Recent comments

  • Jon Jarvis Finally Nominated to be Next Director of the National Park Service   5 years 33 weeks ago

    tomp -

    Thanks for a nice summary of the water issues related to proposed solar projects and other energy development.

    Jarvis was on target in pointing out these problems early in the discussion on these projects.

  • Latest Pastime of Yellowstone National Park Bison: Human Tossing   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Folks....they are wild animals. Obey the rules in the brochure that everyone is given when you enter the park and everyone will have a safe and memorable experience. Wild animals are best viewed from a safe distance. Most camera equipment has a zoom feature, use it! Enjoy Yellowstone and be safe. The animals will love you for it! (:

  • Jon Jarvis Finally Nominated to be Next Director of the National Park Service   5 years 33 weeks ago

    There's a bit more to the solar plants in the Amargosa basin issue. Solar plants can be air cooled or water cooled, and just like coal or nuclear plants, water cooled plants are more efficient (something like 10-12% more efficient). Finding water for water cooling in the desert is problematic. In the Amargosa basin (roughly NE of Death Valley to the Nevada Test Site (Yucca Mountain), what groundwater there is, is already over-allocated: there are more water rights than water. Pumping the aquifer dry will wipe out the pupfish in Devil's Hole (by drying up Devil's Hole, part of Death Valley NP), and dry up the wetlands in that wildlife refuge. BLM has designated several large blocks of that basin for solar power leasing, and NPS is pointing out that the planned water withdrawl will have major impacts and probably would violate ESA & NEPA (never mind that there isn't enough water down there to last for the planned lifespan of the solar plants). My understanding is that NPS has no objections to air-cooled solar plants in that area.

    Salazar at Interior has made energy one of his priorities (climate change is another): these are the kinds of issues that need to be hashed out to do energy development right. [Look for the same water v. energy issues with Shell Oil's claim on water from the Yampa for oil shale development: oil shale needs a whole lot of water. NPS will be part of the issue (DINO is downstream on the Yampa), but there will be several other stakeholders taking the lead.]

    I'm very happy that Jarvis has been nominated.

  • Let's Start a Tradition: "Thank a Ranger Day"   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Kurt, this something that I have advocated for years, especially when the NPS had good stock of rangers (and still do) that went unrecognized for their heroic efforts and there conscientious examples of beyond the pale of duty. Yes, part of the job but give credit due to it's most noblest. The national parks still has good stock of young talent that will always carry the day and the future of the parks. No doubt...despite what the skeptics and doomsayers might think about the national parks.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Rivers to Ride in the National Park System   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Thank goodness for the National Parks Traveler, for I do believe only you have recognized the excellent Noatak River.

    However, my favorite part of the Noatak starts in Gates of the Arctic National Park (and designated Wilderness), with its beautiful mountains and lakes. Then, you get to keep going down the 400-mile river through the Noatak National Preserve.

  • National Park Mystery Spot 1: Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth Used It   5 years 33 weeks ago

    You got it, Terry. Check in with Traveler tomorrow for an article that provides lots of information about the Presidio Golf Course, including green fees (which can cost $145+ for non-residents).

  • National Park Mystery Spot 1: Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth Used It   5 years 33 weeks ago

    How about the Presidio golf course in Golden Gate N.P. Never played it. Is it still 50 cents?

  • Of Death Marches, Rain, and Misdirected Envy in Death Valley National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Good point, WordWire. The bloom at lower elevations generally begins in mid-February and runs until early April. At higher elevations it can run through to late May or early June. A year with unusually good precip can yield spectacular blooms. This year, late season rains set the stage for a darn good bloom, though not nearly as spectacular as 1998 or 2005.

  • National Park Mystery Spot 1: Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth Used It   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Not Muir Woods.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Rivers to Ride in the National Park System   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Cedar Creek is indeed a gorgeous little stream, Kirby, and we're fortunate to have a put-in just half an hour from downtown Columbia. But alas, Cedar Creek is not a top-tenner. The flow is just too undependable, especially in the warmer months. After extended periods of low rainfall (of which there have been plenty in recent years) the water level in Cedar Creek drops so low that rangers advise visitors to consider waiting until conditions improve. Repeatedly hauling your canoe over logs exposed at low water can take a lot of fun out of your trip. Bottom line: If you are considering a Cedar Creek trip, be sure to call the park and ask about water conditions.

  • National Park Mystery Spot 1: Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth Used It   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Is it Muir Woods?

