Recent comments

  • “10 Best National Parks”? National Geographic, You Have Got to be Kidding!   5 years 45 weeks ago

    I agree with Bob's list above, only I'd replace Muir Woods with Mt. Rainer National Park. I'd also replace Rocky Mountain NP with the North Cascades. The list would then be:

    1. Yosemite NP
    2. Yellowstone NP
    3. Zion NP
    4. Bryce Canyon NP
    5. Grand Canyon NP
    6. Glacier NP
    7. North Cascades NP
    8. Olympic NP
    9. Sequoia/KingsCanyon NP
    10. Mt. Rainer NP

    Somewhere, however, I feel obligated to try to squeeze in Crater Lake NP (a great national park, grossly under-appreciated by short-term, stop and go tourists). Of course the same might be said of Rocky Mountain NP as well as many others.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • “10 Best National Parks”? National Geographic, You Have Got to be Kidding!   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Shhh! Don't want more visitors spoiling the best of the best, do we? Just a little sarcasm to say you're spot on except I would replace Great Basin with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

  • Yosemite National Park Returns To Square One on Yosemite Valley Plan   5 years 45 weeks ago

    I hope these meetings will be well announced in advance and that they will be well attended. Yosemite is a very special place. I wish there was another viable option for reducing traffic during peak periods and encouraging tent camping.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Stocking of Non-Native Fish at North Cascades National Park Comes to a Halt   5 years 45 weeks ago

    The Park Service's mis-application of Minimum Requirement Analysis is the most egregious section of the fish stocking EIS. That requirement comes out of the Wilderness Act itself and applies only to certain uses. Here is the text from the Wilderness act:

    ...there shall be no commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area designated by this Act and, except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.

    Fish stocking doesn't come under any of the prohibited uses and is a well established practice in the Wilderness system.

    Bringing up native fish species protection and recover is a red herring because fish stocking doesn't detract from those efforts at all. Removing brook trout is a worthwhile component of that effort, but if fish were restocked it would be with native species, not brookies.

  • Cinema Series Stars Movies Made in Zion National Park   5 years 45 weeks ago

    I had the pleasure of working in Zion in 1969, but didn't know about Butch Cassidy and Sundance until 1970 when I was in Yosemite. I later visited Zion in 1979 when Electric Horseman was being filmed. I still recall horses running on the meadows below the Watchman.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Does the Federal Government Really Want to Seize Six California State Parks?   5 years 45 weeks ago

    The marginal cost to federal management of most of the 6 properties wouldn't be that great: Angel Island & Mount Diablo would be just 2 more patches in GOGA; Pt. Mugu would become part of Santa Monica Mountains NRA (it may already be inside the authorized boundary); I would bet on Border Field reverting to FWS management as part of the San Diego / Sweetwater complex of refuges (good tern habitat). There aren't as obvious homes for Point Sur (its pretty small and outside the mission of Forest Service) and Fort Ord Dunes.

    That said, my money's on CA using the loophole provided: to comply with the terms of the land transfers they can reduce operating hours (e.g., weekends only; summer weekdends only; who knows how far they can push it) as long as they keep some public access. Negotiations are allegedly underway.

    My guess on the 60+ state parks that received funding from the program administered by NPS is that if Arnie trys to sell off the properties, liens _might_ be put on them to retrieve the federal funds, especially if the grants were used for land acquisition or facilities.

  • Sharpshooters To Begin Reducing Elk Herds in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 45 weeks ago

    On my first trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, I was absolutely amazed at the number of elk. I have been numerous times since then and have never failed to see the animals. In the winter even Estes Park has them roaming downtown. I hate that any have to be killed.

  • “10 Best National Parks”? National Geographic, You Have Got to be Kidding!   5 years 45 weeks ago

    All lists like this are subjective, but I wonder about the credibility of one that doesn't include Yellowstone but does include New Orleans Jazz Park. I agree with the above posts that Rocky Mountain National Park should always been under consideration for inclusion on a ten best parks list.

  • Yosemite National Park Returns To Square One on Yosemite Valley Plan   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Let's hope the NPS can get there act together this time. A good start would be to just rebuild what is already in Yosemite Valley rather than try to urbanize more land that was reclaimed by mother nature when the Merced River flooded. With the exception of the Ahwahnee Hotel and some employee lodging, just about everything in the valley is in a sorry state of disrepair.

