Recent comments

  • Lake Powell Expected to Rise 50 Feet This Summer   6 years 33 weeks ago

    "The science" has already spoken. Now it's up to the media, the politicians and of course the public to understand the interdependencies: Global warming means more energy in the climate system (as heat is energy, any rising of the medium temperature puts more energy in the system). More energy in a system dos not necessarily mean that all temperatures will rise. Only the average will, but some of the additional energy will show in more extremes (as that is another aspect or more energy in a system).

    So expect more precipitation in shorter times, meaning flash floods. And more droughts. Both are aspects of more energy in the climate system.

  • A Sad Sign of the Times: NPS Promotes Body Armor Options To Rangers   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Deep breaths now....ahhh. I stated many many times on this site, and for some reason, people feel the need to sensationalize without thinking about what they're saying. This proposed rule change WILL NOT allow any ol' Joe to bring a gun into the park. It will only permit those citizens and/or "citizens on patrol" to carry their weapons they already carry with permission of the state, into the park.

    There is no legislation in the world that will make someone obey the law. I'm sorry but the sad fact is we all have our own ability to choose. Criminals will not be allowed to carry guns into the park if this rule change is reversed back in accordance with the second amendment.

    Tough concept to grasp but please try to understand. If you are a "law breaker" and you want to take a gun in the park...you will (why? because you have no regard for the rule of law). If you obey the law and have permission of your current state to carry a firearm then you don't have to keep it in a lock box outside the park or hidden in your car for someone to steal should you decide to grab a sandwich. If you have a concealed carry permit and the state where you are visiting the NP doesn't have reciprocity with your state....you can't legally take it into the park (no rule now or even if this change goes through will change that). Please read the legislation proposal before freaking out because all gun accidents are reported and relatively few gun heroics are reported.

  • Elevated Sulphur Dioxide Levels Prompt Closure of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park   6 years 33 weeks ago

    We were on the Big Island in October of last year. You could definitely notice the "vog", as it's called, over the Kona side of the island.

  • Former National Park Service Directors Urge Interior Secretary To Keep Guns Out of Parks   6 years 33 weeks ago

    I suggest that Ranger Tyler, if he doesn't like the ANPR take on guns, present himself as a candidate for a leadership position in the organization. He is making the same argument that others make when they say if you don't want guns in parks, amend the second amendment. Give me a break.

    Rick Smith

  • A Sad Sign of the Times: NPS Promotes Body Armor Options To Rangers   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Yes it is a bad sign of the times Kurt. Once upon a time our national parks where sanctuaries set aside by people with vision and forethought. Their intent I'm sure had something to do with preserving the wild and beautiful places in our country so that others would be able to enjoy those same wild and beautiful places many generations later. Imagine the first park rangers and what their "job description" entailed not to mention the simplicity of their uniform. Now think about the direction our parks are headed, and the job description of our rangers today and how much responsibility and pressure is put on them through wildlife and public control and safety, dealing with illegal drugs and poaching (granted poaching has always been there), traffic issues, payroll and budget issues and shortfalls, etc,etc,etc. We should all strap some of that body armour on and hike around this summer in the 90+ heat and I think we'd be more than slightly sympathetic to the job our rangers are faced with these days. Our rangers are under paid, under appreciated, and under stress. It's not just a wild and beautiful national park out there anymore. The folks at WASO were predictably right on time with their announcement, as they have found a perfect opportunity to promote their products. Sad but possible, with this kind of change in law, if it passes, there are bound to be incidents and instances where joe citizen feels the need to be protected or to protect. (Not everyone is as responsible as those CCW carriers- just look at the kids who bring daddy's gun to school) If joe doesn't really know what he's doing, (but let's hope they're all card carrying CCW joe citizens), then guess who has to come in and clean up or diffuse the mess...our amour plated ranger. Now set that scenario against the backdrop of an erupting Old Faithful, or somewhere in Sequoia, or maybe even on the Garden Wall. THAT would be a sad sign of the times indeed.

  • Park Lands For Sale: Can the National Park Service Afford Them?   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Your headline is misleading. It's not "Park" lands that are for sale. It's private lands that the NPS would like to buy.

    That said, surely with the number of earmarks for 'bridges to nowhere' and "Woodstock Museums" and teapot museums, somewhere there should be money for additions to the National Parks. There may be more creative solutions than a simple purchase. The federal government could give owners exemptions from taxes (income or estate) in lieu of cash. Or perhaps land swaps with other federally owned land.

