Recent comments

  • Did the NRA Infiltrate Groups Opposed to Overhauling Gun Regulations for the National Parks?   5 years 51 weeks ago

    Mark, re multiple states, I'd offer that it's not as easy as you paint it. While there are reciprocity in many states, not all states offer the same, and so rangers in parks that span two states would not only have to be well-familiar with both states' laws, but also know in which state they're in, and in the backcountry that could at times be problematic.

    But, alas, I've been through this debate too many times to want to repeat it verbatim.

  • What Exactly is a Bear Jam in Katmai National Park & Preserve? Let Ranger Michael Glore Explain   5 years 51 weeks ago

    I was just in a bear jam at Katmai. A sow and single cub decided to take a little nap on the north side of the Brooks River bridge. Fortunately it was hot and sunny out, which may have helped precipitate the bear nap, so the crowd gathering on the southside viewing platform (where I was) was in high spirits watching other bears while these two slept. There were a couple single adults snorkeling their way across the mouth of the river, looking for fish underwater with just their ears appearing above the water's surface. A sow and two yearling cubs fished, that would be mom, and played, that would be the two cubs, to within feet of the viewing platform, giving everyone great photo opportunities. And then there was the sow and three spring cubs working their way across the marsh beyond the trail on the north side and while we couldn't see them make their way through the camp area, we sure heard the radio traffic as the rangers kept tabs on where they were. Yep, it was a very beary day at Brooks Camp and one that kept the park service busy managing the humans so the bears were not interrupted in what bears like to do. Keeping an area as natural as possible for bears while allowing humans to watch will result in bear jams, not only at the bridge but also along the trails. Its a good thing NPS has the people power to manage all these humans that are both overnighting at the lodge or campground or flying in for the day. Without their ability to keep humans and bears apart - but within viewing distance - this would not be the cool experience that it is.

  • Did the NRA Infiltrate Groups Opposed to Overhauling Gun Regulations for the National Parks?   5 years 51 weeks ago

    Bryan Faehner spins well. His phrasing make the NRA sound so much worse than perhaps :

    "If the investigation by Mother Jones proves true, then the NRA will have effectively spied on our ongoing efforts to keep visitors unarmed against possible dangers in our national parks, even if they have the right to carry elsewhere in the state. If true, this is a troubling display of the lengths to which the NRA will go to further its agenda."

    Kurt, re: parks that span states: Different states have different laws regarding theft, assault, etc. What happens in those parks now for those things? I assume that (to pick Great Smokey Mountain NP) While in TN, TN laws would apply and while in NC, NC laws would apply. So to walk trail that goes through both states, you would need concealed carry rights in both states. Fortunately, many states have a reciprocity clause built in to their CC laws stating that they will recognize the concealed carry rights affirmed by another state if the other state will recognize theirs.

    Mark

  • Did the NRA Infiltrate Groups Opposed to Overhauling Gun Regulations for the National Parks?   5 years 51 weeks ago

    The comments to this story make it clear that the NRA is also hard at work responding to blog stories that paint them in a negative light, diverting attention away from their devious schemes to undermine democracy with obfuscating platitudes about constitutional rights and scare tactics about free speech. It seems that gun and ammo profits make for a lot of firepower to defeat those of us believe in the possibility of a more peaceful, nonviolent world.

  • Studies Show Bear Spray More Effective Than Guns Against Grizzlies   5 years 51 weeks ago

