Recent comments

  • National Park Quiz 65: Dunes   5 years 37 weeks ago

    FYI, Apostle Islands also has singing sand.

    http://www.nps.gov/apis/planyourvisit/upload/Stockton-Island.pdf

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    My kids are two so we can't do long hikes just yet but here are a few of my favorite short hikes as of late: Fern Canyon in the Redwoods. Its is so lush and green that it makes me feel like I am in Jurassic times. Navajo Trail in Bryce Canyon: to be able to walk among the hoodoos with my little ones is something I won't soon forget. Hidden Falls and INspiration Point in Grand Teton: Can we say view? Having my kids sit on a boulder and look down at Jenny Lake and the vast wilderness below and actually squeal with excitement was one of my most proud moments as a parent.

  • First Greenpeace, Now Motorcyclists Drawing A Bead On Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 37 weeks ago

    OK, folks, this is the point where the moderator wades in to say that the give and take is indeed getting a bit out of control. As the saying goes, "it's not what you say, but how you say it." There are some good, and certainly diverse, viewpoints being expressed. However, I must agree that some of them are being delivered with the subtlety of a sledge hammer.

    From the very start of the Traveler four years ago the idea was to encourage discussion and debate of issues across the National Park System. But, and this is the big but, that discussion has to be constructive and delivered with a measure of respect. We don't expect everyone to agree with another's point of view. But that's no reason to come across as condescending or outright mean.

    As several folks have noted, the Traveler has a Code of Conduct that is fairly minimal in its expectations. Can we monitor each and every comment that comes through the system? No. The workload around here is pretty hefty. But we can require everyone to create an account in order to comment, or even turn off comments. Do we want to do that? No.

    So, be nice and play well with others, OK?

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Not sure if I have a favorite, but our rafting guide told us about the Cattail Falls trail at Big Bend, which is not advertized or marked on the maps. You have to take a turn down an unmarked road on the RM Scenic Drive, and even then this "road" consists of giant rocks. But you eventually end up in a parking lot with an alternate Window Trail and the Cattail Falls Trail. Imagine a somewhat strenuous hike through a rocky desert area only to emerge in a lush green oasis with a nice tall waterfall as the centerpiece. It was pretty cool and was one of the highlights of the trip.

  • First Greenpeace, Now Motorcyclists Drawing A Bead On Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Thanks Beamis! The thin-skinnedness has been something of an issue, however, also an attraction with free admission, like a moth to flame, rubber neckers to accidents, and whiners to the NPT comments section, there is always somebody with a complaint about some "other" user group trying to make use of their taxed contribution to relaxation.

    Sticks and stones.... (insert rolling eyes here).....

  • First Greenpeace, Now Motorcyclists Drawing A Bead On Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 37 weeks ago

    I enjoy this forum very much...however the self-serving diatribe coming for some of the posters is ridiculous. Beamis your causes and beliefs have merit and you are obviously educated and articulate. Your method of making your points however is offensive although I am sure that in your zealousness you feel it is justified. I believe in many of the causes you have opined on this forum, yet even having said that I am turned off by your postings. Normally I just ignore...probably should have here too.

    Peace to you brother and please be aware that the freedoms that you do enjoy did not come cheap...an overused cliche certainly but somehow seems appropriate here.

  • Where in the World is Paul Fugate?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    My father was in the western region at the time of Mr. Fugate's dissappearance. We were at the Tumacacori National Monument and as a child I well remember him as well as his disappearance. The Fugates were a wonderful couple and although we did not visit them often, it was always fun to visit. I do remember that the famous "fugate ponytail" was quite a controversy in the Park Service at that time. He was viewed (at least by my very conservative dad) as somewhat of a renagade but a very competant and knowledgable ranger also. My hope is that Mrs. Fugate has been able to move on and have a fulfilling life. Great Story

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Highline Trail in Glacier National Park to Granite Park Chalet. Continue up to Swiftcurrent Pass and down to Many Glaciers.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    My all-time favorite hike is hiking up the Zion Narrows to Wall Street. Can't beat that hike on a hot day. Hiking through the crowds, upsteam into a cool, quiet slot canyon with walls so steep you can't see the sun. Wait, I shouldn't advertise this--this is my personal place! Destroy this memo after reading!

  • Steamtown National Historic Site Schedules Leaf Peeper Excursions in the Poconos   5 years 37 weeks ago

    "Meet me at the Station"

  • National Park Quiz 65: Dunes   5 years 37 weeks ago

    I had a friend up from Florida to visit and we went to Sleeping Bear on a day the wind was whipping up the dunes. My buddy knelt down, face into the wind and started doing some kind of Zen meditation. Sat there for about half an hour while everyone else was sheltering any exposed skin. He said it was an amazing experience. I found it interesting for about one second, exfoliating for about 10 seconds, and painful the rest of the time. I guess I'm not in touch with the spiritual side of sandblasting.

  • First Greenpeace, Now Motorcyclists Drawing A Bead On Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 37 weeks ago

    The thin-skinnedness (my new word) of many of the contributors to this forum has become somewhat ridiculous. The term to which Anon took such offense has been around for quite some time (first employed by H.L. Mencken in the early 1920's and regularly used today by writers such as Fred Reed, Lew Rockwell and Butler Shaffer) and is meant merely to connote the atmosphere or social milieu in which this particular attraction exists. Sort of like an author describing the scene at a carnival or freak show.

    No offense was intended and therefore no apology is forthcoming.

  • It's July 29, So Don't Forget to Thank A National Park Ranger Today For Their Service   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Just want to pass on a note I got from the folks at RMNP...

