Recent comments

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 50 weeks ago

    I think the fast food analogy is quite apropos........more concern about quantity than quality. Unfortunately, many times those staffing the units (both NPS and Colonel McBell King in the Box) are about as competent as their counterparts as well, and from employer standpoint, probably interchangable without a notable dropoff in the level of services rendered to the public. What's that old saying about getting what you pay for?

  • North Cascades National Park – Forty Years on the Map, Seventy Years in the Making   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Funny you mention Dharma Bums. Kerouac, a Lowell, MA native is celebrated in his home town in October with a celebration called "Lowell Celebrates Kerouac." This past weekend was the main weekend for LCK and here at the Lowell NHP, we had writer/photographer, John Suiter give a presentation on his work "Poets on the Peaks." Mr. Suiter traced Kerouac, Philip Waylan and Gary Snyder's time in the Cascades and has some real nice photography, which I understand NCNP had at one time had an exhibit of the work at the park. This is the 50th Anniversary of Dharma Bums, and interest in Kerouac continues to grow. Depending what list you read, Dharma Bums appears somewhere as a top travel novel or religious awakining.

  • Fall Into Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone Kills California Woman   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Charlotte was a very dear old friend of mine and the entire event is horrible. I have not spoken to the family recently, but I have been to visit her grave and like her, it is beautiful. She is definately missed.

  • How Far Should National Park Rangers Go To Safeguard Your Life?   5 years 50 weeks ago

    This just in from Lake Mead 19 year old Bullhead City man died at Lake Mead after he jumped into the water off of a boat and did not re-surface. Yes, a recovery followed, several divers risked their lives to pull the body up. If he wore a life jacket this would be a none event. Let's keep this thread going, let’s bring attention to something that matters to both visitors and our employees in the National Park Service. Why do people who recreate in water park units choose to disregard the one thing that will save their lives? If they really knew how many visitors die in parks doing exactly what they are doing they might think twice. Let’s give visitors the benefit of the doubt, treat them like adults and let them really know the kinds of dangers that exist in National Parks. They might just surprise us and start taking care of themselves.

  • North Cascades National Park – Forty Years on the Map, Seventy Years in the Making   5 years 50 weeks ago

    I believe the same bill also established the third component of the North Cascades Complex - the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area.

  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Not Immune to Bear Problems   5 years 50 weeks ago

    I hope the readers of the Traveler will appreciate Bob's summary of the situation. It is not often that a superintendent uses the Traveler as a way to explain the NPS's side of a potentially controversial issue. Thanks, Bob, for taking the time to do this.

    Rick Smith

  • Appellate Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling on Development at Gateway National Recreation Area   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Dear Water Witch:

    thanks for your deeper, complex analysis.

    1. For the record, I agree, and have agreed, that this historic lease is a good idea at Ft. Hancock.

    2. I do NOT like the failure of the NPS to aggressively fight for the money in the first place. Or, in the case of Ft. Hancock, even ASK for the money. That obviously has nothing to do with you, and you are clear you just want to see the beautiful buildings saved. So do I, which is why I support what appears to be the only real option on the table, in the absence of any leadership at the higher levels in the NPS to ask for the money.

    3. In principle and in fact, I also agree with you about the public value of adaptive re-use of historic buildings. The most important thing to do with historic buildings is use them. That keeps them maintained.

    4. But my only real problem with all this, beyond failure of the Gateway park superintendent or the Director of the NPS to ask for the money, is the idea of key park resources being managed by someone else in such a way as to convert those buildings to a private purpose.

    I worry this could happen to bear habitat in Yellowstone. The State of Arizona made a proposal a few years ago that it could run Grand Canyon. In 1998, until the very last minute, congressional omnibus bill would have allowed the NPS to turn parks over to "partners," for third-party management. If we don't watch it, we will lose our magnificant National Park System in invisible teaspoonfuls.

    5. Why should Congress make the decision, as it did at The Presidio, to turn park buildings into semi-private uses? You suggest NPS is more responsible than Congress.

    Well, the last 3 Directors of the NPS were appointees of the President, and even those among them who previously worked for the NPS, when appointed by the President they acted more like political appointees than did the famous non-political (and professional) Directors of old.

