Recent comments

  • National Park Mystery Photo 4: What Cabin Is that Yonder?   5 years 43 weeks ago


  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 43 weeks ago


    Before you add your 2 cents there you might want to look at this.

    Attaching this amendment to the credit card bill was a convenience, not brilliant ploy and far from bullet proof. Your reporting of the vote on the credit card bill is correct, but it is way off base on the amendment. The House used a very rarely used option to split the votes on the credit card bill and the firearms amendment.

    House roll call vote:
    #276: Firearms Amendment , 361 For – 64 Against. Passed before the credit card bill! And the numbers!
    #277: Credit Card Bill : 279 For – 147 Against. Lucky, the credit card bill had enough support to pass too![/q]

    See A R Kane's comments on the May 21 for the full text. He writes a lot but he also backs it up. That's a nice change.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 4: What Cabin Is that Yonder?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    It reminds me more of Virginia, maybe Appommatox?

  • National Park Mystery Photo 4: What Cabin Is that Yonder?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Nope, and nope.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 43 weeks ago

    To Anonymous on May 25th 2009
    On your statement "The votes in both the House and Senate were overwhelming in favor".
    The cowards in the House and Senate hid this in the credit card bill, what credit cards have to do with loaded guns in the National Parks I do not know.
    If they were truely overwhelming in favor of this they would have let this stand on its own and not hidden in a unrelated bill.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 4: What Cabin Is that Yonder?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    The shutters indicate a coastal location...2 fireplaces...Acadia National Park..? Cape Hatteras ?

  • National Park Mystery Photo 4: What Cabin Is that Yonder?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    American Camp, San Juan Island WA.

  • Mud Snares 19-Year-Old At Cuyahoga Valley National Park   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Eaten would be fine. In the interest of fairness, we will also accept mauled, shot, stabbed, and abducted by aliens.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 4: What Cabin Is that Yonder?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Nope, it's not in Cades Cove. Want to try again?

  • National Park Mystery Photo 4: What Cabin Is that Yonder?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    My Guess is Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains NP

  • Valley Forge: Once Again A Battleground, This Time Pitting History Against Development   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Dear Anonymous:

    Unfortunately, the "educational" lesson by placing a museum on the undeveloped land -- inside the park boundary -- that they want to use will totally obscure George Washington's tactical brilliance as a General. Right now, with the land undeveloped, the visitor has the opportunity to understand the constant tension Washington kept the British generals in: by being right next to the River, but almost just within reach of British troops and logistics, Washington could always move just across the river to frustrate any British advance, and protect his own supplies at the same time. Washington did the same thing in Morristown, New Jersey when the British took New York.

    The only education opportunity for this proposal would be to combine the national park service collection with the ARC collection, and present them to the public TOGETHER in the ALREADY developed area SOUTH of the river. Building it on the north side would be a descration of the meaning of Valley Forge. Combined on the south, these two collections would be one of the largest collection of cultural materials from the American Revolution. Combined on the south of the river, the public would not be confused about how and where to access the park and learn the story of Valley Forge and the creation of the American Army.

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I don't think it's that challenging to effectively address the discrepancies, though. First, bikes yield to everything else on the trail, because they are fast, have a lot of kinetic energy, sharp points & rotating metal rods, and are poorly controllable under the circumstances. Dismount and remove the machine from the path, let people & horses by, then jump back on. Second, maintain traction at all times. Since bikes don't really have the ability to peel-out, or side-slip, this problem is really about going downhill too fast and then braking into a continuous slewing skid (a surfboard on gravel). Knock it off. Get off the bike and walk it down the hill, if it isn't possible to brake within the limits of traction. (Since we know the hills where the offending behavior will occur, it is easy to make a few busts.)

  • Mud Snares 19-Year-Old At Cuyahoga Valley National Park   5 years 43 weeks ago

    You forgot "eaten".

  • Yellowstone National Park's Wolf Population Down More than 25 Percent   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I would think the only justification for vaccinating a population of wild wolves would be the introduction of an alien disease into the ecosystem.

