Recent comments

  • Roped-Together Climbers Die in Fall On Mount McKinley in Denali National Park and Preserve   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Boy does that suck. One mistake. Game over.

  • Should the Jackson Hole Airport Lease Extension Wait for Safety Audit?   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Prior to either wholeheartedly dismissing or supporting the delay, I would think that a compromise could be included in the renewal requiring the safety audit be performed.
    As for the unusually high rate of "accidents" (apparently mostly running off runways), did the findings in those instances find the problems with the airport, or simply pilot error? Weather at Jackson Hole is notoriously poor in the winter (ski season), and planes often divert to Idaho Falls. Flying in poor conditions is much harder than driving in them, and we certainly shouldn't fault the airport IF the errors lie elsewhere, and shouldn't hold up critical funding unnecessarily.

  • With 391 Units In the National Park System, You'd Think TripAdvisor Could Find 10 It Liked   5 years 42 weeks ago

    I do have to support Kurt's concept that TripAdvisor aught to be giving the public accurate information about what types of public land sites they are visiting. I mean really, you can't come up with 10? Or at least give the article a different title. Like the government doesn't have enough problems educating the public on which public land they're on. Conversely, Kurt seems to infer that if you don't have the title "National Park" after your name, you're less valuable. I don't think Congress intended that nor the people who championed the creation of many of these special places in our country. To dismiss an area as not being "as special" simply because of some verbage certainly negates the point of the National Park SYSTEM. Let's look past the big Y parks and realize there are a lot of beautiful and important places in this country that aren't call a national park. Just my two cents...

  • National Park Mystery Photo 6: A Movie-Goers Special   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Let's close this one out. Vinn was in the ballpark with "The Incredible Hulk," but the 2008 superhero film with that title didn't have an arch cameo. It was the 2003 Ang Lee-directed film "Hulk" (aka "The Hulk") that had a Double Arch cameo (sharing that distinction with "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.") The Double Arch action in "Hulk" has Hulk jumping off the arch (at the 103-minute mark). About two minutes later, Hulk is chased by helicopters around the sandstone bowl at Delicate Arch, which is also in Arches National Park.

  • Surprise Tour Bus Inspections at Yosemite Yield Disturbing Results   5 years 42 weeks ago

    My first time to Tunnel View was great--for the first five minutes. Somehow, I hit a lull in traffic and my girlfriend and I had the view practically to ourselves for a few minutes; then a tour bus pulled over and unloaded dozens of Japanese tourists who noisily snapped dozens and dozens of photos as the bus idled and overwhelmed the viewpoint with exhaust before noisily reloading and pulling off, a cloud of diesel belching from the tailpipe.

    The NPS should regulate buses in national parks. I'll go one step further and call for their outright ban.

  • Surprise Tour Bus Inspections at Yosemite Yield Disturbing Results   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Retired? God, I wish! But seriously, there's no need to get bent out of shape over my comment.

    But just in case I haven't yet made Kurt mad too, here's some real nitpicking:

    Kurt said:

    Yosemite receives approximately 3.5 million visitors per year, with approximately 250,000 arriving on a tour bus. The large majority of tour bus passengers are international visitors from countries such as Japan, Korea, Germany, and England. Many of these visitors come to Yosemite in conjunction with visiting other parts of California.

    It is a primary concern of the NPS in Yosemite that these visitors are safe during their travels in the park.

    (Emphasis mine)

    When I read this I figured the first bold "these visitors" referred to the subject of the previous sentence, "the large majority" of International travelers. It would follow that the next bold "these visitors" in the next sentence also refers to the same group, thus Yosemite's primary concern is the safety of International visitors. That seemed odd, given that I thought we were talking about unsafe buses, not whether Yosemite was risking the harming foreign nationals in particular.

    Call me an old curmudgeon (I'm 35 and giving unsolicited critiques of Kurt's writing is just a pleasurable hobby), but I'm still wondering how these International visitors are relevant to a bus safety article. :-)

  • Roadwork In Sequoia National Park to Snarl Traffic For a While   5 years 42 weeks ago

    This is one of the worst stretches of roads in any national park; something like 130 curves and dozens of switchbacks in just 9 or so miles. I'm getting queasy just thinking about the trip on this road in the back of a government minivan; we had to pull over for me to loose it along side the road. Seen it happen to countless others along that stretch. And with construction and the fumes! NO way!

