Recent comments

  • Are Blue Ridge Parkway's Historic Guardrails At Risk?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I think it's worth to point out that this isn't just about guardrails. The FHWA wanted a 12 foot clear zone, which would have meant that NPS would have been responsible for removing anything in that 12 foot zone. Trees, rocks, rock walls built by the CCC, etc would have had to been bulldozed. Moreover, it's a great stretch to say that if there are places where the road is less that 12 feet from a cliff or some such feature, that it would have had to be widened. So yes, the compromise will keep the Parkway relatively unmarred. There won't be mass bulldozings or changes to it. People might not notice or care about these things, but they matter. This issue isn't already settled - until the consultant comes out with the new methodology for determining where to make changes, the railing and walls built by the CCC/New Deal workers are still at risk. I don't want to see a 12 foot clear zone. Do you?

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 26 weeks ago

    “In 2006, there were 384 violent crimes, including 11 killings and 35 rapes, reported in the more than 272 million visits to the nation's 390 national parks,”

    That's a really neat statistic, but like many of them, it's a bit misleading. First off, consider that most of those "272 million" visits to the national parks were fat tourists in RV's and minivans, hanging out at crowded campgrounds.

    "I, and the majority of ANPR members, are willing to accept that slight level of risk of violent crime to continue to enjoy and have American families enjoy the maximum amount of watchable wildlife in units of the National Park System."

    Well I'm not willing to risk getting killed -- and it has nothing to do with wildlife. The people that are killing wildlife are doing so illegally, and are carrying guns illegally. One example was cited of someone killing a bear that was "standing up on it's hind legs" -- but I have a feeling that events like that take place much less than women being raped, and unable to defend themselves, because they are supposed to be relying on Park Rangers -- who are hours away, and have no idea what is happening -- to defend them.

    If you are willing to let yourself or one of your loved ones be killed, raped, robbed, or beaten -- you are entitled to your own opinion. But I don't think it's fair for you to decide whether *myself* or *my* loved ones are going to have it happen to them -- I care about them, and would appreciate the ability to defend them from all of the other people that are already carrying guns, knifes, and bad attitudes out there anyway.

    Besides it would make your job safer and easier -- you'd have some armed *law-abiding* citizens out there to help you make the Parks safer, in addition to all of the armed criminals that currently roam the parks unhindered.

    -J. Taylor

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I happened to be visiting Harper's Ferry during the filming of Gods and Generals, unfortunately it is probably one of the worst movies ever filmed in a NPS area. I've tried watching it, but it is incredibly boring. The day I visited I was accidentally walking through the set when the director told me through his megaphone "Please leave the set, you're in our shot, and trust me, you don't want to be in this movie."

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    My gosh....all this talk about great movies filmed in National Parks and no mention of the Western classic Shane (1953) filmed in Grand Teton National Park! "SHANE....Come Back Shane!" Of lesser note, the Russian tundra scenes from Rocky IV (1985) were also filmed there.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind - Devils Tower National Monument
    Grizzly Man - Katmai National Park

    Both these movies are highly entertaining.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Actually, I think you've got a really great list. Don't worry that you don't remember Remo Williams, nobody does (except me, for reasons I can't figure out). The Remo Williams movie is forgettable, and anything but classic, I was just teasing. Although, the finale does take place on the scaffolding of the Statue of Liberty, that part is true.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Jeremy, where have you been?! While you were gone, Repanshek conned me into writing this Top Ten Park Movies thing, and now my life has turned to crap. Not one single person, not even my wife, agrees with my list. And the feedback we're getting has been unrelentingly brutal. We've got the filters set to automatically delete all comments that include the terms idiot, half wit, meathead, moron, and twit, but we're still getting more nastygrams than you would believe. No good deed goes unpunished. BTW, Jeremy, who in the hell is Remo Williams?

