Recent comments

  • Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System   6 years 6 weeks ago

    The Park service certainly has had an "erratic" performance on science. Budgetary constraints are a part of it and so is the agency culture. But consider how they are under intense scrutiny and immense skepticism if they try a new approach. Flexibility in using and targeting your resources to the highest priority needs can be an important tool and reap big rewards. Some want the Park Service to remain entrenched in the old way of doing things.

  • Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System   6 years 6 weeks ago

    I'm happy the moderator edited out the personal attacks. Now can we call for a more calm and reasonable tone. The bullying and attempts to intimidate anyone who disagrees does nothing to advance the discussion on this topic.

  • Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System   6 years 6 weeks ago

    It's really too bad that some people (like anonymous above) will not identify themselves but post ignorant comments with absolutely no facts to back them up!
    FACT: The 2 positions in question contribute 54 years of combined professional experience to the program!
    FACT: Outsourcing, interns and seasonal help cannot replace 54 years of experience and excellence!
    QUESTION: Why would you want to eliminate these two very critical positions only to try and re-hire in the future and expect to get the same qualified and talented help that you already have? Please there Mr. or Mrs Anonymous - give me a good answer on that one?
    FACT: Once positions are eliminated it is MUCH harder to then get those positions back!
    FACT: The 2 positions (Park Geologist/Preparator/Lab Manager/Field coordinator and Curator) are a NECESSITY for the program to go on and function the way that it should be!
    FACT: Paleontology (Fossil prospecting, excavation, preparing and curating) along with active research "SHOULD" be the focus of "core-ops" at DNM!
    FACT: The above mentioned is NOT the focus of the current and severely lacking management at DNM!

    This comment has been edited to remove unnecessary personal attacks on park management.

  • Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Why couldn't people be hired in the future? It's obvious that this is all about the individuals and not the positions.

  • Park History: Mount Rainier National Park   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    Chance, your story inspires me to conquer Mt. Rainier this summer. Good job and keep writing for: "the pen is mightier then the sword".

  • Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System   6 years 6 weeks ago

    What's overlooked in abolishing the two palontology positions at DINO is the fact that these positions are then gone forever and the Service cannot restore them. And these are the very positions that allow the Monument to perform its core legislative responsibility which is to conserve and protect its fossil material. These are ,logically, the two positions that should be left standing after all other personnel are gone. Should Monument funding increase, it still could not perform its core resonsibility because it could not hire the people that perform that function. Farming out the care of this resource is an abrogation of the Monument's resposibility and undermines its reason for existence.
    Pete Reser

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    No Guns Should Be allowed in our national parks PLAIN AND SIMPLE NONE AT ALL.

  • Western National Parks Contaminated By Airborne Heavy Metals, Pesticides   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    Rex: "Dr." is one small voice and sees $$ and job security by perpetuating the myth". Hardly, in fact "60 Minutes" did a special piece on his brilliant work at NASA and how the Bush Administration tried to stifle and delete his well documented research. Why? Is it because Dr. Jensen's work is consistent with sound facts (which is considered by most world climatologist as noteworthy). As I said before (and to Gerald) read throughly Dr. Jensen's complete works (don't cherry pick) and perhaps you may learn something...and then smell the coffee. Oh, yes and one less "carbon footprint" may also eliminate one less ignorant soul who leans against sound science...like Bush & Cheney!

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    That's simply not true. Two people were killed on the Hula Hula River a couple years ago, and they had a firearm. They were killed in their tent, by a bear that was likely food conditioned by litter at local fish camps. Statistically speaking, you are safer with pepper spray than gun.

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Obviously you do not live here in Alaska. Thousands of people frequently come in close proximity with bears here, and there is no problem. I for one spend countless hours in the field with both wolves and bears. If you are that afraid, perhaps you should not be hunting, and certainly not in Alaska.

  • Western National Parks Contaminated By Airborne Heavy Metals, Pesticides   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Snowbird,
    "Dr." Jensen is one small voice and he sees $$ and job security by perpetuating the myth. Ya know, the less people on the planet equals one less "carbon footprint" and it will help to ease "global warming"....

  • Carrying Guns in the National Parks -- Is This Being Fast-Tracked?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    "Carrying Guns in the National Parks -- Is This Being Fast-Tracked?"

