Recent comments

  • 4-Year-old Dies in Fall off South Rim of Grand Canyon   6 years 26 weeks ago

    The national parks with their beauty and one-of-a-kind appeal tend to keep parents and others from considering the potential dangers which may exist as well. Children, unless they are restrained by a rope from parent to child or by the stern warnings given beforehand to stay close and not run ahead, will inevitably be attracted to and run to see what lies ahead (a view from the rim, a steaming geyser pool, etc..) Parents should be forewarned, "Keep Your Child Close!"

  • Is America Failing the World's National Parks Movement?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I had the great good fortune to work with Alvaro Ugalde during an extended detail assignment in Costa Rica. He was one of the most inspiring, motivated leaders I have ever met. The sad part about his message that the US is losing its place as a leader in the world conservation movement is that this is the second time he has publicly said this in a US meeting. The first time occurred during the 75th anniversary of the National Park Service in a meeting held in Vail, Colorado.

    The saddest part of this story is that not only is the US Park Service losing a chance to share what its employees have learned with their protected area colleagues around the world, we are losing a chance to learn from others. Many protected area systems around the world do not have the financial resources that the US National Park Service posseses. Their employees have to be more creative and innovative to resolve issues that we tend to throw money at. Let's hope that the next administration will pull its head out of the sand and recognize that good conservatin any place in the world provides benefits to us here in the States.

    Thanks to Alvaro for reminding us of that fact.

    Rick Smith

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    First of all, how do we know that the bear eating salmon at the end of the video is the one killed? This video is SO edited!! It has NO credibility.
    You are doing a great disservice to this issue with such a poorly produced video...what is that guy doing out in the water? It didn't even look like a bear...looks to me that you had someone out there with a stuffed animal!
    So, in total, all we saw was one bear shot at...none was shown continuously from first shot to skinning.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I and about 50 of my hunter friends have called all parties involved with this hunt and told them what a great job they are doing! Sound game management!
    So, all you anti-hunters can go whine some more.

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Dear justanotherhunter

    "it ran up the hill and I almost s*** my pants" (cant believe the editors let that one get through)

    "..shit my pants..."? I was recently up in Katami and got several times within yards of bears without considering to shit my pants. These bears are basically tame! My cat is shier. If anybody shits his pants getting close to fat bears with full stomachs, they must be bloody cowards full of "angst" (meaning irrational fear, compared to rational "fear").
    Concerning: "(can’t believe the editors let that one get through)". If you consider using clean and appropriate language don't start with the word "shit". I suggest instead analyzing the difference between "hunt" and "slaughter". After you might have grasped the difference consider calling yourself appropriately "justanotherbutcher" not "justanotherhunter". (No insult intended to real butchers – I love the meat you produce and your profession.)
    This is not about one special group having more rights than another group. This is about the ethics of hunting and about “butchers” giving good hunters a bad rep. If individuals like you continue supporting unethical slaughter of tame bears, the repercussions will be plenty of public pressure. Granola eaters do like their teddy bears! You might consider killing semi-domesticated animals fair game, however the majority of hunters including myself can not agree with you. Killing these bears is neither in the interest of hunting nor is it sportsman like. I can understand the public outcry and don’t want to be confused with people like you. Hunters will never be butchers. Be ashamed!

  • Is America Failing the World's National Parks Movement?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Kurt, many thanks for bringing this important summit to are attention: the National Park Foundation's Leadership Summit in Austin Texas. The summit definitely touches on some of the most important and critical issues facing are National Parks and country today. It's dire time for all of us to wake up and pay attention, to read, to see and hear these important messages that you (and Jeremy) print out for us to read every day on the NPT. You both have kept us well informed on such pertinent issues that were discussed at the Austin summit on the NPT. Above all, many thanks for allowing us to give critical in put and feedback with honest candor on your blog. This is journalism at it's best and keep up the good work!

