Recent comments

  • Glen Canyon Marina Fire Damage Estimate: $3-$5 Million   6 years 8 weeks ago

    1) it was the middle of the night, the responders had to stop at the fire house at Bullfrog to get their gear, make their way to the fire boat, then navigate through the pitch black night to Hall's. I'm thinking 45 minutes ain't too shabby.

    2) one of the first responders was an NPS maintenance person.

    it's really easy to play armchair quarterback, and complain about things you obviously know nothing about.

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   6 years 8 weeks ago


    The figure of 5,000 you saw must have been intended for something else, not the annual visitation figure for Hurricane Ridge. The annual figure is right around 3 million. Like elsewhere, visitation at Olympic has fallen lately, but maybe not as much.

    Essentially, everyone who goes to Olympic, goes to Hurricane Ridge. That is why I said earlier, that this destination is Olympic. Some visitors also go to, e.g, the Hoh River (rainforest), but the overwhelming visitation to Olympic is to Hurricane Ridge.

    Winter usage is much lighter than summer season, but overall a good rough approximation is that Hurricane Ridge resort-complex (it has several venues going on) might earn $200-400 million per year.

    Yes, Claire, the Park website does mention Hurricane Ridge, prominently. Good winter-pictures there.

    If a person is a cross-country skier, Hurricane Ridge is seriously nice. If they are a Sun Valley, Whistler-type 'commercial downhill' maven, then Hurricane is a pathetic, not-funny joke. However, if a skier is a beyond-the-tow type, then Hurricane again rises into the fairly spectacular ranks. I note cross-country people heading out with downhill skis on their back.

    The reason the Park administration continues to allow Hurricane to operate as it does, and maintains a fancy road for it & it alone, is that the Hurricane Ridge resort-complex is by far and away the largest revenue-generator in Olympic. It is likely that all other earning-venues combined are small compared to Hurricane Ridge.

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   6 years 8 weeks ago

    Actually, if you create a profile in the Traveler's system you have the option of being notified when a comment has been attached to a post that you've commented on. One more reason to join the club!

  • Bush Administration Publishes Proposed Rule For Mountain Biking in National Parks   6 years 8 weeks ago

    To Fred Swanson: Fred, thanks for articulating your criticisms of mountain biking candidly. Let me respond . . . .

    (1) I think many mountain bikers would be happy to exchange fair access to trails for a divided-use plan under which we'd be allowed on trails only on certain days, even in remote areas. My hope is to see the rescinding of agency prohibitions against mountain biking in federal Wilderness and on national park trails and in exchange I will not object if individual forest managers and park superintendents can separate uses by day of the week or some other form of temporal division. This system is in effect on part of the Tahoe Rim Trail, which is not urban, and I've heard no complaints about it. Under such a system, I would limit horse and packstock use of trails to a few weeks a year, those likely to be driest, after which operators of commercial packstock trains escorting loads of sedentary sightseers have to repair the damage at the end of the permitted period for the benefit of backpackers, hikers, and cyclists.

    (2) I'm sorry that you feel you have to yield to approaching mountain bikers when you're hiking. I am always ready to yield by stopping when I see hikers. But 95% of the time, the hikers step off the trail before I can utter a single propitiating word. The other 5% of the time, I do manage to say something and if the hikers want me to stop I do (sometimes they'd rather let me get by). I do manage to get equestrians to tell me what they would like. Half the time it's to stop and let them by, and I do. I don't know any mountain bikers who don't, although undoubtedly a few bad apples could be found.

    (3) Every use has problems. As you allude to, an inconsiderate mountain biker traveling too fast on a downhill trail can annoy or jar those seeking contemplative solitude. But hikers’ campsites, campfires, and loud audio devices, and horses’ and packstock’s dung, trail damage, and trampling of vegetation also negatively impact the environment and other park visitors.

