Recent comments

  • What Priorities Should The Next National Park Service Director Address?   6 years 1 week ago

    Dear RAH, please go back and read a few of the former posts on the topic. Snowmobiles have been consistently debunked as noisy and a source for air pollution by the scientific NPS staff. They disturb the wildlife and diminish the quality of experience for all other visitors. And snowmobiles don't just leave tracks in the snow. They compress snow, letting it thaw slower and thereby influence the drainage in spring.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   6 years 1 week ago


    You have posted another over-the-top comment. Why not chill a little?

    Rick Smith

  • Echoes of the Cold War in the Tropical Warmth of Everglades National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    The NPs has already one Nike site and interprets the history of the Cold War there. It is site SF-88 in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area: The site is almost fully equipped, visitors can see the rocket being lifted up for launch, can see the bunker, the controls and almost everything else from the 1960s. The Everglades site is just the concrete shell - no installations there anymore. Frankly, I don't think it's worth preserving, and lack of funds to remove it should not be used as an excuse.

    PS: This website works with Firefox 3 again, the layout finally looks fine. Thanks for repairing it.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   6 years 1 week ago

    "Urban professional left-leaning elites." Now there's a label. Does one size fit all?

    I didn't say it was one size fits all but was simply pointing out that the anti-gun bias seems to mostly come from a class of people who look upon guns and gun owners as an unnecessary remnant of tribal primitivism which springs forth from the alien world of working class, blue collared rednecks. The very idea of guns in the hands of normal citizens predictably conjures up images of Tombstone, Dodge City or Jed Clampett stalking possum for dinner.

    It's the same with their disdain of Wal-Mart. It is a class based bias rooted in their sense of moral and intellectual superiority. To them the swarming masses of Untermensch with their gun rack bedecked pick-up trucks wheeling their way out of the Wally World parking lot with a plastic kiddie pool tied to the bed liner is nothing short of true barbarity.

    I remember once attending a yuppy party in some tony townhouse in DC back in the late 80's and during said affair retrieved a pellet gun pistol from my car to show a friend. When I appeared with this gun in the living room amidst the party goers a shocked hushed silence descended upon the room which eventually led to quiet murmurs and then outright rebuke. It seems that they were insulted that someone in their set would have such an item in the first place and that I would deign to bring it into their sanctified home for show and tell. You can bet I was never invited to another party by these staunch members of the Sierra Club ever again.

    I know who these people are and know what they think of the knuckle draggers out here in gun toting land. As far as I'm concerned they can have their crime ridden, gun soaked cities in which to lock themselves into their homes each night. It's what they deserve.

  • Climate Change: Fact or Fiction?   6 years 1 week ago

    Remember that a glacier is a constantly changing system. Advance and retreat is inherent to their nature. A glacier that isn't moving is called an "ice field."

    Glaciers advance when snowfall at their heads exceeds melt at their tails. Depending on the glacier, this can take years to manifest. It is perfectly possible for a general warming trend to result in advancing glaciers if the trend increases wintertime snow greater than it increases summertime snow melt. There is not a 1:1 correlation between glacier retreat and global warming. Glaciers that have eroded away can return, when climate trends change. For example, Mt. St. Helens has grown a small one inside its blast crater since 1980.

    So sure, receding glaciers are a sign of long-term climate fluctuation. Any geologist could have told you that the climate has always fluctuated. I think it's most important that we not fetishize glaciers. We cannot expect a glacier to forever match its earliest photographs, like those attached to this post. It is geologically and meteorologically impossible for the Muir Glacier to have remained unchanged for 63 years. It is perfectly possible that it will return to its previous extent and more.

  • Climate Change: Fact or Fiction?   6 years 1 week ago


    There are more than a few scientists who think otherwise, and who have compiled reams and reams of data to support that contention.

    While the last two years might have produced severe winters in some parts of the world, others have not seen what might be described as normal. Still, those who study climate change point out that we shouldn't expect to see a steady pattern of warming, but rather herky-jerky weather patterns. In other words, just because climate change is occurring, that doesn't mean we're not going to experience blizzards or Canadian Clippers.

    The following found its way to my in-box this morning. It lends credence to the concept that while individual years might not follow cleanly in the definition some associate with climate change, things having been getting warmer.

    WARMEST DECEMBERS, Northern Hemisphere
    2003 +0.62 C
    2006 +0.54 C
    1987 +0.52 C
    1998 +0.42 C
    2008 +0.41 C
    2005 +0.40 C

    Since November 1978, the Northern Hemisphere atmosphere has warmed more than three times as fast as the Southern Hemisphere atmosphere (+0.19 C to +0.06 C per decade).

