Recent comments

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I also know of the attitude Beamis speaks. Humans are social animals and as such social position is very important. City folk throughout time have ridiculed the country bumpkin cousin. Hunting was a cultural tradition that both city and country folk enjoyed and it lead to a lot of conservation efforts and many of the NPS. Roosevelt is a classic example.

    From the 1970’s and forward, hunting blinds on the Chesapeake have disappeared. The people who used bird dogs in MD also faded. My neighbor in Bethesda has national champion bird dogs and in my same neighborhood Sen. Pete Domenci lived up the street. Less people were familiar with hunting firearms and the gun control act of 1968 was a response to Kennedy’s assassination and the later riots that scared whites that blacks in cities were rioting and they have guns. So most of America was OK with the 1968 act, since it really targeted "those folks".

    Later as Sarah Brady and other gun control activists managed to persuade that "guns are bad" They pushed the utopian line that if there were no guns then crime with guns would go away. That is when DC in 1976 passed its draconian gun ban. Chicago in 1972 so the educated urban elite adopted the same left liberal attitude that "guns are bad" and only barbarians such as the hillbillies used them. Thirty tears have shown that gun bans only affect the law-abiding from the crime stats of shootings and murders with guns by criminals in the cities such as DC. The gun ban was totally ineffective to fight crime. They did not even use it to add charged to criminals they caught. Only the odd case of a homeowner or a Congressman caught with a gun has been prosecuted and those were usually dropped.

    Maryland passed a law against” Saturday Nights Special” that specifically target inexpensive guns that the poor could use for defense or for crime. They ignored the poor that were the crime victim’s and their need for a self-defense weapon, and only banned them to target the criminals. The criminals never had a problem getting guns, they would steal them. Some even came from police departments which had property losses over the years as they sold those guns to the street for their criminal relatives. So gun control was pushed as a mean to protect against the poor who might be criminal minded and the blacks. It definitely had a racist tinge.

    For example in high school I shot skeet twice a week and always had shot shells not used in my coat pockets from the night before. I would take them out and cut them open when bored in class. It was no big deal. Teachers were not hysterical about that. Students would bring in long arms to show and the only comment was is the firing pin removed? That was in the 1970’s; now compare that attitude to the often hysterical ranting of anti gun folks in comments and letters to the editor?

    Are the urban left leaning elite against guns? My opinion is yes, and that really does extend to suburbia. Guns are scary, they reminds people that danger exists. So people prefer not to see guns, because only criminals have guns.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 27 weeks ago

    RAH, as I stated over at another article in response to your misinformation, firearms have been disallowed in national park service units since the thirties. The change in the seventies was simply one of several revisions in the intervening years that actually weakened previous protections. This recent change in large measure overturned a lot more than just thirty years of precedent.

  • Park Rangers, Active and Retired, Lament Change in Gun Rules for National Parks   5 years 27 weeks ago

    The new rules won't result in any real change in the national parks. Anyone with half a brain who goes in the back country has already been carrying, illegally, while the old ban was in effect. The vast majority of national park visitors who see the park by car and wouldn't dream of treading where flush toilets and hot dog stands aren't immediately available, wouldn't and won't be carrying. The only difference is that now, if I end up having to defend myself against a mountain lion or (much more likely) a Stayner or Manson wannabe, I won't have to worry about being prosecuted by the government for exercising one of my fundamental human rights.

  • Lost to Hurricanes, the Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park Will be Hard to Replace   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Flamingo is one of the most magical and wonderful places on earth. People should be able to go there and live there for a few days, regardless of age, disability or inclination to camp. The Lodge served that purpose. I agree it should be larger, but I also want it to have a minimal impact on the fragile ecology of Florida Bay. The more people who experience the magic of the Everglades, the more who will want to help save this incomparable and irreplaceable paradise.

    I know Flamingo well. I lived there for several years in the 1980s. Hidden behind the resort is the tiny offbeat village where sturdy people have lived for nearly a century at the "end of the road." Today they are all employees of the National Park Service or the hotel / marina company and their families. It is still a close knit and loving community and the Lodge is the engine that keeps it in business. I'd hate to see the NPS close down Flamingo or make it "day use only," as a unique community would then be lost, and the Everglades has lost quite enough already.

    To hear a song about Flamingo cut and paste: http://www.parkrangersteve.com/music/10%20My%20Flamingo.mp3

  • Lodging Discounts Available At Furnace Creek at Death Valley National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Bob, no turn-down service, but if you're at the "inn" they do leave chocolate mints on the night-table! Be sure to check out the donut-shaped soaps they employ.

