Recent comments

  • National Park Service Concerned Over Solar Power Plans on BLM Lands in West   5 years 44 weeks ago

    So what will satisfy the envirofreaks??

  • Best Solitude in the National Park System? Here Are Traveler's Choices   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Hey RoadRanger,

    Thanks for correcting me. I didn't realize that there were that many places outside of Cumberland Island NS protected in Georgia. I really do appreciate it, since I'm working in Georgia this summer, and this is exactly the sort of thing I need to know.

  • Best Solitude in the National Park System? Here Are Traveler's Choices   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Chance, thanks for some fine suggestions for solitude in the NPS; however, your comments regarding Cumberland Island National Seashore (CUIS) need some clarification. If I read your correctly, you say CUIS - Georgia's only national seashore - is the only largely undeveloped barrier island in the state. Actually, there are several that meet the definition thanks to the foresight of the Georgia legislature about 40 years ago. Little Tybee, Wassaw, Ossabaw, St. Catherine's, Blackbeard, Sapelo, Wolf and several smaller islands are either under state or federal protection as refuges and even one wilderness area. St. Catherine's is privately owned, but is held as a conservation reserve. It's true that some of these islands have "development," but it is less than that on CUIS. In fact, solitude on some of these islands is beyond anything available on CUIS. Don't get me wrong. CUIS is a prominent NPS jewel, one of the most beautiful units in the system, but it has some stunningly beautiful company. Yes, there is development on several islands , but by far most of the Georgia barrier island coastline is wild, free and very remote and likely to stay that way.

  • Best Solitude in the National Park System? Here Are Traveler's Choices   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Lake Clark certainly deserves to rank high on the list, but there are other national parks in Alaska that would rival or exceed the solitude found in Lake Clark. Aniakchak, particularly the volcanic caldera, is in a class of its own. I am particularly fond of Gates of the Arctic, because it has solitude on a human scale. By that I mean that a reasonably capable wilderness traveler can be immersed in true solitude in most regions of the park.

  • Best Solitude in the National Park System? Here Are Traveler's Choices   5 years 44 weeks ago

    We love the Smokies! I agree, it's easy to get off the beaten path. And even if you do want to go to Cades Cove, (we ride our bikes through there annually) if you go on a weekday in the off season, it's very peaceful.

    Our favorite spot though, is in the Daniel Boone National Forest. I've purchased a book called The Hinterlands of Red River Gorge and there are paths that aren't marked and you can walk for hours and not run in to another person. Truly glorious!

  • Best Solitude in the National Park System? Here Are Traveler's Choices   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Wayne -

    Death Valley would be another fine choice for this list.

    A wonderful thing about the National Park System is that there are a lot of areas where anyone who wants to experience solitude can do so. The challenge is deciding which ones to include on a list of 10 - or 50 - such sites :-)

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Sorry Mr. Bane but I'd rather stay anonymous.
    The garbage is still buried where it was unless it was removed this last winter
    which I highly doubt. I know personally the guy that put it there under park
    service direction.
    Good reply. I appreciate your level headed and knowledgeable reply but I won't
    comment further.

  • Best Solitude in the National Park System? Here Are Traveler's Choices   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Has anyone heard of Death Valley National Park? I spent two years living and working there and just about every weekend I was able to disappear into the desert. you want to talk solitude. it was the only place i have been where, if i wanted to, i could be 100 miles from another human being. It was like living in hell for 3 months a year but after that it was the most spiritual, soul rejuvenating place in the world. I love the desert.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Cut and Dry, could you please be more specific about where the D9 Cat and "hundreds of barrels of fuel" were buried? Are they still in place? I am just curious, because the story has a familiar ring. Insofar as running off Natives, are you by chance referring to Katmai? As I recall, most Natives relocated from what is now Katmai following the eruption of Novarupta. The monument was created afterward by presidential proclamation. The Park Service does not have the power to unilaterally create park units. That power resides only with the president and Congress. Katmai is a complex mix of land classifications with differing regulations. Brooks River is part of the old monument with more traditional national park regulations. The northern preserve is open to sport hunting, so the regulations tend to be more liberal in regard to firearms. Neither sport or subsistence hunting is legal in the ANILCA created park (not preserve) lands added to the periphery of the old monument. Then there are private inholdings within the park that are not subject to park regulations. The mix of land classification also includes the ocean tidelands below mean high tide that have special status.

