Recent comments

  • Weekly Snowshoe Treks Coming to Glacier National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Glacier NP is one of the best NP i have visited and i have visited over 100 NP. My wife and I go to Glacier when we enter Canada's Waterton National Park just north of glacier. Both parks or a good 17 day stay area. Best time around May, June, July, Cool weather and fantastic beauty.
    enjoy it all and visit regularly. If you have an RV and want to travel Canada Dont use the Canadian Interstate. A comparison to the USA roads the Ark. Road are better (if you know the Ark roads.) Use I-90 then enter Canada in Minn. or Wisconsin

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Debates over capitalism, wealth transfer and the like have drifted far from the original post as to whether or not the old Badeger Pass day lodge should be demolished or rehabilitated, and the related discussion as to whether lift-served skiing/snowboarding belong in national parks.

    As the one remaining Alpine ski area in a national park, Badger Pass is able to provide an incredibly affordable, if modest, ski or snowboard experience without snowmaking. An adult season pass at Badger Pass costs $376 ($249 if purchased by the end of today, Jan. 4) and just $118 for children to age 12 ($115, not much of a savings, if bought today). With easy slopes and reliable snow, it is the ulimately beginner/low intermediate ski area. The legendary Nic Fiore has been unning the ski school for more than half a century, so there's even human tradition at issue. The area recently spent $2 million to upgrade its chairlift.

    I don't live in California and have no personal stake in this decision, but if I did, I would lean toward keeping Badger Pass operating as long as people are coming to ski. It brings families into the Yosemite in winter to see the park in its tranquil winter beauty.

  • This Park Combines Scenery and History on a Desert Island   5 years 38 weeks ago

    We went out there for a day trip last year at the end of December. I really wish we'd opted to camp for a few days. It's really an amazing place. We'll be back to camp this year, hopefully. Even though it is so small, we didn't get to spend near enough time there in a day.

  • Man Bitten at Saguaro National Park by Gila Monster   5 years 38 weeks ago

    this is the most retarted thing i've ever heard of, why would a person pick up a gila monster, they are poisonous, and DUH! your going to get bitten dumb***

  • To Work, To Work, Off We Go To Work   5 years 38 weeks ago

    You can't eat values. And forests would have been better off and more productive without the CCC's fire suppression.

    The economic theories of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard have been confirmed, not shattered, by recent events, and Peter Schiff, an economist of the Austrian School, was recently proven right while Keynesian theory has been proven wrong.

    Beamis, California, an economic indicator, is effectively bankrupt. Ahnold is sending out IOUs instead of tax refunds because the state is insolvent. Real change is around the corner.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   5 years 38 weeks ago

    hmmm....how about...Article:Mountain lion victim heads to San Francisco for more su:/n/a/2007/01/28/state/n160726S88.DTL
    Article:Mountain lion victim heads to San Francisco for more su:/n/a/2007/01/28/state/n160726S88.DTL
    Back to Article

    Mountain lion victim heads to San Francisco for more surgery
    By RACHEL KONRAD, Associated Press Writer

    Sunday, January 28, 2007


    (01-28) 19:42 PST San Francisco (AP) --

    A Northern California hiker attacked by a mountain lion last week was airlifted to a San Francisco hospital Sunday, where he will likely undergo more surgery.

    A spokesman for Mad River Community Hospital in Arcata said doctors wanted to send Jim Hamm to a major research hospital in San Francisco after they performed emergency surgery on his scalp and downgraded his condition from fair to serious.

    Dense fog along the Northern California coast prevented the medical plane's liftoff all morning, but Hamm was delivered to California Pacific Medical Center Sunday evening after the fog broke, the hospital confirmed.

    Ayotte emphasized that mov ing Hamm to a hospital with more doctors and sophisticated equipment was a "proactive, highly precautionary" measure.

    The 70-year-old Fortuna man first underwent surgery Wednesday after a female mountain lion ambushed him at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. He and his wife, Nell, were hiking in the park when the lion pounced on him, scalped him, mauled his face, ripped off part of his lips and inflicted other puncture wounds and scratches.

    Hamm is taking antibiotics to prevent an infection, but his doctors remained concerned about bacteria entering his body from the cat's claws and mouth.

    "Infection — that's our biggest concern," Ayotte said. "You can have exactly the same injuries in a traffic accident or in a wild animal attack, but your chances of infection with a wild animal accident are far greater."

    Although the Hamms are experienced hikers, neither had seen a mountain lion before Jim Hamm was mauled while walking on a trail amid old-growth Coast Redwoods in Humboldt County. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park abounds with Roosevelt elk, deer, coyote, foxes and bobcats, but it's rare to see resident black bears and mountain lions.

