Recent comments

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 5 weeks ago

    The story that never gets told follows:

    Last April, a huge storm overturned several containers on a freighter off the coast of North Carolina. These containers held boxes of ceiling fans. The ceiling fans were packaged in styrofoam. Now, as you may know, styrofoam floats and on a good Nor'easter, guess where the styrofoam goes? (A Nor'easter is a strong storm with a prevelant wind from the North East for thise of you not farmiliar)
    Anyway, thousands of cubic feet of styrofoam landed on the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Recreational Area. A mere week later, most of the beach was clean of all debris except debris too small to be picked up by the human hand. The areas that were not clean were, you will never guess, the areas closed to ORV's.
    So what happened, did the oil dripping ORV's just crush the debris? No, the sportsmen and beach goers who enjoy the area got out of their ORV's, took trash bags donated by the local tackle shops, picked up the debris along with any other trash they could find, put it back into their ORV's and removed it from the beaches.
    Now, Snowbird, this is how the ORV's benefit the local eco-system. This was absolutely not the only time this has ever happened, in fact, it happens after every large storm. It also happens after large holiday weekends. The people who use the resource regularly, respect the resource and protect it more than any well intended person a thousand miles away could ever hope to do.
    There absolutely should be rules governing the use of ORV's. There are idiots in every venture known to man. The key is to enforce the regulations in place and create a real policy for ACCESS. If you have ever seen the sunset from Hatteras Inlet spit or Ocracoke Inlet, you know it is a place to revere. If you have ever watched your 65 year old father land and release his first Red Drum, you know that access is needed for people his age to enjoy the resource.
    The real protectors of this habitat drive ORV's. The bad news is, they are not as vocal as the well intended groups who only see Bubba in a truck. The next time you pick up a piece of trash on Hatteras beaches, help a baby turtle to the water, help a tourist get their vehicle free from the sand, release a beautiful fish, have someone make a picture and post it on the web. Post it everywhere, Audobon, D.O.W and every where else. Then see how many pictures of people doing something for the local environment contain an ORV with a rod rack on it.
    If any of you doubt the reality of what I just wrote, meet me on Ocracoke May 10th and we will fish for a week. During that time, we will take a trash bag from my ORV and fill it with any trash or debris on the beach, we will catch a few fish, tell a few lies, watch some beautiful sunsets and who knows, you might understand our side too.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 5 weeks ago

    We do need a healthy balance here.

    The National Park Service, (i.e., management at Cape Hatteras NS) is responsible for an ORV plan, and as Judge Boyle this summer pointed out, nationwide ORV plan requirements have been on the books since Nixon was president, so the NPS and National Seashore don't really have an excuse for not having a plan in effect 30 years ago.

    Judge Boyle pointed out, also, that since there is no ORV management plan on the books at Cape Hatteras NS, then ORV use is illegal at the Seashore. That said, everybody who is operating an ORV at the Seashore is in violation of the law. The judge didn't order the NPS to shut down the beaches, so the NPS didn't. And the NPS isn't enforcing the judge's ruling.

    One thousand vehicles at Bodie Island Spit on Memorial Day weekend is far too many vehicles and people in one place--a rather sensitive place, at that. So there should be some limit on the number of people and vehicles that can be in one place at one time, especially in the sensitive places like Bodie Island Spit, Cape Point, etc.

    Some of the economy does depend on ORV use, and it should be allowed, but not "just wherever there aren't closures." I don't know what the rulemaking committee will decide, but there should certainly be more regulation and oversight on ORV use at the Seashore than there is now. As it is a Seashore, and supposed to be protected as a "primitive wilderness," we should endeavor to be responsible with the resources we have--with a priority on the natural resources.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    Big Red: You made some interesting proposals but yet no one has answered my question: Give me one good reason why ORV's can be good for the beach environment? Also, you mentioned the catastrophic conditions some of the wildlife is place under...referring to the photo links. Who's responsible for this out-of-whack environment? I have my own personal opinions regarding this. I assume your one conscientious outdoorsmen who truly cares about the Cape and it's holistic environment. I have worked in marshland and inland bay park setting for some 25+ years and do know something about the delicate ecosystems that it has and how easily it can be destroyed by careless and ruthless planning from over zealous developers and slap happy politicians. I have seen the onslaught of this type reckless development destroy one marshland habitat after another. The development is called: Redwood Shores of California!

