Recent comments

  • Yellowstone Snowmobiles: Has Apathy Arrived?   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Speaking of juck science Gerald, you should be the FIRST to realize that as an environmental scientist, your comments make absolutely no sense. The emissions from the geysers are part of the environment, and if you want to try and regulate or remove them, that's your call. You are correct in your observation that the earth is indeed resilient, which is exactly why the geysers are irrelevant to the local environment, and actually why the geysers are integral to the local environment. The snowmobiles are an artificial variable. They can indeed be introduced and removed from the equation and the results studies over time. But in no manner are the integral to ANY environment, just another convenience of the lazy sapien life form.

    I take issue with someone of your alleged background standing behind the statement that the overall condition of the planet is qualified as healthy. Greatly diminished water and air quality, as evidenced by the current state of statuary and stone buildings in the Mediterranean countries, the rapid deforestation in equatorial regions, biological death of waterways due to acid rains and fertilizers, and the shrinking of our remaining wetlands are just a few causes for concern. No, the sky isn't falling. But I can't see things clearly through your rose colored glasses, either.

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Wow! This one really got everyone's blood boiling.

    This bear hunt looked astronomically more humane to me than the chickenhouses, dairy farms, and pig slaughter houses that I've seen. Like they say, some days you eat the bear; some days the bear eats Treadwell. Nature, she's a real beeee-yatch.

    I recall a quote from a ranger at Yosemite implying the likelyhood that more bears were killed by speeding motorists than were killed by throphy and gallbladder poachers. From my experience as a ranger, this seems very likely. In fact, the more weather-beaten my "Smokey Bear Stetson" became, the more I began to realize that I could save more of the park's wildlife by aggressively enforcing speeding regulations that I could do by hiding in the bushes looking for illegal hunting activity. Then, when my flat hat got even more sun-faded, I began to realize that a little population culling wasn't the end of the world. Maggots and Turkey Vultures got to eat too.

    Look, I'm a vegetarian who doesn't have the heart to kill spiders I find in my house, but I would have to travel to Katamai, study up on the dynamics of the bear population there, and look at options on how to allow hunting without adversly impacting the nonhunting visitor's experience before I could judge the NPS in this situation.

  • Yellowstone Snowmobiles: Has Apathy Arrived?   6 years 27 weeks ago

    gerald-

    your questioning science and protection of mostly intact ecosystems makes me a little queasy as does haunted hiker's quick endorsement.

    from an anthropocentric standpoint, we can't replace the quality of undisturbed ecosystems with mitigation sites, nor can disturbed sites so readily and quickly be as quality as the initial, undisturbed sites. nature, whatever the hell that is, may take back that road, but it won't have the same diversity of soil microbes, fungus, bacteria, etc. and general biodiversity... in other words, it won't be as good. and in this day in age, when man's reach is pretty impressive, i think we should, cliche or not, preserve all the parts, especially in national parks which were created mostly for just that. preserving.

    nature will be there, with or without us, but what type of nature does man need? personally, i'd like something more than dandelions, uniform age forests, leafy spurge and cockroaches.

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Dr. Gerald-

    It appears that you also have totally missed the point and that you also have not taken a few moments from your precious schedule to do the investigating research required, thereby enabling yourself to obtain the proper persepective regarding the issue at hand. We're not talking science. We're talking ethical hunting practices. Or in language that you should be familiar with, this falls into one of the many grey areas in the studies and practices of bio-ethics. You want to kill bears, then go ahead and kill bears......that is NOT the issue we've been debating. I am not a hunter, but neither do I interfere with those who choose, within the bounds of the law, to partake of the annual deer, pheasant, duck, squirrel, pigeon, moose, bear, wildebeast, water buffalo, abalone, clam, platypus, kangaroo, penquin, mole, etc. seasons. For the most part I'm assuming, which is always a dangerous thing to do when dealing with people and firearms, these legitimate hunters make annual purchases of various licenses, and I would hope, have the decency to abide by the rules and regulations set forth governing proper usage and restrictions pertinent to their respective permits. I am not anti-hunting, a "liberal tree hugger environmentalist", whatever that is, animal rights activist, or least of all, scientifically ignorant, doctor. Our two Ph.D's put together, all the years in academia, the publications, the long hours of study, research and data analysis mean absolutely nothing to anyone, much to your chagrin I'm sure, due to the simple fact that nobody is questioning the scientific reasoning, field reports, data acquisition and analysis of those data as they pertain to the issue of the permits! I did indeed write that I was curious to know how the numbers were determined, but NEVER did I question or make any statement to the effect of banning the issuance of the permits. I did mention that the latest groups of "hunters" were improperly sanctioned, and in no small fashion carried out their pursuits in a dangerous locale, too near areas that are regularly traversed by hikers, campers, wildlife enthusiasts, and other humans.

