Recent comments

  • Yellowstone National Park Relocates the 45th Parallel   6 years 22 weeks ago

    I passed this sign on June 5, 2008 and noticed it had moved from where I had seen it in previous years. I then stopped at the Visitor Center at Mammoth and asked why. The first ranger did not know and I don't even think he knew the sign existed at all. The second ranger sort of knew why the sign had moved.

    "Contrary to popular belief, the majority of the Montana/Wyoming state line does not follow the 45th parallel through the park."
    I think this is a poor statement.

    The Wyoming State Constitution defines the northern boundary of the state as the 45th parallel. So the above statement is some what misleading, as it is easy to think that the Montana/Wyoming state line is the 45th parallel (it is after all defined that way). That said however monuments rule so we live with past mistakes of placement and thus the state line is not truly on the state line.

    It is a fun bit of trivia.

  • Olmsted Island, Great Falls Park   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Thanks for the pointer, Rangertoo. That means my search for shots of some of the more obscure units has gone even farther than I imagined when I loaded this shot!

  • Director Bomar Suggests Special "Parks Edition" Mountain Bike   6 years 22 weeks ago

    I am perplexed by Roger's comment. Are you suggesting that the National Environmental Policy Act be repealed or that just the parts requiring public comment on government action be repealed? My thinking is that NEPA's requirements that the public get a chance to comment on government actions is the very opposite of socialism. It is democracy in action. The government cannot take action under NEPA without assessing what the environmental and social aspects will be, telling the public what these will be, and letting the public comment on them.

  • A Solution to the National Park Service's Funding Woes Lies Within Each of Us   6 years 22 weeks ago

    To answer your question Anon, it's mostly due to our DOD being by FAR the largest single source of wasted monies in the federal budget. Also, due to the impunity in which they operate, they have annual budgets that are larger than many countries around the globe. Eliminating $5 billion annually from their budget would scarcely be noticed, let alone cause any "lack" of security, from a military perspective at least.

    The amount of B2, 117A's and the like does squat for my internal feeling of security. They were never intended as a means of internal security, straffing the streets of your local major metropolis, dropping nukes like hard candy at a parade. With 2 exceptions, the need for such actions would never arise. And if the Chinese attack with any real intent, all your B2's aren't going to provide you with "security" anyway. As long as we insist on permitting any and every idiot onto our shores, legally or not, and then "losing" them in our society, in conjunction with refusing to deport illiegal entrants because "we need to low-end work force", then our national "security" exists in name only. By the way, we've yet to invent a chemical device substantial enough to "wipe out" 3-4 national parks. Or even one for that matter. Inconvenience visitors for a period, indeed, but hardly eliminate it from the face of the earth.

  • Director Bomar Suggests Special "Parks Edition" Mountain Bike   6 years 22 weeks ago

    "Rangertoo" said "compliance" and "regulation"...code for socialism...equals also reams of paper, which certainly is not very enviro-friendly!!

  • A Solution to the National Park Service's Funding Woes Lies Within Each of Us   6 years 22 weeks ago

    God forbid that ones' sense of security would/is tied up to less B-2 aircrafts!! Lets deal with the reality of the need NOW for funding the parks. The basic services that parks/ had as a given could return ( like staff to clean rest rooms or the GS4 summer worker(s) to work at a visitor center or give a out door program.) Perhaps the space program could use less $$ (too) . it seems we havent taken care of this planet so well...why worry about going elsewhere! Volunteer staff in the parks have been necessary and appreciated yet there still is the need for historical building repairs, clean visitor services, and those high visable summer rangers( whose pay scale ought not to be breaking any ones budget). Encouraging park litter clean up days is a helpful idea. Having park staff to clean the public areas may show that the park cares.

  • A Solution to the National Park Service's Funding Woes Lies Within Each of Us   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Why does it always come down to military spending? While it's true that the amount of money the National Park Service is asking for, amounts roughly to the cost of 3 B-2 aircraft, do we really want to sacrifice National security for National Parks? One nuclear or chemical bomb pointed at Southern California could wipe out 3 or 4 National Parks (and all the people that use them) for years. Fight for the money to protect our National Parks, but find a way to provide it, without taking money from National Security.

    Here's a unique idea. Charge hikers for a garbage disposal fee. It seems Americans have forgotton about the effects of litter on a natural habitat, and what it costs the parks to clean it up. If everyone took the responsiblity to leave "only footprints", it would save the parks millions of dollars a year.

  • National Park Quiz 7: Islands   6 years 22 weeks ago

    That's great to hear. Looks like Apostle Islands National Lakeshore may be due for an onslaught of visitors. (That should make Bayfield C/C happy.) Got room for 'em all? BTW, do I have to buy Outdoor Life to read the article that rates APIS the number one park?

  • Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve   6 years 22 weeks ago

    How many of the soldiers of WWI (I'm thinking primarily of Jews, though atheists and Muslims would also have been among the dead) had a faith that was not commemorated by this cross? I tire of having the phrase "politically correct" thrown up in our faces when we disagree with government-funded, -sponsored or -approved displays of religious observance. How often do those who wonder at people's "oversensitivity" put themselves in someone else's shoes? If the display involved a Star of David, a menorah or a large statue of a seated or standing Buddha would the reactions be the same?

    Would the same people agree that these would be right and fitting displays of religious observance and tradition--albeit not their own tradition?

    For those of you who say that there is a "bleeding-heart" mentality that attempts to balance the rights of a majority against a minority TOO fiercely, I invite you to revisit the US Constitution or the Federalist Papers. How many decisions were made and how many structural modifications were put in place to avoid a "tyranny of the majority"? The Founding Fathers struggled over these points, they did not dismiss them as being the purview of whiners or those lacking common sense. What would you think if you were part of a minority?

    I welcome any of your comments on my blog,, as well.

  • National Park Quiz 7: Islands   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Bob -- Did you see that Outdoor Life just named Apostle Islands the #1 national park? They didn't say what their criteria were but it's always nice to get the recognition. I'll be glad to see you when you visit.

  • Director Bomar Suggests Special "Parks Edition" Mountain Bike   6 years 22 weeks ago

    What a hoot ! Even better would be to watch Director Bomar be the first one to try riding the "Special" bike on a backcountry trail! I can see it. Can you?

    Would no doubt be the deepest she'd been in the backcountry, and under self-propulsion, too. How could anyone object to such a vision? It would unite all Americans of whatever political stripe. NPS could sell the video, and get some real leadership on closing the budget gap. . . .

  • A Winter Visit to Grand Canyon National Park's Phantom Ranch   6 years 22 weeks ago

    After getting such wonderful encouragement from my post way back on Feb 24th I thought I should let you know how it went - it was AMAZING!!

    The 3 days/2 nights on the river along with dinner, overnight and breakfast at Phantom set the stage for my hike out on Bright Angel. Everyone in the rafting group had their own plan and time frame in regards to the hike. My game plan was to go slowly and "enjoy" with my only concern being the heat of mid-day. I packed extra food besides the "sack" lunch, filled my 3liter Camelbak bladder and set off at 5:45am (imagine my delight in finding my backpack was lighter than the weight I had trained with) . At every creek crossing I soaked down (amazing how good that feels!). I reached Indian Gardens at 9:30am, soaked down and topped off the water bladder plus a visit to the restroom! After resting briefly I continued on and shortly after that came upon 3 other women hiking out from Phantom. One of them was having a little trouble so they had all decided to take it really slow - that worked for me so I stayed with them for the rest of the hike. Interestingly enough the heat of mid-day never got extreme even though it had been 108 at Phantom - one of several "Hail Mary" events that happened across the entire trip - guess the Universe wanted this to work out for me :)

    It took us 8 hours and 40 minutes to get to the trailhead but it is definitely NOT about how long it took but the experience along the way which was absolutely amazing.

    I hope other people happen upon this and other sites like it taking the encouragement that is freely offered as this experience cannot be duplicated by watching a movie or reading a book!!

    2008 physical goal - complete.
    Thanks again,

  • Statue of Liberty May Once Again Open to Top   6 years 22 weeks ago

    John - I sympathize with your perspective. There is, however, a basic difference from the safety of walking along the rim of a canyon and that of the stairs in the Statue of Liberty: one is a natural condition, the other is human made. There is a far great liability when allowing the public to use an unsafe constructed structure than to simply allow them to venture into a natural area. I cannot say I agree with the NPS postion on the Statues, but it is a very different situation. I think the NPS could solve this problem by issuing timed tickets that allow only a few visitors per hour to the top. Yes, it would prevent most people frlom getting to the crown, but most people did not go to the crown before it was closed just because of the extensive wait time and sheer fatigue of climbing the stairs. Not to mention the heat on summer days. There are many places in the park system where only a few people get to experience a special place because the logistics prevent wide open use. Walking the stairs at the Washington Monument or touring Independence Hall, for example. The Statue crown could be managed in a similar manner.

  • Director Bomar Suggests Special "Parks Edition" Mountain Bike   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Oh good grief. Some people see the whole world as a political divide. What does "liberal" have to do with mountain bikes?

    Bicycles are prohibited in parks except on roads unless the park writes a special regulation allowing bikes on designated trails. The problem for many parks is that they allow bikes on trails but have not taken the time or effort to promulgate the special regulation. That means that the use of mountain bikes on park trails is technically illegal (Santa Monica Mountains and Grand Canyon for example). It also means that the necessary public notice and environmental compliance have not been done to assess the potential impacts of bikes on trails.

