Recent comments

  • What are the New Seven Wonders of Nature? The Polls Are Now Open   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Thank you for sharing this info, good news. I am glad to hear than Mount Kilimanjaro is finally on the list. It is long over due.

  • Search Continues for Missing Backpacker in Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    You can listen to live scanner traffic from Grand Canyon National Park Service:
    (law enforcement, search and rescue, fire, medical, etc) at this link:

    Hearing lots of search & rescue traffic looking for the young man today.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Wasn't the original intention of the formation of national parks so that these wild places could remain undamaged by human intervention? These places used to be open and anyone could venture in to destroy whatever they wanted. This behavior needed to be stopped, so the NPS was founded.
    There needs to be a balance between conservation and pleasure. I noticed that most people in this discussion seem to be frequenting the parks on the western half of the US. So, maybe I just have a different perspective because I have grown up next to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I have been told that the eastern parks are much more lax and where you can go and what you can do in the park. Anyway, I have seen many people acting stupidly in the GSMNP. People leave food out around camp sites and are upset when the black bears forage through camp! If someone is injured by a bear, it has to be tracked and euthanized. Wouldn't a better solution be to educate people about the park before they enter?
    I know this seems a bit strenous, but what if everyone had to get a pass to enter the park? The reguirements for getting this pass would be passing a day long course on the delicate ecosystems in the park and how human involvement can be minimized. Surely the problem is not that people just do not care.
    This page has had a lot of bashing on the younger generations. It is true that most people in my age group (I am 23) only venture into the park when family members require them to or when they want to perform illegal activities in the park. If a requirement to get in the park is a course on ecosystem management and conservation of our natural resources, it would cut down on the number of people in the park (which needs to be done), would educate people, and would decrease the wear and tear on the park.
    Unfortunatly, it has gotten to the point where the parks need to closed for a time to allow the land to heal. It is sad that drastic actions need to be taken, but our national parks are falling apart at an exponential rate.
    The GSMNP used to be know for the smoking mountains, but they are starting to produce less of their own haze and are now only smoky because of all the cars driving around the park.
    If people can't learn to appreciate the park for what it is, they should not be allowed to enjoy it at all.

  • Survey Results Label the French as the World’s Worst Tourists   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I'm sorry, RangerLady, but that "we didn't know you're supposed to tip" excuse was already wearing thin half a century ago. There isn't a French tourist alive who doesn't know that you're supposed to tip the waitstaff in America.

  • Wolverine Photographed in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Allan, I always respect sightings made by experienced individuals like your neighbor, even when there are no photographs or other hard evidence. These and other sightings strongly imply that more than one wolverine may be moving though the park. As to whether any are remaining in the area, well, I guess that remains to be proven.

  • Interior Secretary Scales Back Snowmobile Use in Yellowstone National Park, Calls for More Public Comment   5 years 31 weeks ago

    J.D., your snowmobile-car comparison is very inappropriate. Cars travel the park roads in summer when food is abundant, temperatures are tolerable, and the living is good for park wildlife. Snowmobiles, on the other hand, converge on the park at the worst possible time, the cruel winter when many animals are brought to the very limits of their endurance. Just at that time, when the wintering-over animals need every tiny shred of energy they can muster, and when stress of any kind is quite literally life threatening, is when the snowmobile jockeys converge on the park. Whoeeeee! Kinda selfish, don't you think?

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Umm, no videos at that site, MikeD. Got another link?

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 31 weeks ago


    I find Matthew's response to be pretty incoherent. I am not sure what he's getting at to be honest. To be fair, I'll admit that the type of people who would like to allow very high impact activities on the parks are probably people I might prefer to have out of the parks all together. But I can't recall any lawsuit either aimed at preventing access per se.

    There is a guy on Youtube whose videos I enjoy. He currently lives in a remote canyon in New Mexico, if I understand correctly. Check out his Going Ferral series of videos for advice on a "loophole" on how to live on federal lands indefinitely. In any case, he has an interesting take on national parks, which may or may not be his version of extreme sarcasm (he appears to be pretty far left politically, just to clarify):

  • Camping In The Parks: Don't Overlook the Greenbelt Park Campground In Washington, D.C.   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I agree I have stayed at this campground several times and it is a nice one. I was amazed the first time I found it 16 years ago, I could not believe I could camp this close to the Capitol and feel safe. I took my niece way back then and she and I have both been back. I would highly recoomend this park to anyone who wants to visit DC and save money by camping. Back then it was the only way for me to afford the trip now days it I would stay because it is a good place to stay.

  • Update: Search Under Way For One Overdue Hiker at Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    The guy's an Eagle Scout. If anyone can climb out of there, he can.

