Recent comments

  • NPS Entrance Fees Waived on November 11th for Veterans, Military Personnel and Their Families   6 years 3 weeks ago

    While we are exempting Americans who have served their country from NPS entrance fees, what about returned Peace Corps Volunteers?

    Rick Smith

  • NPS Entrance Fees Waived on November 11th for Veterans, Military Personnel and Their Families   6 years 3 weeks ago

    "In brief, where do you stop with the freebies?"

    Since these parks are already taxpayer funded isn't an additional entrance fee just a form of double taxation? Why should anyone have to pay a fee?

    $25 a pop to get into Bryce Canyon is a hard pill to swallow, especially for local residents who DO NOT make the kind of money that allows them to afford such luxuries. The parks are now, by and large, the province of the more well off among society and the steady rise in entrance fees we have witnessed in the past few years will only further continue that trend.

  • NPS Entrance Fees Waived on November 11th for Veterans, Military Personnel and Their Families   6 years 3 weeks ago

    It's always hard to argue down proposals for expanding veterans benefits, and the one you suggest is especially difficult to oppose on ethical grounds. Who could be more deserving than a military veteran when it comes to freely accessing America's public lands? So, put me in the "yes" column. (I would also cheerfully add actively serving military personnel to the list of the deserving.) But what about policemen, firemen, and others who serve and protect? And wouldn't there be a whole bunch of other constituencies with plausible "me too!" arguments? In brief, where do you stop with the freebies? BTW, I agree that it's asinine to instruct people that they shouldn't confuse honoring vets with glorifying conflict. Who on earth would draw a conclusion like that, anyway?

    Truth-in-endorsing disclosure: I'm strongly biased toward veterans benefits. Among other things, they helped me fund my college education and buy my first house.

  • NPS Entrance Fees Waived on November 11th for Veterans, Military Personnel and Their Families   6 years 3 weeks ago

    As a vet, I am not very impressed that entrance fees are waived for one day. Since all other fees still apply, the entrance fees should be waived for any ID carrying vet period.
    Do NPS, USFW, BLM, USFS employees always have to pay full costs for their rec time spent on these lands?
    I think it is also pitiful that one actually has to mention " The purpose of this observance is not to glorify conflict.."
    Asinine. What morons would have thought that?

  • IMBA: Not Every Park Suitable For Mountain Biking, No Interests, Currently, For Trails in Wilderness Areas   6 years 3 weeks ago

    [Jasper Canyon, in Canyonlands NP, is another example of public land recently and permanently closed to the public for unclear reasons.]

    In order to support the bicycle ban, you have to believe the following:

    -Telemark and randonee skiing equipment is non-mechanized. Those $600 boots with four buckles and a walk mode switch? Those $350 bindings with tour mode, heel lifts, release function, and ski brakes? Totally natural and non-mechanized.

    Don't forget the $700 skis, $150 climbing skins, $300 avalanche beacon, $50 probe, $50 collapsible shovel, $150 backpack to carry it all, and $1K worth of Gore-Tex outerwear, goggles, gloves, etc.

    -Rock climbing cams, nuts, rappel devices, quickdraws, carabiners, and ascenders are non-mechanized and totally natural. So are crampons, ice axes, and ice screws.

    -Kayaks, inflatable rafts, canoes, and pedal-powered boats are non-mechanized.

    -Of course, spring-loaded trekking poles, $500 neon-colored tents, $100 folding camp stoves, and hiking shoes made of six kinds of plastic with Chinese slave labor are totally, unquestionably natural and non-mechanized.

    Yet bicycles are "mechanized" and unnatural.

    Anyone who has ever used all these kinds of sports equipment will immediately realize how ridiculous it is that bicycles are discriminated against. Human power is human power, whether it is used to move shoes, kayaks, skis, snowshoes, or bicycles. Mountain bikes are not equivalent to off-road motorcycles, just as a Huffy is not equivalent to a Harley.

    As far as "damage", the only two studies that directly compare the impact of people on foot, horse, and bicycle are Seney/Wilson and Thurston/Reader.
    Wilson, J.P. and Seney, J.P., 1994. Erosional impact of hikers, horses, motorcycles, and off-road bicycles on mountain trails in Montana. Mountain Research and Development 14(1):77-88.
    Thurston, E. and R. J. Reader (2001). Impacts of experimentally applied mountain biking and hiking on vegetation and soil of a deciduous forest. Environmental Management 27(3): 397-409.

    Both come to the same conclusion: horse travel has the greatest impact by far, and bicycle and foot travel have comparable impact. There are no studies, anywhere, that show bicycles doing more damage than people on foot. Any claims to the contrary are simply false.

