Recent comments

  • Jon Jarvis Finally Nominated to be Next Director of the National Park Service   5 years 46 weeks ago

    "Since starting his National Park Service career in 1976 as a seasonal interpretive ranger..."

    Sweet. Someone from the trenches made it! And an interpreter no less!

    But what about this tidbit:


    "It is not in the public interest for BLM to approve plans of development for water-cooled solar energy projects in the arid basins of southern Nevada, some of which are already over-appropriated," Jon Jarvis, director of the Park Service's Pacific West Region, wrote to the BLM director in Nevada.

    In a way, I'm glad he opposed the solar plants, but not for the reasons he opposed it; I don't want to see any more government-granted monopolies on public lands; he's doing it to save tortises, which seems noble.

    I just wonder where all this magic solar power is supposed to come from if we can't generate power in the southwest because of solar power's environmental impacts.

  • Campground at Joshua Tree National Park Closed due to Swarming Bees   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Sorry anonymous #1; our posts crossed.

    I would bet a case of beer against a single bottle that it is regular honeybees (Apis melifera), just a swarm of workers following new queens trying to establish a feral hive. However, there is enough of a mixture of Africanized genes from hybridization in the Imperial & Coachella Valleys, so especially for feral bees there isn't such a clean distinction.

    The NPS reports to the local newspapers explicitly state "non-aggressive" bees: http://www.sbsun.com/news/ci_12789576

    JOTR has a very good new chief of resources, so I trust what they report.

  • Technology a Key in 3 Recent Rescues at Yosemite National Park   5 years 46 weeks ago

    pkrnger, that is an absolutely fascinating article about one of the most accomplished SAR guys in the parks. Thanks for sharing.

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Well said Jim. Thank you.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Toddler Dies After Drinking Citronella Oil at Chickasaw National Recreation Area Campsite   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Parent's Responsibility. Period.

  • Technology a Key in 3 Recent Rescues at Yosemite National Park   5 years 46 weeks ago

    During last year's Yosemite Ranger Reunion, we learned that some members of the famed Yosemite Search and Rescue team are highly trained academics, like MIT physicist and Park ranger John Dill. Ranger Dill is known to have used mathematical probability analyses based on Bayesian statistics to find lost hikers and downed aircraft in difficult terrain.

    Last October, a special US Dept. of Interior Distinguished Service Award was presented to John Dill for his outstanding efforts in Yosemite Search and Rescue covering decades of service:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/10/30/MN3Q13ME7B.DTL

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Campground at Joshua Tree National Park Closed due to Swarming Bees   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Interesting follow-up tomp! Thanks for the in put.

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Anonymous -

    You're on target about coal and similar energy sources. Yes, I realize we can't move totally away from those sources immediately, but we need to be moving more quickly than has been the case so far.

    Far too much time and human energy is being wasted debating the truth or fiction of global warming and climate change, and the result is a stalemate on any meaningful action on other problems arising from the extensive use of those energy sources.

    I'd suggest we focus instead on recognizing that our continued fixation on oil and coal is continuing to erode our economic health, national security, and physical health. From that perspective, global warming and climate change are not the central issues, so let's set that debate aside and get busy solving the known problems arising from our current energy situation.

    Will changes be easy? No, but they won't get any easier if we keep putting them off.

  • Campground at Joshua Tree National Park Closed due to Swarming Bees   5 years 46 weeks ago

    And, temporarily eliminating camping should eliminate water sources, as only rarely does JOTR get any summer rain.

    The other issue is native bees versus honeybees & Africanized honeybees. The boundary of the Mojave & Lower Colorado (subdivision of the Sonoran) deserts, which passes through JORT is a hotspot for native bee species diversity. The native bees are mostly solitary, ground-nesting bees that don't need sources of liquid water (and don't swarm). The honeybees need water, and in the presence of water can out compete the native bees for pollen & nectar. Native bees decrease for at least 1km around golf courses and watered yards in the Coachella Valley.

  • Campground at Joshua Tree National Park Closed due to Swarming Bees   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Quick question:What specimen (or types) of bee is being accounted for. Not killer bees...right? I hear the killer bees are definitely moving northward. Part of the global climate change in the making.