  • To Make “Glory,” Hollywood Moved the Atlantic Ocean   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Sorry, Bruce. I recommend that you do like I do -- just smile and enjoy the movie, inside joke and all. It's a pretty darn good flick, actually. Any time you get Morgan Freeman and Danzell Washington together, you've got the makings of a great movie. OK, OK; I'll throw in Mathew Broderick too.

  • To Make “Glory,” Hollywood Moved the Atlantic Ocean   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Ha! Bob, this is one of my all-time favorite movies and you are NOT going to ruin it for me by telling me the regiment was charging in the wrong direction and happened to assault the next fort down by mistake! Although, that will be my thought each time I see this movie from now on. "WRONG WAY, guys! Oh, OK, go ahead and take that fort instead!" ;-)

  • Interior Secretary Scales Back Snowmobile Use in Yellowstone National Park, Calls for More Public Comment   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Jeez, I know I'm sounding like a broken record about the Bush administration, but here it is again:

    While the Clinton administration at the very end of its term in office moved to ban recreational snowmobile use in the park, the incoming Bush administration quickly blocked that ban and sent the issue down a prickly, and expensive, legal course. More than $10 million in environmental studies were conducted on the issue during the past decade, and all pointed to the phase-out of snowmobiles as the best environmental alternative for Yellowstone. Despite those studies and former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne's pledge that science would rule the day in the National Park System, strings pulled from not just the Interior Department but as high up as former Vice President Cheney's office handcuffed the Park Service.

    Over and over again, no matter where you look, the same theme throughout. I hope even my conservative brethren are taking note as stuff like this continually surfaces (regarding this venue - forget about other social issues). If you're on this web site, you must care about the environment, correct?

    On the other hand, I'm really starting to like this Ken Salazar. Maybe eight years of him (or his similarly-minded successor) will get me to finally shut up about the Bush disaster!

    [Seriously, I will tone down the political comments from now on, I promise.]

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   5 years 31 weeks ago

    "Or are they just too remote and have so few visitors that any stats from those parks don't correlate to the parks in the other 49 states."

    This is close to the truth. Only six of the sixteen nps units in Alaska are accessible by road. They are extremely remote, and anyone visiting them from the lower states is not intested in rape/murder. At our particular park, Wrangell-St. Elias, guns are allowed because we have aproximately eighty-one hundred people who live inside the park year-round, winter months and all. ANILCA (legislation that established Alaska NPS units) allows "costumary and traditional subsistence" to continue inside the park, meaning that hunting/fishing/trapping/gathering is still allowed for all residents. WRST is also the largest park in the US, just a little over 13.2 million acres. Managing every acre of this land is impossible; aproximately 75% is wilderness, and there are only two roads.

    Here are a few facts...
    All homocides in our park have been the result of disputes/murder by the residents in the winter, when there are no visitors.
    There has never been a fatal bear-mauling in our park; our bears are not food-conditioned or habituated to humans, and they do not attack visitors. In Glacier Bay, however, there have been three or four bear-maulings. If a bear IS a problem, the rangers try to scare it off the area w/out shooting it; the problem with bears is that they are highly territorial and will comes back to the same place unless moved more than two-hundred miles away.
    In Denalie NP, most deaths are McKinley-climbing related.

    But, you are very correct in your final assumption. Most of what goes on in Alaska National Parks doesn't apply to the rest of the US Parks. Our high rate of residency inside the park and more dedicated travellers means that we almost never have problems with visitors. I myself was born and raised right outside Wrangell-St. Elias, and bear-spray makes more sense than guns.

  • Camping In The Parks: Don't Overlook the Greenbelt Park Campground In Washington, D.C.   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Considering its proximity to the city, this is an impressive park. Consequently (or perhaps because of), Greenbelt has a number of dedicated stewardship groups including Friends of Still Creek and the Invasive Plant Removal group. REI College Park also works extensively with the park.

  • Camping In The Parks: Don't Overlook the Greenbelt Park Campground In Washington, D.C.   5 years 32 weeks ago

    And if you are in town visiting Greenbelt Park, don't miss the Greenbelt Museum, located on 10-B Crescent Road. The Museum is open Sundays 1-5 and is filled with household artifacts from the 1930's, and is set up to look like 1938, when the first families moved into Greenbelt. The Museum also offers walking tours of the historic area.

  • Interior Secretary Scales Back Snowmobile Use in Yellowstone National Park, Calls for More Public Comment   5 years 32 weeks ago

    J.D., it's hard to believe, but I've seen data that indicate snowmobiles are more polluting during the winter season than the greater volume of cars, trucks, and motorcycles during the summer. Hard to believe, but that's what they say.

