Recent comments

  • Upon Further Review: Pocahontas meets Hollywood   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Thank you for the article, it made me laugh. I worked at Jamestown last summer and the movie questions were of constant humor for us. So...when did Pocahontas marry John Smith? Really, she was 11? I was fond of that rather large pagoda oak in the civil war earthenwork next to the fort though. Perhaps we will call that the talking tree...

  • UPDATED: Think You Have a Knack for Outdoor Photography? Here's a Chance to Show Your Stuff   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Be sure to read the rules of the contest carefully. From the contest rules

    "All entries become the property of the National Park Service and will not be returned to the entrant. Submission of an entry shall constitute the grant of a non-exclusive, royalty free license to the National Park Service, and its’ sublicensees, to reproduce, display, prepare derivative works, distribute to the public by sale or other transfer, and to utilize the photograph submitted for any governmental purpose, including but not limited to publication on the World Wide Web, interpretive publications, and commercial uses. Entrants further grant to the National Park Service the right of use and to publish their proper
    name and state of residence on the World Wide Web and in print, or in any other media in connection with the Contest. Acceptance of a prize constitutes permission for the National Park Service to use winners’ names and likeness for promotional purposes without additional compensation."

    Make sure you're comfortable with these terms before entering the contest.

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Where is??? Where is ??? The answer is easy. It's not your Top 10 list, it's someone elses. Make up your own Top 10 List and you'll answer your questions!

  • Descendants of Mesa Verde Anasazi Help Produce a Musical Masterpiece   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Mumbo Jumbo, or mumbojumbo, is an English phrase or expression that denotes a confusing or meaningless subject. It is often used as humorous expression of criticism of middle-management and civil service non-speak, and of belief in something considered non-existent by the speaker.*

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mumbo_Jumbo

  • Where To Look For Spring Wildflowers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Thanks for the information. Truly: Thanks!
    Regina

  • A Sad Sign of the Times: NPS Promotes Body Armor Options To Rangers   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Body armor is not a new development in the NPS. It's been around for years - and should have been made widely available to rangers even earlier. Improvements in armor continue to be made, and the equipment provided to rangers should be upgraded at intervals.

    The previous comment by "Anonymous" is well stated. The least the NPS can do is properly equip and train rangers for an often difficult and sometime dangerous job.

    As to some previous comments - there is a significant difference between risks to visitors and risks to rangers by criminals who happen to be in parks - which is why the rangers who have been selected and trained to perform law enforcement duties should be armed.

    As has been covered on multiple posts on a variety of articles on this site, the number of park visitors who are victims of violent crime is extremely low. Even bad people who are either passing through or intentionally visiting parks don't usually accost visitors, because they don't want to attract undue attention and end up in the slammer.

    However, sometimes these bozos do attract the attention of a ranger by doing something stupid - often a traffic violation. In that case, when the individual who may be wanted for another offense realizes that he is now at risk of being identified and arrested, the situation is much different, and the risk to the ranger is sometimes very real. In other cases, the person may not be wanted for a previous crime, but is simply a dangerous idiot who decides he doesn't want to be arrested.

    Park visitors aren't expected to confront drunk or reckless drivers to keep them from harming innocent motorists on park roads, and visitors aren't expected to confront poachers, or drug smugglers, or dope dealers, or .... That's one reason visitors are very rarely at risk in parks - because rangers are dealing with those individuals.

    There's absolutely no way to know how many rangers lives have been saved because the ranger was armed, and the criminal decided not to press his luck, or the ranger was able to keep the upper hand due to training and equipment - including body armor and weapons. However, if they are expected to perform law enforcement duties, rangers should certainly be properly equipped for the job.

    A different "Anonymous" a few comments earlier said

    "The police and law enforcement groups have gotten out of control in this country feeding us all crap "we are being outgunned by the criminals!" they say. Oh yeah? Has ANYONE seen any credible increase in the criminals using, carrying and killing with automatic weapons?

    Since you asked, and obviously need a little information:

    1. Ranger Kris Eggle was shot and killed in 2002 at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona. The murderer was a criminal fleeing Mexican authorities. He reportedly used an AK-47 against the ranger.

    2. Ranger Joe Kolodski was shot from ambush and killed by man reportedly armed with a .308 rifle. The incident occurred on the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1998. Perhaps not an automatic weapon, but clearly superior, long-distance firepower as compared to the ranger's handgun or shotgun.

    Other ranger deaths illustrate the risk of "routine car stops" or other "routine duties."

    3. Ranger Robert McGhee was shot and killed after making a traffic stop at Gulf Islands National Seashore in 1998.

    4. Steve Renard Makuakane-Jarrell was killed in a small park in Hawaii in 1999. Reports said he was contacted by visitors who complained that a man had several large dogs running loose which may have been threatening other visitors. The ranger was shot and killed during the contact with this individual.

    5. Ranger Ken Patrick was shot and killed at Point Reyes National Seashore in 1973. Reports indicate he made a car stop on 3 men suspected of being poachers. They turned out to be violent members of the Black Panther group and opened fire when the ranger approached their vehicle.

