Recent comments

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    @ Zebulon-

    I would bet that the NPS managed lands are such a minuscule percentage of the overall public lands that I don't think you lose out by not being able to mountain bike in National Parks.

    I am a mountain biker, I live in an area with tons of mountain biking opportunities but little equestrian and the trails (wilderness) that don't allow bikes are not as shredded as the ones that allow biking (non-wilderness.) Let me say this again, I mountain bike and love it. I'm all for trail development but feel there is a time and place for everything.

    Having run trail rehab programs via a nonprofit and put in a lot of hours rehabilitating trails myself (read: sore back, blisters and sweat...), I feel that I can comfortably say three things:

    1) Mountain bikers don't show up to work on the trails, even when heavily recruited (at least around here)
    2) Trails that allow mountain biking need more maintenance than those that don't.
    3) Trails built or maintained to IMBA standards need TONS more work than those employing USFS standards.
    4) The new generation (which I'm part of) of mountain bikers doesn't really slow down or tolerate walkers/runners/hikers/families on trails (around here) and gets upset when they have to slow down or pull an earbud from their ipod out to have a quick exchange with those not on a bike. I think hikers don't enjoy mountain bike trails because they are always having to jump out of the way. Say what you want, but you must not be riding fast enough to see where the conflict and disrespect comes from. I get mad when I have to slow down and then rebuild my cadence...

    As such, I also don't see where the money to pay for these trails is going to come from other than sucking away funding towards rehabilitating/maintaining what is already there.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    The Wilderness is closed to bikes not for any kind of logical reason, but simply because the ultra enviros managed to get the administration to close it. There is no inherent reason why bikes can't be used in wilderness other than the Sierra Club hates biking. Simple as that.

    I would argue that is is closed to all sorts of mechanized use for very logical reasons. The wilderness designation was created to permanently set aside protected areas that could provide opportunities to completely get away from mechanized society. It has nothing to do with ultra environmental groups, and everything to do with preserving a place that helps provide contrast to how we live our lives.

    I disagree that it is just going to be a matter of time before these rules change for wilderness. The more mechanized our society gets the more important it will become to protect wilderness (and there are some very strong groups who support that viewpoint).

    Finally, biking may grow in popularity during the future... however I seriously doubt that will eclipse hiking (an activity that requires no special equipment and no monetary investment)

    P.S. You are right when you say that there are no inherent qualities in the wildlands that makeup Wilderness that prevent any activity. The qualities (that prevent improper use of Wilderness) were in our society's ability to recognize the importance of pure, untrammeled, and unmechanized spaces and their growing importance to our society.

  • The Confederate Victory at Brices Cross Roads Did Little to Help the Confederate Cause   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Wow, I never heard of this battle, but I am from Maryland, so we tend to focus more locally. Thanks for the post script. Very interesting; incredible, really.

  • Secretary Salazar Calls for Review Of Gun Rules in National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I'm not sure, if I get your intention right. Do you expect us to provide eye witness accounts of bluff charging to assure you that the NPS does not simply makes this animal behavior up in their:

    * Bear management glossary of Denali National Park
    http://www.nps.gov/archive/dena/home/resources/Wildlife/Bearmgmt/Glossary.pdf

    *Backcountry trip planner of Yellowstone NP
    http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/upload/bc_tripplanner9-08.pdf

    * Bear encounter advice of Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP
    http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/bear_encounters.htm

    and the
    * Bear fact sheet of Yosemite NP
    http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/bears.htm

    Or those scholars in their unreliable scientific publications like
    * Jacobs, Schoeder of West Virginia University: "Managing brown bears and wilderness recreation on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, USA" in: Environmental Management, Volume 16, Number 2 / March, 1992 p 249

    or on some other species:
    "Inhibition of social behavior in chimpanzees under high-density conditions" in: American journal of primatology 1997, vol. 41, no3, pp. 213-228 (1 p.1/4)

    But hey, if you need eye witness accounts, I can provide you with one or two. I witnessed a female moose bluff charging a tourist in gaudy clothing, who ventured too close to the moose's newborn in Yellowstone NP, just outside of Norris a number years ago. It was a fantastic situation to encounter a newborn moose calf making its first steps and while I observed and took some photos with a 300mm telephoto lens, this idiot walked in to take a portrait of the calf with his compact camera and a 35mm wide angle. We have to be glad he did not use a flash. On the same trip a buffalo took an aggressive stand against another tourist, ready to charge any second if anything more had happened.

