Recent comments

  • Is the National Park Service Obligated to Better Promote Proposed Change in Gun Regulations?   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Well, first, you don't even try to deny your slanted viewpoint, good for you. But, you missed the whole point of my post. The folks who take the time and care enough to get a concealed carry permit will not cause a problem. If there are people who walk around acting like idiots (and who happen to carry a gun), then a permit is of no consequence. They are going to do it anyway...permits and park rules be damned. The only time you will even know that the law abiding gun carriers have a gun is when they are put in a life or death situation and are forced to use it. Allowing people with a CC permit in the park will in no way endanger others but will only create an environment where a CC permit holder can possibly save a life should the situation arise. They are not going to be getting drunk and shooting their guns in the air like they are in Tombstone, AZ at the O.K. Corral. That is just a ridiculous picture that your anti-gun brethren like to paint to make your weak case against guns and carry permits.

  • Is the National Park Service Obligated to Better Promote Proposed Change in Gun Regulations?   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Sorry Neil, but I think that's a very realistic possibility.

    Even you yourself point out that "most ... are extremely responsible and fanatical." The concern here isn't the behavior of "most" permit holders, it's of those who are more cavalier.

  • Is the National Park Service Obligated to Better Promote Proposed Change in Gun Regulations?   6 years 17 weeks ago

    "or strolling across the Colter Bay campground in search of a cold beer."

    Are you kidding me? You just innocently throw in the "cold beer" reference I assume? I am sure it has nothing to do with you trying to paint the mental picture of a beer drinking, irresponsible gun owner to anyone who may wander across this page. Come on least pretend to have some kind of journalistic integrity. The fact is most that carry a gun and have a concealed carry permit are extremely responsible and fanatical about safety. The kind of folks you are trying to lump them in with will carry a gun no matter what the law and most would not waste the time to get a concealed carry permit. So please, before you try to paint all gun owners in the same light, take the time to get to know one so that you can speak from a place of honesty and knowledge rather than ignorance and sterotypes.

  • Park History: Crater Lake National Park   6 years 17 weeks ago

    During the summer of 2000, the USGS and their contractors extensively resurveyed Crater Lake's inner caldera below the lake's surface. Using the USGS benchmarked elevation for the lake's surface of 1883 meters (6178 feet), they determined the lake's maximum depth to be 594 meters (plus and minus 1.2 meters [one sigma error] or a 95% uncertainty range of from 591.6 to 596.4 meters). This translates to a maximum depth of 1949 feet (with a 95% uncertainty range of 1941 to 1957 feet).

    The average depth of Crater Lake, as determined by the USGS 2000 survey, is 350m (plus or minus 0.7 m [one sigma error]). This translates to 1148 ft, (with a 95% uncertainty range from 1144 to 1153 ft). Crater Lake is, on the average, the deepest in the Western Hemisphere and the third deepest in the world.

    Compared using average depths, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the world among those lakes whose basins are entirely above sea level. The basins of the world's deepest lakes, Baikal and Tanganyika, extend far below sea level.

    For anyone seeking a short hike with great views of the inner caldera of Crater Lake and the southern crest of the Cascade Mountain range, I would recommend the Garfield Peak Trail. This hike is 1.7 miles to the top of Garfield Peak and begins along the Rim Village promenade, just east of Crater Lake Lodge. During the early summer season, the upper portions of this trail may still be closed due to snow. Check with a park ranger for the most current information.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • National Park System Benefits From Omnibus Natural Resources Bill   6 years 17 weeks ago

    A National Quilt Museum??? Are we nuts? I'm sure quilts (see subtitle D in the article) are important, but I would think NPS has other things to spend its money on.

  • Book Review: Let's Go See:All 50! -- Visiting the 50 States Journal   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Wow, that's great to hear that you like using yours, Sia. Thanks so much for sharing. For general information, I have sent one to the Honorable Barack Obama at his Washington D.C. office with the following note. I hope he likes the journal. ;-)

    May 23, 2008

    The Honorable Barack Obama
    United States Senate
    713 Hart Senate Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20510-1305

    Re: Enclosed ‘All 50’ Journal

    Dear Sen. Obama,

    Please accept the enclosed gift in the levity with which it was intended. The All 50 journal is something with which I am very proud as its author, and hope that others may enjoy its use as well. The idea to send you one came to me from your recent slip in reference to the number of states in our great nation. My desire is that the mistake will be laughed off as it should but that attention goes to a tool that others find useful nonetheless. If you should have any questions or desire further correspondence, please let me know at your earliest convenience.


