Recent comments

  • Coalbed Methane Projected Proposed North of Glacier National Park Tabled   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Gas resources will soon come to an end. Instead of just throwing our money down our kitchen sinks we should better think of ways to replace methane with renewable energy sources.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Kurt -

    These are all valid concerns. I truly hope that they are un-founded. I am an avid safety "nut" and would NOT tolerate any of the actions you speak about.

    Please accept my sincerest apology. It is incredible bad taste for me to bad-mouth the media on "your" blog knowing your background as well as I do. I get terribly frustrated (as much as you, I assume) by the amazing distortions we have to put up with by people who "adjust" a story to support their agenda.

  • While Bison Are Driven Back into Yellowstone National Park, Questions Over Management Continue   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Now an even fresher memory - I'm sad to report that the nine bulls were sent to slaughter this morning. That's confirmed by BFC, as well as a person who witnessed this in Horse Butte. That brings the total to 1,613 killed; the total buffalo left in Yellowstone is estimated to be close to 2,100 (well more than half now dead from the fall population); however, no one really knows. Recent counts, which officials emphasize are not meant to be population estimates, actually show a count of much lower. You will see plenty of buffalo along the rivers right now and in plain sight, but it's simply not what it was. The herds are under enormous stress, and this doesn't help.

    Everyone knows that a bull bison cannot transmit brucellosis; everyone knows there are no cattle in the area these bulls were killed. This is not about brucellosis; this is about land use ideology. The NPS should get out of the IBMP immediately; the next president should pull all the federal agencies out. Yet, will they pay attention?

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

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 9 weeks ago

    Kurt -

    One reason why you perhaps haven't seen so many anti-gun-in-parks comments recently is that this is an emotionally charged issue, and I'm probably not the only one who isn't commenting publicly because I don't want to be sucked into an argument/I-am-always-right-I-will-not-compromise 'discussion' with Mr. Rick and Mr. Fred.

  • University Professor Missing in Canyonlands National Park   6 years 9 weeks ago

    According to the NPS Daily Report, this disappearance was a planned suicide and the park launched a search for Mr. Henderson previous to his expected return date.

  • Book Review: Let's Go See:All 50! -- Visiting the 50 States Journal   6 years 9 weeks ago

    I love using mine even though most of the states are empty (so far). I'd like to see it filled one day!! It's a marvelous journal BECAUSE it provides a handy structure to the process without excessive details stifling individuality so that it is truly a personal journal in the end! Excellent decision to go with "less is more".

    BTW, after hearing his recent gaffe re: 57 states & counting, Senator Obama is an potential customer with an obvious need for one of your journals~!

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago


    Having played a key role in "our media" for a good part of my professional life, I take extreme exception to your comment about the media. The media does not cause a gun to go off, does not allow a gun to be in reach of youthful hands, does not get drunk or angry and resort to pulling the trigger. All these things are done by gun owners. As you said in an earlier comment, a gun is an inanimate object. It's the person behind the gun who commits the mistake ... or the crime.

    Will park visitation drop off if the gun regulations are rewritten to make weapons more available in the parks? That's a good question, one that needs to be thought through extremely carefully by the folks at Interior. But I fear they are driven too much by politics to think clearly. Personally, I don't worry too greatly about it because I head to the backcountry where relatively few others do. But if I was heading to a campground, where folks sit around campfires and drink, where kids get into things when their parents aren't watching, yeah, I'd probably think twice about it.

    Too, if you've read many of the comments that have been directed at me over this issue the past 2-plus years, you'd be rightfully concerned about the stability and focus of quite a few of the so-called good and law-abiding gun owners.

    And what about the young adults who might have just obtained their CCW permit and head everywhere they go with their firearm? What if they're hiking down a trail, figure they're far away from civilization and rangers, and decide to take some target practice? What if they miss their target and hit a hiker coming the other way that they didn't see?

    What about bluffing grizzlies? Many times they'll charge you to intimidate. Will a gun owner resort to pulling the trigger rather than taking more appropriate action and either wound or completely miss the bear and end up worse for it?

    Why are ranger groups and police groups opposed to expansion of CCW regulations? Is it because they're macho organizations that want to consolidate firepower, or do they have legitimate concerns over the frightening array of loosely written CCW laws and the increasing availability of weapons?