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    What?? No mention of the 1985 classic "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins". Who could forget the exciting final fight sequence which takes place on the scaffolding built up around the Statue of Liberty? Have a look at the movie poster to remember back to those exciting times 20+ years ago.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I have gone to the island for the last 13 years(sometimes twice a year)and the thing that alters the ecology is the big amount of people and new developments (a lot in comparison with 13 years ago). I remember the old Chicomacomico station. There wasn't anything there, but look now. The development of new houses brings trash, sewage and obviously the appropriation of a piece of beach!!! And someone is complaining about 2 miles used by 4x4's (the island has almost 40 miles)!! I asked HOW MANY MILES OF THE PERIMETER OF THE ISLAND ARE OCCUPIED by BACKYARD HOUSES. Please, whoever is behind this needs to put more brains before bubble nonsense solutions. I am in favor of saving the little birds and let the people fish in peace. In general fishermen are not destructive human beings. Moreover, they are lot more sensible than many other human beings. Hoping the best for the endangered species birds and humans.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Good Grief; did I really call The New World an "over-hyped chick flick"?! I must have forgotten to take my lithium again. I should have said "masterpiece," of course. Thank you for setting me straight.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Dismissing Mallick's impressionistic masterpiece, The New World, as merely an "over-hyped chick flick" is not only sexist, it's insulting. If you didn't like the movie, perhaps you could provide concrete reasons and serious examinations rather than writing in cliches and soundbytes.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    The Pickett's Charge scene in "Gettysburg" is made all the more powerful by the fact that it happened on the actual hallowed ground of the battlefield.

    In "Gods and Generals," Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in WV doubles for the now-modernized town of Fredericksburg, VA. Although there is a national park in Fredericksburg, it is unfortunately an island in the middle of modern day America, unlike Harpers Ferry, which still retains its 19th Century charm.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Don't forget "The River Wild" (1994) with Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon--filmed in Glacier National Park, with Meryl learning to negotiate the rapids without a stunt double!

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 26 weeks ago

    After your comments it is obvious you have not been to the beaches your are so strongly trying to protect. I have been going to the Outer Banks for over 40 years. Do you drive a car? do you fly commercially? I am sure you do and by doing so you do more to ruin the environment that the vehicles on the beach.
    The Outer Banks has been one the most beautiful beachs for 100's of years and in the time I have been enjoying it I have seen no significant change. It is allways beautiful and the wildlife is amazing. I have seen whales to turtles to every sea bird I can think of.
    Your whining and complaining is sad and ignorant. No one mentions the 100's of othere potential reasons why the wildlife may be decreasing. Wall to wall with gas and oil dripping? Do better homework next time!

  • Former National Park Service Directors Urge Interior Secretary To Keep Guns Out of Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Distorting my comments is one thing, but at least please quote me correctly: "equating an individual right to arms [not tyranny] with mob justice" is my exact phrase. And that's exactly what you did when you asked the rhetorical question, "Or are you suggesting we return to the days when the lynch mob and the posse were the lawkeepers in this country?"

    Attempting to apply a 17th century set of values and regulations to a 21st century dysfunctional society is an exercise in futility. The thought processes that were involved in the basis for the Bill of Rights were derived from a repressive and expansionistic model of world domination...

    Here you state that we cannot apply 17th century (although, again, it's 18th century) values encapsulated in the Bill of Rights to today. I gave some examples of the modern relevance of the Bill of Rights. I suggest that you stop lecturing on tangential topics and stick to the discussion at hand.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Because Traveler readers are among the brightest and best, I was mildly surprised to learn that I was the only person able to spot Laura Linney in Dances with Wolves. To the many of our readers who thought that it was Mary McDonnell who played Stands With a Fist (whereas this part was actually played by Abigail Adams), I have only this to say: It's a good thing that I am the Traveler film critic and you are not. By the way, Kraig and Kurt, if you want to be members in good standing of Mary McDonnell's fan club, you will need to know how to spell her last name. :o)

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    There are of course many more, just search for national park in the field for filming location ( There was Vertigo (1958) by Hitchcock, with the famous scene under the Golden Gate Bridge at Fort Point National Historic Site. There is The Fog (1980) with the Point Reyes light house playing an important role, with is of course part of Point Reyes National Seashore. There are all the movies filmed in Death Valley, among them of course Zabriskie Point (1970) and several episodes of Star Wars again. says that scenes of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) were filmed at Zion NP and some part of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) at Arches, but I don't remember which ones that might be. How the West Was Won (1962) was filmed among other places at Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site (before the reconstruction that took place in the 1970s) and in Badlands NP.

