Recent comments

  • What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Yes, the problems with the National Park Service are not problems of the National Park Service, they are the problems of Congress and the Executive Branch. They simply do not care enough about the parks to adequately fund them.

    Without a Congress that cares enough to adequately fund the parks, the NPS doesn't have a chance of doing any improvements.

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    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    amen to you anon and your four suggestions.....scary thing is --it would work!

  • What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Find a way to prevent Congress from saddling the agency with pork laden redevelopment projects that commemorate such things as the copper smelting heritage of upper Michigan and the industrial legacy of Patterson, New Jersey. This is NOT what the founders of the NPS had in mind for the agency when it was birthed by Mather and Albright early in the 20th century.

    The national parks have become little more than political footballs in the postmodern era for the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Ted Stevens to kick around on the field of play known as Capitol Hill.

    John Muir is surely spinning in his grave.

  • What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I'd like to see more of the hiking areas opened up to allow leashed dogs. I am disabled, and thus, cannot climb up, say Clingman's Dome, with my husband. One of the first dreams he had after we got our (very well behaved) Golden Retreiver/Lab mix was that finally he would have someone to climb Clingman's with him. I can't tell you how disappointed he was when we went online to research it and found that dogs aren't allowed on the trails. It seems to me that the responsible pet owners who keep their animals in control and pick up their "deposits" are being punished for the idiots who don't do these things. These are probably the same people who let their children run amuck screaming at the top of the lungs and weaving back and forth at full speed as they run up and down the trails, regardless of the people they run into or knock over. Maybe the next step is to ban kids from the parks, eh??

  • What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    The focus on park fees takes this question to perhaps its lowest level. My suggestions are...

    First, fire everyone, from the top of the NPS on down, who has been hired or promoted for any reason other than simple seniority since the third week in January of 2001. Rehire those who seem to truly understand and believe in the NPS ideal instead of the failed ideology of selfishness that we have had stuffed into us over the last eight years.

    Second, close all the parks in the system until the NPS budget, by park, has been reinstated to what it was, adjusted for inflation, in 1976. Let the gateway towns and visitors scream; the aerobic benefit of the hyperventilation will do them all a world of good; and it is way past time that we take a stand for the parks themselves, the park ideal, and the resources that they are there to protect.

    Third, set the following priorities for the use of the newly restored funds: 1) do the necessary repair, rebuilding, restoration, and modernization of the infrastructure with special attention to those structures, protected though neglected within the parks, that are truly national treasures; 2) hire back the naturalists, zoologists, biologists, botanists, geologists, historians, and other resource specialists that used to be the first line of welcome and educational interface with the public (in 1976, there were, as I read it, as many of these people at Canyon alone as there are in all of Yellowstone today); 3) fund the projects needed to protect and preserve the natural resources, including a shift to mass transit if needed; and 4) hire the law enforcement personnel needed to deal with what so many among us have let themselves become.

    Finally, place the resources first. Eliminate any use or activity that goes against long-term resource protection, the dignity of the parks, or the highest embodiment of the park ideal. Again, if the rednecks squeal, let them. Our parks were created to protect and preserve the most precious treasures of our civilization and not as base camps to support the codependent enabling of those among us who choose to wallow their way down the lowest road they can find.

    Implement these suggestions and you can quintuple my entrance fees without any protest from me.

  • What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I am a real fan of the national park system and, unfortunately, I am handicapped. I found it almost impossible to make it to the Arch in St. Louis - there are no provisions for the disabled and a really long walk from parking to the base of the Arch (the entrance). I had few problems at Yellowstone and some problems at Denali (I agree that the tour busses need to be updated and, I agree that what is sold in the parks should be Made in the USA.) but I think the parks are a bargain! I know there are hidden fees but my only complaint is that they are hidden, the national park system is one of the best values in America and every one I have been to has been educational, interesting and just plain FUN.