    I don't question that the majority of gun owners no doubt are responsible and conscientious. It's the minority that worry me.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago

    It's way too soon to call, but I suspect that the proposed rule change concerning concealed handgun carry in the Parks will go forward. If it does, will the attendance change? Will people AVOID the Parks because they're afraid they might be sharing the trail with me or some other CCW permit holder? Will people START visiting the Parks more because they will be able to bring their firearm with them LEGALLY?

    I sincerely hope this rule change won't keep folks from wanting to visit the Parks. Fear is a natural thing, but unreasonable fear is unhealthy. Our media has done a good job of convincing people that guns and gun owners are bad. I honestly believe that most people are good, and that those who assume the awesome responsibility of carrying a firearm are good AND law-abiding.

    There are many ways for folks to become educated and informed about firearms and concealed-carry safety. A little research can show people that they have nothing to fear from me or my CCW-permit brethren. Conversely, we are more likely to come to your aid, not just be an "eyewitness" at the investigation.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Kurt - You're right about some of these comments. Wading through some of the spelling and grammatical errors is downright painful. Their points would be much easier to perceive if they would have taken a minute to proofread their post. And it might have helped if they were trying to make some sense. Some of the comments left me asking, "What did he SAY??"

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago


    Thanks for your thanks. Truthfully, I do often wonder why I spend *so* much time on some of these issues.

    Re the comments filed so far, I found at least two that oppose the change. But you're right, far and away the majority do seem to support concealed carry in the parks. But I'm not sure for all the right reasons. Here's one questionable comment I found:

    we should be able to carry a weapon in any National forest for protection due to the fact that there are wild animals that seem to attack without being provoked. Especially when wild animals keep being added to our
    parks like Bears, Wolfs, Alligators and not to mention venomous snakes.

    Now, aside from the confusion between national parks and national forests, doesn't this sort of comment raise some serious concerns that some gun owners will be quick on the draw when they see a wild animal in the parks? And then there was another comment in which the author claimed every confrontation between a wild animal and a human being ended up poorly for the human. Really?

  • While Bison Are Driven Back into Yellowstone National Park, Questions Over Management Continue   6 years 10 weeks ago

    According to Buffalo Field Campaign, the Montana Department of Livestock has just captured another 9 bulls, which they intend to slaughter. So, despite what we've been lead to believe, the slaughter isn't over.

    See for what to do.

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

  • Closed to the Public For Nearly a Year, Artist Point in Yellowstone National Park is Reopening   6 years 10 weeks ago

    If you are traveling to the park this weekend, the weather is supposed to be terrible. Tonight, for example, there is a snow advisory for the park with up to 15 inches of snow possible.

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

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago

    This is truly an emotional discussion. We are fortunate to have Kurt willing to spend so much of his personal time and energy to facilitate this blog.

    Kurt mentioned people who have confessed that they would violate the Park regulations about concealed-carry. I am one of those people. Even though I think that the current ban is a violation of the 2nd amendment, two WRONGS do not make a RIGHT. That's why I'm so much involved in supporting the rule change. My current choices are to NOT visit National Parks (lousy choice), hike in Parks WITHOUT my pistol (unacceptable choice), or violate the law and carry anyway (illegal and objectionable). I am usually a law-abiding citizen. I stop for red lights at deserted intersections in the middle of the night because it's the LAW, whether I agree with it or not.

    As for all these stats, either side can quote VOLUMES of stats to prove their point. We have to go with what we believe and what we think is right. As for these so-called "incidents", I can't help but wonder why they're not in the newspaper, on on the 6'oclcok news. Our media loves to report BAD news; where's the reports?

    I'd like to add that my pistol is an inanimate object, incapable of good or evil. It cannot "possess" me and cause me to be evil like in the science fiction movies. I am not evil because I own and carry a gun any more than my wife is evil because she knows that I carry a gun and still loves me.

    The DOI secretary has opened the rules-change up for public comment. I just checked the website that Kurt linked us to. More than seven THOUSAND comments have been made! I've read pages of them. I won't try to convince you that I've read them all, but I have read more than a hundred of them. With ONE exception, ALL of the comments are in favor of the proposed rule change allowing concealed-carry. Either those who oppose the rule change are too busy, or maybe they don't really care. I would have expected to hear a loud outcry OPPOSED to the rule change. Instead it looks like 99% of Park visitors SUPPORT the ability to carry a concealed firearm in Parks located in States that permit it.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago

    You said:

    > think it might be worth it for you to dig up some more recent information

    That's the most recent data available. As I mentioned I had to really work to get the PA SP data. That's how those folks who report the data work. The final reports are always at least a year or two old that I've been able to find, especially from the CDC. If you or anyone else here would like to take a turn doing some research I could use the help!

