Recent comments

  • Should the National Park Service Rescue the National D-Day Memorial?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I hope the NPS can avoid taking on this memorial, but if it happens, it certainly will not be the first time politicians have forced the Service to take on other peoples' "problems" or surplus "assets." Although it has the best of intentions and a subject deserving recognition, the project has a host of issues, primarily many hallmarks of very poor planning. The NPS should not be in the business of rescuing failure unless it wants to interpret poor planning practices. If our taxes must go into this project, I would much rather see the Obama government stimulate it with a $50,000,000 one-time gift for an endowment to be managed by the foundation. It's unfortunate that the memorial appears locked in by development because it would have made a perfect marriage with a new national cemetery. With 300,000 or more WWII veterans passing away each year, new cemeteries have been established in recent years due to the high demand. The association with an active cemetery would likely have given the memorial a chance at a sustainable future.

  • House Approves Measure to Direct North Cascades National Park to Stock Barren Lakes. What Do You Think?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    It helps to understand the details of this bill. Of the hundreds of lakes in the park and ninety-some with a history of stocking only 42 would have a continued stocking program. No new lakes would be stocked. This came about as a result of a 12-year study of the effects of stocked fish and a we subsaquent EIS. They found that trout stocked in low densities that cannot reproduce has no measurable effect on native biota including salamanders.

    Where harm occurs is in lakes with excessive populations of fish. Typically this happens when trout over-reproduce but excessive stocking can have the same effect. In NCNP they will eliminate reproducing populations and would stock only non-reproducing fish in low numbers.

    This isn't being forced on the park. The preferred alternative of the EIS allowed fish stocking but asked for clarification from Congress to continue the practice as was promised during the formation of the park.

  • Should the National Park Service Rescue the National D-Day Memorial?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    This is America, Vicki. You don't have to be a veteran or public servant to publicly express an opinion about where, how, and when the federal government should spend our money.

  • Should the National Park Service Rescue the National D-Day Memorial?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    How old are you and what have you done in service to your country that gives you the right to call this memorial insignificant?? The efforts of the young men and women that died voluntarily gave you every freedom and liberty you enjoy. I would think that you would show some appreciation for what you have-thanks to them.
    With all the pork-barrel spending and waste that goes on in government I would rather fund this memorial than pay the salaries of Congress!

  • Running Lava Falls In Grand Canyon National Park: What Would Major Powell Think?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Excellent question, Anonymous. If anyone does know, please pass word on to the Traveler. It would be a great addition to our content.

  • It’s a Bear! Everybody Get Behind the Ranger!!   5 years 28 weeks ago

    i have been up close and personal with black bears in the wild,but that is more than i would want. if they are not afraid that is not a good sign.

  • Running Lava Falls In Grand Canyon National Park: What Would Major Powell Think?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I am wondering if anyone knows of a website or blog that people can contact if they are interested in rowing on a private trip which may have some space available.

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I was paddling the exact same route this weekend. I had no prior knowledge of this incident. The portage is completely ambiguous to first time travelers. We had a map, we knew the portage was to come up soon. We tried to paddle to the right bank as soon as we saw it ahead, but the current was too strong and drug two of our canoes directly into the rapids.

    We were lucky enough to have survived. We also hiked the rugged climb up to the Leatherwood trail and back to the camp after one of our boats was destroyed by the rocks.

    Whether the portage take out sign has to be replaced monthly, weekly or hourly, the effort would be worth it. The rapids come up quickly and without any notice to first time travelers.

  • Running Lava Falls In Grand Canyon National Park: What Would Major Powell Think?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I don't think oars vs. motors is the real conflict, both means of transport have an impact. The conflict is love vs. stewardship. The point is to get people out there enjoying our parks and still minimize the impact, regardless of their preferred method of travel or use of the parks facilities. The NPS needs to set responsible limits. I think overall they've done good job at most of the parks I've visited. There will always be conflict over what is considered reasonable/responsible use.

    By the way, I was on an oar-powered raft trip in 1993 in the canyon. When a motorized raft went by us, I knew everyone on that raft would've switched places with me in a heartbeat.

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

    I don't want to beat this point into the ground, RAH and Anon, but please indulge me. Travel-related leisure activity ceased being a luxury in America many decades ago. Today, Americans consider leisure travel to be necessary for "a reasonable standard of well-being" in pretty much the same way that automobiles, dishwashers, cable TV, and cell phones -- all once considered luxuries -- are now viewed as ordinary elements of the American lifestyle. That's why it's wrong to say that you spend a luxury dollar when you spend a dollar on travel-related leisure. As Anon has aptly pointed out, you spend a discretionary dollar. That is a hugely important distinction. To acknowledge this is not to deny the existence of a luxury component of visitor industry. It is represented by higher-end goods and services, including such things as costly lodging in some national park-based hotels.

