Recent comments

  • Review: Wild Soundscapes, Discovering the Voice of the Natural World   6 years 35 weeks ago

    The recording and processing end of the audio technology certainly has changed rapidly. But what hasn't changed nearly as fast are microphones, and those are the most important tools. Just as lenses didn't make much if any technological change between film and digital cameras, microphones have made little if any changes in the transition from analog tape to digital flash card.

    The trouble is, teaching microphone technique is pretty difficult. You can teach someone a lot about the physics of microphones, but that might not help them intuitively to make the best use of a microphone. Likewise, you can teach someone about the physics and mechanics of lenses, but that doesn't teach them to take a great picture. Ultimately, and in either case, it's a process of experience, trial and error, and developing an appreciation for what's good art within the medium.

    A student once asked me, "What's the best placement of a microphone to record a piano?" I answered, "What's the best placement of a camera to photograph a mountain?"

    Thanks again for recognizing our work.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    The WildeBeat "The audio journal about getting into the wilderness"
    Download the MP3 programs or subscribe to the podcast at...
    www.wildebeat.net

  • National Park Service Lacks the Funds to Purchase Critical Inholdings   6 years 35 weeks ago

    An interesting notion would be viewing map coordinates of the private holdings in relationship to the placement of current park facilities. Taking the Native American holdings out of the equation, and concentrating on those parcels that were either homesteaded or "bought and paid for", my inclination is that these plats are well away from concessions, maintenance, and other areas most frequented by tourists by design of those who laid out the parks. Private citizens conducting trade, tours, or scaring folks off "private lands" in the middle of the a national park and the NPS powerless to rectify the problem? Somehow, I doubt it. If this hypothesis is anything close to accurate, the "Big Box" retailers cluttering up the parks becomes a non-factor. You honestly believe that retailers would invest tens of thousands of dollars into a facility with no local population to support and staff it and no existing infrastructure (roads, water, housing, utilities) from which to draw "cheap" extentions to their property? Corporate America is slightly brighter than to believe the "if you build it, they will come" business philosophy. They haven't obtained and expanded their wealth through miscalculation of a given local economy.

  • National Park Service Lacks the Funds to Purchase Critical Inholdings   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Many park inholdings are very nice sections of scenic property that are well kept (often in much better shape than the surrounding park land) with a special sense of pride and personal attachment that is generally missing from government management.

    When I was a ranger I learned a lot about the history and nature of my park from inholding landowners whom I actively sought out to meet and greet. My bosses in the agency took a very dim view of my association with these backward "redneck hicks" because they were generally viewed as the enemy whose time in the park would eventually end and the "pristine" precincts of this "sacredly invoilable" preserve would be complete.

    If they could only convince the powers that be in DC to send 'em the cash to rid the park of this local-yokel vermin once and for all the park's brilliantly conceived management plan could at last be realized! Well at least they could finalize the draft.......

    The more inholdings the better. They help to keep a balance and add a link to local historical roots lost once the bureaucrats tear down the last cabin and replace it with a maintenance yard.

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 35 weeks ago

    I wonder how our grandparents lived so long (into their 90s) without the EPA and FDA around to cry that the sky is falling? They smoked, drank, ate lotsa fatty food....
    ...and were around a LOT of chemicals! I think Ziggy is right, you huggies WORRY yourselves to death.

  • Everglades National Park Asked to Give Manatees Protection From Boaters   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Kinda the same thing as buying a piece of property, then discovering that somebody else already owns the mining and mineral rights. "You get the surface layer, but just in case anything of real value lies within your property lines but below the surface........YOU LOSE!"

    Can't afford to p-off the boating lobby, either in Florida or in Lake Powell, can't afford to p-off the NRA in Katmai, Yellowstone, or wherever the buffalo roam, can't afford to p-off Big Oil in the Arctic Refuge or you risk your campaign funding and retirement nestegg........GOD it must be nice to be a bureaucrat / professional politician and get paid to do absolutely nothing. Maybe we should all sign up. It can't be a very arduous task. Just look at the low quality of representation, at ALL levels of government. Alas, poor manatee, I knew it well.

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Excuse my not completing the story. Other issues needed more immediate attention.

    As for napthalene, you might be more familiar with this compound as the active ingredient in moth balls. It's what makes moth balls smell like moth balls. The simple explanation as to why it is an effective moth barrier is that moths recognize a toxic substance when they smell one. We obviously aren't as intellectually evolved as the common moth. Most people aren't even bright enough to handle this stuff with gloves, or even wash their hands after handling the product. It too is easily ingested straight through your skin, and God forbid you itch your eyes, pick your nose or suck your thumb prior to washing your hands after contact with this junk.

    And for what it's worth, I believe the proper spelling is toluene (phonetically pronounced towel-u-ene), but it's not worth nit-picking over. Either way you spell it, it comes out S-C-R-E-W-E-D. It's too damn bad that certain people develop a liking for the odors of certain organic by-products like gasoline, kerosine, toluene, lighter fluids, carbochlor (dry cleaning solution) and their ilk. They're all HIGHLY corrosive to your internal organs via a process known as oxidation. You may have heard about it. It's currently all the rage in the home cleaning industry, claiming the ability to remove any stain from any material. Which for the most part, it can. But highly oxidative substances such as these organics will remove more than you bargained for when mishandled.

