Recent comments

  • Waterfall Along Dunloup Creek   6 years 28 weeks ago

    I only have two small words for comment.
    "SIMPLY BREATHTAKING"
    Sincerely,
    Paula Jean Tyler

  • GPS Unit Leads Couple Into Trouble Near Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   6 years 28 weeks ago

    Oh my goodness. While I am glad that this story had a happy ending, it really brings to light the need to not become totally dependent on technology.

    Years ago our GPS unit (one of the first on the market because I married a technology geek) told us that we could take Mosquito Pass, near Leadville, Colorado, as a real travel route for the average driver. Having climbed Mosquito Pass, which is a difficult 4 wheel drive road at best, in a fully equipped Jeep, we laughed and laughed at the GPS unit and thought that surely no one could mistake Mosquito Pass for a regular road and attempt it in anything but an off road equipped vechile with an experienced driver. Well... if someone would try the Smokey Mountain Road... I hate to think how many rental cars have died on Mosquito Pass.

    Don't blindly trust technology, it is only as knowledgable as it's programmer.

  • National Park Service Considering Commercial Developments for Alcatraz   6 years 28 weeks ago

    I can't believe that the folks who offered comments are familiar with the Management Guidelines for the NPS and the legislation that created Golden Gate NRA of which Alcatraz is a part. The National Landmark Statement of Significance says: "Begun as a military fortification and the site of the first US lighthouse on the Pacific Coast (1854), Alcatraz was the first offical Army prison in the Nation. In 1934, the facility was transferred to civilian authority and it became the repository for the most hardened criminals. Alcatraz represents the far end of the penological spectrum, designed for punishment and incarceration only, rather than rehabilitation. The prison was closed in 1963 and ten years later the island was opened to the public as the first unit of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area." Historic areas within the National Park System were not created to generate money for whatever reason. They were created to PRESERVE the historic resouces and EDUCATE the visitor of the value of the historic area.

  • National Park Service Considering Commercial Developments for Alcatraz   6 years 28 weeks ago

    I went to Alcatraz a couple of years ago. They could use a place to get a bite of lunch. As I recall, if you got hungry there were no places to eat. While some visitor's services like food and restrooms to make the visit pleasant and comfortable are necessary, overnight lodging though seems unnecessary.

  • National Park Quiz 5: Biggest This or That   6 years 28 weeks ago

    Bob (Krumenaker), have you read Nevada Barr's two books set at ISRO? If so, are you interested in writing or collaborating on a review of Winter Study for Traveler? I'd really love to get an insider's view.

  • How Can We Build Advocates for the National Parks?   6 years 28 weeks ago

    Most people don't advocate for anything at all.

    However, of the small minority that advocate for something, it seems that most people will advocate for those things which are closest to them. Very few people have a direct relationship with the national parks that isn't trumped by some other interest. Even if you are interested in national parks, more likely you will be - like me, interested in a particular region rather than the parks as a whole themselves.

    People understand taxes and guns - health and food and education. It's a lot easier to get people to mobilize around those things which they are familiar.

    If we think of why the national park system is what it is - lands and places set aside as exceptions to the rule, as places that are supposed to be preserved because left to our own devices, we probably would have destroyed them - the park has always been kind of abstract from the direct experience of most. It is a place someone must go to - a place that is not immediately there. It takes an extra step, an extra step that is required because we don't really know how to care for anything on our own.

    I'm not sure there is an easy answer to advocacy for the parks - not sure there should be such a thing, at least as it is being imagined here. I can imagine what it would be like to advocate for a park, for a place - much harder for me to grasp how to build meaningful support for a set of places. It's not that it's impossible - people advocate for their country, which is even more abstract than the park system (but even then, people don't have to go to their country; they are already there). How do you advocate for parks when we are disconnected from them? It suggests strongly to me that we cannot really advocate for parks unless we also see something in the park ideal that is missing and should be present in our own lives. That's why guns in the parks resonates as an issue - it touches home, whether it's people's liberty or people's sense of safety. That's no doubt why buffalo in Yellowstone or snowmobiles doesn't. Very few of us have truly been touched by that issue.

    Anyhow, there's a lot here to think about.

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Wolf Killed Illegally Near Grand Teton National Park, $3,000 Reward Offered   6 years 28 weeks ago

    what about animals that are not beautiful ?
    why are people so attached to the Wolf ? It is just as much a vicious predator as any other in the wilderness.
    Is it because it looks so much like a beloved pet dog ?

    Be it a wolf, a bear, wolverine or what have you. If I perceive it to be a threat to my life, its goin down.

  • How Can We Build Advocates for the National Parks?   6 years 28 weeks ago

    Thanks for your comments Owen. I agree that Kurt does an outstanding job of demonstrating his love and concern for the Parks. The NPT is a daily read for me so that I can find out what's REALLY going on in the world. I join with you in saying, "Keep up the good work Kurt, and please don't get discouraged".

