Recent comments

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

    Scotty, in many of your arguments you're absolutely correct. The real point of contention seems to center around each individual's definition of the term "rights". Where do one person's rights terminate and how far do an individual's liberties extend? Many of us gun owners are responsible in firearms management. It is also an unfortunate fact that many are also less than responsible, which is how hundreds of children and spouses are killed and injured each year in their own homes, with legally owned/ registered weapons. But insofar as a rights issue is concerned, consider these circumstances:

    A woman has been legally granted the "right to choose" whether or not to carry a life through a full-term pregnancy. But the life she chooses to discard, which by any and all definitions is a living entity seems to have no voice, either in the courts or with its "owner" / caretaker. An abortion is granted for whatever reason the mother deems adequate and neither the instrument of the procedure, the physician, nor the person who contracted the "hit", the mother, stand any prospect of retribution, at least in this world. HOWEVER, if during the course of a "criminal act", such as robbery, drunken driving, arson etc., a mother loses her child, the person responsible for causing the loss of life is charged with murder, two counts if both mother and child die. Why is the unborn's life weighed more heavily in that circumstance, even if the mother was intending to abort the pregnancy at some future juncture? Her decision is premeditated, which in legal terms shows intent to cause harm, but neither the doctor nor she cannot be charged with any criminal wrongdoing. In the other instance the death is accidental, but charges are brought as though there was intent on the part of the person causing the loss of life. Supreme example of the term “double standard” in my opinion.

    In many states, smoking indoors has been banned in public places, such as restaurants and bars, casinos, sporting events, airports, washrooms, rental cars and many other places regularly traversed by the general public who wish not to be exposed to the inconvenience of cigarette smoke. In most cases, one cannot even smoke within a given distance from the entrance to a public facility, generally designated between 15 and 100' depending on the municipality. All well and good as defined. HOWEVER, in some states, if a person is on their own property, say in a garage, on a deck or patio, or standing next to the barbecue in their OWN yard, and their cigarette or cigar or pipe smoke is carried by the wind into their neighbor's yard, the neighbor can call the police and have the offender issued a citation, and a "cease and desist" order.

    I'm not making a personal case for any of these circumstances, but my point is, how and where is the line drawn for where a person's rights terminate? It's one person's right to enjoy the freedom of carrying a gun, but it's just as much another person's right to wish not to be exposed to undue chances of harm from stray gunshots. Ask the victims of gang-related drive-by shootings who have lost friends and family members who just so happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, which has even included being in ones own bed, sleeping. When is your behavior considered encroaching on the liberties of another? Some people are notoriously thin-skinned and demand maximum "personal space", which can get outright ridiculous at times, while others are more liberal in their "let's all try and get along" mentality. This issue polarizes the community, and unfortunately for all of us, neither side seems to be able to negotiate a reasonable middle ground. It's the "all or nothing, with all being the only acceptable compromise" attitude that tends to inflame the anti-gun proponents. That blame does indeed lie at the feet of the NRA, who seem to have the childish and completely unacceptable attitude of "any gun I want I can have", be it fully automatic, assault-style, rocket launcher, or pea shooter. There is no just cause for that type or armament EXCEPT by those who are active in military service, and no justification for personal usage of such weapons by the general public under ANY circumstance can ever be deemed acceptable. But that's the position they argue from, which is why so many of us, even gun owners, would prefer they point and shoot using their tonsils as a target. More and larger caliber guns simply does not equate to a safer society. If that were indeed the case we would be among the safest societies on planet Earth, with over 90 guns registered per 100 citizens in this nation, and Lord only knows how many unregistered weapons floating around. It's not the number of guns on the streets or in public places that are carried; it's the number of responsible people in society as a whole that's the root of the real issue.

  • Summertime: What National Parks Are On Your "Must Visit" List?   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Glacier Boy, you're dead-on concerning Glacier's possibilities. Again, this list wasn't intended to be an all-inclusive "A-list" of what's available in the park system.

    Too, one of the conflicts writers deal with is talking about their favorite haunts -- places that have been overlooked by others, and so remain as close to pristine as possible, become overrun.

