Recent comments

  • Route 66 Fans Rejoice! Here's a Great New Source of Information On "The Mother Road"   5 years 33 weeks ago

    In 2007 I drove from Springfield, MO to the Grand Canyon. Most of the trip was on Route 66. I had ordered maps that shows the route in each state that it is in. Absolutely Got my kicks on Route 66! Jim, thanks for posting this, wouldn't have known about otherwise.

  • Route 66 Fans Rejoice! Here's a Great New Source of Information On "The Mother Road"   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I can't wait to check this out. Planing on riding on Route 66 next year. Thanks

  • Trial Over What Constitutes a "Road" In Canyonlands National Park: Vestiges of Sagebrush Rebels   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I think it's readily apparent that RS 2477 was created at a time when the government was trying to encourage western expansion and that today's circumstances are much, much different than those of the 1860s and that the statute is indeed out-of-date with the times, whereas the 1st Amendment as a principle is part of the U.S. Constitution, a so-called 'living document.'

  • New Exhibit at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Features 100 Paintings of NPS Areas   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Jim, many thanks for bringing forth this information regarding the Jefferson art exhibit in Saint Louis. Nothing can be more inspiring to view a well composed painting that touches the very grandeur of the national parks and crystalizes are desire to visit and see. Digital photography cannot always display the depth and the feeling of the photographer but a well painted canvas can...by a competent artist. With the proper use of art media and with good technique, the artist can bring out the majestic wonders of the national parks. There's something powerful and more meaningful when an artist can sit for hours, and days waiting to capture the light, and the range of color that varies through out the day...and season. It's called poetry with a brush.

  • Trial Over What Constitutes a "Road" In Canyonlands National Park: Vestiges of Sagebrush Rebels   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Why do writers always refer to R.S. 2477 as a "civil-war era mining law" as if to suggest that because it is really old that it is unneeded, out of date, etc. Do we refer to the 1st amendment as "that old revolutionary-era speaking law"?

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Anonymous #1:

    While I'm not a fan of Diane Feinstein and I'm strongly opposed to this giveaway to someone who bought the Oyster operation a couple of years ago knowing that the lease and nonconforming landuse expires in 2012, the last report I saw had no political donations from DBOC, Lunny, Lunny's family, or anyone else obviously connected to DBOC to Diane Feinstein, and a trivial amount of political donations to anyone.

    Perhaps she thinks that DBOC is the greatest best use of Drakes Estero in PORE, not the seals or birds. Perhaps she wants a reputation for bashing "Washington bureaucrats" for local constituents, even though the locals are pretty evenly divided. Perhaps she just likes oysters. She's not saying.

    Personally, I'd like to see both the removal of commercial (exotic) oyster racks and sacks in 2012 and the reestablishment of wild native oyster beds (effectively extirpated by overharvesting ~150 years ago), but reestablishing native oyster beds would require funding. Then again, I'm also in favor of keeping the terrestrial leases in grazing, which provides some wildlife habitat, and not let the leaseholders convert to new row crops (which provide no wildlife habitat) so that they can make more money.

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 33 weeks ago

    As noted above, while the Senate has passed its version of the Interior appropriations bill, a conference committee between House and Senate is needed to resolve differences between the two chambers' versions, and that's where Rep. Dicks could perhaps hold some sway in negotiations.

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 33 weeks ago

    The opposition, Mr. Griffin, undercuts his own concerns when he pronounces it "....may be as risky as allowing citizens to carry guns in the national parks. "

    Not everyone is riding on that same bandwagon.

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Has anyone checked the campaign donations of the oyster company and its owners to Ms. Feinstein. There must be financial incentive or some other conflict of interest for her to go to bat for such an un-Democrat cause. In response to Miranda, the House will pass their own appropriations bill, the bills will go to conference and any of the riders can be eliminated there.

  • House Natural Resources Committee OK's Legislation For Upper Stehekin Road in North Cascades National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    There is another road proposal within designated wilderness (Izembek NWR, Alaska) being considered by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar: http://www.adn.com/rural/western/story/953060.html

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 33 weeks ago

    i am truly saddened, if it is true , that this legistation has been passed. have visited the area and i know with our economic downturn we do not want lost jobs. feel that the loss of 30 jobs is worth preserving this area. we have to stop raping our natural resources so that congress people can get reelected. this truly makes me angry. it is so beautiful there and we need to protect our environment

  • An Analytical Look At The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Hey everyone!

    I wanted to spread the word about the National Park Foundation's BEST IDEA TRIVIA. All of the info is on their website http://www.nationalparks.org/bestidea .... but basically, each night after the PBS broadcast, the National Park Foundation will post a trivia question about that night's show. The question will stay posted on the website until the NPF posts a new one before the next day's show.... If you answer the question correctly, your name will be entered into a daily prize drawing. ALL OF THE PRIZES ARE GREAT!! People have a chance to win gifts ranging from Parks Passes to Merrill Gift Cards to Hertz gift certifitcates, ABI stuff etc, etc, etc.

