Recent comments

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Jim,

    I do have a strong interest in Native American themes, and have become a much more assertive advocate on their behalf as the 'victors version' of history has worn thin for me. I may well look into the native context that you bring up.

    However, this is not a story about Natives: It's a weapons-offense story that happens to have occurred on former Indian territory ... a circumstance that would apply equally to all the rest of North American as well.

    This story is indeed closely germane to 2nd Amendment themes - which are currently before our Nation and the National Parks constituency as rarely before - and is not an Indian-story.

    The "story of this place" may well be interesting & important, but it's a different topic.

  • Grammar Vigilantes Busted in Grand Canyon National Park, Barred from Park System   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I believe the simplistic answer to the protection of historic signage is simply, and feel free to correct (or feel indignant by the usage of) the colloquial grammar:

    The system ain't got no money for such altruistic pursuits.

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 9 weeks ago

    The park is in the poorest part of the District of Columbia; the Park Service has its local jail in that area as well. It's a very sad and filthy place - you can't go there without recognizing that racial divisions are alive and well in our country.

    It's in an area right along the riverfront, which used to be a Piscataway Indian trading area - but long gone and forgotten by most.

    And, thinking of this, one thought comes to mind - if we reduce this discussion about this place to guns and the rights to bear them, then we are severely misunderstanding the story of this place and the people who live there.

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

  • Hidden Hall of Records at Mount Rushmore   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I'm certain that the new movie, National Treasure, will stir up renewed interest in the hall and its creator.

  • Grammar Vigilantes Busted in Grand Canyon National Park, Barred from Park System   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Omar asks:

    "... why does the NPS not Protect [historic signs] from Vandalism, ie. plexiglass enclosures."
    I agree, Omar, historic artifacts deserve some thought to protection & preservation. There are different ways to protect, some of which are already implemented. The factors that weight on the plexiglass approach (which I have seen used) might run like this:
    • The sign has made it a lifetime without anybody feeling compelled to fabricate a corny excuse to vandalize it.
    • Artifacts need a range of forms of protection: e.g., plexiglass will be excessive for some roles, and insufficient for others.
    • There are huge numbers of artifacts, and the burden to provide high levels of assurance that a fool could never damage any of them could be too costly.
    • We really do depend as a society - beyond the question of a nice, local, old sign - on the good will and common sense of everyone. That approach lets us have the freedom & personal responsibility we like to enjoy as mostly reasonably human beings ... and generally this policy is efficient & effective.

    We don't hear as much about shoplifting in stores anymore, and I think that is thanks to video cameras studding the ceilings, etc. As people become conditioned to the fact that in increasing numbers of public contexts the setting is be video-recorded & monitored, substantial security improvements can be had simply by mounting a fixture that is suggestive of a camera.

    It's a tough call in some of the diverse settings where vandalism might occur, and perfection will surely elude us, but it is right & worthwhile that we think about protection and continue to seek improvements.

    Dad said (when asked if the Master lock on the barn could withstand a bullet):

    "We put locks on doors to keep good people honest, not to stop the bad ones."

  • Grammar Vigilantes Busted in Grand Canyon National Park, Barred from Park System   6 years 9 weeks ago

    If these signs and other signs around the National Parks are felt to be "Historic" (designated), then why does the NPS not Protect them from Vandalism, ie. plexiglass enclosures.
    Are the fines that are collected for vandalism going to be used to protect similar historic signs in the future?

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 9 weeks ago

    And here I thought it was illegal to have firearms in a national park! Wait..it is against the law. Plus those fully automatic weapons were not legal to possess anywhere. Silly me. Laws only apply to people that follow the law. As this article has stated, the criminals already have the weapons in our parks and the rest of us are left unprotected. Hail to the leftists for empowering these guys!

    We need to have reasonable regulations regarding firearms in the parks for those that do follow the law. The total ban we have now is unenforceable. Until we require the complete search of vehicles and persons entering the parks and put large, unscalable walls around them to limit entry, weapons will enter the parks.

    Fortunately, these two guys gave up early. Otherwise, the officers and god knows who else could have been toast. Kudos to Officers Brecht and Omo!

  • **** Viewing National Parks Traveler on Firefox 3.0****   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Yeah, but that module usually only contains the five most recent posts. On good days there might be five or six kicked out, and if you rise too late or miss a day, well, you'll miss the juice;-) And don't forget the featured post.