  • Former National Park Service Directors Urge Interior Secretary To Keep Guns Out of Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Another brief history lesson. The Nazi Party was in existence prior to Adolf Hitler being elected Chairman. One tends to equate the Nazis with Hitler, but in actuality, he was nothing more than a catalyst, giving the people what they wanted, and in many cases, what they needed after suffering though their own trials and tribulations post-WWI. He was a strong personality, a nut-case promising all the right things to a country ripe for the picking. Don't blame the Nazi Party for Hitler's nuances and paranoid ranting. We've had our share of "strong personalities" elected to high office as well, who were also responsible for killing tens or hundreds of thousands for the sake of the "expansionistic" good of the nation.

    The internment camps I have no problem with at all. Not being able to tell your friends from your enemies in times of war leads to uncomfortable situations, but that's war my friend. The biggest problem today with conducting wars is the idealistic, romanticized notion that wars can be fought cleanly, with only the "bad guys" being killed, wounded, maimed, etc. The whole notion of war is to inflict tremendous, unbearable casualties on your enemies, such that they lose the will to continue. That's how wars are, and always have been, won. This BS about fighting "clean" wars is why Viet Nam and Iraq are the debacle that they were / are. The landscape has changed, and as long as your enemies are willing to use civilians as combatants, you have two choices. 1) Kill them too. 2) Have them kill you first. The sooner we understand that, the better off we'll all be, and the sooner we can come to grips with the "modern" methods of war. Wars aren't meant to be pretty. They're meant to be avoided at all costs, a last resort in conflict resolution. And they should remain as ugly as possible.

    And just where do I say that everyone should turn in their weapons? But by the same token, most pro-gun replies to the various threads on this topic admit to willingly breaking the law to carry their guns into areas where they already know guns are banned, just in case. And the most commonly quoted reason is so that they can protect me and my family in case we're attacked in the remotest backcountry, miles from civilization and professional assistance, and won't I be glad when the cavalry arrives. What the hell sense does that make? What are the odds in both being attacked, and having one of you handy when it occurs? As the saying goes, "We have met the enemy, and we are them".

    And by the way, it wasn't I who "equated tyranny with mob justice". Since a number of you like to produce quotes that allege to support your views, I wish that you would read a bit more of those who hold opposing viewpoints, from the same time period you like to throw in with your "moral high ground". I'll paraphrase the quote that applies to the above reference for you, and save you some time doing research that is obviously distasteful to you:

    "I fear that bestowing these same liberties upon a society that does not maintain its moral compass is nothing short of accelerating the processes of political tyranny and social discourse. If we, in our future, strive not to maintain a level of honesty and decency amongst all of our citizenry, but put forth the good of the individual above the common good, then all we have worked so hard to establish will be dashed into the furnace of hell, and history will comment most unkindly upon this experiment in freedom which we call the United States of America".

    From another one of the Founding Fathers.......a statesman, NOT a politician. An ambassador of good-will, intellectual, scientist, inventor, and keen observer of nature, both flora and fauna. From one who could see both sides of a situation, and draw meaningful conclusions prior to the inevitable. One who knew the true nature of man, and was disturbed by those tendencies. I'll leave his name to your intelligence.

    By the way Fred, the nation has been in chaos for decades. Our refusal to grant civil liberties to ALL, and not limiting them to males of the WASP persuasion was the initial driving force, NOT gun laws. Just another quick history lesson. And our insistence on maintaining our "historical place" as the world's melting pot is doing more currently to stir the pot than anything else. You cannot have both internal security in this 21st C world model and the freedoms that have been granted in certain amendments to the Constitution. The time is rapidly approaching to choose which is more important, life or liberty.

