Recent comments

  • Find Me, Spot. Staying Found in The National Parks   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Spot is a step in a good direction. It combines several independent, pre-existing services, to make a useful new service.

    The unit-cost is $169.99, which is certainly ball-park or better for devices in this genre.

    The base service-fee is $99.99/yr, likewise a realistic outlay for normal people. The Google Map/tracker option is $49.99, which could be a nice 3rd-party gift.

    As a 'peace of mind' status-tracker, it sounds good, and cost-effective. As a way of recording information as you proceed on your adventure (update your website?) this isn't it. Yet.

  • Another Look at Those GPS Rangers in the National Parks   6 years 5 weeks ago

    When I walk in the creek-canyons and woods surrounding my home here on the Olympic Peninsula, I come across many specific specimens & sites that I want to remember & revisit, to watch how they develop and further pursue thoughts & questions that they stimulate.

    Long ago, I began to take notes on my walks, first describing locations in terms of dead-reckoning and triangulation from other features (it is often very hard to return to a given site within the trackless 'jungle' here.

    Later, I began using my GPS to record the location of ... great ancient snags, robust patches of Devil's Club, the stray Dogwood, a Wild Ginger bed, nurse logs ... it's endless!

    I am going to investigate this GPS Ranger product to see how it works, and how they try to implement the 'mission' ... which seems fairly close to my own activity.

  • The Economist Warns that America’s National Park System is in Deep, Deep Trouble   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Frank expresses a sincere disdain for entertainment, and perhaps for people who seek it. Actually, though, entertainment is a normal, healthy human behavior. Our propensity for and capability to create settings for entertainment and the social & psychological rewards it brings, is one of the more attractive things about humans.

    The enjoyment of entertainment is not the mark of a depraved or deviant person.

    The culture of new Mexican Americans may be a generation or two out of step with white, environmentalist America ... but we know that not so long ago, the now purified & worthy 'good' Americans flocked to the bleachers to watch Yellowstone Rangers feed garbage to fighting bears at the dump. Real classy, those 'good' Americans. So the Mexicans threw down their litter - they should "stay out"? I have to think there is a more winning approach.

    These sorts of attitudes will diminish the long term prospect that the environment movement will be able to effect the better causes & goals that they have taken up.

  • The Economist Warns that America’s National Park System is in Deep, Deep Trouble   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I agree with most of the comments above. I can add some commentary on the notion that International visitors are picking up the attendance slack. In early August 2008 I visited Yosemite and Sequoia and it was EXTREMELY rare to hear any English speaking visitors on all the walks to the points of interest or at visitor centers. I honestly felt like I was somewhere in Europe.

  • The Economist Warns that America’s National Park System is in Deep, Deep Trouble   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Barky takes The Economist's point that the 'anti' policies of environmentalists have reduced Park attendance one step further, by describing them as "good".

    I in turn will take Barky's point an additional step, by describing the attendance-reducing effect of environmentalist policies as "intentional".

    It is commonplace to hear & read citizens lament that environmentalists are working to drive people from public facilities. I'm not saying anything new, by noting that environmentalists take up many supposedly protection-motivated causes, as surreptitious proxies to discourage & impair public use to the Parks.

    I will diverge from The Economists interpretation that present trends will lead to further declines of public interest in the Parks, though, and will instead predict that environmentalist-instigated deprecation of the public & human role of Parks and other national lands will accelerate the decline of environmentalism in national politics.

    Even here in the pages of The Traveler, I read comments openly dismissive of the role of democracy & representation in the setting of our Parks' and National policies.

    I will diverge from The Economist's conclusions, by predicting that is the environmental movement, rather than our Park system, that is in "deep, deep trouble".

  • The Economist Warns that America’s National Park System is in Deep, Deep Trouble   6 years 5 weeks ago

    • Attendance for America’s national parks peaked more than 20 years ago (in 1987).

    Good. Parks were far too crowded. At least we won't hear the news talking about "loving our parks to death" any more.

    • The annual attendance declines for California’s Yosemite National Park (9 of the past 13 years) should be considered ominous, given that California is America’s most dependable bellwether state and Yosemite is California’s most attractive park.

    How much of this decline is due to problems accessing the park due to roads being washed out?

