Recent comments

  • Final Public Hearings Set on Proposed Wal-Mart Super Center Next to Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I grew up near Fredericksburg and spent many hours on the battlefield. My grandparents backyard was part of the battlefield (not NPS land...private) I spent so many hours exploring the woods and of course collecting memorabelia. I went back last summer and was shocked at how much the place had grown in only 10 years. I remember when I couldn't walk down the street without some person knowing my family and pinching my cheeks.

    This time it was full of strangers and huge shopping centers. Within a 2 mile stretch of road I saw 4 Starbucks! I went back to the battlefields and had a very difficult time immersing myself in the story because I could hear noise everywhere. Traffic going by with the bass thumping form speakers, car horns...I just couldn't picture a battle going on there.

    Wal-Mart should not be adding to this. Save what little is left. I think that the Wilderness Battlefield is the best chance someone has to really experience things. Plus I used to work for Wally World and find them to be evil! =)

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

  • Translocation Project Aids Endangered Humpback Chub in Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Thanks, tomp. I've edited the photo caption to reflect that information. The photo source clearly indicated that these were juvenile fish. I was just asleep at the switch.

  • Translocation Project Aids Endangered Humpback Chub in Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    The photo is of the juvenile fish: when adults they will have a huge hump behind their heads, which hydrodynamically helps keep them at the bottom of the river:
    http://www.fws.gov/coloradoriverrecovery/Crhbc.htm

    Most if not all of the 6 native species in GRCA formerly ranged far up the Colorado & Green rivers. When Flaming Gorge dam was put in on the Green in 1958-1960, a major effort was made to poison out all of the "trash fish" downstream in the Green and replace them with gamefish (salmon & trout). That poisoning also wiped out an unknown number of species of aquatic invertebrates: the Green River wasn't inventoried until George Edmunds rushed out to collect during the poisoning.

  • Final Public Hearings Set on Proposed Wal-Mart Super Center Next to Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Bruce,
    I love your passion. I hope you can be their for the fight. According to the NPS web site on the park it is only open 'til dusk so i am not sure about the light pollution but I agree with the other impacts. It is to bad they didn't make the park boundary bigger in the first place if it seems like it should be part of the park. I still say the building codes could force Wal-mart to re think their placement if the restrictions are harsh enough.

  • Search for Human-Habituated Grizzlies in Glacier National Park Ends With Two Dead Bears   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Those who venture into the backcountry of Glacier National Park are not "most casual park visitors."

    By entering the backcountry, certain risks must be accepted. These risks include the possibility of encountering bears.

    When I last visited Banff and Jasper National Parks in 2005, I noticed that trails known to be frequented by grizzly bears were posted and well marked. Hikers were requested to enter in groups of 6 or more. Pets were prohibited in sections of the park posted for Grizz.

    It would be interesting to obtain more details on the criteria used by the NPS to make the decision to put the bear down. What I have learned thus far is that the 17 year-old sow was euthanised due to a pattern of increased encounters with backpackers and backcountry campsites, and a lack of responsiveness to purposeful hazing. There was also the concern that this sow would pass on her behavior to her offspring, increasing the number of grizzly bears in the Glacier NP backcountry lacking a natural fear of humans.

    I wonder, to what extent is this same criteria being used in other parks (including Alaska and Parks Canada) to cull backcountry bears if they are observed to be habituated to the presence of humans (i.e., behavioral deviants)?

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Did You Hear the One About President Obama's Trip To Yellowstone National Park?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Well Jim, depends on your idea of way ahead of time. It was posted on this web site 8 days before he came and was in the national news as well. His order of travel was posted with a full day traveling from park to park which meant he could only be in Yellowstone in the morning. We are a world of complainers and some complain louder than others. I agree that the road closer would have sucked and the National Park Service should have warned travelers up on entrance during the week leading up to the visit that they could expect long delays on that morning in that area of the park. I bet it would of happened any way.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Wolverines of the Northern Rockies   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I've seen their tracks while backcountry skiing in Canada, and was lucky enough to get within 50 yards of one on a remote beach in Alaska in 1968. Also, I saw the silhouette and distinctive gait of a very large mustelid crossing the road in my winter headlights at Mount Rainier some years back, but the Park Service seemed not to take my report seriously.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Wolverines of the Northern Rockies   5 years 34 weeks ago

    That's interesting news, Tahoma. I wonder what they used for a den? Sounds like a follow-up call might be in order.

