Recent comments

  • Considering a Hike up Half Dome?   6 years 2 weeks ago

    I climbed Half Dome for the first time on Aug 5, 2008. I'm 63 years old but in good shape and have done this sort of thing before.

    This is not a silly dangerous undertaking. The present Park Service policy should remain, though I suspect that they have decided to limit access to the cables. This is because they were taking a survey there when I came down, and the questions were clearly slanted to get the result that "the overcrowding is too dangerous".

    There are several things people have not mentioned. First, it is perfectly possible to get up and down the cable route without aid of actually holding on to the cables. I in fact got down without a "death grip" on them, just sliding along them prepared to grip hard if my feet slipped: but in fact they did not and I got down on foot friction alone. This was in well-worn Vibram sole hiking boots. I was not able to get up on foot friction alone, and had to pull up with my hands. But ... I saw one guy with "approach" shoes (i.e. shoes intermediate in stickiness between ordinary Vibram and the really sticky climbing shoes) get up without grasping the cables, just sliding his hands along without grabbing. With real climbing shoes an experienced free climber would do it free. This would be seriously dangerous, but that's their idea of fun.

    It is a long day hike. At about 16 miles it is still not enough that I felt pooped when I got down (I left at 4:15 in the morning,
    reached the top at 9:15, left the top at 10:15, spent two hours on Sub Dome watching the show (which never had a wait
    to go up or down the cables) , and made it back to Curry Village at 5 pm in time for a shower and a nice dinner at the Ahwahnee (yes, you can get reservations the day you want to eat there, even at 5 pm.) By 11AM there were lots of people coming up who had started at a "prim and proper hour" from Happy Isles and seemed to me to be not terribly pooped as they started up the cables. At 1 PM on the way down I met the stragglers coming up, and these were those who, perhaps, had bit off a bit too much, with many questions to me "is the rest of they way up harder than THIS???". (Yes, folks, it is!)

    Half Dome, and its cables, is a great piece of historic Americana. It's a leftover from a free America that was not overly concerned
    with being a nanny state. It is an accomplishmet of sorts to get to the top. Its a place where the nanny state should overlook. Nobody is forcing anybody to do it (well, perhaps a few are trying to shame friends or children into doing it against their will, but that must be rare.)

    Just do it, come back, and spend $100 at the Ahwahnee dining room celebrating!

  • It’s Good to be the President When You Visit Gettysburg National Military Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    A president OF the people has no right to be treated like a king, even in a national park. Such treatment is un-American. Three cheers, Bob!

  • Yellowstone National Park Reporting Bullish Visitation   6 years 2 weeks ago

    I drove through Yellowstone on the way back to Colorado from a week in Glacier this last weekend. Despite claims of vast numbers of Europeans visiting Yellowstone in large vehicles, what was most striking was the vast number of Hummers and other belching SUVs from Texas and other Western states. These were real card-carrying, drawling Texans paying Wyoming gas prices to visit Yellowstone, many with fly rod in hand. And there were many, many fly rods to be seen. I guess no gasoline price is too high to fish the Yellowstone River.

  • The Denali Road Lottery Offers Regulated Leaf Peeping at Alaska’s Denali National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    That seemed like a pretty logical question to me, MRC, so I posed it to the PIO at Denali. She told me that arrangements are being made to allow applicants to pay the application fee electronically. (Payment for permits would still have to be made at the park, as would any applicable admission fees.) If all goes as planned, the electronic payment option should be in place for next year's application cycle. But since the wheels of bureaucracy can turn very slowly, I wouldn't bet the farm on it. Incidentally, it looks like this year's Road Lottery will have fairly decent weather (highs in the mid- to high 40s), and there's no precip in the forecast -- at least not at the moment. Colors are past their peak in a lot of places, but still pretty good in others.

  • The Denali Road Lottery Offers Regulated Leaf Peeping at Alaska’s Denali National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Can anyone think why they don't accept electronic applications with payment via Paypal (or similar)? Set up a decent web application once and spare a few people to wade through paper and enter the names and dates and stuff into databases by hand.

  • It’s Good to be the President When You Visit Gettysburg National Military Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Bob, your practiced "reasonable reply" isn't fooling anyone. This WAS a rant, evinced by use of the vernacular "nuther" and your lines:

    The prez was invited to return later this month to attend the grand opening of the Museum and Visitor Center. He declined, of course. ‘Been there, done that.'