    Actually thousands of people hike in Yellowstone every year without carrying bear spray (many families with young children), while thousands of others that hike with it never use it. I started carrying it several years ago at the insistence of my kids. I never felt the need for it when I didn't have it, and never have since I've been carrying it. I have been hiking/packing Yellowstone for over forty years (as well as Glacier, Canada and your state). Sometimes I feel a little silly with my spray dangling from my waist as eight and ten year old kids run by me on the trail with their parents, all completely unarmed. Guns and bear spray are the same. They are both like booze to an alcoholic. They simply give a false sense of bravery and security. The best thing to carry regarding safety is common sense. If you don't have that, no gun or spray in the world is going to help you in the back country. In the time it takes to read THIS sentence, you would get your first look at a charging bear and it could be on top of you. Time's up. Did you get that gun or spray out? Did you have time to aim and fire ACCURATELY? At least with spray you don't have to be accurate. The number one cause of death in Parks is accidents (with drowning leading the list in the back country).
    A friend of mine carries one of those air horns they use at basketball games. Just a small one, fits in his pocket. He claims to have turned a charging bison with the thing. I believe him!
    Rangers carry guns because they are police officers. Poachers aren't interested in going along just because the ranger asks nice. There are crimes in National Parks. Just very,very very little violent crime involving visitors.
    I'll say it again. If you are that worried about violent crime in National Parks, you have no business even being outside.

  • Did the NRA Infiltrate Groups Opposed to Overhauling Gun Regulations for the National Parks?   5 years 51 weeks ago

    Thanks anon, it wasn't intentional. I'll fix it. Still, how many states with concealed carry place time restraints on that privilege?

  • Did the NRA Infiltrate Groups Opposed to Overhauling Gun Regulations for the National Parks?   5 years 51 weeks ago

    >> Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne proposed to replace that regulation
    >> with one that would allow park visitors to arm themselves around the clock.

    Obfuscation. The rule allows carry procedures and rules to match those of the state the park is located in. So those in opposition to this proposed rule chance are actually telling us that the People, working within the laws of their state can not be trusted to follow the laws of that state. They are saying we can’t govern ourselves and must be treated like serfs or peasants.

    I don't think so.

  • Did the NRA Infiltrate Groups Opposed to Overhauling Gun Regulations for the National Parks?   5 years 51 weeks ago


    Persons properly licensed to carry a firearm pose exactly zero risk to anyone in national parks, just as they pose(if anything) only a positive force in the world at large.

    Jack

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   5 years 51 weeks ago

    This is an issue of personal freedom and self defense. We all have a natural right to self defense. That right was not given by the constitution, instead it is protected by the constitution. No one has the right to deny citizens of their right to defend themselves, be it from beast or man.

    Animals can and do injury and kill people. Humans can and do injury and kill other humans. The only person that is responsible for our personal safety is ourselves. Anyone that denies us the tools we need to defend ourselves, acts in an unethical and unconstitutional manner.

    Under the current rule change proposal, only those with concealed handgun permits would be allowed to carry a handgun. Those with permits have proven themselves to be the most law abiding group of citizens in the nation. Even more law abiding than police officers. To deny these people their right to self defense because of the chance that a few idiots will act irresponsibly is insane. Do we deny everyone the right to drive because a few people drive recklessly or drive drunk? No, we punish those that endanger or hurt others, but allow the rest of us to keep driving. It's no different with firearms.

  • Did the NRA Infiltrate Groups Opposed to Overhauling Gun Regulations for the National Parks?   5 years 51 weeks ago

    Are NPCA officials also aghast at the idea of constitutional rights that apparently don't exists in parks and conservation areas? Given that the pen is mightier than the sword, shall we abolish the First Amendment in these places as well?

  • Studies Show Bear Spray More Effective Than Guns Against Grizzlies   5 years 51 weeks ago

    Why do the Park Rangers need to carry handguns? They don't have a need too if they're not as effective on bears and the Rangers (assuming that they are people too) have a higher chance of hurting themselves. Furthermore, as "Frank N" points out

    Your chance of being the victim of a violent crime while visiting a National Park have also been demonstrated to be less than your chance of being struck by lightening.
    and since you only have a 1 in 1.9 million chances of being injured by a bear then why the need for bear spray? Just think of the amount of steel that goes into producing each can not to mention most bear spray is oil-based.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spends more time managing people then it does the fish and game.