  • Fall At Haleakala National Park Kills Man And The Horse He Was Riding   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I spoke to a friend of the victim this morning. The rider was in relatively poor physical condition and needed to ride a horse to accompany a party of friends into the crater. We have had some rain recently, so the trail may have been slippery. Locally, the trail is known as "Switchbacks" and is a more primitive version of the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon. I have hiked the trail, and it does have steep drop offs along some sections.

  • Valley Forge: Once Again A Battleground, This Time Pitting History Against Development   5 years 43 weeks ago

    This development plan sounds like all the rest of the plans developers excel in as flim flam to make a buck. The museum sounds like a good idea, as education is a major part of creating the future, but the rest of it feels like a scam.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Mr. Repanshek.

    To imply that the entire National Park System has crime rates equivalent to those found in New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.,…

    I didn’t mean to, I didn’t use the ratios from NY or Newark or DC. I used the FBI UCR rates for the Western Region. That’s everything compiled from west of Texas. Seemed appropriate to me for this analysis. Had I used the Northeastern Region the numbers would have actually been lower had I used the cities in question they would have been higher.

    Well, I need to pack up my backpack, gear, and primary provisions for 10 days. I have a scheduled rendezvous with 2 old friends in a remote area of one of “The Ten Most Dangerous National Parks” and am looking forward to that. Not the early plane ride or the drive tomorrow or the long hike in the next, but everything else. It’ll be good to get away for a couple of weeks!

    Seems as though some of this should be over a beer… if your going to be inside the Beltway in the very near future let me know, if am still there I’ll buy. As a private citizen not only can I now be political but I get to choose where to live too, ain’t that a kick!

    Best Regards,

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Re: Kurt Repanshek.

    Frank, I knew you wouldn't disappoint me. So let me walk you through my thinking.

    I had not intended to get into this one but some of your comments just demand a response. So…

    Whether firearms are needed in the park, openly carried or concealed, is a non issue. NPS must comply with the laws of the land. This is about individual rights and has nothing do with crime or what’s her name not feeling safe or the ranger doesn’t like it. Open carry, concealed carry, or no carry- just a simple choice requiring no further justification. Whatever crime statistics or however many people don’t like it, not withstanding. Any other opinion now has no meaning.

    This new law is nothing special, anymore than the recent Supreme Court ruling, District of Columbia Et al. v. Heller (2009). There are many previous Supreme Court rulings relating to this issue. Just to citing the most notable ones-

    U.S. v. Cruikshank (1876) was the first Second Amendment case to reach the Supreme Court. The Court recognized that the right to arms is an individual right. The Court said in Cruikshank v. U.S. that the Second Amendment protects a right which existed even before the Constitution was written. The right to arms "is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed."

    By the way, they said the same thing about the First Amendment, the Court considered these rights pre-existing, thus they are not granted by the Constitution. Even if removed from the Constitution these rights will still exist!

    Beard v. U.S. (1895) The court approved the common-law rule that a person "may repel force by force" in self-defense, and concluded that, when attacked, a person "was entitled to stand his ground and meet any attack made upon him with a deadly weapon, in such a way and with such force" as needed to prevent "great bodily injury or death."

    Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1(1981 ) The Police And Personal Protection Police are under no legal obligation to provide protection for any individual. Courts have ruled the police have an obligation only to society as a whole.

    U.S. V. Verdugo-Urquidez (1990) The Supreme Court observed in U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez (1990) "`the people` seems to have been a term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution. The Preamble declares that the Constitution is ordained and established by `the People of the United States.` The Second Amendment protects `the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,` and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments provide that certain rights and powers are retained by and reserved to `the people.`"

    Perpich v. Dept. of Defense, (1990). The National Guard is subject to absolute federal control When federalized, it is not part of the militia. At other times, it is the "organized militia." At all times, the "unorganized militia" consists of other able-bodied males of age and certain other citizens.

