Recent comments

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 5 days ago

    I never met Timothy Treadwell, but I am quite familiar with the area and circumstances relating his and his companion' demise. Personally, I consider Treadwell's fate the outcome of a death wish. From any objective perspective, Treadwell's behavior was bizarre and self destructive. He did almost everything wrong in re: to his interaction with bears. He literally set up himself and his friend for a fatal attack. Being armed would not have changed the outcome. I once encountered an individual camping at a site on the Katmai coast. He had established a long-term camp in a location with intensive bear activity. There was a resulting buildup of human waste and other debris around his camp. I informed him that he had to move the camp and clean up the mess. Fortunately he decided to leave. You might be interested to learn that park visitors and brown bears regularly interact at close quarters in the park, including the primary developed visitor facility, Brooks Camp. Visitors to Brooks River are not permitted to carry personal firearms, even though bears may approach them within a few yards. This facility would likely have to close if park visitors were permitted to carry personal weapons and to use them at their own discretion.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   6 years 5 days ago

    Ray, that's all fine and dandy, but I don't think that we live in the "world according to Ray Bane". I don't see how your carbon poles, North Face jacket and high end hiking boots are any less mechanized than a bike with 2 wheels. Furthermore, there is no rational justification for the government to decide how we're supposed to enjoy the parks, as long as we don't negatively impact them. Ray likes to stop and smell the flowers. I like to flow while smelling the flowers.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   6 years 5 days ago

    You know, I cannot hike for more than a few miles due to bad knees, but I can ride for many many more because there isn't the impact on my knees. Richard Smith.

    Richard, I also can no longer hike any appreciable distance, but I am easily able to cycle. Should I be permitted to ride a mountain bike on backcountry trails in a national park? My answer is, no. Frankly, I want primitive areas to remain primitive. I also want as many people as possible to literally step away from mechanical transportation devices and walk slowly and, hopefully, quitely into the natural setting. I want them to hear the small sounds of nature and to focus on the multitude of details surrounding them. If they chance to see wildlife near the trail I hope they stop and take the time to treasure the experience. Just as most mountain bikers would not want to compete with motorized ATVs on backcountry trails, there should be special places, especially national parks, where hikers can walk on trails free of mountain bikes.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   6 years 5 days ago

    While I don't agree with Kurt on a few subjects, I certainly applaud his desire to engage in dialogue with people he disagrees with.

    Kurt, I don't think that MTBers will call the shots in the future, but I believe that once we reach critical mass, it'll be harder for any administration to keep discriminating against us. I don't wish to kick anybody out of the parks/wilderness. I just want to share.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 5 days ago

    Do you really think that people who go through the entire course, study the laws, and pay for the permits are that quick to shoot an animal on a "whim"? If the lady with the child ran up to the bear and the bear reacted to this as a sign of agression, who is at fault? Who will you try to save-- the bear or the woman and child? Those who wander into parks armed "illegally" will probably always be illegal and should be prosecuted. Why condemn those of us who play by the rules? I am not a group, but an individual who respects and abides by the law. What have I ever done to you?

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   6 years 5 days ago

    Guess you lost that bet, eh?

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   6 years 6 days ago

    I agree, Richard...I think it's time to sell off the parks to the highest bidder. Soon we won't be allowed to breathe...too much "carbon!" Frickin' ridiculous.
    Time to write some letters. And I bet the liberal moderator won't post this, just like many of my posts.

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 6 days ago

    When I was young..... my dad used to take me out hiking for long 3 or 4 day weekends. We used to hike in for an entire day and never see anyone. I haven't gone in years. I have recently decided to start going again with my son. I also remembered my father used to carry a little revolver in his hip bag. I only saw it acouple times... he called it his snake shooter... we have some fairly poisonous snakes around here. I always assumed it was for overall protection of the family. Long story short, I never thought twice about it and I purchased one for my outings. I was very surprised to find the issue in such in uproar. I guess it where you are from and how you were raised. fearful or not fearful of firearms. I agree. maybe people who are against them are just generally against them in all circumstances. I just always seemed unprepared not to have it. a compass, utility knife, water, rations. Were not all picnic basket carrying all wheel drive station wagon park people. some of us could actullay live off the land if we needed to and sometime choose to on occasional weekends. I do not see this creating anymore confusion than the overally politically interested people

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 6 days ago

    don't ask me... inner city chicago is a sewer to me. lots of crime and lots of poor upbringing and bad examples or no examples in alot those families. however, this has nothinng to do with the issue. whether you are pro or anti gun sums up most peoples response on this issue. ..but it shold not be about that. The question must be... if it is legal to carry in a state, what is the reason for not allowing it in the park. In this scenario... fear of irrational people does not fit... because these are the same people allowed by law to carry all over the rest of the state. There is no real environmental impact as the concealed weapons can not be fired unless in self defense or actually even displayed. I know the parks department is against it and I also personally know the heads of the departments are also against concealed carry carry in general... yet it is the legal in almost every state subject to each regulation.....so what is the argument for not allowing it to be state regulated...the only reasonable argument outside of who feels the right to carry is a true right and those who think they should be gone as much as possible... is multi jurisdictional parks... which I am sure can be easily worked out....hell in case of two different states with different policy... agree to not allow them in multi state parks. I do not care... but make a good arguement ... all i hear is the same old speech. I do not own a firearm.. but even I can see the lack of an argument. they need a reason why it should be less legal in the parks... and fear of rampant poaching doesn't seem to work.... poaching will ocur at the same rate as always. I recall the same warnings of massive violent crime increases with concealed carry legal. hahahaha!! I love when people spread idealogy by spreading fear.... please. hahaha!

