Recent comments

  • National Park Service Director Bomar Scheduled to Meet With Mountain Bike Community   6 years 20 weeks ago

    @Sabattis: "I have a general sense of a descending order of protection from National Park Service to Fish & Wildlife Service to US Forest Service to Bureau of Land Management".

    In my book the FWS has the highest standard of protection, before the NPS. USFS and BLM have very different levels within their jurisdiction, but in general I'd put some BLM lands, that have some kind of protection, over those of the USFS. FWS wilderness areas for example have no access to visitors, the FWS National Monument, Hanford Reach NM, has parts set aside for research, with no access for the public. But it is more difficult: On Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (USFS), the main blast area can only be accessed on a handful of established trails, straying beyond them is forbidden to protect the recovery of nature after the 1980 eruption.

    This kind of protection is rare in the National Park System. Another volcano comes to my mind: In Sunset Crater National Volcanic Monument the cinder cone must not be climbed. Recreation is a huge part of the NPS mandate, if ecological research and really undisturbed nature is wanted, it looks like other agencies are better equipped.

  • Ribbon-Cutting Planned for $70,000 "Bio Toilet" at Mount Rainier National Park   6 years 20 weeks ago

    This is very nice of them. Are there any plans to add more of these elsewhere if they work as intended?

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 20 weeks ago

    I repeat - NO metal detectors. If you don't have ENFORCEMENT, all you have is a rule. Rule-breakers don't obey rules. That's why we call them that.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 20 weeks ago

    I just don't get it. We don't allow people to carry concealed weapons in our public schools, churches, museums, libraries, and courthouses. Therefore, why should people feel a special need to carry concealed weapons in our national parks?

    Are our national parks not special, sacred places? Or, are they just another administrative variation of open space?

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 20 weeks ago

    You said, "How do you decide which laws or regulations are worth obeying? If wearing a concealed weapon where they're outlawed doesn't bother you, where do you draw the line?"

    One is a violation of a REGULATION written by a bureaucrat. A regulation denying my RIGHT to KEEP and BEAR ARMS is a violation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. If CCW offends anyone, they should endeavor to amend the Constitution, or at least work to have CCW permit laws rescinded.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 20 weeks ago

    Thanks for providing all this data Rick. You and I both know that we're not going to change anybody's mind, but it is nice to demonstrate that there is a LOT of information available. They can believe what they want.

    It must have taken a lot of time to gather all these numbers. Thanks for your time. You mentioned Dr. Lott's research. I've read all of his books and found them to be very informative and unbiased. It's just a shame that we can't get some of the "utopia" crowd to read one or two.

  • Proposed Settlement Filed in Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Case   6 years 20 weeks ago

    As a lifelong North Carolina resident who has lived from the mountains, to the bustling modern Triad and Triangle regions and now to the Outer Banks ... I would like to point out that North Carolina has 427,823 acres in national wildlife refuges. And this does not count the Great Dismal Swamp refuge which is in NC and VA. Of those 427,823 acres, 95% are in northeastern North Carolina, the home of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. In fact, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is located within the boundaries of Cape Hatteras National Seashore and occupies 5,834 acres (land), 25,700 acres (Proclamation Boundary Waters). It covers 13 lateral miles of the barrier island from shore to sound.

    Northeastern North Carolina is one of the poorest sections of the state, with little industry or service businesses other than tourism. Visitors come here primarily for the great outdoors. This section of North Carolina is committed to resource and wildlife conservation and already gives more than its fair share. Cape Hatteras National Seashore is not the only nesting area available to threatened species.

    Unlike many other national parks, Cape Hatteras had established communities within the boundaries before the National Seashore was ever established in 1953. In the original language “said area shall be, and is, established, dedicated, and set apart as a national seashore recreational area for the benefit and enjoyment of the people and shall be known as the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area”.

