Recent comments

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

    Hey HH-

    Glad I could be of service. But let's say it was more of a heavy simmer than a rolling boil. I'll try harder next time.

    Many scientific conclusions, as well as the ever popular public opinions, are apt to be drawn from flawed information. That's why, as mentioned by your's truly in post after post, I'm a BIG proponent of "good science", which lends itself to a far lesser degree of misinterpretation of data than do bad data and general opinion, but still ain't perfect by any means. Science is not now, nor ever was a source of perfection, in no small part due to the fact that we're constantly dealing with a state of flux in our knowledge base. As techniques and tools develop to assist in collection of additional volumes and more accurate evidence, hypothesis have to be amended, and that is a good thing. It goes a long way towards lending "street cred" to our field, showing our ability and willingness to admit errors were made that were based on previous sampling, but that these previous conclusions were the best we could do at the time, based on the evidence that was available at the time. Now, as access to better methodology evolves, we readily (and sheepishly) admit our past ineptitude, and take a stand behind the new, cleaner, more substantial body of evidence. That new stance will remain, until the next generation of technology and enlightenment bring us to the next intellectual level and we are able to scale the next mountain. All science is capable of is the best it can do at any given time with what it has to work with, just like every other facet of our society. I don't think that makes us evil-doers, or the products of a "flawed" system. If we are to be labeled as such, then every other aspect of our character is likely equivilently flawed as well. I seem to recall a story about a certain group of people about 2000 years ago, who killed someone in a rather barbaric manner, and almost immediately upon achieving their goal, some say, realized their mistake, and all anyone could say was "oops". In the current scientific climate we try and limit the "oops" factor to the best of our ability, but there are still folks out there who have a notion that publicity is more desireable than accuracy, and run off at the mouth long before enough evidence is gathered to render a competent verdict.

    I'm not one to utilize a sole source of information to formulate my stance on any issue either. Science is nothing other than one arrow in the quiver. Limited scope produces limited and fundamentally skewed results. I'm in the discovery business, and we can't afford the "blinders on" view of the world.

    By the by, I don't think it was I who endeavored to resolve the term "unimpaired" for you. I can list the "official" Funk & Wagnalls for you, and I have my own addendum to their terminology based on the focal point of the discussion, but I'm fairly sure I'm innocent of all charges on that topic. But you're right, even our path to the stars isn't unimpaired, what with all those little nuisances orbiting the globe these days. In a purist sense, they qualify as "annoyances" since you'd have to schedule departure so as to avoid them, so your point is well taken.

    Next time I promise to really make your day and allow myself to achieve full-blown case of "The Bends"!!

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

    Science, history or RA management alternative issues may make for interesting conversation but dance around the issue of shoving accumulated silt out of a previously excavated channel. Which is all we are really talking about here. There are no sandstone cliffs involved. Only a salt cedar infested silt flat. Take another look at the photo at the page-head. And when one considers that this clean-out operation has already been performed in the past and the resulting channel has been historically flooded more often than not, it is truly amazing that the time and money expenditure for an EA is even required. As for the pros and cons of the proposal, the benefits are obvious to anyone familiar with the lower end of Lake Powell. If all other advantages are set aside, the annual savings in fuel consumed and exhaust gasses released by diesel powered tour boats and freight carrying commercial craft, gasoline powered NPS vessels, and recreational boaters, with up lake trips totalling numbers in the millions each year, should provide reason enough for supporting the proposal. To oppose the work would suggest the support of some alternative agenda beyond the facts on the ground.

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

    Kurt, an interview with the management at Chickasaw would be a good perspective to have here regarding the Rec Area vs. Park Service issue, and whether these areas really belong under NPS. They seem to have perennial problems with rowdiness, litter, boozefests, weapons, and the like, and I'd wager that it's a common thread among other Nat'l Rec Areas too.

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

    Whoa there Lone Hiker, I sure didn't mean to send you into Diabetic Ketoacidosis! But I sure love to get a man's blood boiling.

    Read carefully, I said science has a "history" of being "flawed." My point being that it doesn't provide all the answers and many of its conclusions become obsolete. I would never write off science, but I wouldn't but all my eggs in its basket either.

    Besides, weren't you the one who brought up the very lovely point that art and aesthetics can play a role in planning that, at times, can rival the practicality of scientific facts?

    I have doubts that science is capable a defining "unimpaired" because there really is no such thing. It's a human idea more than it is a quantifiable goal.

    Sorry Frank, I love you too. But even if Edward Abbey's ideas aren't antiquated, quoting him to make a point about preserving the environment is.

  • Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks   6 years 40 weeks ago

    Mack P. Bray,

    You said, "I was not aware that any for-profit, trail building businesses existed."
    In response, though supported by IMBA and a host of other groups, the Texas Trail docs are 501(c)(4) non-profit. Talon Trails are a for-profit organization that constructs a variety of trails, including hiking-only, depending on their customers' desires.

    Your comment "The fact that they exist says it all," doesn't quite say anything other than you're not contributing meaningful dialogue to this discussion, but rather relying on blanket statemtents like "Mountain bikes/bikers are a cancer in National Parks" to try and prove a point. This really doesn't seem very productive as far as reaching any sort of consensus is concerned. If you're not interested in consensus, then perhaps at least the prudent thing to do would be trying to educate the other readers rather than lambast those points of view that aren't your own.

    Frank and Bart, I'm enjoying the dialogue.

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

    Yeah, how many times can you say "I was just passin' through North Dakota when..."

  • House Resources Considers Legislation To Increase National Park Properties   6 years 40 weeks ago

    PS: Two books on workaholism:

    Work to Live: The Guide to Getting a Life, by Joe Robinson
    CrazyBusy, by Edward Hallowell

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

    There are arguments on both sides of this fence...but one thing cannot be ignored by either side. The proposed Castle Rock Cut would SAVE LIVES!! That is one point that cannot be argued or ignored in all of this. Lives are lost each year by boaters having to navigate the "Narrows" at Lake Powell. Opening the cut would alleviate this problem. Not to mention enhancing the efforts of rescue operations at the lake. You cannot put a pricetag on human life.

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

    Three cheers for TRNP! Like Merrylnd, I've olny been once, but I loved it! I've been trying to save money for another trip up there, but going from TN to ND isn't cheap..

    "Good Planets are Hard to Find"
    President, CHS SPEAK (CHS Students Promoting Environmental Action & Knowledge)
    Founder and President, CHS Campus Greens

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

    I agree with RRR's comments concerning safety, and economics ( saving money, time, and lives). There are more people using Lake Powell, on a yearly basis than all the wilderness areas of the whole west combined! I wish they would build more dam's up and down the Colorado River, not only for the recreational value, but for power generation that is clean and renewable. It would allow the dismantling of many filthy coal fired generating plants. As for the humpback chub, I say let them go the way of the carrier pigeon, and doddo bird. None of us will miss them.

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

    Moving some dirt and rocks around the bottom of the lake is not such a big deal. Doing so will save it's total cost probably in the first year. When the drought ends, (which it can in a single year), it's all covered with water anyway. Safety is also a major concern and such is a major concern for the NRA managers, the NPS. Dredging this small cut will wave lives, property, trauma, lawsuits and peoples investments in THEIR chosen method of recreating.

    As to the issues about NP's vs. NRA's and their joint management by the NPS. Well quite frankly a National Recreation Area is NOT a National Park! They should have very different management goals and the personel staffed at Rec areas should have a different mindset than what the NPS system provides. I think the Dept of Interior should create another division specifically aimed at managing rec areas and staffed with like minded people as well. They are different and require a different point of view in their management. (Yeah I said that twice)!

    For you science and history lovers, May I recommend reading "Forbidden History" by J. Douglas Kenyon.

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

    i hope all of you who feel so inclined to report on one of few truly decent people, take into account the fact that people who will actually miss him, may be reading all of your garbage........and not caring to see a picture of kurt repanshek(whoever that is) when they are trying to research what exactly happened to an extremely good man,

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

    We travel to Wymong as often as we can. Each time, we visit the Badlands and twice have camped there. In addition to running water and toilets, there are showers, a General Store and even a play area for the kids. The first time, we camped in a tent; subsequently, we "camped" in their Camping Cabins which can comfortably accomodate four adults. The sunrise and sunset is magical with its creeping shades of tan, rose and gold on every rock formation. As you stand in the quiet of the place, you feel as if you've returned to a land of long ago. The Badlands is one of my favorite places to visit. It's a place of serene beauty.

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

    It might be worth mentioning, that some of the most impressive scenes of the 1990 movie "Dances with Wolves" were filmed in the park. Particularly the early scene of a stagecoach driving through the prairie and the indian village at the river bend.

    PS: Since about a week, i never get the captcha right in the first place, either the captcha isn't displayed at all or the first try fails. The second attempt always go through. Maybe there is an issue with Firefox, would you please check this out?

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

    I had the experience of visiting this vast land filled with, what ilooked like giant sand castles. It was truly unbelievable. If one can think of the history that has past though this unforgiving land, it is remarkable. From the dinosaurs to the early homesteaders, to our native Indians, to present day vacationers. I was awe struck. At times I felt as though I was on a distant planet, until a mule deer, chipmunk, prairedog,wolf and many other wildlife past in front of our car. I am hoping to return agoin with our grandchildren.