    • Having become more satisfied with the recreational options available in/near cities, Americans are now less interested in outdoor recreation opportunities in rural, back country, and wilderness locales.

    Lower wilderness use means lower wilderness impact.

    • Americans believe that their national parks are much less entertaining, less user-friendly, and less kid-safe than they should be.

    It's not the job of national parks to "entertain" people. The Organic Act says nothing of entertainment. If you want entertainment, visit Disneyland or watch a movie. User-friendly? Does this mean the NPS should install elevators to Crater Lake's water level (as many visitors--jokingly?--requested)? "Kid-safe"? What does this even mean?

    • Hispanics, the fastest growing component of the American population, show little interest in visiting or paying for national parks; since Hispanics will soon account for 20-25 percent of country’s population, this should be a matter of great concern.

    Here, some might say I'm coming across as prejudiced, but as an "honorary Mexican" (a title given by my best friend), I'll take the risk. I visited Silver Falls State Park in Oreogn on a Mexican holiday and picked up a full bag of trash on my hike down to the falls. I can say "good" to this statement. If other cultures can't learn how to preserve nature and not throw trash on trails, then they should stay out of national parks.

    • International tourists are taking up much of the slack created by diminished park-visiting interest on the part of Americans. By implication, the National Park Service needs to work much harder attracting and pleasing them.

    I don't think it's the job of the NPS to "please" international visitors.

    • Environmentalists pose the greatest obstacle to restoring national park attendance to historically higher norms; by blocking needed convenience- and entertainment- related developments in the parks, environmentalists have taken away the main tool for increasing park attractiveness.

    Thank god. Parks are for preservation and not for entertainment. If you can't find entertainment in watching wildlife or sitting near a waterfall, then national parks are not for you. And "needed" convenience development? National parks are NOT cities.

    • As national park visitation continues to decline, Americans will become less willing to see their tax money spent to improve the national parks and expand the National Park System.

    First, I don't think national parks "need" improving. They were fine they way they were (wild). However, this is a huge argument for moving national park funding from a tax-based funding system to one consisting of voluntary transactions.

  • The Economist Warns that America’s National Park System is in Deep, Deep Trouble   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Um, good??

    The NPS system's primary mission, IMO, is the preservation of undamaged natural ecosystems, unique natural features, and sites of national historic importance. What better way to preserve a site than have fewer visitors tromping around them?

    The thought that fewer people supporting the parks = less public funding to keep the parks healthy is a problem, but I'm not terribly upset that fewer people visit them in the first place.

    When I hear that "we need to increase attendance at the parks", all I see is the government turning these national treasures into little Disney Worlds, where we clear-cut acres of old-growth to put up rides and let ATVs run rampant and let people shoot stuff. I'd rather have them be pockets of wilderness devoid of human activity.

    Maybe I'm just being extra-cynical this evening ...


    My travels through the National Park System:

  • National Park Quiz 16: Waterfalls   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Thanks for the feedback, Joseph and Anon. Dark Hollow Falls is a cascade waterfall, not a plunge waterfall. (Don't know if it can also be considered a tier horse tail.) Sorry it took so long to correct the typo in the answer section, but I only found out about the problem a few minutes ago. I've just returned from northern Michigan, where we've been ensconced at a place with no TV, a "maybe yes, maybe no" cell phone signal (as Kurt can attest), and of course, no Internet access to check on Traveler commentary. How's that for weaselspeak?

  • Another Look at Those GPS Rangers in the National Parks   6 years 5 weeks ago

    As an educator I feel that this is a wonderful way to enhance a students experience. It allows students to get speicific information in a format that they are more comfortable with. Students will be more into using the GPS than a guidebook.

  • North Cascades National Park Officials Over a Barrel With Stocking Trout   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Lakes in the high-country of Olympic Nat'l Park were also stocked with fish - as part of the very popular 'enhancement' programs early in the 20th C., before the land became Park. There was a fervor for this kind of activity during the 1920s, etc., and when airplanes became sufficiently competent it became the rage to fly over every plausible body of water in the mountains, throwing out buckets of fry.

    A few seasons ago my party was in the well-known Seven Lakes Basin, and we fell into conversation with a very agreeable Ranger-gal (she flopped down on her belly and slurped untreated water from the lake-edge with us!). In the course of our visit, I asked, "Are there still fish in these lakes, and is fishing allowed?"

