Recent comments

  • Traveler's View: Fear Mongering On The Public Lands   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Jim,

    Is there significane that the Forest Service isn't one of the defined parties in that link?

    "Agency, we, our, or us means the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as appropriate."

  • Traveler's View: Fear Mongering On The Public Lands   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Kurt - National Parks Traveler: Your article is WELL DONE, very clear and concise. Exactly what needed to be said. I appreciate your efforts to address the premature, unwarranted reaction to the U.S. Forest Service's policy update. Well done & appreciated.

  • Traveler's View: Fear Mongering On The Public Lands   3 weeks 1 day ago

    All the uproar indicates the wording of the new regulations could have been clearer; the definitions of things like "models, props and breaking news" as applied to Dept. of Interior lands is found elsewhere in the Federal Register at this link. Those definitions seem pretty logical, and clearly don't apply to visitors taking vacation photos.

    Unfortunately, quite a few media outlets simply copied and repeated incorrect information from other stories. As is common, some stories also failed to distinguish between national "forests" and "parks" when they quoted the Forest Service news releases. Here's just one example, which claims [incorrectly] that the new Forest Service regulations would "exclude millions of Americans from being allowed to take photos in our national parks."

    One more example of the double-edged sword of today's electronic communications: it's easy to access and spread lots of information in a hurry...but not all of it is accurate.

  • Traveler's View: Fear Mongering On The Public Lands   3 weeks 1 day ago

    I knew if I waited long enough, there would be an article in the Traveler that I could understand, pertaining to this subject. Thanks!

  • Traveler's View: Fear Mongering On The Public Lands   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Thought readers would be interested in the original story published in the Oregonian. Reporter quoted USFS spokesman, First Amendment advocates and even cited a case in Idaho in which USFS used those temporary rules to block access to a public television crew until Idaho governor got involved. www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2014/09/forest_service_says_med...

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Anybody have a link to a copy of Exhibit F? I would like to see the orginal Ace Gap trail in relation to Mineral Springs Road.

    Looks to me like the trail may have been moved for the convenience of the NPS -i.e. get it (the trail) away from increasing development on privately owned property north of the park.

  • Traveler's View: Fear Mongering On The Public Lands   3 weeks 1 day ago

    I read the directive itself on Friday. I consider myself a pretty intelligent individual (heck, I can usually decipher insurance "language") and the way the directive was written absolutely *could* be interpreted as requiring a permit for private photography. That is the problem -- laws are based on wording and if the wording is imprecise the law is the up to the interpreter.

    Your exerpt proves my point. "Breaking news stories" do not require a permit. Ok, fine, what is the definition of a "breaking news story?" What is considered a "prop?" Is a tripod a prop? What is a "model?" Is someone posing for a picture a "model?" What is a "set?" Is a picnic blanket and basket spread out in a meadow with a person posing on it considered a "set" with a "model?"

    The forest service and NPT can laugh and say OF COURSE we don't mean that private individuals need a permit to take a picture of a flower or your kid on vacation. However if you read the directive as it stands it does not explicitly say that the permit only pertains to "commercial still and film photography." It also doesn't address exactly what is considered "commercial." If someone posts their photo on Instagram or Flickr and a travel magazine reaches out to them to license to the photo for a story, is that photo now considered commercial?

    If the forest service really means to only direct this to commercial ventures, they need to write the directive so that explicitly says "commercial," and then define exactly what those are. The sad fact is that the public lands agencies need money (hence the fight over NPS fees) and leaving such an open-ended directive could prove very tempting to the next forest service chief looking for revenue.

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 weeks 1 day ago

    When the King has control of something for almost a century (actually 1 year), the King owns it. Period.

    Fortunately, we don't live in a kingdom and don't have a King. We do have adverse prescriptive easment laws but there is no evidence presented here that the use was adverse, notorious and continuous, all requirements for prescriptive easement. Further the NPS would have had to excercise their right of prescriptive easement and have it judicated in court. They didn't do that. Is not stealing the land in the first place "giving it away"?

    It makes far more sense to me that the NPS moved the trail not to "give back land" but to move it away from a home that had been built on rightfully owned property.

    The fact the lawsuit claim "eminent domain" demonstrates how ill informed the complaintants (and their attorneys) are.

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 weeks 1 day ago

    EC.

    It started out as an accusation. You are correct; however, the NPS actually admits they did it.

    "...67. Defendants deny Paragraph 67, except to only admit that tract 1.13 was acquired by former Tennessee governor, Don Sundquist, sometime before 2004 and that the Ace Gap Trail was legally relocated off this privately owned tract of land...."

    The NPS admits to moving a trail that had existed on his land for almost a century to "off his land."

    When the King has control of something for almost a century (actually 1 year), the King owns it. Period. The question then becomes how much the King has to pay for it, unless the time lapses to sue the King....which it did here.

    They gave the property back to him.

  • Traveler's View: Fear Mongering On The Public Lands   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Exactly John, no matter the "intent" the wording suggests otherwise and those that are interpreting the "intent" today may not be the ones interpreting it tomorrow. We have become overwhelmed by evidence of imprecise language no matter the intent being misused in the future

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 weeks 1 day ago

    In 2004, a third party/former politician acquired tract 1.13.

    Acquired from whom? Not the NPS. The NPS never owned the tract, how could they give it away?

    The lawsuit doesn't represent facts or evidence. Merely accusations.

