Recent comments

  • Lynx, Long Sought in Yellowstone National Park, Is Caught on Film   6 years 38 weeks ago

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

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   6 years 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 weeks ago

    No, A simple answer to a simple question.

  • Zion National Park's New Backcountry Management Plan Reduces Daily Traffic in The Narrows   6 years 38 weeks ago

    Does the three-day-rule for online permits mean, that no one can plan their backcountry trip in Zion more then three days ahead? This won't be popular by visitors from out of state or even international visitors. If you pla a two weeks holiday in southern Utah and northern Arizona, you want to make a reservation of the one big backcountry trip weeks, possibly months in advance, to plan your whole traveling around it.

  • Cape Lookout National Seashore Visitors Seem to Prefer Things Rustic   6 years 38 weeks ago

    Hear Hear. Cape Hatteras is really developed, so if you want a developed national seashore, you can go there, and if you want a more rustic/natural seashore then Cape Lookout is the place to be. I love that there is no road access to Cape Lookout. That's what makes it so nice--and quiet.

    "God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars." -Martin Luther
    The Lone Ranger

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   6 years 38 weeks ago

    I absolutely love the National Parks. Although Yosemite is amazingly beautiful, it does not rank in my top ten favorite parks as it does for many people. Why not? It was too crowded. Adding Segways would only contribute to the congestion and detract from the purpose of National Parks and the beauty that they preserve. We need to encourage the National Park Service to prohibit Segways from becoming a part of the National Park System.

  • National Park Service Retirees Outline 2008 Goals for Park Service   6 years 38 weeks ago

    There is a glaring ommission in the retiree wish list. None of their items are even vaguely possible without clear, loud, unwavering support from our elected officials.

    Who in Congress is an outspoken advocate of the parks themselves? Many are trying to find ways to make money off the parks (concession contracts, fee hikes, mining/forestry/hunting rights, etc.), but, to my knowledge, none of our elected federal officials are actually and truly advocating the protection, promotion, and improvement of the sites in our National Park System.

    On my wish list for 2008 is the election of candidates who believe in and support the NPS as it is truly intended.

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   6 years 38 weeks ago

    I cringe at the thought of hordes of Segways jostling for position in Yosemite - or any other large park - while the operators make a mint. They would be a nice alternative to the eternal traffic jam at Cades Cove in Great Smokies, though, if done properly.
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Emerson

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   6 years 38 weeks ago

    I agree with all the other previous posters here. However, should we ask the reason that people visit the parks? I used to look down on people who experience the park from the inside of their car, or those who never venture more than 100 feet away from their motor homes.

    Is the goal for people to get value out of their park? Yes. Can people get value from Yosemite without ever leaving a car? Yes. Can people enjoy Lake Mead while drinking beer in a motor boat? Yes. These people may not get as much value as people who go for a hike or camp in the backcountry. Personally, I would say that you can't really experience a park unless you get out in it, (e.g., going for a hike), and that drinking beer in a motor boat on Lake Mead is not the best way to experience one's park, but I can't say whether those other uses of a park are necessarily wrong or bad. It may not be the perfect way to do so, and I would say that people who ride a Segway around Yosemite Valley would not get as much out of it as I would on a hike.

    So, NO, I don't think Segways are a worthwhile way for somebody to "experience their America." At least not for me, but if somebody gets some extra appreciation of Yosemite while riding on a Segway, is that a bad thing?

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   6 years 38 weeks ago

    It is wrong., goes against my personal ethics that Our National Parks are considered a source of profit for private corporations.

  • 2007's Top National Park Stories   6 years 38 weeks ago

    Just found your website. From what I have seen so far, looks good. I am a lifetime visitor of our National Parks and over the past ten years spend as much time, more really, visiting them on the web. What I have found over the last 12-18 months, since their websites have been taken over by the Washington Repubs, is the lowering of content. The news releases from the different parks has all but disappeared. The content that was put-up by the staff of the various parks has all but disappeared. It, that content, showed what made each park unique. But now, it has been replaced by bland cookie cutter info. The webcams are often times inoperative.
    It is easy to believe that the people in charge of the NPS websites are working in a basement room somewhere and I personnally have no doubt they (I really doubt that there are more than two doing the work) have been to a park or stayed longer than it took to watch Oldfaithful erupt.
    It is to me the real show of negelect to which our National Park System is being subjected. We need to do more to save these wildplaces.

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   6 years 38 weeks ago

    Wow kurt you have brought out the longest list of comments on any article i have read so far. good job. segways like many products have a place in the market, is the National Parks a viable market? maybe. would it be better to fire up a 4x4 pickup truck to run next door or use a segway? less fuel no pollution. Do we need segways running around a park like mopeds on a island in the caribbean? NO.

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   6 years 38 weeks ago

    This fall I was on the waterfront of the SF Maritime museum building that is being renovated and Golden Gate Park. I was enjoying a very nice evening walk along with several other walkers/runners when along came a Segway tour. I can only assume this group had a commercial use permit to operate within the park. This tour didn't slow down or detour and actually the tour leader honked a horn at those of us in his way and shouted as us to move! How's that for a friendly tour? If this is the future of the Segway in the NPS I say no way in addition to all of the other reasons stated above.
    Also, if you've ever had the chance to be on a Segway, you might find out that they might make parks more accessible for some with disabilities, but many will not be able to use them due to the stamina and fine motor skills needed to operate them. As it has been pointed out you must stand and in addition have excellent balance since the movements are controlled by the operator leaning forward, backward and twisting side to side.