Recent comments

  • Latest Lodging Deals at Sequoia, Olympic National Parks and Lake Powell National Recreation Area   5 years 32 weeks ago

    "Earth-friendly" vehicle, hmmmmm...I was gonna stay there next month...I think I'll go elsewhere.

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Gotta wholeheartedly agree with Anonymous and Frank C!
    Follow the money...a whole lotta $$$ going to grants to study this fraud called "global; warming!" Gotta keep them there so-called "scientists" workin'!
    I always ask my global warmed liberal friends...so say it IS warming STILL...(after all, it's been warmin' since the last ice age except for cooling from 1940 thru the 70')...and we can really turn it around...so when do we stop it from going too far in the COOLING direction? Drive more SUVs? (I actually had one lib blurt out NO! We don't need to do that, it won't affect it! I just said...aha...gotcha! and she got red-faced). LOL
    Global cooling will kill us faster than warming ever will!
    We are so puny in the dynamics of global climate...we have NOTHING to do with it!! I urge everyone, just as I teach my kids, to spread the word about how much of a farce this is. And how much it's gonna cost us if we go the route of Kyoto and "cap and trade."

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 32 weeks ago

    "As Americans, we have faced tremendous environmental challenges before," the NPCA representative testified. "We met these challenges with courage, with urgency, and with a coordinated response. ...Our health and economic future depends on how we meet this challenge."

    The NPCA rep has forgotten a most important virtue when intervening on the behalf of mother nature, humility.

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Hmm. Yet the mainstream media continues to ignore fact that we are in a deep solor minimum, the likes of which haven't been seen for a century. According to NASA, deep solar minima were common until relatively recently. The Maunder Minimum, which lasted from 1645 to 1715, is known as the "Little Ice Age". Scientists admit that "no one fully understands the underlying physics of the sunspot cycle". If this is another extended minimum, it seems feasible that we're headed for global cooling and maybe another little ice age. Pray it's not a full-on ice age, which could be potentially more devastating than global warming.

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 32 weeks ago

    As for the Park Service's mission, wasn't there something in the National Park Service Organic Act about the agency's purpose being "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein..."?

  • NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System   5 years 32 weeks ago

    This tells us more about the NPCA than about the National Parks or "climate change."

    Insofar as climate change is a natural phenomenon, then the parks could not be threatened by it any more than forests could be threatened by lightning-sparked fires, or 'scenic' wildlife was threatened by predatory wildlife 100 years ago. Natural fluctuation in Earth's climate is etched into the stones and recorded in the tree-rings of every nature park. We fall into the same old mistakes when we conclude that the ecosystems we observe now, or measured 75 years ago, are 'right,' and that any alteration is inherently bad.

    Insofar as climate change is a human-created phenomenon, which I do not remotely concede, it is a problem that exists on a global scale, and is extremely unresponsive to bleating about joshua trees. If it is human-created, then it goes far beyond the NPS's proper mission, which does not extend to meddling in global economics. Dragging the NPS into climate change politics can only harm the organization's mission in the long run.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I would like say, I had one the best time camping at dorst creek last nov.08 with my daughter's and one of there cousion,who is a girl also.These three grils thought they were going to DIE! without cell phone's. We get there on friday noon;went on a hike to muir grove and they were still trying to get a call out ,but to no avail the phone's did not work.YEA! it took one full day and then they stoped trying to make calls out.They had a good time without them for two more days,so much to do and see without cell phones in the BEAUTFUL MOUNTAINS.oh ya that's three teen age city girls. It was a good father /daughter trip.I would also like to say we say ranger's every where and often, that was great.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Licensed to kill? Gunmen in killings had permits
    By DEBORAH HASTINGS (AP National Writer)
    From Associated Press
    April 07, 2009 4:45 PM EDT
    They had more in common than unleashing carnage - nearly every gunman in this monthlong series of mass killings was legally entitled to fire his weapons.