  • Where in the World is Paul Fugate?   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Thanks, Rick for this update on the Fugate case. I remember reading a quite lengthy article in the L.A. Times in 1983 about the case and some of the background information that you mentioned. The speculation was that he was abducted by criminals when he stumbled into an illiegal activity. I seem to recall mention in the article of witnesses who thought they saw Mr Fugate in the company of possible criminal types several days after he vanished. This was never confirmed. The Chiricahua National Monument is so rugged that a plane that vanished there in 1956 was not found until a back country hiker stumbled into the wreckage in 1965.

  • The Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges   5 years 45 weeks ago

    It depends on which park you're visiting, Bob. Some folks use RVs, some stay in cabins, some parks offer tent-cabins.

  • Remember, No Mardis Gras Beads or Dry Ice While Floating at Niobrara National Scenic River   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Well, until NPS gets some Protection Rangers with enforcement authority on the river, these rules will mean absolutely nothing.

  • The Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges   5 years 45 weeks ago

    How do you stay withing the park but not stay at a lodge, if your not camping ?

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Beamis, contradictions abound in life. As do disagreements and disparaging. Some folks like some "facts," but not others.

    Neither time nor space allow for a thorough dissection of these points, but suffice to say that there is no possible way to get 535 people to agree unanimously on anything. Probably not even on the sun coming up in the morning in the east.

    Likewise, you can't change an entire nation's habits overnight. I see no hypocrisy in exploring the wonders of the National Park System while at the same time offering climate change education and trying to work on solutions.

    As for your position on climate change, I've seen no evidence of cooling, only of ice sheets breaking up, hotter-than-usual weather, and stormier weather in many parts of the world. Here are some sites that do a much better job than I ever possibly could in addressing your denial:

    http://www.grist.org/article/series/skeptics/

    http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2007/07/23/anti-global-heating-claims-a-reasonably-thorough-debunking/

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11462

    I particularly like this passage from that last site: If you believe that tens of thousands of scientists are colluding in a massive conspiracy, nothing anyone can say is likely to dissuade you.

    http://www.climate.org/topics/climate-change/debunking-climate-change-myths.html

    Happy reading!

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Shuttle systems can often make a big difference in parks where heavy road congestion is a problem and parking is scarce. To say that they also help solve environmental problems is probably a bit of a stretch because these various conveyances all come with their own set of strengths and weaknesses as it relates to impacts, real or imagined, upon our planet's health.

    I grew up using mass transit so it seems like a good idea to me to implement these systems in parks that closely resemble urban cores during busy peak times of usage. The thing to remember is that the true history of the NPS is one of intensive road building with which to facilitate access for the public via personal transport. It was all a part of a 20th-century auto culture which pervaded the land and was actively promoted through an interlocking relationship with government and industry that bestowed upon us the interstates, cheap government subsidized FHA loans which helped to sprout tract houses by the square mile on former farm land (we now call it sprawl) and the degradation and eventual demise of most interurban rail systems, as well as the death of many urban cores. Federal government policy with the direct connivance of Big Oil, Big Rubber and the Big Three auto makers in the last century produced the present face of America as we know it today. The development of national parks followed along many of these same trajectories and in most ways still does.

    It may take a while for the public to change their habits and accept a ride on mass transit as a viable means of enjoying a national park visit. It has not been part of the equation for most visitors until recently so it may take some more getting used to. Where they fit, I'm all for 'em.

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Geez Frank, with all the hypocrisy on this site, it really does amaze me that you read it.

    Kurt, I read your site for the same reason I did as RangerX: it's the best place for national park news not found anywhere else, and it's also the best national park discussion forum on the web. My intention is not to sh*t on your work, but just to point out a few inconsistencies in tone among global warming alarmists. I think Beamis summed up my intentions well. I've tried to take a humorous approach to a charged topic. At any rate, I am off topic and will sign off on this thread.

    Thanks for allowing my comments. I'd be more than happy to make a donation--as I do for several blogs I read--to NPT for the services it provides.

    Thanks again.

  • Dinosaur National Monument: More Than You Can Imagine   5 years 45 weeks ago

    I hate the way monuments in Colorado keep getting converted into Parks just so they'll get more visitors (and yes, Dinosaur is in Colorado as well as Utah). Keep it a monument.