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    AS A DISABLED HUNTER, I'M NOT IMPRESSED WITH THE VIDEO AND MAYBE THEY SHOULD ONLY ALLOW NEW OR DISABLED HUNTER TO HUNT THOSE BEARS SO THAT THEY MAY GET A REAL CHANCE OF GETTING ONE...I AM PHISICALLY UNABLE TO STALK A BEAR OR LARGE GAME. SO I PERSONALLY THINK A BETTER AND MORE ETHICAL WAY OF DEALING WITH THIS IS; ONE FOR A NEW HUNTER IN THEIR LIFETIME AND LIKE ONE IN A 5 YEAR PERIOD FOR DISABLE HUNTERS....BUT SEASONED HUNTERS OR SPORT HUNTERS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO DO THIS... AT THE RATE THAT THEY ARE KILLED, THERE MAY NOT BE MANY LEFT FOR THE FUTURE GENERATION OF HUNTERS AND WILDLIFE WATCHERS!

  • Katmai Bear Hunt: Outfitter Says It's No Walk in the Woods   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Just a few comments with a little different thought to process. It is unfortunate the park rangers felt they had to take the lives of two bears to protect the camera people that wanted to take pictures the following summer season--the bears may have found an alternative food source that should have been "fair game" for them. The bears could have enjoyed both the fish run and the people run. Also be sure and tell your bear adventure pilots, bringing you to the streams so you can take pictures, to leave their firearms at home, that if confronted by a bear, you can handle the controversy you are causing with your cameras. I would be willing to suggest 3 days after this unfortunate set of circumstances that occurred at Katmai, you would have had trouble finding a camera person looking for such a hearty adventure. The winds started blowing 35-50 mph, the temperatures dropped, the bears suddenly headed for the mountains toward their hiberation hideouts, and likely the only people left were a few hearty hunters and a few dedicated guides that are tough enough to weather the storm. Take a moment to discuss the difference between the summer bears, that camera people shoot, and their attitude toward people while lots of food source is traveling up the streams, and the fall/winter bears that are shot by people (the same Fall bears that were hungry enough to change their food diet to Timothy & Guest), as the fish diet dissapated late in the Fall. If the summer people are right about their appraisal of these bears' habits, they should feel free to go back to their camping spots, next to the streams, in the middle of bear country the entire month of October. and get up close and personal. Possibly these wonderful creatures of beauty have more than one side--I most certainly do.

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Bob Jackson: Your wrong on a couple things.. the hunters didnt say

    "what a great shot, the bears, they just don't even care. " another hunter says wow' the bear's walking right up to us"

    It was the camera crew from Ktuu news, just watch it closer and read who it was that sent the video's.
    Just remember, they will show you only the video that is justifying their cause. Dont believe everything they show you.

    And in another video you can hear Megan Baldino say "it ran up the hill and I almost s*** my pants" (cant believe the editors let that one get through) but I thought these bears were so habituated a hunter could just walk right up to it?

    If you think the bears are getting "habituated" then maybe we should outlaw the fishing and bear viewing in that area? Then they wouldnt be so used to people and the hunt might be more ethical in your eyes? Does one special interest group have more rights than the other because your not part of it?

  • 4-Year-old Dies in Fall off South Rim of Grand Canyon   6 years 26 weeks ago

    This is a very tragic accident to be sure. But I hope that it does not prompt the NPS to install more fences at the rim. People do take foolish risks at the rim. They stand on crumbling rocks. They get way to close to the edge. They hop from outcropping to outcropping with only 400 feet of air underneath them. Read "Over the Edge" by Michael Ghiglieri which details how dangerous the Grand Canyon is however most of that danger is due to people being unprepared or negligent. The beauty of the canyon should not be marred by more fencing. There are ample warning signs all along the rim, (for those for whom the dangers aren't already obvious).

  • Sunrise at Bryce Canyon   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Don't be too hard on yourself Marion. Even the acknowledged best of the best, photogs who employ with and free-lance for National Geographic, Nature, Smithsonian and the like, can't make every shot perfect. For every one the makes publication there are literally DOZENS that end up in the round file. Perfection is a noble goal towards which to reach, but in reality, too many times unattainable. But by setting your sights lower, you'll never reach your full potential. Your lack of satisfaction is noteworthy, but then again, so is this shot!!