  • **** Viewing National Parks Traveler on Firefox 3.0****   6 years 9 weeks ago

    You've made the juice too accessible by the backdoor! I usually follow a link directly to an article from my Yahoo module. While that article is up, the Visitor Center and Recent Comments appear on the right. That's all I need. Now, if you hide those frames, I'll be forced to go to the front page, which would make me angry....and you wouldn't like me when I'm angry. ;-)

  • **** Viewing National Parks Traveler on Firefox 3.0****   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Kirby, you don't go to the front page?!?$#?!!! That's where all the juice is!

    Ted, Bill's paying me to thwart FF.

    Anon, yeah, we saw the problem with Safari, too. Not sure what became of that.

    Beamis, flattery will get you nowhere. But remember the sentiment once we get the non-profit;-)

  • Grammar Vigilantes Busted in Grand Canyon National Park, Barred from Park System   6 years 9 weeks ago

    My great-grandparents homesteaded in New Mexico, and Grandpa was raised in the classic "Three Sisters" agricultural + ranching milieu. Through him, all his kids have continued to refer to sorghum as sogrum, and are always non-plussed when somebody (who doesn't know not to..) asks, "You mean sorghum?"

    Furthermore, both Granddad's & Dad's given name is "Teen", a very rare moniker which we can't account for ... and very hard to research on the Internet.

    ... So me fuss about weird usage? Not on your sogrum pancakes!

  • Grammar Vigilantes Busted in Grand Canyon National Park, Barred from Park System   6 years 9 weeks ago

    When I lived in deepest rural South Carolina they would ask a newcomer if they "was kilt?" Which was a polite way of asking if you were married.

  • **** Viewing National Parks Traveler on Firefox 3.0****   6 years 9 weeks ago

    It's too late because I upgraded before I knew of the consequences. I'll scroll down and see what I'm missing. No biggie. You're worth the hassle Kurt.

  • Flooding Nurtures Life in Congaree National Park   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I might add that the Harry Hampton Visitor Center is among the best in the NPS. Everything from it's setting (almost invisible from 100 feet away!) to the educational dioramas and mounts to the most energetic rangers I've ever met made that VC a memorable one for me. Badlands may have just eclipsed it as my favorite VC, but I love the Harry Hampton. Which begs the question: Who was Harry Hampton?

    Wikipedia tells me he was a British hero of the Boer War.....gotta be a different Harry.

    Hmmm...seems he was an advocate for preservation of the area from back in the mid-twentieth century. I should probably learn more about him. I'm such an obsessive naturalist, I tend to overlook human history I should know.

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Strange alright ... 'course, had they been in a homicidal frame of mind, they had more than enough firepower to overwhelm the two officers - and escape. They were up to something irregular ... but maybe not a shooting-spree.

    Hope we get more info on the case.

  • **** Viewing National Parks Traveler on Firefox 3.0****   6 years 9 weeks ago

    It was sometimes like that with 2.0 on a Mac as well, and with Safari.

  • **** Viewing National Parks Traveler on Firefox 3.0****   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Now that's what I like to see: A good excuse reason not to upgrade! ;-)

  • **** Viewing National Parks Traveler on Firefox 3.0****   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I'm guessing it's this: On the front page, under the Photo of the Week, there is a Latest News headline. It's all blank space under that until the bottom where the latest news actually shows up. Not really a big deal. I never go to the front page, so I didn't notice until now.

    -Kirby.....Lansing, MI

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Hail to the NRA! Seig Heil!
    The Republicans gotta love this guy.
    Good job, America!

  • **** Viewing National Parks Traveler on Firefox 3.0****   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I'm viewing this with Firefox 3 and don't see a problem. Can you post a screenshot showing the difference?