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Snowbird,

    It's time you opened your eyes to the real world!

    When the D.O.W and the National Audubon Society became involved a few years back and through the intervention of the S.E.L.C it began to put pressure on the CHNPS. The world there changed as they filed and threatened lawsuits and demanded certain actions be taken.

    It no longer was about the protection of wildlife it suddenly became an issue of a cause that became a cash cow to the above groups.

    However you made some valid points in your post even though slightly misguided.

    1. There does need to be a O.R.V usage plan in place.
    2. Certain areas need to be off limits during limited times of nesting and mating to all.
    (By this I do not mean that these areas should be construed as justification for year round habitat creation for a migratory species)
    3. There needs to be a daily, monthly or yearly usage fee in place based on individual head count.
    4. There needs to be a reasonable O.R.V daily, monthly or annual fee in place in addition to the personal usage fee.
    5. Along with the four above there also needs to be a required usage course in place that is mandatory of at least four hours before any and all
    individuals are permitted access to the park.

    Now back to the reality!

    Snowbird above you made the following comment: Sunshine, you forgot to mention one thing: the preservation of wildlife for all generations to come...not just for the fun frolicking beach hogs alone.

    That's a fantastic idea Snowbird but when idealism hits reality head on and the D.O.W and the National Audubon Societies as represented by the S.E.C.L and money and politics take over strange things happen!

    Below you will find the links to a couple of very disturbing photos taken at Cape Hatteras just before Christmas. The photos depict what has happened and is still happening at this moment there. The innocent fox pictured ( which by the way is native to the island as is the Raccoon ) did not survive and neither did HUNDREDS of Cats, Raccoon's and other animals all because they were a danger to the non native migratory Plover's according to the three groups above.

    [img] www.stripers247.com/images/fox7.jpg [/img]
    [img] www.stripers247.com/images/rangerfox2.jpg [/img]

    These photos underscore that the O.R.V are but a small part of the problem that exist now.

    Sincerely
    Big Red

    PS: The fox above had pup's and later that day when found they suffered the same fate!!!

  • Grand Canyon National Park Officials Release Transportation Plan EA   6 years 5 weeks ago

    If the transportation option available is taking shuttles - people will take the shuttles. Zion National Park does it perfectly - a little sign is posted that says "Parking lots full. Please take shuttle." And people take the shuttle.

    I currently work for the Sierra Club but before that i worked as a Grand Canyon tour guide and i know for a fact that many people who signed up for these tours did it - not b/c they prefer to be cramped into a small 12 passenger van with a bunch of strangers or for the "gourmet" turkey picnic - but rather, because they did not want to drive. Who wants to sit in traffic on their vacation, in a park nonetheless??

    The National Park should be implementing Alternative C - immediate and aggressive implementation of a shuttle system from the town of Tusayan into the Park.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 5 weeks ago

    big oil and gas dripping ORVs?? i dont know about you but if my truck was leaking oil id fix it before id take it to the beach but thats just me. look fellas we all need to be fair here. on one hand we've got the ignorant and selfish people who don't give a flyin sh** about the environment and will leave the beach a dump. on the other hand we've got the ignorant and selfish people who assume that EVERYONE who drives on the beach is in this category. both probably make up 1% of people who drive on the national seashore... it is what it is.

    Believe me, i'll be the first person to confront someone leaving any kind of trash on the beach. and if i could stop someone from driving like a complete idiot putting people and wildlife in danger than i would certainly do that, too. but to say that we need to close the beaches to all ORVs is a little bit extreme, if not ridiculous to me. People have been driving on beaches ever since vehicles had that capability. they arent "big oil dripping" monsters as some of you have referred to them as. NO KIDDING THEY AREN'T CLEAN. but we've come a long way in terms of making these things as clean as possible. you don't hear of anybody suffocating in New York City like in the '70s do you??

    as an avid surf fisherman, i am all for the conservation of endangered animals, including the plovers. but to say that we are a realistic threat to these birds just isn't right. Foxes, for example, are a much more formidable threat to them than we are.

    one other thing i would like to touch on is some of the businesses on Hatteras Island that WILL go out of business if the beaches were to get closed to ORVs. There are several tackle shops on the island that have depended on people fishing the national seashore to keep their business going ever since they opened. is it really fair to them especially, to close the beaches to ORVs because of a handful of people who treated the beach poorly?? You don't have to answer that, i think it speaks for itself.