  • Parks Philanthropy: It Shouldn't Only Be About Bricks and Mortar   6 years 26 weeks ago

    i'm glad to hear someone from the private sector saying this... in the philanthropic world, in my experience, no one wants to fund staff, they want to fund "tangible, on the ground results." to them (before you all start gang piling on this comment) this means building things, like visitor centers and toilets... it doesn't mean funding interpreters, the cleaning and/or pumping of pit toilets and other things that while they are great, they don't always get the job done on the ground.

    great post, kudos to mr. morton for pushing for education and funding more than new visitor centers.

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I too would like to thank FACT for providing us that information. Mark, Thank You! finally an intellegent educated hunter Outdoorsman who no doubt hunts with ethically and morally as well as skill. I would like to hear from more hunters that understand the issue of fair chase hunting and who beleive the bear hunting on Katmai Nationa Preserve is nothing more than mindless target practice for skill-less hunters. Bear Hunter", please don't lecture us about not having great outdoor hunting skills or experience!! As aprofessional photographer I've spent many years out on the Katmai, on Kodiac and in Canada with the bears. I've had a young brown bear walk up to me lick my boot and paw at my tripod so don't lecture me or anyone else about your great hunting skills. It takes no mind or skill at all to step off a plane walk a few feet and slaughter a bear or anyother animal with a gun. Why don't you try hunting wildlife with a camera instead of standing in-between them with a 7mag or H+H 375 mag and tell me if you don't wet your pants?? The issue is unethical hunting of brown bears in the Fall on Katmai National Preserve. Bear Hunter watch the video, pay attentionand listen... "what a great shot, the bears, they just don't even care. " another hunter says wow' the bear's walking right up to us" Fact" brought up some excellnt points about the age of the animals being shot on Katmai. They're becoming younger and younger and I know a group of people who have to go out every year at the end of the hunt and deal with the orphaned cubs wow" what a job!! You see, what the Alaska BOG doesn't mention is the "water-shed" affect killing a female with cubs has on the bear population because killing one bear may lead to the death of two or three bears, which is one reason the bear numbers are dropping. I'm not calling all hunters ruthless savages, just the hunters/guides out on Katmai gunning down the bears pointblank. I've had many conversations with hunters about this issue and all are in agreement, this is not hunting in any stretch of the imagination, but ruthless slaughter of our wildlife. No doubt the big bear hunters come back home and tell everyone about their big bear hunt and how tough and dangerous it was, why tracking a huge Grizzly through miles of bush; well the video is now showing the people what's really happening on Katmai. The Park does belong to all Americans, not just Alaska based hunting guides.

    PLEASE WRITE YOUR LOCAL CONGRESSMAN IN PPROTEST OF SLAUGHTERING BEARS ON KATMAI NATIONAL PRESERVE. GMU 9C 703 KATMAI NATIONAL PARK.

    SEND EVERYONE YOU CAN THINK OF THE NATIONAL PARKS VIDEO LINK SO THEY TOO CAN SEE THE VIDEO FOR THEMSELVES AND READ THE COMMENTS.

  • 4-Year-old Dies in Fall off South Rim of Grand Canyon   6 years 26 weeks ago

    This accident just happened when my family and I arrived at the Grand Canyon. I was shocked when I heard that a young girl went over the rim and the rescue mission just started upon our arrival. I did not think about it before, but was quite surprised how much of the rim is not secured by a fence. I was even more surprised when I saw several people during this visit sitting or lying literally at the edge of a rock! There is a drop-off of at least 300 ft right below them. I also saw several little children walking around with their parents who were NOT holding them. It was a hard breaking scene at the South Rim and I keep thinking about it.
    It was my first visit at the Grand Canyon and it was a great experience, unfortunately, the accident was always in the back in my mind.

