Recent comments

  • Is Your Backcountry Safety Net A Personal Locator Beacon or Cell Phone?   6 years 14 weeks ago

    I just finished reading"The Last Season" , the story of Ranger Randy Morgenson's disappearance in King's Canyon N.P. If anyone would like to know just what all an SAR entails, this is a great education. Locator beacons are a great tool that can save life, time , and resources when used responsibly. But if you are the kind of slacker who would just lean on your "technology", you should realize every rescue mission endangers the lives of the people who come to save you. People, I might add, whose main jobs are probably way underpaid and not neccessarily geared toward search & rescue. As usual, people need to have that increasingly rare thing know as common sense. Be responsible for your own life.

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

    Lest we forget, Valley Forge was a state park until the Bicentennial when the state decided it was cheaper to let the federal government have it. It's surrounded by hotels, shopping centers and houses.

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

    Timothy Treadwell thought very much like these anti-gunner peaceniks. Now, he is dead.
    Bears, lions and wolves are all wild animals. Not cute cuddly, warm and fuzzy pets like your cartoons and fairy tales depict.

    And then there is the recommended defensive bear encounters advise by the NPS. To, play dead or in the event of a black bear or your tent is invaded by bears, always fight back. Fight back ? With what? Fight back and pull back a stump ?
    Please. How did so many liberals ... get to be in charge of our National Park System ?

    Editor's note: This comment was edited to remove a gratuitous aspersion.

  • Is Your Backcountry Safety Net A Personal Locator Beacon or Cell Phone?   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Although I hope I never need it, I plan to carry something like a SPOT along with all my other backpacking stuff. There are just too many times when help is too far away and we must rely on ourselves and our preparation. To assume that we can "push the button" if we get into trouble is not very smart. "One-in-a-million" situations CAN occur; be prepared.

  • Kings Canyon National Park   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Ahhh - King's Canyon is great, but this picture is just Kitsch.

  • NPCA: Health of Everglades National Park Requires a Longer Bridge Along the Tamiami Trail   6 years 14 weeks ago

    The Miccosukee Tribe does not support the Skyway project as it will have adverse impacts on their life, businesses, traditional camps, and cultural resources. This is an environmetal justice issue as well as an environmental one. Please see their website for more information: http://www.miccosukeetours.com/

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

    Dorothy,

    Thank you for your kind words about the journal. It is feedback like yours that make it a truly humbling yet fulfilling experience. The journal is currently being carried by 133 retail outlets spanning 33 states, and it has only been available since November 2007. If interested, I can provide you with a location nearest to you so that you can inspect it in person.

    Once again, thanks,
    Stephen Martin

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

    Dear Bob,

    I am greatly honored by your extensive review of the All 50! journal. Thank you for your time and insights. Interestingly, you have captured the struggle we had in developing the final product as far as deciding precise content. In the end, it was decided to add less in order to allow more input by the owner. In other words, the owner of the journal can truly make it his own simply by inserting items that interest him. As you mentioned, the journal is not meant for navigating precisely, but it can be altered in such a way as to be meaningful to those who wish to use it that way. Your mention of the colored pencils is exactly how I enhance my own personal journal.

    Once again, the thrill experienced by seeing the mention of the review on the home page, then actually reading the entirety of it within was awesome. Thank you!

    Sincerely,
    Stephen Martin

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

    Sabattis, I think maybe you sorta painted yourself into a corner on this one, revealing the terribly complicated nature of devising completely unambiguous quiz questions. Here is how you phrased your question:

    Two National Parks are located [in] two different States - even though those States do not share [a] border. Name the Parks!
    No problem with the Gulf Islands National Seashore. That's one. But here's the rub with the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. In tallying national parks (arriving at a total 0f 391), the Park Service counts the Skagway-based Klondike National Historical Park and the Klondike Gold Rush Seattle Unit National Historical Park as two separate units. That means that one can argue that they are really two separate national parks oriented to the same theme (the Klondike Gold Rush). If that were not true, why would each be listed separately in the master index, and why would each have its own website and its own Superintendent (Karen Beppler-Dorn in Seattle and Robyn Burch, Acting Superintendent as of August 2007 in Skagway)? OK, I will admit that it makes a lot of sense to consider them as just one park, but a good argument can be made for the alternate interpretation. Do you still consider your question completely fair?

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

    Sorry..... Good point - here's the answer to my "bonus" trivia question. The first Park is Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, which has two Units, one in Seattle and one in Skagway, Alaska. The Klondike Gold Rush played a major role in the development of Seattle as a major city, so the Seattle Units makes for a very interesting addition to this Park. The second Park is Gulf Islands National Seashore - which includes beautiful white sand beaches in western Florida and in southern Mississippi, but doesn't include any sites in Alabama.