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 28 weeks ago

    What I believe to be *the* central problem with this issue is it's become a political football and so, as the scientists themselves admit, science is not the guiding light on this matter.

    As for whether it can be demonstrated that snowmobiles are impairing the park for future generations, as opposed to simply impacting it today, good point. But the science certainly is clear on the impacts that currently are occurring.

    Regarding impacts of snowmobiles vs those of summer auto traffic, I believe the current research has proved that snowmobile traffic, at its current level, far exceeds in emissions what the summer traffic does.

    I also think it's accepted and understood that parks are to be enjoyed, and so no one is about to talk about banning all traffic from Yellowstone. Rather, the idea is to minimize as much as possible the impacts from existing traffic. In the case of winter use, that can be done by phasing out recreational snowmobile access in favor of snowcoach traffic, which has fewer impacts.

    There also are options for reducing summer traffic loads -- namely public transportation in some form -- but the political gumption currently appears to be lacking for such a move.

  • How Can We Build Advocates for the National Parks?   6 years 28 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    Thank you for raising this issue on NPT. It's difficult for most people, for whom parks are one-time travel destinations, to become interested in the details of park funding issues when personal finances and free time become more restrictive and gasoline prices soar above $4.00 per gallon. For most people, the present "hot buttons" are the war in Iraq, the economy, health care, illegal immigration, and Election 2008. Amongst those concerned with environmental issues, the future impact of climate change has top billing.

    I'm certain that our parks will experience a major decline in park visitation this summer, at least those parks located far from major urban and suburban areas will be effected. Nevertheless, the economic forces of industrial tourism will strive hard to offer incentives to maintain and increase travel stops to parks, and these forces will translate directly into political pressure on how parks are managed at present and in the future.

    It is extremely difficult for park managers, focused first and foremost on the protection and preservation of natural an cultural resources, to execute a decision that is perceived by gateway communities to negatively impact park visitation and their economic well-being. For those parks traditionally subject to over-crowding, providing for tranportation means other than the private automobile will require wide-scale public support before the necessary funding can be put in place. Zion Canyon with its shuttle service appears to be one of the major success stories. But Yosemite Valley and Cades Cove still have a long way to go before the private automobile is replaced with another, more resource friendly, form of transportation. The Yosemite Master Plan discussed the elimination of the private automobile from the Valley floor more than 25 years ago, but it has not been implemented due to the perceived impact that such a decision would have on park visitation and the economy of gateway and regional communities.

    Unfortunately, few information sources openly discuss the effect of NPS budget shortfalls, and the impact of increased privatization and commercialism on the national park experience. The NPS can't and won't do this. Most of the established environmental organizations shy away from this level of detail as well. So, it's very difficult for the general public to become informed about park issues, unless the story is featured in local news.

    Fortunately online, NPT is becoming a major outlet of system-wide information about the the parks and the NPS. I find NPT to be quite effective in communicating the multifaceted story about national parks and the national parks system, including the present and future challenges faced by park managers and the various ways in which parks are relevant to the American public at large. Don't let the apparent disproportionate reader commentary on guns and deaths in parks get you down. Please keep up the good work.

    I am certain that your excellent article will generate much more discussion.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Glen Canyon NRA Starting Random Boat Inspections to Prevent Mussel Infestation   6 years 28 weeks ago

    they should check all boats,this has been a problem for years in the great lakes and other n/east areas,common lets wake up out west...all it takes is one boat..stop it now...

  • How Can We Build Advocates for the National Parks?   6 years 28 weeks ago

    Ouch!! You hit me hard with this one Kurt. I read the NPT daily but I rarely comment except for gun issues. We must ALL be enthusiastic about preserving our Parks. I'm not sure our government has the Parks' best interests at heart; just their own.

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 28 weeks ago

    Alas; "unimpaired for future generations" is a mighty limp criterion. It's not much of a stretch to say that lots of sustainable yield activities (including hunting, fishing, trapping, selective logging, and many kinds of gathering, just to name a few) would leave a park unimpaired for future generations.

  • How Can We Build Advocates for the National Parks?   6 years 28 weeks ago

    I can offer a few points of speculation on this:

      - The Federal budget process is very long and very opaque, from the time the President submit's his or her proposed budget to Congress in February, it is typically at least eight months, and often more, before a budget is actually passed. Plus, the intermediate steps to getting to that point involve a lot of parliamentary maneuvering, tons of long meetings, and plenty of spreadsheets - in ther words, budgets can be plenty boring.

