Recent comments

  • Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park   5 years 45 weeks ago

    We have reservations in Yosemite starting this Sunday. Have they reopened Camp Curry yet?

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 45 weeks ago

    No cigar, I'm afraid. The four-letter code for Noatak National Park & Preserve is NOAT.

  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial Vandalized   5 years 45 weeks ago

    this is horrible...

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Dear Beenthere and Bob:

    My guess is that "NOAA" is the code for "Noatak National Preserve," the largest park system unit in the administrative collective called the Western Arctic National Parklands.

    Noatak is distinctive as the largest, largely intact river system, including a vast number of tributaries, in the National Park System, although the upper Noatak is actually in Gates of the Arctic NP (intended to encompass mountain systems), and most of the rest in in Noatak (intended to be a valley park, or a watershed).

    Kobuk Valley is the National Park in this Western Arctic collective. These parks should each be managed by separate superintendents.

  • Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Time to move the "camp". (Aren't camps supposed to be temporary?)

  • Don't Forget Buffalo National River When You're Looking for Fall Foliage   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Charlie -

    Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you've had a chance to enjoy the Buffalo, and that you got to see it before quite so many others "discovered" the area.

    You're correct - many of the local residents, especially those who owned land that would become part of the park, weren't in favor of the idea when a park was proposed.

    I had a lot of contact with a number of those folks during the years I worked at the Buffalo, and I can honestly say that while some of them still weren't happy with the government, they didn't take it out on me as an individual. We made quite a few friends in the area, and had chances to talk about the changes. By the time I moved there in 1986, a lot of locals had come to accept the park, and realized that if it hadn't been established, it was likely that the area would have been flooded under the waters of yet another man-made lake. Under that scenario, the park was definitely the better choice for people who had lived there and used the river for years.

  • Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Mother Nature is devastatingly gorgeous.
    Would have been something to see!

  • Don't Forget Buffalo National River When You're Looking for Fall Foliage   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Thanks for the memories.
    I grew up in Mountain Home, Arkansas (about and hour and a half east of Buffalo River) and canoed and camped along the river in the early to mid 1960's.
    I believe this was during the discussions of making the river a National River. Many of the local residents along the river were opposed to the idea of big government taking over 'their' river.

    Thanks Again

    Charlie

  • Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Thank goodness this did not happen in July or August when Camp Curry is packed!

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Beenthere, you really can't blame Traveler for thinking that NOAA is the four-letter code for Western Arctic National Parklands. The URL for the Western Arctic National Parklands homepage on the publicly accessible Internet is http://www.nps.gov/noaa/ (try it for yourself) and there is no such URL as http://www.nps.gov/wear/. Perhaps you could explain?

  • Wyoming Congressional Delegation Pushing Interior Secretary To Move on Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan   5 years 45 weeks ago

    "I also wonder about the longevity of snow coach use within the park. If and when snowmobiles are outlawed completely, snow coaches will find themselves squarely in the crosshairs of the same groups that oppose snowmobiles, and the battle will begin anew."

    Good point; but wouldn't it be nice for a change for the Park Service to be able to go to court and say, "We made our decisions based on years of scientific study by both our own internal scientists AND independent study groups, recommendations from the EPA AND public comment after public comment (not just from locals, but from Americans in general....each and every one of whom own Yellowstone); rather than going to court and saying, "We made this decision because this is what a handful of powerful politicians and local business owners want"? I kinda think they would win.
    Yellowstone belongs to all Americans, not just to a handful. The Park Service has a responsibility to protect and preserve our parks; not only for us, but for generations yet unborn. Our parks were never meant to be amusement parks, nor were they ever meant to be places that the common man could not afford to visit. In the winter Yellowstone has turned into both. Even a quick ride on a snow coach into Old Faithful and back costs 140.00 a person! Heaven help an average family of four trying to rent snowmobiles and a guide for the day. They need to take out a second mortgage! Skiers and hikers many miles from the road can still hear snowmobiles buzzing around, and best technology or no, if you are on the road when they go by you can't breathe for 20 minutes. I've been there. Half starved wildlife is unduly stressed at a time of the year when food is scarce and travelling only a few hundred feet in deep snow might be enough to sap their last ounce of strength, but people who are heading for the lodge, a hot chocolate, chef prepared dinner and a warm bed.
    I would be 100% percent in favor of helping out local snowmobile outfitters during a transition period from snowmobiles to snow coaches. Tax credits, low interest loans; even subsidies. These are just honest folks trying to make a living. They shouldn't be made to suffer. But neither should Yellowstone, her employees or her wildlife.