    Jeff's parents, and brother, are in RMNP and stopped by to visit RMNP staff. They held a small memorial for Jeff along with Chief Ranger Mark Magnuson and were shown all the cards that have come in for "Thank A Ranger Day". Jeff's parents were deeply touched and very thankful for you all that his memory is being kept alive through this day. In the words of the RMNP staff, "It means the world to all of us that you started and are continuing this tradition."

    Thank you everyone for showing your support and appreciation towards "Thank A Ranger Day".

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    For a short hike, it is hard to beat the Kilauea Iki in Hawaii's Volcano NP. Where else can you descend a volcanic crater rim through a rainforest, cross a crater floor on hard but still steaming (in places) lava and then back up to the top of the crater through more rainforest? There sure aren't any hikes like that available in the continental US.
    http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/hike_day_kilaueaiki.htm

  • First Greenpeace, Now Motorcyclists Drawing A Bead On Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 37 weeks ago

    I thought there wasn't supposed to be name calling on this site... If you don't like a site within the NPS, that's fine - you have that freedom. However, stereotyping every person who visits the site shows a lack of maturity and respect.

  • First Greenpeace, Now Motorcyclists Drawing A Bead On Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 37 weeks ago

    This brutal monstrosity was conceived in noise. How many years of exploding dynamite, thundering pneumatic drills and the constant clamor of falling granite and earth removal equipment did the quiet of the Black Hills suffer under to create this grotesque monument to government worship? It is little more than a federally funded roadside attraction at this point anyway, so let the Harleys thunder away! Besides, leather clad bikers by the thousands are good for the economy, which is probably a lot more important to cash strapped South Dakotans than the noise level at some overlook where Boobus Americanus can gawk at four dead politicians carved in granite.

  • American Recovery Act Putting Your Tax Dollars To Work in National Parks   5 years 37 weeks ago

    People always talk about preserving parks for future generations. Perhaps it's only fitting that we bill our children.

    Well said my friend, well said.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Aren't we stretching the definition quite a bit by calling the beautiful Zion slot canyons 'trails'? Man made trails have engineered features ranging from tread to large bridges. NPS management consistently confuses upgrading the engineering level with trail maintenance. I'd even include extreme examples of trail engineering like Half Dome and Angel's Landing, but I'm curious where others see the transition to 'non-trail'. Personally, I'd draw the line short of rappeling and swimming icy pools.

    Some frontcountry 'Nature Trails' and marine routes with buoys are starting to include electronic components. Are a bunch of GPS coordinates a 'trail'?

    Each season on Mt. Rainier, thousands of climbers on the guided 'dog' routes tramp a path in the snow across the glaciers to the summit. In recent years, the guide services have installed aluminum ladders across the worst crevasses. Is the resulting cattle path formed by this conga line a trail?

    I'd agree with Rick about the Olympic coast, though. This was considered cross-country by Park management until the early 90's, when many of the headland trails were improved with ladders and fixed ropes. This wild and rugged shoreline remains one of the most beautiful and unique hikes in our National Parks, especially done end to end.

  • National Park Quiz 65: Dunes   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Bob, more than once I have had that pleasure. It is like being stung by 3 or 4 bees a second until running for cover.
    Last time we went to SB, we took the Sleeping Bear Point trail for the first time. It was great, with beach, forest, dunes, lake views and the ghost forest. For a short trail, it had great variety and quickly became a "must do" for our next visit.

  • By the Numbers: Death Valley Weather   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Physioclimatic stress...that's a new term for me, Bob. I'll have to look into that some more. I've always marveled at some numbers, but never put a name on it. For example, the interior continental area (geographically centralized on the North American landmass) of North Dakota and some of the surrounding states tend to have the among the highest record highs (excluding only California and Arizona, maybe Nevada) and the lowest record lows (excluding only Alaska). While our tropical state Hawaii has the lowest record high (excluding perhaps Alaska?) and highest record low. So our Hawaiian friends endure comparatively low physioclimatic stress?

  • American Recovery Act Putting Your Tax Dollars To Work in National Parks   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Maybe a better title for this article would be "putting your children's and grandchildren's tax dollars to work". As I understand it, the federal government is running a deficit, and the recovery act funds are coming through debt and expansion of the monetary supply, not through direct taxation. People always talk about preserving parks for future generations. Perhaps it's only fitting that we bill our children.

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    The Queets River Trail in Olympic. Pristine temperate rainforest with truly giant western hemlock, douglas-fir, and sitka spruce trees. The trail is usually deserted and if you do run into someone, you know it's a relatively hardcore outdoor enthusiast because the first 100 yards of the trail is a perilous river crossing....especially on a hot summer day when the glaciers are melting like crazy and the river is over waist-high on your return while it was knee-high on the way in. Not that that ever happened to me and almost killed me or anything... :-)

  • First Greenpeace, Now Motorcyclists Drawing A Bead On Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 37 weeks ago

    What I want to know is what the NPS will be doing to keep the noise level down. Those bikes tend to be very loud and completely spoil the atmosphere of our National Parks.

    The NPS makes such a fuss over helicopter noise at the Grand Canyon, when the bigger problem is the noise at ground level by open pipe motorcycles, diesel trucks and buses, and car alarms. Yet no action at all is taken against any of that.

  • American Recovery Act Putting Your Tax Dollars To Work in National Parks   5 years 37 weeks ago

    I just got back from the Tetons and the Jackson Hole Airport (inside Teton National Park) is being seriously upgraded with recovery funds.

    Tony Farley

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    A nice slow wander through the Grove of the Patriarchs on Mt Rainier. Majestic.