    And you're right ranger. NOT ONE of those original set of conditions outlined above applies to this society. Maybe you should reread and stick with the specific set of circumstances outlines instead of drawing broad-based conclusions. I make no reference to "due process", which in our judicial system is a joke, or "right of assembly", which is still regulated by politics and riot police, and is again, a joke (ask any pro-lifer or civil rights activist), nor do I make direct comments pertaining to what we all enjoy within the scope of today's electronic media, limited freedom of speech, which in spite of it's implications, still has editors and is subject to censorship depending on the political muses of those managing any given site, paper, journal, periodical, etc. Those are the realities of the world in which we live. For all of your "guaranteed rights", your leash is still quite short.

  • Yellowstone National Park Bison Agreement: How Big A Step Forward Is It?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I love the bison and want them protected but this is the most ridiculous waste of taxpayers money ever. $2.8 million to save only 25 bison !! Do these people expect the bison to stand inside Yellowstone and starve to death ? Is that nonsense how they have managed to survive all these years ? Rubish, they are wild animals who must migrate to find food during all seasons. They do not know political boundaries. We have killed enough innocent animals and wasted enough money.........they need an area outside of the Yellowstone and Grand Teton area where they can find food to survive the winter. And by the way, the bison are not the only wildlife that need this ! Solve the problem NOW !!!

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    "Maverick" has some lovely scenes shot in Yosemite National Park; one in Leidig Meadows. And one scene from "The Caine Mutiny" was shot in the Ahwahnee Hotel, which was used as a hospital during World War II.

    And you forgot "Grand Canyon" in which Kevin Kline, Mary McDonnell and Danny Glover have a 'come together' moment at the movie's namesake.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    All good selections but my favorite is The Long, Long Trailer [1954] with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez. [Yosemite National Park was one of the filming locations.]

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I'm surprised you haven't listed my personal favorite: "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969), with Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Katharine Ross. Much footage was filmed in and near Zion National Park, UT. The famous Rendevous House was located in the present ghost town of Grafton, UT, on the south-side of the Virgin River from Rockville, UT a few miles outside of the park boundary.

    In the 1980 release of "The Electric Horseman," Robert Redford and Jane Fonda also were featured with wild horses grazing in the shadow of the Watchman in the south end of Zion Canyon.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • GYC Explains Value of Latest Agreement for Yellowstone National Park Bison   6 years 26 weeks ago

    the deal marks yet another illustration of the bankruptcy of the collaborative model for species advocacy in the west - as it relates to the livestock industry. When will GYC be willing to fight for what it alleges to believe in ? Instead, these groups demonstrate the desire to avoid controversy as an endeavor even more important to the group than the wildlife it purports to afford advocacy for.

    $2.8 million for those CUT cattle is extortion. It's wrong. Proclaiming the deal to be good for bison floating the idea on such lofty generality is weak. GYC's inability to muster the courage to identify and decry the livestock industry's political stranglehold of this entire process, and join with the others who see that this politicized myth-mongering must stop - not by placation - is a shortcoming that GYC needs to mull-over.

    I implore GYC, and urge members and leadership alike, to take the time to redress this wayward path the group has chosen to pursue. It's wrong.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Instead of movies that pretended to be in national parks (Thelma and Loiuse) there are more and better examples of actual national park locations. Some examples: Journey to the Center of the Earth (James Mason version) filmed in Carlsbad Caverns. Close Encounters filmed at Devils Tower. Splash, filmed at Statue of Liberty. Rocky II - Independence NHP. Planet of the Apes (original version) at Glen Canyon NRA. I would choose any of these over Thelma and Loiuse or The New World.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Picks For Movies Involving National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Good catch, Kraig. I always liked Mary better, anyway!