    The first poster had it right...for Pete's sake, quit the political sniping.

  • It’s Good to be the President When You Visit Gettysburg National Military Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    I worked at Sequoia during Bush II's visit in 2000. A wall was knocked out between two rooms at the lodge to make a bigger suite. A television (probably tuned to FOX News) and treadmill were added to the room. Bush climbed to the top of Moro Rock. When shaking the President's hand, Sequoia National Park's air quality monitor told him not to slack off on clean air regulations. His visit pretty much shut down big parts of the park. Bush was there promising billions for the national parks. Remember? That was before 9/11. Oh, if only politicians would stop using parks as political pawns.

  • It’s Good to be the President When You Visit Gettysburg National Military Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Good grief, Tourist. Now I have to be envious of you too! Anyway, I'm glad you can see -- though some other Traveler readers obviously cannot! -- that EWS whining is basically driven by wishful thinking, not political persuasion per se. I would have loved the opportunity to shake hands with the President and First Lady. BTW, if you're interested in the latter's national park visiting activities, you might want to have a look at this site.

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Settlement Won't Ban ORV Use, But Will Restrict Travel   6 years 2 weeks ago

    The above comments are absolutely spot on the truth. I am very concerned that our natural resources be protected, but what the Audubon Society has done through this law suit is a miscarriage of justice, and in reality serves no one, no even the precious wild life they seek to protect.

    Thanks for reporting the facts. I fear the entire island of Hatteras will become off limits to people.

  • It’s Good to be the President When You Visit Gettysburg National Military Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    I happened to be at the Virginiia Memorial when the President and First Lady showed up. It was an incredible experience to be touring Gettysburg for the first time and then shake hands with the President of the United States. Reagrdless of ones political persuassion, an unforgetable moment.

  • Mountain Pine Beetles Chewing into Grand Teton National Park Forests   6 years 2 weeks ago

    What is different about this pest and the one destroying the lodge pole pines in the Rockies of Colorado? There we were told the destruction came as a result of the lack of normal thinning that occurs as a result of wildfires and only trees 8" and above were being attacked. It appears the "experts" in each area have different stories all covering the same outbreaks. It's no wonder it's hard to get the backing of people in lobbying those in power to change things.

  • Sky-High Ginseng Prices Boost Illegal Harvest in Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    I was surprised just a few years ago to discover Extension Agent literature & programs, to encourage Pacific Northwest landowners to consider the ginseng industry. This area differs from the usual range of the species, but evidently trials & trail-blazers have shown it practical. We have a standardized buyer-network, and a number of large-scale ginseng-farm operations. The hope is plainly that more small operators will take it up, since their conditions are more likely to yield the more-exotic & unique roots that are always sought-after. Big farms produce a very uniform product.

    So ... what to do about illegal digging in Smokey Mountains Park? If harsh penalties protected the plants, then the answer would be fairly simple. Evidently, though, for some the temptation exceeds their fear of getting caught. If penalties worked there should be large plants growing in those places that favor ginseng. The lack of abundant or large plants probably indicates that more-skillful illegal diggers are continuing their activities. (For example, I recognize instantly that parking a car where it will attract the notice & arouse the suspicions of a ranger is not the savviest way to go about doing something illegal in the Park...)

    A serious potential consideration in erecting a largely unenforceable and ultimately ineffective penalty-system is the potential for a Prohibition-like outcome. It could foster a network of criminalized buyers who overlook that certain suppliers of roots are coming in with a product of a quality that others cannot obtain (because it now exists only in the Park). It could help inure reasonably law-abiding people to the risks & stress, and help teach them the special skills of illicit & surreptitious picking, etc. Both of these could then lead to a proliferation of other illegal activities in the woods.

    Sez your buyer, Oil-Can Suzie:

    "Sure is an awful lot of black bears in the Smokies these days, ya know. Did you hear what dried gall bladders & paws are fetching now? Don't get caught of course ... but it's a lot more lucrative than these few scrawny 'sang roots you got here. Give it a thought."
    This was basically the undoing of Prohibition - it provided fertile ground & cover for a general proliferation of outlawry.

