Recent comments

  • Park History: How the National Seashores Came to Be   6 years 37 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 37 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 37 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 37 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 37 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 37 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.

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 37 weeks ago

    OK, this will be my final two cents on this topic as I believe, as someone previously pointed out, that it's been debated ad nauseam.

    For Joe, I'm not suggesting you can't support parks and the 2nd Amendment. It's just my personal opinion that we don't need more guns in the parks, period. You also reference that the proposed amendment would bow to state laws on guns. Well, current federal law bans the carrying of weapons in most parks. If you can live by the state law, why not by the existing federal law?

    As you said, "we agree to disagree."

    For Art, my reference to the senator's profession was tied to my layman's understanding that doctors give a nod to the Hippocratic oath, "to do no harm." Guns might be a tool, as you say, but they have a very specific role, and that's to kill or maim (unless you're target shooting). That can happen whether it's intentional or accidental.

    Now, if anyone who attached comments to this post would like to discuss other issues that affect the national parks, positively or negatively, I wholeheartedly welcome your thoughts.

  • Modeling Mesa Verde National Park With Lasers   6 years 37 weeks ago

    They did some laser scanning of rock art in Agua Fria National Monument (BLM_managed) last year. I haven't seen the results, but the researcher said that it could detect depth changes up to a fraction of a millimeter. It will be great to apply this technology wherever we can - the next time I visited that same rock art site, a vandal had pecked over one of the ancient 'glyphs, destroying it forever. At least we have a copy of what it used to look like. |

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 37 weeks ago

    So, Kurt, let me get this straight. If Sen. Coburn had been an abortionist, and boasted of having murdered 4000 babies, you would understand his desire to allow guns in the National Parks, because abortionists naturally tend toward violence?

    What "perplexes" you is that anyone who prides himself on delivering 4000 babies might also believe that people have the right to defend themselves against others who may not share their respect for life.

    Has it ever occurred to you that gun ownership and a propensity toward violence have absolutely nothing to do with each other? Guns are simply tools. People who own guns are no more inclined toward violence than your average delusional tree hugger. Your belief to the contrary is simply conceit.

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 37 weeks ago


    I am a life member of the Sierra club and a member of the NRA. I support National Parks and the Second Amendment. Are you suggesting that one negates the other? The legislation does say that state law will govern firearms in the park does it not? This is hardly unrestrained access.

    As far as your comment about Dr. Coburns' medical practice, what doctors do is another topic isnt it?

    We can respectfully agree to disagree.


  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 37 weeks ago

    People should read up on Teddy Roosevelt. Traditional American liberties, like law abiding citizens carrying guns, are not incompatible with conservation & a love of our national parks. The real irrationality is coming from people who are hysterical about guns, but never about protecting innocent people from criminals. You cannot take some freedoms away without losing many others.

  • Climate Change and the National Parks   6 years 37 weeks ago

    Yes, here in the Rockies we're having a heckuva snow year. Can't recall a year in the past 14 that can match this year's accumulations.

    That said, the climate change scientists will tell you that part of the climate change puzzle is that there will be stronger storms and snowier winters, and hotter summers, etc.. etc. The long-term pattern, they say, is for warmer weather, but in the short-term extremes won't be out of the question.

  • Climate Change and the National Parks   6 years 37 weeks ago

    Actually, check out the latest reports on the snow. From what experts are saying, Lake Powell may reap the benefits of increased snow this winter. They’re forecasting that the snowmelt will raise the water levels and open Castle Rock Cut. This will be great for boaters as they'll be able to get around the lake quicker. My family has been visiting the lake for years - this is very exciting!

    I found this information on

  • What Are Your Priorities For the National Parks?   6 years 37 weeks ago

    The Congress needs to strongly OVERRIDE the President on this issue, and FULLY FUND the National Parks. And put an old fashioned "Kaibosh" on the NPS's control and superceeding authority to spread it's nonsense! Yes, they need to remain in authority, but with Congressional oversite and greater limits tothat said authority. And what the heck is with the entrance fees being so high? A standard rate that EVERYONE can afford might be the route to take, so that it is more affordable to ALL THE PEOPLE !!!! Just a thought here... which it seems is more than what those in charge seem to be doing!... 'nough Said?

