Recent comments

  • The New National Parks Index: 2009-2011 is Now Available Online   5 years 28 weeks ago

    And, it's got a mistake... (well, at least one mistake)...

    Death Valley is not the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere! That was *so* 1995.

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

    The NPS folks do a GREAT JOB! The problem is that there has been an increase in individual stupidity, lack of hike preparation, and inability to recognize personal safety concerns.

  • Heat Claims the Life of Boy Stranded for Five Days in Isolated Area of Death Valley National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Most unfortunate and tragic incident to say the least. Perhaps a little education by watching some of these outdoor survival shows could possibly enhance ones knowledge on the practicality and basic application of outdoor survival skills. I keep thinking too many Americans are watching silly sitcom shows and getting fat like a couch potato, instead should be watching something more worthwhile like a good documentary film on outdoor camping skills and etiquette. A good book or two on such matters could possibly save ones life. Being outdoors is a total learning experience but don't the learn the hard way and be foolish enough not to know where your water resources are and basic needs.

  • Flash Flood Leads to Rescue of 200+ Campers at Ozark National Scenic Riverways   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Hi. I was there and from what I seen is that it was every man for him self,but there where a few thats was helping each other. As for as the Rangers they showed up to late and when they did show up it was to late for the people in the 100's campsite,they where the last to get out and had to be boated out.On that note, they (Rangers) need to think about getting some kind of air boats just because the prop driven boats are not good when props get damage and it puts people in risk of drowning. The first boat in had that same problem and had 3 young lady's in the boat and the boat died and they where pushed againest a tree and brush, we thought that they where going to be washed down river. Now for the Rangers that showed up they mainly was trying to get the people out of the upper level out first', as for the Ranger that was suppose to be in the campground was not there and there should be someone there at all times just for this raeson. I had one of the Rangers tell me to go on and do what we had to do and come back in 2 hrs, what was there to do when are car was still in the campground you could not go no where except walk up to the general store and the reason why we could not enter to get are cars so others would not steel others camping stuff,come on there was not anything there anybody wanted and most of the stuff has had already been washed down river. As for the warning system, a joke. If that storm was any closer it could had been worse and lives could have been lost. I've been going there since the 60's and this is the first for me. My suggestin is that if it rains,someone should stay awake and do not camp in lower end of campgrounds. Now that has been said could I get some pic's of that night from some of you that was there if you have them. Thanks and have a safe trip.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    If your ever in Maui, Hawaii try this one. I love the 12 mile Sliding sands trail to Halemalu cabin and up the switchbacks. If you do it you need to leave early in the day. I don't recommend an out and back on sliding sands as its too hard to go back up. Bring lunch, layered clothing, lots of water and suncreen for your neck/face unless you want to be a redneck. hiking at 8,500 feet can be a challenge so make sure you are up for the challenge. What you can do is park at the visitor center. When you finish the trail walk thru the parking lot cross the street and walk down the short trail to hiker pick up. Most times it shouldn't talk long to hitch a ride as it is a posted spot for pick ups and hitchhiking is legal here in Hawaii. Any questions feel free to let meknow as I used to lead this hike as a tour guide I did it 25 times or so. Enjoy!!

  • Upon Further Review: "But My GPS Unit Said Go Thataway..."   5 years 28 weeks ago

    My husband and I recently went on a vacation in the Lewis and Clark NF in MT and we had bought a Garmin GPS jsut for our trip, so we could find trials and mark waypoints and such. But I will tell you, they aren't always correct in marking trails-many of the roads/trails we drove on either were way off or was a hiking trial or even a fence line! It was a good thing that we brought with topo maps and NFS maps from the ranger station in White Sulfur Springs. But even those maps can be decieving-we drove up to Yogo Pk (8801ft) on a trail marked as a 'highway legal vehicle" trail only. Try more like an ATV trail/horseback trail. We ended up at the top of Yogo Pk, with a sheer cliff on loose rock in our Xterra. So the moral of this story is: Be prepared! lol

  • Glacier National Park Officials Decide to Remove Grizzly Bear Family From Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    In defense of R. Stefancik: many pathology and even general biology programs do not require courses in population genetics or evolution, and some such courses are badly taught & superficial.

    The general concept is local adaptation: geographically disjunct populations may have genes for locally adaptive traits. You generally don't want to mix genes across populations and thus risk losing locally-adapted genes.

  • Is an International U.S.-Mexico Park At Big Bend Moving Closer to Reality?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    You are welcome. I have been to the top of Casa Grande and enjoyed it as much as I enjoy reading The National Parks Traveler!! Keep up the good work.
    N P N G
    Antonio..

