Recent comments

  • What's Driving All The Shaking At Yellowstone National Park?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    The Yellowstone Caldera's "three supereruptions occurred 2.1 million, 1.3 million and 640,000 years ago", but "Over 20 large craters have been produced [by hydrothermal (steam) explosions] in the past 14,000 years since the glaciers retreated from Yellowstone, resulting in such features as Mary Bay, Turbid Lake and Indian Pond.".

    Few will fail to notice that 800,000 years lapsed between the 1st and 2nd supereruptions, that 660,000 years separated the 2nd & 3rd events, and that it has now been 640,000 years since the last ... continent-scale devastation. While uncertainties of a few thousand years put the possibility of a 4th supereruption beyond our immediate personal concern, it is geologically due 'at any time'.

    In terms of the National Parks Traveler website and Parks-aficionados in general, the significance of any sort of sustained or 'patterned' activity within the Caldera-complex is that it will quickly arouse 'national-interest' attention. In addition to a large increase in surface research projects which will entail vehicular and airborne support year-round, it is easy to imagine that more or less extensive exploratory drilling into the formations could be indicated & undertaken.

    There are obviously gigawatts of steam energy beneath Yellowstone, and it has been suggested that this energy be tapped, commercially. If rising hydrothermal pressures (which raise security-fears) could be relieved by installing geothermal electrical generating plants, then that may become a recommendation.

    Occasional sessions of burping & gurgling under Yellowstone will generate only passing spates of media-reports, but ongoing, 'patterned', or dramatic/scary events will lead to a Cold War-style scientific confrontation at the Caldera (and Park), maybe a little or lots of investigative drilling, and possibly even commercialization of the underground steam.

  • Mount Rainier National Park Offers a Snowplay Area and Guided Snowshoe Walks   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Have you ever used a sturdy trash bag? It's fun to have one in your pack and use it when you encounter a snowfield on a suitable slope. A number of years ago I got to use it on Lassen Peak in Lassen Volcanic National Park. It was in June and technically the summit trail was still closed for the season, but we wanted to hike it anyway and did so. On the way down we used our bags on every slope. The whole descent felt like a matter of minutes and was lots of fun.

    I do not recommend hiking closed trails. But if you happen to be in the mountains when you might stumble on mid size or large snowfields on gentle slopes, just pack one sturdy trash bag or something similar for every participant and have fun.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 3 weeks ago

    I think this says it all:

    “While proponents of the rule change have maintained park visitors' safety is at stake, statistics would seem to indicate otherwise, as crime data show the park system to be one of the safest places in the nation.”

    And what percentage of the population have permits to carry, very few I would imagine. As to Florida, and other warm weather states, they seem to draw more criminals than others, maybe that’s why there are more permits, the law bidding residents want them.

  • Update: Will a “Chop and Drop” Strategy Rescue the Presidio’s Contemporary Art Museum Project?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    The Park Traveler omits a very important fact: the Presidio of San Francisco is part of a national park. NPS Management Policies permit construction of new "cultural facilities" in a national park only when five strictly defined standards are met. A contemporary art museum in the Presidio fails four of the five tests. These restrictions were designed to prevent the resources of our national parks from being overrun with well-intentioned museums and private philanthropic "gifts". A similar "gift" is being resisted near the Westward Arch in St. Louis, where a wealthy person wants to build a museum.

    The guiding principle that has served our national parks for almost a century is to preserve the resources of the parks for future generations. Building facilities that are unrelated to the purposes of the park, as defined in their establishing legislation, is a sure way to impair public understanding of the resources.

  • Update: Will a “Chop and Drop” Strategy Rescue the Presidio’s Contemporary Art Museum Project?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    As far as I know, repurposing existing buildings has never been considered a viable alternative to new construction, which is what the Fishers have wanted from the beginning. Judging from the CAMP proposals, the Fishers have no particular commitment to historic preservation per se, but simply believe that the historic Presidio provides the right context for their museum.

  • Update: Will a “Chop and Drop” Strategy Rescue the Presidio’s Contemporary Art Museum Project?   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Why can't they simply turn 6-8 of the existing buildings into museum space, and scatter the galleries throughout the Presidio?

    I don't have a problem with business ventures operating at NPS sites. I think you can have that, AND preserve the historic integrity of the building and grounds. Sure, they may have to rearrange interior walls and probably reinforce the structure of existing buildings to handle all the foot traffic, but it's better than further cutting into the landscape to build new buildings.

    Oh, and drop the cineplex idea completely. Movie revenues are dropping sharply and will continue to do so. There are abandoned movie theaters all over this country, including mega-multiplexes. Ruining a historic site to build a known, failed business venture is madness.


    My travels through the National Park System:

  • Mount Rainier National Park Offers a Snowplay Area and Guided Snowshoe Walks   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Tahoma, I'm going to skip the normal vetting process and unilaterally present you with Traveler's Obfuscatespeak Award for 2008. That musteline thing was very clever! And thanks for alerting me to that website with all the fascinating cold and snow info. I'm something of a weatherhound, having learned at an early age (while hunting and trapping in the Michigan snow and cold) that "It's better to be weatherwise than otherwise."