    I hope you enjoy the show as much as I do! Happy watching and good luck. :)

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Did you know that this bill just got passed on Thursday? The rider was approved by the full Senate. I'm not much of a government buff... what happens now? Is there a process of appeals and further lobbying? I'm very interested in this; please let me know!
    Thanks.

  • Seasons Greetings! It's the Autumnal Equinox -- or Maybe the September Equinox   5 years 33 weeks ago

    There is already a dual system, Ken, and that's not going to change. Locals will continue to use the traditional terms. But technical writers, because of their global perspective and international audience, will have to use use March equinox, June Solstice, September equinox, and December solstice. That's to avoid confusion/ambiguity, not to mollify political correctness fanatics.

  • Backcountry Hiker Falls 300 Feet To His Death in Grand Teton National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Jon W. I 'm sure you miss your friend, I will miss him too I in last few years got to know him as well, and he was a great conversationist and outgoing person. but how could you allow yourselves to be out there with out safety equipment, lest I say, selfish to risk such a loss to him and all his friends and family especially. You may speak your mind if you wish to me Jim at :::

    I had looked forward to when Eliot retuned home to PA to learn about all the exciting things he had done. his family was always so happy to have him back and the friends around him. Too. all you other hikers, PLEASE think about your families, and what losing you does to them, at least be safe and avoid the extra risk.

  • Plenty of Options For Visiting Yellowstone National Park This Winter   5 years 33 weeks ago

    The North Entrance road to the Northeast Entrance road is open to cars; also a fair number of cross country ski trails from there, and that doesn't require camping.

    I agree with you, though, in terms of your argument that winter access in Yellowstone is not at all egalitarian, and though it gets brought up repeatedly on forums like this (by both proponents and opponents of snowmobiles), it's not taken particularly seriously in the overall discussion. That's unfortunate. I am not a proponent of snowmobiles (I hate them with something bordering on loathing), but I agree with the argument raised by many of the proponents that all the winter use alternatives favored by the larger environmental groups ultimately lead to access only for the wealthy (though the charge is often dripping with hypocrisy from the recreational industry advocates who hardly can be said to represent the lower class). Even so, that does seem woefully inconsistent, and without fixing that problem, I find myself forever ambivalent about the whole winter use question.

    Now, bison ... and their lack of winter (or spring or summer or fall) options, that's another story ...

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

  • Would Free "Loaner" Personal Locator Beacons Save Lives and Money in Parks?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    John -

    Thanks for the feedback about how the program is working so far there in the Blue Mountains!

    Kevin - appreciate your comments, too. It was good to know how the idea is faring at one U.S. park.

  • Would Free "Loaner" Personal Locator Beacons Save Lives and Money in Parks?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I think this is a great idea and we've been considering an on-site rental pilot program for some time now. As we're close to Mt. Rainier I've also toyed with the idea of providing our PLB rentals units at no charge during the off season when we have inventory literally just sitting around. Unfortunately, the combination that some higher ups in the NPS do believe people are more likely to take unnessary risks if they have a PLB has proven to be a significant road block. We have rented thousands of PLBs over the past 6 years and have the data which proves people are responsible. We also send out a general information sheet that stresses people may be responsible for rescue costs if the PLB was activated due to irresponsible use. If anyone has an "in" with the appropriate people who could work with us on a PLB loaner program for Mt. Rainier National Park, we'd be interested.
    Kevin Stoltz
    President
    PLB Rentals, LLC

  • New Visitor Center Coming to Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Carole: Per the Great Smoky website: "For updated road and weather information please call (865) 436-1200."

  • Arnica Fire in Yellowstone National Park Blows Up to More than 8,000 Acres   5 years 33 weeks ago

    We were there at start of this Sept, tenting in Bridge Bay campground. The Lake Hotel and adjacent Lodge are abt 3 miles NE along the lake. I can't see anything happening to the Hotel - it's hard up on the lake, and fairly separated from the forested region on the other (west) side of the loop road - and given the significance and value of the buildings, huge resources would be put into buffering it. Patrons could be asked to leave, if smoke became thick or services were disrupted, but staff will likely be needed, and are presumably well trained.

    Fire is a critical part of the cycle. When my wife and I last visited, in 1993, much of the park was still treeless after the 87 fire. Although gray trunks and deadfalls still dominate huge swaths of the park, there is now a heavy growth of small to medium sized pine, pretty well covering most of the slopes that previously burned. However, the new stuff is much more dense than a mature forest, so there will have to be a lot of die-off as these stands mature over the next few decades. New fires will will certainly consume much of that material. The elk have done really well in the opened landscapes since '87. Apparently, the moose have not come back well, after their forage along the rivers got ruined after '87. I think this has something to do with winter overgrazing of willow by the resurgent elk, which the introduction of wolves (mid-late 90's) is hoped to help with.

