Recent comments

  • Cherry-Loving Bears Lead To Closure Of Gregory Bald Area At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Nice post Sara, the public affairs employee had it mostly right, look, the persons enforcing these rules, at least the vast majority of them, have a great deal of experience and training, it usually is relatively easy to see through the scams once the contact is made in minor infractions like this. Lee, you make a good point, and as most of my experience is in the large western parks and forests, I can see that in urban interface areas there maybe a percentage of citizens trying to break these pet rules. But I truly believe the rules allowing the disabled should stand. I became a supporter of disabled access after I saw Mike Corbett take Mark Wellman up the face of El Cap in Yosemite. Mark was paralyzed from the waist down, Mike set the routes and protection, Mark by an amazing feat of human endurance (it took several days), pulled his way to the top. I will never forget it. Two really great people, Mike is still a close neighbor of mine. As I get older and am now acquainted with some really great senior citizens, many of whom have severe injury or health problems, it is important to be a little generous here in our approach to them. If it is a scam, the enforcement people will deal with it effectively. Until proven otherwise, I give the nod to Ms Judd.

  • Cherry-Loving Bears Lead To Closure Of Gregory Bald Area At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Gotta love the smokies finest ambulance chasers... They got a REAL A list celeb using THEIR mountains, that was either clueless about the rules, or potentially legally camping with it (who knows). But, this wouldn't be the first southern girl prancing her miniature poodle around the mountains, and surely won't be the last. I see that sort of thing at least twice a month in the mountains. This isn't just a mere hippie walking with his dog on the AT, or a couple from ohio taking fido for a walk along Alum Cave, or even a poacher from waynesville running dogs with radio collars while looking for bruins. THIS IS AN A LIST CELEB, so the sharks are in the water, because they smell a REAL REAL money maker on their hands. CONSPIRACY CONSPIRACY!!

    So what is at most a minor infraction, could be a 20 year lawsuit, and millions to be made. Ashley's in TROUBLE now.

    I do know for a fact she was camping at campsite 12, not campsite 13 and was there on June 19th. But, having a dog in the backcountry is against the rules, and that stuff does annoy me as well. But, I doubt ANYONE at the BC office would give her a pass on that, so if she never mentioned her dog then is it REALLY a conspiracy?

    What if she got her permit online? Then i'm sure that's going to really upset some, because that means she's smarter than your average local yokel that finds that computer contraption system too hard and cumbersome.

    I do think it's great that even an A list celebs can camp, somewhat quietly in the backcountry of the Smokies, since it is their park too. I heard she was mobbed when she was at a visitor center, and when she went to Pigeon Forge. The people around these parts are too star struck, and almost pathetic when they see anyone that's on that big TV screen. It's kind of disturbing. I saw Paula Dean while on lunch in Gatlinburg a few weeks back, and people swarmed her like flies on... well, anyway, whatever. Same goes with others like Shaq, etc. They can't get a moments worth of peace when they are just trying to be like us. Living in a western ski resort for a good portion of my life, we treated stars like everyone else, and I do miss that about that western laissez faire attitude built into it's culture. The whole star struck BS is kinda lame here in the Southeast, but hey.. whatever. But, yeah, the dog? Don't know, but at most it's a minor infraction, and many times, i've heard Rangers just walk people out when they encounter them, and just give people warnings. In Shenandoah and Congaree, dogs are allowed on most trails.

    But, hey, if the smokies finest ambulance chasers are on the scene... TROUBLE is surely at hand. Conspiracy.. CONSPIRACY!

    As for the bears, good! Let them have the cherries, although, when I was up there the blueberries were also almost prime time. Last year, there was a pretty lean mast crop year, so they are starving, and there have been a few bear incidents this year with bears being somewhat territorial around people. But, as always, SFW hijacks any thread about the Smokies, and turns it into something about their ambulance chasing pursuits. Can't go on any local, or site like this one, without them hijacking a thread, and turning it into their own. It's fairly pathetic. Ashley Judd camping in the Smokies has nothing to do with bears at Gregory Bald, which is by the way prime blackberry, blueberry, and has cherry trees. Bet the SFW was clueless about that. They whine evertime that area gets closed because of bear activity, even if it's one of the most important habitats for them.

  • Cherry-Loving Bears Lead To Closure Of Gregory Bald Area At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Backpacker...

    You just go ahead and wonder about any little thing you want.

