Recent comments

  • Yosemite National Park Concession Prospectus Includes Significant Lodging Changes   3 weeks 6 days ago

    I wish I'd aged smarter and more gracefully, but stupidly I did my best to use myself up early.

    So because you failed to take care of yourself you are entitled to low cost hotel rooms in a National Park? Were is Lee with his entitlement protests?

    Sorry, I don't buy it. How much of the Park are you actually going to see and enjoy if you can't even move around a campsite? What possible movement is necessary at a campsite that isn't required in your own home or 5 star hotel?

    Finally, there are things I could never do or can't do now. I certainly don't expect the world to alter its course to accomodate me.

  • Yosemite National Park Concession Prospectus Includes Significant Lodging Changes   3 weeks 6 days ago

    I have seen many call for non-profits to run the lodging, instead of corporate entities on our public lands.

    And there is a reason its not done. Corporate entities provide a better product at a lower cost than do non-profits.

  • Yosemite National Park Concession Prospectus Includes Significant Lodging Changes   4 weeks 19 min ago

    Rick, I can see your and Magera's point and I definitely think going to a park should be an affordable experience well below what it costs to go into an amusement park, etc. I've seen this debate many times before, and I have seen many call for non-profits to run the lodging, instead of corporate entities on our public lands. That way the profits go back into the park. Maybe that could cut costs down on lodging, but on the same token I cringe when I hear the call for more hostels, more hotels, more cabins, and more entities inside Parks to accomodate more and more people. The shear numbers of the 7 billion human swarm will overwhelm these spaces if those needs are met. I've been to Yosemite Valley a few times, and I always felt all that development was too heavy handed in its current iteration, and I never stayed in the Valley when I was there. I'm a believer that lodging opportunites should be developed outside of the parks.

    And i'll probably be in your shoes too when I hit your age.

  • Yosemite National Park Concession Prospectus Includes Significant Lodging Changes   4 weeks 8 hours ago

    Some of us have done tons of camping, and can't any more. I'm not going to bother to run down my "terrible inflictions" for public dissection, but believe me - if I could, I would. When my wife and I got together a decade or so ago we tried many alternatives, but the state of my arthritis and other ailments is just prohibitively painful. That should not mean that I'm priced out of enjoying my national parks.

    I wish I'd aged smarter and more gracefully, but stupidly I did my best to use myself up early. I envy our older statesmen here in this forum, still taking on hikes and projects at ages even older than myself.

    I'm noticing some degree of able bodied versus not able bodied in this discussion, with some chest thumping on the part of the able. That's unfortunate. What has happened to me with wear and tear is the starting point of life for many Americans. I'd like to think all could get a benefit from our parks, and I hate that economics is making that less likely.

  • Yosemite National Park Concession Prospectus Includes Significant Lodging Changes   4 weeks 11 hours ago

    Actually an interesting story on the topic - at least to me. I am a big camper. Hundreds of nights in a tent. My wife - not so much. I convinced her to go camping in Yellowstone. The deal was 2 days in the park then one day in a motel and then back to the park. We spent the first two nights in a tent in Grant Village and then after a day of fishing on the Lamar went to a motel in Cooke city. The Mrs. couldn't wait to get back to the Park. The accomodations were better in our tent than the motel in Cooke City - which cost 4x as much - as was the food and amenites. At $20(actually $29.58 including tax for an upcoming Aug 2014 stay) the NP front country campsites are a bargain and I can't imagine why anyone that could leave their home couldn't stay in one.

  • Yosemite National Park Concession Prospectus Includes Significant Lodging Changes   4 weeks 11 hours ago

    I find myself finally agreeing with EC.

    Uh oh. I think I may need to rethink my postion ;)

    Actually Gary, I think you and I may agree more than you think. Its the presentation that sometimes can be grating - on both sides.

  • Yosemite National Park Concession Prospectus Includes Significant Lodging Changes   4 weeks 11 hours ago

    I find myself finally agreeing with EC. Some of the new thermarests are more comfy than most hotel matresses. I just dont get the campingphobes that need cheap motel 6 style accommodations inside national parks. I don't see how that's even feasible in a small area like Yosemite Valley. If you go into nature, should one expect all the amentities for cheap? I don't see how it can happen like that. Simple supply and demand.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   4 weeks 11 hours ago

    Zebby only about 25000 to 300000 a year go more than a 1/4 of a mile. Yes getting out of the vehicle and working off the krispy kremes should be promoted more.

  • Yosemite National Park Concession Prospectus Includes Significant Lodging Changes   4 weeks 12 hours ago

    Not all of us can camp

    Oh Megaera, I am so sorry. What terrible infliction do you have that you can't camp? I have never met anyone like that before.

    And $20 for a *campsite* is ridiculous

    Really? It cost me more than that for a parking spot in many places. A NP front country campsite you get access, bear box, fire ring, picnic table, ranger programs, water, security, toilets and the great outdoors and $20 is "ridiculous"?

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   4 weeks 12 hours ago

    Laws can be changed, and should be in this case. Period.

    Which way?

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   4 weeks 12 hours ago

    Franky?? it's obvious your able to post whatever you want without the edit button. I simply said " $@$! was too angry to see the other side's point of view" and Ed edited it. So Gary you win. backpackers and only backpackers should flip the bill.

  • Yosemite National Park Concession Prospectus Includes Significant Lodging Changes   4 weeks 12 hours ago

    Not all of us can camp, ecbuck. And $20 for a *campsite* is ridiculous, anyway.