    To those who object to the sight of a ranger wearing a firearm - at least one report of the murder of Ranger Patrick states that he never had a chance to draw his weapon in self-defense. Why? He was wearing it out of sight, under his uniform coat. A L.A. Times story about the incident said, "At the time, it was common for rangers to keep their weapons out of sight so as not to frighten park visitors."

    Although everyone still doesn't agree, I'm thankful that policies no longer put that needless burden on rangers.

  • Remains of Professor Who Went Missing in Canyonlands National Park Found in Needles District   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Ray, thanks. - First Anonymous (if I keep coming back here, I may just have to get an ID!)

  • Descendants of Mesa Verde Anasazi Help Produce a Musical Masterpiece   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Would somebody out there please explain the meaning of the term "mumbo jumbo" to Anon? If he is going to be a bigot, he should at least be a literate bigot.

  • National Park Designation is an Unholy Mess   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Cape Hatteras National Seashore in not a bizarre anomaly. Rather Cape Hatteras was the first National Seashore. And the definition assigned to this new type of unit was as follows.

    Primarily a seashore is a recreation area. Therefore in its selection, the boundaries should be placed in such a manner that the maximum variety of recreation is provided. Thus while provision for bathing may be the first consideration of these areas, it must be kept in mind that a far greater number of people will be more interested in using a seashore area for other recreational purposes. It is desirable therefore to provide ample shoreline for all types of beach recreation. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore provides such an area in that there is extensive shoreline for all forms of recreation both for immediate use and for future development.

    http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/unrau-williss/adhi4l.htm

  • "A Wildlife Crisis of Unprecedented Proportions"   5 years 28 weeks ago

    My Laymen's logic has me wondering if it is a coincidence that creatures whose food source is insects are now dying off from fungal diseases.
    I have to wonder what insecticides and other pesticides may have done to alter the immune systems of bats and amphibians.
    I Also wonder if it is merely a coincidence that white Nose Syndrome came on the scene at the same time as West Nile Virus.

  • Descendants of Mesa Verde Anasazi Help Produce a Musical Masterpiece   5 years 28 weeks ago

    More cultural diversity mumbo jumbo staged for the camera.

  • "A Wildlife Crisis of Unprecedented Proportions"   5 years 28 weeks ago

    annfro -

    Thanks for the excellent additional information!

    Re: whether bats are "cute and cuddly," I'll plead guilty to making a guess about the attitudes of the general population, most of whom probably have limited experience with bats. They are fascinating animals, and I hope more people will learn to appreciate them.

  • A Sad Sign of the Times: NPS Promotes Body Armor Options To Rangers   5 years 28 weeks ago

    To be quite honest, I was only on the computer looking for a site that showed a measurement sheet for my own body armor since I am about to go work in a National Park. I believe that one comment above stated "minimalist gear" that the early park rangers wore, and it made me laugh. People have this idea that rangers have always been the nature loving man in the woods. Up until the 1970's, any person who worked for a park could carry a firearm (that would be your friendly park maintenance worker too.) That didn't work out so well in Yosemite, and now only trained LE rangers can carry firearms. Imagine a park where any untrained yahoo can carry a firearm! Oh wait...2nd amendment...not yet.

    I understand how people believe they have a right to their public lands- I agree. However, the park service, much like other land agencies, has a duty to more than one mission. There will always be different groups with different opinions on how they should be allowed to use their land, and there will always be groups that do not use their land appropriately. I myself would like all the protection I can get- if I am going into a drug grow/Domestic/felony car stop/etc....(insert any crime that happens in a city because those parks can be like little cities) I want to be sure that I am protected. I am appointed to protect myself, others, and my park- and I should be given all the equipment I need to accomplish that task. So, I’ll continue to look for that dang body armor measuring sheet.

    Just remember...criminals recreate too.

  • Remains of Professor Who Went Missing in Canyonlands National Park Found in Needles District   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Ray Bane, I love your spirit and spunk...well said! In regards to Mr. Wolff, I'm sure his soul finally found true peace with nature...for nature is bliss.

  • "A Wildlife Crisis of Unprecedented Proportions"   5 years 28 weeks ago

    It goes beyond "irritating" the skin, I have read that necropsies of affected bats show that the fungus has invaded the subcutaneous tissue!

    I have to disagree with the not "cute and cuddly", many bats have very cute little faces, and their fur is softer than most cats and dogs... They are just too tiny to cuddle!

    The WNS fungus (Geomyces sp.) is different than the Chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd) that is affecting amphibians.

    I applaud GRSM for taking such a proactive approach in protecting the bat populations in the park, and I hope other national parks and sites will do the same.

  • Remains of Professor Who Went Missing in Canyonlands National Park Found in Needles District   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Believe me, you will likely have lots to live for well past 65. I am pushing 73, and life continues to be rewarding and challenging. In August my wife and I will celebrate 50 years of marriage. Keep active and involved. Remember, life and living are not necessarily one in the same. Living is what you do with life.

  • "A Wildlife Crisis of Unprecedented Proportions"   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Get out your wallet! I have never seen a doppler of the inside of a cave. Boy oh boy.