    Every nonmotorized use also confers benefits, albeit of different types. You mentioned the quiet, contemplative, serene aspect of hiking. I agree—and let me mention that I have backpacked half of the part of the Pacific Crest Trail located in Oregon and many miles elsewhere, primarily in Wilderness areas. Mountain biking confers great benefits as well. It supports a unique constellation of important values: appreciation for wildlands, self-reliance, quiet recreation, solitude, and greatly increased physical fitness. A few other activities, like rock-climbing, provide all of these, but I would respectfully submit that neither hiking nor riding horses or packstock does. Hiking, though virtuous for the reasons you mention and others besides, normally places less intense physical demands on its participants and so does not confer the same high degree of fitness that mountain biking does. (You'll see overweight hikers, but overweight mountain bikers are as rarely seen as silver quarters in the change you get these days.) Horseback and packstock riding may provide worthwhile exposure to remote areas, particularly for people unable to hike or ride a bicycle, but do little for personal fitness and often damage trails, campsites, and riparian areas, all to the detriment of the environment and the experience of other park visitors.

    Kurt, I appreciate the thoughtful comments you, Ted Clayton, Zebulon, and others have made here. Ted's discussion of the Organic Act is particularly interesting and insightful. Is anyone still reading this thread? Could you do what Bill Schneider's New West threads do and permit contributors to check a box so that they can see when someone has replied to their post? Otherwise I fear that Fred Swanson won't see my reply. Just curious.

  • Rules! Rules! Rules!   6 years 8 weeks ago

    Haven't been to all of the parks, but still fun & informative. Thanks!

  • Resolved: I’ll Visit at Least These Five National Parks in 2009   6 years 8 weeks ago

    Uh...... I hope you're not suggesting that I visit Gates of the Arctic this month, JimFrom NewYork. January visitation for years 2003 through 2007 COMBINED was 25, and in three of those years there were no January visits at all.

  • Resolved: I’ll Visit at Least These Five National Parks in 2009   6 years 8 weeks ago

    Gates of the Arctic National Park, with the adjoining Gates of the Arctic National Preserve, is THE park to see if you have not yet.

    It is the most extensive Wilderness national park in America. It has the headwaters with watersheds of any number of arctic and subarctic rivers. It has beautiful arctic valleys and gorgeous scenery. You can hike or kayak for weeks, sometimes without seeing any other party of visitors. Brown and black bear, caribou, wolves and more.

  • Resolved: I’ll Visit at Least These Five National Parks in 2009   6 years 8 weeks ago

    Thanks for the suggestions, SaltSage. I'm afraid that Colorado National Monument will be out of reach on this particular trip. My host and driver, who lives in Nederland (home of the annual Frozen Dead Guy Days festival), wants to head straight to the southwestern reaches of Colorado so we can be sure to have time for our primary park destinations as well as the Silverton-Durango steam train (for which we've already made reservations). Hovenweep may be doable, and I've always wanted to see Square Tower. I'll definitely look into that.

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   6 years 8 weeks ago

    Hurricane Ridge! In Olympic Natl Park! And I thought my brain had a lock on ski area trivia, and I never heard ot this one. Of course, I looked it up (, and while it might indeed be a cash cow for whatever entity (concessionaire or not-for-profit), but it is hardly "an alpine resort," as someone suggested. Eight hundred feet of vertical, 2 rope tows and a Pomalift, a day lodge open only for six hours on weekends and "some holidays" and annual visitation of 5,000 hardly qualifies it as a resort.

    FWIW, the Hurricane Ridge website also reports, "Hurricane Ridge is the furthest west ski area in the contiguous United States and one of only three remaining ski areas in the U.S. located in a National park, the others being Badger Pass at Yosemite, and Boston Mills/Brandywine at Cuyahoga Valley, OH." The park's website does not mention the ski area, and the ski area's website does not mention the natl park, so who knows. I'm mildly interested, but not enough to make a phone call.

    FWIW #2, US and Canadian parks are operated different. Ski Lake Louise (or whatever it's called this year), I believe Sunshine and maybe even Norquay are within Banff National Park boundaries, and Marmot Basin is in Jasper National Park. Probably others too. Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent countries.

  • Get Me to the Park on Time……..   6 years 8 weeks ago

    Well, since I was hired on to do that for (two) cross-country bus trips, the job specifications can't be very strict. I'll look into it. Meanwhile, I do know that, for western bus tours, it helps to look the part. Get a cowboy hat, boots, and jeans. Make sure they are dirty and all beat to hell. Grow a mustache -- the kind that droops at the corners. Roll your own cigarettes. Get yourself a colorful nickname. Be careful, though. Don't pick anything that's derivative or passe (Dusty, Lefty, Tex, and Slim are all no-no's). By all means, develop some colorful phrases. It helps to know something about the history and landscapes. If you don't know anything, just fake it. What the hell do tourists know, anyway?

