Recent comments

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Kurt,
    In responce to your reply, I quess we don't know until someone you love, has a heart attack in a remote area, and you wish, "Damn, I sure could use some help!"

  • Want a Horse? Theodore Roosevelt National Park Will Auction About 90 Wild Horses Oct 23   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Anon, technically the horses on Assateague are considered feral since they are domestic stock that was just left to their own devises for the last couple hundred years. Although I guess the same could be said for the mustangs as well. The horses on the Maryland side of Assateague are owned by the park service and they administer birth control to control the population. The ones on the Virginia side are owned by the Chincoteague Fire Dept. and they are the ones that round up the horses every year and auction them. THe ones on the Virginia side are a recognized breed, the Chincoteague pony, even though they have a mishmash of breeds, including mustang.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Most cell tower mono-pole installations without guy wires can be made to blend in somewhat (painted pine green for instance) and they do have eceological benefits as well. Eagles and other nesting birds can and do build nests at the top, and it can provide a safe resting and viewing area for them. I would resonally much prefer to see an not hear the occassional cell tower and a 12x20 ft building making no noise, than see and hear an RV or van full of noisy people parked by the road. I ask you, which offers more serenity? Give me the unmanned cell site anyday!

    Let us also not forget that eighty years ago, there were similar complaints about building ANY roads into National Parks. Now we have roads, restrooms, restaurants, visitors centers and hotels in National Parks. Most of the complainers of cell sites seem to take the selfrightious attitude of THEY pose no problems and yet demand all the human amenities I listed above. Think of it this way, suppose all human made noises were outlawed in the NPS and everyone had to walk or hike into NP's. Great you say; buy suppose you hiked in, made no camp, spoke no words to anyone, and unfortunately you had a heart attack or found yourself in dire peril due to no fault of your own. Would you not want to be able to call for help and have someone get there quickly (think sirens and helicopters here) to get you out of trouble as quickly as possible? Other than the rare occassions when a cell site loses power and a generator takes over, they are silent neighbors in the NPS. Even the generator can be eliminated and the site go on battery backup for a couple of days. Yeah, I say let them be built to help mankind, not be banned just to appease an itsy-bitsy percentage of the population who want no one else in the NPS than them.

    The National Park System belongs to every American citizen, if folks don't want any modern conveiniences, let them demand a popular vote by ALL Americans, Yes or No, not just the ones living near the park (since we all pay taxes to support the NPS).

    Thanks,
    Kodi

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Bruce, the question isn't whether Mr. Jarvis did his homework, or how long it takes to hike to the trail to the ridge, or whether anyone can see the towers from roads.

    Rather, the question I think is how long must the umbilical cord be for us to feel safe in nature? Where do we stop erecting towers so we can be connected, where we feel safe, where we don't have to rely so much on ourselves because a button push or two will summon help? I think Rick Smith pretty much nailed it above.

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Hello Kurt,

    I have been visiting Kings Canyon Park for the last 50 years. Until I started hiking the trails, I never knew this place existed. Visitors can not see this Look-Out tower from any of the roads leading into the parks. I've visited this sight a couple of times in the last few years. It takes a 45 minute hike on the trail to get to get there. On the surface of the proposed sight, the buildings that support the communication system that is currently there have already scarred the surface of the area. If the new tower is one of the new camouflaged type, I would bet no one would even notice it from any of the park roads.
    By the way, the Look-Out tower usually offers excellent views of the surrounding Sierra mountain tops to the East, and the yucky smog of California's San Joaquin Valley to the West. I think Jon Jarvis did his homework.

    Bruce

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    How ironic. This discussion mirrors the hot middle school book "The Giver". In the book the society has traded in joy, pain, and color for safety. As a 50+ year old teacher I read the book and was totally creeped out. What is so scary to me, is we as Americans might actually give up freedom for safety.

  • A Conversation With Ken Burns on The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Thanks bfp. Check back tomorrow for the podcast.

  • A Conversation With Ken Burns on The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Really good interview! i especially like that you asked about the capitalist aspect of the parks.