    And, Congress makes the framework of the laws, and ultimately Congress needs to be accountable for a reversal of the fundamental idea behind parks. The historic leasing congressional laws and rules have this loophole in them. This enables the NPS political directors to say they are taking care of the maintenance backlog, while they never are on the record saying they have decided to change, at one park or another, the fundamental management concept governing the National Parks since their birth.

    It has always been OK to have a concession or some private contracting going on in a park. It has been OK to house park employees in park buildings for park purposes. Where it gets dangerous is when key park resources -- the nationally significant features that qualified the area to be a park in the first place -- are being used for PRIVATE purposes, purposes that have nothing to do with the purposes Congress set up the park to do. Remember the scandals when the Secretary of the Interior permitted political parties to host events in parks and ESPECIALLY permitted those political partisans to have access to the park the rest of the public was denied? That was a scandal. I can go along with private uses in parks. But not to the point that the private parties can do things denied to park visitors.

    again, MY ENTIRE POINT: When NPS decides to close a primary park resource to public access for private purposes because the private person paid NPS to let them do it, I think NPS crosses a line, and needs to make a straightforward public finding that NPS has chosen to cross this bright line, and refer the matter to the Congress for consideration, or at least congressional review.

    -- So, Good luck on the Ft. Hancock plan. It is a good deal for the public. I hope the banks lend them the money. I think they should give an award to the Sandy Hook park manager for the initiative.

  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Not Immune to Bear Problems   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Bob -

    Thanks for an excellent summary of the situation. Based on my experience with bears at other parks, I'd fully agree that you and your staff have taken a very reasonable approach.

    I've only visited the park once, and my experience with the islands is limited to a couple of trips on the concession-operated boat, but from what I saw of the terrain, it would be very difficult for visitors to land a boat on most of these islands except at a few, specified locations. That's a plus, since it does make it a lot easier to inform the public about a closure.

  • Lassen Volcanic National Park Gets Its First Purpose-Built Visitor Center, and It’s a Dandy   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Frank -

    Costs for actual operation won't be known until the building has been in use for a full year - anything at this point would just be a guess, and if those projections are available, I haven't seen them.

    Information on the park's website states, "The old chalet cost over $30,000 per year in heating costs alone. The Park spent an average of $20,000 per year on repairs to the structure just to make it usable. The building was in such bad shape that the National Park Service has prohibited any special funds from being spent on the structure. The results created such a deferred maintenance backlog that the structure was no longer viable for repair."

    The new visitor center is located near the park's Southwest entrance, close to the site of the old chalet building.

    The park has quite a bit of information posted about the project, including plans, costs, etc. at http://www.nps.gov/lavo/parkmgmt/vc_overview.htm. To answer your main question, that website says estimated costs for the new facility were $10 million. The Lassen Park Foundation pledged $500,000 to fund exterior exhibits and the production of a new park film.

    I hope that will be helpful.

  • Lassen Volcanic National Park Gets Its First Purpose-Built Visitor Center, and It’s a Dandy   5 years 50 weeks ago

    The new building will also be a big step forward in terms of energy efficiency—the old chalet cost over $30,000 per year in heating costs alone. The center’s energy and cost-saving features are expected to earn the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) top rating (Platinum).

    Can you tell me how much the new visitor center will cost to heat every year? Also, what was the final total cost to build this VC? Oh, and can you be more exact about its location? Thank you in advance.

  • Appellate Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling on Development at Gateway National Recreation Area   5 years 50 weeks ago

    More for d-2 -

    You posit that the NPS could have restored the buildings, and then sought appropriate uses. This skirts the issue of what you would have if you simply restored all of the buildings. You would have 36/100ths of an obsolete military base. But bases are closing, and no military unit wants it. The county, three towns involved, and many local residents, are now wrestling with a somewhat similar issue regarding Fort Monmouth, soon to be closed as part of the BRAC process. Aberdeen got a chunk of Fort Hancock when the range and power of coastal defense guns made proving them too dangerous for its location so close to New York, and now it's getting the Army's electronic warfare function, that developed at Fort Monmouth. That Fort may be chopped up among the various towns and ultimately developers, but the issues there are military function and economic, not historic.

