Recent comments

  • Too Many Deer in the Nation's Capital? Rock Creek Park Holds a Public Meeting on Wednesday   5 years 38 weeks ago

    The one real answer will, of course, not be explored. Utilize the natural method. Predation. Historically the most active predator, of white tail deer, has been humans.

  • New Lodge Gives You an Opportunity to Better Know Kenai Fjords National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Well, I just got back from my 11 Grand Journey with Alaska Wildland Adventures with a stop including the Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge. I must say the whole experience with AWA and the lodge in question was excellent. The staff is extremely knowledable and skilled. there are many hiking and kayaking options for vistors each day (as the weather permits). While the three days we were there we could only see Pederson Glacier one complete day, the whole experience was top notch. I would deffintely recommend going here as part of one of AWA's package tours or as an independent traveler.

  • FAQs About the Out-of-Control Big Meadow Fire at Yosemite National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Excuse me, but unacceptable is the correct response. After your explanations and those of the NPS, the simple fact remains that the NPS themselves believe serious errors were made. It is correct to ask questions, not say that is the way the world works, things are unpredictable, and oh well, I'm sure they are doing their best. It is unacceptable because to let it be acceptable is to allow the NPS to do the same thing all over other words light the same prescribed burn, under the same conditions, in the future. Obviously that didn't work out so well huh? The guess of experts I know is that conditions were not what they expected, however they went ahead since lots of pre work had been done, and felt they could slip it by. But they didn't. Absolutely questions should and will be asked and answered.

    Didn't burn a single structure? So it's OK? How about the forest areas that will take two generations to recover?

    Having worked for 30 years with governmental agencies I know that without questions and accountability...and the improvements that ensue, history can very easily be repeated as the bureaucratic machinery moves forward.

  • Traveler’s Checklist: New River Gorge National River   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Carl, being a WVU alum, I know what you're saying. Not only did I fall in love with Blackwater Falls SP during my college days, but I also guided on the Cheat and New rivers. Spectacular, simply spectacular. And then there's Dolly Sods.

    And thanks for the kind words for the Traveler. We like to think we're a work in progress, so hopefully things will only get better!

  • Traveler’s Checklist: New River Gorge National River   5 years 38 weeks ago

    We loved our visit to the New River Gorge area last September. If you go there you should also check out the WV State Parks nearby. We were very impressed with how reasonably priced everything was. We got a 3 hour horse back ride at Babcock for $35 each. The prices at their lodges were all under $100, some under $80. I think the best SP in this area is Pipestem. We were so impressed that we took a May vacation in the northern part of the state and stayed at 2 differant parks. Blackwater Falls SP was the one we loved the most in the NE part of the state. Cacapon was a close second.
    PS love this web site.

  • Great Smoky’s Highway 441 to be Closed Temporarily for 75th Anniversary Rededication Ceremony   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Thanks for clarification.

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Thats what we say about you! LMAO!

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   5 years 38 weeks ago

    The word "is" coming to end! Because of fools like yourself! If you don't want to be able to protect yourself and your family from crazies or wild animals then so be it. Survival of the fittest or shall we say the smartest!

  • Angels Landing Trail at Zion National Park to be Closed Briefly on September 1st   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Is that a polite way of saying you wriggled down Walter's Wiggles on a trail of brown goo?

  • Big Meadow Fire At Yosemite National Park Up to 4,382 Acres, Restricted Access Monday Along Tioga Road   5 years 38 weeks ago

    InciWeb has today's map up at:

    No active burn around Foresta. New front on the east, and gradual north & NW extension.

  • Proposed Power Lines at Everglades National Park Highlight Several National Issues   5 years 38 weeks ago


    Without defending nuclear power (I'm at most ambivalent about the expansion of Turkey Point), I noticed that the actual proposal for the expansion of Turkey Point is to use Miami's processed wastewater for cooling, not intake from Biscayne Bay, and using evaporation towers as part of the cooling process. [Evaporation is feasible by using reclaimed wastewater instead of saltwater from Biscayne Bay.] In theory, one could even use some of the waste heat as part of the wastewater treatment process; I don't know if that's part of what's proposed, and haven't looked into it (I'm happily living in Colorado now, and unlikely to go back even to visit!). I don't know what the treatment plant will do with the "biosolids", nor whether the freshwater would otherwise be discharged into Biscayne Bay (potentially making up for part of the interrupted/diverted pre-settlement flow).

