Recent comments

  • You Won't Find This On Your Hook....   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Several of the nearby public schools sections in Wyoming have the same stratum exposed and are leased for commercial fossil quarries. Back in the 1980s, the University of Utah's undergraduate course in evolution had a field trip to a quarry the first weekend: you could give each student a block of rock and a screwdriver or chisel, let them split off layers (or varves), and guaranty that they'd find at least 1 fish. That helped get their attention for the rest of the quarter. Grad students volunteered as van drivers: lots of distant relatives got fish fossils as inexpensive Christmas presents! One year we found a complete skate (ray), which became property of the state of Wyoming (as do all scientifically significant finds in the quarries).

    There's also a huge coal strip mine a few miles south of FOBI.

  • Eradicating Everglades Pythons Will be a Formidable Task   5 years 44 weeks ago

    I don't want to shift the subject, but based on the prior comments, I am beginning to conclude that their are only 2 answers to every control issue. License and ban. For us to be successful in any endeavor, we must stop wasting resources by simply piling on more laws and procedures that must be followed. This approach feels like we are doing something, however, the number 1 law is that you do not release exotic animals into the wild. Anyone willing to break that rule, would be willing to break any other rule put into place. All of the new rules will only waste resources on getting the people who would be responsible anyway to jump through more hoops. This does not stop the irresponsible ones. Sure there are some responsible owners, who accidentally loose their snake, but that number is most likely so small that it is irrelevant. Much like the similar issues with gun control, every dollar that is spent and every minute that is spent, tracking, licensing, controlling, legitimate owners, is time and money that is not going to eliminate the bigger problem. 1 person in an office processing forms and collecting money, would be much better spent in the field working on capturing, and killing the snakes.

  • Eradicating Everglades Pythons Will be a Formidable Task   5 years 44 weeks ago

    In an earlier article on "How Big Pythons Can get" I posted a link to video footage of a 50 foot Burmese Python in captivity. It's head is as big as a medium sized dog! My comment didn't get past the moderator however since it directly conflicted with his ridiculous assertion that there were only 40 foot Pythons even back in the day of Prehistorically huge animals. Therefore, I won't bother going to the trouble of finding the link this time since this post probably won't make it past this "throwback to the days of Stalin"-style moderator (but you can Google "50 foot Python" to find it readily enough). Enjoy your life controlling everyone's access to the truth there Mr. Moderator! As long as history agrees with you right?

  • Take Care if You're Visiting Alaska National Parks, As Bears Aren't Being Bashful   5 years 44 weeks ago

    One of the most interesting things I did when I lived in Alaska was to go to a bear symposium, and hear wildlife experts discuss bear facts. A number of myths were also debunked. Did you know for an example that bears can actually be attracted to pepper-based bear spray? that is why you never use it as a so-called "repellant" before a potential bear encounter, and why you get out of the area quickly after using it. Bears also have social interactive skills, so if they are around multiple bears, they act better. In other words, bears who are around many other bears, can often be safer to people than a bear who lives in an isolated area with few or no other bears. Brown bears are intelligent, and sensitive, and can test something new or intiguing within its home range. They love tents, salmon cook-outs on the beach, and berries. Guns are worthless in bear country, for normal outdoor visitor use. That is because you become overconfident, and a gun won't stop a brown bear in time to prevent contact anyhow.

    Ben Lord

  • Take Care if You're Visiting Alaska National Parks, As Bears Aren't Being Bashful   5 years 44 weeks ago


    -- On storminator's point, we had black bears in the Brooks Range that would pursue you unrelentingly. These was very different behavior than I'd come to expect from the brown bear of VA mountains. These black bears in the Brooks Range seemed to be scavengers, and I supposed they had succeeded in getting food from people who used the alpine lakes as drop-off and pick up points. But I don't really know. Just that those black bears did appear threatening, while the brown bear in the vicinity seemed to go out of their way to avoid people. They would just slide away, most of the time.

    -- On Ray Bane's point about camping away from a place a bear frequents, I wonder if that bear had in fact regularly used that island where the archeologists were camping. From his point of view, the archeologists would have been the interlopers.

    I'm no expert at archeological practice in southern Alaska, but from what I do know I believe that the archeological sites and the prime bear habitat are often the same place. Bears are attracted by the same things that have attracted human use over the millenia: great fishing, hunting, gathering or all three. Maybe the island had long been a place of human habitation, AND bear habitation. Perhaps someone could tell me, but is it not possible that a single bear could have been highly territorial toward that specific place?? It seemed to me that the bears of Katmai were driven by habit, but again this is not extensive experience, but it is my experience.

