Recent comments

  • Do You Care About Energy Exploration Near Our National Parks?   6 years 11 weeks ago

    Isn't ironic when the Bush & Cheney regime is due to leave office the gas prices go up...how convenient! Now, it's all out massive attempt and assault by this corrupt administration to explore some of the worlds most pristine and sacred places called our National Parks...for what...more oil? If this is allowed to happen, either it be off the coast of California, or near the national parks in Alaska, Montana or Wyoming, I assure you the parks are doomed. These oil executives live in there little shangrila's, or in some peacock ranch afar from all this smoke, haze and pollution that most Americans suffer each day. They could careless about are visual quest for more beauty in our National Parks. They are completely oblivious to are suffering and economic demise. Do you really think they care or give a damn if they ruin our National Parks in the name of Big Oil? Hell no! To drill near, or in our National Parks is a well executed ploy by the Bush & Cheney administration to give "Big Oil" it's last huge gulp of windfall profits. God forbid!

    Lifestyle changes that are advocated by Ed Begley's, Lifeboat Foundation is a format and guide that can help us all to live more sensibly and harmoniously with are environment. No more hummers or big McDonald's homes that can burn enough energy that can light up a small city in India. Are piggish lifestyle must go and the time is now. Let's start pushing "Big Oil" out of the equation and start putting alternative energy back on the drawing boards with urgency.
    Time is no longer on are side!

  • Do You Care About Energy Exploration Near Our National Parks?   6 years 11 weeks ago

    The harsh fact is it will take decades to develop truly reliable alternative energy solutions that meet our needs, even with conservation. The goal should be to reduce fossil fuel use, for sure, but there are no clear-cut solutions.

    Wind farms run into NIMBY-ism. Solar is a poor source of electricity (it's more useful for hot water generation, which is not where the research dollars are going). Nuclear is a great answer, but obviously has it's own risks. Hydroelectric power causes its own environmental damage. Harnessing tides is a great idea, but will take decades to properly build out. Conservation can only take us so far.

    Solving our energy problems requires a mutli-pronged "attack", it's naive to think that we can only solve it with alternative fuels, at least in the short term. We have to allow responsible drilling.

    Of course, the current administration has been anything BUT responsible ...

    ===============================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Do You Care About Energy Exploration Near Our National Parks?   6 years 11 weeks ago

    With our energy usage, it is impossible to drill our way out of the energy crunch. Facts are facts and I do not want to destroy what makes our natural world so wonderful to get the costs down a few pennies at the pump ! I do not want to live in a world devoid of beautiful natural settings with its wildlife.

    Logic tells us two things. First, we have to learn to conserve (if we have continued the push to increase auto fuel economy after the crunch in the 1070s, we would be much better off today....why are standard light bulbs still made....do you really need a 5,000 + sf house). Secondly, we have to develop renewables that will not destroy our environment and our way of life. Somewhere in the United States 24 hours a day, 7 ways a week the sun is either shining or the wind is blowing and the tides are always moving.

    Too many people hear just what they want to believe without listening to the facts. If we completely destroyed Alaska, Montana & Wyoming (heaven forbid !), it would be 8-10 years before we felt the small, short-term effects. Short-term solutions are not the solution. We need to buy into clean, renewable energy right now ! Solar, wind, hydrogen, tidal movement electric generation. It will not be cheap but it will be renewable and it will clean up our air & water without increasing our food costs and destroying some of the most beautiful places on our earth.

    We sent a man to the moon people, the United States of American can do this ! We can develop new methods without destroying our environment and our way of life ! We must do this NOW ! This is is solution I want......This is the solution I demand !

  • Do You Care About Energy Exploration Near Our National Parks?   6 years 11 weeks ago

    more drilling won't completely solve the problem but I am in favor of responsible exploration.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 11 weeks ago

    Sad that so many are so vehemently against fellow citizens exercizing a Right. I pray that a day comes when gun ownership/posession is an unremarkable thing. The fear of guns and those who posess them is insanity bred by an incessant media equating guns with crime. Fact is millions of times a year guns are used and enjoyed for the shooting sports, hunting and self defense with no issues and no one getting hurt.