  • National Park Service Lacks the Funds to Purchase Critical Inholdings   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Eminent Domain -- has been used before and will be used again for the common public good in this case for us and for future generations --
    I'd hate to see these areas not protected decades ago and see a big box retail store on the edge of the Grand Canyon.

    What would you think about that now?

    (ps -- absue of eminent doman has happend -- and that's for the courts to address, I don't think it would have any problems
    with National Parks.)

  • Everglades National Park Asked to Give Manatees Protection From Boaters   6 years 35 weeks ago

    My understanding is that the actual wilderness designation of Florida Bay is just for the bottom of the bay (or benthic layer) and does not include the water column. Designating the bottom of the bay a wilderness makes the politically palatable use of motorized watercraft just above the "wilderness" an ongoing and legitimate activity (regardless of the fact that motor boats have torn up countless acres of bay bottom). Pretty nifty bureaucratic maneuvering wouldn't you say?

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Lone Hiker, your absolutely right it's called dermal exposure: skin, eyes, nose and mouth. Maybe in time, Yellowstone will qualify as a toxic dump after the snowmobile fiasco is over.

  • Letter from Congress Urges Director Bomar To Ban Snowmobiles from Yellowstone National Park   6 years 35 weeks ago

    If Congress is involved, you can be sure that any kind of "management" will make the situation worse. "Regulation" is another bureaucratic term for "more expensive" as it expands government worker pools that must be paid for with our money. As I look at the names of Congressional members in the letter, it is the same old disingenuous cast of characters that blindly follow expanding anything governmental. These wonks don't give a rat's behind about "the environment".

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Besides all that stuff ya mentioned is natural anyway, since it does come from the earth

    Extremely incorrect sir. Toulene, benzene, napthalene, trimethylbenzene and MTBE are all products of organic chemistry, not compounds that occur naturally in the earth. Toulene (the active ingredient in model airplane glues of the 70's) is so user friendly that it was forced from the marketplace due to it's unnerving ability to rearrange your central nervous system. All too many teenagers died from inhalation ("huffing") and countless hundred suffered irreversible brain, nervous system and kidney damage. It also plays hell with your DNA, initializing what are known as frame-shift mutations, which to keep this on a user-friendly level, causes some proteins to be made incorrectly, others not at all, which leads to a whole host of issues. Benzene, TMB and MTBE are known carcinogens. Not hypothetical or theoretical, but KNOWN, PROVEN carcinogens. Even worse, these substances can be absorped through both soft tissues (e.g. eyes, nose and mouth) OR directly through the most protective barrier you possess, your skin. Not the type of stuff I'd care to leave laying around the environment for just any passers-by to contact.

    Enjoy your ethanol cocktail with the ballgame.

    In case you're interested......

    Lone Hiker
    Ph.D. Biotechnology, Biochemistry / Cellular Biology

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Hey Anon...yes there are places...millions of acres of designated wilderness when the sleds can't go.

  • National Park Service Lacks the Funds to Purchase Critical Inholdings   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Good. They can't take care of what they have already!

  • National Park Service Lacks the Funds to Purchase Critical Inholdings   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Should the establishment of a national park double as an eviction notice for someone whose family might have owned the land for a generation or more?

    No.

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 35 weeks ago

    At a time when it seems like we are trying too fill every available piece of land with another strip mall or garbage sub-division.Can there not be places where we are not intruding with our noisy engines,noxious fumes and pollution.

  • Grand Canyon Officials Release EA on Bright Angel Trailhead Improvements   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Nothing better than a poignant metaphor!

    Now, as Paul Harvey would say, for the rest of the story.......

    On the first mule train out from the trail head that same day, not 200' further down the trail past Three Mile House, the first mule behind the wrangler was somehow spooked and threw it's rider, a late teens / early twenties young lady over it's left shoulder, and fortunately for her, down onto a rock pile on the uphill side of the trail. Had she gone off the other shoulder, she too would have been retrieved in a body bag, as there is a sheer drop of maybe 150' at that juncture of the Bright Angel. As it was, she suffered a multiply fractured left arm, dislocated shoulder and some at that time unidentified internal injuries. But seeing as the only rescue copter was already engaged in a fruitless trip to Flagstaff with the afore mentioned trail racer, she was stuck waiting, in quite a state of shock, for it to return and evacuate her from the trail. I passed this scene and offered my assistance as a certified member of the Utah CERTS (emergency respondant team), which is how I was able to obtain the details of the accident from the rescue team on the scene. She was fortuntate enough however, to have survived her brush with what could have been a most tragic event, as I later learned from the same young lady ranger outside the El Tovar who informed me about the fate of the hiker / runner mentioned above. But witnessing TWO helicopter evacuations within a couple of hours on the SAME TRAIL sure gave me the willies. At least hers was an unavoidable incident, as opposed to plain stupidity in the other instance. Little consolation for her and her family.

