Recent comments

  • Yellowstone National Park's Wolf Population Down More than 25 Percent   5 years 38 weeks ago

    You mean like the State of Montana did with mange?

  • Social Networking Site Pushes Petition for a "Maine North Woods" National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I signed and invited ALL my fiends to sign - I hope you see fit to do the same.

  • Selecting Lenses For Your National Park Visit   5 years 38 weeks ago


    @Robert Payne- thanks for the kind words. I also love my 17-40mm lens. Go get that macro lens, you won't regret it!

    @MRC- Good points! The person pressing the shutter button really is more important than what the button is attached to. I've seen comsumer-level cameras generate amazng photos. I'm going to talk about aperture and its effects in one of my next articles- that goes hand in hand with the effect of focal length.

    @Robert Mutch- I couldn't agree more. Tripods are perhaps the most underutilized tool for the beginning photographer. I do need to get myself a nice carbon-fiber tripod. My current Manfrotto is a real tank- solid but heavy!

    Thanks all!

  • Social Networking Site Pushes Petition for a "Maine North Woods" National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Seriously Frank, give it a rest....

  • Social Networking Site Pushes Petition for a "Maine North Woods" National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    The Maine Woods wilderness of the mid-1800s made such a deep impression on Henry David Thoreau that he envisioned it becoming a “national preserve.”

    I believe this quote ("national preserve") has been taken entirely out of context.

    First, remember Thoreau probably wouldn't advocate federal land management. (He wrote in Civil Disobedience: I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, — "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — "That government is best which governs not at all...".)

    Then review The Maine Woods. Search for "preserve"; the results are enlightening.

    Thoreau writes on page 105: "These are not the artificial forests of an English king, -- a royal preserve merely. Here [ in the Maine wilderness] prevail no forest laws but those of nature."

    Here Thoreau looks down on a preserve as being inferior to true wilderness where no laws, except natural laws, exist.

    Thoreau again references royal preserves in the passage from which some selectively pull the phrase "national preserve". Here's the entire passage from page 205:


    The Kings of England formerly had their forests "to hold the king's game," for sport or food, sometimes destroying villages to create or extend them; and I think they were impelled by a true instinct. Why should not we, who have renounced the king's authority, have our national preserves, where no villages be destroyed, in which the bear and the panther, and some even of the hunter race, may still exist, and not be "civilized off the face of the earth," -- our forests, not to hold the king's game merely, but to hold and preserve the king himself also, the lord of creation...

    Thoreau again alludes to royal English reserves, and treats them disdainfully. He references the Revolution against State ownership of land and envisions reserves as being truly free places, where humans' laws and governance do not encroach. It's the opposite of civilized; it's truly wild.

    The "national preserves" Thoreau envisioned are not those ruled and regulated by the federal government. They were places where no law or government existed, except natural law.

    I really wish the left would stop hijacking Thoreau's libertarian words and phrases for their statist ends.

  • Visitation On Record Pace in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    If Yellowstone National Park can be viewed as a bellwether, then those who fear the national parks are suffering from a decline in visitors will be relieved. The latest figures show that a visitation rebound in Yellowstone that started in May has now reached a record pace.

    Gee, that's, uh, great news.

  • Update: Presidio Main Post Won’t Be CAMP site   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I haven't shopped at the Sports Basement, ypw, but I'm familiar with the former commissary site. Do you think that particular location could get serious consideration for the art museum project?

  • Ban on Glass and Styrofoam Containers in Effect at Lake Mead National Recreation Area   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Bat -

    Thanks for the comment - and confirmation that the battle against trash can be won!

  • Social Networking Site Pushes Petition for a "Maine North Woods" National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I have been retired 23 yrs and have traveled across the US many times with 4wd and a camper. I find national forests much more people friendly than national parks.
    A national forest can have great environment friendly camp grounds, allow for local residents activities ,and prevent huge controversial housing developments without the restrictions and operating costs that a national park must have.
    Some one with the necessary clout should be looking at this alternative

  • Ban on Glass and Styrofoam Containers in Effect at Lake Mead National Recreation Area   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I have never posted before but would like to offer this little story. Last weekend I went hiking in Prince William Forest NP, in Virginia. There were signs posted in every picnic area that said "This is a trash-free park." I saw there were no trash cans anywhere. I also saw there was not one speck of trash anywhere. The whole park was pristine clean. I guess you can take it with you when you go!

    I love your site and have learned so much! Thanks.

  • Visitation On Record Pace in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Actually, Prez O seems to be heading in the right direction. His budget proposal contains a somewhat hefty boost for the NPS (roughly $100 million, I believe); the administration tossed another $750 million in stimulus funds to the NPS, a figure that grows to $920 million when you factor in Federal Highway Administration dollars, and; the administration seems seriously intent on getting the Everglades restoration work moving.

    That's not to say we'd give the administration a perfect score on national park issues, but things seem to be a tad bit better than they were just seven months ago.

  • Visitation On Record Pace in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    So tell me then why we aren't funding our National parks? With Bush, we all understood that he was an environmental terrorist but what has Obama done so far? He has my vote & I'm giving him the time he deserves but let's go already!

