Recent comments

  • “There’s Only 58, So Get Over It!”   5 years 40 weeks ago

    MikeD--

    Boston Harbor Islands has cultural sensitivity issues for the phrase "recreation area" due to the Native American burial grounds. Their name on their demo annotated species list website (http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/monitor/DemoSpecies/BOHA/index.cfm) went from "Boston Harbor islands National Recreation Area" to "Boston Harbor Islands, a Unit of the National Park System", and finally to simply "Boston Harbor Islands".

    Rangertoo is absolutely correct: from the inside, the unit type (Park, Monument, NRA, NHS, and the others) doesn't matter. However, the public/political view is very different, and National _Park_ status is perceived as a higher status. Backers of several units have made great efforts to obtain the name change.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World   5 years 40 weeks ago

    HH,

    One of the important qualities the AT has for flora and fauna is its protected nature. While there are indeed other parks and forests and yards neighboring it, there's no guarantee those landscapes will remain preserved down through the years. As development/sprawl starts chipping away at those, the AT's corridor becomes more valuable to birds, insects, butterflies, and yes, even deer and bear. I wouldn't call that a weak conclusion.

    Here's a snippet from the AT MEGA-Transect (page 6):

    Overall, studies show substantial decline in forested land in the Mid-Atlantic States and in Virginia from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, as well as increased fragmentation in the northeastern U.S.

    Then, too (from page 11-12):

    The A.T. corridor may harbor more rare, threatened and endangered species than any other National Park Service unit. Most of those species are plants, but rare animals are also found along the Trail. A.T. lands support more than nine federally-listed and 360 state-listed species of plants and animals. Perhaps most impressively, the A.T. also harbors more than 80 globally rare species. In total, more than 2,000 populations of these rare, threatened, and endangered species are found on A.T. lands.

    More so, during my fellowship at Stanford earlier this year I met with a researcher who has been studying the movement of vegetation in relation to climate change, and he's chronicled that plants can move northward much more quickly than previously imagined. (His paper was still being reviewed at the time, otherwise I'd cite it.) I also met with other scientists (Dr. Terry Root, an eminent bird biologist) who believe "stepping stones" such as the lands protected by the AT will be vital to help plant and animal species cope with climate change. When you frame that contention within a paper (Global climate change and mammalian species diversity in U.S. national parks, by Catherine E. Burns, Kevin M. Johnston, and Oswald J. Schmitz, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University) published in 2003 by the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, you begin to appreciate the value of the AT:

    Recent empirical studies strongly suggest that wildlife species are already responding to recent global warming trends with significant shifts in range distribution (generally northward) and phenology (e.g., earlier breeding, flowering, and migration).

    This paper also addressed species loss and species gain in national parks due to climate change:

    The projected influx of new species to the parks arises because of range expansion under climate change. That is, most species are expected to remain stable at or near their current geographic locations and to expand their range geographically northward. ... Our assessment indicates that national parks are not expected to meet their mandate of protecting current mammalian species diversity within park boundaries for several reasons. First, several national parks are expected to face significant losses in current species diversity. Second, all parks should experience a virtual tidal wave of species influxes as a direct consequence of vegetation shifts due to climate change. In the balance, the parks will realize a substantial shift in mammalian species composition of a magnitude unprecedented in recent geologic time.

    Against this information and research, I don't think it's hard to appreciate that the AT is much, much more than "a continuous backcountry footpath for the enjoyment of people."

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Salmon of the Pacific Northwest   5 years 40 weeks ago

    The climate change fetish continues.

    The greatest threat to salmon lies not in the future, with the unpredictable results of climate change. It lies in the past and present.

    The greatest threat to salmon is the federal government, specifically the US Department of Energy and the Bonneville Power Administration, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation. These agencies contributed to cultural as well as biological destruction.

  • Reader Participation Day, Fine Arts Division: Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt, or Maynard Dixon?   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Bierstadt, and there is a Bierstadt collection at the Haggin Museum in Stockton.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Start the graph at zero? When do we have zero carbon dioxide? You must have fun playing with statistics Frank.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 12: Lots of Water Out There   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Good job of deductive reasoning and sleuthing via satellite imagery, MRC. You nailed it!