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

    First, I believe that I have received good information at/from all the national parks I have visited on the subject of safety and preparation for the areas I travel. Perhaps this is why the vast majority of the people in the story sustained no injuries.
    Next, I'm not convinced that an additional usage fee or insurance is the best answer. people may add additional risk with the feeling of be insured. also with fees wouldn't this open up liability for the effectiveness of the SAR.
    My last comment is about the money, $4.7 million. I question is this an actual amount of out of pocket by the NPS, or is a portion donated in non paid time and expenses. I used to be with a mounted search group in the Northwest.

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

    EOD Gad has a point. Why think this this thing to death like all other government jobs just take care of it and move on. financially, our parks are stretched to the limits and under funded.

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

    Lone Hiker:Good input and I find your arguments most informative. Although, I don't have your expertise in the field or specialty (was it physics?) in some aspect of hard science but I do remember the scientific community complaining back in the 1980's how difficult it was to drum up money for research and development towards alternative energy projects. I agree our past history doesn't reflect well on are gluttonous appetite for more coal, gas and oil. But, I can remember Dr. Jensen's work (1970's) at NASA in atmospheric research pointing up to the sky that we're slowly burning things up; then Al Gore puts an exclamation point on his work with his profound book- An Inconvenient Truth.

    There have been red flags dropped for decades regarding our ill-behaved consumptive attitude towards "more is good" capitalist theme. Instead, some get mocked at for thinking "small is beautiful" and that it's a bad virtue to do so. I do point the finger very heavily at the Bush & Cheney administration for foot-dragging, especially when the world awaits for our critical input to help resolve one of the most potent crises of all...global warming! Looks like we went for the easy fix or the band-aid approach for years and now it's pay back time. We wait until the last drop (and price) of oil is right, or the Arctic Wilderness is totally exploited, the National Parks lined with utility companies (and the smoke haze that blocks our view) then we knee jerk and act. Hopefully, young Chance F.'s generation doesn't have to build us 25-foot seawalls to keep the ice caps from flooding our U.S. coastline. I guess we are "simply children" after all Lone Hiker, spoon-fed and pampered till the grave and smothered to death by Big Oil.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Tim,

    If you could cite the sources of your statistics that'd be helpful.

    Here's a blurb from a story that ran last year in the Observer newspaper in Great Britain. It's a disturbing portrait of how others see us:


    Guns, and the violence their possessors inflict, have never been more prevalent in America. Gun crime has risen steeply over the past three years. Despite the fact groups such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) consistently claim they are being victimised, there have probably never been so many guns or gun-owners in America - although no one can be sure, as no one keeps a reliable account. One federal study estimated there were 215 million guns, with about half of all US households owning one. Such a staggering number makes America's gun culture thoroughly mainstream.

    An average of almost eight people aged under 19 are shot dead in America every day. In 2005 there were more than 14,000 gun murders in the US - with 400 of the victims children. There are 16,000 suicides by firearm and 650 fatal accidents in an average year. Since the killing of John F Kennedy in 1963, more Americans have died by American gunfire than perished on foreign battlefields in the whole of the 20th century.

    Studies show that having a gun at home makes it six times more likely that an abused woman will be murdered. A gun in a US home is 22 times more likely to be used in an accidental shooting, a murder or a suicide than in self-defence against an attack. Yet despite those figures US gun culture is not retreating. It is growing.

    And here are some statistics from the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence:


    Gun Deaths and Injury - The United States Leads the World in Firearm Violence

    • In 2004, 29,569 people in the United States died from firearm-related deaths – 11,624
    (39%) of those were murdered; 16,750 (57%) were suicides; 649 (2.2%) were accidents;
    and in 235 (.8%) the intent was unknown. [5] In comparison, 33,651 Americans were
    killed in the Korean War and 58,193 Americans were killed in the Vietnam War.[6]

    • For every firearm fatality in the United States in 2005, there were estimated to be more
    than two non-fatal firearm injuries.[7]

    • In 2004, firearms were used to murder 56 people in Australia, 184 people in Canada, 73
    people in England and Wales, 5 people in New Zealand, and 37 people in Sweden.[8] In
    comparison, firearms were used tomurder 11,344 people in the United States.[9]

    • In 2005, there were only 143 justifiable homicides by private citizens using handguns in
    the United States.[10]

    You can find the entire report here.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Brad, Russia and Mexico are both countries that limit possession so severely that "normal" citizens are really not allowed to own them (much less carry concealed). Yet the murder rate for both of those countries is much higher that that of the US. Almost no Russian civilians own firearms, but the number of homicides is three to four times as high as in the US. The number of homicides in Mexico also seems to hang around 13-14/100K (5-6/100K in the US). If our neighbor to the north limits firearms and has a lower murder rate, what does that tell us about our neighbor to the south? Perhaps the answer is more beer, less guns, eh? Unfortunately I think that if people will continue to kill each other regardless of the tools that are available - if you take one away they'll find another.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 14 weeks ago

    Frank - you indicated that you were puzzled why you didn't hear more stories about people legitimately using their firearms to defend themselves. Yet, when you were pointed to a reference for those stories you discount it. The stories that are cited all have references to reputable news organizations - it should not matter whether the site that accumulates those references is "pro gun" or "anti gun". I submit to you that everything is just a statistic until it happens to you.

