Recent comments

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 36 weeks ago

    There are very few cases of "newcomers" that aren't "badcomers." I can't think of one. The main problem with the pythons is that they are on the top of the ecosystem and have almost no natural predators. They won't stop reproducing until they run out of food. Also, the pythons can live along the coastal zone as far north as Maryland, and south down the Eastern Seaboard, all the way through the Gulf to most of Texas.

  • "River Runners for Wilderness" Lose Bid to See Motorized Rafts, Helicopters Banned from Colorado River Corridor in Grand Canyon   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I should think allowing the motorized rafts makes it feasible for inexperienced people to enjoy their National Park river. People who want to use their muscle, do so; but give others their right to ride the river by motor. Its not like its a pristine waterway, after coming through Lake Powell with all kinds of watercraft on it, and going into Lake Mead, so I don't really get the drift here (excuse the unintentional pun). However, I must admit I am not a "waterway" person, so I am sure there is someone out there somewhere who can set me straight.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    This man has been identified. NPS report below:

    The body of a man who drove his car over the edge of the Grand Canyon last week has been identified as that of Gheorghe Chiriac of Apple Valley, California. Park dispatch received numerous reports that a car had been driven over the edge near the El Tovar Hotel on the South Rim around 6 a.m. on Monday, July 13th. Upon arriving at the scene, rangers found tire tracks indicating that a car had been driven up onto the curb of the loading area between the El Tovar Hotel and the Kachina Lodge. The car then veered left, traveling through the grass behind Kachina Lodge until it reached the Thunderbird Lodge, where it veered right and into the canyon. As the car had traveled a significant distance from the regular roadway, there was no wall or barrier where it went over the edge. Rescue personnel descended on ropes and located the vehicle approximately 600 feet below the rim. The man’s body was found shortly thereafter. After the scene was documented, the body was transported to the rim by helicopter via long-line operation and then picked up by the Coconino County medical examiner. The body has now been identified as that of 57-year-old Gheorghe Chiriac, who emigrated from Romania approximately 30 years ago. His death has been ruled a suicide.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Survey Results Label the French as the World’s Worst Tourists   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Most Europeans are bad tippers because they do not understand our system. From what I've been told, their waitstaff are paid better and the gratuity is automatically included in the final bill. Some park concessionaries will include 15% on the bills automatically during periods of high European visitation because of this.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Frank C--

    My "elevated status" with the NPS started with ll seasons as a seasonal ranger in Yellowstone. So, I was not quite as elevated as you infer that I was.

    I am sure that on some days, I wondered about the stupidity of park visitors or became fed up with their throwing litter or harrassing wildlife. I think that is probably the nature of public service. But, most park employees I know put those thoughts away when dealing with the very next visitor. I worked in some highly visited parks--Yellowstone, Yosemite, Everglades, Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, and Guadalupe Mountains. There were very few times that I saw an interaction between a park employee and a visitor that did not represent what I would call high quality visitor service. Again, that number of parks is miniscule compared to the 391 park areas in the System. So, you may have seen something different. But, I still believe that what you report is a tiny minority of the tens of thousands of visitor contacts that occur every day across the System.

    Rick Smith

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    "....She just kept right on talking to her friend about her latest sexual conquest. ....."
    Ohhh! Details. Details!!
    The ranger I dealt with was not a kid, nor is Yellowstone a "starter park"; it just illustrates that anyone can get frustrated and have a bad day.
    "What happened between my generation and this one?" I remember asking my dad what was wrong with todays kids before he passed a few years ago. He was in his eighties at the time. His response was, "Maybe it's not today's kids who have changed; maybe it's today's parents!" Interesting.

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I think that perhaps the guy is an idiot but it is the job of the raners to do these rescues. Just like an idiot that has a grease fire and looses his house because he just keeps throwing water... it is a firefighters job to come rescue him. They train for this and it may be dangerous but its why they do what they do. If they just wanted a job whee they sat at a desk all day then they wouldn't have choosen to be rangers.
    So give it up for the heroes. Sing there praise and let the man be ... they all will have something to talk about for weeks to come now.

