Recent comments

  • National Park Foundation Launches 2009 Junior Ranger Essay Contest   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Your child is lucky to have such insight and access to our national parks. Just maybe, this contest is to encourage other children to become involved. If more children become involved the better the chances that wild places stay wild. Nepotism may have something to do with it also. God bless ;)

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Well heck Beamis, I am not all that surprised that you find too many sketchy characters out in the wilds.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 29 weeks ago

    It's not the four-legged critters that make me nervous, it's the two-legged variety. I've run into too many sketchy characters out in the wilds, especially in states like California, Nevada and Florida. Most wild animals know well enough to leave me alone and respect my space, except for the occasional field mouse in my gorp or snake curled up in my boots. Hey, as they say, I'm a guest in their home and should expect such behavior from the hosts.

    I agree with all of the comments about the futility of a handgun against a bear or even a cat. Again, as I've said, they ain't the problem.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 29 weeks ago

    " it's not just brown bears. Most handguns will put down a black bear....but we're also talking wolves, mountain lions (kill people every year here in Colorado), rattlesnakes (which we're allowed to shoot in state parks here), and coyotes." Colorado.

    Anyone who believes a handgun is adequate protection against a bear attack has never been charged by an adult bear. Insofar as the other critters are concerned, a handgun, particularly one that is carried concealed, is likely to cause more problems than it solves. I have had close encounters with bears (black, brown and polar), wolves, moose and other large wildlife. As a hunter I harvested a fair number of large animals, some at close range. I strongly advise any backcountry travelers anxious about wildlife encounters not to rely on a handgun for adequate protection. Common sense is your best line of defense. It is almost ludicrous to imagine that a handgun will dispatch a rattlesnake before it strikes. If you have time to pull out a pistol and aim it at a snake, the chances are that you could more easily and safely simply back away. The typical sidearm is designed for one primary purpose, to kill people at close range. Even then it has distinct limitations (accuracy, range and stopping power).

    In terms of backcountry hazards you are far more likely to be injured or killed by accidental falls, hypothermia, thirst, falling rocks, drowning, fire, storms and avalanches than you are by a wild animal. You are better off carrying a good knife, folding camp saw or small ax as a survival tool.

  • How Not to Launch a Boat at Catoctin Mountain Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    You know, Jim, this sounds eerily familiar to one of the "boat launching" stories you recount in your book, Hey Ranger! Wasn't that one at Lake Mead, or the Buffalo River?

  • Was This the Best-Ever Use of a Bra in a National Park?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Don't think I'd want to try whacking a griz. on the nose with my binocs, or anything else for that matter! Kind of makes you think about all the different possible uses for a bra in the back country. Somehow I just don't think my wife would understand if she found one in my backpack though!

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 29 weeks ago

    A friend of mine carries one of those canned airhorns that folks use at basketball games and such. He says that it is a great alternative to bear spray especially on a windy day, and claims to have stopped an angry bison in its tracks once, but hasn't tried it on a bear. In fact, I have dozens of friends who have logged hundreds of back country miles in Yellowstone and Glacier and not one of them has ever had a serious encounter with a bear. I know it can and does happen, but a little awareness goes a long way.

  • Showdown at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    As an American I greatly appreciate our parks for the beauty they possess and the recreation they provide us all. This story, however, hits home with more reality than I can stomach. As a marketing guy in the beverage world, I thought this just happened in the movies. I'm a guy that grew up with Rob going through high school and college and hearing about all the awards and lives that he has saved - I figured he would be our next leader of the Dept of the Interior. There would be no finer candidate than Rob Danno for this position. He loves the parks and this country more than I can describe. I can only hope that somehow this nightmare has a good ending for Rob, his family and the Parks. As for that Snyder character, I can't print what he deserves. It is a true shame that green paper can destroy a man's life work, career and dedication. But knowing Rob for over 35 years, he won't be laying down anytime soon...

    Your bros still have your back Rob.

  • Showdown at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Thank you, HH for the article. I would claim surprise, but that would be a surfeit in prevarication.

    Thanks also to NPT for its "effort to hold the NPS accountable."

    I could detail numerous parallel anecdotes, but predictably, the following comments would scold me for not understanding that incompetence and corruption are everywhere, and it's not the system's fault that there are "a few bad apples".

    Or, like Beamis, I would be labeled "negative" or criticized for not being "more up-lifting".

    Such attempts to obfuscate the real issue--that the federal government is morally and financially bankrupt--stifle real, positive change. Each passing day represents a squandered opportunity to remove the responsibility for protecting national parks from the purview a political, bloated, wasteful, corrupt, bureaucratic, and highly dysfunctional "system".

    The truth is out, though, and like a virus, it's difficult to suppress.

  • Tracing The Postage Stamp-Sized History of the National Park System   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Funny the article starts with "colorful" and showing a monochrome stamps :)

  • Was This the Best-Ever Use of a Bra in a National Park?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    I DONT CARE. I ALLWAYS ENJOY TIMEX WATCHES THEY DO TAKE A LICKIN AND KEEP ON TICKIN....