    Is that enough for you?

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Keep Wilderness and National parks backcountry trails for animals ie. human; horses; and of course wild animals!!!

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    The NPS knows what it is doing at Muir Woods, Zebulon. Experience shows that if you let visitors wander around off-trail, they walk round and round and round those big redwoods. The result is dead trees. All of that tromping compacts the soil around the tree roots, eliminates vital air pockets in the upper root zone, and severely inhibits the downward movement of moisture. Fortunately, there are other plenty of other parks where you can go off-trail without endangering redwoods.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    The Wilderness is closed to bikes not for any kind of logical reason, but simply because the ultra enviros managed to get the administration to close it. There is no inherent reason why bikes can't be used in wilderness other than the Sierra Club hates biking. Simple as that.

    It's a matter of time, but hikers are aging and the kids are biking. Guess what will happen in the next 20-30 years when bikers are the majority? It'll be too late for me but not for my kids. In the meantime, there is always night riding. :)

    On a separate note, I took my kids for a hike last week in Muir woods. I was quite amused to see that the vast majority of the visitors were sticking to the paved trails by the creek (nice, flat and covered with asphalt). So much for enjoying the great outdoors, I guess. :)

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Enough?
    Well lets take Washington state, in fact lets narrow it down to the Wenatchee National Forest alone.
    Here they will find 2,500 miles of trail to play on with their toy.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    i don't know as long as they pass the back ground check it seems ok to me but again old Yogi bear being smarter then the average bear (addicted to picnic baskets) could turn to armed robbery to feed his habit. Freedom is always a too edged sword!

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Maybe living in the west, where public lands that are open to hundreds of miles of rideable trails are open to all is gives me skewed viewpoint... but aren't there enough places where people can mountain bike?

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    If that ain't a great caption, I don't know what is... :-D

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Kurt, I believe you've come to the same place I have with this issue. By & large this debate is almost irrelevant as it would appear from the comments left over the last 6 months by those in favor of concealed carry in the parks, that these people will and do carry their concealed & loaded weapons into the National Parks regardless of what the law actually is. It seems to me at this point to be a really frivolous point as to whether it's legal or not. At least that's what I gather reading a large majority of the posts by those in support of the rules change.

    Now, I would like to thank those who do support the rules change, but don't currently break the law against carrying loaded weapons in the parks for their integrity & respect for the rules as they stand.

    As for arming the Bears, I would much rather see them supplied with unicycles, juggling pins, & russian vodka! Drunk Bears with handguns, now that's something to worry about!

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Well, I can forget about a caption contest. I don't think anyone can surpass the genius of RAH.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    " The right to arm Bears! "

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I was active in the push to get Wilderness Areas in the early 1970's and considered myself a conservationist and enviromentalist. But since then the extreme positions of the enviromentalist have left me behind. So I still consider myself a conservationist but not an enviromenatlist. So yes " enviro" is short for the extreme anti human slant of "enviros" that want to eliminate the human part of parks and other activities.

    So gulity as charged. But I blame my own preferred method of horseback riding for trail damage rather than bikes or human hikers.

    I think a solution is a mix of multiuse trails and specific use trails to handle all the methods of travel on trails in parks and forests. Wilderness areas are restricted as to the use due to fragile conditions.

  • Secretary Salazar Calls for Review Of Gun Rules in National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I read hear about "bluff charges" personally I think any animal that chooses to charge a human is dangerous and does not show the proper fear and respect that a human should engender. I have read multiple stories about people hurt and killed by bears and the increasing number of black bear attacks.

    Now if I charge an animal I certainly expect that animal to defend itself, like wise with a human. What I would like to know among the posters here who talk abouth the commonality of bluff charges, is have they ever had that happen to them?