    Really this isn't about logic or environmental preservation, it's about selfishness. People want to think that public land is their own private preserve, and no one else should be able to come there and disturb their solitude.

    Well, here's the problem: if you don't let the public visit public land, the public won't care about preserving it. Wouldn't it be better if the 25% of the population that rides mountain bikes actually supported Wilderness? We'd have a lot more of it for everyone to enjoy. Keep excluding them, and you'll continue to be kings of a shrinking empire.

  • Lame Duck Bush Administration Hastens to Weaken Environmental Protection Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    The foregoing emails make it abundantly clear that there's no constructive, much less rational and fair-minded, discourse with today's
    Republicans. Even after 8 long years of the most destructive, disastrous regime in our living history, most Republicans see very little
    wrong with their party, its views, or actions - that could be the single most disheartening thing about America these days. That aside,
    one would think that at least one purpose of the Traveler would be to advocate for the National Park Service. Simply stating the publicly
    proven facts about the horrendous conduct of our current "leaders" seems to touch a nerve among some right-leaning park users. It's
    only the truth, people - something we're not given much of these days. If the truth hurts, the only people you can logically blame are
    Bush and Cheney. But I guess that's far too accountable for this administration.

  • Lame Duck Bush Administration Hastens to Weaken Environmental Protection Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    The EPA is not a lobby; it's a federal agency. America is not a democracy; it's a constitutional republic.

    And as long as national parks are in a political system, there will be posts on NPT such as this, and ignorant comments and hollow threats will follow.

    As for NPT's bias--and the "true" definition of "liberal"--NPT reflects a big-L Liberal (as in reflecting the views of the Democratic Party) bias. I don't think it necessarily reflects the small-l liberal ideals that birthed the American Republic: "favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible". Were national parks to be truly liberalized in this sense, parks would be funded by voluntary transactions.

  • NPS Entrance Fees Waived on November 11th for Veterans, Military Personnel and Their Families   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I think this is great, it should be expanded to either year-round or at least the month of November. We do so little honor our military and veteran's who deserve so much.

  • Lame Duck Bush Administration Hastens to Weaken Environmental Protection Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    What democracy John K.? That's something that the Bush administration has tried hard to do away with. Remember our ill-famed former attorney general Mr. A. Gonsalves and his continuing stonewall white lies for Mr. Bush and company. Without the EPA are national environmental picture would look rather tragically bleak...and it's getting there. No doubt! These past eight years under the Bush & Cheney regime are national parks are starting to look pretty scuff up (to put it mildly) from the lack of substantial monetary input from this lame duck administration. Just ask any national park superintendent.

  • IMBA: Not Every Park Suitable For Mountain Biking, No Interests, Currently, For Trails in Wilderness Areas   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Quoting Kurt Repanshek: "Just as bikers should be able to enjoy their activity, I don't think it's unreasonable to allow backcountry hikers to be able to enjoy theirs—especially when you consider all the opportunities for bikes outside the national parks."

    No one is disputing that everyone should be able to enjoy his/her favorite trail-related activity—no one, that is, if you leave aside the writers on this blog who evidently think many cyclists shouldn't be able to enjoy riding remote singletrack. Proper management techniques, including alternate-day use, limiting use by permit, etc., will ensure that everyone can have a stellar experience in his/her favorite backcountry area. It would be interesting to find out how many trails in national parks and national forests, including in Wilderness areas, are fading away because of semiabandonment. Trails in a few areas, like around Lake Tahoe, may be oversubscribed, but I bet that many others, e.g., most trails in Nevada, are disappearing for lack of enough use. Check out some dilapidated and half-overgrown segments of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail and you'll see evidence of underuse aplenty.

  • IMBA: Not Every Park Suitable For Mountain Biking, No Interests, Currently, For Trails in Wilderness Areas   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Few things are more moronic than this line of argument (I quote from a prior post): "A point that seems to be missed by the mountain biking community is that no one is banned from hiking trails, only their bikes are. They can still enjoy the trails on foot, just like the rest of us."

    Let's apply this kind of thinking in other contexts! How about this: "A point that seems to be missed by the Jews is that none of them is banned by restrictive covenants from living in any neighborhood in this country. Jews can still live in any neighborhood they want if they will convert to Christianity, just like the rest of us."

    Or this: "A point that seems to be missed by the gays is that no one is banned from getting married. Any gay or lesbian person can marry anyone he/she wishes, as long as it's someone of the opposite sex, just like the rest of us."

