Recent comments

  • Campgrounds Opening This Weekend In Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Good grief. Another Great Smoky Mountains Story? Are you their PR person or something. 15 stories on the front page and 4 on the Smokies. In fact, it seems most stories are Smokies, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, or Olympic with a few smatterings of other sites thrown in from time to time. How many of the 391 areas have never had a top story?

    I know you can do better to be more inclusive. You have shown that you have an understanding of the breadth of the system. Let's have a more equitable range of stories. (For example, lots of parks have summer jobs and summer interns, not just the Smokies)

  • Book Review: Let's Go See:All 50! -- Visiting the 50 States Journal   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Way to go dad, keep on trucking

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 29 weeks ago

    It seems to me that whenever natural resource science "threatens" the gun-owners they start talking about hidden agendas. Why are they all such spoiled brats about everything?

    And they wonder why non gun-owners seem to perceive them as seperationist gun nuts....

  • Echoes of the Cold War in the Tropical Warmth of Everglades National Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    The Nike Hercules missile site in Everglades National Park (A Battery 2nd Missile Battalion 52nd Air Defense Artillery) was placed on the National Register of Historic Places July 2006. The complex of 22 exisiting buildings were evaluated and considered worthy due to the historical military significance and cultural impact on America.

    Although several hundred Nike sites were strategically located to surround and defend America's metroploitan cities and industrial complexes in the fifties and sixties, this Cold War missile site is more associated with events, activities, and developments that were the more important than any other in the history of America--the nearness on nuclear annhialiation of mankind? Many of the Nike Hercules in south Florida were loaded with nuclear warheads capable of knocking out an entire fleet of bombers or missiles.

    Even after all the other missiles sites in North America were dismantled by 1974, only Alsaka (due to it's nearness to Russia) and the south Florida Nike sites remained until 1979 to provide a coastal defense system to the extreme norther and southern hemisphere.

    This missile site and the seven others in South Florida (3 Nike and 4 HAWK sites) were the only missile sites awarded the Presidential Unit Citation by President Kennedy for the deterance they served in the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Kennedy stated he believed the presence of the missiles in south Florida with the capability to intercept Russian missiles served such a deterant that it caused the Russian Premier to change his mind about attack. President Kennedy mad his remarks at the presentation to the troops at Homestead AFB on November 26, 1962.

    I hope you will reconsider your position and visit the place we referred to as "Ground Zero" during the Cold War. Our location was to be a target of a Russian missile.

    I have been asked many times to give talks to high school history classes in Miami, I am amazed at the interest by high school seniors in this time in history. Each talk is followed by a tour of the missile base. Let's don't take this away from the future generation.

    I proudly served my country during the Ciban Missile Crisis. Helping to interpret our nation's history is how I continue to serve my country and my community.

    Charles

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 29 weeks ago

    People, remember here that the NPS said that IT was going lead-free. It did not say that in areas where hunting is legal that visitors would have to go lead-free. Let's not over read this thing.

    Rick Smith

  • The Monkey Wrench Gang: Coming to a Theater Near You?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Robert Duvall as Doc and Dennehy as the Bishop seems more apt to me. Woody Harrelson IS Hayduke; we will accept no other and will Crazy Glue your car doors and cut yer fences if you don't agree. No compromise in defence of MWG!

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 29 weeks ago

    That's certainly an obvious and tempting question, Eric....which is why I didn't bring it up in the original post;-) Maybe it's a backdoor way to conduct weapons checks in the parks and ban those with lead, or at least remove the bullets!

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I may be opening a can of worms here, but, how will this translate to the carrying a concealed weapon in Nat. Parks? Will everyone who carries have to switch to ammo other than lead? What would happen if they were caught with lead ammo in a concealed weapon in a Nat. Park? Just feul for thought, have at it.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 29 weeks ago

    There is some good research to support this action. Here are a few highlights:

    1. A study led by environmental toxicologists at the University of California, Santa Cruz confirmed that bullet fragments and shotgun pellets in the carcasses of animals killed by hunters are the principal sources of lead poisoning in California condors. The researchers used a "fingerprinting" technique based on the unique isotope ratios found in different sources of lead to match the lead in blood samples from condors to the lead in ammunition, as distinguished from other sources of lead. You can read the full article here:

    2. A conference on the effects of lead ammunition on wildlife and humans was held at Boise State University in 2008. You can download the abstract of the proceedings here: Here are a few highlights:

    At least 2377 trumpeter and tundra swans have died in northwestern Washington and southwestern British Columbia from 1999-2007. Most (78%) of the fatalities were attributed to ingestion of lead shot.

