Recent comments

  • Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road Open End to End   5 years 41 weeks ago

    This is an obvious sign of global warming and we should all be scared out of our shamies. And, beware of the global warming in Antarctica. Not only did the continent record it's greatest ice coverage on record last year but are about 60% above that level this year. be afraid, be very afraid of global warming!!!

  • Prescribed Fire in Grand Canyon National Park Now Out of Control   5 years 41 weeks ago

    What. again? A prescribed fire in 2004 on the south rim quickly burned out of control and all the way to the rim. It killed trees over many acres at the south entrance road/Desert View junction and will not recover in our lifetime. The man in charge of prescribed fires for Grand Canyon was given award earlier this year for the quality of his work.

  • Do You Care About Energy Exploration Near Our National Parks?   5 years 41 weeks ago

    So more drilling in the US bu US companies will stop THEM from taking over OUR land?!?! How does that make any sense? We will never be energy self-sufficient as the simple fact is as a country we use more energy than we could ever find within our national borders. The only solution is alternative energy. I think the recent increase in oil is exactly what we need and deserve. Hopefully this drives us more quickly to alternative energy. We all knew this was coming, but most chose to ignore it and more idiots bought pickup trucks so they could pick up milk and a loaf of bread. I laugh at those people and I hope gas goes to $10 a gallon within the next two years. Maybe at some point 'cheap' plastic will stop being 'cheap' and we'll move away from all the disposable packaging and products we use today. Think back to the 'old' days when things might have cost a little more, but they lasted a lot longer. How much oil would we save then?

  • Do You Care About Energy Exploration Near Our National Parks?   5 years 41 weeks ago

    We need to preserve our beautiful Parks, but we've got to be smart about it. If we don't become energy self-sufficient soon, we are going to become slaves to all of of our current energy suppliers. Once we're in THEIR control, you can be sure THEY will drill wherever they want (including IN our Parks) and we won't be able to do anything about it.

    We already have the Chinese drilling off our coasts. How do feel about THAT?

  • Do You Care About Energy Exploration Near Our National Parks?   5 years 41 weeks ago

    I read an interesting proposal not too long ago for solar farms out in Nevada... I am all for exploring the potential of the solar farms that Germany seems to making such great strides with before I am for drilling and mining. If Germany can do it with great success... why can't we? Granted, solar farms will have an impact as well on the environment, but prehaps not as bad as tearing up the earth in a quest for fossil fuels!

  • Yellowstone National Park Sees Record Visitation in June   5 years 41 weeks ago

    I talked to several locals during the month of June and almost universally they were talking about how "empty" the park was. Much less traffic than normal for June, they were saying. Personally, I only visited twice during June and my impression was that there was SLIGHTLY less traffic than normal. Certainly fewer RV's. This, added to the fact that much of the park was still buried under snow early in the month (and a fair amount of bad weather), makes these figures curious to say the least. I don't question or doubt them, but find them interesting. I too would like to see a breakdown of the numbers. If there are more people staying outside of the park, for example in a motel in Gardiner, rather than camping in the park; and are leaving and re-entering the park two or three times a day, are they being counted as two or three different visitors each day? Same for locals. If I live in Gardiner or West, and I go home for lunch and then return, is that two visits? Especially if the first time I entered was before there was a ranger at the gate, therefore only clicking the counter and not showing my pass? I would like to know if camping was up or down? I would like to see figures related to average stay, numbers of locals as opposed to out of area and foreign visitors. How many locals, who normally rarely visit Yellowstone, are making multiple day trips into the park as opposed to one long trip overseas or to another state (as they normally would). How were sales at the Park stores? If sales were down, that COULD indicate a larger number of repeat visitors (locals?). How did businesses in border communities fair? Lots of questions, the answers of which would tell us a lot more than the raw visitation numbers.

  • Do You Care About Energy Exploration Near Our National Parks?   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Alternative energies ARE ALREADY HERE AND VIABLE. I keep hearing about the cost, which is certainly more than the cost of traditionally subsidized energy sources. But if you remove those old subsidies, or add on similar subsidies to alternative energy production, then the cost different disappears and depending on who you talk to, may in fact reverse itself.

    Conservation is something we can do right here, right now. Conservation "produces" more energy than any of the proposals for drilling, etc. I keep hearing how we need to drill now because alt energy sources are still a decade out. What you never hear is that the traditional sources that corporations want to drill right now won't produce any energy for at least as long!

    More traditional energy production now is simply short-sighted and stupid.

  • Do You Care About Energy Exploration Near Our National Parks?   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Isn't ironic when the Bush & Cheney regime is due to leave office the gas prices go up...how convenient! Now, it's all out massive attempt and assault by this corrupt administration to explore some of the worlds most pristine and sacred places called our National Parks...for what...more oil? If this is allowed to happen, either it be off the coast of California, or near the national parks in Alaska, Montana or Wyoming, I assure you the parks are doomed. These oil executives live in there little shangrila's, or in some peacock ranch afar from all this smoke, haze and pollution that most Americans suffer each day. They could careless about are visual quest for more beauty in our National Parks. They are completely oblivious to are suffering and economic demise. Do you really think they care or give a damn if they ruin our National Parks in the name of Big Oil? Hell no! To drill near, or in our National Parks is a well executed ploy by the Bush & Cheney administration to give "Big Oil" it's last huge gulp of windfall profits. God forbid!