    And the soundscape problems from snowmobiles have been well-documented. For instance, the groups that sued the Park Service over their last winter-use plan noted that the Park Service itself disclosed in a study accompanying its decision that allowing 540 snowmobiles into Yellowstone each day would dramatically expand-to 63 square miles-the portion of the park where visitors can expect to hear snowmobile noise during more than half of the visiting day. That would be a three-fold increase from the current portion of the park where noise intrudes on the visitor’s experience during at least half the day.

    And there also have been instances where supposedly "guided" snowmobile trips ran into problems. Such was the case a couple of years ago when one group of snowmobilers became so split up traveling from Norris Junction to Canyon that no one noticed when one snowmobile crashed, killing a woman. And then, of course, there are the annual stories of some snowmobilers racing off into the backcountry near West Yellowstone.

    All that said, there's no denying there are problems with vehicles during the rest of the year, ranging from speeding and accidents to fluid spills and wildlife issues. One solution would be public transportation, but with the park's five entrances it's not as easy to devise or operate a public transit option as the shuttle systems at Zion or Acadia or Bryce Canyon.

  • Interior Secretary Scales Back Snowmobile Use in Yellowstone National Park, Calls for More Public Comment   5 years 32 weeks ago

    So has anyone spent millions on studies to see how the unrestricted flow of park visitors & their passenger cars impact the environment, wildlife, and soundscape during the rest of the year?

    My guess is that those low emissions snowmobiles are far better maintained than the average American's car. I doubt very few of them have mufflers tied up with bale'n wire, or have fluids leaking out of them. Not to mention they don't have blasting stereo systems, or windows to throw fast food containers, pop cans, and lit cigarette butts out of.

    From what I understand, the guided snowmobiles are limited to specific trailways and speeds throughout the park. I imagine the guides keep their groups in check, by not allowing them to willfully approach wildlife, or allow them into areas where they could damage other park resources and property.

    Seems to me that snowmobiles are a much more eco-friendly, respectful, and pleasant, way to visit the parks than by car.

  • Update: Search Under Way For One Overdue Hiker at Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Bryce, I know the stars are beautiful but you have to come back. There are many that love you and would like to hear of your adventure.

  • Update: Search Under Way For One Overdue Hiker at Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    AZ Hiker, thanks for the first-hand information. Definitely sounds like a foreboding journey early on.

  • Update: Search Under Way For One Overdue Hiker at Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I hope all goes right for this young man. The Thunder River/ Tapeats Creek/ Deer Creek area is one of the absolute gems of the Grand Canyon, my personal favorite in the canyon. I've hiked the trail into Thunder River from the Bill Hall Trailhead. It's one of the harder trails in the canyon and it's very open with almost no shade. There are a couple of places on the hike out where you almost have to rock climb the slope is so steep. Because of poor winter/ spring road conditions getting to the trailhead is difficult. Summer is one of the only times you can hike in but it is brutally hot. You have to carry a LOT of water and hike really early in the morning, then find a shady spot to wait out the heat of the day, and then hike out to the trailhead in the early evening. It's recommended to cache at least a gallon of water at the halfway point (the Esplanade) so that you have an ample supply climbing out.

  • Cinema Series Stars Movies Made in Zion National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Sounds like a great film series. You might want to include "Smoky" if you offer this series again.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I agree completely. We live in a large Eastern city but are National Park junkies. We too have been to many NP's and have hiked and done many ranger activities but have been appalled at the disrespect people have for the parks. The park rules are really pretty simple. Stay on the trails, don't step on endangered plants, don't throw trash, don't touch endangered species. How hard is that.

    Most of the people that we saw only wanted to stay in their cars and see just a few sites and the gift shops. THe National Parks are extremely visitor friendly. All of the rangers I have met have been extremely helpful and gracious.

  • New Electronic Applications Aim to Enhance Your National Park Visit   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Saves paper and money. Doesn't replace people, only paper. A great example of how private, free-market companies provide an alternative to government-produced interpretive products.

  • California Man Becomes Second Yellowstone National Park Visitor To Be Gored By Bison This Year   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Dan P., well said.

    I'm sure we'll see this posted here on the snowmobile issue, but I wanted to alert people that the Interior Department has just announced their newest snowmobile and snowcoach proposal for Yellowstone.

    "318 snowmobiles and 78 multi-passenger snowcoaches daily" ... based on what we saw from the NGO environmental groups last year, it seems likely they will go for that number, though I think it would leave a system in place that leaves a lot to be desired.

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