    Studies have found lead in the blood of 97% Bald Eagles and 85% of Golden Eagles captured as spring migrants in Montana during 1985-1993; they implicated lead bullet fragments in ground squirrel carcasses as one source.

    Lead poisoning by shot or bullet ingestion has been described in 12 species of birds of prey in Europe, some of which are near threatened, e.g., the white-tailed eagle or endangered, i.e., the Spanish imperial eagle.

    Ingested lead shotgun pellets and rifle bullet fragments have been shown to be an important source of lead poisoning in raptors, avian scavengers, water birds, and even seed-eating birds.

    Mourning doves confuse shotgun pellets for grit and grain around hunted stock ponds and accordingly die in large numbers.

    3. In 1991, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned lead ammo in waterfowl hunting — that of ducks and other birds that live on water — which, according to a FWS spokesperson, led to an estimated 64% reduction of lead poisoning in ducks on certain parts of the Mississippi.

    So.... what's the objection to a requirement that hunters shift to other types of ammo that don't contribute to the lead problem? Alternatives to lead ammo are more expensive, and some hunters claim they are not as accurate or "lack the destructive power to humanely kill the target animal," although some presenters at the Boise conference mentioned above refuted that argument.

    There's also a political component. Google this issue and you'll soon find some passionate discussion about yet another attempt to limit the rights of hunters.

    My personal take? Given the basic mandate of the NPS, I'd say the agency is correct to err on the side of caution. There's enough evidence on the potential harm of lead to wildlife and even to humans to support this action in NPS areas. When it comes to the risks posed by lead shot in the natural environment of national parks, there's more than enough data to suggest the presence of a literal smoking gun—and it fired lead ammo.

    Hunter's seem to have adapted to the 1991 ban on lead ammo for waterfowl hunting; they can adapt to this one as well.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 29 weeks ago

    The buzzards at the Pinnacles National Momument have to be trapped every two years (at taxpayers expense) and have their stomachs pumped becauce they eat anything and everything. and that's why they are nearly extinct. I live in Hollister, don't hunt anymore, would like to, copper bullets are a joke, game run off to die. Lead is a poison .... agreeded. Why can't people just come out and say ban guns and be done with it? Hypocrites! Kurt don't let the subject die. I've got five guns that I cannot legally fire where I live. They are locked in a gun safe in an alarmed house. Pretty much sucks. Can't wait to get out of the Kommunist Repiblik of Kalifornia.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 29 weeks ago

    In many states it is a law that you have to wear a seat belt while driving. If I don't who am I harming other than myself? I'm not a public safty hazard, and I don't think it's anyone's business if I wear one. How do laws like that get started? There is usually a larger motivation, like financial gain by certain interests, than just keeping "me" safe and I think the lead ban falls in that category.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 29 weeks ago

    The vast majority of losses to the Californian Condors in Pinnacles National Monument, California is due to lead poisoning. Hunters in the vicinity of the park shoot game but don't recover it or leave parts of the carcasses in the wild. It is not enough to ban lead ammo from the parks, it should be phased out everywhere.

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Upholds Delisting of Gray Wolves in Part of Yellowstone Ecosystem   5 years 29 weeks ago

    It is perfectly fine to delist a specie when the protective measures had the effect that it isn't endangered anymore. This is what happened with the wolf in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. There are now way over 1000 individuals, more than 100 reproducing females. It is a huge success story. Of reintroduction into the wild and of the Endangered Species Act. The federal law is only valid for emergencies, protection of nature is foremost a responsibility of the states.

    But the problem with this delisting is that of the three involved states Idaho, Montana and Wyoming the state level of protection in Wyoming does not meet the standards that would allow the federal protection to be dropped. So Wyoming should be motivated to implement a decent level of protection, then delisting is the best thing that could happen to the wolf in GYE. and this is how I understand Secretary Salazar.

  • House Fails to Pass Massive Lands Bill That Would Have Aided National Park System   5 years 29 weeks ago

    On a lighter note, parts of the massive land omibus bill were just passed as parts of the budget omibus bill

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 29 weeks ago

    If we spent one dime on researching the environmental impact bullets or sinkers cause in our National Parks then we have too much money!!!...and as we all know, the country does not have money for stuff like this. This is the most ridiculous policy a bureaucrat could think of. Eliminating lead caused by bullets or sinkers in NP's will not enhance or clean the environment. This is not science...this is politics and we all know who they are firing bullets at (hopefully not lead). Next we will will be eliminating camping because of the methane it produces will harm the environment...maybe there should be an environmental impact study on Capitol Hill...I'll bet the methane produced there would be "off the charts".

