Recent comments

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 3 weeks ago

    OK, all you right-wing trolls, go back to your Fox/Rush/Hannity fantasy lands. When did the "left-wing" give Bush a chance?? How about after 9/11 when he squandered our international good will? Do you remember the massive international support for us after 9/11? How fast did Bush destroy that? Remember the economy during the Clinton years? How's it goin' for you now that Bush has deregulated us into a depression? Like your park lands? Or would you prefer them drilled, sold, and butchered as Bush has tried to do to them? Remember the Constitution? Oh, no, I forgot, you don't know about that. By the way, I'm an attorney, a teacher, and a former civil engineer and I will be at the inauguration along with my son (who attends an Ivy League school -sorry, I know intelligent people make you uncomfortable) and my wife (who is a.... wait for it... community organizer!!). At last, we'll have a President who makes us proud and who is intelligent. What a breath of fresh air being able to go to sleep each night knowing that the President can actually THINK!

  • Lava Beds National Monument is a Geologically and Historically Fascinating Place   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Thanks for that suggestion, Bill. Learning about a park's history before visiting it is a practice we heartily endorse here at Traveler.

  • Lava Beds National Monument is a Geologically and Historically Fascinating Place   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Fantastic scenery, but read up on the Modoc War before you go so you can really enjoy your visit. Once again wear good hiking shoes or boots. I like leather with ankle support. Been 20 years since I was there and they may not let you venture everywhere anymore. Well worth a visit, but once again, know your history to make sure you know your history to make it more interesting.

  • Yellowstone, Grand Teton Officials Searching For Snowmobile, Snowcoach Solution   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I took an unguided tour about 10 years ago, on the groomed trails (ROADS), and was the 2nd most memoriable events of my life. (Sorry WW, but our readers really don't need to know about your most memorable event. -- the editors.)

    I do not understand here in the "Land of the Free" why visitors can not drive the roads without being in a tour. In the future will everyone in America be required to go on a Cruise Ship when they go on a vacation, or required to be in a tour group.

    I had never visited Yellowstone, but truely by accident went 3 times in one year. To me the winter snowmobile was the most beautiful. I absolutely could not stand the summer crowds and traffic jams. I actually fled the park due to the traffic thinking that sitting in Washington DC beltway traffic was better than Yellowstone in the summer. If the NPS wants to cut down on polution in the park then cut down on the summer traffic, prohibit the 4 cylinder pickup trucks that are towing 14' travel trailers, with 14' boat behind them them. If you are towing something then you have to stay out of the park. 500 snowmobiles a day cause more polution than 10,000 cars a day? Reduce the summer traffic and keep Yellowstone open to free travelers, but only on the roads.

  • Study Touts Economic Benefits of Mount St. Helens "National Park"   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Random Walker: Yes, NPS national monuments receive about 20% of the yearly operational funding that national parks receive. Are there possible rational explanations for this? Is visitation higher in national parks than monuments? Do national parks generally have more staff members than national monuments? Is there generally more infrastructure in national parks than monuments? Please also consider that non-national park designations (such as national historical sites, national recreation areas, and so on) collectively receive almost twice the annual operating funds that national parks do. What does this say? I'm not sure. I'm not sure any of these statements have any real significance.

    I will dispute the Wikipedia claim that there is more "diversity" of what is being protected in a national park than in a national monument. Take a look at Lava Beds National Monument. Coyotes, bald eagle roosts, pictographs, petroglyphs, endangered bats, battlefields, caves, cinder cones, and on and on. I also dispute that wildlife receives a lower degree of protection in national monuments. This might be true in the few monuments outside the purview of the NPS, but this is the exception, not the rule.

    As for designating Mt. St. Helens a wilderness, I've advanced on these pages that the area should be left to recover on its own, and I think we'd agree on this. Call it laizze faire preservation. A leave-it-alone area. More than wilderness, though. Something new in name and spirit.