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

    The issue (reality) of oil production limitations and its impacts on our industrialized world has obvious implications to national parks. Oil production in the U.S., once the world's leader in petroleum, peaked out around 1970, and has been in decline since. Until recently, Mexico was the third largest supplier of oil to the U.S.. Now, however, it is experiencing dramatic production declines and will soon be a net importer of oil. The same is true for a host of oil producing nations, including those of western Europe. Total world oil production has been essentially flat since 2005, despite historic record prices. We now use about 3 barrels of oil for every new barrel that is being discovered. Virtually all major oil producers acknowledge that the days of cheap oil are over. The oil that remains in the ground is largely more difficult and expensive to produce and often is of a lower grade. It is not politics that will force us to make changes in the way we live; it is geological reality.

    Park visitation is a child of the era of cheap and abundant energy, particularly liquid fuels. People thought nothing of jumping in the family car and driving hundreds or even thousands of miles for recreational sightseeing. Accommodations for visitors in and around the parks were designed around the use of private cars and, in some cases, the need to control their impacts. We now are entering a new era of transportation and life in general. Circumstances will force park visitors, commercial operations and management to make substantial adjustments. Instead of the large numbers of private vehicles entering a park, greater numbers of people will almost certainly arrive via bus or, hopefully, a resurrected national and local rail system. Chances are that there will be fewer visitors arriving from longer distances. Camping will probably become more popular. The RV is likely to disappear. The list goes on, but the basic message is clear. We have passed a national and global inflection point in regard to energy and our economy, and there is no going back to the "good ole days" of carefree motoring.

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

    "The visitor industry will have to adapt as people are forced to move to more efficient and less expensive means of travel."

    "Forced"? As in through government coercion? It certainly won't be economics doing the forcing; driving is cheaper per passenger mile--even when factoring in externalities--than other options. For most trips, cars are still less expensive and more convenient than the alternatives, so they are likely to remain the dominant form of American transportation for a long time.

    I would agree that cars are incompatible with the Organic Act's preservation mandate and that cars and roads should be eliminated from national parks. Not sure if Ray is one of the many who decry automobile use everywhere except in national parks.

    "Tourism is a free enterprise industry..."

    Tourism in national parks is not a free enterprise industry; it's a government-granted monopoly, "a form of coercive monopoly by which a government grants exclusive privilege to a private individual or firm to be the sole provider of a good or service; potential competitors are excluded from the market by law, regulation, or other mechanisms of government enforcement."

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

    I do believe Bob misunderstood the definition of "luxury" dollar. Discretionary dollar is more appropriate. The "people of ordinary means" have fewer discretionary dollars to spend and tourism is a discretionary pursuit.

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

    RAH, your comments typically provide a lot to agree with, but once in a while you drop in a real zinger. Like this one:

    Tourism is a free enterprise industry and it depends on the luxury dollar.

    The tourism industry depends on the luxury dollar? I think you might want to put a sector qualifier or two in there. As an industry, tourism in America (and in developed countries around the world) thrives on money spent by people of ordinary means.

  • With 391 Units In the National Park System, You'd Think TripAdvisor Could Find 10 It Liked   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I agree with Dottie. Despite the fact you're not going to be snippy about the TripAdvisor article, you instead get snippy about Kurt's comments. At the risk of further annoying Anonymous, I would have to say further that the TripAdvisor list is actually an incompetent one, and calls into question the overall credibility of TripAdvisor itself. A list of the Top 10 National Parks where two of the ten are not even National Parks? That's like calling Lake Champlain one of the Great Lakes.

    I haven't even been to that many National Parks, and could still come up with a better list. The TripAdviser list is probably compiled from the only 10 locations that author had been to himself/herself.

    Anonymous, good thing you're anonymous. You're probably either with TripAdvisor or have a weird chip on your shoulder.

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

    Tourism is a free enterprise industry and it depends on the luxury dollar. The luxury dollar is disappearing due to unemployment.

    NPS lodge rates are very expensive. I never could afford them and tent camped instead.

    Deals that combine lodging and food are a good idea. I always heard that Las Vegas is cheap because the food is cheap to allow the gambling dollar.

    If the NPS wants to survive they have to accommodate the tourist and sport enthusiast. Cheap lodging and tours are a good idea for tourist. Allowing sport enthusiast to use the NPS is another.

    The last 20 years of so have been the domain of the tourist who has tried to limit the use of parks by tourists and sport enthusiast, they rarely succeeded but the arguments illustrated on this site show that many want the use restricted to only a few rather than the many like the mountain bikers. The mountain bikers if their numbers will increase will get greater demand power and the NPS will accommodate them.

    I hope the NPS does succeed in maintaining enough tourists to survive and maintain the funding for maintenance. The NPS should be aware that the more development increases maintenance costs.

    With the debt getting to be so high for each person and new child there is little ability to continue high funding the next 20 years since the feds are spending the future dollars now.

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

    The days of two or three people encased in three-to-four thousand pounds of metal and plastic cruising carefree around the country are fading. It is simply an unsustainable system.

    Then why is Government Motors proposing to force the manufacture of "green" cars for everyone's future? I agree with Frank that the free market will dictate the future, as it does in all things. The days of believing what the government says are fading. That debt laden monstrosity on the Potomac already represents an unsustainable system. Just ask world currency traders and the Chinese. The time has come for a new paradigm and y'all better be ready because it's coming to a former superpower near you.

