Recent comments

  • Bigger Boat Tours Coming to Voyageurs National Park   6 years 16 weeks ago

    I'm guessing, then that no one knows why locals 'detest' the park, as ironranger said earlier....

  • Where Are the Best Sunrises in the National Park System?   6 years 16 weeks ago

    I would vote for sunrise (and pre-sunrise) at Canyon Overlook above the Great Arch of Zion in Zion National Park, looking west at Bridge Mountain and across Zion Canyon into Oak Creek Canyon. There is a dramatic change of color on the Great West Temple, the Temples of the Virgin and Alter of Sacrafice before the sun rises in the east. The light of sunrise on the Great West Temple from above the Rockville Bench south of the Virgin River and the mouth of Zion Canyon is also a rare and wonderful sight experienced by few visitors to Zion National Park because it requires an uphill drive on dirt roads outside the south park boundary.

    Then, of course, there is sunrise on Mt. Scott, overlooking Crater Lake from an elevation of 8929 feet. For the few of us who had official access to the Mt. Scott fire lookout, making breakfast in the lookout before sunrise afforded a 360 degree view that includes the lake, inner caldera and slopes of ancient Mt. Mazama, the volcanic crest of the southern Cascade Mountain Range, extending from Mt. Shasta, California in the south to the South Sister near Bend, Oregon in the north, and the upper and lower Klamath Basin in the southeast.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Bigger Boat Tours Coming to Voyageurs National Park   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Here in Minnesota, we will bring our own boats whether there was a tour boat or no. Boating is a very significant cultural activity, and many Minnesotans own boats or have access to one through family or friends. However, those visiting the park from outside the local area often rent boats and hire guides to get to the best fishing, or the best scenery. I could see how a tour boat could aid those who are unfamiliar with watercraft, or who are financially unable to rent a boat, get some enjoyment out a park that is mostly water. Is it a needed service? Most likely not. A way for a Congressman to move pork to his district? More likely.

  • Bigger Boat Tours Coming to Voyageurs National Park   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Perhaps this case points to a larger question across the National Park System: Just what does the National Park Service owe communities surrounding parks, and what do those communities owe those parks?

    As I understand it, private concessionaires have not been able financially to make a go of running tour boats of this size through Voyageuers. If they can't, why should the federal government, via the NPS, subsidize that service? After all, not only is there the $1.4 million needed to pay for the boat, but then there's the annual O&M costs. And who will be driving the boat, who will be doing the interpretation, who will be handling the reservations and ticket sales, and who will be paying their salaries?

    If every congressman/woman were able, like Rep. Oberstar, to divert $1.4 million to the park of their choice, without providing the necessary funds to wipe out the Park Service's massive $8.5 billion backlog, would that improve the state of the parks?

    Should parks be seen as economic engines, or should they exist to conserve the resources for the enjoyment of future generations? Can they do both?

    Just some questions to ponder on this May day.

  • Where Are the Best Sunrises in the National Park System?   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Best Sunrise: from the top of Mt. Dana, Yosemite National Park overlooking Mono Lake. Most glorious in color among the mountain dew.

  • Bigger Boat Tours Coming to Voyageurs National Park   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Why do most locals detest Voyagers?

  • Where Are the Best Sunrises in the National Park System?   6 years 16 weeks ago

    I've seen spectacular sunrises at all the parks I've visited, but will agree that probably the best were at (and in!) the Grand Canyon. We did a rafting trip in May '03 from Lee's Ferry to Phantom Ranch, and hiked out. The hike started before sunrise at 5:30am, and it was amazing watching the sun come up and illuminate the canyon.

  • Bigger Boat Tours Coming to Voyageurs National Park   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Are there no boat tours because most visitors bring their own boat, or do most visitors bring their own boat beacuse there are no boat tours?

  • Report Shows Visiting National Parks Could be Hazardous to Your Health   6 years 16 weeks ago

    I'd be curious to hear more about the establishment of Steamtown - and what other, more-worthy sites were passed up. Maybe it would be a good NPT article (if it hasn't been one already.)

    But on the surface, though, how different is the establishment of Steamtown from the establishment of the John D. Rockefeller Parkway? One was established through Congress - another was established through the donation of a philanthropist.

  • Where Are the Best Sunrises in the National Park System?   6 years 16 weeks ago

    I didn't realize that Haleakala was a National Park when I had a chance to visit in 1989. It was cloudy for me too, but the bike coasting down the mountain afterward made it all worthwhile. We stopped frequently to remove a layer of clothing. I couldn't believe that anywhere on Hawaii would it get that cold.