    In addition, this area is prone to natural disasters and near constant shaping and reshaping by the environment. Currently a wildfire caused by lightning is raging in the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge which occupies 12,000 acres in Hyde, Tyrell and Washington counties (adjacent to the Outer Banks). 10,000 acres have already burned and smoke is drifting over the Outer Banks as we speak. Given current weather conditions, experts say the peat fire will burn for days if not weeks. What wildlife has perished due to natural disaster in this wildlife refuge and how will it affect wildlife in Pea Island and on Cape Hatteras National Seashore?

    In September 2003, Hurricane Isabel slammed northeastern North Carolina and particularly the Outer Banks. The force was so great that it carved a new inlet in the seashore, severing the road and stranding southern seashore residents for more than two months. The communities on the Outer Banks were devastated. How did this affect the wildlife of the area?

    It has been argued that we must do everything to preserve and encourage endangered or threatened species, in this case the piping plover which has a habitat range from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes and Canada. We cannot harness wildfires and hurricanes. We cannot stop foxes and seagulls from plucking tasty eggs from the beach … although the Park Service has certainly tried. The following “predators” were removed from the seashore last year: red fox (18), gray fox (6), raccoon (135), opposum (85), feral cat (57), nutria (77), muskrat (1), otter (2), mink (1). No count for seagulls.

    The consent decree protects a few species (which it may be argued are not even in danger) while restricting the rights of another species … humans. The Park Service was succeeding in managing these habitats while also meeting the needs of its visitors before the lawsuit. Now the management of this issue has been removed from their hands and without public input by one activist judge.

    Apparently I and the millions of visitors to national parks each year are not a stakeholder and have no voice, nor do we in fact any longer have real access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area. That right is only provided to birds, now protected by daily changing buffer zones ranging as long as 11 football fields. As humans and taxpayers, we only have the right to foot the legal bills for the plaintif non-profit special interest groups and the Park Service as the defendant.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 20 weeks ago

    Enough with the careless use of statistical data. PLEASE!

    Anyone, with little or no effort, can find and quote data gathered by various organizations on virtually any topic imaginable. These data are invariably "editorialized" to provide the organization with whatever "statistical evidence" they require to elicit some emotional outburst on any issue, both pro and con. Any attempt to normalize these data slants the actual findings toward whatever opinion those gathering the data represent. Data which serve not to support their views are deemed outliers, and not included in the findings, so as to not make the hypothesis lack credibility, and try to "prove" their point.

    That aside, its one matter to throw out "facts and figures" in an effort to project an image of knowledge. It's quite another to effort an explanation of your data sets, and EARN that image. But that would entail an ability to do the math, understand the hypothesis and the scientific method, then with complete objectivity, offer an explanation of these data. What I'm seeing here is a total lack of objectivity on both sides of the fence, and the equivalent of a bucket of mudslinging by most parties, without offering one iota of supporting evidence aside from these useless statistical rationalizations.

    For example, I could cite evidence that shows you are almost 10,000X more likely to be accosted while driving your car than you would be in a NPS unit. But rightfully so, we as a society deem road rage a crime, an emotional outburst easily curbed by thinking before reacting. But some smartass will use such a study to claim justification for driving armed, so that they can protect themselves while getting from Point A-B. In my view, retaliation against someone who has "assaulted" you with their automobile hardly justifies or legitimizes gunfire.

    So I beg to offer this point for your general consideration. At what point is your method of "self defense" acceptable? What line has to be crossed before you determine that discharging your sidearm is the "proper" response? You might be licensed to carry, but consider this.........so are peace officers, yet they are educated in a variety of mechanisms of gaining control of a situation, and their handgun is considered a LAST resort, not a primary line of defense. I have asked in earlier posts for people to consider alternative mechanisms of defense, and I have been told I must have been visiting the mushroom patch again. To me, it sounds as though your HGH is wearing off when that's the best response you can garner. But that's just one man's opinion. I guess that asking some people to take a moment to think before they act is asking too much.