    She became highly animated: "Oh yes, absolutely, go after them, get rid of them - all of them! They eat the native salamander tadpoles."

    That piqued my curiosity - "Has the Park tried getting rid of them - put scientists & experts to work on it"? She nodded slowly, "Yes, we tried several things ... and then even tried sterilizing them [the lakes]."

    In desperation - after all plausible ideas failed - the Park tried chemically sterilizing several test-lakes. That got rid of the trout, alright, but the second phase of the operation, to restore the treated lakes with 'transfusions' from healthy lakes didn't work. Something was lost that prevented acceptable recovery, and the experts could not identify & overcome the problem.

    ... So, while North Cascades may stop maintenance-stocking, trout populations in similar sub-alpine lakes in nearby Olympic Park have proved very resilient, without a recurring stocking program (50 years or more?).

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   6 years 5 weeks ago

    James R. Pepper,

    I wanted people to see that just because their favored activities on Cape Hatteras are customary & traditional, that does not mean they will be meaningful (much less decisive) in court. So I provided examples.

    At the same time, I wanted to counter the general assumption that things customary & traditional are the mark of fuzzy-headed thinking. That C&T is the recourse of whimsical or even whiny folk. Again, I used examples.

    Some of these illustrative examples are admittedly less than fully-willing participants in my thesis, but I think they inform us in useful ways even if they are slightly tortured.

    Rights-of-way is a useful example, because it underscores the factor of "scope": having the right to use a certain trail has no bearing on other trails or routes in the same area or in other areas. There is no such thing as a "right to movement", which allows us to use whatever route one would like. Rights-of-way are ('have' to be) "established" and they are limited to a specific scope - free movement is not an "entitlement". Customs & traditions likewise have a scope, are established, and are not entitlements.

    But the important non-similarity between ROW and C&T, is that C&T cannot be secured under 'common law', as can ROW. To "secure" a C&T practice, it must be recognized 'in writing'. In a Treaty, as part of an Enactment of a duly authorized Agency of the Government (NPS), by Act of Congress, or within contracts between any combination of public & private parties. All of these documents & instruments have been used to recognize - and "codify" - specific customary & traditional practices as rights. But the right exists, only after it's in writing, not just because C&T has been established.

    Customs & traditions are almost always "established" informally, in a fashion that parallels common law provisions, but they are "secured" only under formal legal purview.

    The precedent in Alaska for the legal recognition of customary & traditional practices does not mean that other cases of C&T are now guaranteed recognition. What has happened in Alaska, though, has certainly added muscularity & stature to customs & traditions as contenders in the legal process. Events & conditions in Alaska make it far easier and more credible, for folks everywhere to look at their own customs & traditions as meaningful players in the social & legal scene.

    I agree with James' statement...

    "The rights are not "secured" based on custom. Custom in Alaska informed the Congress, and the Congress then determined what statutory uses would be permitted, subject to reasonable regulation. There was no inherent customary and traditional "right" of access, and no such prior right exists on the beaches of Hatteras."
    ... and I hope my statements in this comment are compatible with his.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Ted Clayton: “customary and traditional” does not provide any rights on the beaches of Hatteras.

    I am confused about how you present your case because at times it sounds these are common law rights, at other times, you seem to be saying they are statutory.

    You say: "A right is secured, based on a C&T: in this case, by being codified in an Act of Congress."

    The rights are not “secured” based on custom. Custom in Alaska informed the Congress, and the Congress then determined what statutory uses would be permitted, subject to reasonable regulation. There was no inherent customary and traditional "right" of access, and no such prior right exists on the beaches of Hatteras.

    If the Congress chooses to enact rights of access, it can.

    If the Congress chooses to authorize the National Park Service or the Fish and Wildlife Service to manage access via regulation, it can, and has.

  • Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Dear JoAnn,

    Please contact me at about your visit to the Rainbow Falls Trails. I'm doing research on bear attacks in the Smokies.


  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   6 years 5 weeks ago


    I think we agree on the goals here. The question is how best to get there. We have a number of alternatives, none of which is perfect. So we have to use the best one we have and try to make it work as well as possible. Although they are not perfect, national parks -- and wilderness -- have tremendous potential to preserve our natural and cultural treasures. Clearly, we have not taken full advantage of that potential. And, in recent years, we have slid backward, as you have pointed out. What is missing is a citizens movement that demands that our policy makers strengthen, improve, and expand our National Park System. We need to build that movement, the sooner the better.

