Recent comments

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Bob, I sense another article in the making...weeds and our National Parks. It would probably go over well. There have been some great comments here.

    rob
    ---
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography

  • Naked Hikers Let It All Hang Out On the Summer Solstice   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Hmm, I don't think you are correct that WAY most people - accept the nudity taboo.

    Society's response to public nudity varies on the culture, time, location and context of the activities. There are exceptions and particular circumstances in which nudity is tolerated, accepted or even encouraged in public spaces. Such examples would include sex segregated showers and saunas, clothing optional or nude beaches. The reason nudity in public can considered be considered indecent exposure is because in general and across cultures, more restrictions are found for exposure of those parts of the human body that display evidence of sexual arousal. Sex organs and often women's breasts are covered, even when other parts of the body may be freely uncovered. But there are also clear signs that the existence of a taboo is because many people don't like being in public without their clothes the position and authority in society that it gives them - we are all equal when we are naked and some people find that scary.

    To accuse nude hikers of being flashers seems completely over the top and frankly quite narrow minded. If they were flashers would it be fair to assume they would pick areas with more people than remote trails in natural parks?

    Another point that seems to escape this conversation is that there is nothing illegal in being nude in public. It is offending other people that can be an offense. This is the legal details on the matter:
    In 1992 New York State’s highest court ruled that it was legal for a woman to go into public without covering her breasts. Case in point: Two years ago, a 27-year old New Yorker, Jill Coccaro took a walk without covering her breasts. She was arrested, taken for a psychiatric exam, and thrown in jail for 12 hours. Finally, after someone in the District Attorney’s office realized what had happened, she was released and told no charges would be pressed. In turn, Jill sued the city and, just recently, received a $29,000 settlement.

    California State Parks policy dictates nudity on public lands is not, per se, illegal. State Park rangers have operated for decades under a policy known as the "Cahill" policy, named after former Parks Director Russ Cahill:
    "it shall be the policy of the Department that enforcement of nude sunbathing regulations within the State Park System shall be made only upon the valid complaint of a private citizen. Citations or arrests shall be made only after attempts are made to elicit voluntary compliance with the regulations."

    You might be interested to know that many of our Founding Fathers, including Benjamin Franklin and John Quincy Adams, were fond of outdoor nudity. Indeed, one reporter tracked down Mr. Adams as he was bathing naked in the Potomac!

    I don't mean to offend anyone, but YOU may be the one with the problem and if you teach your children that they should be ashamed of their body you’re passing that problem on to the next generation. That is up to you, but don't pass it on to everyone else.

    Have a nice day :-)

  • Comment On: Katmai National Park, Brooks River Bear Viewing Web Camera   5 years 47 weeks ago

    This place is so much better in the fall, however its stunning landscape is breathless no matter what time of the year.

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 47 weeks ago

    The Maui County Division of Transportation imported mulch from Australia a few years ago to use on newly reseeded slopes where road construction had occurred. Unfortunately, the mulch included the seeds of a highly invasive form of fireweed. The weed grows in clumps reaching about 14 inches high and sports clusters of small yellow flowers. It is amazingly prolific and has exploded across the landscape crowding out native grasses and other pasture plants. It is also toxic to grazing animals causing liver damage, aborted fetus and other internal distress that can eventually kill affected ungulates. It is negatively affecting the island cattle industry and possibly causing problems with resident wildlife.