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 37 weeks ago


    If the NRA put as much effort into actually supporting the parks, rather than seeking unrestrained access with its weapons, think of how wonderful the parks could be.

    As for Senator Coburn, I find it curious and perplexing for a doctor who boasts of delivering more than 4,000 babies to want to increase access to weapons.

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 37 weeks ago

    I'm not sure that the author is getting the responses he had hoped to see here. Senator Coburn just might be doing his job, exercising the will of the people.

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 37 weeks ago

    Your comments suggest you haven't really spent much time in a national park. I'm no tree hugger but the last thing I want to see when I'm hiking in any park is some idiot who thinks his constitutional right to bear arms somehow makes him look cool by carrying a weapon. Obviously poachers exist, all you have to do is read park newsletters. Yes they obviously live by a lower moral standard than the rest of us, and no this bill isn't going to rid the world of poachers...another no brainer. The question is why would you need one? Protection? From what? If you claim an animal threatened/attacked you, then you were too close and stand a good chance of being arrested for poaching, since its illegal to shoot anything in the park if there's no open season at that specific time, or if you happen to shoot a protected species, well you're screwed. Protection from other people who are carrying guns in the park? Hmmmmm. Obviously you miss the point of a national park and what they really stand for and what people visit them for. This "senator" apparently hasn't been to many parks either, or at the very least, his idea of a national park does not jive with the reasons we have them.

  • Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite   6 years 37 weeks ago

    This is an interesting story, I find it surprising that drugs are involved even in such pure places. That makes me think about how serious drug problem really is... And that was back in 76, you can imagine how serious are things now.
    Suboxone detox

  • What Are Your Priorities For the National Parks?   6 years 37 weeks ago

    Just as ‘guns in parks’ is being politicized, so is the Centennial in 2016. Mr. Bush's budget is just a bunch of fluff that looks like a great thing for NPS, but when you really look at it, it's more cuts for the system.

    Fully fund NPS!

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 37 weeks ago

    I would rather fend off a person attacking me with a rock than a person with a handgun anyday.

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 37 weeks ago

    Thank you Senator Coburn. Hopefully you will get this bill passed.

  • What Are Your Priorities For the National Parks?   6 years 37 weeks ago

    I was recently in Yellowstone this weekend and discovered that environmental extremists in the Park System are trying to horn in through the back door what they couldn't get through the front.

    The issue of banning snowmobiling in the park has been hotly contested for years and opposition to such proposals has always been extremely high. Yet this year the Park system quietly implemented a program that requires all snowmobile riders to be accompanied by a guide, costing upwards of $250 dollars for those who wish to do anything other than ride to Old Faithful and back. The result? Seeing the park in the winter has become a luxury available only to those with money.

    So much for the motto carved on the archway at Gardiner "For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People."

    My priorities for the Park? I'd like to see a bit of common sense replace the rabid extremism in management of the Park. This is a place for the PEOPLE and there seems to be a dangerous trend developing to keep people out of our national parks. It isn't the job of the National Park Service to create a freeze frame image of what some people think the world was like 300 years ago. Reasonable precautions to protect the park from exploitation and abuse should obviously be taken, but a realization must be made that there is a vast difference between a National Park and a Wilderness Area (of which there are millions of acres so designated in the West). Our National Parks are places for the people to see and experience the wonders available there. For ALL people, not just those who have been approved by some rabid environmentalist criteria as possessing the proper level of fanaticism to the cause to be allowed to enter the park (but only if they hike or x-country ski, or snowshoe). Vehicular travel is an integral part of allowing millions of visitors (particularly the handicapped, the disabled, and the very young or very old) to enjoy what the park has to offer without being forced into a tour that only allows them to see what the tour operator sees fit to show them, nor to be subjected to a spiel of propaganda (much of which is opinion rather than scientific fact).

