Recent comments

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 31 weeks ago

    There's a skating rink at Yosemite. That's where the hockey game will be played. It will be a fun little event.

    I'd save the rambling gibberish for legitimate threats to the environment. Of course, there's already a global excess of hot air . . .

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Yes, freak out, gun fans. Use LOTS OF CAPS and EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!

    That way EVERYONE will SEE that you are TOTALLY CALM AND REASONABLE!!! And that you should be TRUSTED to CARRY YOUR GUNS around YELLOWSTONE, in case YOGI TRIES ANYTHING!!!!!!!

    Right now it's legal to keep your precious guns in the trunk of your car while you're in a National Park. Is that just NOT CLOSE ENOUGH? When the terrorists attack your campsite you could still make a HEROIC DASH to the motorized arms cache and BE A HERO!!!!!

    You silly goobers, when armed, pose a much bigger safety threat than the boogeymen in your own heads. Allowing guns in National Parks would undeniably make the Parks more dangerous. That's what the people who have worked at our Parks are saying, and they're right.

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 31 weeks ago

    I do not believe that any of the natural resources should be accommodating human interests, unless humans are preserving the environment and the wildlife. Therefore, no, Hockey and any other human interests should not be allowed in, on, around, or underneath said park. You couldn't pay me enough to give up my rationale on this issue...nor is there enough "legitimate" funds in the world that could pay for rebuilding the harm that will be (not might or possibly) done to the environment and the wildlife. I'm sorry, but it's my own humble opinion that most of mankind is just not capable of ensuring the safety and preservation of what little "natural" life we all have left to enjoy. For gosh sakes people are voting on condoning hockey games in a very old glacier because it is a "natural made ice cap" while our own government is trying to persuade the rest of Americans to vote yes on the slaughter of the wolves in Alaska (and any other state that condones it) AND drilling for oil in Alaska where polar bears live.
    The world has been around for centuries - how many places are still in their "natural" form?
    Did you ever wonder why the US/Canadian govt has banned boats on the upper half of the Niagara Falls (limited boats on the lower end)?
    Why some natural parks/beaches require a fee to visit these areas?
    Why "feeding" the animals is not tolerated anymore?
    Why some wildlife is more annoying to residential owners than others?
    Did you know that some animals on land, in water, and in the air are migratory, and for decades have returned to where their migratory radar directs them to go...only to have it abused by man's "interests"? Example: some snapping turtles migrate along residential streets in Lake County, IL, but are usually run over by either impatient motorists or snow-mobiler's. I know this because I use to live there and we had migrating turtles in our ditches - their natural migrating path. Same with deer both in Lake County, IL and Kitsap County, WA. They have a migrating path which is more often then not obstructed by "new home communities," which reduces their feeding and mating grounds. There are so many examples in your own states, all you have to do is look around at man's history to change the landscape to what he wants. Still need proof, do the research yourself. Review information about your area, what it was like 5, 10, 20, 30, etc years ago, then see what happened that wasn't naturally created. By naturally, I mean how Mt St Helen erupted and over the years has replenished the grounds around her (yes, mankind has assist to a degree in her rehabilitation) and nature has flourished in its own time frame.
    Before anyone decides why they should or should not agree to changing / using the natural resources still available for all organisms to in habit / enjoy, they should first: weigh their own beliefs, secondly: the beliefs of their "family" unit (families vary), thirdly: what this means to their community (local/state/country/world), and lastly how far they are willing to travel to see nature in all her splendor and wonder. I'm sorry for being preachy, but I've had enough of this balderdash about "why" something should occur to offset nature's balance and "how" mankind the world over will benefit from it, yet not one blessed piece of remorse for the destruction nor the rehabilitation of what nature has been able to balance for centuries without mans interference.
    If you're angry at me for my opinion that's great... that means you're thinking about more than your own personal gain, and if you're not, well maybe you're more at peace with where nature is going to be in another 20 or so years.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 31 weeks ago

    We have the same discussion every time this issue comes up. I will repeat myself only because I'm hoping I will eventually reach someone who has not thought this through to the logical conclusion. I am continually amazed by the naivety of informed, intelligent Americans. Mr. Anonymous "feels safer" knowing that "some fool" is not carrying a gun in a National Park. How does he know this? Wait, I know; because it's ILLEGAL!! Naturally he knows that EVERYBODY obeys ALL laws and regulations. He knows that nobody ever rapes, robs, mugs, poaches, kills, uses drugs, etc. simply because it's ILLEGAL to do so!! Please think this through Mr. Anonymous. Laws are for the law-abiding, not criminals.

    FYI, I am not "some fool". I have received many hours of expensive training, and numerous background checks so that I can carry a gun for my families' protection. I only hope that I never need to use it.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 31 weeks ago

    The tax code is confusing to most, should we stop paying taxes?
    sounds good to me.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 31 weeks ago

    If the New York Times is so smart (and all of us "hick" gun owners are so dumb) then why don't they show a nice uniform website, flyer, or periodical that displays what the differing state laws are for carrying a concealed weapon? The only sites I'm aware of are privately run and have a disclaimer about them not being responsible if their information isn't correct. Show me their "data" that says that those who posses a concealed carry permit will lower the safety in ANY situation.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 31 weeks ago

    I definitely agree with the Coalition that the current gun regulations should not be changed. I feel safer when I visit a National Park knowing that some fool is not carrying a gun that could endanger my life or anyone else's life. And just as important, wildlife is safer and can do there own thing in their habitat, not the humans habitat. Please do not change this law!!!!!!!