    There's a cartoon diagram but no obvious link to details at:

    If this is like other power line routing issues I'm more familiar with, the 9 alternatives count variations on only 2 or 3 major corridors. For example, the current FPL right of way 2 miles inside ENP only differs for a couple of miles from the landswap alternative along the canal/levee at the boundary of ENP, but they count as 2 alternatives. The housing sprawl extends most of the way down US1 and to the bay, and east to Krome at SW 88th and Florida City. Basically, the Everglades and the L-31N canal & levee are about the only thing stopping the sprawl (and there is developer pressure to allow development beyond the urban growth boundaries and levees, especially to the north of Tamiami Trail). Removing houses within the developed areas to create safe rights of way would be cost-prohibitive. I don't know if any alternatives are additional lines along the turnpike (a corridor through the urban area); I don't know if that is feasible.


    I can assure you that there are plenty of folks in Universities and agencies down there with intimate knowledge of implications for the 8 mile area and everything else, far surpassing my current knowledge. And Rock Salt, the new federal almost-czar for Everglades restoration deeply cares about the Everglades, and knows enough and is smart enough to play the game 5 moves ahead.

    almost apt captcha: "Phillip potshots"

  • Great Smoky’s Highway 441 to be Closed Temporarily for 75th Anniversary Rededication Ceremony   5 years 38 weeks ago

    MRL -

    A reasonable question, and the park was apparently sensitive to that point. The park staff put out a press release that invitations to the event were available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis, but they were snapped up very quickly. I was going to run that information on the Traveler, but decided not to do so when I found out the tickets were already gone.

    There's no doubt some of the spots went to political leaders and others who are in positions to make decisions to help (or not help) the park - for better or worse, that's a reality for any such event.

  • Proposed Power Lines at Everglades National Park Highlight Several National Issues   5 years 38 weeks ago

    My first reaction is also " none of the above". If there are 9 potential routes, is it only the land swap that made the one involving ENP the preferred one? What is the scientific basis for this preference? Is there any? Or is the preference based on political considerations, such as that the creatures in the park don't vote, don't make political contributions, and, most of all, don't give interviews? Not a good basis for such decisions, but it is the usual one. In an ecosystem as damaged by human impact as that of South Florida, there are precious few pristine areas left. Maybe none at all! However, if worse comes to worse, the land swap is preferable to having the towers in the middle of the park.

    A larger issue is the definition of nuclear power as "clean energy". It isn't, any more than "clean coal" is. They are both oxymorons, although for different reasons. Our attitude toward nuclear power seems similar to that of the Sorcer'e Apprentice. We can turn them on, but we aren't so good at controlling them or turning them off! 80 million gallons of water a day may seem like a small amount compared to the size of Biscayne Bay, but it's not. We are talking EVERY DAY use here! We are also talking about the return of the heated water to the bay. In cooler climates, this may provide additional habitat for fish, but in an already warm climate, which is getting warmer, there are bound to be prfound ecological impacts. As stated above, this is a very complex issue, with many unanswered and perhaps unanserablee questions. How much will it cost in the future to mitigate these actions which are being contemplated now? Do we really want to experiement with the Everglades again?

  • Proposed Power Lines at Everglades National Park Highlight Several National Issues   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Well, howdy (ex-)neighbor! You would not believe Route 347 these days if you have not seen it since the 1980's. New high-voltage transmission lines along there might go virtually unnoticed these days.

    I hope the right people are reading these forums and your analysis in particular. Some day there may be one less car on Route 347 and one more on SW 177th Ave on my way to the Everglades, so I hope they listen to you.

  • Traveler's Gear Box: Take A Stick When You Go For a Hike   5 years 38 weeks ago

    A stick works well too.

  • Picnic Area on Blue Ridge Parkway Closed Temporarily Due to Bear Activity   5 years 38 weeks ago

    A fed bear is a dead bear ! Kudos to the Park Service for trying to educate the visitors instead of just "doing away with the bears". They are hungry and like us humans, they learn to take the easy way out when possible !

