Recent comments

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    You people really amaze me. Mr. Gray was simply stating if you were to apply more restrictions to certain specific park areas that visitation would go down. This little comment created the Poke your chest out and fight in lots of people including the author who states "As for Devil's Tower, true, it's off-limits to climbers for a short period in summer to pay reverence to Native American beliefs. And there has been more than a little pressure to limit snowmobile access to Yellowstone due to resource damage, and off-road-vehicle access to Cape Hatteras and even Cape Cod national seashores during certain seasons to protect nesting shorebirds and sea turtles. But really, the number of climbers, snowmobilers, and ORV enthusiasts who look to the national parks for recreation are minuscule, and lifting these restrictions won't send park visitation skyrocketing." I too have visited several National Parks and that is exactly what they were designed for "Visiting". There will never be a total agreement between any large group of people on how to handle the management of our national parks. You have the groups who only want you to walk in and walk out, some want to drive through on their way to somewhere else, some want to enjoy alternative transportation to get aroung the parks, and then there are groups who want to see people completely banned all together. The differences in these groups is that they really do not have any care about learning about other groups thoughts. Well that is too bad, because the person who started this thing said it all and placed his statement on a sign at the entrance to Yellowstone "FOR THE BENEFIT AND ENJOYMENT OF THE PEOPLE." Many will argue and launch lawsuits to announce this means that this group or that are meant to only enjoy the park. What it really means is that any group can enjoy the park and if you wish not to be around the other groups then join in with the Special Interest groups and file a lawsuit against the park to insure you further limit the funding for management of the same areas you claim to want to enjoy.

    On a personal note those who file lawsuits to get people out of the parks are the ENEMY and all those who enjoy steeping a foot, wheel, ski, raft, etc... in a park need to band together and insure we have access to these wonderful areas. We can deal with how and what we use for access later, but first we need to have access to discuss first.

  • Civil War Battlefield Preservationists Looking For Your Help to Keep Wal-Mart At Bay   5 years 35 weeks ago

    The Wilderness Battlefield itself is remarkably pristine, just fields and woodlands, and a nice old farmhouse with Jackson's arm buried nearby (Who knows where the rest of him is buried). Unfortunately the spread-out Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Battlefield complex is being defeated by aggressive and cancerous outer-suburban sprawl. You will never see more fast food franchises, mega gas stations, super strip malls, mammoth traffic intersections, and total lack of planning or care in these communities. The outer suburbs of Washington D.C. have swallowed up all of Loudoun County (with almost no parkland preserved), Prince William County, and much of Spotsylvania County. No sidewalks, no parks, no vision of anything, just mile after mile of quick-construction.

    Ben Lord

  • Have You Ever Sneaked Into Shiloh National Military Park?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    If you have to wait for seasonofthecrab to finish his book, it might be a tad to late to include his information in your paper. :0) Perhaps he'd be willing to chat with you about his interesting documents and your mutual interests in Lew Wallace and his actions at Shiloh.

  • Have You Ever Sneaked Into Shiloh National Military Park?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    "that shed a clear light on why General Lew Wallace never got a clear message about what road to take, took the Shunpike, and ended up writing BEN HUR because of the decision that ruined his military reputation."

    Living in Crawfordsville, IN... I'm quite interested in your conclusions about Lew. I'm writing a paper that is supposed to argue both ways on a point. I'd be very interested in seeing or, at least, hearing about what you have found. This is a topic, still today, among local historians.

    I must say, I think he got the shaft on this one.

  • New Concessionaire Chosen to Manage Lodging, Dining, and Retail at Bryce Canyon National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Our National Parks cut of the gross receipts still hovering around 3.5 percent?

    "...adventure without regard to prudence, profit, self-improvement,
    learning or any other serious thing" -Aldo Leopold-

  • California Man Becomes Second Yellowstone National Park Visitor To Be Gored By Bison This Year   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Before someone calls foul on the language on the pictured flier - they are bison not buffalo - it is my understanding that the language was scripted by a biology-challenged federal judge in a consent decree settling a lawsuit over a previous goring years ago. Perhaps someone else can check my facts here.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I feel that every National Park that I have visited is special in it's own way and for the memories I made there. I've visited Glacier, where I saw a Big Horned Sheep and hiked on snow in July. I've visited Yellowstone, where I got to see and capture on film a coyote running with prey in its mouth. I've been to Denali, where I got to see Mt. Denali for 3 days and saw a pack of wolves! Last summer I visited Zion, where the scenery took my breath away. I also visited Bryce, where I saw amazing land formations. I went to the Grand Canyon (North and South Rim). While staying on the North Rim, in a rim cabin, I got to watch a thunderstorm happening on the South Rim. Also there, I got to get pictures of an amazing sunset with a storm rolling in. My first experience with the South Rim was a coyote posing on the side of the road. I also visted Canyon de Chelly National Monument, and was utterly fascinated. I highly recommend a visit to this National Monument. Though, I do have to admit that Glacier does hold a special place in my heart because up until that trip I had never crossed the Mississippi River, and I live on the east coast.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    For the best wildflowers, backcountry skiing and exhilarating recreation - Mount Rainier

