Recent comments

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 35 weeks ago

    I wonder if this argument of decommissioning National Park Service (NPS) units doesn't buy into the hands of those who want to privatize our public lands and sell them off. Wouldn't this be giving them what they want? The problem is not a National Park Service that is too large, but, a philosophy of complete free trade that will cure all our ills...a very bad idea.

    On the other hand, there is some merit to decommissioning NPS units as National Recreation Areas (NRAs) are far over on the spectrum of pure playgrounds. NRAs represent the side of the NPS that loves very intense recreational development. Former director Newton Drury thought they went well beyond the mission of the NPS (I'm referring to Sellars book, Preserving Nature in the National Parks). The historical units, I do think fall well within the mission of the NPS and as MRC says, the NPS has done a good job with them, given the NPS's poor funding. Having the influence of the NPS as managers of the NRAs has perhaps had a better influence on them, than if they had been turned over to some other agency.

    rob mutch
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    Robert Mutch Photography,

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 35 weeks ago

    I am uncomfortable with the idea of turning over any of the historical National Parks to the Department of Defense.

    I have been very positively impressed by the neutral position taken by National Park interpretive rangers, when providing information about sites where people may have strong, differing, points of view.

    At Mesa Verde NP, the ranger who accompanied my group was careful to say that there is no clear consensus about why the people who had dwelled there left. He offered some ideas that various people have put forward, but made it clear that the matter is still unexplained. At other parks where white settlers came in conflict with native peoples, the rangers were careful to explain the point of view of both groups.

    I am not confident that representatives of the DoD would be as even handed, especially at parks where members of the armed forces played a role.

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Excuse me Dave! What church do you preach from? I hope these comments of yours aren't coming from the sermon at the mount...if they are I'm aghast!

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 35 weeks ago

    And while I am at it:

    A high-profile NPS unit of the fur trade is clearly missing. There are some at the Columbia River and Grand Portage NM at Lake Superior exists, but there is no unit to showcase the history of the fur trade in the Rocky Mountains. Daniel, WY would be the ideal place, I'm sure there is suitable federal land, it's in easy driving distance from Grand Teton NP, and it is the place where more of the Rendezvous toke place then anywhere else.

  • Whatever Became of the Decommissioned National Parks?   6 years 35 weeks ago

    The National Park System evolved over time. All those units were seen as of national relevance at one time. And the scope of the National Park Service changed: The very first National Park was founded as a playground or park for the enjoyment and benefit of the people. Since the Organic Act conservation moved into the fore ground. And Mission 66 was instrumental to make interpretation and education of the visitors a priority. Throughout the 20th century, various historically important areas were added to the National Park System as NM, NHS, NHP and what ever.

    Clinton made the BLM a key player with establishing huge National Monuments under their jurisdiction. The Forest Service has a few of them since 1978/1980 in Alaska and the Cascade Range too. And very new in the game is the FWS with two NMs (Hanford Reach, WA and Papahānaumokuākea, HI).

    Maybe it is time to sort this out. Areas with primarily recreational use may not be served best, if they are administrated by the NPS. That would deal with the NRAs and the city parks in DC. Give them to the mayor of DC, the states (in the east) and the BLM in the west. How about the National Seashores/Lakeshores? Some of them see a lot of recreational use, but large parts are valuable nature.

    How about the historical units? You proposed that Battlefields (and maybe all of some of the military forts that are NMs, NHSs and NHPs) could go to a new agency of the DoD. I'm not convinced. The NPS does a tremendous job in providing interpretation about the military history. Their publications, print or websites, on the War of Independence and the Civil War are excellent. Much of this experience would be lost - at least for some time - with transition to a new agency. And there are units where the national importance isn't universally accepted any more. Thaddeus Kosciuszko NM might be one, Claire Burtons NHS? African Burial Ground NM? Pipe Spring NM? All of them relevant historical persons/places. But monuments of national interest?

    And I believe all high-profile areas that are protected for their natural features should be concentrated with the NPS (maybe with the exception of Alaska, the FS seems to do a good job with the two NMs within Tongass National Forest). But Mount St. Helens, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and the rarely talked about but highly interesting Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument IMHO should be made NPS units, and preferably National Parks.