    Things don't change that much year to year. Criminals continue to commit crime and kill people. I prefer to not be one of the statistics, thanks.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago

    One thing I forgot to mention, Kurt. The stats above referring to:

    > Guns in the Home - A Greater Risk to Family and Friends
    > • For every time a gun is used in a home in a legally-justifiable shooting there are 22
    > criminal, unintentional, and suicide-related shootings.[16]

    > • The presence of a gun in the home triples the risk of homicide in the home.[17]
    > • The presence of a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide fivefold.[18]

    Kellerman used incomplete/innacurate data and the report has long since been discredited. Ludwig is a known gun hater who produced biased reports favored by, well, the Brady folks who insist that somehow "[inanimate] guns murder" X number of times each year. They know they can't get away anymore with pumping up the numbers by saying a gun causes suicide. I'll find someone from the NRA or GOA to provide some balance for the aforementioned "statistics." Just teasing. Stick with FBI, CDC, DOJ facts and not the opinions of that group.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago


    I'm not trying to debate about guns in the parks or nitpick...but I do think it's worth pointing out that the links you provided are to reports/studies, etc that were done several years ago. The FBI, CDC, DOJ and PA links all referenced documents published no later than 2006.

    My point is that we don't live in 2006 (thank God!), and I think it might be worth it for you to dig up some more recent information, or determine and let us know if this is that most recent info, to support your argument. Just because something was one way in '06 doesn't mean it couldn't have changed.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Kurt, you said:

    > if you go back through the comments posted on this issue on the Traveler you'll find a few in which the individual has said they carried a concealed
    > weapon into a park against the law, so yes, I'd say that's pretty good proof of committing a crime.

    I'd call that an exercise of a Constitutional right. And "life insurance." While I can't say never, no park visitor I've ever heard of has been accosted by someone with a concealed carry permit. No concealed carry permit holder has been arrested for poaching or vandalism. DOI couldn't provide any proof either and we hit them with two Freedom of Information Act requests to get the "incidents" they alleged. Aside from that why should I give a hoot what some retired park ranger thinks on this issue? These guys are typically anti-gun to begin with, had a gun, and could have defended himself. The odds were stacked in their favor.

    The point I've made is concealed carry permit holders, the group in question here, do not commit the crimes. Criminals do. Every time. Timid, uninformed people making unsubstantiated, emotional claims don't help save lives at all.

    People refuse to take responsibility for their safety and their loved one's safety. They arrogantly and naively (OK, maybe they just haven't considered this aspect) believe someone in "law ENFORCEMENT" (that's what they are since the courts established LEOs do not have an obligation to "protect") should risk their lives to protect them instead of doing the risky, messy work themselves.

    if gun control worked Washington D.C. would be the nirvana folks claim the park system is. Gun control is nothing more than government-mandated aiding and abetting of criminals. The world is full of evil people intent on taking advantage of unsuspecting, naive people. Regardless of how nice you are to people and how much you extol the virtues of civility someone will try to get you at some point in your life. Do you want to be the next victim?

    Another anecdote - true story. Back in 1980 I was working for a seismic surveying firm on old RT 25 in the Cumberland Gap between Cumberland Gap, TN and Middleboro, KY - ironically, now a national wildlife area or park. A couple hours before dawn I was awakened by shooting outside my door. It lasted for a really long time it seemed. Several calibers; pistol and shotgun. I jumped out of bed, hit the floor and immediately tried to call 911. Guess what? They cut the phone lines. Now, the only way out was the front door - or potentially in an ambulance. Fortunately for me the shooter was someone getting even with the motel manager and shot the heck out of the office and a couple vehicles. I didn't know that at the time. I and my roommate were unhurt. From that point on, though, I realized I really was the only one responsible for and capable of ensuring my safety.

    Consider this very carefully: when seconds matter, help is just minutes away. When the cops arrive they're investigating a crime, not saving your life. Now, just think if one of the recent shooting victims in these gun-free nirvanas had the opportunity to defend themselves. If you want to go through life thinking someone will help you in a life-threatening situation you could be gravely wrong.

