Recent comments

  • What's Driving All The Shaking At Yellowstone National Park?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Lynn Berk quotes Wilder (?):

    "I realize everybody has to die. I just didn't think I was going to be one of them..."

    Yeah - what he said!

    And don't forget, we should all live so obnoxiously long as to one day lament; "If I'd known I was going to live for so incredibly long, I'd have started earlier & worked harder on more of those health-recommendations I knew about all along!" ;-)

  • What's Driving All The Shaking At Yellowstone National Park?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Kurt admires the line:

    "We are all going to die..."

    Hey, wait a minute! Isn't that anthropogenic global warming?!

    Death by run-away CO2 greenhousing ... "To hell with the dilithium crystals, gimme all you got, Scotty! - we're heading over the TIPPING POINT!!!"

    Yeah, I think it was something like that. ;-)

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Frank N. said:

    "We have 72 years worth of evidence proving that they are not needed."

    Washington D.C. had several decades of 'getting away with' essentially the same thing the Parks scammed on. D.C. vs Heller shows pretty clear where this is going. It's doubtful in my mind that the Brady action was ever intended to actually achieve anything (it sounds more like a publicity stunt), but if it does gain traction up through the Courts, then the likely outcome is that in place of a Dept. of Interior ruling allowing concealed carry, there will instead be a new pro-Second Amendment Supreme Court ruling alongside D.C. vs Heller on the shelf.

    I'm going to say something here that ought to be a higher-profile part of the debate, and does play somewhat into Frank N.'s comment: There is a far-bigger gun-problem in the cities, than there is in the countryside ... and somewhat similarly, there is also less of a gun-problem in the Parks (and non-Park wilderness settings), than there is in the countryside.

    These different levels of 'bad-behavior' between city, country, and deep-boondocks, I will submit reflect the actual cultural values, and a related consideration I'll call 'cultural value expectations' that exist between these 3 sub-sections of society.

    For people to display or embrace gun 'crap' that is popular in the cities, will tend to earn them deep approbation in most rural districts. Instead of gaining cultural standing by farting around with guns, as people do in urban settings, gun show-offs take a heavy hit in their social ranking by 'pulling that kind of crap' among rural peers.

    And, it's true; Frank N. is right: hogwash gun-behavior is even scarcer, way off up in the mountains & days back into the brush. (I'll avoid the muddy cases of trailhead parking lots and blow-out party campgrounds etc ... which I think actually reinforce the basic point I'm making.)

    There is a big role in these 3 cases for not only what people do in the respective settings, but what they came here and are expected to do. For people who are looking to show off with a gun, the Parks are inadequate because there simply is neither the 'audience', nor - even more important - the fellow game-players with whom to interact.

    Or look at it another way: D.C. had the most draconian gun-ban in the nation ... and they had wall-to-wall gun-gaming. Most rural regions have the most wide-open gun-rules, and use, yet they have a decent safety record, and very little of the show-off nonsense and outright blood-sports that runs up the statistics in cities.

    And ya know what? Gun-gamers will stay where they have their fun - on the streets & sidewalks (bars n' alleys, crack-houses n' gangs, etc) - and very little will change in the Parks.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Frank N,

    If guns aren't needed in parks, then why do law enforcement rangers carry guns?

  • What's Driving All The Shaking At Yellowstone National Park?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Well, Kurt, that part at least is true. We ARE all going to die. I THINK it was Thornton Wilder (I could be wrong) who has (roughly translated) on his tombstone: "I realize everybody has to die. I just didn't think I was going to be one of them..." And I wonder how long it will be before that television special runs again. Maybe tonight? You KNOW they're going to capitalize on this big one. But on the more serious side...I don't want Jellystone to blow up.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Hopefully this lawsuit means a return to sanity. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak, in that guns have not been allowed at least since 1936 and parks have consistently had extremely low violent crime rates. Regarding protecting oneself and family from attacking animals, you have a far greater chance of being struck by lightening or being injured in a car accident while visiting the park. A conceled weapon is unlikely to be of much use in a sudden and unexpected bear mauling in any case. The second amendment arguement doesn't fly either, unless one wishes to argue that guns should be allowed in Federal buildings (BTW, be sure to leave that conceled weapon in the car or RV when you go into the Visitor Center), airports and schools. Only the most radical gun proponents would want that, I think.
    Good for the Brady Campaign. Hopefully they only need an injuction until January 20. Although the new Interior guy, Salazar, feels that guns should be allowed in Parks (I've read), hopefully he would find himself overruled on this one. We have 72 years worth of evidence proving that they are not needed.

