Recent comments

  • Yellowstone National Park Roads Opening to Cyclists Sans Automobiles   6 years 1 week ago

    I'm going to try and bike in Yellowstone, weather permitting - we had one great weekend last year; so neat to run into friends 100 miles from home, everyone had the same idea.

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

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   6 years 1 week ago

    Personally I am against mountain bikes on any trail in designated Wilderness and National Parks.
    Here in my neck of the woods, on federal lands only 45% of the trails are machine free, this by being in National Parks and Wildernesses.
    In all of the surveys I read the (overwhelmingly) most preferred activity on federal lands is camping/sightseeing and walking/hiking by large percentages.
    I despise MTB's corporate industrial lobbyists forcing their commercialism into Our National Parks and Wildernesses, tritely thinking that the $'s they have will give them a guaranteed contract legitimizing their illegitimate abuse.

    "We revere the trail for what it does, not for what it is. We honor the volunteer weed-whackers, but not to the point of wishing to "promote" them to professionals; trail work can be a form of privatization, as it most surely is when undertaken by those who do it to facilitate their wreckreation.” ~Harvey Manning~

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angel's Landing   6 years 1 week ago

    that is the dumbest thing i've ever heard...mandatory safety? there are warnings all over. if one sticks to the chains they will stay safe. its usually the avid hikers that die because they think they are more experienced than they really are...thats when mistakes happen

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 1 week ago

    Well here we go again. While staying in a popular California resort, a competent legal carrying gun owner just left his loaded 45 under a pillow for the housekeepers to find. Then he checked out and left the property. Then he ask us to mail it to him in a bubble wrapped package so it won't get damaged. Need I say more?

  • National Park Designation is an Unholy Mess   6 years 1 week ago

    Good suggestion, RW. Environmental historian Alfred Runte has written a number of books that bear reading -- and rereading. One of my personal favorites is "Yosemite: The Embattled Wilderness." The 1993 paperback edition is still widely available.

  • National Park Designation is an Unholy Mess   6 years 1 week ago

    I highly recommend a little book titled "National Parks: The American Experience" by Alfred Runte
    Which one can read online here, though I prefer the hard copy, a comfortable chair, fire in the fire place and a glass of old brandy.

  • Yellowstone National Park Roads Opening to Cyclists Sans Automobiles   6 years 1 week ago

    Thanks for the correction, MRC. I have used the tunnel twice going into the park. I put my bike in a van and took it out on the other side. It's an interesting ride down from the tunnel into the park.

  • Designations Just One Example of Disparities Within the National Park System. Web Sites Are Another   6 years 1 week ago

    P.S. -- MRC, if you use the Traveler's search function, you'll find a few more articles that reference Gauley River.

  • Designations Just One Example of Disparities Within the National Park System. Web Sites Are Another   6 years 1 week ago

    Soooo, should the NPS rid itself of Gauley River NRA? If only 298 folks visited the site in February (and I'm not sure how Wikipedia counts those hits), is that indicative that the NRA doesn't belong in the National Park System?

    Don't misunderstand. I'm certainly not suggesting that Gauley River's website be as rich as Yellowstone's. The content simply isn't there, no matter how strong the resources. And I clearly pointed out that larger, more prominent parks such as Yellowstone certainly have more needs to meet than smaller units such as Gauley River.

    But how do you build interest in a unit of the National Park System? By ignoring it? If the 391 units of the National Park System are presented as the best of the best and viewed as treasures that should be preserved, don't they all deserve some even-handedness in how they are presented by the NPS? Shouldn't there be a basic amount of content across the board?

    Gauley River is just one example of the inequities that exist when it comes to NPS web presence. And you don't have to drill down too far into the "designations" to find such inequities. Check out the websites of Badlands, Isle Royale (which on its face appears more Spartan than Gauley River), or Cape Lookout National Seashore.