    I just get tired, and no doubt it is my own character flaw, but I get tired of the overlapping and merging venn diagrams of "the NPS is always wrong" and "black helicopters are conspiring to invade the heartland".

  • Cherry-Loving Bears Lead To Closure Of Gregory Bald Area At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    I think it is a big leap to assume that the Park bent rules for Ms. Judd regarding her service animal.

    From the Knox news article:

    "A few years ago a park ranger encountered a hiker and a duck on a popular trail. The ranger was told the duck was a service animal, and under the park’s old guidelines, no further questions were asked."

    A Smokies public affairs employee also said this toward the end of the article:

    "Most of the time it’s a dog wearing a service vest and everything is legitimate, but there still are times when it’s another animal species, or there’s no indication of any special training. We are taught to respect people’s privacy. If they say it’s a service animal, we don’t push it.”

  • Cherry-Loving Bears Lead To Closure Of Gregory Bald Area At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Smokies, welcome to today's world. The authorities can just make up any rule they want and not enforce the ones they dont like and the people can't question it. After all they know whats better for us and what we "need" and don't need.

  • Cherry-Loving Bears Lead To Closure Of Gregory Bald Area At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Any reason we shouldn't be allowed to question why the rules could possibly be bent for her, Rick?

  • Cherry-Loving Bears Lead To Closure Of Gregory Bald Area At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    And if her papers are in order, hopefully the conjecture will end.

  • Cherry-Loving Bears Lead To Closure Of Gregory Bald Area At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Sara,

    This picture seems to suggest a dog backpack, though. It will be interesting to find out if Judd had the right "papers.", huh?

    http://instagram.com/p/pWYx4ymD3l/

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Please, the management is growing weary of reminding folks not to make personal attacks.

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    And of course it is so frivolous that the NPS admitted that Blackberry had trail sign on park propery and made them remove it. Multiple witnesses with affadavits, photographic evidence and NPS admissions versus a guy who has never been there referencing Lord knows what kind of data that proves nothing. I don't blame you for not going up there to see for yourself, Gary. How would you ever be able to refute the obvious truth that dozens, including another on this forum, have documented?

  • Cherry-Loving Bears Lead To Closure Of Gregory Bald Area At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    However, there are more and more pet owners who are abusing the service and support animal laws. As a result, there is a growing backlash. Much of the backlash is coming from persons who have legitimate need for SERVICE animal.

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/lifestyles/pets/fake-service-dogs-prov...

    http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/fake-service-dogs-growing-prob...

    http://www.local10.com/news/pet-owners-scam-service-dog-system/24563828

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Talk about going out of your way NOT to go check something out for yourself, I think Gary has taken the cake on this one. But for everyone else, I will make this simple. Here is link to a picture that shows the blackberry farms trail sign is clearly within the NPS boundary. And anyone who wishes can go see where the pole was and the trails remain and the trees are cut. Or we can sit here and listen to someone who can't seem to find the time to see for himself but is so certain everyone is lying about this thing he hasn't had time to go and see. But please go on about pack weights and the AT, something else you haven't found time to do but at which you are also an expert.

    http://www.southernhighlanders.com/smallblackberry%20farm%20is%20on%20pa...

  • Cherry-Loving Bears Lead To Closure Of Gregory Bald Area At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Her dog definitely appears to be wearing a service animal vest in this photo

    There was a notice in the Federal Register in April for comments regarding NPS updating rules on service animals(comment period closed in June). Knoxnews had a story in May about service animals in the Smokies.

    "Under the American with Disabilities Act, a service animal must perform some function or task that the individual with a disability can’t perform on their own. While the park places tight restrictions on pets — dogs are only allowed in front country campgrounds, picnic areas, and roads, and must be on a leash at all times — the rules pertaining to service animals are more relaxed."

    http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2014/may/07/national-parks-to-adopt-new-ser... https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/04/18/2014-08563/areas-of-...

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Getting Back To Normal After Hurricane Arthur   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Beachdumb,

    Predation can often be linked to human activity. Feral cats were introduced to HI and foxes recently either by crossing the OI bridge or being relocated here. Raccoons, possums, gulls and crows all problem predators benefit from trash food and fish bait, increasing their carrying capacity. Watch what happens if you forget to put your bait back in your cooler. Artificial dunes and highway 12 have restricted natural process resulting in reduction of nesting habitat ( sand overwashes). Vehicles on remote beaches flush feeding and resting shorebirds using energy reserves. Birds and turtles have not evolved to deal with these problems year after year but did fine in the past with weather events.