  • Lake Powell Expected to Rise 50 Feet This Summer   6 years 33 weeks ago

    First we blame the lack of precip to climate change, then we blame too much on climate change. I am about to throw up. And using a single data point (one season's snow fall) to either prove or disprove any theory is scientifically bankrupt.

    Let the science drive the conclusions!

    Last year I was through the Lake Powell area (I go there every year) and was stunned how low the water level had gotten. It is somewhat good news that the water level is returning to normal.

  • Park Lands For Sale: Can the National Park Service Afford Them?   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Just take a look at a photo in the Civil War Preservation Trust's report on endangered battlefields that Kurt wrote about earlier...it's for sale sign that exclaims in giant letters "HISTORIC BATTLEFIELD FOR SALE"

  • Lake Powell Expected to Rise 50 Feet This Summer   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Climate change is incredibly complicated. In fact, atmospheric scientists have pretty much quit saying that climate change is “more complicated than we know” and are now admitting that it is “more complicated than we will EVER know.” Are the fluctuating water levels of Lake Powell and some other western impoundments "indicators” of long-term changes in the regional or global climate? Kurt doesn’t know for sure, and I don’t know for sure, and you don’t know either. What we do know is that everything is connected to everything else, and nothing happens without a cause. Maybe someday scientists will be able to put the various facts together and understand what has caused these changes in precipitation and snowpack in the Rockies. Meanwhile, I see no reason why we shouldn’t speculate that these weather and runoff anomalies COULD be signals of long-term shifts in regional patterns of temperature and precipitation. In fact, the stewards of our western land, water, and wildlife resources have a solemn obligation to take that possibility into account in their management plans.

  • Lake Powell Expected to Rise 50 Feet This Summer   6 years 33 weeks ago


    "...possibly an indicator of climate change." Ya think? When it rains, that is climate change. When it doesn't rain, that is climate change, too. Is this some kind of sleeper signal to the alien tinfoil hat crowd? Seems too inane on the surface.

  • Former National Park Service Directors Urge Interior Secretary To Keep Guns Out of Parks   6 years 33 weeks ago

    This statement would be valid if we had the same metal detectors in the National Parks that we do at airports and public buildings. Don't even think about getting me started on "gun-free" schools. I feel stronger about that than I do about carrying in the Parks.

  • Park Lands For Sale: Can the National Park Service Afford Them?   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    Your mention of the Isle Royale Families and Friends Association is interesting but the Isle Royale situation, like the Apostle Islands situation you've written about previously, is not about inholders. In both parks, landowners were fully compensated for the lands they sold to the NPS (albeit, many were unwilling sellers). Owners were generally given the choice of an outright sale, or a lease-back arrangement where the value of the lease (prorated for a fixed number of years or for the life of the owner, if that was the choice) was subtracted up front from the sales price. So while it's understandable that these folks want to retain connections with these parks, what's often lost in the discussion is that the taxpayers purchased these properties long ago, that these folks have had the opportunity to live in national parks for decades without paying taxes (or the current values of the leases), they received fair compensation for their property, and that they were parties to contracts or legal agreements spelling out these terms. There are no surprises here and there are no rights that are being violated, except perhaps yours and mine as taxpayers when the NPS or politicians cave in to the supposed injustices being perpetrated on these poor, innocent people.

    I'm sure I wouldn't have been thrilled to have been forced to sell my land to create a national park. But many people did so willingly, recognizing that the public interest sometimes outweighs private interest, even when it is their own.

    Time heals many wounds. But the Isle Royale group's web site is revealing. They express interest in being a partner to the NPS... but only after repeating a litany of now-ancient (even if sometimes legitimate) grievances about the way their lands were acquired, and only if the NPS breaks its side of the contracts and agreements. I don't see any of the "families and friends" offering to repay the taxpayers (with interest) the money they (or more likely their parents) received from the NPS for the property so long ago. They cite a report urging the NPS to "conserve the irreplaceable connections that ancestral…people have with" the parks but fail to reveal that "ancestral people" in that same report was never intended to mean those European Americans who owned the land just before the parks were created. Next thing, we should expect to hear that the IRFFA want to have themselves declared "traditional peoples" just as has been attempted at Cape Cod. And then the Apostle Islands group will try to do the same.

    So... inholdings are a great concern, but a deal is a deal and if the government is expected to uphold its contracts, so should those that sell to it.