    For those of you who do not know what the militia truly is see the US Code, Title 10, Subtitle A, Part 1, Chapter 13, Section 311.

    U.S. v. Emerson (2001), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said the Second Amendment protects an individual right to arms, with "limited, narrowly tailored specific exceptions . . . not inconsistent with the right of Americans generally to individually keep and bear their private arms as historically understood in this country."

    On at least two occasions in recent years the U.S. Supreme Court has invoked the Tenth Amendment to strike down federal "gun control" schemes, suggesting strong limitations on the authority of the federal government to restrict the possession and use of arms. Congress has no enumerated power to restrict the right to arms, and therefore has regulated firearms through its interstate commerce and taxing powers only.

    In the Gun Control Act (1968) and Firearms Owners' Protection Act (1986), Congress stated that it did not intend to "place any undue or unnecessary Federal restrictions or burdens on law-abiding citizens with respect to the acquisition, possession, or use of firearms appropriate to . . . personal protection, or any other lawful activity."

    I believe that covers whether or not I can have a weapon fairly well.

    As for the concealed carry part. Your stats are from 2004, they have gone up considerably so I wouldn’t make book on that double digit statement. Unfortunately there is no federal CCW at this time. In order to get the stats you will need to visit the web page of each state police organization and look in the CCW section to get both the number of licenses and the crime rate for CCW holders for states with CCW. Then you can compare that against the FBI UCR for the state as a whole. You’ll find that the crime rate for CCW holders is insignificant by comparison.

    Currently 46 states and the District of Columbia have CCW. Alaska and Vermont allow open or concealed carry only requiring that you be able to legally own a firearm. Illinois and Wisconsin are the only non CCW states. 36 states are “shall issue states.” In the past 25 years at least 20 states enacted their CCW status by popular referendum, so at least 51 percent of the voters in those states voted in favor of CCW. 16 states enacted their CCW by state congressional act. That’s the majority of voters and represented voters in 36 states. I believe that’s enough voters to get an Amendment added to the Constitution.

    As for the VPR Cal study, I believe that’s already been suitably disposed of, but I’ll try to run through quickly.

    Up front the study does not track age groups or socioeconomic groups. Comparing 691 people form Sacramento County, a relatively densely populated area over a period of 3 year to 965 people spread over the state, including very sparsely populated areas, over a period of 2 years. Note that to extrapolate numbers here that is approximately equally weighted. Therefore we could say that CCW holders in Sacramento County are more prone to violent crimes that the rest of the state by a factor of 3. That being said, here’s an interesting thought. If you accidentally ran over a pedestrian as you were rushing to get into the park and he later died then that would be a violent crime. Negligent homicide or vehicular manslaughter, although for NPS reporting purposes that comes under the heading of murder. Or if you and I met for drinks inside the Beltway later and during the course of our heated discussions you struck me with a beer bottle that would be a violent crime also, aggravated assault. Point- no firearm is required. So, let take a look at the numbers.

    A projected violent crime rate of 291 per 100,000 man-years for 691 people over a period of 3 years. If I did the math correctly that would mean that extrapolated out 1 of these people would need to commit a violent crime of some type each year for next 345 years. Why not a 144 years? Because that person will have his CCW revoked and each year there will be 1 less person. Once they reach 300 years of age I’m thinking they re going to be pretty sedate, not causing much trouble anymore. So, how else could we get there?

    How about this, how many violent crimes would need to be committed annually by 691 over a period of 3 years to extrapolate out to 291 per 100,000 man-years. Answer 2 per year. That would be a crime rate of 0.3 per cent annually… so this group of 691 people, while more prone to violent crime than the rest of the state at 0.1 per cent, statistically is still many times below the crime rate percentage of the state as a whole. I think I know why this study is “Statistically Insignificant” but check my math anyway, I did it rather quickly.

