Recent comments

  • Yellowstone Bison Population Healthy; Montana Priming For Hunts   6 years 40 weeks ago

    It's fairly simple: since we limited their range and removed the top predators (Indians, mostly, but also grizzlies and wolves) the number of Yellowstone bison will exceed the cold-season capacity of their range unless some are removed. As the local wolves recover they should make some impact, but wolves are really a little small to take full-grown buffalo. Deer and elk are more their size.

    At no time in the last 15,000 years or more have the bison in that area not been hunted, killed and eaten by human beings. We're top predators too; it's What We Do. Before human beings arrived, there were lions and sabertooth; the paleo-Indians probably put paid to them by killing off their preferred prey species.

    So unless you'd like to introduce and acclimatize Siberian tigers (which would be a cool idea, actually), it's human-as-predators or starvation for the surplus bison.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Well said RainyRoads. I agree with you 100%. I am wheel chair bound. Because I can access Lake Powell by boat, I have seen wonders I would have never seen. I even got to see Rainbow Bridge once, when the Lake was Full. I have seen Dino tracks, petrified wood on the shore line from my boat. These things I cherish and am glad to be alive to enjoy them. The Park Service has done a wonderful job to make this park accessible to all. I have a few friends that hike the Lake and show me pictures of the things beyond the shore lines I have enjoyed seeing very much. It was not for Lake Powell I would have not known these friends who have helped me to enjoy the park even more.
    But to make your point, Lake Powell part of the park is very small compared to the places people can go that is untouched. Many people use a boat to start there journey to get to these places.
    So if digging out the cut makes this park more accessible and safe for ALL, I am ALL FOR IT.

  • With The Off-Season Here, Lodging Deals Are Popping Up Throughout the National Park System   6 years 40 weeks ago

    It's interesting that the first words are "Students are back in school", so now lodging rates go way down. Precisely fits with the previous articles on why kids aren't being brought to national parks as much.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Bart, Thanks for sharing another simple, but elegant, Simple Proposal. I agree the NPS should stick to its mandate: preserving areas. "Shaping hearts and minds" can't be found in the 1916 charter.

    But when I write my annual check to the federal government . . .

    That's interesting. The federal government takes my hard-earned money each pay period before I even get to see, touch, or use it. Guess they figure if I had to write a check every year, I might not write one or I might not pay the full amount. They'd be correct; I'd subtract the percentage that goes toward the illegal invasion of Iraq and send in the rest. Let the people who want to pay for the invasion pay for the invasion, and let the people who want to pay for national parks pay for national parks.

  • Online Geothermal Inventory to Yellowstone National Park   6 years 40 weeks ago

    I've never been to Yellowstone National Park; only imagined how it looked by the descriptions of others. Today, I was fascinated. For the first time, I saw the springs, lakes, geysers - all the geothermal features of this amazing land. Through the Research Coordination Network site, I saw these wondrous and beautiful features. Yellowstone and Montana State University have brought the Park to the people that will never get the chance to visit in person. What an adventure!

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 40 weeks ago


    Your second Tilden quote and accompanying commentary have me eager to post Simple Proposal #8...

    An insidious transformation has occurred in the NPS. Many of its employees are now obsessed with shaping the worldview of park visitors.

    Innocently enough, this started with trying to make visitors better "park stewards." You know, don't throw trash, don't pick wildflowers, don't feed the chipmunks. Fair enough.

    But over time, the goals have morphed. Nowadays rangers are often expected to turn park visitors into "global stewards"...obedient soldiers who will march back home to fight the war against environmental destruction. I can see it now...Ethyl & Bill Dokes, retired grocery store checkers from Rapid City, roaring home in their RV while torching every billboard they see along the way.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm very much against environmental destruction. I oppose population growth. I donate generously to private, non-profit organizations which acquire and preserve land. I also donate to organizations which fight for legitimate environmental causes. And, like verbose Freeman, I choose quality over material superfluity. Oh...did I mention that I oppose population growth?

