Recent comments

  • UPDATED: Case Of Hubbell Trading Post Indian Trader Heard By 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals   4 weeks 5 days ago

    We have removed a comment from this thread that went over the line and, in some circles, might be viewed as libelous. While the author of that comment might disagree, like it or not the Traveler is not the vehicle to malicously tar-and-feather individuals, whether they're public officials or not.

  • UPDATED: Case Of Hubbell Trading Post Indian Trader Heard By 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals   4 weeks 5 days ago

    I just don't understand why it is so hard for people and organizations to do a mea culpa. In my life it has been most therapeutic for me, and most healing for relationships, when I've looked at a situation and said, "Ya know, I screwed up. You were right. I'm sorry for what that did to you. How can we make this right?" But I don't find other people doing this all that often, let alone groups of people.

  • UPDATED: Case Of Hubbell Trading Post Indian Trader Heard By 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals   4 weeks 5 days ago

    My knowledge of this case rests basically on the book "The Case of the Indian Trader" by Paul Berkowitz. The book is an excellent read and the issues raised by Mr. Berkowitz, to my knowledge, have never been addressed by the NPS, malfeasance at its best. That said, I agree Lee, the NPS and WNPA actions were simply wrong. I hope that some obscure legal technicality does not hurt Mr. Malone's chances.

  • UPDATED: Case Of Hubbell Trading Post Indian Trader Heard By 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals   4 weeks 5 days ago

    Let's hope that, somehow, justice may finally prevail.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Needs Fixing In The National Parks?   4 weeks 5 days ago

    The real problem is the continued mismanagement. The NPS priorities are so screwed up that they have allowed this problem to grow out of control. From the top of the DOI and all way down we need a serious personnel purge.
    The priorities I have seen are LE and regulation related, purchases for new guns, tazers, cameras, and "no" signs. Maintenance, visitors and visitor services are last on the list.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Needs Fixing In The National Parks?   4 weeks 6 days ago

    Meanwhile, plenty of wasteful, flavor of the month, pet projects are fully funded. The Pro Ranger program first comes to mind as it attempts in their own words to 'create the rangers of the future' while people who are ready to hit the ground running get bypassed so they can expend scarce resources on a program to create a whole other set of candidates who fit the PC criteria.

    But hey, I guess creating some new wonderful "innovative" program looks a lot better on a resume than just making sure the basics, like maintaining trails, are taken care of.

  • Rocky Mountain National Park Seeking Input On Proposal To Open Short Trail To Mountain Bikes   4 weeks 6 days ago

    Since mountain bikers are all capable of walking, and since mountain bikes are very destructive of parks and wildlife, bikes should be restricted to paved roads.

    Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtb10.htm . It's dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don't have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else -- ON FOOT! Why isn't that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking....

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it's not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see http://mjvande.nfshost.com/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it's NOT!). What's good about THAT?

    To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video: http://vimeo.com/48784297.

    In addition to all of this, it is extremely dangerous: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtb_dangerous.htm .

    For more information: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtbfaq.htm .

  • Ramsay Cascades Trail At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Temporarily Closed   4 weeks 6 days ago

    Danny,
    There are many trails in the Smokies that are dangerous. Does that mean they should be closed? I mean, someone could fall off the jumpoff or Chimneys. Should Eagle Creek be permanently closed because of all the dangerous crossings? Instead of playing the role as continuing apologist for the NPS, how about considering the fact that many backcountry enthusiasts enjoy the thrill of navigating the objective hazards as they come without a government solution to fix the backcountry or make it off limits? I realize you are a guide in the Smokies but most of us do not need guiding and don't make our money off of having trails "groomed" for customers. Think of others when you make these types of non representative statements please.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Needs Fixing In The National Parks?   4 weeks 6 days ago

    As a form of cyclic maintenance, a thorough housecleaning of NPS management should be at the top of the list: http://bestplacestowork.org/BPTW/rankings/detail/IN10

  • Ice Caves At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Coming To End Of Season   4 weeks 6 days ago

    I'd love to see those ice caves. Around here through the winter wherever a waterfall exists they turn into similar formations, which I always call 'my cathedrals', as to me they appear similar to the upright pipes of a grand organ.

  • Ramsay Cascades Trail At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Temporarily Closed   5 weeks 1 hour ago

    I've been on Ramsey Cascade several times. Crossing the river without a bridge would be a challenge if you can't stand up. Then you aren't fording; you're swimming. Ramsey Cascade is a "top of the pops" destination, easy to find. I've seen completely unprepared families trying to walk the trail without a pack or even water.