    Alaska is unquestionably a special place. However, the national parks are, first and foremost, national. They belong to all Americans and must be managed accordingly. If you visited a national park in California or Wyoming you would be expected to abide by park rules and regulations. The same holds true in Alaska. If you are uncertain as to a particular park's rules relating to firearms, please contact the office of the park or the National Park Service in Anchorage for more information.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 44 weeks ago

    And, in response to Rick Smith. Sorry, I don't consider my constitutional rights and my attempt to keep them as a "tired old arguement". I've got some statistics here as published by the US Census Bureau. These are annual figures for deaths in the US
    Motor vehicle--43649
    Choking --3206
    Medical complications--2929
    Aircraft -- 1061
    RIFLE --947
    Train --565
    Electricity -- 482
    PISTOL -- 187

    Of the 1134 accidential deaths as a result of firearms the number of deaths as a result of a pistol are 187 so I added the rifle and pistol numbers (in caps) to the census list above. The list clearly shows that a person is three times more likely being killed by electricity than they are by an accidental shooting from a pistol.
    According to the USGS there were 226 bear attacks in alaska in the last 10 years and that number is rising.
    And, according to CDC, there are on average 82 ligheninig fatatalities each year with a 53 to 100 range. So, you should be able to see that accidental deaths from pistols are substantially less than your chance of getting hit by a train and just slightly more than your chance of getting killed by lighetning.
    It seems to me that if you were going to be a champion to reduce the number of accidental deaths in the US, you would get a bigger bang for your buck by advocating life jackets for everybody in a boat, or spreading the word about the benefits of a function smoke detector and/or fire sprinklers...etc. You or your family member is 233 times more likely to die in a car than they are with a handgun. You don't like guns...that's fine, I won't make you own one. I like guns and I would hope that you won't infringe on my right to own one or protect myself and my family with one. If there is a tired arguement here it's the notion that accidential gun deaths are a plague in the US.

  • That “America’s Marines” Commercial Shows Five NPS Units, Not Six   5 years 44 weeks ago

    I'm not familiar with the area, so I really can't say exactly where the filming took place. It looks like the general description of the Camp Hale site (large, flat bottomed valley) may fit. Camp Hale was deactivated in 1965 and turned over to the Forest Service. Not too long ago the site was the focus of a major project to remove unexploded munitions left over from Army and CIA combat training exercises.

  • That “America’s Marines” Commercial Shows Five NPS Units, Not Six   5 years 44 weeks ago

    That Rocky Mtn scene could have been Camp Hale. Home of the 10th Mountain Division.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 44 weeks ago

    In response to "Roosevelt would be ashamed" please take note of what I wrote above, and copied here...

    It was the park service that buried a D9 Cat and a couple hundred barrels of fuel in our national park, not the gun owners.
    Some stewards! And it wasn't the gun owners that ran natives off their land and claimed it. They'd been there for 4000
    years, before the bears were. (considering the end of the last ice age and natural geological changes which changed
    the land from a game migration route to a salmon filled river.) That was natural, bear management by the natives.
    The bears didn't come until the parkies stole their land some 50 plus years ago. It's a wall-less unnatural zoo now.
    I have a hard time respecting the "stewards".
    (I'm not positive about the exact type of heavy equipment buried but it was buried.)

    My right to conceal carry in Alaska shouldn't be checked at the gate because of (deleted) thousands of miles away.
    You guys in the lower 48 can do what ever you want with this issue under state laws governing guns.
    Just don't impose it on us. (Alaskans)

  • Kurt's on the Yampa, and on the SPOT   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Way cool! I like this SPOT gizmo. Looks like Kurt had a nice campsite.

  • That “America’s Marines” Commercial Shows Five NPS Units, Not Six   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Bob, thanks for coming back and posting the solutions to this puzzle. Now I don't feel so bad, considering we were "oh for 600" on this one!