  • "A Wildlife Crisis of Unprecedented Proportions"   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I didn't want to go into too much detail in the original article, but the mechanism of the fungus seems to be that it irritates the bats' skin during hibernation. As a result, the bats become active when they should be "sleeping," and burn up food reserves needed to carry them until food (i.e. insects) is available again in the spring. Some scientists believe the actual cause of death is malnutrition and/or dehydration resulting from this abnormal activity.

  • Remains of Professor Who Went Missing in Canyonlands National Park Found in Needles District   5 years 28 weeks ago

    This is a sad story. I hope that when I am 65 years of age (in the not too distant future), that I will have more to live for, much more, than this poor fellow had, apparently. What a way to end one's life, all alone, in a beautiful but desolate canyon, with no one to mourn.

  • "A Wildlife Crisis of Unprecedented Proportions"   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Could be super sonic frequencies that we are starting to create! This might block sonar for them to feed!

  • "A Wildlife Crisis of Unprecedented Proportions"   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Start a study on the effects of our doppler radar systems!

  • Is Winter in Yellowstone National Park Losing Its Allure?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    My husband and I have visited yellowstone many times, in all seasons. By far, our favorite time is winter. We get very little snow where we live, and it is such a treat to have ALL that snow! The uncrowded conditions (except for bison and elk), the thermal features, and landscapes are all superb during that season. However, we have decided not to visit during winter for the past several years. Not because of earthquake scares, but because we do not want to be required to snowmobile with a guide. We always have rented 4-cycle engine snowmobiles (much less stinky and noisy), always stay on marked trails, are courteous to other visitors and wildlife, and we obey all other rules and speed limits. I believe there are other people like us, and I think that in addition to other factors already mentioned, the required use of guides may deter many visitors. Perhaps some of the money wasted by keeping the Cody route open could be put to better use in heightened enforcement of the existing rules. Also, it would make sense if ONLY 4-cycle engines were allowed in the park.

  • Have You Ever Sneaked Into Shiloh National Military Park?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Yes, I think it does add a little extra 'something' to be out in the park, on the anniversary, at about the same time of day as the events that you're learning about took place. I won't be making it to the park for this year's anniversary, but hope to do so next year. If you ever get the chance to attend, I think you'd really enjoy it. They walk you all over the park, along the roads, through the woods, across the creeks and ravines...everywhere. It's great. :)

    One other small note about the Dawn Patrol hike - last year we learned that the genesis for that hike, and by extension all of the anniversary hikes, is a section in the book, "Confederates in the Attic," that deals with Shiloh. In the book, Tony Horwitz talks about being at the park on the anniversary, around sunup or earlier, and running into other folks out there doing the same thing.

    From what we were told, this was news to the park rangers, who figured if people were going to be out there that early on the anniversary, maybe they should be out there with them. That's how the Dawn Patrol hike eventually came about, and from that, the idea for the anniversary hikes in general. Thought that was kind of a neat backstory to the hikes.

    Talking about sneaking into the park before it opens, several years back I walked into the park from the campground where I was staying, just across Highway 22, at about 4:30 in the morning. I walked in through Wood's Field, but beyond knowing what field I was in, I literally could not see my hand in front of my face, or tell exactly which way I was headed. I finally stopped until it was light enough to see.

    When it finally started to lighten up a bit, I realized that I was standing right beside the marker for Hardcastle's picket post, on the edge of Fraley Field. I was maybe two or three feet from it, and did not know it was there. Lucky I didn't walk smack into it.

    It put me in mind of what happened on Peabody's patrol the morning of the battle. The patrol left camp at about 3:00 a.m., but the men stopped before they reached the Corinth Road, for the same reason I stopped in Wood's Field. It was too blasted dark to see. That's why it took them two hours to cover less than a mile that morning.

    So, being out there early like that can give you an appreciation for what they were dealing with. Walking across the terrain in the park can do so as well. That was a tough place to fight a battle.

    Perry

  • "A Wildlife Crisis of Unprecedented Proportions"   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I wonder if the fungus killing the bats is r/t the one killing frogs? We must remember this IS an evolving world.

  • Is Winter in Yellowstone National Park Losing Its Allure?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    While I agree about the snowmobiles, there's a lot of good skiing and snowshoeing in Yellowstone that keeps you pretty far from snowmobiles. We really love skiing in the park; the snow is often so much better than it is - say, in the Bozeman area, where the winter was awfully mild.

    As far as earthquake reports ... it was stunning just how many people came to my own Web site when that started happening, even though to most locals, it was barely news, barely talked about, and barely mentioned at any length in local press. The reason, of course, is that people with experience could see that there was a hysteria that went beyond any sensible risk analysis of the situation, and people are fascinated by disasters and dooms day scenarios. However, based on the number of people that showed such an interest in this during the few weeks that the swarm was going strong, I'm not surprised if that hurt numbers. It would also explain why automobile traffic remained strong while tourist travel (that relies much more on snowmobiles and snowcoaches) was weaker; it wouldn't explain why car traffic got weaker as the winter went on (that seems to me to be the economy more than anything).

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World