    With a global average temperature that was 0.05 C warmer than seasonal norms, 2008 goes into the books as the coolest year since 2000. Global temperatures during 2008 were influenced by a La Nina Pacific Ocean cooling event.

    Another La Nina appears to be forming in the Pacific, which could chill temperatures through 2009.

    As for more usable land, well, that depends upon where you live. Certainly, climate change models predict that northern latitudes will see longer growing seasons. But in places like the Southwest and southern Rockies, a lack of snowfall could be devastating to agriculture and communities that rely on lakes and reservoirs for their drinking water.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   6 years 1 week ago

    Respectfully JimB, if your history class was in a state-run school in the mid-20th century, you probably got more propaganda than actual history.

    Please consider Gunfighters, Highwaymen, & Vigilantes: Violence on the Frontier by Roger D. McGrath.

    Dr. McGrath writes:

    Popular wisdom says that generations of living on and conquering frontiers have made Americans a violent and lawless people. Popular wisdom is wrong. So is much scholarly literature that has drawn conclusions about violence and lawlessness from anecdotal evidence and specious assumptions. The kind of crime that pervades American society today has little or no relation to the kind of lawlessness that occurred on the frontier if Aurora and Bodie are at all representative of western communities. Robbery of individuals, burglary, and theft occurred only infrequently and rape seems not to have occurred at all. Racial violence and serious juvenile crime were absent also. The homicides that occurred almost invariably resulted from gunfights between willing combatants. The old, the weak, the innocent, the young, and the female were not the targets of violent men. In fact, all people in those categories would have been far safer in Aurora or Bodie than they are today in any major U.S. city. Even most smaller cities and towns are far more crime ridden and dangerous than were Aurora and Bodie.

    There simply is no justification for blaming contemporary American violence and lawlessness on a frontier heritage. The time is long past for Americans to stop excusing the violence in society by trotting out that old whipping boy, the frontier. On the contrary, it would seem that the frontier, instead of representing America at its worst may have, in many respects, represented the nation at its best.

  • Climate Change: Fact or Fiction?   6 years 1 week ago

    Clinate change is constant on this planet. The idea that man is responsible seems to me to be hubris. I believes the sun has a lot more to do with that. Besides greater increase is usable land is generally a good thing.

    The last two years have had more sever winters so maybe warming needs to be rethought?

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   6 years 1 week ago

    I suggest you check the real history of Tombstone and Dodge City and not the fiction that was written by the penny dreadfuls that popularized the gunslinger image.

    Those places had very low usage of guns ceratinly compared to cities in todays age. Crime and criminal misuse of a gun in DC,Baltitimore, Philadelhia, Ocala, NY, Boston are just an example. The amount of gangland killings, drivebys and crime are very Big compared to Tombstone and Dodge City.

  • Echoes of the Cold War in the Tropical Warmth of Everglades National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    I think Nike missile bases are cool. I have horse back ridden on some old ones and seen the land used for other recreation, such as agility dog trainining in MD. These were not handed over to NPS but state and local counties.

    I have visited Everglades several times and never knew about the Nike site. I would love to visit for the historical purpose and I am sure many young people would find it neat also. I am glad that one has been left to show a story of our past that many are ignorant.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   6 years 1 week ago

    re: the comment by RAH:

    As to the varying state laws I would enforce the most liberal state law.

    A law enforcement officer's job would be a lot easier if he or she decided which laws to enforce - or ignore - but that's generally considered unacceptable performance.

    I would have made CCW allowable in parks and the CCW holder has to abide by the states rules he has the CCW license from.

    I suspect many people would have some heartburn with the idea that laws from another state could override the laws of their own state. That's analogous to saying visitors to the US don't have to obey U.S. laws - just follow the laws of their home country.

    Re: Beamis and "open carry" vs. concealed carry:

    "Open carry" was tried a few years back in places with names like Tombstone and Dodge City. I don't recall from my history class that it worked out so well in terms of improving general law and order :-)

  • Climate Change: Fact or Fiction?   6 years 1 week ago

    Yes, Alaska's glaciers have been shrinking for the last two centuries. This year, the bad weather was good for Alaska glaciers.

    The difference in temperature between the Little Ice Age and these heady days of American expansion?

    About three or four degrees, Molnia said.

    The difference in temperature between this summer in Anchorage -- the third coldest on record -- and the norm?

    About three degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

    Does it mean anything?

