Recent comments

  • Drinking Water Advisory Issued At Grand Canyon National Park   3 weeks 4 days ago

    A funny memory for me. Years ago - in the 90s - I went to the Grand Canyon with family and friends. We stayed at a faciity in the park - which one escapes me. As we entered the cabins there were little signs on the sinks. "Don't drink the water". This was the one place on a two week trip that our friend had booked the reservation. We still give him grief when we get together.

  • Drinking Water Advisory Issued At Grand Canyon National Park   3 weeks 4 days ago

    I'm not suprised. I remember back when I did one of the mule trails to complete the experience of hiking all the kaibab and bright angel trails, I was caught in a light spring drizzle. The entire trail turned into a sewer pit in a matter of an hour due to all the mule crap being carried out by the runoff. Diluted mule dropping runoff was literally running around my boots. Never again will I ever hike one of those mule trails. The amount of mules they take up and down those trails to support the demand is haphazardly insane.

  • Guest Column| Defending The Science That Explains Climate Change   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Alfred, off subject, and you or traveler can certainly "gong me here", but I was interested in your experience running for office and discovering that questions asked of you revolved around "what can you do for me". Having participated in some citizen groups and lower level political campaigns, I found that was not always the case. It was disconcerting to hear write that. Anyway, way off subject, will be interested in your article on Olympic.

  • Guest Column| Defending The Science That Explains Climate Change   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Ecbuck, the temperature has not been flat, you seem to be mistaken.

    I guess you need to inform the IPCC and UK Met Office

    Yet last February (2013) even IPCC’s chairman Rajenda Pachuri has admitted that world temperature data has been flat for the past 17 years. And that was after the British media reported that the UK Met Office was projecting a 20-year standstill in global warming by 2017.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/09/10/terrifying-flat-global-...

  • Guest Column| Defending The Science That Explains Climate Change   3 weeks 4 days ago

    The point about government is that it should work for us--and offer real solutions.

    I disagree. That is not the role of (federal) government as invisioned by our founders.

  • Guest Column| Defending The Science That Explains Climate Change   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Ecbuck, wow, you must be the smartest scientist in the world!

  • Guest Column| Defending The Science That Explains Climate Change   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Ecbuck, the temperature has not been flat, you seem to be mistaken.

  • Guest Column| Defending The Science That Explains Climate Change   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Hi EC, A few days back, you generously apologized for some previous comment. Believe me, no apology is necessary for standing up for your convictions. We all get feisty from time to time. We just need to keep these comments formal, and I applaud how that usually is the case. . .

    In any event, this will be my last comment in this thread. I am writing an article on Olympic National Park I hope all of you will enjoy.

    The point about government is that it should work for us--and offer real solutions. Some will require government and some will require privatization. In the end, those are merely tools. But yes, I have to agree that the push is on to make government into a candy store. Running for office, every question I got was what will you do for me. It was quite the opposite of JFK's inaugural: "Rather ask what you can do for your country."

    What we all can do is be informed. It costs nothing to read and learn. The more we learn, the less we will be intimidated by those who claim to have done the learning for us. And with that, I will get back to Olympic National Park, where thank goodness, a group of citizens did not heed the "experts" that it "needed" to be logged.

  • Photography In The National Parks: Don't Let The Weather Get You Down   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Deby, thanks for the reply. I still do not understand how a faster shutter speed results in a noisy image, especially if you're adjusting the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO yourself. David is correct in that a higher ISO will, in some cases, result in a faster shutter speed, I say "in some cases" because you could also adjust the aperture to compensate. But again, that only happens if you're using the camera on some type of auto exposure mode, and I'm not sure why any photographer would want to leave everything up to the camera, unless of course they do not understand how exposure works in the first place.

  • Dinosaur National Monument Proposes Doubling Of Entrance Fee   3 weeks 5 days ago

    There's also a very practical reason for keeping fees in $5 or $10 increments when that's feasible: Eliminating the need to handle $1 bills both "in and out the window" decreases errors in handling cash, cuts down waiting times for visitors at entrance stations by reducing the time it takes to make change, and reduces the staff time it takes to count and process the daily remittance and bank deposit.