    Actually, this is a excellent example of how good the government is at dragging it's feet. This link will let you read the whole story. It also has additional links to other sources about this issue in case you would rather not take the NRA's word for it.

    http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Read.aspx?ID=3529

  • Western National Parks Contaminated By Airborne Heavy Metals, Pesticides   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    Gerald, this is typical pro-industry spin of yours that matches Sen. Imhoff of Oklahoma's nonsense spiel how global warming is just small chatter....like yours! Are you still thinking like an ostrich with your head buried in a hole. Please read the extensive work written by Dr. Jensen of NASA and maybe this will help you get your facts straight. Yes, we have record snow and with record global heating which is sure to come this summer...and soon enough!

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 6 weeks ago

    If you don't want loaded guns in national parks, use the following link to send an e-mail saying so to your reps. in Washington.

    http://ga1.org/campaign/Coburn_Amendment?qp_source=adv%5fhme

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Julie Helgeson and Michelle Koons would probably still alive today if just one person in their party or a nearby party had a firearm available. In fact, many of the persons listed at

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America_by_decade

    might still be here. Not all, but many.

  • Carrying Guns in the National Parks -- Is This Being Fast-Tracked?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Guns in Parks?
    Do We Need Them?

    If the antecedent of "we" is "National Park Service", then I'd say you've posed a very intriguing question.

    Does the National Park Service need guns in national parks? If your answer is yes, then why? Is it because there is crime in national parks? If yes, then why shouldn't law-abiding citizens be able to defend themselves by carrying firearms in national parks?

    Should the Government have a monopoly on carrying guns? Doesn't that alarm anyone? Is anyone concerned about our Government becoming a police state?

    As a career park ranger, I've seen abuses of power by those legally carrying guns.

    If one of your strongest arguments is that some stupid signs, which arguably don't belong in parks anyway, will get shot up, then you're approaching this from a weak legal position. Having worked before and after the ban on loaded weapons in national parks, the amount of shot up signs has remained steady. But hey, let's keep on sacrificing Constitutional rights to protect those signs.

    Let the stir crazy, power mongering rangers go on carrying those Glock 9s, those shotguns, those semi-automatic weapons. Meanwhile, someone at a remote campground will have to search god knows how long for a working phone to dial 911 and will them wait for maybe half an hour or more for "protection" as a crazy meth-head or grizz rampages through a campground.

    If the Government gets guns, then the law-abiding People get guns, too. Period.

    RangerTyler

  • 2007 National Park Visitation Shows 3 Million Visitor Increase   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Bill, I've long been suspect of these visitation numbers. You cite an extremely good example. How many folks traveling U.S. 209 between East Stroudsburg and Port Jervis are park visitors and how many are folks on their way to or from work?

    Much the same can be said of the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are other examples, as well. This is one reason why I don't fret too much when folks lament "drops" in national park visitation or trumpet gains. I think more important numbers involve park budgets, maintenance backlogs, and on-the-ground, full-time interpretive rangers.

  • 2007 National Park Visitation Shows 3 Million Visitor Increase   6 years 6 weeks ago

    So, how is a "visitor" defined for the park service's purposes? There seems to be a correlation between high numbers and "major roadway."

    Bill Watson
    Pocono Record
    (Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area -- 4.8 million visitors)

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Finally...an actual reasonable response to the topic instead of "guns are bad" and those who believe in the second amendment are somehow kooks. Barky, you do well by illustrating a good point that I had heretofore not thought of with regards to the loss of, as you put it, fear of wildlife(perhaps healthy respect may be better). This is such a valid point I actually smiled that there was someone as well thought out in the world that could go against my viewpoint.

    I thought about what you said and have this as a response. I am only marginally afraid of myself causing trouble in the wilderness with regards to disturbing animals in a dangerous way; perhaps this has to do with the 6 years I spent in the army (callsign Prophet) but I feel I have a good sense of how to move through nature. Of course, thats me and while I wish everyone were as careful as you and I not to endanger the public AND the wildlife (ie feeding bears is basically giving them a death sentence when they begin to rely on people instead of themselves) I do worry that the public as a whole is not so carry and it is very possible that a nuisance bear may come looking for some food around my campsite. Throw in some of baby bears for her to protect and things can get really dicey really quick. Perhaps a few shots in the air can do a little more to spook her off than simply waving my arms and yelling. And I agree barky, if we start allowing hunting rifles into the parks then that will probably lead to hunting, but I am for allowing pistols in the park because one rarely needs to protect themselves at 200 yards but at 20ft the need may arise and a pistol is a suitable firearm for defense.