  • Battling Invasive Species in Arches National Park   6 years 3 weeks ago

    You're right Kurt, invasive species are a huge problem facing our national parks. A system-wide review (http://www.npca.org/stateoftheparks/npri/) of the condition of America’s national parks by the National Parks Conservation Association found that invasive species are a limited concern in 90 percent of the parks evaluated, and are considered a widespread or chronic concern in 38 percent. Eighty-two percent of assessed parks have experienced the extirpation of one or more species, while 40 percent of sampled parks have lost a key species or top predator.

    NPCA also just recently released an assessment of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (http://www.npca.org/stateoftheparks/hawaiivolcanoes/) and ranked natural resources of the park in "poor" condition, scoring an overall 60 out of 100 points, primarily because the park battles non-native plants and animals that threaten to overtake native species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.

    Hawaii Volcanoes has among the highest number (54) of threatened and endangered plants and animals in the National Park System, largely due to non-native species, which the National Park Service is working aggressively to eradicate. But because of a lack of funding, the park can only actively monitor and protect four (out of 54) species that it identifies as flagship species: the hawksbill turtle, Hawaiian petrel, Hawaiian goose, and Mauna Loa silversword plant.

  • Did the NRA Infiltrate Groups Opposed to Overhauling Gun Regulations for the National Parks?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    For once the gunnies got a good one in. More of this needs to happen.

    At least in California, the Bradyites have attempted to (sometimes with success) infiltrate local 2nd Amendment groups and regional NRA councils. So the "We're so shocked!" attitude by the antis, Bradys, etc. is much like the mutterings of a soccer mom suddenly found doing the day shift in a massage parlor.

    In addition the antigunners often have government types in essence working for them. The Deputy AG for our Calif. Bureau of Firearms, Alison Merrilees, frequently communicates with/receives marching orders from Bryan Siebel of the Brady Campaign.
    We were able to see how deeply she was involved by PRARing (roughly, the Calif version of FOIA) her communications. She's been able to use her legal status to (so far unsuccessfully) entangle CA firearms-politics websites like Calguns.

    And for those worrying about "security" in National Parks, shouldn't you really be worried about the extensive illegal-alien-run methlabs and methheads out in the sticks with some lonely little wildlife-mgmt biology graduate forest ranger trying to keep a lid on things with something like a 50 sq mi coverage area?

    Frankly, National parks are unsafe enough no one should visit them *without* a firearm handy.

    Bill Wiese
    San Jose CA

  • What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    The Park Rangers do a nice job of keeping visitors on the well beaten path and restricting access within the park, especially Yellowstone. These actions do help to preserve and defend the National Parks from destruction. However, if we do not figure out a way to reduce initiation of manmade forest fires and then control them once started, visitation will go way down to a trickle of travelers on loud motorcycles and noisy diesel trucks who want to see burned out forests from the highway. When it is all burned up, there will not be much to protect. The firefighters on the line do the best they can with the given resources but I say we need to do a better job in responding with more people and/or technology. How about a forest "surge" when it is needed. Heck, I pay inflated foreign oil surcharges for everything to get to the park, why not charge a surcharge for firefighting?

  • What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    The strong and common restrictions against dogs are annoying. I understand that there are reasns for the restrictions (mostly irresponsible owners who let dogs off leash and don't dispose of waste), but it seems like the park service should make accommodations. Yellowstone, for example, is the size of a county and quite far from a town where a dog could be boarded. For large and remote parks like that, I would like to see the Park Service maintain local kennels, even for a small fee.

  • What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Here are some suggestions:

    A. Either get rid of all the hidden fees or lower the parks pass back to $50
    B. Create a Senior Citizens and Student Pass for half price (or some relevant discount)
    C. Create an extended parks pass, that lasts up to 5 years (at a cheaper per-year rate than is currently offered)

  • What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I feel these are America's parks, yet they are visited more by vistors from other countries. Perhaps because large familes and retirees can not afford all the fees. Maybe there should be a discount put in place for all Americans who wish to enjoy their parks.