  • Where Are the Best Sunrises in the National Park System?   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Joshua Tree: the dry air of the desert makes the moments before the sun gets to the horizon memorable. I've never seen such a serene light before or after. Then, when the sun comes up, the bizarre shapes of the Joshua trees make great silhouettes or look like chiseled out if they are in direct light, while the ground around them still is in the shadows.

    Bryce Canyon: You may know, that there are a Sunrise Point and a Sunset Point on the rim, just half a mile from each other. Contrary to the names, I believe sunrise is more spectacular from Sunset Point, as you can see the rays creeping into the nooks and crannies of the hoodoos in the Queens Garden area much better from there.

    Grand Canyon: It depends on the season, which location is the best to see the actual sunrise. You need a direction to the sun, where you can see it first in the canyon, meaning the first line of sight is below the actual rim. It is possible in early May (so get there now!) from viewpoints near the village, I think it was either Yaki point or Yavapai. Then you see Vishnu Temple as a silhouette against the first direct rays. From that moment you have about one hour with the most spectacular light, coming from a low angle, illuminating certain exposed rocks against the still dark canyon walls and floor.

  • Where Are the Best Sunrises in the National Park System?   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Bryce Canyon anyone? I have seen both sunrise and sunset on many occasions and I do believe they are spectacular.

  • Bigger Boat Tours Coming to Voyageurs National Park   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Being a House Committee Chair (Transportation) Rep. Oberstar has been bringing home the pork to Minnesota for quite a while now. It keeps him in office, seemingly indefinitely. I'm sure this funding is most likely seed money for a private-public partnership. I don't find it likely that a concessionaire could make a go of profitably running a tour operation because most of Voyagers visitors bring or rent boats to the park. As much as the locals detest Voyagers, they don't mind a little federal cash coming their way, however.

  • Where Are the Best Sunrises in the National Park System?   6 years 16 weeks ago

    My pick is Death Valley National Park. There are so many great locales within the park to sit back and enjoy a spectacular sunrise or sunset. My favorite is Dante's View... 5000+ feet above the valley floor and an awesome view of the Panamint Mountains.

  • Vet Removes Snare From Neck of Wolf in Denali National Park and Preserve   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Many people think it's wrong to protect wolves and a total waste of time and money to provide medical treatment for injured ones. I can certainly understand that these people may be dismayed and angered when some wolf enthusiasts declare that people who harm wolves are utterly contemptible, or that wolves are more deserving of life than wolf-hating humans are. We at Traveler welcome comments from people on all sides of this complicated issue of wolf management, so don't hesitate to express alternative opinions and viewpoints. But no personal attacks, please. We've had to bar several comments on this topic that went pretty far over the line.

  • Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park   6 years 16 weeks ago

    That's a great shot!

    Glacier National Park is greatest place on earth!

  • Report Shows Visiting National Parks Could be Hazardous to Your Health   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Sabattis, the people who diss Steamtown -- and that is a LOT of park advocates -- have no quarrel with the commemoration of railroading history in the National Park System. The issue centers on the tainted political process that resulted in the selection of the Steamtown site. Steamtown would never have made the cut (there being so many more appropriate sites) were it not for a powerful Congressman who rammed it down the Park Service's throat. Now, in much the same manner that "Pearl Harbor" symbolizes sneak attack, Steamtown stands for "park barrel politics" -- the political process through which elected officials, with re-election in mind, subvert the objective site selection process and instead use back room vote-trading and raw political power to deliver national parks (read "tourism dollars and jobs") to their constituents back home.

  • Where Are the Best Sunrises in the National Park System?   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Marylander, I can sure sympathize. My own dawn visit to the peak of Haleakala -- probably the only one I'll ever get to make -- wasn't rewarded with a glorious sunrise either. It's a good thing that there's so much more to Haleakala National Park than a (sometimes) glorious sunrise witnessed from the mountaintop. What a fantastic place Haleakala is! One word of warning about sunrise-chasing on the 10,023-foot Haleakala peak. It's C-O-L-D up there in the predawn darkness, so bring a blanket.

  • Where Are the Best Sunrises in the National Park System?   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Two years ago I tried for 13 straight days to see sunrise at the top of Cadillac Mountain... only to make the drive and be buried in fog each and every time. So, my vote goes to North Rim of the Grand Canyon. [If we could include areas managed by the U.S. Forest Service, not just national parks] my vote for 2nd place finisher would be a remote campsite in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area where the calm lakes became an intense pinkish orange just like the sky... pretty awesome. P.S.: My trip to the top of Haleakala: buried in clouds!!