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

    Only been here once but it's still one of my favorite parks. Was moving the family from west coast to east and had the moving truck towing a trailer with the family vehicle on the back. I parked in the Cottonwood campground, pulled my bike off the top of our car, and spent the next day riding my bike throughout the park. Back to town a few times and once around the loop, and boy did I see a lot of critters... more than I've seen in any park except perhaps Yellowstone. Being on a bicycle really made all the difference as I was very quiet as I rounded each bend, often surprising both myself and the animals crossing the road. Around one of those bends was probably the biggest bison I've ever seen and he was standing right in the middle of the road, so I dared not pass him. I had to wait it out perched up on a nearby boulder and boy he sure took his time moving along. At night, several bison came rummaging through the campground, which was rather disconcerting but it really gave you the feeling that nature was in charge here and you were just a visitor. My cats were along for the trip and when that first coyote howled and those cats heard that for what I'm sure was the first time in their lives, it was amazing to see their instincts kick in -- that the coyote was something Baaaaaaad.

  • Volcanics Pushing Yellowstone National Park Higher   6 years 40 weeks ago

    The Canyon Village Education Center has a nice exhibit on those ash volumes to help kids (big kids too) comprehend the size of such an explosion and the aftermath of the ashfall. I remember my geology professor in back in the fall of 1980 gave us each a small vial of MtStH ash to keep. I can't imagine having a whole yard full of it several feet deep...

  • House Resources Considers Legislation To Increase National Park Properties   6 years 40 weeks ago

    No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.

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

    I saw this on an episode of the old Jack Klugman series, "Quincy, M.E.", except the infection was initiated by a nest of decaying squirrels in a Native American burial ground, and it was mostly the local Native construction workers building a hotel / casino that were affected. Who says TV doesn't imitate real life?

    Our thought and prayers (if you do such things) should be with the fine young ranger and his family who in all likelihood, did nothing wrong but perform his daily tasks as an investigative biologist.

    I hope nobody confuses this manner of infection, in which "The Plague" induced acute pneumonia (hence the name pnuemonic plague,) which the original "Black Death" that swept through Europe a few hundred years back. This is an EXTREMELY rare mutation, albeit an extremely virulent manifestation. But this is a HIGHLY infectious but highly TREATABLE form, and unlike Mersa, our current strains of antibiotics will get you up and running again within 10-14 days, PROVIDED you seek assistance prior to the pneumonia becoming too deeply rooted in your respiratory tract. This lung complication is also the mechanism by which the infection becomes transient; the heavy cough, expelling "lung snots" and the omni-present respiratory mist facilitates a perfect medium by which transfer of bacterial laden specimens are readily passed from person to person without direct "personal" contact. But if you've been in this area and you're feeling "like a cold is coming on" or you're ignoring flu-like symptoms, and you start coughing up bloody discharges, you'd best get to a source of serious antibiotics PRONTO. Ignoring these conditions, given the strain of pathogen to which you may have been exposed, could be the last thing you'll even do on this Earth. But having stated that, I wouldn't avoid GCNP due to this one isolated instance either. At least I'm not altering my vacation plans.

  • Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks   6 years 40 weeks ago


    If I could share the specifics of what I'm talking about re closures, I'm sure you'd agree. These decisions were all about closing trails...not closing roads, ORV routes, etc. These decisions had nothing to do with "preservation," by the way. In principle, I agree with you about the importance of preservation. But I still believe you can preserve national parks and still allow the public to respectfully enjoy them.

    Perhaps other contributors can cite some examples of closures (or perhaps regulations?) they've witnessed that illustrate my original point of seemingly arbitrary decisions.

  • House Resources Considers Legislation To Increase National Park Properties   6 years 40 weeks ago


    Maybe Ranger Butt-Crack was merely trying to present an appropriate option for the placement of a pen?

    We've all heard the old cliche. Government workers are lazy, worthless, shiftless. Good thing they have brooms to lean on, or else they'd all be horizontal.

    That may be true with some agencies, but the cliche disintegrates when it comes to the NPS. Many of the organization's employees, in fact, are quite the opposite of lazy. They're extremely diligent...often to the tune of 12-hour days and 60-hour weeks. I once had a supervisor who worked so hard this person literally RAN down the hallway of our headquarters building!

    This WASPish work ethic may sound great on the surface, but it's yet another of many veiled failings. One reason is that the workaholic makes his/her coworkers and/or staff think they'd better work equally feverishly, or they won't rate. Suddenly working into the wee hours on a report that no one will read becomes more important than spending time with one's family. What a boost to morale!

