Recent comments

  • At Gateway Arch, a Two-Week Blackout Benefits Migrating Birds   5 years 31 weeks ago

    As a former long-time Park Ranger at JEFF and a native to the area, I think that turning out the lights is more than symbolic. The lights at the Arch are directed UP at the building and, consequently straight into sky, while the other lights in downtown and in most towns is shining down to the ground for our benefit. So by removing the spotlights from the sky, the Park Service should have exactly the results that are intended.

  • Seasons Greetings! It's the Autumnal Equinox -- or Maybe the September Equinox   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Enough of this political correctness already!!! I don't even like the term! If they are worried about offending someone, then they should just shut their mouths! There is always someone, somewhere who will be offended no matter what is decided or said so just be yourself and use a little bit of respect, common sense, and decency. Enough said.

  • Dog Owner Cited After Pit Bull Attacks a Deer at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    The moral of this story is **very** important, I personally have gotten tired of running other people's trouble seeking dogs off while I'm hiking in the smokies with my 3 german shepherd dogs (on leash).

    However ... 100 pound Pitt Bull? Give me a break! I'm so tired of every Tom, Dick, and Hairy dog that I read about (causing trouble) being automatically referred to as a "Pitt Bull". I want to see a picture of this beast if he is truly a Pitt, because 100# is just astounding! I've trained and rescued/rehabilitated well over 90 Pitt Bull type dogs ... funny that I've never come across one this gigantic. Let's not do this breed any more injustice and just remember that a dog is a dog is a dog. Pitts are no more monsters than an untrained Labrador is a monster (and yes, I've met my share of mean-as-snake Labs), but they do unfortunately attract ill-intentioned owners as well as owners that do not have the skills to handle this strong, athletic, hard-headed breed (but think it would "be cool" to own a "tough" dog).

    For the love of dogs, anyone with 1/2 a brain cell should be able to remember that the media is all about *flair* ... unfortunately for the Pitts, it's just not as flashy of a story when it reads "Retriever Mix Mauls So and So"

  • The National Parks, Our American Landscape   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Kurt,
    You can never have to many coffee table books with pictures of National Parks. My favorite park to take photos in, is always Yellowstone. I was in the park in 1988 during the fires. Wish I took more pics but was able to get some spectacular shots of fire plumes from the top of Washburn. I also got great photos of wild life in many different trips of Trumpeter Swans and their babies on the river in front of Mt. Haines. I did get great shots of Grizzlies after I went digital off the road near Washburn in 2003. We also experienced the changes in coyote from the wolf introduction. We had a coyote beg at our vehicle for food (we knew better than to support their habit). This made for a very interesting close up shots that rival the best. I use many of my National Park photos for my screen saver that can bring up great personal memories and make me long for new ones. As for landscape pics, the variety in Yellowstone is wide (Bechler corner water falls were awesome). But I also enjoy any National Park in Utah. Bryce and Zion (the narrows hike) the best.
    I will check out the book but I suggest your own Photo album can always get your mind to remember your love of the Parks best.

  • New “Roots in the River” Documentary Chronicles Congaree National Park History   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I had a chance to preview the documentary - don't miss it! Betsy and her team have woven together quite a unique story...after viewing you'll want to hit the road to the CNP!

  • Dog Owner Cited After Pit Bull Attacks a Deer at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I have to say that the pit bull is getting a bad reputation. No dog is dangerous to people unless it's taught to be. Pit bulls aren't anymore likely to attack a person than any other dog. The different with them is that they were bred to have very strong jaws and don't let go. This is why they're used in dog fighting. I've been around dogs my entire life and have never had a problem with a pit bull, but I have been attacked by a german shepard, a dalmation, and a lab. Any dog is likely to go after an animal though because they are hunters...hence the leash law in parks.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Dog Owner Cited After Pit Bull Attacks a Deer at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    AT Hiker -

    Your comment brought to mind an experience I had while hiking a trail in a park in Alaska last summer. In that location, the understory vegetation was thick and I was remaining alert for bears, so it would be an understatement to say I was startled as I approached a trail junction and caught the motion of a large black animal out of the corner of my eye. It only took a second or so to realize that the 4-legged beast headed toward me at high speed was a very large (and fortunately friendly) dog, but I could have avoided a test of my cardiac health if the owner had kept his dog on a leash!

  • Dog Owner Cited After Pit Bull Attacks a Deer at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    This does not surprise me. My husband and I have traveled to GSMNP for 35 years and there is always a number of people who just think the rules don't apply to them. When was the last time you read the headline that the owner of a pitbull was mauled by that same pitbull? I know that any dog has the nature to chase another animal, but I don't know of anyother breed that makes the headlines more often. As said above a small child could have been the target in the campground. While hiking the trails in the Smokies I have run into many people who have their dogs with them and when the dog sees me starts barking...a natural defense of his master. "Oh, he won't bite" the owner says....well, I beg to differ....he has teeth plus he doesn't know me and I don't know him. As a responsible pet owner please follow the rules for everyone's sake.