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 16 weeks ago

    Linda, you obviously know nothing about bears. Just ask an Alaskan about bears. People who know about bears will not even put out their garbage without a gun. As people encroach on the space of bears they lose their fear of humans. This in turn increases the likelihood of an attack. And I sorry to tell you my friend but bear spray is virtually useless in most real life situations. But you should be safe since it sounds like you never go in the back country anyway. If you ever do go in the woods please don't feed the bears so I would need to shoot em.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 16 weeks ago

    T-Fly

    Tell your sob story to the women who are raped or killed in our national parks each year. I am a gun owner and I have a PhD so am I too stupid to protect myself? You are not getting any points with me sugar. Perhaps you're scared of guns in parks because you have not had experience with them? An individual with a CCW permit can current carry that gun into the grocery store near the park but not into the park per se. The main reason for the establishment of these laws was to reduce poaching. The unintended consequence has been to create victims. Gun free zones don't work. Why do you think mass murders often happen in gun free zones but not at gun clubs or gun shows?? Come on put your thinking cap T-Fly on I am sure you can come up with a fantastic reason to account for this well known fact.

  • Report Shows Visiting National Parks Could be Hazardous to Your Health   6 years 17 weeks ago

    I'm a bit dismayed by the comment that blows off "Steamtown" as political pork. Railroading is a very large part of our Nation's historical and cultural heritage - to me it seems only appropriate that there should be a National Park Service Unit devoted to interpreting this historical and cultural legacy. On my visit to Steamtown, I was fascinated to see a railroad turn table in operation, and was entranced by the exhibits there that let me touch the stories of Americans from 100 years ago whose lives were shaped by the railroad.

  • Traveler’s Delightful Dozen: Windshield Touring Trips in the National Park System   6 years 17 weeks ago

    In fairness, despite the comment about the "generally neglectful attitude", it should also be noted that the Bush Administration / Republican Congress (I list both only because I'm not sure which took the lead in this proposal) passed a law in 2005 that created a new grant program for "Alternative Transportation in Parks and Public Lands" that uses transportation dollars to fund transit options in National Parks, Nationl Forest, USFWS Refuges, and BLM Lands. In other words, the use of "transportation dollars" for this means that these transit programs don't come out of the Department of the Interior's Budget (they come out of the Dept. of Transportation's budget), and so these projects don't have to compete with other Park Service priorities for funding.

  • Bigger Boat Tours Coming to Voyageurs National Park   6 years 17 weeks ago

    I'm curious as to what the source of this funding is - the first paragraph makes it sound like a Congressional earmark, but the last part sounds more like a private charitable donation. Perhaps the most surprising thing, however, is why hasn't the Park Service entered into an agreement with a private concessionaire to offer tour boat service? Would it really be so impossible for a private tour boat service to make a living in Voyageurs?

  • Lake Powell Expected to Rise 50 Feet This Summer   6 years 17 weeks ago

    The "sky is falling" amateur climatologists love to point out the increase in man-made carbon dioxide emissions due to the automobile and the mechanisms related to the Industrial Revolution. All well and good. But as Bob pointed out above, our Mother Earth and her environment is a slightly more complicated issue than we would care to imagine. And basing the doomsday forecast on 135 years worth of meteorological data is akin to standing on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, peering in for a few minutes and believing you've "seen" all that comprises the Abyss. Funny how it goes that until recently our planet had the ability, much as does our human physiology, to effect repairs and maintain the status quo in spite of us. Unfortunately, we have begun to cut away at the very foundations of planetary climate maintenance and garbage control. The amount of carbon dioxide emissions is not the issue, per se, unless you couple that along with what we have done to reduce the effectiveness of Earth's ability to "recycle" those gases but our new-found love for slash and burn agricultural techniques. By reducing the rainforests at a greater rate than ever, and not having time to replenish those mature stands of trees that were once able to shoulder the increased burden of burning off the vegatation requried to maintain the delicate balance in nature, you in effect over-burden that remaining plant life, some of it lethally, and thereby the snowball races down the hill. You can take whatever steps you like to "green" yourself, but the real issue qutie literally is the lack of green that we have let proliferate on our planet.

    Unfortunately and most conveniently, Big Al doesn't mention much about that, since it involves upsetting the "developing" world.