Recent comments

  • “There’s Only 58, So Get Over It!”   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Anon: Of course you can count repeats if you want to! It's your hobby.... :o)

  • National Park Quiz 62: Paired Parks   5 years 41 weeks ago

    I agree, toothdoctor, and I've edited the answer to align it with the historical facts you've brought to my attention. Sequoia National Park was created on September 25, 1890, but Kings Canyon National Park was not created until March 4, 1940. When Kings Canyon was established, the tiny General Grant National Park was abolished and the land was folded into the new Kings Canyon National Park. At no time was Kings Canyon National Park ever designated Grants Grove National Park. I'm glad you like the quizzes and hope you don't mind that we've got to a bi-weekly publication schedule for the series.

  • “There’s Only 58, So Get Over It!”   5 years 41 weeks ago

    that was a priceless bit of commentary. i am laughing inwardly not trying to wake up the children. my eyes are streaming but so glad you enlightened us on how many national parks we have. i see i have many to see but have visited several of them many times. do repeats count?

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 41 weeks ago

    First, my condolences to the friends and family. It's never nice to lose someone even if they were doing what they loved at the time.

    I've hiked this trail many times; it's one of my favorites anywhere. I would definitely not close it - - there are riskier trails in many parks, and you don't get to the dangerous part of this one without it being real obvious what you're in for. People do lots of dangerous things for fun; it's far safer to hike this trail than to do some of the X-games bike stunts I've seen. Tens of thousands of people have hiked Angel's Landing safely every year for decades.

    Could the trail be improved or made safer? Yes, but I would only make minor changes. A few places could use chains that don't have them now, including some where the footing has become slipperier or looser over the years through hiker traffic, erosion or both. Some older, rustier, looser chains could be replaced. Taller or larger-footed hikers would benefit from a few chains where shorter people don't feel the need for them, and a few chain heights could be adjusted where they're currently not well suited for tall or short people. But I wouldn't turn it into a major project that closes the trail for a year while it's being done. And before undertaking any such project, I'd get input from more than just rangers, some of whom are excessively protective [as in JoAnna's comment, and unlike the ranger in our family].

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Angels Landing is a very tough hike that should not be undertaken by those Angie describes above. Unfortunately, many who are unprepared make the climb; I rescued a dehydrated man who brought only 12 ounces of water on a 105 degree day.

    Anonymous thinks the person whose life tragically ended would not want the trail closed. I agree with that sentiment, but hope the park can increase safety awareness to potential Angels Landing hikers. Preventative search and rescue could set up an entrance point at the trail head and provide safety talks and orientations.

    As for the hike itself, I don't know how it can be made any safer without substantially altering the area. Ultimately, we must assume the risk should we choose to go.

    My condolences to the family.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World   5 years 41 weeks ago

    I see we still have a few ostrich's with their heads buried in the sand with there fluke warm science in regards to global warming. Dr. Hansen (world fame climatologist) from NASA has proven with his meticulous research that global warming is a poignant issue that should be firebrand in everyones brain. The damn earth is heating up folks and wake up and smell the coffee. The old school of thought with it's dead pan thinkers are dragging us downtown with there boogie man and ignorant science. Progressive science with rational scientist (like Dr. Hansen) have given us much more clear indicators that global warming is manmade to the most extent. I'm sure if you have huge stock with Standard Oil you would probably would think differently.

  • National Park Quiz 62: Paired Parks   5 years 41 weeks ago

    I have to disagree with your answer to Question #3. You correctly state that Sequoia National Park was established in 1890 along with General Grant National Park, but General Grant did not become, nor was redesignated as, Kings Canyon. My understanding is that Kings Canyon is an entirely separate Park that was first established March 4, 1940 for the preservation of Kings Canyon itself. General Grant, created to protect two giant sequoias groves, was absorbed, or incorporated into Kings Canyon, after this creation as a way to consolidate administrative responsibilities. I may be wrong, but I have found brief corroborating evidence in several documents at, specifically: National Parks: Shaping the System, National Park System Timeline, and Glimpses of Our National Parks. I already had been working under this aforementioned premise and only decided to try to further research things before getting back to you. Let me know what you think. Hopefully you do not find this to be too nitpicky. And thank you for all of your hard work in putting together the Quizzes; I get quite a kick out of testing myself with them. Keep up the good work!