    Tawny-colored mountain lions — also called cougars and pumas — roam the widest range of any New World land animal, from northern Canada to the southern Andes. Adults can weigh up to 200 pounds. The stealthy, swift creatures usually eat deer but have been known to attack pet dogs, livestock and, on rare occasions, even children and adult humans.

    Upon noticing that the lion had her husband's head in its mouth, Nell Hamm, 65, grabbed a four-inch-wide log and beat the animal repeatedly — to no avail. She then removed a pen from her husband's pocket and tried to poke it into the cat's eyeball — but the pen simply bent and became useless.

    She went back to using the log. The lion eventually let go and, with blood on its snout, stood staring at the woman. She screamed and waved the log until the animal walked away.

    Nell Hamm refused to abandon her husband on the trail but knew he needed immediate rescue. She managed to encourage him to walk with her a quarter-mile to a trail head, where she gathered branches to protect them if more lions came around. They waited until a ranger came by and summoned help.

    After the attack, game wardens closed the park, about 320 miles north of San Francisco, and released hounds to track the lion. They shot and killed a pair of lions found near the trail where the attack happened.

    The carcasses of the lions — believed to be siblings — were flown to a state forensics lab, where researchers identified the female lion as the attacker. She did not have rabies.

    Wild animal experts have praised Nell Hamm as a hero who saved her husband's life — both by standing up to the lion and encouraging her bloodied husband to walk a quarter-mile to safety.

    The couple — who are to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next month — had been virtually inseparable in the days following the attack. But on Saturday doctors in Arcata urged her to go home and rest. She was expected to fly to San Francisco on Sunday afternoon — not on the medical plane but on a private one closely following her husband's.

    "Nell — God bless her. I don't think I've ever met a woman quite like her. You can just tell the love they've had over the past 50 years," Ayotte said. "I get goose bumps when I think of what she did."

    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2007/01/28/state/n160726S88.DTL

    Associated Press Sections
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  • To Work, To Work, Off We Go To Work   5 years 38 weeks ago

    It's the same old story: theft is okay as long as the proceeds go to something I approve of.

    While liberals don't like the booty going to fund war, conservatives object to it being spent on wilderness trials. The theft and unproductive redistribution is never called into question, just where and when it is to be unprofitably squandered.

    I really don't expect this state of affairs to change until the government is finally totally insolvent-----and that time is a comin' soon to a theater near you.

    Happy New Year y'all!

  • To Work, To Work, Off We Go To Work   5 years 38 weeks ago

    @Frank: You really believe that, do you? And your economic theories aren't shattered by the recent developments, right?

    Fact is: The CCC created values. Values that we still use because they still enhance our National Parks, National Monuments, National Recreation Areas and about 800 State Parks that were created in the first place by the CCC. They build roads and installed tens of thousands miles of telephone lines in rural areas. They preserved soils in the Dust Bowl by planting trees (OK, I admit that some of them were tamarisks that are giving us trouble now). They put up around 8 million man-days fighting fires in National Forests, preserving primary forests and the wealth in timber.

    The CCC kept up the work ethics of the participants, who came from families where no one in the whole family did any work, had any reason to get up in the morning. In Chicago the crime rate dropped by 55% with the introduction of the program and a judge attributed that exclusively to the CCC. The participants got healthy and enough food, health care, trained their skills and furthered their education. Some 40.000 illiterates learned to read and write while in the CCC. After 1937 all camps had courses in a variety of topics, some up to College level.

    The direct economic stimulus was distributed between the rural areas where the camps were located and the urban centers where the participants came from, because from their salary the participants kept only a nominal part and at least $25 per month had to be send to the families at home. Imagine what those $300 per family and year did to the local businesses.

    Frankly: I doubt there was any better way to spend the costs of around $1000 per Person.

  • This Park Combines Scenery and History on a Desert Island   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Precipitation isn't the issue. They're the Dry Tortugas because there aren't any fresh water sources on the islands. You have to capture and store rainwater artificially (in cisterns, traditionally) or ship fresh water in from the mainland.

  • To Work, To Work, Off We Go To Work   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I worked atop a CCC lookout built in the late 1930s. The CCC craftsmanship was durable, and the character or work ethic of the men employed are not at issue.

    The fundamental issue is that the CCC was an expensive decade-long program that failed to "create jobs", failed to improve the economy, and failed to "get us out of the Depression".

