Recent comments

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Anon, First drinking and carrying concealed is another no-no. If you carry , you cannot drink. Although I do not know every state law, you can be certain that law is on every state book. A CCW holder WILL lose his permit and go to jail. There are drunks everywhere, even in national parks, but you are still willing to drive a car on the road even if you know there might be drunk on the road and how many people die every day from drunk drivers?

    Eric, I suppose you are going to find morons everywhere. However that fella very likely broke the law. You should have called the police for brandishing. Again there will always be exceptions to the rule. How many times do you think somebody has brought in a gun illegally into a NP and you did not know it? But you still are willing to go in aren't you?

    For all of you fearful of this rule, I don't think you will ever see a gun, or even know about it. It will be a non issue.

    As for myself, I hope the change the rule to allow CCW holders to carry open. Why? Because frankly when hiking, it is more comfortable to carry with a thigh holder. Will I ever take a shot at wildlife? Of course not, unless that wildlife is going to make me the main course.

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Mike M. , No one? I beg to differ. I was standing in line at a Longs drug Store just 2 days ago and what do I hear from the (for lack of better words) IDIOT in front of me? "Ya, its cool to be able to carry a gun, we used to go back in the hills here and shoot birds and squirrels." He then showed the clerk his permit and flashed his waist with his gun. And to top it all off he said " And sometimes a couple of Mexicans just to keep things right"!!!!!!!!!!! So Mike M. You tell me, NO ONE?! This guy was a bit older than me (43). I sure don't want this IDIOT in any National Park that I would go to! Would you? I think not, if you would not mind this, I would not want you to be in the parks either.

  • Charismatic Marine Fauna   6 years 12 weeks ago

    It's so sad that the coral reefs providing vital habitat for this gorgeous fish and a host of other marine species are being destroyed or degraded all over the world at an alarming rate. The reef losses have reached critical levels in many areas, leaving us to wonder if some of the affected species may soon be wiped out completely. Biscayne, Dry Tortugas, Virgin Islands, and our other marine national parks are not immune to these problems.

  • National Parks Traveler Launches User Forums   6 years 12 weeks ago


    I just spent a week in Nicaragua facilitating a training course for Nicaraguan rangers and others who share in protecting this country's protected area system. Here's a question for our fellow NPT colleagues. Leaving, for a moment, the US outside this question, in what country have Traveler members found the rangers (or whatever that country calles them whether it be wardens, or park guards, or environmental agents) most knowledgable and well trained? And while they are at it, maybe NPT respondents could also list their five favorite national parks or protected areas outside the US.


    Rick Smith

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Anon - I totally see your point of view and understand your concerns about bears and other humans, but bear with me here...

    *In many of the eastern parks, such as Congaree or Acadia, the chances of you running across any animal that will attack is slim to none, so in some park units, that argument is pretty much invalid.

    *In places like Great Smokies, Yellowstone, etc where there are lots of people in small spaces, people become irritated very quickly. Last summer, I was at Cades Cove in the Smokies and watched two grown men literally fight each other over a picnic table. A ranger had to be called in, and it was later found that the instigator of the mishap was drunk. Imagine if he had a concealed gun!

    As long as there are drunk rednecks in our parks stirring up trouble (and they'll always be there), I don't want guns in the parks. They would make me feel unsafe and in danger.

  • Congressman Introduces Legislation To Double The Size of Big Thicket National Preserve   6 years 12 weeks ago

    WOOO! Thanks to Mr. Brady for his leadership. BITH is certainly a special place, and unique in the park system.

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 13 weeks ago

    With all due respect, as a CCW holder, I welcome the regulations. You seem to be afraid of the possibility of somebody using their gun to settle an argument. Frankly, to get a CCW permit you have to go through a background check. These are not just some willy-nilly morons carrying guns. Problems with CCW holders are few and far between. In fact if you think about it, a CCW holder has to typically go through some amount of training and must have a squeaky clean record. Why would that same person pull his gun to get a camp spot? It makes no sense. CCW holders are held up to a higher standard and would immediately lose the permit and land in jail.

    For myself, I hike with my eight year old daughter. I do not take her into the NP because I cannot carry there (see I still follow the law). We hike in the national forest. I truly believe all the hoopla is for nothing and time will prove that. In any case I want protection in the case of a bear attack or human attack when hiking with my daughter. It is that simple and I should have that right.

