Recent comments

  • House Fails to Pass Massive Lands Bill That Would Have Aided National Park System   6 years 2 weeks ago

    As a little more detail on what happened here, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tried to pass this bill under "suspension of the rules" - a procedure that doesn't allow for amendments, but requires a 2/3 vote for passage. This was important because it was an ordeal to get this bill passed by the Senate over a filibuster by Senator Coburn of Oklahoma. If the House makes any amendments to the Senate bill, then the bill will have to go back to the Senate for another vote (and survive another filibuster) one way or the other before final passage. This was why we've been waiting so long for the House to take action for this vote, as supporters of the bill tried to count up votes to ensure that they had the 2/3 majority. In the end, supporters of the bill fell just 2 votes shy of the 2/3 needed for passage. There will now need to be a strategic decision made as to whether to try and get those 2 votes for another attempt at passage under suspension of the rules, or whether to try and use a combination of parliamentary procedure and sheer voting power to strike down any proposed amendments under regular voting procedures, or whether to just accept amendments and send this bill back to the Senate (which may delay final passage for months - or even until well into 2010).

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Get over it, NSSF. It's a new day, a new administration, and science is back on the table.
    Perhaps the lead present in the entrails of culled animals is minimal, but it's still there. It's toxic, and it will build up over time, perhaps hundreds of years, to present a risk. Why wait until it's an "issue"?
    Bravo NPS.

  • House Fails to Pass Massive Lands Bill That Would Have Aided National Park System   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Less wilderness, more trails for riding our bikes. Frankly, it works for me.

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Upholds Delisting of Gray Wolves in Part of Yellowstone Ecosystem   6 years 2 weeks ago

    I find it hard to believe that Interior Secrateru Slazar would OK the removal of wolves from the endangered species list.I had hoped the the new administration would be a kinder administration when it comes to wildlife and the enviroment, but its politics as usual. The Obama administration seems to follow the Bush policy when it comes to wildlife and the enviroment. I sincerely hope a well informed judge will overturn the Slazar decision. Why is it that Slazar dislikes wolves so much?

  • House Fails to Pass Massive Lands Bill That Would Have Aided National Park System   6 years 2 weeks ago


    Thanks for keeping us informed on this!

  • Ahhh, When it Snows At Bryce Canyon National Park....   6 years 2 weeks ago

    And would you believe I've lived here all my life and went 25 yrs without even entering the park. It's amazing how every where I go now I am looking for a photo op, and have a whole different perspective of nature.

  • Ahhh, When it Snows At Bryce Canyon National Park....   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Thank you, Marion, for sharing your pictures and impressions. Bryce is a great spot in early summer, when I was there. It must be very special in winter.

  • Philatelists Rejoice: New Stamps Honoring Zion and Grand Teton National Parks On The Way   6 years 2 weeks ago

    The Zion stamp shows not exactly an iconic landmark of the park, so I doubt it really can raise the attention it would deserve. The Teton Range over Jackson Hole is a classic and the image with fog raising from Snake River is beautiful.

  • Can You Still Get Off the Beaten Path in National Parks?   6 years 2 weeks ago

    "How much have the national parks changed since you were a kid? Have they changed?"
    May 2008 I had the pleasure of accompanying a family to Angel Arch.
    The father was a ten year old when his dad took a 4x4 tour up to Angel Arch. This father returned to bring his own sons (young teenagers) to experience a journey he recalls fondly from his own youth-hood.
    Angel Arch is in the Needles District Of Canyonlands, ten miles up the Salt Creek from Peek-a-boo.
    Peek-a-boo is the last vehicle access and requires a permit to enable passage through a locked gate.
    Once open to 4 wheeling; Salt Creek closed in 1998 to protect the perennial stream coursing there.
    The family undertook a bare bones back pack overnight trip to fulfill the father's nostalgic longing.

    This park visitor got something different. And it falls far from the inspiring writer's comment, "Most parks look more like New York City than anything I remembered".