    If you simply restored the magnificent waterfront Officers' Row and NCO housing, you could rent them at considerable profit, considering both the beauty of their location and the fact that they're a half-hour ferry ride from Wall Street. But would this better serve the public than to turn them into B&B's? You could turn the whole complex into a new community college, or branch of an existing one, but Brookdale and Rutgers will take as many of the buildings as they currently have need for. While discussions may be continuing with MIT and other educational and medical institutions. they can't use all 36. And if they could, would the "public" have access to a college gym or cafeteria? Better to have a privately-run facility open to the public, than a "public" facility closed to it. These "new" uses will have to be consistent with the old ones to the extent practicable, but it makes more sense to find new uses that will benefit the public or society in some way, then tailor the restoration to those uses, than to do a precise restoration and then have to undo a lot of that work to accommodate new uses.

    That part of the former Fort that lies on the hill above me, consisting of a site of WWII artillery, and cold-war anti-missile batteries and radar installation, has already become part of the Monmouth County Park system, but it doesn't make sense to "sell off" bits and pieces of the main body of Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook. Part of the beauty of the Fort is its integrity. Better to restore and maintain that integrity, than to chop it up and dole it out to potentially conflicting uses or users.

    Fort Hancock as I know it seems a lot like Fort Moultrie as described by SaltSage236 in one of his September 29 comments on "301 Units." It is a park in which local residents, once the rush of summer beachgoers is gone, can relax and play amidst once and future beautiful historic buildings, and sometimes go inside one or the other of them to view historic exhibits, or attend a reception, or an art exhibit, or a concert. I don't have to touch a sculpture or painting to enjoy it; I don't have to pet an animal in a zoological habitat to appreciate it; and I don't have to be able to go inside each and every building at Fort Hancock to enjoy them. What is the public being deprived of by the plan adopted by the NPS? The joy of watching these buildings fall down? For all the criticism leveled against the present plan, in the more than 20 years that this process has been going on nobody has offered a better one. It's past the time for talk about what might have been done. I saw some of the 1895 stone walls and gutters in our landmarked community deteriorating, sweated and strained over the course of a weekend in Kentucky, and now have certificate in wallbuilding from the Dry Stone Conservancy. I can't restore the buildings at Fort Hancock, but I'll do what I can to support it.

    As far as Sandy Hook being the poor relation in the GNRA family, you know more than I. Gateway is run out of New York, which in turn is run out of where, Philadelphia? Perhaps the reason that Sandy Hook has received short shrift is that it's not fully appreciated either by an administration located elsewhere or "the locals." Some locals would rather use the beaches at Sandy Hook than the public beach or private [and expensive] beach clubs in Sea Bright just to the south, but most beachgoers at Sandy Hook are day-trippers from northern New Jersey or New York. Gateway probably has more people living within 50 miles of it than any other unit in the system, but these people don't have any influence over local politicians, so Sandy Hook is hardly on their radar, and the beachgoers aren't going to go home and tell their own legislators to push for funds for Sandy Hook. And should NPS funds be used to totally subsidize use by educational institutions or non-profits; or should users be required to pay the reasonable costs of their use? Any such user could have responded to the RFP with a proposal that accomplished the purposes sought and would cover those costs, but none apparently did.

    Fort Hancock seems caught up in the debate over whether "adaptive reuse" should be a regular tool in the NPS's bag, or an exception that has to be specifically authorized by Congress. It appears to me that the present legal structure gives this power to the NPS, which SHOULD be more capable than Congress of determining how to use it, but I don't have the background to contribute to that essentially political discussion. I just want to save Fort Hancock.

  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Not Immune to Bear Problems   5 years 50 weeks ago

    The visitor season is practically over at the Apostle Islands and therefore closing Manitou Island is relatively easy. Even in the middle of the season, however, we've found that most visitors coming by boat respect a closure sign, particularly when it explains that the closure is for their own safety. Virtually everyone who goes to this island (one of 21 in the park) uses the single dock that's there, so they'd likely see our sign. We don't intend to patrol it any more intensively than normal and we don't expect problems with non-compliance (at least by the humans).

    Rangers will go out this week and attempt to mark the bear and employ some non-lethal hazing to try to get the message across that getting too close to people is not in his interest. Despite the incidents we've had this summer, however, this bear is elusive so that may or may not be successful.

    In the spring, we'll see if we find him again on that island (or another; bears swim from island to island occasionally). Identifying him will be easier if we're able to mark him now.