    But when I write my annual check to the federal government, I want my money spent on providing something in return. Regarding national parks, I want my money spent on maintaining trails, protecting wildlife from poachers, and replacing faded signs. I want my money spent on rangers who can tell me about their park...why it was established, how its ecosystems function, and what cultural treasures it holds. I'm also grateful to being informed about legitimate threats to the parks.

    But I'm not happy when the government and its employees cross the line into trying to "shape people's hearts and minds" in a global sense. That role should be left to private interests, who receive their money through voluntary donations.

    As I recall, shaping hearts and minds was a primary goal for the Iraqi people pre-invasion.

    Simple Proposal #8: Think not what your taxpayer can do for you; Think what you can do for your taxpayer.

  • With The Off-Season Here, Lodging Deals Are Popping Up Throughout the National Park System   6 years 40 weeks ago

    It is interesting that the snowmobile package is included in this advertisement considering recent articles on Yellowstone.

    Shouldn't the "Wake Up With Wildlife" snowmobile tour in Lamar be called "Wake Up The Wildlife" instead?

  • Misty Hike at Yosemite's Vernal Fall   6 years 40 weeks ago

    A great shot. I'm not an English teacher, but the correct name is Vernal Fall - not Falls. If water cascades on its journey down it's called FALLS - as in Yosemite Falls. If the water essentially goes straight down its FALL....singular. April, May and early June are typically gushers at the falls in Yosemite. This year the snowack was only 25% of normal, so the flow was way down. Most of the falls were trickles by mid-July.

    Also, I recommend hiking poles for this hike. There are 700 granite steps on the lower Mist Trail - the wet one!

    Rick D

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 40 weeks ago

    The subject of Glen Canyon and Lake Powell is one that draws a very emotional response from a variety of people. If Glen Canyon was exposed all the way to the level of the Colorado River, I would love it. Now that Lake Powell has been filled, I love it far more. Those who would battle to drain Lake Powell simply do not understand that a huge part of the canyon is now available to thousands of people who would otherwise have no access to this national treasure.

    Before Lake Powell, one had to be physically fit and probably reasonably young to brave the desert heat and sheer sandstone cliffs in order to see much of the canyon on foot. Now, with at least 3/4 of Glen Canyon still above water, it is all easily available to anyone, regardless of physical condition, age or even serious handicaps, all from the comfort of a boat. That to me makes Lake Powell an asset well worth supporting and even improving. I agree with the poster above who stated: "The only reason I can think of why anybody would oppose deepening the "CRC", is someone who has never been to Lake Powell."

  • Haunted House at Antietam National Battlefield?   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Glad to see you liked my story.

  • Crater Lake, On Average, Is Deepest Lake in North America   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Thanks for bringing us this story. No matter its depth (average or maximum or otherwise), Crater Lake for me is the most beautiful lake I've ever seen.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 40 weeks ago

    The only reason I can think of why anybody would oppose deepening the "CRC", is someone who has never been to Lake Powell. Someone who has never traveled up-lake through the "Maytag Straits" on a busy day in the summer. Someone who has never been hurt or injured (or heard stories about the same) up-lake and waiting that extra emergency response time for medical assistance.

    The "CRC" has no cultural or historical significance. It has been deepened twice previously. When (or if) this prolonged drought ends, it will not be seen again. There will be no visible "scar" on the landscape.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 40 weeks ago

    I fail to see why anyone would be against this project. It's a win for "Environmentalists" in fuel savings and reduction of exhaust emissions. It's a win for boaters and fishermen. It's a win for the NPS and the over all safety of those using the area in greatly improved response time to emergency and potentially life-threatening situations. What's not to like?

    All we're really talking about here is the removal of some silt accumulation from a channel that has been deepened twice in the last 30 years. No virgin sandstone deposits are being threatened and there is no impact on either the paleontology, geology, or historical sites of the GCNRA. I say, "Git 'ur done!"