    Nobody knows. Climate is constantly shifting. And even if the past year was a signal of a changing future, Molnia said, it would still take decades to make itself noticeable in Alaska's glaciers.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   6 years 1 week ago

    "Urban professional left-leaning elites." Now there's a label. Does one size fit all?

  • What Priorities Should The Next National Park Service Director Address?   6 years 1 week ago

    NPS is meant to preserve the natural beauty of the parks and to enhance recreation. So I believe that snowmobile that only leaves tracks in snow that get covered or melted should be allowed and encouraged. Yellowstone could even issue permits and get some revenue during the slow period.

    The above comment about the hiker / snowshoe user bothered is just a narrow selfish idea that only he/she can enjoy the winter scenery his/her way. The snowmobile is just another way of enjoying the parks. Like horseback riding vesus hiking which are both more destructive to trails than a snowmobile.

    Money is going to be tighter so resources to maintanance should be kept up and use of volunteers would help. Even volunteer guides and interpretive trails. There are many people that would love to volunteer that are retired or otherwise free to donate their time and labor.

    The problems of increase crime from drug smuggling in the southern parks will use up resources but that should be joint with volunteer clean up and even patrols and other government (border control) resources.

    However one commenter advocated allowing the homeless to use NPS land is a bad idea. Homeless without good sanitation and their abuse of drugs and alcohol negative impact other pleasure in NPS area.

    Most places that have allowed homeless to use land has seen a massive degradation of the land with trash and sewage and many homeless are mentally disbaled and approach visitors aggresively or just weird. This makes normal visitors avoid those areaa. I do not want the National Mall to be a homeless shelter and thus have all other users shut out.

    Homeless shelters need heat, sanitation food access and even medical facilities, NPS is poorly set up to provide those needs.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   6 years 1 week ago

    Here in Tennessee I see armed citizens with weapons openly carried in holsters and leather sheaths all the time. It does not bother me nor seem to bother my fellow citizens here along the tranquil banks of the Tennessee River.

    I've seen weapons worn openly in downtown Chattanooga and along many of the trails that I hike in the forests of the Cumberland Plateau. I've never felt scared or threatened by the sight of these weapons and welcome the protection they bring to society as a whole. The police should not be the only ones who are armed.

    It seems that the discomfort with guns comes mainly from the urban professional left-leaning elites, who are the core supporters of wilderness and parks. It somehow frightens them when anyone but agents of the state are packing the heat. They need to get used to this concept because out here in the flyover country our guns are out and we feel safer knowing we can use them when we need to, which is hardly ever.

  • Echoes of the Cold War in the Tropical Warmth of Everglades National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    When I worked as a ranger at Everglades aeons ago, they used the "Missile Site" essentially as a dump. As a child of the Cold War, I thought it was way cool. I have photos of the structures covered with weeds, with piles of trash covering them, etc. Kinda poingnant really, "rust in peace." Still, while part of me wants it naturally restored like the rest of the "Hole in the Doughnut" area, another part of me says that while interpreting Cold War history is not Everglades' mission to America, parks cannot pick and choose what history took place within their borders.

    I'm glad to see it at least being taken care of and not used for dumping anymore and I look forward to visiting it next time I visit the incomporable and irreplaceable River of Grass.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   6 years 1 week ago

    The is just belly aching about the NPS having to adjust to the rule. Prior to 1976 there was no problem, of course nobody opened carry in visitor centers Since this is for CCW only, NPS should presume that CCW citizens are no worse when carrying then they are when not, and treat all visitors the same, because they will not know who is and who isn’t. Most facilities should not be restricted and those that are posted should have a gun locker room like a secured coat check. Then when you go to the facility you declare your CCW and check the gun. When you leave get your gun. Not a big deal

    As to the varying state laws I would enforce the most liberal state law. So if a CCW from Idaho, who get Idaho law throughout the park and only other CCW that has reciprocity with IDAHO has the same presumption. That would encourage that laws would standardized the most liberal gun laws.

    This is just because the nanny state liberals in NPS over the last 30 years do not like citizens being armed. We really need to have the public get over this idea that a man with a gun is a criminal. Get rid of that underlying assumption and most of these problem fade.

    I do agree that The new regulation is cumberson. I would have made CCW allowable in parks and the CCW holder has to abide by the states rules he has the CCW license from. So in NH where no CCW rules there are no rules for NK residents on CCW in NPS.

    Of course DOI could make is simple and just allow CCW period, no recourse to states rules and also open carry. Just punish those who misues the gun, like vandalism or target shooting in the park etc.

