Recent comments

  • Crater Lake, On Average, Is Deepest Lake in North America   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Thanks for bringing us this story. No matter its depth (average or maximum or otherwise), Crater Lake for me is the most beautiful lake I've ever seen.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    The only reason I can think of why anybody would oppose deepening the "CRC", is someone who has never been to Lake Powell. Someone who has never traveled up-lake through the "Maytag Straits" on a busy day in the summer. Someone who has never been hurt or injured (or heard stories about the same) up-lake and waiting that extra emergency response time for medical assistance.

    The "CRC" has no cultural or historical significance. It has been deepened twice previously. When (or if) this prolonged drought ends, it will not be seen again. There will be no visible "scar" on the landscape.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    I fail to see why anyone would be against this project. It's a win for "Environmentalists" in fuel savings and reduction of exhaust emissions. It's a win for boaters and fishermen. It's a win for the NPS and the over all safety of those using the area in greatly improved response time to emergency and potentially life-threatening situations. What's not to like?

    All we're really talking about here is the removal of some silt accumulation from a channel that has been deepened twice in the last 30 years. No virgin sandstone deposits are being threatened and there is no impact on either the paleontology, geology, or historical sites of the GCNRA. I say, "Git 'ur done!"

  • The Yellowstone Precedent   6 years 22 weeks ago

    I am not arguing that snow coaches wouldn't be a better choice. But to put it in perspective how would the general public feel towards limiting the number of automobiles during the summer months? Or lets do away with personal conveyances completely and only allow access by hybrid buses. I would be in favor of this type of measure but I also realize not everyone would be so accepting. I am happy that there is at least some form of restrictive action being taken and that the issue is being debated. I am disgusted with the fact that many who had the opportunity to take action in the past are now the voices who criticize and point the blame towards the current administration. I do have hope that there are those on both sides who truly wish to see improvements in the process rather than political advantages.

  • The Yellowstone Precedent   6 years 22 weeks ago


    You're correct that this dilemma did not arrive overnight. But I wonder what you mean when you say, "at least this current administration is doing something"?

    The record of the past six years clearly shows that each time a study was conducted and pointed out that snow coaches were the cleaner alternative for the park, the administration ignored it and insisted on a new study. Even the most recent EIS points out that BAT snow coaches emit fewer emissions in the form of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide than snowmobiles and are quieter, and yet the administration still supports snowmobiles.

    You can find all the latest technical documents at this site. The emissions data are in Chapter 4.

    As far as the requirements that all snowmobiles be BAT 4-strokes, stay on the roads, and be guided: 1) The science shows BAT snow coaches are cleaner than BAT 4-strokes; 2) snowmobiles have always been required to stay on the park's roads, and there have been numerous infractions of that requirement, and; 3) as this story demonstrates, even supposedly guided trips can be dangerous.

  • The Yellowstone Precedent   6 years 22 weeks ago

    It looks more like an example of Al Gorism...The coalition of NPS Retirees were the guys who had power and control for the last 25 years and did nothing about the snowmobiles in Yellowstone. Now they want to blame the Bushies for taking too little action. At least the current administration is doing something. Don't dare mention that the new policy restricts the number and type of snowmobiles, only allowing travel on existing roads and only allowing 4 strokers. The other side will say that they didn't have the scientific information that is now available....I find it difficult to believe that NPS leaders of the past couldn't figure out that screaming unrestricted smoke bellowing snowmobiles did damage to the environment. I doubt MSNBC (Make Sure No Bush Compliments) will cover this story accurately.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 22 weeks ago


    Shame on you hunters that call yourselves 'men'. You are a disgrace to the majority of decent minded people of your wonderful country. I do not like hunting in any form but am prepared to maintain an open mind but what I have seen here is in no way fair play. The law must be changed to stop this mindless slaughter which cannot in any way be referred to as 'sport'. I hope to visit Alaska next year and would pray that some progress will have been made to stop this senseless behaviour.

  • Park History: Arches National Park   6 years 22 weeks ago

    One should mention another highlight of Arches NP. Do the ranger let walk into the Fiery Furnace section. It is kind of a nursery for arches, here you can see them in the making. There is at least one tour every day and if you are hooked, you can return to the area on your own - but need a backcounty permit for that.