    Thanks for posting it!

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Kurt--

    Maybe we have lost the following:

    1.) A bit of self-reliance. If we know that a trained SAR team is just a cell phone call or a SPOT message away, it changes the character of a wilderness trip. We no longer have to rely on our own knowledge, skills, and abilities to stay safe and get back home. It might even cause carelessness or foolhardy actions.

    2.) Authentic wilderness experiences. I have often thought that parks and other wild places stand in stark contrast to the world we inhabit. We live with a of urgent meetings, countless phone calls, and incessant noise. Wild places give us a chance to turn off our blackberries, unplug our computers, turn off our cell phones and live life according to the rhythms of nature or the pace of our history. One of the neat things about an extended river trip is that by the 3rd or 4th day, one begins to live on river time. It takes some getting used to and some people don't adapt very well. But for those who do, it's liberating. I took a 4-day hike once on Olympic's wilderness beach. Where we camped and when we walked was not determined by the rise and setting of the sun, but by the high and low tides. What a contrast to the old up by 6:30 am and in bed by 11:30 pm routine!

    3.) Life without noise. It goes almost without saying that we experience little time without man-made noise. Wilderness parks give us time to to listen to nature or to quiet. Both have lots to teach us.

    I hope I am not sounding too preachy here, but I do think that our push to make everything safe is changing the way we experience wild places. Some are comfortable with the change; others, not so comfortable. One of your posters, Ray Bane, was once asked how Gates of the Arctic should be managed. In what seems to me to be a remarkably good answer, Ray answered that it ought to be managed in such a way that every visitor could experience what Bob Marshall experienced when he went to the "last blank place on the topo maps." I'm not sure we can even create the illusion of that if everyone has a cell phone in his/her pack.

    Rick Smith

  • How To Buy National Park-Related Gifts Without Leaving Home   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I recently visited the website of Inner Peace Designs and saw in their products page under ornaments Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks ornaments are under way. I collect pewter ornaments of places I visit for vacation especially national parks! I thought any one who visits the National Parks Traveler website should check them out. I didn't know they carry so many national parks along with the red rocks of Sedona. Nice work!! Must have items.

  • Would Free "Loaner" Personal Locator Beacons Save Lives and Money in Parks?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I think it would be a great service.

    I go deep into the backcountry where I probably should have one, but only on two short trips a year where a Spot or similar device is cost prohibitive. I think if you limited giving them out only to backcountry travelers, who need them the most, the misuse would be a rarity as most people trekking out for several days seem to be well prepared and more aware of the dangers they are subjecting themselves too.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Aspect(s) of the National Park System Do You Want to Read More About?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I would like more stories about adventures the NPT writers take into our National Parks.

    (I forgot to include the Yellowstone National Park Forum in my last post)

    "...adventure without regard to prudence, profit, self-improvement,
    learning or any other serious thing" -Aldo Leopold-

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    We've had this debate before, when the tower was first proposed. To some it represents safety, to others connection with family far away, to others just one more tower on a ridge brimming with towers. But what new technologies down the road will also sprout in national parks in the name of improving communications and visitor safety?

    As a baby boomer, I at times am astonished that I've lived so long without having grown up with cellphones or the internet. How much of nature should be compromised in the name of communications and safety? Should wilderness parks such as Kings Canyon or Canyonlands or those in Alaska have cell towers erected deep within their souls to better communicate or provide visitor safety? And if so, what have we lost?

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I would say that much depends upon balancing the need for "improved communications for National Park Service operations, and . . . improved visitor and resident safety" with the regrettable resulting damage to the beauty of our National Parks. I don't pretend to be able to make any further comment than that on this matter.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Aspect(s) of the National Park System Do You Want to Read More About?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Some of you may have read Off the Wall, which is a summary of all the deaths in Yosemite since its creation. There is even a chapter on the deaths involved in building the dam at Hetch Hetchy. In the foreward to the book, Mike Finley, former superintendent of Everglades, Yosemite and Yellowstone, writes that the book is not about death, but about life, giving us the chance to learn from the experiences of others. Bat (above) echoes this idea saying that these kinds of stories are warnings to subsequent visitors. I join him in encouraging Kurt and the other authors to continue posting these articles. If one reader is more careful the next time he/'she climbs the cables on Half Dome or walks up to Angels Landing or crosses a swollen stream, NPT has performed a real public service. That doesn't mean that we don't mourn the losses; of course we do. But in almost every tragedy in a park area, there is something to be learned.