    The incident earlier this summer involved a volunteer, not a trained wildlife manager. The Spam came from park visitors who not only had bad taste but violated good sense as well as park regulations, and were long gone before we could find out who they were. We regularly run into visitors who don't do a good job keeping their food from bears. Usually, the lowest level of law enforcement works, and is appreciated -- i.e. we take advantage of the teachable moment and they thank us for it. Occasionally, they aren't cooperative and we then cite them for a violation of park regulations. But as everyone knows, bears are smart so a single visitor not doing the right thing with food can corrupt a bear for a season.

    In the past we've moved bears, a labor intensive and difficult operation (think: bears on boats, Lake Superior in the fall...) only to find that they (amazingly) return (one was nicknamed MacArthur) or cause problems in other areas. When we've moved them to the mainland it's often been a death sentence for them. We've also destroyed bears but we are not doing that any more unless absolutely necessary.

    This bear, while it has been overly cantankerous -- good word, Kurt -- has not exhibited threatening or predatory behavior. Even the volunteer backed into the outhouse, while scared, did not feel "attacked." Nor has any visitor. This is a lightly used island (by human visitors) so we will continue to try to change the behavior of the bear if and when we can. But we're the visitors to his home so we will continue to give him the benefit of the doubt unless his behavior changes for the worse. And even then, we'll close the island indefinitely unless he's actually exhibited threatening behavior, in which case we would, reluctantly, destroy him.

    But I'd rather take the heat for closing part of the park to people than kill a bear whose "guilt" is the result of the temptation people have created for him.

    Bob Krumenaker
    Superintendent
    Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

  • Appellate Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling on Development at Gateway National Recreation Area   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Water Witch

    Dear d-2:

    That’s more than a few questions, but I’ll do my best, and return to the issue if I leave it incomplete.

    You should understand that Mrs. Stanley/Coleman, who married Judge Coleman [retired from the NJ Superior Court] relatively recently, has long been active in local civic, political, and preservation issues. She was a founder and presently serves as President of the Monmouth Conservation Foundation. Her accomplishments are many, but in my view, and those of many active in support of “Sandy Hook” [as I will refer to the Sandy Hook Unit of the GNRA, including the Fort Hancock Historic District], her opposition to the restoration of Fort Hancock is not one of them.

    "My husband and I are the only ones giving money to Save Sandy Hook, unless we have an event," she said. "I'm not sure we can continue to support it alone.”

    I don’t claim that they alone are opposed; just that without their extreme advocacy the litigation that stalled progress would have been over a long time ago. She has been reported to have said that the best thing that could happen to the Fort buildings would be for them to fall down; apparently leaving the Hook to the terns, piping plovers, summer beach-goers, and British and Colonial Revolutionary soldiers' ghosts that inhabit it. The litigation that is now almost ended seems to have been geared only to that end. I disagree that they should be left to fall down. As Honor Graduate of a Vietnam-era Special Leadership Course at Fort Riley’s Noncommissioned Officers’ Academy [I was a draftee], who scrubbed the floors where Custer might have trod, I have a certain appreciation for the historic significance, and aesthetic integrity, of the Fort’s many buildings. Read Ms. Kreuzer’s article, and you may get some sense of it.

    Accepting that you agree that the best thing to do is preserve the buildings, as I do, the issue is really how to do so, and for what purpose. What may be unique here is the number of buildings involved in “the plan,” and the number already being put to use by the NPS and various not-for-profits. See the following from a July 9, 2004 NPS News Release:

    SHP will rehabilitate thirty-six of the one hundred buildings at Fort Hancock. The remaining sixty-four buildings will continue to be used by the NPS and by its existing government and non-profit park partners including the New Jersey Marine Science Consortium, Brookdale Community College and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Fisheries Laboratory.

    In 1999, the NPS issued a request for proposals in an effort to halt the deterioration of buildings within a 140-acre portion of the 380-acre Fort. Twenty-two proposals were received and evaluated. SHP’s proposal was selected and an extensive assessment resulted in a finding of no significant impact on the 2,000-acre park from the proposed rehabilitation and re-use plan.

    In addition to Fort Hancock, the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area features some 2,000 acres of beautiful beaches and wildlife areas and hosts two and one half million visitors a year.