  • Designations Just One Example of Disparities Within the National Park System. Web Sites Are Another   6 years 6 days ago

    There aren't really webmasters for most NPS web servers, but yes there are strong constraints on how public-facing websites must look (both for branding & consistency and for accessibility laws), rules about links to non-NPS sites, etc..

    To an extent, "on the web, nobody knows you're a dog" should allow small parks to have as fancy of web presences as large, rich parks. But small NPS units like Gauley River NRA or Fort Bowie NHS simply don't have staff available for generating their own websites. [Gauley River has no one in the NPS employee directory, which implies that the staff are listed under New River Gorge or other units or the region.] Fort Bowie has a ranger, a park guide, and a masonry worker (likely on a temporary assignment for a specific project). The 2 or 3 permanent staff cover the duties of superintendent, archeologist, maintenance man, resource manager, planning, interpretation, and everything else. They probably wouldn't have time to supervise a volunteer web developer even if one were to appear at their door. Further, until the past few years, most NPS units didn't have basic information like species lists. The initial priority is to make that information available to the superintendents and managers on the intranet.

    One of several directions that NPS web content is going is the set of virtual learning centers:
    http://www.nature.nps.gov/learningcenters/map.cfm
    Most of these are multi-unit resources at the level of inventory & monitoring network. so a couple of people can provide content for multiple park units (or, less charitably, poor units can piggyback on large rich units). Most are just getting up and running, and few are linked from individual park websites yet. Yes, large, well-resourced units like Yellowstone have more interpretive staff, and thus larger and better virtual learning centers, but the learning centers pretty freely share ideas and code, so the result should be better web resources for all. Some are collaborations with non-NPS partners such as the Learning Center of the American Southwest,
    http://dev.southwestlearning.org/index.php

    As more information is gathered on each park, more will appear on the web, especially for natural resources.

  • Early Tourism in Yellowstone National Park Caught on Camera   6 years 6 days ago

    Donna, keep your eye on the Traveler for similar videos from elsewhere in the park system.

  • Ken Burns' National Parks Documentary: Where Does it Stand?   6 years 6 days ago

    I can't wait. I don't have film, but I've got loads of pictures, just loads. Have been an avid park explorer since my first road trip back in 2001. I just can't wait, and will get this on dvd when it's ready, just so I can say, hey, I've been there.....hurry up and finish, wouldya.....lol

  • Early Tourism in Yellowstone National Park Caught on Camera   6 years 6 days ago

    I loved this park the first time I was in it, back in the '70's. Then again 30 years later, not much had changed, it's still amazing. Of course we didn't have the bear come right up to our car. What a lovely video, wouldn't it be way cool to see if other parks have these pieces of history in their archives and would share. I've been to few that have and do. It's truly amazing what you can see and where you can go. thnx for sharing

  • Flamingo Lodge is No More   6 years 6 days ago

    Oh my.....I spent a couple of days, more like a week, touring the Everglades. It was May 2006. I loved it. Even the mosquito's. Of which there really weren't that many at that time of the year. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get down to Flamingo, only because it was still closed down due to the hurricane of '05. I would have loved to have seen it before the cane took it out. But then, I'm in love with that type of architecture anyway. Back in the day, built by the CCC, but then that's just me. So, there is NO WAY, it will be rebuilt, not at all? Only die hard campers, I suppose, would go on down there and camp/rv it. But then again, that's just what us "die hards" do, isn't it?

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 6 days ago

    Storminator -- it's not just brown bears. Most handguns will put down a black bear....but we're also talking wolves, mountain lions (kill people every year here in Colorado), rattlesnakes (which we're allowed to shoot in state parks here), and coyotes.....and that's not counting the humans! Let's not forget the string of murders/rapes that occurred on the Appalachian Trail a few years ago at knife-point.

    The bottom line is this -- who cares? Continue to carry concealed in the park like everyone ALWAYS HAS. The only time you'll get in trouble is if you pull out your gun and use it. If you are smart, you'll be doing this for a life & death situation, and I'm quite sure the misdeamenor that follows won't really be of that much concern to you. If you have a CCW, you should have a good legal/lawyer insurance anyways, which will cover your rear.

  • Flamingo Lodge is No More   6 years 6 days ago

    The campgrounds are great and anyone who can't tollerate them can drive on over to Miami Beach. After all, there's nothing in the everglades but grass, water, and 'gaters.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   6 years 6 days ago

    You know, I cannot hike for more than a few miles due to bad knees, but I can ride for many many more because there isn't the impact on my knees. Does this mean I should try and get some trails within the park service designated wheeled access for people like me? Am I being discriminated against because my knees are bad?