    Rick Smith

  • It's Official – Senate Confirms Jonathan Jarvis as Director of the National Park Service   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Good for you, Anon. His appointment has thrilled many of us retirees, also. We wish him the very best in his run at the NPS's new director.

    Rick Smith

  • The "Guide's Guide to Acadia National Park" is the Insider's Handbook for the Area   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I think this is a great idea, but I would prefer the ability to download the entire guide. Not just the smaller files.

  • Would Free "Loaner" Personal Locator Beacons Save Lives and Money in Parks?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    It not only helps rescue the individual but is safer for the rescuer in that they don’t spend time or are exposed to accidents when looking in the wrong places. Everyone should be offered a free beacon with the understanding that if activated and no emergency or injuries are involved the fine would be $1000.

  • SPOT – The Good, the Bad and the Silly Uses for Those High-Tech Communicators   5 years 35 weeks ago

    By the way I ordered my SPOT 2 online from REI.com 9/18/09. It's said it was backordered but I placed the order anyway figuring I'd get it as soon as they were released, but I received a SPOT 2 on 9/24/09. For some reason I think REI has a jump on other vendors by having a limited supply of SPOT 2 devices now.

  • SPOT – The Good, the Bad and the Silly Uses for Those High-Tech Communicators   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I own a SPOT 1 and a new SPOT 2. The Spot 1 was not designed very well when it comes to the 911 button. It's just sitting there in the same row of buttons as all the others. Ultimately though, people are responsible for their own actions and need to be fined heavily for false 911 calls. My SPOT 2 has improved the 911 and help buttons a little by putting covers over both. I think SPOT should have put a tamper evident one time breakable cover over the 911 button, to emphasize the seriousness of pressing it, just like on an EPIRB. If you really need to press the 911 button, then having to send the unit back to get a new cover put on it should be no big deal.

  • Want a Horse? Theodore Roosevelt National Park Will Auction About 90 Wild Horses Oct 23   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Assateague Island National Seashore is known strictly for it's wild horses. The famous book Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry tells the tale of a tradition called "Pony Penning".

  • Ginseng Poachers Nabbed at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    An ancestor of mine was a Zhang (what they called ginseng) hunter in the Smokey Mountains, to supplement his coal mining work. It probably wasn't illegal back then. I wonder if the current ecomony had anything to do with the current poaching of these individuals.

  • Backcountry Fire in Yellowstone National Park At 250 Acres and Growing   5 years 35 weeks ago

    If it does not get near a building, etc.... LET it burn.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Aspect(s) of the National Park System Do You Want to Read More About?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Garvin, with regard to all those croaking vacationers, I say that it's all a matter of perception. In my view, such sad stories are both an acknowledgment of victims and a warning. Not all the news coming out of the parks will be entertaining; some of it can be downright grim. I have high respect for the willingness of the editors to give us a dose of reality now and then, and I hope they will continue to do so.

  • Want a Horse? Theodore Roosevelt National Park Will Auction About 90 Wild Horses Oct 23   5 years 35 weeks ago

    The mustangs at Theodore Roosevelt NP are one of the major attractions at this park. Also, if I am correct, this park is the only NPS site to feature wild horses. There are several herds and the one I encountered last fall featured two stallions, each with his stable of mares. They are very approachable as long as you are on foot; if you are on horseback, you can't get close to them. I put one picture of a stallion with his two mares on one of my websites. You can see it here: http://famoore.home.att.net/013_Theodore_Roosevelt_NP_130xx.jpg