    Rutgers University’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences and Brookdale Community College are expected to expand on their marine/environmental science programs in the restored buildings, and other tenants are still being sought. But there’s not enough demand by tenants like these to take up all of the buildings, so, in my view, the Wassell plan offers the best solution.

    The major local paper, the Asbury Park Press, has taken a strong position against the project at the editorial level, although various staff writers on the subject and other smaller papers have been somewhat more balanced. The Press did give a full ½ page to my comment on the legal issues, Park Service Followed Laws on Fort Hancock Lease, on November 21, 2007, but I don’t know how to park a JPG file somewhere and link you to it. If you’re interested, you may be able to pull it from their archives, although it does look much better with the picture that they added. That comment, to which your knowledge of the NPS and various enabling legislation might cause you to take exception, was based on my experience as a practitioner in the field of administrative law. My particular specialty is Customs & International Trade, but many of the principles are identical; enough so that I knew, with a somewhat limited knowledge of the underlying facts and proceedings, that the lawsuit had virtually no chance of success from the beginning. I make my living suing or otherwise opposing the United States and various of its officials, and I know the abuses, or misuses, to which the law can be put. Read Judge Cooper’s opinion, and you’ll wonder why they started, if it wasn't for delay.

    The local Congressman, Frank Pallone, was originally in favor of a restoration plan other than Wassell’s, that included new hotels and other structures. [one of the bases for the NPS’s choice of Wassell was no new construction] I even have a clipping somewhere with a picture of him standing in fron of an easel displaying the plan. You are far more dialed into NPS funding and the Washington scene than I am, so perhaps you can answer his role and other funding questions on your own. Pallone's flip from support to opposition doesn’t seem to have any logical cause, and his call for investigation where others have been held and found baseless would seem to be mere pandering. Obviously funding depends on leases, and leases depend on people having some assurance that they're going to be able to move in, so nobody except someone like Donald Trump is going to able to "front" the money. Do we want Donald? Despite the fact that she’s a Republican and he a Democrat, Pallone's switch could be based on some arm twisting by Mrs. Stanley/Coleman, who has over time had some considerable local political power. I leave conjecture on backroom deals to others.

    Access to the buildings is obviously going to depend on the use to which they are put. I took an oceanography course in one of them, although that's one that's not covered by the lease, and have been to the Theater [now much improved] and the Chapel. A restaurant in the mess hall, a B&B in one of the Officer’s Row houses, the Gym, the Theater, etc., will be “open” to the public, at a cost commensurate with the nature of their use. You surmise that my position is “based entirely on the idea that NPS has never opened many of these NHL buildings to the public, so nothing is being lost.” Not true; although I DO believe that it would be better to see them restored and landscaped as some sort of historical “exhibit,” rather than falling down, even if the interiors were to be entirely unavailable. The Parade Ground is a magnificent spot for picnicking or recreation; the walkways are great for hiking through [and there’s a new bike path the length of the Hook, paid for by NPS]; and all of this would be enhanced by a restoration.

    Neither the NPS nor the DOD saw fit to do much to support a public discussion of the merits of the plan, much to the consternation of the Sandy Hook Foundation, the official friends organization for the Sandy Hook Unit. Considering the substantial efforts expended [and money raised] by them to support Sandy Hook, which generates income that is “siphoned away” for other units within the Area, there is some feeling that they would be better off if Sandy Hook were its own NRA. Again, your knowledge of NPS financing would help you to understand this better than I.

    Although I am not privy to, or familiar with, the complete background on early efforts, it would seem to me that individual leasing and restoration of the 36 buildings, in addition to placing tremendous burdens on the NPS in having to undertake functions for which they may not be well suited, could have led to nightmare consequences, and tremendous multiplication of costs. I have seen the documentation on the Sandy Hook Foundation’s restoration of the Lighthouse Keepers’ Quarters, and between the DOI and the NJ SHPO, it’s frightening.