  • Summertime: What National Parks Are On Your "Must Visit" List?   6 years 5 weeks ago

    And yet on the backpacking area, you omit the perennial favorite of Glacier National Park. If it not the top park named for backpacking by the pundits such as Backpacker magazine, it will always be in the top five. While I enjoyed North Cascades (especially for its solitude such as when we ran into four bears without another person around in a 15 mile radius), it does not have the same type of scenery and trails as Glacier. Generally, the other parks you mention are with respect to one particular trail within the park. Glacier has a wide variety of trails to choose from straddling the Continental Divide.

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

    Scotty, and all due respect to you as well! The NRA does have a hidden agenda that weasels right into the National Parks. Why be dumb about it and why then would seven past National Park Directors oppose the conceal weapons legislation? I have a gut feeling, that those who are in favor of carrying conceal handguns (weapons) into the National Parks have some affiliation with the NRA. Just a profound thought. I have seen enough gun violence in my lifetime, as former surgical tech, and as a former government park employee. I've witness a young police officer gun down in the line of duty (and murdered) in a botched up armed robbery case. Had a very close family friend of mine shot in the chest by his brother (at close range) and paralyzed from the waist down. I have seen gun violence from all spectrums of society with all types of personalities involved in this deadly mayhem...sane and insane! What I've seen from my own true experiences with the gun issues across the board, and I honestly can say this, I truly believe that gun violence will increase into the National Parks...if concealed handguns are allowed into the National Parks. No doubt about it and regardless how you look at the safety issue.

  • Study Claims National Park Service is Failing to Protect Biscayne National Park's Coral Reefs   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Painful, but necessary; closure of the park. Re-open as a wildlife sanctuary.

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

    Anon -
    In response to your comments I must respectfully submit to you sir that this is not an NRA issue. It is a freedom and liberty issue. The NRA's vision and masterplan, is not of any concern in this issue. People, all people, should have the freedom and liberty to do as they please as long as no harm comes to others. If a person is background checked, fingerprinted and certified by the FBI, State Police and Local Sheriff and licensed as a good guy to carry a concealed firearm, why should they have their rights denied? The only fears being portrayed here are by yourself. Our freedoms and liberties need not be eroded by baseless fear.

  • How To Buy National Park-Related Gifts Without Leaving Home   6 years 5 weeks ago

    On May 14th I saw a post regarding an american company, Inner Peace Designs , who makes National Park pewter ornaments. I recently contacted them to see if any new items were being made soon. They informed me that a new design of Mount Rushmore was in the works and would be available for purchase on their website and at area stores at the park. Their website is www.innerpeacedesigns.net
    If someone finds out new info please post it!! I collect pewter ornaments!

    Thanks

  • Summertime: What National Parks Are On Your "Must Visit" List?   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Dapster, read a little more closely. CAHA was mentioned. Just not in detail.

  • Park History: Would There Have Been a Mesa Verde National Park Without Virginia McClurg?   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Thanks for the helpful comments, Mary. As you doubtlessly surmised, I am very appreciative of the work that Virginia McClurg did in behalf of Mesa Verde preservation. It's a shame that historians haven't treated her more kindly. As for my travels, well, I don't get around very much these days. Sandy and I are currently caring for a very high maintenance 18-year old cat -- a faithful friend -- and it will be a little while longer before we are truly "free to move about the country" again.

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

    This is one topic that can be argued over for ever. There will always be people who don't believe in guns as well as people that do. There will always be people that follow the rules and those that don't. As I stated earlier, you will always have guns in the park, because the dishonest people don't care about the law, and will continue to carry them into the park. (as they have done for years) It is ashame that the world has come this, but it has, and people need to take their blinders off their eyes and see reality. Just one question....do you REALLY think that by keeping honest people from having a gun in the park is going to keep guns out of the park? I will leave this issue alone, I have stated my peace, and did not intend to step on any toes. If I had upset anyone, then I am sorry. These were just my thoughts on the issue. (right or wrong).