    Some may scoff, but a peak times, even a few seconds saved per entry quickly adds up to a minute or more saved in line for today's oft-impatient visitors.

  • Guest Column| Defending The Science That Explains Climate Change   3 weeks 5 days ago

    I think it is true that we have bought into the "neo-liberal" economic theory that the only thing between a nations prosperity and failure is unrestrained capitalism including the privatization of all that is in the public sector.

    Hogwash. Noone is calling for "unrestrained capitalizm" or "privatization of all that is in the public sector". But claiming so does create an easy strawman to attack.

  • Guest Column| Defending The Science That Explains Climate Change   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Well Lee, I must agree, I to find Alfred Runte's post extremely educational and I think both he and Dr. Botiken have a valid position. I think it is true that we have bought into the "neo-liberal" economic theory that the only thing between a nations prosperity and failure is unrestrained capitalism including the privatization of all that is in the public sector. As President Reagan said, the "government is the problem". Not only is this economic policy of the last 40 years proven a disaster for at least 50% of the nations population, but it has consequences world wide. Even more telling is its effects on the environment in which we live. Thank you Mr. Runte for your comments on this issue. I remember well the sayings of the old timers when contentious development proposals or social issues arose, "just follow the money".

  • Guest Column| Defending The Science That Explains Climate Change   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Good points, Gary, and yes, I agree with all of them. The original environmental movement, then called preservation, concerned itself with wildlife and open space. And talked openly about population growth--and the resulting pollution--which were doing the planet in.

    Then came the political correctness of the 1980s, and suddenly, we couldn't talk about population anymore. Why? Because it was alleged to be growing fastest in poorer countries, and who were we to tell them not to reproduce? After all, we were consuming 25 percent of the earth's resources--just 250 million of us--which became the excuse for letting population slide. We should clean up our act before telling anyone else to clean up their act. There it was: How to turn environmentalists against themselves by recasting the problem as not enough of the "right" technology.

    As with global warming, we are not going to reverse ocean acidification--or any of it--just with a technological fix. Here in Seattle, the absurdity is to eliminate a six-lane highway for a four-lane tunnel and, just this morning in The Seattle Times, Sound Transit wants $15 billion more for light rail. I love rail, but come on, folks. Who has that kinda dough? And now the politicians are talking about a sea wall for New York City, as if the middle class can pay and pay and pay.

    As for the Mojave Desert, billions more--2 million acres given over to solar collectors, again, as if technology can do it all.

    As for environmentalists, The Wall Street Journal reported this morning they are giving $30 million to political candidates, undoubtedly those supporting reductions in green house gases by ripping the Mojave Desert apart. What happened to rooftop solar? Ah, but that doesn't cost a billion dollars, nor leave power distribution in the hands of big corporations who have learned how to scream "global warming!" the loudest of all.

    Take corporations out of it and I am on your side. I will retrofit my roof with solar and buy an electric car. But I won't give up my public lands without a fight, and to every environmentalist who thinks that is the solution, I say go back and read your history. You are giving up your inheritance and getting nothing back in return. The land will be gone, and your earth will continue to heat, until all of us learn to live within our means.

  • Dinosaur National Monument Proposes Doubling Of Entrance Fee   3 weeks 5 days ago

    So the rate goes from 10 to 20, a similar jump from 1998 when it went from 5 to 10.

    Most things I bought in 1998 have a different price today.

  • Conservation Groups Say Gray Wolf Spotted On North Rim Of Grand Canyon National Park   3 weeks 5 days ago

    If this critter spends much time as close to a paved highway as the photo shows, I fear for its longevity (along with any other canines that even look like this one.) Once word gets out there might be a wolf anywhere in or near Arizona or S. Utah, there will inevitably be some people determined to remove it as soon as possible.

  • Guest Column| Defending The Science That Explains Climate Change   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Dr. Runte's last two sentences say it all -- on both sides of the issue.

    "The answer lies not in global warming. Rather, the answer lies in who is getting rich."

    Too bad we very rarely seem able to replace money with common sense and honesty.

