Recent comments

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I neglected this articles as well, on the current consensus.

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

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Articles like this bring deniers out of the woodwork, and I don't think it's representative overall. They continue to believe falsehoods and misrepresentations. The idea that the world is too big for us puny humans to impact is a constant that environmentalists always had to deal with. Early on, they said the atmosphere was too big for our air pollution to impact. Same for big rivers and lakes. Now it's the climate.

    But getting beyond that, it is important to consider what the NPS' role is for a situation as broad and deep as this. The NPS shouldn't 't take on the role of much larger agencies with an explicit role in policy and/or regulation. But I think that education as to the impact could be it's most important role. Our national parks may be the locale where the most people get the closest to the natural environment. Park bookstores and visitor centers need to rigorously stick to the most well-settled science, even though the kinds of deniers who are responding here will be upset with it.

    Ranger talks shouldn't shy from dealing with this issue, even though they will get snide comments from some visitors. Though some readers may have a fit about it, those aspects of the issue where the consensus is strong (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensus_on_climate_change_controversy) should be well-covered and get the focus.

    As well, efforts to help species whose range is being eliminated and where park borders prevent migration could be helped. but not to the degree that we make zoos out of the parks.

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Ants and termites produce the most greenhouse gases. It's great news for the plant kingdom. We is one big gassy & happy world, we is!

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Ants, Beamis? Really? I know cows churn out a lot of methane, but didn't know that about ants. Got a link for my edification (seriously)?

    Looking back through the comments, usually the Traveler doesn't see this amount of vitriol bubbling up unless the subject is guns in the parks or, (dare I say), mountain bikes in the parks. And somehow this week we've stumbled upon two highly divisive topics -- cellphone towers and global warming/climate change. Who would have figured?

    The upside of this is that such interest and debate is one of the key goals here at the Traveler, to get folks thinking and discussing and, yes, even debating. I hope I'm not the only one who's been clicking on some of the links offered in the comments to learn more about the various opinions and thoughts that exist on these topics (although I'll be damned if I can figure out just exactly what a deep solar minimum portends, and it seems some NASA experts are in the same boat). Sometimes such debate and efforts to support arguments is the only way to get some to consider something new.

    The downside is that some comments have included unnecessary labels.

    Trying to moderate is a tough job. You'll never make everybody happy. We usually try to take a hands-off approach until the very end, but sometimes that's too late. So, please make our jobs a little easier and stick to the high road. There's no shortage of statistics for that.

  • Mount Rainier National Park: Reaching Out to Camping Newbies   5 years 28 weeks ago

    There's actually a fantastic program similar to this that has been going on in Texas state parks for more than a year. It's called Texas Outdoor Family and teaches families everything from pitching a tent to kayaking to geocaching. It's not free -- $55 covers everything, including park entrance fees, except food and sleeping bags for a family up to 6 or 8 people. Granted, it's not in the national parks, but it's a great program at interesting and significant sites all over Texas.

    For details: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/learning/bof/

  • Ill-Advised Leap from a Bluff Leads to a Challenging Rescue at Buffalo National River   5 years 28 weeks ago

    This speaks volumes about the rescue workers! As for the victim, well maybe just maybe he learned his lesson. I do hope he is OK.

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Ray Bane wrote, "I fear you are right, Anonymous. In some ways it [global warming skepticism] seems to be an immature effort to deny responsibility for what is likely to be a worldwide crisis."

    Can we please stop the ad hominem arguments (attacks)? Calling global warming skeptics "immature" and irresponsible in an attempt to discredit an argument certainly would seem to be against NPT's code of conduct.

    I do not think it fair to label "immature" or irresponsible Richard Lindzen, a Harvard-trained atmospheric physicist and Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Nor would it be fair to so label the number of other scientists who are also global warming skeptics.

    I agree with Beamis that there are far too many variables to make an accurate prediction. Glaciers have been retreating for thousands of years, with a brief pause during the solar minimum that corresponded with the Little Ice Age. Solar output is variable and unpredictable, and scientists do not fully understand the physics behind the sunspot cycle. Milankovitch cycles also play a role in climate change. There's the issue data validity and the heat island effect as well as using models versus empirical forecasts.

    Skeptics are not immature or irresponsible nor should the evidence skeptics present or the questions they ask be blithely brushed away. To do so is to act fundamentally; intellectual fundamentalism is a strong disinclination to take seriously the notion that one might be wrong.