    Government does not have the ability to "create" jobs; they can merely transfer resources. During the Great Depression, government artificially kept wage rates high, which caused under- and unemployment. Unemployment rates were high throughout the 1930s, so we can not attribute the "creation of jobs" to public works.

    While some benefited from public works (those workers and public lands), the government allocated resources to a non-productive sector. Before arguing "creation of jobs" as being productive, remember that government paid those workers either through taxes, which is simply redistribution--not creation--of wealth, or inflation--the debasement of the currency; the first steals from the rich, the second robs the poor and middle class.

    Lookouts, trails, and benches are all nice, but their creation did not increase the industrial productivity of Depression-era society. In fact, these programs likely decreased productivity, increased unemployment, and prolonged the Depression.

  • This Park Combines Scenery and History on a Desert Island   5 years 38 weeks ago

    What makes this a "desert" island? Is there a lack of rain? Do you mean "deserted"?

  • Earthquakes Continuing to Rattle Yellowstone National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    The earthquakes have subsided - at least that's the latest news. The commentary on it in the blogosphere has not.

    The whole reaction to this thing has been very funny to me, though I'm starting to get bored with it (record visits to my Web site newspaper aside).

    Even so, I didn't notice any less winter traffic in the park yesterday (except less buffalo traffic).

    We had a delightful time cross country skiing in the park, and the only earthquake I felt was the one caused by me falling!

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

  • Weekly Snowshoe Treks Coming to Glacier National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Some of my best days during the time I worked at Glacier were in the winter, and snowshoes are a great way to get out and about in that park during this season of the year.
    This is a wonderful idea for a program, and I hope visitors will take advantage of the opportunity.

  • Resolved: I’ll Visit at Least These Five National Parks in 2009   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Thanks for the tips, treehugger99; I like the TR pics, too. This kind of feedback is very helpful to me!

    I wish I had lots of time to spend on Wetherill Mesa during our scheduled visit to Mesa Verde. Alas, I won't, and there's another problem too. Long House and Step House, two of the Wetherill Mesa attractions you mentioned, are open to the public only on a seasonal basis. And dammit, they'll both be closed during my visit in early May.

    Forgive me, but I have a very tough time deciding when it's OK to use Anasazi and when I should use Ancestral Puebloans. Though I'm inclined to use the former in Traveler context, I use the latter in my teaching. Here's what I tell my students (quoted from my assigned reading module for Mesa Verde NP):

    The early residents of the 30,000 square-mile Four Corners Area of the Colorado Plateau (which includes Mesa Verde) are commonly referred to as Anasazi, a Navajo word that is commonly translated as “ancient ones.” However, contemporary indigenous descendants of the Mesa Verde inhabitants, the modern day Pueblo Indians (mostly Hopi and Zuni), dislike the term Anasazi and consider it foreign (being of Navajo derivation) and pejorative. They prefer the term “Ancestral Puebloan.” Since there are inconsistencies in the published literature – and in some Park Service publications, for that matter – there appears to be room for legitimate differences of opinion. Out of respect for the viewpoint of the contemporary indigenous descendants, and at the risk of some confusion, Ancestral Puebloans (or Ancestral Puebloan People) will be used herein to refer to the Pre-Columbian inhabitants of Mesa Verde.

    Incidentally, the first documented use of the term Anasazi in reference to the Mesa Verde ruins/culture was by Richard Wetherill ca. 1888.

  • To Work, To Work, Off We Go To Work   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Actually, the CCC did some beautiful work in the Parks that has mostly endured and seldom been equalled since by the National Park Service. I'll bet they could lay a water line that would not need replacing several times a decade as has the one at Paradise, Mt. Rainier. Judging by the photo, the vegetative impacts look to be about the same though. The proposed new program might do alright if the Army ran it again instead of the NPS. And what could be more socialist than the idea of National Parks?

  • To Work, To Work, Off We Go To Work   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I just can't wait to revisit American socialism at its finest. No one can allocate scarce resources like a centralized bureaucracy. It'll be just like the 1930's all over again. Sounds like a party to me. Everyone grab a shovel and let's dig right in!

  • Resolved: I’ll Visit at Least These Five National Parks in 2009   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Hi Bob. I'll chime in with some suggestions.

    Climbing the dunes at Great Sand Dunes is hard work, but it's great fun. It just about killed my Chicago lungs. If you get high enough, you can feel the dunes vibrate when the wind hits the resonant frequency.