    Please help our profession retain a shred of dignity and be more prepared with your critiques in the future.

    Lone Hiker
    Ph.D. Biotechnology, Biochemistry

  • Yellowstone Snowmobiles: Has Apathy Arrived?   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Is the sky falling? Perhaps, perhaps not.

    But what does it say when park managers have to weaken the standards of what constitutes a major adverse impact in terms of noise to justify their decision to support 540 snowmobiles per day? What does it say when they have to lower the protection standards for wildlife harassment and air pollution to justify this decision?

    Science is not guiding this decision, politics is. And that impacts not just Yellowstone, but the entire park system. This decision, if upheld, sets a precedent for what can be allowed in national parks. Down the road it just might prove much easier to allow snowmobiles, Jet skis, or other motorized craft in parks that currently don't permit them because of this decision.

    Is it a travesty that $10 million has been spent, so far, on Yellowstone snowmobiles? You bet. That money could have been spent on much needier issues. But the real travesty, in my opinion, is the precedent this decision could create and how it will ripple throughout the entire park system.

  • Yellowstone Snowmobiles: Has Apathy Arrived?   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Gerald!

    You're the man. Thanks for saying what I've been thinking for a loooong time.

    The so-called "apathy" is that there are "thousands of people" who realize the practicality of what Gerald just stated. 250 snowmobiles a day are not the "blight" the 10 million dollar enivronmental impact statements claim them to be.

    The other things that 10 million dollars could have been spent on...that's the real travesty.

  • Yellowstone Snowmobiles: Has Apathy Arrived?   6 years 27 weeks ago

    I would just like to follow up....
    I do see way too much unfounded fear, raw emotion and junk science out there in many of the posts in this blog...did you all stop to really THINK about some of these issues before writing a post?
    Nature is SO resilient...just look at how fast nature takes back an abandoned logging road...or an empty field, for example.
    The sky is NOT falling...so let's all take a deep breath and de-stress. We live in a beautiful country on a beautiful planet that is quite healthy. I know that Al Gore has so many people in a tizzy over global warming, but just remember, it was only back in the 1970s that scientists were worried about global cooling...just realize that where there is money to be made....(just how much is Gore making on his movie, and how much jet fuel is he burning?)
    If you all want to worry yourselves into an early grave, go for it; I am going to go backpacking and enjoy life!
    Gerald
    PhD

  • 4-Year-old Dies in Fall off South Rim of Grand Canyon   6 years 27 weeks ago

    My first reaction was close to Steve but after thinking a bit, I can't help but feel bad for the parents and the guilt that they must shoulder for the rest of their lives. However, parks that are great for families are not necessarily child-safe proof nor should they be. Nature can be dangerous and families and children need to be educated on this and made aware of these dangers.

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Yet another ignorant comment, made by someone who does not even begin to address the issue here. Please Mr PhD the issue isn't about thinning the population of bears and I'm surprized that this is the only comment you can make. If you truly have a PhD you should have understood what the real issue is? You're damn right people are getting emotional!! once again we have to explain to another ignorant person that it's not about hunting the bears it's about the cruel and unethical way you hunters are doing it Du" please re-read the issue that's become an Outrage and then try to make an intelligent comment!!

