Recent comments

  • Kids Advocacy Site Recognizes National Parks Traveler For Its Content and Approach   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Congrats. Never heard of them, but i'm not their target audience obviously. Anyway, I hope this wonderful space for discussions will not become more shallow now in order to be "kid friendly". It should always be possible to call stupidity and idiocy in uncertain terms, while maintain civility towards everyone involved in discussions.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, How Was Your Most Recent National Park Visit?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    We're doing a few day trips this month. Last Saturday we spent the day driving up into North Cascades and found it as beautiful as ever. We had no [and sought no] interactions with rangers or lodging as we were just doing a wanderabout.

    Next Saturday we're driving up to Paradise on Mt Rainier for lunch and back [it's as good of an excuse as any to visit the mountain that I find to be a cathedral]. We last visited Mt Rainier in June, and other than the crowds it was marvelous. In a couple of weeks we'll be over to Olympic NP and in October we'll be visiting the Hoh Rainforest.

    Yes, living in the Pacific Northwest is a richness.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, How Was Your Most Recent National Park Visit?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    We visited Yellowstone last month. The Park RV sites were full and we had to stay outside at West Yellowstone. From what I heard this may have been a good compromise. We had access to great places to eat in West Yellowstone and we were right next to the Park entrance. We also had a breatheable camp space, not the ultra tight spaces people talk about in the Park. Why not expand the spaces in the Park???We stayed a week and could have stayed a month. Wildlife, geysers, rangers all in the awesome category. Stimulus money directed toward our National Parks would be well spent.

  • Search for Human-Habituated Grizzlies in Glacier National Park Ends With Two Dead Bears   5 years 28 weeks ago

    A problem is something that prevents or frustrates what you want to do. A good security system is a problem to a burglar. A martial arts expert is a problem to a mugger. And a bear can be a problem to people who want to go camping without getting eaten. Likewise, the bear views the rangers as problems because they keep trying to prevent her from feasting on the banquet set out for her at the campground. It all depends on your perspective. You have Ed Abbey and the bears on one side, most casual park visitors on the other side, and the good rangers of Glacier National Park in the middle trying to keep everyone (bears, Abbeyites, and weekenders) happy. That's the toughest job, and I wouldn't think of second guessing their work.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, How Was Your Most Recent National Park Visit?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Went to Acadia in June. Wonderful time. Rained almost every day, which was fine with us, because that always keeps the people away. Every interaction with an NPS employee was awesome. Found a great kayak guide, though he wasn't an NPS person. The Thursday that was our getaway day, the traffic and parking became pretty intense. We were happy to be out of there and on our way to New Brunswick before the weekend!

    Last summer we went to Theodore Roosevelt, Badlands, Yellowstone, Mt. Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic. All of those were wonderful except Yellowstone. The problem was that we did the drive-thru with only a day to spend there. We were driving home on I94 through Bozeman and decided to take the scenic route through Wyoming so I could show my wife the iconic sights in Yellowstone. We all know you can't appreciate Yellowstone from a car, and on a Saturday in August...let's just say I've been less stressed navigating New York City. But that certainly isn't fair, since I've spent two weeks there and know what you have to do to really see the place.

    Friendliest rangers were at the Hoh Rainforest station in Olympic. Got into a bird discussion with a ranger there, completely unrelated to rainforests. She was knowledgeable and engaging, but also genuinely interested in hearing some of my experiences that went beyond hers. I tried to get her to help me make fun of the people complaining about rain while standing under a big sign that said Hoh Rainforest, but just got a knowing smile. Then we went out into the rain and enjoyed the Hoh trail sans people on a weekend in August. We pray for rain every time we're in a park on a busy day!

    Best campground was the Cottonwood in Theodore Roosevelt. Waking up to strange sounds at sunrise and strolling down to the Little Missouri River 150 yards from our tent to find a herd of bison getting a morning drink is quite the experience. Nice, private tent spots, too.

    Yikes, I forgot we went canoeing in Sleeping Bear Dunes this past May...that was an awesome time too. The rangers in Sleeping Bear are some of the friendliest anywhere. That's our "home" park, so we go at least once every year.