    Thanks.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Wolverines of the Northern Rockies   5 years 34 weeks ago

    It's probably not a real solution, but for a hopeful story about one of my favorite animals, see this press release about captive breeding: http://www.nwtrek.org/files/library/a0a9bf67bc072c61.pdf

  • Final Public Hearings Set on Proposed Wal-Mart Super Center Next to Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    We all need to learn to live with development. It is a driver of our economy. However, this project is a travesty that would irreversibly destroy a significant part of the heritage that makes our country what it is. This would be an insult to the people who gave their lives on this ground fighting for what they believed in.

    This impact goes well beyond the specific ground where the Wal Mart will be built. The views from the existing parts of the preserved battlefield will also be impaired. No longer will visitors be able to come here and get a true feel for what the terrain and ground looked like during the battle of the Wilderness. Of all major battles of the Civil War, the Wilderness is where terrain and vegetation were perhaps the most significant factors. Light pollution will forever change the night sky emitting a glow from the parking lots and signs for the commercial development. Increased traffic will produce noise, lower air quality, and further damage any opportunity for a positive visitor experience to a valuable cultural resource. Views and what they invoke in our souls are often the number one reason people give for visiting National Park areas.

    The local economy of tourism will also suffer from this type of development at this location. Thousands of people come to view the ground where the battle of the Wilderness took place. Much of this battlefield has already been lost to private development. This final step would be another nail in the coffin for this valuable cultural resource.

    I urge the government of Orange County, Virginia to take the destructive impacts of this development and not just the quick financial fix of local tax revenues into consideration. I urge Wal Mart to choose another less sensitive location closer to areas already developed to place their new store.

  • Final Public Hearings Set on Proposed Wal-Mart Super Center Next to Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Although I have never been there and cannot picture the area, my advice to those concerned is if you can't stop it from coming, dictate the building code within proximity to the historic site. Require a certain percentage of green space per square foot of parking, require some unique facade to the building, require smaller signage restrictions including height, etc... These code restrictions have to be passed by the Planning commission. If you wait until after they give the go ahead, it will be too late. Some times the restrictions are to costly for even Wal-mart to want to continue because they like to make a cookie cutter store just like their last one. Worst case its slightly less an eye sore than no restrictions. Maybe this has already been done...just my thought.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, How Was Your Most Recent National Park Visit?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    In early August I drove with a friend along the southern shore of Lake Superior, hitting three NPS sites: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin, Keweenaw National Historical Site and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan. We also dropped down and spent a few hours at St. Croix National Scenic River in Wisconsin.

    Surprisingly, because I usually favor natural spots, Keweenaw was my favorite of the stops. The ranger in Calumet was enthusiastic and informed, willing to talk about copper mining culture and architecture, which was of particular interest to my friend. A trip into one of the mines was an eye-opener -- both literally and figuratively.

    Also surprisingly, the rangers at the information desk in Apostle Islands were clueless when I asked about the formation of the Great Lakes and their geologic history. They said no one had ever asked them that before. Hard to believe. Thankfully they directed me to the one ranger who seemed to know something about it.

    The Lake Superior trip, from Duluth, MN, to Munising, MI, is worth a week of your time. See www.myhandicapparking.com for more personal essays.

  • National Park Quiz 67: Potpourri III   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Thanks very much for expanding on that answer, d-2. I was sorely temped to include all of the Manhattan sites in the stem of question 1, but I wasn't 100% certain. It still boggles my mind that parks honoring presidents are closed on President's Day. I'll bet that a goodly number of Traveler readers who worked on this quiz thought "can't be true!" when they checked on the answer for question number one.