  • Dog Owner Cited After Pit Bull Attacks a Deer at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Brilliant. Just what I want -- a 100-lb pit bull mix roaming unleashed in the forest with my kids. And yet people are frenzied over people with carry permits bringing (gasp) their guns with them. I need it to protect my child when this idiot's pit bull comes after us.

  • Yellowstone Grizzlies Are Back on the Threatened Species List   5 years 31 weeks ago

    This is the same judge who has suggested in a recent ruling that he's likely to rule in favor or re-listing the wolf in Montana and Idaho, though he did refuse to stop the wolf hunt that is now ongoing in those states.

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

  • Cape Lookout National Seashore To Mark 150th Anniversary of Lighthouse This Fall   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I suggest you send this information to the Superintendent of the park. You can use the contact information you find at www.nps.gov Simply click on Cape Lookout and go to "contact us." I am sure the park's historian will want to talk to you.

    Rick Smith

  • Cape Lookout National Seashore To Mark 150th Anniversary of Lighthouse This Fall   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I am a descendants of at least two of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse Keepers and Cape Lookout Life Saving Station.

    M. J. Davis (Melvin Jennings Davis, Jr.) is my Great-grandfather. (Ruth Ann Davis Nelson (his daughter) my Grandmother)
    Thomas R. Nelson (Thomas Ruffin Nelson) is my Grandfather. (son-in-law of Melvin Jennings Davis, Jr. and husband of his daughter Ruth Ann Davis Nelson.

    There are several others on the Keepers and Life Savers list that are related as uncles and cousins.

    I received notice of this event from one of my nephews , Tommy Hinson, and his mother, Dorothy Nelson Lynch, one of my sisters from Beaufort, N.C., We have four other sisters with this same relation: MaryRuth Nelson Potter (Beaufort, NC), Margaret Nelson Willis Rodecker (Beaufort, NC), Nancy Nelson Hill Babbitt (Atlantic, NC), Nancy Nelson Grubb (Phoenix, AZ), and me, Elizabeth Caroline Nelson "Betsy" Bykerk (Prescott, AZ).

    Our Father is Thomas Harold Nelson of Marshallberg, son of Thomas Ruffin Nelson and RuthAnn Davis Nelson, and Grandson of Melvin Jennings Davis, Jr. all of Marshallberg, NC.

    I notified this site a year or two ago, but have not been notified except by these relatives mentioned above. I would definitely like to get this information documented with the Part Service and the Waterfowl Museum. How do I do so?

  • Next Time You're In D.C., Check Out Teddy's Island   5 years 31 weeks ago

    A turkey?!? Wow, my best sightings on Roosevelt Island have been herons and big black rat snakes. Thanks for the great history -- it's fun to imagine people in their finery and fancy houses. And it's all the more amazing to think of all the native plants there knowing they have come back after the island was more cultivated.

  • Heat Claims the Life of Boy Stranded for Five Days in Isolated Area of Death Valley National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    In almost all cases, its not the GPS that's wrong, its the maps or images loaded onto it. "Roads" can come from databases that include undeveloped rights of way; even rectifying (aligning and scaling) aerial ortho photographs is non-trivial in places like the Everglades and playas in Death Valley. [Those large white crosses you see painted on some urban streets and rural rural roads are marks to ease rectification of aerial photographs.] I've never had a GPS give me coordinates off by more than 15 meters or so (closer to 2-3m now with WAAS and the demise of selective availability), although one does have to make sure you have the coordinate system (NAD27 v NAD83) set the way you think.

  • Dog Owner Cited After Pit Bull Attacks a Deer at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    2 summers ago in Shenandoah a dog was injured when a deer kicked it. The owners were letting it chase a fawn and mama got a little angry about it. There was another case where a man was warned many times to put his dog on a leash but never did. The dog later ran right off of a cliff and died. The man had to climb down and collect his dogs body. The Chingoteague NWR finally ended up banning pets altogether because people just couldn't follow this simple rule.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Dog Owner Cited After Pit Bull Attacks a Deer at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    A loose dog can pose a threat to its owner and others, particularly if it agitates a bear. I met a couple living in an isolated cabin just outside of Yukon Charley Rivers Nat. Preserve in 1978. Both the wife and husband carried severe scars resulting from a bear mauling. They had boated up the Yukon River crossing into Canada and were leisurely floating back home. They had a small dog with them. They stopped to spend a night at the fish camp of a friend. The husband got up early the next morning and went to the river to help empty the fish nets. His wife remained in the tent in her sleeping bag. The dog ran off to explore the surrounding woods. It apparently came upon a bear cub and gave chase. The mother sow moved in to protect her offspring and went after the dog. The dog fled heading back into the camp and ran into the tent where the wife was sleeping. The enraged bear shredded the tent and attacked the wife slashing her with claws and jaws. Her husband heard the screams and ran back into to camp. He tried hitting he bear with a broken tree limb. The bear turned and severely mauled him. By the time the owner of the camp arrived the bear had disappeared into the woods. Fortunately, the camp owner was able to get them into his boat and take them to where they could be evacuated. Moral of the story - keep your dog on a leash.

