Recent comments

  • Book Review: Let's Go See:All 50! -- Visiting the 50 States Journal   6 years 14 weeks ago

    I would love to get this for my husband for father's day - but where? I did a search online this morning and came up with nothing other than a few announcements about it. Do you know where I can purchase one? Is it just too soon? Thank you, Dorothy

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 14 weeks ago

    This shouldn't be an issue. The 2nd Amendment doesn't make any exceptions to the right to self-defense, including on national parks. The gun restrictions are illeagal to begin with and need repealed or challenged in court. Do you realy want to do the stupid thing and play dead with a grizzly or fight back? You anti-gun folks are just clueless about nature and the real world.

  • Explosives, Possibly Dating to 1930s, Found in Sequoia National Park's Crystal Cave--Updated   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Once again our government has thought up a way to spend a lot of money to solve a very simple problem. Today you can run a fiber optic scope down the hole and see what is in there. Back in the Vietnam era we just blew it up! Still the simple solution for Master Blaster. How many educational degrees does it take to figure that one out? That hole was blasted there in the first place. I'm not aware of the exact location of the drill hole (nice picture - hope it will be preserved - hole I mean). CCC work was very important to get us out of the depression and I still admire their work across America.

  • Ken Burns' National Parks Documentary: Where Does it Stand?   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Yaaaaawwwwwnnnnn...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...hope it's more interesting than his lame series on "The War."

  • Park Service Retirees Urge Interior Department to Halt American Revolution Center   6 years 14 weeks ago

    What gets lost in the discussion is that the land in question is within the boundaries of the park, the NPS was attempting to purchase it when the ARC bought it, and that the site is archeologically-rich with evidence of the historic encampment commissary. A mueum of the American Revolution at Valley Forge is a fine idea -- but putting it at that site desecrates the very values it professes to want to preserve and protect.

  • Coal-Fired Plants Obscuring National Park Vistas   6 years 14 weeks ago

    This isn't just about the NPS and NPCA not wanting to be impacted by coal burning power plants -- it's the law. The 1977 Clean Air Act requires that all national parks larger than 6000 acres that existed when the law was passed have the highest degree of protection from air pollution impacts of any lands in the US. It's called "Prevention of Significant Deterioration" and the Federal Land Manager (the Secretary of the Interior, and through him/her, the Director of the NPS) has an "affirmative responsibility" to protect the air quality related values of these parks. Unfortunately, it's always been a political football and a hollow protection since regulation and enforcement depends upon EPA and the states to act.

    J Longstreet
    a national park superintendent

  • National Park Search and Rescue: Should the Rescued Help Pay the Bills?   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Rescues caused by stupid and uninformed actions are not unique to wilderness activities. If we are to start charging for such rescues in the wilderness, what about people who try to drive across flooded streets? People who drive standard cars into snowstorms? People who swim into noticed red tides? The list is long.

  • Coal-Fired Plants Obscuring National Park Vistas   6 years 14 weeks ago

    OK, so I could go on a massive anti-coal rant the points out the many ills of said nasty, foul energy, and the merits and truth behind how we can power America on renewable energy, but I won't.

    No, I'll keep my mouth shut (mostly) and be brief...

    Coal plants in many parts of the nation get their coal from companies who blow up mountains, shove the unwanted rock into headwater streams, and then cart off the coal. As a resident of a state that is impacted by mountaintop removal (aka raping the land), I can tell you that contrary to what the ads running on CNN say, coal is worse than foreign oil. At least the terrorists who sell us oil aren't killing people in America (Bush's Iraq mess notwithstanding), destroying homes, burying rivers' headwaters, causing cronic disease (asthma, autism, etc), mercury poisoning, etc on a DAILY basis.

    You can see where your electricity comes from, and if it's powered by said nasty, destructive companies at http://www.ilovemountains.org/

    For more about coal, head to http://www.sierraclub.org/coal/

    And to learn about how we can stop/greatly slow climate change, see http://www.sierraclub.org/roadmap/

    I applaud NPCA for continuing to hammer this message home (they ran a similar campaign last spring). I'm sick of seeing air pollution advisory signs as I drive into GRSM, and I'm sick of breathing foul air that literally makes me sick.

  • Explosives, Possibly Dating to 1930s, Found in Sequoia National Park's Crystal Cave--Updated   6 years 14 weeks ago

    That is, I'm told, indeed his official title, and it is definitely a cool one. However, "Master Blaster" would be better, no?;-)

  • Explosives, Possibly Dating to 1930s, Found in Sequoia National Park's Crystal Cave--Updated   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Is this guy's title actually Chief Blaster?? If it is, that is a seriously awesome job title :)

  • Montana Governor Asked to "Provide Leadership" In Yellowstone Bison Controversy   6 years 14 weeks ago

    In this case, the agencies involved in the IBMP are the National Park Service, the United States Forest Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

    What we are hearing from the field is that compared with years past, the hazing has been relatively mild; however, there has been some hazing on private property, something that Governor Schweitzer's office says wouldn't happen. However, there are firsthand witnesses reporting otherwise.