  • Get Me to the Park on Time……..   6 years 8 weeks ago

    How do you get a job like that, sounds like a lot of fun. (step-on" guy I mean)

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   6 years 8 weeks ago

    Yup, I had to laugh at the thought of our little visitors center as a Lodge / Resort (ala for profit Badger Pass Ski Lodge) which is only open on the weekends (weather permitting) during the winter for the hordes, of which I have been a member going on quite a few decades now :-)
    I also find it very easy to escape the horde of folks to spend a night or more camping in the winter wonderland of Our Olympic National Park.

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   6 years 8 weeks ago

    See Hurricane Ridge.

    Basically, this is Olympic National Park. Socially; as far as the cumulative human experience is concerned. Yes, the puny remaining downhill ski facilities are to-snicker-at, largely because they are overshadowed by the miles of groomed & 'wild' cross-country runs, and by all the hordes who have previously been humiliated by impulsively jumping on rented cross-country skis - now wisely supporting the booming snowshoe venue.

    I don't have the stats handy, but Olympic (bravely) puts them out - and I think Hurricane is hands-down the main event.

    Yeah, it's an alpine resort, with a podunk downhill. Several acres of asphalt parking, a big two-lane road gouged 17 miles up the jutting face of the outlying Olympic ridges. Nice ol' lodge that's now mostly an oversized hangout-hut, classic outside viewing decks (and great view), incredibly overused bathrooms, and assorted concessionaires. Feverish snow-gear rentals all winter.

    ... Ok, I checked: Hurricane by itself pulls 3 million annually. It may be a LOL resort, but they all pay to get through the gate at the bottom of the hill, and it's called "The Hurricane Ridge Road" because that's what statistically everybody goes up it for. And then they pull out the serious cash at the top. A nice piece of a billion dollar bill annually, no doubt.

    (Bigger truth is, you can - and many locals do - play around in the nice pull-outs going up the road, and from the top, after the snow melts, from the aforementioned expanse of paved parking, drive 12 miles out along the skyline of Hurricane Ridge on the (only slightly hair-raising) gravel/bedrock/melt-muck of Obstruction Peak Road to Obstruction Peak, its half-acre of pot-holed trailhead parking, and thus motorized access to what the surging hordes (3 million, eh?) back at Hurricane really wanted, but didn't quite have the nerve to go for.)

    In winter, Obstruction Peak Rd is the more-serious cross-country track, I believe not-groomed. 24 mile run all the way out & back, all on terrific exposure.

    Deer Park - Blue Mtn

    Now, just a few miles short of Port Angeles, which you drive through to get to Park Headquarters and the foot of Hurricane Ridge Road (They bought extra land and built extra road, just to tie HQ and the Visitor Center to the big Hurricane draw. No accident.) you drive past Deer Park Road. There's a big cinema complex at the intersection. When you see the cluster of big movie-theaters in pretty-much a countryside setting, that's where the foot of Deer Park Rd is.

    Deer Park, on Blue Mountain, is where the olden-days ski-resort was. 19 mile road (more than slightly hair-raising & crude), cleared higher up only in summer. I've seen old pictures, and Deer Park was one serious swingin' winter shindig. Later it shifted over to Hurricane, where the scene has hung on uninterrupted.

    But if you'd like a ski-resort-like setting without the 3 million companions, that you can drive up to, get out your map and find Deer Park Road. Just a few mile east of Hurricane. Campground, trailheads, tiny Ranger Station. Trail goes back to Obstruction Peak, so with 2 vehicles a mayor high-country traverse is possible, one-way.

    Call HQ about road-conditions first - it gets graded/plowed/cleared only once it's finally 'practical' (snow nearly all gone).

    Yep, Hurricane Ridge is a ski-resort. And ol-time lodge.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 8 weeks ago

    The Brady appropiate name. mindless sitcom mentality.

