Recent comments

  • Battle Against Marijuana Growers Temporarily Closes Crystal Cave at Sequoia National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    The pot industry is dangerous and profitable simply because it's illegal. If pot were decriminalized it would instantly take the profit away from organized crime, my tax dollars would not go to support people in prisons, and it would cut the personal risk for law enforcement and anyone else involved. Legal growers could have their own plantations and wouldn't need to use national parks. Too bad the powers that be don't see the logic of this; but then again maybe they would lose too much money if it were legal? ;)

    P.S. The new captchas are hilarious! I just got "86 Grandma"!

  • Battle Against Marijuana Growers Temporarily Closes Crystal Cave at Sequoia National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Barky, in all do respect...why? Even if it's a temporary stop gap, it's better then letting the parks run wild with these lawless renegade pot growers. At least bring in the National Guard to get a better control of the situation until the lackadaisical courts decide what to do next...in regards to legalizing weed. It's getting pretty late in the game in stopping wildlife poaching and illegal pot growing in the national parks. In the meanwhile, wildlife and are precious natural resources are taking a severe beating from these illegal activities. Again, why wait?

  • Beneath the Surface of Cape Cod National Seashore   5 years 39 weeks ago

    http://www.bookseedstudio.wordpress.com

    a vision in lovliness. such beauty can only be seen in clear water.

    as pressure continues to abandon the clear, relatively clean water in florida that would be
    compromised with offshore oil exploration & drilling in the gulf of mexico off florida...

    thanks for the great image. thank you florida wildlife federation & others for keeping the rigs away.

  • Boy Lost in South Africa's Kruger National Park Among Lions, Elephants and More   5 years 39 weeks ago

    ...no part of the body may protrude from a window or sunroof or any other part of the vehicle...
    Please take this to heart. My safari guide witnessed in his youth -- the pride approach from one side while another lioness plucked a child out of the car window on the other side. The father raced out and punched and kicked until the lioness retreated. But it was too late!

  • Battle Against Marijuana Growers Temporarily Closes Crystal Cave at Sequoia National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Anonymous, sending in the National Guard to stormtroop through national parks isn't a great idea, either.

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

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Battle Against Marijuana Growers Temporarily Closes Crystal Cave at Sequoia National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Frank, so how do you resolve the immediate problem with illegal trash growing weed in our national parks? Sit on are cans and do nothing. Immediate action is needed now! To completely legalize weed in California will take a coons age to resolve, in the mean while national parks become a drug haven for pot growers. Precise and deliberate action is needed now and not for the courts to drag on a legalization process that will take infinity to resolve. And again, the national parks become a strangled hold by the drug cartel and their little peons. The word "peon" is not being used here in a insulting fashion but being used in the same terminology and context as a illegal and unskilled farm worker.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Indelible Image Best Reminds You of the National Parks?   5 years 39 weeks ago

    My wife and I, since we have been retired, have been trying to visit all of the US, including as many of the NPS sites as possible. To date, we have seen more than 75 NPS sites, including most of the big ones. All in all, we have seen some magnificent, awe-inspiring sights. However, in the parks that we have seen, the one setting that is burned forever into my memory is right after we entered the southern entrance to Grand Canyon NP in the late afternoon, around 5:00. We first encountered a heard of Elk with a resident 6 point bull who posed for us. That was pretty cool. Moving on, we tried to find our lodge, the Yavapai. Of course, we missed our turn-off, so we contined on the South Entrance Rd trying to find another way to the lodge. The road made a turn to the NW and then, past some trees which blocked the view, all of a sudden, right in front of us, was the Grand Canyon. It was so unexpected; we had no idea we were that close to the canyon. It was a jaw-dropping experience. We found a parking space, grabbed our cameras, and rushed over to the rim, which was just a few yards away. We found we were at Mather Point, which is one of the prime viewpoints of the park. It was around 5:30 pm on an early October day, so the sun was beginning to lie low in the west and the rocks were just on fire. The colors were just spectacular. I guess the thing that made the sight so indelible in my mind was the unexpectedness of it. It was a great way to start our visit to the park. It makes me wonder how the first Americans felt when they came upon the canyon several thousands of years ago, as they were moving down the continent following the game. I wonder what that first hunting party said to the chief upon their return to camp. Probably something to the effect: "Chief, we are going to have to find another way". Another view that had almost the same effect was Artist Point at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. In the other parks, the views were visible from aways back, so you anticipated them. Here we were just slapped in the face.

  • Prescribed Fire In Yosemite National Park Out of Control, More Than 20 Times Its Intended Size   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Empathy for what, d-2? Nothing has been lost yet. Sounds like nothing is even in particular danger. And there sure is no need for empathy towards the trees...they need it.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Indelible Image Best Reminds You of the National Parks?   5 years 39 weeks ago

    These are the most indelible images of national parks for me:

    1. Scenery along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Growing up in South Carolina, my family would take frequent trips to the Parkway on our vacations. Few places symbolize the National Park System for me quite like the Blue Ridge Parkway. The tunnels and the topography and the were all fascinating to me as a kid. The Museum of North Carolina Minerals, Devil's Courthouse, Crabtree Meadows, Craggy Gardens and the Folk Art Center are all images emblazoned on my mind as being part of the quintessential national park experience.

