Recent comments

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago

    That's a GOOD one, Bob!

  • Groups Sue To Overturn Removal of Greater Yellowstone Wolves from Endangered Species List   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Sport hunting, to kill an animal for pleasure be it a shark, bear or wolf is wrong.
    What Mr. Repanshek did not tell you is that B160 was shot once through the femur and once through the stomach and left to rot.
    The famous Hoppy was killed at an elk feed lot in Sublet county Wyoming.
    The majority of the 40 or so killings I have read about have not been hunting,
    ethical or otherwise by any stretch of the imagination.

    A Saturday evening near Daniel in Sublette County...

    Bub: What ya wanta do?
    Jeb: Dunno, what ya wanta do?
    Bub: Ya know them feedlots down at the creek?
    Jeb: huh?
    Bub: Ya know, where they feed them elk?
    Jeb: oh, ya, what about it?
    Bub: I was thinkin' ya know them wolfs that hang around there?
    Jeb: ya, what ya thinkin'?
    Bub: well, ya wanna go shoot some?
    Jeb: wolfs?
    Bub: yup, wanna?
    Jeb: well sure why not?

  • Charismatic Marine Fauna   6 years 17 weeks ago

    After the winter we've had, you bet the South Seas sound wonderful!

    Kurt

  • Creature Feature: the Many-Colored Fruit Dove   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Nice article and well written. Thanks.

  • Charismatic Marine Fauna   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Is it just me, or is there a sudden urge by NPT editors/writers/readers to voyage to the South Pacific, thanks to recent NPAS coverage?! :)

    There's another great picture at http://www.nps.gov/pwr/pgallerycontent/p/l/20060706133325.jpg The water isn't as clear, though.

  • Proposed Settlement Filed in Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Case   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS) is a very different National Park. The problems are bigger and more complex than off-highway vehicle (OHV)/fishing organizations access and environmental organizations concerns with resource management, although that is currently taking the spotlight.

    CHNS is managed as if it were two different types of Parks: correctly managing the historical parts and incorrectly managing the resource parts (Ocean Beach). The Ocean Beaches are managed by the NPS like a hybrid recreational area that is accessible only by vehicles. To me CHNS falls short of the type of management associated with other National Parks by many standards. The most dynamic and impressive natural areas of CHNS, like Bodie Island Spit and the “Point” at Cape Hatteras often become very crowded with hundreds of parked cars and vehicles navigating through a network of changing OHV trails.

    In the past (before the park was established) the very remote beaches of Bodie Island (not really an island) Hatteras Island and Ocracoke were highways for these sparsely inhabited remote islands. There were no paved roads and no development of the private land adjacent to the ocean beaches in the Park. Recreational use of the ocean beach was minimal and a visitor rare, especially compared to today’s visitation. Local people seasonally commercially fished on the ocean beaches. In direct contrast ocean beaches today have experienced a dramatic increase in visitor use with private, fully developed ocean side village beaches adjacent to Park beaches.

    Today’s OHV users advocate using antiquated management practices for the basis of which to manage vehicle use today. A very vocal group of visitors and retired locals that primarily engage in recreational fishing activities on the National Park beach using OHVS for access are outraged with any restrictions that impede their OHV use. Most of these visitors belong to local organizations that promote beach driving in CHNS. I think the majority of them genuinely see themselves as good stewards of the Seashore and can find nothing amiss with hundreds of vehicles in small areas of the National Park beach.

    On my last visit I noticed vehicles with local club/organization affiliations that had decals on their vehicles that referred to Cape Hatteras National Seashore as Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area (CHNSRA). When asking them about the new name they assured me they were right because of a congressional oversight that did not correct the “recreational area” that was added to the CHNS name in the 50’s. A question to the superintendent office reveled that at that time adding “recreational area” was the only way to guarantee waterfowl hunting in the Park, a condition that the local inhabitants petitioned to have added to the Park’s enabling legislation. From those that I talked to it appeared the only reason that they were interested in the claim that CHNS is a “recreational area” is because they believe a recreational area puts recreational use even or of greater importance than resource protection and other park mandates. This is a policy I can’t find in any NPS management guidelines for any type of National Park.