    If anyone disagrees with anything i've said i would like to know. Again, all i want is for people to be fair and realistic here.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    Yap! Once you start labeling those (as "extremist") who oppose you Mr. Metzgar in defense of ORV's at the Cape, your points of view begin sound more like your in favor of less preservation for wildlife. I think your distorting the facts about the "effectiveness" of the Plover Recovery program at Cape Cod National Seashore...and it's so call glut of birds. Maybe the glut of Plovers has a lot to do with it's shrinking habitat. What about the glut of human species and there oil spewing ORV's at the Cape (which I think is very valid issue). Can you give me one good reason why ORV's can be good for the beach environment at the Cape. May I recommended that you read some of Rachel Carson's books like: Under the Sea-Wind, The Sea Around Us, The Edge of the Sea, The Rocky Coast and finally The Sea. Just perhaps maybe you can find a small inkling to read a few of these precious books and truly see and feel the power of the sea and why it's so important to conserve and protect a few special places like Cape Hatteras...and not ruin it with more ORV's!

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Let's be fair here. If we are going to block off Hatteras to all but walk-ins, let's also do that for ALL National Parks. Auto pollution, asphalt, truck fumes, dripping oil, tourists, litter, etc., etc. are just as noxious in Yellowstone as Hatteras.

  • Sen. Obama Non-committal on Carrying Loaded Weapons in National Parks   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Obama’s response seems to be a nice political answer! Not really answering the question, just putting it off to “examine later”. I hope this issue is resolved before the next administration takes office (whoever that is)

  • Sen. Obama Non-committal on Carrying Loaded Weapons in National Parks   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I sure hope people will take care of our land and keep it as beautiful as God intended it to be.. I never leave home without my weapon,either in the woods or in my travels,been a cwp for many,many years now. The old saying,"pry it from my cold dead hand".

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Quote from Beach to Desert: "There are many animals that call that area home and may never return if they are scared off by people or vehicles. The land there is constantly changing-staying on the ORV paths is difficult and I'm sure there are the ones who don't care what the signs say, they do as they please".

    Beach to Desert you are correct in part of your comment........People on foot and especially those with unleashed animals have proven, in many studies, to be a much greater threat to protected species than ORV's observing the Park rules and Regulations.

    Why? ....I have observed literally hundreds of people walking in restricted areas in my 30 years+ on the Outer Banks. Why do they disregard the signs, fences, warnings? Its simple !! The thought process of these folks are....I'm only going in to get a shell. I'm only looking for a handy place to releive myself. I thought I saw a birds nest and wanted a closer look. I was going to pick up some driftwood. My animal ran towards something it spotted. My animal relieved itself there and I was going to pick up the deposit. I am bird watching. The reasons are endless....and unless you are a person with a uniform .......most will tell you to stuff it if you approach them! Enforcement of existing rules and regulations is the issue in this battle not management by lock and key!!

    On Holiday weekends in the summer take a picture of any favorite spot on a lake, at a stream, on a ski lift, on a people only beach, at a museum, at an amusement park, or on a ORV accesible beach and the picture is the same. People on top of each other with every conceivable item they can carry. Now take a picture on a non Holiday weekend..........the picture is quite different!! The picture in this article is a classic case of slanted journalism. Most OBX users know that the picture in this article was specifically user to reinforce a point of view.......This picture is the case rather than the rule!

    When the Park and then Recreational Area was given to Uncle Sam the native people were promised that they would always have access to the beaches. Now, like the Native Americans were thrown from their ancestral lands, the Outer Banks natives are being removed from their 'promised access to the beaches'.

    There has always been a co-existence on these barrier islands with animals until man interfered.......not with ORV's, which have been present on the beaches for more than 75 years but with groins and jetties to reshape the shoreline.....NPS Rangers killing foxes, skunks, raccoons and other native species in the name of protecting birds at the extreme southern limit of their range. Bulldozing habitat into oblivion in the name of safety. Allowing brush and scrub vegetation to grow in areas closed in the name of species preservation..brush and vegetation that eliminated the natural overwash areas so desired for nesting by the shore birds especially the Plovers.