  • Yellowstone Snowmobiles: Has Apathy Arrived?   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Apathy? No, it is just realizing that just as in bear hunts to manage same, snowmobiles in Yellowstone is just one more issue that illustrates that there is way too much junk science with a heaping portion of too much emotion out there being spewed by environmental extremists.
    The bison couldn't care less about a bunch of snowmobiles...just as automobiles, they have gotten used to them...and as far as pollution, ya ever notice those steaming, frothing things out there called fumaroles and geysers?? Collectively, they most likely emit (I would love to see a study on this by a motivated grad student) more in ONE MINUTE of the basic constituents of what comes out of the tailpipe of 500 snowmobiles in a ONE MONTH...or maybe an entire year!
    So, let's calm down and enjoy life, people!!
    Gerald
    Phd

  • 4-Year-old Dies in Fall off South Rim of Grand Canyon   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Cactusdar, that is one of the nicest posts I have ever read in this blog!
    Amen!

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 27 weeks ago

    I am satisfied with Ms. Blaszak's explanation of the parameters of federal jusidiction and justification for yearly thinning. Her science is quite sound and well reasoned.
    It is quite obvious that many of the commenters on this page are getting way too emotional...hunts have taken place for years. These bears will continue to thrive in Katmai thanks to sound mangement practices.
    Thank you, National Park Service!!
    Gerald
    PhD
    Wildlife Management

  • 4-Year-old Dies in Fall off South Rim of Grand Canyon   6 years 27 weeks ago

    What parent has never done something stupid or careless that could have resulted in tragedy? Ever "almost" get in that car wreck that could have killed yourself or your kids? It only takes a second, folks. My heart grieves for this family. Their grief will be deep and lasting and I pray that if they have other children they manage to find joy with them in future years.

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Yes!! Ms Blaszak's comments really read as if she's only addressing the legal rights of the hunters massacreing the bears on Katmai. In fact her entire comment seems nothing but pro hunter jargon however it comes to no surprise that yet another politician would once again completely avoid the real issue.. "ruthless, unfair chase, unsportsman like killing of wildlife on Katmai National Preserve" I too have been thinking of the sensless slaughter of seal pups which is so closely associated with this behavior!! rest asure, the next Board of Fish and Game meeting in Anchorage is going to paint a different picture. I truly beleive the bears on Katmai National Preserve will prevail. This issue is being spread around the world. I also truly beleive that the Alaskans do not want to be painted or branded with the image of "The Killing Fields"

  • National Park Foundation to Host Conference on Philanthropy in the Parks   6 years 27 weeks ago

    i'll take the "corporate intrusion" if it buys things like the rockefeller parkway (or whatever it's called) between yellowstone and the tetons. AND, i'll take it if it isn't funding what they want for marketing rather than funding what the nps needs. but don't let it supplant traditional funding and turn the parks private. that would be messy.

    i imagine the corporations are interested because it gives them specialized access to a limited market where other marketing impressions aren't necessarily easy to make, except in the gateway communities.

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Ms. Blaszak-

    Please don't take this the wrong way, but your "response" to the comments that you may or, in this instance, obviously did not read to well, completely ignores the issues that have been raised within the discussions posted on this website. The topic as raised that actually ignited our conversation had little to do with the history of the "hunts", or what allows them to persist in your ever-knowledgable schedule, in the fall of odd-numbered years and in the spring of even-numbered years, and I don't recall any other these authors questioning the act as illegal, Section 203 provides that sport hunting in national preserves shall be permitted, as you have dutifully pointed out. If you had taken a moment to review the title of the original article, you would have quickly noticed that this entire discussion is based around the general public's questioning the ETHICAL practices involved in this lack of sporting venture. Since this type of "harvest" is far from what even those contributors to this discussion consider legitimate hunting, I suppose that your statement regarding the fact that Sport hunting is regulated by the State of Alaska doesn't actually apply, being as this farce is a far cry from sport hunting. If you do indeed consider the observed practices of these individuals, as stated in the original article, to be in line with what qualifies as maintaining a high standard of ethical and sport hunting, then I submit that either the State of Alaska is ignorant of the actual conditions surrounding the "harvest", or is guilty of sanctioning what amounts to the same tactics as used on Harp Seal pups, and is turning a blind eye to the event in favor of the revenues generated by allowing such incompetent hunting within the preserve. If that is the actual position of those charged with administrating policy within the State, then it's time for truly legitimate hunters to rethink their position about visiting your State, given it's inability to guarantee the safety and well-being of those who choose to hunt professionally, ethically, and SAFELY from those drunken slobs with high-powered rifles, cross-bows, and assault weapons, who prefer to shoot as close to camping areas as possible, limiting the person effort involved in educating themselves on their intended prey, learning it's habits and trails, initial reconnaissance, and the inevitable field dressing and removal. THESE were some of the topics your article refuses to address. Why did you purposefully avoid the actual issues we were discussing? Afraid to ruffle some feathers by commenting on the tactics instead of the supposed legality?