  • This Hike at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Took a Nasty Turn   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Hummm... if the parkees followed their tracks through the snow into the thicket wonder why the hikers didn't just back track their way out? Locals call these thickets "laural hells" for a reason. Still must have been a huge tree these "experienced" day hikers had to go around.

  • House Fails to Pass Massive Lands Bill That Would Have Aided National Park System   5 years 29 weeks ago

    As a little more detail on what happened here, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tried to pass this bill under "suspension of the rules" - a procedure that doesn't allow for amendments, but requires a 2/3 vote for passage. This was important because it was an ordeal to get this bill passed by the Senate over a filibuster by Senator Coburn of Oklahoma. If the House makes any amendments to the Senate bill, then the bill will have to go back to the Senate for another vote (and survive another filibuster) one way or the other before final passage. This was why we've been waiting so long for the House to take action for this vote, as supporters of the bill tried to count up votes to ensure that they had the 2/3 majority. In the end, supporters of the bill fell just 2 votes shy of the 2/3 needed for passage. There will now need to be a strategic decision made as to whether to try and get those 2 votes for another attempt at passage under suspension of the rules, or whether to try and use a combination of parliamentary procedure and sheer voting power to strike down any proposed amendments under regular voting procedures, or whether to just accept amendments and send this bill back to the Senate (which may delay final passage for months - or even until well into 2010).

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Get over it, NSSF. It's a new day, a new administration, and science is back on the table.
    Perhaps the lead present in the entrails of culled animals is minimal, but it's still there. It's toxic, and it will build up over time, perhaps hundreds of years, to present a risk. Why wait until it's an "issue"?
    Bravo NPS.

  • House Fails to Pass Massive Lands Bill That Would Have Aided National Park System   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Less wilderness, more trails for riding our bikes. Frankly, it works for me.

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Upholds Delisting of Gray Wolves in Part of Yellowstone Ecosystem   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I find it hard to believe that Interior Secrateru Slazar would OK the removal of wolves from the endangered species list.I had hoped the the new administration would be a kinder administration when it comes to wildlife and the enviroment, but its politics as usual. The Obama administration seems to follow the Bush policy when it comes to wildlife and the enviroment. I sincerely hope a well informed judge will overturn the Slazar decision. Why is it that Slazar dislikes wolves so much?

  • House Fails to Pass Massive Lands Bill That Would Have Aided National Park System   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    Thanks for keeping us informed on this!

  • Ahhh, When it Snows At Bryce Canyon National Park....   5 years 29 weeks ago

    And would you believe I've lived here all my life and went 25 yrs without even entering the park. It's amazing how every where I go now I am looking for a photo op, and have a whole different perspective of nature.

  • Ahhh, When it Snows At Bryce Canyon National Park....   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Thank you, Marion, for sharing your pictures and impressions. Bryce is a great spot in early summer, when I was there. It must be very special in winter.

  • Philatelists Rejoice: New Stamps Honoring Zion and Grand Teton National Parks On The Way   5 years 29 weeks ago

    The Zion stamp shows not exactly an iconic landmark of the park, so I doubt it really can raise the attention it would deserve. The Teton Range over Jackson Hole is a classic and the image with fog raising from Snake River is beautiful.

  • Can You Still Get Off the Beaten Path in National Parks?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    "How much have the national parks changed since you were a kid? Have they changed?"
    May 2008 I had the pleasure of accompanying a family to Angel Arch.
    The father was a ten year old when his dad took a 4x4 tour up to Angel Arch. This father returned to bring his own sons (young teenagers) to experience a journey he recalls fondly from his own youth-hood.
    Angel Arch is in the Needles District Of Canyonlands, ten miles up the Salt Creek from Peek-a-boo.
    Peek-a-boo is the last vehicle access and requires a permit to enable passage through a locked gate.
    Once open to 4 wheeling; Salt Creek closed in 1998 to protect the perennial stream coursing there.
    The family undertook a bare bones back pack overnight trip to fulfill the father's nostalgic longing.

    This park visitor got something different. And it falls far from the inspiring writer's comment, "Most parks look more like New York City than anything I remembered".
    http://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/upload/needles.pdf

    Michele Hill
    Facility and Events Promoter
    Moab Area Travel Council
    http://www.discovermoab.com