    But as I said, I am only marginally afraid of that scenario. The scenario I am more wary of is the one that has been brought up before in that, while the legal minded citizens of this land will invariably follow such restrictions the criminal element will not. And what better place for a criminal to partake in crime than in places where they face little resistence from an armed victim. This is one of the main reasons why cities such as Washington DC and Detroit are such dangerous places, when you ban guns for legal citizens then you open criminals up to running roughshod over the people. Not one week ago the VP of columbia artists in NYC was pistol whipped and held up and lost $150,000 in broad daylight. He was lucky to escape with his life but the NYC gun ban did little to stop the brazen robber from using a pistol in his crime.

    Have we all ready forgotten Meredith Emerson, the 24 year old girl from Georgia who was beheaded while on a hiking trip by some drifter that crossed her path? Maybe she never saw the deathblow coming...but if she did maybe if she was armed the results may have been different.

    Someone mentioned how if we're so afraid of terrorists we should stay home...firstly, its not about terrorists, its about the fact that we live in a world that has danger in it both from abroad, nature, and the random person you meet on the trail. Secondly, we shouldn't have to hide in our homes in order to remain safe. If people legally carrying weapons in a National Park bothers you detractors so much then you should take your own advice and stay home. Or better yet pick up some iron and hit the shooting range. I mean, you wouldnt go hiking with the bare minimum amount of water...even if you were only planning to go out for an hour would you? You never know how that one hour hike may get you turned around and end up being 10 days. Its a matter of prevention.

    While I can respect the well thought out arguments that people like Barky can bring forth, too often people rely on hysterical sensationalism like references to the old west and espound on how much guns are evil and so is the NRA. Despite the fact that most layman peoples understanding of how the old west "really" was is based off of spaghetti westerns and dime store novels. To think the old west was really like that is to say that when i watch the news I only hear about planes that crash land therefore the majority of planes that fly end in crashes.

    But I digress. Barky, I hope that people would try and use some common sense when dealing with nature at all times, be it armed or unarmed though I think you are onto something that may need to be dealt with when this bill passes. But as the adage goes you shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 6 weeks ago

    i would love to travel to alaska to hunt and fish but traveling thru the states with a weapon , i would not be able to go thru a national park is absurd. nobody in there right mind should get that close to a bear. with or without a gun.

  • Western National Parks Contaminated By Airborne Heavy Metals, Pesticides   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Another example of junk science to justify more $$$ for scientists versus hiring more rangers that the public really desires.
    Global warming? LOL...how about Global COOLING instead:

    Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

    The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average."

    China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.

    There have been so many snow and ice storms in Ontario and Quebec in the past two months that the real estate market has felt the pinch as home buyers have stayed home rather than venturing out looking for new houses.

    In just the first two weeks of February, Toronto received 70 cm of snow, smashing the record of 66.6 cm for the entire month set back in the pre-SUV, pre-Kyoto, pre-carbon footprint days of 1950.

    And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its "lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past.

    The ice is back.

    Gilles Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa, says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year.

    OK, so one winter does not a climate make. It would be premature to claim an Ice Age is looming just because we have had one of our most brutal winters in decades.

    But if environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin shows up on Georgian Bay two weeks early, then it is at least fair game to use this winter's weather stories to wonder whether the alarmist are being a tad premature.

    And it's not just anecdotal evidence that is piling up against the climate-change dogma.

    According to Robert Toggweiler of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University and Joellen Russell, assistant professor of biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona -- two prominent climate modellers -- the computer models that show polar ice-melt cooling the oceans, stopping the circulation of warm equatorial water to northern latitudes and triggering another Ice Age (a la the movie The Day After Tomorrow) are all wrong.

    "We missed what was right in front of our eyes," says Prof. Russell. It's not ice melt but rather wind circulation that drives ocean currents northward from the tropics. Climate models until now have not properly accounted for the wind's effects on ocean circulation, so researchers have compensated by over-emphasizing the role of manmade warming on polar ice melt.

    But when Profs. Toggweiler and Russell rejigged their model to include the 40-year cycle of winds away from the equator (then back towards it again), the role of ocean currents bringing warm southern waters to the north was obvious in the current Arctic warming.

    Last month, Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, shrugged off manmade climate change as "a drop in the bucket." Showing that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin advised people to "stock up on fur coats."

    He is not alone. Kenneth Tapping of our own National Research Council, who oversees a giant radio telescope focused on the sun, is convinced we are in for a long period of severely cold weather if sunspot activity does not pick up soon.