  • NPS Director Bomar Extends Freeze on Fee Increases at National Parks   5 years 51 weeks ago

    I have said this before: We the taxpayers have been shafted and burden with the sickening Bush-Iraq war, along with a deliberate wrecked economy (to prevent legitimate entitlements for poor and middle class), with the high cost of living, along with ridiculous huge profiteering by the oil companies (granted by Bush & Cheney Administration)...and now with the housing crises to boot. I say us Americans, who are the back bone of this great Nation (and economy) are being screwed to death by the Bush administration. I say after all this abuse to the American taxpayer: Open all the parks and make it a no fee system! If good people like SaltSage 236 continue to voice and advocate the importance of the National Parks and it's spiritual values (that it enhances) along with it's profound learning experience, we should be so delighted to visit the parks without question of fee hikes...peferrably without fee hikes or even better...a nominal fee or no fee system! If we can support a corrupt and needless war, then I'm sure we can manage and afford are National Parks with a viable budget that would allow such a no fee system.

  • NPS Director Bomar Extends Freeze on Fee Increases at National Parks   5 years 51 weeks ago

    I think it's absurd and offensive to compare the national park experience with that of a $40-per-head amusement park. Amusement parks exist for entertainment. National parks exist to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of our national and natural heritage and identity -- an absolute necessity for informed citizenship.

    A visit to a national park is an experience all Americans should be encouraged to do, not only as taxpayers who ought to be funding the management of the national parks, but as citizens who need to be inspired by America's natural beauty, know how our ecosystems work and understand the nuances of our history so they can gain a greater sense of patriotism, a historically- and environmentally-informed view of issues debated among the people and decided in the voting booth and a better understanding of the need for conservation and wildlands. Such an experience -- hardly comparable to an amusement park -- ought to be free for everyone because it's so fundamentally important to our future as a nation.

    All a kid needs is a brief encounter with a yellow-bellied marmot, a bear catching fish in a river or an encounter with an African American basketweaver telling the story of her people (at the fee-free Charles Pinckney NHS in SC) to become more aware of the environment she inhabits and the injustices committed in this country's history. That will plant the seed that knowlege of our past is vital to our future and nature is something beautiful and necessary for the wellbeing of humanity. Those experiences are priceless.

    Charging $25 to get into, say, Grand Canyon is patently unfair, an almighty rip-off to taxpayers and is cheating every one of us, especially those for whom a visit to a national park is a very expensive proposition. National park entrance stations shouldn't be barriers to our natural and national heritage, they should be welcome mats to our taxpayer-funded parks, encouraging all to come and experience the beauty and history celebrated there. It is absolutely imperitive that we demand that Congress quit cheating our national parks and the people who enjoy them so our entrance fees don't keep away those hungry for knowledge and inspiration gained through recreation.

  • "LeHardy Fire" in Yellowstone National Park Explodes to 600 Acres   5 years 51 weeks ago

    If people want to keep up with this and other fires InciWeb is an excellent site. Updated information on this fire can be found at http://inciweb.org/incident/1443/.

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • NPS Director Bomar Extends Freeze on Fee Increases at National Parks   5 years 51 weeks ago

    Betty, you raise some good points. The parks as currently priced are a great value when compared to amusement parks, theaters, etc.

    But let me be the devil's advocate for a moment or two. In theory, Americans pay for the national parks through their taxes. True, there's traditionally always been nominal fees to get into the parks. But there's pressure in some areas to push fees even higher. The question to be answered/debated, is how high is too high? In the overall scheme of things $25 isn't much, although to some it's a half-tank of gas, or perhaps lunch. If Director Bomar hadn't stepped in with the fee freeze, a visit to the parks would have gotten even more expensive next year.

    Along with the entrance fees, more and more parks are charging higher and higher fees for interpretive experiences. The growth in these fees is directly related to Congress' failure to adequately fund the national parks. When you start adding all these fees up, a visit to a national park is not exactly the bargain it used to be, especially when you add on lodging and dining costs.

