Recent comments

  • Park History: Yosemite National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I just returned from a trip to Yosemite NP. I spent 2 days hiking from Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, 5 days backpacking from Cathedral Lakes , Sunrise, Merced Lake, Red Peak Pass, & then down to the valley for 2 nights. My impressions are as follows; Tuolumne Meadows is a fantastic intro to the High Sierras and the hike from Cathedral to Sunrise was truly spectacular. I was practically in tears just reflecting on Muir's Range of Light. The park in it's entirety is an incredibly brutal & beautiful gem. The walk to Merced Lake High Sierra Camp was truly picturesue and a tribute to all the people who have done trail building in this park. I had 2 days of almost complete wilderness solitude from Lake Washburn to Illiluoette Falls in some of the most gorgeous alpine country you might imagine. And then there's Yosemite Valley. While many people (myself included) probably would assume John Muir would have a meltdown if confronted by this spectacle, I had several experiences that changed my mind.

    Let me start with the Hybrid- Bus free shuttle system. These are very nice and really efficient at moving (thousands?) people around the valley everyday. The system was easy to use and keeps the traffic to a minimum for such a busy place.2nd, the park & concessionaire employees were ALL very helpful & friendly, and I don't mean in that corporate-disney kind of way. They all seemed genuinely pretty happy with their luck at working in Yosemite even if the pay isn't the greatest, and were perfectly willing to offer any park info they had. 3rd, I wish I'd had more time to check out the park's programs. I would have loved to take a painting class and seen several of the talks given by authors at The LeConte Memorial Lodge. The programs were enticing & topical.

    I can't imagine another park being anywhere near this competent at handling the daily masses of people who flow into this park, and considering that, they have really done a great job with Yosemite Valley. If John Muir was around today, he might not like to hang out in the valley, but he would surely see the value of it and the potential for advocacy of all the parks through visitors' experiences.

    I have never felt so at home in any other park and I can't wait to return!

  • **** Viewing National Parks Traveler on Firefox 3.0****   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Frank,

    I'm hoping (hopeful?) that I've found a tech who can solve the problem by mid-October at the latest (might be sooner, but I've got travel that could delay things).

    Thanks for hanging in there....

  • **** Viewing National Parks Traveler on Firefox 3.0****   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Any word on the patch/update for FF 3.0?

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Since the National Park Service doesn't know what a national park is, why should I be expected to know?

  • Bird Nests and Closures Spurring Civil Disobedience at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   5 years 28 weeks ago

    It would appear from the detailed statistics which are only gathered by site visitation, that a self proclaimed elit group can wander the shores within their private bird santuary at the expense of all others. Arrogance by elite components of any society has always spawned reprocussions. While the birders proclaim the "rednecks with their trucks" are off the beach, the footprint of the homes and cottages on Hatteras are also a problem. But will that access be sacrificed for the well being of tha hatch?

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Bob,
    how many do you count?

  • National Park Quiz 22: Angels and Saints   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Nice catch, Griz. All these years I've thought that the church was in the Bronx! I've made the correction.

  • National Park Quiz 22: Angels and Saints   5 years 28 weeks ago

    In regards to question #8. While Saint Paul's Church is in New York state, it is just outside the boundary of New York City in the city of Mount Vernon, NY.

  • Fall Is A Great Season in Glacier National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Donna - A good reminder that weather is always a wild card on outdoor trips, and that's even more the case in the mountains.

    Your recommendations about Polebridge and areas in the northwest corner of Glacier are good ones - driver's just shouldn't expect a superhighway! Anyone planning drives in that vicinity should check the link above for current road conditions. The road outside the park Donna mentioned isn't affected, but the park's website notes that the "Inside North Fork Road is currently closed at Logging Creek RS and Fish Creek due to construction ...the actual closure is in effect from Howe Ridge Trailhead to Howe Lake Trailhead. Areas north and south of this section are open to vehicle traffic. " The link has a basic map showing the area in question.

    Those gravel roads and other less-traveled routes can provide some premier experiences for those who don't mind getting off the major highways.