  • National Park Mystery Photo 12: Lots of Water Out There   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Initially I've been thinking along the lines of Docrep, but a bit further north. There is a similar image of Cape Canaveral National Seahore on the NPS website. But on a closer look the vegetation did not fit. Had to be far further north. My second guess was Isle Royale NP but the shape of the islands there is formed by glaciers and has a dominant direction, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is not as small a mosaic of land and water.

    My third idea was Voyageurs National Park and satellite imagery finally confirmed that one. Great picture of a stunning landscape. Thanks for sharing.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 12: Lots of Water Out There   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Looks like Voyageurs National Park to me.

    DOCREP, the hills and northern conifers tell me it is definitely not South Florida.

  • Reader Participation Day, Fine Arts Division: Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt, or Maynard Dixon?   5 years 40 weeks ago

    I had the pleasure of seeing a Bierstadt at the Seattle Art Museum recently, and found myself coming back to sit in front of it and just sit & enjoy it for a while.

  • Greenpeace Activists Face Slew of Charges For Their Stunt At Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 40 weeks ago

    If you add beer cans to the list, the eco-wacko is named George Hayduke.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 12: Lots of Water Out There   5 years 40 weeks ago

    I'd say it's somewhere in Minnesota.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 12: Lots of Water Out There   5 years 40 weeks ago

    I will guess its Everglades National Park Florida. But thats probably to easy.

    Semper Fi, Doc

  • “There’s Only 58, So Get Over It!”   5 years 40 weeks ago

    And can you imagine anybody wanting to be called an "NPS unit ranger"?!

  • “There’s Only 58, So Get Over It!”   5 years 40 weeks ago

    We still call the people that interpret and protect these places "park" rangers. Wouldn't it be hard work to create a whole new set of job series for monument rangers, preserve rangers, historic site rangers?

    A friend of mine used to say, "the sweetest sound a man can hear is the sound of his own name." Guess he was right.

  • Greenpeace Activists Face Slew of Charges For Their Stunt At Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Flu-Bird, got a picture of who exactly left those wrappers, peels and cores?

  • KHV Virus Implicated in Lake Mohave Carp Die Off   5 years 40 weeks ago

    I was just at Lake Mohave last week for one of our traditional family boating trips we've been taking for the past 20 years. Each day we would find a different beach to stay at, and every beach had at least 20 dead carp washed up on the rocks, sand, or even caught in the trees. One beach in particular we went to, I walked around the whole premisis and counted about 100 dead carp. Every beach had a horrible rotten smell. Now I know why... It's really really sad. We always enjoyed feeding the carp on our way down to the dock each morning just to see them all fight over some cereal or bread. This time when we went, there was just a few left to feed that were still alive.

  • Greenpeace Activists Face Slew of Charges For Their Stunt At Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 40 weeks ago

    If i could make a suggestion to the judge i would suggest these GREENPEACE idiots be put on a highway clean up program let them clean up all those gronola bar wrappers,banna peels and apple core left by all those eco-wackos

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Maybe not a lower standard of living, but a different one. Our dependence on petroleum would be reduced a lot if we weren't so in love with our vehicles. For myself, I don't own a vehicle by choice. I take mass transit to work, and I joined a car-sharing club (Zipcar) for those times when I do need to drive out of town. Each Zipcar takes 15-20 personally-owned vehicles off the road, a sustainable transportation option for an urban dweller.

    I have also seen Segways used around town but they creep me out - I'd rather walk.

  • Ever Consider "Adopting" A Cove at Lake Mead National Recreation Area   5 years 40 weeks ago

    My kids and I have started going to a couple of coves near Nelson, Nevada. We drive there. The first day we went, we got there pretty early, around 10 AM, and we were the only ones there, but there was SO MUCH TRASH, for such an otherwise beautiful setting! Lots of broken bottles, I was afraid to let my dogs run there, even. We decided to come back early the next morning with trash bags and dive masks, and clean up both the shore and underwater areas. We aren't even FROM Nevada, we are visiting from California. We gradually changed our minds later in the day, as cars full of "kids" (teenagers, mostly) arrived, drove right onto the beach area, blasted their stereo with music with vulgar and obscene lyrics, and set about littering like they have never thrown anything away properly in our lives. We then decided that we didn't really want to clean up so that morons like that could come back the next day or week and mess it up again! I would love to be able to turn them in for littering, etc. We have since found another cove, harder to get to, cleaner, with much less trash. We clean up there a little bit every day we go, and it is staying pretty nice looking! Today on the way out we saw police cars and a tow truck hauling up a car that went over the cliff on the way to Nelson's landing. I couldn't help but hope it was one of the car loads of morons. Sorry, but they have no business ruining a place that we should be preserving for future generations!