    Before I close, at least for the moment, I should advise that I sit on the advisory board to SHP, along with the Chairman of the Township’s Landmarks Commission; a Trustee of the NJ Conservation Foundation and former Vice-President of the Monmouth Conservation Foundation [of which Mrs. Stanley Coleman is President]; the President of the Sandy Hook Foundation; and the President of the Twin Lights Foundation [the closest other National Register Landmark]. [I have far lesser qualifications than these other people, but have been the long-time President of Monmouth Hills, Inc., the governing body for the landmarked 1895 Water Witch Club Historic District, which sits in the "Highlands of the Navesink," overlooking Sandy Hook]. All of these people, many of whom have labored for years to support Sandy Hook, are fully in favor of the plan. Like me, they all feel that it would be better if the government had stepped in years ago to restore these buildings. But unlike a lodge, or limited number of structures, there are simply too many, requiring too much money. Each one individually may not be much, but collectively, even now, they’re a knockout . . . at least to an old infantryman and mortarman. Restoration of the 19th century mortar battery, at a cost of over $1 million, is next on the Foundation's list. Do you wonder why I'm a supporter?

    If I’ve ducked any of your questions, come back and I’ll try to do better.

  • Steamtown National Historic Site Schedules Leaf Peeper Excursions in the Poconos   5 years 50 weeks ago

    I almost grew up in Steamtown when it was in Bellows Falls. I used to climb all over the trains, my father has endless hours of 8mm film of trains. I've yet to make it to the "new" location but my father just returned from a trip there. As a steam fanatic he will go again and maybe I'll make a weekend trip there sometime but he claims that the National Historic Site is a pale shadow of the Vermont attraction. While Bellows falls was a gorgeous location (right on the Connecticut River (remember the Steam Launch?)) I understand the collection in Scranton does not compare to what was in Vermont. If the National Park Service is going to do a Steam Train museum then do it right. (How about a Smithsonian Steam Train Museum?).

  • Crews Remove Garbage From Marijuana Farms in Sequoia National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    New British Report: Cannabis Less Harmful Than Drinking, Smoking Tobacco

    I second Beamis' sentiments, and always have. Government should have no right over what I do with my body. Period.

  • Steamtown National Historic Site Schedules Leaf Peeper Excursions in the Poconos   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Ouch! Does Scranton really look that bad from the outside? Seriously...Jersey City? We can't possibly be worse than that. It's not as hip as some places, but it's trying.

  • Updated: Groups Claim Yellowstone National Park Officials Abdicating Responsibility Over Snowmobile Access Issue   5 years 50 weeks ago

    "The Park Service is asking Congress to manage the park and publicly telling they public they are going to shut down the park," says Kristen Brengel, who long has monitored the snowmobile issue for The Wilderness Society. "Basically they are saying they can’t do their jobs. They can’t manage and they can’t figure out how to allow the public in through their own authority.

    "...“This is purely political. They continue to debate what’s in Judge Sullivan’s ruling” rather than developing a plan that lives up to that ruling, she added.

    From what I've seen in the CHNSRA this summer, this seems to be the case throughout much of the NPS. This situation is strikingly similar to the ORV access issue in Cape Hatteras in many aspects. I applaud all sides for the revisiting of this issue. I only wish more open minds existed in the case of ORV access in the CHNSRA.

    With the snowcoaches and snowmobiles riding on the same roadbeds that millions of vehicles traverse during the non-snow covered months, how much impact can a few hundred of each of these types of vehicles truly have, especially when guided by the NPS Rangers? What are the daily numbers of autos allowed in, in comparison?

    It would seem that a balance could easily be reached through negotiations and further study. Not through lawsuits and congressional meddling.

  • North Cascades National Park – Forty Years on the Map, Seventy Years in the Making   5 years 50 weeks ago

    It's a little tangential, but North Cascades was incredibly influential on the life and work of Jack Kerouac (before it was a National Park). His book "The Dharma Bums" ends with him heading up to a mountain peak in the North Cascades to serve as a summer fire lookout, and the first third of his book "Desolation Angels" is an incredible meditation on the months he spent alone on that mountaintop. Anyway, just a small footnote to this interesting and well-researched history of the park.

