Recent comments

  • Bison Hazing Operations Inside Yellowstone National Park Fuel Controversy   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Brucellosis is trasmitted to cattle through ingestion of placentas and/or a newborn. Unless those cattle care munching on bison calves there isn't much danger of the disease being transmitted. Only 5% of our nation's beef comes from cattle in the west. It wouldn't really have a huge impact on our beef industry. Besides, bison is healthier to eat. Those ranchers should just let the bison wander over and raise them instead!

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I did Angel's Landing two days ago, I will have to say that there were a couple of spots that were treacherous, and for the most part, I didn't need the chains, but then I knew what I was getting into before I traveled there. I have to agree that you are responsible for your own actions, and the NPS is not your baby sitter. This is not the place to goof off, as I saw several people do. We have to keep treasured places like these here for generations to come, and to do that we have to be responsible! If there has only been 5 deaths in 100 years, why is this even an issue? On Mount Rainier there have been more than that in a years time and still people by the thousands climb this volcano every year. We cannot place the blame on the NPS for the bad actions of those who find out later that they have vertigo, goof off at the ledge for whatever reason, or are not in proper condition or have enough experience. There are sheer cliffs on both sides of this fin, and this is a strenuous hike, and that is all you need to know. The decision then is up to the individual doing the hike. That is your responsibility, the NPS is not forcing you to do this!

  • How Did 1940s-era Visitors View Yosemite National Park? Check Out This Video   5 years 29 weeks ago

    The amazing thing wasn't that they were feeding bears, but that they were feeding bear CUBS! Messing with cubs is a sure-fire way to annoy mama bear mightily.

  • Bison Hazing Operations Inside Yellowstone National Park Fuel Controversy   5 years 29 weeks ago

    1. Even if the cattle industry arguments had any merit (they don't, but that's a longer discussion), there are no cattle on Horse Butte any time of the year. It's a freaking peninsula; there are no cattle owners. Private property owners repeatedly have their space invaded by the Department of Livestock to remove bison they don't mind having on their property.

    2. A lot of hazing goes on within Yellowstone National Park; the state issue is used as a convenient excuse for their own crimes against buffalo. When Yellowstone National Park is serious about protecting wild buffalo, they will withdraw from the IBMP, they will stop operating their Stephens Creek capture facility in the north, they will stop capturing calves and shipping them to quarantine, they will stop hazing within national park boundaries. Until then, their victim card that they like to play (if we don't do it, Montana will slaughter buffalo) rings hollow.

    I have a lot more to say but no time now to say it.

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

  • How Did 1940s-era Visitors View Yosemite National Park? Check Out This Video   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Thanks for the very interesting old video, Kurt. Near the end of the clip (11:38), the ski sequence caption "The Swift Descent Is On" is followed by about ten seconds of footage from Mt. Rainier. This seems odd and makes me wonder if skier/film maker Otto Lang may have been involved with the Yosemite production?

  • How Did 1940s-era Visitors View Yosemite National Park? Check Out This Video   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Wow - feeding bears out of the palm of your hand? The landscape hasn't changed - but some of the practices obviously have. (Liked those sled dogs, too!)

  • Traveler's Checklist: Yellowstone National Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I just returned from a trip to Yellowstone and I have not experienced this 1-2 hour delay you speak of.

    However, I can vouch for your third point. The road construction south of the park towards the Tetons does grant about a half-hour delay.

  • Bison Hazing Operations Inside Yellowstone National Park Fuel Controversy   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I may be wrong, but aren't our national parks created for the land and wildlife to be able to revert back to it's natural undisturbed past. It's kinda like the wolves, farmers fought to keep them from coming back and the same for other species across the country. Farmers should be the last to be concerned for, let them get their livestock vaccined. As for the wolf problem....what would the real farmers 100 years ago done, watch their herds and manage their risks???? Seems like the solution to me...maybe I'm crazy! It only took how many years to get the Bison to come back from the brink of gone for good...which was done by farmers turned fur traders...Hum????

  • Bison Hazing Operations Inside Yellowstone National Park Fuel Controversy   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Cattlemen next to some National parks pay $1.00 a year for their cattle to graze on Public Land. I'm
    surprised that they are asking for"cream in their coffee."
    Remember, no case of brusilossis has been documented from Bison.
    The Bison need photojournalist to record this helicopter activity. And I thought Sara Palin was in Alaska......

  • Rangers Narrow Search Area in Grand Canyon National Park For Missing Hiker   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Hey Kurt:

    The search and rescue crews are dealing with temps in the 100's inside the canyon. I hope Mr. Williams is found o.k. The canyon can be a deadly place if you are not prepared for the extreme climate.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 29 weeks ago

    >>Kurt, thanks for showing through the use of numerous examples that prohibiting weapons does not stop people from being stupid and using weapons illegally.<<

    Frank, just for clarification, while guns were, and continue to be, prohibited in Sequoia at the time of the shooting I mentioned, the other incidents occurred on U.S. Forest Service and BLM lands where weapons were permitted. Perhaps if there had been a ban the incidents wouldn't have happened. Surely target ranges wouldn't have been set up.

