Recent comments

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Speaking about carrying guns in the back country. I had a dear friend who was a naturalist ranger for Sequoia National Park, once confronted me with a real Scary Larry scenario in the back regions of the park. After a day's heavy hiking and ready to bed down for the night, he suddenly hears this drunken boisterous talk about shooting the place up. He investigates just over the ridge and spies on a group of gun-toting gang of youths. He sees guns going off in all directions with drunken talk of blasting things left and right. The ranger finds the situation too dangerous to intervene. He slowly escapes without being detected and heads back to base camp and reports. Moral of the story is: if you want more guns in the park, I'm sure you're going to find more episodes like...and more threatening. For safer parks: leave your guns at home!

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Nicely said Paula !! Don't forget to post your comments SUPPORTING the change of firearms regulations !!

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 25 weeks ago

    I am a single women and I love going into the National Parks. I love going into the back country, hiking and camping. If I can not carry my concealed weapon... (which I carry for my personal protection)... I would not use the Park System at all. I would not be paying entrence fees to enjoy America. My point is, If you take away my right to protect myself while I am in the back country, well then you had better provide me with a trained body guard (free of charge). I have a right to keep and bare arms, (even if I am a single woman). I will exercise that right along with all of my other rights.
    Sincerely,
    Paula Jean Tyler

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Beaches Among Country's Best   6 years 25 weeks ago

    I cannot understand why he includes beaches in the Hamptons. Beaches open only to residents and not to the general public. At least all NPS areas are open the whole pblic. Hard to beat the beaches of Cumberland Island and Fire Island that are free from roads and parking lots.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Kurt - thank you for your principled position on this issue. Those who support the proposal to allow concealed guns in national parks ignore professional park rangers and managers, the statistical data that show that national parks are among the safest places to be in America, and the important concept that national parks are intended to be very special places - different from the places where we work and live. Instead they are driven by self-interest and short-term personal benefits, rather than the long-term good for the population as a whole, for visitors and resources in national parks. We've had too much of that crammed down our throats in the past few years. It's time we look to the benefits of our children and their children and to saving the special places they will visit and enjoy decades from now.

    Bill Wade
    Chair, Executive Council
    Coalition of National Park Service Retirees

  • Rare Letters Stolen From Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace By Historian Recovered   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Wow, this gives historians a bad name! And Theodore Roosevelt had their collection in a vault, no less. Meanwhile, at Blue Ridge Parkway, it has taken years to get the archives into a safe place with proper climate control, security, and organization. I've just written about this over on the Blue Ridge Parkway blog at: http://www.blueridgeparkwayblog.com/super-scenic-motorway-a-historians-parkway/history/adventures-of-blue-ridge-parkway-archives

    Just goes to show that our rare national archival treasures -- the raw materials of history -- need as much attention, funding, and care as our natural treasures do.

    Anne Mitchell Whisnant, Ph.D.
    Historian & Author of Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History
    Chapel Hill, NC

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Beaches Among Country's Best   6 years 25 weeks ago

    I'm no expert, but my only argument here is that CHNS deserves to be higher up on the list! Where else can you find such an unspoiled, fragile ecosystem? Perfect vacation spot. Dreaming of the day I retire to a quiet cottage in the shadows of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse... I'm open to offers to take a B&B off a frazzled innkeeper's hands as well! :)

  • Creature Feature: The American Marten   6 years 25 weeks ago

    All this time, and with a fairly interested view of wildlife, and I've never even heard of this animal before. Color me deprived.

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Beaches Among Country's Best   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Add this to my list of "must do before too much longer." I feel so deprived. ;-)

  • National Park Entrance Fees Frozen at 2007 Levels   6 years 25 weeks ago

    I suspect it won't matter that rates are kept the same if visitors are down due to these exploding gasoline prices. I do know that less visitors mean less revenue means less ability to maintain that which is there.

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Beaches Among Country's Best   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Sabattis, it seems like every time I turn around I find you yanking my chain. :o) OK, here's the deal with that "no-repeat" rule. A beach that attains the number one ranking is retired from the list. Ocracoke Island's Lifeguard Beach was ranked number one in 2007, so the no-repeat rule rendered it ineligible for consideration this year. If Cape Hatteras Beach is ever ranked number one, it too will be retired from the list. Meanwhile, it is eligible to be be listed every year, and so is every other beach that has never been ranked number one.