  • Guest Column| Defending The Science That Explains Climate Change   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Not all humans have the conquest the Earth mentality, Dr Runte. Some of us actually wish to see some aspects of the planet not gobbled up by temporary economic play things only to deplete the landscape for hundreds, if not thousands of years. If we can reverse the acidification of the oceans to stop the bleaching of coral reefs, then maybe we SHOULD think about doing that. Maybe creating areas where commercial fishing is barred should be considered so that we don't entirely deplete the oceans fish stock. If we can halt how much sulfur dioxide is tossed into the atmosphere by installing scrubbers on coal plants, then that should be done to stop the acidification of forests and ecosystems. Science has already proven that this works and can lesson the impact on burning fossil fuels. But, the problem always is the battle between conservation and extractionists. Scientific thought and processes should EVOLVE over time. Perhaps, this country should be putting those solar plants on old industrial sites instead of in BLM and NF lands. That's kicked around a lot by preservationists, but of course, it's just EASIER to gobble up land that just has "disposable" rabbits and turtles.

    I personally don't want to be a part of a human race that looks like a mere parasite or virus when we don't have to if we use that brain in our head to better facilitate not only our survival but other species. I also don't have a self-defeating "ohh screw it" mentality, either. And seriously, at least this side of the hemisphere had bison, elk, deer, beavers, and other creatures. The european side of the planet wiped out and completely depleted those species to where it will take many centuries to restore populations of these creatures.. I realize that yes, the ground sloth and other creatures were eliminated on this side of the planet from human expansion, but to use a few examples as a "norm" is not exactly fair. And some of those same forces that depleted the resources (like a nice little virus) look to do the same to this side now that they are here. I'd love to have barred witness to more than just a few acres of the giant old growth forests found in the eastern us during the 1700s before the onslaught of industrialization, but one just has to use their imagination to guess how it must have been, because that is all we have left other than a few fractured acres. Soon, the next generation or maybe a generation after that will just have some videos or pictures of what a coral reef looked like. Something that we could have prevented, if human ingeniuity didn't spend too much time just catering to the underachievers of our plane.t Self-awareness is a beautiful thing, unfortunately many on this planet don't have it, or fail to achieve a heightened level of awareness, thats why I feel it's necessary for those with some level of self-awareness to always shock those that choose to not utilize it..

  • Dinosaur National Monument Proposes Doubling Of Entrance Fee   3 weeks 5 days ago

    SmokiesBackpacker: As to whether the NPS has ever "cut bureaucrats," in the mid 1990's the NPS went through a reorganization that reduced the number of regional offices from 10 to 7, and resulted both in some reductions in the overall number of NPS positions and in the transfer of a number of positions from central offices (Washington and regions) to parks. There's some discussion of that process at this link.

    There have probably been other such changes over the years; that round of cuts is one that came to mind.

  • Guest Column| Defending The Science That Explains Climate Change   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Good question. Are "we" making it worse? The simple answer is yes, and for that matter, we have been making things worse for the past 3 million years. Humans are conquerors, first learning to use fire and spears, until their weapons and tools mowed everything down. I remember lecturing about the theory of Pleistocene overkill, this to remind my students that natives were the first conquerors in North America. Columbus didn't upset the balance of nature. It had started 10,000 years before. What he upset was THAT balance of nature--the one he found and everyone dubbed as stable, when indeed it was nothing of the kind. Oh, Dr. Runte, my students would scream in horrified disbelief. But Indians were ecologists. I read it in a book!

    What book, I would ask? What is the author's motive? Do you think that Native Americans did not change their world to suit themselves? Well, you think that because you have it easy. Your next meal will be served in the dorm. They had to go out and find it--kill it--clean it--carry it--cook it over an open fire. Indians ecologists? Yes, for themselves, using the best tools available at the time.

    American univesities don't teach like that anymore. Nor do presidents. And that's why global warming "exists." It exists in the minds of those people who see advantage in peddling the fear. "Rain will follow the plow! God speed the plow!" Remember that boosterism from the 19th century, arguing why settlers should plow the plains? And they did, only to find that God wasn't about to make it rain only because the boosters said it would rain. Then came the Dust Bowl and it all blew away. Global warming? No, the history of the planet, which no one bothered to read because they were so busy speculating in LAND!