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Just another slight correction - the acronym for the Western Arctic National Parklands is WEAR, not NOAA. We refer to NOAA often in AK, but it stands for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (Or maybe you were thinking of the Northwest Ontario Archivists Association?) Great article, though. I wonder if they'll ever straighten it out?

  • Wyoming Congressional Delegation Pushing Interior Secretary To Move on Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Anon,

    “Huge Internal Combustion Fee”? Give me a break. Just what means of transportation do you employ on a daily basis?

    Every single good or service that you and I benefit from is carried on the back of fossil fuel burning devices, from the food you eat to the computer you use to blog. Gas is dead? Hardly. Even if a viable alternative to IC engines was announced today, it would take at least a decade for that technology to make it to the masses. Also consider the fact that if the next powerplant runs on any media other than a liquid, then the entire fueling infrastructure of the world will have to be retooled. Do you think that’s just going to happen overnight?

    Within that same scenario is the fact that we cannot just dispose of every IC powered craft on Friday afternoon and start with the new technology the following Monday morning. The vehicles, construction equipment, aircraft, ships, et al will have to be phased out over a period of time, probably measured in decades. Fossil fuels will be around until they are depleted, and will probably be replaced by a synthetic after that. IC engines will outlive us all.

    There’s an “Inconvenient Truth” for you.

    I’ve also grown weary of this whole “Addiction to Oil” mentality. To say this country is addicted to oil is akin to saying the human body is addicted to water. It is an absolute necessity, not something we crave.

    Am I for cleaner transportation technology? Absolutely. Am I for bettering the environment through reducing harmful emmissions? Without a doubt. But until we have a viable alternative, we must continue to use the best available modes of transport available to us, and not demonize them.

  • Assateague Island National Seashore Rangers Troll Internet For Big Catch   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Granted she was wrong. The comment regarding the ORV and that those fisherman should be banned from the beach - that's just plain ignorant. Banned from the beach???? What is this world coming to?

  • Wyoming Congressional Delegation Pushing Interior Secretary To Move on Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan   5 years 45 weeks ago

    @anon: IMO, a fee would send the wrong signal. If motorized recreational vehicles are detrimental to either the resources of a park or the experience of that park by other visitors (which is of course a resource in itself), then they should not be taxed, but banned. A high fee means: It is OK to endanger the park or diminish the recreation of others for your personal fun if you can afford it.

    And that is not only true for purely recreational vehicles. If should apply to cars as well. Shuttle buses (and maybe trams where applicable) should replace individual cars in a lot of parks. But that is a long term thing, because funding will certainly not be easy for the foreseeable future.

  • Assateague Island National Seashore Rangers Troll Internet For Big Catch   5 years 45 weeks ago

    i bet she drove an orv. THose orv fishermen should be banned from the beach!

  • Wyoming Congressional Delegation Pushing Interior Secretary To Move on Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan   5 years 45 weeks ago

    There should be a huge internal combustion usage fee for for recreational vehicles- boats, PWC, off road vehicles. Mercifully PWC are banned from ocean waters in the SF Bay area, where I live. We get along fine without them. Get a canoe, sailboat or a kayak, or a bike, or snowshoes, or skis. Gas is dead, and killing us. If you love speed get a race car, i'm totally cool with that. The wilderness is not the place for racing internal combustion vehicles.

    It's like base closings in the 90's- people screamed it was the end of the world, but once they closed things were not so bad, in many cases better. Once people know it's over they will adjust.

  • Valley Forge Development Gains OK   5 years 45 weeks ago

    It's really a shame that when the park was created that they didn't include more land. It's just way too tiny and the enormous hotels/traffic/noise/construction/homes/businesses/city life is already built up right to some of its borders. It is hard for my 4th graders to imagine the area as a battle ground when they are watching the chaos of the hotels in the background. Not to mention hearing the honking of car horns, the noise from the traffic of which there seems to be an uncanny amount...

    You have to go to Valley Forge to really understand what this fight is about. You are going to have to go and experience it, stand on the hill tops and walk the paths, in order to understand why building a museum and educational conference center and parking lots (which on the surface doesn't sound like a bad thing at all) really IS a bad thing.

    Normally I love museums and as a teacher I am all for them, but in this case the museum will do more harm then good, in my opinion.

  • Wyoming Congressional Delegation Pushing Interior Secretary To Move on Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Frank N, I second your motion !!!

  • Wyoming Congressional Delegation Pushing Interior Secretary To Move on Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan   5 years 45 weeks ago

    I personally would not hold my breath waiting for the DOI to act. While it is encouraging that constituent’s voices are being heard via their elected representatives, I doubt that their wishes will be granted. More legal wrangling is sure to follow.