    Most of the buffalo are still there; it's also extremely warm this weekend - there should be a huge melting of snow this weekend.

    Some of us joined BFC's rally in Helena the same day that the hazing started, where we attempted to give Gov. Schweitzer and Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis the Buffalo Bill Award for having hilled more buffalo (1,604) than at any time since the 19th century. Schweitzer wasn't there; he had an intern who knew next to nothing about the issue put on a smiling face in accepting the award.

    Locals are beginning to organize in addition to Buffalo Field Campaign. We've formed Buffalo Allies of Bozeman, and the Horse Butte Neighbors of Buffalo (HOBNOB) are re-activating. We urgently need your support so that this doesn't happen again.

    As the GAO noted, the conflicting missions of the IBMP partners and the lack of a clear goal make the success of the plan impossible. The IBMP must be scrapped; however, in the short term, stopping this haze would be a good idea this year and every other year in both the north and the west of the park

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

  • Wolf Killed Illegally Near Grand Teton National Park, $3,000 Reward Offered   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Kurt, I am not going let this tragic and sad article pass me by without venting my anger at this despicable sick coward that shot this beautiful animal.

    It never amazes me and some people just can't live in balance with nature...it's gotta be this rape and pillage of the land with complete disregard of its natural resources...whether it be fur, fin or feather. With global warming at hand, wildlife is being pushed to the limits for survival, either it be the gray wolf or polar bears of the Arctic. Some idiot that doesn't give a ---- about our natural resources and pulls the trigger to annihilate some species of animal just because it doesn't fit in his scheme of things...is a living coward to boot.

    (Editor's note: This comment was edited to remove gratuitous and unnecessary content and to abide by the Traveler's code of conduct.)

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Well, MRC, I wouldn't want people to use the "open book" approach to get the answers the first time through the quiz. That would take the fun out of it. But I do think it'd be great if people who missed quiz items used various sources (including the Internet) to find out why particular answers were correct. Often, the best place to begin is with the relevant park's home page, which can be accessed through the National Park Guide alphabetical index at http://home.nps.gov/applications/parksearch/atoz.cfm. Everybody with a serious interest in the national parks should have that site bookmarked.

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Bob, you want us to use websites, literature and maps to answer your quizzes? I thought one had to answer them straight out of ones head, and was a bit unhappy as I got only 7 out of the 11 this time after 9 of 10 at the last.

  • Coal-Fired Plants Obscuring National Park Vistas   6 years 14 weeks ago

    North Texas has Lake Meredith NRA and Alibates Flint Quarries NM. But maybe better filter systems might help? The Germans use amazing electric particle filters on their plants and use the cooling water to "wash" the exhaust fumes additionally. I'm not really sure, if the US standard is as high as theirs.

  • Montana Governor Asked to "Provide Leadership" In Yellowstone Bison Controversy   6 years 14 weeks ago

    6 years and 16 million dollars for nothing.........and to think, we sent a man to the moon within a single decade. This problem needs to be solved NOW. The wild bison and other animals who have to follow the forage to survive deserve our help.

    This situation is a disgrace to America, the state of Montana, the US Fish & Wildlife and the National Park Service.

  • Protest Against American Revolution Center at Valley Forge National Historical Park Planned for May 15   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Jerry Lenfest is the owner of this property, not the National Park Service. The proposed ARC museum is absolutely beautiful and is giving over 100 acres of open space while only developing on 19.5 acres. What other developer would give you that? This land will be resold to a housing developer for top dollar if the ARC project is thwarted. The artifacts of the ARC collection are fabulous and deserve to be represented in a museum. Isn't it a shame that our country has no museum to honor and educate about the revolutionary war?
    Those who protest it are simply residents who live near the site and don't want the museum in their backyard. Unfortunately, they do not own this land, nor does the National Park Service. I for one, am thrilled so see such a beautiful attraction proposed for this land site and encourage everyone to really do their homework on this project. The members of the ARC have gone above and beyond what they needed to do to give us a museum that not only educates, but is environmentally friendly and keeps a majority of the land as-is. They should be commended for doing so.

  • Park History: Carlsbad Caverns National Park   6 years 14 weeks ago

    I cannot agree that there is any objective criteria whatsoever for the designation as National Park. Congaree and Cuyahoga Valley were renamed because the Congressman wanted them renamed to increase tourism. Petrified Forest was renamed at the urging of the local communities in an effort to increase tourism. Hot Springs "...spacious land and water area of nation-wide interest established as an inviolable sanctuary for the permanent preservation of scenery, wilderness, and native fauna and flora in their natural condition." Don't make me laugh. Congaree is less than 27,000 acres - more than 140 parks are larger. Carslbad Cavers is open only in the day time. Etcetera. In short, the term National Park has become a political term and denotes nothing relative to the value of the park's resources, importance to the country, role in history, budget, size of staff, or number of visitors. It is time for the NPS and Congress to clean up this confusing and pointless naming system that misleads the public and makes it appear that some parks are inferior to others.