  • Yelllowstone National Park Firefighter "Roughed Up" By Grizzly   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Pleasantly surprised that this bear encounter - the firefighter was treated and released, according to KIFI in Idaho - has been buried in the news release and wasn't picked up in any significant way by local media. This sort of thing is usually sensationalized and all over the national press (though what happened last month to the guy just outside the park being attacked in his tent while he slept was a kind of sensational story).

    It would be good to know what happened with the bear, but we are led to believe that the bear is fine (except being "frightened").

    There are other fires in the area - notably the Gunbarrel Fire, between Cody and the East Entrance, that's up to 22,000 acres. Although some have been evacuated, this fire also is moving toward the north and the east, mostly through beetle-infested forests that probably need a good burning. It's still creeping a bit to the south. There are a couple small fires in the Absaroka wilderness. To the south, there's a fire in the Bridger-Teton forest. Still, all roads are open.

    Pictures are starting to come out of the LeHardy Fire - there's a very interesting set a blogger put out yesterday - check out the one with the bison.

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I visited the Smoky Mountains in June. I didn't have to pay to park or pay to get in. Free to get in is part of the parks history. I had a great time. The only thing that I didn't like was when I went the the gift shop (yes, the parks) to get some post cards to send back home. I picked out the ones that I liked. Then I turned them over to read the back, and there it was MADE IN CHINA?????????????? WHAT????? What a disgrace!!!!!

  • What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Just seems like at every turn there are more and more restrictions, less and less access, more and more fees. Should be the other way around.

  • What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    The Park Service seems to have taken the airline approach to funding, "nickle and dime" users. Why not just raise entrance fees?? An annual park pass in Canada costs over $100 US and daily passes for just a few days exceed the cost of an annual pass. In addition, many countries charge nonresidents double or more the resident rate.

    As a senior, I do appreciate the Golden Ages Passport, however, on an individual basis, seniors use the parks more days per year than other age groups. There should be some sort of fee for us as well.

    The park service is severely under funded through the thoughtlessness of our elected officials. Write your congressmen and let them know that they are letting our national treasures go to waste.

  • Any Question About Who's Calling the Shots in Yellowstone National Park?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I offer my thanks to the park service for using common sense and permitting snow mobiles in Yellowstone.

    Afterall, the park is there for the recreation of the citizens of the US and it is not a private conservatory for use only by left wing conservation groups and those they deem worthly. We must be good stewards and at the same time make the park accessible to citizens.

    Snow mobiling in Yellowstone is one of the truly great adventures still available to Americans.

  • Rocky Mountain National Park Officials Select "Lethal Reduction" To Help Reduce Elk Herd--Updated   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Introducing a scientifically made birth control cocktail could bring more harm than good. The population is out of control. I know first hand as I live very close to Estes Park. Nothing is more enjoyable then taking a nice day trip into Rocky Mountain National Park and being able to view all the wildlife around including elk in town. To continue to do this, you have to control the population. I agree 100 percent with this method and would gladly be a volunteer (sharpshooter!!) to help. I also think the wolf should be introduced back into the population along with this program to allow nature to take its course. This would shorten the 20 year plan and less elk would have to be culled by human method.
    One thing to keep in mind. Introducing the wolf back into the population would have to be monitored very closely. Too few would not be control the population and too many would kill off the elk at a rate that could not be accounted for.

  • What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    My wife and I bought a Senior Pass in May and set out on an 11,000 mile journey to visit the national parks in the west and southwest. The Senior Pass is one of the greatest bargains out there and made it possible for us to visit about 20 parks during our six week trip and stay on budget.

    We were extremely impressed with the dedication of the Park Service and the Rangers. They were courteous, patient and most helpful at every turn. On more than a few occasions, however, it appeared that some Rangers seemed to take "ownership" of the parks and monuments a bit personally. It was as if they owned the properties instead of the general public. I suppose that any dedicated public servant can slip into that mind-set on occasion.

