Recent comments

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 36 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 36 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 36 weeks ago

    Nick,

    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 36 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 36 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 36 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 36 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 36 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 36 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 36 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 36 weeks ago

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

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   6 years 36 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 36 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 36 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 36 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 36 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 36 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.

  • Park History: Wind Cave National Park   6 years 36 weeks ago

    I think the stories that accompany cave discoveries are usually pretty funny. It is so typical that the caves find their discoverers. Thanks for the writeup Chance. Your contributions are a great addition to the site.

  • Zion National Park's New Backcountry Management Plan Reduces Daily Traffic in The Narrows   6 years 36 weeks ago

    50% increase in the subway? that's nuts. that route is already too crowded during the season when you don't need a wetsuit. i didn't read or comment on the plan, but that seems insane. i guess you can't trust the park service to really preserve an area. i say this because i've had to wait in line at certain obstacles on that route, and i've only hiked it 3 times. for the rest of you hiking the subway from now on, bring a book (but waterproof it before the hike.) start at the logical hour to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms, and you'll be waiting at the three rope areas. and, it's fragile riparian, with tons of frogs and fish and i'm sure the sunscreen slathered hikers won't do much damage to the area. white roses, ahoy!

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   6 years 36 weeks ago

    One of the reasons people go to National Parks is to escape the noise and hubbub of everyday life which I believe is one of the reasons the parks are becoming more and more crowded. If they add Segways, they may as well start adding carnival rides, Starbucks, shopping malls, and start tearing up beautiful land for condos and Qwik-E marts.... We need areas where we can escape this. I wouldn't want to see them in Cades Cove either. I don't know if I'd want to ride a Segway through there anyway with the higher bear activity - "Meals on Wheels". Sometimes I get nervous just riding my bike in there.

    For Cades Cove and maybe other parks where people just like to ride through and look, stopping occasionally, I think a sort of electric trolley or bus system where you sat facing out. You would pay fare like a bus and it would have certain stops. Though I have not visited Yosemite yet, I know that in the Smokies, most people drive through the park stopping at different points of interest such as historical buildings, overlooks and trailheads. We usually hit Cades Cove very early in the a.m. to avoid the long lines of traffic. I don't know if something like a trolley would help eliminate it but many of the vehicles going through there only have a few people in them and maybe by taking larger groups through at different times would help restore some of the peacefulness of the area, eliminate congestion and maybe generate some revenue....

  • Judge Tosses Surprise Canyon Lawsuit   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Have you ever road a dirt bike? Do you know how much energy it takes to ride one? Do you know how healthy you have be to ride a dirt bike? Do you know this is about jeeps and not motorcycles? Do you even have a clue about what your talking about?

  • Judge Tosses Surprise Canyon Lawsuit   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Please post a map showing the 97.5% of America that I can ride my ATV. I would like to go there. Who's makinr wild claims? Try 35% and getting smaller.

  • Judge Tosses Surprise Canyon Lawsuit   6 years 36 weeks ago

    These people won't stop until the only place we're allowed to go is our living rooms playing video games and filing law suits. And who says" Kudos ", anymore?

    Off roaders are the ones that pick up trash on the trails ie: toilet paper and water bottles. We treasure, clean, enjoy and experience these place with our friends and families. We take our children to these places and they take thiers. You people close it down , keeping us out of the natural cycle. In the mean time keeping us out of the places we love and enjoy, places many of you have never been or will ever go. Places that you will try to keep away from my children just to preserve your self rightous adjenda.

    This comment was edited to remove gratuitous insults and language.

  • Zion National Park's New Backcountry Management Plan Reduces Daily Traffic in The Narrows   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Good question, MRC. Some explanation:

    The on-line system was set up for Zion's frequent backcountry users. Those who qualify for the Zion Express Permit Program can go on-line three days prior to their trip and download their permit, as opposed to having to go into a visitor center for the permit, where backcountry users also receive a tutorial on Zion's backcountry.

    To qualify for the program, you must visit the backcountry desk one time every 3 calendar years and complete a simple 10 minute program.

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   6 years 36 weeks ago

    No, A simple answer to a simple question.