  • Park History: Wind Cave National Park   6 years 31 weeks ago

    I think that tiny little Wind Cave NP is my favorite National Park of the whole system (that I've seen so far, that is). It's not so much the caves as it is, as Paul says above, for the wildlife of the park. Ever since the early part of the 20th Century, Wind Cave has acted as a wildlife preserve for bison, antelope, and elk, and has a very healthy population of prairie dogs, eagles, hawks, and even possibly some big cats. I loved hiking through the Wind Cave area, it's beautiful country in and of itself. Other parks have great vistas or geologic magnificence, whereas Wind Cave's landscape is simple. But the park is full of wildlife, just like the entire country used to be at one time.

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Mook -- I tried roller skates at the local roller rink once -- it didn't go over too well.

    That being said, the two previous Blue Hens before me always wore roller skates and skated around the parking lot before football games.

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 31 weeks ago

    I think the difference is clear. Unlike Alcatraz or Charlestown, you're not bringing in more than a couple dozen folks for this visit. The benefits to the team are minimal — will this honestly help them sell hundreds more tickets, and even if it did, would those ticket sales cover the costs of van rental, a couple hours on the road, gas, etc?

    It's not like they're paying TV stations to come out. If the TV stations do, that's great for the Falcons. These aren't the giant trailers behind arenas that broadcast games live — these are The Fox 12 Mobile Newsroom, or whatever satellite truck the local CBS affiliate owns or leases because their microwave transmitters won't work at that range. They'll be long gone before the first room goes dark at the Ahwahnee.

    How is that different from TV stations coming out to report live after someone falls or drowns or otherwise has a horrible accident that leads off the evening news?

    So no, it wouldn't be appropriate to bring a circus to Yosemite. But if somebody can come in as part of community outreach and use existing facilities — a conference room, an amphitheater or an ice skating rink — then what does it matter?

    I covered this league for a couple of years in my sportswriting career, and I know the kind of thing that's going on here. Nobody's driving up from Fresno to watch the Falcons carve the ice at Curry Village. It's quite possible the TV stations won't even show. If a line has to be drawn, draw it — but be realistic about where it's set and don't use slippery slopes to establish it.

    I'll be right there in agreement when the next NHL Winter Classic is scheduled between the Maple Leafs and Wild on a pond at Voyageurs, or when the Asheville Tourists play the Arkansas Travellers on a meadow in the Great Smoky Mountains. But if a local organization — even a for-profit organization — wants to make a low-key visit to a residential area in the anticlimax of the offseason, I don't see the issue. Park workers' kids didn't choose to live there, and they shouldn't be deprived the benefits of city living just because their parents happen to live within one of the wonders of nature.

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 31 weeks ago


    You're probably right, the physical aspect of the park won't be harmed. But does that make it OK to stage this sort of event in a national park, whether it's Yosemite or Golden Gate NRA? Were the parks designed to be backdrops for promotional events? Should Yosemite Valley be a backdrop for a semi-pro hockey team?

    I raised this question last year when Toyota staged a party at Alcatraz, and when the Charlestown Navy Yard was rented out to a major health-care company. Were those appropriate uses?

    Now, part of the difficulty in answering these questions in connection with the Fresno Falcons is the fact that there is a year-round community in Yosemite Valley. What rights does the community have to entertainment? Should it be like Anytown, U.S.A., or should there be some limits imposed because of its national park setting?

    Where do you draw the line? Would it be OK to have a circus come to the valley as long as the physical environment isn't damaged?

    What about Yosemite's visitors, folks who might have spent several thousand dollars on a vacation to come enjoy the valley and are confronted by those satellite trucks with their bright lights? Do you think they expected that when they booked their vacation? Some might think it's fun, some might not.

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 31 weeks ago

    TZ - You're not answering my question, just talking about a bunch of roadblocks you think should be put up before this happens.

    How is the park harmed by two or three TV news trucks and two vans full of hockey players showing up at Curry Village for a few hours in the dead of winter?

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Will the for-profit hockey team pay royalties for their use (on TV) of the National Park? What rights do they have to re-broadcast images of NPS employees? What other for-profit enterprises can 'use' the National Park in this media-friendly way? Would my high-school hockey team be equally able to commandeer this piece of public property for an evening? In summary, how much policy review has this action received by our public officials?

  • Park History: Wind Cave National Park   6 years 31 weeks ago

    I also think there are elk in Wind Cave NP. When my wife and I were there in 2006, we climbed to the top of a fire tower atop Rankin Ridge. A ranger was in the tower with one of those radio/antenna jobs, trying to figure out where some radio-collared elk were at.