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 14 weeks ago

    One purpose if these little quizzies is to get you digging into the literature -- or cyberspace, if you prefer -- to find out more about the parks. The question Sabattis tossed out was a bit tough, though, so perhaps a clue is in order. Think Pacific Coast and Gulf Coast.

  • Park History: Carlsbad Caverns National Park   6 years 14 weeks ago

    This is absolutely fascinating subject matter, Sabattis. Sport hunting arrangements in the National Park System are all over the map, figuratively and literally. And it isn't just the Preserves that permit sport hunting, either. At Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore you've got hunters pursuing deer with rifles and using shotguns to bag ruffed grouse, rabbits, and other small game. At Cumberland Island National Seashore there are a half-dozen public deer hunts each year with permits issued by lottery and limited to bow hunting. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has initiated a feral ungulate control program that incorporates sport hunting. The target animals there are feral sheep (including mouflon sheep) and feral cattle, goats, and pigs. Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (how's THAT for a name?!) offers permit-only hunting for deer, turkey, wild boar, and small game such as squirrel, raccoon, rabbit and game birds. There are, I think, some other national parks (not titled Preserves) that permit sport hunting. And don't you think it's a bit bizarre to use the name "preserve" to specifically denote the park system units that permit sport hunting? As for the matter of counting units, I do see the logic in counting Preserves as separate units, even though they are (usually) contiguous with their partner parks and under the same administration. My opinion is rooted mostly in the not so subtle differences in wildlife resource management, law enforcement, and other things that matter. There are other factors to consider, of course, including provisions (as at Denali) for aboriginal people to practice "traditional" subsistence hunting and trapping -- including using snowmobiles and high powered rifles in designated wilderness areas. The more I think about this, the worse my headache gets. I need to take a break.

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Bob - I totally agree, I think that the National Park System would be a little easier to protect and defend if the System itself were properly definied in terms that people could understand.

    I've never found an official explanation for why some National Scenic Trails are Units of the National Park System but others are not, nor are any National Historical Trails. I do have one theory, however, in that one characteristic shared by the Appalachian, Natchez Trace, and Potomac Heritage NST's, and I believe by none of the others, is that each of those three involve large amounts of Federal land. The Natchez Trace NST is located entirely within the borders of the Natchez Trace Parkway, 2/3rds of the Potomac Heritage NST is located within the borders of the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the C&O Canal NHP (only the Laurel Highlands segment is not on Federal land), and I believe that almost the entire corridor of the Appalachian NST that was not already protected as Federal or State land has been acquired by the National Park Service. So far as I know, the National Park Service has not acquired land for any the other Trails. Additionally, many of the other Trails have been assigned to the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, or Fish and Wildlife Service to be the lead administering agency. So that's my best guess, anyways, for that particular quirk of the National Park System....

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Hey Sabattis, you going to tell us the answer to your bonus question, or just make us all suffer?

  • Coal-Fired Plants Obscuring National Park Vistas   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Of course, the problem with NPCA's report is this - is it possible to build a coal-fired power plant in the United States that is *not* within the viewshed of one of the 391 National Parks? Maybe you could put a coal-fired power plant in north-central Texas that wouldn't impact the viewshed of a National Park, but I'm not even sure about that. In other words, coal-fired power plants aren't a National Parks issue - they're a general environmental issue. Given the threat of global warming, its probably time to start arguing that despite the hazardous waste, the unsightly steam plumes, the small risk of unspeakable disaster, and the much higher total cost that we should start converting all of the Nation's electrical power supply from coal power to nuclear power. Still, at the very least, its a matter of trade-offs of the negative impacts of coal vs. natural gas vs. nuclear electrical power for a country with a growing population and a growing economy. Unfortunately, the NPCA rather inaccurately claims that solar, wind, and geothermal energy, combined with increased conservation, could meet the Nation's energy demands. I can't recall ever seeing that conclusion supported by credible scientists and economists.

  • Park History: Carlsbad Caverns National Park   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Yes Bob, that's it - at least some National Preserves allow sport hunting, although I am not sure that this is true for any other Unit in the National Park System. I'm not sure if there are other differences as well. In addition, to follow up on our conversation on the quiz page, the differing levels of protection for National Preserves relatives to National Parks and National Monuments means that there are nine "National Parks" that the National Park Service inexplicably counts *twice* towards the "391 Units of the National Park System." The NPS counts Aniakchak, Craters of the Moon, Denali, Gates of the Arctic, Great Sand Dunes, Katmai, Lake Clark, and Wrangell-St. Elias as both a National Park/National Monument *and* as a National Preserve towards the 391. Go figure!

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Clustering like things together or placing them in the same category is Management 101. Disregarding this basic rule invites chaos, and the National Park System offers a splendid example. It's probably impractical to straighten this mess out at this late stage of the game, but wouldn't it be nice?