    There are many parks where there are appropriate trails for bikes. Many are actually paved trails designed for multiple use. The key issue is that parks should comply with the regulations and not allow off-road cycliing without first conducting the necessary impact assesment and solicitation of public input.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 22 weeks ago

    In answer to Lone Honker's reply on On June 18th, 2008 to S.I.R. June 17th,

    Lone Honker,
    Spoken like a true criminal ! Almost had me believing you were one, but believe me, you better use the element of surprise to your advantage or you won't win because I'll go down with you if need be. And yes, you may add my weapon to your already existing arsenal, it even happens to police officers at times, if you succeed. But don't you believe we are going to just give it up , because you, might just miscalculate and make a mistake and your head may just be handed to you on a silver platter you can no longer use. You have avery dangerous job, and its going to get tougher. That's why your trying so hard to spread propaganda to keep guns out of the hands of your potential victims.
    You say criminals only prey on those whom they stand to gain the greatest profit from, WOW guess they didn't let each other know about that one. Ya some of them even rob places for 5 or 10 bucks out of the till and a pack of smokes and then shooting every one in the store that could be a witness. OH let me stop there, foolish me, must have been from embarrassment because of the chump change. Ha Ha. And by the needs of those who need? They can get their lazy butts out there and work for what they need like you and I do!!! No one has to murder other people just because the want a pack of smokes and 5 or 10 bucks for bear. or drugs

    And yes, all tools were designed for a special purpose. Guns (in answer to your question) were designed for hunting and protection, but no tool of itself can function without one of use making it do so. There for it in in the mind of an individual operating the tool as to use it for or outside its purpose, not the tool itself.
    By the way, (sorry if your a vegetarian) but its a little hard to run down bamby for dinner with a knife. Guess I could use my car - na, that just ain't natural.

    And yes an unarmed person can also be a citizen. But w/o protection can quite possibly becomes a victim to those who have no continence. Your right, does not make him or her not a citizen or maybe a "Subject"? One of the big reasons Japan did not attack us inland was to many citizens owned guns. During W.W.II the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED! Admiral Yamamoto, who crafted the attack on Pearl Harbour had attended Harvard U 1919-1921 & was Naval Attaché to the U. S. 1925-28. Most of the US Navy was destroyed at Pearl Harbor & their Army had been deprived of funding & was ill prepared to defend the country. It was reported that when asked why Japan did not follow up the Pearl Harbor attack with an invasion of the U. S. Mainland, his reply was that he had lived in the U. S. & knew that almost all households had guns.
    Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
    Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million 'educated' people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
    In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated. In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated. Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated. China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated. And on and on. Ref :

    One of the "nervonas " with (O) crime as you put it, (I said near nill) is GEUDA SPRINGS, Kansas ( that is if you care to live in Kansas )

    Any way that's this man's opinion:
    Have a nice day.

  • Director Bomar Suggests Special "Parks Edition" Mountain Bike   6 years 22 weeks ago

    It would probably have to be the color green to make the liberals happy.

  • Yellowstone National Park Relocates the 45th Parallel   6 years 22 weeks ago

    I smile every time I see that sign near Gaylord while heading north on I-75. Growing up in Bay City, I used to think that Gaylord was way "up north." I was really shocked when I finally realized that, as far as northern treks are concerned, Gaylord is just halfway to the North Pole.

  • Statue of Liberty May Once Again Open to Top   6 years 22 weeks ago

    My wife and I took our 6 year old grand daughter (at her request) to "Lady liberty" on June 12, 2008. We had a wonderful time, however, our grand daughter was disappointed that we could not go into "Lady Liberty" and look out her crown. She and we enjoyed the visit, including the ferry ride, but it would have been significantly more meaningful and memorable if access was available to the crown.

    With regard to safety of people visiting as a reason not to open access; I would point out that many of the National Parks out west (especially the Grand Canyon National Park) would not pass basic safety code requirements if applied, and fatalities do occur each year. The risks, of course, need to be identified to the public, but then it is up to us to take those risks or not. And I think that "We the People" have stated our wish for access through our representatives in Washington DC.

    P.S. It is well worth visiting "Lady Liberty" from the New Jersey ferry terminal in Liberty Park. The parking is close, safe, and only $5. The crowds are significantly smaller, which translates into less hassle and a much more enjoyable ferry ride.

  • Yellowstone National Park Relocates the 45th Parallel   6 years 22 weeks ago

    The same sign is near Gaylord Michigan (45th parallel)

  • National Park Service Open to Cutting Single-Track Bike Trails in the Parks   6 years 22 weeks ago

    I'd like to thank the Traveler for bringing this issue into the light--I get very mistrustful any time an interest group (such as IMBA) pursues its aims out of view of the general public by proposing to streamline approvals for biking trails in the national parks. It's clear that the mountain bike community wants to have more access to hiking trails, not just two-lane dirt tracks. The White Rim road, as Kurt mentions, is certainly an appropriate place for bikes. But what about trails on which people have long been able to enjoy a relaxed, restful experience viewing nature without having to maintain a constant lookout for fast-approaching cyclists?