    Your point about volunteering also is well-taken. But more and more parks are being forced to use more and more volunteers for jobs rangers used to handle. Full-time rangers aren't yet an endangered species in the parks, but some might say they're certainly threatened.

    So coming full circle, if we continue to allow Congress to give short-shrift to the national parks, fees for entry to the parks and interpretive programs in theory will grow to the point where some Americans will effectively be locked out of a national park visit, and more volunteers -- some wonderfully adept, some not quite so -- than rangers will be running the show. Is that a good thing?

    Should we as supporters of the parks stand idly by and let this happen, digging deeper into our pockets to get into the parks and, in some cases, to wander through history (ie paying $12 a head to tour the gun room at Springfield Armory National Historic Site), or should we pressure Congress to adequately fund the parks?

  • NPS Director Bomar Extends Freeze on Fee Increases at National Parks   5 years 51 weeks ago

    I disagree with this move by Director Bomar and I totally agree with the second comment sent in.
    People pay $40+ each for one day in a "water park", whereas the carload can visit our National Parks/Monuments for considerably less than that. If they plan on visiting several times and/or several parks, they can buy a season pass good for all for less than one person single day at an "amusement park".
    This is one of the fairest fees of all as it is only paid by persons enjoying the benefits ! Congress certainly isn't doing much to help pay for our National Parks and the money has to come from somewhere ! Parks have to be maintained and the money has to come from somewhere.
    If you live near a park and love it, please look into volunteering. If we would all only help one weekend a year that would mount to a tremendous savings.

  • National Park System Quiz 13: Mountains   5 years 51 weeks ago

    12 for 12!

  • About The National Parks Traveler   5 years 51 weeks ago

    I have just recently found your site. I love it. I have had the oppertunity to visit Yellowstone NP seven times in the last 15 years. To be able to have information on the park in just a click is great. I think you are doing a great job. Thank you.

  • NPS Director Bomar Extends Freeze on Fee Increases at National Parks   5 years 51 weeks ago

    You want to talk discretionary? How about ball games, plays, or movies? You say $25 is overpriced, yet you probably don't think twice about paying $9 for a movie ticket and another $9 for a popcorn and coke.

  • Why Stop At Golden Gate National Recreation Area? What Other NRAs, Monuments, Etc., Should Be Renamed?   5 years 51 weeks ago

    I'm humbled to discover that someone aside from the gun liberals reads anything I post Lepanto. And true enough, I failed to be specific and painted everyone with the same broad brush, which is a sure recipe for disaster, or inaccuracy at the very least. But I take umbrage with one part of your explanation, that being "More than 3 out of 4 of all proposals to establish new parks are either thrown out or radically restructured to better match the need and character of the resource, and the viability of the preservation, management and interpretation strategy. While I don't dispute the numbers, per se, the thought that the restructuring is in the best interests of the character of the resource or the viability and management of the preservation is a notion that you'll have a difficult time substantiating within the confines of the operation of the our federal government and it's affiliated land management tentacles, including but not limited to the NPS, BLM, EPA and more other acronyms than I care to list. The federal strategy, if in all actuality one does exists, appears to be less structure, diligence and character-based and more slanted toward the "pressure of the moment" as applied by various groups and private persons at this moment to remain nameless. Realistically, what portion of the continent would be excluded from the idealistic notion of "preservation and character"? Some would ascertain that preservation would justly be all-inclusive of our westward expansionism, with it's humble beginnings being the Jamestown settlement, through our "colonization" of the Arctic refuge, Hawaiian Islands, Guam, the Atolls, etc. All are very unique environments that could readily qualify under the "preservation and character" clause, and an argument could also be made that from an interpretive standpoint, they need to be in the all-inclusive club as primary examples of nationalism, indomitable spirit, heritage, or whatever other hot-button words you care to attach to the cause. My point, though poorly stated, was more centered around WHO is behind the classification of the environment, and that is generally a governmental boondoggle. Little actual science of any discipline involved generally, just opinions laden with pressure from sources with no interest in a "national" view, but mainly centered in local issues less than pertinent to "preservation and interpretation" as a whole.

