Recent comments

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Your question about priorities is not the first time that has been raised, although perhaps not specifically in terms of signage.

    At various times on the Traveler there have been discussions about how far the NPS should go to make the parks safer for visitors. More than a few have raised the opinion that parks shouldn't be sanitized for our safety, that they should remain fairly wild places where we have to rely on our own skills.

    Not having been to Big South, I can't say whether there's a sign alerting paddlers to the rapid or not. Looking at the photo of Angel Falls, and having paddled for many years, it looks fairly obvious that on your approach you would realize that there's a significant rapid ahead, one you surely would hear. But that interpretation is just from glancing at this small photo. Without being on the river under the same conditions it's hard to say what transpired. They very well could have recognized the threat too late to pull off.

  • Traveler Tip: Staying On Top Of News From Mount Rainier National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    I've enjoyed watching the Visit Rainier website develop into a world class place for visitors to plan their vacation.

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 50 weeks ago

    This could well be a cardiac death.

    I would have one question. Is there a warning sign indicating the take out site above the rapids? I once investigated a death in the Grand Canyon of the Sturgeon River in the UP of Michigan as a medical examiner about 15 years ago where a kayaker missed an unmarked take out point, got funneled into a high wall canyon with no escape, and went over a large water fall with virtually no chance of survival. When I inquired as to why there was no signage to indicate the take out point, I was told by the US Forest Sevice that because this was a Wild and Scenic River as designated by Congress, such signage was frowned upon. It seems to me that in that case, scenery trumped human life. I wonder if the same situation exists on Big South Fork. If it is the case, imo, priorities are twisted.

  • Don't Take National Park Landscapes for Granted   5 years 50 weeks ago

    After hearing E.O. Wilson's (Harvard's famed conservation biologist) lecture on biodiversity recently, which he stated were in for some deep trouble folks. Professor Wilson gives us many classic examples how man is screwing up the world ecosystems globally. Many of his profound lectures, writings and well written books supports his claim that mother nature is loosing ground fast to repair itself. Just remember mother nature bats last folks. Where's old Ed Abby when we need him most...which is now.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 50 weeks ago

    RAH--

    Nor should rights be confirmed based on fear.

    Rick Smith

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Ray, it's macho and image thing...straddling in looking like a bunch of big time gut pile hunters. I sense a couple of weak egos somewhere.

  • Don't Take National Park Landscapes for Granted   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Global cooling will kill us faster than warming!

    Really?

    Dr. Root's comments are interesting. I think it's likely we're already having a mass extinction, the severity of which will only be able to be judged several million years from now. His predictions of extinctions at the specific level are somewhat oddly worded and alarmist, however. Such a significant percentage of known species are insects and members of the various worm phyla, it's hard to get a grasp on numbers. It would be more instructive to look at the familiar level (i.e. how many families risk complete annihilation or decimation) or better yet, how much diversity is lost in various systems. For example, if 100,000 species of beetle became extinct in the next ten years, would that have as negative of an impact on biodiversity as the loss of two thirds of the species (about 150 or so) in the family Pinaceae (pines)?

    And while rapid climate change is a blow to diversity, I will continue to believe it pales next to habitat loss and fragmentation as the driving force of extinction. And I think habitat loss/fragmentation combined with anthropogenic introduction of invasives should be of greater concern than climate change. It doesn't make a lick of difference what the climate is if we keep making babies that need more and more land!

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 50 weeks ago

    So noted.

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 50 weeks ago

    The title of the article assumes drowning as the cause of death, but the autopsy results have not been released and the assumption of drowning alluded to in Mr. Repanshek's title has not been corroborated by any hard evidence.

  • Don't Take National Park Landscapes for Granted   5 years 50 weeks ago

    I think it looks more awesome with the lake versus the glacier!

  • Don't Take National Park Landscapes for Granted   5 years 50 weeks ago

    O.K...so say we CAN change the climate...reverse "global warming." So, when the needle starts to go from warm...to neutral...to cooling, what do we do then? Global cooling will kill us faster than warming! So do we then drive more SUVs? Pollute more to reverse it? Burn tires?
    Answer please, alarmists!

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Gotta say something. Carrying a gun does change things. A gun has a single end purpose - to kill. It is not to wound or even to discourage, although these may be byproducts of its primary function. I recall sitting in a restaurant having breakfast in the Bettles Lodge in northern Alaska when some out-of-state sport hunters walked in with revolvers strapped to their hips. They had just returned from a guided sheep hunt and were waiting for the scheduled plane back to Fairbanks. Most of the customers were local residents who were also active hunters, but there was a noticeable chill in the air as these three hunters strode in. The sport hunters seemed to think that they were in Dodge City at the O.K. Corral. Equating a gun with a common tool and expecting others to simply accept it as a normal part of life is ridiculous. The average park visitors encountering someone with a gun on a nature walk trail will have a negative reaction. FWIW, I have owned and used guns most of my life.

