Recent comments

  • Former National Park Service Directors Urge Interior Secretary To Keep Guns Out of Parks   6 years 1 week ago

    With permission, I quote "Anonymous" who said it much better than I can:

    I'm afraid ignorance of our Constitutional rights and their continued erosion by both liberals and conservatives because of personal prejudices are a ticking time bomb. Each has foisted constitutional abuses on the American people. Conservatives are guilty of abusing the Commerce Clause to support the war on drugs and liberals have introduced various gun bans that are clearly un-Constitutional. These represent the slowly warming water that will ultimately boil us to death.

    I think it was said best by one of our brightest founding fathers.

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

    American's need to grow a thicker hide and stop looking to government to solve our problems, because we all know they create more problems than they solve.

  • Former National Park Service Directors Urge Interior Secretary To Keep Guns Out of Parks   6 years 1 week ago

    There is no absolute in any law. If we want to take the 2nd Amendment argument to legal extremes, we would be encouraging children to bring guns to school, and everyone else to carry weapons into government buildings, bars, etc. But this is outlandish, and the law clearly prohibits these actions, just as it prohibits loaded weapons in national parks. To most "law abiding citizens," this seems reasonable. Others, of course feel compelled to carry a gun at home, at work, in the car, to the baseball game (oh wait, we can't take guns there, either—imagine what could happen if you were rooting for the wrong team!), to the bathroom, and everywhere else. Maybe they fear the entire world. In any case, the laws of this great nation place clear limits on the right to bear arms. And personally, I'm not as worried about poachers in our national parks as I am about gun-toting, "law abiding citizens" who, feeling secure in being miles from civilization, decide to take a few pot shots at their fellow park-goers.

  • Groups Sue Cape Hatteras National Seashore Over ORV Traffic   6 years 1 week ago

    I've been coming down to the Outer Banks every year save one since 1965. Hatteras Island for the last 15 years. We always got a house very close to the southern edge of Avon. To date, I've never seen anyone doing donuts, or driving recklessly (On the beach.... highway 12 might be another matter). Perhaps one yahoo that got his vehicle a little too close to the ocean and almost lost it in the drink, but otherwise, the OVRrs are a very sedate group.

    Oil on the beach use to be a problem in the 60s, but that was from ships at sea. It's very clean there now.

    The folks that get themselves worked up over what they think is right for the environment sound like they've never been to Hatteras. You guys need to learn about the area a little bit before going off into histrionics.

    Mr BO

  • Former National Park Service Directors Urge Interior Secretary To Keep Guns Out of Parks   6 years 1 week ago

    Well said, Kurt. Let's hope the NRA isn't able to push guns into our treasured national parks. The NRA is trying to create a society where gun-owners' rights trump the rights of all other Americans. The gun lobby apparently doesn't care if this results in more gun violence - we are told that is not even a consideration. We need groups like yours to stand tall and affirm that public safety isn't only a necessity, it's a basic component of "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" mentioned in our Declaration of Independence. Thank you for your efforts.

  • Benefit Planned for Joshua Tree National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    Thank you, National Parks Traveler folks, for posting this.

    I wish I lived close enough to go to the concert, in order to show support for the work of Donna and Larry Charpied. The Charpieds are a great example of private citizens who have made difficult sacrifices in their lives to keep a place they love from being harmed. Because the priorities of government agencies and environmental groups often change over time, private citizens are crucial to victory in these multi-decade fights. Go Donna and Larry!

  • Decommissioning National Parks: Some History, And Some Ominous Clouds   6 years 1 week ago

    This is a terrble, incredibly short-sighted idea. The "we can't even afford to take care of the parks we have" argument is totally bogus. It's perpetuated by the Grover Nordquist-types who want to shrink government until they can "drown it in a bathtub." I can't believe that national park advocates fall for this disinformation, but they have -- going along with rising fees while the Congress feels no pressure to appropriate more money. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    This argument has been with us since the beginning. And it is no more valid today than is was 100 years ago. Don't take my word for it:

    "The insidious opposition to National Parks will say, ‘There is a feeling in Congress that we should not have any more National Parks at this time’; or, ‘We should wait until present ones are improved.’”
    —Enos Mills, Your National Parks, 1917

