Recent comments

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 40 weeks ago

    First, I ain't no "huggie".

    Second, I don't worry about perosnla contact with these chemicals due to my extensive education and training in the proper methodology of handling corrosive, toxic, and otherwise harmful subtance. You don't do my type of work if your a careless intellectual midget.

    Finally, genetics and personal biochemistry play a larger role in longevity and resistance to disease than you can possibly imagine. What are perceived to be "small, insignificant" exposure levels to one group are measured as toxic levels to others. Some people have aren't effected by a "normal" dose of Tylenol and eat them by the handful. Others pass out after taking a dose of Vick's Ni-Quil. That specific cause / effect ratio is one of the pet projects in my lab. Sequencing and understanding a mammalian genome is a walk in the park relative to decoding personal biochemistry and the related immunological factors that they influence. That your relatives enjoyed extended lifespans is enviable. But it's hardly worth betting your own life on a similar time frame unless you're willing to copy their lifestyle as well as their genes. Fatty foods and alcohol can to some degree be countered with exercise and an otherwise active lifestyle. They weren't exposed to the barrage of organic waste, microwaves, and other radiation, along with food "preservatives" and additives, including high levels of salt in most all the crap you ingest made outside your own kitchens, that we are forced to endure as part of our highly "advanced" society.

    For what it's worth, I'm not even worried about you. You control your own destiny, not me brother. So live fast or slow, party hard or hardly, eat whatever you want, and you'll die anyway. The only choice you have is a slow, painful death or a relatively quick one. But in either case I'm not concerned. Why worry about things you can't control, like lifespans? (Insert refernece to Jim Fixx and Ule Gibbons here.) But it's possible that some education into the cause and effect scenarios might be useful to you in planning your next big whatever you do.

  • Don Barry Describes Starving the Beast   6 years 40 weeks ago

    This is so very true. And what Mr. Barry doesn't mention is the public also sees that the government is incapable or incompetent, and they, too, want programs eliminated or outsourced. Perhaps not those directly affected, but definitely others who say "why do we fund Project X? It's a disaster!"

    The public thinks they are seeing tax dollars wasted, but what they are really seeing is underfunded agencies doing the best they can, but ultimately failing because the job is too big.

  • Park Trips: Paddling Into Yellowstone National Park   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Richard, I mentioned the Shoshone Geyser Basin down in the 12th paragraph, although there are no hot springs there that you can bathe in. To find those, you have to head down to "Cascade Corner" in the southwestern corner of the park. There you'll find some stretches of river where hot springs discharge into the river waters, allowing for bathing. There also are some spots along the Gardner River near Mammoth Hot Springs where you can soak in warm waters.

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Anon - I hate to tell you this, but only one of my four grandparents lived that long. The one grandfather who smoked (none of the rest smoked or drank) died in his early 60's.

    You know why my other grandpa lived so long? Because his body was in much better shape. He did farm work most of his life, spent much time outdoors and got PLENTY of exercise - as a way of life (he called it work, not exercise). Ironically, he had a much harder life than me, relatively speaking, but was much healthier than me overall, because he wasn't exposed to some of the things I've been exposed to.

    Worry? No. I don't worry daily about the chemicals that people have mentioned. Frankly, I think - to some extent - they are unavoidable, because Americans rage against changing their so-called cushy lifestyles. But I do try to watch how I live. And I agree with Lone Hiker.

    Jen

  • Park Trips: Paddling Into Yellowstone National Park   6 years 40 weeks ago

    The 1st paragraph mentions hot springs, but never mentions them further. Are there hot springs you can bathe in? Why mention them and fail to describe them?

  • National Park Service Lacks the Funds to Purchase Critical Inholdings   6 years 40 weeks ago

    I thought about "would retailers come to an area as remote as some of these very popular locations."
    If these areas were not under the purview of the National Park Service and under private hands, IMO
    I think these areas would have been well developed by now.

    Look up the Moraine area of the Rocky Mountain National Park where hundreds of people who had settled there (basically a small
    city had taken root) were moved out I believe in the early 1900's. I walked that area this year and it was hard to believe that so many people had been living there. Remember that the very remote areas will always remain so, but the most popular spots, which happen to be some of the unique ones, are the ones that would be overrun in no time, making more remote areas vulnerable.

    Another point is to review the large areas of commercial ventures at the front doors of many of these parks, if it wasn't for the Park Service, there would be no front doors to hold them back.

    IMHO.

  • Review: Wild Soundscapes, Discovering the Voice of the Natural World   6 years 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 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 40 weeks ago

    "Steepest price"... I like that.