  • Search for Human-Habituated Grizzlies in Glacier National Park Ends With Two Dead Bears   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Stop being so critical. The rangers are doing a very difficult job under very difficult cirumstances. If they did nothing and somebody got mauled, then you would be complaining about that. Give them some credit. They really do care.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Caribou in Alaska's Parks and Preserves   5 years 28 weeks ago

    As a related issue, in addition to the National Parks and Preserves mentioned above, the Western Arctic Herd roams widely across the National Petroleum Reserve in Western Alaska. Critical calving grounds are included in this vast area. As the name implies, these lands are at tremendous risk not only from the threat of oil development, but coal as well. Any steps to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels will help to forestall such development and the inevitable and significant impacts on the caribou, many migratory birds that depend on the Western Arctic coastal plain, and the sanctity of an incredibly beautiful landscape. Efforts to curb long-term oil and coal dependence and slowly mitigate the human contributions to the global warming phenomenon are clearly very important. But the Western Arctic and its wild inhabitants need immediate and powerful efforts to protect the land from a rush to ravage. We need to forever remove the moniker currently attached to this special place.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, How Was Your Most Recent National Park Visit?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    We were just at Great Smoky Mountains National Park the first week of August. We were worried about going to our "most popular" national park, but it turns out that if you get out of the car and get on the trails, you can find solitude even here. In terms of nitpicks, the road in Cades Cove is in absolutely horrible shape but apparently will be fixed with extra stimulus money. The rangers at the Gatlinburg visitor center were polite but definitely in a hurry. They handed us a brochure and said that they would answer any questions later. When asked one of our standard questions: "What is your favorite place to hike in the park?" The only response we got was, if you have questions about a trail, I can answer them. At other parks, that question has often generated wonderful half hour discussions.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, How Was Your Most Recent National Park Visit?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    The last National Park we stayed in was Yellowstone this past June. Our only negative comment is the lack of up to date campgrounds. I understand we are talking about "protected" and "hallowed" land, and I agree. However there was barely room for our rig in the site. I am not sure what the answer it but there is a problem.
    The other negative is the reservation system: there was a busy signal for hours, literally.

    During the month of June we visited Florissant Fossil Nat'l Monument, Dinosaur Nat'l Monument, The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, and The Badlands with our 9 and 11 year old grandsons. It was an awesome tour. Rangers were present, answered questions patiently, visitor's centers were informative and interesting.

    Our National Park System is one of America's best features. We all must work to protect these impressive areas.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, How Was Your Most Recent National Park Visit?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    My most recent visit to Glacier National Park in Montana was awesome. We hiked over 70 miles in the week we were there. I saw several rangers, one in the backcountry, most in visitor's center or ranger stations. They are, as always helpful and informative. The trails were in great shape, having bridges in locations I wasn't expecting them.

    We opted to stay in lodging outside the park because the park lodging is expensive and limited.

  • Search for Human-Habituated Grizzlies in Glacier National Park Ends With Two Dead Bears   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I respectfully disagree with that assessment that there are no "problem bears" or that humans are somehow trespassing on their "territory". Bears aren't particularly territorial and this particular bear seemed to treat humans as welcome visitors in its range. I remember once joking with a Yosemite ranger (Shelton Johnson if anyone knows who he is) during a snowshoe walk that as a UC Berkeley grad I was used saying we were in "Bear Territory" - as we looked for bear scratch marks on trees. With his quick disarming wit he politely corrected me that since bears weren't particularly territorial, we would be better described as being in "bear country".

    Of course coming from Edward Abbey, I understand where it's coming from. If he had his way, the only means of entering or traversing a national park would be via foot or horseback.

    I certainly understand that a lot of the human-bear conflicts in a notorious place like Yosemite are a result of bad human behavior, such as failure to store food properly. I'm not sure what went wrong where this bear decided that humans weren't to be avoided or didn't react to typical hazing techniques.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Bighorn Sheep in the Southwest   5 years 28 weeks ago

    If I interpret your statement "An overall climate change that produces higher temperatures and lower precipitation in general, as is forecast for much of the West, also poses a threat to other bighorn sheep habitat in mountain ranges" I must assume you believe in the Al Gore "Global Warming" scheme which he says is directly attributable to the human activity. Pure dribble and cacaphony on his part. Anyone who has studied scientific history to any depth other than high school or liberal taught college is surely informed as to the cycle of global cooling and global warmup which has occurred throught history as far back as 15 billion years ago. We happen to be in a warm stretch of about 4000 years at this time, nothing more. Humans have dumped millions of pounds of pollution into the atmosphere no doubt about it. But this cannot produce "global warming". In a few hundred or few thousand years our continent or parts of it will again be locked in another "ice age" but this is the natural cycle of the earth, no more and no less.