  • Protest Against American Revolution Center at Valley Forge National Historical Park Planned for May 15   5 years 47 weeks ago

    The whole plan for the ARC is a commercial undertaking, where the museum is the pretext to build a themed hotel and conference center. The poll that the ARC conducted and that they say found 70% in favor focused on bringing money and jobs (hundreds!) to the area, not on whether the project needed to be this oversized, or on the destruction of one of the last extended stretches of quiet nature in the middle of suburbia. They also failed to mention that if their projected numbers of 1 million visitors per year actually do show up, traffic on the feeder roads that are already congested would come to a grinding halt. If, as I hope and expect, their projected numbers are a wild overestimation, the whole project will not bring jobs and money, but rather become a millstone around the necks of the local tax payers. Build a museum to the Revolution at the park, but keep the scale reasonable and non-commercial, and do it where the effects on the surrounding infrastructure are kept to a minimum: at the visitor center, next to the turnpike, 422, 202, and an existing hotel and conference center. Should that hotel/conference center not be enough, than more space can be found at for example the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation or other hotels close by, who would love and could use the extra business.

  • Cape Lookout National Seashore To Mark 150th Anniversary of Lighthouse This Fall   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Thanks for the additional details, Wouter!

  • National Park Mystery Photo 7 Revealed: The Lady of the Woods   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Sure, Owen. Lady of the Woods is a wonderfully unique feature that helps give Crater Lake National Park it's special character. The park is a fantastic mix of natural and cultural history.

    rob
    ---
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography

  • Rescued Park Visitors Return to Yosemite National Park to Thank Good Samaritan   5 years 47 weeks ago

    It sounds like this couple's guardian angels were working overtime that day, including Ranger Dan. Thanks for the happy-ending story.

  • Cape Lookout National Seashore To Mark 150th Anniversary of Lighthouse This Fall   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Please note: The October 10th and November 1 events will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the November 1st lighting of the 1859 Cape Lookout Lighthouse and almost 200 years of public service by members of the Lighthouse Service, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Life-saving Service at the Cape.

    While the focus is on the event is the U.S. Lighthouse Service and the Cape Lookout area - we will also welcome those identifying themselves as descendents of other stations.

    [As for the U.S. Life-Saving Service, it operated three stations on Cape Lookout: The Portsmouth (1894), Core Banks (1888) and Cape Lookout (1896) stations.]

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Thanks for the clarification and additional information, tomp. I'm obviously way out of my depth here.

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Locoweed is a common name for many species of Astragalus. Astragalus species are also in the Fabaceae, also have compound leaves composed of leaflets, also occur in numerous western US NPS units, also are toxic to cattle, goats, sheep, etc.. The reason Astragalus isn't the right answer is that there are _many_ more species of Astragalus than of Lupinus: ITIS lists 39 species of Astragalus where the species name begins with the letter 'a', and over 100 total species. The flora of Utah (at least used to) list ~300 Astragalus species and subspecies.

    OK, another slight difference is that most Astragalus are toxic enough (with somewhat different toxins than Lupines) to be somewhat distasteful to cattle, but cattle will eat many species of Astragalus if there's nothing better around. Lupines are tasty enough that they can be preferred over grass. [But, then again, sheep will overeat non-poisonous clover (also Fabaceae), bloat, and die.] The problem with peas (Fabaceae) in general is their soil symbiont can fix nitrogen and thus peas tend to have higher N and protein content, and thus are higher-value food for grazers and browsers. Therefore, natural selection has favored them investing more resources into toxins to prevent or at least reduce their being eaten. Non-native grazers like cows & sheep often haven't evolved to be able to "taste" those toxins, so they taste the high-protein and not the toxins and can poison themselves.]

    Locoweed is also the common name for many species of Oxytropis, another legume (Fabaceae). And milkvetch is also a common name for many Astragalus species.

    Larkspurs are almost always Delphinium species, in the Ranunculaceae or Ranunculus (buttercup) family, about as distantly related to Fabaceae as there is within the dicots.

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 47 weeks ago

    They're not of the same family. The lupine (or lupin) is a member of the genus Lupinus in the legume family Fabaceae. Larkspur is the common name for the genus Delphinium (also the genus Consolida) in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. I believe that the variety of larkspur commonly called "cow poison" (and other vernacular names) is the Delphinium Glaucom.