  • Eradicating Everglades Pythons Will be a Formidable Task   5 years 44 weeks ago

    In 2007 Florida passed legislation that named the Burmese python, four other large constrictors, and the Nile monitor lizard as "reptiles of concern.” In January a new Florida law went into effect establishing that python owners must obtain $100-a-year owners’ permits and have microchip IDs installed under the skin of their python pets so they can be owner-identified if they end up lost, strayed, or stolen. BTW, the albino Burmese python that killed the little girl in Sumter County, Florida was reportedly unlicensed.

  • Eradicating Everglades Pythons Will be a Formidable Task   5 years 44 weeks ago

    One step to limit people from releasing non-native species such as the Burmese Python into the wild would be to make it very difficult for people to acquire breeding animals. If the pet stores or licensed breeders could only sell sterilized animals to the public then that would of course slow any spread of snake , in this case, colonization. It is not a cure but a step in the right direction. Understand, I don't claim to be an expert and this is just an idea.

  • Survey Results Label the French as the World’s Worst Tourists   5 years 44 weeks ago

    I'd agree that some of the French can be hard to take, especially considering that if we hadn't pulled their cookies out of the oven twice, they might all be speaking German now.

  • More Low Water Woes at Lake Mead – but This Isn't the Worst Drought on Record for the Lake   5 years 44 weeks ago

    I'm with Dave and Ray on this one. Anonymous sounds like the one who's been brainwashed by the con men &
    politicians selling limitless growth. Desert irrigating civilizations since before Babylon have historically collapsed due to salt accumulation in their soil and overgrazing of headwaters. Where are the biblical cedars of Lebanon, and just how are our own 'make the desert bloom' schemes going to end differently?

    More is not sustainable, and "ultimately" may be sooner than we care to think, maybe even just around the economic corner.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angel's Landing   5 years 44 weeks ago

    The NPS "allows" people to climb Mt. McKinley and El Capitan too. It is up to ANYONE and everyone to determine if it is for them.

  • Survey Results Label the French as the World’s Worst Tourists   5 years 44 weeks ago

    It absolutely matches my experiences. After 12 years in the NPS in four parks, I can't tell you how many times a shrug and "I'm French" were the response to warnings about out-of-bounds camping, boats speeding in no wake zones, cars speeding on park roads, approaching bears/wolves/bison/thermal features too closely...you name it. Recently we received a complaint from a French gentleman calling us "socialists" and "communists" because he couldn't ride is mountain bike and drive anywhere he wanted, anytime he wanted. A Frenchman calling us socialists? Ha! And yet we can't even visit their country and ask a question in English without being treated like dirt.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angel's Landing   5 years 44 weeks ago

    I hiked Angel's Landing less than two weeks ago (July 2009). My boyfriend made it through the first short section of chains and decided to call it quits. I was determined and set out on my own. I nearly didn't make it to the top myself due to the combination of conditions - heat, fatigue and fear. Thanks to the encouragement from a young and energetic couple, I was able to conquer the challenge and make it all the way to the summit. An amazing thrill and accomplishment! What the hell was I thinking?!?!?! So very glad I made this hike but I won't take that chance again. Since returning home I have considered this hike quite a bit. I become anxious and nervous just thinking about it now. I commented there on the trail and I've told this to my family and friends - I am shocked the Park Service allows ANYONE to take this hike. However, I'm not sure the right thing to do would be to shut it down. This is an experience I will treasure my whole life. I do think that more explict sings that detail the danger and deaths that have occured there would be a smart addition. I am appalled to read in these posts that someone saw a parent on this trail with an infant on their back. That's something I simply couldn't watch! This hike is a serious undertaking. And, it's worth every treacherous step. Know your limits and respect gravity!

  • Take Care if You're Visiting Alaska National Parks, As Bears Aren't Being Bashful   5 years 44 weeks ago

    I lived in Alaska for 20 years. Brown bears are dangerous up there. If you go into the woods, be prepared. This is actually more common place than you'd think by that article. Brown bears charge very often in Alaska. Several of my friends have been charged while fishing on the Kenai River.

    They have a lot of competition for available food. They are very territorial. Bears have even returned to the city of Anchorage with the restocking of fish in the city creeks and river systems.