    That said, I would agree that some people will do what they want with firearms, regardless of the regulations.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Rick, thanks for trying to control the conversation and censor me again. My conversation was with Mr. Bane, but thanks for chiming in.

    Kurt, thanks for showing through the use of numerous examples that prohibiting weapons does not stop people from being stupid and using weapons illegally. The acts you reference, which are illegal now, will remain illegal under the current ruling. As for the BLM land in Arizona, I have visited the BLM land near Quartzsite, Arizona where many camp during the winter months. I'm told that the BLM has stepped up education about and prosecution of those who saguaro cacti for target practice, and the effort seems to be working.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Ah, Frank C., you're back on the gun issue, slippery slopes and all. Please admit that people can disagree with you. That's what this forum is all about. You get your say, Ray Bane gets his, I get mine. Is that an example of the domino theory?

    Rick Smith

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 29 weeks ago

    >....National Forest Service land has not turned into the mythical* wild west<<

    Perhaps it hasn't turned exactly into the Wild West, mythical or otherwise, but some incidents in parks, forests, and BLM lands are worth noting because they do support concerns many have expressed about exactly what might happen in national parks:

    * In 2007 there was a campground shooting in Sequoia NP. A no-doubt-fearless camper started firing his 9mm into the night, presumably spooked by what might have been a black bear cleaning up table scraps. Rangers found 9 shell casings.

    * A Minnesota Court of Appeals just this week upheld a prison sentence for a 21-year-old involved in a 2007 "drunken shooting spree" in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, which is located in the Superior National Forest, where firearms are permitted.

    * At a BLM property near Santa Fe, NM, someone "damaged by deliberate shooting" a panel of 8,000-year-old petroglyphs.

    * In the Ironwood Forest National Monument, near Tuscon, Ariz., officials are thinking of banning target shooting because some visitors are resorting to old computers and TVs as targets and leaving the mess behind.

    * BLM officials in Arizona also report target practice on saguaro cacti, as well as on a microwave oven that was placed in an ironwood tree.

    Those incidents were cited in a story from Greenwire that ran in the NY Times on Thursday.

    Also from that story:

    Revisions to gun policies are also under way at other BLM sites, including Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in southwest Colorado and Aqua Fria National Monument near Phoenix, Ariz.

    The Forest Service, meanwhile, has opted to close 81,000 "urban interface" acres in the nearly 3-million-acre Tonto National Forest in Arizona to shooting due mostly to concerns about trash and public safety.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Mr. Bane: "I fear..."

    Your fear is baseless as National Forest Service land has not turned into the mythical* wild west. Your fear also must succumb to others' natural and constitutional rights to defend their life, liberty, and property. Sorry. But you'll get over your fear. (And comparing bars to national parks? Really?)

    Mr. Bane: "...that once the new law goes into effect some park visitors who in the past were comfortable unarmed will feel the need to have a gun to protect them from others who will be armed. It effectively sets off an arms race."

    Thanks for the domino theory reference and slippery slope argument. (The domino theory has been debunked, and you have no evidence that the rule change will result in increased firearm possession in national parks. That's a very slippery slope, sir.)

    *(According to UCLA historian Dr. Roger McGrath in Gunfighters, Highwaymen and Vigilantes: Violence in the Old West, violent crime rates in the Old West were far lower than today, and McGrath attributes those lower rates to the open carry of firearms.)

  • Will There Soon Be a Mount Obama Monument and National Park?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    You've got a point, MotoVagabond, but you'd better not try to carry it too far. In the U.S., a landscape feature has to protrude at least 2,000 feet above the surrounding terrain before it can legitimately be called a mountain. As a matter of practice, however, people here and throughout the world can -- and do -- call anything they damn well please a mountain.

  • Bison Hazing Operations Inside Yellowstone National Park Fuel Controversy   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I could argue both sides of this.

    Cattle catching diseases from infected bison isn't good for the cattle industry, which is bad for us who depend on cattle for food.

    Bison being driven to other areas by hazing from low flying helicopters across rivers and not leaving time for calves to feed and the whole herd time to rest isn't good either.

    It's no good either way, but something that must be done, I guess.

  • Bison Hazing Operations Inside Yellowstone National Park Fuel Controversy   5 years 29 weeks ago

    They are capable of spreading disease to cattle. No one cares about OUR grass. There is plenty of grass. This is all outside the park boundaries. The states should make the laws and rules there. That said, it seems best to try to get them back in the park as gently and cost-effective as possible.

  • Will There Soon Be a Mount Obama Monument and National Park?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    By definition, at 1300' it is barely a mountain .