    I'll say it again. Concealed carry permit holders are responsible for preventing crime and saving lives. Not the converse. Guns save lives.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago


    Thank you very much for your efforts and comments. I appreciate you assisting in any process that allows us to decide our own safety and protection. I love freedom and relish any opportunity to gain some freedom back. Please keep up the fight. Knowledge is the real power. Hopefully we can all convince people to give up the emotion of issues and take a logical look at the platform.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago


    Thanks much for the urls. There is indeed a world of data out there pointing to high numbers of gun crimes. Before you put down the Brady Campaign's numbers, though, if you look at their footnotes (you can find them here), much of their information comes from the same sources you cite, including the FBI and Centers for Disease Control.

    As to your question seeking "verifiable proof that a person with a concealed carry permit actually committed a crime in a national park with their handgun?," if you go back through the comments posted on this issue on the Traveler you'll find a few in which the individual has said they carried a concealed weapon into a park against the law, so yes, I'd say that's pretty good proof of committing a crime. Now, you might quibble over the severity of the crime, but it's a crime nonetheless. If you do quibble, where do you stop?

    There also, as you likely know, have been numerous poaching incidents in the parks, although it's hard to say without further research whether these individuals had concealed carry permits or not. But they obviously went "through the process" to obtain their firearms. Are you suggesting that CCW permit holders have a higher sense of morality than those without such permits?

    As the tenor of your comment points out, this is a highly charged and extremely emotional issue. It will continue to be so no matter which way Interior comes down on the proposed regulation. If it tosses out the changes and retains the existing language, I'd wager there will be permit holders who ignore those laws and pack in the parks just the same, and if it changes the regulations those opposed to guns in the parks will continue to lobby for a change.

    As the saying goes, only the lawyers and lobbyists will be better off.

  • Free Shuttle Buses Will Make It Easier To Visit The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   6 years 10 weeks ago

    How are they going to monitor the entrance pass? With a private car it takes one pass for everyone in the vehicle. With one free Golden Eagle (or whatever they call the senior pass) everyone in the car gets in. I suppose you just show the pass and tell the driver your group is all together on one pass.

    Shuttle buses could be very convenient if they have sufficient buses for the crowds and if they have enough pick up and drop off points within the park. The shuttle bus system in Yosemite is very unpleasant because in the summer, the buses are way overcrowded.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Kurt, I’ll tell ya’ what. I’ll buy your Brady Bunch “statistics” if you believe whatever the NRA says. That’s what I thought. We're not talking specifically about the need for a concealed carry permit holder to shoot someone ("justifiable homicides" - although police shootings are part of the overall data set that the Brady site doesn't specify). Just having the gun and showing the gun to the criminal is enough in most cases to prevent the crime. The Brady numbers just skew to their viewpoint and play to emotions.

    When I do my research I let my taxpayer dollars defend my point. You have to work to get the information because there’s so much out there. I can readily see not many of the posters on your site have gone through the effort. They're just passionate about preventing people from carrying a handgun.

    Some of the contributors’ snobby perceptions that national parks are Eden-like, safe, sacrosanct and, above all, exempt from Constitutional rights are delusional. To use the line of choice of anti-gunners, “…if it saves just one life” carrying a gun is worth it. Since the MINIMUM number of defensive gun uses per year determined by research done by Kates, Kleck et. al. is at least 1 million there is ample evidence the case for concealed handguns is valid. My personal decision to carry a firearm is on based on personal experience and the fact that an idiot 16-year old nearly killed me while I was riding my motorcycle.

    For those of your posters who are intellectually honest enough to do some web browsing and look for government and law enforcement-reported data, I’ve actually saved them the hours it would take to actually dig up this information. These data ought to get you started and give you a perspective on who commits the crimes (Hint: it’s the criminals against criminals) and the number of crimes committed with handguns. (Hint: way less than you think or the Brady Bunch will tell you).

    Since I’m actually one of the guys who are responsible for the proposed regulation all of you are protesting I can tell you I’ve spoken with Dep. Ass’t Interior Secretary Lyle Laverty and have provided him with much of this data:

    FBI 2006 Homicide Stats
    DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics
    Natinal Vital Statistcs Reports: Deaths – Final Data for 2005 Search for “Firearm” Tables 18-20
    PA State Police handgun permit and handgun sales data 2003. Play around with the year in the URL and you may be able to get other data sets

    I’m always amazed at how lazy some of the more vitriolic anti-gun people are when it comes to [attempting to] defend their loony gun-hater claims. There are 38 right-to-carry states that have had virtually no problems with concealed carry permit holders. Even the most resistant police officials concede they’re surprised at how the transition has gone. I never see any anti-gun proponent quoting any of these statistics. They always get the “truth” from the Brady Gang or the “Ban-The Gun” group” du jour.