  • Trails I've Hiked: Lewis Channel Trail At Yellowstone National Park   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Wrong thread

  • Traveler's View: Fear Mongering On The Public Lands   3 weeks 1 day ago

    I read stuff like this Federal Register notice for a living. Having read this one, I wouldn't be too quick to judge anybody who misunderstood it. The repeated differentiation between "still photography" and "commecial filming" certainly makes it sound like there are going to be new restrictions on non-commercial still photography. A good reporter would have followed up with a call or email, but that wouldn't have guaranteed a response, or a clear answer if a response was forthcoming. That a respected environmental advocate like Udall reached the same conclusion -- or at least his staff did -- says something about the problem with the notice (and maybe about how scared he is in his re-election campaign). So, yes, I wish reporters and politicians were more careful. But I wish even more that government officials who are tasked with providing information to the press and the public could make themselves understood.

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Rick,

    The lawsuit is still in the courts. I was asked to present evidence which is exactly what I have done. SFW presented these items as evidence and the judge will decide. Guess what the NPS has presented as "facts" or evidence to refute SFW's assertions? Nothing. Aboslutely nothing. Because they have nothing to present. Is the NPS denying the land swap? Nope. Is the NPS denying the Blackberry Farm trail system? To the contrary, they admit it. So you can "say it ain't so, Joe" all you want to. I realize that it is difficult to admit that the beloved agency is capable of such political patronage. It took me a while to wake up and realize the extent to which these bureaucrats would break laws for their political buddes. But it has been proven with this trail system and will be proven with the land swap. You present me evidence to prove that it didn't happen and we can have a healthy debate, Rick.

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Are you quoting from the allegations from one side of a lawsuit and terming them settled facts?

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Also, EC, this further explains the situation. It is also on page 18 of the lawsuit.

    68. At the very least, that property became property of the Great Smoky

    Mountains National Park by eminent domain decades before the third party/former

    politician even acquired the property in 2004.

    69. Defendants also closed at least two separate campsites that were apparently

    too close to the third party/former politician’s property.

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 weeks 1 day ago

    EC, this is pulled directly from the Southern Forest Watch lawsuit: The lawsuit may be found here and this is from page 18.

    http://ftpcontent.worldnow.com/wate/news/backcountry-fees-suit.pdf

    66. Ace Gap Trail is a backcountry trail that has existed within the Great

    Smoky Mountains National Park for decades. The trail’s location has existed for

    decades. Attached is a map from the Blount County Property Assessor’s office, which

    appears to reflect, among other things, that Ace Gap Trail encroached on tract “1.13”.

    That tract is 20.33 acres. The map is attached hereto as Exhibit F.

    67. In 2004, a third party/former politician acquired tract 1.13, and soon

    thereafter, defendants or defendants’ predecessors voluntarily and illegally diverted and

    rerouted Ace Gap Trail off of tract 1.13, further back into the park away from the third

    party/former politician’s new home.

  • Repairs Coming To O'Shaughnessy Seawall At Golden Gate National Recreation Area   3 weeks 2 days ago

    I guess they're not planning on us having a rainy winter this year ...

  • A Return To Apostle Islands National Lakeshore   3 weeks 2 days ago

    Thank you, David and Kay, for a great report on one of the most enjoyable parks I've ever visited. It's not just the park, but the town of Bayfield and other surrounding villages. The people there are friendly and laid back, making the entire experience enjoyable and peaceable.

    Just one note, camping is very limited on the mainland in the park. But every town has one or two campgrounds owned and maintained by the city. I checked out most of them when I was there and they were all top notch -- except for the one at the casino on the reservation west of Bayfield.

    If any of Traveler's readers have not been to Apostle Islands --- they don't know what they're missing!

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Proof that the NPS GAVE LAND to former Tn Governor Don Sundquist

    I see allegations not proof.

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Again smokies - your arrows do not indicate that Ditmanson knew anything before 2012.

  • Civil War Soldier's Diaries Donated To Vicksburg National Military Park   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Sounds very interesting. Special thanks to the Hughes family for donating such a valuable piece of family history to share with others.

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 weeks 3 days ago

    There is one more thing in that lawsuit that may rattle your cages as well. Proof that the NPS GAVE LAND to former Tn Governor Don Sundquist who owns a house on NPS boundary. They illegally re routed a trail away from his house so he wouldn't be troubled by low life hikers and backpackers. They also closed backcountry sites near his house for the same reason. Here is the lawsuit with the details:

    http://ftpcontent.worldnow.com/wate/news/backcountry-fees-suit.pdf

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Ok, this is for the "NPS Can do no wrong club". I have broken it down for you with evidence. http://www.southernhighlanders.com/clayton_jordan.html

    In the first arrow is proof that a ranger saw the trail system.

    In bullet point number two is proof that in 2012 the same ranger was dispatched to the area and claims that "there appeared to be no evidence of continued clearing of the abandoned trail". The clearly contradicts the assertions by the reporter in the story from WATE in Knoxville and is patently false. The trail has clearly still been cleared by the resort (just look at the video clip above) , I have seen it myself along with dozens of others, just go up there if you don't believe me. The Ranger or Ditmanson was not telling the truth.

    Then in bullet point number 3, they send another ranger who determines that "one of the trail signs is just within park boundaries". If you refer to the story above, you will clearly see from the video where the reporter is standing, that the trails behind her are WAAAAY within NPS bounds. The NPS is trying to cover their tracks.

  • Court Documents Allege Private Trails Cut Into Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 weeks 3 days ago

    So we're going from documents and facts to "that guy was probably told to blahblah".

    Suggestion - stick to the objective facts and let others find their own inferences and conjecture. I'd rather make up my own mind than have someone else's hate interpret it for me.