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Angel's Landing, for me, was the most challenging experience of my life. Oddly enough, I didn't realize that I was afraid of heights. I was a high ropes director at a summer camp where I actually challenged teenagers to overcome their fears. I had no problem free falling from the platform 30 feet high, trusting that the guy on belay had taken out the right amount of slack. I had no problem leaning over the edge of the zip platform 70 feet high, while I was teathered in.

    I climbed Angel's Landing on Good Friday in 2002. I will never forget seeing the last half mile of trail and taking a picture by the pine tree on top. I waited at least 20 minutes before I could muster up the nerve to commit. I remember the ledge close to the beginning. The chain was to my back against a wall. Your feet are barely inches from the sheer cliff taller than the Empire State Building. When people coming from the opposite direction needed to pass by, I held the chain with one hand, and grabbed a rock hold on the wall with the other. As I was holding on, allowing people to pass by, the fragile sandstone rock in my right hand actually broke off of the cliff and fell down the side. It was here that I had my first and only panic attack in my entire life. I literally had to tell myself to take deep breaths.

    I continued on up the trail, amazed by the beauty of the canyon. When I got to the very top, the clouds began to thicken. Out of nowhere, it began to sleet. My hands were going numb. As I hurried back across the half mile of Angel's Landing, I remember looking down at my bloody hand that had been holding onto the chain while rubbing against the side of the cliff.

    Again this was one of the greatest accomplishments (in terms of overcoming fear) in my life. I went skydiving 2 years later, it was a piece of cake for me compared to Angel's Landing. I'm still nervous with heights (when not in a harness) and the thought of doing it again terrifies me.

    Maybe the signs could be a little more blunt, since people like me, don't realize they even have a fear of heights. Still, I knew the risk when I committed at that pine tree after Walter Wiggles. I knew full well where a stumble would lead. It was staring risk in the face and perserving through the fear that made Angel's Landing such a great accomplishment in my life. I still have the picture of me approaching the summit framed in my high school classroom. It is a constant reminder to press on.

  • Plenty of Options For Visiting Yellowstone National Park This Winter   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Many options? You list only two - be trapped in a tour bus or be herded as snowmobiling sheep.

    Another option - albeit one few winter visitors will likely act on - is to cross-country ski through the park on the roads. Yes, this means one will need to winter camp (unless you can and are willing to ski the 31 miles from West Yellowstone to Old Faithful in one day to stay in the only winter lodging in the park interior). The advantage of this is you can stop when and where you want on your own schedule to look at things and not be trapped in a tour bus or herded like so many snowmobiling sheep.

    Once upon a time, one could operate one's own motor vehicle in the park on one's own schedule in the winter as well as in the summer but, alas, no more. This egalitarian option has been shelved to pander to PC pundits, many of whom have little personal experience of Yellowstone in winter in any manner, self-reliant or otherwise. Lest I be written off by some as a whiny snowmobiler, I do not own and never have owned a snowmobile. I did, however, live and work in Yellowstone more-or-less year-round from early 1979 through early 1984. In my job as an engineering technician, I had occasional need to travel into the park in the winter on snowmobiles. One winter on a week off, I also skied from Mammoth Hot Springs via Old Faithful to the South Entrance via the roads. On that trip, the snowmobles were no more obnoxious to me as a skier than the cars and RVs were to me as a bicyclist in the summer and certainly less hazardous. Based on my personal experiences of that time, I do not hold much with the rationales of those whose efforts lead to the current ban on individuals traveling on their own in Yellowstone with motor vehicles.

    Two options are not many options to those who are not able or willing to travel in winter without winter vehicles nor to those like myself who do not relish being herded as sheep.

  • An Analytical Look At The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Love the introduction presented by Ken Burns. Quite powerful in how it establishes the historical foundation of the national parks by enriching it with first class historians, writers, poets and painters. Well balanced for the first episode. Very moving in how they establish John Muir as a pilot character in the preservation of Yosemite National Park. Excellent use on historical documents and photos. Very well done!

  • New Visitor Center Coming to Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Is there any problem with construction around your new building. I will be going to the Blue Ridge Parkway by way of 441. Please let me know.

  • Recalling Yellowstone National Park's Historic 1988 Fire Season   5 years 33 weeks ago

    could you see if you can find any information on the effects of the smoke had on people with and without asthma, or COPD. I am doing a paper on this side of the story of how the 1988 fire effected people other than material property. thanks