    Now the extremists even want the Assateague Island National Seashore to eliminate the number of native horses on this Barrier Island. Why, you will ask........because their hooves are 'compacting' the sand to undesired levels restricting vegetation growth. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    At Cape Cod National Seashore the recovery plan has been so effective in the Plovers natural reproductive range the the NPS has them everywhere!! The interesting issue is that ORV beach access has had little or no effect on their recovery. Now NPS is in a quandry because the Plovers are everywhere and there is no Management plan to deal with the glut of birds which are still protected by ESA and NEPA.

    Management by Lock and Key is not acceptable.... but folks .......thats where we're headed if the extremists get their way!!

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 5 weeks ago

    News flash today:
    Mountain lion attacks boy celebrating birthday. Father shoots lion to save son.

    On Animal Planet: A bird watcher surprises a female grizzly and her cubs and is mauled; a female mountain biker is attacked by a 130 pound mountain lion.

    And on the Biography Channel: The Yosemite Killer. The case of serial killer Cary Stayner, who killed visitors to Yosemite National Park in 1999.

    When I travel, I don't park in dark places. I lock my doors and wear my seat belt. I stay around where other people are. I don't golf in the rain or sleep on railroad tracks. When I fly, I file a flight plan. When we backpack, we carry a PLB, matches, signal device, etc. In other words, we follow the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. We take care of ourselves. No one else will.

  • Bear-Proof Food Canisters Mandatory for Most Backcountry Travel in Grand Teton National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I typically fit 8 days of food, at about 3,000 calories per day, into mine. It all depends on what you choose to take.

    There's some advice here: http://www.sierrawildbear.gov/foodstorage/packingabearcanister.htm

    And there are larger canisters that are still lighter than the standard park-issued models.
    __________
    The WildeBeat "The audio journal about getting into the wilderness"
    10-minute weekly documentaries to help you appreciate our wild public lands.
    A 501c3 non-profit project of Earth Island Institute.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Just because the ORV supporters call it "Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area" does not make it so.
    1937: Cape Hatteras National Seashore
    1940: Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area
    1953: Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

    At present, and since its establishment, it is a national seashore, not a national recreation area.

    "God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars." -Martin Luther

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Snowbird06

    Sunshine: your quote, "Leave Cape Hatteras alone and allow us to share Cape Point with generations to come". Sunshine, you forgot to mention one thing: the preservation of wildllife for all generations to come...not just for the fun frolicking beach hogs alone. A bit of selfish stand on your behalf!

  • Bear-Proof Food Canisters Mandatory for Most Backcountry Travel in Grand Teton National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    The problem with bear canisters is they do not hold much food. I could not fit five days of food in one. I would have to carry two or three on a ten day trip.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Say, if traveling and choosing to camp amidst deep in the border parks with full knowledge of its danger...so be it..no one said you cant have that gun in your car. If you're back packing there you're probably nutts and you'll probably take a gun any way. So be it. Its likely a good issue to bring to light that the border parks are getting trashed from the illegal entry and/or drug smugglers. I hadnt been aware of such.Could be an issue gun talk has no bearing .......... I really believe Most National Park visitors that actually have a repeat camping, hiking, picnicing...national park experice would say NO, NO, NO for any change to existing law. I spent many years working and living in 3 major west and east coast parks/seashore. (many of those years in L.E. as well as working in campgrounds)

  • Bear-Proof Food Canisters Mandatory for Most Backcountry Travel in Grand Teton National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    In the Sierra Nevada, they started out loaning them for free. Now you either have to rent them, or bring your own.

    For standards and requirements in the Sierra Nevada, check out: http://www.sierrawildbear.gov/
    __________
    The WildeBeat "The audio journal about getting into the wilderness"
    10-minute weekly documentaries to help you appreciate our wild public lands.
    A 501c3 non-profit project of Earth Island Institute.

  • Sen. Obama Non-committal on Carrying Loaded Weapons in National Parks   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I see that the Senator also included that there was his need to examine other issues involved. This small facet of his thoughts shows to me he is aware that a snap answer isnt appropriate. Sounds like he is aware that there is probality of accidents ( be adults or children running around). There are laws and there is the spirit of the law. I havent necessarly been a Obama fan but I must say I think his response seems to reflect a need to view a larger picture.( what was the context of where he was asked and what time was allowed for him to respond.). Aside from this, I have wondered how a park's jurisdictional status plays into this. Some Parks have absolute jurisdiction, some joint and ?