    All these statics are making my head swim. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I understand what gun laws are supposed to do, but when are we going to figure it out.......it's obviously not working. The only that has happened is morre law abiding citizens are left defenseless by well meaning gun laws meant to keep criminals from being criminals. The simple fact is that intricate gun laws only turn otherwise lawabiding citizens into criminals. That's not what America is about.

    Lets have some trust in the American Citizen. Our government was set about on freedom. Because others don't feel comfortable with a firearm being present, does not mean that other should be neglected their Rights.

    Blood will not run in the streets, drunken gunfights will not happen, protected game will not be poached and gun owners will not play policemen waving a pistol around........it will be a non-issue.

  • Prescribed Fire in Grand Canyon National Park Now Out of Control   6 years 11 weeks ago

    Evidently a bit of sarcasm can be lost on some folks.

    Yes, the undergrowth that clogs the forest floor is required to be removed, whether by nature's hand or by the attempts of man to "regulate" the environment. Funny thing is that until man decided he knew better of ecological concerns that did Nature, no prescribed burns were required at all. Nature took it's course, sometimes more violently or extremely than we would prefer but the task was accomplished over time. Thick undergrowth is what encourages extreme fire events. The less we allow Nature to burn, the more intense the resulting "natural" events will be. No genius or advanced degree required to reach that conclusion.

    Forests will burn, just as waterways will flood, sands will shift and shorelines will erode. Maybe am alternative solution is to limit or restrict encroachment such that these situations aren't immediately deemed hazardous to the burgeoning local populations.

    For all we like to believe we are worth, there is no direct correlation between years of experience and expertise. There are numerous instances, and my chosen field of scientific research is not immune to this phenomenon, where years of experimentation and mountains of data are misinterpreted, thereby rendering all the "experience" in the world to yield flawed theories. In short, just because we've been prone to following a certain "rational" line of thought for years doesn't mean it's the correct path upon which to continue practicing.

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   6 years 11 weeks ago

    Bob - take heart. You can always visit Marys Nipples, Utah; Janies Nipples, Idaho; or Mollys Nipples, Nevada. The USGS has not changed those names yet. (And why are they all in the West?)

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   6 years 11 weeks ago

    Academics are so predictable. You can't resist intellectual temptation. You claimed, that you didn't want to know - I showed you the link - and you had to check it. With knowledge just one click away, there was no way you could have resisted.

  • What do People Take Home from a Visit to Gettysburg National Military Park?   6 years 11 weeks ago

    I can't be sure, Jim, but I strongly suspect that the trees you saw were some of those slated for clearing needed to restore the sightlines of the July 1863 battlefield. The Park Service planned to remove trees (some? all?) from nearly 600 acres (that's almost one square mile) in the park. Plantings were also scheduled -- about 165 acres of orchards and about 65 acres of thickets present in 1863. Perhaps someone out there can tell me whether all of this has been done already?.

  • What do People Take Home from a Visit to Gettysburg National Military Park?   6 years 11 weeks ago

    The park, like other military parks like nearby Antietam or the Battle of Little Bighorn, have an especially creepy feeling about them. You feel the death around you; that's a large part of why I like them. They are true reminders of the devastation of war.

    Another thing I noticed once hiking in the woods of the park was that a lot of trees were slated to be cut down - not sure why - that was about 5 years ago. In those woods, however, you will run into monument after monument, giving you a real sense of the troop movements, or even what it was like simply to be a unit in reserve.

    It's all very spooky, which is exactly what a park like this should be. And, like the parks I mentioned, the area is very pretty - making the amount of death all the more cause for pause - death and beauty forever intertwined.

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

  • Florine and Hirayama Regain the Nose Route Speed-Climb Record at Yosemite National Park   6 years 11 weeks ago

    A remarkable feat indeed but Mark Wellman and Mike Corbett's El Capitan climb in 1989 was more stunning. Mr. Wellman being a paraplegic was being hauled up with arduous physical unionism with Mike Corbett to the top of El Capitan in phenomenal execution strength. Unmatched so far in human spirit and strength!