    Every black bear I ever ran across in Alaska seemed way more afraid of me than I was of it. If you're out in the wilderness of Alaska- be well armed. Browns are to be very wary of and respected.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 44 weeks ago

    While I can see all sides of this issue, and agree with Beamis about environmental misanthropy, I must defer again to Ed, the desert anarchist, and his suggestion of placing a sign at the entrance of national parks that reads:

    HOWDY FOLKS. WELCOME. THIS IS YOUR NATIONAL PARK, ESTABLISHED FOR THE PLEASURE OF YOU AND ALL PEOPLE EVERYWHERE. PARK YOUR CAR, JEEP, TRUCK, TANK, MOTORBIKE, SNOWMOBILE, MOTORBOAT, JETBOAT, AIRBOAT, SUBMARINE, AIRPLANE, JETPLANE, HELICOPTER, HOVERCRAFT, WINGED MOTORCYCLE, ROCKETSHIP, OR ANY OTHER CONCEIVABLE TYPE OF MOTORIZED VEHICLE IN THE WORLD'S BIGGEST PARKINGLOT BEHIND THE COMFORT STATION IMMEDIATELY TO YOUR REAR. GET OUT OF YOUR MOTORIZED VEHICLE, GET ON YOUR HORSE, MULE, BICYCLE OR FEET, AND COME ON IN.
    ENJOY YOURSELVES. THIS HERE PARK IS FOR people.

  • Latest Pastime of Yellowstone National Park Bison: Human Tossing   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Yellowstone ain't Disneyland and those critters aren't audioanimatronics! It is always amazing to me the way some visitors seem to leave common sense at the entry gates. Last year we were parked by the side of the road along w/a few other visitors watching (from safely inside our vehicles) a grizzly digging grubs about 25 yds away down a slight hill (again, we were in our truck w/the windows up). Lo and behold, walking next to our truck comes some doofus w/his about 9 yr old daughter to get a closer look. I rolled down the window and said "Sir, that bear is only about 25 yards down the hill". He rolled his eyes at me and made a dismissive gesture and kept on going out of my view. Lo and behold, 5 seconds later, here he comes backing up slowly with his daughter held behind him. No harm done, Mr Bear was much more interested in grubs, but honestly! When at Yellowstone, I give ALL the creatures, great and small, alot of respect and space.

  • More Low Water Woes at Lake Mead – but This Isn't the Worst Drought on Record for the Lake   5 years 44 weeks ago

    With all due respect, Anonymous, growth is the underlying dynamic that ultimately undercuts sustainability. As is becoming increasingly evident, infinite growth in a finite world is impossible. Mother nature is reminding us that we test her limits at our own peril.

  • Young Girl Drowns in Middle Fork of the Kaweah River in Seqouia National Park   5 years 44 weeks ago

    My 23 year old son witnessed this event. He feels terrible, as you can imagine. Our hearts go out the family and friends of the young girl. What a tragedy.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 44 weeks ago

    The idea of replacing cars in Zion Park with the tram car system was a dollar short and a day late if you ask me. I'm sorry it happened after my days of visitation to that park ended. I never found the saturation of visitors to that park to be enjoyable. I remember once when my "window of opportunity" to visit Angel's Landing passed me by. It was around 8am and had I stopped to chat with some hikers just before the final climb, I was quickly overtaken by a busload of french women that were right behind me. I stood to the side making room as about 50 women hiked by, grateful that I wasn't going to share that precarious precipe with all of them, plus the hikers I'd already seen go up! It would have been like a crowded bar, except there was a 1000' drop off on all sides! Many of the hikers were young, inexperienced, and ill mannered in hikers etiquette. It was unsafe in the extreme.
    Same deal when I went to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Absolute pandemonium on the hiking trails. Way overcrowded trails with the occasional mule pack going by making you have to suddenly squeeze against the side of the already too narrow trail... hundreds of feet straight down if anyone lost their footing. Many of the female hikers were wearing high heels!

    Anytime you're letting that many of the general public into a confined area at the same time, you are going to have huge traffic management problems, just as if you're at a parade, the zoo, etc. That many people are like a herd of ill-mannered cattle. I'm happy to see that they've turned Park visitation into a highly profitable venture, but they should manage visitor traffic as well as the visitor/wildlife interaction. There are lots of accidents waiting to happen on those trails.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 44 weeks ago

    To quote Kurt Repanshek:
    "The overriding question that we as a society have to reach some consensus over is how we want the National Park System managed, and not just for today but for tomorrow. Do we value flora and fauna that are finding it harder and harder to survive outside national parks due to increasing urbanization and fragmentation of habitat? Would we rather have the parks turned into visitor-centric recreational playgrounds where we don't worry about the needs of plants and animals or the landscapes themselves?"