  • Search for Human-Habituated Grizzlies in Glacier National Park Ends With Two Dead Bears   5 years 28 weeks ago

    You could make a case that the sow is better off now than at some of the alternatives. The quality of life for bears at zoos is questionable.

  • Search for Human-Habituated Grizzlies in Glacier National Park Ends With Two Dead Bears   5 years 28 weeks ago

    There is no such critter as a "problem bear."

    "If people persist in trespassing upon the grizzlies' territory, we must accept the fact that grizzlies,
    from time to time, will harvest a few trespassers." ~ Edward Abbey ~

  • Search for Human-Habituated Grizzlies in Glacier National Park Ends With Two Dead Bears   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Mention "problem bear" to a zoo and they won't take it. I suppose the Bronx Zoo is hoping that they can get to it early enough.

    I guess we can get all indignant about it, but the human visitation in Glacier NP isn't going away, and this bear wasn't going to stop approaching people. I don't think it was just that this sow was approaching people, but that it was setting the cubs for the same cycle of looking for human food/company and the potential for a reaction by the bear if it felt that a panicked human was a threat to the cubs.

  • Search for Human-Habituated Grizzlies in Glacier National Park Ends With Two Dead Bears   5 years 28 weeks ago

    The park's initial plan was indeed to try to find a facility that would take the sow. Unfortunately, no facility that was federally approved could be found, so the decision was made to put down her down.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Northern Flying Squirrel and other Threatened Mammals   5 years 28 weeks ago

    To The Other Frank: I agree with your interpretation of door #2. I'm all for a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable world! Thanks for the correction. Some Saudi prince once said that he was unafraid of losing oil revenue to 'green energy', saying "the Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stones." I think most of us will be able to adapt.

  • Search for Human-Habituated Grizzlies in Glacier National Park Ends With Two Dead Bears   5 years 28 weeks ago

    The last release I read here stated that the sow was to be relocated to a remote area & the cubs sent to an accepting zoo - apparently the Bronx Zoo from this report.
    Then this release stating the bear was killed - on purpose - and the cub accidentally.
    As an oft visitor to Glacier, I understand the management program. But why the original mis-information on the tactics? Afraid of public reaction?
    If that's the case, I would think the publicity of the "real" tactic to be employed would be far worse than just telling the truth. Particularly now that one cub was also lost.
    It's such a shame that we as humans invade THEIR habitat & then remove them when they don't behave as we feel necessary.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Northern Flying Squirrel and other Threatened Mammals   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Actually in the case of door number two, we spend tons of money and improve our lives by finding cheaper, more sustainable, forms of energy. This results in a cleaner, healthier, planet. It allows our children and our children's children to maintain an advanced lifestyle. It keeps our planet from being drilled and mined to death. It cleans up our air and water. And, ultimately, it allows folks to make millions of dollars by developing, building, installing and selling the new technologies, and saves billions of dollars from being funneled to overseas oil barons. The arctic wildlife refuge and other pristine places remain undrilled (for their few years worth of oil). No one gives anything up, we simply find new and more efficient ways of fueling our lives.
    Doors two and four are both win, win.
    In a way this is a lot like health care reform. If we do nothing energy (or health care) will become more and more expensive, and scarce. Soon only the rich will be able to afford these "luxuries".
    We will continue to send our wealth overseas, and the decline of the United States is inevitable. Or we can take the lead, make bookoo denaro, and tell the Saudis (and others) thanks but no thanks. Cleaning up the planet and alleviating climate change are just bonuses. The choice is ours.