  • Bison Hazing Operations Inside Yellowstone National Park Fuel Controversy   5 years 29 weeks ago

    This is all because the cattlemen don't want bison eating grass on OUR public lands that they think belong to their cattle. Why are we pandering to this special interest group?

  • Dead Carp at Lake Mohave Make This Memorial Day Memorable for Wrong Reason   5 years 29 weeks ago

    We rented a houseboat this weekend from Forever Resorts in Cottonwood Cove. It isn't cheap, and NO ONE informed us of the dead fish in the lake. Yes, there were hundreds and we had a hard time even finding a cove without at least 50 dead fish. We still swam and tried to make the best of it,but it was still gross and felt they should have informed us. One of the workers also said " we aren't supposed to mention anything about the carp." I was wondering why they were so nice to give us 1/2 off our jet ski. Still, $2,000 for three days for a vacation with hundreds of dead fish and the smell is really upsetting.

  • Hazing Efforts Lead to Death of Black Bear in Glacier National Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    The "hazing" rounds come in a package of five and must be loaded into the shotgun in proper order. The "cracker" (3) rounds first followed by the rubber pellet (2) rounds. The hazing starts with the bear being
    shot in the rump with the rubber pellets. Once the bear is on the run, the "cracker" rounds are fired behind and above the bear. The loud noise backs up the pellets shots to condition the bear to not return to the area. My guess is that the weapon was not properly loaded. But it's only an educated guess.

  • Search Under Way For Missing Hiker At Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    You have all my prayers. I never had a grandpa and always wished I did. Good luck to you and your family and my thoughts are with you.

  • Mud Snares 19-Year-Old At Cuyahoga Valley National Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    We went to a picnic at Virginia Kendall last month. At the Kendall Lake dock, one side had water and the other looked like solid ground. I saw a teenager jump off on the "dry" side and sink to his shins. He was after a fish that tried to swim into an area that didn't have sufficient water and had stranded itself. He proudly displayed his 10' "bass" that he hand caught to his dad. He was then told that it was only a sucker fish, which I believe is a type of catfish.

    I think hindsight is 20/20 on this issue. The lake bed I saw honestly looked like it was solid and could hold any one's weight, not just sediment that was under water and is now settling. I'm glad I didn't go out there!

  • Traveler's Checklist: Yellowstone National Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    "5. Check out the Museum of the National Park Ranger near the Norris Geyser Basin. Located in the original Norris Soldier Station near the entrance to Norris Campground, this museum offers exhibits that depict the development of the park ranger profession from its roots in the military traditions through early rangers and to the present array of NPS staff specialized duties. A small auditorium shows a laser-disc production of the 25-minute movie, "An American Legacy," which tells the story of the development of the National Park Service."

    This is a great stop. There is also a short video called "Conviction of the Heart" that is worth seeing. I had the privilege of being a volunteer interpreter at the museum last summer. It was fun as the crowds there aren't so large as they are in other visitor centers. You can actually talk to people about park issues and help them understand the importance of Yellowstone and the rest of the National Park System.

    Norris is a great place to camp. It's really a perfect place. No cell phone service (at least last summer), no internet, no stores, no gas stations, nothing. The campground campfire circle has no electricity so the rangers giving the evening programs have to depend on their words to paint the pictures that you see in power point shows in other evening programs elsewhere in the park. The Norris Geyser Basin is reputedly the most active in the park and the boardwalks wind around brightly colored pools, mysterious fumaroles, and small geysers. The seasonal interpreters stationed at the Geyser Basin were uniformly polite and well-informed about the basin and the rest of the park.

    In my career, I probably attended close to 200 evening programs. Last summer, though, at Norris, I saw an evening program that broke the mold. The topic was something like "the history of Yellowstone." The seasonal interpreter was a concert violinist. At one point in his talk, he said something like "when the army first protected Yellowstone before there was an NPS, they always had a fiddler." He then took out his violin and played a fiddle tune. Later on he related that in the 20's and 30's, concession employees often provided evening entertainment for the guests at the hotels and lodges. He said, "You probably would have heard something like this" and played a sentimental ballad on the violin. He did this maybe four times during the talk. The visitors in attendance loved it.

    It was also gratifying to see the kids who were enrolled in the junior ranger program line up after the evening campfire programs to get the ranger's signature. One of the requirements is that a junior ranger has to attend at least one evening program and secure the ranger's signature to verify it. I would always ask a couple of them to come down to the museum when it opened to help me put up the flag. One evening when I was ready to close the museum, there was only a French familly still there. The father was the only one who spoke English. The kids were maybe 10 and 12. I asked the father if they would like to help me take down the flag and properly fold it. He asked them in French, of course, and they responded yes. After taking it down--telling them through their father that we could not let it touch the ground, I then taught them how to properly fold the flaq. Their father told me that he did not think his kids would ever forget the experience.

    Rick Smith