    What are they speculating in now? Renewal energy. Big combines, big corporations, have much at stake on the public lands. They need our fear to convince us that we should give up our inheritance for their bottom line. For the record, Dr. Botkin believes in renewal energy--as I do--but not these sprawling, land-gobbling projects that will destroy more than they will possibly save.

    There is money in peddling fear, just as there is money in peddling hope. "God speed the plow! Rain will follow the plow!" Many people got rich over that, just as many are getting rich now. The historian remembers that--remembers the great hurricances of a century ago and asks what is REALLY different. What is different? The American coastlines had not been developed. There were fewer people, homes, mini-malls, and all the rest of it that those great hurricances could blow away. There were fewer people around to scream: "Storms will follow the plow!" Now that millions of people have built their homes on sandspits, you bet, Super Storm Sandy knew how to blow them away. Fade in. Governor Cristie and Barack Obama are walking arm in arm down the beach. Elect us and we will save you! We will hold back the seas! It is nonsense, and they know it. They can only hope you won't know.

    All that Dr. Botkin is saying is that the science has been abused--made to say more than it really says by people who have an agenda. No historian is surprised at that. Human beings have always had agendas. Saving American rivers from perpetual flooding (and rivers always "flood") the United States built more than 3,000 large dams, and the dam-builders got very rich. Nature didn't lie, did she? Here is my flood plain. This is where I go when the spring rains come. If you build there, I will "flood." Now every spring along America's rivers, developers are screaming flood! Global warming? No, stupidty, and some Americans got very rich.

    As I have said, I will believe fervently in global warming when the price tag lowers just a bit--and when Seattle, which wrings its hands about rising seas, abandons the Waterfront Tunnel. Which is it? Will the tunnel flood or won't it? The answer lies not in global warming. Rather, the answer lies in who is getting rich.

  • Dinosaur National Monument Proposes Doubling Of Entrance Fee   3 weeks 5 days ago

    $20 per carload for a week is hardly unreasonable, and it's worth noting that use of fee money is restricted to specific types of uses; see the examples cited in the story, such as the shuttle and trail projects that directly benefit visitors. Fee revenue can't be used for those management salaries that some harp about ad nauseum. If you want your money to go where it most benefits visitors & park resources instead of "overhead" then entrance & most user fees offer the best bang for your bucks, as compared to appropriated tax dollars.

  • Dinosaur National Monument Proposes Doubling Of Entrance Fee   3 weeks 5 days ago

    $20 for a week for a vehicle is a bargain for our beautiful parks. People (users) tend to think "my taxes should pay for this," when, really, users of the parks, not the entire tax-paying public should pay their fair share. They USE the park, they wear out facilities, they require the services. As I said, still a bargain.

  • Guest Column| Defending The Science That Explains Climate Change   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Climate deniers like to use 1998 as a 'starting' point for their 'science.'

    If you do a least squares regression analysis ( the proper way to measure trends) you will see the trend is flat. Least squares regression equalizes the impact of any given year whether it is the first year, middle year or last year. Looks like you are the denier not those that know how to measure trends.

    The IPCC models have been horribly wrong. Time to fix the alarm, not tear down the house.

  • Photography In The National Parks: Don't Let The Weather Get You Down   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Great idea on the bean bag. Truthfully, yours might hold up better than mine.

  • Dinosaur National Monument Proposes Doubling Of Entrance Fee   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Its astonishing that the fee drunkards at NPS HQ are partying like Calligula while visitation to "their" parks drops. Heaven forbid they ever tighten their belts and cut bureaucrats. Does anyone know the last time the NPS tightened their salary belts? Has it ever happened?

  • Guest Column| Defending The Science That Explains Climate Change   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Are you denying that temperatures have been flat the last 18 years?

    1998 was an exceptional year. All scientists admit that and know that. However, if you compare 1997 to today, the earth is warmer. If you compare 1999 to today, the earth is warmer. In fact, nine of the top ten warmest years on record have occurred since 2000 (the exception was 1998). If 2014 continues as it has, 2014 will become the hottest year ever.

    Climate deniers like to use 1998 as a 'starting' point for their 'science.' It was one exceptional year. However, 2005 and 2010 were warmer than 1998. So no, the temperature has not been "flat the last 18 years." It has been steadily getting hotter.