    Edit: Quite tricky. Never mind the structure under the bridge to be counted as a separate NPS unit; "almost visible" indeed! There is also the small matter of downtown Leadville CO, according to Google Earth, being 74 miles as the crow flies and 122 as the human drives from the nearest Visitor Center at Rocky Mountain National Park. Oh well, I guess the mountains in the background of that prairie scene should have been the clue.

    Fun nonetheless.

  • Plowing Yosemite's Tioga Road For Summer Traffic   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Good catch, Liz. That was a bad choice or words, alright.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Captain Kirk (sorry about picking a user name so close to yours...I didn't realize there was another)
    You quoted:

    "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the WILDLIFE therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

    There is nothing in that mission statement that would justify banning firearms in national parks. You make the arguement that if there are weapons in the parks that the wildlife will be put in danger. There are laws on the books that outlaw poaching so if someone "takes pot shots" at the wildlife they are in voilation of the law and are subject to prosecution...and I will be the first to turn that person in! Archery gear is also able to kill animals (silently!) archery gear outlawed, spears? I live in Alaska and when I go out in the woods (which is quite often...however not necessairly always in the national parks) I ALWAYS carry a firearm...ALWAYS! and it's usually a high caliber rifle over my shoulder. I don't do this so I can take pot shots at the wildlife, I do it in case I am forced into a situation to protect my person or property. I am an avid hunter and have had a freezer full of game meat for the last 20 years. I hunt legally and make every effort to preserve that game until hunting season. Some of you folks are putting the well-being of the wildlife over my right to defend myself. Every year I pay for those national parks and I have a right to use them as long as I don't abuse them and as long as I obey the laws of the land. If I am out in the woods in an area where I am considered food by the wildlife you can bet your ass that I will have something that levels the playing field (national park or not). I may have a different opinion if I was in yosemite (or similar) where all the predatory wildlife is more focused on dumpster diving and begging along the roadways but, to date, the national parks in alaska are the real deal and when a grizzly is heading in your direction he ain't looking for your bag of cheetos.

  • Plowing Yosemite's Tioga Road For Summer Traffic   5 years 44 weeks ago


    Just a correction to your choice of words on your 4/25 reply to Frank. Those plows in Yosemite do not KEEP the Tioga Road open - they reopen it in the spring. The road closes every fall after the first significant snowfall - usually in early November. The goal is usually to get the road reopened by Memorial Day, but depending on snowfall, it sometimes happens earlier, sometimes later. Yes, it is a vital east-west link across the Sierra, but Mother Nature has a say in the practicality of a year-round highway.

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 44 weeks ago

    There is definitely a lot of misunderstanding of what this plan actually calls for and what the existing reality is as far as cell phone service (and it can depend on your carrier, too). The only really annoying thing to me about this remains the restriction of wi-fi to "historic" buildings that are already serviced by cell phone towers.

    What I am interested in, though, is for people to talk more about the many contradictions about the Yellowstone experience. You drive 3,000 miles to Yellowstone (or 100 in my case), and then suddenly you think you can act as though you are in the middle of nowhere when in fact it takes a lot of technology and support to allow your visit to take place. We are creating something of an illusion, aren't we? So, I don't understand or am at least amused by the ways people get upset on both sides of their vision of the illusion. I mean, "Have the cell towers, but hide them into the landscape." How 21st century Frank Lloyd Wright! Great, I'm for it, but there's an absurdity just lurking in all this, in all these discussions, in all our visits, and there always has been since just before Yellowstone was founded (and I say just before because those "discovery" voyages into the park were really - for most of the participants (I wouldn't have called Truman Everts' experience lost and starving for 40 days exactly the typical tourist experience) - were grand tourist trips, cloaking the reality of a pristine wilderness that's not quite what we imagine.