  • Hawaii’s National Parks Are Attracting Fewer Visitors   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Interesting observations about Native Hawaiians, Ted. But while it's true that many Native Hawaiians dislike "haoles" (whites) and have profoundly anti-development views, that's not been a significant problem in their direct relations with tourists. Take the Big Island, for example. Native Hawaiians who don't like haoles don't interact all that much with Big Island tourists. The overwhelming majority of hotels (including some of the finest in the world) are situated over on the west side (the Kona Coast), whereas the densest clusters of Native Hawaiian are on the east side, where there's comparatively cheap land south of Hilo. (The east side of the Big Island is the rainy side; Hilo is America's rainiest city. While tourists don't like rain, Native Hawaiians seem not to mind it.) In 1999, Sandy and I stayed for a few days at a resort on the coast south of Hilo. This was not far from Pahoa, which is certainly one of the most interesting little towns I've ever seen. Not once during our entire stay did we have an interaction with a Native Hawaiian that was anything but cordial. Let me hasten to add that I have never been damn fool enough to take a rental car up one of those long private drives that wind through the trees off the main road. Haoles are not now, nor have they ever been, welcome in those private places.

  • Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous,

    You provide an interesting & instructive account. Thank you.

    When I was a kid on the Olympic Peninsula in '50s & '60s, everyone liked to have a 'bear-story'. Most of them began by the teller holding up the thumb & index-finger with a gap of 1 or 2 tenths of inch between them.

    "Yep, it was out there, oh, 400, maybe 600 yards", thumb & index-finger bobbing up & down, "moving at around 40 mph straight up that steep hill through impenetrable brush like it wasn't there. He musta went airborne when he cleared over the top."

    That's basically all anyone ever saw of a bear - a tiny black speck near the limits of vision, retreating at its panic-maximum speed. If you watched the black speck for as much as a full second, that was an unusually long sighting.

    The reason bears acted like that, of course, is they were routinely hunted.

    Today, Olympic Nat'l Park people are chewing their nails to the quick, getting ulcers worrying when the first Olympic bear-attack will suck them into the developing hurricane that now threats to ravage wildlife management professionals & institutions all across North American. They're in denial, their heads in the sand. See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil.

    Even quite recently, I would have said, "No, though hunting carnivores would do the trick alright, I can't see them coming around to it".

    Now, though, I definitely can see it, and I don't think it's very far off. I now think that the situation with bear & cougar has been allowed to degenerate to such a state that it is now all but inevitable the Parks will be forced to embrace hunting against their own bias & prejudice, and weather the withering flak they will get from anti-hunting allies among environmentalists.

  • Hawaii’s National Parks Are Attracting Fewer Visitors   6 years 2 weeks ago

    The security-driven 'airport experience' is an increasing deterrent to air-travel. Many complain about it. The chronic economic crisis for the airline industry, wage-reductions for pilots, and recurring stories of lax maintainance, all could understandably serve to reduce the willingness of a sensible person to entrust themselves to a 600 mph vehicle of dubious reliability.

    There are, as well, social problems in Hawaii which may make vacationing there less pleasant. Increasingly strong anti-development sentiments are becoming conspicuous in the Island scene. Some of this might spill over as hostility toward visitors. As well, there appears to be a trend in the U.S. to express greater sympathy for such social conflicts.

    Using environmental classification schemes, great swaths of the entire Hawaiian archipelago have been declared 'no-go zones'. It is now against the law to go ashore on the great majority of Hawaiian islands, and this causes resentment and impacts a potentially lucrative touring enterprise. President Bush, otherwise no big fan of environmental issues, has been especially keen to re-classify the archipelago.

    I have for some years now begun to wonder about the long term future of the State of Hawaii. Effects on tourism & Park-visitation seem like components of a larger social drama there.

  • Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    They have tried relocating bears in Great Smoky several times, and the bears always return to the place from which they were taken. This bear was aggressive. I hate killing animals too, but the bears are overpopulating the park. It's time allow very limited and cautious bear hunting.

  • Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    You're lucky if you've had only one encounter with a black bear. Unfortunately, you do not live near the Smoky Mountains where there are WAY TOO MANY bears!!! The density of the black bear population in the park is approximately 2 per square mile now. That can not be healthy for bears and is certainly not safe for hikers. I've been to the park 3 times since moving to Georgia from the Midwest a few months ago. I love hiking, but have already had 2 close (less than 30 ft.) encounters with full-grown black bears on designated hiking trails in the park and have seen at least 20 more from a greater than 30 foot distance. These bears are, in no way, afraid of humans.

