Recent comments

  • Is Winter in Yellowstone National Park Losing Its Allure?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    My wife & I visited Yellowstone in February. We traveled with a photography group sponsored through the Yellowstone Association and traveled by snow coach. It was an enthralling experience and I can recommend a visit to all photographers!

  • Is Winter in Yellowstone National Park Losing Its Allure?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Good note, Anon. Totally forgot about that...in some part because earthquake swarms aren't THAT uncommon in the park, in part because, well, because I forgot;-) But it is interesting that Xanterra's rep mentioned that to you...

  • Is Winter in Yellowstone National Park Losing Its Allure?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    What? No mention that the earthquake cluster in December / January was causing people to cancel their vacation plans. (This according to the Xanterra rep that took my reservation.)

    I LOVED my week in Yellowstone this February. It felt like we were the only people in this vast wilderness. While snowmobiling with our guide and the three other people we rarely saw anyone else (except at the bathrooms and warming huts.)

  • Have You Ever Sneaked Into Shiloh National Military Park?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Thanks for the corroborating info, Perry, and especially for the details about the ranger-led hikes on the battle anniversary. I'd dearly love to go along for one of those! Dividing into two groups like that is inspired. I can see that it gives the experience a whole new and exciting meaning for the participants.

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Tag on Katmai, Gates of the Arctic and Bryce.

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    I agree with Yellowstone & Rocky Mountain. I would have also included my all time favorite park, Arches in UT. I love that place. I know there aren't many trees but the rock formations are awe inspiring.

  • Have You Ever Sneaked Into Shiloh National Military Park?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Bob,

    Nice article about Shiloh, and interesting 'technical' discussion about the start of the battle.

    Just as an FYI, each year for the past several years, the park has held a series of ranger-led hikes around the park on the anniversary of the battle. The subjects covered by the hikes change each year, with the exception of the first hike, which is always the same - the Dawn Patrol hike, which re-creates the reconnaissance patrol sent out by Colonel Peabody that triggered the start of the battle.

    This hike begins at 5:00 a.m. at the park visitors center, and you are out in the park itself by about 5:30. Everyone voluntarily divides into two groups before heading out. One group re-traces the patrol itself from Peabody's monument out to Fraley Field, while the other group re-creates the Confederate picket post that encountered them.

    I've taken part in this hike the past two years, both times joining the "Union patrol." Both times, it was still just about pitch dark when we stepped off from near Peabody's monument, but by the time we arrived at Fraley Field it was getting light enough to see, albeit still rather dimly. Last year in fact, there was a thick fog hanging in the air that morning, that severely limited visibility.

    The first year I went, when we entered Fraley Field shortly before 6:00 a.m., we could just barely make out the "enemy skirmish line" maybe 50 yards away. Last year, in the fog, we couldn't see them until we were almost literally right on top of them.

    In any case, the rangers told us that they estimate that 5:55 a.m. on the anniversary best approximates the 1862 lighting conditions in Fraley Field at 4:55 a.m. on the first morning of the battle. That would indicate to me that it was starting to get light, but nowhere near well enough to make out more than just shadowy shapes off in the distance.

    The accounts that I've read about the battle seem to indicate that while it was still quite difficult to see when the patrol entered Fraley Field, it was getting light enough to barely make out the opposing lines. I've guessed it wasn't too different from our experience out there in 2007. Mostly though, I think the two sides mainly fired at each other based on the muzzle flashes, at least for a little while.

    Anyway, again, nice article, and interesting discussion.

    Perry

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Among the "park" parks: Congaree, Theodore Roosevelt, Acadia, Olympic, Big Bend, Shenandoah, Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Badlands, Everglades

    -Kirby.....Lansing, MI

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    In no particular order:
    Yosemite, North Cascades, Olympic, Denali, Canyonlands, Rocky Mountain, Bandelier, Yellowstone, Sequoia Kings Canyon,
    Wrangell - St Elias.

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

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    For what it's worth, here is my top ten from a day hiking and photography perspective (in order of preference) Rocky Mountain, Glacier, Grand Teton, Zion, Smokies, Rainer, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Death Valley, Olympics.

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    This video was extremely too short. My family and I have camped every change of season in Yosemite for decades. We still can't get enough. Please show more of God's great outdoor cathedrals.

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Finally, Rocky Mountain NP gets some love! It's about time!

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Only one park in the East?? I agree with Deborah - where are the Smokies? And what about the Blue Ridge Parkway? And Shenandoah?

  • Good Oysters and Bad Oysters   5 years 37 weeks ago

    I know - a little bit old, but I found this in a search for something else.

    Tomales Bay is only partially under the control of Point Reyes NS. The southern end along Point Reyes is private land around the towns of Inverness and Inverness Park. A good section of it is Tomales Bay State Park. The entire eastern end is not NPS save a couple of short stretches that are less than 1 mile and part of Golden Gate NRA. The shellfish farmed and harvested there are not the native Olympia oyster anyways. They're Pacifics, Atlantics, Kumamotos, and manila clams. In any case the State of California holds all fishing rights to Drakes Estero and Tomales Bay, and Drake's Bay Oyster Farm has a state shellfish permit to use the area that currently expires in 2029. They're also trying to reintroduce Olympias back into Drakes Estero.

    The note that Congress designated Drakes Estero to be a wilderness area by 2012 is patently false. I've read the 1976 act (it's very short) that designated the current wilderness and potential wilderness areas, and it makes zero mention of any dates. It's only about 1 page long and the only years mentioned are 1976 and 1962 (for the act designating Point Reyes NS).

    http://www.nps.gov/pore/parkmgmt/upload/lawsandpolicies_publiclaw94_544.pdf

    Here's an alternate take:

    http://www.ptreyeslight.com/cgi/opinion_archives.pl?record=10

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    What about Great Smoky Mountain? It IS the most visited!!