    Punish the action if a gun is misused and not make the gun the focus but the shooters actions to be the focus.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   6 years 1 week ago

    The point of conceled weapons laws originally was simply this: if you had a reason to have a weapon, you wore it openly for all to see. If you had a reason to hide your weapon, it was assumed you were up to mischief. Until the last few decades, concealing a weapon was illegal everywhere on the assumption that people who responsibly had a reason to have a weapon would wear it openly and only a crook would feel the need to hide it. That way if the police found some punk carrying, they had reason to check him out and possibly prevent some crime.

    It doesn't have anything to do with the Second Ammendment, it has to do with your right to hide your weapon. In reality, gun advoctaes know that Americans are NOT comfortable with weapons in plain sight and would not welcome folks carrying openly, as few ever did, although this is widely legal in the US. Outside of TV news, where one or two scary events are found each night from a nation of some 300 million people, there is little need for anyone to carry a concealed weapon in daily life, especially in national parks, statistically some of the safest real estate in America. Leave the guns at home and enjoy your parks without making them yet another battleground in the gun control wars.

  • Echoes of the Cold War in the Tropical Warmth of Everglades National Park   6 years 1 week ago

    I'll be very interested to see some feedback on the Nike base, such as visitation numbers.
    My local NPS site has a Nike base within it's boundaries, which now serves as park headquarters, as well as other facilities. Needless to say it's being put to good use.
    The history buff in me has wondered what shape an interpretive program on this Nike site would take.

    There are many NPS units that combine natural, cultural, and historical resources. Just because a park's main resource is natural shouldn't preclude interpretation of it's other resources, no matter how many similar resources exist elsewhere within the NPS.
    I give kudos to Everglades NP for shining a light on this piece of American history that so few really know about or understand. From a cultural resource standpoint this site's proximity to Cuba makes it the likeliest choice of any for this interpretive experiment. Sure it's unfortunate the base was originally located within such a fragile ecosystem, but there it stands. Why not interpret it?

    As for lack of funds for removal... well we all know there is an expense in developing an interpretive program for the site. Sure the cost of interpretation is far less than the cost of removal, but the expense is a conscious choice to interpret this resource which has been available for almost 30 years. Seen through cultural resource eyes, what a waste to have done nothing for the last 30 years to tell this story.
    Land may be a finite resource, but our history is ongoing, and new stories that need to be told will continue to appear as long as humans inhabit this land.

    For goodness sake, if Flight 93 is a story the NPS is going to tell (that site being established in record time after the unfortunate tragedy on September 11, 2001), then the NPS most certainly should get on the ball and start telling the Cold War story.
    Maybe no one will show up for the tours, and the information delivery method will be shifted to passive interpretation, such as a wayside or two. Perhaps the tours are being used as a decision maker: if no one shows up, we'll spend the money to remove it.

    But I sure hope it stays, I'd like an interactive learning experience to help me learn just how significant the Cuban Missile Crisis was in shaping national defense strategies, especially in light of the world we now live in.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   6 years 1 week ago

    Any concealed weapon carry has the responsibility to know the laws of the state(s) they are traveling through or in or suffer the consequences of being an idiot. For instance, when I travel from my home at Fort Campbell, Kentucky/Tennessee, yes I'm in the military, to my brother's home in New Jersey, I research the laws for all states I am traveling through so as not to be breaking the law. And, surprisingly enough, not all the roads I travel on are marked with a state welcome signs at the boarder and yet remarkably with the aide of this new invention called a map, (a graphic representation of the earth's surface as seen from above), or a GPS, I know what state I am in. It's amazing! My other remark would be that I guess since changing a law would be difficult we should just let the old law stand? Maybe it's the way I was brought up but I was taught not to avoid something or leave a wrong not righted simply because it would be to much trouble or difficult. I've carried concealed weapon for over 15 years. I've also walked around Iraq for more that 36 months carrying a loaded weapon everyday, all without incident. It seems to me gun apponents are grasping at any straw they can in order to defend the right to not bear arms. It' amazing that CCDW permit holders have been aloud to carry for years and years but now, all of a sudden, we are idiots and can't figure out how to carry legally in the holiest of holy state park.

    (and how do police officer's remember all those laws and which states they have reciprocal agreements with? I guess the Ranger is not as smart as a "regular" police officer)

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 1 week ago

    "The Bush Administration's last-minute gift to the gun lobby, allowing concealed semiautomatic weapons in national parks, jeopardizes the safety of park visitors in violation of federal law," said Mr. Helmke. "We should not be making it easier for dangerous people to carry concealed firearms in our parks."