    2. Delicate Arch at Arches National Park. There are few other natural wonders in the U.S. that by themselves symbolize to me the treasures held in trust by the NPS more than Delicate Arch.

    3. Longs Peak at Rocky Mountain National Park. They even put Longs Peak on my bank debit card. It's everywhere out here in Colorado, and right now at least, every time I look out my window, Longs Peak is there as the ultimate symbol of the sublimity of the national parks in the Rockies.

    As an aside, to "Anonymous," who said:

    A smiling Gale Norton and smirking President George W. Bush sitting in front of an iconic NPS arrowhead at some function or another. I successfully fought off the wave of nausea that struck me and took it in stride. Now I have it pinned up in my office as a reminder of why my job is important.

    I ran into Interior Secretary Ken Salazar yesterday right after a White House clean energy forum in Fort Collins. In typical Salazar style, he was sporting a bolo tie (sorry, Bob, no cowboy hat this time)... an NPS arrowhead bolo tie. Let's hope that portends good things to come.

  • Prescribed Fire In Yosemite National Park Out of Control, More Than 20 Times Its Intended Size   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Tomp, thanks for your in put and it does shed a better light on the dynamics of a prescribe burn. With wild fires in California as they are today, I thought a prescribed burn would be pretty dicey...at least wait until late fall. But, your comments are most informative and does explain some the vegetation mechanics behind a prescribe burn.

  • Updated: 7-Year-old Dies At Acadia National Park As Hurricane Bill's Waves Wash Three Into Atlantic, Injure 13   5 years 39 weeks ago

    The park staff does not exist to babysit and handhold each visitor that comes to visit. Everyone needs to take personal accountability for their own actions (and in this case, accountability for their children’s actions). I would wish this tragedy on nobody. However I cannot stand the mentality of people transferring blame because of their own stupid, ignorant actions. If you ignore warning signs, and repeated requests from Rangers (according to several first-hand posts above) to back away from the surf, how is the Park Service responsible for a rogue wave? Is the Coast Guard responsible for not anticipating and tracking this wave? Is the National Weather Service responsible for not warning the park while tracking the hurricane?

    Maybe at every entrance to a park we should post a sign that says 'If you are going to act dumb.....you better be tough' - take responsibility for your own actions.

  • Glacier National Park Announces Winding Down of Concession Operations   5 years 39 weeks ago

    ...now the prospect of snows closing it back down isn't too terribly far off.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Glacier sees record snowfall this winter.

    We're still in the pits of the deepest solar minimum in a century. From spaceweather.com:

    According to NOAA sunspot counts, the longest string of blank suns during the current solar minimum was 52 days back in July, Aug. and Sept. of 2008. If the current trend continues for only four more days, the record will shift to 2009. It's likely to happen; the sun remains eerily quiet and there are no sunspots in the offing. Solar minimum is shaping up to be a big event indeed.

    Some scientists have considered a repeat of the Dalton Minimum possible, while others have not ruled out another Maunder Minimum.

    A recent study, "Small fluctuations in solar activity, large influence on the climate", has found that "sun spot frequency has an unexpectedly strong influence on cloud formation and precipitation."

    Be prepared for a cold, snowy winter.

  • Prescribed Fire In Yosemite National Park Out of Control, More Than 20 Times Its Intended Size   5 years 39 weeks ago

    I have been on several prescribed burns in the Sierra's and they routinely get bumped becuase of air quality restrictions. Not sure if that is the case here, but it is common.

  • Prescribed Fire In Yosemite National Park Out of Control, More Than 20 Times Its Intended Size   5 years 39 weeks ago

    I'm neither a fire ecologist nor a fire manager, but I work with both in vegetation dynamics. The prescriptions or rules for controlled burns are very restrictive. There are several reasons why that fire might have been planned for late August, not October:

    1: "Natural" burn season. My best guess for that part of the country is that non-anthropogenic ignitions would have been early and late summer dry lightning. Burns in different seasons differentially affect species composition; winter burns versus growing season burns directly affect different understory species (native species are likely to be able to resprout from natural season burns the evolved with). The targeted area could have been a burn-out of shrubs and seedling encroaching on meadows. The species targeted by the burn might have been mostly dormant with their resources belowground by October, and thus could easily resprout next spring after a fall-winter fire.