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 41 weeks ago

    I was sorry to hear of this tragic accident. I live near the park and recently took the opportunity to take my 10 year old nephew, my 12 year old niece, (who live out of state) and my 9 year old daughter on this hike. We took the time to talk about the hike, what we would be doing. We had an adult per child and we discussed the dangers and the precautions we would take. (My nephew was working on a Webelos' scout badge.) It was shocking to see other hikers on the trail with no regard to their safety or that of others. There were some, probably early college, young men that were basically free running the trail. It was a disappointing example to those kids on the trail. I know that those kids left the trail that day with more respect for mother nature and a sense of accomplishment for what they had achieved. I hope that, in the future, those who seek to challenge themselves will have the respect that this hike deserves.

    My condolences to the family and friends of Nancy. It is a tragedy to loose those whom we love.

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 41 weeks ago

    To the family who lost their loved one, My condolences.

    I too wonder about the death stats on Zion's webpage. I have been going to Zion every summer since I was born and have been there for 4 deaths. One on Emerald pools, two on Angel's Landing, and I can't remember where the 4th was. The Park's number just seems too low to me, I think perhaps more have perished.

    I do not think this trail however needs any modification. People obviously know the risk when they set out. If ANYTHING, a sign should be posted at the bottom of the hike that states the dates of each death. As the above woman stated, her sister had hiked this trail many times before. A stumble is a stumble. If you look statistically at how many people have hiked it, and how many have fallen to their death, I'm sure it is still much safer than a car ride. I do not think this is a proper outing for boyscout or other groups like it. Too many uncontrolled liabilities.

    I too have hiked this hike many times, and well...I am pretty careful, but anything at any point can happen, and I take full responsibility of my own actions and the result of those actions. Other's should be expected to do the same, or don't hike at all.

    To close Angels Landing would be just very wrong for the other millions of others who have successfully completed it, and those waiting to do so. Zion Forever! I

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 41 weeks ago

    I was on the trail about 2 minutes before this woman and her family when it happened. It really freaked us out and I hope that they decide to make the trail more secure in the future. My condolences to the family

  • Half Dome Hiker Falls to His Death in Yosemite   5 years 41 weeks ago

    GEAR? TO the individual that made the ... comment about safety gear. Are you nuts? I did half dome and insisted on my wife as well as I wear a harness and biner. Don't be fooled, this gear may save my life or others around me if I happen to catch a climber falling. (Ed. note: this comment has been edited slightly.)

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   5 years 41 weeks ago

    I also personally knew the person mentioned in the article, and while I agree it is selfish, this was the only selfish thing he had ever done. To those that knew him, he was amazing, giving, and caring. But also must have felt lost in some aspect. He had angel wings. I miss him dearly, but yet I am angry with him. As the one year mark approaches, I still think of him often and wish that he would have asked for help.

  • The First Family Plans to Visit Two Western National Parks Next Weekend   5 years 41 weeks ago

    I was planning on going to Yellowstone and the Tetons this week but just cancelled. Knowing "Bill" would be there would ruin it... I'll be arriving on the 15th instead.

  • Is Senator Feinstein Speaking Out of Both Sides of Her Mouth on National Park Matters?   5 years 41 weeks ago

    You'd be surprised what's in the enabling legislation. Part of it allows for hunting at the discretion of "the Secretary" (of the Interior?). I personally think that would be a non-starter to allow anything more than the current non-native deer culls, but that's actually in the legislation.

    The fact is, there is an existing extension clause in the currently effective reservation of use. It's been pretty well known that it exists.

    I personally think it wouldn't be inconsistent for the NPS to allow this use to continue. Whether or not this area is or is not considered "wilderness" - good management will have far more to do with the health of the ecosystem rather than some artificial designation. Human impacts will not be reduced to zero, as there's a road right on the edge of the estero and kayakers and boaters will still be allowed inside and hikers will still be allowed on the Estero and Bull Point Trails.

    Feinstein has spent a lot of time on this issue. She's personally sat in on meetings with Lunny, Neubacher, and (I think) Jarvis. She's spent time discussion this with the media and even appearing on a radio call-in program on this subject. I think this is personal to her.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Rivers to Ride in the National Park System   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Thanks for the correction, poetrycreek - I've fixed the link in the story.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World   5 years 41 weeks ago

    More of this Al Gore stuff here. I like the parks as much as the next guy, but I do not believe anyone has proven that the so called global warming is caused by other than natural changes, not withstanding the huge spin machine. Like Frank, I am not buying in. Had those that worry so much been open to nuclear power 20-30 years ago, we would have lots of efficient, clean power taking the place of coal and gas powered plants. But NO! So many stand in the way of progress based on unproven science. I guess some will not be happy until we are back in caves again.