  • What's Driving All The Shaking At Yellowstone National Park?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Jim,

    Thanks for pointing to your newspaper. There definitely are some bizarre posts out there in cyberspace. I particularly liked the one titled, "We are all going to die..."

    I wonder if there's going to be a run on DVDs of Supervolcano?

  • What's Driving All The Shaking At Yellowstone National Park?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    There are a lot of apocalyptic blog posts appearing at this news, and my newspaper (link below my name) has had an incredible spike in unique visitors since this story broke. I haven't had this many since the peak of tourist and fire season.

    Pretty amazing -- a lot of the blog posts are extremely amusing to me, and so I've posted a lot of them.

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

  • Senators Pushing To Allow Concealed Weapons in National Parks   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Your statistic "crimes of passion by pissed off drunks and other bodily injuries directly attributable to the card carrying (and other) gun owners of our land. " is simply not true. Those types of crimes are commited by people not legally carrying a weapon. Please get your facts straight before you start spouting that off. There are very very few incidents of people licensed to carry being involved in shootings at all, and even less where any criminal behavior is involved.

    Your arguments show a serious lack of maturity as well. "Keep that stupid machine away..." wow you sound intelligent. Please if you are going to be involved in this kind of a discussion be an adult about it. Not a deliquent.

    I would encourage you to show me any specific instance where a legal concealed weapon carrier illegally used his weapon to shoot someone or something in public. Good luck, you will need it.

    Thanks for your input, it was not useful or tasteful, nor did it argue your point very well. Please review some tips on debating before speaking again.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 30 weeks ago

    I'm torn. I hate to see the serenity of our national parks disturbed by violence but the fact is people who should not bring weapons into those parks or anywhere else will continue to do so. As the victim of an extremely violent home burglary while my husband was having heart surgery, I don't really feel safe anywhere anymore. I want the right to protect myself.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Frank C.,

    Nice catch & point, Frank. If what we do in the Park had to be "safe", lotta folks just have to pack it up 'n go somplace else, huh?!

    How big an inventory of harebrained 'recreations' can we compile? ... in a single breath, just to make it interesting.

    It was just time for Brady to generate a spot of publicity - that's all. Part of their budget-deployment. This "lawsuit" is mostly puffery & daytime Hollywood TV.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 30 weeks ago

    The basic (legally fatal) weakness of arguments by gun-opponents that we do not "need" weapons in Parks, that Parks are "safe", etc, is that the Constitution does not qualify the Second Amendment with the requirement that a threat be present before the right to be armed kicks in.

    The Second Amendment makes no distinction between going into a safe or dangerous part of the City, makes no distinction between terrain infested by man-eating bears & tigers, and terrain that is totally subdued and suitable for babes on picnic-blankets. But that is what the no-guns-in-Parks fallacy asserts: "Parks are safe! You do not need a gun, ergo, you cannot have a gun!".

    The Second Amendment stands on identical functional & structural footing as the First Amendment: You have the right to free speech, free press, and religion - period. Any exceptions to the rule are exactly that, and each abridgement of the right (yelling "Fire!" in the theater) has to bear the burden of establishment.

    We have a few points of limitation on Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, and Redress of Grievances, but that is the word to focus on: "Points", not limitation. Exceptions to the basic rule are primarily about finding & defining a "point", not primarily about finding & aggrandizing a "limitation".

    We do not tolerate broad, sweeping, institutional modifications of the First Amendment. Anyone who seeks to establish limitations in broad strokes, to use the proviso of limitations to erode or chip away at the Right, is booed off the American stage, and quite rightly so.

    The application of the Second Amendment works the same way. We aren't going to have High Schools seething with hormones & packin' heat - too crazy. We aren't going to have irate citizens stomping into the local Federal Building or Courtroom to express themselves with the family deer-rifle. Etc. There are limitations ... but there has to be a damn good & solid reason for limiting the right to be armed. That Parks are safe, ain't even close to such a reason.

    The plain & forthright truth of the situation is, the bulk of opposition to guns in Parks is simply for the most part opposition to guns, period. (I know, there are some hunters who also oppose guns in Parks - read the qualifiers!) As such, they are alarmed to see any setback of their general Liberal opposition to firearms & the armed citizen. Most of the rhetoric against guns in Parks is plain ol' grasping at straws in service to an engrained bias ... against guns.