    Siskiwit (e.g. the largest lake on Isle Royale)

  • Park Lands For Sale: Can the National Park Service Afford Them?   6 years 33 weeks ago

    The Pitcock Rosillos Ranch that borders Big Bend National Park has been for sale for quite some time now. That piece of land would be wonderful for the park to acquire. Unfortunately it is priced out of their budget (out of anyones budget realistically). Its too bad.

  • A Sad Sign of the Times: NPS Promotes Body Armor Options To Rangers   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Credence, Fred? I know you've got my back if it ever comes to that.

  • A Sad Sign of the Times: NPS Promotes Body Armor Options To Rangers   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Good points Kurt. I will carry in the backwoods no matter what. I just hate to think that I am a "criminal" if I do so.

    For me, I have made the decision to provide a Ranger any assistance I can if the situation ever arises. I hate to think our Rangers need body armor because they might encounter a poacher, a "coyote", or a drug dealer. I hope this attitude gives me a little credence.

  • A Sad Sign of the Times: NPS Promotes Body Armor Options To Rangers   6 years 33 weeks ago

    You know Fred, in the long run how this issue will be resolved is out of our hands and I've just been interested, primarily, in the debate.

    That said, what concerns me more than a little, though, is that if the Supreme Court rules either A) that the 2nd Amendment applies only to militias, or B) that states and local governments have the legal authority to restrict where guns can or cannot be carried, there will still be some permitted CCW holders who will break the law because of their own interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.

    And if that law can be broken, what other laws can be broken? Does that make these CCW holders criminals? Should they forfeit their weapons and face charges if caught carrying in the parks? Or will they challenge a ranger rather than give up their arm?

    That said, I fully hear what you and others are saying that no matter what the law says criminals will carry guns if they believe it meets their needs. And I still believe parks are plenty safe right now without the need for folks to carry.

  • A Sad Sign of the Times: NPS Promotes Body Armor Options To Rangers   6 years 33 weeks ago

    LOL...sad sign of the times? That is a joke. The Rangers are the ones talking about how they need to be armed for crowd control. Are they afraid we're going to speak out against their dictatorship? Why don't they just put us in helmets, boxing gloves, shackles, straight jackets and muzzles as we go through the park? Isn't that the only way we can truly be safe from one another? It seems like the whole "keep the guns out of the parks to save bears" argument is up in smoke (no pun intended). There is no common sense in this insanity. We're talking about the most responsible gun owners in the world "OFFICIAL PERMIT HOLDERS!!!!" What is the difference between a cop carrying a gun and any citizen? A test or course resulting in permission! We are giving citizens tests to make them COPs. We are giving citizens tests to allow them to carry a concealed weapon. In spite of what some of the Park Rangers think of themselves, they are not superhuman. In spite of what many government agents think of themselves, they are made of flesh and blood, like al of us. Please spare us your god complex and let's move on.

  • Judge Gives Two Sides Additional Week to Resolve Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Issue   6 years 33 weeks ago

    What you failed to mention was that the DOW and AudubonSociety are poart of the negotiation group that is supposed to be resolving this situation. Too bad that they weren't getting everything that they wanted, since this is what precipitated the lawsuit, but that is what negotiations are for. The National Park system was not set up to be a wildlife preserve, it was origianlly and still is a RECREATIONAL facility for the citizens of this country, who by the way, pay for it to exist.

  • A Sad Sign of the Times: NPS Promotes Body Armor Options To Rangers   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Kurt, you said:
    "And is it merely coincidence that the following release comes as top Interior Department officials are moving to allow more guns in the national parks?"

    My question is: "Who is going to be carrying these more guns?
    Answer: Good guys like me and the other 5 million CCW holders in our country.

  • Judge Gives Two Sides Additional Week to Resolve Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Issue   6 years 33 weeks ago

    This whole "compromise" is complete bull. No input has been given by those who actually live or make a living on these islands. DoW and Audubon are not looking to "compromise" anything. They are looking to shut the islands off from any and all human activity that can't be walked in. Of course, they fail to recognizee that not only have animals and humans coexisted on these islands for hundreds of years, but they have done so in the last 50 or so that ORV's have been driving up and down the beaches.

    The only "change" that will come about is thousands of jobs will be gone and a way of life that has existed for North Carolinians will go away forever.

