Recent comments

  • Fire Restrictions Ban Campfires at Zion National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    There is nothing new about this they always ban campfires in Zion usually May thru Oct. They also never allow fireworks in Zion. To me this is not news. Most parks in the Southwest have these bans this time of the year. Only a fool would light a campfire here in the Southwest during the summer. Oh I forgot there are a lot of fools out there who don't understand that when its dry you shouldn't have a campfire.

  • Will The Superintendent's Summit Chart The Path For The National Park Service's Next Chapter?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Just more bureaucratic blather at taxpayer expense. Can anyone out there recall whatever became of the Vail Agenda, Ranger Futures or any of the other acronym laden "working documents" generated by these per diem driven schmooze-fests? How can anyone continue to keep taking this stuff seriously?

    I wholeheartedly agree with Art Allen that the primary job of the agency is to maintain and preserve the parks and not obsess on numbers. Park managers seem to thrive in a crisis mode because it was not very long ago that the mantra of "we're loving the parks to death" was all the rage throughout the NPS due to the high number of visitors that were "trampling" these sacred grounds into dust. Now it's in a panic about declining numbers and the seeming lack of interest by young people and minorities. What's a poor superintendent supposed to do?

    How about staying focused on the unglamorous job of making sure the toilets flush and the trails are clear of fallen trees and letting the rest of it take care of itself?

    The idea that BLM and Forest Service lands are somehow second-rate is a misconception that is fading fast. Many national parks have become quite a hassle to visit and far too expensive for the tastes of the common man. I spent a week in the BLM lands of Utah's West Desert last month and concluded that it equaled any national park in solitude, scenery and wildness and it didn't cost me a red cent to visit. I highly recommend y'all give other public lands a try. Whether this advice will help or hurt the national parks is a matter of conjecture based on what crisis is currently holding sway in the hallowed halls of WASO.

  • Man Bitten at Saguaro National Park by Gila Monster   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Guess this is another case where a concealed weapon would have solved all the world's woes. Damn those wild animals are vicious!

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Hey Airport4, I paid good money for my University of Disney biology degree. With it I know more than the PhDs working in the field will ever know, and I can criticize the feds on whatever they do with bears, bison, chipmunks and aliens (they're not just in area 51 you know).

    Habituated bears are dead bears. Period.

  • There's A New Way To Come Up For Air At Mammoth Cave National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Wow! Great article and a great photo of the new tower. If I had a nickel for every step that we took on that old tower...

    Thanks for the post. It brings back a lot of memories.

  • Park History: Mammoth Cave National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I have family who lived in the Mammoth Cave Park territory before it was made into a park. I would like to see a map ot the area that would designate who owned parts of the land before the park was formed. I know that some sold the land to the park and some of the land was confiscated by emminent domain. Some of my relatives still live in Brownsville today. I have always been fascinated with this area and its history. My dad grew up in part of ths area. He lived in the area back of the old Lincoln school. Years ago, we drove back as far as we could go. It was closed off by the park. My grandfather worked for the CCC in Camp 4 who did work in this area. His name is Elijah (Lige) Meredith. If anyone has any information that may be useful to me, please email me.

  • There's A New Way To Come Up For Air At Mammoth Cave National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Enjoyed your article on the new tower at Mammoth Cave (MaCa). I will enjoy running up and down those steps in a few weeks for a week of MaCa Restoration Camp the first week in August. We really don't run up and down the steps but it seems like it working down in the cave. You can check our our website at

  • Brown Bears Fishing at Katmai National Park and Preserve   6 years 3 weeks ago

    The bears in the water are amazing. Thanks for sharing.

    I can't wait to get there this week end with two of our 11 grandchildren.

    Grandma Betty

  • Man Bitten at Saguaro National Park by Gila Monster   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Anonymous: The NPS Morning Report (as stated in the post above and available to read on the NPS website) says he was homeless.

    Mookie: C'mon. Anyone who puts a gila monster on their shoulders because he thinks it wants to be friends *isn't* all there...

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Why not relocate the bear? 1. Bears come back, sometimes from remarkable distances. 2. Do you want a habituated bear in your back yard? Most folks don't. People need to get past the University of Disney biology degree.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 3 weeks ago