  • The Economist Warns that America’s National Park System is in Deep, Deep Trouble   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Frank, I'm sure you had a great time knocking around in those canyons, and that they're no worse off for it. Same goes for the idylls I've enjoyed in a host of remote locations while hiking, running, climbing and biking. The occasion for the original essay is the Economist speculating that American parks are in trouble. Managing them in a way that invites new users in and gets them involved with the parks is a necessity ... otherwise the parks become an expensive (and expendable) preserve for a tiny, aging and annoyingly intolerant sliver of society. If preservation were the only mission of the NPS then their mission would be simple: keep everybody out. The reality is that we're all "entertainment seekers" out there. All park visitors have impacts and all of them need to be managed. Besides. you and I both know that anyone who is willing to hike, bike or paddle more than a few miles from the parking lot is usually going to find a whole lot of solitude. If I have to go a few miles farther because the parks are filling up with enthusiastic supporters I'll consider it a blessing.

  • Grammar Vigilantes Busted in Grand Canyon National Park, Barred from Park System   6 years 9 weeks ago

    This reminds me of 1984 where they constantly had to rewrite history so everything is consistent. One of my favorite errors, and please no one correct it, occurs on a tombstone in a ghost town outside Zion: Here lies so-and-so, "Kilt by Indians".

  • The Economist Warns that America’s National Park System is in Deep, Deep Trouble   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Mark: I, as a member of the Grant Grove Bushwhackers Club, condemn your view of off trail hiking. The best hiking is to be found off-trail, but you are right that it's not for everyone and putting on hiking boots does not automatically qualify you to be John Muir, although my hikers are far more suited to off trail than Muir's (pictured here).

    The pretentious attitude of too many park enthusiasts is that their activities are right and everyone else's are wrong

    Well, I don't know about value statements like "right" and "wrong". I do know that certain activities are "wrong" for me, however. For example, as a park ranger at Zion, I hiked all the front country trails. And hated them. Then I hiked the back country trails. I hated those, too. Finally, I got off trail. Why? Because on the Emerald Pools Trail, people hiked in high heels while talking on cell phones and blabbered incessantly about the most inane, inconsequential topics (I'm my pretentious opinion, of course.). In the Narrows, a group of Boyscouts were hooping and hollering at the top of their lungs while ripping chunks of moss off the water falls upstream from Orderville Canyon.

    So, I went off trail, exploring Zion's magnificent side canyons. I stayed off cryptobiotic soil and walked on slickrock or in washes, often without even leaving a footprint. I saw things very few have seen, and when I was there, I was the only one. Rock art, Anasazi ruins, big horn, waterfalls, fox, deep pools, cooled canyons. I am among the elite hikers who has seen these places without leaving a trace, so I will proudly wear the badge of an elitist.

    For me, this is what feels right in national parks: silence and respect. I hold no pretension that this is what's right for everyone. I do know that the way I choose to enjoy national parks doesn't interfere with anyone else's ability to enjoy a national park. Day tourists and entertainment seekers would do well to consider that.

    And we would do well not to increase any entertainment activities in parks that would interfere with other's ability to enjoy quiet contemplation or solitude.

  • Grammar Vigilantes Busted in Grand Canyon National Park, Barred from Park System   6 years 9 weeks ago

    So, any sinage left for posterity by the earliest explorers of the world, regardless of national origin, are now subject to grammatical "fixing" the self-annointed grammar police? I take it "Olde English" simply isn't an acceptable method of conveying one's ideas any longer. You go fellas......start correcting all those words ending with an extra "e" or that everso troubling vowel blend of "ou" (e.g. colour, favour) when a single "o" is sufficient. My, we've become SO self-righteous....being the "world's police" isn't good enough, we've determined we also have the right to correct language mishaps in a language that most citizens of this country can't speak or write properly anyway? Get a life, boys.

    Should've fined them another 5K for being pompous.

  • The Economist Warns that America’s National Park System is in Deep, Deep Trouble   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I'm surprised to read so many posts lauding the not-so-noble pursuit of hiking off trail! From the standpoint of recreation impact, a gaggle of tourists who stay on the trail will generally have fewer impacts on the natural world than an off-trail rambler in search of mystic connections with the landscape. The pretentious attitude of too many park enthusiasts is that their activities are right and everyone else's are wrong. Placing a birding guide in your daypack does not make you a field biologist, and donning a pair of leather hiking boots does not make you John Muir. Encouraging a broader spectrum of recreation options in national parks won't destroy them, and might significantly improve support for them, so long as the activities are well managed. Of course, some folks will always feel that they are exempt from bothersome restrictions like avoiding off-trail travel ... after all they're pursuing something noble, while the great unwashed are merely getting in the way.