  • Cables Are In Place On Half Dome in Yosemite National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Half Dome is now open for business!! Reports from the first wave of hikers say that there is still a patch of snow on the summit and the caterpillar lines are back for another season! Leave early! Be sure to treat your water - Giardia reside in the natural sources. Good ankle high boots are recommended and using hiking poles will ease your uphill and save your knees on the downhill.

    Have fun!

    Rick D

  • Rafting Accidents Drowns 37-Year-old In Cataract Canyon at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Unfortunate, but it is inevitable that a few fatalities will occur where people choose to take on the challenges of nature. Hopefully, there will not be an over reaction that reduces the opportunity of visitors to take voluntary risks.

  • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore BioBlitz: Latest Tally Above 1,700 Species   5 years 50 weeks ago

    I hope you will report the results in this space when they are available. It's an exciting hunt!

  • Judge Blocks Wal-Mart SuperCenter From Opening Near Joshua Tree National Park   5 years 50 weeks ago

    As I read it, under the California law, the judge is correct. The judge didn't pass the law; which is pretty clear on feasible mitigation measures, the legislature did.

    The location near Joshua Tree is pretty irrelevant to the story: certainly irrelevant to the law & decision.

    My understanding of repaving projects (local, state, & federal) is that they can fly by with little analysis of environmental impacts, under the idea that they increase travel efficiency, and safety. I'd like to see some hard numbers on energy consumption in repaving v. energy saved per year after repaving. Road widening by NPS, as well as new road construction, requires the full EIAs of other widening and construction, plus the internal NPS planning process. Some NPS road improvements are not in the stimulus package because they weren't through the permitting process, and thus not "shovel-ready".

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 50 weeks ago


    That is the point Rick; you fear a tool that should not come out of the holster to be used. I concede that if the gun is used that you have basis for fear. The cell phone is used constantly and thus an irritant.

    The typical analogy is a fire extinguisher that is not used unless there is need, which is rare. The fire extinguisher is not a tool than can kill so in that it is different. But the purpose is the same to prevent a fire from getting worse. A defensive use of gun is the same to stop a bad situation from getting worse.

    The tool should not be feared but the person who abuses it. I will not transfer my rational fear of a human predator using his greater strength and weapons to the weapons he uses. The weapons are harmless unless a human wields them.

    That is why I assumed until Kurt objected that most object because they fear that gun carriers will abuse the use and shoot at flora, fauna, and humans.

    Rick, I agree that many will feel the same as you. But rights are not restricted due to a feeling of fear.

    This issue will not go away. The Supreme Ct affirmed it is an individual right and those people who support that will continue to push for our rights to be respected. So NPS will eventually have to accede to the right of visitors to carry in NPS. The form is yet to be determined.

  • Don't Take National Park Landscapes for Granted   5 years 50 weeks ago

    this year we got hammered by multiple storms and record amounts of snow.

    And this year is also the deepest solar minimum in a century. Not sure you can blame the snow on human-caused climate change. As for severe weather, there has always been severe weather, and the effects of climate change on severe weather events are still being studied and debated.

  • Zion National Park's Hike to Angel's Landing: eHike to the Top   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Very well done! It's great to see the park service starting to build up their online interpretive information. I hope they will continue to post more interpretive information online. Even much simpler content is very useful, like building up their online collection of plant and animal ID descriptions and photos. I often find myself visiting a park's website in hopes of putting a name to some animal or plant I happened to snap a photo of on a earlier visit.

  • Don't Take National Park Landscapes for Granted   5 years 50 weeks ago

    The overall climate will ultimately change with or with out human interaction. We are just pushing it along faster than what the earth can handle. There have been climate changes over the last several millions of years, hot to cold, wet to dry. But with humans in the mix this time around, we are looking at long term damage and the high possibility of ever increasingly severe weather patterns and an ever changing planet.

    Where I live we had a stetch of about 8 years of mild winters-no significant snowfall or storms-and this year we got hammered by multiple storms and record amounts of snow. I've been watching the weather since I was young, I'm in my mid-20's now, and have never seen so much severe weather nation wide. It just goes to show that what we're doing now and have done in the past 50-60 years, is effecting our lives and our planet. The time has come for people to step up and do something, change how they live to better our planet and to make sure that future generations can enjoy all of natures beauty.

    I still have lots of nature to see and want my daughter, barely 1yr old to see these beautiful landscapes and parks before they're gone for good.