  • Yellowstone National Park Sees Record Visitation in June   6 years 11 weeks ago

    Unfortunately, we don't have a demographic breakdown of the numbers. From my recent visit, there seems to be a lot of foreign visitors taking advantage of a weak dollar. One I talked to about the price of airlines said it was nothing because the dollar was so weak. I'm also seeing more people from Canada than I'm accustomed to seeing talking about their travels to the United States on their blogs. However, domestic visitation also seems to be strong. You have to recognize that the number of locals visiting are also rising - look at this; Gallatin County is one of the fastest growing places in Montana. The population of Bozeman alone is up almost 40% in this decade alone. The entire county is now up to 85,000 people - that seems to be the case outside of the park area in general. That might have some small but significant effect as well. At the very least, there are more places outside the park for people to stay - as a result.

    One wonders, though, whether a decrease in the price of gas would have no effect or whether numbers would be that much higher - or are numbers at the carrying capacity of the lodging able to support it. I do know I had no problem finding camping last weekend in the Tetons - so perhaps it could grow higher.

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

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   6 years 11 weeks ago

    Darn it, MRC. I TOLD you I didn't want to know! :-)

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   6 years 11 weeks ago

    As to why the name of the mountain has not been changed to Denali: the Ohio Congressional delegation, home of McKinley, has long objected to the name change. This link provides a good synopsis of the name issue at Denali. http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/l/loewen-lies.html

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   6 years 11 weeks ago

    Well Bob, please check this link to see if you are right.

    http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=gnispq:3:::NO::P3_FID:1124605

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   6 years 11 weeks ago

    Gotta love that U.S. Board of Geographic Names. They do a great job of vetting place name changes. My favorite Board decision was the renaming of a western place called Whorehouse Flats, which is now called Naughty Lady Meadow. At least that's the story as it was told to me. I don't want to know the real story, whatever that may be. Can't let the truth get in the way of a perfectly good tale.

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   6 years 11 weeks ago

    Another mountain that has recently tried to have its name changed is Mt. Clay in NH. In 2003 the NH State Legislature passed a bill changing the name to Mt. Reagan; however, the USGS won't even consider any feature named after a person until they are dead for 5 years, and even then it is up to them to change it on their maps if they want to. The AMC has already stated they have no plans to change the name of Mt. Clay on any of their maps either.

    Talk about the bureaucracy of the American Government...

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   6 years 11 weeks ago

    Wikipedia claims that the Alaska Board of Geographic Names changed the name of the mountain with the park in 1980, only the U.S. Board of Geographic Names at the USGS kept McKinley on their maps. Congress is not involved in naming geographic features - at least not officially.

    And to give the Board of Geographic Names the due credit, they name a whole lot of alternative names in their database:

    http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=gnispq:3:::NO::P3_FID:1414314

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   6 years 11 weeks ago

    You make an interesting point, MCR, but at the risk of blowing a fuse on the weaselspeak-o-meter I will point out that Denali is not celebrating a birthday this month like those two other parks are. ;-) Another thing, MCR. Can you tell me why Congress, in its infinite wisdom, managed to redesignate the park to honor the local natives while leaving an eminently forgettable President's name on the very mountain the locals have always called, do call now, and will forever call Denali? Lots of respect being shown there, fur shur.

  • National Park History: Renaming National Parks Can Show Respect for Native Cultures   6 years 11 weeks ago

    You should of course mention Denali National Park, which was called Mount McKinley until 1980. Denali means "the high one" in the Athabascan language, while McKinley remembers William McKinley, the 25th President.

  • Senators Willing to Legislate Clean Air Over National Parks if EPA Does Protect Airsheds   6 years 11 weeks ago

    Pigeon Forge, TN, is a monument to bad taste. Please answer me this: If there is a God, why did He let Pigeon Forge happen?

  • Prescribed Fire in Grand Canyon National Park Now Out of Control   6 years 11 weeks ago

    Fire Management is and will be first and foremost a matter of trial and error. There is nothing wrong with a fire going beyond what was planned - if the safety zones were set according to prior experiences. Here it seems to work. A prescribed fire became to powerful, went beyond the targeted area and now gets suppressed.

    Of course it would be nice, if no fire "management" was necessary, but the fuel levels are way to high from previous (non-) management in some areas and should be burned down over time and under as much control as possible. But man can only control so much of the forces of nature. Fire is a largely unpredictable force.