    Just be aware of this, vigilantes. In the State in which I reside, if a home invasion is in progress, and the use of deadly force is used against an unarmed intruder, you will be charged (and many have been convicted) of Manslaughter in the 1st degree, which carries a term of 10+ years. If you use deadly force inside your residence and no imminent threat exists to you or your family, the charge is Murder in the 2nd degree. If you manage to scare off the intruder, or they decide to retreat and leave your residence, and you fire upon them WHILE THEY ARE STILL ON YOUR PROPERTY, the charge is Murder in the 1st degree. Once they cross your property line, the term "premeditated" is added to the charges, since you had the opportunity to break off the pursuit and chose to let your testosterone get the best of you. The point is you can defend your property while you are there, but defending yourself or someone else at the grocery store, baseball game, truck stop, hotel / bar, etc. is generally viewed with more contempt by the legal system insomuch as you are viewed as just that, a vigilante, not a peace-keeper. You may be a licensed gun carrier, but you're certainly not licensed to kill, by any means. As much as the American public would like nothing more, except maybe to kill all the lawyers, than to rid the nation of gang-bangers, rapists, serial killers, etc. more guns on the city streets won’t solve the problem, and I’ll tell you why. The Criminal Element, as the pro-gun crowd chooses to label them, have no fear of you and your CCP guns. You carry one, they carry a bigger one. They are going to continue their business as usual, making you a target of their rage, not hiding in the shadows every time you approach. Escalation into a society of assault rifles and military arms is your suggestion on improving the quality of life in America?

    We did the same thing as kids years ago. The quickest way to disperse a crowd, or make the police retreat was to fire off 2-3 rounds from a 30.06 into the air. It was funny watching the police, knowing they were out-gunned, scamper back behind their cruisers and back off as quickly as they could while calling out for backup. It gave us just enough time to clear out before the police massed. So, while you’re out there on your patrol with your concealed .32 or .38 and somebody pulls an Uzi or the new 500 series on you, or you witness someone with advanced firepower pulling a job, you’re telling me you have the advantage in that confrontation? You’re either ignorant or just plain foolish to take on those odds. But if you decide to, best of luck to you. You’ll be needing it.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 20 weeks ago

    Shhh, don't tell the Brady Campaign, but there's big trouble in gun-control paradise.

    The Times of London reports:

    "Knife-carrying youths face automatic prosecution as street violence spirals"

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article4069395.ece

    Editor's note: This comment was edited

  • Park History: Lowell National Historical Park   6 years 20 weeks ago

    There are four basic requirements for getting this particular gig. First, and most importantly, you must be willing to work for nothing. Secondly, you must love the national parks and have a sincere desire to defend them. Thirdly, you need to have some special ability, experience, or perspective to draw on. And you must also be willing to work with Kurt, who will insist that you dot your i's, cross your t's, re-check your facts, and quit writing like a *#!?@! professor. Did I mention that you must be willing to work for nothing? I've not yet visited Lowell, but I hope to erase that blight on my record in the near future. Thanks for the update on the now-defunct Folklife Center. I've edited the reference out of the article. As for the videocasts, well, we're working on that.

  • Park History: Lowell National Historical Park   6 years 20 weeks ago

    The New England Folklife Center no longer exists (you missed that one). It was a nice program, but unfortunately its administration passed from the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission to Middlesex Community College, which decided to discontinue it.

  • Park History: Lowell National Historical Park   6 years 20 weeks ago

    I'll be looking forward to reading the histories of the Smokies and Biscayne. Great work your doing, how does one get such a gig??? I hope you have the opportunity to visit these sites. Your description of LNHP is extremely accurate, I take it you've been here. Maybe the national park traveler can add a video component. More parks are starting to create podcasts, but a visitors perspective would be estremely helpful for all.

    Cheers.

  • National Park Service Director Bomar Scheduled to Meet With Mountain Bike Community   6 years 20 weeks ago

    "Superlative opportunities for recreation for public use and enjoyment..."