  • The Yellowstone Precedent   6 years 40 weeks ago

    I am not arguing that snow coaches wouldn't be a better choice. But to put it in perspective how would the general public feel towards limiting the number of automobiles during the summer months? Or lets do away with personal conveyances completely and only allow access by hybrid buses. I would be in favor of this type of measure but I also realize not everyone would be so accepting. I am happy that there is at least some form of restrictive action being taken and that the issue is being debated. I am disgusted with the fact that many who had the opportunity to take action in the past are now the voices who criticize and point the blame towards the current administration. I do have hope that there are those on both sides who truly wish to see improvements in the process rather than political advantages.

  • The Yellowstone Precedent   6 years 40 weeks ago


    You're correct that this dilemma did not arrive overnight. But I wonder what you mean when you say, "at least this current administration is doing something"?

    The record of the past six years clearly shows that each time a study was conducted and pointed out that snow coaches were the cleaner alternative for the park, the administration ignored it and insisted on a new study. Even the most recent EIS points out that BAT snow coaches emit fewer emissions in the form of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide than snowmobiles and are quieter, and yet the administration still supports snowmobiles.

    You can find all the latest technical documents at this site. The emissions data are in Chapter 4.

    As far as the requirements that all snowmobiles be BAT 4-strokes, stay on the roads, and be guided: 1) The science shows BAT snow coaches are cleaner than BAT 4-strokes; 2) snowmobiles have always been required to stay on the park's roads, and there have been numerous infractions of that requirement, and; 3) as this story demonstrates, even supposedly guided trips can be dangerous.

  • The Yellowstone Precedent   6 years 40 weeks ago

    It looks more like an example of Al Gorism...The coalition of NPS Retirees were the guys who had power and control for the last 25 years and did nothing about the snowmobiles in Yellowstone. Now they want to blame the Bushies for taking too little action. At least the current administration is doing something. Don't dare mention that the new policy restricts the number and type of snowmobiles, only allowing travel on existing roads and only allowing 4 strokers. The other side will say that they didn't have the scientific information that is now available....I find it difficult to believe that NPS leaders of the past couldn't figure out that screaming unrestricted smoke bellowing snowmobiles did damage to the environment. I doubt MSNBC (Make Sure No Bush Compliments) will cover this story accurately.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 40 weeks ago


    Shame on you hunters that call yourselves 'men'. You are a disgrace to the majority of decent minded people of your wonderful country. I do not like hunting in any form but am prepared to maintain an open mind but what I have seen here is in no way fair play. The law must be changed to stop this mindless slaughter which cannot in any way be referred to as 'sport'. I hope to visit Alaska next year and would pray that some progress will have been made to stop this senseless behaviour.

  • Park History: Arches National Park   6 years 40 weeks ago

    One should mention another highlight of Arches NP. Do the ranger let walk into the Fiery Furnace section. It is kind of a nursery for arches, here you can see them in the making. There is at least one tour every day and if you are hooked, you can return to the area on your own - but need a backcounty permit for that.

  • Park History: Theodore Roosevelt National Park   6 years 40 weeks ago

    My wife and I stopped at TRNP South Unit for an afternoon on our way out to Olympic this past summer. We were really entertained by all the prairie dogs along the road. And the bison nursing her calf in the middle of the road. We had to wait for them to move! And the color of some of the rocks remind us of Zion NP. We hope to spend a night there next summer on our vacation and also catch the northern unit.

  • Plague Suspected In Death Of Grand Canyon National Park Employee   6 years 40 weeks ago


    You're obviously very close to the situation that happened with Mr. York, and as such I hope you will accept my most sincere condolences on the loss of your comrade. I never professed any knowledge of Eric, but I too feel a loss whenever a member of our brotherhood passes, whether after a long and distinguished career or most prematurely, as it was in this case.