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Ms. Blaszak, I cannot agree with your holistic assessment on the environmental impact studies on the bear population in Alaska. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something fundamentally missing in these studies. Maybe some of you conversation biologist up in Alaska can see if these studies are skewed intentionally. If there is a slight moratorium on bear killing in Alaska, watch the POACHING go up. It goes hand-in-hand!. Some these hunters are surely waiting in the wings and salivating anxiously to skin a bears head off. Trust me, their thirst is heavy with money for such a kill. Also, what I'm deeply concerned about is, how the Gov. of Alaska selects these so called board members of the Alaskan Fish & Game Dept. and the Alaskan Board of Game: are they political cronies, or pro gut-pile-hunters...or a good cross section of biologist, conservationist, business folks and native Indians of Alaska. Let's examine their professional backgrounds and see if they are truly interested in saving Alaska's great natural heritage. Hopefully, not at the end of a rifle aimed two feet away from live game!

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 27 weeks ago

    I totally agree with BIN and Texas 2-Step. Lets go back to the video and think about what is going on when the guide says "look at the bears, they just don't even care that we're walking right up to them" BLAM!!! Ther're times when it's not even possible to walk up too an animal in a petting zoo? "SAVE THE BEARS SAVE THE WORLD" Once again I need to mention, the crying and complaining from the hunters about the big carnivors killing the other game they hunt, moose, elk, deer etc. when in fact this is completely false as if you ask the Native Americans in Alaska and elsewhere in our country they unanimously agree the hunters are the ones decimating their game population. Hunters don't blame the bears for killing your other game so as to help persuade politicians to use game management as the excuse to allow you to walk up unabated to these bears and slaughter them point blank!!

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Isn't Katmai big enough that hunting could be restricted to the less-visited part, where the wildlife would not be so accustomed to humans.

    Though I would not kill a wild animal myself other than in self-defense, I know many hunters who do so cleanly, respectfully and ethically. For them, the bear shoot on the video would be no more acceptable than leading a moose out on a leash to shoot.

    I also recognize the need for bear, deer, elk, etc. in certain areas to be "thinned" and I think death by gunshot is preferable to starvation. It sure would be for me.

    What seems to have so many people upset -- rightfully so -- is the perversion of the term "hunt." Hunting, whether with a gun or a camera (my "weapon of choice") would seem to imply stalking, matching wits against a wild animal that has stealth and cunning and survival instincts. Taking a risk, even, that this wild animal could hurt you. Not walking up to a bear like it's your kid's pet pony and BLAM!

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Having spent a few days at the Brooks Lodge this summer, I am astonded by the inhuman, barbaric ruling allowing bear hunting in Katmai NP.
    Are we so reactionary that we have to allow grown men to use bears as target practice for a trophy on their wall.
    If these macho individuals would go out with their only weapon being a knife, and take on a bear on even terms, it would still be a crime.
    Let the bears be bears, living the way they have lived for many years.
    The Katmai NP Rangers made it a point to repect the rights of bears on our visit. Why do we change the rules in order to satisfy the blood lust of these "BOYS" and their big guns!
    PROTECT THE BROWN BEARS! SOME DAY WE MAY NOT HAVE THEM. COLD COMFORT.