  • Yellowstone National Park's Wolf Population Down More than 25 Percent   5 years 50 weeks ago

    are the wolves in yellowstone in and open or closed population?

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 50 weeks ago

    Please. RAH,don't say that a gun on the hip will not change my experience as much as a cell phone. That is ludicrous. No one fears a cell phone. You might annoy me with a cell phone , but if I am hiking a trail and meet you with a weapon on your hip, I am going to be afraid.

    Your point about hunters and national parks is valid. Teddy Roosevelt was a hunter and conservationest.

    I know that you keep your dogs on a leash when they are in a national park area and refrain from taking them in the back country. Many don't however, and I don't think carrying a weapon to protect your dog off a leash in the back country of a national park area is not a valid reason to permit weapons in national parks.

    Rick Smith

  • More Low Water Woes at Lake Mead – but This Isn't the Worst Drought on Record for the Lake   5 years 50 weeks ago

    just dont go to the new shore line you may sink in 40 year old silt up to your waist

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 50 weeks ago

    I agree Kurt that in the NPS that are in several states that which state law governs is a big problem.

    However the NPS is not an independent state and cannot have jurisdictional authority and has to abide by the DOI. That is why regulations have to very thoughtfully thought out and the exceptions clearly defined.

    As to the attitude of distrust the comment of Jim D “Just what we need: a bunch of violence-predisposed people carrying guns in our national parks, which historically are among the safest places in the entire country.”

    Rangertoo expressed the idea that children need to be defended from the sight of men with rifles.” understand that not everyone who owns a gun is a nut, but at least now, if someone shows up at a children's program with a gun, the NPS can take action to protect children.”

    Jim Hiker expressed a similar opinion “but to protect the wildlife in the NP's from poachers, and people carring firearms/weapons who don't respect the wildlife for what they are; wild”

    So if you really do not believe that people will abuse the right then what is the objection? Because this objection existed when the idea was just to allow CCW holders. I understand the discomfort that people may suffer from seeing civilians with guns openly holstered or rifles slung over the shoulder. That is because they are not used to the sight. It is not scary to see people carrying rifles and guns at a range because that is expected. People are used to seeing police and rangers with guns. They quickly become accustom as long as those people do not brandish or appear to threaten with a gun.

    Personally I am more concerned that those who are not CCW holders will be less careful; and will shoot signage, flora and fauna. However I want those people arrested and charged if they do. I want that type of behavior punished.

    I love my NPS lands and like to enjoy them. I generally travel to them on vacation and take my dogs and they have been a lot of fun. As long as guns stay in holsters and in cars I do not mind. They only time they come out is maybe cleaning and if in defense only.

    Because of the risk of dogs getting bears, cougars to come to humans I have refrained from bringing my dogs at those parks because I do not want that situation where the dog is chased by an angry bear or hungry cougar. I do not expect to have to use a weapon against a bear or cougar and succeed unless the situation is dire.

    A handgun is a poor tool to defend against a bear anywhere, even a black bear. At best the sound may discourage but the bullet won’t.

    However I like to take a weapon and find ranges in other states and not to have to worry that I have violated a technically of storage will be a great relief. So I do want the laws liberalized in the NPS.
    I expect that once the thrill of ability has worn off most will continue to keep guns hidden so not to disturb others. People in some states have the ability to OC and most do not do so. I expect that pattern to continue.

    I read Rick C’s comment and the ability to carry a handgun or rifle will not change that experience of being a in a special place. A gun on the hip will not change the experience as much as the cell phone. People are always chattering on those and it is disconcerting. Hunters often travel to wilderness locations to hunt, but they spent most of their time enjoying nature. Some hunters stop hunting because they do not enjoy the hunt and trophy more than the trip.

    Many of parks were created by the desires of hunters to maintain areas that would not be developed. They felt the best way to protect these special places was by creating parks. The history of NPS is full of great hunters that protected the land and put it in protection

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 50 weeks ago

    RAH,

    Of course it's rational for Wisconsin to ignore what neighboring states do when it comes to what laws it passes and enforces. My point was that, in the case of more than a few national parks, the parks are federal reserves within a state, much like tribal lands within a state are separate entities and fully capable of enforcing their own laws.

    In short, some, if not many, parks retain "exclusive jurisdiction" for what goes on inside their boundaries. In many cases states formally ceded the land involved to the federal government.

    My point was that, in such settings, I don't think it's irrational for a park to have laws differing from the surrounding state.

    And the contention made by you and others that those who support the existing set of gun regulations -- that weapons may be transported as long as they're out of reach and broken down -- do so out of fears that gun owners would "turn into homicidal maniacs" is weary and off-base. Read Rick Smith's comment above. I share his position.