      - Budgets don't typically involve matters of principle. Two persons who are equally concerned about the Park System can very honestly reach two different numbers on recommended funding levels for the Park Service for next year. By contrast, this "Guns in Parks" issue has become a proxy battle for those people who wanted to ban most forms of guns and the various friends of the NRA. The "2nd Amendment" debate is perhaps the one of the longest-running debates on the Internet. *Of course* it generated a ton of traffic. (To say nothing of the fact that the Supreme Court had already pushed the issue to near the top of the national agenda for this year.)

      - Most people recognize that one of the basic laws of economics is that "our needs are infinite, and our resources to meet those needs are finite." Everyone understands this in basic way when it comes to our household budgets - and it holds true of Federal budgets as well. The various members of Congress who set funding levels for the National Park Service (outside of NPS-generated revenues) are also hearing about the Nation's needs for:

        - more highways and transit to relieve congestion in our cities
        - more healthcare for the millions of uninsured in this country
        - better classrooms for failing schools in rural areas and inner cities
        - more research into alternative fuels, new cures for diseases, and basic science
        - more safety inspections of imported consumer goods and health inspections of our food supply
      And the list goes on. So the National Parks have to compete against all those funding priorities. Its a good fight - but its also anything but an easy one. And many honest people will set other priorities....

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 28 weeks ago

    I'd be curious to know how this lawsuit is proceeding. I think the environmental groups would have a fairly hard time with this case for two reasons:
    - it will be hard to establish that snowmobile use in Yellowstone is leaving Yellowstone impaired for future generations
    - any argument that did establish that snowmobile use in Yellowstone is leaving Yellowstone impaired for future generations would probably also not look favorably upon the number of automobiles that can be found on the Great Circle Road on any given day, and I think that there are very few people who are currently willing to attack automobile visitation to Yellowstone

  • National Park Service Director Bomar Scheduled to Meet With Mountain Bike Community   6 years 28 weeks ago

    You are correct that the Gila River Indian Community prohibits almost all access to Hohokam Pima National Monument, as they consider themselves to be descendents of the Snaketown inhabitants and because they consider Snaketown to be a sacred place. As best as I understand, the NPS does have minimal jurisdiction in the sense that if the Gila River Indian Community wanted to engage in some kind of development that would harm Hohokam Pima National Monument - I believe that the National Park Service would be able to step in to stop it.

    The one other NPS Unit with almost no National Park Service jurisdiction is Poverty Point National Monument - which is run as a Louisiana State Historic Site. They're actually rather resentful of the "National Monument" designation, and very much intend to keep the site under State jurisdiction. As near as I can tell, the NPS seems fine with that, given that the State is maintaining adequate preservation of the site.

    The NPS does often close critical habitat areas. Piping Plover closures are quite common in Gateway NRA, for example. Parts of the Dry Tortugas National Park are closed as migratory bird habitat. I'm sure there are probably many others.

    To further add to the confusion, though, there are actually at least a dozen Naitonal Parks that permit hunting. It may be fairer to say that National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges have similar levels of protection. There seem to be examples on both sides of one area having a greater degree of protection than the other.

  • National Park Service Director Bomar Scheduled to Meet With Mountain Bike Community   6 years 28 weeks ago

    Sport hunting is not a reliable indicator of protection. In the National Park System, sport hunting is permitted in national preserves (categorically, I think) and in some other parks. Among the examples are Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (feral hogs, several exotic game species), Cumberland Island National Seashore (archery deer hunts), and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (deer, small game).

  • National Park Service Director Bomar Scheduled to Meet With Mountain Bike Community   6 years 28 weeks ago

    Well, not all National Wildlife Refuges enjoy that high standard of protection, but some do. Pelican Island, the very first NWR, established in 1903, is off limits to visitors, as well as a number others.

    As far as I know, there is only one NPS unit, that is closed to the public: Hohokam Pima NM in Arizona, because it is inside the Gila-River-Reservation, or Gila River Indian Community as it is called now, of the Pima and Maricopa tribes. The National Monument was proclaimed to protect the prehistoric 'snaketown' settlement. I'm not familiar with all the details, but as far as I know, the NPS has no jurisdiction over the area and the tribes accept no public access.

    Do you know of just one NPS unit, or significant parts of a unit, that is closed to protect it from the detrimental effect of public access? I mentioned a few examples for that under the jurisdiction of other agencies. So in general a National Park has a higher standard of protection than a National Wildlife Refuge, just because you may not hunt in a National Park. But some NWRs have a higher standard than the National Parks.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 28 weeks ago

    I am offended and insulted, and angered, by your reference to us/ME as "some fool",
    We (Concealed Handgun Licensees) have a Background check performed on us; we willingly shell out hundreds of dollars to comply with all training & firearms requirements. We take carrying a concealed firearm very seriously & consider it to be just what it is - an awesome, major responsibility.
    I am a Vietnam veteran & former Police Officer who has a great appreciation - now - for all life & will still willingly step in to help in the capacity of Police Officer to stop a situation that endangers a life, any life.
    People like you incense me with their ignorant thinking and remarks.