  • Audiocast #1 : Washington State Plan to Abolish the FLREA   6 years 26 weeks ago

    When all land is private, there wont be any place to have a private picnic!
    Yes it will come. Just a matter of when>

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    That's not hunting - just stupid pointless vandalism.

    What pathetic people they must be to feel any achievement at killing that bear.

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Blaszak's response is pure bureaucratic agency speak. It reminds me of the form letter I get back from my Congressman after writing him about nerve gas leaks and above ground bomb tests.

    "We appreciate your concern for the park and its resources and welcome your continued participation in the public process."

    These are the words of a person secure in their permanent civil service status with a fat & happy government retirement package safely on the horizon.

    These are people I would not trust to mow my lawn, much less manage a vast and complex wilderness on the edge of nowhere. She is just a small cog in a massive bureaucracy that is unnaccountable in more ways than any of us would care to contemplate. Worst of all there is very little we can do about it short of a tax revolt.

    Ms. Blaszak is the impersonal and obfuscating face of a Kafkaesque nightmare of an agency that is unable or unwilling to call this hunt what it really is: a bloody slaughter.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I live in the mountains in southern California. Back in 2002 they opened bear hunting to thin the population. There were too many bears. I am sure that the population of bears in this park are monitored and protected. Grow up people!!

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Oh, I doubt if you could mount much of a case to support your statement insinuating that I'm ignorant of wildlife issues, and that the almighty Board of Game, NPS, DF&G, or other all-knowing agencies should be held in the highest reverence and left to their own devices in their decision making processes regarding the "resources" contained within our parklands. Nobody is above that measure of scrutiny Bear Hunter. The last time the American public left an elected official above the level of scrutiny, we were treated to an up-close and personal view of an idiot who claimed that he didn't even know what sex was, and I cannot EVER allow for that puny level of intellect to become the leading influence on policy that directly impacts some portion of my life, since after all, they're spending MY money, and every taxpayer should demand accountability. It's not only our right, it's our duty as citizens. If you enjoy being a sheep and following orders without question, that's your call. But don't expect or demand that others swear that same blind oath.

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 26 weeks ago

    murder: to kill or slaughter inhumanly or barbarously.

    that's what i and countless others see on the video.

    this isn't a hunt. try hunting bears with spears and atlatls. that's hunting.

  • Glacier National Park Is Not As Pristine As It Appears   6 years 26 weeks ago

    What's your problem Gerald!? You seem to despise anyone that offers constructive criticism.

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Fact, thanks for divulging more information about this some what clandestine outfit called the Board of Game and the Alaska Outdoor Council. Sounds like a group of good old boys wanting to control the whole atmosphere of hunting in Alaska...lock stock and barrel! These hunting boards are nothing but a scam. Their goal (and agenda) is to stack the board with pro gut pile hunters, and solidfy their power base to lock out the more conservation minded advocates...and screw the Alaskan Indians. The high price hunting guides (some really think there Daniel Boone) are nothing but prostitutes for the slob rich hunters that can't track, fish or shoot...unless holding hands with a smooth talking guide. To you so called weenie hunters, lets see you do your wilderness homework, and do it alone when it comes to PURE hunting without any strings attached. For the guides...get a real job!

  • 4-Year-old Dies in Fall off South Rim of Grand Canyon   6 years 26 weeks ago

    This is such a tragic incident, and while I do think the parents could have been watching her more carefully, accidents do happen, and in most cases they are not as fatal as this. This should remind us how lucky we are to be alive. My heart goes out to the mother and father, and the young girl whose life was tragically cut short.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Wow, arn't those hunters special! I can't believe how they outsmarted those wiley bears. What a long and ardous stalk.
    I've lived in King Salmon,Alaska all my life. These bears are completly habituated and don't fear people and dont know that we are a danger to them. There is really no place in a park or preserve for hunting. The meaning of the word prreserve implies that the animals there should be protected.
    I think congress should get on the Park Services asses and withhold funding for Katmai.

  • Park Service Now Interested in Adding Christmas Mountains to Big Bend National Park   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Sell it to the national forest service ------- they are more friendly toward
    public use than the national park sevice can be.