Recent comments

  • National Park System Visitation Statistics: Where Did All The Backpackers Go?   3 weeks 2 days ago

    5 1/2 months.

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   3 weeks 2 days ago

    Lee, I understand it includes those that might be retired but that number has been increasing as were being told the economy is improving. It doesn't add up.

  • National Park System Visitation Statistics: Where Did All The Backpackers Go?   3 weeks 2 days ago

    Ec, nice pictures and I'm envious of your accomplishment! How long did it take?

  • National Parks Traveler Honored By George Wright Society   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Who would have known that back in late November of 1978, two Jersey boys, making a winter ascent of Mount Washington, in the White Mountains, would still be friends 37 years later. Now I can also say that my best friend is nationally recognized and honored with this prestigious award. Congrats my friend....

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Jim, I like your answer and attitude.

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Well stated, Jim.

    (This comment has been edited slightly by volunteer moderator to remove some off-topic content.)

  • National Park System Visitation Statistics: Where Did All The Backpackers Go?   3 weeks 3 days ago
  • National Park System Visitation Statistics: Where Did All The Backpackers Go?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Back when I was physically capable I never completed the AT. It was a dream and at various times while living on the east coast I did chunks of it. I envy anyone who has made the committment to do it.

  • National Parks Traveler Honored By George Wright Society   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Well done, sir.

  • National Park System Visitation Statistics: Where Did All The Backpackers Go?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    What's too much for me is just right for someone else.

    And if you don't eat at Burger King or McDonalds, what do you care how many Burger Kings and McDonalds there are. One would be more than you need but the fact that others want them means there aren't "too many".

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Thank you Jim.

    As for the large population of non-workforce American, I believe that if you will check, you will learn that much of that is because the numbers include older Americans who have retired. That certainly inflates the number.

    And because many of those no longer in the worforce are out enjoying life after retirement, our parks are affected.

  • National Park System Visitation Statistics: Where Did All The Backpackers Go?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Exactly. And if they are choosing Big Macs and Whoppers, they obviously don't believe the potential weight gain is excessive.

    My point was that everyone chooses. While some of us choose to enjoy the outdoors, others choose to become fat and lazy and soft. Just based upon personal observation, there are a lot of Americans choosing the latter.

    What's too much for me is just right for someone else.

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Well put Jim

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Whipperin1: I'm guilty of helping us get off the topic (concessioner investments), but I try to answer your question. There will always be tension between those who want more recreation in parks (that includes trails or concessioner facilities) and those who want more protection of resources. The NPS' challenge is trying to find a balance, and everyone will never agree with the result.

    Well-designed trails allow the public to get to locations with the least, long-term disturbance of resources and in the safest and most enjoyable manner. They require money to build and maintain, and parks never have enough $ to do so. That means they have to pick and choose which routes to offer; most parks, including Grand Teton, have many more miles of trail that the majority of visitors will ever use.

    There are plenty of problems with unofficial or "social" trails, which usually result when visitors want to take the shortest route, or go to places where there is no official trail: erosion; trampling of meadows, shorelines and other fragile sites where soils are thin or wet, or growing seasons are short (places like Grand Teton); disturbance of vital resting or nesting sites for wildlife, and more. Hikers on official trails can get confused by unmarked junctions with social trails; the Traveler will have a story on Sunday about an expensive rescue that resulted from a hiker who got off an official trail onto a network of social trails and got stuck in a very dangerous situation.

    Sometimes parks try to close some social trails to avoid the problems mentioned above. When they do, it's certainly reasonable not to show such closed routes on public maps; if the intention is to avoid using them, why advertise the closed trails and invite continued use?

    Yes, some of the "public" thinks it's okay to create their own routes, but that doesn't mean the result is the best one for the public as a whole. I define "best" as ways that seek to balance public access and use with preserving the resources that are the reason the park is there in the first place. For resources held in common by all of us (such as parks) to be most successful for the long term, all of us have to be willing to compromise at times by not insisting on getting everything we want - and that includes making our own trails to every possible destination. We may not agree on this topic...and that's okay.

    You'll find some good info about social trails and their problems here, and at this site, and this one. Google will point you to many more.

  • National Parks Traveler Honored By George Wright Society   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Kurt,

    One well earned Award for managing NPT and for allowing all

    personalities to express themselves toward a better understanding of

    America's National Park controversial ssues and management realities.

    Here are GWS's previous Award Associates:

    http://www.georgewright.org/awards

    Full List of Past Awardees

    GWS Cultural Resources Achievement Award (established 1997; prior to 2009, called the GWS Cultural Resources Management Award)1997: Rowland Bowers1999: Jerry L. Rogers2001: Ann Hitchcock2003: Denzil Verardo2005: Nora Mitchell2007: Nelly Margarita Robles Garcia2009: Edwin Colón2011: Ernie Gladstone2013: Hugh C. Miller

    GWS Natural Resources Achievement Award (established 1988; prior to 2009, called the GWS Natural Resources Management Award)1988: Roland Wauer1990: Robert Moon1992: No award given1995: Robert J. Krumenaker1997: Russell E. Galipeau, Jr.1999: R. Gerald Wright2001: Vincent Santucci2003: Jerry Mitchell2005: Linda Drees2007: Charles van Riper III2009: Kate Roney Faulkner2011: David Cole2013: Robert Winfree