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Beaches Among Country's Best   6 years 25 weeks ago

    No doubt that Cape Hatteras has some great beaches - but if "Dr. Beach" has a "no repeat" rule - doesn't that meant that there are about 180 beachs out there now that can claim to be one of the Nation's "Top 10 Beaches'?

  • Creature Feature: The American Marten   6 years 25 weeks ago

    If this animal is rare then i think you should protect it.........

  • Creature Feature: The American Marten   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Great info, Chance. You make a sighting sound very unlikely, but I spotted one in Yellowstone last week during a book update research trip, in broad daylight, scampering into the cozy confines of the rafters of the "Old House" section of the Old Faithful Inn.

    Happy wildlife watching + best of luck with the NPS ranger ambitions,
    ~ Andrew, author Top Trails Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks
    Winner, 2005 National Outdoor Book Award, Best Adventure Guidebook

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Kurt -

    I can see where you spent a HUGE amount of time on this article. Your love for our National Parks is blazingly obvious. Where do you find the time? Do you sleep? Although we disagree strongly on this issue, I commend your tireless efforts to make your case known.

    You may have forgotten that the NRA has actually been working on this issue for more than five years:

    "Starting in 2003, NRA staff began meeting with officials at the U.S. Department of the Interior to change this regulation and allow state law to govern the carrying and transportation of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges -- as it does in national forests and on BLM lands. There was little resistance to such a policy change but also little action to make this change. Bureaucrats involved in this issue would move on and others would replace them, needing to be educated from scratch about the need and importance for this change."

    http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Read.aspx?ID=3529

  • Bear #399, And Other Grizzlies, Are On the Prowl In Grand Teton National Park   6 years 25 weeks ago

    What a legend these bears have become. It's so great and I feel so fortunate to have seen them last week. I was in Grand Teton National Park on a guided tour. Taylor with EcoTour Adventures was our guide. He was so informative about the area which really added to our trip.. Any way we were in the north part of the park and we saw momma 399 send her cubs off on there own. It wasn't but an hour latter that we saw a large boar grizzly mount 399. Maybe we will have three new cubs next spring. The tour was great and I strongly recommend Taylor and his services. http://jacksonholewildlifetours.com/

  • National Park Entrance Fees Frozen at 2007 Levels   6 years 25 weeks ago

    National Parks are not an "entertainment option" like movies, sports, or dining. They are the birthright and heritage of every American and must be kept affordable so all Americans who want to can visit them. Just because $25 is not a lot of money to you does not mean everyone is so comfortable. I remember my folks making significant financial sacrifices in order to take us kids to visit National Parks because they thought it was important to give us a sense of ownership and pride in them. When they are just another commercial option, they have lost their constituency and purpose.
    The "politics" that got entrance fee increase plans put on hold consisted of elected officials listening to and responding to the individuals and businesses they represent. I for one applaud them for doing that and also thank NPS Director Bomar for doing the right thing.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 25 weeks ago

    "The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people...that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed." --Thomas Jefferson

    It takes more than legislation to bypass the Second Amendment. It takes another amendment, ratified by 2/3rds of the states. Claim what you want, but legislation that forces citizens to keep their arms broken down and unloaded in the trunk infringes on the People's right to bear arms.

    At least Traveler finally took a stand on something and changed the question to a statement. Hopefully the annoying questions will stop ("Do we REALLY need _________?") Traveler's slant is obvious, and disguising it as a question, a pretense of journalistic impartiality, is insulting. I doubt, however, that Traveler will take such a strong stance on more important bans that should occur in national parks such as gas tanks, cars, snowmobiles, ATVs, ATMs, buildings, roads, lodges, concessions, sewage, toxic waste, etc.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 25 weeks ago

    I enjoyed reading your column until this staunch view. I support concealed permits and carrying them into any back country in the US. I will now delete the feed from my homepage.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 25 weeks ago

    It just proves how dumb the people in Washington DC really are. This has to be the dumbest thing that I ever heard come out of that town yet. The National Parks to me are one of the last places in this country that we can take our children on a safe vaction. Having concealed weapons within the parks does nothing to provide safety to the visitors that visit there from other people or the wild animals.

