Recent comments

  • Electronic Technology in National Park Backcountry: Good or Bad?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    I recently got a Spot and love it. I took a trip to the canyons of Utah and used a combination of both OK messages and the tracking feature to plot my journeys through the different areas. My friends and family enjoyed being able to see where we were at any given time and I was able to look at it later and see exactly where I camped and stopped. I also like knowing the 911 feature is there, although luckily I haven't had a chance to test it out yet :-)

  • Electronic Technology in National Park Backcountry: Good or Bad?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    I think the use of electronics is a great idea if it will cut down on the SAR responses. With more and more people getting out in the backcountry it's inevietable many will become lost if required to rely on a map and comapss. Most younger folks are tech savy and can easily learn the use of GPS units. I doubt many of them will take the time to become competent with a map and compass. When I studied math in school I used a slide rule, I think we would all prefer a calculator. The times thay are a changin.........

  • Big Rock Candy Mountain?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Great pic, Kurt. It puts to shame the one I took at this same spot back in January.

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    I didn't find the hike that scary. This is one of those things that if you feel uncomfortable then stop and don't go any further. Why do you think half of the people stop at Scouts Lookout? It is because they know their own limitations. Some activities have more risk than others. Frankly, this is one of my all time favorite hikes. And yes, The Narrows right around the corner are just as great and just as risky. The risk of flash flooding is certainly a possiblity.

  • Might The Obama Administration be More Invested in Everglades Restoration Than Its Predecessor?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    I'm with you Chris. What a pleasure to see officials actually attempting to fulfill the missions for which their agencies were created, rather than thwarting them for the sake of business interests. What a pleasure to see an administration focused on the future of this world, rather than on the profits of today.

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

    I believe that our National parks are the greatest resource in America. I am also a gun owner and support concealed carry in general. But with regard to this issue, it is important to look at the MISSION of the parks and the initial and longstanding reason for the the ban on LOADED guns in parks.
    The mission of the Park Service is:
    "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the WILDLIFE therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
    The point of the loaded gun ban was to protect wildlife, and just because you and I wouldn't take pot shots at critters doesn't mean that it won't happen. It already happens all the time. Crime rates against park visitors are exceptionally low, and violence in National Parks is generally very low except along our southern border. However, NPS rangers are frequently assaulted because they are outnumbered. There is also the fact that many people like to use National Parks as their own peaceful place to kill themselves.
    So while I can see the value in the strategic victroy for the NRA, and I can see why people think they should be able to carry "in the woods", I think that the longstanding law works quite well the way it is.
    p.s. I wish my fellow second amendment supporters would be as supportive of conservation of wildlife and protection of public lands... TRoosevelt would be ashamed.

  • Plowing Yosemite's Tioga Road For Summer Traffic   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Thanks for the links!
    Have a planned backpack for a week or so along the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne beginning June 21st.
    The North Cascades Highway (access to the national park) here in Washington is now open!
    Here is a link with the pictures.
    Time to give the snowshoes a spring workout!

  • Plowing Yosemite's Tioga Road For Summer Traffic   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Wish I had the RAM & connection speed to watch the video. The machine in the still photo is a rotary snowplow, probably made by Idaho-Norland and not Caterpillar. Frank C's point about pollution is doubly valid, however. Most rotaries have two large diesels, one to spin the auger and one to move the truck. They're also very costly to maintain in these budgetary hard times. Blown and leaking hydraulic lines are common and the expensive auger blade can be easily damaged by hidden rocks in the snow. I recall crossing the just opened gravel one-lane Tioga road on a family vacation one August back in the 50's. I'll bet they let most of it just melt out then and Yosemite Park somehow survived.

    Here at Mt. Rainier, the NPS is busily clearing the Paradise Valley Road, with snowbanks almost twice as high as those shown in the Yosemite photo. Bulldozers working in tandem with the rotaries push much of the snow over the downhill side, resulting in hundreds of snapped off trees. This expense and damage is to establish a three-mile loop from the already accessible Paradise area.

  • Recovery Funds for National Parks Address Everything From Wastewater Plants to Monuments   5 years 30 weeks ago

    That looks like an impressive amount of funding! I hope that it works out and we can see the good that it can do.

  • What Not to Do with an Old Cannonball   5 years 30 weeks ago

    That is a good time to follow the better safe than sorry rule. There is no way that I'd be that curious!

  • National Parks Provided Dramatic Backdrops for a Famous Marine Corps Commercial   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Hmmm. Good point. I am chastened. I have bookmarked this page and look forward to the complete solution of this puzzle!

  • National Parks Provided Dramatic Backdrops for a Famous Marine Corps Commercial   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Bruce: By "cheating," I assume you mean that you can use the info provided at the Marine Corps website where you can view the extended commercial. Go ahead and use that info all you like. The question is whether you can use it wisely. :o)

  • National Parks Provided Dramatic Backdrops for a Famous Marine Corps Commercial   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Well, you got four of the six NPS units correct, Omar, and that's not too bad. Want to take a crack at the "nearly visible" one?