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 13 weeks ago

    No, people aren't equating firearms and a segment of American history. People are correlating questionable judgment by those who think "firearms first" as a defense against whatever it is you think you're defending yourself against. I haven't seen one item in any of these threads that questions the "preparations" gun owners say are so rigorous to obtain permits. Personally, I didn't think it so difficult. That of course is in the eye of the beholder, and it sounds like a rock-solid position from which to preach. For all the alleged gun-handling skills the permit holders possess, I am more than mildly uneasy with their eagerness to "protect me and my family", as if you would be more accessible that the rangers who you always admit a "miles away", and as if we'd be totally helpless without such aid. If only you knew......

    Trained peace officers are schooled to draw weapons as a last, NOT FIRST resort to diffuse highly charged situations. For all your gun-related training, you lack the psychological training, ability to assess situations and make the proper choice in peaceful resolution of conflict. The willingness to use deadly force places you on the same platform with the "real criminals", not at all equal to those trained in managing chaotic circumstances. More firearms simply does not equate to an environment that is more sanitized, it only serves to heighten the probability of a deadly outcome. Bad guy or good guy, dead is dead. I've seen the statistics on crime in the parks and I'm not impressed. Growing up in a major metropolitan area I'm at more risk waking up every morning and driving to work than I'll EVER be while backcountry backpacking in the NPS.

    Maybe the pro-gun contingent should start a letter writing campaign to Mayor Richard J. Daley in Chicago, what with all the gun-related killing of teenagers, public school students dying at the rate of 1 every week, 150 pound cougars roaming the streets, how could ANYBODY feel safe living there without a concealed carry permit?

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Ok Mr M, lets put you on the hotseat for once, since you think we're all over-reacting once again. Lets ask you a simple question. Do you think there are going to be people who don't give a damn about wether or not you have to have a concealed weapons permit to carry a gun and bring them into the park? YES there will be. So your argument is one sided of course. You're talking about the SMALL percentage of the population that has a consciensce and does act responsibly when it comes to firearms. Unfortunately the entire population out there doesn't fall into this category, so your defense of this bill based on the small percentage of people who actually HAVE a permit is weak. There will be twice as many people who will see this bill as an open door to bring guns into the park and won't read or care or even know about the fine print about permits. THOSE are the idiots we are worried about. If the coalition that spoke out about this bill has worries about individuals shooting off their weapons "wild west style", then isn't it reasonable to think that the rest of us who visit and play in these parks might think the same way?

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 13 weeks ago

    This is as bad as it gets. There is zero reason to carry a concealed weapon in a park. And the argument that it clears up confusion is ludicrous. It creates more. This is an idea that as the Coalition of NPS Retrees says deserves to be shot down.

    Rick Smith

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Appalling! But then, everything that this administration has done in its eight years of ruinous misery is consistent with this insanity. The true responsibility for this lies not with Bush, Cheney, or the NRA, but with the American public for electing, then re-electing these lunatics, and then not having the backbone or ethics to impeach them. Is this really a surprise? Shame on America - we're pathetic.

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Once again people think guns and the Wild West. The people that have a concealed carry permit have higher standards than that. They have had training on the use of a firearm and the consequences of its inappropriate use. And besides, how many times have you heard of someone that has a permit using a firearm illegally. Yea that's what I thought, NONE

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Are these politicians idiots? This doesnt even make sense! What in the world do we need to carry guns for in a National Park? The world is coming to an end.

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 13 weeks ago

    For this, someone can find enough time away from truly important issues to assist special interests in an election stunt. Speaks loudly and succinctly about who’s the puppeteer and who’s the marionette in this debate.

  • Bison, Elk and Bears Might Be Cute, But These Videos and Statistics From National Parks Suggest Caution   6 years 13 weeks ago

    So true, Dorothy, if only that could compete with the lack of respect the National Park Service has shown these animals - specifically the bison - every winter and spring.


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

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 13 weeks ago

    That's a GOOD one, Bob!

  • Groups Sue To Overturn Removal of Greater Yellowstone Wolves from Endangered Species List   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Sport hunting, to kill an animal for pleasure be it a shark, bear or wolf is wrong.
    What Mr. Repanshek did not tell you is that B160 was shot once through the femur and once through the stomach and left to rot.
    The famous Hoppy was killed at an elk feed lot in Sublet county Wyoming.
    The majority of the 40 or so killings I have read about have not been hunting,
    ethical or otherwise by any stretch of the imagination.

    A Saturday evening near Daniel in Sublette County...

    Bub: What ya wanta do?
    Jeb: Dunno, what ya wanta do?
    Bub: Ya know them feedlots down at the creek?
    Jeb: huh?
    Bub: Ya know, where they feed them elk?
    Jeb: oh, ya, what about it?
    Bub: I was thinkin' ya know them wolfs that hang around there?
    Jeb: ya, what ya thinkin'?
    Bub: well, ya wanna go shoot some?
    Jeb: wolfs?
    Bub: yup, wanna?
    Jeb: well sure why not?