    I prefer more meaningful studies without as much of an agenda. The type that states the methodology, contains their empirical data and analyses the potential for errors and flawed assumptions using multiple models. These are some very good sources, National Crime Victimization Survey, the Uniform Crime Reports, and the National Incident-Based Reporting System and the National Violent Death Reporting System. The National Crime Victimization Survey is an ongoing annual survey conducted by the Department of Justice that collects information from nearly 100,000 non-institutionalized adults from more 50,000 households every year. It is the largest and oldest of the crime studies. I have found over the years that cherry picking intell gets people hurt badly. You asked about other and bigger studies, take a look at these- I trust you will not consider these as cherry picking-

    National Research Council, "Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review," National Academies Press, 2005 ,

    Roth, Koper, et al., Impact Evaluation of the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994, March 13, 1997,

    Reedy and Koper, "Impact of handgun types on gun assault outcomes: a comparison of gun assaults involving semiautomatic pistols and revolvers," Injury Prevention 2003,

    Koper et al., Report to the National Institute of Justice, An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003, June 2004,

    Wm. J. Krouse, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, "Semiautomatic Assault Weapons Ban," Dec. 16, 2004; Library of Congress, Report for Congress: Firearms Regulations in Various Foreign Countries, May 1998, LL98-3, 97-2010; Task Force on Community Preventive Service, "First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws," Morbidity and Mortaility Weekly Report, Oct. 3, 2003,

    BATFE, Annual Firearm Manufacturers and Export Reports,

    BATFE estimated 215 million guns in 1999 (Crime Gun Trace Reports, 1999, National Report, Nov. 2000, p. ix ,

    The National Academy of Sciences estimated 258 million (National Research Council, Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review, National Academies Press, 2005). The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports 72 million approved new and used firearm transactions by firearm dealers through the National Instant Check System between 1999-2007 ("Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2007,"


    Bureau of Justice Statistics, RTC comparison based on data in the FBI table.

    "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." ---Thomas Jefferson, 1816.

    And now I’m done with both of these topics!

  • Yellowstone National Park's Wolf Population Down More than 25 Percent   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Vaccinating wild animals in national parks is a controversial issue, to be sure. Wildlife biologists prefer to avoid vaccination where possible, but sometimes there's little choice, as when critically endangered populations are at imminent risk of catastrophe. One example that leaps to kind is the sylvatic plague threat to black-footed ferrets in and near Badlands National Park. Resorting to a vigorous campaign of insecticide spraying and vaccination was probably the only way to save this struggling population.

  • National Park Quiz 56: Memorials   5 years 43 weeks ago

    That's quite a story, RoadRanger. Thanks for sharing.

  • National Park Quiz 56: Memorials   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Bob, your memorial quiz has hooked me. I am surprised you did not have a question about the informal memorial to country rock legend, Gram Parsons, at Joshua Tree NP. It is quite a story. Parsons loved the park and when he died of a drug overdose nearby, his friends "removed" his body from L.A. International Airport and attempted to fulfill his wish to be cremated at Cap Rock. Over thirty years, the site became a memorial shrine to Parsons and his Cosmic American Music. It was so popular it became a resource management issue that was assessed for significance around 2000. I believe the park attempted to mitigate impacts on the area by moving one of the memorial rocks - or similar - to the Joshua Tree Inn where he had died. I'm not sure if this was a successful option, but I can guarantee you the Parsons Memorial was the most bizarre resource management consultation I ever had during my 36 years with NPS.

  • Yellowstone National Park's Wolf Population Down More than 25 Percent   5 years 43 weeks ago

    If the population was too high to support them, then a natural reduction is better than a planned hunt. It seems the mechanism to adjust population to the terriortory by natural means is in effect.

    Many animals die from distemper. If you want a wild population that means you do not vaccinate.

    Vaccination in human population areas by leaving out food with rabies vaccination is done to reduce rabies in rabbits, foxes and skunks to name a few and to reduce the possibilty of contamination into pets such as cats and dogs.