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 30 weeks ago

    gosh, i sure hope you CCW people aren't going to be in Yellowstone next summer! LOL

    sure- i'd feel better having my trusty .44 MAG on my hip- but the reality is- I DON'T NEED IT. and- it's against the law.

    i know how to deal with nature. without a gun.

    but i will admit that i've wanted to carry a small .22 derringer to scare things off. but with the dozens of times i've hiked back country in our national parks and forrests- i've been unarmed. no bear spray even. not even a big knife. usually i do have a pair of ski poles, though. LOL

    and a big dose of common sense.

  • Was This the Best-Ever Use of a Bra in a National Park?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    what a scene of fighting w/ an animal. seriously a kind of braveness!

  • Was This the Best-Ever Use of a Bra in a National Park?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Br'er Bear, bare bra, now bra bear. Great post. Thanks for lifting us out of the usual seriousness.

  • Showdown at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park   5 years 30 weeks ago

    I watched many careers at a regional office diminished or destroyed on the altar of affirmative action and political correctness. The central figure in that case remained in place for many years while WASO fiddled. Why should I be surprised that a resource defender gets crucified by influential neighbors and inept management at a park. Teresa Chambers is another NPSer suffering because she dared to tell the truth. So sad. I had a long and honorable career tarnished by this BS. So glad I'm out of it.

  • Showdown at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Just calling it like I see it and experienced it for 10 years as an agency permanent employee.

    My constructive suggestion, as I've made many times before, is to take the parks out of the purview of the U.S. federal government and put them into the hands of non-profit private trusts. Take the politics and careerism out of vital land management decision making.

    By the way, would you say the same thing about someone, like me, who sees nothing to be gained from fighting bloody unjust wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Or the bailout of worthless criminals on Wall Street? Is it unduly negative to point out the waste and moral bankruptcy of such policies without coming up with something positive to say just to make sure I'm being fair to all involved?

    When something is terribly wrong it's pretty hard to put anything but your intellectual integrity and base gut level instincts to work. What do you think I should have pointed out that is positive in this particular story? That someone with honest integrity and grit was pilloried and harassed due their extremely galling temerity in revealing the truth? That he was hounded by career bureaucrats for defending the resources he had taken so seriously to defend?

    Wake up y'all. This ship is going down! Re-arrange the deck chairs all you want but the truth is staring at us quite plainly: the days of the American Imperium are at an end. If you care about the parks it's time to look for other containers to put them in besides the morally and financially bankrupt hands of the corrupt and self-serving madarins on the Potomac.

    Nuff said?

    Positively truthful enough for ya?

  • Watching Wildlife In and Around Grand Teton National Park   5 years 30 weeks ago

    I have been to both parks 11 times and will do them both in the winter this year. I usually found Yellowstone with more wildlife except on my last trip this was the first not to see one bear in Yellowstone. So who can say.

  • Yellowstone National Park Relocates the 45th Parallel   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Please see the book Wyoming-Montana Border, They Followed the 45th, 1879-1880, for a detailed explanation of the northern Wyoming boundary through the park. The book relates the original survey and documents the border which became the legal boundary of Wyoming-Montana even though the surveyors were off from the 45th Parallel many times.

  • Showdown at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Beamis, I suggest that you do hold your breath. Your constant negative flow never seems to offer any constructive in put on NPT. Nothing personal, just wondering why you can't be a little more up-lifting in your comments. Yes, be the devils advocate with some constructive points behind it.

  • Watching Wildlife In and Around Grand Teton National Park   5 years 30 weeks ago

    We have been in Yellowstone 3 times and the Tetons three times. Our second trip included camping at Coulter for a week. and we had time to explore the dirt road that parallels the river, what an experience, really great. Also on to Jackson Hole for lunch, quite a ice quiet area, well worth the time and effort for either or both parks. Thanks to the Natioinal Park system for keeping these parks glorious.

  • Was This the Best-Ever Use of a Bra in a National Park?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    I love it! GReat story.
    Though I never knew how the concept was born, I admit it's even better than imagined... I say, resurrect the story and outsell all competitors. I have always considered Timex the best watch for time and value...and it was the "...keep on ticking" motto.
    Thanks Timex.
    Somethings are timeless.
    You're one of them.
    Lana