    For astonishing biological wholeness & variety - Olympic

    All time favorite because of the grandeur, mystery, and challenge of backcountry travel - Grand Canyon
    Walk beneath the rims into the Smithsonian Museum of field geology and wonder... Oh, I forgot the solitude!
    One has to get pretty far from the Bright Angel corridor, but it's the only place in all my many wanderings I've repeatedly backpacked for two weeks without encountering another soul.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Yosemite because it makes me happy.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    1. Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks (why? It's self evident.)
    2. Badlands National Park
    3. Capitol Reef National Park
    4. Glacier National Park
    5. Mt. Rainier National Park
    6. Olympic National Park
    7. Arches National Park
    8. Canyonlands National Park
    9. North Cascades National Park
    10. Bryce Canyon National Park

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

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    This question is tormenting me, because each park I've been lucky enough to visit is so unique and magical. If I absolutely had to pick one, I'd go with Olympic because it's like visiting three parks in one. We caught it on an absolutely beautiful clear day -- Hurricane Ridge looked like something out of the Sound of Music. A short distance away is another world at Rialto Beach, where the forest meets the ocean. Not far south of that is the Hoh Rainforest, an absolute wonderland where everything is dripping with green. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  • California Man Becomes Second Yellowstone National Park Visitor To Be Gored By Bison This Year   5 years 35 weeks ago

    This happens so many times with so many animals. When I worked in Everglades a father sent his 6 year old daughter to "hold the hand" of the 12ft gator for a picture. I can't even count how many times in Shenandoah I had to tell people not to chase the bears. Sometimes that great photo just isn't worth it.

    Ranger Holly

  • Young Girl Drowns in Middle Fork of the Kaweah River in Seqouia National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    My name is manoel beyris. I'm 21. I was here this day. When I arrived the girl was already under the rock. I went under the rock but it was too late.
    I'm traumatised, and I need to contact the family, this mom that I had In my harms, the brother and the sister. I need to contact them I gave my witness to the rescues, and as I'm just a tourist I continued my travel to LA this day. My hearts is broke, I want to contact them, please If anybody can help me, find a number, a name. Maybe the police or rescue number, please write to me.
    All my thinks ans my heart to the family, I will never forget.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    This is a tough one. So many great parks to choose from. However, if I have to narrow it down a single one I guess it would have to be Katmai. It has a dynamic mixture of active volcanism, terrific fishing, great wildlife viewing, opportunities for water travel, expanses of true wilderness, world class hiking, comfortable lodge and campground accommodations, etc., etc.

  • Wolverine Photographed in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I own a home at the West entrance of RMNP (Grand Lake area) surrounded by the park. My neighbor Ken Bruton who is a full time resident and licensed big game outfitter, told me he saw a wolverine several years ago as he was taking guests on a hunting trip. He said he was in the Never Summer Range somewhere around Bowen Lake. The area is a designated primative area accessable by foot or horseback only.

  • No Fishing with Hand Grenades in Afghanistan’s New National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Thanks for the clarification, Tlilly. I have to admit that it never occurred to me that a Traveler reader might actually think that it's safe to drive the routes I described. I'm looking forward to seeing your pics. Let us know when they're ready for viewing.

  • "River Runners for Wilderness" Lose Bid to See Motorized Rafts, Helicopters Banned from Colorado River Corridor in Grand Canyon   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Thank you, tomp, as you said what I meant. I know inexperienced people cannot do that canyon on their own, but they can enjoy it because the vendors provide the rafts and guides. Guess I wasn't clear on that, but you said it very succinctly for me.

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Anonymous -

    Thanks for your comment about climbing in Yosemite. You raised some interesting questions, so I made a call to the park and got a few more details on this specific situation. I'll amend the story slightly for clarification, as described below.

    The man is making a long-distance hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, so he's in good condition and has some outdoor skills. He's done a little climbing in the eastern U.S. - but apparently nothing of the caliber of Yosemite. I'd note that the definition of a "climber" is a very subjective one!

    This particular situation sounds like an "impulse" activity. The man left his pack for his long-distance hike at the base of a nearly vertical wall that is about 1,000 feet high, and was free climbing with no protection; he was wearing hiking boots.

    The good news? After he was rescued, the man was described as being very subdued and grateful; the reality of his close call had apparently sunk it by the time he was safely on the ground.

    Given the tricky winds described in the story, I'm very thankful this situation ended safely for everyone, including the pilot and the rescuers. Those flying conditions made this rescue even riskier than usual, and was another testimony to the skills of those involved.

    All of us learn by experience, so I trust this was a lesson learned by this individual. Perhaps at least a few people who heard about this incident will also think twice before attempting something similar.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I always try to get to Shenandoah in May or June when it's rainy. After dark heavy fog settles on the mountains, and the owls come out to hunt. Lots of wildlife come out to take advantage of foggy camouflage. It's spooky and super special. I don't even mind when the cabin leaks. When the sun does come out, the wildflowers pop up! It's my comfort and my refuge.

    A second choice would be Prince William Forest; quiet, green, never crowded, and entirely trash-free!

