Recent comments

  • Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road Open End to End   5 years 31 weeks ago

    "Science" has has been wrong more often than not and always evolving. remember the earth used to be flat? there is much to know that humans have far to go in figuring out. nobody really knows about the "real science" they spout off about. there is alot of disagreement about "global warming" and if it really is happening. any fool thats thinks driving an electric car or other foolishness has not noticed mexico, china, india or any other country that has no intention of changing. have you been to these places? they will not change, what changes we make will have no effect on the big picture.

  • Black Bears Racking Up Property Damage In Yosemite National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Please be responsible with your food and trash. It's not always convenient but bears lives and the safety of campers is not to be taken lightly.

  • On Politics, Bureaucracy, and "Glamping" In the National Park System   5 years 31 weeks ago

    What good is a "hands-on" director (as opposed to the previous hands-off kind) if all they have to look forward to is a position dominated by political games and a slow-paced bureaucracy? The NPS needs more than a new director to turn things around but, unfortunately, those kinds of changes are not coming to the nation's capital anytime soon.

  • On Politics, Bureaucracy, and "Glamping" In the National Park System   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Is anybody surprised that when we need a hands-on director, Mr. Jarvis' confirmation is going to be buried in an avalanche of paper? I'm ever amazed that Washington ever gets anything done.

    As for "glamping," my first thought was WT*! and I rarely say WT*. I was under the impression that particular niche was filled with ultra-posh RVs equipped with everything AND the kitchen sink. Oh ya, the RV industry has tanked in this recession, putting thousands out of work, so of course, who would be so gauche as to go that route when "glamping" is apparently the new standard in luxe?

    I don't own a RV, or would ever consider "glamping". I do have a 17 year old nylon tent with so many layers of seam seal I'm amazed it doesn't stand up on its own without the poles. Amenities are 2 air mattresses for my son and me, and a can of bear spray. I'm not as limber as I used to be after waking up on a foam pad, nor do I want an up-close and personal experience with a bear. Our security system is our very yappy mini dachshund and a SIG, not concealed here in Montana where if you don't show your firearm, you're obviously up to no good. If we can't cook it over an open fire, or eat it cold when there are Red Flag warnings, we don't bring it. No chefs, maids, or butlers in sight!

    Want to be pampered? Go to a spa hotel. Leave the camping to people who know what they want without the racket of all those generators, AC units and iPod speaker systems. I can't imagine you'd enjoy the glow of a Coleman lamp.

    Let's hope this is just another fast-passing fad, because if it isn't, we'll be inundated with designer fishing gear and even more idiots with little common sense and way too much money flashing concealed weapons when they get homesick for a more "urban" experience.

  • On Politics, Bureaucracy, and "Glamping" In the National Park System   5 years 31 weeks ago

    As a Civil War re-enactor, I often get incredulous looks when I tell people that yes, we actually sleep in those tents, and yes, we actually cook on the fire. And no, they didn't have i-pods or cell phones during the Civil War, so we can't have them either (one of the true joys of re-enacting, if you ask me!).

    I can't see how "glamping" is going to solve this problem (and I do see it as a problem).

  • Updated: Hiker Killed In Fall at Glacier National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    More likely a hiker than a climber.

  • Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road Open End to End   5 years 31 weeks ago

    No word about the renaming effort heard here, but on the other issue, there is a difference between weather and climate. Plus, just because you have one good winter doesn't mean the long-term trend isn't pointing to a warming trend. Frankly, I'd venture that those who are concerned about climate change would be more than happy if the science were wrong.

  • On Politics, Bureaucracy, and "Glamping" In the National Park System   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Boy, that picture says it all! And what is that square thing on the tent directly to the left of the doorway? Is that an AC UNIT???? I went to the site mentioned above, and found that for a mere $200 a night I could get the complete experience in Joshua Tree, only 10 minutes from the National Park. The website states, "you can bring your friends and crank up the amp, or just listen to the silence". Amenities include a spa, fully equipped kitchen, and an iPod docking station! Somebody's making some serious money - clever way of exploiting us lazy Americans. Anybody know how I can get into this racket?

  • Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road Open End to End   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Previous posters need a wake up call and not for Rush Limbaugh. Question, why is there talk about renaming the park because all the glaciers will be completely gone in 20 years???? Oh wait, 1 year we opened late yeah that's right no global warming - too funny...