  • Rescued Park Visitors Return to Yosemite National Park to Thank Good Samaritan   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Just doing his job like everyday and without fanfare. You would be surprise of all the heroics deeds that the NP rangers do...and without merit, commendations or even a small thank you. But, I'm surprise of all that loaded fuel didn't burn down Yosemite National Park. A powder keg ready to go with the slightest spark.

  • Upon Further Review: If It Smells Like Gasoline...   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Well, I guess that's another way to exterminate any unwanted mussels. Next!

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Bob, I'v photographed Larkspur/Poison Larkspur, known by many other common names and comprising a large group of plants. They are also called "cow poison". I believe it is a native to us here in Oregon. Is this plant related (taxonomically) to lupine?

    rob
    ---
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Locoweed is a specific type (several species) of poisonous plant, not a generic term for poisonous plants such as lupine, larkspur, and broom snakeweed.

  • Hot Springs Hoopla Goads Government   5 years 47 weeks ago

    I'm not positive that I'm reading this correctly, but my understanding is that the Interior Department resorted to the courts only after it had exhausted efforts to resolve the problem amicably. Having this thing fought out in the media spotlight can only benefit the city, since city boosters can put a David vs. Goliath spin on the confrontation and the federal government can be made to look like a bully.

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Is lupine the same thing as locoweed or is that a more generic term?

  • Upon Further Review: If It Smells Like Gasoline...   5 years 47 weeks ago

    In fairness to the individual involved in this situation, there was no indication in the park's report that alcohol was involved.

    Based on the available information, it sounds like another example of what can happen when folks are in a hurry to start having fun on the water.

  • Dinosaur National Monument: More Than You Can Imagine   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Yes there are. You can find the companies and their contact information at this site.

  • Hot Springs Hoopla Goads Government   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Thanks for the clarification Bob. It still seems to be a petty issue on the part of the NPS and I hope they can find more meaningful things to carp about besides the distinguishing factors that separate them from the town of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

    For an agency that is constantly touting the importance of "partnerships" this type of public squabbling with local stakeholders seems way off base. The superintendent there probably needs to be instructed in how to engage a gateway, or in this case, host community in a cooperative relationship.

  • Zuni-Cibola National Historical Park, the Park that Died A-Borning   5 years 47 weeks ago

    If you are going to name "problem" NPS units on Navajo Nation land, don't forget Rainbow Bridge National Monument. Rainbow Bridge is a sacred place to the Navajo (Diné), and culturally/religiously significant to the Hopi, San Juan Southern Paiute, Kaibab Paiute, and White Mesa Ute. Lots of Native Americans would love to see complete control of Rainbow Bridge turned over to the Navajo.

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Good job, willow. The mystery plant is the lupine (or lupin). We need to be real clear on the fact that there are lots of lupine species -- at least 200 to 500 worldwide -- but not all are poisonous. In the western U.S. the species posing a danger to livestock (birth defects as well as poisoning) include silky lupine (Lupinus sericeus), tailcup lupine (L. caudatus), velvet lupine (L. leucophyllus), silvery lupine (L. argenteus), yellow lupine (L. sulphureus), and lunara lupine (L. formosus), which is also called summer lupine.

  • Hot Springs Hoopla Goads Government   5 years 47 weeks ago

    My article initially stated that the city is named Hot Springs National Park, and that the Park Service is demanding that the city change its name. Both of these assertions are incorrect. The official name of the city is Hot Springs, Arkansas, and the Park Service has no quarrel with the official name of the city. After MRC brought these blunders to my attention (nice catch, MRC), I edited the article to correct these mistakes and added some clarifying information about the specific city actions that have aroused the ire of the Park Service. The bottom line remains the same: the Park Service wants the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas, to quit advertising itself in ways that blur the distinction between the city and Hot Springs National Park.

  • National Park Mystery Plant 3: It’s Toxic, and Livestock Producers Hate It   5 years 47 weeks ago

    I think the plant is a Lupin