  • Dining At The Parks: Mesa Verde National Park's Chef Ensures The Southwest Flows Through his Dishes   5 years 36 weeks ago

    MB, there is a book that's for sale in NPS bookstores (I know for sure that Death Valley sells it) that has several recipies from the famous park lodges. I think Mesa Verde is in there as well, but I haven't looked at it for awhile. Elk and quail meat isn't easy to come by when you don't hunt!

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    They should find a way to banish this guy from the national park system. To put the rangers in that type of high percentage danger is selfish and obviously reckless. I can only hope when they got to safety that the climber was humble and embarrassed and not cocky about his foolishness. My first thought on the story was what an idiot, but somebody else beat me to that.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Frank C, I have also been to parks where the rangers are like that, but that is a small majority. It does take a while for an interpretation ranger to really learn their skills. There are some parks that are considered 'starter parks' where they hire people that are just out of college and starting their careers. There you're going to get the younger people who haven't quite grown up yet. I used to get very frustrated when I worked at Mesa Verde due to those 'stupid' visitors that would climb all over the walls and even the one person who peed on the cliff dwelling. It took a long time to overcome that. But I've also noticed no matter where I go, customer service is lacking entirely in the younger people. What happened between my generation and this one? I went into a grocery store the other day and the clerk never even looked at me. She just kept right on talking to her friend about her latest sexual conquest.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I think part of this owes to the fact that, unlike other federal land-management agencies, NPS not only manages land but also historical and recreational places. It's a lot easier to make a visitor experience out of an old house than it is out of a precious landscape. But my point is that NPS manages a great variety of places, and how you manage the Klondike Gold Rush museum in Seattle obviously has little to do with how you manage the national park an hour away. So the NPS is split between managing certain places for visitation and recreation, and others more for preservation. That doesn't mean you need more agencies to manage different ways, but it does call for a recognition that each unit in the system is different and has different management needs.

    That said - although we live in a democracy, it is the job of our government to specialize in managing our resources. We could put every management question to a referendum, but that defeats the purpose of having our government protect these places. Yes there are a lot of people who value their own recreation desires over long-term conservation of the land and its species. But I'd like to think the job of the park service is to balance these two things and to think long-term as well as short term. Yellowstone doesn't belong to snowmobilers or anyone else. If at some point it gets to the point where any visitation threatens Yellowstone, so be it. The person writes "If people can't get out and actually experience the great outdoors, how can they ever learn to appreciate it?" Well if you can only appreciate the outdoors on your own terms, then I don't think you are ever learning to appreciate it anyway. The goal should be to experience the parks on their terms, not our own.

    Finally, the fact that resources have been devoted toward conservation and away from recreation only shows that more is needed to fund the parks. It makes perfect sense that if you are short on cash, you use it to preserve the things that can't be brought back once they are gone. Visitors centers and campgrounds can always be rebuilt - our most delicate and vulnerable natural resources cannot.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I love that sign Frank! But what do you do about the people who forget to read signs while on vacation?

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Eradicating Everglades Pythons Will be a Formidable Task   5 years 36 weeks ago

    The longest snake is currently the reticulated python at 33 feet. The footage of the 50ft snake was proven to be a hoax and that snake was actually only 22ft. I researched it extensivly when I wrote the curriculum guide for Everglades.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    What did this bit cost the climber?

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    "....the overall perspective that I have gleaned is one where the average tourist is seen as a burden and a threat rather than a partner in preservation...."
    Beamis, that is probably because the "average" tourist IS more of a threat or burden than a partner in preservation! Come on; the average tourist, no matter how they view themselves, and no matter how concerned they may be about conservation issues, knows little and understands less about being in the outdoors and the issues facing the parks. Park rules (and laws) are routinely ignored. Common sense is thrown out the window. It's "cute" to feed the bear and her cubs, and get a picture of Joey in front of the bison. It seemed like a good idea at the time to make a wish and toss a penny into the Morning Glory Pool. Heck, this Spring a couple of yahoos decided it would be a kick to urinate in Old Faithful. And it's just fine to chase a deer and its fawn, which had been napping peacefully, for a mile or more through the forest, just to get a poorly exposed snapshot of two rear ends.
    Is it any wonder that some rangers get frustrated?
    Having said that, I HAVE run into one of these guys having a bad day before. Once I inadvertantly approached an animal too closely. I didn't even know it was there, in the trees, until a ranger yelled at me, "Hey, a**hole!!" And, "I told you before to move back!" Now I had just arrived and had not been told anything, and I told him so. He apologized, but of course the damage had been done. I knew that he was frustrated; I knew that he was probably having a bad day. But I have worked with the public most of my life, and I know that this is not how you deal with frustration. Nevertheless, I did not blame the entire National Park Service because this guy was having a bad day.
    Do guys like that need to be fired, transfered or reassigned? Absolutely! But we also need to recognize the amount of stupidity, ignorance and apathy that they see every day, especially during tourist season; and realize that they are human beings.
    Our parks are underfunded and undermanned, and morale is at an all time low (an issue that, hopefully, will be addressed by the new Park Service Director); yet overall, I believe, most rangers do an admirable job that most of us could not handle.