    As for the costs of updating these websites, there are plenty of web design schools across the country that surely could be involved with a little outreach.

  • Yellowstone National Park Roads Opening to Cyclists Sans Automobiles   6 years 1 week ago

    Not in the eastern part of Zion. Bicycles are not allowed in the one mile Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel, no pedestrians either. Meaning you can't enter or leave the park towards or from Bryce Canyon. Of course you might try to hitchhike with an RV driver. Some might give you a lift through the tunnel.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   6 years 1 week ago

    Anonymous (not verified)
    "On March 20th, 2009
    There's not enuf rangers to enforce the stupid rule...so do as I do...keep on bikin'!
    I've been bikin in national parks on trails for 3 years and have never been caught!"

    Interesting attitude. I wonder how you might feel if you found that dirt bikers where cutting trails across a piece of property that you happened to own. Just fair warning, if I see you illegally on a park trail I will tell you so. If I have a camera, be sure that you will be reported. I figure that it's my park you are damaging.

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   6 years 1 week ago

    The need to carry a concealed weapon seems to be at issue. There is absolutely no need to do so. If safety is the primary issue for those proponents of carrying firearms into these areas, then BEARing them in the open makes the most sense. The need one feels to be secretive serves no purpose of promoting safety. If more people entering the parks are obviously armed, then the bad guys will be less like to inhabit these areas themselves. Hidden arms are more likely to lead to confrontation. BEAR your arms in the open proudly. Appear to be a proponent of safety and not paranoia.

  • Yellowstone National Park Roads Opening to Cyclists Sans Automobiles   6 years 1 week ago

    When it comes to cycling in the parks, Zion National Park is perhaps the most accommodating. In addition to restricting the use of private vehicles, bicyclists have the right of way on the park road. Shuttle busses will not pass a cyclist unless he/she pulls over to the side.

  • Designations Just One Example of Disparities Within the National Park System. Web Sites Are Another   6 years 1 week ago

    More data: The NPS has no public access statistics for their website, but Wikipedia does. In February 2009, the article on Yellowstone was accessed 35873 times, The one on Gauley River 298 times. Money is tight, there is high demand for experts time. How should the NPS spend their budget for web development and content creation? On Gauley River NRA?

  • Designations Just One Example of Disparities Within the National Park System. Web Sites Are Another   6 years 1 week ago

    I too think this comparison is a bit silly. Yellowstone had 27 times as many visitors as Gauley River in 2007. Don't you think it might be appropriate to invest more time and money into its website? And not only actual visitors count: How many students in all grades and disciplines write papers on Yellowstone and how many on Gauley River? And here on the Traveler 169 articles are tagged Yellowstone National Park, two for Gauley River NRA (both today and including this one).

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 1 week ago

    Well Kurt,
    I’ve carried a concealed weapon for over forty years and there has been no environmental impact, however, there has been an impact on crime! I’m pretty sure who’s trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 1 week ago

    I think a more realistic way of saying it is:

    How sad that criminals exist. But they do exist. Thank Goodness that reasonable, intellegent, honest, law-abiding citizens have their God-given right to self protection guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitutions Bill of Rights. But how sad that so many fools would gladly give up not only their individual rights to self protection, but also plot to take these rights away from the sensible people as well.

  • Designations Just One Example of Disparities Within the National Park System. Web Sites Are Another   6 years 1 week ago

    This is a pretty weak argument, Kurt. I'd love for the smaller parks to have better websites, but there's no way that a smaller unknown unit like Gauley River would ever have a website like Yellowstone's. And, boy, I'd be pissed if they did because I bet the web traffic is probably 50-1 for Yellowstone and let's be honest, they don't have that much to post up there.

  • Forget the Camp, Send Your Kid to Yellowstone National Park This Summer   6 years 1 week ago

    This is an amazing way to teach youth about nature conservation. And at the same time, helping the citizens of the place maintain Yellowstone National Park. Oh and nice summer job, too!