  • Park History: Theodore Roosevelt National Park   6 years 22 weeks ago

    My wife and I stopped at TRNP South Unit for an afternoon on our way out to Olympic this past summer. We were really entertained by all the prairie dogs along the road. And the bison nursing her calf in the middle of the road. We had to wait for them to move! And the color of some of the rocks remind us of Zion NP. We hope to spend a night there next summer on our vacation and also catch the northern unit.

  • Plague Suspected In Death Of Grand Canyon National Park Employee   6 years 22 weeks ago


    You're obviously very close to the situation that happened with Mr. York, and as such I hope you will accept my most sincere condolences on the loss of your comrade. I never professed any knowledge of Eric, but I too feel a loss whenever a member of our brotherhood passes, whether after a long and distinguished career or most prematurely, as it was in this case.

    I'm also sorry that you didn't locate the information, biographical or otherwise, that you were seeking when you chose to investigate this column. But Kurt, one of the editors and co-founders of this site, handled the posting of what information was available at the moment in a much more sensitive and humane manner than did say, the original AP story that I picked up on via another "strictly news" site. I'm sure your anger towards the editor was mostly a result of the frustration you felt at not being able to resource the depth of information which you were seeking. But the columns that appear within the scope of this site are hardly the stuff of which the term
    "garbage" would be a proper classification. What this site is meant to be is an exchange of ideas, opinions, information, on a variety of topics, mostly related to issues on a wide scope of within the auspices of the NPS. Since your friend was in the employ of the park services, this story was indeed appropriate. If you would care to enlighten all of the readers and contributors, like myself, to any additional information that you might be willing to share regarding more specific details of the circumstances surrounding the passing of Mr. York, I know that many people would be most interested in your findings.

    Again, as a fellow biological scientist of your friend Eric, please accept my deepest sympathies.

  • Museum of the National Park Service Will be Built in West Virginia   6 years 22 weeks ago

    I'm astounded... speechless. Americans love their National Parks, of this there is no doubt. It is one of the only efforts our government makes that actually preserves the natural beauty and historical sites of this country, and actually touches the lives of regular Americans. But a museum???? to the NPS???? Are they NUTS??? What a horrible waste. Right now there is a huge backlog of maintenance for NP sites, and they are going to spend money aggrandizing a government department? What's next -- a museum of the General Accounting Office?

    "It will house significant artifacts drawn from national parks" - WHAT? They will remove artifacts from National Parks and re-locate them from where they have any relevence to some building in West VA?

    Yes - this has Byrd poop all over it.

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 22 weeks ago

    This is funny. This type of "crime" has gone on for many decades. My in-laws both worked with the BOI and I think my father-in-law built up a nice workshop with Gov't tools. I know he sure passed some my way. I can remember when the Fed budget wasn't passed during Clinton's term and they all had a paid 3 week vacation. My in-laws came to visit and whined and whined about being out of work for 3 weeks. After a couple days of that I reminded them it was a "paid vacation" and one that no workin stiff who pays their wages would EVER get. They got in a huff and left in their motorhome for other more friendly places. Oh yeah, they did get paid for that lost time. That, to me, was the same as stealing the taxpayer's money.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Haunted Hiker said: Devil's advocacy aside, the NPS seems to have much more urgent problems than to spend precious funds "planning to plan" in order to open a channel up to boaters."

    As long as the process dictates that the NPS perform an EA to undertake what is specifically removing a couple of feet of silt and rock from the now dry lake floor, then so be it. The Castle Rock Cut widening project is a win for the environment (less gas and carbon generated by boaters) and safety (shaves at least an hour off first responder times). The NPS process has been perverted by environmentalist to slow down (aka preserve) the status quo at NRAs. In the case of Lake Powell, the Castle Rock Cut issue gives them hope that if the drainers stop this project, they can eventually get the Glen Canyon Dam removed. Pipe dream of the Abbey followers for a long time. It is time they get a clue, boaters have rights to the NRA they recreate in and we are going to make sure our requirements for safe/quick passage are recognized by the NPS in what should be a trivial administrative process to get the CRC open to boaters at 3600’