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

    Frank C, the following is a link to a study commissioned by the U.S. Dept. of Energy. It does a good job of presenting the energy challenges facing the nation and describes the urgency of taking immediate mitigative actions to avert a crippling energy shortage in the near future. There are many other authoritative studies produced by respected energy experts that reach the same basic conclusions.

    http://www.netl.doe.gov/publications/others/pdf/Oil_Peaking_NETL.pdf

    The end of cheap oil has important implications for national parks, as well as virtually every other aspect of modern life. The days of two or three people encased in three-to-four thousand pounds of metal and plastic cruising carefree around the country are fading. It is simply an unsustainable system. The visitor industry will have to adapt as people are forced to move to more efficient and less expensive means of travel.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angel's Landing   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I climbed AL about six years ago. I was at a conference in Las Vegas and made a trip out of it. I arrived alone and randomly selected this hike without knowledge of what it entails. Wow what a shock!!! I got to scouts lookout and nearly chickened out but then I saw older and fatter people decsending safely I got my courage to go up. I am so glad I did. What a spectacular experience!!! Now I discover that I randomly conquered one of the most beautiful and challenging climbs in the national parks. I am very satisfied with myself and my choice of hike. Just be cautious and courteous and you should be fine.

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

    "The era of the private automobile is in decline."

    True. GM now stands for Government Motors.

    "Oil supplies are tightening..."

    Not true. June 3 headline on CNNMoney: Oil sinks after surprise supply jump.

    "...and the cost of driving will once again increase."

    Rising oil prices correlate to the decline in the US Dollar, and since oil is traded in USD, a weaker dollar (due to debt load and inflation of the monetary supply) equates to higher oil prices.

    "If park tourism is to survive it must adjust to the transportation reality unfolding."

    You mean a politicized version of reality?

    "That means a shift back to mass transit, such as busses and passenger trains and adapting visitor accommodations accordingly."

    Adapting visitor accommodations accordingly? What does that even mean?

    "Trying to resuscitate the automobile based model is ultimately a waste of time and resources."

    Says central economic planners. The free market might suggest otherwise and is the true measure of efficiency of time and resources, not government bureaucrats lacking the proper tools or knowledge.

  • These Big Bird Sightings at Grand Canyon Are the Real Deal   5 years 28 weeks ago

    This evening around 5 to 5:30 pm,As my daughter in law and I were driving in West Jordan ,Utah I Looked up in the sky at the dark clouds forming and saw a massive pure black bird.It was flying at a high elevation and slowly descending.As it glided down slowly it would flap and then glide more.I was shocked at the size and looked around at the traffic but I seemed to be the only one that noticed it.I was not close enough to see it but it was huge and we wondered if there were condors in the area.It had to have had a wingspan of nearly 10 feet or so.It was the size of a small aircraft,I was just wondering if anyone else in this area has seen the same thing,My daughter in law says nearly 10 years ago she was outside at night and saw something very similar

  • With 391 Units In the National Park System, You'd Think TripAdvisor Could Find 10 It Liked   5 years 28 weeks ago

    To Anonymous of June 6, why did you bother commenting? Your Comment is more irritating than the original article, and quit blasting Kurt for blasting that article. And if anyone is insolent about all this, it is definitely you. I agree with Kurt. If TripAdvisor can't get it right, then they shouldn't be advising.

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

    I live in Hawaii and can testify that our tourist-based economy is indeed in dire straits. Visitor numbers are down about 23% from a year ago. Tourism is an industry that reflects general consumer confidence, and that is not a pleasant picture right now. The sudden price spike in the price of oil last year followed by the real estate and financial meltdown was a one-two punch to tourism. For those involved in providing commercial services to visitors to the national parks and for the communities that depend on tourist spending the downturn in the economy is proving to be disaster. Here in Hawaii property prices are falling, unemployment is increasing, tax revenues are declining, and airline service has been reduced. Scenes such as these are playing out in other tourist dependent regions across the country.

    The era of the private automobile is in decline. Oil supplies are tightening, and the cost of driving will once again increase. If park tourism is to survive it must adjust to the transportation reality unfolding. That means a shift back to mass transit, such as busses and passenger trains and adapting visitor accommodations accordingly. Trying to resuscitate the automobile based model is ultimately a waste of time and resources.

  • SUV Goes Over The Rim Near Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Don't worry. We'll all pay for it through our insurance. That's the way it works; an income transfer to the stupid and neglectful.

  • With 391 Units In the National Park System, You'd Think TripAdvisor Could Find 10 It Liked   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Yes, I also read that article and I didn't agree with them but I'm not going to be snippy about it. If you already called and spoke with them, why continue the battle? This article has irritated me even more than the original. Stop being so insolent, instead of trying to highlighter their faults take the higher path and create your own list. I know, I know you already have multiple lists of national parks you adore, so move on and give me some real information on the parks.