  • The Pacific Northwest Trail Will Establish Important Linkages   5 years 31 weeks ago

    The long-distance trails have a sort of magic for those who only do day hikes on them. Just today I had the pleasure of walking a 7-mile round trip on the Appalachian Trail, and I enjoyed contemplating that my little segment is part of the whole 2,100 miles from Maine to Georgia. Here in Maryland most of the people I meet on the A.T. are day hikers or families hiking a segment of a few days. The A.T. inspires all of us, and I'm sure the PNT will do so, too.

  • Dog Owner Cited After Pit Bull Attacks a Deer at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I worked in a large metropolitan land based park system for four years. It was not uncommon to see signs up for lost dogs of the chihuahua variety. I'm sure great horned owls or coyotes made quick work of these animals. I guess the owner could be cited for feeding wildlife along with leash law violations.

  • Next Time You're In D.C., Check Out Teddy's Island   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Yes, this is a wonderful escape right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of DC. My family and I visit DC every year and we always make it a point to visit this island for an hour or so of peaceful walking and relative quiet. Highly recommended!

  • Heat Claims the Life of Boy Stranded for Five Days in Isolated Area of Death Valley National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I did address verifying for the Census earlier this year. We had to use handheld GPS units. At one point, as I was trying to spot a particular house, I noticed that the GPS told me I was at least a football field to the west, in the middle of a set of railroad tracks, down which a freight train was thundering. If the GPS had been right, I'd be roadkill right now!
    We increasingly think technology -- GPS, cell phones, "I saw it on the Internet so it must be true" -- is 100 percent trustworthy. It ain't!

  • What Do You Think: Is The National Park Service Handling Advertising For Park-Related Businesses?   5 years 31 weeks ago

    YNPGal-

    Thanks for the correction regarding competing bid matching, but I don't think advocating limits on powerful
    monopoly concessions is 'punishment'.

    Regarding 'gateway' communities, who decides how close a business must be, or what standards it must meet to merit listing on a Park's website? Seems like a pretty slippery slope to me. As for the 'protocols' you mentioned, I've seen enough favoritism, retaliation, and even outright corruption within the NPS to seriously doubt their effectiveness.

  • Next Time You're In D.C., Check Out Teddy's Island   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Wow...I lived in DC for 18 years and had no idea this place existed. To think I lived so close to such a nice spot. I'll have to make my way back there for a trip soon!

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • The Pacific Northwest Trail Will Establish Important Linkages   5 years 31 weeks ago

    "...multi-billion dollar" is gross hyperbole. A lot of the work is being done by volunteers and a lot of funds donated by sponsors. The infusion from the government will be nowhere near billions of dollars.

    A lot of areas in the National Parks are accessible to only the ultra-fit too. We should pave those over and quit spending money protecting them and maintaining trails through them, I suppose.

    Sorry I can't be more bitter and cynical, but I find projects like this - and the mere existence of trans-continent trails - to be inspirational, despite the fact I'm not likely to ever walk from Glacier to Olympic. I got a thrill from reading the trail register on the AT in Grafton Notch, Maine this summer and knowing that there were people out there that were walking from Georgia to Maine. My wife and I walked a few miles and lived vicariously through the register book for the other 2,100!

  • Pruning the Parks: New Echota Marker National Memorial (1933-1950) Commemorated the Cherokee Nation Seat of Government   5 years 31 weeks ago

    This is an interesting site - and New Echota and the Cherokee culture are covered in Georgia public education, or at least they were when I was in school (I graduated in '88). Georgia has lots of interesting Native American sites, including the Etowah Indian mounds (state), Ocmulgee National Monument (federal) and Skidaway Island (state) off of the coast near Savannah.

  • What Do You Think: Is The National Park Service Handling Advertising For Park-Related Businesses?   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Tahoma:

    While I appreciate the idea that NPS shouldn't give unfair advantage to any one business, I have to correct a couple of misstatements you made.

    YOU SAID:
    (I'm uncomfortable with the idea of anything resembling ads on government websites. The in-park concessionaries already have low fees, little or no direct competition, and the opportunity to match competing bids at renewal time. Why make these dynasties stronger?)

    I work for one of that largest concessionaires in the country and can tell you that contractors of service pay a percentage of their revenue, a utility fee percentage on each sale, plenty of competition who offer "modern" amenities, like air conditioning and TV, and the opportunity to match competing bids went out the window with a change in Federal law that took that out of the books about six years ago.

    We also invest millions of dollars into just one large park, building new buildings, updating existing buildings and purchasing all the fleet vehicles that we use. Each and every one of those items belongs to and is signed over to the Park Service. In other words, we buy it all and they own it.

    I'm not sure how you think we should be penalized, like evil do-ers.

    YOU SAID:
    (I'm even more uncomfortable with listings/ads for gateway businesses, because it could increase the reach and power of government and the potential for abuse. For example, those that may have criticized NPS management or didn't follow the party line closely enough might find themselves unlisted, or bypassed by shuttle systems originating outside the boundary.)

    Believe me, NPS guidelines are in place that would keep that from being put to practice unless someone was really breaking protocol.

    Just keeping the facts straight. Have a good day and don't forget to volunteer at your closest National Park property this Saturday. God knows, each park needs all the help they can get through volunteers.!!

    YNP Gal