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World   5 years 40 weeks ago

    I've heard objections to nuclear power plants beyond the unsolved waste disposal issue: 1) The lack of a standardized design means each facility so far built is essentially a prototype, increasing cost and decreasing safety. 2) Radiation buildup limits their useful life to about three decades. 3) If one includes all the wages and energy involved in planning, construction, inspection, maintenance and especially de-commissioning and waste disposal, the true cost of the facility might be close to the value of the power produced.

    This hillbilly ain't really qualified to judge, but even if all of these points are true, nuclear power might still be preferrable to fossil fuel power plants, especially coal, if only as a bridge to more sustainable technology. It does sound similar to the energy cost of domestic oil exploration, where on average it now basically takes a barrel of oil to find one. I'd agree with Ray that the only truly sustainable long-term solution to our energy and environmental problems is a lower standard of living and/or a reduced population.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Very interesting discussion. Even some takers (maybe) for nuclear power as a solution. Ray is right. Anything we do on alternatives will take decades to provide large enough amounts of power to offset coal and gas power. However the thought of going on "strict energy diets" is a little like my earlier comment about going back to the cave. If people like the EPA and related cronies had not been such obstructionists to progress over the past 20-30 years, I think we would have better options in place now to help with the transition.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Can't help thinking of "Chernobyl" (in the Soviet Union) where a so called safe nuclear plant blew up, and causing a huge radiation meltdown that caused thousands to die and suffer. Not to mention the world scare of this nuclear catastrophe and it's potential radiation sickness. The question still remains where's a safe place to dump the HOT spent rods. And, what about the imposing question regarding security (the potential terrorist threat) to guard these nuclear installations. Apparently, there appears to be a lot of kooks out there with a hell bent attitude. Remember T. McVey...the loose cannon! I'll take the high tech alternative energy sources any day...and it can only get better folks.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World   5 years 40 weeks ago

    The bottom line in re: to mitigating global warming is starkly clear; dramatically reduce the use of carbon based fuels. Sounds simple, but it is an enormous challenge. First, there is virtually no chance that new technology or alternative sources of energy will come on line fast enough or in sufficient quantity to provide more than a very small fraction of the current energy derived from oil, coal and natural gas, at least for the next several decades. It is critically important to develop viable, clean energy, but it is folly to believe that we can somehow quicky and smoothly transition to a new energy regime without some major lifestyle changes. At the very least we will have to go on a strict energy diet to substantively shrink our carbon footprint. In simple language, we will have to consume less of virtually everything. It is literally a "no pain - no gain" scenerio. What we would gain is a world that just might be a healthy place for tomorrow's children to grow up in. Eventually, we will either make these changes voluntarily or they will be forced upon us by very unpleasent circumstances.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World   5 years 40 weeks ago

    There's plenty of uranium on the moon.

    France has the cleanest skies in Europe.

    Wind power also affects wildlife.

    One of the things we should be talking about is technological improvements in increasing fossil fuel efficiency, too. There are new chargeable hybrids that can get gas mileage in the tipple digits. Nuclear-generated electricity used for electric cars, like the mass-produced version Nissan just announced, makes a lot of sense.

    This is a good discussion. Thanks Jim.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Beamis -

    I admit to being ambivalent about nuclear power. I'll concede that it's "clean" from the standpoint of "smokestack" emissions. By "renewable," I presume you refer to reprocessing nuclear waste, since the turnaround time to "make" any new uranium in its natural state is a bit long.

    After hearing a couple of interviews with people with good credentials on the subject, I still have serious concerns with the nuclear waste problem - both the storage and safe movement of waste to storage sites. So ... from that standpoint, I can't yet put nuclear on my own list of "clean" sources. One serious accident involving nuclear fuel or waste would create some really serious "climate change," at least on a local basis.

    As to "medieval technology like windmills" - those knights have gotten pretty high tech, and are getting better at a pretty good clip.

    I certainly agree that no source of energy, including wind and solar, is without issues.

    Hey, at least we're talking about it :-)