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 28 weeks ago

    In response to Dan, there are actually 20 National Monuments that are run outside of the Park Service – and they are run by a veritable potpourri of land agencies, including BLM, the Forest Service, the Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and even the Armed Forces’ Retirement Home. Then there is also the Valles Caldera National Preserve, which is run outside of the National Park System by a special trust. But as Bob mentioned, the subject of designation types is a topic for a future article - but based on the comments here it looks sure to be a popular topic as well.

  • Fall Is A Great Season in Glacier National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    We've had good and bad weather luck visiting Glacier National Park in the fall. In September 2004, we experienced beautiful sunny days. My husband returned last Saturday from a photography trip to Glacier. The weather was cloudy, rainy and snowy his entire visit.

    Visitors who like off-the-beaten-path locations will enjoy the drive (around 13 miles on a gravel road) to the small community of Polebride on Glacier's western edge. Although it's not in the park, the area provides access to Glacier's Kitna Lake and Bowman Lake. And who can resist the baked goods at Polebridge Mercantile? Call ahead to see of Northern Lights Saloon is open for dinner. When my husband was there last weekend, the adults of the community were dressed in turn-of-the century formal clothes in preparation for the Polebridge Prom.

  • Pruning the Parks: Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area Was a National Park for Just Five Years   5 years 28 weeks ago

    The NPS apparently very much wants to keep Curecanti NRA, and currently has a plan out for public comment that would expand Curecanti and calls on Congress to officially designate the NPS manager of the public land surrounding Curecanti's three reservoirs. Curecanti, very likely Colorado's most inferior NPS unit, is managed together with adjacent Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

    Check out the NPS's plan for Curecanti here: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkId=48&projectId=11243&documentID=24668

    Curecanti sparks deep passions in many Colorado "water buffalos," who revere the three reservoirs, part of the Aspinall Unit, together as a great monument to late Colorado Congressman Wayne Aspinall, one of the Bureau of Reclamation's most fervent boosters of yore.

  • Pruning the Parks: Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area Was a National Park for Just Five Years   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Congress should complete this excellent decision and divest from the NPS Lake Meredith, Amistad, Curecanti, and the park formerly known as Grand Coulee NRA. The Army Corps actually has an excellent public recreation operation that can take some of these sites and the USFS the rest. Get the NPS out of managing reservoirs with little else to offer besides simple water-based recreation. (I will have to give in to places like Glen Canyon, North Cascades, and Lake Mead where the surrounding holdings are extensive and worthy natural and cultural resources).

  • Pruning the Parks: Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area Was a National Park for Just Five Years   5 years 28 weeks ago

    It makes me wonder if other National Recreation Areas should be transferred to the forest service. The whole debate about recreation vs. preservation continues to rear its ugly head. Maybe recreation doesn't belong in the list of NPS missions and such areas should be transferred out.

    Just a thought.

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

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • How To Buy National Park-Related Gifts Without Leaving Home   5 years 28 weeks ago

    New park ornaments have arrived at Inner Peace Designs. Zion and Death Valley National Parks were just added to the short list this American company produces. Mount Rushmore, Grand Canyon, and Crater Lake just to name a few others they carry. They must have a contract with the National Parks Service to do these. Very nice detail. Keep an eye out for these in gift stores in the parks. To view them go to www.innerpeacedesigns.net I own a Grand Canyon ornament and I receive comments all the time. Eveyone asks me to buy on next time I visit. I think there are nicer than painted Christmas balls!!!

  • Uranium Exploratory Drilling Near Grand Canyon National Park is Halted Pending a Full Environmental Review   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Another environmental impact study? And who decided this? The person getting paid for the study? The Grand Canyon and all surrounding area for miles and miles and miles, have been environmental impact studied to death. All another study would do is keep the people with letters after their name in salaries. Try gleaning info from the previous studies; you would probably be amazed at the money saved, and the knowledge already gathered for your use.

  • Fall Into Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone Kills California Woman   5 years 28 weeks ago

    its been a year since this incident. has anyone heard anything about how her family is doing? I was an aquaintane of Charlotte's. I didn't know her very well but I've always wondered how her family is and if there was a memorial service for her.