    Stephen L Martin

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

    I vacation with my family, my parents, my aunts and uncles and their families on Cape Hatteras every year. If the beaches were closed to vehicles, we would stop going. Plain and simple. That would mean no house rentals, no week of groceries, no souvenirs, no fishing charters, no eating out, and various other shopping...our families alone spend thousands of dollars and that is just in one week--one family. I can't imagine that we are alone. Restrictions on beach driving would kill Cape Hatteras. I would like the numbers on how many chicks have been run over by trucks in the last 15 years...because that is how long I have been driving out on that beach--and I have yet to see a chick, let alone run one over. Hurricane Isabel has done far more damage to the end of that island than any off-road vehicle...and how do you know that the birds aren't nesting somewhere else? If Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a park--and by definition belongs to the people--that means all the people, not just the tree-I mean Bird huggers. I have no problem with the roping off of nesting sights, but this is getting ridiculous. We come from NY, VA and PA for one week of beach relaxation a year...don't make us seek it elsewhere.

  • Coalbed Methane Projected Proposed North of Glacier National Park Tabled   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Gas resources will soon come to an end. Instead of just throwing our money down our kitchen sinks we should better think of ways to replace methane with renewable energy sources.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Kurt -

    These are all valid concerns. I truly hope that they are un-founded. I am an avid safety "nut" and would NOT tolerate any of the actions you speak about.

    Please accept my sincerest apology. It is incredible bad taste for me to bad-mouth the media on "your" blog knowing your background as well as I do. I get terribly frustrated (as much as you, I assume) by the amazing distortions we have to put up with by people who "adjust" a story to support their agenda.

  • While Bison Are Driven Back into Yellowstone National Park, Questions Over Management Continue   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Now an even fresher memory - I'm sad to report that the nine bulls were sent to slaughter this morning. That's confirmed by BFC, as well as a person who witnessed this in Horse Butte. That brings the total to 1,613 killed; the total buffalo left in Yellowstone is estimated to be close to 2,100 (well more than half now dead from the fall population); however, no one really knows. Recent counts, which officials emphasize are not meant to be population estimates, actually show a count of much lower. You will see plenty of buffalo along the rivers right now and in plain sight, but it's simply not what it was. The herds are under enormous stress, and this doesn't help.

    Everyone knows that a bull bison cannot transmit brucellosis; everyone knows there are no cattle in the area these bulls were killed. This is not about brucellosis; this is about land use ideology. The NPS should get out of the IBMP immediately; the next president should pull all the federal agencies out. Yet, will they pay attention?

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

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Kurt -

    One reason why you perhaps haven't seen so many anti-gun-in-parks comments recently is that this is an emotionally charged issue, and I'm probably not the only one who isn't commenting publicly because I don't want to be sucked into an argument/I-am-always-right-I-will-not-compromise 'discussion' with Mr. Rick and Mr. Fred.

  • University Professor Missing in Canyonlands National Park   6 years 17 weeks ago

    According to the NPS Daily Report, this disappearance was a planned suicide and the park launched a search for Mr. Henderson previous to his expected return date.

  • Book Review: Let's Go See:All 50! -- Visiting the 50 States Journal   6 years 17 weeks ago

    I love using mine even though most of the states are empty (so far). I'd like to see it filled one day!! It's a marvelous journal BECAUSE it provides a handy structure to the process without excessive details stifling individuality so that it is truly a personal journal in the end! Excellent decision to go with "less is more".

    BTW, after hearing his recent gaffe re: 57 states & counting, Senator Obama is an potential customer with an obvious need for one of your journals~!

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago


    Having played a key role in "our media" for a good part of my professional life, I take extreme exception to your comment about the media. The media does not cause a gun to go off, does not allow a gun to be in reach of youthful hands, does not get drunk or angry and resort to pulling the trigger. All these things are done by gun owners. As you said in an earlier comment, a gun is an inanimate object. It's the person behind the gun who commits the mistake ... or the crime.

    Will park visitation drop off if the gun regulations are rewritten to make weapons more available in the parks? That's a good question, one that needs to be thought through extremely carefully by the folks at Interior. But I fear they are driven too much by politics to think clearly. Personally, I don't worry too greatly about it because I head to the backcountry where relatively few others do. But if I was heading to a campground, where folks sit around campfires and drink, where kids get into things when their parents aren't watching, yeah, I'd probably think twice about it.

    Too, if you've read many of the comments that have been directed at me over this issue the past 2-plus years, you'd be rightfully concerned about the stability and focus of quite a few of the so-called good and law-abiding gun owners.

    And what about the young adults who might have just obtained their CCW permit and head everywhere they go with their firearm? What if they're hiking down a trail, figure they're far away from civilization and rangers, and decide to take some target practice? What if they miss their target and hit a hiker coming the other way that they didn't see?

    What about bluffing grizzlies? Many times they'll charge you to intimidate. Will a gun owner resort to pulling the trigger rather than taking more appropriate action and either wound or completely miss the bear and end up worse for it?