  • Fall From Tokopah Falls Kills Visitor to Sequoia National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I also witnessed the accident, and observed from the trail across from the fall (for a time with Andrea) the extreme urgency everyone felt to get help to Kevin. From the people who ran down the trail to get help, to the the people such as my and Andrea's husband who immediately ran down the rocks to Kevin's aide, to the trail maintenance guys who ran up and radioed for help, to the nurse on the trail who nervously got herself down the rocks to Kevin, to the medics and rangers who hiked up the almost 2 mile trail in just under an hour , and to the helicopter who had trouble finding a place to land due to the difficult terrain . I impart this information so that the family may hopefully find some peace that everyone did their best to help. But in the end, I also agree with Andrea, the fall was so severe I'm not certain a quicker response could have changed the tragic results. I am so, so sorry.

  • Did You Hear the One About President Obama's Trip To Yellowstone National Park?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    FYI, his trip was not announced way ahead of time ... (it just seems like it in today's ever shorter news cycle)

    DC does not shut down for presidential motorcades or visits (though there can be some really bizarre perimeters for the right sort of hairtrigger event -- you can get close to a hotel when the Pres speaks at it, but when the World Bank and IMF are in town, you can't get within 500 yards sometimes); I've gotten close to several in my times ... even was able to protest W's motorcade multiple times and Cheney another time ...

    On a lot of the posts about people complaining, it was clear that they were right wing; nevertheless, I can't imagine being too happy about it (no matter how far I swing the opposite direction).

    My own political preferences (or perhaps lack thereof) are well known; I'm not terribly impressed by anyone in power - left or right or dead center. I was much more interested reading the account of the chef in the Old Faithful Inn, the accounts of travelers, of a cyclist who was outside the park and saw something go by, and of the general reaction to it. In our upstairs/downstairs world, I guess I'm a downstairs kind of guy.

    There's a lot of important Yellowstone news in recent days, a lot of interesting accounts by travelers, a lot of people sharing the well of ideas. In the small matter of Obama's visit, I think it could have been mitigated and that at least in the couple days of warning on the itinerary, that people could have been better alerted as to road closings and such. That kind of information would have been far more useful than what we got out of media reports. And, it couldn't have really been a security issue--one newspaper even reported the plane departure time from West Yellowstone.

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

  • National Park Quiz 67: Potpourri III   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Regarding question # 1:

    It always broke my heart that Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace NHS, as well as Federal Hall National Memorial , as well as General Grant National Memorial, all in Manhattan & ALL dedicated to extremely significant historical figures and Presidents (T. Roosevelt; G. Washington's inaugural site; Grant's Tomb) are ALL closed on President's Day.

    That is how tight the budget is for the national parks in Manhattan, or how unimaginative the leadership. At one point, an NPS Deputy Director had secured assurances that all these sites would be opened the following President's Day. Unfortunately, he and the Regional Director and the park manager all changed the next year. So, once again the sites were again closed on the very day they would most likely draw special attention.

    Weekends and holidays are not the right days to close historic sites, anyway.

  • Kids Advocacy Site Recognizes National Parks Traveler For Its Content and Approach   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Great news! I know as a writer or blogger you often wonder if you're putting all this work into it and it's just drifting off into space unappreciated. Here's one more confirmation that NPT is worth the effort!

  • Reader Participation Day: So, How Was Your Most Recent National Park Visit?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Went to Yosemite in July. The weather was perfect and the Tuolumne Meadows area was beautiful as usual. But crowded. Wish there were a way to keep large groups of motorcyclists off the Tioga Road. They run through with their noisy engines disturbing the peace.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, How Was Your Most Recent National Park Visit?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    We also just came back from Glacier National Park, and had a wonderful time. We took the Glacier Lodge Tour and stayed at four great lodges. The food and rooms were wonderful (but the showers were a little snug). All of the people we met at the lodges, in the tour company, on the trails, etc. were wonderful. We'd go back in a heartbeat if there weren't so many other places on our list of places to go.