    The NPS is responsible for the current problems because they never implemented an OHV or ORV (Off Road Vehicles) management plan as was mandated by Nixon’s and Carter’s executive orders. Until recently the NPS has largely encouraged unmanaged and mostly unregulated OHV use on the Seashore beaches and allowed that activity to continue longer than was prudent or legal, long enough that special interests to the Park now view OHV use as a right rather than a yet to be sanctioned privilege.

    Seashore managers (bending to pressure from conservation organizations to implement The Endangered Species Act) recently initiated temporary resource protection measures that restrict prime fishing areas to OHVS and pedestrians for part of the year. Other areas in the Park are temporarily closed to OHV use because the beach is deemed too narrow and steep to safely drive on. Even on open “safe” OHV ocean beaches, vehicles often get damaged or destroyed by inexperienced drivers. Currently there are no special permits or experienced needed and any licensed vehicle operator can attempt to drive on the Park beach.

    Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands are a difficult place to run business. Catastrophic weather events and seasonal visitation make it a feast or famine situation. Most local businesses that I spoke with believe OHV users are responsible for the bulk of their commerce and are concerned that any restrictions on OHV use will have a devastating affect on their businesses. I find this view shortsighted but can sympathize with their trepidation. The only independent study done says about 10% of the Seashore’s visitors use OHVS. The county governments of Hyde and Dare County and local businesses see the National Park as something more than a National Park. Dare County has aligned themselves with local OHV organizations, intervening legally with them and donating county taxpayer funds to OHV organizations to help with their legal costs. Both groups often advocate that CHNS policy should be decided locally. In a recent federal court case involving a lawsuit between 3 environmental organizations and the NPS over a flawed resource protection plan a federal judge put it best when he chastised the intervening county lawyer over this very issue.

    Judge Boyle to the Dare County lawyer:

    “This is not the sovereign seashore of Dare County, It’s the National Seashore. It belongs to the United States. What interests do you have anymore than anyone else in it?”

    OHV organization’s mantra of, “free and open access” is ambiguous to the uninformed but to them literally means driving their vehicles just about everywhere on federally owned National Park ocean beaches they decide they safely can. The organizations CHAC, NCBBA and OBPA are 100% pro OHV use in the Seashore. When they speak of access to the Seashore they mean vehicle access. If you support them or donate money to their organizations they will use it to promote OHV use on the National Seashore Beach. In addition they have paid Washington lawyers working to diminish resource protection measures in the Park.

    A testament to OHV users organizational skill and power is the unbalanced one-sided comments their members have left on this site concerning CHNS.

    A visitor could come to CHNS in middle of the winter and see wide open beaches with nothing more than wind swept OHV trails and an occasional vehicle or come in the summer or fall and experience a Seashore Beach transformed into a raucous tail gate party. Every year there are more visitors and vehicles extending the traditional tourist season.

    I have lived on and off Outer Banks, renting and then buying a home and fortunately selling it a few years ago. When I visit the Park now I stay in the NPS’s Ocracoke campground, as it is the only place left in CHNS that looks and feels like a National Park and reminds me of the Outer Banks I grew up visiting.

    If you have ideas about how CHNS should be managed phone, email or fax your congressman, senator and the regional and national NPS mangers.

  • Bison, Elk and Bears Might Be Cute, But These Videos and Statistics From National Parks Suggest Caution   6 years 17 weeks ago

    We have visited many national parks and we have been amazed at the lack of respect some people have for the parks and the wildlife. These videos should be mandatory upon entry for those who have little or no experience sharing the outdoors with wildlife. As a seasoned hiker, I am glad to have seen the videos as a reminder of how quickly a situation can change.

  • Groups Sue To Overturn Removal of Greater Yellowstone Wolves from Endangered Species List   6 years 17 weeks ago

    It's all about the White House cowboys that own peacock ranches in Montana. Fat bellies, booze and guns!