    So what does that say about the state of gun control laws in this country? One thing appears certain: the regulations aren't getting stricter. Many recent efforts to change weapons laws have been about easing them.
    Despite eight rampages that have claimed 57 lives since March 10, "it hasn't sparked any national goal to deal with this epidemic. In fact, it's going the other way," said Scott Vogel of the Freedom States Alliance, a gun control activist group.

    Even President Barack Obama has felt that sway. Last month, 65 House Democrats said they would block any attempt to resurrect an expired federal ban against assault weapons. The pro-gun Democrats, led by Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas, wrote Attorney General Eric Holder saying they opposed not only a ban on military-style guns, but also efforts "to pass any similar law." Gun control issues would only produce "a long and divisive fight," they said, at a time when Congress should be focused on the roiling economy.

    A few states are trying to loosen gun restrictions. In the Texas Capitol - where legislators can carry guns - bills easily passed the Senate in recent weeks that would allow employees to bring weapons to work as long as they leave them locked in their cars, and let those packing heat off the legal hook if they walked into a bar that didn't have signs saying guns weren't allowed inside. The state also is considering allowing students licensed to carry a concealed weapon - there are about 300,000 such adults in Texas - to bring guns on campus.

    Kansas plans to put a measure on its 2010 ballot that would rewrite the state constitution to make gun ownership a personal, rather than collective, right. In Tennessee, lawmakers made progress this month toward allowing guns to be carried in state and local parks.

    "I think you're seeing a continuing change of culture," Vogel said. "I think the gun lobby wants to take away any stigma to gun ownership. I think they feel emboldened, like who's going to stop them?"

    The National Rifle Association, the country's most powerful gun lobbying group, declined to comment this week on gun control laws. "Now is not the time to debate politics or discuss policy. It is time for families and communities to grieve and to heal," it said in a prepared statement.

    Groups such as Vogel's, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, say existing laws are already too weak - just look at the men who received gun permits, legally bought high-powered weapons, and then mowed down family, friends and total strangers in these past few weeks, they say.

    Joining their outrage was the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "How many more gun-related acts of violence must we experience before the nation's leaders will decide that it is time to act?" asked president Manuel Diaz, mayor of Miami.
    Gun enthusiasts say there is no way to prevent human beings from committing insane acts. Whether they have a gun permit or not. On Friday, a depressed and angry Jiverly Wong used a 9 mm and .45-caliber handgun to kill 13 immigrants and service center employees in Binghamton, N.Y., police said. Earlier that day, the ethnic Chinese immigrant from Vietnam mailed an envelope to a Syracuse television station. In it were his gun permit, photos of him smiling while hoisting shiny, big handguns, and his driver's license.

    Questions have been raised over the upstate New York gun permit issued to Wong in 1997. Two years later, he was reported to state police by an informer who claimed Wong was planning a bank heist to feed a crack-cocaine habit. Unlike other areas of the state, including New York City, Wong's Broome County permit did not have to be renewed.

    Local authorities, however, have broad discretion in reviewing and revoking such permits, according to legal experts. Especially when it comes to drug use, criminal behavior and violence.

    "In retrospect, this is probably not a guy who should have had a gun," said attorney Jeffrey Chamberlain, a former Rochester prosecutor and chief counsel to the New York State Police. "No one likes to see things fall through the cracks and it looks like this guy fell through the cracks."

    Binghamton police chief Joseph Zikuski said Tuesday that no robbery occurred and there was no merit to review Wong's gun permit.

    In New York City, gun permits are reissued every three years. Yet, regulations differ only slightly between states, Chamberlain said. "They're fairly typical - don't be a felon, don't be a drunk, don't beat your kids or your wife. Don't be so mentally unbalanced that you need be in an institution."

    To Chamberlain, the answer to gun violence lies not in stricter regulations, but in answering the question, "Why are we so tolerant of having guns in this country? The answer to that is historical. We've had guns for a very long time.

