Recent comments

  • Sierra Club Caught Standing Atop Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    Frank, the Sierra Club is a nonprofit group, and though it's no longer a 501c3 (the club lost its charitable status during its battle to stop the Bureau of Reclamation from damning the Colorado and flooding the Grand Canyon), it still conducts many c3 activities and is supported by its sister 501c3 organization, the Sierra Club Foundation. It's definitely a grassroots group, local members hold much of the decision making power, for better or for worse. Of course, many National Parks might not be protected today without the efforts of the club; and no matter how you feel about the organization, it's clear that the National Park System has greatly benefited from the Sierra Club.

  • Decisions on Controlling Elk in Theodore Roosevelt, Wind Cave National Parks Likely to Linger Into 2009   6 years 1 week ago

    Kurt,

    To look at hunting as a tool for Park-management is an intriguing if elusive proposition. It obviously has considerable potential, but thorny problems. It is laudable that you take on this challenging topic.

    I also read your previous somewhat tongue-in-cheek suggestion to charge high fees for in-Park hunts .

    To put the hunting-idea into action will take a change in the conditioning of the public, and it will take a similar change in Park officialdom. The first might be both the more important and the more practical. (The second can be done by fiat.)

    This might be the place to note, that rural residents in or near Parks in Alaska are allowed to hunt (and trap) Park animal populations. This is a base of experience that could serve as a valuable reference.

    It is noteworthy that we so readily look upon these two particular excess-elk situations, as a context to explore the question of hunting as a policy-consideration applicable to Parks in general.

    If the ice is broken in some places for certain reasons, then it should become easier to use hunting under other circumstances.

    Hunters dress the carcass and leave the high-quality "gut-ball" on the site. These are a bonanza for a variety of wildlife, but bears especially benefit. Wildlife populations quickly learn the timing of hunting seasons, and integrate the offal into their annual cycle.

    Few hunters in the conterminous States are accustomed to hunting in off-road situations. Large game is carefully brought down reasonably near a road. (Shooting a 500 pound animal in a location where it will have to be backpacked many miles is a mistake one rarely repeats.) To hunt the backcountry of our larger Parks will require other methods. Snowmobiles or ATVs might be recommended.

    It is common that 'Park animals' are actually partly Park-residents, and partly reside in State or Forest Service or Private lands. This is acknowledged in discussing the present elk-problems. Less directly acknowledged, is that combining the wildlife management agencies of the extra-Park component, with the Park management would be more ecologically valid that assigning animals to one or another based on an arbitrary (and usually invisible) line in the woods.

    I would be doubtful of the prospect for wider use of hunting in the Parks, but we do live in exciting times: changes are taking place, and it is possible that some of these could include the many hunters of our nation.

  • Sierra Club Caught Standing Atop Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    weird that they would even CONSIDER such a stunt. I'm headed to that area in November myself for a photo trip--did they not just see that an entire arch collapsed in Arches?

  • Accidents Happen at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Usually Because People Break Commonsense Water Safety Rules   6 years 1 week ago

    Trivial point of clarification requested:

    "On October 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the act that formally established the "Lake Mead National Recreation Area." This act redesignated the old Boulder Dam Recreation Area, whose boundaries had been substantially enlarged in 1947 to include the yet-to-be-filled Lake Mohave, in recognition of its equally significant recreational opportunities." Source: http://www.nps.gov/lame/parkmgmt/

    So is this the date it was first called Lake Mead National Recreation Area (LAME to use the NPS abbrev.)? Or is it the one listed at Wikipedia: "The name was changed to Lake Mead National Recreation Area on August 11, 1947."? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Mead_National_Recreation_Area

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    I wanted to do that Fiery Furnace walk but was too chicken when they showed me the pics of it. Was it scary or fantastically worth it? I love that park so much. Wish I were there right now for the Perseid.

  • Why You Should Not Store Food in Your Car at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    So the first lesson, honestly, is not too obvious to visitors who haven't seen this video. Who'd think a black bear could do this to a car? I don't begrudge the owners of that car, they made an uninformed mistake, and that's that. Live and learn, and people who see this should learn.