  • Battle Against Marijuana Growers Temporarily Closes Crystal Cave at Sequoia National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    While I'm not a fan of the legalization of loaded firearms in national parks, I don't think the new law really makes that much of a difference when it regards bringing in firearms to protect illegal activities. It's been legal to transport firearms in national parks as long as they're broken down and rendered inoperable. This rider has a requirement that people have a concealed carry weapons permit and actually carry them concealed. I don't recall anything in the legislation that allowed for open carry.

    I'm not sure that an LE ranger could even stop anyone randomly unless there's probably cause. If they had something like a traffic stop and then noticed a large cache or firearms, then there's something to work with. At the very least I'd think they'd notice regular vehicles/people entering. I don't think weapons are the big thing - they'd probably notice the large quantities of fertilizer and big bags of weed.

    For the most part I'd think they'd want to avoid major roads or might even use off road vehicles.

  • Traveler’s Checklist: New River Gorge National River   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Wow, what a great article on the things to do here. So many people focus on the white water rafting that they do not take the time to explore everything that is available.

  • 70-Year-Old Backpacker Airlifted Out of Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Anon, would you have said that if the man had not been found alive? Shame on you. The way I see it, my tax dollars paid for that rescue; and I'm glad that money went to save a life.

  • Big Meadow Fire At Yosemite National Park Up to 4,382 Acres, Restricted Access Monday Along Tioga Road   5 years 38 weeks ago

    The best map I've seen is at:

    I _think_ that's a publicly available site (the certificate error is ok: they put their map on a different server). If not, somebody let me know in the comments and I'll mirror it elsewhere.

    From the map, the burn was northwest of Foresta (but uphill) , and grew both south and northwest. If the topo basemap is correct, Big Meadow is adjacent to Foresta so the fire burned uphill and away from the structures. Foresta looks pretty safe, but you can see that the fire has burned to or across all 3 roads in and out. The active burn appears to be to the WNW and contained along the road to Tioga Pass, although at least one patch jumped to the north half a mile.

  • Great Smoky’s Highway 441 to be Closed Temporarily for 75th Anniversary Rededication Ceremony   5 years 38 weeks ago

    It is interesting to me that they are catering to "invited guests" instead of the regular folks that come to the park all the time. I wonder what you needed to do or pay or otherwise influence someone to be an invited guest?

  • Proposed Power Lines at Everglades National Park Highlight Several National Issues   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Having lived in Port Jefferson Station in the 1980s, I agree with Bruce: I, too, would run the transmission line there rather than the Everglades.

    But seriously, I also spent 8 years in Miami doing research in the Greater Everglades (EPN plus Big Cypress plus the SFWMD water management areas (WMAs) to the north and Loxahatchee NWR, and poor Biscayne NP is always an afterthought). If you look at the FPL "Overall_website.pdf" map (Jim's first map link), the major issue is the tan "west southview" part. [North of Tamiami Trail the dark green corridor follows the canal and thus wouldn't affect flow (the small triangle between the dark green line, Krome, and Tamiami is the Miccosukee casino, which isn't going anywhere, and is visible for miles).]

    Krome Ave (aka SW 177th Ave) has a ton of (rather deadly) traffic and an existing high voltage transmission line from ~ S 42nd St (1 mile S. of Tamiami Trail) pretty much all the way south, and I believe that there has to be some separation of the transmission lines. [There's also a major line up the turnpike corridor if I recall correctly.] So from a view standpoint, putting another 150' high line half a mile west along the levee won't change much: where you'll see the new line you already see the existing line.

    Immediately south of Tamiami Trail, the dark green corridor still follows the canal: between the canal and Krome are a couple of big aggregate quarries and the Krome detention center: again, no impact on hydrology, and given the draglines in the pits, not a pristine skyline, either. [Google maps shows the development, and even the shadows of the transmission towers, and pretty clearly shows the FPL right of way through the 8 mile area).

    However, the tan area where the green preferred corridor leaves the canal (L-31N) and heads due west is the problematic/infamous 8 mile area, which is crucial to Everglades restoration. It is the only residential area west of the canal: roughly from the ENP boundary to the north and west to L-31N to the east and the diagonal L-31N to the southeast; again, google maps shows what's there.