  • On Politics, Bureaucracy, and "Glamping" In the National Park System   5 years 31 weeks ago

    U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn should be embarrassed along with every member of the state of Oklahoma. Holding our National Park System hostage while he plays politics. You give every good republican a bad name. Step aside and allow TRUE Americans to take over and resue our park system for future generations.

  • How Far Should You Move a Nuisance Rattlesnake? At Great Basin, Inquiring Minds Want to Know   5 years 31 weeks ago

    While working in one of the densest population areas of timber rattlers in the east, we were made aware of the study noted in the above message conducted in North Carolina. We started to relocate rattlers found in visitor use areas much shorter distances. Although we did not have the time to conduct any semblance of a scientific study, it did not seem that the snakes were returning to the high visibility areas frequented by people. I would find it of interest to see a study conducted on the movement of snakes relocated and the frequency that they reappear in areas that are of concern.

    Just a thought for consideration by one of those grad students looking for a research topic.

  • Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road Open End to End   5 years 31 weeks ago

    man is so egotistical to think afer billions of years of the earth taking care of itself the humans can destroy it in a few 100 years. what t joke. solar flares are 90% of the ozone depletion and so called 'global warming'.
    [This comment was edited to remove unacceptable language.]

  • Surf Is Decidedly Up At Cape Hatteras National Seashore Thanks to Hurricane Bill   5 years 31 weeks ago

    damage report? where on 12?

  • "Bad Times" Aren't Always All Bad – These Two Ideas for "Improving the Parks" Fizzled   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Steel also wanted to build an elevator from the Lodge to the lake shore and the NPS director at the time, Horace Albright, called Steel's, within-the-rim, road idea, "chimerical." No doubt, Steel was feeling his oats after having attained money from Congress for the first survey project of a rim road (in 1907) at Crater Lake and then money for construction of the first rim road.

    Another notion, just as nonsensical, was pushed by Congressman Charles Porter, of Oregon, for an aerial gondola.....from the rim to Wizard Island in 1959.

    Thanks so much Jim. Good job.

    rob mutch
    ---
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography

  • Planners In "Wilderness Wal-Mart" Matter Oppose Development on Fringe of Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    anon 3: Could it be that Walmart is "getting religion"? Or is it the pressure of public opinion? Fear of losing market share is a good motive for cleaning up their corporate act. Good move for locating on land no one else wants. Reclaiming blighted properties is always a good idea, although I think they should have gotten a good environmental hazard assessment before building on a landfill.

    Perhaps the answer for Fredericksburg is to bring pressure to bear on the county to rezone the land nearest the park. A buffer area, maybe?

  • "Bad Times" Aren't Always All Bad – These Two Ideas for "Improving the Parks" Fizzled   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Jess -

    Thanks for the interesting comment.

    I'd definitely agree that a tramway using old city buses suspended from a cable qualifies as "low budget"!

  • Rare Fossilized Sea Star Turns Up On Beach at Olympic National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Better researchers than "collectors" who will chisel it out and sell it.

  • How Far Should You Move a Nuisance Rattlesnake? At Great Basin, Inquiring Minds Want to Know   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Thanks for the info, Bob. This is very interesting stuff. When I was a lookout, a massive rattle snake decided to sun on a step directly in front of the door. There were so many living in the splatter rampart the lookout was built on. I caught three and transported them to the bottom of the hill. Kinda bummed to find out this information now, though. While I'm extremely afraid of rattlers, and don't want to get bitten, I also don't want to see them die prematurely. There was an awful woodrat problem at the lookout, too, and they would urinate sticky pee all over the catwalk. Needless to say, rattlesnakes serve an important role in rodent population control.

  • It Ain't Sexy: Charting The Next Two Decades At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Diane,

    You sound like you write copy for the COC;-) Or, more likely, that you love and fully appreciate the islands for what they are and what they offer.

    The islands are definitely on my list...sounds like a great place for an extended paddle.

  • It Ain't Sexy: Charting The Next Two Decades At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Excellent mind-boggling post, Kurt. You've made the government-written draft easier to wade through.

    While the Islands are some of my favorite places in the world, thinking that they would lose most of their charm and beauty by converting to B&Bs and losing their historic and pristine flavor turns my stomach. I believe the buildings and trails should be rehabilitated, not commercialized.