    None of the posters to your site has offered any data to back up some of the silly, bigoted, paranoid claims about concealed carry permit holders. It’s always the same old, “I’m scared!” or “They’ll shoot Bambi” or “They’ll shoot my favorite tree!” or just, “Those macho gun nuts.”

    The anti-gun bigots (yes, in many cases they are the genuine article) continue to blather about emotions and feelings and sensitivities without mention of victims who may have been able to defend themselves. Not surprisingly, no one in this forum complains about the actual criminals who commit the crimes! Someone - not me! -wrote very recently (don’t remember where I heard it but it was facetious) that since 90% of Philadelphia shooting victims are black – and many are criminals themselves - and 99% of the shooters are blacks with criminal records if we just isolate that demographic Philly’s gun problem would go away. Rendell unfortunately wouldn’t go away and would simply continue to pander to his gun-hating constituency.

    Does any poster here have verifiable proof that a person with a concealed carry permit actually committed a crime in a national park with their handgun? Basically, put up or shut up. The Interior Department couldn’t prove it either. Thank you Karen Taylor-Goodrich for your dedicated years of steadfast stonewalling and deception.

    I’ve told this story to many legislators now. My wife and I frequently visit Shenandoah National Park. We spend money, we hike. Heck we got engaged there. My wife jogs on the trails. A lot. Back in 1996 we heard people everywhere muttering about a murder. Turns out two women were brutally murdered on the same trail my wife jogs on and that we both hike on near Skyland. Yeah, Mr. Park Ranger, tell me again how safe the parks are? Murders and crimes happen. Especially in gun-free- victim zones. If you are the statistic of the day IT DOES matter.

    In all the years I’ve spent hiking the trails in Shenandoah I’ve yet to see ONE ranger more than a hundred yards or so out on a trail. I’m sure it must be different in the majestic parks out west. I just haven’t gotten there yet.

    You know what? I don’t care if folks here don’t like guns. I don’t care if they have a seething, visceral hatred of guns. I just don’t care about those opinions. I do care when they lie or distort in order to advance their attempts to deny my Constitutional right to defend my life. I will defend my rights with the truth. And I will prevail. Not a threat, just the truth.

    Editor's note: A sentence of this comment was deleted for being off-color and off point.

  • National Park Quiz 3: Bridges   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Only 8 out of 10 - I'm not so good with my New York City bridges or my mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway!

  • Kings Canyon National Park   6 years 10 weeks ago

    The more I browse here the more I get the insatiable bug to see it for myself. I thought the shot was excellent.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago

    tim wrote: Almost no Russian civilians own firearms [...]

    Correction: almost no Russian civilians own firearms legally. With the various brush-fire wars that accompanied the break-up of the former Soviet Union, there are plenty of illegal firearms knocking around the Russian Federation (not to mention the other former Soviet republics), especially in more unstable areas like the northern Caucasus.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago

    If you can get them to ask the wrong questions...

    Why does a government who, has people in charge of nuclear weapons and armies supplied with tanks and missiles and all other sort of very expensive weaponry, have any moral right to deny my right to a hand gun.

    You know what tyranny is, it's when some people claim the right to use violence to disarm other people.

    The gun debate isn't about crime, it's about property rights. The first property is my body which includes my life. I have the right to protect my property. I don't ask politicians for permission to have rights which are innate. That's the mentality of a slave.

    Be it a bear, or a crazy criminal, or a disgruntled woodchuck, I have the right to self defense. Not because some politician say I have it, but because it is a fundamental human right. To deny me that right is to forfeit all other rights. Banning guns is not pragmatically effective, but that argument hasn't 't worked. I propose we call it what it is, it is hypocritical to ban guns, and then enforce that ban with men who are armed with... yes guns. If guns are "bad" then they are bad for everyone, if they are not bad they are not bad for everyone. You can't just invent random moral categories based on your own personal bigotries... well you can , but your wrong.

    A person traveling in the back country unarmed is as irresponsible as a person traveling in the back country with out proper clothing.

    If you don't feel like you can trust yourself with your own protection in the form of a gun, then don't carry one. I respect your right to not carry a gun and I would never suggest forcing you to carry one. But no one has the right to deny me the right to defend my life.

    All that any law really is, is an opinion with a gun.