    The ranger also took the time to relate some stories of fire spotting, and to give us an example how they use the triangulation method of determining a fire's location. We had a great time at Wind Cave, above and below the ground.

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Merryland, I'm guessing the Blue Hen never put skates on during your time in Newark.

  • Park History: Wind Cave National Park   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Just a quick correction: the formation in the cave is called "boxwork" and probably 90 percent of the world's boxwork is found at Wind Cave. But I agree with Barky here, part of the park that many visitors miss, I think, is the wildlife on the surface. For a small park, it's got quite an abundance of easy-to-see wildlife. And--also good news--this last summer the park reintroduced black-footed ferrets--possibly one of N. America's most endangered mammals--to the prairies. An exciting day.

    Ranger Chris
    God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars." -Martin Luther
    wonderly00, The Lone Ranger

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 32 weeks ago

    What is so egregious about this? A bunch of minor league hockey players skating in circles at Curry Village while the Fresno TV stations do live shots with their satellite trucks.

    We're not talking about thousands of fans, or even referees keeping things even... just a promotional appearance in the community.

    How, exactly, is the park harmed?

  • Do Cougars Roam Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore?   6 years 32 weeks ago

    I've seen cougar footprints in the Everglades in '86 and the north unit of Teddy Roosevelt NP in '99 -- and that was exciting enough!

    As an aside -- we had a strange unidentified creature caught on film in Baltimore a few years back -- it was dubbed the "Hyote". Turns out it was a fox that had lost most of its hair. Talk about embarassing...

  • Lynx, Long Sought in Yellowstone National Park, Is Caught on Film   6 years 32 weeks ago

    Kurt, thanks for the lynx links... :-)

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   6 years 32 weeks ago

    There once was a Jetson named Judy,
    But modernity made her quite moody.
    Said she, "In Yosemite,
    You must use each extremity...
    Yes, to walk in the park is our duty!"

    (C) 2008, Jon T. Merryman, All rights reversed.

  • Park History: Wind Cave National Park   6 years 32 weeks ago

    Beautiful cave, beautful landscape... I was disappointed that I didn't feel any wind when touring the cave though. I got the story about the little blowhole and was somewhat let down. But I'll definitely be back again sometime. Last summer it was Jewel Cave's turn -- another park gem (haha heehee).

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 32 weeks ago

    Wow, that's a scary picture. Especially since I was the Fightin' Blue Hen mascot in college at the University of Delaware. Freddy looks a bit deranged. I wonder if they gave him a background check before they let him get near the kids!?

    Actually, if it's a one-time thing, I don't see the big deal. Hockey is one of the few professional sports I still enjoy watching and it's one job in the US where illegal border crossers won't be taking over for less pay!

  • 60 Minutes : The Age of Megafires   6 years 32 weeks ago

    I don't know if you know it BUT many of the crew members are laid off each winter. They don't make much money and rank is slow to come. A family member of mine having been with the USFS as a sawyer for about 9 years, he will not jump to a local fire station for more money because he just doesn't feel right being paid for standing around. He is a loyal person and he worries about his crew member's. During the fire season he is away from his family and usually has to "Spike-Out" (Sleeps on the ground) hikes miles to get to the fire and lives on MRE's. he does this because he likes his job. There are still those that would rather work with their hands than move papers from one building to the next and cry about making "ONLY $18 dollars an hour" In the winter season they DO projects such as thinning out the brush to be burned. They don't always burn, they also have and use "Chippers" Being a sawyer he also has to risk his life falling dangerous trees called "Snags" that are rotten and diseased to keep them from falling on the general public that use the forests for recreation. While in Sequoia a few years ago the the USFS was burning between the redwoods to keep them healthy. Go to your nearest USFS Hotshot station and see for yourselves what they do. It might add a little insight to your perceptions that they DON'T earn their money. You may have been influenced by seeing your local firefightes waxing their trucks and taking in $50,000 + a year and having a business "On the Side"

  • Park History: Wind Cave National Park   6 years 32 weeks ago

    I lived near Wind Cave National Park for years and have not only been on may cave tours there and camped, but actually worked for the Construction Co. that built most of the current buildings.

    What I would like to share is the other animals (not mentioned) at the park. Praire Dogs are the most prevelant and if you visit you will see them everywhere. Coyotes also are present and numerous birds.
    I make a detour through the park every year when I travel to South Dakota.

    Thanks, Chance. I enjoy reading all of your articles.

  • Considering a Hike up Half Dome?   6 years 32 weeks ago

    As late as the 1870s, Half Dome was declared "perfectly inaccessible",[1] but it may now be ascended in several different ways. Thousands of hikers reach the top each year by following a trail from the valley floor. The trailhead is only 2 mi (3.2 km) from Half Dome itself, but the circuitous route is 8.5 mi (13.7 km) long. The final ascent is accomplished by following a pair of metal cables raised on posts up the peak's steep but somewhat rounded east face. The cable route was constructed in 1919, but followed close to the route of George Anderson's October, 1875 first ascent made by drilling iron eyebolts into the smooth granite.