    In sum, the argument that mountain bikers can go wherever we want if we'll only walk is detestable and stupid. We'd rather not, thank you, at least not all the time, any more than someone else might want to convert to another religion. And not only is nothing wrong with mountain biking, but it confers many benefits that hikers and horsemen can only envy, like remarkably increased physical fitness. (See any overweight mountain bikers lately?) How about turning the argument around and arguing that trails should be limited to cyclists because doing so won't infringe on the trail's accessibility to any hiker who's willing to ride a bike? Oh, but the argument would arise, "I can't do that! I'm not fit enough!" Fine, so stop being resentful of those who can and who are.

  • IMBA: Not Every Park Suitable For Mountain Biking, No Interests, Currently, For Trails in Wilderness Areas   6 years 3 weeks ago

    "Although we haven't yet seen the proposed rule change from the Park Service, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) believes that the current mountain biking regulations appear to be working well and that there is no demonstrated need to change them. Like any use of the national parks, the use of mountain bikes on trails should be examined via a public process, environmental review, and fully comply with National Environmental Policy Act before given the green light.

    "NPCA believes that any changes made to the mountain biking regulations must take into consideration: 1) the capacity of park staffs to effectively manage mountain biking and ensure visitor safety; and 2) associated impacts on wildlife, vegetation, overall trail conditions, and the experience of other park visitors. Furthermore, any changes to the current mountain biking policy should not allow for mountain biking on parklands that have been or may be recommended by the National Park Service or others for inclusion into the National Wilderness Preservation System."

    Let me translate this as it could have appeared in a different but related context in 1948:

    "Although we have not read President Truman's proposal to integrate the military, the National Military Tradition Association (NMTA) believes that the current policy of separate service for whites and blacks is working well and that there is no demonstrated need to change it. NMTA believes that any change in service policy must take into consideration (1) the capacity of command officers to deal with strife that will inevitably arise from integration, and (2) associated impacts on the morale of white servicemen. Furthermore, no integration should take place in any unit that is currently constituted, but should be considered only for newly formed units in which people are not accustomed to current practice. NMTA would prefer that any change be undertaken very cautiously, with an eye to achieving a degree of integration in approximately 80 to 100 years, and only where it will not upset any current institutional practice."

  • Lame Duck Bush Administration Hastens to Weaken Environmental Protection Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    sorry mr. Janiskee I don't agree with you, I think you are off! the mark! But democracy is a beutiful thing! "TO EACH HIS OWN"

  • Lame Duck Bush Administration Hastens to Weaken Environmental Protection Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Anything that can be done to weaken the strongest lobby in the USA...the EPA...is welcome news. The EPA controls too much is the USA now. It has power beyond its usefulness. I like the National Parks and enjoy going to many of them. This does not mean that the environmentalists are always right in what they do...like THEY think they are. So GOOD for Bush.

  • Lame Duck Bush Administration Hastens to Weaken Environmental Protection Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    To those who found this post politically offensive, I think it should be pointed out that it also notes that President Clinton wielded his power much the same way as the current president.

    Indeed, there are more than a few folks in Utah still steamed that President Clinton resorted to his authority under the Antiquities Act to create the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. That move was do despised in Utah -- the president didn't bother to consult with the state's GOP congressional delegation -- that President Clinton announced the designation from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon!

    Had this post gone at the issue (which is how presidents misuse their authority for political expedient purposes) from a different tack, by castigating President Clinton for his environmental handiwork, would those who criticize the story in its current form have applauded?

    As for the post being biased or slanted, the facts speak for themselves. Whether you look at the ESA or the Clean Air Act or the Healthy Forests Initiative , the Bush administration has not been environmentally friendly on the whole. The track record is well-documented at this site, this site, this site, and this site. Indeed, Google "Bush environment" and you'll get 28.2 million hits in less than a third of a second.

    And really, since when do "liberals" (a label that sadly has been turned into a pejorative despite its true definition) have the market cornered on being environmentally conscious? Have you visited the website of Republicans for Environmental Protection?

    What's truly sad is that there are segments of society (and the political establishment) that are so politically extreme -- on both sides of the aisle -- that some have forgotten how to compromise.

    To those who say they are abandoning the Traveler, that's certainly your prerogative, although you could do more good by sticking around and more fully explaining your point of view on issues that are so important to the future of the National Park System.

  • Lame Duck Bush Administration Hastens to Weaken Environmental Protection Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Wake up people. If the government doesn't protect the environment and our great national lands, who will ? Big business just wants to exploit them for all the money they are worth without ever thinking about the consequences !
    Thank you Bob. As long as some of us care, there is a chance !