    2: The limited window of burn conditions requires burning any time throughout the year that the prescription is met. The temperatures and humidity and fuel moisture all must be within bounds, and the wind cannot be too high (too hard to control) or too low or in the wrong direction (air quality restrictions on smoke), especially near highways and populated areas. [This might be the case for this particular burn, as the location is just below the mouth of Yosemite Valley and thus within a few miles of all 3 roads into the valley, and prevailing winds from the west would take the smoke both across the roads (a safety issue) and into the valley where it would be trapped (a health and visitor experience issue).] A need for more burning than there are days to burn is quite common in the southeast, where vegetation that should burn at low intensity every 5-10 years can't be burned fast enough, and FS burns year round.

    3: Availability of firefighting resources in case it jumps a line. September and October are peak wildfire season in much of California, especially the chaparral in Southern California where densely populated areas intertwine with fire-dependent vegetation. Earlier in the summer is peak fire season in the northwest and northern Rockies.

    The national fire situation report from 5:30am MDT for the Meadow Fire: "Brush. Active fire behavior with sustained crown runs and spotting. Residences threatened. Road closures and evacuations in effect." I'll post a copy of the NPS fire news item when it becomes available, as it is likely to give information on the original prescription.

  • Battle Against Marijuana Growers Temporarily Closes Crystal Cave at Sequoia National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    The federal government has no constitutional authority to regulate/prohibit marijuana. (Recall that it took a constitutional amendment for the federal government to ban alcohol consumption.)

    I agree with those calling for cannabis legalization. California is supposedly considering decriminalization. Hopefully, the federal government will respect states' rights, but I'm not holding my breath as federal raids against medical marijuana dispensaries in California have continued under the Obama administration.

    The positive environmental effects of legalization don't stop at Sequoia; hemp fiber could be grown in California's Central Valley, replacing water-intensive cotton, and hemp seed oil could partially offset petroleum consumption.

  • Prescribed Fire In Yosemite National Park Out of Control, More Than 20 Times Its Intended Size   5 years 39 weeks ago


    "Stuff Happens"? Please don't get carried away with your empathy ! :+))

  • Battle Against Marijuana Growers Temporarily Closes Crystal Cave at Sequoia National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    One of the biggest problems outside of poaching in the national parks. One possible solution: Bring out the National Guard to protect our national parks and it's dwindling natural resources. In Africa they shoot the damn poachers on sight and should do the same with marijuana growers and illegal hunters.

  • Prescribed Fire In Yosemite National Park Out of Control, More Than 20 Times Its Intended Size   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Perhaps a fire ecologist can explain: Why wasn't this prescribed burn done in early fall when low humidity takes place and cool temperatures are most likely to prevail and usually after a light rain?

  • Updated: 7-Year-old Dies At Acadia National Park As Hurricane Bill's Waves Wash Three Into Atlantic, Injure 13   5 years 39 weeks ago

    This is an answer to Mick's question: "do you really want to blame a seven year old for "stupidity and bad judgment"?

    No Mick, her father is to blame and her father will bear the heavy burden of his misjudgment for the rest of his life. Long after you and I have stopped thinking about this story he will be left to his own thoughts and heartaches about the daughter that HE lost. The bereaved father can be forgiven and even forgive himself, but he will always remember.

    I have been going to Acadia for 25 years with my 5 sons and I was always, even after they were in their late teens, concerned about their safety. I hope her death will help others to be more cautious in the future.

  • Prescribed Fire In Yosemite National Park Out of Control, More Than 20 Times Its Intended Size   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Stuff happens. Even with the greatest of care Mother Nature can pull a surprise on you. Perscribed burning is a great resource management tool, but it is not 100% perfect. Hopefully no homes or other private structures will be lost. The forests will recover given time and wildlife habitat will likely be much improved.

  • Updated: 7-Year-old Dies At Acadia National Park As Hurricane Bill's Waves Wash Three Into Atlantic, Injure 13   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Awesome comments! I totally agree with what you said and you said it well.

    I don't want the government getting gun-shy and closing everything down on the possibility that someone might get hurt every time there's rough weather. I really believe in personal responsibility as well. I feel so, so bad for that family though.

  • Updated: 7-Year-old Dies At Acadia National Park As Hurricane Bill's Waves Wash Three Into Atlantic, Injure 13   5 years 39 weeks ago

    I have to agree, the park is accountable here. Parents who visit here from out of state have "no" idea what kind of danger might be in store for them. It is the responsibility of the "Park" to inform people, close Thunder hole, and protect those who are ignorant of the risk ! The park was negligent ... and I've been there many times.

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   5 years 39 weeks ago

    I knew the latest man from Ohio that comitted suicide off this bridge August 19, 2009. He was such a good guy and I grew up with him and went to school with him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family. Something should be done to prevent these suicides.

  • Battle Against Marijuana Growers Temporarily Closes Crystal Cave at Sequoia National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Cut back on the weed, YPW. ;)

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

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Reader Participation Day: What Indelible Image Best Reminds You of the National Parks?   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Don't wait until you retire. We have been NP Junkies since 1995 when we saw Haleakala in Hana. We have been going ever since even though retirement is now five years away.