  • The Yellowstone Precedent   6 years 22 weeks ago

    This is another example of this administration pandering to groups that oppose ecological restraint. It makes little difference what science say if it disagrees with the environmental terrorists of the Bush administration. Atypical example is "reducing fire hazards"by cutting older trees but leaving the undergrowth, which is where the fire propagates.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    May I offer another person that should be banned from the national park quotation lexicon: Freeman Tilden! His sappy blather has guided the interpretive process in the NPS for well over a half century and it's high time that the agency stepped out of its darkened shadow. I offer a couple gems from this supposed genius:

    "The true interpreter...goes beyond the apparent to the real, beyond a part to the whole, beyond a truth to a more important truth."

    "I have always thought of our Service as an institution, more than any other bureau, engaged in a field essentially of morality--the aim of man to rise above himself, and to choose the option of quality rather than material superfluity."

    Tilden's work has not only faded into a quaint anachronism, but has mired the field of interpretation in its murky syrup for way too long. If Abbey goes-----I say Tilden too!

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    HH: So if quoting Ed on preservation is antiquated, then quoting Thoreau or Muir on the same subject must be antediluvian! Quick! Someone tell that to the Sierra Club, which has this quote on its website: "The wrongs done to trees, wrongs of every sort, are done in the darkness of ignorance and unbelief, for when the light comes, the heart of the people is always right." Anyway, this is clearly a diversion from the larger issue that you have not addressed with anything other than pontification (the Organic Act has failed to leave national parks unimpaired). It would be like me criticizing you for ending a sentence in a linking verb instead of focusing on the real issue. ;)

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Hey HH-

    Glad I could be of service. But let's say it was more of a heavy simmer than a rolling boil. I'll try harder next time.

    Many scientific conclusions, as well as the ever popular public opinions, are apt to be drawn from flawed information. That's why, as mentioned by your's truly in post after post, I'm a BIG proponent of "good science", which lends itself to a far lesser degree of misinterpretation of data than do bad data and general opinion, but still ain't perfect by any means. Science is not now, nor ever was a source of perfection, in no small part due to the fact that we're constantly dealing with a state of flux in our knowledge base. As techniques and tools develop to assist in collection of additional volumes and more accurate evidence, hypothesis have to be amended, and that is a good thing. It goes a long way towards lending "street cred" to our field, showing our ability and willingness to admit errors were made that were based on previous sampling, but that these previous conclusions were the best we could do at the time, based on the evidence that was available at the time. Now, as access to better methodology evolves, we readily (and sheepishly) admit our past ineptitude, and take a stand behind the new, cleaner, more substantial body of evidence. That new stance will remain, until the next generation of technology and enlightenment bring us to the next intellectual level and we are able to scale the next mountain. All science is capable of is the best it can do at any given time with what it has to work with, just like every other facet of our society. I don't think that makes us evil-doers, or the products of a "flawed" system. If we are to be labeled as such, then every other aspect of our character is likely equivilently flawed as well. I seem to recall a story about a certain group of people about 2000 years ago, who killed someone in a rather barbaric manner, and almost immediately upon achieving their goal, some say, realized their mistake, and all anyone could say was "oops". In the current scientific climate we try and limit the "oops" factor to the best of our ability, but there are still folks out there who have a notion that publicity is more desireable than accuracy, and run off at the mouth long before enough evidence is gathered to render a competent verdict.

    I'm not one to utilize a sole source of information to formulate my stance on any issue either. Science is nothing other than one arrow in the quiver. Limited scope produces limited and fundamentally skewed results. I'm in the discovery business, and we can't afford the "blinders on" view of the world.

    By the by, I don't think it was I who endeavored to resolve the term "unimpaired" for you. I can list the "official" Funk & Wagnalls for you, and I have my own addendum to their terminology based on the focal point of the discussion, but I'm fairly sure I'm innocent of all charges on that topic. But you're right, even our path to the stars isn't unimpaired, what with all those little nuisances orbiting the globe these days. In a purist sense, they qualify as "annoyances" since you'd have to schedule departure so as to avoid them, so your point is well taken.