    The last time the sun was this inactive, Earth suffered the Little Ice Age that lasted about five centuries and ended in 1850. Crops failed through killer frosts and drought. Famine, plague and war were widespread. Harbours froze, so did rivers, and trade ceased.

    It's way too early to claim the same is about to happen again, but then it's way too early for the hysteria of the global warmers, too.

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Mr. Fletcher James,

    I do understand your position, and I believe ANPR has answered it, but I will repeat. We do agree that the majority of gun owners coming into parks would never use their guns to illegally kill or injure wildlife (law abiding citizens you reference). We also recognize that a small number of gun owners will illegally use their guns to kill or injure wildlife no matter what the regulations or laws concerning guns in parks are (criminals you reference). However, a regulatory change to allow loaded weapons in parks in plain view will make it more difficult to apprehend these individuals (the criminals) because possession and display of a weapon would no longer be probable cause to initiate a search for evidence of wildlife or wildlife parts (I know you understand probable cause as a law enforcement officer yourself).

    We also believe that there are a significant number of gun owners that fall in the middle of the two groups mentioned above. They are often tempted into an illegal act of killing or harming wildlife if the right opportunity in parks presents itself. These are the "opportunistic poachers" that the regulation specifically addresses, and I can personally attest to contacting many in this group over the past 25-years.

    When you say, “It's a wilderness location for god's sake” it seems clear to me that you still do not really understand our position. The current regulation is a wildlife protection regulation. The National Park Service is mandated by Congress to do all it can to preserve wildlife with its management policies an regulations. The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously upheld that protection and management of wildlife on federal lands is of substantial importance to society so that it is protected under the Property Clause of the Constitution.

    You are arguing public/personal safety. The current regulation is primarily a wildlife protection regulation. Is there a trade off? Sure, but a very slight one. “The probability of becoming a victim of violent crime in a national park [in 2006] was 1 in 708,333,” said Kathy Kupper, public affairs specialist for the National Park Service -- less likely than dying from contact with a venomous snake, according to the National Safety Council. “In 2006, there were 384 violent crimes, including 11 killings and 35 rapes, reported in the more than 272 million visits to the nation's 390 national parks,” Kupper said. Many of those crimes were reported to the United States Park Police, which covers metropolitan areas such as Washington, D.C., New York City, and San Francisco [which means even less out in the “wilderness” that you reference]. I, and the majority of ANPR members, are willing to accept that slight level of risk of violent crime to continue to enjoy and have American families enjoy the maximum amount of watchable wildlife in units of the National Park System. We are sorry you don’t agree with this position and can only hope that you can at least see the rationale behind it.

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 6 weeks ago

    On 11/17/97, I spoke with Cheryl Mathews, of YNP - she was a PR officer, I believe, and she told me that the Yellowstone bison slaughter started in 1984, 24 years ago.

    Here's the earlier total, from Cheryl Mathews; year 2000 and beyond are from BFC:

    1984: 88
    1985: 57
    1985: 6
    1987: 35
    1988: 569
    1989: 4
    1990: 14
    1991: 271
    1992: 79
    1993: 5
    1994: 424
    No totals for 95-96; approx. 400-450; I used 425
    1997: 1084
    Since 2000: 3,194 (from BFC)
    --------------
    6,255

    Six thousand, two hundred and fifty-five bison killed for no reason other than to placate and pander to cattlemen in Montana.

    We need totals for '98-'99.

    This bison slaughter is one of America's most important wildlife tragedies.

    --

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net
    http://wildlifewatchers.jottit.com/

  • Western National Parks Contaminated By Airborne Heavy Metals, Pesticides   6 years 6 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    This is extremely alarming and with global warming on top of it. Let's face it folks, we have huge problems ahead. Do you really think the EPA cares enough to make it a national policy to put strict controls on these harmful contaminants that are harming the National Parks.

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 6 weeks ago

    As a Park Ranger I would think that you would understand that criminals are going to carry guns anyway whether you like it or not. These same people have no respect for you and your government position. There are people out there that do support you and as a fellow Law Enforcement Officer I find it comforting to know that there are law abiding citizens out there that will stand up for you. These "renagade" citizens are able to protect themselves, and by doing so they are not causing you to risk your life saving theirs. It's a wilderness location for god's sake. We are not talking about the County Courthouse or State Senate Buildings. Don't fall into that victim mentality or you surely will become one.