  • North Cascades National Park Officials Over a Barrel With Stocking Trout   6 years 5 weeks ago

    If they wait for congress to do something they will die waiting.

  • What's the Solution For Cape Hatteras National Seashore?   6 years 5 weeks ago


    Oh, what people do on the beaches of Cape Hatteras is 'customary & traditional' alright; the challenge is to 'secure' a legally enforceable right to continue the practices - based on the claim that they are C&T.

    Rights-of-way can be won, simply by using a route for a sufficient span of time. After a time, common use of a right-of-way can no longer be stopped, even though there was never any title to the ROW. 'Common use' of a route establishes a legal ROW, all by itself. (That's not part of C&T, but just an example of how a right can be 'secured'.)

    Notice in a previous comment, that Wrangell-St. Elias Park (14 million acres, with 2 million acres of private inholder property) provides for inholder-access, subsistence activities, and recreational ATV use, "In abidance with ANILCA ... ". A right is secured, based on a C&T: in this case, by being codified in an Act of Congress.

    Another example of the "codification" of C&T is seen in Treaties, such as those the U.S. signed with many Tribes. I believe, though, that the phrase has long been widespread in documents & contracts, aside from dealings with Natives.

    The stature & merit of custom & tradition appears to me - anecdotally - to be enjoying a rising social profile, and this could lead to more legal applications.

    Governments often seek to minimize the opportunity to make claims based on custom & tradition. France has often been paralyzed, thanks to guarantees extended to secure various customary conditions. The military moves members to new bases frequently, in important part to prevent them becoming too comfortable or too cozy in any one place ... and expecting they can just stay there indefinitely. Bureaucracy is famous for entrenching & fortifying their own customs & traditions.

    Therefore, in a situation like Cape Hatteras where the principle object of contention is plainly an established pattern of customs & traditions, it is common that the terms of enactment make no reference to C&T. Instead of focusing discussion on what people are & have long been doing (and how their pattern of usage might be modified, regulated or limited), the focus is instead placed on protecting bird & turtle nests. That way, officialdom "neither confirms nor denies" that anything customary & traditional is at stake. They ignore it.

    My intent is not to say that the users of Cape Hatteras are necessarily going to win anything in court by proving their usage is customary & traditional, but rather to point out that although C&T is generally ignored, events in Alaska demonstrate that substantive matters can be and are based on C&T. Major precedents have been established that tie C&T to Nat'l Parks in Alaska.

    A great strength of appeals based on customary & traditional practices, is that ordinary citizens can understand the concept & principle of it, intuitively. It is easy to relate & empathize with those who's values & lifestyle are expressed in such customs & traditions.

    It is not an accident, that affairs at Cape Hatteras are not address as customary & traditional, even though they obviously are.

  • Another Look at Those GPS Rangers in the National Parks   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I love this idea. So many times while traveling with my husband, the guided tours just do not fit into our schedule.
    It is nice to have the rangers available for people who want ranger led tours, but it is also great to have this option available also.
    We will make sure that we use the GPS tours on our next trip

  • Another Look at Those GPS Rangers in the National Parks   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I have used hand held electronic tour guides in many museums and other points of interest in Germany and Austria. They were available in different languages and very helpful in providing information about the location visited. The also allow the user to explore a location at his own pace.

  • National Park Quiz 16: Waterfalls   6 years 5 weeks ago

    To see some of the beautiful pictures of Yellowstone River Falls, you can use this link.

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I'd be with you, Michael, given a few things.

    I don't think NPS protection is enough. I think the Organic Act is flawed in that it has been twisted to allow the over development of our wild areas. When you say that a park is 97% wilderness, it is meaningless to me. How can an area be wild with roads slicing through it? (This is a rhetorical question and would result in a long philosophical debate in which I will not participate.)

    If other federal areas are turned into national parks, I worry that the government will pave roads, build tunnels, erect massive visitor centers; in short, the NPS will promote industrial tourism over preservation as it has for almost a century.