    For the past decades, SFWMD has shifted water flow well to the west of the pre-engineering flow via a series of canals in WMA3 (north of Tamiami Trail (L-29) and west of Krome Ave.), combined with the major canal (L-29) & levee along Tamiami Tr. on the north edge of ENP. This puts water into ENP at only a handful of canals under Tamiami Trail, too much water (deeper and longer than natural) in areas to the west, and much too little water to the eastern Everglades, including Shark River slough (SRS, about the western edge of the FPL map). A first major project of Everglades restoration (technically, the project predates Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan or CERP) is restoring sheet flow of water past Tamiami Trail and into the park, which would also restore more flows to the east.

    One major holdup to restoring natural flow to the eastern Everglades is the 8 mile area. It's west of the big L31-N canal & levee, but very low elevation and on very porous limestone. Therefore, even though it has a moderate levee around it, re-wetting SRS and the eastern Everglades around it (both ENP) will necessarily flood the 8 mile area: if the water levels are natural outside the levee, they will be higher than the ground elevation inside the levee, and thus water will percolate up and flood the 8 mile area faster than it can be pumped. CERP needs to buy out those landowners in order to restore the eastern Everglades, but that's a politically difficult task. [In theory the money is there in the $8B Everglades restoration.]

    My concern about the proposed transmission route is whether the line would make it more difficult to buy out and re-wet the 8 mile area. Perhaps the towers could be built with the current dry access, but with fill so that they would be structurally sound isolated footprints if and when the area is re-wetted, with access via airboat. But if that's not possible, or is possible but not done, then the transmission line would become one more impediment to restoring the hydrology of the Everglades.

    Finally, the FPL right of way through ENP to the north of the 8 mile area (dashed black & bright green) is in areas that should be re-wetted. Levees for access roads that far west would be a major problem for Everglades restoration. So, while I don't like the principle of NPS land swaps, in this case I'm in favor of swapping the right of way inside the park for area along the boundary that is now and will remain disturbed. I'd like to tweak the corridor to follow L-31N canal & levee from where it first intersects it, keeping the corridor outside the 8 mile area.

  • Angels Landing Trail at Zion National Park to be Closed Briefly on September 1st   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Back in 2006, we spent 4 days backpacking the West Rim Trail across the Horse Pasture Plateau. When we came out past Scout Lookout, the toilets were closed! Let's just say we descended Walter's Wiggles quickly because my wife needed one. Better to close the trail than disappoint needy users.

    If I had to make a choice, I think I'd rather get hit by a chunk of blue ice than a barrel of brown goo.

  • Updated: 7-Year-old Dies At Acadia National Park As Hurricane Bill's Waves Wash Three Into Atlantic, Injure 13   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I just came back from Thunder Hole and was wandering where the 7yr old girl and father were standing when they were hit by the wave. Does anyone know ?
    We were on the walkway and I felt such a sadness and ery feeling there, and with that just happening There was a family sitting on a rock with the waves splashing on it, to the left and out further than the
    beginning of the walkway.

  • FAQs About the Out-of-Control Big Meadow Fire at Yosemite National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago


    Pardon me, but what exactly isn't acceptable?

    If NPS doesn't burn, the meadow becomes shrubs, but also the chaparral - forest transition builds up more fuel (downhill and upwind from Foresta!), and a bigger fire happens someday soon, most likely during hotter, drier, less favorable conditions. When that fire burns through El Portal and Foresta, it would be nearly impossible to protect the structures. Given the fuel, a burn in December or January simply wouldn't have killed the dormant shrubs nor reduced the fuel load: wet fuel in January won't burn without lots of napalm (or possibly permaganate).

    Fire is unpredictable (a slight wind change, or more variation in fuel moisture that was found when the crews tested leaf and duff moisture before setting the fire), and some fraction of controlled burns will always get away. But, by picking the time and place for the burn, the fire management folks had a pretty good backup plan. Even though the fire escaped, it hasn't burned a single structure. I suspect the fire was started on the El Portal / Foresta side and burned away (north & west), again reducing the consequences if it did jump the lines. If you look at a map, Foresta doesn't have many exit routes, so it needs to be evacuated even when there is little chance the fire will burn through it. The closures are all for smoke: 1 way with pilot cars isn't about dodging flames, its about avoiding head-on collisions due to low visibility, and keeping visitors out of the way of the 26 fire crews and 82 engines moving around to fight the fire.

    There have been cases of unacceptable prescription and unacceptable firefighting tactics, but so far I don't think anything about the Big Meadow fire is unacceptable at all.