    I also wonder about the longevity of snow coach use within the park. If and when snowmobiles are outlawed completely, snow coaches will find themselves squarely in the crosshairs of the same groups that oppose snowmobiles, and the battle will begin anew.

    A strikingly similar situation has already occurred in CHNSRA, in relation to Personal Watercraft, (PWC), useage. About 10 years ago, PWC's were effectively banned in the CAHA park unit through a series of rules that disallowed any beaching/launching from NPS lands. There are also limits as to how close a PWC can operate to the shoreline. All rules are stringent enough to basically make PWC use totally impractical. The really scary part of this ban is that any powerboat could be banned for the same reasons that PWC’s were. (2 Stroke emissions, noise, etc.)

    Zoom forward about a decade, and the same groups who sought the PWC ban are now attempting to remove vehicles from the beach, and in many cases foot-bound human access as well.

    If this is any indication on what is to come in Yellowstone, I fear for the future of any and all civilian motorized transportation within the park.

  • Wyoming Congressional Delegation Pushing Interior Secretary To Move on Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan   5 years 45 weeks ago

    One issue on motorized use outside the park - the travel plan for Gallatin National Forest has been all but struck down by a judge. There is a good chance that a lot of the national forests outside of Yellowstone will be managed more as wilderness areas. So, there may be a fair amount of restriction on snowmobiles - there already are on the wilderness areas north of the park.

    However, it would be extremely unlikely that the entire forest would be managed as a wilderness area. Areas along the Gallatin River are certainly in dispute.

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

  • Valley Forge Development Gains OK   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Mary Bomar, Director of the National Park Service, is the primary one responsible for this problem, more than the Zoning Board. She once had an option to buy the property, held for her as a favor by a friendly land conservation group. She surrendered that option which enabled the Valley Forge developer to buy this land for this disgraceful project .

    Even now, the National Park Service Director could be asking Congress for the money to buy the property, and is not. You know she knows better, because just a few years ago asked for millions to buy out the Toll Brothers development right next door, claiming it was sacred ground. If that ground was sacred, this ground is sacred. All is inside the park boundary designated by congress.

    Why have we heard not a word of support for Valley Forge from Director Bomar? Valley Forge is one of America's most sacred places, the birthplace of the American Army, and must be protected.

  • It’s Good to be the President When You Visit Gettysburg National Military Park   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Well, I do think the President of the US goes wherever he wants, BUT there are several more interesting things about this, AND, see at the end my plea for understanding of how this looks to the Average Park Ranger, that all, except perhaps the Secret Service insiders should be able to understand:

    1. The most interesting thing about this trip is that he did it at all, at a time when so many bad things are happening to America.

    2. The most intriguing thing is that he brought Gonzales & Rove and Hughes with him. WHAT WERE THEY DOING WITH THE PRESIDENT IN THE FIRST PLACE? Certainly, not just getting together to see Gettysburg. Gettysburg, as our Secret Service family member knows, is a stones' throw from Camp David, where secure conferences with the President occur away from Washington distractions.

    As everyone knows, Hughes seemed to be the one closest to Bush as Governor then as President most associated with the "compassionate conservative" persona, and more recently as an international ambassador to reverse Bush's low reputation in the world. A reputation caused by the unilateralism of Cheney and Rove. When Hughes quit the White House, Andy Card, chief of staff, committed truth when he blurted out that without Hughes in the White House no one would be able to control Rove. After a decent interval, Card, another centrist, got the boot.

    More interesting is the presence of Gonzales and Rove, both of whom many in Congress believe would be guilty of prosecutable high crimes except for the fact that President Bush is blocking all White House testimony by the most extreme interpretation of executive powers ever launched, and there is no time left to pursue the case through the courts to force testimony. Why go through all this if Rove and Gonzales are not guilty?

    Most Presidents would never be seen in public with such tainted cronies, even if they continued to rely on them secretly. This President is either deeply relying on them, or doesn't care anymore what decent opionion in America thinks, or is cooking up a defence-and-get-out-of-jail-free-card for Rove and Gonzales. This trip happened just before the new Atty General announced a report nailing major errors from Gonzales, and appointing a prosecutor to look into the case. I am imagining a pretty heavy-weight conversation at Camp David, using Gettysburg as a welcome break in the intensity, or more likely, a cover to divert attention from the main event. This way they get to say they all got together with the Education Secretary to get an educational experience.