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 45 weeks ago

    And in midst of the above discussion--I welcome the park shuttle systems described in the story as one positive - if even small - change from the status quo.

  • Glorieta Pass Civil War Battlefield Finally Gets an Interpretive Trail   5 years 45 weeks ago

    I took the ranger-led tour of the Glorieta battlefield three years ago. It was interesting enough, but the most memorable thing about it was the ranger -- a real contrarian who delighted in poking holes in all my (admittedly limited) historical understandings of the West, the Civil War, the United States, etc.

    At that time, the park was struggling to preserve a ranch building along the side of the road that was one of the few remaining historical structures from the battle era. I believe it was used as shelter and hospital during and after the fight. I was told the building was slated to be demolished for a road widening project. Does anyone know if they were successful in preserving the site?

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Kurt I think that Frank C is just taking all of this climate change nonsense, which it most certainly is, to its logical conclusion. Here we have a government that is going to tax free enterprise out of existence with "cap & trade" legislation, that no one on Capitol Hill apparently bothered to read, while at the same time encouraging people to visit national parks in their carbon spewing autos. Shovel ready stimulus projects are all about carbon spewing road construction which just creates more sprawl and more roads for cars. What gives with these guys? Should their stand on anything be taken seriously?

    Remember this is the same government that spends trillions of borrowed and printed out of thin air dollars blowing up territory and innocent civilians on a daily basis in southwestern Asia while running the largest carbon spewing war machine in the history of the world. Does anyone ever stop to think about how much fuel is consumed and exhaust created by this brimstone belching death machine?

    The truth of the matter is that there are many contradictions in this debate and mass transit is often just as messy and carbon spewing as private cars. Since I don't believe in human caused global warming, remember I bet everyone last year that the earth was going to be cooling (and so far it looks like I'm right), I don't have a dog in this fight. Global warming is truly one of the greatest hoaxes in all of human history.

    So when Frank C takes the opportunity to point out the contradictions in the logic that is inherent in this ridiculous debate I generally cheer him on from the sidelines, mostly because his stuff is often funny (and tongue in cheek), well thought out and backed up by some facts. The mendacity of those who would try to spook us into fearing that planetary evil known as carbon dioxide, which I happen to exhale on a regular basis, is something that should be lampooned and laughed at by those of us who can see this issue for what it really is: a power grab by false saviors.

    I know the plants in my neighborhood really appreciate the carbon being exhaled and spewed in their direction and I reciprocate much thanks for the oxygen given back in return. Now that is what I call being a good neighbor on this here Mothership.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 45 weeks ago

    There are iresponisble Mountain Bikers, hikers and horse people alike. For the last 35 years I regularly enjoy our trail systems in all three ways. Common sense, and frankly (kind) policing those that choose to break rules will keep these trails enjoyable for all.

    After all, trail maintaince is the responsibility of us all. Extending the use to many will help to keep those same trail systems growing with the internest of the public that uses them.

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Unless it's derived from wind or solar??? Since when is wiping out thousands of acres of wild land, only to string thousands of miles of inefficient powerlines the answer?!

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Damn, Frank, ya got me.

    I'm no earth scientist, I'm a leftist hypocrite, and I drank the climate-change Kool-Aid.

    I've placed misguided belief in scientists who are not fly-by-nighters beholden to environmental terrorists but rather who have made careers out of studying the Earth and its systems and how humans impact those systems.

    I've pledged blind faith to the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change, a scientific body comprised of some of the best scientific minds in the world, one that is said to reflect the consensus of the international scientific community, one that publishes reports -- based on peer-reviewed studies, mind you -- only after they are gone through line by line and word by word and approved by all member countries.

    I read E.O. Wilson.

    Too, I've been misled to learn that CO2 isn't the only greenhouse gas driving the climate, but that others impacting the atmosphere include methane, nitrous oxide, the entire family of hydrofluorocarbons, the entire family of perfluorocarbons, sulphur hexafluoride, nitrogen trifluoride, trifluoromethyl sulphur pentafluoride, halogenated ethers, and other halocarbons, and so obviously have wrongly come to accept that there's not just one culprit.

    I've also taken the IPCC's word that "carbon dioxide radiative forcing increased by 20% from 1995 to 2005, the largest change for any decade in at least the last 200 years."