    The bankruptcy of the idea of cutting parks is shown by the suggestion that Glen Canyon National Recreation Area should be on the reject list. Until it was drown under Lake Powell reservoir this area was once the biological heart of the Colorado River ecosystem. Now a prolonged drought, rising water demand, and the effects of climate change are draining the reservoir. Hydrologists predict that Lake Powell will remain nearly empty indefinitely and will never fill again http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/Releases/?releaseID=876 The Canyon is already showing amazing restorative capacity and many of the side canyons are revealed for the first time in 40 years. We should upgrade Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to a National Park to restore and fully protect this amazing place. Take a look at these photos of Glen Canyon before it was flooded (http://explorepdx.com/glen.html)and tell me this is not a place that rivals any of our existing National Parks.

    We should not cut one park. We should not even be considering it. Instead, we should be greatly expanding the National Park System. There are hundreds of areas on national forests, BLM lands, national wildlife refuges, and private lands that need the strong protection of the National Park System. Yes, we need to build the public support to adequately fund what we have -- the conservation movement has been pathetic in accomplishing this. But we need to add as many parks as possible while we still can.

    Instead of acting like victims, whining about how our parks don't have any money and talking about throwing some overboard, we need to rebuild the national parks movement. There is no movement today. Other than National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), no major national advocacy group does anything more than give lip service to national parks. And there is no new national parks movement at all. That needs to change.

  • Who Visits Alaska's National Parks?   6 years 1 week ago

    I'm going to Denali to go backpacking this summer. It will be my third consecutive annual visit to Alaska, and I hope to keep that trend up. Last year I didn't visit a national park, but a state park. The year before was Wrangell/St Elias. I'd like to visit the more remote parks, and Gates of the Arctic is my goal for next year. But the costs are a challenge. The main reason I'm going to Denali this year is because there is no need to rent a car or hire a plane. I'd rather go somewhere else and avoid the permit system if I could afford it.

  • Former National Park Service Directors Urge Interior Secretary To Keep Guns Out of Parks   6 years 1 week ago

    Ranger Tyler, how is the constitutional issue being avoided? Doesn't the Constitution provide for the establishment of laws, and isn't the current regulation a law? Just as it's reasonable to have laws that impact First Amendment rights (You can't incite a riot or yell "fire" in a theater without being arrested in most states or libel/slander someone without facing the consequences), why is it so outrageous to have reasonable laws that involve the 2nd Amendment?

    If you want to argue constitutional issues, what about states that currently deny concealed carry or have tighter restrictions than the NRA would approve? After all, under the NRA's current drive, they want national park gun laws to mirror those of the states in which the parks are located. So even if the current regulations are changed to adopt those guidelines, unless you live in California and have a California-issued CCW permit you won't be able to carry in Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Death Valley or other NPS units there as that state doesn't recognize other states' CCW permits.

    Of course, this all likely will be moot after the Supreme Court rules on the D.C. gun case.....

  • Acreage Donated to Expand Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park   6 years 1 week ago

    the headline is misleading - donating is giving - he did not give he sold.

  • Former National Park Service Directors Urge Interior Secretary To Keep Guns Out of Parks   6 years 1 week ago

    This site again avoids the Constitutional issue. As an anonymous commentor has already voiced, if you don't want people to carry loaded arms on federal land, work on amending the Constitution. Red herring arguments, like safety or necessity, ignore the 2nd Amendment. Why are citizens outraged when the NPS wants to limit the 1st Amendment's free speech protections on the National Mall to a "pit" to protect grass, but then embrace the NPS when it violates the 2nd Amendment to supposedly protect deer? Poachers will continue to ignore regulations and poach; meanwhile, law-abiding citizens are denied their Constitutional rights.

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   6 years 1 week ago

    I still call it a fat man's toy. If you can't walk your dead!

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   6 years 1 week ago

    i been walkin trails since i could walk!!! it crazy that you would want to roll instead of useing your good ole legs
    leave your stuff inside and hit the trail running feet first!!