    Mea Verde is a true natural treasure. I learned a lot about the Anasazi (now called Ancestral Pueblos in these pc times). You'll definitely want to tour the major dwellings and spend some time in the museum. But my best memory is the time I spent hiking around on Wetherill Mesa. That's the road less taken, as most people follow the other fork in the road. Wetherill has a couple of big dwellings (Long House and Step House). After touring those, I just hiked the trails. There are some digs that illustrate the dwellings during the period when they lived on top of the mesa. It's an easy hike - very flat and never too far from a tram stop. On a Friday afternoon last summer, I had the mesa to myself. It was easy for the mind to wander - and to realize that it must have been a pretty good place to live back in the day.

    I'll give another thumbs up to TR Natl. Park. Make sure to give yourself enough time to visit both units. One thing that was a bit disconcerting as a camper was that the bison have full access to all areas - even the campground. I was used to other parks (like Wind Cave) that keep them out of the campground. In the northern unit of TR, they were in the campground constantly. The rangers told us that they were perfectly safe, and they wouldn't trample through our tents. Then there were a few times when a full herd showed up to graze, and a complement of park rangers showed up to monitor the situation (in case it became perfectly unsafe suddenly). During the night as I tried to sleep, I'd hear the bison snorting as they moved around my tent. Oh well, it's better than bears, I guess. Don't miss the sunset at Wind Canyon. And you can check out my photos of the wild horses here:

    http://homepage.mac.com/russr/PhotoAlbum42.html

  • Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I thought this was an interesting observation on the matter from libertarian columnist Lew Rockwell:

    Now a bunch of academic and media propagandists for federal power want to stop Wal-Mart from bringing low prices and great products to the working people of Orange County, Virginia. What is their excuse? The store is to be in a strip shopping mall one mile from a Civil War killing place. The deathfield, where 50,000 defenders defeated 100,000 invaders, is said to be "hallowed ground." But Wal-Mart is not (and cannot) build there. However, the shopping area is also "hallowed" because it was an assembly zone for the aggressors. Can't have it turned to commerce, a life-building activity disdained by left-wing intellectuals.

  • Glen Canyon Marina Fire Damage Estimate: $3-$5 Million   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Where was Hall's Crossing Security Team providing 24 hour security which is offset by our mooring fees? Why was it that the call happened to come from a couple who happened to be staying on their boat? Why did it take 45 minutes for NPS @ Bullfrog to respond? - Shouldn't Hall's also have the same fire prevention/security messures - ARAMARK needs to address these concerns. Luckily - there was an owner on the premise or all of the boats and marina facilities (on the water) would have been destroyed. One last thing - I know that times are quiet this time of year - with the nice housing facilities NPS has at Hall's - you would think at least a skeleton crew would be at the property.

  • Earthquakes Continuing to Rattle Yellowstone National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Besides the 3 supereruptions that have occurred at Yellowstone in the last couple million years, there have also been far-larger numbers of 'lesser' but still important and sometimes major eruptions. For example, in the last 14,000 years of the current Holocene Era, there have been 20 large explosive events.

    It for sure would not take a supereruption, to put Yellowstone at the center of national attention. A 'normal' eruption could really shake things up, over a goodly chunk of the middle of the United States. No TV-drama necessary.

    Early on the morning of May 18, 1980, I was headed up the Little River Trail. This is on the north side of the Olympic National Park, in about the middle. A branch of the Little River divides Klahane Ridge from lesser-known Elwah Range (yes, where the dams are being removed). Both are northern spurs off Hurricane Ridge, site of the most famous & heavily-used destination-facility in Olympic.

    Along the lower part of the trail, Little River is just a creek, and is only there because of the precipitous chasm between the 2 ridges. Further up, there is no real stream.

    Warmed up & striding along, I was suddenly locked in position by a BOOM beyond my experience. The first sound was followed others, and while standing still I felt a puff of overpressure as a shock-front moved over me. "What the Hell?!", I thought to myself.

    The immediate possible cause that I had to deal with, is that a massive land-fall may have occurred, further up the Little River chasm. Total annihilation could be coming down the canyon toward me at a 100 miles an hour. I sprinted up the trail until it climbed several hundred feet above the bottom.

    As I recovered from the run, there was more stupendous noise. Could it be the Soviets, nuking the west coast to a cinder? I fixed my gaze in the direction of our local military targets and urban centers, and watched the sky ... knowing I should already have noted the flashes, had it been nuclear explosions.

    The hair-raising racket went on & on. Could it be the Mountain - St. Helens? From here!?? That's awful close to preposterous...

    But it was the mountain, of course. And my cousin and his brother had gone down there to 'have a look'. They had gone out the ridge-trail that is now the favored view-site (Dave is a DNR forester, and knew this short hike had the best view).