    I do wish that mountain bikers would consider the effect they have on other trail users. I frequently hike trails in the Wasatch mountains near my home along with my family, and have learned to completely avoid trails used by bikes. It's just too unnerving to have riders swoosh down a narrow trail at 10-15 mph, appearing out of nowhere, and expect me (and often my young daughter) to jump out of the way--often onto a steep, brushy hillside. Only twice in the last ten years has a biker stopped his or her machine and let us pass.

    Simply offering a polite "thank you" as you zoom past does not, to my thinking, constitute a "ride friendly" policy. I'm out on the trails to enjoy nature, not for thrills, or even to cover lots of ground. I want to be able to stand there and listen to the birds without an ear cocked for the telltale sounds of approaching wheels. To me, shared use is a misnomer. The only thing that works around here is segregated use--either separate trails or an odd-even day system, both of which are excellent solutions in popular areas.

    But the national parks? I fear the day when the Widforss Trail in Grand Canyon or the Howard Eaton Trail in Yellowstone become popular biking destinations, or when the switchbacks up to Cascade Pass in the North Cascades are featured in Outside as one of the "ten best singletracks." The parks are some of the last refuges of peace and quiet in our nation. I'm with those rangers and superintendents who want to keep it that way.

    I'm sure my comments will seem insensitive to the desires of mountain bikers, many of whom sincerely believe that foot and bike use are compatible. While mountain bikers undoubtedly enjoy nature as much as I do, they should pause to consider that trails have different meanings for other folks. When park trails are turned into singletrack, I will be forced to walk elsewhere. And there are few other places left.

    I realize that this is a minority opinion, but I offer these views in the hope that reasonable compromises can be reached--such as opening selected dirt roads to biking, not the parks' hiking trails.

  • Lost Backpackers Reunited with Families at Denali National Park   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Another example of unprepared (no GPS, etc) hikers costing all of us huge sums of money for SARs. This needs to be addressed as the humans on this world become less responsible for their actions !

  • Congressman Calls for Emergency Declaration to Protect Grand Canyon National Park from Mining   6 years 22 weeks ago

    I think this post raises an interesting issue that Park Advocates have been slow to address. In particular - would should be the role of boundaries in the National Park System? The opening paragraph of this post suggests protecting *1 Million Acres* from mining. Of course, mining is already prohibited in Grand Canyon National Park, so this would be * 1 Million Acres* that are all outside of the Park. Now, Grand Canyon is already one of the larger National Parks in the System, but I would be all in favor of expanding those. Unfortunately, expanding the boundaries of Grand Canyon wouldn't solve this problem - it would merely expand it - since there would presumably be 1 Million More Acres outside the new boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park that could similar threaten the new National Park boundaries through mining, development, or other activities.

    This issue particularly concerns me because as Park Advocates continue to argue for larger and more-protected "halos" around National Parks in order to protect those Parks, they also unwittingly give ammunition to opponents of the Parks who become ever-more concerned about the possible unwelcome impacts of having the National Park System as a neighbor.

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   6 years 22 weeks ago

    That's an interesting question, Bob. Let me rephrase your question: if the National Park Service estimates that a given safety improvement reduces, on average, one fatality per year, but causes a reduction in the aesthetics of a place - should it be opposed or supported? I guess maybe it depends on how much of a change to the aesthetics, to which my response would be that "cost-effective" should include ecological and aesthetic costs as well.....

  • National Park Quiz 7: Islands   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Good catch Anonymous - that one slipped right past me!

  • National Park Quiz 7: Islands   6 years 22 weeks ago

    Eleven out of eleven? You've got to be kidding. I don't do that well myself on these things. Thanks for the link, Bob. Great photo! Gotta say, though; if your average South Carolinian sees that many rocks on a beach he's going to demand a refund. I'd love to take credit for the quiz photo gambit, Bob, but it was actually that evil genius Kurt who came up with the photo. I'm not going to pass along the compliment, though. I shudder to think what he might come up with if we encourage him. BTW, Apostle Islands is on my "must do" list. It's odd that I've never visited your fine park, since I love lighthouses, often travel to Michigan (my home state), get to the Upper Peninsula once in a while (I'm NOT a yooper!), and wander over to Wisconsin and Minnesota now and then. I've been in your area lots of times while doing to-and-froms (Ashland-Superior, Duluth, the Arrowhead region, etc.; we even made a complete circuit of Lake Superior once). You guys are kinda out of the way.