  • Lodging Discounts Available At Furnace Creek at Death Valley National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Beginning Monday, I will be ensconced at Furnace Creek Inn for three nights, enjoying my thirty percent discount. Being a certified Olde Pharte has its distinct advantages. Will there be a turn-down service and a mint on my pillow?

  • Echoes of the Cold War in the Tropical Warmth of Everglades National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Yeah, sorry it took so long for FF3. Hopefully we'll have more regular site maintenance going forward.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I still think you're brushing with an awfully big brush and can of paint. Some no doubt would describe me in some conversations as left-leaning, yet in others right of center. And I experience no shock and horror over gun ownership. In other words, I don't neatly fit your stereotype, and I don't think I'm alone in my views.

    As for Wal-Mart (talk about thread drift, but what the heck), I think you again are using a pretty big brush in trying to explain the "disdain" folks have with the chain. Is it really over the "swarming masses" that shop there, or is it more tied to corporate practices that pay employees as little as possible, both in salary and benefits, and which drive home-grown businesses out of business?

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Nuthin' over the top. Just the way it is here in these good ol' United States.

  • What Priorities Should The Next National Park Service Director Address?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Dear RAH, please go back and read a few of the former posts on the topic. Snowmobiles have been consistently debunked as noisy and a source for air pollution by the scientific NPS staff. They disturb the wildlife and diminish the quality of experience for all other visitors. And snowmobiles don't just leave tracks in the snow. They compress snow, letting it thaw slower and thereby influence the drainage in spring.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Beamis--

    You have posted another over-the-top comment. Why not chill a little?

    Rick Smith

  • Echoes of the Cold War in the Tropical Warmth of Everglades National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    The NPs has already one Nike site and interprets the history of the Cold War there. It is site SF-88 in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area: http://www.nps.gov/goga/nike-missile-site.htm The site is almost fully equipped, visitors can see the rocket being lifted up for launch, can see the bunker, the controls and almost everything else from the 1960s. The Everglades site is just the concrete shell - no installations there anymore. Frankly, I don't think it's worth preserving, and lack of funds to remove it should not be used as an excuse.

    PS: This website works with Firefox 3 again, the layout finally looks fine. Thanks for repairing it.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 27 weeks ago

    "Urban professional left-leaning elites." Now there's a label. Does one size fit all?

    I didn't say it was one size fits all but was simply pointing out that the anti-gun bias seems to mostly come from a class of people who look upon guns and gun owners as an unnecessary remnant of tribal primitivism which springs forth from the alien world of working class, blue collared rednecks. The very idea of guns in the hands of normal citizens predictably conjures up images of Tombstone, Dodge City or Jed Clampett stalking possum for dinner.

    It's the same with their disdain of Wal-Mart. It is a class based bias rooted in their sense of moral and intellectual superiority. To them the swarming masses of Untermensch with their gun rack bedecked pick-up trucks wheeling their way out of the Wally World parking lot with a plastic kiddie pool tied to the bed liner is nothing short of true barbarity.

    I remember once attending a yuppy party in some tony townhouse in DC back in the late 80's and during said affair retrieved a pellet gun pistol from my car to show a friend. When I appeared with this gun in the living room amidst the party goers a shocked hushed silence descended upon the room which eventually led to quiet murmurs and then outright rebuke. It seems that they were insulted that someone in their set would have such an item in the first place and that I would deign to bring it into their sanctified home for show and tell. You can bet I was never invited to another party by these staunch members of the Sierra Club ever again.

    I know who these people are and know what they think of the knuckle draggers out here in gun toting land. As far as I'm concerned they can have their crime ridden, gun soaked cities in which to lock themselves into their homes each night. It's what they deserve.

  • Climate Change: Fact or Fiction?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Remember that a glacier is a constantly changing system. Advance and retreat is inherent to their nature. A glacier that isn't moving is called an "ice field."

    Glaciers advance when snowfall at their heads exceeds melt at their tails. Depending on the glacier, this can take years to manifest. It is perfectly possible for a general warming trend to result in advancing glaciers if the trend increases wintertime snow greater than it increases summertime snow melt. There is not a 1:1 correlation between glacier retreat and global warming. Glaciers that have eroded away can return, when climate trends change. For example, Mt. St. Helens has grown a small one inside its blast crater since 1980.