  • Federal Judge Issues Scathing Opinion in Blocking "Concealed Carry" In National Parks, Wildlife Refuges   6 years 1 week ago

    If you only knew how she tried to stop this rulemaking, but was over ruled by the White House!

  • National Park Designation is an Unholy Mess   6 years 1 week ago

    Jess, I find it hard to accept that every state, a priori, "deserves" to have at least one national park. Political subdivisions have little to do with the distribution of natural and cultural/historical resources meeting the standards set for NPS units. That said, I do understand that there is enormous political pressure to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the standards or lower the bar (pick your metaphor) in this or that particular case in order to spread the wealth. We can therefore confidently predict that various national-parkless political subdivisions (Delaware, for example) will get the NPS unit they have long been denied. Glad to hear that you'll be visiting Congaree in April. You've picked a good month (mild weather, few skeeters). Be sure to do the Cedar Creek Canoe Trail (plan ahead to rent a canoe or kayak; there are none available in the park) as well as one the longer dirt trail hikes in the floodplain forest. The canopy height and sheer size of the forest giants will blow you away! Sorry 'bout the scarcity of historic hotels and inns in the Congaree vicinity.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 1 week ago

    Why should our 2nd Amendment rights suddenly be stripped once we step foot into a national park? I wish everyone entering the national parks was highly trained in the use of personal protection firearms and had passed FBI background checks. Then, I wish it was well known that qualified people were legally carrying guns in national parks. I am being serious. That would deter criminals from preying on people because they would have to assume everyone was armed.
    Thanks for reading.

    Bill

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   6 years 1 week ago

    Olallie, excellent comment. I'm referring to this part of your message:

    I do wish that more folks in the MTB fraternity would recognize that some of us hikers treasure the stillness and slow pace of travel that comes with our activity, and we don't enjoy jumping off a narrow mountain trail every time a cyclist comes rushing along. (Believe me, it's not the cyclists who make way for hikers, at least not around here.) The level of alertness that is required on "shared use" trails compromises the very feeling I am out there to experience.

    Some mountain bikers do recognize that we run the potential to compromise others' desire for solitude, absence of hypervigilance, and stillness in the wild. There's a lot of dogma on all sides on this emotional issue, and I refuse to be dogmatic. I just read a fine article in the current Skeptical Inquirer magazine on the importance and significance of open-mindedness. The author reinforced my view that being open to criticism, different points of view, and well-reasoned new ideas is vastly important. I know it is to me. I have been condemned often enough by other mountain bikers for departing from the orthodoxy that everything will be fine as long as we ride responsibly, and for embracing the heresy that our mode of travel may impair the qualities you're speaking of, depending on time and place.

    That said, though, I favor allowing mountain biking on almost all trails where it has become prohibited simply because of one-size-fits-all government regulations that have proven to be unworkable, unfair, counterproductive (look at all of the Wilderness that was not created in the last 20 years), and conducive to contempt for the law. Just as you say, reasonable people can work out a mechanism that will give mountain bikers access at times and still give you the experiences of slowness, grandness of scale, stillness, and relaxation (i.e., the lack of a need to be alert to an oncoming bicycle) that you want. It can be done and many mountain bikers are prepared to help do it. Frankly, it's what most municipal swimming pools do when they divide the day up into fast-swimming and recreational-swimming hours. It's hardly rocket science.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 1 week ago

    Well, Tom J., I would like to think "law-abiding" people have respect for all laws, not just the ones that suit them. In the case at hand, the Interior Department in the judge's opinion more than likely broke the law by failing to consider the possible environmental impacts of the rule change. Now, it's very likely that there won't be any significant impacts, but that's why the National Environmental Policy Act calls for such a study -- to make that determination so politicians can't ramrod things through the system.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   6 years 1 week ago

    Zeb, can't argue with you over the behavior of some hikers. I've seen my share of those who try to cut the switchbacks in half.