    Where do you draw the line for what's appropriate in a national park, for which the National Park Service has considerably different management mandates and responsibilities than does the U.S. Forest Service for national forests or the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for its empire?

    Some find ORVs and dirt bikes to be superlative modes of recreation and enjoyment. Should we build trails for those, too, in the parks? What about Jet skis and power boats? Each carries a threat to the resources, and, of course, the Park Service is mandated to "conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." (emphasis added).

    Indeed, many courts have ruled that the Park Service's main directive is to conserve the resources, not provide "superlative opportunities" for each and every mode of recreation.

    Hiking trails long have existed in the parks, and while there might have been a few added in recent years, I can't recall any substantial trail additions. And I think it can be argued that a mountain bike trail and use of it lends more impacts, both actual and aesthetic, than a hiking trail.

    As I've noted before, that's not to say there aren't already existing opportunities for mountain bikers in the parks and opportunities yet to be examined in terms of existing dirt roads that wind through many parks. But does the Park Service need to examine cutting new single-track trails in places like Yellowstone, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, Great Smoky Mountains, Acadia, Voyageurs and on and on?

    Perhaps if there weren't countless opportunities for mountain biking throughout the national forest system and the BLM landscape, not to mention state parks, it would be easier to justify greatly expanded mountain bike opportunities in the parks.

    As for Segways on the Mall, they're running primarily on concrete sidewalks and pathways, no? Do they carry the actual impacts of cutting new trails through a forest or across a meadow and then the resulting use?

  • Yellowstone Officials Now Recommending that Sylvan Pass Remain Open For Snowmobiling   6 years 20 weeks ago

    Ummm...yeah, why wouldn't it be ridiculous? I think you meant the Old Faithful Inn, but either way ... is Yellowstone a museum? On what rational grounds do we put any ethical value on certain things in Yellowstone (or Glacier) and not others?

    All these things that are meant to make the parks more accessible in fact make it over time less so because they are so costly. Look at the cost of maintaining subway systems in major cities - they are becoming less and less valuable to their original purpose. You could say the same thing about the big dig in Boston. The point is that the more you determine the need to control certain things - even things meant to open up access - the more costly they become.

    In Yellowstone, there is unexploded ordnance in the park. That's a real nice addition to the wildlife, and for what?

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

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 20 weeks ago

    > Oh, one other thing. Can we stop comparing stats yet?;-)

    As promised, John Lott data. Despite their best efforts and scurrilous attempts by the brady bunch to discredit Lott's data he's honest and his data are comprehensive and well-researched.

    If I find additional state-level data I'll pass it along.

    Data from John Lott “More Guns Less Crime” Second Edition, publish date 2000, Chapter nine, pages 219-222

    Chapter 8 Do concealed-handgun permit holders pose a risk to others?

    But Susan Glick, a researcher for the Violence Policy Center in Washing­ton, a research group that focuses on gun laws found that many people issued concealed-weapons permits in Texas, a state with comparatively loose gun laws, had run afoul of the law. Some 15 people in Texas out of perhaps 200,000 who were issued permits to carry concealed weapons since 1996 have been charged with murder or attempted murder, Ms. Glick said. (Dirk Johnson, "Divided Missouri to Vote on a Right to Carry Concealed Guns," New York Times, April 2, 1999, p. A16)

    In states with lax CCW [concealed carry weapon] laws, hundreds of licensees have committed crimes both before and after their licensure. For example, in Texas, which weakened its CCW law in 1996, the Department of Public Safety reported that felony and misdemeanor cases involving CCW permit holders rose 54.4% between 1996 and 1997. (Douglas Weil, "Carrying Concealed Guns Is Not the Solution," Intellectualcapital.com, March 26, 1998)