    Danny www.hikertohiker.com

  • Reader Participation Day: What Needs Fixing In The National Parks?   5 weeks 1 hour ago

    What needs fixing? Let me count the ways.

    In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Boogerman Trail, one of most popular trails in the park, has been missing at least four bridges. With the new (acting) superintendent, there's a chance that the main bridge will be replaced. The other three on Caldwell Fork go across smaller streams and may wait a while.

    Another popular trail, Ramsey Cascades, is missing a crucial bridge. I'm leading a Friends of the Smokies hike on the trail in May. I sure hope it is fixed by then. I have another candidate hike in my back pocket but Ramsey Cascades is something to see.

    The three parks in St. Croix, the Virgin islands, could use a lot more attention. See http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2014/02/exploring-parks-christianst...

    And Tuskegee National Historic Site where I'm going next could at least have enough personnel to answer the phone.

  • Non-Native Croc Removed From Everglades National Park   5 weeks 9 hours ago

    Great. The Am Croc's man-eating cousin loose in the Everglades.

  • Star Struck In Capitol Reef National Park   5 weeks 10 hours ago

    I repeat...Wow!

  • Essential Paddling Guide: Exploring The Big Lakes Of Voyageurs National Park   5 weeks 22 hours ago

    My wife and I spent a day trolling around Voyageurs in a motor boat. At the end of the day I looked at the map and was surprised how little of it we saw, even under power. It definitely seems like a great place to get lost for a week or more by kayak, canoe, or on foot. So many little coves and hideaways to discover.

  • Ice Caves At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Coming To End Of Season   5 weeks 23 hours ago

    Hi Kurt,

    I can update your visitation number: it's now about 124,000 people, ten times the number of people in the biggest ice cave year we ever saw in the past. That's more than 80% of the visitors to the entire park for all of 2013.

    Bob

  • Arches National Park Searching For Solution To Parking Problems At Delicate Arch Trailhead   5 weeks 1 day ago

    I guess shuttles are workable for certain situations. I've been on the Zion shuttles. Neither the Bryce Canyon shuttle nor the Sequoia shuttle was mandatory. In any case, I never saw any parking issues at those places. I know there are seasonal mandatory shuttles, such as the Point Reyes lighthouse shuttle from the Patrick Visitor Center for access to the lighthouse or Chimney Rock. That operates on weekends during the prime whale watching season. Muir Woods runs a shuttle too during weekends during prime season. However, those two examples in Marin County actually require a fee in addition to regular park fees.

    I was lucky enough to find parking the time I went to Delicate Arch. However, I've also seen situations where parking lots filled up and some people even resorted to parking illegally. The Bumpass Hell trailhead parking at Lassen often fills up given the short season. It's legal to park on the side of the road, but some people can't even move their cars 100 feet and park right at the entrance to the parking lot. The LE rangers have a field day with their ticket books during prime season.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Needs Fixing In The National Parks?   5 weeks 1 day ago

    It's probably safe to say that just about everything in our parks needs at least some attention.

    But completely aside from that, while looking at information about Prehistoric Trackways, I noticed a little tab at the bottom of the page that caught my attention. NO FEAR ACT. Interesting.

    Here is a link: http://www.doi.gov/pmb/eeo/no-fear-act.cfm

    Maybe someone should pass this around in some NPS offices.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Needs Fixing In The National Parks?   5 weeks 1 day ago

    At one NPS site the paint on the employee housing is in such poor condition that if you happen to brush against it, it comes off on your clothing like chalk dust. Through some inexpiable bureaucratic ineptness rent was not deducted for several employee housing units for more than a year resulting in a loss of maybe $15,000 to the park. When those in authority were told by seasonal employees that the rent wasn't being deducted from their pay they were told 'not to worry that they would not have to pay before their seasonal terms ended.'