  • Park History: Would There Have Been a Mesa Verde National Park Without Virginia McClurg?   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Hi Bob,

    My name is Mary Swanson and I am a graduate student at Colorado State University. I am currently writing a history about the establishment of Mesa Verde National Park. And part of the reason that McClurg opposed the Hogg Bill was that the geographic area included in the bill did not initally include most of the major cliff dwellings. The bill was later amended to protect Cliff Palace, etc. Moreover, I think its fair to say that McClurg never really intended for Mesa Verde to be included in a large bureacratic organization but rather she always invisioned it under the control of the Colorado Cliff Dwellings Association. So once she fully realized that federal support also meant federal control over Mesa Verde, she withdrew her support.

    And I certainly hope McClurg's stroy does not remain lost. She is a large component of a paper I hope to have published. Best of luck with your travels!
    Mary

  • Summertime: What National Parks Are On Your "Must Visit" List?   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I noticed that the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area was conspicuosly absent from the "Beachcombing" section of your article.

    Good thing, because a vast majority of it is closed to even pedestrian access, due the the Audobon Society, the Defenders of Widlife, and the Southern Environmental Law Center suing the NPS over ORV access. This is not a good year for beachcombing in that part of the country.

    Hopefully, a bill now in Congress will change all that before the Congressional Session ends in late September, and this wonderful area can be added to your list next summer.

    You did the right thing, Kurt, by leaving it off the list. Vistitors would be very disappointed with the access available in 2008.

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

    Yeah Scotty, tell me what's the NRA's masterplan for this country? It first starts with fear mongering! Besides Scotty, this isn't a subject that I wish to dwell on, give credence or provide propaganda flak for the NRA. It is an NRA issue! Simply because it touches the very heart of the subject that's hell bent on fear mongering. GUNS OUT OF THE PARKS!

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

    Anon-
    In response to your comment.....
    Since when does an American who wants to enjoy the parks get labeled the "NRA"? Ignorant remarks aimed to belittle people only show ignorance the lack of any ground to stand on. In reality people who want to defend themselves/family and carry concealed pose no threat to you or any other law abiding citizen. The only ones in danger are agressive predators, whether they are 2 or 4 legged. This is not an NRA issue it's a safety issue.

  • Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Lots of misinformed commentary here by the folks who refuse to believe that unarmed parks visitors (in isolated areas or otherwise) are potential victims of those with criminal intent. In other words "it won't happen to me". That is a classic victim's mentality.

    The same histrionics about how dangerous concealed carry will be were brought up back in 1987 when Florida became the first state to streamline concealed carry laws - and those concerns were shown to be groundless in the years that followed. Over 30 states have follow suit in streamlining their CCL (Concealed Carry License) laws.

    For you folks that don't know what's involved - CCL permit holders in most states have to go through criminal background checks, take approved firearms courses (including laws limiting the use of deadly force) and demonstrate minimum proficiency. The license has to be renewed each four years or so and any incident during that time is reported to the issuing authority - and misuse can (and does) result in revocation of the permit. In other words - a CCL holder sitting next to you is perhaps one of the most law-abiding citizens you will ever encounter - and you'll never know they are carrying. You have no need to know and they won't tell you. So all this "anti-carry" fuss is really over nothing.

    If concealed carry is so dangerous - then why aren't National Forests as dangerous as these anti-carry types fear? - National Forests have long followed the guidelines that are now proposed for the National Parks - permitting concealed carry based on the laws of the states where they are located.

    Don't kid ourself - there is a fair amount of crime in National Parks - and if it happens to you - it will take a long time for help to get to you. I hope none of the "anti-carry" folks have to find that out the hard way.

  • Study Claims National Park Service is Failing to Protect Biscayne National Park's Coral Reefs   6 years 5 weeks ago

    You see this beautiful marine sanctuary, a splendor of magnificent beauty slowly dying at are doorsteps. Yet, the Bush & Cheney administration wants to drill off the coast of Florida and California for more oil without a clue how precious our ocean resources are. Such callus disregard for the ultimate protection for Biscayne National Park, is another classic example of blunders and mismanagement by NPS, that is guided and designed by the Bush administration to do just that...FAIL!