    Seeing as people who don't have clean records can't get a concealed carry permit or legally own a firearm and that people who don't have a clean record and having a history of disregard for the law more than likely will disregard a ban on concealed carry as well who would a law banning concealed carry anywere make things safer for other than the guy who disregards the law? Who are these gun lovers? Most of these people visiting these parks are nature lovers and people who love their families likely visiting the parks with their families. I just don't understand why everyone wants to take away a non-felon's else's legal right? I mean, if you commit even so much as a misdemeanor of domestic violence you cannot lawfully own a firearm so that part is already taken care of. What in the world have I ever done to you concerning a firearm? The legal right is there? Why do you want to take it away? If someone postures, threatens, and shoots without being confronted with the danger of life or limb they lose their gun rights. Easy as that, now what do we do about the people who don't care about the law? That's a tough one. Can we do like the Brady Campaign does and file a lawsuit? If I or a family member become a victim of violence because the law was followed on our side of things and were left without the means to protection to include local law enforcement should we just sue both the state, police, and in some cases such as this the federal government?

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   6 years 1 week ago

    This is what happens when you have too many cooks with their hands in the pot. It happens to many laws that cause federal law to bump heads with state laws. One reason why the overabundance of lawyers in this country can stay in such high income brackets.

    My husband is a retired federal agent, and as such was issued a federal firearms carry permit, good in all 50 states as well as US territories. I'm sure there will bet yet another set of rules that will apply to his particular situation.

    I never should have passed up going to law school.

  • Commentary: What Would An Economic Stimulus Package for the National Parks Buy Us?   6 years 1 week ago

    Honestly, agree with its value or not, Depression-era CCC projects are still standing in a lot of park sites, providing facilities for decades and decades and decades.

    By the same token Hitler's autobahns are still standing and have provided solid service to the German motoring public for decades and decades and decades. Ain't national socialism great?

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   6 years 1 week ago

    The second Amendment is an individuals right to CCW, or for that matter open carry of a fire arm, it is the law of the land. These so called laws and impediments that require permits and registrations etc are violations of that law, simply put they can not exist while the second Amendment exists, states can not take away from individual rights, nor can any other part of the gov with out so amending the Constitution.
    I have carried for a long time. I have thank god never had to use my gun against man or beast, there have been times when I thought it could come down to it, but I have never taken it out.
    So why do I carry? Why do I carry something I have not had to use, or may never have to use? Because if I am so unfortunate as to be in a situation where it is my last choice, I have the right in that moment to make that choice. Much for the same reasons Noah built the Ark before the rains came, you can not use what you do not have.
    I find it so very odd so many people are so alarmed by guns. Guns are very simple, yet many in our society enshroud them in myth, and mystery, proclaim "guns are dangerous and no one should have one" When this same person will get behind the wheel of thier ford or chevy or BMW talk on the phone, roll slowly through stop signs...all the while operating the single most dangerous piece of equipment in the country, one with far more energy than my 44 revolver, one that when he/she, hits some one calls it an accident, when negligence is far more likely.
    Guns are tools, no different to me than the hammer or screw driver or chain saw or truck. The command respect and practice. No more, or less than any other activity. In the end they are a right, most other things in life are not. So instead of wondering if your fellow American is carrying gun, wonder if he/she might have reason to use it, to help you if your in a bad way and you have not chosen to exercise your right. Wonder how it is possible the gov of the people is so grossly over paid, and in recent history managed to vote to pay themselves for life, when they have done little to support our Constitution. Bodies that raise property taxes on retired Sr's forcing them out of their "dream" retirements...or how gov robed social security and bankrupted our that is far to depressing. Live your life right, be good and kind to those you meet in hopes they return your kindness, and be ready for what ever the day has in store for you and Im sure we will all do just fine. Guns, food, water, snacks, smiles, good boots and sense of humor can get you through any thing, and for the things they cant there is always your MC with a 29% Apr default rate....that is prime +28% right now by the way (maybe we should come down on Washington and our corrupt leaders and tell them CC companies have no right to more than Prime +5%...but that could be to good to many folks....I dont care I live on cash and have for several years..but I still hate the gangster CC companies who think they have rights...never saw them in the Constitution).

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   6 years 1 week ago

    Sounds to me like the "training" for CCL holders touted by some proponents of concealed carry failed to address good techniques for securing his "piece".

    Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good - or competent.