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 46 weeks ago

    As far as I am concerned, Greenpeace improved the looks of Rushmore. Our government defaced a beautiful mountain to make this monstrosity. To call this an NPS unit is terrible. The only consolation is that (I think) this is part of Mt. Harnish (sp?), an honor given to one of the key people in the killing and resettling of native Americans.
    If Greenpeace had hung this banner from Halfdome or El Cap, I would be upset.
    I have taken my family to a number of national parks, but do not ever plan to return to Rushmore. I respect the presidents "honored" there, but that has nothing to do with destroying a mountain to carve faces into it.

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Geez, look what the coal firing plants are doing to China's environment. Gasping and choking populace that's on the verge of dying from all kinds of respiratory diseases. Look what the auto pollution is doing to the climate health of the Los Angeles Basin in California...the increase of respiratory diseases among young children and the elderly. Nothing to sneeze or cough at. I'm sure the gas and oil industry lobbyist (and executives) could careless about the environmental health of this nation...accept for the bottom line.

  • Traveler's Checklist: Buffalo National River   5 years 46 weeks ago

    MikeD -

    Unfortunately,you're correct about the website. For most small and mid-size parks, website maintenance is an "other duties as assigned," and results are very spotty.

    The park's Current's newspaper can be downloaded from the park website, and has a lot of information that ideally would be on the website itself.

  • Toddler Dies After Drinking Citronella Oil at Chickasaw National Recreation Area Campsite   5 years 46 weeks ago

    It is so sad the loss of a love one, but blame can not be put on the Parks for parent’s negligence. Parents must be responsible for their kids at the camp site Drinking and Kids do not MIX

  • Traveler's Checklist: Buffalo National River   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Thanks. Their web site is largely nonexistent but it sounds like a rather cool place.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Actually there are visitors centers for Grand Staircase. A friend and I hiked Cottonwood Canyon last autumn and stopped in at the BLM's Cannonville Visitor Center to check on road and canyon conditions (there had been a drowning a few days before due to flash flooding). The VC had a small museum, maps, a gift shop, etc. very like a national park center.

    If you check out the BLM's website for Grand Staircase, other VCs are listed as well.

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Coal is the future....plain and simple
    .

    Coal is attractive to politicians, utility companies and some consumers because it is a comparatively cheap fuel from domestic sources – and those qualities all make for good sound bites in our current situation.

    Unfortunately, the industry's "clean coal" ad campaign is a classic oxymoron, at least as coal is currently being used. There are major costs in human and environmental health associated with the continuing (or expanded) use of coal; this is a classic case of "pay me now or pay me later."

    Set aside the endless debate on whether global warming and climate change is real or imagined, and consider the other impacts of burning coal (and other fossil fuels) with existing technology: in addition to air quality issues, and those impacts on problems such as respiratory disease, there's the insidious but serious problem of heavy metals such as mercury released by burning coal. This is a problem that unfortunately receives little attention.

    Can technology be developed to burn coal in a way that is not detrimental to our health? If so, coal has real potential. Efforts so far have been inconsistent and as best I can determine, ineffective – and the added cost required to make coal truly "clean" may make it a lot less attractive to those who are only interested in the short-term bottom line of the cost of producing energy.

    Experience in the past 4 years in Texas confirmed to me that most utility companies (and many politicians and state regulatory agencies) have no interest in "clean" coal technology - they're only looking for a quick fix for cheap, domestic energy.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Some wonderful ideas have been posted here.

    -- re: transfers from the US Forest System: Admiralty Island

    -- re: Rangertoo's point on american composer-musicians: John Coltrane's house, already qualified as a National Historic Landmark, in Philadelphia

    -- re: Cultural impact: Harriet Tubman's complex in Auburn New York, of house, hospital, church and social services. Not only was Tubman a spy during the Civil War, and a major force and inspiration on the Underground Railroad, but she then continued her tremendous work in Auburn. These sites also already are and/or qualify as National Historic Landmarks. A bill is pending before Congress for a park for Tubman in Auburn (where she received an invitation to settle from Secretary of State William Seward), but also a park in Maryland. The problem with the Maryland designation is an absence of qualifying historic structures, or specifically identifiable sites. But we need the Tubman site in New York if this key story about America is to be told properly.

    -- I really want to second Michael Kellett's recommendation for a multi-state national park encompassing the Chesapeake Bay. It needs to be constructed through partnership with multiple landowners, similar to such landscapes as national parks in the United Kingdom.

    -- With the same partnership model as the Chesapeake, the Blackstone River Valley in Rhode Island and Mass., with its many hilltop colonial villages and valley early industrial villages, also needs to be designated as a national park. Distinctive ways American's live on distinctive landscapes is as important to America as to other nations in the world, and should be so recognized here as well. Instead of being frozen in time, such places can demonstrate continual environmental improvement and the cultural emphasis on what makes a region special over time.

