Recent comments

  • Why You Should Not Store Food in Your Car at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Where does one should store his food on a camping trip, while stopping in a day use area, if not in the car? In this case the driver left his side window open enough for the bear to get a grip. That was his mistake. But having food in the car is not a fault in itself.

    But the stupidity of all those people still buffles me. They aproach a bear to a few yards (in Yellowstone there is a 100 yards rule), they get between a bear and his retreat route. In the early stages it might have been smat to scare him away. But that wasn't an option anymore once he was in the car and got the food.

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I recant. But it will be a few days before that raven sets down on another arch in slickrock country. --AGF

  • Why You Should Not Store Food in Your Car at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    You hit the nail on the head, Kim. Not only shouldn't you store food in your rig in bear country, but you certainly shouldn't go running up to a bear for a photo op, unless you want to be in it when the bruin turns on you.

    And, of course, the others watching this show should have, as others have pointed out, tried to drive off the bear in some fashion.

  • Why You Should Not Store Food in Your Car at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I have to say that I saw a lot of candidates for the Darwin award! Did not one of those folks think this was not for their entertainment and that bear was a wild animal? Many of them were 'lucky' the bear didn't realize they were meat in sneakers.

  • Sierra Club Caught Standing Atop Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    National Geographic Adventure magazine had a cover earlier this year with a woman doing yoga on top of Mesa Arch. They got a lot of criticism for that, and I remember the editors responding that while it probably wasn't the safest/smartest thing in the world to do, they didn't break any NPS or Canyonlands laws/rules in getting the photo shot. Page down to the March 2008 issue to see the cover: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/articles.html

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    AGF - I like to think that a canyon raven, a crafty bird in all environments, landed atop the arch thus providing the last few ounces of downward stress causing this immense collapse. Amidst the din and dust the raven was surprised as his footing disappeared. No problem his black wings spread, caught the breeze, and lifted him into the blue sky. Another day in slickrock country.

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsONpZA8X3A

    Two witnesses to the collapse have come forward.

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    OK, here's a tenuously proposed triggering mechanism: the humidity was rising that night, and sandstone constitutes a semipermeable membrane. H2O molecules are lighter than N2 and O2, vibrate more rapidly, and find their way through the rock faster than dry air. This enables the rock to build up a partial pressure of water vapor faster than the total pressure of dry air in the rock can be dissipated, so that the gasseous pressure in the rock may build up a few mmHg of pressure--maybe enough to trigger a collapse. I suppose the mechanics and magnitude of such a phenomenon could be studied experimentally. --AGF

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Maybe it was only by rare chance that my husband and I--visiting Arches in May--saw a couple on top of Wall Arch. Later in the day we saw a man on top of Sand Dune Arch. The following day we saw a woman and her young daughter walk during 30 MPH wind gusts across Mesa Arch in Canyonlands, which is exposed on both sides to tremendous drop offs, so frightening to see that I had to walk away. I was so sure we were about to witness people dying that my experience was wrecked.

    Or perhaps these incidents were not coincidental to our visit. Perhaps others blogging here--and park officials, even-- are naive about the audacity of visitors and the frequency with which they stand and walk on top of these fragile, beautiful arches, ignorant or inconsiderate of the harm they do. If there are rules, we saw none posted. If there are not rules and fines--heavy, steep fines--then perhaps there should be.

  • Why You Should Not Store Food in Your Car at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I agree that the idiots watching this happen should have at least honked their horns to try to scare the bear away. But they only thought of the photo op and did not think of the safety of the bear, themselves and other visitors to come !
    As far as calling a ranger, there is no cell service in most of the Great Smoky Mtn NP and unfortunately you can spend most of the day there and never see a ranger ! Budget custs once again surface their ugly face Way too many visitors have absolutely no common sense and the wildlife always suffer.

  • Why You Should Not Store Food in Your Car at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I grew up in the Carolinas and was a frequent visitor to Great Smoky Mtns NP and the surrounding national forests. Things may be different today, but the Forest Service and NPS did a pretty poor job educating visitors about the potential for bear encounters and their consequences. Bears were never a consideration when I went camping and backpacking in eastern forests. I was pleased to see user-friendly bear cables in Great Smoky's backcountry campsites when I visited a year ago, which is more than I can say for similar campsites in some Western parks frequented by bears. But as recently as seven years ago, back east, "bear protocol" simply wasn't part of our lexicon.

  • Is It Time to Overhaul the National Park Service and the National Park System?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I don't think that delisting should be an answer, but that NPS is ment to protect not sell of units to others like a bussiness. However, maybe a compromise would be that some parks be opterated as assocatied areas. This means that they still keep their titles, NPS still montiors and helps run them, and all laws governing the management of National Park Units still apply like with assocatied areas today.

  • Having Suffered Severe Storm Damage, a Witness Tree at Gettysburg National Military Park is Unlikely to Survive   5 years 36 weeks ago

    A "before" photo of the intact tree can be seen at this site. I'm not sure I can find an after photo.