    Why are ranger groups and police groups opposed to expansion of CCW regulations? Is it because they're macho organizations that want to consolidate firepower, or do they have legitimate concerns over the frightening array of loosely written CCW laws and the increasing availability of weapons?

    I don't question that the majority of gun owners no doubt are responsible and conscientious. It's the minority that worry me.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago

    It's way too soon to call, but I suspect that the proposed rule change concerning concealed handgun carry in the Parks will go forward. If it does, will the attendance change? Will people AVOID the Parks because they're afraid they might be sharing the trail with me or some other CCW permit holder? Will people START visiting the Parks more because they will be able to bring their firearm with them LEGALLY?

    I sincerely hope this rule change won't keep folks from wanting to visit the Parks. Fear is a natural thing, but unreasonable fear is unhealthy. Our media has done a good job of convincing people that guns and gun owners are bad. I honestly believe that most people are good, and that those who assume the awesome responsibility of carrying a firearm are good AND law-abiding.

    There are many ways for folks to become educated and informed about firearms and concealed-carry safety. A little research can show people that they have nothing to fear from me or my CCW-permit brethren. Conversely, we are more likely to come to your aid, not just be an "eyewitness" at the investigation.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Kurt - You're right about some of these comments. Wading through some of the spelling and grammatical errors is downright painful. Their points would be much easier to perceive if they would have taken a minute to proofread their post. And it might have helped if they were trying to make some sense. Some of the comments left me asking, "What did he SAY??"

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago


    Thanks for your thanks. Truthfully, I do often wonder why I spend *so* much time on some of these issues.

    Re the comments filed so far, I found at least two that oppose the change. But you're right, far and away the majority do seem to support concealed carry in the parks. But I'm not sure for all the right reasons. Here's one questionable comment I found:

    we should be able to carry a weapon in any National forest for protection due to the fact that there are wild animals that seem to attack without being provoked. Especially when wild animals keep being added to our
    parks like Bears, Wolfs, Alligators and not to mention venomous snakes.

    Now, aside from the confusion between national parks and national forests, doesn't this sort of comment raise some serious concerns that some gun owners will be quick on the draw when they see a wild animal in the parks? And then there was another comment in which the author claimed every confrontation between a wild animal and a human being ended up poorly for the human. Really?

  • While Bison Are Driven Back into Yellowstone National Park, Questions Over Management Continue   6 years 17 weeks ago

    According to Buffalo Field Campaign, the Montana Department of Livestock has just captured another 9 bulls, which they intend to slaughter. So, despite what we've been lead to believe, the slaughter isn't over.

    See for what to do.

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

  • Closed to the Public For Nearly a Year, Artist Point in Yellowstone National Park is Reopening   6 years 17 weeks ago

    If you are traveling to the park this weekend, the weather is supposed to be terrible. Tonight, for example, there is a snow advisory for the park with up to 15 inches of snow possible.

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

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago

    This is truly an emotional discussion. We are fortunate to have Kurt willing to spend so much of his personal time and energy to facilitate this blog.

    Kurt mentioned people who have confessed that they would violate the Park regulations about concealed-carry. I am one of those people. Even though I think that the current ban is a violation of the 2nd amendment, two WRONGS do not make a RIGHT. That's why I'm so much involved in supporting the rule change. My current choices are to NOT visit National Parks (lousy choice), hike in Parks WITHOUT my pistol (unacceptable choice), or violate the law and carry anyway (illegal and objectionable). I am usually a law-abiding citizen. I stop for red lights at deserted intersections in the middle of the night because it's the LAW, whether I agree with it or not.

    As for all these stats, either side can quote VOLUMES of stats to prove their point. We have to go with what we believe and what we think is right. As for these so-called "incidents", I can't help but wonder why they're not in the newspaper, on on the 6'oclcok news. Our media loves to report BAD news; where's the reports?

    I'd like to add that my pistol is an inanimate object, incapable of good or evil. It cannot "possess" me and cause me to be evil like in the science fiction movies. I am not evil because I own and carry a gun any more than my wife is evil because she knows that I carry a gun and still loves me.

    The DOI secretary has opened the rules-change up for public comment. I just checked the website that Kurt linked us to. More than seven THOUSAND comments have been made! I've read pages of them. I won't try to convince you that I've read them all, but I have read more than a hundred of them. With ONE exception, ALL of the comments are in favor of the proposed rule change allowing concealed-carry. Either those who oppose the rule change are too busy, or maybe they don't really care. I would have expected to hear a loud outcry OPPOSED to the rule change. Instead it looks like 99% of Park visitors SUPPORT the ability to carry a concealed firearm in Parks located in States that permit it.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago

    You said:

    > think it might be worth it for you to dig up some more recent information

    That's the most recent data available. As I mentioned I had to really work to get the PA SP data. That's how those folks who report the data work. The final reports are always at least a year or two old that I've been able to find, especially from the CDC. If you or anyone else here would like to take a turn doing some research I could use the help!