  • National Parks Provided Dramatic Backdrops for a Famous Marine Corps Commercial   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Ha! Signed on as a new member, and likely to confuse things by posting this ahead of my comment on this story posted as a non-member. No matter. This is much easier and I am glad that I joined this community.

    [Here is the other comment Bruce referenced]

    That is an incredible video. I am not a Marine, but I am proud of them.

    By the way, I will not reveal the possibility of easy cheating in your little contest. Nope, not me!

  • National Parks Provided Dramatic Backdrops for a Famous Marine Corps Commercial   5 years 30 weeks ago

    I count 6 parks:
    ---Jefferson National Expansion Park (ARCH)
    ---Golden Gate National Recreation Area
    ---Grand Canyon National Park
    ---Rocky Mountains National Park
    ---Independence National Historic Park
    ---Lake Mead National Recreation Area (Hoover Dam)
    Also some of it was filmed at:
    ---New York City Broadway and Times Square
    --- Point Judith Light, Narragansett, RI
    ---National Museum of the Marine Corps, Quantico, VA
    Semper Fi
    OMAR

  • Plowing Yosemite's Tioga Road For Summer Traffic   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Frank, you make some valid points here about the exhaust end of the process, but it amounts to implying that, since park maintenance and repair activities cannot be accomplished without adversely impacting the environment, they ought not be done. Or do you consider keeping Tioga Road open a non-essential activity? If that's the case, you need to consider the outrage that would result if the NPS were to fail to keep open the only east-west road through the park. I'm sitting here trying to image a horde of laborers hand-shoveling that snow off the road. I can't quite get my mind wrapped around that one.

  • Plowing Yosemite's Tioga Road For Summer Traffic   5 years 30 weeks ago

    How much CO2 and other noxious pollutants does this Caterpillar and those like it belch into the pristine park air of Yosemite, Glacier, and Crater Lake? How many decibels assail the parks' solitude? (I'm sure it's more than a tourist talking on a cell phone at the Grant Tree.) How much oil does a Caterpillar consume and leak? How can the NPS warn about melting glaciers while using CATs to clear the roads in the same park as the melting glaciers?

    And NPT readers want to ban cell phones in national parks.

    NPT readers believe WalMart and Verison are the devil incarnate.

    How about Caterpillar, Inc.?

    Caterpillar, Inc. obbied on bill S.148, a bill to establish the Paterson Great Falls National Park in the State of New Jersey.

    Caterpilliar, Inc. also lobbied on the Iraq Supplemental Spending bill and the Defense Appropriations Bill, which provides for construction equipment and civil engineering support equipment.

    Where's the outrage?

  • Plowing Yosemite's Tioga Road For Summer Traffic   5 years 30 weeks ago

    enjoyed seeing this. now I appreciate govt and contractors even more! glad we'll be spending more this year than previous 8 to update some of our parks. money well spent.

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Look, it is not about Emergency service or being rude to the 15k visitors a DAY in Yellowstone. Out of the thousands of acres of land in this park 95% of the visitors never go 15ft from the boardwalk. Most of the "wilderness" people are worried about doesn’t have cell phone coverage anyways, and even if it did the visitors are so few and far apart that a Chatty Cathy on a phone is no big deal. All this ban is doing is making things worse for people in the busy areas of the park. Now instead of talking to mom and dad or surfing the web on your phone you have to find something else to do for the hours a day that you are waiting for a geyser to go off. Believe me with 15k people in ~2 miles of boardwalk you are not worried about a "pristine environment" or a peaceful walk in the woods.

  • National Park Mystery Plant 2: There’s Good Reason They Call This Thing "the Death Apple”   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Chef Bill, I sure hope you've never whipped up a dessert with manchineel fruit as a mystery ingredient! On a more serious note, the special chemical properties of the manchineel tree have been and continue to be of great scientific interest. Perhaps other Traveler readers can comment on the useful properties of mancinellin, hippomanins, sapogenin, 12-deoxy-5-hydroxyphorbol-6gamma, 7alpha-oxide, phloracetophenone-2, 4-dimethylether, etc.

  • National Park Mystery Plant 2: There’s Good Reason They Call This Thing "the Death Apple”   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Rick, I've wanted to visit Parque Histórico La Isabela ever since I first heard of it many years ago. But it's so inconvenient to get to that park (even after you've managed to get to the Dominican Republic) it's unlikely I'll ever visit. Maybe in my next lifetime.

  • Plowing Yosemite's Tioga Road For Summer Traffic   5 years 30 weeks ago

    great video learned much and enjoyed it also

  • National Parks Provided Dramatic Backdrops for a Famous Marine Corps Commercial   5 years 30 weeks ago

    God, I LOVE our Marines!
    Thank you, Bob for posting this awesome video.
    Semper Fi.

  • Just Another Snake Story   5 years 30 weeks ago

    heyy cool

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

    Kirk--

    That's a tired argument: "guns don't kill people, people kill people." True enough, but people with guns kill more people than people without guns. The people who are arguing against concealed weapons in parks are making the same point that most police unions do: the more guns there are, the more likely that accidents and incidents are going to occur. I don't care whether you or cut and dried carry in your home town; I just don't want you to carry in Carlsbad or Big Bend or wherever else in the National Park System. That seems simple enough.

    Rick Smith