    I know, and plenty of us realize, that for many years in the United States it has been the common (and liberal-media-promoted) perception that the notion of an armed citizenry is really just too old-fashioned, too inappropriate in modern society, and that the steady erosion & dissipation of the Right was a matter of 'good-riddance'.

    It is plain, people, that the tide has changed ... or that the Judiciary had watched this seedy little soap-opera long enough. We in this Nation have the Right to be armed, on equal footing with the Right to free speech, etc. That's the reality & truth of it ... Parks n' all.

  • Update: Will a “Chop and Drop” Strategy Rescue the Presidio’s Contemporary Art Museum Project?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    The Presidio Trust is given far more latitude than your typical national park management entity -- perhaps not least because it is under Congressional orders to be financially self supporting by 2013.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 30 weeks ago

    The Brady Campaign also believes the rule violates the National Park Service Organic Act and the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, which created the parks and wildlife refuges as protected lands for safe enjoyment of all visitors.

    For the "safe enjoyment"? Talk about rewriting the Organic Act!

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 30 weeks ago

    This lawsuit is good news for sane, law-abiding, tax-paying, nature-loving citizens who prefer to keep our national parks among the safest places on the planet. Maybe we can create a new park, preferably fenced in like one of those hunting preserves, where gun-lovers can carry their semi-automatic weapons and posture, threaten and shoot at each other all they want.

  • What's Driving All The Shaking At Yellowstone National Park?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    The Yellowstone Caldera's "three supereruptions occurred 2.1 million, 1.3 million and 640,000 years ago", but "Over 20 large craters have been produced [by hydrothermal (steam) explosions] in the past 14,000 years since the glaciers retreated from Yellowstone, resulting in such features as Mary Bay, Turbid Lake and Indian Pond.".

    Few will fail to notice that 800,000 years lapsed between the 1st and 2nd supereruptions, that 660,000 years separated the 2nd & 3rd events, and that it has now been 640,000 years since the last ... continent-scale devastation. While uncertainties of a few thousand years put the possibility of a 4th supereruption beyond our immediate personal concern, it is geologically due 'at any time'.

    In terms of the National Parks Traveler website and Parks-aficionados in general, the significance of any sort of sustained or 'patterned' activity within the Caldera-complex is that it will quickly arouse 'national-interest' attention. In addition to a large increase in surface research projects which will entail vehicular and airborne support year-round, it is easy to imagine that more or less extensive exploratory drilling into the formations could be indicated & undertaken.

    There are obviously gigawatts of steam energy beneath Yellowstone, and it has been suggested that this energy be tapped, commercially. If rising hydrothermal pressures (which raise security-fears) could be relieved by installing geothermal electrical generating plants, then that may become a recommendation.

    Occasional sessions of burping & gurgling under Yellowstone will generate only passing spates of media-reports, but ongoing, 'patterned', or dramatic/scary events will lead to a Cold War-style scientific confrontation at the Caldera (and Park), maybe a little or lots of investigative drilling, and possibly even commercialization of the underground steam.

  • Mount Rainier National Park Offers a Snowplay Area and Guided Snowshoe Walks   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Have you ever used a sturdy trash bag? It's fun to have one in your pack and use it when you encounter a snowfield on a suitable slope. A number of years ago I got to use it on Lassen Peak in Lassen Volcanic National Park. It was in June and technically the summit trail was still closed for the season, but we wanted to hike it anyway and did so. On the way down we used our bags on every slope. The whole descent felt like a matter of minutes and was lots of fun.

    I do not recommend hiking closed trails. But if you happen to be in the mountains when you might stumble on mid size or large snowfields on gentle slopes, just pack one sturdy trash bag or something similar for every participant and have fun.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 30 weeks ago

    I think this says it all:

    “While proponents of the rule change have maintained park visitors' safety is at stake, statistics would seem to indicate otherwise, as crime data show the park system to be one of the safest places in the nation.”

    And what percentage of the population have permits to carry, very few I would imagine. As to Florida, and other warm weather states, they seem to draw more criminals than others, maybe that’s why there are more permits, the law bidding residents want them.