    "I can't think of any sweeping law change that would address that."
    To Vogel, the answer to why atrocities happen in places such as Binghamton, and before that Washington state and Santa Clara, Calif., lies in sheer numbers.
    The number 280 million, to be precise, the estimated total of every gun in this country.
    "When you have that many guns, those guns are going to be used in horrific ways," Vogel said. "There's just too many. Inevitably, somehow, some way, those weapons are going to be used in an egregious way."

    Rick Smith

  • Tracing The Postage Stamp-Sized History of the National Park System   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Dawn, I'm afraid I don't know of any websites where you can gauge the worth of your stamps, other than Ebay. In the past I've been told to take them to a stamp dealer to evaluate. But I believe that might require a fee. The only other suggestion I have is to check out this website and see if it offers any leads.

    Good luck!

  • Tracing The Postage Stamp-Sized History of the National Park System   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I have several of the national park stamps (the 1934 year ones) and I was just wondering what would they be worth if I was to sell them? Also, I have several president stamps that I was wondering wether they were worth anything? Is there a website that tells you how much your stamps are worth? I hope you will respond back. Thanks for your time.

    Dawn

  • Iconic Trail at Grand Canyon National Park Set for a Major Makeover   5 years 32 weeks ago

    While we are into genetic manipulation, let's also make them pee less often on the trail.

    Rick Smith

  • Iconic Trail at Grand Canyon National Park Set for a Major Makeover   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Well, let's at least insist that they design mules that are not so gosh darned wide!

  • Iconic Trail at Grand Canyon National Park Set for a Major Makeover   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I almost got trampled by mules! Need to reduce the number allowed on the trails.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Working / volunteering in Our National Parks is a job unlike many others.
    I still have some great rambling letters from an old ranger friend.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Key words: "My wife and I"

    Not everyone is married, especially at my age. it's different, obviously, when you family is living there with you and you're not depending on a phone or the Internet to communicate.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    "Not having an affordable landline, cell service, or Internet when you go home is like living in a cave. It is isolating and lonely.'

    Hmm, my wife and I lived "in a cave" for a total of about 20 years. Most of that time the nearest phone was at least 80 miles away. I honestly do not remember feeling isolated and lonely. We were so busy and wrapped up in our work that we usually felt there were not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Those were some of the happiest years of our lives. It is much easier to get to know yourself when you are cut off from the chatter and hectic pace of modern living. I understand that some people must have immediate access to family and friends, particularly when a loved one may be seriously ill. But please do not make it sound like suffering simply because the Internet is unavailable or the nearest phone is a few miles away. That is not a hardship - indeed it can be a blessing.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Not everyone feels that the sound of "excited" children is the music of heaven. In fact, I would much rather hear adults yammering on a phone than kids screaming. It's wise, when discussing use of nature, to realize not everyone shares the same tastes in outdoor experiences. In that spirit, I'll say this: While I can't stand being around kids, I've become a crusader for getting kids into nature ala Richard Louv and his "Nature Deficit Disorder" concept. With that in mind, I'm all about modernizing parts of natural treasures like our National Parks. Grant Grove is already city-like a lot of time. Ditto for Artists Point and Norris Basin in Yellowstone, Hurricane Ridge and the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic, any of the iconic viewpoints in Yosemite, the coast drive in Acadia, and any of the postcard locations in any other park. Why not get some cell phone coverage? It won't change the fact that you can walk an hour from any of those places and be completely immersed in wilderness - the kind of kid-less, phone-less wilderness I love. The front country tourist magnets are the baby steps that get kids (and adults) a taste of nature. Some of those people a few years later might decide it's time to see what lies beyond the parking lot.