    Next time I promise to really make your day and allow myself to achieve full-blown case of "The Bends"!!

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Science, history or RA management alternative issues may make for interesting conversation but dance around the issue of shoving accumulated silt out of a previously excavated channel. Which is all we are really talking about here. There are no sandstone cliffs involved. Only a salt cedar infested silt flat. Take another look at the photo at the page-head. And when one considers that this clean-out operation has already been performed in the past and the resulting channel has been historically flooded more often than not, it is truly amazing that the time and money expenditure for an EA is even required. As for the pros and cons of the proposal, the benefits are obvious to anyone familiar with the lower end of Lake Powell. If all other advantages are set aside, the annual savings in fuel consumed and exhaust gasses released by diesel powered tour boats and freight carrying commercial craft, gasoline powered NPS vessels, and recreational boaters, with up lake trips totalling numbers in the millions each year, should provide reason enough for supporting the proposal. To oppose the work would suggest the support of some alternative agenda beyond the facts on the ground.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Kurt, an interview with the management at Chickasaw would be a good perspective to have here regarding the Rec Area vs. Park Service issue, and whether these areas really belong under NPS. They seem to have perennial problems with rowdiness, litter, boozefests, weapons, and the like, and I'd wager that it's a common thread among other Nat'l Rec Areas too.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Whoa there Lone Hiker, I sure didn't mean to send you into Diabetic Ketoacidosis! But I sure love to get a man's blood boiling.

    Read carefully, I said science has a "history" of being "flawed." My point being that it doesn't provide all the answers and many of its conclusions become obsolete. I would never write off science, but I wouldn't but all my eggs in its basket either.

    Besides, weren't you the one who brought up the very lovely point that art and aesthetics can play a role in planning that, at times, can rival the practicality of scientific facts?

    I have doubts that science is capable a defining "unimpaired" because there really is no such thing. It's a human idea more than it is a quantifiable goal.

    Sorry Frank, I love you too. But even if Edward Abbey's ideas aren't antiquated, quoting him to make a point about preserving the environment is.

  • Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Mack P. Bray,

    You said, "I was not aware that any for-profit, trail building businesses existed."
    In response, though supported by IMBA and a host of other groups, the Texas Trail docs are 501(c)(4) non-profit. Talon Trails are a for-profit organization that constructs a variety of trails, including hiking-only, depending on their customers' desires.

    Your comment "The fact that they exist says it all," doesn't quite say anything other than you're not contributing meaningful dialogue to this discussion, but rather relying on blanket statemtents like "Mountain bikes/bikers are a cancer in National Parks" to try and prove a point. This really doesn't seem very productive as far as reaching any sort of consensus is concerned. If you're not interested in consensus, then perhaps at least the prudent thing to do would be trying to educate the other readers rather than lambast those points of view that aren't your own.

    Frank and Bart, I'm enjoying the dialogue.

  • Park History: Theodore Roosevelt National Park   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Yeah, how many times can you say "I was just passin' through North Dakota when..."

  • House Resources Considers Legislation To Increase National Park Properties   6 years 22 weeks ago

    PS: Two books on workaholism:

    Work to Live: The Guide to Getting a Life, by Joe Robinson
    CrazyBusy, by Edward Hallowell

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 22 weeks ago

    There are arguments on both sides of this fence...but one thing cannot be ignored by either side. The proposed Castle Rock Cut would SAVE LIVES!! That is one point that cannot be argued or ignored in all of this. Lives are lost each year by boaters having to navigate the "Narrows" at Lake Powell. Opening the cut would alleviate this problem. Not to mention enhancing the efforts of rescue operations at the lake. You cannot put a pricetag on human life.

  • Park History: Theodore Roosevelt National Park   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Three cheers for TRNP! Like Merrylnd, I've olny been once, but I loved it! I've been trying to save money for another trip up there, but going from TN to ND isn't cheap..

    "Good Planets are Hard to Find"
    President, CHS SPEAK (CHS Students Promoting Environmental Action & Knowledge)
    Founder and President, CHS Campus Greens