    Were it me, I'd just drive around Grant Grove, Kings Canyon, and Giant Sequoia National Monument and leave the Vomit Comet for the strong-stomached.

  • Surprise Tour Bus Inspections at Yosemite Yield Disturbing Results   5 years 42 weeks ago

    I give up. Some people have retired and have absolutely nothing to do but nitpick peoples' comments to death, putting words and meaning where none existed.

    There is absolutely no difference as to whether it is American citizens killed and maimed in a bus accident, or if it is international travlers who are killed and maimed in a bus accident. The reason I said international travlers is because the last two big accidents in California that killed and maimed their occupants were busses hauling international travlers. That is the ONLY reason. I did not in any way mean to infer it was more tragic than if they had been American citizens.

    So go ahead and pick this comment to death now, as this is my final answer.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 42 weeks ago

    If i understand your reasoning correctly it is that since out of three trips you have not needed a gun, therefore you will never need one. I went hiking in New Mexico and saw two bears in one day, and a third later on in the trip. This was during 7 days in the mountains more than 30 miles from any civilization. Im not sure how you feel a gun will only "piss the bear off" but your little can of pepper spray is going to do the trick. If you wore your seat belt to work three days in a row with no problem would you stop wearing it? Consider the fact that a person is far more likely to be injured by a bear than they are to be shot while attending church, but look what happened. If not for an old lady exercising her rights more people would have died that day. The fact is carrying a weapon is a RIGHT. People carry them and the hope to god they will never have to use them, but when the time comes, whether it is in defense from man or beast they are ready. When you come across a bear chewing someones leg off i hope you have the fortitude to run up there with your pepper spray and give that bear a good shot in the face.

  • Surprise Tour Bus Inspections at Yosemite Yield Disturbing Results   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Indeed the same and i will respond again. I have no objection to inspections but let them occur where they should - on the highways and bus terminals not our National Parks. There is no reason to foul our Park experiences with vehicle enforcement matters. If our Parks become know as a haven for surprise bus inspections - buses won't go there. - Hmmm, perhaps its not a bad idea afterall.

  • Surprise Tour Bus Inspections at Yosemite Yield Disturbing Results   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Why is it relevant that a majority of users are international travelers (mentioned in the article and again by Dottie)? Is it a bigger PR disaster to send a busload of foreigners over a cliff than a busload of Americans? I would think we'd want to ensure the safety of everyone in the parks, not just visitors from other countries.

  • Surprise Tour Bus Inspections at Yosemite Yield Disturbing Results   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Annonymous #1 and #3 - I assume you are the same annonymous person. Maybe you are overreacting in this particular instance. I should think busses everywhere have specific guidelines to follow if they intend to keep their passengers safe, and I am sure you read in the news every year where busses have crashed either because the safety issues on the vehicle itself was not up to par, or the driver was not up to par. Why does this particular inspection bother you, beings as it is not a "person" being investigated but a "thing"?

    I truly doubt inspections on the busses (as you also normally see 18-wheelers being inspected in State inspection stations) will lead to taking your fingerprints at the park entrance gate. You are building a scenario in your own head that is way out of proportion to what took place - a bus inspection, for pete's sake! And in reference to my last ending remark - it was an obviously needed inspection.

  • By the Numbers: Memorial Day Weekend at Yosemite National Park   5 years 42 weeks ago

    It seems as if not much has changed over the decades. On Memorial Day weekend 1970, crowds and gathering of Bay Area youths in campgrounds and meadows were such that a precursor developed to what eventually became the infamous Stoneman Meadow Riot of July 4th, 1970. It was very much a mess then too. Later that summer, the traffic was eliminated from the east end of Yosemite Valley and the main roadways were converted to one-way traffic.

    Managing the number of cars and the conjestion of visitors for an optimum experience is a major NPS challenge in Yosemite. I hope the falls were at least full and thunderous.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Glacier Bay National Park Issues New Cruise Ship Contracts   5 years 42 weeks ago

    We'll just have to wait an see, aren't we? Ten years is not much after all and I think this decision is for the best. The park needs to be protected, the sooner we start taking measures the better. As a tourist I wouldn't feel good to know that I harm the environment with my traveling.

