Recent comments

  • Mt Rainier from 20,000 Feet   6 years 10 weeks ago

    yep ... 737 (i was on Southwest, which is all 737) and I was flying to Salt Lake. I've been on that trip a couple of times, and I really like the route it takes over the state of Washington ... Fly-by Mt Rainier, continue through central Washington (over the wine country), then exit the state somewhere near the Tri-Cities. If the weather is clear, lots of good scenery to see.

  • Venturing Into the Backcountry of the National Park System   6 years 10 weeks ago

    The front county is just a place to register, get some last minute supplies, and bump into hordes of people and traffic. The backcountry is where the real beauty & excitement are at!

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Arguing that people have an absolute right to carry guns because of the second amendment is absurd. There are, and always have been, many places, federal, state, local and private that have prohibited (and do prohibit) loaded weapons besides our National Parks. I doubt that loaded weapons were allowed in the Constitutional Convention, for that matter. In this post 911 world is no time to relax restrictions on carrying guns in places like the National Mall, Lincoln Memorial, Capitol Building etc. Nor is it a time to relax them in Yellowstone, Yosemite etc. Should we allow students and teachers to carry guns in our schools? How about airports, train and bus stations etc.
    States and local governments all have tons of restrictions on who may or may not carry a gun, what permits are or are not required etc. Some might argue that these are state and local governments, and the second amendment is only designed to restrict what the federal government can do. I would disagree. Does this mean that my local or state government can restrict my freedom of speech then?
    Surely "Anonymous" above is joking when he says, "The government and its citizens should not be able to ignore the parts of the Constitution they don't like." My Dear Sir (Madam), where have you been? The Bush administration, and the Patriot Act, have totally shredded the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth amendments! What makes the second so holy, while these others are disposable?

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago

    As a hunter and supporter of the National Park Service, I see no point in changing the firearm rule. The amount of visitors I see every year in Yellowstone and Grand Teton get too close to wild animals on their own accord are not deserving to protect themselves with a firearm. If you are within 30 yds of a grizzly / elk / bison/ etc, you deserve to be munched or trampled if that animal chooses to do so. Bear Spray is allowed in the park, which is proven far more effective than a firearm in an animal attack situation. I urge all supporters to petition against this change for the betterment of the park and it's visitors.

  • What Are Your Priorities For the National Parks?   6 years 10 weeks ago

    I agree, Paul. The purpose of the National Park Service is not to create recreation. This is the Mission Statement of the National Park Service:
    "...to promote and REGULATE the use of the...national parks...which purpose is to CONSERVE the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them UNIMPAIRED for the enjoyment of future generations."

    National Park Service Organic Act, 16 U.S.C.1.

    As you can see, the primary purpose is to.."conserve the scenery....natural and historic objects and the wildlife..."
    Therefore, the purpose IS to create a "freeze frame" and preserve it for future generation. There are millions of acres of public and private lands nation wide where one can enjoy their guns, ATV's, snowmobiles etc., yet there are only these few islands, that we call National Parks, where we can get a glimpse (at least) at what the world was like before these things. Yes, I know that there are millions of cars, developed camp grounds, hotels, stores etc.; but as anyone knows who has ever tried it, all one has to do is climb over the nearest hill to leave these things behind them. I know that it is hard for some to believe, but many people find "Benefit and Enjoyment" in our parks just the way they are. Else, I suspect, they wouldn't have millions of visitors each year from all over the world.
    BTW, study after study has shown that the vast majority of the American people would like to see snowmobiles banned. It is only snowmobile enthusiasts, outfitters and manufacturers who oppose this; and the Park Service and Bush administration has been cow towing to these special interests for years.

  • Park History: How the National Seashores Came to Be   6 years 10 weeks ago

    This place is heaven on earth, it's the perfect refuge far away from the "real" world. I have a great passion for boating and I find it wonderful to see there are so many possibilities for boating here. I have great memories with canal holidays.

  • What Are Your Priorities For the National Parks?   6 years 10 weeks ago

    To Anonymous on February 5th - Amen! You said so eloquently what I would want to say, including the remark in the final parentheses.

