Recent comments

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Kurt -

    I can see where you spent a HUGE amount of time on this article. Your love for our National Parks is blazingly obvious. Where do you find the time? Do you sleep? Although we disagree strongly on this issue, I commend your tireless efforts to make your case known.

    You may have forgotten that the NRA has actually been working on this issue for more than five years:

    "Starting in 2003, NRA staff began meeting with officials at the U.S. Department of the Interior to change this regulation and allow state law to govern the carrying and transportation of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges -- as it does in national forests and on BLM lands. There was little resistance to such a policy change but also little action to make this change. Bureaucrats involved in this issue would move on and others would replace them, needing to be educated from scratch about the need and importance for this change."

    http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Read.aspx?ID=3529

  • Bear #399, And Other Grizzlies, Are On the Prowl In Grand Teton National Park   6 years 9 weeks ago

    What a legend these bears have become. It's so great and I feel so fortunate to have seen them last week. I was in Grand Teton National Park on a guided tour. Taylor with EcoTour Adventures was our guide. He was so informative about the area which really added to our trip.. Any way we were in the north part of the park and we saw momma 399 send her cubs off on there own. It wasn't but an hour latter that we saw a large boar grizzly mount 399. Maybe we will have three new cubs next spring. The tour was great and I strongly recommend Taylor and his services. http://jacksonholewildlifetours.com/

  • National Park Entrance Fees Frozen at 2007 Levels   6 years 9 weeks ago

    National Parks are not an "entertainment option" like movies, sports, or dining. They are the birthright and heritage of every American and must be kept affordable so all Americans who want to can visit them. Just because $25 is not a lot of money to you does not mean everyone is so comfortable. I remember my folks making significant financial sacrifices in order to take us kids to visit National Parks because they thought it was important to give us a sense of ownership and pride in them. When they are just another commercial option, they have lost their constituency and purpose.
    The "politics" that got entrance fee increase plans put on hold consisted of elected officials listening to and responding to the individuals and businesses they represent. I for one applaud them for doing that and also thank NPS Director Bomar for doing the right thing.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 9 weeks ago

    "The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people...that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed." --Thomas Jefferson

    It takes more than legislation to bypass the Second Amendment. It takes another amendment, ratified by 2/3rds of the states. Claim what you want, but legislation that forces citizens to keep their arms broken down and unloaded in the trunk infringes on the People's right to bear arms.

    At least Traveler finally took a stand on something and changed the question to a statement. Hopefully the annoying questions will stop ("Do we REALLY need _________?") Traveler's slant is obvious, and disguising it as a question, a pretense of journalistic impartiality, is insulting. I doubt, however, that Traveler will take such a strong stance on more important bans that should occur in national parks such as gas tanks, cars, snowmobiles, ATVs, ATMs, buildings, roads, lodges, concessions, sewage, toxic waste, etc.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I enjoyed reading your column until this staunch view. I support concealed permits and carrying them into any back country in the US. I will now delete the feed from my homepage.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 9 weeks ago

    It just proves how dumb the people in Washington DC really are. This has to be the dumbest thing that I ever heard come out of that town yet. The National Parks to me are one of the last places in this country that we can take our children on a safe vaction. Having concealed weapons within the parks does nothing to provide safety to the visitors that visit there from other people or the wild animals.

    Let's use some common sense here. People are their worst enemy when they go to the National Parks. They want to get close up pictures of the wild animals and they themselves are putting themselves in danger. And if you think that you can draw a concealed weapon faster that a charging animals than you are better that I am. There's no getting away from an animal that thinks he or she is being threatened by invading their space.

    The parks were set aside for us to enjoy the beauty within the parks. To allow concealed weapons takes away that beauty for I see a rise in crime from people that shouldn't have guns in the first place. Therefore I am totally against this bill and hope that people with some common sense puts an end to it

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Wow. Nothing like anti-gun hysteria backed with false statistics and groundless claims of doom and gloom. It seems that you have clearly fallen victim to the political pandering of none other than the Brady Bunch. You should rename this webzine to National Parks Sheepdog. You certainly have staked your claim as leader of the sheep in the National Park System. It's really a shame that you people cannot find your way through the emotional muck and distinguish between the law-abiding and the criminals who prey on them. There is already blood on your hands.

  • National Park Entrance Fees Frozen at 2007 Levels   6 years 9 weeks ago

    More bad news for the Parks, as sadly politics has gotten in the way of raising entrance fees to reasonable levels. For example, 3.5 million people visited Yosemite last year. An extra $5 per car entrance, could easily mean an extra couple million dollars (obviously, many of those people traveled in groups, and others used passes like the America the Beautiful Pass). You think that there is some maintenance backlog and some unfunded ranger positions at Yosemite that could have materialized with a few extra millions for Yosemite?