    I'm also sorry that you didn't locate the information, biographical or otherwise, that you were seeking when you chose to investigate this column. But Kurt, one of the editors and co-founders of this site, handled the posting of what information was available at the moment in a much more sensitive and humane manner than did say, the original AP story that I picked up on via another "strictly news" site. I'm sure your anger towards the editor was mostly a result of the frustration you felt at not being able to resource the depth of information which you were seeking. But the columns that appear within the scope of this site are hardly the stuff of which the term
    "garbage" would be a proper classification. What this site is meant to be is an exchange of ideas, opinions, information, on a variety of topics, mostly related to issues on a wide scope of within the auspices of the NPS. Since your friend was in the employ of the park services, this story was indeed appropriate. If you would care to enlighten all of the readers and contributors, like myself, to any additional information that you might be willing to share regarding more specific details of the circumstances surrounding the passing of Mr. York, I know that many people would be most interested in your findings.

    Again, as a fellow biological scientist of your friend Eric, please accept my deepest sympathies.

  • Museum of the National Park Service Will be Built in West Virginia   6 years 40 weeks ago

    I'm astounded... speechless. Americans love their National Parks, of this there is no doubt. It is one of the only efforts our government makes that actually preserves the natural beauty and historical sites of this country, and actually touches the lives of regular Americans. But a museum???? to the NPS???? Are they NUTS??? What a horrible waste. Right now there is a huge backlog of maintenance for NP sites, and they are going to spend money aggrandizing a government department? What's next -- a museum of the General Accounting Office?

    "It will house significant artifacts drawn from national parks" - WHAT? They will remove artifacts from National Parks and re-locate them from where they have any relevence to some building in West VA?

    Yes - this has Byrd poop all over it.

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 40 weeks ago

    This is funny. This type of "crime" has gone on for many decades. My in-laws both worked with the BOI and I think my father-in-law built up a nice workshop with Gov't tools. I know he sure passed some my way. I can remember when the Fed budget wasn't passed during Clinton's term and they all had a paid 3 week vacation. My in-laws came to visit and whined and whined about being out of work for 3 weeks. After a couple days of that I reminded them it was a "paid vacation" and one that no workin stiff who pays their wages would EVER get. They got in a huff and left in their motorhome for other more friendly places. Oh yeah, they did get paid for that lost time. That, to me, was the same as stealing the taxpayer's money.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Haunted Hiker said: Devil's advocacy aside, the NPS seems to have much more urgent problems than to spend precious funds "planning to plan" in order to open a channel up to boaters."

    As long as the process dictates that the NPS perform an EA to undertake what is specifically removing a couple of feet of silt and rock from the now dry lake floor, then so be it. The Castle Rock Cut widening project is a win for the environment (less gas and carbon generated by boaters) and safety (shaves at least an hour off first responder times). The NPS process has been perverted by environmentalist to slow down (aka preserve) the status quo at NRAs. In the case of Lake Powell, the Castle Rock Cut issue gives them hope that if the drainers stop this project, they can eventually get the Glen Canyon Dam removed. Pipe dream of the Abbey followers for a long time. It is time they get a clue, boaters have rights to the NRA they recreate in and we are going to make sure our requirements for safe/quick passage are recognized by the NPS in what should be a trivial administrative process to get the CRC open to boaters at 3600’

  • The Yellowstone Precedent   6 years 40 weeks ago

    This is another example of this administration pandering to groups that oppose ecological restraint. It makes little difference what science say if it disagrees with the environmental terrorists of the Bush administration. Atypical example is "reducing fire hazards"by cutting older trees but leaving the undergrowth, which is where the fire propagates.

  • Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water   6 years 40 weeks ago

    May I offer another person that should be banned from the national park quotation lexicon: Freeman Tilden! His sappy blather has guided the interpretive process in the NPS for well over a half century and it's high time that the agency stepped out of its darkened shadow. I offer a couple gems from this supposed genius:

    "The true interpreter...goes beyond the apparent to the real, beyond a part to the whole, beyond a truth to a more important truth."

    "I have always thought of our Service as an institution, more than any other bureau, engaged in a field essentially of morality--the aim of man to rise above himself, and to choose the option of quality rather than material superfluity."

    Tilden's work has not only faded into a quaint anachronism, but has mired the field of interpretation in its murky syrup for way too long. If Abbey goes-----I say Tilden too!