Recent comments

  • Woman Drowns In Yellowstone National Park's Backcountry   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Very tragic ... also a tad suspicious; not particularly a time of year you are most likely to drown in the Bechler River ... but as the release says, the incident is still under investigation. And whatever the case, a terrible thing to have happen.

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

  • It May Be the Prettiest NPS Site You've Never Heard of, But that's Likely to Change   5 years 32 weeks ago

    A beautiful place, thanks in large part to Rockefeller and the fact he had lots of money. He was definitely a conservationist, but he also had his own interest at mind. He liked the view from the mansion, but he knew it would all be developed and his view would be ruined. So he bought every piece of property within eyesight of it. Thus he preserved his view, and we continue to benefit from that today!

    Be sure to check out the ornate "playhouse" located behind the mansion, with it's swimming pool and bowling alley. The Park Service visitor center is in the former car barn and is a great example of adaptive reuse.

  • Yellowstone National Park's Bison Population Estimated At 3,300 Individuals   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Numbers are but one way to measure the health of herd that has been stressed both sociologically but genetically as well.

    I still wish they'd make their methodology transparent. Last year, after a record kill in the Northern Range, they reported more bison on the Northern Range than in the Central Plateau for one of the first times ever. I heard that might have a scientific explanation from a friend, but I can't quite remember it. Now, a year later, distribution is even. I really wish these reports came out in something more than press releases, which are designed to do little more than spin the terrible reality of the Interangency Bison Management Plan. There's so much more that goes to bison health than this kind of release, which says nothing to the individual bison who are hazed both outside and INSIDE the park, as well as those that continue to be killed outside the park. On a week where a buffalo was gunned down in Idaho, I saw cattle grazing inside the Yellowstone boundary near the Bechler Ranger Station.

    Numbers may well be at 3,300; they do recover in that way. Are the herds healthy? Is the management practice sound? What will happen this winter? (word is more hazing) ... how about the next time the population again approaches 5,000?

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

  • Body Thought To Be That of Missing Hiker Found in Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    from clayton north carolina AJ SADLY MISSED YOUR FRIEND JERRY.

  • U. S. Mint Announces Sites Selected for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I'm looking forward to being able, when answering the question I get oh so often about which parks I've worked at, to hold up a quarter when people look at me oddly for saying Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial. "What do mean you've never heard of it? Dude, it's on the quarter." I'm already laughing gleefully at people's looks of shame that they've never heard of it.

  • Body Thought To Be That of Missing Hiker Found in Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I'm truly devastated that this was the final outcome. I know Andrew is home with the Father now. He is now where we strive to be. God Bless him and the family. My prayer is that the Brunelli family has peace in knowing that Andrew is at rest.

  • Upon Further Review: Sometimes Chicken Soup Just Isn't Good for a Ranger's Soul   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Bruce -

    Thanks for sharing the story.

    At least your "haz-mat" material was a lot more palatable :-)

  • Top 10 Most Visited National Parks   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Great list. I always though that Yellowstone or Grand Canyon would definitely be at the top....but the Great Smokey Mountains....who knew?

  • It's Harvest Time At Capitol Reef National Park!   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I well remember camping at Capitol Reef in our motor home probably 25 years ago. We were hiking in the rocks above Fruita and wondering what the wonderful fragrance was which was wafting up on the breezes. When we came down, we realized it was the smell of the ripening apples. I always hoped to return in the Spring and see if the blossoms were as fragrant. We did return, but again in the Fall.

  • A Romantic Miscue Led to a Helicopter Rescue at Great Falls Park near Washington, D.C.   5 years 32 weeks ago

    She fell head over feet...awwwwwww :)

  • It's Harvest Time At Capitol Reef National Park!   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Marshall, thanks for your kind words. We do the best we can. As for number of articles, believe it or not with the great help of Bob Janiskee and Jim Burnett through the end of August we've posted more articles than in all of 2008!

    As to your question, it's really not too tough if you remember in which state Capitol Reef is located -- Utah, where the Latter-Day Saints frown on alcohol consumption -- and when you reread that sentence and focus on "grape arbors," which, of course, you need to produce wine.

  • It's Harvest Time At Capitol Reef National Park!   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Great story. I thank you, Kurt. You run a great site and have exponentially increased my awareness and knowledge of our incredible Park System in just a few months. This has become one of my favorite sites, and I just wish there were more articles every day! Haha. Not that I expect it, as I'm sure you put all your time into this as it is. But keep up the good work; it's appreciated!

    Now for my tough question, perhaps. It could also easily be a dumb one. Or perhaps an impossible one! Anyway, the third to last word in that initial quote mystifies me. Any idea as to why such an orchard would be illegal at this time? I can't imagine there were laws about fruit trees in 1880..perhaps I am missing something simple. But I have read the excerpt a few times here, and don't see a glaring answer. Do you know? Or anyone?

  • House Natural Resources Committee OK's Legislation For Upper Stehekin Road in North Cascades National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    It is such a shame that politcal influences had to resort to back room deals. Doc Hastings is known for his anti-environmental agenda. Someone needs to get rid of him.

  • It's Harvest Time At Capitol Reef National Park!   5 years 32 weeks ago

    One of the little-known pleasures of the national parks is that you sometimes find a good fruit tree way off by itself where there was once a farm. I remember one small tree on a remote trail in Shenandoah that bore a few tasty apples. I forgot where it was and never found it again, but I've remembered that tree and that apple for 40 years.