    Just as Cheney does not get an automatic pass from Bush anymore to do whatever he wants, the President would need Karen Hughes there to tell him how to reflect on whatever Rove and Gonzales are telling him about how to deal with the Justice Department's report and subsequent investigation.

    Rove and Gonzales are no longer government employees, having resigned in disgrace, and Hughes having resigned with honor: presumably they don't get perked in theory. But in fact, you can bet the taxpayers paid for the entire trip because the point of the trip really was the conference at Camp David.

    3. It is often hard for Rangers or the public to understand why their leaders should not see the same world the private citizen sees. You will remember the outrage that accompanied the failure of the first President Bush to identify a bar code or its purpose. However unrealistically, most of us are simple (in the best sense) and want their leaders to be like them. To understand them.

    I was superintendent of a Park visited by a Secretary of the Interior, who presumably was in that state to look at oil and gas development prospects quite a few miles away. That Secretary brought a very young and attractive foster daughter/exchange student and a very angry wife. They brought no equipment or supplies. Essentially, it was a vacation, and park rangers ferried them all over the park, were required to show them how to wear the gear and try to teach them to fish and canoe and avoid disturbing wildlife. The wife spent a lot of time yelling at rangers about the inadequacies of the visitor center or park facilities, so much so that the Secretary several times had to interject himself to defend the rangers.

    There was nearly a mutiny from the park staff. Finally late one night I met with the rangers to hear their grievances. After listening, all I could say was a) the Secretary of the Interior and other VIPs need to see government facilities to understand how they work and why they are important. Even if it seems like a taxpayer-subsidized vacation. and, b) you are professionals. It does not matter what they throw at you. You can handle it, and that is why you are park rangers. They only grudgingly understood point "a" but point "b" got through to them.

    Along the same lines President Clinton used to fly his helicopter to Baltimore to see the Orioles play. He flew into Fort McHenry. It meant, on the spur of the moment, that that park was shut down, and visitors who may have traveled from Utah to see the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner, and this unexcelled symbol of American steadfastness and duty, were turned away from the park. I wasn't working there, but knew many who did. The rangers hated it. They thought it indulgent. They thought American citizens should not have the wake of the President so toss American citizens around, as if he were the Queen of England.

    My own thinking on this is, whether at Gettysburg or at Ft. McHenry, we must accomodate the President. BUT the elected officials should be sensitive to the feelings of average Americans, and take care to TRY to experience things, as much as possible, as normal people do. It couldn't hurt to pay the entrance fee, at the very least for Rove and Gonzales and Hughes.

  • Wyoming Congressional Delegation Pushing Interior Secretary To Move on Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Great idea. Let's put into place yet another winter use plan that ignores the law, the courts, the EPA, the Organic Act, science and tons of public comments. Then we can spend a few million more taxpayer dollars doing yet another study, which will be ignored; and having yet another comment period, which will be ignored. It's starting to feel like that Star Trek episode where they are caught in some kind of time warp and they keep living the same day over and over. Or maybe, just maybe, they could come up with a winter use plan that is actually in compliance with the law and with good science!? Then local ooutfitters could actually plan for the future with some degree of certainty. They could get on with converting over to snowcoaches. As compitition went up, prices would come down; and average people who cannot afford four or five hundred dollars a day to rent a snowmobile and guide, would actually be able to visit Yellowstone in the winter. Snowmobilers could still enjoy riding through thousands of acres of National Forest land outside of the Park (no guide needed) as they do now. Park animals would be less stressed. Park rangers would be less stressed. Skiers and hikers would find more quiet and pristine beauty, as well as fresh air. Yes, snowcoaches make noise and polute as well, but the big difference is that each snowcoach can carry upwards of twenty people; instead of having twenty individual machines racing around.
    Yes, Superintendent Lewis, let's do this one more time. But let's make this the last time. Let's do it right this time. Let's make this plan beyond reproach. Read the law and follow it. Listen to the reports. Stop chasing pennies of taxpayer money with dollars of taxpayer money. The American people need you (and the Park Service/Interior Dept.) to do the right thing, once and for all.

  • Turkey Hunters Appreciate Wildlife Habitat Preservation at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park   5 years 45 weeks ago

    I agree that the Pinnacle Overlook is spectacular, and have seen many, many wild turkeys in the Cumberland Gap area. I fail to see turkey hunting as a sporty hunt, though. They are fairly large targets, don't move particularly fast, are loud and easy to find... where is the challenge in that? Population control, obviously I can understand that, but really the turkey is not up on my list of really sport worthy hunting animals. I had no idea that the Wild Turkey Federation even existed. Learn something new everyday!