  • Modeling Mesa Verde National Park With Lasers   6 years 10 weeks ago

    This technology can produce amazingly accurate documentation of our civilization's key landmarks, enabling us to reproduce them in the event they're destroyed or severely damaged by natural catastrophes, terrorist attacks, vandalism, or whatever. After the 9/11 attacks the feds rushed to to get this documentation for the Washington Monument, the Statue of Liberty, and lots of other American icons. I hope we can eventually include in this inventory all of the major historical/cultural treasures in our national parks.

  • Mt Rainier from 20,000 Feet   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Great shot...were you on a 737 and where were you flying to?

  • What Are Your Priorities For the National Parks?   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Yeah, guns are one of those "flame bait" issues that simply distract us from the real problems.

    I'd like to see the following:

    -- Revitalization of educational displays in all the parks. The parks represent such learning potential, in this age of "no child left behind", the parks' educational programs and displays should get a huge overhaul. This includes not just the big parks, but all the small sites with historic significance.

    -- Complete staffing. One of the problems with the parks is many are chronically understaffed and the employees underpaid. I think our parks deserve better.

    -- Keep off-road vehicles to a minimum. Let's just say I completely disagree with the 2nd "anonymous" poster. The NPS sites are not there for motorized recreation ... that's what private land, state parks, and national forests are for. The primary role of the natural areas of the National Park System is to preserve the natural wonders of the place, a goal that is totally contradictory to motorized joy-riding.

  • Venturing Into the Backcountry of the National Park System   6 years 10 weeks ago

    If you ever want to plan that Kings Canyon trip, let me know. I'll find a club or a non-profit to take you there who'll be just as qualified as a commercial guide service, minus the luxury fee. (Who knows, I might even be the leader.)

    If you enter Sequoia/Kings Canyon park(s) from a non-park trailhead, such as from Forest Service land, there's only the (usually) free wilderness permit to contend with.

    I usually don't have trouble getting a desirable route plan in my permit on a walk-in basis at either Yosemite, Sequoia/Kings Canyon, or anywhere else in the Sierra Nevada. Of course, I know where the interesting trails are that aren't on a 10-most-popular list.
    __________
    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.

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 10 weeks ago

    OK, this will be my final two cents on this topic as I believe, as someone previously pointed out, that it's been debated ad nauseam.

    For Joe, I'm not suggesting you can't support parks and the 2nd Amendment. It's just my personal opinion that we don't need more guns in the parks, period. You also reference that the proposed amendment would bow to state laws on guns. Well, current federal law bans the carrying of weapons in most parks. If you can live by the state law, why not by the existing federal law?

    As you said, "we agree to disagree."

    For Art, my reference to the senator's profession was tied to my layman's understanding that doctors give a nod to the Hippocratic oath, "to do no harm." Guns might be a tool, as you say, but they have a very specific role, and that's to kill or maim (unless you're target shooting). That can happen whether it's intentional or accidental.

    Now, if anyone who attached comments to this post would like to discuss other issues that affect the national parks, positively or negatively, I wholeheartedly welcome your thoughts.

  • Modeling Mesa Verde National Park With Lasers   6 years 10 weeks ago

    They did some laser scanning of rock art in Agua Fria National Monument (BLM_managed) last year. I haven't seen the results, but the researcher said that it could detect depth changes up to a fraction of a millimeter. It will be great to apply this technology wherever we can - the next time I visited that same rock art site, a vandal had pecked over one of the ancient 'glyphs, destroying it forever. At least we have a copy of what it used to look like.

    rscottjones.com | scottspics.com

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 10 weeks ago

    So, Kurt, let me get this straight. If Sen. Coburn had been an abortionist, and boasted of having murdered 4000 babies, you would understand his desire to allow guns in the National Parks, because abortionists naturally tend toward violence?

    What "perplexes" you is that anyone who prides himself on delivering 4000 babies might also believe that people have the right to defend themselves against others who may not share their respect for life.

    Has it ever occurred to you that gun ownership and a propensity toward violence have absolutely nothing to do with each other? Guns are simply tools. People who own guns are no more inclined toward violence than your average delusional tree hugger. Your belief to the contrary is simply conceit.