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park is my favorite. Spring wildflowers, fall color, waterfalls, wildlife - a wonderfully relaxing beautiful place. And less than 8 hours from DC so I'm able to get here several times a year.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Dang, Kirby, I hate when I screw up. But I gotta admit, Gros Morne sure looks pretty. If it wasn't so far from Utah, I'd put my canoe atop my rig and head there!

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    This is too much like asking a mother which child is her favorite, but I'll play. Links are just shameless plugs for my vacation photos. :-)

    Kurt slipped up and didn't say "U.S." National Parks, so I'm going vote for Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. Just got back from a couple weeks there, and I'm almost at a loss for words to describe it. Imagine a look-alike to Yosemite Valley, 2,000 foot vertical rock walls, only a quarter mile across, waterfalls plunging off the cliffs everywhere....but the bottom of the valley is a 600 foot deep freshwater former fjord....and no crowds. And that's just one corner of the park. It's full of whales, caribou, and other odd critters. And despite the lack of crowds, you might hike a few miles back into the woods and run into two guys, first people you've seen in hours, and after chatting a while, realize they are friends and colleagues of Traveler's own Bob Janiskee. That's a true story.

    My favorite in the U.S. has to be Olympic National Park. Sea-stack studded beaches, some of the world's best temperate rainforest, and glacier filled mountain valleys....all of which you can see in one day. And despite its popularity, it's very easy to get away from the crowds.

    Honorable mentions:

    Congaree National Park. A unique and truly hidden gem. I'm a sucker for old growth forest, and there isn't much old growth cypress left.

    Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Yellowstone without the crowds. No, it doesn't have the vast grandeur of Yellowstone, but the wildlife there is underrated and it's easy to feel a sense of complete isolation and remoteness just a couple miles from I-94. The scenery is unique. More subtle and mysterious than the South Dakota Badlands.

    Fundy National Park, New Brunswick. Another Canadian gem. Moss gardens that rival Olympic, and tides that can approach 50 feet! Wading amongst some rocks and watching the tide rise at over an inch a minute is fascinating, and a bit frightening when you quit paying attention for more than a few minutes.

    Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. My "home" park. Canoeing, kayaking, island wilderness camping, 400ft. dunes...

    -Kirby.....Lansing, MI

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Although I live within the boundaries of V.I. National Park on St. John, I have to say that Canyonlands is my favorite. A few years back, DH and I did a canoe trip down the Green River through Canyonlands. It was my all time, number one, five-star vacation. That said, DH said Yellowstone was his favorite. But then, the back country car camping trip we did in March in Death Valley was spectacular. The appeal for me is the ability to get off the beaten path without backpacking. We've been to quite a number of national park sites and they all were wonderful. Even the one where I live.

  • "River Runners for Wilderness" Lose Bid to See Motorized Rafts, Helicopters Banned from Colorado River Corridor in Grand Canyon   5 years 35 weeks ago

    No inexperienced people can enjoy the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon except via commercial river trips, where the experienced river guide does the rowing (steering). Its just too dangerous. Private parties must meet experience requirements, and now win a lottery (the previous wait list was over a decade). My understanding of the motorized boat issue isn't that river guides are lazy or not strong enough, but that not everyone can take 2 weeks to put in at Lees Ferry and take out at Diamond Creek by Lake Mead. GC River Guide can help me out here, but I believe that most motorized trips are substantially quicker: 7-8 days through the canyon, or 1 to a couple of days at the western downstream end. Motorized rafts can also be larger, and thus work for some visitors who could not make the trip in a non-motorized raft. The issue for NPS was how to allow the maximum number of people experience the river, given the very few put in and take out points, and finite set of possible camping locations. I prefer less noise, but given the background noise of the river in the inner gorge and the efforts of the commercial outfits to reduce engine noise (for their own customers, too), the management plan that came out of the long process is a pretty good shot at maximizing visitors with no significant impairment of the resources for future generations.

    As for overflights, at GRCA the vast majority of helicopter flights (let alone fixed-wing) are commercial sightseeing: NPS and research flights are a small fraction (possibly less than SAR). [Inventory & monitoring can't afford helicopter time.] I don't know what fraction are return flights from commercial river trips. In Everglades NP, the opposite is true: the wilderness areas prohibit airboats even for research & management (and airboats don't work in the dry season anyway), so helicopters with floats are the only access to places in the center, miles from canals, and there often are 2 or 3 helicopters hopping around during peak times of the year. I don't think that there are any commercial air tours in the Everglades.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I've worked in a few parks where my experience was soured by my co-workers and based on that I have to say Zion is my current favorite, right up there with Assateague Island. I'm a little biased since I"m currently working in Zion but I feel like this is the park that is really taking the mission seriously. The visitor center and the EOC (emergency operations) are both 'green' buildings and will be 100% sustainable when the solar panels are put on. The shuttle system is also a great idea and has really helped the park without ruining the exerience for the visitors. On top of all that, it is one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen and the beauty still takes my breath away. I really feel like this place is a sanctuary.

    And I just really love Assateague because I grew up near the Chesepeake reading Misty of Chincoteague so that place makes me think of home and steamed blue crabs...yummmm....

    Ranger Holly