  • A Life-Saving Mission Two Miles High in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Thanks for highlighting this event and especially detailing the role of the Rocky Mountain Nature Association and the philanthrophy that helped save this man's life. It is very rare to hear about the work of "quiet conservationists" like friends groups or cooperating associations or donors who help support our public lands. The numerous donors who helped purchase this equipment for just such an emergency should be very proud of this accomplishment.

  • Is an International U.S.-Mexico Park At Big Bend Moving Closer to Reality?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Antonio -

    Good catch! You're right; according to a "Big Bend Fact Sheet" on the park website, the correct elevation for Casa Grande is 7,325 feet.
    I was guilty of copying a caption from the DOI press release without verifying the info. I'll correct the caption on this story.

    Thanks for the correction.

  • Heat Claims the Life of Boy Stranded for Five Days in Isolated Area of Death Valley National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I think one of the symptoms of dehydration/heat stroke includes delirium, so it's possible that there was a loss of sensible thought. She also could have panicked, especially seeing her child in distress. I don't think eating the dog would really have helped, since they probably needed more water than they had and a cooked dog doesn't yield that much water. I might have not given the dog water over giving my son the water, but that's neither here nor there.

    Plus she was hispanic, and if English was her second language, there may have been some difficulties there, since I've noticed that a lot of warnings are English only.

    Staying with the vehicle has generally been the better strategy when lost. It's a bigger target to find, and it's always easier to find a still target than a moving target.

    I agree that proper planning could have prevented the tragedy. People are too reliant on technology, and assume that nature is tamer than it really is. We see people walk up to alligators all the time, and warn them that those critters certainly could outrun them at that close distance. GPSs are a tool, but are not infalliable. It's like relying on outdated maps. We've had enough troubles with bad routings in urban areas, no way would I trust my GPS in a rural area.

  • Is an International U.S.-Mexico Park At Big Bend Moving Closer to Reality?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    The elevation of Casa Grande in Beg Bend National Park is much more than 5400 ft. The Chisos Basin Campgroung is at least 5200ft.

  • Upon Further Review: "But My GPS Unit Said Go Thataway..."   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Vehicle GPS has gotten people in trouble when they failed to put their BS meter in gear. My GPS unit always gives a particular route from my house which I know isn't the ideal way to get to the freeway. Sometimes it takes forever for it to get a GPS lock - maybe up to 5 minutes.

    Apparently the mother whose kid died at the edge of Death Valley was solely relying on a GPS for navigation.

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    My wife and our two friends arrived at Scout's Landing about 45 minutes after her fall. We passed the family going back down on Walter's Wiggles but did not learn of the fall until we reached Scout's Landing. Needless to say, we did not continue up to Angel's Landing. Our heartfelt condolences goes out to Nancy and her family. This was truly a tragic accident. It made our group and many other hikers that morning keenly aware of how precious and fleeting life is.

  • Volunteers Needed to Help Monitor Sea Turtle Nests at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Renardo, Call the number in the last graf, 252-216-6892.

  • Volunteers Needed to Help Monitor Sea Turtle Nests at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   5 years 28 weeks ago

    how do you become a volunteer.i am very interested,love sea turtles and have some working knownledge and free time.

  • Is an International U.S.-Mexico Park At Big Bend Moving Closer to Reality?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I for one would love to see wilderness areas, parks, conservation areas...whatever you want to call them established without regard for the international border. R. Stefancik excellent story of the trinkets sold out of a basket on the honor system shows what is possible with the vast majority of us humans regardless of location of birth.

    However, another factor sometimes dominates our reality perpetrated by a very small human faction. While visiting Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument along the US/Mexico border we came across the Kris Eggle Visitors Center. We were curious about who Kris Eggle was and how the visitor center came to be named for him and was enlightened by a sign and tribute outside the center. The story is a sad one as well as maddening...Kris was killed in the line of duty, performing as a NPS law enforcement ranger by thugs of a drug cartel.

    I only add this to the discussion as a concern to be considered...as a reality that must be faced in that region of the country at this point in time. A sad reality for us all...on both sides of the border.

  • Web Page Provides Keys To Finding Olympic National Park's Waterfalls   5 years 28 weeks ago

    That's a cool offering. Marymere is pretty easy, since there's a well-trodden trail right to it. Some of the others can be a bit dicey. I notice they don't point out Service Falls up at the head of the Queets Valley. Gorgeous, big waterfall, but supposedly only a couple people have ever managed to see it from the ground. Olympic certainly has some remote attractions.