    Again, it is always easy to find individual scientists (or even groups of scientists) to support a theory or point of view. It is very difficult to find over two thousand highly respected scientists from one hundred countries to agree about anything.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Northern Flying Squirrel and other Threatened Mammals   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I don't think it's poor logic at all. As I understand the "fallacy of false choice", it involves choosing between only two alternatives when there are in fact more viable options available. Okay, so what ARE the other options? I see a lot of data cherry-picking to support your position, but I don't see you offering any other answers. I'm not convinced that variations in solar activity are the sole cause of climate change. And the reasons you have for discounting the effects of greenhouse gases don't bear close examination.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Northern Flying Squirrel and other Threatened Mammals   5 years 28 weeks ago

    To Frank Not The Other Frank: Pardon me for butting into this party for the second time, but I couldn't help but notice that you might have drawn the wrong inference from your source. If I'm reading it right, Scafetta is saying data used by the IPCC is skewed because the data fails to take into account certain factors and mechanisms that would more accurately show solar effects on climate. He's not denying that greenhouse gases have an impact; what he's complaining about is the lack of accurate solar data. I would have to read his article in its entirety in order to find out what he considers "arbitrary and questionable assumptions", though - bet I can guess what they are.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Northern Flying Squirrel and other Threatened Mammals   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Your "good sense" is poor logic. You've engaged in the fallacy of false choice.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Northern Flying Squirrel and other Threatened Mammals   5 years 28 weeks ago

    If you will bear with me, here's a little exercise in good sense, no advanced degrees required:

    Behind door #1: Forced climate change does not exist, and we don't do anything about it. We don't need to! Everyone is fat, rich, happy, and alive.

    Behind door #2: Forced climate change does not exist, and we do something because we think it does exist. We spend tons of money for nothing. We're poorer, not so fat or happy, but alive.

    Behind door #3: Forced climate change exists, and we do nothing about it. Fat City keeps their money for all the good it will do them on a dead planet. R.I.P.

    Behind door #4: Forced climate change exists, and we do all we can to mitigate the damage. It will take a lot of work, be expensive and inconvenient to give up our habits. However, most will survive and there's a good chance the Earth will recover.

    Which door will YOU pick? Do you really want to take that chance? We don't have to hail from Left Blogistan to realize it's time to clean up our toxic mess and go on a reduced carbon diet.

  • If You Enjoy Watching Birds of Prey, Don't Miss Acadia National Park's HawkWatch   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I think we ran into Lora in Acadia in June. We were making one last drive around the loop before leaving the park and noticed a ranger setting up spotting scopes near the Precipice trailhead. Turns out she was doing a presentation on the peregrine falcons that nest on the Precipice cliffs. We got to see a juvenile perched for a while and a female flying around. I know I asked the ranger's name and Lora sounds familiar. Regardless, the ranger was awesome and a wealth of information. It was a wonderful and serendipitous experience!

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Northern Flying Squirrel and other Threatened Mammals   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Other Frank: The IPCC is not immune from criticism; I recommend examing the following study (published last month) by Nicola Scafettaa, Department of Physics, Duke University: Empirical analysis of the solar contribution to global mean air surface temperature change.

    The study's conclusion reads in part:

    A comprehensive interpretation of multiple scientific findings indicates that the contribution of solar variability to climate change is significant and that the temperature trend since 1980 can be large and upward. However, to correctly quantify the solar contribution to the recent global warming it is necessary to determine the correct TSI behavior since 1980. Unfortunately, this cannot be done with certainty yet. The PMOD TSI composite, which has been used by the IPCC and most climate modelers, has been found to be based on arbitrary and questionable assumptions [Scafetta and Willson, 2009]. Thus, it cannot be excluded that TSI increased from 1980 to 2000 as claimed by the ACRIM scientific team. The IPCC [2007] claim that the solar contribution to climate change since 1950 is negligible may be based on wrong solar data in addition to the fact that the EBMs and GCMs there used are missing or poorly modeling several climate mechanisms that would significantly amplify the solar effect on climate. When taken into account the entire range of possible TSI satellite composite since 1980, the solar contribution to climate change ranges from a slight cooling to a significant warming, which can be as large as 65% of the total observed global warming. (Emphasis added.)

    Appeal to majority ("the overwhelming majority of scientists...agree") and appeal to authority (the IPCC's "findings have been publicly endorsed by the national academies of science...") are a logical fallacies, not evidence.