    Kurt wonders "how much weight economics should be given when decisions are made on additions to the National Park System." I don't think the establishment of national parks should be used as an economic stimulus of local economies as this leads to the tendency to dole political pork; however, we should consider the economics of how parks will be funded and whether or not they are economically sustainable when considering whether or not to add them to the system. Had the NPS looked honestly at these issues, sites like Steamtown, regardless of their historical integrity, would not have been created.

  • Study Touts Economic Benefits of Mount St. Helens "National Park"   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Why is it that the creation of a new national park area is always initially touted for the positive economic impacts it would bring, yet when these factors are brought up in critical decision making, such as the recent brouhahas in Yellowstone and Cape Hatteras can attest to, park managers and park supporters alike look upon the "economically impacted" local businesses as little more than selfish vampires wishing to suck freely on the flesh of the sacred wilderness?

    I wish park promoters would stop bringing up the economic aspects because it is something that they eventually abhor once the park is created and soon conveniently forget that it was a factor that they touted in the beginning when they were looking for support in establishing their preserve. Let the chips fall where they may and create parks with a serious set of definable criteria and let the free market adjust to and serve the needs and wants of consumers as it sees fit.

  • Study Touts Economic Benefits of Mount St. Helens "National Park"   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I agree with Oregon Dude (not verified)
    I say Bah! to the surrounding communities and business's, local and federal governments and corporations who view Our Wilderness, National Monuments and Parks as a way to make a quick buck, as nothing more than a commodity.

    From Wikipedia:

    "National monuments receive less funding and afford fewer protections to wildlife than national parks.
    Another difference between a national monument and national park is the amount of diversity in what is being protected; national monuments aim to preserve at least one unique resource but do not have the amount of diversity of a national park (which are supposed to protect a host of unique features). However areas within and extending beyond, national parks, monuments or even national forests can be part of wilderness areas, which have an even greater degree of protection than a national park would alone, although wilderness areas managed by the United States Department of Agriculture's United States Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management often allow hunting."

    Now if congress were to designate the whole monument as the "Mount St. Helens Wilderness" I would be very happy.

  • Don't Be Surprised to See Clinton Administration Influence In an Obama Interior Department   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Uhhhhhh, no thanks. I couldn't live in D.C.

  • Don't Be Surprised to See Clinton Administration Influence In an Obama Interior Department   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Kurt, how about throwing in your hat for the position? You know more than these clowns who are running Bush's environmental fiasco team, or are so called Department of Interior. At least we can trust you to run the National Parks on a quality basis that's filled with transparency. Give it a shot!

  • Survey Shows Americans Love Bison But Largely Are Clueless About their Plight   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Anon: At this web site.

  • Don't Be Surprised to See Clinton Administration Influence In an Obama Interior Department   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Interesting news here out of Politico.com this afternoon - http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1108/15860.html.

    Rep. Raul Grijalva has definitely been a parks advocate.

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

  • Study Touts Economic Benefits of Mount St. Helens "National Park"   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I would oppose NP status for 2 reasons:

    1) We need to adequately fund the NP's we already have.

    2) Under the current USFS stewardship, the park is very hands on. One can explore the Ape Cave to one's heart's content, for instance. There is no doubt in my mind that NP status would bring about unnecessary restrictions on human activity.

  • Survey Shows Americans Love Bison But Largely Are Clueless About their Plight   6 years 3 weeks ago

    How can I get more info on the ABS?

  • Study Touts Economic Benefits of Mount St. Helens "National Park"   6 years 3 weeks ago

    As we've discovered, to a large degree the names applied to NPS (and handful of USFS and BLM) units have no reliable definitions. The distinction, in this case, between a National Volcanic Monument and a National Park is entirely arbitrary. (See Speaker Pelosi's absurd Golden Gate National Parks kick.) I wish that it were not so, but there it is.

    $443,000 in new visitor spending? Spread across 150,000 residents in three counties? A $3 per capita argument is pretty weak. If you really want to make an economic impact in those counties, start loosening up logging regulations.