  • Is an International U.S.-Mexico Park At Big Bend Moving Closer to Reality?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    “Building upon our shared history of ecosystem and species conservation, the plan will develop a model of bi-national cooperation for the conservation and enjoyment of shared ecosystems for current and future generations,” said Secretary Salazar.

    A key word to me in that sentence is "enjoyment". Currently, it is impossible for the people of Mexico and the US to easily enjoy the other country's portion of the region because there is no longer a border crossing within Big Bend NP. The nearest crossing is at Presidio, TX., some distance of about 40 miles from the park, as I recall. The residents of Mexico across the Rio Grande from Big Bend would greatly benefit from tourists stopping over to "enjoy" their part of this incredible wilderness. One of my lasting memories of my most recent visit to Big Bend was a spot on a hiking trail near a canyon (I won't identify the canyon in order to protect the Mexican "criminal") where someone from Mexico was crossing the river and leaving home made trinkets on the side of the trail with a basket for tourists to leave money on an honor system. I was pleased to purchase a few wire scorpions and leave some money behind. I was more pleased to see about $30 that had accumulated without someone from our side pocketing the money for themselves.

  • Glacier National Park Officials Decide to Remove Grizzly Bear Family From Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    @ R. Stefancik:
    With your excellent background you should be able to deduce yourself why it would be harmful to move a Rocky Mountains Grizzly to Alaska, where she could reproduce. Small hint: We are talking about a protected specie in protected areas.

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I was hiking the morning this happened, you are warned about the skill level it takes to do this hike. There were many children on the hike ..It was a simple slip and fall, so you must be careful..all we need is MORE government telling us what we can and cannot do....

  • National Park Mystery Photo 12 Revealed: It's Voyageurs National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    As long as we are talking about Voyagers NP and the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness, I would at least like to give praise to the Canadian Quetico Canoe Wilderness just over the border from the Boundary Waters. The Canadians issue fewer backcountry permits and the 3 times I visited there, I found a much more serous wilderness experience. I honestly saw more moose than I saw groups of humans, as opposed to the Boundary Waters where I saw an average of 5 groups/day and very little wildlife. In my three 1 week treks in the Quetico, I never saw more than 3 other groups the entire trek. Access to the Quetico can be made through border crossings from the Boundary Waters. I believe the outfitters serving the Boundary Waters in Ely, MN can provide the necessary forms to send in to the Canadians to reserve a permit in advance. I would forwarn you though that to get into the Quetico requires a couple of serious portages of more than 200 rods. But is is well worth the effort because those portages scare away a lot of casual groups.

  • Glacier National Park Officials Decide to Remove Grizzly Bear Family From Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    MRC,

    Thanks for your reply. As a pathologist who has studied biology, genetics, and zoology while an undergrad, I was most of the time led to believe that genetic diversity was a good thing. Do you know of specific instances where the introduction of genetic "strangers" has harmed a wild population? It would seem that inbreeding would lead to more dire consequences as harmful recessive traits would be more likely to manifest themselves in a given population. I know this has been an issue with the wolf populations at Isle Royale NP, but I also realize that is a much smaller population. Just wondering.

  • Upon Further Review: "But My GPS Unit Said Go Thataway..."   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I've experienced first-hand the shortcomings of GPS at Chaco Canyon. My Garmin Unit pointed me to a site that was one hour and half away from the real place. If it was not for a road sign, I would not have found it. As a result, I arrived too late and missed the light.

    Tuan.

    National Parks images

  • Upon Further Review: "But My GPS Unit Said Go Thataway..."   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Thanks for the very interesting and well-written piece, Jim. I'm enough of a Luddite that I probably wouldn't use a GPS, even if I could afford one. I'm guessing spare batteries might be worth carrying. I'm also ancient enough to have made topographic maps the old-fashioned way with a surveyor's plane-table. The suggestions to also carry map & compass are very sensible, but one must be on guard with these as well. Metal objects and occasionally local geology can deflect compass needles. The generally excellent USGS topos produced from air photos can have errors ranging from misnamed and mislocated cultural features to incorrect drainage patterns due to floods, glacial advance/retreat, and very deep snowpacks present when the photos were taken. I've also seen pranks & vandalism regarding signs, even a few incorrectly placed by the Park Service.

    I think it was Mark Twain who wrote that ignorance is not as dangerous as what you think you know that just
    ain't so.