  • Are Blue Ridge Parkway's Historic Guardrails At Risk?   6 years 17 weeks ago

    "The Blue Ridge Parkway is a cultural resource park, whereas GRSM and SHEN are mostly natural resource parks, and since the parkway is our primary resource, we look very closely at proposed changes to it. We want to maintain the original design of the Blue Ridge Parkway," Mr. Johnson said...

    Shenandoah (SHEN) is certainly a cultural park, as well as a natural park. In fact, when the FHWA told the NPS that the stone guardrails built by the CCC had to be replaced to meet modern safety standards, the NPS went through a similar process described for the Blue Ridge Parkway. This was in the early 1990s. The result: the original stonework was carefully dismantled, new, taller, safer, concrete barriers were constructed, and then faced with the original stonework so that only the most careful observer would realize that these were not the originals. It took tremendous effort on the part of both agencies to find a good solution. I commend the staff at the Blue Ridge Parkway for their efforts but I'm disappointed they think they're the only ones who care enough to tackle this problem.

    For more on the issue of SHEN's cultural resources, and how the park came to appreciate them, see the article "Cultural Resource Management: at Shenandoah, It Didn’t Come Naturally" which I wrote in 1998 when I was the park's Chief of Natural AND Cultural Resources. It's at http://crm.cr.nps.gov/archive/21-1/21-1-2.pdf.

    Bob Krumenaker

  • Groups Sue To Overturn Removal of Greater Yellowstone Wolves from Endangered Species List   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Aldo Leopold once wrote many long years ago about the kill of an old wolf which he committed as a forest ranger in the American Southwest. As he describes and remembering "a fierce green fire" in the eyes of dying wolf and her crippled pup. Something that burned in his psyche for years to come. In Mr. Saunders case, I don't know what burns in his psyche after a senseless act of wasting away such a magnificent animal...the Canis Lupus. Perhaps, the joy of this senseless kill that carries with this individual brings much wonder what kind of compassionate man he truly is. I doubt very much he carries the badge of a ethical hunter but I highly recommend Mr. Saunders to get some good education in how to conduct a good clean hunt where the poor animal has fighting chance. You have a lot to learn Mr. Saunders!

  • Groups Sue To Overturn Removal of Greater Yellowstone Wolves from Endangered Species List   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Once again the state of MT shows that there is only one thing on their mind....big $$ and they'll take it however they can get it at the expense of their wildlife. 40 wolves dead already in one month....they didn't waste any time. They take pride in attracting big bucks from all over the country to shoot bison, elk, and now wolves (just like AK does and makes lots of dough on the hunts too). Seems to me the root of many of the problems associated with Yellowstone (bison, wolves, elk population etc.) run right through the heart of MT political/wildlife management offices.
    They all need to get their heads out of the 18th century and catch up with the rest of us. I'm not anti hunting, but when a state shows a total lack of respect for a species in recovery and wastes no time implementing their plan to "cull" the packs from over 100 to a total of 40 for the entire state, well that just reeks of mis-management, and alterior motives. Just because a species is delisted doesn't necessarily mean its okay to go out and wipe out half the recovered population. Doesn't that kind of defeat the reason we have an endangered species list to begin with? Wake up Montanans, get involved, cause your state agencies are going to run their wildlife into the ground all in the name of sport hunting and big beef.

  • Groups Sue To Overturn Removal of Greater Yellowstone Wolves from Endangered Species List   6 years 17 weeks ago

    I am an ethical hunter who believes in the rules of fair chase, so it truly pains me that Mr. Saunders got his picture in the paper for doing what no true sportsman would ever do. What in the bloody blue blazes do they mean when they say that Saunders "stalked" that wolf? Using a snowmobile or plane to chase a wolf to the point of utter exhaustion is not stalking. It is not even hunting. What Saunders did has about as much to do with hunting as rape has to do with spiritual love.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Thanks for your comments. The book is authored by Marguerite Henry, and I have read it. She has written other wonderful children's books, such as King of the Wind, for one. I was so excited because I found the movie on Netflix and soon it will be sent to me from Salt Lake City! I'm glad this discussion came up because it reminded me of a movie I wanted to see again.