  • Eradicating Everglades Pythons Will be a Formidable Task   5 years 35 weeks ago

    All I can say is I hope Florida gets this under control.I live in South Carolina and the idea of seeing something like this in my back yard makes me HORRIFIED!!! These snakes should be banned.There is no excuse for anyone to have a pet like this.And what you are seeing in the everglades now is the proof.I also have seen stories that show Florida has every kind of venomous snake in the world running loose because of all the snakes nuts who let them get out, or release them on purpose.It is so ridiculous! Cobras,gaboon vipers,pythons.It makes no sense to me why this has been allowed to go on unchecked for so long.Now it may be too late to stop the snake's progress to other states.Thanks alot,Florida.

  • Kids Advocacy Site Recognizes National Parks Traveler For Its Content and Approach   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Congrats, Kurt -- well-deserved . . .

  • Reader Participation Day: So, How Was Your Most Recent National Park Visit?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I went to a few parks in late June in the Maryland region. I spent a couple of days at Assateague Island National Seashore. I visited both the Virginia area as well as the Maryland portion. The restrooms in Maryland were open and as clean as possible with the volume of use. The restrooms in the Virginia section were actually in a visitor's center that seemed to be part of the National Wildlife Refuge system - but tidy and open. The entrance booth in both areas were occupied and offered maps. The bugs were bad - but I can't blame the NPS for that. Trails seemed maintained.

    On the same trip, I visited Ft. McHenry in Baltimore and loved it. Rangers all around - bathrooms open. We also hit the Hampton Historic Site -- great tour from a volunteer (I believe) ranger.

    Same trip I visited a few battlefields - Monocaccy, Bull Run and Antietam. All seemed to have rangers and resources available.

    I ended this trip in Washington DC -- too many Park Service sites to list. I have to comment that I was surprised at the limited hours the last week in June. I never made it to the White House Visitor Center when it was open (closed at 4:00 pm on a Sunday). The restrooms near there (separate outbuilding closer to the White House) also were closed. I get it -- it's a Sunday -- but the number of people that I saw trying to find an open bathoom leads me to believe that they could stand some later hours. Many of the memorials can be greatly enjoyed at night (after official open hours) but I was concerned with 'open hours' so that I could hit a bathroom and get my passport stamped. In DC, I didn't see many rangers and those I did were surrounded by visitors wanting attention. I'm not sure you could actually ever hire enough rangers for DC in the summer.

  • Kids Advocacy Site Recognizes National Parks Traveler For Its Content and Approach   5 years 35 weeks ago

    This recognition is indeed an honor for National Parks Traveler. It is also an indication that this informative site is attracting a very wide and diverse readership.

    Thank you Kurt for a job very well done. Thank you too for your continued commitment to strive for the highest standards of coverage and reporting.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • National Park Quiz 67: Potpourri III   5 years 35 weeks ago

    After Grand Canyon National Park was established in 1919, incorporating the Forest Service-administered Grand Canyon National Monument, a second Grand Canyon National Monument was created (on December 22, 1932). It was this second Grand Canyon National Monument that existed until 1975. On January 3, 1975, Grand Canyon National Park was greatly expanded in size by the addition of this second Grand Canyon National Monument, Marble Canyon National Monument, portions of Glen Canyon and Lake Mead national recreation areas and additional lands.

    Here's another thing to ponder. If you visit the National Park Service History website and go to the section on National Park System Birthdays, this is what the entry for Grand Canyon National Park looks like:

    January 11, 1908 — Grand Canyon National Monument, Arizona. (Later Grand Canyon National Park, 1919)

    Since Grand Canyon National Monument belonged to the U.S. Forest Service in 1908, and could in no way be considered a national park at that time, the users of this listing can be forgiven if they are a little confused about what anniversary date should be celebrated at Grand Canyon National Park.

  • National Park Quiz 67: Potpourri III   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I think #7 was a fairly simple question about when a place achieved a full National Park designation.