    True, the courthouse in Bayfield is a hike up the hill and land to purchase is in short supply. Finding a place for the NPS interpretive center and its offices will be difficult, but I'm sure it can be done. Ownership would be far preferable to leasehold any old day and would provide a permanent foothold on the land side for generations to come. Remember, many people who visit that area don't necessarily travel out to the islands, but they can garner a wealth of information from a centrally located center.

    If you've never been to the Islands, plan a trip. Pick any island, or a few, to explore. Spring through fall are ideal for family visits. Let winter be for the more adventurous. Historically, the Islands human habitation goes farther back than whites care-taking lighthouses. The islands were for a generations summer fishing camps for Native Americans. Ever spent a summer in muggy northern Wisconsin? Then you will appreciate the breezes off Lake Superior, the goosebump, teeth-chattering, shivering delight of the clear lake water for a refreshing dip. The lesser developed Islands are wonderful places just to be. I miss the shush of the water on sand and rocky shores, the wind in the trees, the birdsong, the black sky away from lit towns that allow you to see the heavens.

    Leave your gadgets behind. Do cellphones even work out there? No matter. I wouldn't take it anyway.

    The Apostle Islands are wonderful little gems. Let's preserve them in their unpolished state.

  • How Far Should You Move a Nuisance Rattlesnake? At Great Basin, Inquiring Minds Want to Know   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I'm not sure what the issue is with Great Basin snakes, but I assume it's similar to problems with longer translocations of nuisance rattlers alluded to in a 2001 study Relocation of Nuisance Rattlesnakes: Problems Using Short-Distance Translocation in a Small Rural Community, which included this information:

    Recent studies indicate rattlesnakes released well beyond their home range (LDT) become confused and tend to wander long distances. They apparently attempt to return to their home range where they grew up and knew their surroundings. Many snakes managed with LDT die within a year, unable to adapt to their new environment (Johnson et al. 2000 [massasaugas, Ontario], Hare and McNally 1997 [diamondbacks, Tucson], Reinert 1999 [timber rattlesnakes, Pennsylvania). Other studies indicate translocated snakes' aberrant activity patterns (Nowak 1998 [diamondback and blacktailed rattlesnakes, Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona], Sealy 1997 [timber rattlesnakes, North Carolina]). Our own long term studies (11 years) using radiotelemetry near Portal, Arizona, indicate blacktailed rattlesnakes know their home range intimately, seldom range out of it, and frequent the same refuges, hunting sites, and opposite sex meeting locations year after year (Hardy and Greene 1999).

    I guess the bottom line here is that longer translocations leave the rattlers extremely upset, confused, and more likely to take lethaly dangerous risks while trying to find their way back to familiar habitat.

  • "Bad Times" Aren't Always All Bad – These Two Ideas for "Improving the Parks" Fizzled   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Tramways aren't always successful, either. One was eventually built at Mt Hood, going from the town of Government Camp up to the famous Timberline Lodge. It was a low budget setup, and used old city buses suspended from a cable as tram cars (really!) It was also a failure, only lasting a couple of years. You can find a couple of old photos of this rather odd contraption at http://www.pdxhistory.com/html/mt_hood.html Scroll down to the end of the page.

  • How Far Should You Move a Nuisance Rattlesnake? At Great Basin, Inquiring Minds Want to Know   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Snakes moved long distances – more than one kilometer (.62 miles) – have survival rates conspicuously lower than those moved shorter distances.

    Did any of the studies you read explain why the survival rates drop on longer moves? Thanks in advance.

  • Rare Fossilized Sea Star Turns Up On Beach at Olympic National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    “This is indeed fabulous and beautiful and so amazingly unusual.” ...Until, on the advice of the Burke Museum (what did they expect the Burke to say?) it was ripped from the rock where it has resided for the last 20 million years or so.

  • "Bad Times" Aren't Always All Bad – These Two Ideas for "Improving the Parks" Fizzled   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Thanks for the interesting piece, Jim. I'd never heard of the Crater Lake tunnel idea before. These administrative histories found on most unit's websites make fascinating reading. I would encourage anyone passionate about their parks to check them out.

    Long time employees in the Maintenance Division at Rainier say it is very expensive to keep the road to Paradise plowed during the severe winters, but necessary because Glacier Bridge cannot bear the snowload. That, plus potential damage to the historic Paradise Inn and other infrastructure from the tremendous annual snowfall, make clearing the road daily the cheapest option. Undoubtedly a tram would have had high maintenance costs as well, and probably would not have been able to operate in the frequent strong winds.