  • Groups Sue To Overturn Removal of Greater Yellowstone Wolves from Endangered Species List   6 years 17 weeks ago

    When will the government (of the people) not fall prey to special interest groups who convince it that it's necessary to slaughter wild bison and now the gray wolves? In the case of the wolves, have the lessons of the 30's been so forgotten? I'd REALLY like to see the president go out on a strong note and stand up for wildlife and more importantly for the presidential candidates to make it clear of their own beliefs, and intentions!

  • Creature Feature: the Many-Colored Fruit Dove   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Chance,

    Nice story on an interesting bird. I enjoyed it!

    Thanks, Joe

  • Groups Sue To Overturn Removal of Greater Yellowstone Wolves from Endangered Species List   6 years 17 weeks ago

    "Whenever I see a photograph of some sportsman grinning over his kill, I am always impressed by the striking moral and aesthetic superiority of the dead animal to the live one."
    ~Edward Abbey~

    Picture from an Associated Press article:
    "BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Tony Saunders stalked his prey for 35 miles by snowmobile through western Wyoming's Hoback Basin, finally reaching a clearing where he took out a .270-caliber rifle and shot the wolf twice from 30 yards away."

  • Groups Sue To Overturn Removal of Greater Yellowstone Wolves from Endangered Species List   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Man kills everything .....we will have nothing left for our Grandkids to see....run wild.

  • Flying Squirrels, Scenic Vistas, and the Blue Ridge Parkway   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Additional comments have been posted on the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation's Executive Director Web Log

    http://www.blueridgeparkwayblog.com/foundation-executive-director/general/flying-squirrel-blue-ridge-parkway#comments

  • Creature Feature: Hellbenders   6 years 17 weeks ago

    In southern Missouri, the scientists and others fighting to protect the Ozark hellbender are not just battling against habitat loss, water pollution, and overcollection. According to an article in the Spring 2008 issue of Defenders, researchers recently found that some of the Ozark hellbenders are infected with the deadly chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, aka "Bd"). This discovery must have made them feel about the way you would feel if you found a timbler rattler in your baby's crib. Just how bad is the chytrid fungus? Scientists say that the organism, an invader that apparently originated in Africa, can kill up to 80% of the amphibians it infects. Since amphibians are part of a very complex web of life, chytrid-initiated population crashes have the potential to cause a great deal of ecosystem disruption. It remains to be seen whether and when scientists will come up with methods for reducing or eliminating the chytrid fungus threat. Meanwhile, pessimists say that the only sure way to have healthy populations of hellbenders, frogs, and other amphibians in the chytrid-affected areas is to scoop up some still-healthy amphibians, put them in biosecure facilities, and return them to the wild after the chytrid firestorm has burned itself out. This is certainly not a good time to be a hellbender.

  • National Parks Week: Perfect Time to Assess the "State of the Parks"   6 years 17 weeks ago

    True, NPS is having problems across the system, and the Centennial Challenge probably does amount to not much more than election-year, feel-good politics. That being said, though, at least it's better than nothing :)

  • GYC Explains Value of Latest Agreement for Yellowstone National Park Bison   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Amen "be". Any group and any individual (including myself) who considers themselves to be even remotely concerned all the way to absolutely ticked off about this issue should make as much noise as possible about this absurd situation and great example of greed and extortion by CUT. No one is being held accountable...I mean how long did it take the GAO to "discover" that this issue has been a dead horse for so long. No one is being watched, no one is being given a deadline. There's just an open ended "problem" created because a bunch of agencies don't want to make the first move and don't want to lose thier respective interest in the deal. No one is putting pressure on groups like the ag/livestock depts to start thinking about ways they can contribute to making changes instead of expecting everyone around them to come up with the plan and the $$ to do it for them. When are we going to stop letting them get away with this, and make them start finding ways to make their cattle "safe" from a disease they know isn't spread from a species that doesn't need to be "managed"? Are there enough of us out here who can bring the noise to those who don't want to hear it? Senators, congressmen/women, governers, etc. Make the calls, send the mail, be a pest, make them listen, or tick them off by trying, but do something.