  • Alaska Regional Director Responds To Outrage Over Katmai Preserve Bear Hunt   6 years 27 weeks ago

    I appreciate Ms. Blaszak taking the time to respond to the outcry of opposition on the issue of bear hunting in Katmai. I believe she mentioned bear viewers have only increased in numbers over a few years, which sounds abit like they don't matter as much but bear hunters have been legally hunting bears for decades as if that gives the bear hunters automatic tenure!! The issue she failed to address is the absolutely horrific unethical slaughter of the bear hunt in this part of the park and at this particular time of the year. I read a lot of semingly clever political jargan about how it's just plain an Alaskan government sanctioned legal hunt, sustainable numbers, food suply however I did not read one single thing about the ethical or moral fiber of this particular bear hunt. Watch the video again and listen to the guide say, wow this is such a beautiful shot... hell, a two year old would have been able to hit that bear. There are less issues being raised about banning bear hunting in Alaska completely than the main issue which is putting a hault to the unethical slaughter of the bears on Katmai National Preserve. Please Ms. Blaszak, lets call a spade a spade, is this recreational hunting or just plane culling the bears? I think the phrase game management is bullshit when it comes to these particular animals. I think you know the answer to this question!! There are hundreds and hundreds of wildlife viewers and photographers that spend a lot of money in Alaska to do just that. There will always be bear hunters even after you shut this region off to hunting and whats more these bear hunters are always going to hunt whatever they can, but if you keep allowing Alaska's image to be paralleled to the "killing Fields" your going to chase away all the others. The hunters will always come as long as you give them something to hunt, but for GOD's sake give them something they have to hunt!! It's called hunting not POINT BLANK SLAUGHTER KILLING. Iv'e talked to just as many hunters that feel what you are allowing to happen on Katmai amounts to nothing more than an atrocity. Most are not asking you to ban bear hunting in Alaska, just in this part of the park. You mentioned that in the last fall hunt 35 bears were taken... lets do some math here. that's 35 hunters/people or one persons money paid for that bear for eternaity. I know wildlife viewing companies that take 5-11 people out to the bears seven days per week for 3 to 4 months and there are several. This can go on for the life of the bear, one hunter killed bear can only be done once for a lifetime. Sometimes rules and laws have to be changed for the sake of humanity. You can keep letting the hunters fly over there step off their plans and choppers and blast away at the bears point blank, but you will definitely have a fight on your hands thats only going to grow bigger and bigger until this slaughter is stopped. Now that this is being made public around the world, there is only one way it's going to go away.

  • 4-Year-old Dies in Fall off South Rim of Grand Canyon   6 years 27 weeks ago

    SOMETIMES, UNFORTUNATELY ACCIDENTS DO HAPPEN....... WITH THE WAY THE STATE OF THE WORLD IS GOING AND THE NEGATIVE NEWS CONSTANTLY BEING REPORTED THROUGH THE MEDIA IT'S NO WONDER THE FIRST REACTION IS ALWAYS TO PUT BLAME SOMEWHERE. LETS ALL TAKE A MOMENT AND SAY A PRAYER NOT ONLY FOR THE LITTLE GIRL THAT LOST HER LIFE BUT ALSO FOR THE GRIEVING FAMILY.............AND LETS ALL BE THANKFUL FOR OUR BLESSINGS THAT WE GOT THROUGH ANOTHER DAY WITHOUT A MISHAP.............WE NEVER KNOW WHAT LIFE HAS IN STORE FOR US TOMORROW! WE ALL NEED MORE PRAYER IN OUR EVERY DAY LIVES..................BLESS YOU ALL!

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Thank goodnes someone is finally paying attention to this problem. . the film reminds me of hunting cows in a farmers field.

  • PEER: Centennial Challenge Might Exacerbate Park Service's Backlog Woes   6 years 27 weeks ago

    exacerbate - "to increase the severity, violence, or bitterness of; aggravate"

  • PEER: Centennial Challenge Might Exacerbate Park Service's Backlog Woes   6 years 27 weeks ago

    What does exacerbate mean?