    I live in the east and bears are not common but are slowly moving into the Washington DC area. More counties in theingwest are having increase bear populations and intrusions on property and homes. Most of these the bear is run off. If a bear makes it a habit he is relocated or killed. This is not on park grounds. In Shenadoah the campground Big Meadows used to have the dumpsters out and people would watch them in the 1970's. We still did not have a problem with hostile encounters. Later NPS decided that was a bad idea and took away the dumpsters.

    I have been camping in parks and have seen the bear damage and the bears in campgrounds after dark. They chased some campers away. Since we had dogs and this was state park with excellent trash removal at 8 pm in WV, we did not have any trouble with bears trying to get into the coolers in the cars. I have found that the skunks will also be wary when you have dogs with you and not be as ambitious to intimidate in order to get food. Skunks and bears are creatures of habit , if they find food they came back.

    However in the Smokeys and other NPS parks on the east coast the rangers never talk about " bluff charges". Mostly they say make noise and try to scare a bear away. Most bears avoid humans and vice versa.

    So I have read about the tendancy of a "bluff charge" out west but if a bear attacks me I think it is too late to realize it was bluff. It would be difficult to tell if a bear or cougar charges the intention are truly hostile or not. They are too strong to allow them closer than 5 feet and that is still too close.

    I would take my chances with dogs charging but a bear is too big to and once they strike you may be too damaged to defend youself. pepper spray is the preferred method of scaring off a bear.

    I have no desire to hurt any animal but why should I allow a bear or cougar to harm me? Now the rarity of animal attacks does not require that I have to have a gun with me. But my main concern is the rare risk of human rather than animal predators. The human predator is a higher risk in wild forests and parks.

    If I am in an area that has a higher tendancies of dangerous animals and I am in the back country then I may want to carry a weapon but weapon carry is a hassle and I want the ability to choose to carry if I feel it is a better idea or not.

    Unless there is any studies that indicate the higher numbers of people shooting bears and cougars without need then give the evidence. Otherwise the argument that CCW is going to increase the number of shot bears seems to be a red herring.

    Alos please cite the " bluff charges" and if any here has expereinced that.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    All of this is terribly confusing, Kurt. Just when I got used to being called a "bunny-loving tree-hugger" or an "unresconstructed hippy-dippy ecofreak," now I have to know whether I am an "environmental wacko," an "econazi," or perhaps just a plain old "enviro."

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    "Birth right to pedal in wilderness," Zebulon? And "ecotrailnazis"?

    "Enviros", RAH?

    Equestrians are "ignorant of what they do," Losdog?

    "Most hikers and equestrians simply dislike mountain bikers," Scott G?

    I sense a trend here...there's certainly a lot of animosity out there, whether it's spouted by pro-hiker or pro-biker or pro-equestrian. If this were California, there'd probably be a call for a support group;-)

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I am an equestrian and I have to agree that the damage that horses do to trails is severe. The hooves just tear up trails. Though I do clear brush. I have ridden for years on private land and the only trails that are created are by esquestrians. Some hunters use the trails in the fall but no one else because most people do not know they exist. I have only ridden in Gettysburg NPS and not in any other park due to the drive considerations. I do not like towing a trailer up mountain roads as that wears out transmissions and brakes fast.

    However I have ridden on trails that bikes and motor trail bikes use and the surface left by the bikes is great. It creates a level path that is very firm. Nice to walk or ride a horse on. I have found bikers to be courteous and we get off the trail for them and vice versa.

    So I can only guess the animus toward mountain bikers is because hikers and esquestrians do not want to share the trails. I think that more recreational use of parks is better for Americans as it increases revenues. The enviros seem to want to prevent most recreational use of parks from snow mobile and mountain bikes and any new device that gets popular.

  • New Solar Power System Puts This Park in the Forefront of Alternative Energy Use   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I´ve been working as biologist in natural areas for 10 years in Brazil, and always thinking in similar initiatives in our country whom is blessed of sun during the year.
    I would like to known about agencies that sponsor similar projects in South America, especially to conservation areas.

    Thanks!