    Just consider this for a moment. Interpretive trails, common to local recreation and park areas. Expand that to a national view. Imagine the geographies that would be required to formulate a TRUE interpretive trail that did justice to the Lewis and Clark or many other expansion-related expeditions. What about an all-encompassing historically accurate interpretation of the injustices attributable to our government resulting in the Trail of Tears and the multitude of other Native relocations? I'm fully aware that such things currently exist, in miniature. A plaque here, some signage there, a bronze marker tucked away in a field........spare me, please. If these were to be truly preservation-related issues, vast tracts of land would have to be designated as "historically significant" and preserved in a manner more akin to the way the Civil War Battlefields have been, until recently considered hallowed ground. But I don't see anyone pursuing these arguably more "significant" projects, more significant that is than wasting time renaming the current parks, monuments, mountains, shorelines, etc., with any sense of urgency.

    This misplaced sense of self-worth is just one of many shining examples of why I view our current political figureheads with such a high degree of contempt. As they do me.

  • Why Stop At Golden Gate National Recreation Area? What Other NRAs, Monuments, Etc., Should Be Renamed?   5 years 51 weeks ago

    Well, PC, Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY) certainly has been in the news a lot lately. As Traveler has reported, Rep. Cubin has vigorously supported the controversial (and very expensive) plan to keep Yellowstone’s Sylvan Pass open for snowmobilers. I don’t find any mention of Devils Tower National Monument on Rep. Cubin’s official website. Perhaps you could provide additional details.

  • Why Stop At Golden Gate National Recreation Area? What Other NRAs, Monuments, Etc., Should Be Renamed?   5 years 51 weeks ago

    Barbara Cubin has filed a bill that would block the renaming of Devil's Tower N.M. to Bear's Lodge.

  • National Park System Quiz 13: Mountains   5 years 51 weeks ago

    ...with Virginia's Mt. Rogers in an NRA. You're right about the high points. I wouldn't expect a slight rise in western Kansas or a little bump in Florida to be a national park. I just would have thought states like MT, ID, CO, AZ, NM, SD, OR, NV, UT, etc. would have more of their high points just by chance fall into an NPS area.

    Technically, the summit of Whitney isn't in Sequoia NP - as per number 10 above, so California doesn't even count. I had NC in my original count because for some reason I was putting Mt. Mitchell in GSMNP.

  • Telegraph Fire Closing in On Yosemite National Park   5 years 51 weeks ago

    The Telegraph Fire started on Friday afternoon. By about 6pm on Saturday, the smoke was pouring over the Sierra Crest into the Hoover Wilderness, 50 trail-miles northeast of Tuolumne Meadows. It looked like a storm coming in, except for the orange sunlight. By 10pm, I was awakened in my backcountry campsite, just outside of the northeast boundary of the park, by smoky air that made it difficult to breath, or to sleep.

    Late on Monday (July 28) I drove through Yosemite Valley. I couldn't see the top of El Cap from Tunnel View. I could barely make out the outline of Half Dome from the Camp Curry parking lot. It appeared that the entire DNC concession operation was running off of diesel generators (which didn't help the air quality any). We drove back to the Bay Are via. Highway 120 rather than risk being turned around by a road closure on 140.
    __________
    The WildeBeat "The audio journal about getting into the wilderness"
    10-minute weekly documentaries to help you appreciate our wild public lands.
    A 501c3 non-profit project of Earth Island Institute.

  • Should the National Park Service Drain the Capitol Reflecting Pool to Save Birds?   5 years 51 weeks ago

    Come on, that's D.C. - facts are overrated, just give it the right spin.

    How about a press release "National Park Services provides free botox" Washington, 07/30/2008 The National Park Service provides the residents and visitors of the National Capital with a new service: Get botox for free. Just pick up a dead duck or dig in the mud on the Reflection Pool and extract the valuable botulinum."