    P S - (insert facetious remark here - we/I can shoot better than you can spell - "wildlife is safer and can do THERE own thing" ?

  • How We View National Parks Today Matters For Tomorrow   6 years 28 weeks ago

    Just remember Bob.......

    It's only those of us who freely admit that, in the grand scheme of things, we truly are neophytes in the intellect department, and are self-consciousless enough to admit that we don't know everything, that ever have a true chance to increase our knowledge base. After all, once you're omnipotent, what't left?

    FYI- I was almost certain you were perfectly aware of the political processes involved, but my diatribe was more directed towards the masses who may not have been so familiar with the overall scheme of things.
    I never mentioned anything about you and your idiocy. You should know by now that if I had thought so, you would have been made aware. Geez Prof, spit happens, even in the best of families!

    Thank you for not making constant reference to my own level of ineptness, though I've provided ample opportunity for such critique. Keep up the good work, both here and in SC.

    Any by the way, who bothers to proofread and spell-check?

  • National Park Service Considering Commercial Developments for Alcatraz   6 years 28 weeks ago

    It's a fine line between a national park being a "park" and a commercial attraction. A strict limit on commercialization would seem to be needed, allowing revenue for the park and at the same time the park is remaining true to it's purpose.

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   6 years 28 weeks ago

    It would seem that the conservationists are not going to be happy untill all human activity outside of the city limits is eliminated and you even have to wonder about there. The parks were established to be used. Yes we have to take care of over use and/or abuse but it was not intended to be reserved for any particular group including the granola crunchers.

  • National Park Service Considering Commercial Developments for Alcatraz   6 years 28 weeks ago

    I hope that Park advocates take a balanced look at this proposal. I think that a "night on Alcatraz" experience has a lot of potential to add value to the Park. Additionally, since this is an island in the middle of the Bay, additional visitor services would certainly have the opportunity to enhance the visitor experience, and to make it more enjoyable and comfortable. If those services also generate funds for historic preservation and interpretation, so much the better....

  • How We View National Parks Today Matters For Tomorrow   6 years 28 weeks ago

    Aha! Yes, the Internet is both virtue and vice - connections and discussions with like-minded people around the world, and all of our msitakes broadcast around the world as well.....

  • Lake Powell Expected to Rise 50 Feet This Summer   6 years 28 weeks ago

    The cut is for recreational boaters and the abiity to save time and more importantly, FUEL. I have read the comments from the various posters talking about climate change and can only smile and wonder to what extent everyone who posts about it really knows. Lake Powell was created for 2 purposes: 1) Provide back up water holding capacity for Lake Mead and 2) Provide employment and recreational oppurtunites to south central Utah and northern Arizona. Boaters spend loads more money then do hikers and backpackers, so unfortunately Lake Powell will rise and fall depending on the CO Basin snowpack or untill Lake Mead is low enought that it becomes the priority for refilling. Projections for Lake Mead this summer are that it will drop between 6 -19 feet more. Lake Powell was built before EIS's (Environmental Impact Study) were required for such projects and will continue to try and fulfill its primary purpose. What many don't realize is that Lake Powell is filling up, not with water, but with CO River sediment. This is going to happen regardless what happens with the SW and the amount of CO River runoff. The more snow, the more runoff, the more sediment, the faster it fills and the less it will hold. Less runoff only means it will take longer to fill with sediment.

    As Lake Powell fills with sediment the dredging and trenching will need to be increased to keep Lake Powell as a viable reservoir for the CO River drainage system--but at what cost? How many millions of dollars will it take to keep the reservoir usable?

    Climate change is happening regardless of who or what is causing it, it is happening. The mean ambient tempature for the world is rising and as the ice shelf's melt at the poles the proscess picks up speed. This has happened before according to the scientists who have been studying this issue. The difference is this time it will have far reaching effects on People and where the majority of the world population lives. Personally, I don't believe we can stop it or change the current course, maybe slow it down, but we have neither the will nor the money to stop it. Tokyo, LA, NYC, and the rest of the large cities that have develped along coasts are not underwater or are being theatened YET. New Orleans was underwater 2 years ago and we see the amount of $ill the Government is willing to deal with that mess. Add LA, NYC, Miami, SF, Seattle, SD, Houston, Boston, Baltimore, Washington DC, Coast of NJ, and numerous other high density areas and at some point there will be a huge mess to deal with--but till then lets leave will enough alone. Or as we have seen in New Orleans, people will just have to move. This will of course will be an economic Boom! More construction, new roads, new schools, Energy efficient buildings, new jobs, and all the wonderfully good things that go with mass relocation of families and business. For the life of me I can not think of any negatives.

    Remember to plan ahead, after all it was not raining when Noah built the ark!