  • Update: Will a “Chop and Drop” Strategy Rescue the Presidio’s Contemporary Art Museum Project?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    The Park Traveler omits a very important fact: the Presidio of San Francisco is part of a national park. NPS Management Policies permit construction of new "cultural facilities" in a national park only when five strictly defined standards are met. A contemporary art museum in the Presidio fails four of the five tests. These restrictions were designed to prevent the resources of our national parks from being overrun with well-intentioned museums and private philanthropic "gifts". A similar "gift" is being resisted near the Westward Arch in St. Louis, where a wealthy person wants to build a museum.

    The guiding principle that has served our national parks for almost a century is to preserve the resources of the parks for future generations. Building facilities that are unrelated to the purposes of the park, as defined in their establishing legislation, is a sure way to impair public understanding of the resources.

  • Update: Will a “Chop and Drop” Strategy Rescue the Presidio’s Contemporary Art Museum Project?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    As far as I know, repurposing existing buildings has never been considered a viable alternative to new construction, which is what the Fishers have wanted from the beginning. Judging from the CAMP proposals, the Fishers have no particular commitment to historic preservation per se, but simply believe that the historic Presidio provides the right context for their museum.

  • Update: Will a “Chop and Drop” Strategy Rescue the Presidio’s Contemporary Art Museum Project?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Why can't they simply turn 6-8 of the existing buildings into museum space, and scatter the galleries throughout the Presidio?

    I don't have a problem with business ventures operating at NPS sites. I think you can have that, AND preserve the historic integrity of the building and grounds. Sure, they may have to rearrange interior walls and probably reinforce the structure of existing buildings to handle all the foot traffic, but it's better than further cutting into the landscape to build new buildings.

    Oh, and drop the cineplex idea completely. Movie revenues are dropping sharply and will continue to do so. There are abandoned movie theaters all over this country, including mega-multiplexes. Ruining a historic site to build a known, failed business venture is madness.

    =============================================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Mount Rainier National Park Offers a Snowplay Area and Guided Snowshoe Walks   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Tahoma, I'm going to skip the normal vetting process and unilaterally present you with Traveler's Obfuscatespeak Award for 2008. That musteline thing was very clever! And thanks for alerting me to that website with all the fascinating cold and snow info. I'm something of a weatherhound, having learned at an early age (while hunting and trapping in the Michigan snow and cold) that "It's better to be weatherwise than otherwise."

    Donna, I envy you the opportunity to enjoy the snowplay area at Paradise. BTW, have you ever used a cafeteria tray or a flattened cardboard box for sliding? A thousand years ago, when I was an undergrad at Western Michigan University in snowy (and hilly) Kalamazoo, we used to press those items into service for sliding after every fresh snowfall.

  • Mount Rainier National Park Offers a Snowplay Area and Guided Snowshoe Walks   5 years 30 weeks ago

    This snow lover doesn't care who holds the record. She just wants to play in it. Thanks, Bob, for reminding me about the snowplay area at Paradise. I've added it to my travel list.

  • Going to Denali Next Summer? It's Not Too Soon to Make Some Essential Reservations   5 years 30 weeks ago

    A happy new year to all the team and the readers.

    Thanks Pete, that is what I hoped to hear. That it is possible to experience the park without planning several months ahead. Probably one will not be able to do exactly what one prefers on a weekend in August but from all I know the park is so spectacular that pretty much everywhere you can experience something special.

  • Mount Rainier National Park Offers a Snowplay Area and Guided Snowshoe Walks   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Thanks for the clarification, Bob, and apologies for misinterpreting your original post. You're certainly not a talking musteline! I thought you might be interested in the following snippets from: http://www.skimountaineer.com/CascadeSki/CascadeSnow.html The brackets are mine for clarity.

    "From the mid 1950's until 1999, this location [Paradise] held the world record for measured snowfall in a single season, and it was the only station in the world to have recorded snowfalls of over 1000 inches in a season. In 1998-99, Paradise once again topped 1000 inches for the first time in a quarter-century, yet its longstanding seasonal snowfall record was eclipsed by the Mount Baker Ski Area, which recorded 1140 inches (2896 cm) at its upper base area (4200 ft / 1300 m). However, Paradise still retains the world records for...average annual snowfall, with a mean of 717 inches (1821 cm) over the official 1971-2000 period of record and 692 inches (1758 cm) over the 50 years of consecutive data since 1954...24-hour [snowfall] 70", November 26, 1955...monthly [snowfall] 363", January 1925...[and] Maximum (on ground) 367", March 10, 1956."

    This website contains a wealth of information and references concerning Cascade weather and snowfall and will provide hours of entertainment for any other snow lovers out there.