    That $5 increase would have raised the entrance fee at Yosemite to a paltry $25. People talk about entrance fees keeping visitors away from the Parks - but really? The nearest major metropolitan areas to Yosemite are San Francisco and Sacramento - about 175 miles away. That means a typical family is spending a full tank of gas, just to get to Yosemite. Even at $2.10 a gallon, that was about $30. Today, of course, that is more like $60. And those are the families that live close to Yosemite. Families from Southern California, of from other States, would be paying far higher transportation costs. Are they even going to notice $5 on top of those transportation bills?

    And that's just one Park. The extra $10 at Arches or Everglades, each of which had aronud one million visitors in 2007 could easily have meant another milion or two dollars for those Parks. Add up the other proposed increases around the Park system, and we're talking about real dollars to address maintenance backlogs and fund additional Rangers.

    Hey, all of us visit National Parks, and no doubt enjoy cheap entrance fees. But the truth of the matter, is that a significant source of the problem with the Parks' backlog is simply that National Parks entrance fees are way too low - especially when compared with other entertainment options like movie theatres, sports tickets, or even a dinner out to eat.

  • Is the National Park Service Obligated to Better Promote Proposed Change in Gun Regulations?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    being that this is the election count down, does this have anything to do with a kind of holding back on promoting more public response/attention.... god forbid if the candidates have to address( make a decision) the regulations/ or a change of such !!!! hey, isnt it somewhat slanted to paint a picture of some concealed weapon gun wearing expert to happen to be at the same place at the same time as some one needing to be rescued in that same moment?! The knight in shining armor simply looking to save !!! What a visual! Stat wise there are likley quite a few folks out in those campgrounds/ hotels/dorm rooms sitting around the campfire toasted on a few cold beers that have received their share full of reprimands etc..about their state of mind ( and/ or punching out a park neighbor). Seems like the more guns anywhere is asking for a greater % of accidents/mishaps involving others/ perhaps involving kids. The regulations as they are now are fine. Go ahead and wear that concealed gun if you think you have a mission; if you happen to save the moment you likely wont be charged. If you are so fear full about being where you are while on your way to no where while your gun is packed away in your vehicle( as it currently can be) , you've likley been watching too much TV . Having an informative hand-out/ survey given out to those actually visiting/coming thru the parks is a great idea.

  • National Park Quiz 3: Bridges   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Why, that would be the bridge that spans the Colorado River at the bottom of the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park.

  • National Park Quiz 3: Bridges   6 years 9 weeks ago

    BTW - in what Park *is* that bridge in the photo?

  • Is the National Park Service Obligated to Better Promote Proposed Change in Gun Regulations?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    The answer to the title of this post is quite simple - actually. The answer is "no", the NPS is not obligated to better promote proposed change in gun regulations. The NPS has followed the statutory procedures for public notice-and-comment by publishing the proposed regulation in the Federal Register, it is then up to the stakeholders to respond and to promote additional public interest in filing comments. It seems like the NRA has done just that, and it appears that the NPCA and blogs like the NPT are doing the same.

  • National Park System Benefits From Omnibus Natural Resources Bill   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Omnibus bills are often a mish-mash of things, and despite the fact that the Section D on "Memorials, Commissions, and Museums" is included under Title III - National Park Service Authorization, many of the provisions of Title III, Section D don't actually impact the National Park Service. In this case, the provision on the "National Quilt Museum" is just to rename an existing Museum of the American Quilter's Society - it won't actually produce involvement by the National Park Service.

    The most interesting things that I noticed, is that despite the Administration's request for a moratorium on new National Heritage Areas until Congress better defines exactly what these things are and what they are supposed to be - that Congress seems to nevertheless be plowing ahead with new National Heritage Areas anyways. Without better definition and direction, the whole National Heritage Area concept, with few notable exceptions, seems like just a big distraction for the National Park Service, and an inefficient expenditure of scarce dollars for the Parks.

    The other interesting note is the list of Special Resource Studies established by Congress - which is the first step towards becoming a new part of the Park System. At least two of the proposed SRS's appear to be pretty patently not suitable for inclusion in the National Park System - the Soldier's Memorial Military Museum and historic Taunton, MA. Its great that the local Congressmen of these places have such pride in the historic resources of their hometown, but its a shame that scarce Park resources might eventually be appropriated or dedicated to conducting studies on the possibility of a level of recognition for those resources that is at least one level above the recognition that those resources would truly merit.

