Recent comments

  • National Park History: Prince William Forest Park Was a Top Secret Spy Training School   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Another great article on the history of the NPS. Keep it up!

  • What Do Bears Really Do in The Woods?   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Great stuff!
    Here is another fun video from the USGS remote camera's in Glacier National Park

  • Oglala Sioux Just Might Reclaim Southern Half of Badlands National Park   6 years 17 weeks ago

    There are many instances throughout our park system where this hubris has been confronted and resolved.
    It is time the NPS as a whole recognizes the indigenous people rights and joins them in the caretaking of Our National Parks.

  • Mount Rainier National Park Officials Mulling Future of Carbon River Road   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Having grown up in the shadow of "The Mountain" I have enjoyed the many times this road has been closed by Mother Nature.
    Today the 5 mile walk / bike route along the wild glacier fed Carbon River through deep forest to the Ipsut Campground and picnic area is a very easy fantastic adventure. It is a great opportunity for moms and dads to introduce their children to our wondrous wilderness.
    For the unfit elderly folks, well (imho) they can join the others along the (too) many roads throughout the rest of the park.
    I am for keeping this road closed to motorized travel from today and forever, preserved for the enjoyment of our "future generations."

  • National Park Quiz 8: Firsts   6 years 17 weeks ago

    MRC: Since Congress would change the names of the parks, it can change the names of the monument to parks at the same time. There are already national monuments that were created by Congress and not under the Antiquities Act. It would be easy to add to the legislation an amendment to the Antiquities Act that simply says that sites named under that act can be called something other than "monument."

  • Yellowstone National Park Relocates the 45th Parallel   6 years 17 weeks ago

    If you want something really weird, contemplate the fact that the Northern Hemisphere 45th parallel most emphatically does NOT mark the halfway point to the North Pole! The actual halfway point is about ten miles north of the 45th parallel. That's because Earth is not a perfect sphere. Due to its rotation about its axis, Earth bulges a bit and is actually an oblate spheroid. If you wanted to be perfectly honest with your highway signs, you'd have one that announces the 45th parallel, then you'd have another, about ten miles due north, that announces the halfway point to the pole. The likelihood that we'll ever get this truth-in-signage? Exactly zero, I should think.

  • National Park Quiz 8: Firsts   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Tough one. I got my worst result of all quizzes so far (6+1), and I kind of cheated at question 6 by looking up and confirming my first idea. Thanks again.

    @Rangertoo: Won't do. At least the National Monuments must be kept as such, because according to the Antiquities Act of 1906 the president can only proclaim National Monuments without the Congress.

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago

    @Avid Family Canoeist: Which part did happen and which was your fear? Let us tell that apart. The guys in question were loud, rowdy, obnoxious and cost you and your family some sleep. What did not happen? They did not attack, maim, rape, pilfer, kill or whatever. You wrote: "What if they had wanted to fight me?" - What if questions are not about reality but about perception and in this case about fear.

    National Parks and the back country as a whole are safe, as safe as they have always been. What changed is the perception of danger. This nation lives on fear - "what if" has become an important question. My idea is to get over it. Don't worry about fights in the back country, worry about accidents while driving to the parks.

  • Mount Rainier National Park Officials Mulling Future of Carbon River Road   6 years 17 weeks ago

    If the NPS keeps closing roads, perhaps we need to sell these parks off for development since only the young and fit can see them. I don't want my taxes paying for them anymore, and many of my friends feel the same!

  • Yellowstone National Park Relocates the 45th Parallel   6 years 17 weeks ago

    wow thats WEIRD. Just watching a show on TV about Nostradamus and he has a prophecy written saying "...and at 45degrees the sky will burn!" FREAKY!!! They (on the show) were trying to link it to the 911 incident. But I think the sky would burn MUCH more if Yellowstone erupted (hence the 45th parallel) which means 45degrees exact

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 17 weeks ago

    I had my family and myself threatened in a Wilderness campsite on the Jacks Fork River in Southern Missouri by a bunch of drunk fools at 2 am. They ran their pick-up just a few feet from the tent with thier brights on us, honking shouting obscenities and throwing beer cans at our tent. I have a CCW permit and I kept my gun locked in a case unloaded just as the park rules require. In my tent was two 15 year old girls, my ten year old and my wife. When I stepped out of the tent to confront these fools, I prayed that these were just drunk teen agers. They pulled out went I stepped out of the tent, but they came back hours latter to run through the camp again spinning their tires and shouting and honking at us. The nearest ranger was about 25 miles away and there is no cell phone service in that deep valley. I am 56 years old and I have never been faced with this sort of behavior in these parks. What if they had wanted to fight me? Would my kids have been raped? Might I have been beated unconscious? Put your self in that situation and ask yourself what you would have done. My wife and I are scout leaders and our kids are scouts. I have never seen the insides of a police station. I have 10 years in the military and have had more firearms training than most rangers in these parks. My concealed carry permit required a complete FBI background check. I am stunned by the attitudes of those who would deny me from defending myself in these remote places.

