Recent comments

  • National Park Service Claims to Have Added New Map Feature to Web Sites   6 years 36 weeks ago

    I have to say that the NPS has upgraded their website in the past 20 months or so, from horrendous to almost mediocre. There's still lots of improvement they could do, but they are trying. Adding the maps is a huge help, even if they aren't topos.

  • U.S. Sen. Coburn Runs Poll On Whether "Concealed Carry" Should be Allowed in Parks   6 years 36 weeks ago

    I've always said Senators can't add correctly...no wonder they can never find enough money for the NPS.

  • Cycling at Haleakala National Park Given "High Risk" Rating   6 years 36 weeks ago

    NOW they tell us! When Sandy and I took this bike ride down Haleakala in 1992, it was a lot of fun and seemed quite safe, even for us relatively inexperienced riders. Some pretty slick advertising had enticed us to sign on for the bike ride -- and get out of bed to board the the shuttle van at a god-awful early hour. As I recall, the brochure we responded to featured pictures of (ex) Vice President Dan Quayle and his family enjoying the ride. The tour operator gave us an excellent orientation as well as a practice session that emphasized safety. We were repeatedly assured that the ride would be easy, and indeed there was only a quarter-mile of pedaling required on the entire trip from mountain top to the ocean. We were even told (inaccurately, it turned out), that our breakfast stop near the foot of the mountain would be a champagne brunch. Sandy was mortified to learn that the bike trip down Haleakala is now considered dangerous. That said, this ride was one of the most interesting and memorable experiences that my wife and I have ever had in a national park. We're glad that we weren't scared off.

  • U.S. Sen. Coburn Runs Poll On Whether "Concealed Carry" Should be Allowed in Parks   6 years 36 weeks ago

    I must have missed something. Joel seems to imply some one suggested there was a national CCW permit issurer out there somewhere. Have no idea if he was referring to my comment in my statement that my CCW permit should be recogniized in a NP anywhere. and not just in the 32 states for which I am licensed or recognized as legally authorised to carry a concealed weapon. It's federal land that I pay to maintain and paid to access. After all these years, I'd like to retrieve a little of that investment.

  • National Park Service Claims to Have Added New Map Feature to Web Sites   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Sorry-- I just noticed that all parks DO NOT have the maps. Check out Valley Forge as an example of one that does.

  • U.S. Sen. Coburn Runs Poll On Whether "Concealed Carry" Should be Allowed in Parks   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Some of the comments are just plain insane throughout the gun articles on this site. Think the whole way through society and how human interactions work. Just because you keep the ban on guns in national parks doesn’t mean you’d all of the sudden be defending yourself against a rock or knife or any other object. You can’t count on a bank robber to have a firearm permit. People who break the law will always break the law. They have a proven track record for disregard. The problem with gun control will be the same always. There are a curtain group of people who don’t have faith in others. We don’t believe that all people are good and we believe there is a possibility that those evil doers could possibly want to do us harm. There is no law or agency on earth that has the ability to protect us. Only an Us vs. Them scenario. We believe that the 2nd amendment was placed there because the founding fathers believed that every human has the right to do whatever is necessary to protect themselves as long as they don’t interfere with the freedom of others. You may feel that the very presence of someone with a gun is interfering with your freedom. What the senator is saying is that your government can’t tell you who does and doesn’t have a gun. They can only tell you who was willing to take a test and let them know they wish to carry for protection. This small minority of gun carrying individuals are the people we’re all having a fit about.

  • U.S. Sen. Coburn Runs Poll On Whether "Concealed Carry" Should be Allowed in Parks   6 years 36 weeks ago

    I don't know how the point gets missed on every story that comes up about guns. There are an extreme minority of citizens that actually posses a "Concealed Carry Permit". There is no such thing for private citizens to obtain a National Concealed Carry Permit. In some states it's regulated by the local sheriff's office. In other states it requires a written explanation. Still other states require you to take a minimum number of hours for a course. Each state has decided what other state's CCP they are willing to accept or deny. This is called reciprocity. This has existed for as long as gun restrictions have evolved. This bill is asking that if the state has determined that the individual is safe to own and operate a firearm in the extremely rare circumstance they should need to use it, then the state knows its people better than the federal government. I have a CCP and have had it for years. I doubt anyone will ever even see my gun or know it's there. I visit several national parks a year. I live in UT. I carry daily. If I am ever in the circumstance that my fellow Utahans were, during the "Trolley Square Shooting", I have exercised my right to protect myself, and my loved ones. Do I feel this will happen in my lifetime? Very, very doubtful. If it does then a fundamental right as a being on this earth is that I have the right to decide for myself if I am safer fighting or running. It is not anyone else's decision. If you would like facts on good citizens with guns I invite you to check out http://www.keepandbeararms.com/opsd/ . I promise that citizens defending themselves in many situations are not as rare as you may think.