    But the folks just standing around while it happened, then getting close to the bear when it had food. How selfish and idiotic! I'd have bought that bear a cheeseburger if he chased down that woman in pink ...

    There's stupidity through ignorance, and then there's just plain assininity.

    =================================================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    The entire Colorado Basin is eroding at about the rate Lake Powell is filling up with mud, or formerly, at the rate the Bay of California was filling up--slower than Baja is pulling away. Sandstone buildings erode less than an inch per century. Rainbow Bridge had a stream that flowed around it till the hole broke through; then the stream flowed through the hole, so a narrower gulch formed within a wider gulch. Both gulches help to give us an idea of the Bridge's erosion rates. The rocks that have broken off over the tens or hundreds of thousands of years have turned back to sand, and washed into the sea. It's a pretty slow process. --AGF

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    Their are many arches in Arches National Park that you can walk under and a few that you actually can walk on.
    It is amazing that no one was hurt when this arch fell.
    The Park service needs to have engineers study the arches that are accessible to insure their safety.

    This park is one of the most beautiful areas in the United States.

    PS It didn't take eons to form the arches. Arches are formed all over the world over a few centuries of wind, flfash flooding rain and weathering.

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    Wow, this is two McInnis Canyons NCA references on NPT in about a week - that's got to be a record! Here is one of the more notable arches in the Rattlesnake Canyon area, folks climb through it though it is not an official BLM trail.

    Cedar Tree Arch from a distance, McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area

    Some more photos of the Rattlesnake Arches area of McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area are located here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattmcgrath/sets/72157604318334308/

  • Sierra Club Caught Standing Atop Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    The Sierra Club's claim that it is a "grassroots environmental organization" is laughable. The Sierra Club is not a nonprofit organization. It is a lobbying group. Lobbying groups need lots of money, so they'll do anything to raise the money they need, including profiting from national parks. This is yet another influence of lobbyists in national parks. Oh, and that free rucksack? I'll bet it's made in China.

  • Why You Should Not Store Food in Your Car at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    Where does one should store his food on a camping trip, while stopping in a day use area, if not in the car? In this case the driver left his side window open enough for the bear to get a grip. That was his mistake. But having food in the car is not a fault in itself.

    But the stupidity of all those people still buffles me. They aproach a bear to a few yards (in Yellowstone there is a 100 yards rule), they get between a bear and his retreat route. In the early stages it might have been smat to scare him away. But that wasn't an option anymore once he was in the car and got the food.

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    I recant. But it will be a few days before that raven sets down on another arch in slickrock country. --AGF

  • Why You Should Not Store Food in Your Car at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    You hit the nail on the head, Kim. Not only shouldn't you store food in your rig in bear country, but you certainly shouldn't go running up to a bear for a photo op, unless you want to be in it when the bruin turns on you.

    And, of course, the others watching this show should have, as others have pointed out, tried to drive off the bear in some fashion.

  • Why You Should Not Store Food in Your Car at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    I have to say that I saw a lot of candidates for the Darwin award! Did not one of those folks think this was not for their entertainment and that bear was a wild animal? Many of them were 'lucky' the bear didn't realize they were meat in sneakers.

  • Sierra Club Caught Standing Atop Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    National Geographic Adventure magazine had a cover earlier this year with a woman doing yoga on top of Mesa Arch. They got a lot of criticism for that, and I remember the editors responding that while it probably wasn't the safest/smartest thing in the world to do, they didn't break any NPS or Canyonlands laws/rules in getting the photo shot. Page down to the March 2008 issue to see the cover: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/articles.html

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    AGF - I like to think that a canyon raven, a crafty bird in all environments, landed atop the arch thus providing the last few ounces of downward stress causing this immense collapse. Amidst the din and dust the raven was surprised as his footing disappeared. No problem his black wings spread, caught the breeze, and lifted him into the blue sky. Another day in slickrock country.

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsONpZA8X3A

    Two witnesses to the collapse have come forward.