    Antigun activists complain that no reliable data exists linking concealed weapons to crime because the gun lobby has been successful in hiding it. (James N. Thurman, "As More Carry Hidden Guns, Who's Safer" Christian Science Monitor, September 1, 1999, p. 1; Thurman was responding to my statement that "The kinds of people who go through the criminal background check and undergo the training aren't the kinds of people who commit the crimes")

    The types of people who obtain permits tend to be extremely law abiding. That holds true for Texas as well as other states. Texas issued over 192,000 permits during the first three years of its right-to-carry law, from January 1, 1996, to December 31, 1998. Arrests for crimes "involving a gun" are a particularly misleading statistic, because someone who uses a gun defensively is likely to be arrested except if the police officer was completely sure that the person behaved properly. By March 1999, an Associated Press report stated that "only 515 of the charges. . . resulted in convictions, though some were still pending. . . . the bulk of the convictions against licensed concealed-handgun holders were misdemeanors, including 185 for drunken driving and 21 for prostitution. Felonies included 31 convictions for aggravated assault, six for assault causing bodily injury and five for aggravated sexual assault. No licensed handgun holder in Texas has been convicted of murder."93 Tela Goodwin Mange, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman, noted that "The fact there are so few incidents relative to the number of people who have concealed handguns is a positive thing."

    Doug Weil is indeed correct that Texas experienced a 54 percent increase in arrests between 1996 and 1997, but he fails to mention that the number of permits also increased by 50 percent between those two years, thus making the rate at which permit holders were arrested virtually unchanged. Weil's statement also makes it appear that the law changed between the two years, but the Texas law actually went into effect Janu­ary 1, 1996.

    Texas's experience is probably best summarized by Glenn White, presi­dent of the Dallas Police Association: "1 lobbied against the law in 1993 and 1995 because 1 thought it would lead to wholesale armed conflict. That hasn't happened. All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn't happen. No bogeyman. I think it has worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I am a convert."94

    The experience has been similar in other states. The vast majority of revocations involve misdemeanors. Even when gun-related violations occur, the vast majority involve cases like carrying a gun into a restricted area like an airport. There is no evidence that any of these violations amounted to anything more than forgetfulness. The National Journal reported recently that permit holders "turn out to be UNUSUALLY law­abiding, safer even than off-duty cops."95

    Here are the revocation data for other states:

    Alaska. Of the permits issued from January 1, 1995, to August 17, 1999, .3 percent were revoked for any reason. None involved the firing of a gun.96

    Arizona. Of the permits issued between the end of the fall of 1994 and July 31, 1999, .1 percent were revoked, though up to half of these were revocations for "administrative reasons" (such as people dying or saying that they no longer required the permit).97

    Florida. Of the permits issued during October 1, 1987, to February 28, 1999, .2 percent were revoked for any reason. Of these, 113, or .02 percent, were revoked for any type of firearms-related violations, and almost all of these were nonthreatening.98

    Indiana. Of the active permit holders, .16 percent had their permits re­voked or suspended for any reason during 1998.99

    North Carolina. Of the permits issued between December 1, 1995, and August 4, 1999, .3 percent were revoked for any reason. While no detailed records exist for what reasons prompted revocations, those who oversaw the collection of the statistics could not recall hearing of any case of im­properly firing a gun.100

    Oklahoma. Of the permits issued from 1996 to August 1999, .1 percent were revoked for any reason.101 Even these small numbers exaggerate the risks posed by permit holders, for some of these permit holders had their licenses "revoked" simply because they died. The Oklahoma Supreme Court also recently ruled that the state had improperly revoked some permits for reasons unrelated to one's fitness to carry a concealed handgun.

    South Carolina. Of the permits issued from July 1996 to August 16, 1999, .4 percent were revoked for any reason. No violations involved a permit holder firing a gun. Sometimes the reason for the revocation was rela­tively trivial. For instance, one person lost his permit for not keeping his gun properly hidden-he was not wearing a shirt so the gun could be seen extending above his pants' waistband.