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Yesterday I spent about an hour watching CNN coverage of the confirmation hearings for Sotomayor. My main interest was to get a better idea of this jurist's qualifications, but I was also interested in the process. America is a nation of laws, and that's certainly one of the key reasons that this is the greatest country that ever was. Jay may think it's OK for him to to break the law because -- well, because he is a nice guy. 'Scuse me, Jay, but I am not impressed.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Such passion from both sides of the fence! I enjoy riding a mountain bike as much as I enjoy hiking/backpacking in the wilderness. The idea of riding a bike in the wilderness or national park seems wrong and is something I would not do. Living in Southern California, I enjoy both of my passions (biking and hiking) on a variety of trails and avoid most conversations of user entitlement. I completely subscribe to the multi-user mentality of trails outside of designated wilderness zones. While biking, my approach on ANY trail (whether that is the paved beach trail or the PCT) takes into consideration the environmental issues as well as consideration of another trail user's peace & serenity. I ride PCT without hesitation and have done so for over 25 years. Does that make me a bad guy? You make that call. I am ultra conservative when approaching ANY other trail user. I attempt to engage in pleasant conversation and do a very good job at minimizing my impact on anyone else's backcountry trail experience. Does that make me a good guy? You make tha call. However, if you choose to chastize me or attempt to "inform" me that I am a criminal or not supposed to be where I am, I will simply smile and say "have a nice day" and leave you behind. You won't get an argument out of me as to why I feel bikes should be allowed on PCT, nor will you stop me from enjoying what I am doing. People like Chris Anderson who say that most mountain bikers don't care about the environment are making generalizations that I can not agree with. I have found through my trail experiences that the mountain bike community is very involved in trailwork and volunteer work just as much as any other user group.

    There are rude, obnoxious bikers AND hikers on the trail. Whether that is a bonehead biker blazing past your group on a narrow section of trail or a clueless group of 20 hikers leaving their trash on the trail, hiking in mud while discussing the damage to the trail tread by "wheeled machines". It's a small world, times change, and we all adapt. Let's try to get over the passionate discord for other "user groups".

    There is a lot of angst on this topic and I have found it futile to attempt to provide an argument or justification for my cause. Time will eventually work this out. Perhaps I will be too old to ride legally on the PCT, but that day will come. A day when we can all enjoy the day's adventure and put aside out "titles" of mountain biker, hiker, trail runner, motorcyclist or whatever and unite to be "trail enthusiasts".

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Captain, folks at the park tell me that the driver somehow found a spot without the short wall, so no damage there.

    WHEW!!! There is at least one bright spot!!!

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    My husband and I had the wonderful, awesome opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon park last September for our birthdays.
    As sad as this man's story is, and his resulting death, I wonder how a vehicle tumbling down the walls of the canyon
    have affected the canyon itself that took millions of years to form. And how will fluids, gases, etc. effect the
    wildlife of the canyon.

    Editor's note: This comment was edited to remove disparaging remarks. While we struggle to understand suicide, and often find it repugnant and inexcusable, we also don't know what demons those who take their own lives are grappling with.

  • The Monkey Wrench Gang: Coming to a Theater Near You?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Yo, Tee Vee! Take a chill pill and be still! What’s with the pessimism? Here are quality actors, an experienced director and what seems like at least a halfway decent idea. As the saying goes “You can’t stop progress, you can only slow it down.” Take into consideration the following… Give Hollywood at least a little credit for finding a damn fine novel to bring to the screen. If it worked for JAWS, tinkering the story a little can work for this. If “Cathy” can pull off a raw, non-over indulgent special affects budgeted script that doesn’t swoon for a sappy ending, this could come out well. Who will play Bonnie’s son Ruben? Hopefully not Macaulay Culkin because then you would have a point! If this is set after retirement, I think Clint Eastwood as Seldom Seen, Bill Murray as Hayduke, Redford can play Doc for sure and Cate Blanchett as our beautiful Bonnie. It’s a tough call as to the Bishop, Duvall or Goodman.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    He probably found out how much the El Tovar charges for a room...

  • Grand Teton National Park Rangers Resort to Short-Haul Method to Rescue Injured Climber   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Thanks for the update, Tom. Hopefully he's on the way to a full recovery.

  • Grand Teton National Park Rangers Resort to Short-Haul Method to Rescue Injured Climber   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Sam Russell is actually from Enon, Ohio and is a student (senior) at Wabash College. He is on internship at Three Creeks Ranch.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I hope nobody gets hurt cleaning up after this guy.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Captain, folks at the park tell me that the driver somehow found a spot without the short wall, so no damage there.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    See above...sorry for the double post.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I used to work at the Canyon, if he drove over the edge near the El Trovar, it obviously was no accident. It would take a pretty good clip to go through the ledges wall....The accident plus the clean-up will undoubtly cause quite a bit of damage to the terrain and will probably close the Bright Angel Trail for a while.

  • Of Death Marches, Rain, and Misdirected Envy in Death Valley National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    It's too bad those tourists got sick, but I bet they still went home with some memories that overshadowed their bout with a bad box lunch. Death Valley is an incredible place -- that rainy day you experienced probably set the groundwork for beautiful wildflowers a few months later. Magical!

  • Traveler's Top 10 Rivers to Ride in the National Park System   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I'll strike a blow for the little guys here with one from my personal top ten list: Cedar Creek in Congaree National Park. It lacks the scope and scale of the western rivers that dominate this discussion, but it's a great paddle in a pristine environment about 20 minutes from a capital city. Old growth cypress isn't easy to find these days, and if you're the romantic type that believes (or wants to believe) that ivory-billed woodpeckers still exist, this is often mentioned among the spots where they may have hunkered down.

    I'm sure Professor Janiskee won't mind me mentioning this one. ;-)

    Pics from Cedar creek