    Let's use some common sense here. People are their worst enemy when they go to the National Parks. They want to get close up pictures of the wild animals and they themselves are putting themselves in danger. And if you think that you can draw a concealed weapon faster that a charging animals than you are better that I am. There's no getting away from an animal that thinks he or she is being threatened by invading their space.

    The parks were set aside for us to enjoy the beauty within the parks. To allow concealed weapons takes away that beauty for I see a rise in crime from people that shouldn't have guns in the first place. Therefore I am totally against this bill and hope that people with some common sense puts an end to it

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Wow. Nothing like anti-gun hysteria backed with false statistics and groundless claims of doom and gloom. It seems that you have clearly fallen victim to the political pandering of none other than the Brady Bunch. You should rename this webzine to National Parks Sheepdog. You certainly have staked your claim as leader of the sheep in the National Park System. It's really a shame that you people cannot find your way through the emotional muck and distinguish between the law-abiding and the criminals who prey on them. There is already blood on your hands.

  • National Park Entrance Fees Frozen at 2007 Levels   6 years 25 weeks ago

    More bad news for the Parks, as sadly politics has gotten in the way of raising entrance fees to reasonable levels. For example, 3.5 million people visited Yosemite last year. An extra $5 per car entrance, could easily mean an extra couple million dollars (obviously, many of those people traveled in groups, and others used passes like the America the Beautiful Pass). You think that there is some maintenance backlog and some unfunded ranger positions at Yosemite that could have materialized with a few extra millions for Yosemite?

    That $5 increase would have raised the entrance fee at Yosemite to a paltry $25. People talk about entrance fees keeping visitors away from the Parks - but really? The nearest major metropolitan areas to Yosemite are San Francisco and Sacramento - about 175 miles away. That means a typical family is spending a full tank of gas, just to get to Yosemite. Even at $2.10 a gallon, that was about $30. Today, of course, that is more like $60. And those are the families that live close to Yosemite. Families from Southern California, of from other States, would be paying far higher transportation costs. Are they even going to notice $5 on top of those transportation bills?

    And that's just one Park. The extra $10 at Arches or Everglades, each of which had aronud one million visitors in 2007 could easily have meant another milion or two dollars for those Parks. Add up the other proposed increases around the Park system, and we're talking about real dollars to address maintenance backlogs and fund additional Rangers.

    Hey, all of us visit National Parks, and no doubt enjoy cheap entrance fees. But the truth of the matter, is that a significant source of the problem with the Parks' backlog is simply that National Parks entrance fees are way too low - especially when compared with other entertainment options like movie theatres, sports tickets, or even a dinner out to eat.

  • Is the National Park Service Obligated to Better Promote Proposed Change in Gun Regulations?   6 years 26 weeks ago

    being that this is the election count down, does this have anything to do with a kind of holding back on promoting more public response/attention.... god forbid if the candidates have to address( make a decision) the regulations/ or a change of such !!!! hey, isnt it somewhat slanted to paint a picture of some concealed weapon gun wearing expert to happen to be at the same place at the same time as some one needing to be rescued in that same moment?! The knight in shining armor simply looking to save !!! What a visual! Stat wise there are likley quite a few folks out in those campgrounds/ hotels/dorm rooms sitting around the campfire toasted on a few cold beers that have received their share full of reprimands etc..about their state of mind ( and/ or punching out a park neighbor). Seems like the more guns anywhere is asking for a greater % of accidents/mishaps involving others/ perhaps involving kids. The regulations as they are now are fine. Go ahead and wear that concealed gun if you think you have a mission; if you happen to save the moment you likely wont be charged. If you are so fear full about being where you are while on your way to no where while your gun is packed away in your vehicle( as it currently can be) , you've likley been watching too much TV . Having an informative hand-out/ survey given out to those actually visiting/coming thru the parks is a great idea.

  • National Park Quiz 3: Bridges   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Why, that would be the bridge that spans the Colorado River at the bottom of the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park.

  • National Park Quiz 3: Bridges   6 years 26 weeks ago

    BTW - in what Park *is* that bridge in the photo?