    GWS Social Science Achievement Award (established 2009)2009: Robert Manning2011: No award given2013: Peter Newman

    GWS Communication Award (established 1999)1999: Tim Davis2001: Stephanie Dubois2003: Jeffrey Cross2005: David Andrews (on behalf of the staff of Common Ground)2007: Harry Butowsky2009: Yvonne Menard (in conjunction with colleagues at The Nature Conservancy)2011: Paul Schullery2013: Charles Jacobi

    George Melendez Wright Award for Excellence (established 1992)1992: Jerry F. Franklin1995: Robert M. Utley, Jean Matthews, William B. Robertson, Jr. (co-winners)1997: Bruce M. Kilgore1999: Bryan Harry2001: Robert M. Linn, Theodore W. Sudia (co-winners)2002: Boyd Evison2003: Daniel Lenihan2005: John Hope Franklin, Jan van Wagtendonk (co-winners)2007: George B. Hartzog, Jr.2009: Michael Soukup2011: Richard West Sellars2013: Denis P. Galvin

    Special Achievement Award (occasional; given at discretion of GWS Board)2001: George J. Minnucci, Jr.2003: Wesley R. Henry, Jr.2007: Gary E. Machlis2013: Vernon C. "Tom" Gilbert

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Americans Not in Labor Force Exceed 93 Million for First Time; 62.7% Labor Force Participation Matches 37-Year Low.

    This might be part of the problem.

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Jim Burnett, what is the NPS definiton of "social trails"? Does "social trails" mean they are trails that the public or society likes to use and some NPS bigshot dislikes? Why does the NPS have such an obsession with removing the "human footprint" from the Parks? Maybe the humans (the Public) likes where they are footprinting? Who in the Public really cares about the removal of the human footprint projects? Future generations? No one knows the future or what people will appreciate in the future?

  • National Parks Traveler Honored By George Wright Society   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Here's to 10 more years, Kurt. Heck, you're just a kid! Seriously, a wonderful honor and much deserved. The national parks are in your debt.

  • National Park System Visitation Statistics: Where Did All The Backpackers Go?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    David - enjoyed your comment. A few years ago my wife and I were on the half-mile paved path that leads from the parking lot to the overlook "tower" at Clingmans Dome in the Smokies. We encountered three girls in their late teens or so along that path; they were clearly not dressed for a hike, but had seen a sign along the way for the AT, and had stopped for a discussion.

    One of them said something like, "Appalachian Trail? Maybe we should take that! Is it a very long trail?"

    We stopped and my wife said something like, "It's over 2,000 miles long!"

    After a shocked silence, the reply was "Oh!" Fortunately, that group decided to pass on the AT that afternoon :-)

  • National Parks Traveler Honored By George Wright Society   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Three cheers for Kurt !!! It's a great website. Congratulations and THANK YOU for all your work.

  • National Park System Visitation Statistics: Where Did All The Backpackers Go?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Eric, a couple of years ago I hiked the width of the AT but not the length. LOL. My wifes knees prevent us from taking too long of a hike.

  • National Parks Traveler Honored By George Wright Society   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Congrats Kurt, another hard earned and well deserved award.

  • National Park System Visitation Statistics: Where Did All The Backpackers Go?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Thanks for backing up my comments about "too much,"

    Something I never did. I said more and challanged the concept of "too much"

    all of us who choose where to spend our money,

    Exactly. And if they are choosing Big Macs and Whoppers, they obviously don't believe it is excessive.

  • National Parks Traveler Honored By George Wright Society   3 weeks 3 days ago

    It's very well deserved. Kurt, Traveler probably does more good for our parks than any of us realize.

    How many subscribers regularly tune in?

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Sorry to disappoint the gung ho NPS crowd, but there are those of us who are critical of the bloated bureaucracy known as National Park Service. Last I knew, we had the freedom to speak our minds as well. And the freedom to expect NPS and concessionaires to work togehter instead of butting heads in improving the quality of services in our parks.

    I speak from the experience of someone who is very aware of what guests are asking for these days. I speak from the experience of someone who has had more than one person in my face because they had certain expectations not met, and may never return to a national park as a result.

    Not everyone can hike the trails for prolonged periods of time. Many elderly and young children are limited in the amount of time they can explore, yet don't want to avoid exploring altogether. Others want to get away from it all, but, unfortunately, do have to spend a certain amount of time each day checking in with the office so to speak. Are we supposed to deny these people the right to enjoy the beauty of our national parks? Are we supposed to tell them to go home at the end of the day, especially if they have family members that might want to continue exploring?

    What if a hiker is injured or ill at the last moment? Are they supposed to stare at the four walls? On days when the weather is beyond horrible, do we offer nothing? Just expect a rock hard bed, lumpy pillows, substandard food, and four walls to stare at? Expect unsympathetic, untrained employees who may not even have the skills to communicate with them?

    I think everyone has a right to enjoy our parks. Those of you who want a camp like atmosphere aren't being denied just because others have needs for a few amenities. Feel free not to bring your computer along. Feel free to book a place that does not have wifi, television, and cell phone services. But don't deny others the right to explore with limitiations. And, unless you know their individual stories, don't label them as fat and lazy.