    What I wish is for a system of hostels in our parks, the way they do in Canada and the UK (those are the ones I have personal experience with) and other countries.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   4 weeks 12 hours ago

    What no one seems to be saying is how unfair it is that one of the most popular units of the national park system does not charge entrance fees while the others do. Laws can be changed, and should be in this case. Period.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   4 weeks 12 hours ago

    We don't need to travel, we just read your accounts Gary. You're the expert.

    The one thing I see that's very interesting in all this is that how few people actually venture in the backcountry. Roughly 100K people out of 10M visitors, or 1%. Trails must be pretty empty.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   4 weeks 13 hours ago

    Franky, does any other National Park have fees for horses? Hmm... I think they just have to pay to use backcountry sites like everyone else. Not all trails in the Smokies allow horses, and while maybe a few should be decommissioned, there are many trails that are in good shape. Why should the Smokies be "different" as a National park by banning horses? Since elk are in the park, hows that any different than a horse in terms of size? Elk are using the backcountry all around North Carolina side of the park. I spent too much of my life out west, so I don't have a big issue with horses on trails, except when it rains or if they are in fragile sensitive areas. I've ridden horses when I lived in Idaho, and it was fun times. There should also be sane limits on how many use a trail at a given time, and during certain times when the trails aren't saturated.. Gosh... you guys need to really travel more beyond the Smokies. It would help you better understand what a National Park is.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   4 weeks 14 hours ago

    John, no reason to keep trying to reason with the unreasonable. They simply ignore the fact that the past superintendent changed the reason for the fee three times before one stuck. If I'm not mistaken Gary still hasn't answered whether there should be a fee for horses.

    This comment was edited to remove a gratuitous remark.--Ed.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   4 weeks 16 hours ago

    I don't stay in any of the small front country campgrounds like Abrams. Why would I? And sorry to burst your bubble. I know you wish for the parks destruction but, if the totals go over 100,000 then some could argue that the system is successful, and the cleaner trails and backcountry campsites, and the ranger presence is creating a more pleasant environment for backpackers compared to how it was. I know that might bother you, but it doesn't seem to be bothering others. I've been out quite a bunch this year, and encountered many people in the backcountry.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   4 weeks 16 hours ago

    One month or two does not an annual trend make Gary. But you are the Expert. Need me to show you when Abrams creek reopened?

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   4 weeks 16 hours ago

    Stats from backcountry reservations are not keeping with your wishes, John. Considering July through October are usually some of the heaviest visitation months and haven't even been factored into it yet, there is a good probability totals will be around 90,000 to 100,000 by years end. Currently it stands at 50,000.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   4 weeks 16 hours ago

    Abrams Creek Campground is open and has been for several months. overall backcountry camping will be down at the end of the year when the total is summarized just like it was last year.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   4 weeks 17 hours ago

    Backcountry and frontcountry campsites all go through a database through the reservation system.. Backcountry campground statistics a few years ago would be what i'd call "soft" too. Today I would consider those stats accurately tallied since they go through a reservation system which uses a database, which many parks also use. Also, many sites in Elkmont and Cades Cove are usually booked out or near occupancy, so they stay steady or fluctuate very little from year to year during peak times. The other sites (which are much smaller) add a few thousand or less to the yearly totals. Those numbers arent going to greatly fluctuate.. So, while visitation maybe more, they aren't making more campgrounds to accomodate more people. Also, some of those sites still remain closed from the sequester like Look Rock and Abrams Creek. Statistics on autos are estimated via formulas from counters, like Kurt said. All I know about June (and now July) was that I waited in traffic many times, and that the towns and restaurants are insanely packed like sardines to the point that it wasn't worth going out.

  • Yosemite National Park Concession Prospectus Includes Significant Lodging Changes   4 weeks 17 hours ago

    The Yosemite Campers Coalition (www.yosemitevalleycampers.org- we do not accept contributions nor donations) has been active for 35 years in trying to preserve affordable family friendly auto based drive-in camping in Yosemite Valley. We have an online petition plus 500 hand gathered petitions to put back the flood damaged campgrounds from 1997, delivered to the YNPS and they have ignored us, after receiving 17 million tax dollars from Congress to repair the flood damaged campsites . We have taken our mission to congress on two occassions on our own time and our own dime. The YNPS is as "crooked as a dogs hind let." Whatever they spend our money on is not for the folks. We have had small wins and one big win.......the decade old lawsuit. Had the Merced River Plan not been overturned in its original form, more of existing campsites and even campgrounds would have been eliminated. There is a mission here by big $$$$ powers to bring in the foreigners on big tour busses and charge the big rates. We have kept track of the DNC rate sheet for a decade and watched the rates across the board soar.

    The mission is "Pay To Play."

    Please contact District 4 U.S. Congressman Tom McClintock who represents Yosemite for the people and express your concerns about the cost of visitation and by all means, sign the epetition. He is our last hope.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   4 weeks 18 hours ago

    28% is total, including non-recreational, what ever that is. Recreational (the chart you orignally linked to) was up 54% in June after being down in May and flat to up modestly in the prior months.

    But again I will ask, if you believe these numbers, why isn't their a corresponding increase in traffic and overall camping?

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   4 weeks 18 hours ago

    Visitation numbers are notoriously soft, EC. For instance, last September the park noted that "Multiple counters in the park were inoperable during September."

    Last August they reported, "8 traffic counters are inoperable, 2012 data used for report."

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   4 weeks 18 hours ago

    The numbers do show backcountry nights are up handsomely YTD - 49,033 vs 39,818. But given the anomoly already mentioned as well as some catagories that have the exact same number for a given month for 3 or 4 years in a row, I think it is appropriate to view these stats will generous skeptisism as to their accuracy.