    Lifestyle changes that are advocated by Ed Begley's, Lifeboat Foundation is a format and guide that can help us all to live more sensibly and harmoniously with are environment. No more hummers or big McDonald's homes that can burn enough energy that can light up a small city in India. Are piggish lifestyle must go and the time is now. Let's start pushing "Big Oil" out of the equation and start putting alternative energy back on the drawing boards with urgency.
    Time is no longer on are side!

  • Do You Care About Energy Exploration Near Our National Parks?   5 years 41 weeks ago

    The harsh fact is it will take decades to develop truly reliable alternative energy solutions that meet our needs, even with conservation. The goal should be to reduce fossil fuel use, for sure, but there are no clear-cut solutions.

    Wind farms run into NIMBY-ism. Solar is a poor source of electricity (it's more useful for hot water generation, which is not where the research dollars are going). Nuclear is a great answer, but obviously has it's own risks. Hydroelectric power causes its own environmental damage. Harnessing tides is a great idea, but will take decades to properly build out. Conservation can only take us so far.

    Solving our energy problems requires a mutli-pronged "attack", it's naive to think that we can only solve it with alternative fuels, at least in the short term. We have to allow responsible drilling.

    Of course, the current administration has been anything BUT responsible ...

    ===============================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Do You Care About Energy Exploration Near Our National Parks?   5 years 41 weeks ago

    With our energy usage, it is impossible to drill our way out of the energy crunch. Facts are facts and I do not want to destroy what makes our natural world so wonderful to get the costs down a few pennies at the pump ! I do not want to live in a world devoid of beautiful natural settings with its wildlife.

    Logic tells us two things. First, we have to learn to conserve (if we have continued the push to increase auto fuel economy after the crunch in the 1070s, we would be much better off today....why are standard light bulbs still made....do you really need a 5,000 + sf house). Secondly, we have to develop renewables that will not destroy our environment and our way of life. Somewhere in the United States 24 hours a day, 7 ways a week the sun is either shining or the wind is blowing and the tides are always moving.

    Too many people hear just what they want to believe without listening to the facts. If we completely destroyed Alaska, Montana & Wyoming (heaven forbid !), it would be 8-10 years before we felt the small, short-term effects. Short-term solutions are not the solution. We need to buy into clean, renewable energy right now ! Solar, wind, hydrogen, tidal movement electric generation. It will not be cheap but it will be renewable and it will clean up our air & water without increasing our food costs and destroying some of the most beautiful places on our earth.

    We sent a man to the moon people, the United States of American can do this ! We can develop new methods without destroying our environment and our way of life ! We must do this NOW ! This is is solution I want......This is the solution I demand !

  • Do You Care About Energy Exploration Near Our National Parks?   5 years 41 weeks ago

    more drilling won't completely solve the problem but I am in favor of responsible exploration.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Sad that so many are so vehemently against fellow citizens exercizing a Right. I pray that a day comes when gun ownership/posession is an unremarkable thing. The fear of guns and those who posess them is insanity bred by an incessant media equating guns with crime. Fact is millions of times a year guns are used and enjoyed for the shooting sports, hunting and self defense with no issues and no one getting hurt.

    All these statics are making my head swim. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I understand what gun laws are supposed to do, but when are we going to figure it out.......it's obviously not working. The only that has happened is morre law abiding citizens are left defenseless by well meaning gun laws meant to keep criminals from being criminals. The simple fact is that intricate gun laws only turn otherwise lawabiding citizens into criminals. That's not what America is about.

    Lets have some trust in the American Citizen. Our government was set about on freedom. Because others don't feel comfortable with a firearm being present, does not mean that other should be neglected their Rights.

    Blood will not run in the streets, drunken gunfights will not happen, protected game will not be poached and gun owners will not play policemen waving a pistol around........it will be a non-issue.

  • Prescribed Fire in Grand Canyon National Park Now Out of Control   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Evidently a bit of sarcasm can be lost on some folks.

    Yes, the undergrowth that clogs the forest floor is required to be removed, whether by nature's hand or by the attempts of man to "regulate" the environment. Funny thing is that until man decided he knew better of ecological concerns that did Nature, no prescribed burns were required at all. Nature took it's course, sometimes more violently or extremely than we would prefer but the task was accomplished over time. Thick undergrowth is what encourages extreme fire events. The less we allow Nature to burn, the more intense the resulting "natural" events will be. No genius or advanced degree required to reach that conclusion.

    Forests will burn, just as waterways will flood, sands will shift and shorelines will erode. Maybe am alternative solution is to limit or restrict encroachment such that these situations aren't immediately deemed hazardous to the burgeoning local populations.