    So sure, receding glaciers are a sign of long-term climate fluctuation. Any geologist could have told you that the climate has always fluctuated. I think it's most important that we not fetishize glaciers. We cannot expect a glacier to forever match its earliest photographs, like those attached to this post. It is geologically and meteorologically impossible for the Muir Glacier to have remained unchanged for 63 years. It is perfectly possible that it will return to its previous extent and more.

  • Climate Change: Fact or Fiction?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Hubris?

    There are more than a few scientists who think otherwise, and who have compiled reams and reams of data to support that contention.

    While the last two years might have produced severe winters in some parts of the world, others have not seen what might be described as normal. Still, those who study climate change point out that we shouldn't expect to see a steady pattern of warming, but rather herky-jerky weather patterns. In other words, just because climate change is occurring, that doesn't mean we're not going to experience blizzards or Canadian Clippers.

    The following found its way to my in-box this morning. It lends credence to the concept that while individual years might not follow cleanly in the definition some associate with climate change, things having been getting warmer.

    WARMEST DECEMBERS, Northern Hemisphere
    2003 +0.62 C
    2006 +0.54 C
    1987 +0.52 C
    1998 +0.42 C
    2008 +0.41 C
    2005 +0.40 C

    Since November 1978, the Northern Hemisphere atmosphere has warmed more than three times as fast as the Southern Hemisphere atmosphere (+0.19 C to +0.06 C per decade).

    With a global average temperature that was 0.05 C warmer than seasonal norms, 2008 goes into the books as the coolest year since 2000. Global temperatures during 2008 were influenced by a La Nina Pacific Ocean cooling event.

    Another La Nina appears to be forming in the Pacific, which could chill temperatures through 2009.

    As for more usable land, well, that depends upon where you live. Certainly, climate change models predict that northern latitudes will see longer growing seasons. But in places like the Southwest and southern Rockies, a lack of snowfall could be devastating to agriculture and communities that rely on lakes and reservoirs for their drinking water.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Respectfully JimB, if your history class was in a state-run school in the mid-20th century, you probably got more propaganda than actual history.

    Please consider Gunfighters, Highwaymen, & Vigilantes: Violence on the Frontier by Roger D. McGrath.

    Dr. McGrath writes:

    Popular wisdom says that generations of living on and conquering frontiers have made Americans a violent and lawless people. Popular wisdom is wrong. So is much scholarly literature that has drawn conclusions about violence and lawlessness from anecdotal evidence and specious assumptions. The kind of crime that pervades American society today has little or no relation to the kind of lawlessness that occurred on the frontier if Aurora and Bodie are at all representative of western communities. Robbery of individuals, burglary, and theft occurred only infrequently and rape seems not to have occurred at all. Racial violence and serious juvenile crime were absent also. The homicides that occurred almost invariably resulted from gunfights between willing combatants. The old, the weak, the innocent, the young, and the female were not the targets of violent men. In fact, all people in those categories would have been far safer in Aurora or Bodie than they are today in any major U.S. city. Even most smaller cities and towns are far more crime ridden and dangerous than were Aurora and Bodie.

    There simply is no justification for blaming contemporary American violence and lawlessness on a frontier heritage. The time is long past for Americans to stop excusing the violence in society by trotting out that old whipping boy, the frontier. On the contrary, it would seem that the frontier, instead of representing America at its worst may have, in many respects, represented the nation at its best.

  • Climate Change: Fact or Fiction?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Clinate change is constant on this planet. The idea that man is responsible seems to me to be hubris. I believes the sun has a lot more to do with that. Besides greater increase is usable land is generally a good thing.

    The last two years have had more sever winters so maybe warming needs to be rethought?

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I suggest you check the real history of Tombstone and Dodge City and not the fiction that was written by the penny dreadfuls that popularized the gunslinger image.

    Those places had very low usage of guns ceratinly compared to cities in todays age. Crime and criminal misuse of a gun in DC,Baltitimore, Philadelhia, Ocala, NY, Boston are just an example. The amount of gangland killings, drivebys and crime are very Big compared to Tombstone and Dodge City.

  • Echoes of the Cold War in the Tropical Warmth of Everglades National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I think Nike missile bases are cool. I have horse back ridden on some old ones and seen the land used for other recreation, such as agility dog trainining in MD. These were not handed over to NPS but state and local counties.