    The mattresses in these housing units were in such sorry condition that they caused back injuries to employees.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Needs Fixing In The National Parks?   5 weeks 1 day ago

    Darlene -

    Sounds like a reasonable list of needs! I checked on the link you provided for this site, since I was curious about a national monument that didn't sound familiar to me. Turns out it is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, not the National Park Service. The BLM has some fine and dedicated employees, but as a general rule their areas are not as heavily staffed nor as developed as similar NPS areas in terms of visitor services.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Needs Fixing In The National Parks?   5 weeks 1 day ago

    I recently visited the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument. http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreation/las_cruces/trackways.html. This is a rather new facility. The road leading up to the entrance trail and the parking area was in great need of maintenance and maintained public bathroom facilities. I used my hiking poles to navigate the trail to the Trackways site and was thankful for the additional footing aid; I had to be careful to not roll my ankles. Access to the track site was especially challenging as it is a bit of a climb; although that challenging access and isolation has probably served well to protect the unique tracks from local vandalism or theft on a limited budget. But once at the site where the Trackways were located, I was rewarded with a sight so exquisite! The preserved Early Permian Trackways at that National Monument are so ancient, so rare and yet so exquisite that I found myself standing at the site with a great sense of "WHERE IS THE STAFF PROTECTING THIS PLACE??" This site is not just a National Monument...it's a unique National TREASURE! And it is sorely in need of whatever form of passive or authoritative protection can be provided to preserve it's valuable treasures for future generations! Specifically I list:
    1) additional protective fencing
    2) a developed trail including: potable drinking water available at the beginning of the trail, constructed steps and installed railings in specific locations along the trail to facilitate hikers to trail's end and back safely
    3) an onsite educational facility at trail's beginning for limited mobility visitors and visitors unable to make the challenging hike to the trail's end. Such a facility would increase patronage and provide much needed additional onsite information at the trail's beginning. (Most informative signage is located at the trail's end.)
    4) an onsite park ranger facility capable of providing shelter for a rotating staff of 8-10 park rangers + equipment for providing first aid to visitors in need of assistance on the hike up to the trail's end. A maintained staff of park rangers located at the site would provide a continuous presence of authority helping to preserve the important contents of the site. They would be a great aid to preserving and protecting against acts of vandalism and theft of fossil rocks. They would also serve to help provide first aid and assistance for visitors; looking out for the safety and well-being of the visitors and enhance the experience of visiting the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument.

  • Arches National Park Searching For Solution To Parking Problems At Delicate Arch Trailhead   5 weeks 1 day ago

    I was at Arches two years ago, late September, got there about noon. Very busy, every parking lot full, I had to drive to the end and come back, signs everywhere saying if you parked not in a designated site, you would receive a ticket. we where headed to camp in Canyon Lands, so we were OK. I do think at some point on key days, one car in one out might be appropriate. Or, Lee, as you have suggested, Shuttles only during peak visitor season is an idea that should be considered.

  • Arches National Park Searching For Solution To Parking Problems At Delicate Arch Trailhead   5 weeks 2 days ago

    I was thinking stopping ALL traffic into the park except for those going to the campground. Once they reach the campground, they must leave their vehicle parked and ride the bus. The same sort of arrangement in use in Zion Canyon. Only people with a "RED TAG" on their dashboard indicating they are staying at the lodge may enter the canyon. Then it's only to drive to the Lodge where they must leave their car.

    I know there are some real challenges, but that's what was said when Zion was looking at what they've done. Now, I don't think there is anyone who would even think of returning to the old mess. Distances, however, are greater in Arches. Something like 17 miles there opposed to 7 in Zion. But if enough creative minds go to work on it, who knows what might come along?

  • Arches National Park Searching For Solution To Parking Problems At Delicate Arch Trailhead   5 weeks 2 days ago

    That's what I meant - huge RVs, tour buses etc. already create a lot of traffic jams on the narrow parts of the road. Bringing in even more huge buses would not help here, unless it would lower general traffic numbers significantly. But who would take a bus into the park to only see Delicate Arch? Most people visit several areas of the park.

  • Arches National Park Searching For Solution To Parking Problems At Delicate Arch Trailhead   5 weeks 2 days ago

    Gila, yes I was suggesting parking outside the park and riding shuttles from the VC. Not to argue with you, but why do you say shuttle buses climbing into the park is a bad thing? Maybe you're seeing something I'm missing.

    I haven't been there for several years. But every time I have been there, I've had to follow some huge motorhomes up the hill. And once they get into the park, they really have almost nowhere to park those things. It was common to see a big machine parked catty-corner across several parking spaces.

    I overheard some strong comments from frustrated drivers of both big and small vehicles -- and some of my own before I was able to get to the campground and unload my motor scooter. No parking problem after that. Maybe we could rent scooters for everyone?

    Certainly no easy solutions, are there?