  • Resolved: I’ll Visit at Least These Five National Parks in 2009   6 years 8 weeks ago

    If you're gonna trek from South Carolina to western Colorado, there are two other NPS gems you can't miss: Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction, where the six-mile roundtrip hike of Monument Canyon is one of the best on the Colorado Plateau. Rim Rock Drive is easily the best and most scenic drive (and especially bike ride) anywhere in western Colorado. While you're there, and if you've got a sturdy high-clearance vehicle, check out the BLM's McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, where a hike of Mee Canyon will yield the most amazing sight in canyon country - the Mee Canyon Alcove, where the wash at the bottom of the canyon inserts itself 300 feet into the canyon wall. The alcove is so big -- said to be the biggest anywhere on the Colorado Plateau -- you could park a 747 inside.

    Also, if you're going to Mesa Verde, Hovenweep National Monument can't be missed.

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   6 years 8 weeks ago

    Actually, there's a small alpine resort on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park...

    A resort (?) LOL!
    The Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club that runs and maintains the lifts is not for profit.
    Anybody can become a member!

  • This Park Combines Scenery and History on a Desert Island   6 years 8 weeks ago

    Todd -

    Bob's reply to your question about my "desert island" comment is correct... at least as I chose to use the term. The Dry Tortugas' location is a classic example of "water, water everywhere..." since fresh water is unavailable on the islands, except for rainwater collected as it falls. Perhaps that's not a bad thing, since it helped limit development - and long-term human populations on these fragile ecosystems.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 8 weeks ago

    I carry a weapon in my fanny pack each time I take my kids hiking. Pragmatically, it is impossible for the NPS people to protect me and my children. I'll continue to do so and when we pass each other on the trail you'll see nothing but a big smile and a 'how ya doin' from me and the kids. You won't have any reason to fear me or feel threatened.

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   6 years 8 weeks ago

    Actually, there's a small alpine resort on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park...

  • Weekly Snowshoe Treks Coming to Glacier National Park   6 years 8 weeks ago

    Glacier NP is one of the best NP i have visited and i have visited over 100 NP. My wife and I go to Glacier when we enter Canada's Waterton National Park just north of glacier. Both parks or a good 17 day stay area. Best time around May, June, July, Cool weather and fantastic beauty.
    enjoy it all and visit regularly. If you have an RV and want to travel Canada Dont use the Canadian Interstate. A comparison to the USA roads the Ark. Road are better (if you know the Ark roads.) Use I-90 then enter Canada in Minn. or Wisconsin

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   6 years 8 weeks ago

    Debates over capitalism, wealth transfer and the like have drifted far from the original post as to whether or not the old Badeger Pass day lodge should be demolished or rehabilitated, and the related discussion as to whether lift-served skiing/snowboarding belong in national parks.

    As the one remaining Alpine ski area in a national park, Badger Pass is able to provide an incredibly affordable, if modest, ski or snowboard experience without snowmaking. An adult season pass at Badger Pass costs $376 ($249 if purchased by the end of today, Jan. 4) and just $118 for children to age 12 ($115, not much of a savings, if bought today). With easy slopes and reliable snow, it is the ulimately beginner/low intermediate ski area. The legendary Nic Fiore has been unning the ski school for more than half a century, so there's even human tradition at issue. The area recently spent $2 million to upgrade its chairlift.

    I don't live in California and have no personal stake in this decision, but if I did, I would lean toward keeping Badger Pass operating as long as people are coming to ski. It brings families into the Yosemite in winter to see the park in its tranquil winter beauty.

  • This Park Combines Scenery and History on a Desert Island   6 years 8 weeks ago

    We went out there for a day trip last year at the end of December. I really wish we'd opted to camp for a few days. It's really an amazing place. We'll be back to camp this year, hopefully. Even though it is so small, we didn't get to spend near enough time there in a day.

  • Man Bitten at Saguaro National Park by Gila Monster   6 years 8 weeks ago

    this is the most retarted thing i've ever heard of, why would a person pick up a gila monster, they are poisonous, and DUH! your going to get bitten dumb***

  • To Work, To Work, Off We Go To Work   6 years 8 weeks ago

    You can't eat values. And forests would have been better off and more productive without the CCC's fire suppression.