  • Snared Wolves At Denali National Park and Preserve Cast Ugly Shadow on Trappers   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Why are we trapping wolves? Aren't supposed to be allowing them to breed and have them provide a natural balance in nature?

  • National Parks Week: Perfect Time to Assess the "State of the Parks"   6 years 17 weeks ago

    It really is discouraging to read all the happy talk coming from the NPS leadership about the wonders of the Centennial Challenge and how much good it is going to do for parks. Most park managers I know are in despair because so little attention is being paid to operational deficiencies, the kind that gnaw away at the basic core of our parks. Until the NPS starts to address these kinds of problems, the Centennial will continue to be what it is now: an initiative that favors those parks that can gin up partnership dollar matches that may or may not address fundamental infrastructure and personnel issues.

    Rick Smith

  • Yellowstone National Park Bison Agreement: How Big A Step Forward Is It?   6 years 17 weeks ago

    There is a hunting season in Montana for buffalo, but there is no wild buffalo population in Montana. One step toward there being a viable hunting season is expanding the range of the buffalo so that they have a permanent presence in Montana. Right now, for a large licensing fee, people can line up at the border and wait for them to cross over. So, counting Nez Perce and Salish Kootenai hunts (don't ask me to get into the political complexities of that), 191 buffalo were killed along the boundary this winter; the rest of the 1601 (not counting those who died in captivity) were killed by the National Park Service and the Montana Department of Livestock. More buffalo have been killed this winter than at any time since the 19th century.

    Hunters are more and more involved with the bison cause because they are beginning to realize that there really is no hunt. What's more, for years, elk - the favored target of hunters (it's not very hard to kill a buffalo when hunting - I've seen videos; the buffalo stands there, their friends often don't even move when shots are fired) - have not had to face the livestock industry's wrath over brucellosis. However, this year, in Wyoming, elk have been trapped, rounded up, and tested in similar ways. There is a lot of thinking that when hunters see that elk are next that they will come around further.

    As for your remark about the "old west"; we are not actually removed from the rationale that killed the buffalo in the first place. While there's never any way or desire to turn back the clock, there should be a desire to change ways of making decisions that were wrong in the first place but are still applied today. Buffalo were slaughtered en masse in the 19th century to force indigenous tribes to reservations by starving them to death (think I'm being paranoid? Look at the public record, especially Phil Sheridan - they openly and outspokenly talked about it in terms of the total war strategy they applied in the Civil War). The herds were decimated in the course of 10 years, with market hunting openly encouraged by the military. Why? To encourage more farming; livestock raising (considered a lesser way of life than farming, but better than hunting and gathering, took sway in the West over time, encouraged by the same land ethics). Now, we still live in that world where people think it's proper to parcel off land for this and that purpose and deal with the consequences later. The buffalo are still caught in that process, and if we are going to stop the craziness in the future, allowing them more land to roam has to be part of the process.

    And, hey, who are the local people? Kurt may be in Utah, but there are a lot of us here in Montana who are very local and very upset. In Horse Butte, west of Yellowstone, there are no cattle, but buffalo are still being killed by the Montana government. The landowners want there to be buffalo; the government won't let it happen, even though it's on a peninsula without cattle. The families there have organized at times to allow buffalo; the government fights them. It's not the "local people" who have mattered on this issue, rather a certain kind of local person - the livestock owner (somewhere else) in Montana. If you are not that kind of local person, apparently you don't matter. Do you realize how few ranches there actually are? Who are the local people? And, some of them have lived there for many generations.

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

  • Yellowstone National Park Bison Agreement: How Big A Step Forward Is It?   6 years 17 weeks ago

    You make it sound as if they are trying to kill all the bison. Would you rather they starved to death? Why is there not a hunting season to help keep the herd to a sustainable level? As for this notion of a "wild and free roaming bison herd," it is not the old west anymore, it is 2008 and we are not leaving. So why don't you leave the management of bison to the local people who have to deal with them everyday and deal with more important things.