    Utah. Of the permits issued between the summer of 1994 and July 1999, .4 percent were revoked for any reason. Of these revocations, 80 percent resulted from drunk driving. No violations involved the firing of a gun by a permit holder in Utah.102

    Wyoming. Of the permits issued during fall 1994 to July 1999, .2 percent were revoked for any reason. James M. Wilson, the supervisor for the permitting program, stated that "Revocations did not include any cases of discharging of a firearm." 103

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 20 weeks ago

    > That's a lot of humble pie, Rick. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and guess that in one year there are more murders/manslaughters/negligent homicides,
    > and other violent crimes, involving permit holders across the nation than there are crimes of the same nature in national parks over the same period.

    I stand corrected, Kurt. More than a single permit holder did commit a crime with a handgun. You proved me wrong.

    > Now, I know you don't trust statistics from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

    No I don't because they're a sleazy pandering organization that uses distortion and attempts to make money on people's suffering to advance their agenda> They attempt to curtail my rights. The NRA, in whatever they do, acts to support the Constitution. And I still haven't used any NRA data while you continue to use stuff from the brady bunch.

    > I'm beginning to believe those who say many states don't break out crimes by CCW permit holders. If you know where to find those individual state
    > stats, let me know

    That's been a problem for me, too. I'll post this final bit of data from John Lott in a separate post to follow

    Commenting on news stories with no outcome, Kurt adds:

    > True, I can't predict what the judicial outcome of these cases will be (aside from the guy who also killed himself), but judging from the initial reports,
    > these are pretty serious infractions with substantial evidence.

    I'll go along with you that there were some serious crimes in that list and that the evidence in a few looked relatively substantial. Just keep in mind the lists of "arrest rates" versus the actual conviction rate.

    > The bottom line? I have no qualms about agreeing with you that there are more violent crimes involving guns in the general population than
    > involving CCW permit holders.

    Fair enough

    > Any chance you'll agree that more than a sprinkling of permit holders nationwide do indeed commit violent crimes

    I'll agree with you that 99.7% of the general population is more dangerous than concealed carry permit holders.

    > and that arming park visitors is not a panacea to feeling safe in the parks?

    :^) You didn't think I'd ever concede that one, did you, Kurt?

    There is a hugely differentiating criterion in this overall discussion that there are people who commit crimes and those who are victims. Those crimes the brady bunch reports allege involve victims, outside of national parks, who had [key point here, with emphasis] the OPPORTUNITY and legal right to possess the means to defend themselves.

    That they didn't avail themselves (except in those "shootout reports) of that right is unfortunate, but their decision, nonetheless. Most of those news reports make it seem like many of these incidents are "acquaintance" types of crimes you mentioned in one of your earlier posts - but by no stretch to the degree that the Kellerman junk science claims.

    I still stand by my determination to amend 36CFR 2.4 and will continue to assert my right to be able to defend myself within the bureaucratically defined boundaries of a park inside a state in which I'm authorized to possess my firearm.

    I said this before and I'll say it again. I've unwillingly been a bit close to a couple situations that proved without any doubt that I am responsible for my own safety and that of my family. People here can continue to delude themselves that the wonderful park service will magically prevent their majestic park experience from being interrupted by a rapist, thief or murderer but just remember - they are "law enforcement" - as in , after the fact. They're not out there to protect you. That's my life insurance policy.

    > Oh, one other thing. Can we stop comparing stats yet?;-

    Aww, c'mon, Kurt, I'm just getting warmed up. Here's my last, and only non-academic and non-NRA but pro-gun stat, link: The World Wide Web Gun Defense Clock: http://www.pulpless.com/gunclock/noframedex.html

    I have a three-drawer filing cabinet filled with _academic_ studies and a hard drive full of data . My wife calls me a gun nerd. I just call it a balancing act.

    Guns save lives.

  • Park History: Lowell National Historical Park   6 years 20 weeks ago

    I got it right in the third paragraph, and that should count for something, shouldn't it? OK, enough of the weaselspeak. I'll fix it, and then I'm going to delete your comment. A guy can only stand so much embarrassment each day.