  • Upon Further Review - What Visited Your Campsite While You Were Sleeping?   6 years 4 weeks ago

    We have had only (that we know of) a resident mouse of the cabin where we were staying. In the journal left behind by other campers his/her name was Spenser. One morning a shoe was stuffed with a shredded paper towel. Too funny. MB

  • Are Yosemite National Park Officials Overlooking Safety of Curry Village Guests?   6 years 4 weeks ago

    I was present, staying in a tent cabin at Curry Village that morning. What the article doesn't mention is the afternoon before a smaller rockfall sent boulders sailing through unoccupied tent cabins in the same area as the larger one. If the concessioner and the NPS cannot take responsibility to warn visitors and take appropriate action during a known hazardous period, how can we expect them to take the proper management direction on the larger safety issue?

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 4 weeks ago

    And how much (change) is this going to cost us? (And the NPS?)

    Here's another gem from H.L. Mencken:

    "The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are."

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Somehow I don't doubt the estimated crowd for the Big Ball. Every idiot 'round the globe with a press credential will be attending (sorry, Kurt) along with the obligatory circus train of mobile broadcast units. They'll be measuring the total volume of cables / wiring used for this spectacle not in linear feet but in AU.

    Maybe it'll rain.......

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Gerald, Sylvia:
    You are so right:
    A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that THEY CAN VOTE THEMSELVES LARGESSE from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Hey kids----ain't democracy grand?!!!!

    Once again I defer to the Sage of Baltimore:

    "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."
    -----H. L. Mencken

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 4 weeks ago

    LOL...Bob says "open-minded"...so open your brains are falling out.
    Give 'em a chance? When did the left wing ever give Bush a chance?? Why is it that it is O.K. for the left to trash people (aka Palin) but not the right? Answer that one, Bob....
    BTW, just take a good look at the majority of those attending THIS inauguration..."great unwashed" is certainly correct! The inmates are now in charge of the asylum.

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Gerald,
    There are many highly motivated, successful folks who will be celebrating this event. I have not felt represented or well-served by the current administration, or the current incarnation of the Republican party, which I have formerly supported. To suggest that only homeless, unmotivated people support Obama is a typical Republican tactic; if you can't out-argue the message, slander the messenger… Let’s all try to be open-minded and give the new administration a chance to prove itself. Regarding Clinton advisors, they actually did a great job – unfortunately, Bill’s indiscretions overshadowed the positive attributes of what would have otherwise been regarded as a very successful Presidency.

  • Keeping History Honest When It Comes to Sight Lines In Civil War-era National Parks Is Not Without Controversy   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Lone Hiker,

    I found myself agreeing for the most part with your first paragraph, especially in the context of battlefields of similar significance from other eras and areas of the country, but came to an abrupt halt in agreement when I came across certain statements, listed below.

    While I know you generally care little for my many times as-equally smart-a$$ed, (Or Dumb-a$$ed, your choice…), comments, I’ll submit them just the same.

    My home state of Virginia endured the hardships of the Civil War like no other state involved in the conflict. I say this in full acknowledgement of the sacrifices made by all states and peoples involved, but no other state saw the absolute decimation that Virginia did by war’s end.

    That being said, it must be brought to light that of the 200+ battlefields in the state, only a few more than a dozen have been preserved as NPS sites, and most not even close to the entire original battlefield in size. These sites were only preserved through forward thinking and planning by those who thought it prudent to do so at the time. I will not second guess their intent, and applaud their foresight.

    I agree in the most part with your statement:

    “And in reality, shouldn't the greater concern not be the inevitable reclamation of the landscape by Nature, but the not so inevitable commercial development, by which these sites are indeed lost to time forever?”