  • North Cascades National Park – Forty Years on the Map, Seventy Years in the Making   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Suppose I will have to forgive you (being that you are not from these parts :-)) for not mentioning my hero Harvey Manning who was one of the most influential and outspoken advocates in the fight to preserve and establish Our North Cascades National Park.
    WWHD

  • Brucellosis Solution: Kill All Elk and Bison in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Not to mention, when we are killing all these elk and bison, what exactly are the bears, wolves, mountain lions, eagles and coyotes going to be eating? My guess would be cattle. Then the demand will come up: we must kill all the predators! Soon the greatest intact temperate ecosystem remaining in North America will be no more. Only a memory. A story to tell our grandchildren. Yellowstone will stand, much like the Monument Geyser Basin, as a great shadow of what once was. Slowly the economies of three states will start to dry up, as hunters, wildlife watchers and photographers will no longer swarm to Yellowstone with their millions of eco-tourist dollars. Some will still come for Old Faithful, but for most people facing ever increasing travel costs, Yellowstone will just be another of many pretty places, one that is somewhat out of the way.
    Every year they slaughter hundreds of bison that leave the park and send the meat off to food banks and Native Americans WITHOUT TESTING IT! This shows clearly just how big a danger to humans brucellosis really is in the modern world (not very). There is a logical solution to this problem. It lies with APHIS and in changing their antiquated, outdated rules.
    Regarding Yellowstone herds being too large: I spent a couple days in the Tetons recently. On my way down there (and back) I drove from the north gate of Yellowstone to the south (early AM on the way down, late afternoon/evening on the way back). With the exception of a dozen or so elk in among the buildings in Mammoth, I saw a grand total of six bison (down and back...4 and 2). That's it..total wildlife. In the Tetons I saw about 2-300 bison, several herds of elk, 6 moose, one grizzly bear, one beaver, three bald eagles and a herd of pronghorn. I spoke with an outfitter I ran into down there (eco-tourism) and he told me that they no longer even offer wildlife tours of Yellowstone anymore, because they can't find any wildlife to show their clients. All such tours are now in the Tetons, he said.
    As for bison hunting: Montana already has bison hunting. Now all we need is year around bison HABITAT. Then we can actually have bison to hunt, in a legitimate, fair chase. Not a stand-on-the-border-of the-park-and-shoot-any-animal-that-crosses-the-line-looking-for-food-not buried-under-the-ice-hunt.

  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Not Immune to Bear Problems   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Vince,

    Rangers do have the authority to issue warnings and citations, but they pretty much have to catch the violations in action. It is unfortunate that this bear managed to find a human-provided buffet, and you'd think rangers would be able to figure out who left the Spam behind.

    The obvious question now is what is the lakeshore planning to do with the bear? Destroy it or relocate it? If I can find out, I'll pass it on.

  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Not Immune to Bear Problems   5 years 50 weeks ago

    people or bear problem the damage is already done. They closed the island they say ,so are they patrolling 24 hours to stop boaters from just dropping in? It's unfortunate but if the bear is backing trained wildlife mangers into outhouses what are the chances that some boating day tripper won't trigger an attack? I think that this animals future is in serious jeopardy. They always say don't feed the bears but i wonder do the rangers have the power to fine people that they catch doing it?

  • Crews Remove Garbage From Marijuana Farms in Sequoia National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    So moonshining wouldn't offend you, since distilled spirits are legal? Besides, hard liquor is so much less deleterious to ones health and well being than the evil weed. Right?

    The simple fact is that if marijuana was legal these clandestine fields would not be cropping up (pardon the pun) on any of our public lands. Instead hemp and cannibis sativa would carpet the fruited plain from Hawaii to Virginia.

    The government, drug trading criminals and high finance all have a vested stake in keeping so-called "controlled" substances illegal. Their status as forbidden contraband reaps enormous profit and helps keep our current police state running along like a well oiled machine. The drug war is the wellspring of modern totalitarianism in the Western world.

    I suggest y'all wake up and smell the kine bud dude. Weed is way safer than a 12-pack of Miller High Life and much less filling.

    What an individual decides to put into one's own body is not something that is the business of government. Never was and never will be.

  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Not Immune to Bear Problems   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Sounds like you have a people problem, more than a bear problem. Where did he get the Spam?

  • Steamtown National Historic Site Schedules Leaf Peeper Excursions in the Poconos   5 years 50 weeks ago

    It's barely noticed because there are many other far more interesting and compelling places that tourists can visit than this drab corner of the formerly industrial Northeast. Empty factories and forlorn streets full of shuttered businesses might catch the notice of a black & white photographer looking for ample subject matter but beyond that this area is about as enticing as a cloudy day in Jersey City.