  • Jon Jarvis Nomination As Next Director of National Park Service Imminent   5 years 42 weeks ago

    I'm looking forward to having an NPS Director with a very strong natural resources background.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Park History: Obed Wild and Scenic River   5 years 42 weeks ago


    I'm glad to see you commenting on National Parks Traveler. This is a great forum for reaching out to others interested in the fate of our national parks.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Surprise Tour Bus Inspections at Yosemite Yield Disturbing Results   5 years 42 weeks ago

    ~Some~ park usage needs to be discouraged, anonymous. Some possible park users need to be discouraged too. Utopia it ain't. Isn't that why citizens now must be able to carry weapons, to protect themselves from some users (and usage)? (Not that I agree with that, personally.)

    If unsafe large transportation vehicles are an issue outside of the parks, then they are certainly an issue inside of them. It is sad that the passenger's experience must be marred, but buyer beware.

  • Surprise Tour Bus Inspections at Yosemite Yield Disturbing Results   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Then I suppose you will like be patted down for weapons, drug tested, or fingerprinted every time you enter a park as well. All those actions as well as bus inspections have a purpose. To do them in the Parks, however, can only damage the Park experience and discourage Park usage.

  • National Park Lodging Concessionaires Creating Their Own Stimulus Plans   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Very well said, Kurt !

    Quite a few of the units, should be either private or run by other entities. To me, National Parks are so very special and should be well staffed and taken care of !!!
    It waters down all of them with the pet projects that become National Parks. If we do not get the "National Park house" in order, we may well lose so many things that make them exceptional and in no other place in our nation.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 6: A Movie-Goers Special   5 years 42 weeks ago

    "Amazing and beautiful place. Utah does a magnificent job with all of their parks."

    *Snort* Thanks for the compliment of our National Parks, but please don't pay it to the state of Utah, which, by my experience, would just as soon see racing ATV's jumping through the arches, as oil wells work in the foreground.

  • Park History: Obed Wild and Scenic River   5 years 42 weeks ago

    The site supervisor/chief ranger/superintendent position there (not sure what they are calling it these days) is currently being advertised on USAjobs. It was attractive to me until I read that it is not a "covered" law enforcement position. I guess law enforcement rangers need not apply. Oh well. Wonder who the two current field-level law enforcement rangers report to, since by policy mandate they must work directly for a chief law enforcement official? Why do I think that I would not be surprised at the answer (Policy? What policy?) Anywho, thanks, Chance, for a good article.

  • Surprise Tour Bus Inspections at Yosemite Yield Disturbing Results   5 years 42 weeks ago

    In Yosemite, when NPS does their inspections its not only for the visitors/travelers BUT it's also adhering to the federal law. When I worked for concessions in the park, there were several crashes that happened in Wawona, Glacier Point & in the valley (we never heard anything about Tuolumme) but because the visitors don't' hear about them, doesnt mean that it doesn't happen.

  • Park History: Obed Wild and Scenic River   5 years 42 weeks ago

    This little jewel of the National Park System is still very vulnerable. More than 32 years have passed since the Obed National Wild & Scenic River was authorized, .... yet almost 20% of the area within the authorized boundary remains unacquired and is badly threatened by oil wells, logging, and especially second-home development. Land and Water Conservation Fund appropriations are badly needed to complete acquisition of the river corridor.

    For further information (including a brochure "How the Obed got saved from being turned into a reservoir and became a National Wild & Scenic River") contact Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning at

  • National Park Mystery Photo 6: A Movie-Goers Special   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Thanks for the clarification, MRC. And thanks for being patient with me, GregS. One of the really neat things about administrative access to the Comments section is that I can go back and edit out some of my own dumb remarks. But alas, I can't go back to Double Arch. As I've said, I've never visited Arches National Park -- at least not yet.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 6: A Movie-Goers Special   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Bob, you really should go to Arches NP again sometimes. The Double Arch is only a few hundred yards from the Windows.,-109.5347&spn=0.011858,0.015879&t=h&z=16