    I can show you what happens when said preservation is not planned for, and such losses occur. This is but one case in point:

    The “Yellow Tavern” battlefield, where Sheridan’s cavalry forces won a little mentioned and mostly insignificant battle over JEB Stuart’s Cavalry forces, is now dominated by a huge shopping mall. The need for another Kohl’s has apparently taken precedence over the reverence of the site where Stuart received his mortal wound. The only monument to this man, said battlefield, and all other slain soldiers from both sides is nearly impossible to find, since it is now surrounded by homes within a subdivision.

    I can also point out earthworks that reside as nothing more than long piles of dirt within other subdivisions, with no markings as to their significance. In short, urban/commercial development has in most cases won out over preservation of these sites.

    I certainly agree with you and most other posters that war is deplorable, and my earlier reference to the Civil War in particular as “fratricide” should show my stance on the politics of the conflict. I still believe these sites were established in reverence to the common soldier, and not to the ideologies of the aptly named “Lost Cause” in this case. War is still a sad reality of the human species, and we show ourselves far from being “Civilized” enough to turn from it completely in the resolution of our differences. Hopefully, though, the lessons learned from the American Civil War will keep us from repeating that kind of history within our own country.

    I take great exception to this statement:

    “It becomes difficult and ridiculous to justify each and every instance of conflict being a benchmark for preservation status, so if not all, then none.”

    For in this culture of greed that is part and parcel to humankind, if given this choice, we would surely end up with none.

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Actually Anon, it WILL BE the homeless, the great unwashed if you will, who will be coming to see their "savior."
    Hope? Change? What exactly do you mean? Old Clinton appointees? I'll tell ya what, you keep the CHANGE, I'll keep my freedom.
    "Let the world see these "faceless people"...hmmmm...ever read "Camp of the Saints?" Those kind of people??? The "homeless?" The unmotivated?

  • Keeping History Honest When It Comes to Sight Lines In Civil War-era National Parks Is Not Without Controversy   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Not meaning to be my usual smart-assed self, but is there an overriding insinuation that each and every battlefield be "preserved", or is it just a select few sites of import that Secretary Lane was referring to in the initial mandate? And how is that selection process determined, and whom shall I bow down to in reverence of their ever-knowing sense of those "most important" sites of conflict in the course of American history? And in reality, shouldn't the greater concern not be the inevitable reclamation of the landscape by Nature, but the not so inevitable commercial development, by which these sites are indeed lost to time forever? Do we need to "reclaim" Culp's Hill and the Round Top duo to witness first-hand the fortifications and overview of the Union's right and left flanks respectively to gain a greater understanding of why, after repeatedly being turned back from these positions, the Confederacy mounted what is now universally considered the suicide march that was Pickett's Last Stand? What about the "other" July 3-4 super battle staged in Vicksburg, which along with Gettysburg simultaneously changed the fortunes of the Union and in no small way assisted in permanently shifting the momentum and eventually outcome of the war towards the Army of the Potomac? And what fate might be in store for Antietam? And Sharpsburg? And the many other lesser glorified but far from lesser important sites in South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, etc? Does this mandate also apply equally to Revolutionary War and Indian War sites, the Mexican-American conflict, the War of 1812, the Spanish / American War, the French / Indian War.......?

    It becomes difficult and ridiculous to justify each and every instance of conflict being a benchmark for preservation status, so if not all, then none. I believe it more important to place the emphasis on maintaining those hallowed grounds being utilized as the unfortunate final resting places for the thousands upon thousands of causalities from BOTH sides of EVERY conflict waged on our soil. Taking into account the scope of the history of mankind and then placing special significance on the sites of human conflict is tantamount to glorification of the deed, and by now we should have "civilized" ourselves to the point of not accepting this as the only manner capable of resolution of our societal differences. Yes, men and women fought and many paid the ultimate price for the preservation of various ideologies. But to cast the real estate itself into some sort of prominence is to me a display of the same lack of dignity exhibited by those who visit expecting (or at least hoping) to see or hear the echoes from the past; a bit too morbid for my particular tastes.