    Donna, I envy you the opportunity to enjoy the snowplay area at Paradise. BTW, have you ever used a cafeteria tray or a flattened cardboard box for sliding? A thousand years ago, when I was an undergrad at Western Michigan University in snowy (and hilly) Kalamazoo, we used to press those items into service for sliding after every fresh snowfall.

  • Mount Rainier National Park Offers a Snowplay Area and Guided Snowshoe Walks   6 years 3 weeks ago

    This snow lover doesn't care who holds the record. She just wants to play in it. Thanks, Bob, for reminding me about the snowplay area at Paradise. I've added it to my travel list.

  • Going to Denali Next Summer? It's Not Too Soon to Make Some Essential Reservations   6 years 3 weeks ago

    A happy new year to all the team and the readers.

    Thanks Pete, that is what I hoped to hear. That it is possible to experience the park without planning several months ahead. Probably one will not be able to do exactly what one prefers on a weekend in August but from all I know the park is so spectacular that pretty much everywhere you can experience something special.

  • Mount Rainier National Park Offers a Snowplay Area and Guided Snowshoe Walks   6 years 3 weeks ago

    Thanks for the clarification, Bob, and apologies for misinterpreting your original post. You're certainly not a talking musteline! I thought you might be interested in the following snippets from: The brackets are mine for clarity.

    "From the mid 1950's until 1999, this location [Paradise] held the world record for measured snowfall in a single season, and it was the only station in the world to have recorded snowfalls of over 1000 inches in a season. In 1998-99, Paradise once again topped 1000 inches for the first time in a quarter-century, yet its longstanding seasonal snowfall record was eclipsed by the Mount Baker Ski Area, which recorded 1140 inches (2896 cm) at its upper base area (4200 ft / 1300 m). However, Paradise still retains the world records for...average annual snowfall, with a mean of 717 inches (1821 cm) over the official 1971-2000 period of record and 692 inches (1758 cm) over the 50 years of consecutive data since 1954...24-hour [snowfall] 70", November 26, 1955...monthly [snowfall] 363", January 1925...[and] Maximum (on ground) 367", March 10, 1956."

    This website contains a wealth of information and references concerning Cascade weather and snowfall and will provide hours of entertainment for any other snow lovers out there.

  • Glen Canyon Marina Fire Damage Estimate: $3-$5 Million   6 years 4 weeks ago

    I know the lay of the land very well. No dobt NPS Rangers are the best first responders in the world. I might suggest the story did not give enough credit to the conssesonaire staff who were no dobt part of the first responce efforts if not "the" first. One can safely asume a great deal of assistance came from Bullfrog Habor Maintenance as well, not that I have any regard for ARAMARK.

    Its a Blessing that no one was lost or harmed.

  • National Park Service Agrees, Conditionally, to Keep Yellowstone's Sylvan Pass Open For Snowmobiling   6 years 4 weeks ago

    By the way, following up on Cheney's involvement, Cheney admits himself that he was involved. See this interview from this weekend:

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

  • Sky-High Ginseng Prices Boost Illegal Harvest in Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 4 weeks ago

    for sure you can find older root where others do not look it does not have to be a large hill or wooded area the ginseng only has to be there

  • Power Outages Lead to Closures in Sequoia National Park   6 years 4 weeks ago

    I work at the Lodge and Im in Three Rivers CA for a few days. It is not safe to travel in the Park at this time, however the town of Three Rivers is a nice option with many lodging choices. It is really beautiful here this time of year but if you're looking for snow, maybe try Yosemite or somewhere in the Tahoe area. I would think that when I return to work, we'll have several days of clean up so plan your trips accordignly. The snow is good above 3000' in the Sequoia area. The skiing is not that good, since there is not much of a base, however snowshoeing and snowplay is good.

  • Mount Rainier National Park Offers a Snowplay Area and Guided Snowshoe Walks   6 years 4 weeks ago

    You're right about Mount Baker's record snowfall, Tahoma, and that sure is a LOT of snowfall! But this is what I said in the article (italics added):

    You are not likely to run out of snow at Paradise, which is the world’s snowiest place where measurements are regularly taken. The highest annual snowfall recorded there, the one for the 1971-972 winter season, was 93.5 feet. To include the full winter season, the measurement period extends from July 1 to June 30.

    I didn't say that Paradise holds the record for the greatest annual snowfall. I simply said that Paradise got 93.5 feet in one snow season. As far as I know, Paradise remains the world's snowiest place where snowfall is regularly measured. That's based on average annual snowfall, which is what "snowiest place" means.

    In similar fashion, Hilo, Hawaii, is the rainiest city in America based on number of days with rain each year. However, hundreds of other cities and towns in America have had more rainfall in a year, more rainfall in 24 hours, etc., etc., etc.