  • A Florida Keys National Park? Good Conservation or Florida Bail-out?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Maybe, the area is question should be bought by the BLM and/or the State.

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Sometimes Just coming up a a name for a park can be a problem. For Example, At my Park, Boston Harbor Islands, its very name has become an issue. At first look, the park acts and feels very much like a National Recreational Area but it is called officially a National Park Area ( it is a Recreational Area legally), why? Because every island in the park was used as concertation camps for Native Americians early in our history and their expericence was anything but Recreational, so what do you call the place.

    I believe that this issue has happened at many other parks and may be at the heart of the problem with designations and in turn the number of NPS units.

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 28 weeks ago

    None of these non-NPS administered National Monuments are counted in the National Park System 391-tally, of course. Still, the administrative ambiguity does add an additional layer of confusion. Traveler is going to take up the topic of designation confusion in a future article. In this one we tried to stay focused on the count per se.

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 28 weeks ago

    And don't forget the 'National Monuments' that aren't administered by the National Park Service. The BLM administers fifteen 'national monuments' in eight western states, and according the the BLM website, there are 'national monuments' that are administered by the Forest Service and the Fish & Wildlife Service as well.

    For me, this just adds to the confusion surrounding just how many 'national parks' (general term) there are.

  • Uranium Exploratory Drilling Near Grand Canyon National Park is Halted Pending a Full Environmental Review   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Finally, a clear win for proceeding the correct way, that is, performing due diligence environmental and public reviews before allowing potentially damaging and irreversible activities. Hats off to the organizations and individuals who took the legal action required to prevent the Forest Service from doing as they please. It's a shame that legal action is often necessary to force government agencies to follow standard procedure yet, thankfully, when won, these actions (typically and) ultimately benefit the general public and future generations. I, for one, am confident that this country will do just fine without exploiting such beautiful and sensitive lands.

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Interesting about Charles Pinckney. From the day they first opened the place to the public in the early 90's, that park has been a staple of the local high school history class field trip circuit. On my first trip there, probably back in 1993, the then-undeveloped park was conducting an extensive archaeological dig on the grounds of Snee Farm, and we got a bit of an education on sweetgrass basket weaving from an old woman in a rocking chair. To my uneducated eyes at the time, it was a fascinating experience that certainly stands out as one of the more memorable field trips we took in high school. Having visited there in recent years, I've been much less impressed because the whole enterprise seemed rather pointless for a lack of "tangible history," so to speak. The Charleston area is awash in "tangible" history, all of it worth more than one visit, but Charles Pinckney NHS never seemed to live up to the standard.

  • Grand Canyon Railway May Expand Rail Service to the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    We took the train at the end of June (2008). It was wonderful. My 82 year old Aunt, her niece and myself loved coming back to the Grand Canyon area via the
    train (instead of by car the first time we saw the canyon). It was clean, on time and a pleasure to ride. The live entertainment (wild west show before, singing cowboys on the way to the rim and the "robbery"
    by Cowboy Bandits on the way back) was a favorite of all.

    I agree about the quality of the employee - our guide - came to visit the area and decided to stay. She was perfect. Warm, caring and fun. Very knowledgeable
    and kept us focused (especially not to miss our departure time).

    Not sure of the above post about the loss of the steam locomotives. When we went, they used the diesel one due to mechanical problems that had pulled the
    steam locomotive just the week before.

    I hope their recent experiment with the recent September Sunset Limited was a great success. It provided evening guests with live Jazz Music, appetizers, room to dance
    and a party at the rim. And then, they brought you back the same evening.

    For families - don't forget they offer a Polar Express Run all through the Holidays. Hear the story, see the village, meet Santa and get a gift! Great fun for everyone!

    Packages are always available to ride one train in, stay at Rim and then return on whatever day you decide to return. As a resident and worker in nearby Sedona, AZ, I
    am always letting people know of the treasure 90 minutes north of us!

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 28 weeks ago

    All those decisions made sense at one time - at least for those who took them. The National Park System is not constructed, it grew to the way it is now. The ideas about individual parks and the system as such became entangled into what can only be described as Gordian knot. Maybe a sharp sword would be a useful tool for the next administration.