    Yes, clear cutting is horrible and ugly and should stop and shouldn't be subsidized by taxes. And what the Forest Service has done in Oregon and Washington, throughout the entire country, including what they did to the sequoia groves in SNF in the 1980s, is horrible. But it did it because it was pressured by interest groups. And the Park Service would further develop these areas because it, too, would be pressured by interest groups. Is clearcutting old growth timber in a sequoia grove worse than digging a sewage line through the Grant Tree's root system? Indisputably. But why should we accept either?

    I want a new system that really preserves, rather than "developing", what's left rather while paying lip service to preservation. Once that system is in place, and can isolate those areas from political pressure, then I'd be on board with moving many of the areas you've mentioned into that system.

    Perhaps such a system is in place through the Wilderness Act, but unfortunately, it is too slow a process as Congress sits on proposals for decades. Again, the current system, in my opinion, is highly ineffective and dysfunctional.

    It's through dialog like this that solutions can be found. Let's hope that we can find some kind of solution; the future of our special places depends on it.

  • A Century of National Parks in Utah To be Celebrated Labor Day Weekend   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Thanks for the warning, Lone Hiker. Actually, I have been working with the folks at Glen Canyon Institute and am totally aware of the politics of Lake Powell reservoir. I think things are rapidly changing, however. As you probably know, extended drought, rising demand, and global climate change have shrunk the reservoir by 60% and recent scientific studies project that it will probably never be full again. A recent Scripps Institution study found that there is a 50% chance that Lake Mead and Powell will go dry by 2021. The Lake Powell motorboaters can complain, but ecological reality is making the decision for us. That, and the fact that there is no way that Las Vegas is going to allow Lake Mead downstream to go dry while water is kept in the Powell reservoir for motorboaters. No way. It was fun (for some) while it lasted, but we're witnessing the final days of Lake Powell reservoir.

    There's also growing opposition to the idiotic Lake Powell Pipeline, which the water establishment old boys thought they could just ram through. Even a lot of people in St. George, who are supposed to benefit from it, think it's nuts to be planning for a population of 1 million people. And people elsewhere in the state are catching on to the fact that everyone would be subsidizing this boondoggle.

    Let's hope that the obscene amounts of water and electricity needed for oil shale and tar sands development will kill that lunatic idea. I'm less sanguine about stopping oil and gas drilling. The only way to stop that may be new and expanded national parks and wilderness. And, though a lot of Utahns are still in the pioneer mode regarding natural "resource" exploitation, things are changing, especially in Salt Lake City. I'm glad you still have hope, SaltSage236. We just need to keep up the pressure and things will continue to shift our way day by day.

  • Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished   6 years 5 weeks ago

    FrankC and Ted,

    I appreciate your comments, even where we may disagree. As for my previous comments, I wrote them after a long day and I apologize if some things were not well stated. Here is a little more explanation, responding to both of your comments.

    Permanence. I did not mean to imply that the U.S. government was guaranteed to be permanent. My point was that it’s about the closest we can get. Yes, the UK’s government is older, which reinforces my argument that if we (or the citizens of any other country) want to give lasting protect to land, a national government provides the greatest likelihood of making it happen.

    U.S. Forest Service vs. Park Service. The only reason Mount Adams is protected is that 47,000 acres were designated as wilderness by the Congress in 1964, against the wishes of the Forest Service. Outside of the wilderness, most of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest has been logged, and only a few scattered roadless areas remain intact outside of wilderness areas. And the Forest Service has mismanaged nearby Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument to such a degree that there is growing support for transferring it to the National Park Service. In contrast, Mount Rainier National Park has preserved the forest for 109 years and 228,480 acres – 97% of the park -- is designated wilderness.

    Eliminating National Parks. My early 20th century comment was meant to refer to the point FrankC made that Stephen Mather worked to limit the number of parks. I was contending that that many of those who advocate off-loading parks seem to be reflecting that view. Sorry that my comment came out somewhat garbled on that point. I do agree with Ted that there is little chance that many or even some parks will be offloaded. However, my concern is that the arguments used to justify such an action are undermining efforts to create new national parks.