    I'll let you judge whether this is all weaselspeak.

  • Mount Rainier National Park Offers a Snowplay Area and Guided Snowshoe Walks   6 years 4 weeks ago

    An old joke maintains that there are only two seasons at Paradise, winter and the Fourth of July. However, it's no longer 'the world's snowiest place'. Mt. Baker ski area in northern Washington has been the annual snowfall record holder since 1999 with 1,140 inches:

  • With Winter Hitting Much of the Country Hard, There Are Many Ski Opportunities in the National Parks   6 years 4 weeks ago

    I dont have a real recollection of unbearable train noise. It might depend whether you are on the "track side" or the other side, in the lodge, the cabooses or the new cabins. Perhaps the deep snow in the Izaak Walton Inn area muffles the sound somewhat, while in Belton, which I remember as being more of a valley, the train sounds are confined and seem louder. Just conjecture, but why not?

  • Going to Denali Next Summer? It's Not Too Soon to Make Some Essential Reservations   6 years 4 weeks ago

    So many years ago I was there I cannot give you a certain answer, but I do believe that there is room for someone who has the spontaneity you desire.

    My feeling is that you can be certain of being able to go somewhere in the park. As far as camping at Wonder Lake - maybe yes and maybe no. In other words, if you are going to be truly spontaneous you may also have to be flexible. Aside from campgrounds filling up, there is always the possibility of certain areas being closed for various reasons, including nesting, bear activity, or other "acts of god". In these instances, some areas can be closed even if you have reservations.

    But Denali has the dual identity you seek - some room for the wayfarer, and some room for the planned (packaged) tour. Why not aim for something in-between if you can (for your first trip). Book in at Camp Denali (look up the url yourself if you are so inclined... I am not advertising the place). There you can have the proximity to Wonder Lake and a certainty of accomodations. Then take a few days after that and see where you can go in the park. After several summers there I can guarantee a great trip no matter where you hike. I especially loved the idea of very few trails (none actually in most places). You will get used to wet socks and boots that go squish squish as you trudge through the moss.

    Good luck!


  • Cascade Pass, North Cascades National Park   6 years 4 weeks ago

    I have posted several photos from my hike of Cascade Pass. It is a great hike.

  • Improving Paradise: Mount Rainier National Park Gets a Fine New Visitor Center   6 years 4 weeks ago

    I visited last year and the old visitor center really did need to be replaced. The park is amazing. Here are some photos of my visit to Mt. Rainer

  • Have You Ever Sneaked Into Shiloh National Military Park?   6 years 4 weeks ago

    I'd still be careful with that "exactly at dawn" thing, MRC. Though the first shots were fired in twilight, firsthand accounts make it clear that the initial contact took place during full dark ( official records have it at 4:55 a.m.). A true Civil War fanatic might very well want to be at Fraley Field (the place where the opening shots were fired) at the time when the Federal patrol first encountered the Confederates -- and that would be in full dark. I have no doubt that some of the sneak-ins occur for that reason.

  • Have You Ever Sneaked Into Shiloh National Military Park?   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Very impressive, MRC!

    In the spirit of fun, I can't resist noting it's a good thing Daylight Savings Time wasn't in effect at the time of the battle, or this subject could be even more interesting. Was that 5:15 a.m. Standard Time or Daylight Savings Time?

    Under those circumstances, confusion about the time might have changed the course of history. As the various commanders were synchronizing watches to coordinate the start of the surprise attack, at least one of them probably would have been muttering under his breath, "Dang, was I supposed to 'spring forward' or 'fall back' last Sunday at 2 a.m.?"

  • With Winter Hitting Much of the Country Hard, There Are Many Ski Opportunities in the National Parks   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Good addition, Claire. But can you tell me how noisy it is with the train tracks so close? I've thought a stay in the Belton Inn in West Glacier would be nice, but I've heard the trains running all hours of the day and night can take some getting used to.

  • With Winter Hitting Much of the Country Hard, There Are Many Ski Opportunities in the National Parks   6 years 4 weeks ago

    Arguably the most unique national park ski/snowshoe opportunities, are Glacier National Park's winter trails accessed directly from the Izaak Walton Inn. Set in a snow-rich valley between the park and the Great Bear Wilderness, the inn grooms and tracksets more thean 30 km of x-c trails and also has a permit to lead ski/snowshoe tours into the park. On the map, it's in West Essex, off US Hwy 2 and also a flagstop for Amtrak's Empire Builder. See

  • Have You Ever Sneaked Into Shiloh National Military Park?   6 years 4 weeks ago

    I thought it would be fun to be there in the morning of April 6. Your description was lively and I liked it a lot. So I looked for the time of sunrise at that time and location and was thrilled that calsky offered to calculate it even for the 19th century. The coincidence that 5:15 was exactly the beginning of dawn was too good not to mention here. Thanks for the post and the reply.