Recent comments

  • Musings From Yellowstone National Park   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I agree whole heartily with Ginger on the “Distressingly White" comment. Why is it that some people cannot do anything these days without bringing race into it. Yellowstone is a beautiful, magical place and should not be a forum for race discussions. We go there as often as possible; our last trip was in August of 2007. I am an avid reader of the National Parks Traveler and held them in high regard until now. Please limit your articles to the majesty of Yellowstone. This might be the time but it certainly is not the place for that type of discussion.

  • Musings From Yellowstone National Park   6 years 9 weeks ago


    My comments about diversity were not intended to put down active rangers, but to highlight a problem that the leadership of the National Park Service itself recognizes: There simply is not enough diversity in the agency.

    More diversity is needed not just to more accurately reflect America's population, but also to encourage more minorities to both discover the national parks and see the career possibilities within the National Park Service. Without such diversity, when "white America" becomes a minority itself in the not-too-distant future there's a very real concern that there won't be enough interest in the parks to support and advocate for them.

    As for the Roughrider cabins, you're absolutely right that there's a certain romance to them. That said, I've brushed enough cobwebs out of the corners and dirt off the floors to know that most park visitors don't want that type of experience. I do see the value in these cabins, but believe a little more attention to maintaining them would make them an even better value while still holding on to the romance you cite.

    As for the gift shops, I also didn't mention that, while the bulk of Yellowstone lies within Wyoming, there's an astonishing lack of items from Wyoming artisans.

  • Musings From Yellowstone National Park   6 years 9 weeks ago

    "Distressingly White", excuse me but what is your problem. We have been going to Yellowstone every year for the last fifteen years and if you spent your time noticing how "distressingly white" the backcountry video and rangers were then I feel sorry for you. I truly hope you don't ever need help from any of those "Caucasian" rangers that you saw everywhere since it would be truly "distressing".

    As for the roughrider cabins at Roosevelt, well from someone who has stayed in them, with our six kids I might add, we loved everything about them, from the cracks in the walls that let the cold night air in all the way to the wood burning stove that some brave person would have to get up and start in the morning. Instead you seem to be more attracted to the more modern amenities. But some of us enjoy the more rustic aspects of the park. Why is it that someone always seems to be determined to fix something that doesn't need fixing.

    But one thing that you didn't comment on is the way that the gift shops have changed since Xanterra took over. Would you like to try and find a gift, except for the Huckleberry Jam, that isn't "Made in China", well if you do please let me know. It is absolutely disgraceful that in our national parks we can't have more gift items from local AMERICAN artists that are "Made in America".

    And lastly, to many of us who enjoy the park every year, we don't concentrate on the negative but instead notice that it is the most amazing and beautiful place God ever created.

  • Musings From Yellowstone National Park   6 years 9 weeks ago

    All of our beloved National Parks have more than their share of problems, as does all of America. That said, Yellowstone is a very majestic and magical place !

    In my opinion, they are doing a much better job (ranger & concessioner wise) than several other large parks. Now if we can just work things out so the wildlife can migrate in late winter to find food and survive !

  • "Hidden Fire" Continues To Burn In Sequoia National Park   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Yes, the west side of the fire is on the edge of the Skagway grove and is less than a mile from the Muir grove and the Park Ridge grove. The fire is being actively suppressed on the east side which is heading towards the road.

  • Report Shows Visiting National Parks Could be Hazardous to Your Health   6 years 9 weeks ago

    You are not the majority, you just think you’re important and therefore think you must be the majority. If you were the majority the park service wouldn’t be around anymore!

    State parks across the board do not have the money to be properly administered. When state budgets come out, it’s just like in Washington D.C., the parks suffer. Your solution is a non-solution; all it would cause is the closure and/or further degradation to the special places in America. And please, if you would leave places like the Grand Canyon and Yosemite in the hands of non-profits, you have another thing coming if you think they are going to be able to get enough cash flow to run these places without federal grants…. If the government is going to be funding them anyway, what’s the difference? The answer is difficult and your shoot from the hip quick fixes are not going to help anyone or any public lands.

    Fight the disneylandification of your parks!!!!

  • Japanese Artist Creates Peace Sculpture for Tribal Connections Interpretive Site at Devils Tower National Monument   6 years 9 weeks ago

    It's a nice idea, and a fine acknowledgement of the spiritual nature of Devil's Tower.