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Here are a few more "stats":
    Dog bites send nearly 368,000 victims to hospital emergency departments per year (1,008 per day).
    An American has a one in 50 chance of being bitten by a dog each year.
    The number of fatal dog attacks in the USA has been going up. The yearly average was 17 in the 1980s and 1990s; there were 33 deaths in 2007, which is roughly double the average in the prior two decades.
    Funny. I still don't feel the need to carry a handgun when I go for a walk.
    And here is the bottom line kicker:
    Getting bitten by a dog is the fifth most frequent cause of visits to emergency rooms for children.
    Logic clearly dictates that we must arm our children with concealed handguns! They have a right to protect themselves. The heck with the fact that some might accidently shoot themselves or a playmate, or might shoot someone out of anger or might shoot someone's beloved pet because it looked mean and might attack. Heck, we'll just give them a written safety test or an hour or two of instruction. They'll be fine!
    In any case, these statistics kind of put "10 people killed by mountain lions in 12 years" or "13 deaths from alligators in eight years" into perspective.
    There were no maulings in Yellowstone National Park during 2008. The last one was of the photographer who was well known for getting too close to bears, and had been mauled before, in Spring of 2007. There were several maulings of (armed) hunters outside of the park last year. Hunters do everything right for hunting, but wrong for bear country: They sneak around without making any noise, they hide their shape by wearing camo, they blow elk bugles, they do everything to hide their scent and sometimes even use elk urine, then they get blood and guts on themselves field dressing animals. This in the fall when grizzly bears are desperate to put on weight prior to hybernation. All of this, combined with a late first (big) snow (which kept bears "awake" later), led to a higher percentage of hunter-bear interactions than normal.
    Bottom line: In the highly unlikely event that you are attacked by a bear in a National Park most experts; people who know bears, people who study bears, people who work with and around bears, will tell you that you have a far better chance using bear spray than a gun (especially a handgun, for god's sake). Many hunters have been badly injured or killed after they shot the attacking bear.
    Finally, this thread isn't even about whether or not concealed guns should or should not be allowed in parks; and I apologize to Kurt for my part in steering it in that direction. It is about the Bush administration breaking the law by pushing this through without preparing the proper environmental impacts. Simply saying that there is no impact does not mean that there is no impact.
    If pro-gunners want to be mad at someone, it shouldn't be the judge, it shouldn't be anyone in the Obama administration and it sure as heck shouldn't be me! It should be the officials in the Bush administration who, once again, felt that the law did not apply to them. Perhaps they really didn't want this to go through at all, but figured this was a good way to snuggle up to their political buddies (NRA etc.) while realizing that it was unlikely to pass the "smell" test. Kind of like wolves in Wyoming. Officials there (apparently) don't really want to manage wolves. Why pay for it when the feds are willing to do it? So they raise a big ruccus, stamp their feet like spoiled children, and take the feds to court knowing full well they can't win. They look good to their anti-wolf politcal cronies, and still keep the big dog on the ESL.

  • Showdown at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Thank God that there are rangers who put the protection of the resource and the principles of the service ahead of personal comfort and ambition.

    Unfortunately that usually spells the end of their influence and career. As long as the federal government is in charge this will be the way business is run and the "go along, get along" attitude of the tenured bureaucracy will prevail----always to the detriment of the resources in question.

    Why would anyone think that the C & O Canal would be run any differently than the Treasury Dept. or the Postal Service? Is the way that fat cat Synder was treated any different than what the executives of AIG or Goldman Sachs got from their insider bureaucrats and legislators? The continued illusions many of you have about how the NPS is somehow different than all of the other sludgy muck found oozing out of the halls of DC is nothing short of idiocy.

    It's time for real change, but as I've said before, I won't be holding my breath.

  • Watching Wildlife In and Around Grand Teton National Park   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Wildlife watching in Grand Teton in recent years has actually been better than in Yellowstone. I'm sure this cycles back and forth over the years, but right now I would say that the Tetons are the preeminent wildlife destination in the lower forty eight. Also, viewing in the Tetons is far more relaxed. While on the books GT actually has stricter regs than Yellowstone regarding proximity to large mammals, the reality is that the bear encounter you descibe on the Moose-Wilson road could never happen in Yellowstone. The rangers would freak. They would either haze the bears away from the road or, more likely, close the whole road and all the turnouts to "No stopping, standing or walking". I don't know if it is because of a smaller enforcement budget, a different philosophy or simply the checkerboard nature of GTNP (so many private in holdings, state and forest land etc. In some areas it is almost impossible to tell if you are even in the park or not.)
    While you still CAN (and do!) see just about anything in Yellowstone, it is also very possible to drive around all day and see nothing more than a few elk and a couple of bison here and there. Such isn't the case in the Tetons where, if you get up early, you will literally be tripping over the wildlife. One problem, I think, is that Yellowstone is getting drier and drier. There are dozens of places that my wife and I remember watching ducks, geese, egrets and muskrats all summer long that are now bone dry by mid May. Yellowstone is either dense evergreen forest or desert-like sage brush (that used to have lots of refreshing ponds, but not any more). Compare that to the (still) lush aspen and willows of the Snake River bottom in GTNP. Not that the Tetons aren't drying up as well; they are, slowly. Also ecosystem habitat is being lost to development at an alarming rate, leading directly to a huge reduction in moose numbers. I guess the bottom line is: see 'em while you can.

  • Watching Wildlife In and Around Grand Teton National Park   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Nice write-up Kurt. On my last photo trip to the Grand Tetons (last fall), I discovered a wonderful natural history guide to the park there at the visitor center in Jackson: "A Naturalist's Guide to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks" by Dr. Frank C. Craighead Jr. It's an outstanding guide for following the annual cyclical changes in flora and fauna at Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

    You ard other Traveler readers may remember the Craighead brothers, Frank and John, and all the wonderful work they have done over the years at Yellowstone and other areas. My father had fond memories of outdoor courses he took from them while he studied at Univ. of Montana.

    Rob Mutch
    ---
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography,
    www.robmutch.com