    Affording National Parks. Many of the lands that are suitable for new national park designation are already federal lands. We are already paying to manage these public lands. In fact, we would save money in many cases by transferring the lands to the National Park Service. For example, 1,067,013-acre Mount Hood National Forest, some of which has been proposed as a national park, has an annual budget of about $20 million. The forest receives about 4 million visitors per year. But most of its budget goes to subsidized logging, roadbuilding, and other destructive activities. In contrast, Olympic National Park, about the same size at 922,651 acres and with more than 3 million visitors, has an annual budget of about $10 million – half the size of the Mount Hood National Forest budget. Most of those funds go to visitor services and facilities, stewardship, public education, monitoring, and research, not resource exploitation.

    National Parks Funding. There is plenty of federal money. It’s a matter of directing it to national parks, instead of any number of less worthy programs. This includes reviving and expanding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which could provide $900 million each year for acquisition. We should reverse the unhealthy dependence on fees and corporate funding. The growing concern regarding global climate change will almost certainly result in funds being available to acquire forests grasslands, and wetlands to sequester carbon and protect resilient ecosystems that can adapt to the changing climate. Some of these funds could be used to acquire new national parks and other public lands. It is already being done on a small scale in Tensas National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana. Finally, there are more billionaires and millionaires today than ever before and some have been buying land to create new national parks in Argentina, Chile, and other countries. We need that same kind of leadership for our own national parks, as well.

    Political Reality. I agree that things have been politically tough. But we can’t wait 20 years, or even 10 years, for politics to move our way on its own. We are losing more and more land each day to exploitation and development. National parks have always been politically difficult to create. Our existing parks only happened because of the hard work of dedicated citizen activists. It can happen again. We need to change the political reality. A number of grassroots groups are already doing that by advocating new national parks from Maine to California. They know that the American people love parks and will support new ones, given half a chance. The centennial of the National Park Service provides a milestone for a major new initiative. The time is now. Future generations will thank us for it.

  • A Century of National Parks in Utah To be Celebrated Labor Day Weekend   6 years 5 weeks ago

    There are currently no proposals that I'm aware of to allow energy development within any of Utah's national parks, the possible exception being Glen Canyon NRA, where a proposal for exploratory wells was struck down a year or so ago. I'm not sure of its current status, however.

    That said, drilling on the edge of these parks is about as bad drilling within them. I suggest you take a look at how the BLM is proposing lands adjacent to the parks be managed in the agency's ridiculous slate of six resource management plans being released in quick succession as we speak. (The Vernal plan came out today, preceded by Moab, Richfield and Kanab.) Log onto SUWA's Web site at Also, you can see the potential scope of devastation oil shale and tar sands development would have on places like White Canyon, which snakes through Natural Bridges. Log onto

    This kind of development in canyon country is simply insane, and the politics in Utah is concerned almost entirely with resource exploitation. It makes you wonder if there's hope... but of course, there is. We just need to be vigilant. What I find interesting is some Utahns' philosophy regarding natural resources. I went to an energy conference in Salt Lake last year, where a Utah-based speaker proclaimed that leaving Utahns' natural resources (oil, gas, uranium, tar sands, etc.) in the ground is "hoarding," and thus a sin: The people of Utah must share their wealth with all who need it lest they be deemed selfish in the eyes of God. No kidding. Scary.

  • A Century of National Parks in Utah To be Celebrated Labor Day Weekend   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Careful Micheal, you're opening up yourself to a ton of anti-recreation e-mail expressing those sentiments regarding Lake Powell. Which, by the way, I happen to agree with and have been resoundingly blasted for on past threads. Such is life. You might also catch some flak from the Utah residents who think that 82% of the State being held in reserve as "public lands" is already WAY too high a percentage and would like to see it reduced, dramatically, immediately. But good geopraphy being hard to come by, national park material-wise, I share your opinions that expansion of the system, in places where it already exists, provided the surrounding terrain fits into the character of the lands already established, is an idea whose time has come. And this ridiculous notion of oil drilling in and around the parks, or anywhere else for that matter, HAS to stop, because as we all are aware, oil is NOT the "fuel for you future". Since the vast majority of the oil we utilize is for transportation, by the gradual (starting immediately) tranfer to more sensible fuel sources, the "need" (or greed, more appropriately) for additional drilling will go the way of the horse and buggy, no offense to our Amish readers.........

  • Another Look at Those GPS Rangers in the National Parks   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I think this is a good idea. My family and I enjoyed using portable audio tour guides at Carlsbad Caverns some years ago as well as similar devices at the Van Gogh museum in 2000.