    I'm not sure this natural park is the proper place for a modern sculpture, however. Sounds like it's out of place. But maybe it works.


    My travels through the National Park System:

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Thank you for your comments, Anon. They lend valuable perspective to this story, and I couldn't have said it better.

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Mr. Martinez... Remember this man jumped from the bridge in the middle of the night, so the beauty and majesty which may have stopped him in the daylight eluded him. One day he is a living, vibrant person, the next an anonymous "offender" of the beauty there. I have been to the bridge. It is one of the most spectacular places on Earth, and I agree the beauty of the area defies description. I also know the young man in question. The only thought I can offer to you and others who have heard about this tragedy is that he must have felt a sense of serenity in his choice. People who take their own lives do so at a time when their good sense is compromised in some way. The time it must have taken him to soar through the air to his final destination still offered him the opportunity to make his peace and be forgiven if somehow presence of mind returned to him. No one truly knows but him and God. Please remember both him and his family and friends in your prayers.

  • Trigger-happy Man Shoots Another Rustling in the Brush   6 years 9 weeks ago

    your so right. i bet this fool doesn't even know what a hunter safety course is,or where to take one. now all of us hunters and sportsmen have to defend ourselves to the left-wing lobby about why we shouldn't have our hunter -sportsmen rights infringed on, because of one stupid drunk,from the big city.

  • Trigger-happy Man Shoots Another Rustling in the Brush   6 years 9 weeks ago

    let me clarify my statement. what i meant was the media only lets you see what they want. it's not about us law abiding citizens that carry guns in the parks and mine is always put in view, never concealed. its the irresponsible people who choose to use drugs or alchohol ,who seem to have these types of problems. we should never punish the law -abiding ,for the actions of the few.

  • The Wild Side of Yellowstone National Park   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Great story. I spent a summer in Yellowstone and it was amazing the difference when you just got 100 yards away from the road and left the crowds behind. Most tourist don't bother to go beyond the pullouts .. yet they feel they have seen Yellowstone. Really that is just scratching the surface of this beautiful place.

  • How To Buy National Park-Related Gifts Without Leaving Home   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I just got through speaking to the owner of Inner Peace Designs. They are an American company which is contracted by another company that handles all the merchandising for the National Parks. Death Valley and Zion National Park ornaments will be available by the end of this coming week. Check out their website and keep looking for these ornaments. They are online at

    Mount Rushmore ornament was just added!

  • "Hidden Fire" Continues To Burn In Sequoia National Park   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Hmmm? I think Paul was commenting on how fire is good for Sequoias, which it is. They are sensitive mostly to the outside influence of human interference. To truly protect their future survival, allowing a fire to run through them would be very useful. They thrive in burned areas. Anybody here know if the fire is in a grove area or at what elevation it is? Good luck Giants - hope you get some cat faces this year!

  • The 9/11 Anniversary Draws Attention to the Flight 93 National Memorial, an Extraordinary Work in Progress   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Bob, thanks for the links, as well.

    But reading through the links of Park Service support for the memorial design, I must say it is a shame when an NPS superintendent is reduced to having to make such a personal presentation of who she is and what she believes.

    Public servants should never be required to present themselves as personalities or advocates as if they were elected officials, political appointees or celebrities. A project is not "about" the public servant; they are our employees and should simply be implementing public direction through Congress and the Executive.

    Whether the $58 million cost of a project is disproportionate, should be a separate question from the personal beliefs of a public servant. We either need leadership in the Park Service, from the Director of the NPS or the Secretary of the Interior, or perhaps only from the Commission and the families of Fl 93, to defend the project in these terms. This sort of thing should NEVER be the job of a park superintendent. Someone else needs to step up, like the Director.

  • A Section of the Appalachian Trail Designed for Wheelchair Access Opens in Vermont   6 years 9 weeks ago

    My point is that there are plenty of other places where you can build a boardwalk in the woods for people to enjoy. A bridge over or a tunnel under a major highway so hikers don't get run over -- sure... but heaven forbid if someone had to walk in some water in the floodplain. So we're going out of our way to build IN the floodplain now... Ya know, sometimes less is more.

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Once on top of that bridge and seeing the beauty that God created how could someone take his own life in vain? That is selfish. No wonder it's a sin in God's eyes.