  • U.S. Sen. Coburn Runs Poll On Whether "Concealed Carry" Should be Allowed in Parks   6 years 36 weeks ago

    I know that some readers on this website are going to say I'm naive because I feel safe in National Parks without a loaded gun, but here's the note that I sent Sen. Coburn several days ago:

    I am dismayed to find that you are putting forth an amendment that would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from prohibiting loaded weapons in National Parks. Each year my family camps in National Parks around the country, and the absence of loaded guns in the campgrounds makes my wife, my two sons, and me feel quite safe. Your attempt to allow loaded weapons in places where families and small children frequent demonstrates a lack of concern for the safety of National Park visitors. Because of your medical background, I assume that you're familiar with the large number of people who visit emergency rooms each year because of accidents with firearms. Knowing that the people in the tent next to me might have loaded weapons does not make me feel safe at all. I truly believe loaded firearms in the parks puts us more at risk for death and injury than if they remain unloaded and locked away as the law now states. I urge you to re-consider your amendment.

  • U.S. Sen. Coburn Runs Poll On Whether "Concealed Carry" Should be Allowed in Parks   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Internet polls are the lamest way of either finding public opinion, or of making decisions. Senators should know better.

  • National Park Service Claims to Have Added New Map Feature to Web Sites   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Could any of you print the maps into a file? I got an "unknown error" each time I tried. I'd prefer to to se that feature, as I can edit the map then much better than on paper.

  • National Park Service Claims to Have Added New Map Feature to Web Sites   6 years 36 weeks ago

    It is a really great feature. Before--and still--the way to find maps was under "Directions," which was not as clear as a link to a map on the front page. It did take me a while to find the link, though, since it blends in with the rest of the page.

    "God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars." -Martin Luther
    wonderly00, The Lone Ranger

  • National Park Service Claims to Have Added New Map Feature to Web Sites   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Hey, thanks for pointing it out, Anon. Not sure I like the color coding...it blends in too well, but I sure like the feature.

  • U.S. Sen. Coburn Runs Poll On Whether "Concealed Carry" Should be Allowed in Parks   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Don't think the bill goes far enough. It should supercede state laws to the point where it allows CCW license holders (concealed weapons licensed holders) from any state to carry a concealed weapon in any NP. Under the current proposed bill, as I understood it, would permit the Republik of Kalifornia to enforce it's laws over federal laws. Something is not right with that picture. Kalifornia cannot protect it's citizens and it prohibits them from legally protecting themselves. There are over 30,000 licensed CCW holders in the Republik of Kalifornia and they can't carry a handgun in Death Valley legally. Charles Manson and his friends weren't out there spreading cheer and good will. Granted they didn't kill anyone in the desert that we know of.

    Glad Kurt found a topic that has the readers responding so well. Good writer and I enjoy the articles. Can tell where his sentiments are oriented and I wish i agreeded with him, but I have been on the receiving end of crime and didn't like it. Managed to distance myself from most two legged mammals until health problems cut down my hiking, canoeing & 4X4'ing.

    Stay safe what ever you do!

  • National Park Service Claims to Have Added New Map Feature to Web Sites   6 years 36 weeks ago

    It's in the green banner displaying the park name at the top of the page. I really like this feature, thanks for pointing it out.

  • Mt Rainier from 20,000 Feet   6 years 36 weeks ago

    yep ... 737 (i was on Southwest, which is all 737) and I was flying to Salt Lake. I've been on that trip a couple of times, and I really like the route it takes over the state of Washington ... Fly-by Mt Rainier, continue through central Washington (over the wine country), then exit the state somewhere near the Tri-Cities. If the weather is clear, lots of good scenery to see.

  • Venturing Into the Backcountry of the National Park System   6 years 36 weeks ago

    The front county is just a place to register, get some last minute supplies, and bump into hordes of people and traffic. The backcountry is where the real beauty & excitement are at!

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Arguing that people have an absolute right to carry guns because of the second amendment is absurd. There are, and always have been, many places, federal, state, local and private that have prohibited (and do prohibit) loaded weapons besides our National Parks. I doubt that loaded weapons were allowed in the Constitutional Convention, for that matter. In this post 911 world is no time to relax restrictions on carrying guns in places like the National Mall, Lincoln Memorial, Capitol Building etc. Nor is it a time to relax them in Yellowstone, Yosemite etc. Should we allow students and teachers to carry guns in our schools? How about airports, train and bus stations etc.
    States and local governments all have tons of restrictions on who may or may not carry a gun, what permits are or are not required etc. Some might argue that these are state and local governments, and the second amendment is only designed to restrict what the federal government can do. I would disagree. Does this mean that my local or state government can restrict my freedom of speech then?
    Surely "Anonymous" above is joking when he says, "The government and its citizens should not be able to ignore the parts of the Constitution they don't like." My Dear Sir (Madam), where have you been? The Bush administration, and the Patriot Act, have totally shredded the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth amendments! What makes the second so holy, while these others are disposable?