  • Charismatic Marine Fauna   6 years 13 weeks ago

    After the winter we've had, you bet the South Seas sound wonderful!


  • Creature Feature: the Many-Colored Fruit Dove   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Nice article and well written. Thanks.

  • Charismatic Marine Fauna   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Is it just me, or is there a sudden urge by NPT editors/writers/readers to voyage to the South Pacific, thanks to recent NPAS coverage?! :)

    There's another great picture at The water isn't as clear, though.

  • Proposed Settlement Filed in Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Case   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS) is a very different National Park. The problems are bigger and more complex than off-highway vehicle (OHV)/fishing organizations access and environmental organizations concerns with resource management, although that is currently taking the spotlight.

    CHNS is managed as if it were two different types of Parks: correctly managing the historical parts and incorrectly managing the resource parts (Ocean Beach). The Ocean Beaches are managed by the NPS like a hybrid recreational area that is accessible only by vehicles. To me CHNS falls short of the type of management associated with other National Parks by many standards. The most dynamic and impressive natural areas of CHNS, like Bodie Island Spit and the “Point” at Cape Hatteras often become very crowded with hundreds of parked cars and vehicles navigating through a network of changing OHV trails.

    In the past (before the park was established) the very remote beaches of Bodie Island (not really an island) Hatteras Island and Ocracoke were highways for these sparsely inhabited remote islands. There were no paved roads and no development of the private land adjacent to the ocean beaches in the Park. Recreational use of the ocean beach was minimal and a visitor rare, especially compared to today’s visitation. Local people seasonally commercially fished on the ocean beaches. In direct contrast ocean beaches today have experienced a dramatic increase in visitor use with private, fully developed ocean side village beaches adjacent to Park beaches.

    Today’s OHV users advocate using antiquated management practices for the basis of which to manage vehicle use today. A very vocal group of visitors and retired locals that primarily engage in recreational fishing activities on the National Park beach using OHVS for access are outraged with any restrictions that impede their OHV use. Most of these visitors belong to local organizations that promote beach driving in CHNS. I think the majority of them genuinely see themselves as good stewards of the Seashore and can find nothing amiss with hundreds of vehicles in small areas of the National Park beach.

    On my last visit I noticed vehicles with local club/organization affiliations that had decals on their vehicles that referred to Cape Hatteras National Seashore as Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area (CHNSRA). When asking them about the new name they assured me they were right because of a congressional oversight that did not correct the “recreational area” that was added to the CHNS name in the 50’s. A question to the superintendent office reveled that at that time adding “recreational area” was the only way to guarantee waterfowl hunting in the Park, a condition that the local inhabitants petitioned to have added to the Park’s enabling legislation. From those that I talked to it appeared the only reason that they were interested in the claim that CHNS is a “recreational area” is because they believe a recreational area puts recreational use even or of greater importance than resource protection and other park mandates. This is a policy I can’t find in any NPS management guidelines for any type of National Park.

    The NPS is responsible for the current problems because they never implemented an OHV or ORV (Off Road Vehicles) management plan as was mandated by Nixon’s and Carter’s executive orders. Until recently the NPS has largely encouraged unmanaged and mostly unregulated OHV use on the Seashore beaches and allowed that activity to continue longer than was prudent or legal, long enough that special interests to the Park now view OHV use as a right rather than a yet to be sanctioned privilege.

    Seashore managers (bending to pressure from conservation organizations to implement The Endangered Species Act) recently initiated temporary resource protection measures that restrict prime fishing areas to OHVS and pedestrians for part of the year. Other areas in the Park are temporarily closed to OHV use because the beach is deemed too narrow and steep to safely drive on. Even on open “safe” OHV ocean beaches, vehicles often get damaged or destroyed by inexperienced drivers. Currently there are no special permits or experienced needed and any licensed vehicle operator can attempt to drive on the Park beach.

    Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands are a difficult place to run business. Catastrophic weather events and seasonal visitation make it a feast or famine situation. Most local businesses that I spoke with believe OHV users are responsible for the bulk of their commerce and are concerned that any restrictions on OHV use will have a devastating affect on their businesses. I find this view shortsighted but can sympathize with their trepidation. The only independent study done says about 10% of the Seashore’s visitors use OHVS. The county governments of Hyde and Dare County and local businesses see the National Park as something more than a National Park. Dare County has aligned themselves with local OHV organizations, intervening legally with them and donating county taxpayer funds to OHV organizations to help with their legal costs. Both groups often advocate that CHNS policy should be decided locally. In a recent federal court case involving a lawsuit between 3 environmental organizations and the NPS over a flawed resource protection plan a federal judge put it best when he chastised the intervening county lawyer over this very issue.