    If the Park moved all the turtle nests and produced more turtles would you be fine with that?

  • "Seasons In The Smokies" To Premier In Mid-July   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Not my organiziation and not a member, but I have donated to them and others in the past via collection coin jars and BBQ fund raisers. I agree that stewardship can not be judged solely on who picks up the most trash.

  • "Seasons In The Smokies" To Premier In Mid-July   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Beachdumb

    Not sure how the Park not cleaning up trash in the state highway easement is necessarily the NPS responsibility. We have a very different definition of reasonable access and no I wasn't thinking just about ORVs in Hatteras. I was also thinking of articles about snowmobiles, rafting, mountain biking, base jumping etc. I am sure others have examples. I think it is great your ORV organizations clean up their beaches just saying i dont need a vehicle or feel the need to validate my trash efforts. The question I was exploring is what is good stewardship? And I think Gary's work is an excellent example.

    Can we discuss that?

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Getting Back To Normal After Hurricane Arthur   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Weather and predation are biggest obstacles for the birds and turtles at CHNSRA, not the purported human disturbance as the NPS wants us to believe. I don't know if the NPS moved any turtle nests, most wouldn't have survived the hurricanes pounding surf.

  • "Seasons In The Smokies" To Premier In Mid-July   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Buxton is referring to a specific group fighting for reasonable access to CHNSRA that holds several beach clean ups per year. Something the NPS does not do, and the result is the VFAs have more trash then the ORV areas. The OBX Group NPS has had to be shamed into doing any cleaning up. A recent example is where they put a prenesting closure, which was feet away from a highway, and cleaned up the trash inside the closure but left all the other trash strewn all along the highway in the same area. I am sure they were too busy erecting all those closure signs...

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    So Gary, where did you pick up the waypoint data?

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Gary, you may pack more than 55 lbs for your short jaunts but to claim thru hikers carry the same And chastize a hiker that doesnt is just wrong. Will check the waypoint.

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Getting Back To Normal After Hurricane Arthur   2 weeks 2 days ago

    There were a lot of unfledged chicks that we're negatively impacted.

    Birds have evolved to adjust to weather events if there is consistent protected suitable habitat. These kinds of storms often create perfect breeding habitat (sand fan overwashes).

  • "Seasons In The Smokies" To Premier In Mid-July   2 weeks 2 days ago
    What I find interesting in this conversation is the idea of picking up other peoples trash being held up as an example of good stewardship. I'm not saying that it isn't but on a taxonomy of good stewardship practices it is not that high on my list. People that study and define ecosystems and dedicated managers that work to protect the integrity of parks, individuals and organizations that help finance research and protection of parks for intact ecosystems or return ecosystems to a natural balance, legislators that create laws and mangers that form management goals to protect or promote ecosystems and finally people like Gary that promote whole ecosystems through their art are all of a much higher value to me. <p>It is a pet peeve when specific organisations use organized trash cleanups as a public example of their stewardship and then advocate for reduced resource protection laws or for an increase for their own personal recreational access.<p> For me it goes without saying that all (either individual or as a group) should lead by example by removing whatever they can whenever they can that doesn't belong (trash wise), period. <p> Sorry if I stepped on anybody's toes here.
  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 3 days ago

    Huh? What are you talking about? Seriously, Eric, I'm not trying to argue with you in this thread. So, that comments a little weird...

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Getting Back To Normal After Hurricane Arthur   2 weeks 3 days ago

    Well, I take if those closures to protect bird nests, that brought people to fits were ultimately moot, and that those birds better try again next year.

  • Cherry-Loving Bears Lead To Closure Of Gregory Bald Area At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   2 weeks 3 days ago
    sar·casmˈsärˌkazəm/nounnoun: sarcasm; plural noun: sarcasmsthe use of irony to mock or convey contempt."his voice, hardened by sarcasm, could not hide his resentment"synonyms:derision, mockery, ridicule, scorn, sneering, scoffing;

    In this case, directed toward those who use their connections to gain special privileges in GRSM (and other places as well). Sarcasm directed toward those of wealth and power in such places as business, banking, Wall Street, political parties, self-centered celebrities, and countless others who feel entitled to tromp on those of us who are not so well endowed with dollars or family or political connections. Exactly the kind of practices and people we've seen some commenters ardently defend in these very pages.