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 37 weeks ago

    Everyone seems to forget the good ole days and what principiles our country was founded upon.To bear arms is a responsability of the invidual and the group of like minded law abiding citizens.who have a greater admiration for nature as well as human life and wouldn't stray outside that context of common sense use of self defense of oneself from any form of preadtors wether he be man or beast.I believe what our real concerns is the govt taking away our rights in order to control dictate to the american people what they want us to do for the wrong reasons all in the name of glory of th eall mighty dallar,and over a self power trip problem to overtake and dominate the world.obvious th enatl park system is yet another milestone of that hitler-neo stalism and socialist communism they betray.What is needed is people that understand the difference of selfdefense,hunting as a sport and these fearful nature freaks oh no guns.We have a right to protect our families,ae;from the intimate thrat of danger wehn and if that ever occurs as stated as above.because law enforcement and or park rangers are not always around to interced until after the violent crime has already taken place. I really think that the issue is being blown out of proportion by some but logically backed by common sense americans in knowing what they talk about and actually live and teach that.

  • U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns   6 years 37 weeks ago

    It seems to me that we really have two separate issues. The first is the issue of what the laws currently say and what the courts have interpreted them to mean in case law. The second issue is our own individual opinions, perceptions, and assumptions based on our own experiences and what we individually desire the laws to say and mean.

    Kurt points out appropriately in a previous post that the courts have not definitively decided yet whether the Second Amendment is an individual right or a societal right for militias. Until a federal court makes that decision and establishes case law, all our comments on the Second Amendment are just personal opinion, none more valid than the other.

    What the federal courts have decided in relation to laws that infringe on rights in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is that such laws are not unconstitutional unless their specific intent is to abrogate the right. If the courts had not used this rationale in deciding constitutional law cases, there could be no law that exists that infringed on any of the constitutional rights in any way. In other words, individual citizens could say anything they want to, anywhere, any time, no matter how vulgar, treasonous, violent, obscene, untrue, dangerous, etc. Of course, there are such laws that prevent us from saying some things at certain times and/or locations. These laws have been found by the courts to be constitutional in many cases because their intent was not specifically to infringe on free speech, but to protect some other important societal value. There are similar laws and court decisions relating to expressing one’s freedom of religion and to the freedom of the press.

    In relation to possessing and carrying arms it is clear that our society has decided that there are places and times where “bearing arms” is not appropriate. The most recent example is that private firearms are not permitted beyond the security checkpoint in airports and not allowed in carry-on luggage on the plane. If the Second Amendment were an absolute right then these prohibitions could not exist, no matter what your personal opinion is. In examples like this the courts have found that the intent of the laws was not to specifically abrogate the right.

    Once you get the legal issue framed, then the questions become: (1) is the NPS regulation a valid assertion of federal power under the Constitution, and (2) was the intent of the NPS regulation to specifically abrogate the Second Amendment?

    To answer the first question you must look to the Constitution. Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution states: “The Congress shall have the Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States;…..” Concerning NPS lands, Congress delegated this rulemaking authority to the Secretary of the Interior in section 3 of Title 18 United States Code. One might also ask are federal parks even valid under the Constitution? The Supreme Court has found they are under the general welfare clause of the Constitution in an 1896 case titled United States v. Gettysburg Electric Railway Company.

    To answer the second question you must look to the June 30, 1983 Federal Register in which the revision to the current NPS firearms regulation was adopted after a public comment period. The stated reason found in this document for adopting this regulation was “to ensure public safety and provide maximum protection of natural resources by limiting the opportunity for unauthorized use of weapons.” While one’s personal opinion may be that the NPS was not telling the truth in 1983 about their intent, the official written intent was not to abrogate the Second Amendment (unless you believe that there is an individual right and it applies in all places and at all times). Congress delegated the authority to promulgate this regulation to the Department of the Interior and government employees of the department followed all regulations in establishing it including accepting and considering public comment.

    That is the legal side of the issue. Whether you agree with the current regulation or oppose it, Congress certainly has the right to rescind the delegation of authority they previously passed in federal law.