  • Lame Duck Bush Administration Hastens to Weaken Environmental Protection Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    This is ridiculous. There are also those of us who love the amazing natural beauty that our country has been blessed with, but do not buy into this liberal political ideology of big government controlling our lives and our businesses in the name of protecting our resources. I didn't join this feed to hear this kind of bias, so I'm also leaving the feed because of this article.

  • Lame Duck Bush Administration Hastens to Weaken Environmental Protection Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Bob, your right on target with Bush's slash and burn environmental policies...rape,pillage and greed till the end! Hopefully, we can salvage are natural resources and heritage from Bush's macabre environmental policies. May the next president of this great country of ours have the wisdom, the tools and courage to do so. Keep hammering at the truth Bob. Wake up and smell the coffee Bentley!!! Take a real hard look at Bush's destructive mechanism in destroying are natural resources and national parks...which is carefully crafted to do such...breed more rape, pillage and greed!!!!

  • Lame Duck Bush Administration Hastens to Weaken Environmental Protection Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I'm with Bentley. I love national parks and I've enjoyed Kurt's posts, but you've poisoned the feed. Goodbye.

  • Lame Duck Bush Administration Hastens to Weaken Environmental Protection Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Bob,

    Apparently Kurt's hoarding all those tax subsidies NPT gets and not telling you about them!

    I was going to call you out on the 1928 trivia until it occurred to me that Nixon was on the Eisenhower tickets. Nice stat.

  • Lame Duck Bush Administration Hastens to Weaken Environmental Protection Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Let me make sure I understand you, Bentley, because you certainly have not made yourself clear. Are you saying that the Bush administration is not rushing to weaken environmental protection laws and regs, or are you saying that it's OK for him to do that? And what on earth do you mean when you say "taxpayer-funded"?

  • Lame Duck Bush Administration Hastens to Weaken Environmental Protection Laws   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Here we have yet another example of tax-payer funded liberal slant, just two days before we elect a new president ("Traveler trivia"?). Congratulations, Mr. Janiskee, you have destroyed my enjoyment and participation in an otherwise fairly informative feed.

  • Sky-High Ginseng Prices Boost Illegal Harvest in Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    The Forest Service has some information on ginseng. They also issue permits for use in National Forests. Luckily, they insist on certain guidelines. Try the following link:
    http://www.wildgrown.com/index.php/Ginseng-Laws/State-Ginseng-Law/Tennessee-Ginseng-Law-and-Regulations.html
    It is for Tennessee, but the guidelines are good and should be followed. Especially, the replanting of the seeds. Good luck!

  • Bobcats Attack Two at Death Valley National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    We were present at the attack, witnessed it, and can report that this woman was not feeding any bobcat nor did she have any food. My wife and I had been swimming at around dusk. As we got out of the water a nice couple from California asked us to join them at the fireplace where they had a roaring fire going. We pulled up chairs and the four of us were facing the fire, talking, not eating or drinking, no food or drink present.

    At this point the gentleman looks over my wife's shoulder, and says "Looks like a kitty". My wife turns to face a bobcat in the act of jumping onto her shoulder and neck from behind. As she turns the bobcat retreats, runs out of the pool area, and around the back of the fireplace. Realizing what happened, I happened to have a small flashlight, and the gentleman and I walked over to where the pool ends and desert begins, in the area behind the fireplace. I shined the light and saw nothing.

    Then, to a chorus of screaming, we ran back to the fireplace to see the bobcat on the back of his wife's neck. She screamed, chased it away, and I grabbed a chair to keep it away from the four of us. We examined her wounds, saw they were open and bleeding, and I ran over to the wall phone to call for help.

    No one came down to the pool. I shined the light out into the desert and the bobcat was about 15 feet out looking toward the pool. We retreated up to the inn, me bringing up the rear with my chair shield.

    About 10 minutes later or so the rangers arrived and transported the lady to the hospital in Pahrump for the start of rabies shots.

    We later learned that someone on the inn kitchen staff had been feeding bobcats, returned to Europe after her job was up, leaving behind a few hungry, habituated bobcats.

    Overall comment....this was scary. We are regular DV hikers, have been to many remote locations including Alaska with Grissly habitat, but have not ever experienced the complete lack of fear on the part of a predator. If there is a lesson to be learned, beyond of course never ever ever feed wildlife, it is that DV is theirs, not ours and be always cognizant of that. In retrospect I do not believe that we did anything at all wrong. This was a case of an animal that got the wrong idea about humans.

  • Is Bush Administration Moving to Shuck Some Congressional Oversight on Public Lands Management?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Osama Binladan couldnt have done a better job of raping our natuural resourceses our economy and bringing this country to its knees. I hope the Bush administration is proud.