  • Social Networking Site Pushes Petition for a "Maine North Woods" National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Blackwater Falls? You mean the one in West Virginia that's a state park?

  • Social Networking Site Pushes Petition for a "Maine North Woods" National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I would sign that petition in a heartbeat. Sometimes the NPCA gets petitions like that going. How about we also include Blackwater Falls National Park in that petition. That's a beautiful area and I would love to see it preserved. I know that has been talked about for a long time as well..

  • Social Networking Site Pushes Petition for a "Maine North Woods" National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Hmmm, that's definitely a problem. Perhaps we should offer the petition here at the Traveler....

  • Social Networking Site Pushes Petition for a "Maine North Woods" National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I tried to sign the online petition, but you have to have or create a Facebook account to do it, and I don't want one.

  • Update: Presidio Main Post Won’t Be CAMP site   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I am a regular shopper at Sports Basement, which took over the former commissary. They do a bang up job providing employment, selling products at reasonable prices, and creating a sense of community with their free areas open to the public. It's as much a fixture there now as any other part of the Presidio. They serve as a meeting space for bicyclists (they even provide free filtered water), joggers, and others. While they do have other locations, the Presidio location is superb because of access to nearby recreation.

  • Yosemite National Park Returns To Square One on Yosemite Valley Plan   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Inexpensive coin-op showers at campground locations would be a nice start. Right now the situation with the showers only from the concessionaire is unworkable and expensive ($5 a pop).

  • “10 Best National Parks”? National Geographic, You Have Got to be Kidding!   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I agree with Bob's list above, only I'd replace Muir Woods with Mt. Rainer National Park. I'd also replace Rocky Mountain NP with the North Cascades. The list would then be:

    1. Yosemite NP
    2. Yellowstone NP
    3. Zion NP
    4. Bryce Canyon NP
    5. Grand Canyon NP
    6. Glacier NP
    7. North Cascades NP
    8. Olympic NP
    9. Sequoia/KingsCanyon NP
    10. Mt. Rainer NP

    Somewhere, however, I feel obligated to try to squeeze in Crater Lake NP (a great national park, grossly under-appreciated by short-term, stop and go tourists). Of course the same might be said of Rocky Mountain NP as well as many others.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • “10 Best National Parks”? National Geographic, You Have Got to be Kidding!   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Shhh! Don't want more visitors spoiling the best of the best, do we? Just a little sarcasm to say you're spot on except I would replace Great Basin with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

  • Yosemite National Park Returns To Square One on Yosemite Valley Plan   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I hope these meetings will be well announced in advance and that they will be well attended. Yosemite is a very special place. I wish there was another viable option for reducing traffic during peak periods and encouraging tent camping.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Stocking of Non-Native Fish at North Cascades National Park Comes to a Halt   5 years 38 weeks ago

    The Park Service's mis-application of Minimum Requirement Analysis is the most egregious section of the fish stocking EIS. That requirement comes out of the Wilderness Act itself and applies only to certain uses. Here is the text from the Wilderness act:

    ...there shall be no commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area designated by this Act and, except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.

    Fish stocking doesn't come under any of the prohibited uses and is a well established practice in the Wilderness system.

    Bringing up native fish species protection and recover is a red herring because fish stocking doesn't detract from those efforts at all. Removing brook trout is a worthwhile component of that effort, but if fish were restocked it would be with native species, not brookies.

  • Cinema Series Stars Movies Made in Zion National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I had the pleasure of working in Zion in 1969, but didn't know about Butch Cassidy and Sundance until 1970 when I was in Yosemite. I later visited Zion in 1979 when Electric Horseman was being filmed. I still recall horses running on the meadows below the Watchman.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Does the Federal Government Really Want to Seize Six California State Parks?   5 years 38 weeks ago

    The marginal cost to federal management of most of the 6 properties wouldn't be that great: Angel Island & Mount Diablo would be just 2 more patches in GOGA; Pt. Mugu would become part of Santa Monica Mountains NRA (it may already be inside the authorized boundary); I would bet on Border Field reverting to FWS management as part of the San Diego / Sweetwater complex of refuges (good tern habitat). There aren't as obvious homes for Point Sur (its pretty small and outside the mission of Forest Service) and Fort Ord Dunes.

    That said, my money's on CA using the loophole provided: to comply with the terms of the land transfers they can reduce operating hours (e.g., weekends only; summer weekdends only; who knows how far they can push it) as long as they keep some public access. Negotiations are allegedly underway.

    My guess on the 60+ state parks that received funding from the program administered by NPS is that if Arnie trys to sell off the properties, liens _might_ be put on them to retrieve the federal funds, especially if the grants were used for land acquisition or facilities.

  • Sharpshooters To Begin Reducing Elk Herds in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    On my first trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, I was absolutely amazed at the number of elk. I have been numerous times since then and have never failed to see the animals. In the winter even Estes Park has them roaming downtown. I hate that any have to be killed.