  • Judge Gives Two Sides Additional Week to Resolve Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Issue   6 years 33 weeks ago

    "Driving rights"? I must have missed that part of the Constitution in my ConLaw class. Perhaps it's time for an ammendment...

  • A Sad Sign of the Times: NPS Promotes Body Armor Options To Rangers   6 years 33 weeks ago

    I think there is no relationship between the body armor and recently proposed legislation to restore Second Amendment rights to law abiding national park visitors. If there is empirical evidence otherwise, please share.

    Sign of the times? Absolutely. Storm troopers in national parks show that our country has devolved to a police state.

    Some argue that there is little violence in parks and that the chance of needing to defend oneself with a weapon in a national park is miniscule. Some of the same cite statistics of violence on park rangers to show that parks are dangerous and rangers need guns to keep the peace. What's it going to be? Why should government storm troopers be the only ones allowed to carry loaded arms on federal land? If parks are dangerous enough for the government to arm and armor itself, then parks are dangerous enough for the People to arm and armor themselves.

  • Judge Gives Two Sides Additional Week to Resolve Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Issue   6 years 33 weeks ago

    I been driving on these beaches since 1974 and they are taking our beach to drive on away little by little.The NPS has more than enough roped off for the birds and turtles on these beaches and in my opinion they have to much roped off and not enough ORV access already.I hope the judge thinks hard about what a blow this will be to the economy in Eastern NC if our driving rights are even (Serverly Restricted)to some of these areas that are the finest fishing places in the US.

  • Judge Gives Two Sides Additional Week to Resolve Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Issue   6 years 33 weeks ago

    It is truely sad to me that because of the lack of action on the part of the NPS to create a long term solution (as mandated 30 years ago) they left the door open for DOW and Audobon to sue for a complete closure of the points and spits at the beach. Due to their lack of action (thus far, maybe that changes in the negotiations with DOW) my kids will never get to fish "the point" never mind even getting to see it. Well the DOW says that people can just walk to these places as they do not want to ban pedestrians but they forget to tell you that it is 2 miles from the paved road to the point.

    The NPS has really proved to behave just like every other big government program and forget about the fact that the National Parks were created fro the use of the people not 10 pairs of birds... Thanks NPS!!!!

  • Judge Gives Two Sides Additional Week to Resolve Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Issue   6 years 33 weeks ago

    On an earlier posting readers were directed to a information piece provided by the Southern Environmental Law Center explaining the reason for their current litigation.
    http://www.southernenvironment.org/cases/hatteras/index.htm
    At that site SELC makes the following science based statement that they have given to the court, the media and general public time and again over the past number of months:
    "In addition to fishermen, daily beach goers are using their trucks and SUVs for convenient beach access. In their path are nests of shorebirds like the threatened piping plover and loggerhead turtle whose existence on the Seashore is imperiled by hundreds of vehicles per day. As a result, these species are declining at a rapid pace."
    When I go to the "these species are declining" page intended to scientifically support the claim of species loss, http://www.southernenvironment.org/cases/hatteras/bird_decline.htm
    I find a table showing photographs of beautiful birds and three columns of numbers that indicate what I can only describe as a " horrific" decline of birds. The table is designed to be disturbing but to me as a scientist the table highly questionable and misleading. Species populations do not disappear that way. I suspect/hypothesize there is something seriously wrong with this information as presented. And I am more disturbed that, without clear explanation and verification, the data are being accepted at face value by much of environmentally concerned public and government bodies such as the court.
    For this data and these claims to be judged valid they need to be explained and to pass the normal test of scientific review.
    Give the potential beach access loss to the public resulting from this disturbing data, the Southern Environmental Law Center, who is publishing this information, owes it to the public to answer the following questions:
    1. Who is the specific author of this table bird population decline? What is their area of expertise?
    2. Show us the raw or original data used to create this table?
    3. From what studies were the numbers in this table taken?
    4. Were the studies on which the table based peer reviewed or published? By whom?
    5. What protocol was used to collect the data?
    6. Where and when were the data collected ?
    7. What quality control system and statistical analysis process was used in data collection?
    8. Show trends: What were the observed population counts for 1996, 1997, 1998,1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
    9. Where is the loggerhead turtle and piping plover data?
    Unless these questions can be answered sufficiently, claims of species loss related to ORV traffic based on this table should cease.

    DOW and Audubon represented by SELC are making one sided claims without any credible scientific data, I do not think that it's fair that they have posted these figures and the comments by Rylander that are flat out half truths if not just plain lies.