  • Designations Just One Example of Disparities Within the National Park System. Web Sites Are Another   6 years 6 days ago

    The parks' websites were unified in mid to late 2006, if I remember correctly. Before that date only the main pages were the same in the whole system and each park could set up as many subpages on any topic they liked and could build with their own staff. Some parks still have the archived version of their former website online - and for example about Glacier National Park you will find much better information in the archive than on the current pages.

    As far as I know, the new - or not so new anymore - websites were created in Harpers Ferry and the individual parks now can fill the given structure with their own content. But only in the given layout, site map structures and formats.

    And @ Kurt: Gauley River NRA probably is a nice place. But it is obviously attractive only for six weeks in a year, for white water paddling only. At all other times there seems to be absolutely nothing interesting about it. It is a gorge without road access, that could be nice for hiking, but there are no decent signed trails, not even a picnic site. In 1996 a general management plan was approved, but it seems like it was never implemented. So I leave it to the readers of the Traveller if Gauley River NRA is worth national status and if much needed funds should be spend on its website. Finally: the wikipedia access statistic works as all of them work, with a counter in the server software. It is supposed to be reliable.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 6 days ago

    Dear storminator,

    CCW is a personal choice. If you don't want to exercise your 2nd amendment rights, that's up to you. To make comments like yours is just showing your ignorance and indifference. Maybe someday a CCW citizen will save your bacon and you will think otherwise...

    -Mike

  • Flamingo Lodge is No More   6 years 6 days ago

    What a dump, glad it's gone, 36 types of mosquitos in the area.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   6 years 6 days ago

    The impact on trails is always brought up as a point to exclude mtbers despite many studies showing the opposite. Nobody is asking to build north shore stunts (for the uninitiated, google whistler bike park) or to create shuttle runs in Yellowstone.

    Volunteer trail work: I've seen plenty of ppl showing up where I am. I'm guessing that as a percentage, MTBers show up for trailwork as much as other categories of users (i.e. the vast majority never bothers...).

    Share the trail: I go plenty fast whenever possible and safe to do so, but I slow down when encountering hikers/equestrians like just about everybody else I know and ride with. Again, the trail sharing issue is overblown. Most users don't venture more than 1-2 miles into the park. Make separate trails near the trailhead and that would resolve 95% of the conflicts (not a study, just my guess).

    Random Walker: sharing existing trails in a responsible manner (which is all I'm asking for) does in no way conflict with preserving nature. It's always the same thing: the nature protection is just a rationalization to not share.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   6 years 6 days ago

    Random Walker, well put...well put! I couldn't agree more with you.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   6 years 6 days ago

    You are correct Zebulon (not verified) that I am bias and a card carrying member of the Sierra Club.
    I am a preservationist believing in the intrinsic value of wilderness itself and the National Parks mandate "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
    I abhor the continuous lobbying for more development in our National Parks and Wildernesses; be it buildings, roads or trails for mountain bikes, horses or boots, and the belief that nature should conform to the trends of society.

    "Every recreationist whether hiker, biker, horsepacker, or posey sniffer should not begin by asking, 'What's best for ME?' but rather 'What's best for the bears?'" ~Tom Butler~

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   6 years 6 days ago

    Frank N. , Thank You for the research, and posting it. I am now curious to see how the "Law abiding citizens" react to your comment and facts. I have wondered for sometime how they are better than others just because they are allowed to carry a weapon that no one can see. I myself own guns, but I don't see the need to hide it while in the Nat. Parks, but thats just my personal feelings.

  • Designations Just One Example of Disparities Within the National Park System. Web Sites Are Another   6 years 6 days ago

    Chris makes a good point. The NPS websites all look the same. Unfortunately, letting each park build their own site would lead to huge inequalities in website design...most of which often end of looking very amateurish. Not the message you want sent by a world-class organization. I believe there should be a certain level of design that ties all the NPS sites together while allowing each park to strut it's own park's stuff, if they are so inclined.

    The size of the park isn't always a determinant as to how nice a particular park's website is. Remember, webmaster/web designer is often a collateral duty of someone who works at the office and it is up to the motivation of that individual as to how well the website is maintained and filled with content. I believe their should be a full-time person at the park or at the regional office who interacts with the interpretation and resource management staff. As I pointed out earlier, the web is THE most cost-effective way to reach people. One person, building a website, can reach thousands and tens of thousands of people. And, that reach isn't solely because the park is big or small. The search engines treat the NPS park sites as one collective whole...one giant website. So, any park that builds a website is automatically granted a very high ranking in regards to the keyword phrases that pertain to the particular park.

    Each park used to have it's own separate website...the NPS referred to these as "Expanded website"...as in... "See the Expanded website of Crater Lake National Park for more information." However, I think this is all slowly being rolled up into the Content Management System, the NPS has set up. By the way, the NPS website, while boring, is fairly well designed...in a usability sense.

    This all ties into the previous article on how many discrepancies there are in the parks. A website is no trivial thing. It's a symptom of how the NPS manages it's parks, in general.

    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography,
    www.robmutch.com