    "A gun in a US home is 22 times more likely to be used in an accidental shooting, a murder or a suicide than in self-defense against an attack."..........Gosh Fred, guess if you suddenly stop posting in January we'll know what happened!
    Seriously though, women have many options besides kicking and screaming. A few are: taking a self defense course, carrying a can of mace, carrying a taser, being aware of her surroundings, walking in groups etc. A gun in her purse isn't going to stop an assailant from grabbing her from behind, while some basic knowledge of karate might. My daughter took a course several years ago (mainly for the exercise benefits) and I can tell you, God help anyone who tries anything!!
    There are one and a half million victims of violent crime in America every year. That's out of over three hundred million people (not counting foreign visitors and uncounted illegals). That's about 0.6% of the population; and unless you live in a high crime area your chances are actually considerably smaller than that. Even though I have been a victim in the past (I have actually had a gun stuck right in my face), I consider my chances of avoiding future problems pretty good. BTW, when I had that gun stuck in my face, it came out of nowhere. I am absolutely convinced that if I had tried to pull a weapon of my own, I WOULD BE DEAD.
    Let's face it, though. This law change is a done deal. The Bush administration has already made up their minds to pander to the NRA. They aren't interested in whether or not there is a need to change it (the statistics in this article prove that there isn't). They aren't interested in public opinion. If they were questionnaires would be being handed out at every entrance station and every visitor's center in the National Park System; yet as pointed out on another thread by a former Park Service employee, Parks are being instructed NOT TO BRING THE ISSUE UP WITH ACTUAL PARK VISITORS! They aren't interested in the opinions of professionals who put their lives on the line day in and day out to protect our national treasures, as most law enforcement rangers (current and past) and every single past Park Service Director opposes this. As Stephen Colbert puts it, "The Bush administration never allows facts to get in the way of its decision making!" Just as bison hazing and slaughtering has nothing to do with brucellosis (it's about grass), this has nothing to do with personal protection, the second amendment or gun rights. It's all about political power. Too bad.
    My only hope is that the entire weight and power of the United States Justice Department will come down on any illegitimate use of a gun in a Park, whether it's shooting a squirrel, target practice etc. Anyone who thinks that they can "defend" themselves from a charging grizzly bear with most anything that they could carry in a holster (except, of course, a can of bear spray) will find a more instant form of justice, I'm afraid!

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Mookie, I agree with you that it all comes down to funding and or lack of time/manpower.
    I believe that our park workers/rangers do a great job considering the amount of the area that they have to patrol, ( wilderness area ). It seems that people that don't follow the rules in wilderness areas, either don't care or don't stop to think about what events might take place due to their actions, ( or lack of ). I'm certain that if something happened to them or someone in their family, they would be the first to complain!

  • Will The Superintendent's Summit Chart The Path For The National Park Service's Next Chapter?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Perhaps my comment needs a little more explanation. The situation that bothers me is that park management is overly concerned that there is not constant growth in visitation. To increase the numbers, it appears that park management is introducing many new intrusions and innovations that might attract visitors. Often, such changes adversely affect the resources.

    What I suggest is that the NPS concentrate on protecting the resources and maintaining the existing facilities it has at a high standard. Let the other public land management agencies cater to the wreckreational "fad of the moment". Sustaining the National Parks as a minimally trammeled outdoor experience will become much more of a treasure to the American people with time. When all the other public lands become theme-park recreation sites, and marred by the trend toward resource extraction (oil, stock grazing, etc.); the protected National Parks will become more valued than ever.

    Don't get me wrong, I realize that parks exist to be visited, but we do not have to give up the unique quality of protected landscapes just to attract more and more visitors. A park cannot be everything to everybody. Let the parks concentrate on what the Park Service has done best for nearly 100 years.

  • Man Bitten at Saguaro National Park by Gila Monster   6 years 3 weeks ago

    And how does being homeless equate to not being mentally fit? I know that there are many homeless people that have psychological problems and ailments, but don't paint the picture that if someone is homeless he must have something wrong him mentally.

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Fred, the answer is in Kurt's article:

    "Park officials say that based on the animal’s aggressive behavior, lack of fear of people, and its success at getting human food, the decision was made to capture and kill the bear."

    Even relocating a bear that has no fear of people and has learned the ease of obtaining human food will simply move back to an area where he can easily obtain human food.

    In my times in NP units, while the NPS workers/rangers issue a lot of material/information urging people not to allow bears easy access to food, I have never once seen a ranger issue a warning, ticket or summons for people not taking care of food. It will only be with committed enforcement of the rules, and tickets in the range of $100-200 that we'll see people's habits change. But I'm guessing it all comes down to funding, and having the time/manpower to patrol and do the diligence involved in cracking down on tourons who can't follow the rules, or don't understand the impact of their careless actions (or inactions).

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    A FED bear is a DEAD bear, why can't people learn this ?

    Our government wants to open up more of our great wild places, make them more accessible to all. I say, stop building roads and stop off road vehicle traffic. Humans are doing enough damage with the current accessibility ! We can't even control human behaviour now, give wildlife a break and give them the respect and space they deserve !

  • Black Bears in Denali, Grand Teton National Parks Killed   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Good article and I agree with most comments. It is unfortunate that bears have access to so much easy human food and food waste, but the average camper/hiker really does not have a clue about the outdoors, nature, or survival. The bears do and they are very good at it. Much more bear education is needed, of course standing next to a Bison for a picture is not too smart either; to get the public to understand that cleaning up camp, proper trash disposal, storing food and all smellables in an approved container has to be done by everyone, sorry Kurt the car is not secure. It is at best a minor anoyance and will only cause a short delay while the bear breaks the window and crawls in or hooks it's claws under the lip of the trunk and pops the lid or my favorite, takes the door off the RV and really goes to town in the RV's kitchen. Mammoth CA, 1998 The owners were shocked, just amazed that a black bear could do such a thing. Like most bad events that happen, people think it won't happen to them and so they don't take the steps necessary to be minorly inconvenienced and put safety first: theirs and the bears.