  • It's Harvest Time At Capitol Reef National Park!   5 years 32 weeks ago

    When my wife and I were traveling during October, 2007, from Arches NP to Bryce Canyon NP, we spent some time driving through Capital Reef NP and visiting Fruita. This park is really one of the hidden gems of the park service. The rock formations are astounding and the orchards are beautiful; and there are a lot of them. There are around 2,600 trees altogether comprising an amazing number of varieties of fruits and nuts. The park is located on Utah 24, which together with Utah 12, makes one of the most scenic drives in the US. So you get a lot of bang out of your touring buck.

  • House Natural Resources Committee OK's Legislation For Upper Stehekin Road in North Cascades National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Thank heavens I'll be able to go up to Cottonwood ! This will make an impossible task once again possible. To have lost access to such beauty was heartbreaking, I am now so grateful.

  • Upon Further Review: Sometimes Chicken Soup Just Isn't Good for a Ranger's Soul   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Bruce Bytnar
    This story reminds me of a motor vehicle crash that I worked on the Blue Ridge Parkway. A delivery truck left a concession run restaurant and was on route to its next delivery via the parkway. As it rounded a curve a bit to fast the driver lost control and the truck flipped over on its side. I was only told that a commercial truck had wrecked and spilled its cargo blocking the road. I had other park employees block the parkway at intersections north and south of the location and drove in to the vehicle itself. Expecting anything from a septic truck to linen I thought I had gone to heaven when it turned out to be an ice cream truck. Strewn across the roadway were ice cream sandwiches, cones, and gourmet chocolate covered ice cream sticks.

    I was alone with all that ice cream for almost an hour. Something had to be done to keep it from going to waste....... When the owner of the company showed up I had gotten most of what was left of the ice cream back into the truck which a wrecker had put back on its four wheels. As a reward theowner offered me an el cheapo ice cream sandwich. I refused the offer not wanting to let him know I was already full.

    Although not as dramatic as chicken fat, this serves as just another example of rangers never knowing what haz mat situation they may have to deal with.

  • U. S. Mint Announces Sites Selected for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I've always liked that about Canadian coins and paper currency - it's full of animals and nature. Although the C$5 bill has hockey players on it, which I find quit amusing.

  • U. S. Mint Announces Sites Selected for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I don't recall any sort of scenic areas depicted on US paper currency. I've seen that quite a bit traveling outside the US though.

    Legal tender US coins have gone through everything. They'll strike up special commemorative coins sold at a premium which goes back to the US Treasury. Dollar coins went through a cycle of depicting US presidents.

  • U. S. Mint Announces Sites Selected for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Yosemite gets a lot of publicity these days. The state quarter, PBS documentary by Ken Burns, and now another state quarter. I guess, the most logical thing to do is to make 1$ bills with NPS sites on the back.

  • Body Thought To Be That of Missing Hiker Found in Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I am just devastated.. My condolences and prayers are with his family in their time of sorrow.

  • Fire and Road Status Update from Yosemite National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    The LA Times has a story on NPS starting its investigation of this fire:
    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-yosemite-fire10-2009sep10,0,5303927.story

    What's new to me is that they didn't actually ignite the planned fire. They started the 1 acre test fire required before , and the test fire got out of control.

    Also, the full fire prescription for the Foresta area (Big Meadow was just one of the set of burns in the prescription) is posted on inciweb at:
    http://inciweb.org/incident/article/9489/

    I haven't the time nor the knowledge to read the whole thing. I did see a note that the Big Meadow portion needed to be burned after flowering & seed set (page 20). And page 51 notes that "Moderately intense fire behavior is needed to meet the resource objectives." From my first skim, I don't see the forms for the big Meadow burn, only those for the couple of burns completed in 2008. And, while the maps are scanned so poorly in the pdf to be almost useless, the contingency line identified in appendix G (p77) is pretty close to the final boundary of the burned area.

    If Jon Keeley is right ( http://www.werc.usgs.gov/seki/pdfs/K2009_Ecological%20Fdt%20Fire%20Mgmt_PNW_GTR-779.pdf ), this type of fuel reduction burn, while still useful for ecosystem & resource considerations, has little or no value in reducing fire risk via fuel reduction in the urban wildland interface: in this case reducing the risk of subsequent fires taking out the structures in Foresta. What to do about NPS (& FS) owning fire-dependent ecosystem lands surrounding a community of cabins & homes in the woods is well above my pay grade.

  • U. S. Mint Announces Sites Selected for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Did you see the Utah State Quarter? I'm not sure why they chose the beehive, but I guess they are officially the "Beehive State".

    I thought the most popular proposal was an image of Delicate Arch. Apparently that got shut down because of what happened to the Old Man of the Mountain, which collapsed after it was featured on the New Hampshire State Quarter.

    As for Zion - the beauty just isn't properly captured in images. It's something so incredible that it has to be experienced in person.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 13 Revealed: Listening Chairs at Yellowstone's Grant Village Visitor Center   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I was there a few years ago and don't recall anything that looked like egg chairs. Even the NPS description of the visitor center mentions that the construction of Grant Village was controversial because the location was in prime grizzly bear habitat.

    http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/grantvc.htm

    As for the out of place design - it reminds me of the former Jackson Visitor Center at Mt Rainier. That thing had a design that was way out of place for a national park. It was replaced by a structure that is closer to a lodge style building. Canyon Village in Yellowstone is also rather odd with this 50s style architecture that seems inappropriate for the location.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 13 Revealed: Listening Chairs at Yellowstone's Grant Village Visitor Center   5 years 32 weeks ago

    They don't exist anymore - or rather, they aren't located in the public area of the VC anyway.

    Though the rest of the displays appear to me as early 70's vintage. LOL