    Equating a desire to have technological communication with an inferior employee of the park system is painfully myopic. Is the desire to be able to call Dad and say hi on his birthday from the comfort of your cabin anathema to respect for nature? Is exposure to the wealth of knowledge and information available on the Internet somehow going to degrade the experience a ranger or seasonal employee offers to visitors? Wouldn't it be nice if some of the park folks could become email buddies with some young visitors from suburban Detroit and share pictures as the season progresses? It already happens and it already makes a difference. I can't imagine what logic would lead one to think potential natural history interpreters seeking locations with technological comforts would make them inferior employees. I could argue, though probably on equally unstable footing, the opposite. Technophobia and misanthropy are not generally qualities you look for in someone you want to spread the good word about nature...Ed Abbey notwithstanding. :-)

  • Iconic Trail at Grand Canyon National Park Set for a Major Makeover   5 years 32 weeks ago

    We are glad to hear you are improving the trail. We have been hiking the South Kaibab and Bright Angel trails for almost 40 years. The Grand Canyon holds the most spectacular sites in the world.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    As a 'young person', I take offense at that, because if you're giving a program, then it's awfully hard to talk on the phone while leading walk or talk, no? I've never turned down a job based solely on lack of cell service, but it's something that I consider when I know I won't be able to afford to pay through the nose for long distance in park housing.

    It's not about needing to have phone service at work. It's about making sure seasonals who rely on the park for housing and utilities have at least one way to communicate with the outside world when they are off duty Not having an affordable landline, cell service, or Internet when you go home is like living in a cave. It is isolating and lonely.

    People take these things for granted, especially when they've never been in the situation. Sure, there are some who are fine with this (eg - backcountry rangers), but for many, it is like falling off the face of the earth for three months a year when people can't reach you and you can't get to them. It's not fun, and the Park Service, as well as other agencies, needs to start treating seasonals and interns better. We are not your gophers, or 'just seasonals'. We are the future of the agency.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    If young people are turning down jobs in this economy because of lack of cell phone service, they probably wouldn't be the best employees. I do agree that employees in parks need to be taken care of but I am tired of seeing so many people at work constantly talking and texting on cell phones. Also a cell phone does not guarantee your safety. Bears and other animals can attack you before you get your phone out-unless your talking on it the entire time. And in that case you don't need to be out in the woods anyways. Also, I can't believe your equating annoying adults on cell phones to kids who are excited to be in the woods making noise in the parking lot. I guess we'll agree to disagree.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Wow. Never thought I'd see so many people agreeing with Frank_C. Kinda surprising!

    It happens. :)

    And for those who still think a cell phone conversation is going to change the "atmosphere" of Grant Grove check out the Google Street View of Grant Grove.

    Pull up the parking lots, remove the lodge, dig up the sewage pipes, evict everyone from Wilsonia, tear up the roads and bridges and then, MAYBE, we can talk about cell phone towers. That's not going to happen, though. The area has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years.

    That's all I have to say about that.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Well, I guess I'll put in my two cents in this discussion. There should be parts of the larger national parks and wilderness areas where cell phones do not work and the internet is unavailable. Remoteness and isolation have special value that is becoming increasingly difficult to experience. Our electronic umbilical cords that tie us to the rest of the world should be occasionally severed. Yes, I know. Everyone should be allowed to choose for themselves. Sorry, I disagree. There is a book, Mountains Without Handrails, that addresses this issue. Cell phones and internet connections are electronic forms of handrails. Let there continue to be places that remain inconvenient, potentially hazardous, remote and cut off from easy and immediate contact with civilization.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I dont understand...Verison doesn't give a damb a bout your safty.or the disruption it will cause,concrete truck's, heavy equipment, cranes,power supply, exc....all they realy want is to make more money...also,how will they get ride of it after it becomes just another pease of junk in the woods...will it cause another big mess.. ahhhh.. ya..

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Wow. Never thought I'd see so many people agreeing with Frank_C. Kinda surprising! :)

  • Creature Feature: Meet the Asian Swamp Eel, "the Animal Equivalent of the Kudzu Vine?"   5 years 32 weeks ago

    It is truly sad to see this tragedy unfold. The potential destruction this fish can cause is almost unimaginable. Here in Hawaii exotic plant and animal species have decimated the native habitat and caused scores of indigenous species to become extinct. National parks are certainly not exempt from the ravages of alien species. As this fish expands its range not only will it consume resident wildlife, it will set off secondary impacts throughout affected ecosystems that can have unforeseen consequences. Climate warming will likely help to carry this eel even further north.