  • Trigger-happy Man Shoots Another Rustling in the Brush   6 years 9 weeks ago

    seems they only feed you the info they want you to hear, so you can make up your mind without seeing all sides huh.

  • Trigger-happy Man Shoots Another Rustling in the Brush   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Ric, you've almost hit the nail on the head.

    Some want to prohibit concealed carry in national parks because they believe those guns might kill people and wildlife. I'd be all for leaving guns behind if cars were banned from national parks, too. Cars kill far more than guns in these United States (cars claim more than 40,000 human lives a year) and wreak havoc on wildlife (estimated wildlife deaths are in the millions per year--I myself once killed 192 kangaroo rats on an evening drive though Lava Beds). The number of people and animals killed by guns in national park--were they allowed to be carried--would pale in comparison to the bloody carnage caused by driving in national parks. Ultimately it's not the alcohol at fault. It's the cars. Right? Just like it wasn't the alcohol at fault here. It was the .22 rifle. Ban guns, ban cars. However, there is no amendment prohibiting the government from banning cars . . .

  • A Section of the Appalachian Trail Designed for Wheelchair Access Opens in Vermont   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I LOVE the wheel chair accessible parts of the AT. Totally awesome that they made another section, I can't wait to take my parents there. My parents are getting up there in age and my Dad is now offically handicapped. During his younger years, both of my parents hiked every inch of the AT over the course of 3 summers. They loved it an have only happy stories to tell about it. My parents still go camping with my family and I, although not roughing it in tents anymore, and it's awesome to be able to take my Dad to these few places where he can go back on the AT, even in his chair. It sparks lots of memories, funny stories, and family dicussions with all 3 generations of us. Merryland doesn't get it, for those who no longer have the option of hiking due to age, injury, and illness, these few spots are an amazing opportunity to relive a section of their past that they thought was lost forever or for some, an opportunity that they never had the chance to experience. My hat goes off to the Green Mountian Club for a job well done.

  • Trigger-happy Man Shoots Another Rustling in the Brush   6 years 9 weeks ago

    It is not about needing a gun, it is about what one wants and if one wants to carry a gun into a national park, that should be OK. Just because ONE idiot shot something he couldn't see , the rest of us should not be punished for that. Put the idiot away and let the rest of us go on. If, in fact, this is his fifth alcohol related offense then why is he free anyway?

  • "Hidden Fire" Continues To Burn In Sequoia National Park   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I agree with paul. The trees are very sensitive to outside interference and fires are a big hazard.

    We need to protect these national treasures.

  • The Wild Side of Yellowstone National Park   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I recently travelled to Southern California and visited the largest tree in the world at Sequoia national park. It was a blast. I got inspiration from your blog on national parks. Keep it up.

  • Pruning the Parks: Shoshone Cavern National Monument (1909-1954) Would Have Cost Too Much to Develop   6 years 9 weeks ago

    The so called Poverty Point National Monument is another prime candidate. While Congress made the declaration in 1988 to take this amazing prehistoric site in federal hands, the state of Louisiana believes their Poverty Point State Park is perfectly fine and does not even think about handing it over.

  • Pilgrim Places: Civil War Battlefields, Historic Preservation, and America’s First National Military Parks, 1863-1900, Part VII   6 years 9 weeks ago


    Quite enjoyable, and very informative body of work. I found it interesting how the different battlefields were saved in different time periods, especially in regard to Gettysburg.

    I reside in Richmond, Va., where we are literaly surrounded by National Battlefield parks, as well as state and private Civil War parks. The South was indeed late getting into the game, but I suppose that can be attributed to the fact that the region was so decimated at the conclusion of the war, that there were no extra resources for such conservation. Virginia in particular was so war-ravaged that it took until nearly the turn of the century for the area to fully recover.

    From the seat where I write this, I am within a couple of miles of Chickahominy Bluffs NBP, which recently received a much needed facelift. The entire swath of Maclellan's failed Peninsula campaign lies just beyond the swamp that is known as the Chickahominy River, and basically within the arc that I-295 creates East of Richmond. With so much history in your hometown, sometimes it's easy to overlook it with complacency. That's why the conservation of these areas is so important.

    I would like to see you delve deeper into the Southern National Battlefields, The ones in the Richmond area in particular.

    Thanks for a truly fascinating read!