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Once again the lives of rescue professionals put in danger by a thrill-seeking idiot. Leave him on the ledge.

  • Historic Touring Coach Returns to Mount Rainier to Stay   5 years 36 weeks ago

    There's a 2:40 video clip about this bus at today's Seattle Times, a search should find it in the future:
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/home/index.html

    A brief view of the starting condition before restoration shows the incredible labor and generosity of owners Art Redford and Frank Pupo.

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    what an idiot

  • No Fishing with Hand Grenades in Afghanistan’s New National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Prof Bob etal,

    There once was a time when I fished with Hand Grenades but had to revert back to hook line and sinker. Hand grenades just became to expensive ;-))

    On another note, it would seem as though with this and other articles lately, perhaps this sight will undergo a name Change......

    International Parks Traveler??

    Semper Fi
    Doc

  • Eradicating Everglades Pythons Will be a Formidable Task   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Well blow me down! Them varmints lied to me!! After reviewing said footage of 50 foot "reticulate" python, I did see an ornery notion to hide the length of that thang. So I hunted down the expose column that had to be out there somewhere and yes, the good 'ol UK Guardian sent a man out with a measuring tape to verify that thang. Trouble is, he ended up so deep in the quagmire of Indonesian giant snake story tellin', he became unable to discern truth from fiction himself anymore and fell under the spell of the Shaman priest who made up the whole story in the first place... his story is weirder than the original article.
    Read it yourself:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,%203604,%201116074,%2000.html

    I'll be volunteerin' meself to body shuvlin' detail at one of Stalin's gulag's now. ta ta...

  • No Fishing with Hand Grenades in Afghanistan’s New National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    As we debate the state of our own national parks and how to take care of them, we should bear in mind what a true state of neglect would do to them. Reading this article makes our parks seem pristine again in comparison. Thank God for the U.S.A.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    " At Ray Bane's old park I saw a front-line ranger merely try to enforce a permit condition against a film company in which they promised not to get too close to the bears," d-2.

    While serving at Katmai I had a commercial filming company request permission to film the bears of Brooks River from a unique perspective. They wished to put two photographers in wet suits and scuba gear film the bears from underwater while the bears were feeding on migrating salmon. The idea was to have the photographers swim downstream with the current from the midstream falls to the mouth. Guess how I responded.

  • Second Drowning In Two Days at Sequoia National Park Claims 14-Year-Old   5 years 36 weeks ago

    In April you wrote about a program at Sequoia National Park, to patrol those river stretches at that times that has been recognised as prone to danger. There you did not mention which river it was, but Middle Fork of the Kaweah River is my guess.

    Can you find out if the river patrol was continued this season?

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I'd advise a review of the designation of National Park versus National Forest.

    When I see four wheel drive vehicles spinning down the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, over bird and turtle nests, a part of me-- a not-so-small part of me--wretches with disdain for the obvious lack of humanity and mission of the national park. My 40+ years of experience has taught me that humans are in fact the ultimate destroyer of nature. The NPS serves to preserve and protect designated lands for future generations (of people as well as wildlife) and if that means a portion of the beach is no longer accessible for driving, so be it.

    Perhaps different tactics on the part of the NPS are appropriate. However, in the face of eloquent and intelligent pleas for preservation, one still witnesses a blatant disregard for the land and its inhabitants. Does this not lead to an overwhelming disparagement for "fellow homo sapiens"? I believe the mission of the NPS in fact prohibits it from being "encouraging" of "human contact with" certainly the "entirety of its holdings".

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    To Jim Burnett

    THANK YOU! Your post was refreshing and encouraging to read!!