    The economic theories of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard have been confirmed, not shattered, by recent events, and Peter Schiff, an economist of the Austrian School, was recently proven right while Keynesian theory has been proven wrong.

    Beamis, California, an economic indicator, is effectively bankrupt. Ahnold is sending out IOUs instead of tax refunds because the state is insolvent. Real change is around the corner.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 8 weeks ago about...Article:Mountain lion victim heads to San Francisco for more su:/n/a/2007/01/28/state/n160726S88.DTL
    Article:Mountain lion victim heads to San Francisco for more su:/n/a/2007/01/28/state/n160726S88.DTL
    Back to Article

    Mountain lion victim heads to San Francisco for more surgery
    By RACHEL KONRAD, Associated Press Writer

    Sunday, January 28, 2007

    (01-28) 19:42 PST San Francisco (AP) --

    A Northern California hiker attacked by a mountain lion last week was airlifted to a San Francisco hospital Sunday, where he will likely undergo more surgery.

    A spokesman for Mad River Community Hospital in Arcata said doctors wanted to send Jim Hamm to a major research hospital in San Francisco after they performed emergency surgery on his scalp and downgraded his condition from fair to serious.

    Dense fog along the Northern California coast prevented the medical plane's liftoff all morning, but Hamm was delivered to California Pacific Medical Center Sunday evening after the fog broke, the hospital confirmed.

    Ayotte emphasized that mov ing Hamm to a hospital with more doctors and sophisticated equipment was a "proactive, highly precautionary" measure.

    The 70-year-old Fortuna man first underwent surgery Wednesday after a female mountain lion ambushed him at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. He and his wife, Nell, were hiking in the park when the lion pounced on him, scalped him, mauled his face, ripped off part of his lips and inflicted other puncture wounds and scratches.

    Hamm is taking antibiotics to prevent an infection, but his doctors remained concerned about bacteria entering his body from the cat's claws and mouth.

    "Infection — that's our biggest concern," Ayotte said. "You can have exactly the same injuries in a traffic accident or in a wild animal attack, but your chances of infection with a wild animal accident are far greater."

    Although the Hamms are experienced hikers, neither had seen a mountain lion before Jim Hamm was mauled while walking on a trail amid old-growth Coast Redwoods in Humboldt County. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park abounds with Roosevelt elk, deer, coyote, foxes and bobcats, but it's rare to see resident black bears and mountain lions.

    Tawny-colored mountain lions — also called cougars and pumas — roam the widest range of any New World land animal, from northern Canada to the southern Andes. Adults can weigh up to 200 pounds. The stealthy, swift creatures usually eat deer but have been known to attack pet dogs, livestock and, on rare occasions, even children and adult humans.

    Upon noticing that the lion had her husband's head in its mouth, Nell Hamm, 65, grabbed a four-inch-wide log and beat the animal repeatedly — to no avail. She then removed a pen from her husband's pocket and tried to poke it into the cat's eyeball — but the pen simply bent and became useless.

    She went back to using the log. The lion eventually let go and, with blood on its snout, stood staring at the woman. She screamed and waved the log until the animal walked away.

    Nell Hamm refused to abandon her husband on the trail but knew he needed immediate rescue. She managed to encourage him to walk with her a quarter-mile to a trail head, where she gathered branches to protect them if more lions came around. They waited until a ranger came by and summoned help.

    After the attack, game wardens closed the park, about 320 miles north of San Francisco, and released hounds to track the lion. They shot and killed a pair of lions found near the trail where the attack happened.

    The carcasses of the lions — believed to be siblings — were flown to a state forensics lab, where researchers identified the female lion as the attacker. She did not have rabies.

    Wild animal experts have praised Nell Hamm as a hero who saved her husband's life — both by standing up to the lion and encouraging her bloodied husband to walk a quarter-mile to safety.

    The couple — who are to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next month — had been virtually inseparable in the days following the attack. But on Saturday doctors in Arcata urged her to go home and rest. She was expected to fly to San Francisco on Sunday afternoon — not on the medical plane but on a private one closely following her husband's.

    "Nell — God bless her. I don't think I've ever met a woman quite like her. You can just tell the love they've had over the past 50 years," Ayotte said. "I get goose bumps when I think of what she did."

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