    Equally insidious is the loss of focus that workaholism creates in a staff. If folks are working obsessively, everything they're doing must be hugely important. Suddenly meaningless bureaucratic tasks are given equal value to the truly important matters, such as updating bulletin boards, repairing vehicles, and picking up trash. Eventually, the importance of these latter tasks becomes diluted in the flurry of activity that workaholics create.

    It's all rather ironic, really. Here we are, charged with managing the kinds of places Everett Reuss and John Muir described as sanctuaries from the madness of "civilization." But nowadays it seems preferable to foster an atmoshpere of frantic deadlines and constant crisis.

    When's the last time you heard an NPS employee at a meeting say "I don't care!"? Our culture has conditioned us to brand such "apathy" as abhorrent. But saying "I don't care!" may really be another way of demanding, "Let's get our priorities straight!" The priorities of the NPS were spelled out nearly a century ago--very simply--with the Mission (I'll leave defining the Mission's exact interpretation to other dialog, Frank). Let's get back to it.

    Simple Proposal #11: Walk--Don't Run--Down the Hallway!

  • House Resources Considers Legislation To Increase National Park Properties   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Since you brought up the uniform thingy, I have a way to improve image and work accomplishment. It's also an appropriate response in light of the Veteran's holiday. If the NPS would quit bending the hiring process to the "What can we get away with" extreme and advertise positions based on the work function rather than building PD's that will get the good ole boys hired they will end up with a more "Proud and Professional " workforce. I am not saying that the present workforce is not hard working and proud of their accomplishments. I am pointing out that Veteans have loads of training in Leadership and management coupled with a work ethic that those who have not served could not begin to understand. The NPS has very limited training resources and should take advantage of the existing experience and training in the Veteran workforce.

    Having worked in more parks than I can count on one hand, and being a Service Connected Disabled Veteran I feel qualified to comment on this subject. I have felt the bite of the animosity held by non veteran hiring officials who throw out certs because "they re-evaluated their needs". I cannot count the number of times that I have heard that a cert was ruined by the dammned veterans. I am not supporting that all veteran applicants be hired....I support hiring the best qualified and best fit.

    Several things would result from hiring the best qualified candidate. You would have leadership who understands the phrase of "Doing more with Less". Uniform standards would be taken to a whole new level. I was very proud of my career in the military and my uniform showed it at ALL times. I am even more proud of the Green and Grey and believe I have a responsability to represent the NPS in a professional manner at ALL times. Finally there would be an atmosphere of employee development and constant improvement. I would no longer have my evaluation thrown on the desk with a response of "here sign this".

    For all those who served, THANK YOU

  • Volcanics Pushing Yellowstone National Park Higher   6 years 41 weeks ago

    One thing I heard Bob Smith say when I just happened to be in Canyon (on my hiker/biker trip) when the new educational center opened was that it's not possible to discern when the next eruption, if there is one, will be. One thing people seem to say is that because the last two eruptions had a consistent interval that this will have a consistent interval. No one can confidently draw that generalization from just a couple eruptions.

    There are so many fascinating things to think about, though, with this volcano. Did you know the source of the hot spot beneath the earth extends actually as far away as Dillon, MT, for instance? Also, Smith suggested evidence is that the hot spot does not extend to the next layers of the earth as previously thought. So, what causes this?

    It's really neat stuff to think about, that the earth moves up and down, that land in Yellowstone Lake appears and is covered by water depending on what the caldera is doing.

    No one can really imagine what 2,500 times Mt. St. Helens is or what the ash would look like. Look at these images for examples.

    Map of ash range
    Graph of Explosion size

    These kinds of forces are amazing. It puts our sense of conversation, of "saving the earth," of our political issues into perspective. If we live in a world where Yellowstone will explode, where the sun will one day give out, what is conservation and environmentalism about exactly? Perhaps, we need metaphors better than "saving the earth" (even for future generations). I think there perhaps are better ways to think of why we care about protecting thermal features than to preserve them for future generations. Isn't there something else behind it? Those are the sorts of things that the Yellowstone supervolcano makes me think about. That, and, it sure is pretty neat to say you've slept, eaten, peed, and made love on top of the bed of a volcano.

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

  • Ghost at Blevins Farmstead; Excerpt From 'Haunted Hikes'   6 years 41 weeks ago

    jr ranger, my people are from that area. And I agree with you, Big South Fork is a gorgeous sleeper of a park that deserves much more than 15 minutes of fame. But then that leaves more room for us while visiting, doesn't it?

    I spoke with Howard during my research, and I want to hear more BSF stories. I'll be in touch!

  • House Resources Considers Legislation To Increase National Park Properties   6 years 41 weeks ago

    I didn't know that there were plumbers doubling as rangers. That explains alot. Too much information Frank!