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 36 weeks ago

    As a hunter and supporter of the National Park Service, I see no point in changing the firearm rule. The amount of visitors I see every year in Yellowstone and Grand Teton get too close to wild animals on their own accord are not deserving to protect themselves with a firearm. If you are within 30 yds of a grizzly / elk / bison/ etc, you deserve to be munched or trampled if that animal chooses to do so. Bear Spray is allowed in the park, which is proven far more effective than a firearm in an animal attack situation. I urge all supporters to petition against this change for the betterment of the park and it's visitors.

  • What Are Your Priorities For the National Parks?   6 years 36 weeks ago

    I agree, Paul. The purpose of the National Park Service is not to create recreation. This is the Mission Statement of the National Park Service:
    "...to promote and REGULATE the use of the...national parks...which purpose is to CONSERVE the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them UNIMPAIRED for the enjoyment of future generations."

    National Park Service Organic Act, 16 U.S.C.1.

    As you can see, the primary purpose is to.."conserve the scenery....natural and historic objects and the wildlife..."
    Therefore, the purpose IS to create a "freeze frame" and preserve it for future generation. There are millions of acres of public and private lands nation wide where one can enjoy their guns, ATV's, snowmobiles etc., yet there are only these few islands, that we call National Parks, where we can get a glimpse (at least) at what the world was like before these things. Yes, I know that there are millions of cars, developed camp grounds, hotels, stores etc.; but as anyone knows who has ever tried it, all one has to do is climb over the nearest hill to leave these things behind them. I know that it is hard for some to believe, but many people find "Benefit and Enjoyment" in our parks just the way they are. Else, I suspect, they wouldn't have millions of visitors each year from all over the world.
    BTW, study after study has shown that the vast majority of the American people would like to see snowmobiles banned. It is only snowmobile enthusiasts, outfitters and manufacturers who oppose this; and the Park Service and Bush administration has been cow towing to these special interests for years.

  • Park History: How the National Seashores Came to Be   6 years 36 weeks ago

    This place is heaven on earth, it's the perfect refuge far away from the "real" world. I have a great passion for boating and I find it wonderful to see there are so many possibilities for boating here. I have great memories with canal holidays.

  • What Are Your Priorities For the National Parks?   6 years 36 weeks ago

    To Anonymous on February 5th - Amen! You said so eloquently what I would want to say, including the remark in the final parentheses.

  • Modeling Mesa Verde National Park With Lasers   6 years 36 weeks ago

    This technology can produce amazingly accurate documentation of our civilization's key landmarks, enabling us to reproduce them in the event they're destroyed or severely damaged by natural catastrophes, terrorist attacks, vandalism, or whatever. After the 9/11 attacks the feds rushed to to get this documentation for the Washington Monument, the Statue of Liberty, and lots of other American icons. I hope we can eventually include in this inventory all of the major historical/cultural treasures in our national parks.

  • Mt Rainier from 20,000 Feet   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Great shot...were you on a 737 and where were you flying to?

  • What Are Your Priorities For the National Parks?   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Yeah, guns are one of those "flame bait" issues that simply distract us from the real problems.

    I'd like to see the following:

    -- Revitalization of educational displays in all the parks. The parks represent such learning potential, in this age of "no child left behind", the parks' educational programs and displays should get a huge overhaul. This includes not just the big parks, but all the small sites with historic significance.

    -- Complete staffing. One of the problems with the parks is many are chronically understaffed and the employees underpaid. I think our parks deserve better.

    -- Keep off-road vehicles to a minimum. Let's just say I completely disagree with the 2nd "anonymous" poster. The NPS sites are not there for motorized recreation ... that's what private land, state parks, and national forests are for. The primary role of the natural areas of the National Park System is to preserve the natural wonders of the place, a goal that is totally contradictory to motorized joy-riding.

  • Venturing Into the Backcountry of the National Park System   6 years 36 weeks ago

    If you ever want to plan that Kings Canyon trip, let me know. I'll find a club or a non-profit to take you there who'll be just as qualified as a commercial guide service, minus the luxury fee. (Who knows, I might even be the leader.)

    If you enter Sequoia/Kings Canyon park(s) from a non-park trailhead, such as from Forest Service land, there's only the (usually) free wilderness permit to contend with.

    I usually don't have trouble getting a desirable route plan in my permit on a walk-in basis at either Yosemite, Sequoia/Kings Canyon, or anywhere else in the Sierra Nevada. Of course, I know where the interesting trails are that aren't on a 10-most-popular list.
    __________
    The WildeBeat "The audio journal about getting into the wilderness"
    10-minute weekly documentaries to help you appreciate our wild public lands.
    A 501c3 non-profit project of Earth Island Institute.