    You think this sort of thing will never happen to you. Put yourself in my shoes and think about this issue one more time.

  • National Park Quiz 8: Firsts   6 years 17 weeks ago

    There is a simple solution to the nomenclature issue. Everything is a National Park or a National Historic Park. Since the 1978 Redwood Act and amendments and NPS policies make it clear that parks are parks, we should get over the idea of some sort of hierarchy in names or protection of "national park" as some sort of sacred higher calling no deserved by Santa Monica Mountains or Amistad. (After all, Cuyahoga changed from NRA to national park and the world did not end.) No company would allow its brand to be as muddled and indistinct at the NPS has allowed its to be. 19 different designations at last count. And the Forest Service and BLM have national monuments and national recreation areas that are not part of the National Park System. It would be so much easier for the public to understand - and support - the national parks if they understood what they are. I believe that changing titles to the two simplest terms, both with "national" and "park" in them would be the single best thing that can be done to increase support, and thus preservation, visitation, and funding, for parks

  • Recalling Yellowstone National Park's Historic 1988 Fire Season   6 years 17 weeks ago

    So far, we've had a remarkably similar spring; a few locals are a little worried especially with all the news stories reminding people of 1988. As for me, I think fire's really beautiful.

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

  • Oglala Sioux Just Might Reclaim Southern Half of Badlands National Park   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Phil, if you read this article carefully it specificaly says that OST owns the land. NOT the federal government. How would you like it if someone else was making all the decisions concerning your yard?

  • National Park Quiz 8: Firsts   6 years 17 weeks ago

    I know you want to college, Sabattis, so I have to ask you this; Are any of your professors still alive? I mean, are there any that you didn't drive to suicide?

  • National Park Quiz 8: Firsts   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Terminology is definitely one of the difficulties that Park Advocates have in all aspects, from both the light-hearted (like these quizzes) to even the most serious issues. I have yet to see anyone come up with a good solution for how to handle the fact that the word "National Park" refers to both any one of 58 "National Park National Parks" and refers to any one of 391 "Units of the National Park System." Unfortunately, "National Park National Parks" just sounds goofy, and "Units of the National Park System" sounds stilted.

    But yes, it looks like Acadia needs to update their claim-to-fame as being the "oldest" National Park East of the Mississippi - but not the "first."

  • Day Hike Turns Fatal at Mount Rainier National Park   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Recreational insurance? That's the most rediculous thing I've heard. It's organized extortion. Complaining about how much SAR costs taxpayers is ludacris. Do you also complain about the cost of police and fire patroling your community? Bad things happen, sometimes to experienced individuals and sometimes not, whether it's high on a mountian or on your local freeway. It's life.

  • Appellate Court Rules Against Yosemite National Park   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Rif Raf? Im sorry my friend but nature is open to everyone, it does not discriminate such as you do. We all come from this earth and we all have a right to enjoy it. Man cannot and will not be able to limit who can enjoy the earths natural wonders with meaningless "prices".

  • National Park Quiz 8: Firsts   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Jeez, Sabattis, now I gotta take ten minutes out of a busy day just to deal with your questions and make sure my weaselspeak is as bulletproof as I can make it. :-) Don't be downtrodden that you missed #1. Until now only four people in the world, all of us insiders, have been privy to that information. Item #4 has obviously sent you into a tizzy. Note that I capitalized National Park (of which there are currently 58) and stop muddying the water with all those historic sites and battlefields and such. That said, you are correct about Mackinac Island National Park, which was part of the system (originally as Mackinac National Park) for a while before being de-authorized and subsequently converted into a Michigan state park. The Hauptquizmeister will revise the quiz to take this into account. Hot Springs National Park is a red herring, pure and simple. I have no doubt that you already know that and are just yanking my chain (sigh.....). Hot Springs Reservation was established by Congress in 1832 to protect the thermal springs, not to create a pleasuring ground open to the public (one thing you have to do if you want to call a place a park). It wasn't until 1880 -- eight years after Yellowstone became a national park -- that Congress finally got around to adding that public recreational proviso. And it wasn't until 1921 that Congress designated Hot Springs National Park. As for #10, well, who says that none of the the quiz items can be devilishly difficult?

    PS: Sabattis, we need to contact Acadia National Park, remind them about Mackinac Island National Park, and tell them they've got it all wrong on their official NPS-approved home page, which includes this statement (boldface is mine):

    The First National Park East of the Mississippi River

    People have been drawn to the rugged coast of Maine throughout history. Awed by its beauty and diversity, early 20th-century visionaries donated the land that became Acadia National Park. The park is home to many plants and animals, and the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast. Today visitors come to Acadia to hike granite peaks, bike historic carriage roads, or relax and enjoy the scenery.