  • Why You Should Not Store Food in Your Car at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I agree with Jeff but would add that stupidity of the people in the parking lot is mind boggling! The only sane comment was someone yelling out that someone should beep there horn but these poor excuses for adults would rather have a photo op,put themselves(with children) at risk and unfortunately contribute to the eventual killing of the animal. I wonder if they saw a bunch of people trashing the car would they have done anything? It's a wonder the world is such a mess when people can't think about right and wrong. The guy who Filmed this should be fined as aiding the bear in the cars destruction!

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    This arch has been sitting around for half a million years or so without falling. Of course the long term cause is gradual erosion, but I suspect the immediate cause was weather and tide related: drier than normal, coupled with shear stresses caused by a temperature gradient. Problem is, August 1 had a 40 degree differential compared to a 25 degree drop Monday night, and the new moon occurred 2 days earlier as well. The winds were stronger Friday than Monday night. Did it fall two days after it cracked? I doubt it, but there must have been some reason it fell when it did. We're a month past aphelion, with its weaker tides, but the arch has gone through the worst of a summer full of expansion and contraction. Winter freezing and thawing does the long term damage, but summer probably provides more triggering mechanisms. Ice ages may set the arches up to tumble during interstadials. I think natural global warming could be the culprit. --AGF

  • Why You Should Not Store Food in Your Car at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I don't know that these folks are all that wrong. Far be it from me to get in between a large, hungry bear and it's food. Sure, they should've contacted SOMEbody, but chase it away? Not me! What's to stop him from charging you? Some of these folks really took their life in their hands being so close in the first place.

  • National Parks in the News: Did You Say that Park Police Officer Mary Jane Hempfield is a Turtle?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    It's a shame this information was made public - now these growers will be out looking for box turtles to destroy, in case they're the "informant". I'm sure whatever they're tagged with is obvious, thus ruling out the non-"officers", but still, criminals do tend to have a cruel streak and may be nondiscriminating.
    Nice name, though, for your helper!

  • Why You Should Not Store Food in Your Car at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    The people that stood around and watched this bear break into the car were totally irresponsible. Why didn’t they chase the bear off and call the Park Service? Not only was this car damaged, but that bear may have caused trouble for other cars, campers or, possibly even acted aggressively towards some hikers. It would not surprise me if the bear had to be destroyed because it was, or became, a problem bear.

    No doubt the car owner made a huge mistake by keeping food in a car with its windows partially open. However, those people that stood around and watched the bear taught it not to fear humans. There in lies the problem.

    Jeff
    www.HikingintheSmokys.com

  • Having Suffered Severe Storm Damage, a Witness Tree at Gettysburg National Military Park is Unlikely to Survive   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Regarding this quote:
    "When a witness tree is lost, its passing is mourned, as when a storm toppled a witness tree at Antietam National Battlefield last June. "

    When I followed the link, I read that all the witness trees were spared in the June storm at Antietam; while a number of trees were lost, none were witness trees.

    Also, I would like to see a photo of the Gettysburg witness tree after the storm. We were drenched by a sudden downpour while at the Cemetery in July and I may have stood under or near that very tree.

    [Nice catch, Donna. I've edited out the flawed statement and inappropriate link. Damn that CRS! BJ]

  • How is Cape Hatteras National Seashore Faring Under Travel Restrictions?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Stephen C: Your comment that "trolleys have been tried by the NPS on other seashore parks and didn't work". Can you tell us what seashore parks the trolley's were tried and when. Like to know more of facts why the trolley system failed...was it the lack of money or not a feasible plan due to logistics?

  • Climber Dies In Accident In Grand Teton National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Anon---this website is a clearing house for information and opinions which gives us, the contributors, an opportunity to share information like the recent "drawnings" you mentioned in Indiana Dunes. We cannot expect the editors of this website to have the ability or time to be up to the minute with all of the things that are happening in a 391 unit system. Instead it behooves us to share what we know so as to better inform the readership of this website. It takes a village dude!

  • Climber Dies In Accident In Grand Teton National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Anon, it's interesting that you should mention drownings. This morning I've been working on an article about drownings and other water accidents at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It's one example of the numerous articles in Traveler that focus on the 333 national parks that don't happen to be among the 58 National Park-designated "elite." The nature of your comment leads me to believe that you are a new reader, so let me invite you to explore several months worth of Traveler articles (you don't have to read them; just scan through the listings) so you can get a better feel for what we do here at Traveler. Be sure to read our "About the Traveler" statement, which can be reached via the link in the Visitor Center menu at the upper right on Traveler's home page. We always like to hear from readers, Anon, so don't hesitate to give us the benefit of your suggestions and constructive criticism. I've made a mental note to write an article about Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore the first chance I get.

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    SaltSage236,

    Thanks for correcting me. This is particularly useful information for me to have since I volunteer and sometimes give interpretive programs at BISO.

  • Climber Dies In Accident In Grand Teton National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I notice you have posted stories on visitor deaths at Tetons and Grand Canyon but no mention of the two recent drawnings at Indiana Dunes. Is this part of your campaing that only national "parks" are worthy of discussion on this site?

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I am so glad I got to see this arch this year!! It was magnificent....as well at the others being just as wonderful. On some one could tell that it won't be long before the succumb to gravity....see them while you can.