    I'm willing to admit that I could be wrong. Are you?

  • Iconic Trail at Grand Canyon National Park Set for a Major Makeover   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Even though I agree with Owen Hoffman that those numerous check-dams are hard on old & damaged bodies, I understand they're needed to help retain the trail tread. Perhaps fewer would be needed if there were also many more drainage outlets. The continuous rock outlining for safety & resource protection often has the effect of keeping snow melt & cloudburst showers on the trail. It's also not uncommon in the colder months for some of the existing drains to be blocked with ice, so that any runoff continues on down the trail. Similar problems exist on the heavily used Paradise trails at Mt. Rainier, where many check dams are (geologically exotic) rock slabs over a foot high that can be difficult for some to negotiate. I'd also agree with Aaron White that NPS management often seems more committed to big restoration projects than ongoing maintenance.

  • Mount Rainier National Park: Reaching Out to Camping Newbies   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Does anyone know if something like this exists in the Oregon area? I have a son who is in middle school and my husband and I would love to see him gain interest in camping and the outdoors. Anyone that can help us with some info would be greatly appreciated.

  • Mount Rainier National Park: Reaching Out to Camping Newbies   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Free camping at Mount Rainier for city kids (The Seattle Times)

    "To make sure families of limited means don't miss out, organizers have been recruiting at community centers in South Park and other low-income and diverse neighborhoods. But interest, they say, has been low."

  • NPS Snowmobile Plan for Yellowstone, Grand Teton Bucks Science, the Public, and Itself   5 years 28 weeks ago

    All loud motorcycles are using illegal mufflers designed to make 10 to 100 times more noise than street legal mufflers. National Parks are federal entities, and each park can enact and enforce its own set of laws. Therefor each park should require that all motorcycles accessing a national park must use EPA labeled mufflers per federal regulations. Each one of these illegally modified motorcycles also pollute more than 30 normal automobiles. Yet in most places the majority of motorcycles (excluding BMW owners) are illegally modified to produce noise.

  • Mount Rainier National Park: Reaching Out to Camping Newbies   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Brad,
    Are you "discriminating" against forever young (55+) no kids. We have raised our children and they are gone, there was no program like this back then.
    we always camped as a family, and would love to go and explore Mt. Rainer with a ranger. let us know if we are welcome.
    Thanks,

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 28 weeks ago

    There is no compelling evidence to correlate CO2 in the atmosphere to rising global temperatures. Ice cores from Antarctica show higher levels of this gas than is found currently in our atmosphere during several ice age epochs, so it is not at all clear what effect it has on the global temperature regime over the broad span of geologic time. In some instances it could cause temperatures to rise and in other scenarios it may not have much effect at all. Climate change is part and parcel of a much larger set of systems than just the singular effect that the emission of carbon dioxide may have in changing the nature of the atmosphere.

    My understanding is that ants produce the most CO2 anyway and I don't see us doing anything to upset the dominance or flatulence of the earth's current ruling species.

    Our planet is too large and dynamic a place to be able to determine, with any degree of certainty, what drives its climate and atmosphere. The idea that humans have somehow caused the climate to change is certainly the least plausible, to my mind. It is way behind sunspot activity, changes in ocean circulation and temperature or even the position of the continents as they drift around the surface of the globe (which is believed to have caused a mass extinction during the Permian), increased volcanic activity or the massive scale involved in the activities of the insect world.

    For more on ants and their rule of our planet: http://snipurl.com/fku4a

  • Mount Rainier National Park: Reaching Out to Camping Newbies   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I have just spoken to Brad and he let me know that the reason this program has not beenheard of is becouse it is fairly new. but he is very glad of the response that he is getting now.
    There are requirment for this program, I strongly sugest that if you are intrested that you call and get the scoop from Brad.

  • Iconic Trail at Grand Canyon National Park Set for a Major Makeover   5 years 28 weeks ago

    As a long-time hiker in the canyon, I am fairly alarmed over the deteriorating and unsafe condition of the South Kaibab. While it is great that it will be rebuilt, must it be without basic maintenance in the meantime?

  • Mount Rainier National Park: Reaching Out to Camping Newbies   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Perhaps part of the poor response is because many people, especially low-income, may not be able to get three days off?

  • Iconic Trail at Grand Canyon National Park Set for a Major Makeover   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I hope that the geological interpretive signs would be restored as part of this trail renovation. When I hiked the trail in late December 2007, the former interpretive signs that identified contact zones in the sedimentary formations were no where to be seen.