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    OK, here's a tenuously proposed triggering mechanism: the humidity was rising that night, and sandstone constitutes a semipermeable membrane. H2O molecules are lighter than N2 and O2, vibrate more rapidly, and find their way through the rock faster than dry air. This enables the rock to build up a partial pressure of water vapor faster than the total pressure of dry air in the rock can be dissipated, so that the gasseous pressure in the rock may build up a few mmHg of pressure--maybe enough to trigger a collapse. I suppose the mechanics and magnitude of such a phenomenon could be studied experimentally. --AGF

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    Maybe it was only by rare chance that my husband and I--visiting Arches in May--saw a couple on top of Wall Arch. Later in the day we saw a man on top of Sand Dune Arch. The following day we saw a woman and her young daughter walk during 30 MPH wind gusts across Mesa Arch in Canyonlands, which is exposed on both sides to tremendous drop offs, so frightening to see that I had to walk away. I was so sure we were about to witness people dying that my experience was wrecked.

    Or perhaps these incidents were not coincidental to our visit. Perhaps others blogging here--and park officials, even-- are naive about the audacity of visitors and the frequency with which they stand and walk on top of these fragile, beautiful arches, ignorant or inconsiderate of the harm they do. If there are rules, we saw none posted. If there are not rules and fines--heavy, steep fines--then perhaps there should be.

  • Why You Should Not Store Food in Your Car at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    I agree that the idiots watching this happen should have at least honked their horns to try to scare the bear away. But they only thought of the photo op and did not think of the safety of the bear, themselves and other visitors to come !
    As far as calling a ranger, there is no cell service in most of the Great Smoky Mtn NP and unfortunately you can spend most of the day there and never see a ranger ! Budget custs once again surface their ugly face Way too many visitors have absolutely no common sense and the wildlife always suffer.

  • Why You Should Not Store Food in Your Car at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    I grew up in the Carolinas and was a frequent visitor to Great Smoky Mtns NP and the surrounding national forests. Things may be different today, but the Forest Service and NPS did a pretty poor job educating visitors about the potential for bear encounters and their consequences. Bears were never a consideration when I went camping and backpacking in eastern forests. I was pleased to see user-friendly bear cables in Great Smoky's backcountry campsites when I visited a year ago, which is more than I can say for similar campsites in some Western parks frequented by bears. But as recently as seven years ago, back east, "bear protocol" simply wasn't part of our lexicon.

  • Is It Time to Overhaul the National Park Service and the National Park System?   6 years 1 week ago

    I don't think that delisting should be an answer, but that NPS is ment to protect not sell of units to others like a bussiness. However, maybe a compromise would be that some parks be opterated as assocatied areas. This means that they still keep their titles, NPS still montiors and helps run them, and all laws governing the management of National Park Units still apply like with assocatied areas today.

  • Having Suffered Severe Storm Damage, a Witness Tree at Gettysburg National Military Park is Unlikely to Survive   6 years 1 week ago

    A "before" photo of the intact tree can be seen at this site. I'm not sure I can find an after photo.

  • Why You Should Not Store Food in Your Car at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    I agree with Jeff but would add that stupidity of the people in the parking lot is mind boggling! The only sane comment was someone yelling out that someone should beep there horn but these poor excuses for adults would rather have a photo op,put themselves(with children) at risk and unfortunately contribute to the eventual killing of the animal. I wonder if they saw a bunch of people trashing the car would they have done anything? It's a wonder the world is such a mess when people can't think about right and wrong. The guy who Filmed this should be fined as aiding the bear in the cars destruction!

  • Collapse of "Wall Arch" Proves Gravity Does Work at Arches National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    This arch has been sitting around for half a million years or so without falling. Of course the long term cause is gradual erosion, but I suspect the immediate cause was weather and tide related: drier than normal, coupled with shear stresses caused by a temperature gradient. Problem is, August 1 had a 40 degree differential compared to a 25 degree drop Monday night, and the new moon occurred 2 days earlier as well. The winds were stronger Friday than Monday night. Did it fall two days after it cracked? I doubt it, but there must have been some reason it fell when it did. We're a month past aphelion, with its weaker tides, but the arch has gone through the worst of a summer full of expansion and contraction. Winter freezing and thawing does the long term damage, but summer probably provides more triggering mechanisms. Ice ages may set the arches up to tumble during interstadials. I think natural global warming could be the culprit. --AGF