  • Star Party Scheduled for June 21-28 at Grand Canyon National Park   6 years 9 weeks ago

    For those. who can't attend the Star Parties at GRCA,but live in the Bay area, I'd like to recommend the monthly star gazing events on top of Mount Tamalpais. They begin with a high level talk on some astronomy related issues in the amphitheater (build by the CCC, I might mention to connect this blog entry with the last one) and followed by star gazing through telescopes brought and set up by volunteers from the whole area. This seasons schedule can be found at http://www.mttam.net/Default.aspx?tabid=843. The venue is Mount Tamalpais State Park. North of the bay.

  • Is Your Backcountry Safety Net A Personal Locator Beacon or Cell Phone?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    You tell 'em dtroutma !!

  • Is Your Backcountry Safety Net A Personal Locator Beacon or Cell Phone?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    PLBs will attain the same status as 911 operators, called routinely to give baking instructions or time of day. The good part of cell phones is that in much of the remote west, you may have six square feet of "coverage" in 2,000 square miles of desert. Which means if you aren't standing in just the right spot, the coyotes acquire a cell phone from someone with 21st century technical skills, and NO survival skills. Our pampered and pandering society no longer has the desire to take care of themselves, and that has NOTHING to do with political leanings, but everything to do with personal comfort, irrespective the impact on the society, or planet. I think it's time to give back to the coyote, or polar bears, or grizzly. DEPEND on your cell phone or PLB to protect you, make it easier for the scavengers to survive.

  • Is Your Backcountry Safety Net A Personal Locator Beacon or Cell Phone?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Thanks for a great article. It's been featured on the front page of my website, http://www.scoutingwiththemouse.com (of course, with full credit given to you as the source) becuase I think this is very important information for folks to know.

  • Is the National Park Service Obligated to Better Promote Proposed Change in Gun Regulations?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Thanks Kurt. One thing's for sure: the lawyers and bureaucrats ALWAYS win.

  • Is the National Park Service Obligated to Better Promote Proposed Change in Gun Regulations?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Dear Anon, there is no "ever increasing threat to citzens in our parks systems as well as in everyday life". The crime rates are dropping, the violent crime in the parks is virtually nil. There may be valid reasons to carry a gun in a National Park (even though I doubt them), but there is no threat of violence to visitors that would make self defense a necessity. If you argue for a revision of the existing rules, please stick to the facts and don't use straw man arguments.

  • Is the National Park Service Obligated to Better Promote Proposed Change in Gun Regulations?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Fred,

    "EA" stands for Environmental Assessment. This is a measure of review -- short of a full-blown, much more encompassing and costly, environmental impact statement (EIS) -- that examines how a management action will impact a park's environment.

    In the Yellowstone snowmobile situation, they conducted three EISes and one EA (at a cumulative cost of about $10 million) over the course of about eight years. All reached the same conclusion -- that snow coaches presented a more benign impact on the park's resources than did snowmobiles. But politics won out in the end. Kind of, that is, as the lawyers for both sides have this football back in the courts.

    In this case, apparently the ongoing debate is whether there's even a need for an EA. If there is one, it will push the outcome of this matter more than a few months down the road.

  • Is the National Park Service Obligated to Better Promote Proposed Change in Gun Regulations?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Due to the ever increasing threat to citzens in our parks systems as well as in everyday life.i strongly support carriying of legal and trained pepole in our parks system.including our park Rangers.We have to many wack out maniacs that want to commit violent hanus crimes agaist the innocent and agaist wild life without a permit.I see no reason as long there are responsible adults that have the experience and the trainning shouldn't be able to carry them(firearms).

  • Is the National Park Service Obligated to Better Promote Proposed Change in Gun Regulations?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Kurt -

    What is an "EA"? Is this some means of informing folks about this proposed rule change?

  • Guns in the Parks: A Bad Idea   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Guns? cant you use one of your wrestling holds?

  • Is the National Park Service Obligated to Better Promote Proposed Change in Gun Regulations?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Kelly,

    I've been getting conflicting signals. The most optimistic is that there might be an EA.

  • Is the National Park Service Obligated to Better Promote Proposed Change in Gun Regulations?   6 years 9 weeks ago

    My opinion has been, and remains, that the Park Service should hand out a questionnaire at the entrance station of each and every National Park. Ask the people who actually go to our National Parks. This should not be decided by politicians, the NRA or internet blogs. It should be decided by those families, individuals and foreign visitors who actually visit the Parks, with strong input from Park Service employees, especially law enforcement rangers, who are going to have to (and will be expected to) deal with this.
    How many of the Senators and other politicians suggesting this change actually spend any time in our parks, for anything other than a photo op?