    Much of the blast deflected off the ridge they were on, and passed overhead (this site is well-within the zone of total destruction, but avoided the worst). Like me, at first they were confused by what was happening. It was not what they expected. But then it started to get dark. They started running. Then stuff started to fall on them, and it was getting really dark. They stopped, got under some trees and huddled beneath their gear.

    Dave does some fairly gnarly things as a forester, and is an advanced fire-fighter as well. With a glint in his eye he confides, "You know how we wonder sometimes, 'What if this tree jumps off the stump and squishes my guts out?' - can I handle it?" If I'm gonna die - can I deal with it ok? Well, now I know the answer." Big smile.

    By now, they realized it was the mountain, ash (and rock) was starting to get deep, and they were going to be buried. They found their flashlights, improvised their gear as overhead shields, hustled to the trailhead and abused their vehicle severely escaping the mountain.

    Remember, St. Helens was a fair small, if nicely-spectacular eruption ... and unbeknownst to me, my mother had headed from Olympia toward Spokane, and was overtaken by the main ashfall path, like me & Dave, at first having no idea what was happening.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   5 years 38 weeks ago

    The people who will be allowed to carry firearms for self defense in the National Parks are the law abiding majority of responsible citizens. These are not people who act in a careless manner. Rational and reasonable citizens can be in possession of a firearm, a knife, an axe, a saw, explosives, or even a motor vehicle without endangering others. News articles and statistics are unnecessary to see that persons who take responsibility for their defense are not inclined to be negligent or incompetent. There is no possible way for the NPS rangers to provide protection to all the citizens who visit the parks, just as there is no way for law enforcement in other areas to be able to keep people from harm. This nation was founded on self reliance, and our national character is defined by individual liberty. If you think the "government" can protect you, then you are fooling yourself. If you want to be so foolish as to not defend yourself, so be it. Just don't try to deny the smart people their right to a proactive defense. All the worst crimes occur where citizens are denied the right to be armed. When the crazies and the criminals know an area is a "gun free" zone it means, to them, a safe target rich environment where they can do their dirty deeds without adequate opposition.

  • Glen Canyon Marina Fire Damage Estimate: $3-$5 Million   5 years 38 weeks ago

    well said, and nice profile, too! ;^)

  • Upon Further Review - Let Sleeping Snakes Lie   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Paul -

    Thanks for sharing your own story. Glad you saw the tail and not the head!

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   5 years 38 weeks ago

    There were tour packages which included free admission for children. 16 pounds was 32 bucks back then, but my anger for the exchange rate was directed not at Britons, but at the Federal Reserve and our government for continued currency devaluation; our $600 "stimulus" (read: inflation) check went to offset the exchange. But entrance fees need not be any higher than they currently are in US national parks. With increased revenue from retail and lodging, entrance fees would not need to be increased; they might actually decrease.

    Glad to see some of the Diamond Trading Company's ill-gotten profits go toward a good cause.

    What's so bad about saving or investing your money?

    What's so bad about private dinners or weddings held in historic buildings? An unused building is not a productive building.

    Better to drag one's feet on paying bills than to forcibly take money from others or to print money to pay the bills.

    Trusts have to deal with the hard reality of economics. National parks have to deal with the harsh reality of politics. I prefer the first option.

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Frank,

    Interesting concept, but.....

    ...You paid 16 pounds per ticket, which works out (today) to about $46 and change for the two of you to tour the Tower. So a family of four could be expected to pay between $75-$100 just to gain entrance for one day? So you're OK with denying access to Americans, whose taxes go a good ways to supporting the National Park System (in theory), who balk at such pricing?

    ...The non-profit partners with the Diamond Trading Company, aka De Beers, and a private investing firm to achieve its financial goals, so the business isn't entirely self-supporting.

    ...The report is a bit cryptic, but it seems to indicate they stage private events in the Tower (and other properties) to defray costs. Now, I realize some park units lease out their facilities for events, but I don't think for a profit.

    ...They are dragging their feet on paying bills:

    During 2007/08 55% of supplier invoices were paid within 30 days of date of invoice (60% in 2006/07) and 71% within 40 days (76% in 2006/07).

    ...Four of their staff were paid between $159,000 and $174,000 annually, 12 made nearly $87,000. The CEO made $202,000+ this past year, an increase of $10,000+ from the year before (an increase of roughly 5% in salary, plus another 3.6% in pension benefits). It's unclear what the salary ranges of the rest of the staff of 564 were, so it's hard without further sleuthing to compare this salary structure to that of an American concessionaire.

    All that said, I'm in favor of searching for a better business model. I just don't think it's easily attainable due to the scale involved with the National Park System.