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

    I'm really getting tired of Liberals blaming the current doofus administration for all of the nation's energy woes when all past administrations dating back to the 50's are just a culpable, and when the real evidence suggests that this lame-brained nation has been comfortable and content with utilization of oil for decades. Dating back to the energy crisis that was the mid-70's, the national response was automobile fuel economy suggestions rather than alternative energy, our first mistake. Additionally, utility charters that guarantee profits structured as incentives for consumer investing in utility stock as a means of supporting the economy is the second fallacy. The lack of incentives, or mandates for utilities to progress beyond 19th Century technology is by far a larger contributor to our current situation than political "lame duck excuses". Our National Experimental Energy Laboratory has for years not only sought but delivered viable solutions to increased efficiency in solar and geothermal energy; reference the "3 month" Mars landers that with nothing to supplement their solar batteries have been fully functional for almost 3 years. Solar nay-sayers are quick to point out the inefficient methods of "bringing the power to the grid", which by the way was never the intention of solar energy sources, so of course at this moment, they claim victory over such alternatives and continue to tout the benefits of coal and oil. As I said, 19th Century Neanderthals. The truth is that the original design of solar cells was based around capture of a single high-energy wavelength of light, ignoring the fact that the spectra surrounding this wavelength were fully capable of yielding a highly efficient energy source as well. By placing additional layers of reactive materials in conjunction with the current film, solar cells have a greater potential than we ever dreamed possible with our initial research. True, this increases the cost of the panels, by not exponentially, as our current special interest groups inaccurately claim. Leaving our doors open to the spiral that is OPEC and complaining that you can't meet clean air standard set decades ago simply because "it's too expensive" is your idea of environmentally responsible and cost-effective management of our power grid? Gimme a break........

    The only hard evidence is that no single solution, INCLUDING additional coal-fired generation, is the sole answer to our current energy situation. But just when does the energy lobby feel the "time is right" to institute supplemental and eventual replacement of the power sources? That answer simply children, is when they have cornered the market and can maintain total control of our checkbooks. I suggest not only replacing the power source to the grid, but those who are responsible as well. They are the ones who have actually proven their incompetence and inefficiency by continually working with the pols to block changes to our system before the initial research can be funded and completed.

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

    Unfortunately, not all coal-fired power plants emit nothing more than water vapor and CO2. Among the contaminants still released by many are mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides, not too mention particulate matter.

    While there are efforts under way to develop better emissions control systems, and cleaner power plants overall, we're not there yet. That's why current negotiations on climate change legislation involve "cap and trade" proposals.

    That said, there is no silver bullet in our energy future. Renewables -- solar, wind, geothermal, biomass -- are promising, but by themselves cannot meet our energy needs in a cost-effective manner under current technologies. Coal, because of its plentiful resources, will continue to be a player. Hopefully, clean coal technologies will enable that energy sector to contribute in both a cost-effective and low impact manner. Easing air quality standards, however, is not a reasonable or forward-thinking solution.

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

    For years we have had some of the greatest minds exploring all avenues of green energy and alternative energy resources outside of Big Coal and Big Oil. It's a known fact, the government (especially with this present administration) has not injected much needed money into these programs or projects for research and development...just on a small token bases. With the Bush & Cheney regime, they have deliberately forestalled any such programs to miniscule level of less importance. Since the Bush & Cheney administration stepped into public office from day one, it's been all about Big Oil and Big Coal (plus the lucrative offers to major utility companies). All major campaign contributors to there corrupt shenanigans. It's understandable why Bush & Cheney sat for years doing nothing about global warming and just padding us with lame duck excuses that we needed more research. Anonymous, most of the "smoke" appears to be coming from Bush's mouth while running out the clock and really to do nothing about global warming...but sit.

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

    The "smoke" you see emanating from the stacks of coal fired power plants is carbon dioxide and water vapor. NOx, SUx, and particulate is eliminated by equipment specifically designed to do so, and these hazards are NOT released into the atmosphere. Go to the plants....ask for the data. They have to keep it public record, and the record originates from a 3rd party testing company. Until the government puts regulations on CO2 and water drying, most plants won't comply unless required. The cost is great. Electricity, if you haven't noticed, is expensive enough.

    Green groups don't understand or are unwilling to understand the economics. Their message gets to the media first, because industry can't afford to support a full time public relations blitz.

    In addition, the "truth" is that all the renewable energy we could utilize today is not economically viable. Hopefully, in the future we can rely on this energy when the technology and the economy can produce the power this country requires. Until then, we will have to rely on the dirty beast that is coal fired power.

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

    um yeah, now I found the note at the end... I really am a little slow in the morning. Thanks!

  • 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 15 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 15 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 15 weeks ago

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