    For all we like to believe we are worth, there is no direct correlation between years of experience and expertise. There are numerous instances, and my chosen field of scientific research is not immune to this phenomenon, where years of experimentation and mountains of data are misinterpreted, thereby rendering all the "experience" in the world to yield flawed theories. In short, just because we've been prone to following a certain "rational" line of thought for years doesn't mean it's the correct path upon which to continue practicing.

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Bob - take heart. You can always visit Marys Nipples, Utah; Janies Nipples, Idaho; or Mollys Nipples, Nevada. The USGS has not changed those names yet. (And why are they all in the West?)

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Academics are so predictable. You can't resist intellectual temptation. You claimed, that you didn't want to know - I showed you the link - and you had to check it. With knowledge just one click away, there was no way you could have resisted.

  • What do People Take Home from a Visit to Gettysburg National Military Park?   5 years 41 weeks ago

    I can't be sure, Jim, but I strongly suspect that the trees you saw were some of those slated for clearing needed to restore the sightlines of the July 1863 battlefield. The Park Service planned to remove trees (some? all?) from nearly 600 acres (that's almost one square mile) in the park. Plantings were also scheduled -- about 165 acres of orchards and about 65 acres of thickets present in 1863. Perhaps someone out there can tell me whether all of this has been done already?.

  • What do People Take Home from a Visit to Gettysburg National Military Park?   5 years 41 weeks ago

    The park, like other military parks like nearby Antietam or the Battle of Little Bighorn, have an especially creepy feeling about them. You feel the death around you; that's a large part of why I like them. They are true reminders of the devastation of war.

    Another thing I noticed once hiking in the woods of the park was that a lot of trees were slated to be cut down - not sure why - that was about 5 years ago. In those woods, however, you will run into monument after monument, giving you a real sense of the troop movements, or even what it was like simply to be a unit in reserve.

    It's all very spooky, which is exactly what a park like this should be. And, like the parks I mentioned, the area is very pretty - making the amount of death all the more cause for pause - death and beauty forever intertwined.

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

  • Florine and Hirayama Regain the Nose Route Speed-Climb Record at Yosemite National Park   5 years 41 weeks ago

    A remarkable feat indeed but Mark Wellman and Mike Corbett's El Capitan climb in 1989 was more stunning. Mr. Wellman being a paraplegic was being hauled up with arduous physical unionism with Mike Corbett to the top of El Capitan in phenomenal execution strength. Unmatched so far in human spirit and strength!

  • Yellowstone National Park Sees Record Visitation in June   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Unfortunately, we don't have a demographic breakdown of the numbers. From my recent visit, there seems to be a lot of foreign visitors taking advantage of a weak dollar. One I talked to about the price of airlines said it was nothing because the dollar was so weak. I'm also seeing more people from Canada than I'm accustomed to seeing talking about their travels to the United States on their blogs. However, domestic visitation also seems to be strong. You have to recognize that the number of locals visiting are also rising - look at this; Gallatin County is one of the fastest growing places in Montana. The population of Bozeman alone is up almost 40% in this decade alone. The entire county is now up to 85,000 people - that seems to be the case outside of the park area in general. That might have some small but significant effect as well. At the very least, there are more places outside the park for people to stay - as a result.

    One wonders, though, whether a decrease in the price of gas would have no effect or whether numbers would be that much higher - or are numbers at the carrying capacity of the lodging able to support it. I do know I had no problem finding camping last weekend in the Tetons - so perhaps it could grow higher.

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

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Darn it, MRC. I TOLD you I didn't want to know! :-)

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   5 years 41 weeks ago

    As to why the name of the mountain has not been changed to Denali: the Ohio Congressional delegation, home of McKinley, has long objected to the name change. This link provides a good synopsis of the name issue at Denali. http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/l/loewen-lies.html

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Well Bob, please check this link to see if you are right.

    http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=gnispq:3:::NO::P3_FID:1124605

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Gotta love that U.S. Board of Geographic Names. They do a great job of vetting place name changes. My favorite Board decision was the renaming of a western place called Whorehouse Flats, which is now called Naughty Lady Meadow. At least that's the story as it was told to me. I don't want to know the real story, whatever that may be. Can't let the truth get in the way of a perfectly good tale.

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Another mountain that has recently tried to have its name changed is Mt. Clay in NH. In 2003 the NH State Legislature passed a bill changing the name to Mt. Reagan; however, the USGS won't even consider any feature named after a person until they are dead for 5 years, and even then it is up to them to change it on their maps if they want to. The AMC has already stated they have no plans to change the name of Mt. Clay on any of their maps either.

    Talk about the bureaucracy of the American Government...

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   5 years 41 weeks ago

    Wikipedia claims that the Alaska Board of Geographic Names changed the name of the mountain with the park in 1980, only the U.S. Board of Geographic Names at the USGS kept McKinley on their maps. Congress is not involved in naming geographic features - at least not officially.

    And to give the Board of Geographic Names the due credit, they name a whole lot of alternative names in their database:

    http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=gnispq:3:::NO::P3_FID:1414314