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    We have the same problem here with the equestrians. We have done over 3000 hours of trail maintenance since 2000. Most of it is to clear brush, because we live in Florida where everything grows so fast, but also to repair the extensive damage caused by the equestrians. And like every where else, they don't pitch in to help maintain the trails they destroy on a weekly basis. If it wasn't for the local mountain bike group, our trails would be closed to all because we are the only ones who maintain the trails. We encounter hikers, cross country runners, equestrians and families using the trails and all but the equestrians thank us when they see us busting our tails on foot cutting back thorns, bushes, and smoothing out the trenches dug out by the equestrians. The equestrians have 2 major equestrian parks and other places to ride at so why they choose to ride on a trail that is not designed for them with tons of snakes to boot is beyond me.
    To conclude we now have permission to build inside of a State park, sustainable single track where none currently exist. We are in there blazing miles of single track not just for mountain bikers to use but for everyone to use. this is going to create miles of trails for people to hike on and enjoy the state forest and they are happy because now they can advertise these new trails for potential hikers and campers and draw more people to the state park, equestrians included. But do you see any one else out there helping? no. Just us mean old mountain bikers who also tend to be hikers, campers, and equestrians (or in my case my daughter is an equestrian so I know, intimately, what goes on in their world).
    so in the current economic conditions, I say it is in the best interest of the parks to open up access to mountain bikers to create revenue because we pay more than entry fees; mountain bikers tend to do a lot of road trips to places we can ride. Our group does a road trip every month to places other than where we live. so we bring money for fuel, hotels, restaurants and other things.
    So please share the trails. we are not there to destroy but to use responsibly. I'm sure the majority of equestrians don't intend to do what they do but are truly ignorant of what they do (I hope-no one can be that mean could they?) and I think that is setting in because now the local equestrian group has contacted us and they want to help do trail maintenance so it's a start. we can coexist. so let's start and see where it goes.

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 43 weeks ago

    The economic crisis is taking a toll on recreational travel. Over the past couple of decades most people lived it up, including purchasing and using mechanical outdoors toys (snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, jet skis, 4-wheel drive monster trucks, etc.). The crash of the economy is reverberating throughout our country, including the recreational industry. Perhaps people will rediscover their legs and the soul cleansing value of silence. All indications are that this is going to be a long haul before the economy bottoms out and begins to recover. Even then we may never regain the extreme heights of consumerism that characterized the past several years. And that just may not be such a bad thing.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Interesting.

    Those who argue against mountain biking due to "trail damage" should be fighting tooth-and-nail to get horses off of the trail. In my neck of the woods, the horses leave the trail looking like it's been carpet bombed after they ride through. Our mountain bike club has to work continuously to undo the damage they cause to prevent serious erosion problems.

    I've been involved in hundreds of hours of trail maintenance over the years, and I can count on one finger how many times we've had assistance from equestrians (or hikers for that matter). They contribute very little from what I have seen other than clipping overhead limbs and leaving them in the trail for others to pick up.

    Nonetheless, I don't see any mountain bikers trying to kick them off of the trail.

    Let's be honest, this is all about the fear of user conflict and nothing more. Most hikers and equestrians simply dislike mountain bikers.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Why don't people just say it? We (hikers, equestrians, whatever) don't want to share the trails funded by the taxpaying public and would like to keep the trails to ourselves. Instead, they make up all kind of illogical arguments to support their claim. It's rather pathetic. I'm a mountain biker, proud of it and hate hiking (but certainly don't hate hikers). One day, we'll reclaim our birth right to pedal in wilderness. We just have to wait for the current generation of ecotrailnazis to die off. :)

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I have been following this rule change proposed by the Bush administration closely. I am an avid hiker that has had some bad experiences with mountain bikers. All rules state bikers are to YIELD to hikers and both to yield to horses. I am deaf and have had harrowing experiences with speeding bikers going side by side that I am unable to hear coming up behind me. I usually jump off of the trail to let these maniacs pass. I actually try to find hiker only trails if possible. The out of control bikers and dogs off leash really create major problems for those of us that just want to hike and enjoy the great outdoors. This can be a frightening experience for those of us that do not hear.