    I have visited Everglades several times and never knew about the Nike site. I would love to visit for the historical purpose and I am sure many young people would find it neat also. I am glad that one has been left to show a story of our past that many are ignorant.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 27 weeks ago

    re: the comment by RAH:

    As to the varying state laws I would enforce the most liberal state law.

    A law enforcement officer's job would be a lot easier if he or she decided which laws to enforce - or ignore - but that's generally considered unacceptable performance.

    I would have made CCW allowable in parks and the CCW holder has to abide by the states rules he has the CCW license from.

    I suspect many people would have some heartburn with the idea that laws from another state could override the laws of their own state. That's analogous to saying visitors to the US don't have to obey U.S. laws - just follow the laws of their home country.

    Re: Beamis and "open carry" vs. concealed carry:

    "Open carry" was tried a few years back in places with names like Tombstone and Dodge City. I don't recall from my history class that it worked out so well in terms of improving general law and order :-)

  • Climate Change: Fact or Fiction?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Yes, Alaska's glaciers have been shrinking for the last two centuries. This year, the bad weather was good for Alaska glaciers.

    The difference in temperature between the Little Ice Age and these heady days of American expansion?

    About three or four degrees, Molnia said.

    The difference in temperature between this summer in Anchorage -- the third coldest on record -- and the norm?

    About three degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

    Does it mean anything?

    Nobody knows. Climate is constantly shifting. And even if the past year was a signal of a changing future, Molnia said, it would still take decades to make itself noticeable in Alaska's glaciers.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 27 weeks ago

    "Urban professional left-leaning elites." Now there's a label. Does one size fit all?

  • What Priorities Should The Next National Park Service Director Address?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    NPS is meant to preserve the natural beauty of the parks and to enhance recreation. So I believe that snowmobile that only leaves tracks in snow that get covered or melted should be allowed and encouraged. Yellowstone could even issue permits and get some revenue during the slow period.

    The above comment about the hiker / snowshoe user bothered is just a narrow selfish idea that only he/she can enjoy the winter scenery his/her way. The snowmobile is just another way of enjoying the parks. Like horseback riding vesus hiking which are both more destructive to trails than a snowmobile.

    Money is going to be tighter so resources to maintanance should be kept up and use of volunteers would help. Even volunteer guides and interpretive trails. There are many people that would love to volunteer that are retired or otherwise free to donate their time and labor.

    The problems of increase crime from drug smuggling in the southern parks will use up resources but that should be joint with volunteer clean up and even patrols and other government (border control) resources.

    However one commenter advocated allowing the homeless to use NPS land is a bad idea. Homeless without good sanitation and their abuse of drugs and alcohol negative impact other pleasure in NPS area.

    Most places that have allowed homeless to use land has seen a massive degradation of the land with trash and sewage and many homeless are mentally disbaled and approach visitors aggresively or just weird. This makes normal visitors avoid those areaa. I do not want the National Mall to be a homeless shelter and thus have all other users shut out.

    Homeless shelters need heat, sanitation food access and even medical facilities, NPS is poorly set up to provide those needs.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Here in Tennessee I see armed citizens with weapons openly carried in holsters and leather sheaths all the time. It does not bother me nor seem to bother my fellow citizens here along the tranquil banks of the Tennessee River.

    I've seen weapons worn openly in downtown Chattanooga and along many of the trails that I hike in the forests of the Cumberland Plateau. I've never felt scared or threatened by the sight of these weapons and welcome the protection they bring to society as a whole. The police should not be the only ones who are armed.

    It seems that the discomfort with guns comes mainly from the urban professional left-leaning elites, who are the core supporters of wilderness and parks. It somehow frightens them when anyone but agents of the state are packing the heat. They need to get used to this concept because out here in the flyover country our guns are out and we feel safer knowing we can use them when we need to, which is hardly ever.

  • Echoes of the Cold War in the Tropical Warmth of Everglades National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    When I worked as a ranger at Everglades aeons ago, they used the "Missile Site" essentially as a dump. As a child of the Cold War, I thought it was way cool. I have photos of the structures covered with weeds, with piles of trash covering them, etc. Kinda poingnant really, "rust in peace." Still, while part of me wants it naturally restored like the rest of the "Hole in the Doughnut" area, another part of me says that while interpreting Cold War history is not Everglades' mission to America, parks cannot pick and choose what history took place within their borders.

    I'm glad to see it at least being taken care of and not used for dumping anymore and I look forward to visiting it next time I visit the incomporable and irreplaceable River of Grass.