    In a park are it is not ecofriendly to vaccinate wild animals.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Reasonable restrictions in Heller were felons such as the restriction that were listed back in the 1700's .Carry was defined in Heller and the NPS regulations did violate the keep part of the 2A. Heller recognized a preexisting right to keep and bear arms. Bear meant to carry , the Heller Supreme Ct decision actually explored that definition and how many time keep and carry were listed regarding arms in the colonial times.

    I suggest you read the Heller decesion carefully again. Reasonable does not mean to ban firearms as DC did regarding handguns. Plus NF and BLM allows handguns according to state law.

    As a citizien I have the right to own and use arms for lawful purposes. If I can not carry a handgun then I can not use one for lawful pupose of self defense, That violate the purpose of the 2A. Now this decision did not get into the arguement for or against carry handgins in DC.The first step had to be declared that DC was in violation since they banned handguns and it was impossible to even register a handgun.

    Mr Heller did not request to carry but just the right to posess a handgun and to be able to register a handgun, That is why the registration was left in place since Heller did not argue against the registration. Many states do not have registration and that has not been declared allowed or not alllowed under the 2A. The are new cases against the registration that may or may not get to the Supreme Ct.

    Besides It is the law that NPS has to allow lawful carry as per the state laws. Tha law was signed on Friday by the President. It was voted in by a majority of the Senate and House. This will not effect any Dc parks since currently lawful carry by citizens except police is still banned. Also guns are not allowed in facilities under another regulation. At this time that is not being contested.

  • National Park Quiz 56: Memorials   5 years 43 weeks ago

    If you are going to tell the story, Anon, please tell the whole story. The ACLU has never argued that it is inappropriate to honor war veterans, or that there's anything wrong with a Latin cross, per se. What the ACLU has argued, and the lower courts have affirmed, is that it's inappropriate for a monument on Federal land to honor war veterans with only a Latin cross. This controversy will be resolved in the U.S. Supreme Court this year, so we should know soon enough how it will all shake out. This case will be watched very carefully because it'll be the Roberts Court's first chance to decide a lawsuit directly involving the First Amendment's establishment clause. BTW, this controversy isn't about honoring WW II vets. The first cross, which was erected in 1934, honored WW I vets. Subsequent ones are said to have honored all of America's war vets or Americans who died in military service.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 43 weeks ago

    If 281 fugitives choose to hide out in the USPP areas makes you wonder how many fugitives may be hiding out in the other areas, doesn’t it?

    No, it doesn't. USPP officers are based primarily, if not entirely, in the Washington metropolitan area, where the largest contingent of Park Police is located; in Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City; and in Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the city of San Francisco, California. These are all large metropolitan areas with crime rates far more significant than exist in other areas where the NPS operates.

    In more than a few instances these officers go outside NPS units to assist local authorities:

    * Members are frequently detailed to local and Federal task forces created to combat specific types of crimes.

    * Operating primarily in the District of Columbia and 10 surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia, this Unit targets the heads of mid-level street distribution organizations and wholesalers. The Unit also targets prostitution, open-air drug markets, and assists investigations in drug-related homicide cases.

    * Since 1985 the U.S. Park Police has been involved in the seizure and forfeiture of assets that have facilitated the illegal trafficking of drugs, represented the proceeds of such activity, are involved in any number of money-laundering violations, or are a combination of all three. In 1991, the U.S. Park Police became the only U.S. Department of the Interior entity to be recognized by the Department of Justice as a "Department Component" in its Asset Forfeiture Program.

    Even if the fugitives are arrested within NPS units in these cities, the settings are entirely unrelated to those found in Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Acadia, etc, etc, etc.

    To imply that the entire National Park System has crime rates equivalent to those found in New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., and to drop a murder tally on the national parks without noting that in more than a few cases these murders 1) occurred outside the park in which the bodies were dumped, 2) involved domestic disputes, or 3) were murder-suicides, seems to be little more than fear-mongering.

    And please don't misunderstand: I'm not saying crimes are not committed in national parks. And I think the data you offer merits further investigation. But it also needs to be placed in its proper context.