    Judge Boyle to the Dare County lawyer:

    “This is not the sovereign seashore of Dare County, It’s the National Seashore. It belongs to the United States. What interests do you have anymore than anyone else in it?”

    OHV organization’s mantra of, “free and open access” is ambiguous to the uninformed but to them literally means driving their vehicles just about everywhere on federally owned National Park ocean beaches they decide they safely can. The organizations CHAC, NCBBA and OBPA are 100% pro OHV use in the Seashore. When they speak of access to the Seashore they mean vehicle access. If you support them or donate money to their organizations they will use it to promote OHV use on the National Seashore Beach. In addition they have paid Washington lawyers working to diminish resource protection measures in the Park.

    A testament to OHV users organizational skill and power is the unbalanced one-sided comments their members have left on this site concerning CHNS.

    A visitor could come to CHNS in middle of the winter and see wide open beaches with nothing more than wind swept OHV trails and an occasional vehicle or come in the summer or fall and experience a Seashore Beach transformed into a raucous tail gate party. Every year there are more visitors and vehicles extending the traditional tourist season.

    I have lived on and off Outer Banks, renting and then buying a home and fortunately selling it a few years ago. When I visit the Park now I stay in the NPS’s Ocracoke campground, as it is the only place left in CHNS that looks and feels like a National Park and reminds me of the Outer Banks I grew up visiting.

    If you have ideas about how CHNS should be managed phone, email or fax your congressman, senator and the regional and national NPS mangers.

  • Bison, Elk and Bears Might Be Cute, But These Videos and Statistics From National Parks Suggest Caution   6 years 13 weeks ago

    We have visited many national parks and we have been amazed at the lack of respect some people have for the parks and the wildlife. These videos should be mandatory upon entry for those who have little or no experience sharing the outdoors with wildlife. As a seasoned hiker, I am glad to have seen the videos as a reminder of how quickly a situation can change.

  • Groups Sue To Overturn Removal of Greater Yellowstone Wolves from Endangered Species List   6 years 13 weeks ago

    It's all about the White House cowboys that own peacock ranches in Montana. Fat bellies, booze and guns!

  • Are Blue Ridge Parkway's Historic Guardrails At Risk?   6 years 13 weeks ago

    "The Blue Ridge Parkway is a cultural resource park, whereas GRSM and SHEN are mostly natural resource parks, and since the parkway is our primary resource, we look very closely at proposed changes to it. We want to maintain the original design of the Blue Ridge Parkway," Mr. Johnson said...

    Shenandoah (SHEN) is certainly a cultural park, as well as a natural park. In fact, when the FHWA told the NPS that the stone guardrails built by the CCC had to be replaced to meet modern safety standards, the NPS went through a similar process described for the Blue Ridge Parkway. This was in the early 1990s. The result: the original stonework was carefully dismantled, new, taller, safer, concrete barriers were constructed, and then faced with the original stonework so that only the most careful observer would realize that these were not the originals. It took tremendous effort on the part of both agencies to find a good solution. I commend the staff at the Blue Ridge Parkway for their efforts but I'm disappointed they think they're the only ones who care enough to tackle this problem.

    For more on the issue of SHEN's cultural resources, and how the park came to appreciate them, see the article "Cultural Resource Management: at Shenandoah, It Didn’t Come Naturally" which I wrote in 1998 when I was the park's Chief of Natural AND Cultural Resources. It's at

    Bob Krumenaker

  • Groups Sue To Overturn Removal of Greater Yellowstone Wolves from Endangered Species List   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Aldo Leopold once wrote many long years ago about the kill of an old wolf which he committed as a forest ranger in the American Southwest. As he describes and remembering "a fierce green fire" in the eyes of dying wolf and her crippled pup. Something that burned in his psyche for years to come. In Mr. Saunders case, I don't know what burns in his psyche after a senseless act of wasting away such a magnificent animal...the Canis Lupus. Perhaps, the joy of this senseless kill that carries with this individual brings much wonder what kind of compassionate man he truly is. I doubt very much he carries the badge of a ethical hunter but I highly recommend Mr. Saunders to get some good education in how to conduct a good clean hunt where the poor animal has fighting chance. You have a lot to learn Mr. Saunders!