    Now for the opinion part of the issue based on my individual opinions, perceptions, and assumptions based on my own experiences. For the record I own two firearms. I do not regularly carry them in public having purchased them primarily for personal and family protection on my own property.

    I believe the regulation is constitutional based and supported by federal case law. If you believe that bearing firearms is an individual constitutional right at all places in this country and at all times, I respect that opinion. The courts have not decided on such an opinion yet. I am unconvinced that you can make a Second Amendment argument against this regulation while supporting other firearms restrictions at other places and times.

    I believe the regulation serves the valid public purpose of “providing maximum protection for natural resources” inside units of the National Park System. Based on my experience I do agree with what many of you have said that a significant percentage of gun owners coming into parks would never use their guns to illegally kill or injure wildlife. I agree with what many of you have said that a small percentage of gun owners will illegally use their guns to kill or injure park wildlife no matter what the regulations or laws concerning guns in parks are. But, I believe Senator Coburn’s amendment will make it more difficult to apprehend these individuals because possession or display of a weapon will no longer be probable cause to initiate a search for evidence of wildlife and/or wildlife parts. Finally, I ask you to consider that there is a large group of gun owners that fall in the middle of the two groups mentioned above. They are not outlaws or everyday poachers and they are not those that will obey the law in all circumstances no matter what. They are sitting on the fence and can be tempted into an illegal act if the right opportunity in parks presents itself. Often such illegal acts of opportunity require two elements ― desirable wildlife to be present and a readily accessible, loaded firearm. When either of these two elements is removed from the equation it dramatically reduces the chance that park wildlife will be poached by this opportunist group. The NPS regulation was specifically targeted at this group of gun owners by limiting the opportunity for unauthorized use of weapons. Opportunity is the key word in this justification.

    My last opinion in this post is that many of you confuse the legally defined purposes for federal lands administered by different agencies. Comparing what has happened to you or in the news on National Forests or lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management with what could happen to you on lands managed by the National Park Service is comparing apples to watermelon. The National Park System was created for a preservation purpose with specific federal law direction to regulate the use of parks. I cannot dismiss your fears that you could be hurt or killed from a violent act by another person or an animal inside a national park. Having spent much of my adult life inside national park units I can only say that I have far fewer of those fears inside national park units as opposed to when I’m outside them. The crime statistics and injury-by-animals incidents inside parks are incredibly low compared to almost all other segments of our society. But there is always a chance that such an incident can occur even inside a national park unit. For me the trade off of protecting wildlife to a greater degree from opportunist shooters is worth the low risk that I will be less able to defend myself should an incident of violence happen to me inside a national park unit.

    My reality and life experience is not yours, but can’t we all articulate our own reasons to be for or against an issue like this without name-calling or disparaging remarks about those on the other side? Doesn’t reasoned, respectful debate lead to reasoned, respectful public policy?

  • What Are Your Priorities For the National Parks?   6 years 37 weeks ago

    I'm right there with you Kurt. I know you have an obligation to report all issues relating to the National Park System, but I can't help but roll my eyes every time another issue concerning carrying guns in the National Parks gets posted on this site. You know the old saying, "when invited over to someone's house, never bring up religion or politics", maybe we should add "the 2nd amendment" to that conversation. Both sides are fervent in their positions, and unfortunately it obfuscates any real debate or discussion. I tend to duck and cover until it blows over.

    It seems to me that politicians, especially in an election year, prefer to bring up issues that will get them elected instead of pursuing ways of fixing what is broken. Instead of congressional hearings on what needs to be done to protect and preserve these great places of land and history, we have congressmen calling baseball players to give depositions about taking HGH. In the end, politicians will do what will get them elected: Either find ways of bringing pork to their home states, or standing on a soap box spouting off about issues that have no real consequence but make them sound like they're important. Unfortunately the National Parks aren't money-makers and they aren't sexy. I'm not sure they ever will be, so it'll only be hot-button issues like gun control that will get most people riled up in this country.