roped-Together Climbers Die in Fall On Mount McKinley in Denali National Park and Preserve   5 years 28 weeks ago

    OMG!! That is so sad. I just can't believe it has happened. I had an appt with Dr. Swanson next Wed. and surgery scheduled on July 2nd. He was a very nice man and I feel privileged to have met him. My heart goes out to the friends and families of both of these men.
    Hollie Hanf