  • National Park Quiz 8: Firsts   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Tough quiz this week - only seven right! The first question was a really good one (and one I was unaware of - that Yellowstone was originally desigated as simply "Yellowstone Park"), but question #10 was tough simply for the sake of being tough.

    I'd also like to quibble with question #4. The honor of the first National Park east of the Mississippi probably belongs to Mackinac National Park, which was later delisted. A number of other areas of the National Park System east of the Mississippi were also set aside earlier including Rock Creek Park (like Yellowstone only missing the "National" in its name - albeit "not like Yellowstone" in so many other ways), Ford's Theatre, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Statue of Liberty, the original five Civil War Battlefields (Chickamauga & Chattanooga, Anitetam, Shiloh, Gettysburg, Vicksburg), and to be real nit-picky about it, the Chalmette Battlefield, which is now part of Jean Lafitte NHP&Preserve, is located on the eastern bank of the Mississippi.

    And finally - what no question about Hot Springs National Park? Hot Springs, of course, was set aside as a Reservation in 1832.... 32 years before Yosemite and 40 years before Yellowstone!

  • Considering a Hike up Half Dome?   6 years 17 weeks ago

    All of this talk of "Half Dome is too dangerous" is absurd. Look at the list of deaths! Sheesh. It's a like 2-3 a decade. Sure, it's becoming more popular, but driving in your darn car is more dangerous statistically. Most people know that this is a difficult hike and anyone with a DROP of common sense will be perfectly ok. Don't climb when it's wet... duh? Don't climb it if the [cables] aren't up (unless you know what you're doing)... duh? Bring lots of water for your 12 hour hike... duh? Don't climb the dome if you're scared of heights... duh? Don't climb when there's a storm brewing... um, hello? Don't climb if you're not a healthy person... DUH. Duh to the infinite power. My God.

  • Coal-Fired Plants Obscuring National Park Vistas   6 years 17 weeks ago

    What will economics matter when there is no clean air to breathe, no drinking water left, no arable land? Do the oceans need to rise over your head, tornadoes need to rip your house down before you'll realize that money won't matter if the planet's ecosystems are destroyed - unless your credible economists can devise a plan to launch us all into space to inhabit another habitable planet, then I'd say you and the rest of us have 2 choices - start the rapid demise of humanity (die) or start building solar and wind power energy systems. Not some token attempt - now is the time - it is humanity's last chance. When nature's tipping point is reached within the next 5 years, our typical American tombstone mentality will not be able to fix the effects. Enough sunlight falls on the surface of the earth to power every energy-grabbing device known - why won't we take advantage of it? Because the oil, coal, and nuke barons (BigEnergy) want to revel in their shortsighted and shortlived excess. Most of them won't be alive when Nature takes her wrath on us. Hope their kids have an accurate starchart - there's another habitable planet close by, right? In 10 years, the US could instead be the world leader in solar, wind, and tidal power production - the systems and technology exported all over the world, millions of jobs formed by private enterprise and government incentives, lots of money to be made. There's economics for you. There, and nowhere else, is hope.

  • Deal to Close Sugar Plant and Preserve 187,000 Acres Should Benefit Everglades National Park   6 years 17 weeks ago

    This is absolute wonderful news, probably the most significant environment preservation action of the year, if not the last ten years.

    It's not without economic impact: between the loss of jobs at U.S. Sugar, the debt load on the State of Florida, and the possible increase in the price of sugar due to reduced production, this is not an easy, cheap fix.

    However, based on the health of the Everglades, and possibly the health of water tables throughout South Florida (witness the historic low levels of Lake Okeechobee), it's money well spent.


    My travels through the National Park System:

  • Oglala Sioux Just Might Reclaim Southern Half of Badlands National Park   6 years 17 weeks ago

    I do not support giving any portion of our National Parks back to any group. From my view the protection and management of our National Parks have been in capable hands of the National Park Service. If we begin to break of portions of our parks to this and that group because it is felt that at one time it was owned by a specific group it could open up use of that portion of the park with no restrictions, managment or regulation. Let us preserve the natural beauty and history of our parks as it was originally intended.

  • Mount Rainier National Park Officials Mulling Future of Carbon River Road   6 years 17 weeks ago

    In my opinion, this road was never meant to be. Being located in a floodplan doomed it from the start. All places do not have to be accessible by wheeled vehicles ! Some places are too critical to their environment to have stabilized, modern roads built in them. I understand that all people can not get out and hike but all things cannot be for all people. Must all of our natural environment and its flora and fauna be destroyed to "tame" an area and make it vehicle friendly ? Let's give the adjacent designated wilderness a break and let the road become a foot trail !