  • National Park Service Lacks the Funds to Purchase Critical Inholdings   6 years 35 weeks ago

    We can't have the federal government evicting people from land that's been in their family for generations (on the one hand) but allow a native tribe back into Death Valley National Park (by special Congressional Act) to build a subdivision near Furnace Creek, the central area of the park

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Man, FRank...that's heavy man!
    You are so gonna live a short life worryin about all that toulene, benzene, napthalene...your worryin about all that stuff is probably more hazardous to your health than all that stuff!
    I say just live it up man, cause life is wayyyy too short! Even if ya live to be 80, it's still too short! Besides all that stuff ya mentioned is natural anyway, since it does come from the earth!
    Now I'll go have a beer and watch some football.

  • Grand Canyon Officials Release EA on Bright Angel Trailhead Improvements   6 years 35 weeks ago

    "Steepest price"... I like that.

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 35 weeks ago

    One of the major concerns in establishing "no-fly" zones in certain regions of the Grand Canyon was "to preserve a wilderness experience for visitors by reducing noice pollution in areas of major tourist activity", so that those wishing to experience the canyon's environment could do so without the feeling of standing at the end of an airport tarmack. That, and to relieve the congestion that was a growing safety concern, with too many flights and too many underskilled pilots contributing to the degredation of air safety in the most populace regions of the canyon. I doubt whether a serious arguement can be made that in so doing, the NTSB and FAA have made a drastic negative impact on those wishing to take part in an aerial tour of the Abyss, whether via helicopter or light aircraft.

    Preserving the "wilderness experience" is, or at the very least, should be a primary directive of the NPS as it pertains to all their units. That is, after all, why the parks were established in the first place, not as playgrounds for any mode of vehicular traffic that we manage to invent. There are currently countless thousands of acreage set aside for winter sport usage, with miles and miles of established trails developed specifically for these purposes. I don't see the point for the wanton disregard for environmental impact and other studies to be blatantly ignored for the convenience a puny minority who wish to partake in these activities. Certainly the increase in revenues aren't justification, which one would think the NPS might take into account. This is quite a similar situation to the "smoke free" zones being enacted by many State legislatures. Your personal freedoms end when they begin to have a negative impact on the health of others, "for the good of all", was how our local referendum was phrased. Second-hand smoke is NOWHERE near as dangerous in a dispersed environment as fuel leaks and other operational impacts of ATV's, snowmobiles, ORV's and other environmentally unfriendly vehicles. If people make the choice to take their version of "enjoying the parks" as a quite-time experience, as it was intended to be, that original statute in Teddy Roosevelt's founding doctrine should be all that is needed to limit or ban these types of intrusions from the wilderness experience.

    For the record, I enjoy ocassional snowmobile and ATV excursions. But I see no need to intrude where the traffic is neither welcomed or harmful. The country is still large enough to find your niche, no?

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Ziggy, I don't think considering the impact our actions have necessarily qualifies as "worry". There's a lot more to life than fun and parties. We must be mindful the consequences of our actions. "Live and let live and de-stress, people!" Your type of fun is incompatible with wilderness values and ethics; I escape the city not to hear sounds I can hear in the city. I get enough stress from engine noise in the city; I don't need it in the wilderness. Speaking of consequences, a main reason snowmobiles shouldn't be allowed in wilderness is because of the hazardous chemicals they carry and leak, especially gasoline. You should check out the Material Safety Data Sheet for unleaded gasoline. It shows at least fifteen hazardous chemicals occurring in various amounts. These include benzene (up to 5% by volume), toluene (up to 35% by volume), naphthalene (up to 1% by volume), trimethylbenzene (up to 7% by volume), MTBE (up to 18% by volume) and about 10 others. So your fun has an impact on other humans and lifeforms. I believe that you have enough spaces to have your fun. Let's save some spots so that others can have a quieter type of fun. Thank you.

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Do y'all ever enjoy the parks, or just worry yourselves to death over 'em?
    Jus think of how many years are taken off your life with worry. Do ya really think the bison give a rat's a$$ over snowmobiles? They're just worried about their next meal. They're probably pretty used to the noise. In the meantime, let's LIVE and just LIVE! RIDE those snowmobiles (looks like a LOT of FUN), SWISH them skis, let's party dude!!

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Y'all need to chill and live happy. Snowmobiles are fun, cross country skiing is fun, snowcoaches are fun. Live and let live and de-stress, people! The sun will come up in the east in the morning, life is too short.

  • Park Trips: Paddling Into Yellowstone National Park   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Yogi, it actually was pretty easy. A good stout rope, some pulleys, and the ever-present bear bars made hoisting the coolers out of reach a cinch.

  • Park Trips: Paddling Into Yellowstone National Park   6 years 35 weeks ago

    I'd be interested in hearing how you hung up your cooler with steaks, pasta and salmon to keep away from the bears.