    Things don't change that much year to year. Criminals continue to commit crime and kill people. I prefer to not be one of the statistics, thanks.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago

    One thing I forgot to mention, Kurt. The stats above referring to:

    > Guns in the Home - A Greater Risk to Family and Friends
    > • For every time a gun is used in a home in a legally-justifiable shooting there are 22
    > criminal, unintentional, and suicide-related shootings.[16]

    > • The presence of a gun in the home triples the risk of homicide in the home.[17]
    > • The presence of a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide fivefold.[18]

    Kellerman used incomplete/innacurate data and the report has long since been discredited. Ludwig is a known gun hater who produced biased reports favored by, well, the Brady folks who insist that somehow "[inanimate] guns murder" X number of times each year. They know they can't get away anymore with pumping up the numbers by saying a gun causes suicide. I'll find someone from the NRA or GOA to provide some balance for the aforementioned "statistics." Just teasing. Stick with FBI, CDC, DOJ facts and not the opinions of that group.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago


    I'm not trying to debate about guns in the parks or nitpick...but I do think it's worth pointing out that the links you provided are to reports/studies, etc that were done several years ago. The FBI, CDC, DOJ and PA links all referenced documents published no later than 2006.

    My point is that we don't live in 2006 (thank God!), and I think it might be worth it for you to dig up some more recent information, or determine and let us know if this is that most recent info, to support your argument. Just because something was one way in '06 doesn't mean it couldn't have changed.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Kurt, you said:

    > if you go back through the comments posted on this issue on the Traveler you'll find a few in which the individual has said they carried a concealed
    > weapon into a park against the law, so yes, I'd say that's pretty good proof of committing a crime.

    I'd call that an exercise of a Constitutional right. And "life insurance." While I can't say never, no park visitor I've ever heard of has been accosted by someone with a concealed carry permit. No concealed carry permit holder has been arrested for poaching or vandalism. DOI couldn't provide any proof either and we hit them with two Freedom of Information Act requests to get the "incidents" they alleged. Aside from that why should I give a hoot what some retired park ranger thinks on this issue? These guys are typically anti-gun to begin with, had a gun, and could have defended himself. The odds were stacked in their favor.

    The point I've made is concealed carry permit holders, the group in question here, do not commit the crimes. Criminals do. Every time. Timid, uninformed people making unsubstantiated, emotional claims don't help save lives at all.

    People refuse to take responsibility for their safety and their loved one's safety. They arrogantly and naively (OK, maybe they just haven't considered this aspect) believe someone in "law ENFORCEMENT" (that's what they are since the courts established LEOs do not have an obligation to "protect") should risk their lives to protect them instead of doing the risky, messy work themselves.

    if gun control worked Washington D.C. would be the nirvana folks claim the park system is. Gun control is nothing more than government-mandated aiding and abetting of criminals. The world is full of evil people intent on taking advantage of unsuspecting, naive people. Regardless of how nice you are to people and how much you extol the virtues of civility someone will try to get you at some point in your life. Do you want to be the next victim?

    Another anecdote - true story. Back in 1980 I was working for a seismic surveying firm on old RT 25 in the Cumberland Gap between Cumberland Gap, TN and Middleboro, KY - ironically, now a national wildlife area or park. A couple hours before dawn I was awakened by shooting outside my door. It lasted for a really long time it seemed. Several calibers; pistol and shotgun. I jumped out of bed, hit the floor and immediately tried to call 911. Guess what? They cut the phone lines. Now, the only way out was the front door - or potentially in an ambulance. Fortunately for me the shooter was someone getting even with the motel manager and shot the heck out of the office and a couple vehicles. I didn't know that at the time. I and my roommate were unhurt. From that point on, though, I realized I really was the only one responsible for and capable of ensuring my safety.

    Consider this very carefully: when seconds matter, help is just minutes away. When the cops arrive they're investigating a crime, not saving your life. Now, just think if one of the recent shooting victims in these gun-free nirvanas had the opportunity to defend themselves. If you want to go through life thinking someone will help you in a life-threatening situation you could be gravely wrong.

    I'll say it again. Concealed carry permit holders are responsible for preventing crime and saving lives. Not the converse. Guns save lives.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago


    Thank you very much for your efforts and comments. I appreciate you assisting in any process that allows us to decide our own safety and protection. I love freedom and relish any opportunity to gain some freedom back. Please keep up the fight. Knowledge is the real power. Hopefully we can all convince people to give up the emotion of issues and take a logical look at the platform.