    The first bear was not aggressive. My boyfriend and I were caught near the summit of the uncharacteristically deserted Chimney Tops in a thunderstorm. I was eager to get back to the car, but we had to wait about 45 minutes for a full-grown bear to get off the trail directly ahead. Eventually, he receded about 15-20 ft. back into the foliage just to the side of the trail. He turned and watched as we quickly passed, but, despite our making loud noises, did not flee the scene.

    The second bear was a mother and two cubs on the heavily visited Laurel Falls trail. This one growled at hikers. We turned back, along with a group of about 20 people, because we had already hiked 9.6 miles that day and were just too tired to deal with a bear. Back in the parking lot, we heard rumors that the bear had run at a mother and baby in a stroller.

    Most unnerving to me, though, was the seven (yes seven!) bears we had seen in a group earlier that day on the comparatively isolated trail to Ramsey Falls. There were a lot of food wrappers, beer bottles, and even a Kentucky Fried Chicken Bucket left behind on the trail, so it's no surprise that there were bears in the area.

    We also saw two smaller bears from a distance at the Rainbow Falls Trail......... exactly 4 days before a young boy was attacked by a yearling on the same trail.

    I have read that some of the deterrents (ie. non-lethal bullets) park rangers have been using have been making the bears more aggressive and that noise does not frighten many bears because a significant number of them have been found to have very poor hearing.

    And yes, you're absolutely correct that people don't always know how to behave around wildlife, but to imply that people are being attacked because of their own carelessness or other actions that provoke or entice bears is unfair. Often, people are being attacked because of OTHER people's actions or the simple fact that bears have too much contact with people in this part of the country and are not inclined to avoid humans.

    I would absolutely love to hike the Appalachian Trail through the park, but even with bear spray, I have my reservations. I'm afraid the rapidly increasing threat of violent bear attacks may make the trip just too dangerous.

  • Is Climate Change Driving A New Forest Regimen in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem?   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Normal Plants May Emit Methane - in the open air

    This is a story that hit the natural-sciences world like a ton of bricks, in the last couple years. Environmental scientists - not to mention activists & enthusiasts - often reacted with disbelief. Methane is a greenhouse gas, like CO2, only much stronger.

    It is generally known that decomposing plant matter sealed off from atmospheric oxygen generates methane (anaerobic). That plants growing normally in the oxygenated air (aerobic) can also emit methane is a new & dramatic assertion. If it is true and the quantity is at all significant, there will be serious & fundamental ramifications for climate models and climate-change theories.

    The original work was done by Dr. Frank Keppler, at the Max Plank Institute of Germany. Subsequently, Dutch workers who doubted the possibility devised a highly elaborate experimental set-up, which failed to show an emission of methane from plants. Since then, though, additional workers have used simple (conventional) plant-gas measuring set-ups, and they too are finding emissions of methane from living & dead plant matter, in the presence of oxygen.

    There is a correlation between the generated methane, and the light that falls on the plant material. Ultraviolet light seems particularly implicated. This would make the effect photosynthetic, rather than metabolic. Another example of an unexpected photosynthetic effect is the generation of hydrogen peroxide from water on the surface of exposed wood. This is why unpainted lumber and dead trees in the forest turn silvery-gray - the hydrogen peroxide bleaches the wood ('peroxide blonds' use the bleaching action of hydrogen peroxide on their hair).

    There is a current article updating this topic at the Environmental Research website, titled "Plants emit methane even in presence of oxygen". This article basically confirms the preliminary results found by Keppler.



    Plants do emit large amounts of reactive hydrocarbons. The 'smoke' of the Smokey Mountains is a haze of terpenes, isoprenes and assorted volatile hydrocarbons emitted by trees. The same effect is visible around the world. Plants give large amounts off materials which would be classed as pollutants, if they originated from human activities. Phytoplankton in the ocean does the same thing.

    As the plant-methane story unfolds, perhaps the greatest value it will bring us is to remind that complex systems are full of surprises, and that simple cause & effect acccountings - such as the popular assumption that humans are causing observed climate changes by releasing CO2 - are unlikely to hold up well as the situation becomes better-understood.