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    And an interesting twist on this!

    7/14/08
    Park: Tourists not to blame in bear death

    (by Noah Brenner Jackson Hole News and Guide)

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

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I just got back from a weekend in Yellowstone. One of the sad things we saw was a coyote persistently looking through a picnic area in search of human scraps. Despite our efforts to keep him away by scowling at him, he continued on throughout the picnic area to another group of tourists. The tourists there had a dog. They were encouraging their dog to get into a fight with the coyote. This idiotic show - looking like a twisted version of what we've seen with wolves and coyotes on television - went on for awhile. Eventually, we left sensing too much danger for ourselves - with a 9-month-old baby. They wouldn't listen to us as we yelled warnings.

    First, the coyote seemed to know there was food there. Then, what good does it do to encourage a dog fight? The owners seemed to be enjoying it.

    Very disgusting. Otherwise, a very beautiful time in Yellowstone ... Lone Star Geyser and Mystic Falls with our son ... it was so lovely.

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

  • Bush Administration Plan to Remove Wolf Protections Draws Criticism   6 years 5 weeks ago

    As for the question of who counts the wolves, one answer would be a wildlife manager working in that area. As for the how do they count them, well, there are several different ways and it's a little to hard to explain. The only reason I know about them is from a wildlife/ forestry conservation course that I took, and from what I studied, the results should be accurate.

  • Groups Sue Park Service Over ORV Use in Big Cypress National Preserve   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I have been riding ORV in the cypress for years and i have felt both sides of idiousy in the park from both sides of the issue. i have on occasion picked up trash while riding, mainly beer cans. on my way out i was stopped with several cans old, dirty, sun faded cans. when i was stopped and told i was going to be given a open container ticket for every can on my bike! had a sienior officer not shown up and said something i would have been ticketed! on another ocassion after meeting up with some hickers packing up and leaving trash behind another officer this time came by and we advised him of the litter we were left with and had to clean up, he said what can you do and then did nothing as the hickers walked away. so i realy feel like if your on ORV you are just a target but if you walk the park you can do anything you want. the issue people isnt ORV it is PEOPLE in general. we should all be responsible enough to enjoy the land and keep it green. by the way , it is said that it takes years or longer for the enviroment to recover from peoples presence but when we were stopped from riding places such as at the squares it took only a few months for it to be completely grown over again, like we were never their.Mother nature is tougher than us. if you wanted to destroy the park it would take heavy equipmant ,,,,, like whats being used to install those designated trails that are redirecting water and destroying the park as well.

    and if you dont want me out their than stop making me title and register my bikes in florida! or give me a place to ride.

  • Study Says Loss of Wolves Damaging Olympic National Park's Forest Ecosystem   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Both of the comments do hold important issues in preserving the ecosystem. There are times that both are needed to bring an deterorating ecosystem back into check. Hunting by it's self isn't the answer, you need the balance of predator/prey to keep things under control after the ecosystem has been restored. The process of restoring the wolf population is only part of the equation, you will need to replant loss vegation along river/creeks bed to stop the erosion, and be able to manage those areas to ensure future growth and stability.

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

    The NPS will not have the final say on this. The Supreme Court will. The recent Heller decision said that a complete ban on firearms can be a violation of the Second Amendment.

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

    There are pros/cons to both sides of this issue, but the fact remains that guns will be carried reguardless of the outcome of this issue. (just the honest people are the ones that lose). This is AMERICA, what happened to our rights that our nation was built on? They are being stripped away by those who want to control everything. There is a name for that.......Communism!!!!

  • Study Says Loss of Wolves Damaging Olympic National Park's Forest Ecosystem   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Need a better predator/pray balance...not control hunting! Keep the damn hunters and ranchers out of the equation and let nature do it's job.

  • Study Says Loss of Wolves Damaging Olympic National Park's Forest Ecosystem   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Replace wolves with controlled hunting.