  • Spring Plowing Operations Under Way in Glacier National Park   5 years 37 weeks ago

    So incredibly glad that the Two Medicine road is being plowed early...East Glacier backcountry skiiers would like to send a big THANK YOU to the park admin.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Not only that, but where is Mt. Rainier National Park? The beauty of Federation Forest and Spray Park should put it on that list!

  • Showdown at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Beamis suggests:

    "My constructive suggestion, as I've made many times before, is to take the parks out of the purview of the U.S. federal government and put them into the hands of non-profit private trusts. Take the politics and careerism out of vital land management decision making."

    If the parks are in the hands of non-profit private trusts, will that take "politics and careerism" out of decision making?

    I work for a non-profit. Careerism is rampant here. It is at every non-profit organization, at every for-profit organization, and at every governmental organization I've ever known. I am not criticizing my organization or any other organization ... I'm simply pointing out the facts.

    Decisions at my organization are influenced by politics. They're influenced by money, by fads, by personalities, by the appearance of the person making the suggestion. (Yes! Suggestions made by beautiful young women are more likely to be adopted than suggestions made by me. Suggestions made by wealthy donors are more likely to be adopted than suggestions made by me. Does this astound anyone?)

    But in my organization, there is no Inspector General to go to. Employees who complain are not reassigned, they are fired.

    While decisions made by the government are influenced by the desires of the wealthy, decisions made by non-profits are dominated by the desires of the wealthy.

    I agree with Bemis that the NPS is imperfect. But his suggested remedy will magnify -- not rectify -- those imperfections.

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    I agree that Crater Lake should be on the list!

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    You'll find it tucked away in a slice of southern Oregon......

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Hey! Where is Crater Lake? :-(

  • Trust For Public Land Leverages Land Purchase for Virgin Islands National Park   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Thanks for the extra details, Kurt.

  • Trust For Public Land Leverages Land Purchase for Virgin Islands National Park   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Parking is an incredible problem at VIIS. There simply is not enough to meet demand. For instance, at the Reef Bay trailhead there's room for two, perhaps three Jeeps, depending on how they're parked. At Trunk Bay, the biggest, most popular beach, there's room for maybe a dozen or so cars.

    At Maho Bay the "parking" is on wide spots along the road, and those "wide spots" seem to have been created over the years by Jeeps and other 4WDs simply pulling off the crusty asphalt pavement and onto the vegetation.

    You can repeat those scenarios at Jumbie Bay (room for four Jeeps), Leinster Bay (there is a small parking area for those visiting the Annaberg ruins, but the overflow crowds the narrow road), Lameshur Bay (if you make the effort to reach this bay, and it ain't easy, there's room for about a dozen cars in the identified parking area), and Salt Pond Bay (find a spot somewhere along the road). About the only ones that have even somewhat reasonable parking -- perhaps 30 spots -- are Hawksnest and Cinnamon bays.

    There are plenty of public taxis -- long, bus-like, open-air rigs with multiple rows of seating -- but most seem to stop running to and from the beaches around 4:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.

    For a park of only about 7000 acres, one that attracts roughly 500,000 visitors a year, this situation is woefully inadequate. Does that mean that parking lots sprawling across dozens of acres at each beach are needed? No, and from the looks of things that wouldn't be practical, anyway.

    But unless the park moves to a mandatory shuttle system -- which would seem fairly feasible along the Northshore Road that hits the most popular beaches -- even a little more organized parking would go a long, long way to meeting demand AND preserving resources. Right now the resources are getting pounded in many places from illegal parking.

  • Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park   5 years 37 weeks ago

    DNC sent this email to me and another family member this week:

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In October 2008, Yosemite Valley rock falls occurred in the vicinity of Curry Village that prompted National Park Service (NPS) and independent geologists to conduct studies in the area. The results of those studies recommended the permanent closure of 234 visitor accommodations, and the NPS has formally closed those units from guest use.

    Subsequent to the closure, we have been working with the NPS to replace approximately one-half of the units lost in another area adjacent to Curry Village; that plan is not final. As of today, there simply are not enough units to accommodate all of the guests that made reservations within Curry Village.

    At this point, we regret to notify you this loss in overnight accommodations will probably affect your upcoming visit to Yosemite. It is imperative that you contact us and be prepared to discuss the following options:
    Downgrade your accommodation to a different Curry Village room type.
    Select new dates for your reservation at Curry Village (based on availability).
    Select new dates for your reservation at an alternate Yosemite property (based on availability).
    Cancel this year's reservation and rebook for summer 2010.
    Cancel this year's reservation and fully refund your advance deposit.
    Relocate your reservation to an alternate property outside the Park (based on availability).
    Please contact us immediately at (801) 559-4963 or by email .

    We greatly appreciate your assistance in helping us resolve this unfortunate situation and thank you for your understanding.

    At Your Service,
    Yosemite Reservations

    ---------------------------------------------------

    When we each called the number, they reservation agent canceled ALL of our respective Curry reservations. We had reserved multiple units, both tent cabins and cabins with a bath for a large family group. No negotiation. No alternative park reservations offered.
    Their email says 234 units are being closed, which is 50% of total units in Curry (tents + cabins). So why did they cancel 100% of our reservation? Reservation agent said she is canceling everyone who calls. If a person does not call, the reservation will be canceled anyway and they will learn about it when they try to check in.
    Are they protecting the tour groups at the expense of individuals?
    Our reservations were for the week of June 14.

  • Trust For Public Land Leverages Land Purchase for Virgin Islands National Park   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Kudos to the TPL. All of that property could easily have been converted to major development, and based on the photo with the story, that would have been a shame.