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Hey, Snowbird, my husband and I regularly visit Cape Hatteras, particularly Cape Point. Our vehicle, identified by you as an oil dripping gas guzzling ORV, has nevered dropped 1 ounce of oil on the beach. The appeal of Cape Point is being able to drive out, set up for the day and enjoying the beauty of the beach without having tourisits lying next to you such as at Myrtle Beach. Ninety-five percent of the visitors to Cape Hatteras and the Point observe all rules and regulations outlined by the National Park Service. In fact, several OVRer's regularly clean the beach of debris and clean up after themselves upon leaving. It's tree huggers like you that like to ruin it for everyone else. Leave Cape Hatteras alone and allow us to share Cape Point with generations to come.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I have been to Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke. They are beautiful places. And yes, the use of ORV should be stopped. There are many animals that call that area home and may never return if they are scared off by people or vehicles. The land there is constantly changing-staying on the ORV paths is difficult and I'm sure there are the ones who don't care what the signs say, they do as they please. For years there has been issues with keeping the dunes intact and saving plant life. This area should be protected for the future. There are miles and miles of other beaches to go to. There are beach areas in NC that allow only so many people a day or no vehicles at all. Only boats and bicycles. If they want to go to these areas so bad, they'll take the transportation options given to them.

  • Bear-Proof Food Canisters Mandatory for Most Backcountry Travel in Grand Teton National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    This sounds like a good requirement. I'm glad to see that the canisters will be available for loan at no charge. I wonder if we'll eventually have to collect a deposit to make sure the canisters are returned. Will there be a workable plan to enforce this requirement? It wouldn't take too many rule-breakers to negate the benefits we can see from the institution of this regulation.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 5 weeks ago

    First let me say that I used to live in the Outer Banks and I visit Ocracoke every year, several times a year and have for over 10 years. I am a beach person to the core. I am also very protective of the environment, esecially the beach and the ocean, and I protect, defend and will stand up for animals. BUT there has to be a place for people to go as well. Period.

    If you have never been to Ocracoke, Pea Island, Portsmouth Island and the like, then you really have no valid comment here. You should visit before offering comments. Ocracoke is about the last special unspoiled place that NC has to offer and it should not be taken away from the wildlife OR the people. We ALL have a right to be there. Yes, some people should be more considerate, I do not disagree with that at all and I do not hesitate to call someone on it if they are not respectful and mindful of the surroundings. There are not many beaches left that humans are allowed to enjoy by vehicle. If they succeed in not allowing us to drive on the beach at Ocracoke I can tell you what will happen. People will have to going to park on the side of the road and trek over the dunes to get to the beach. And, for those of you not familiar with the beaches, you are not allowed to cross over the dunes either because of the environment and animals. So what is going to happen is NO ACCESS TO THE BEACH FOR HUMANS AT ALL. How about that?? Think about it because that is EXACTLY what is going to happen.

    Fight for the animals, yes, but fight for humans too.

  • Bear-Proof Food Canisters Mandatory for Most Backcountry Travel in Grand Teton National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Bear-resistant food canisters are also required in most of Sequoia/Kings-Canyon National Park as well. In addition, large areas of wilderness on Forest Service land in the Sierra Nevada also require you to use such canisters.

    We explored the history and effectiveness of bear cans in a two-part edition of the WildeBeat:
    The Story of Bear Cans, part 1
    The Story of Bear Cans, part 2
    __________
    The WildeBeat "The audio journal about getting into the wilderness"
    10-minute weekly documentaries to help you appreciate our wild public lands.
    A 501c3 non-profit project of Earth Island Institute.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    Mr. Metzgar: Take a hard look at the photo caption for this article. What do you honestly see on the fringes of the beach at Cape Hatteras? That's right, wall-to-wall with gas and oil dripping vehicles of all sorts. Now, don't tell me this beach is pristine clean and free from pollution. Maybe, I haven't been to the Cape and wouldn't want too considering all the vehicles stacked up on the beach...what an ugly sight! However, I do put much credence in the National Audubon Society and The Defenders of Wildlife comments on the destruction and the harming of the ecosystems at Cape Hatteras...and I assure you that there doing the right thing. Besides, how close do you want to be on the damn beach.