  • Senators Willing to Legislate Clean Air Over National Parks if EPA Does Protect Airsheds   6 years 11 weeks ago

    I travelled from the UK last month to journey down through Shenandoah, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains, and in two weeks I don't think we saw further than 10 miles. It was a great shame, as we had gorged on images taken in better conditions before we travelled. We still enjoyed our trip very much, but the view was very much hampered by haze.

    However, solving the problem seems a mammoth task.

    Oh, an by the way, what is Pigeon Forge, TN, all about? What a bizarre contrast.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 11 weeks ago

    Owen,

    In Oregon we can carry in Schools, Churches, museums and libraries but not courthouses, post offices, police departments and federal buildings. I honestly thing we should be able to carry in all places. The more places "off limits" to CHL holders, the more chance of one getting arreste for a firearms crime and the more statistics the gentlemen above have to banter about.

    A note on the the statistics these fine gentlemen are bantering about. Please keep in mind that a good majority of those that commit a gun crime are: 1. Not supposed to have a gun to begin with. 2. Supposed to be in jail but have been let out early. 3. Don't care what gun laws we have on the books.....they are going get what they want when they want.

    The sad truth is: the only thing intricate gun laws do is turn otherwise law abiding citizens into unknowning criminals.

  • National Park Quiz 9: The American Revolution   6 years 11 weeks ago

    Dear Rangertoo:

    There IS an 'authenticity of place' for its own sake, and not only with a battlefield, and it is more than just the original historic structure.

    Even though old Federal Hall is gone, it really does matter that the site on which Federal Hall National Memorial was built is the same site where the Northwest Ordinance was approved. It really does matter that it is the site where the slaves from the uprising in 1741 where the slaves were imprisoned before many of them were dragged to the African Burial Ground to be tortured and killed, leading to an effort to entrench slavery with such an overreaction of law that eventually New York could no longer tolerate slavery. It matters that this is the site the first Congress approved the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. Among many, many major events of US history.

    It is a MEMORIAL. The Federal Hall National Memorial. Like the Lincoln MEMORIAL. Or the Washington Monument, memorializing Washington. Memorials are not necessarily the site something happened, but are a place of commemoration. The difference in the case of the memorial to Federal Hall is that it is the real place. Not the original structure. It would have been great to have had the original building, but in this case the events that happened here are what is important, and memorialized. Not that the architecture of the former sub-treasury is not significant, and fitting. But neither the architecture of the Memorial or of the original Federal Hall is the essence of the history. The Place is not significant because the Memorial is here and old Federal Hall was there. The place is significant because of what happened there.

    It makes sense people fought to retain the sub-treasury building as a Memorial when it was threatened with distruction in order to be replaced by a high rise. Is there a tipping point where a site can be so altered it loses any meaning, despite what occurred there?

    Roger Kennedy once said " 'PLACE' is space, plus Memory." I think that nails it.

    But how much sense of the history of the landscape at Grand Central is necessary to have a sense of meaning when you see the sign across the street from Grand Central identifying it as the approximate site of his Nathan Hale's death?

    In the case of old Federal Hall, the location itself has a real sense of place, on top of a hill, just below Trinity Church, were roads converged, right at the edge of the old city. This is a place of ceremony, a ceremonial center, and it remains so today, whether or not the original Federal Hall still stands.

    In Homestead, PA the National Landmark survey for Labor History determined that the site of the Homestead Lockout, and the invasion by the Pinkerton's and the 'Battle' of Homestead lacks the integrity to be a National Historic Landmark because the banks of the river had been hardened with concrete. This was the turning point in American labor history, the place where the labor of a craftsman was rejected and replaced by labor of time, hitched to a machine. American labor, world labor, was never the same again. It seems to me it is a 'place' of authenticity, even though the banks of the river do not look the same. Part of the reason the riverbank has changed is because of the huge technological and social change that happened here. Although Homestead eludes NPS criteria, it is a significant place. Perhaps it would be easier to understand if it the site were more reminiscent of how it looked in the middle of the Lockout. But I definitely get a sense of the significance of that place when standing on that riverbank today. I think it is wrong to disregard the place because of that concrete: the river is still here. Homestead is here. The hills are here.

    Perhaps 'authenticity' cannot be measured by black and white standards, but by independent professional or human judgement?