    (*Radiative forcing is a measure of the influence that a factor has in altering the balance of incoming and outgoing energy in the Earth-atmosphere system and is an index of the importance of the factor as a potential climate change mechanism -- IPCC, 2007: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.)

    I could continue, but you get the point, and you refute the point.

    Global temperature change and "environmental Armageddon"? This from a September 2008 Washington Post article:

    Moreover, new scientific research suggests Earth is already destined for a greater worldwide temperature rise than previously predicted. Last month, two scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of California at San Diego published research showing that even if humans stopped generating greenhouse gases immediately, the world's average temperature would "most likely" increase by 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they based their calculations on the fact that new air-quality measures worldwide are reducing the amount of fine particles, or aerosols, in the atmosphere and diminishing their cooling effect.

    The IPCC has warned that an increase of between 3.2 and 9.7 degrees Fahrenheit could trigger massive environmental changes, including major melting of the Greenland ice sheet, the Himalayan-Tibetan glaciers and summer sea ice in the Arctic. The prediction that current emissions put the planet on track for a temperature rise of more than 11 degrees Fahrenheit, Le Quéré said, means the world could face a dangerous rise in sea level as well as other drastic changes.

    Richard Moss, vice president and managing director for climate change at the World Wildlife Fund, said the new carbon figures and research show that "we're already locked into more warming than we thought."

    "We should be worried, really worried," Moss said. "This is happening in the context of trying to reduce emissions."

    The new data also show that forests and oceans, which naturally take up much of the carbon dioxide humans emit, are having less impact. These "natural sinks" have absorbed 54 percent of carbon dioxide emissions since 2000, a drop of 3 percent compared with the period between 1959 and 2000.

    But then, you no doubt view media as leftist pawns.

    You're right, Frank. To avoid hypocrisy the Traveler should be a fear-mongering portal that urges the NPS to lock the gates to the parks and tells travelers to stay at home, sell their cars, and cancel their electrical service unless it's derived from solar or wind power. Of course, I suppose we should also pull the plug on the Traveler itself to save the planet so folks don't waste electricity by firing up their own computers to read our drivel.

    You're right. Let's let somebody else try to build more advocates for the national parks, let someone else point out the current science, the growing impacts of climate change on the parks and their resources, the possible solutions that we all can participate in.

    Geez Frank, with all the hypocrisy on this site, it really does amaze me that you read it.

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 45 weeks ago

    :) AMEN!

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Frank, a climate change convertee?;-)

    Still a skeptic. (Or, if you prefer the UN's and Al Gore's smears, use "denier".)

    People are going to travel.

    Especially if the hospitality lobby gets involved. (Aramark, a government-granted monopolistic concessionaire, gives money to the National Park Foundation, which in turn, encourages travel to parks.)

    Then there's NPT, which has on several occasions sounded the alarm on anthropogenic climate change's predicted effects on national parks. And in almost the next CO2 exhaling breath, NPT encourages people to travel to national parks, and as a result, generate more CO2 for non-essential travel.

    Statist, collectivist undertones permeate each post and their comments; "we" (the state) must act to protect parks; "we" (the state) must do something to halt catastrophic anthropogenic climate change.

    It's extremely hypocritical to ask the government to do something (through coercive means) to stop a supposed future environmental catastrophe while simultaneously and actively encouraging such actions that will supposedly bring about the aforementioned catastrophe. Equally complicit in the hypocrisy are the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation, National Parks Traveler, and many other governmental and leftist organizations that use fear to wrest increasing amounts of power and money from the People.

    If you really believe a slight increase in CO2, a TRACE gas--comprising a scant 0.038% of the atmosphere--will bring about environmental Armageddon, then walk the walk. Live a simple life without electricity, cars, plastic, computers, or any of the modern world's conveniences, and eliminate your "carbon footprint".

    But please stop lobbying the Federal government. Government intervention--in the form of cap and trade--essentially taxes production, and that tax will be passed on to you and me, the consumers. I don't know about you, but I'm currently paying 50% of my income to the State, was recently laid off (thankfully found another job), and am suffering from government-induced inflation, which has driven up the cost of energy and food. Creating a massive bureaucracy reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions .1 degree C by the 2090s is sheer lunacy in this economic crisis.