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Coal is the future....plain and simple.

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 46 weeks ago

    "As for the Earth warming, that remains to be seen. (The global temperature anomaly in January was 0.00 deg. C., the trough of the solar cycle.) There are some who are also critical of computer models that make very general predictions based on some flawed data sets. But go ahead and discredit those criticisms as being based from "CTT"s; nice ad hominem, attacking the source rather than the claim."

    If climatologists really aren't in doubt about global climate change, let alone anthropogenic climate change, then the "claims" to the contrary being made should withstand the vetting process of peer review. They tend not to. While I don't worship at the altar of science, I think at least the scientific process is the best thing we've got going in terms of what's truly fueling climate change. However, there is no such checks and balances process in the open market, and anyone may print anything at any time that may sound good but ultimately be pernicious. All sorts of ideas may be promulgated, true and false. When it comes to climate change, I am no expert, and neither are most of us. It sounds simple enough to look at graphs and draw conclusions, but it seems to me that the earth is such a complex system that matters such as climate change tend not to be so simple to our (untrained) eyes as we might think. Thus, I am highly skeptical (how about that!) of people who are not trained climatologists telling me what's happening to the earth (or, more accurately, saying what's not happening to the earth). If this errs me on the side of "bowing down to the liberal elite academic experts," so be it: we all must bow to something here. At some point we must take a "leap of faith" to trust in some truth. For the skeptic, that leap is to the "I don't know" position, which simply requires distancing from the argument.

    With some notable exceptions, most folks crying "foul" are lawyers and economists (and it is further sad to me that the division of pro/anti climate change seems to happen strongly along party lines). Lawyers and economists certainly have the freedom and right to do this (it's a free country), and they may or may not have good arguments (i.e., just because they are lawyers and economists doesn't mean they don't have good arguments). But while you're suggesting I'm simply diverting the issue by casting an ad hominem argument against CTTs and not addressing the issues themselves, I think it is a significant issue that an (largely) untrained, extremely well-funded movement has the clear goal of obfuscating the public so that any kind of legislation that helps the environment (and even smells anti-free market) gets slogged down by specious counter-claims that sound good but ultimately are quickly shaken off by those who study this stuff as their life's work. The environmental skeptic movement is far, far better at idea dissemination than are scientists. I disagree that I'm making an ad hominem argument here, but if I am, at least it seems extraordinarily relevant to me that there is a clear agenda on the part of CTTs and this is fueling much of the environmental skepticism movement and casting a very distinct light on the arguments they foment.

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Greenpeace is nothing but a bunch of media hams masquerading as environmentalists. Any steps which help the environment have resulted from members of real environmental organizations doing the real work.

  • Traveler's Checklist: Buffalo National River   5 years 46 weeks ago

    I love the Buffalo. We use to go there all the time for canoe trips when we were kids. I haven't been in years. Maybe I'll plan a trip sometime this fall or next spring.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 46 weeks ago

    How about a thread for suggested historical or cultural additions?

  • Update: Presidio Main Post Won’t Be CAMP site   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Here's the photo on Yelp. They've done a pretty nice job with it. Over the door they've got the standard lettering used around the base, rather than their own logo. It's a nice touch.

    http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/k4m6f3xsxlfZD0OoPKp_cQ?select=_UnZlVCvHxvfmtNoxpvVdQ

    If you go in there, they still have many of the original signs there, including the ones pointing out the dairy section or where the bakery used to be. One of the park rangers (Rik Penn) there used to be stationed at the Presidio when he was serving in the Army, and he seemed to think a retail store was an appropriate use of the former commissary.

    The location is spectacular. It's right across the street from the redone Chrissy Field wetland area. There are sweeping views of San Francisco Bay, the Marin Headlands, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

    I really don't see it as a terribly good location for a high-traffic museum though. The parking is adequate for the current occupants in the area (Sports Basement and a storage rental) but a high-traffic museum would swamp it. I think the area around the Parade Ground was considered prime because they've good oodles of parking there. The connecting roads wouldn't be able to handle that kind of traffic.

  • Yosemite National Park Returns To Square One on Yosemite Valley Plan   5 years 46 weeks ago

    There's likely nothing they can do about the motorcycles. For the most part I've found most bikers going through national parks to be pleasant and friendly, but the sound of Harleys just sort of ruins the experience for me.