  • Park History: Lowell National Historical Park   6 years 20 weeks ago

    -enjoyable article, but BTW...Lowell is a city.

  • 24 Trails Added to National Trails System   6 years 20 weeks ago

    It may be worth mentioning that while the National Recreation Trails are a program run by the National Park Service, National Recreation Trails are not considered to be part of the "National Park System" - in a way that National Scenic Trails and National Historic Trails (including the brand-new Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail) are considered to be included. In this respect, the National Recreation Trails are similar to National Historic Landmarks - another program that is run by the National Park Service, but are not considered to be part of the "National Park System."

  • 24 Trails Added to National Trails System   6 years 20 weeks ago

    Thanks Kurt for adding National Trails Day on your blog this morning. Just what I've been waiting for in regards to finding new hiking trails to explore and conquer. The American Hiking Society and the National Parks are like two peas in a pod. I saw your recent book, Frommer's "National Parks with Kids" [2nd edition, 2008] at the local bookstore. Excellent guide for the family.

  • Yellowstone Officials Now Recommending that Sylvan Pass Remain Open For Snowmobiling   6 years 20 weeks ago

    Is it ridiculous that we are "shelling" Yellowstone National Park? Or just ridiculous that we are "shelling" on behalf of snowmobile users? For example, if the same techniques were use to protect the Old Faithful Lodge or Glacier's Going-to-the-Sun-Road, would it be so ridiculous?

  • Park History: Lowell National Historical Park   6 years 20 weeks ago

    Thanks for the kind remarks, Phil. I like Lowell NHP a lot and have used the park as a case study for my national parks course. The timing of the post is no accident. Kurt wants to post these park histories on/near significant dates for the parks involved (normally date established), so we write them in advance and schedule them for release on appropriate dates -- though it's not always possible to get exact dates. This Lowell post was prepared a good while ago and has been repeatedly revised. We spend a lot of time on these articles, often extensively revising them. In the case at hand, we even changed the accompanying photo (originally the Boott Cotton Mills Museum) to add more interest. Park histories for Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Biscayne National Park have already been written and are scheduled for release later this month. I'm currently working on Mesa Verde, Big Bend, and Haleakala. Kurt is working on Mammoth Cave and (I think) Olympic. It'll be interesting to see whether all will be completed and posted on time. Again, thank you for the feedback.

  • Park History: Lowell National Historical Park   6 years 20 weeks ago

    Nice timing. It just so happens that today (June 5, 2008) is the park's 30th anniversary of being signed into the NPS. Our summer offerings reflect a whole bunch of programs we are offering to recogonize the creation of the park.

    Thanks for the wonderful writeup.

  • National Park Quiz 5: Biggest This or That   6 years 20 weeks ago

    This is an interesting discussion. With some quarter of a million words to choose from -- more than any other language that is or ever was -- the English language sure is a lot of fun. If you think that sorting out the difference between largest and biggest can be confusing, try sorting out coterminous, conterminous, and contiguous, all of which mean exactly the same thing and can be reasonably well included in the meaning of "continuous." Being a geography professor, I had to deal with the concept on an almost daily basis. I always used "coterminous states" in my lectures and articles. A geography professor colleague invariably used "conterminous states" in his lectures and articles. When we engaged each other in discussion and needed to refer to what most people call the Lower 48, we used the term "contiguous states" and never said coterminous or conterminous. True story.

  • Yellowstone Officials Now Recommending that Sylvan Pass Remain Open For Snowmobiling   6 years 20 weeks ago

    Sabbattis, I hope you are being sarcastic. Yellowstone already is too much of a bastion for the wealthy at any time of the year; are we to ensure that it is by charging user fees to maintain Sylvan Pass?

    Isn't it a little ridiculous at any cost that we are shelling Yellowstone National Park?

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