  • Is Climate Change Driving A New Forest Regimen in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem?   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Is climate change the simple & direct cause of the current outbreak of Mountain Pine Beetle? It might be, but commonly events like this beetle-infestation reflect a set of often complexly-interacting factors, and the precise cause-and-effect train entails a lot of uncertainty ... 'mystery', even.

    For example, at this very moment astronomers and a large array of other 'interested professionals' are squirming in their chairs, waiting for the beginning of the next sunspot cycle. The previous cycle hit rock-bottom some months ago and we are now sitting in the trough, or lull. This lull has had an exceptionally (record?) low number of sunspots, leading to speculation that something unusual may be in the offing for the coming cycle. Astronomers are anxious to test several competing models of sun-behavior against the pattern of the new cycle. The tip-off lies in the precise way that the new cycle begins.

    Earth-bound natural-science professionals are anxious to see whether any correlations are evident, between the unusual current and potentially coming sunspot behavior, and their respective fields of study. Climatology, zoology, botany, ecology and others all show some degree of linkage between sunspot cycles, and events in these fields. Again, not usually a 'simple & direct' causation, but a complex of interactions.

    On the Arctic Ocean this summer, young, thin ice blanketed an almost historically normal amount of the ocean surface well into August. This resurgent icecap coverage would most likely have resisted melting and lasted into fall ... serving to reflect the sun's energy and prevent warming of the ocean's water. As it happened, an unusual and unseasonal windstorm broke apart the ice and expose most of the water that was exposed in recent summers - due previously mainly to unusual melting, which did not take place this summer.

    The fact that the new ice held together for much longer this summer, and did not melt (it just broke apart, and will mostly re-freeze as more-compact 'jumble-ice') is a significant deviation from the recent pattern of a progressively thinning & retreating Arctic Ocean summer icecap. We will be watching very closely next summer, to see whether this summer's apparent rebuilding of the Arctic icecap continues, or whether 2008 was just a blip in a otherwise relentless melting of far-northern ice-coverage.

    Much has been made of the retreat of Arctic Ocean summer-ice. Many who hold that climate change is driven by anthropogenic CO2 have made strong claims for a fairly simple & direct cause & effect. This summer, however, was obviously 'bad news' for those who point to the Arctic Ocean ice and demand, "See? See what humans are doing?".

    Well, maybe events in the Arctic Ocean are an effect of climate-change, and maybe it's due to something more complex, and subtle. If it is due to climate change, maybe the cause of that change is human-generated CO2, and maybe it's a little more complicated. Whatever the actual case, there is no doubt that proponents of anthropogenic climate change have shoved a lot of chips into the center of the table, betting their credibility that a few summer's melting trend on the Arctic Ocean will continue.

    In 2009, we may have the opportunity to see why 'traditional' science professionals are reluctant to make simple cause & effect assertions about large-scale natural phenomena. Buy your tickets early and get a good seat - it could be quite a show!

  • Hawaii’s National Parks Are Attracting Fewer Visitors   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Hawaii vacation costs haven't gotten completely out of hand. Far from it. To help stem the decline in tourism, the first in seven years, the Hawaiian hospitality industry is offering dramatically cheaper lodging. Mainlanders planning a fall or winter trip to Hawaii can now score some of the best in-season room rates and travel package deals that have been seen in the islands for quite a while. This can go a long way toward offsetting the higher cost of air travel. For example, a couple taking a week-long vacation in Hawaii this month will pay about $460 more for airfare than last year, but can shop around and find hotels with weekly rates priced $300 or $400 less than last year.

  • It’s Good to be the President When You Visit Gettysburg National Military Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Get over it? No way! Immediately after the very first VIP in human history got special treatment (say, the clan leader who got the best cut of meat from a fresh kill) there emerged another new class of human called the Envious Working Stiff. I'm an EWS myself, and that's why I wrote this article. Man, how I'd love to be treated like a VIP instead of an EWS when I visit Gettysburg (one of my favorite national parks). Bet you would too, Joe. As for die hards, well, all kinds of die hards are welcome here at Traveler -- even the ones who send us nastygrams. The die hards we most appreciate are Die Hard National Park Advocates.

  • Is Technology Compatible With The National Park Wilderness Experience?   6 years 2 weeks ago

    We each experience nature in our own way. My way is to try to capture in photographs what I see; to put into words the thoughts and feelings it elicits. So I will travel with cameras and a laptop. Someone else may find their experience enhanced and more relaxing if they listen to music. It's just not relevant that "I' prefer the sounds of the forest.