    We bring ourselves into Yellowstone; I think that's all for the best ... but what would be even better is if we acknowledged that and crafted policy acknowledging it (it's not what you see on the nature shows; it's not Disneyland, either -- it's all that and more). Personally, I'd like to see less of almost everything, but if we are going to have more of some things (like communications tools), I don't want to see unnecessary and pointless restrictions in implementing them toward a non-existent, fanciful ideal (like protecting the historical character of the Old Faithful Inn ... give me a break; that's been long and continually compromised and misses the whole point of the place).

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Upon Further Review: A Cat on a Leash   5 years 44 weeks ago

    We've been owned by cats for many years and have come to understand that getting a cat to walk on a leash is one of the more difficult tasks in life. There are compensations, though. I recall reading an article back in the 1980s about a woman who was walking her cat on a leash when an unleashed dog lunged at the cat. Thinking quickly, the woman swung the cat up into the air by its leash and whirled it around and round, keeping it out of the reach of the dog until help arrived. Cool.

  • Electronic Technology in National Park Backcountry: Good or Bad?   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Ah, for the good ole days of just topo maps and a compass. It requires you to be more alert to your surroundings. There is always a sense of uncertainty that adds spice to the trip. I once bought a GPS that mounted to the handlebar of my bike. It showed a realtime display of my position, route, speed, time in route, vertical profile, elevation, etc. I used it for about a year, including a cycling trip in Utah. Then I took it off. It told me more than I really wanted to know. It made it too easy to become mentally lazy and a bit complacent. Becoming overly dependent on high tech electronics comes with a price, and it isn't always money.

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 44 weeks ago

    You know what the great thing is? There is no cell phone service or internet connection at Norris Juntion. Nor is there power at the campfire circle. The rangers actually have to engage the visitors without power points or slide shows. It's great. Last summer, one of the seasonal naturalists there was a concert violinist. He brougt his instrument to his talk, one concentrating on the history of the park. Every once in awhile, he would say something like "the military was here. They always had a fiddler." Then he played a fiddle tune. Or, "the park employees put on evening programs. These are the songs they would have played." The people were captivated. I have seen scores of evening programs. This was one of the most unique I have seen.

    Rick Smith

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 44 weeks ago

    This is not a ban. They simply are not going to go out of their way to make cell phone service available. Such as it should be. How is it that millions of people have safely visited Yellowstone over the past 130 years without cell phone service? The last thing Yellowstone needs is cell towers all over the place and people yaking on phones. My nephew visited from California a couple of years ago, and all I remember was him on his phone constantly talking to work. Supposed to be on vacation! People like that should be happy that there are still a few places where they have an excuse: "Hey, I didn't have any service!!"
    As it is (and will apparently continue to be) cell service IS available in a lot of areas: I get service in Mammoth, from Mammath to Blacktail, Tower Junction to Slough Creek, Pepple Creek to Cook City; Mammoth about half way to Norris, about halfway to Canyon to Canyon; parts of Hayden Valley, quite a bit around the Lake, all around Old Faithful, Grant Villiage to the Tetons (with some dropouts and dead areas, and the entire West Entrance road. I have called my wife while hiking in Pelican Valley, Hayden Valley, Snow Pass, The Yellowstone River Trail, Avalanche Peak, Trout Lake and a few other back country spots. All of this using a six year old TracPhone. The Park Service has absolutely made the right decision here.

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 44 weeks ago

    There are a lot of comments that imply the cell phone is a recreational device; however, I see them as communications devices. They allow you to reach someone, and be reached, whenever necessary. For example, if my car breaks down somewhere in the park I would like to be able to call for help. If I have a heart attack I'd like my wife to be able to call 911 right then. If my daughter has to go to the hospital at home I'd like to know about it then, not when I get back to civilization.

    When we first stated having cell phones there was a problem with people talking in movie theaters but I don't remember that problem in quite a while.

    I would like to see cell phones work everywhere possible, but, maybe, have signs requesting they be used for emergencies only. It might take some time, like it did in the movie theaters, but eventually most people would get the message. If people had to talk on their cell phone they could do it in their hotel room or the more commercial areas.

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   5 years 44 weeks ago

    No, the chains don't make it dangerous but i see what you mean. I also did the hike without the chains and had no problem, but it does help