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    I am a life member of the Sierra club and a member of the NRA. I support National Parks and the Second Amendment. Are you suggesting that one negates the other? The legislation does say that state law will govern firearms in the park does it not? This is hardly unrestrained access.

    As far as your comment about Dr. Coburns' medical practice, what doctors do is another topic isnt it?

    We can respectfully agree to disagree.

    Joe

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 10 weeks ago


    People should read up on Teddy Roosevelt. Traditional American liberties, like law abiding citizens carrying guns, are not incompatible with conservation & a love of our national parks. The real irrationality is coming from people who are hysterical about guns, but never about protecting innocent people from criminals. You cannot take some freedoms away without losing many others.

  • Climate Change and the National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Yes, here in the Rockies we're having a heckuva snow year. Can't recall a year in the past 14 that can match this year's accumulations.

    That said, the climate change scientists will tell you that part of the climate change puzzle is that there will be stronger storms and snowier winters, and hotter summers, etc.. etc. The long-term pattern, they say, is for warmer weather, but in the short-term extremes won't be out of the question.

  • Climate Change and the National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Actually, check out the latest reports on the snow. From what experts are saying, Lake Powell may reap the benefits of increased snow this winter. They’re forecasting that the snowmelt will raise the water levels and open Castle Rock Cut. This will be great for boaters as they'll be able to get around the lake quicker. My family has been visiting the lake for years - this is very exciting!

    I found this information on http://www.usbr.gov/uc/water/crsp/studies/crsp_gc.txt

  • What Are Your Priorities For the National Parks?   6 years 10 weeks ago

    The Congress needs to strongly OVERRIDE the President on this issue, and FULLY FUND the National Parks. And put an old fashioned "Kaibosh" on the NPS's control and superceeding authority to spread it's nonsense! Yes, they need to remain in authority, but with Congressional oversite and greater limits tothat said authority. And what the heck is with the entrance fees being so high? A standard rate that EVERYONE can afford might be the route to take, so that it is more affordable to ALL THE PEOPLE !!!! Just a thought here... which it seems is more than what those in charge seem to be doing!... 'nough Said?

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Don,

    If the NRA put as much effort into actually supporting the parks, rather than seeking unrestrained access with its weapons, think of how wonderful the parks could be.

    As for Senator Coburn, I find it curious and perplexing for a doctor who boasts of delivering more than 4,000 babies to want to increase access to weapons.

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 10 weeks ago

    I'm not sure that the author is getting the responses he had hoped to see here. Senator Coburn just might be doing his job, exercising the will of the people.

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Your comments suggest you haven't really spent much time in a national park. I'm no tree hugger but the last thing I want to see when I'm hiking in any park is some idiot who thinks his constitutional right to bear arms somehow makes him look cool by carrying a weapon. Obviously poachers exist, all you have to do is read park newsletters. Yes they obviously live by a lower moral standard than the rest of us, and no this bill isn't going to rid the world of poachers...another no brainer. The question is why would you need one? Protection? From what? If you claim an animal threatened/attacked you, then you were too close and stand a good chance of being arrested for poaching, since its illegal to shoot anything in the park if there's no open season at that specific time, or if you happen to shoot a protected species, well you're screwed. Protection from other people who are carrying guns in the park? Hmmmmm. Obviously you miss the point of a national park and what they really stand for and what people visit them for. This "senator" apparently hasn't been to many parks either, or at the very least, his idea of a national park does not jive with the reasons we have them.

  • Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite   6 years 10 weeks ago

    This is an interesting story, I find it surprising that drugs are involved even in such pure places. That makes me think about how serious drug problem really is... And that was back in 76, you can imagine how serious are things now.
    Suboxone detox

  • What Are Your Priorities For the National Parks?   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Just as ‘guns in parks’ is being politicized, so is the Centennial in 2016. Mr. Bush's budget is just a bunch of fluff that looks like a great thing for NPS, but when you really look at it, it's more cuts for the system.

    Fully fund NPS!

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 10 weeks ago

    I would rather fend off a person attacking me with a rock than a person with a handgun anyday.