    At 61, I'm currently planning a year-long 'live in my van' road trip and plan to visit a number of National Parks. My 'sons' insist that if I'm traveling alone, I 'must' have a cell phone and GPS. That's for 'their' sense of security that Mom's okay. My feeling is that while I don't want them to worry, a cell phone and GPS aren't going to keep me safe. They see a need for it where I see none. The point being: what's important to one isn't important to another - who's to say one is right, the other wrong? I say if you want to take something with you, take it. It's your trip.

    A song from the forties comes to mind as I plan my journey: "Gonna take a sentimental journey; Gonna set my heart at ease. Gonna make a sentimental journey to renew old memories." Who knows? The kid with the IPod may, forty years from now, be encouraged to take a sentimental journey when songs he hears today whisper "go for it, do it one more time".

  • It’s Good to be the President When You Visit Gettysburg National Military Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Obviously there are true Die Hard Republicans that cannot take any joking. Most high ranking Government personnel do not have to pay to visit certain site within the United States, it has always been that way and will always be that way. People need to get over that.

    Your Humor was refreshing, thank you.

  • The Wilderness Act At Age 44   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Thanks for your comments, Ted. I especially agree that "...the very foundation premises of the [Wilderness]
    Act are often little more than romantic whimsies that defy fact & reality. However much incidental good it
    has done, no matter how ardently it might be embraced, as a policy statement & guide, the Act is flawed &
    weakened by both the way it was written, and the way it has been applied." Wilderness managers do need
    more flexible guidelines for our spectrum of 'wildernesses', but I fear that legislative attempts to improve the Act would probably result in even more flaws and weaknesses.

    My main point was that there are those within the Park Service (and allies such as the Horsemen), that resist
    the concept of wilderness, not that people, bridges, or boardwalks don't have a place there. At the other
    end of the spectrum, purist preservationists also sometimes cause loss of respect for the NPS and the idea
    of wilderness when they attempt to apply a 'pristine' standard in basically 'scenic drive' National Parks like Mount Rainier. For an example see Page 3, Reply #74, on a forum for NW backcountry skiers:
    http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=10692.50

    I suspect both our posts are pretty far from the discussion Kurt had in mind, but since you mention the
    Ozette boardwalks, here's some additional facts to chew on. You're absolutely right about the prehistoric
    and European use of the area. I'm pretty sure even the NPS was in the boardwalk business before the coastal
    strip was designated as 'wilderness'. It probably made sense when the cedar for the boardwalk could be
    "extensively but...selectively logged" from windblown trees adjacent to the trail. After 2-4 cycles of
    replacement, this was no longer a viable option for most sections.

    By the 1990's, all the cedar lumber for Ozette boardwalk maintenance and replacement was purchased from Canada and flown to the trail at great expense. The replacement cost at that time was about $60/linear foot; no doubt it's much higher now. Bear with me through a little arithmetic. Having 30,000 linear feet of boardwalk with an average service life of twenty years meant the Park had to replace an average of 1500 linear feet every year at a cost of $90,000. This was almost a third of the entire Olympic Park annual trail budget spent on about 2% of the maintained mileage. Many visitors, managers and staff loved the boardwalk and seemed unable to grasp that this was completely unsustainable. Talk about "romantic whimsies that defy fact & reality". In addition, the slimy, tilted, sometimes frosty sections resulted in about one litter evacuation (mostly broken legs) per week in the busy season.

    I could make a similar analysis for the hundreds of bridges, but hopefully, I've made my point. Any given
    wilderness (or 'frontcountry') development may make sense as a response to a particular situation. However, each ultimately adds to the overall maintenance load, even if fubars like poor design are avoided. If your favorite tool is a chainsaw, it's not surprising that you'll see most problems as having a carpentry solution.

    I'm not totally opposed to National Park development, even in our finest wilderness, but it needs to be at a
    sustainable level, whether we're talking trails or $103,000,000 museums. The usual NPS response to
    questioning their policies and priorities is: 'we only have limited resources'. Well, almost all of us have limited
    resources, but most of us live within our means, something the National Park Service has not yet learned to do.

  • It’s Good to be the President When You Visit Gettysburg National Military Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Well, that was a total waste of time.

    Shouldn't satire have some sort of comedic content?