  • GAO Finds Fault With Management Plan For Yellowstone National Park Bison   6 years 1 week ago

    We know where the bison go when they leave the park boundaries, this isn't a mystery. It would have been better to use that 16 million to buy up land on their usual path to protect the bison! 16 million would have made a nice start in purchasing more land for the park, at least. For those of us in D.C. however, we just roll our eyes at the mess the government created... Anytime we see one of these 'interagency management plans' it means nothing will be accomplished for an enormous price tag of money and time. The path the governmental 'interagency' was going to flounder on was as predictable as the path the bison take.

  • Death Valley May Be On Lookout For Steve Fosset   6 years 1 week ago

    This unique national park is open all year, but winter is the best time to visit the points of interest in the valley. The long, hot summer - from May through October - is only for the hardy and venturesome. Many of the side roads from the valley are closed during this season, but you will find the higher and cooler Panamint Mountains quite comfortable.

  • Park History: Isle Royale National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    Lakeside camping sounds wonderful. I love being able to camp in the woods in the remotest of locations. Too bad it's so far away.

  • Park History: Isle Royale National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    I have hiked this park for two weeks right after it opened for the season back in 1996. It was one of the best experience I've had yet in my 40 years. Somehow I lucked out and had perfect weather which I hear is unheard of for that time of year. I hiked the east side for one week and the west side the next. I took the boat from the MN side with 4 other people, and as it was our captain's first trip of the season he took his time and pointed out some very cool shipwrecks just under the surface near the island itself. VERY cool. Needless to say with only four of us on the MN boat, (the MI boat had not yet begun trips that early in the season) I never saw one person the entire two weeks. Lots of moose, fox, and yes wolves, and too early and cold for bugs. Had a wolf visitor on a beach on the east side of the park one night. He/she sat on the opposite side of the beach and just watched me as I watched him/her for nearly 15 minutes. Heard several packs howling during my time there. Nightly and daily moose encounters. Even the fishing was pretty good for that time of year (and yes I was licensed). I would HIGHLY recommend this park to anyone, however go early in the season as I was told it gets busy with recreational boaters and the good campgrounds on the beaches get filled quickly. There were no vehicles on the island when I was there, I have no idea if they have a few now, especially on the busier east end where most of the travelers end up landing from the MI side. The trails were incredible when I was there. Well marked and in very good condition. Who knows what 10+ years has done to this beautiful place though. I didn't take a camera with me but every single inch of the island that I traveled is embedded in my memory as if it were only yesterday. It was a trip of a lifetime and if hiking is your passion you owe it to yourself to visit this park. Don't sweat the price of the boat ride, or the logistics of how to get there....it's all part of the experience. Do your homework and you will be greatly rewarded with an incredible trip.

  • Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West   6 years 1 week ago

    Two items: 1) John Brian is quite right about the feral horses in eastern parks. I should have pointed out that they are habituated and intensely managed. Even though they may be free-roaming, and may technically be considered wild, they are certainly not wild in the true sense that the western mustangs are. 2) I just edited my previous post to remove Cape Hatteras National Seashore from the list of eastern parks with feral horses. The "Ocracoke ponies" at Cape Hatteras have been penned for a long time, and are not feral in any sense of the word. There are free-roaming feral horses just up the coast in the Coralla vicinity, but they are well outside the park boundary. It was these horses I was referring to, and that was a mistake.

  • Park History: Isle Royale National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    Two of Nevada Barr’s mystery novels, “A Superior Death” and “Winter Study,” are set in Isle Royale National Park. A Superior Death (“who killed the diver?”) was the second of the 14 books in the park-based series featuring fictional ranger Anna Pigeon. Winter Study, which involves scientists studying Isle Royale’s wolves and the moose they prey on, was just released a few days ago. Barr is in Michigan doing the book tour thing (Ann Arbor on Saturday, Okemus on Sunday) even as we speak. Early reviews of Winter Study have been very complimentary. I’m really looking forward to reading this book, not least because I’m a Michigander born and raised. I hope to visit Isle Royale some day, though you may rest assured I will not be doing any ice walking to get there. I don't know about ice conditions on the U.S. side of the lake, but there's been no safe "ice bridge" from the Canadian shore to the island for at least 30 years.

  • Electric Map Going Away at Gettysburg National Military Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    It is never to late. Go to www.SaveTheElectricMap.com and take action. Email a friend.

  • Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Deanne Stillman is an important author of our times. Her passion, knowledge, and research skills ceate some of the best reading a person could ask for. I cannot wait to read Mustang. The ill-treatment of wild horses and burros sheds light on what kind of mean-spirited society we have turned into.

  • National Parks Conservation Association: Interior Buckled to NRA Over Park Gun Laws   6 years 2 weeks ago

    I have been a regular visitor at Organ Pipe National Monument for 45 years. I hike a lot, and regularly see illegal activities, mostly groups of illegal immigrants. Although the area roads are heavily patrolled, it is extremely rare to see a park service enforcement officer in the backcountry.

    I would strongly support having the legal right to carry a gun while hiking in this park. Any assertion that the status quo is a safe situation is ridiculous. I would suggest that allowing concealed permit holders, who have undergone a training process to carry a handgun discreetly in a backpack or other concealed location might even improve safety in places such as Organ Pipe.

  • GAO Finds Fault With Management Plan For Yellowstone National Park Bison   6 years 2 weeks ago

    The Park Service has continued to slaughter bison; the totals are by far the highest ever. A lot more are being held in the Stephens Creek. Montana hasn't really amped up its slaughter yet. By the math I've done, another 500 or more buffalo have died from the winter. This is not just any other year; this is the worst year ever. What's been different this year is that the Park Service has done most of the killing.

    There were two women with Buffalo Field Campaign arrested for chaining themselves to the visitor center at Mammoth Hot Springs last week. The same night, our new group in Bozeman hosted Mike Mease of Buffalo Field Campaign for an educational event; there was a lot of talk there about how easy some of the solutions would be to implement. BFC, in contrast to the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, opposes further money going to buy out the Royal Teton Ranch; it really is a kind of extortion. While I personally think this is an ideological struggle that should play itself out, others have made convincing arguments that there are natural geographic boundaries to bison expansion, that it wouldn't be hard to vaccinate cows, that the rest could be handled by fencing. Mease points out that in the Tetons where bison graze on the same land as cattle - where the cattle have been vaccinated (not the bison) - that there's never been any brucellosis transmission. On the west side, advocates there in the audience pointed out that there really aren't that many ranches in the Madison Valley. In a private conversation, Mease told me the Paradise Valley would be much more difficult, but it still would be nothing that fenches and vaccination couldn't deal with. A lot of landowners actually want bison on their land, but right now they aren't allowed to do this. That's a big story in the Madison Valley.

    And, yet, when it comes down to it, this is not at all about brucellosis; this is about turf wars and control of land, and value judgments about the proper use of land. The GAO report in some ways helps to identify that.

    It's the dumbest thing and most maddening thing here, though. You don't have to be a radical like me to see that none of this has to be. And, yet, there is not a partisan or a political solution to this (though some in our audience were urging legislative lobbying in Helena as the best strategy here).

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

  • Acreage Donated to Expand Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Why shouldn't the Hensley family be fairly compensated for their land? It's ludicrous to assume that they should just donate the land to the government. The problem is the title of the article not the content. The land was not donated by the Hensley family, it was bought by the preservation groups and donated by them. Kudo's to the Hensleys who took care of the hallowed grounds permitting it to be preserved for future Americans to stand on and remember the sacrifices of our forefathers both north and south.

  • Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Actually, I mention the wild horses of the east coast in my book (and of course read "Misty of Chincoteague" in my childhood), some of which are descended from the horses that came with conquistadors, just like many mustangs of the West. Speaking of the east coast, did you know that Paul Revere's horse - a steed commandeered from a Massachusetts deacon - had Spanish bloodlines? And she had a name; it, and her story, are in my book.

  • Park History: Isle Royale National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    I am from Michigan and I know people who have been there, but I have not. From what they tell me it is absolutely pristine, wild, rugged, FAR, but there are great opportunities to see lots of wildlife, like moose, and you will hear the wolves, but probably won't see them. There really isn't another place like it. The Great Lakes themselves that far north are amazing -- clean and immense bodies of fresh water that are very cold to take a dip in but you will feel clean and reborn if you take the plunge. It's a beautiful place.