    Previous renovations have installed thousands of wooden water breaks across this great trail. This made for painful downhill hiking. My gait upon arrival at Phantom Ranch was more of a hobble than a walk. Perhaps, new water breaks can be better designed to allow for a shallower step when descending?

    If I could genetically manipulate the mules, I'd program them to not pee in one spot. Those decade old rancid pools of mulepiss concentrate are lethal to one's boots.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 28 weeks ago

    What do you naysayers think happens to the planet when we put so much carbon into the atmosphere? Do you think there is no global climate repsonse?

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Wow, Frank C. I don't think the length of time someone has posted anywhere really matters.

  • Mount Rainier National Park: Reaching Out to Camping Newbies   5 years 28 weeks ago

    It would be a shame to see such an outstanding program fail only due to a lack of public outreach. I was once a city kid myself. Camping in the parks was the highlight of my summers.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I want to thank Bob Krumenaker for commenting and speaking out on National Parks Traveler. It's rare for career employees of the NPS to go public, even on issues as important as global warming.

    It's astounding to me, given the preponderance of scientific evidence, to see how many are in denial over the fact that our Earth is experiencing an increase in average temperatures at an unprecedented rate. Global warming will do much more than melt glaciers (the evidence of which is more than convincing) and cause sea levals to rise. Rapid shifts in climate will ultimately affect the distribution and abundance of native flora and fauna inside parks and beyond their boundaries. The cause of this warming is not variations in the solar output, as some insist, but the presence of increased levels of greenhouse gases from anthropogenic sources.

    The NPS has an important role to play in educating the public about potential threats to park resources. I'm glad Bob has chosen to speak out and weigh in on this topic. Thanks too for the links to authoritative sources of information for more detailed reading.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Mount Rainier National Park: Reaching Out to Camping Newbies   5 years 28 weeks ago

    This is news to me. My wife reads the local paper from "cover to cover" every day and has never mentioned it. Maybe Brad should advertise the program. He might get a bigger response.

  • Mount Rainier National Park: Reaching Out to Camping Newbies   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I'm with you Anon, I live in the seattle area with a 3 year old, have subscribed to more park newsletters than I care for, read the P-I and Times online, and the first I heard of this program was today (once on this website and twice on Twitter) ... and two of the mentions were to say that it may be canceled!

  • Mount Rainier National Park: Reaching Out to Camping Newbies   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I think that this is great for those of us that would like to go camping and can not afford it.
    But, i have a feeling that if it was advertised more in the Seattle area there would be more intrest.
    I have lived here 8 years and this is the first that I have heard of it.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Obviously, this post has struck more than a few nerves, and it's certainly good to see a wide array of viewpoints bubbling (exploding?) to the surface, although I'd appreciate a little restraint.

    There seem to be two primary issues here:

    1. Is the raising of a cellphone tower an ill-advised, and ill-needed, intrusion into a national park setting?

    2. What benefits should those who live and work in a national park enjoy?

    The first question, it seems, could turn into a Pandora's box, particularly when coupled with the second. I remember back in the 1980s when a wealthy Texan, impressed by the rangers at Yellowstone National Park, particularly those who live in the backcountry throughout the year, offered to buy and install satellite dishes for those backcountry ranger stations so they could have access to the outside world.

    The offer was knocked down almost immediately.

    Now, it's been a few years since I've been to Grant Grove, so I can't say I clearly remember the installations on Park Ridge where this proposed cell tower would go. I suppose you could say, "Well, what's one more ugly edifice amongst the rest." But where do you stop? Where do you draw the line between "there's already enough junk there, let's add one more", and "we have to stop making incursions into the park"? When Park Ridge becomes too crowded, where's the next location? If Verizon gets its tower, what about AT&T and other cellphone companies?

    As for those who live and work in a national park, isn't that the choice they've made? Should society carry all its baggage everywhere it goes? Is it truly a safety issue? If so, how did we survive before the advent of cellphones? Is it a societal issue, in terms of chipping away at loneliness and keeping in touch with family? I'm not convinced. I can see it as a generational issue, as those who grew up with cellphone in hand while tapping away at their keyboards see those forms of communication as indispensable necessities.

    All that said, these types of questions and issues are exactly why Sequoia officials have opened a public comment period. Take advantage of it.