    Michele Hill
    Facility and Events Promoter
    Moab Area Travel Council

  • Ahhh, When it Snows At Bryce Canyon National Park....   6 years 2 weeks ago

    The silence was golden,only the awakening ravens caws was heard.

  • Ahhh, When it Snows At Bryce Canyon National Park....   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Can you imagine the aromatic fresh air after a nice snow like John Muir would say--"delicious"!

  • Building a Tour Boat For Voyageurs National Park Can't Be Done Overnight   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Good question, DK. Here's the answer:

    The boat will be trucked on two semis. The top half and the bottom half each on a vehicle. The marine company will then take about two weeks to put it together at the park or at a local yard. That will be followed by another two weeks of testing and Coast Guard certification.

  • Accessibility in the National Park System   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Thanks for the ideas.

    I've hiked a few of these, including Arches, Kolob Canyon and part of the Needles District of Canyonlands, which I found rough going. Previous warnings kept me away from the Great Gallery, but now I'm reconsidering. Your suggestions also got me interested in Mt. Rainier, which I will be visiting in a few months.

    Anyway, I keep track of these excurstions on my essay page at, and I look forward to venturing into as many of these as possible.

  • Building a Tour Boat For Voyageurs National Park Can't Be Done Overnight   6 years 2 weeks ago


    What I was interested in while looking at it is how will it be delivered to Voyageurs? Is it trucked ?

  • How Valuable Are Fossilized Mammoth Bones To the National Park System?   6 years 2 weeks ago

    Because the park service has managed the resources at DINO so well, getting rid of 2 of the 3 paleontologist and not fixing or taking care of the quarry building in a timely fashion. I think giving the NPS Cleveland-Lloyd would be a horrible idea.

  • How Valuable Are Fossilized Mammoth Bones To the National Park System?   6 years 2 weeks ago

    "But is this site unique enough to be added to the National Park System...?"

    The career professionals at the National Park Service have apparently answered "yes" to this question, and a quick read of their Final Report makes it clear why. The report can be accessed here:

    Here is a key passage from the executive summary:
    "The combination of both in situ articulated skeletal remains and the excavated specimens from the site represents the nation’s first and only recorded discovery of a nursery herd of Pleistocene mammoths. The
    resource possesses exceptional interpretive value and provides superlative opportunities for visitor enjoyment and scientific study."

    The Special Resource Study goes on to evaluate a number of management alternatives, including a non-NPS alternative, but concludes that the current lack of resources to accommodate visitation is insufficient for a site of such prominent National significance. This would be an important distinction for this site from places like Monticello and Mount Vernon that have well-developed visitor resources.

  • Grand Teton National Park Rangers Spending Their Days Rescuing Skiers   6 years 2 weeks ago

    So searching for lost citizens shouldn't be a taxpayer's expense, but war and country building should? As should bailing out failing multi-billion dollar corporations? What about those idiots? I'd rather see tax dollars spent rescuing a million kindred spirits who took a wrong turn, and besides that providing these kinds of services are exactly why some of those rescuers became rangers in the first place. They wanted to help people and spend time outside.

  • How Valuable Are Fossilized Mammoth Bones To the National Park System?   6 years 2 weeks ago

    This would only be appropriate in the National Park system if there were very unique geological characteristics associated with the site. Simply because there are a lot of fossils here - and they are apparantly readily accessable - is not sufficient reason. There are lots and lots of places around the country with fossils of all types. If we accept a national park for mammoth fossils, then I can see dozens of other sites that should also be national parks because they have fossils of other types of extinct animals/reptiles/etc. Let's not saddle the National Park system with another unfunded mandate.

  • How Valuable Are Fossilized Mammoth Bones To the National Park System?   6 years 2 weeks ago

    While Monticello is no doubt significant, consider that the Thomas Jefferson Foundation "as a private, nonprofit organization . . . receives no regular federal or state budget support for its twofold mission of preservation and education". If a private, nonprofit is able to preserve and educate without taxpayer funds, why should it be placed in a political system that cannot maintain its current historic holdings?