    The wording of these two possible alternatives de facto leaves only one choice. A less obviously biased choice of words such as "multiple use management" would lead to a more honest, open conversation about the real issues, rather than sidetracking the debate with the straw man of "recreational playgrounds." Personally I do prefer a middle ground weighted toward conservation, but the one-sided nature of this question is unnecessary and unhealthy.

    ...and the immediately following paragraph from KR:
    "And really, haven't we already created a system by which different public lands are managed for different purposes? After all, the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management long have managed their landscapes for multiple use, for both the birder and the dirt biker, for the cross-country skier and the snowmobiler, for the hiker and mountain biker. Shouldn't the National Park System continue to be managed with an emphasis on conservation and preservation, as well as enjoyment ... but with limits on what forms of recreation should be allowed?"

    This paragraph actually points out the advantages of each approach, and therefore is much more persuasive.

  • Take Care if You're Visiting Alaska National Parks, As Bears Aren't Being Bashful   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Based on the report, it would seem that the archeologists took reasonable precautions to avoid a bear conflict. However, we should wait for the final investigation report before jumping to conclusions.

    During the years spent living with and studying the subsistence practices of Native Alaskans one basic rule impressed upon me was, do not camp on a bear trail or near where bears may be feeding. The mere oder of food and human waste can draw bears. I have seen bears dig up a buried cesspool shredding the log crib. The buildup of human waste near a fixed campsite can attract bears and other wildlife. Faint odors that humans cannot detect can be picked up by bears literally miles away.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 44 weeks ago

    The article would seem to imply that park managers are encouraged and rewarded when it comes to restricting visitor access and activities. That is rarely the case. Park managers who attempt to protect park resources and values, in part, by more closely managing visitor uses frequently face strong political and bureaucratic pressures to be more lenient. Properly managed parks should allow visitors 100 years in the future to see and experience the same resources and settings that gives today's visitors so much pleasure.

  • More Low Water Woes at Lake Mead – but This Isn't the Worst Drought on Record for the Lake   5 years 44 weeks ago

    I just heard from a reliable source that all the concessions at Echoe Bay Marina will be closed by the Park Service around September 1,2009. Is this a fact? Thanks, Jay Lavorne,Logandale,Nevada

  • Reader Participation Day: Are Park Entrance Fees Fair?   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Fee's are just another form of Taxation..The only thing sure in life is death and taxes.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 44 weeks ago

    I worked one Summer in 06 as a volunteer in Yosemite NP, for the most part the people working there are very nice and helpful, however I did find a lot of the Paid Rangers, if they had it their way would be happy if they could block the roads off and allow no one into the park. It would make their jobs much easier. Afterall then they would not have to do traffic stops on people doing 60 in 35 speed zones, they would be able to relax instead of having to scrape someones body off of the rocks at the foot of a cliff, they would not have to put down a bear that in the process of defending her young did away with an offending tourist.
    It's like the one lady that asked me what did we do with the bears at night? When I said nothing, she replied don't you lock them up at night? Get real people this is not a Disney Movie.

  • Comment Now: General Gun Regulations for Areas Administered By the National Park Service   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Brief background on myself:
    59 y/o raised in the country, had guns since I was 14 years old. I was a hunter at one time, now I do my hunting with camera. Ex-military, served in Vietnam, Former Scout Master, avid outdoor person hiking backpacking and canoeing. Do I carry a weapon? Yes. Why? for self-protection, From what? the two leg beast that inhabit our world. Am I a chomping at the bit killer? No. Have I ever used my weapon (other than war) No. Would I use it? Yes if it meant protecting my life or a loved one's life.
    Have I ever carried a weapon into a National Park? Many times, but I keep it out of sight.
    I for one am glad that you can now legally carry a weapon into Parks.
    Some people are scared to go into a National park, some love to visit, some people are too stupid to be allowed out of the house and put their self in the way of danger. Natural Parks are just that natural, you are in the animals home, not your cosy little home. Get real people this is not Disney World, that's not Bambi and Yogi Bear. The fact is you are at more danger walking down the street of some big city than you are in a Park.