  • The First Family Plans to Visit Two Western National Parks Next Weekend   5 years 41 weeks ago


    There are numerous articles on the yearly bison slaughter and hazing on this site (including one fairly recently); for a lot more information, you should check out .

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

  • The First Family Plans to Visit Two Western National Parks Next Weekend   5 years 41 weeks ago

    I wonder how much CO2 the president will be generating for this photo op. Air Force One don't run on fairy dust.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World   5 years 41 weeks ago

    In some cases it's visible through the retreat of glaciers.

    Debatable. The causes of glacial retreat, occurring since the mid-1800s, are still under investigation. A recent study from India casts doubts that CO2 is causing Himalayan glaciers to retreat. New research indicates that the Earth's orbit and increased solar input is what drives ice ages, not CO2.

    It will take decisive action on the part of our federal government

    Hmm. Of course. Expand the role of the federal government. That's always the answer. Look how decisively the federal government handled Katrina, Iraq, and the management of national parks.

    Coral reefs protected by Biscayne and Virgin Islands national parks might not survive if we fail to reduce carbon dioxide pollution ...

    Carbon dioxide is not pollution; it's a naturally occurring gas. Life on Earth depends on carbon dioxide. It's also a trace gas, and makes up only 3% of the natural green house gas effect. (Water vapor accounts for about 85%, clouds about 5-10%.)

    The following graph shows how much the CO2 content of the atmosphere has risen in the last 50 years at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. The graph has a vertical scale that only extends to 1% of the atmosphere, and as can be seen, the increase in CO2 is barely visible. This graph is not a trick…it looks different from what you are used to seeing because CO2 is usually plotted with a greatly magnified vertical scale to make the CO2 rise look more dramatic. Yes, we might double the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere by late in this century…but 2 times a very small number is still a very small number. Graph here.

    I'm sure many readers will dismiss this comment due to the cognitive dissonance it causes. Skeptics are needed to counter the statism and dogmatic pontification associated with global warming hysteria. We need more debate, less fundamentalism, and a balanced approach.

  • The First Family Plans to Visit Two Western National Parks Next Weekend   5 years 41 weeks ago

    What exactly is the trajedy (sic) that has befallen our last truly wild and genetically pure bison herd?

  • Traveler's Checklist: Canyonlands National Park   5 years 41 weeks ago

    At least one company offers a multi-day mountain bike trip through the Maze ( and there are other multi-sport trips as well (

  • Traveler's Checklist: Canyonlands National Park   5 years 41 weeks ago

    In the reading I've done, it seems to me the only way to see the Maze is via a three day jeep trip in some pretty rough terrain. Are there other avenues of seeing this part of the park?

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Of the 50 or so hikers who we encountered on the trail I can think of only a handful who belonged on that trail. We saw people in flip-flops, hiking w/o water, and even a gaggle of 12 year olds who were too stupid to be scared.......

    I think there's a very simple solution. Close the trail as a "regular" hike and reclassify it as backcountry. You then have to go to the backcountry desk, get a permit (can be free of course), and made aware of what you're getting yourself in to. Just by having a 2 minute conversation with a Ranger I think a few morons would be saved.

    I couldn't agree more with this post. Angel's Landing is far too accessible to the general public because of the ease of the trail to Scout's Landing. It allows people to get to that point wearing nothing but flip flops, then find themselves on a much more precarious trail but because so many people are around, they dare not turn back lest they be labeled "chicken". There's a psychological bravado factor always present in large groups that pressures people to go along with the herd. Many people who wouldn't otherwise make the hike do, ill prepared or not.

    To illustrate, I was talking to a couple of hikers the day I decided not to make the hike beyond Scout's landing because a bus tour of at least 50 french woman had just hiked by (yes, all women, strange as it sounds). I knew there must be at least 100 people up there by then and it was only 8am! When I explained to the couple why I changed my mind, without batting an eyelash the man said "So you were afraid!?" (obviously looking for re-assurance for his own "cowardice"). I just rolled my eyes and left.

    Sure, keep things the same and you will continue to have several deaths every season. I also find their published statistics very suspect since there has been another death since this article appeared (I'm writing in response to a woman who died several weeks later than the man named. Maybe she tripped and fell off because there was standing room only up there?).

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Anonymous -

    Thank you for your comments and insight into this tragic accident.

    Please extend our condolences to other members of the family.

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 41 weeks ago

    This woman was my sister. She was an experienced hiker and she and her family had hiked this trail numerous times in the past. I am told it was one of their favorites. By all accounts she simply stumbled and fell. She was a very grounded person so I am sure there would have been no horseplay up there. I also believe that she would not want this place closed because of this.