    Monticello is a model for how NPS historic sites could be operated, and the management of NPS historic sites serves as an anti-role model.

  • Can You Still Get Off the Beaten Path in National Parks?   6 years 2 weeks ago

    For Canyonlands/Arches, in the summer I highly recommend camping up in the La Sal mountains in Manti-La Sal NF, and day-tripping into Arches (& Fisher Tower). The Squaw Flats campground in Canyonlands (Needles district) requires arrival well before noon to obtain a campsite, especially one of the isolated sites where you won't hear your neighbors' generators. Both have wonderful dark sky at night for stargazing.

    In the southern Sierra, as an uncrowded alternative to Sequoia, try Mountain Home State Forest (not state park). Even the first weekend in August the campgrounds (classic overbuilt picnic tables, fire rings, pit toilets, and water every few sites) were half full, although the Tulare county park campground at Balch Park (with flush toilets & showers) was full. Biologically interesting: sequoias in mixed stands with giant cedars & sugar pines (well over 6' diameter), as opposed to sequoias in groves in filled in meadows nearly everywhere else.

  • Bear Grass in Glacier National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    I can confirm that some years there is definitely as much beargrass in Glacier. And, yes, it's cyclical. Wish I could remember the cycle!! ;)


  • Can You Still Get Off the Beaten Path in National Parks?   6 years 2 weeks ago

    And for NPS sites, it's hard to beat smaller, out-of-the-way national monuments like Sunset Crater, Wupatki, and my favorite, Lava Beds. These places are relatively empty even during summer months, and if you go in the off season, prepare for extreme solitude. On many occasions, I've driven the twenty-some miles through Lava Beds without seeing another vehicle on the road.

    There's lots of solitude waiting for those willing to venture beyond the asphalt and away from visitor complexes.

  • Stimulating the National Parks: Good For the Short-Term, But Then What?   6 years 2 weeks ago

    The truth is that what you've got in the Washington office are mainly bureaucrats, agency wonks and simpering sycophants all with spines of linguini. If y'all are looking to WASO for some faint signs of hope or the promise of systemic change you really need to learn the ways of the Imperial City and try to understand that it no longer works and the parks need a new set of stewards.

    I know you're tired of hearing it from me but your faith in Leviathan to do the right thing is misplaced at best and downright pig-headed at worst. So far, just the taxpayer money wasted to keep a dying General Motors afloat for an additional three months would've been sufficient to erase the entire NPS maintenance backlog in one fell swoop. Why was money given to the rusting Detroit monolith instead of the NPS? Where do you think the average taxpayer would've preferred these confiscated funds to have gone? GM or Yellowstone? That's an easy one to answer. Why did the mandarins in DC do otherwise?

    Do y'all really think these clowns care about the parks? If they did it has certainly been within their power for them to act in concrete ways. Why haven't they? If you don't start realizing that the national parks are not a genuine priority at any level of the federal government, your faith in them is nothing but a suckers game. Nuff said?

  • A Look Back On Search-And-Rescue History In Grand Teton National Park   6 years 2 weeks ago

    I was lucky enough to sit in on a brown bag lunch presentation by Ranger Renny Jackson while attending training at Grand Teton National Park. Ranger Jackson is in incredible speaker and shares his vast amount of experience with an ease that can only come with complete confidence in your training. I highly recommend listening if you have the opportunity - it will swell your chest with pride knowing such amazing people wear the green and grey.

  • Comment Now: General Gun Regulations for Areas Administered By the National Park Service   6 years 2 weeks ago

    I personally am a skinny 25 year old that backpacks alone in pursuit of landscape photographs. I am always very scared in our National Parks as I'm almost always alone. Bear spray doesn't cut it- so why can't I protect myself with a pistol my dad got me so he didn't have to worry about me getting mauled, robbed, or whatever. I think there should be extremely strict penalties and mandatory fines for misuse. And If anyone shoots at a ranger there should be mandatory jail time. I don't know if it would be possible to monitor but convicted felons with guns in national parks should a top concern.
    zack weinstein