    The most poignant moment of our trip occured at the Grand Canyon. A young man in a wheel chair being pushed to the south rim of the Grand Canyon was heard to say, "I can't believe I'm really here." Well, brother, we couldn't believe we were there either!

  • What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Denali (and any other parks with a traffic issue or shuttle system already in place) should use the type of busses that Zion has - quiet, clean, great windows for viewing, comfortable seats. The old school busses in Denali are horrible - the noise factor alone is egregious for travelling in a park where peace and quiet are part of the experience!

  • Did the NRA Infiltrate Groups Opposed to Overhauling Gun Regulations for the National Parks?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Coming back to the article, I have to ask: Mother Jones? Really? Mother Jones is far, far left and was even edited by Michael Moore. This is hardly a neutral source, and I'm skeptical.

    "Spying" seems a bit over the top, too, and using the word raises suspicion of paranoia. At any rate, the "spying" that is alleged to have occurred includes getting placed on mailing lists. If that's the case, then I guess I'm guilty of "spying" on the ANPR since I am a Second Amendment advocate and the ANPR seems so determined to deny citizens of their Second Amendment rights on federal land.

    This seems a distraction by those on the far left from the real issue: Restoring constitutional protections to law-abiding citizens traveling and living in national parks.

  • Did the NRA Infiltrate Groups Opposed to Overhauling Gun Regulations for the National Parks?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Concealed carry license/permit holders have said licenses/permits because they're law abiding, and willing to go through a process to prove it (and capable of safely handling a firearm). The license/permit has to be renewed every few years with another round of background checks. And what's more, if a holder violates the law (by committing a felony or in most states a domestic violence offense of any kind felony or otherwise, and gets charged) the license/permit is revoked (I'd be willing to bet that a state outside one's jurisdiction with a reciprocity agreement if one's home state will report an felony arrest and very likely physically pull one's permit upon arrest). If the holder is acquitted, then any only then, do they get to ask for it to be reinstated or have it returned depending on jurisdiction.

    In simpler terms, one or more offenses means no holding a license/permit to carry concealed, for life. I'd call that better odds, that a CCL/CCW holder is careful to abide by the law and think twice about loosing his or her cool with others, then the general population is, and therefore pretty safe grounds to assert that they are less violent and more law-abiding than other groups. If they commit one offense, they're not IN the group any more for life, not without proving their innocence (sometimes not even then and 'may issue' states, or by getting a pardon from a Governor or a President (the latter is not the most likely of outcomes).

    The only state that I know of that allows residents to carry concealed without a license or permit and that does not have a license or permitting process should one wish to get one anyway is Vermont. I'm sure its a lovely state (never been there) but I doubt it throws off the stats much in terms of population figures.
    .

  • Did the NRA Infiltrate Groups Opposed to Overhauling Gun Regulations for the National Parks?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Watchdog: Show me the stats were CCL holders are "less violent" and more "law-abiding"...than any other group of the similar size...whatever that means.
    Are stats put out by the NRA!?

  • Did the NRA Infiltrate Groups Opposed to Overhauling Gun Regulations for the National Parks?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Lone Hiker:

    The Supreme Court decision also reaffirmed that the 2nd amendment is an Individual Right, (the more generalized and far reaching part of the ruling perhaps?) which is a more on the subject than the definition of 'residence' is in this case, in my opinion.

    Another Voice for Freedom from Violence :

    You can live in the world in terms of how you'd like to be, the rest of us will live in it as it is. Those more likely to have "devious schemes to undermine democracy" are those that yell "conspiracy" at every turn when individuals debate freely.

  • Yellowstone National Park Officials Scale Back Size of "LeHardy Fire"   6 years 3 weeks ago

    The Billings Gazette is reporting that the fire has tripled in size; however, it's still burning away from the road to the northeast. Everything remains open.

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World