  • Will The Superintendent's Summit Chart The Path For The National Park Service's Next Chapter?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Art Allen says:

    "Let's not get too panicky if the total visitor numbers go downward -- that's a good thing. Perhaps future generations will realize that the parks retain a little bit of the natural scene when such is gone from every other acre of public land. When something is truly different, and very rare, people appreciate it much more. Let the other public lands bear the onslaught of overuse."

    Reminds me of when I was high school teacher ... I liked to say that teaching would be a wonderful thing if it weren't for the damn students. Unfortunately, the point is to involve and inspire the "future generations" to which Allen refers.

    Yes, it would be nice to roam parks free from the unpleasant sight of other visitors. After all, most people have no idea how of to conduct themselves "properly" — no?

    I believe that national parks must become a resource for a broad spectrum of users. Some would like to relegate the hoi polloi to less dignified public lands (like USFS,BLM and state park properties). But to do so will ensure that the future caretakers of national parks continue to dwindle. And that's just sad.

    Maybe it's time to try a more inclusive approach.

  • Black Bears in Denali, Grand Teton National Parks Killed   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I was raised in the mountains of West Virginia and spent a lot of time outdoors. Even as kids we were taught how to treat nature and and animals. The problem with these [national] parks is that the people that usually visit them are from the city, and have no idea what they are doing. They go buy all the best equipment, but they do not think to go take a nature course before they go into the wild. I hate to hear anyone trying to make excuses for the agencies that are supposed to "protect nature" destroying it instead. All for the "safety" of the public. In reality it is just so the parks bottom line is not hurt. It's the same old story as everything else in this corrupt world it's all about money!

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Perhaps, just perhaps, the fuel cost comment was intended as sarcasm.

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    i hate to see any animal killed but if it can not be safely moved to another area away from people then i guess that is the only ansrew that will not endanger the rangers or visitors. the black bear is a beautiful animal but can also be deadly to the average visitor as a child in tennesse i saw a black bear tear the front door off my aunts house as if it was nothing. if had not been for the dogs barking it would have gotten into the house. i learned that day to not just see a beautiful animal but to respect its power

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    You are out of your mind, the government spends Billions of our tax dollars every day and they can't expend a few gallons of gas. Get a life.

  • Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves   6 years 3 weeks ago

    "If you want to be safe, don't travel alone", is bulk.

    I should be able to travel alone or walk the streets of any city any time day or night alone if I so choose...and be safe. But of course I cannot and why? Because of muggers, rapists, murderers, etc. So who is free here?

    Not travelling alone if I so choose, infringes upon my right to the pursuit of happiness. Carrying a weapon is a right guaranteed to me by the second amendment.

    National Parks are part of the United States of America. They belong to us all. The second Amendment, (whether you agree or not, says I can carry a weapon). Therefore, I should be able to carry one with-in the parks.

    Why should *I* be expected to stymie my activities? I shouldn't. Instead I should be allowed the right to protect myself...mainly against human predators.

  • Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I am also a second amendment advocate. In addition, I am a woman and a concealed weapon permit holder. I respectfully disagree with you Sully and here is why.

    As has always been my contention; issues are not usually caused by those who carry weapons legally. In order to get a concealed weapon permit, a criminal background check must be passed. Only law abiding citizens get concealed weapons permits.

    A poacher, is not a law abiding citizen. True, it could be they have a weapon legally because they haven't gotten caught at their illegal activities. However, I think these people are fewer than those who have the right to carry a weapon because they obey the laws.

    As you, yourself stated, "women hiking alone". Well, I'm considering going on a solitary vacation in about a month. I'd like to visit some of our National Parks, but frankly, I'm a bit uneasy about doing so. I'm not afraid of the animals; but, I am a bit fearful of the people I could possibly encounter. It's a sad reality, that a woman alone is an easy target, especially when we have no means of defense and are in the middle of nowhere.

    I am the first person to hope I never, ever have to use my weapon. But I'd feel safer knowing I have it if I need it....and no, I wouldn't bother to shoot a bear with a 9mm.

    As far as people feeling threatened when they come across someone with a gun. If it is a concealed weapon, it means it is not visible, so they wouldn't even know a person has one.

    The weapon would only become visible if it was absolutely necessary to use it. That is part of the responsibility that comes along with the privilege of being able to carry one and this has nothing to do with a political victory, it has to do with safety in parks and anywhere else I wander in this great country of ours.

    Also, if people dont know who does or doesn't have a weapon, they may think twice before starting something. Meaning specifically, if I meet someone on a trail that has ill intent, they may think twice knowing I could be carrying a weapon.

  • Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Cate -

    I'm also a nature lover. If you met me on the trail, you'd wouldn't know whether I was armed or not. After we parted ways, you'd probably think to yourself, "What a nice man". If you only knew. I feel sorry for you and your irrational fears. Good luck in our reality.