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 35 weeks ago

    Take this from a retired lawman and current minister:

    Let the ordinary citizen carry his/her gun in the park!
    It makes me sick to hear some of the rangers,etc. use the argument that people will draw their gun and fire at everyone they have an argument with. How sad when they take the ELITIST attitude like that.
    What the officials are saying is that ONLY trained police have the sense to know when to draw a gun.
    Police training has NOTHING to do with teaching morals. The only thing it does is teach gun retention, legalities and accuracy training. MOST of the lawmen I worked with had horrible temper problems and many o f them, quite frankly scared me when they got into an argument.

    The public officials that oppose such legislation should be removed as they think their constituents are dumb,ignornant sheep that need to be led by them.

    The most dangerous place you can go is in the mountains and remote areas of our nations parks. Why?
    Because the predators KNOW you are a sitting duck out there. I would NEVER take my family or myself
    ANYWHERE that I couldn't carry my weapon. If you knew what I knew was out there walking around free,
    you's carry TWO guns.

    Remember this: an armed society is a polite society!

  • Missing Cavers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Ill-Prepared   6 years 35 weeks ago

    This story reminds me of a preacher from small town Ohio who took a group of people from his church on a wilderness trip to Alaska, TWICE! Both times they had to be rescued. Kids trying to negotiate glaciers in tennis shoes, wearing cotton, and peeing orange from dehydration. Of course he had all the proper gear. These guys are lucky anybody found them, let alone alive still!

  • Missing Cavers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Ill-Prepared   6 years 36 weeks ago

    adventures are fun, but rule of thumb always be prepared for the unseeable, waterproof matches,dry packaged food or drink, blanket, proper clothing.
    When will people learn? So many deaths could have been prevented in mountains caves and other places if only a little time spent studying and preparing.These kids were lucky this time.

  • Should Uranium Mining Be Allowed Outside Grand Canyon National Park?   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Nuclear energy proponents never bring up the waste issue, that's true. Nor do they ever mention the the vulnerability-to-terrorist-attack issue. But what no one EVER brings up about nuclear is the carbon intensity it actually requires.

    According to a study by the Oxford Policy Group, nuclear power emits a lot more CO2 than is commonly believed and, more importantly, CO2 emissions from nuclear power will increase over time. This is due to the carbon impact of the entire life-cycle of nuclear power production, including extracting increasingly low-grade uranium ore from the earth's crust (which involves a sequence of physical and chemical processes that use energy and produce CO2), but also, transportation to plants and long-term maintenance of waste.

    When the entire life-cycle is considered, in fact nuclear energy's emissions falls somewhere between renewables and fossil fuels (depending on the quality of the ore that is being extracted). It is most certainly NOT a "clean energy" source, as industry has already brainwashed many of you into believing, and parroting here. Go here to obtain the Oxford report:

    There is no easy way out of global warming, folks. Instead of crying for more nuclear -- itself a dirty source of fuel -- start looking at your own energy consumption -- your SUVs, your McMansions, your long commute to work, and your diet. Making the seemingly difficult choices now could very well save us from catastrophic climate change not too far in the future (or your 2.3 kids' futures) -- when our choices will be very, very limited, and all available options will be even more painful.

  • Missing Cavers Found At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 36 weeks ago

    That is why I could not be a park ranger, to risk my life and the lives of other park rangers and rescue personnel to search for a group of nimrods like this. Yet the national park rangers do it every year, throughout our national park system. My hat's off to the brave park rangers, which is more than I can say for the stupid "hikers" that take unnecessary risks and chances. You idiots better be thankful that our park system has such dedicated personnel that will try to rescue you. Your children do not have much of a future if they inherited your brain cells..........

  • Should Uranium Mining Be Allowed Outside Grand Canyon National Park?   6 years 36 weeks ago

    If there isn't any visual polution, damage to the landscape, a threat to the wildlife, and finally if there isn't an increase to the air polution, then I don't see any problem with the mining. It might help put some people back to work. New Mexico, Arizona, and a few other states in the west are in dire need of fresh water, thus another way to restore jobs in that part of America, would be to build more desalination plants. This would be a win for the states needing the water, plus it would help their industry. Maybe this would be one way to keep jobs in America, rather than going to China, India, etc.

  • Should Uranium Mining Be Allowed Outside Grand Canyon National Park?   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Those who advocate nuclear power as an excellent alternative to oil never seem to recall the issue of nuclear waste. The words "long-term storage" is entirely inadequate to explain what is needed for the used waste any increase of nuclear energy will produce. What are we talking about leaving to the seventh generation?

    Perhaps what's really needed isn't a "quick fix" like nuclear energy, which is replacing one bad idea (oil) with another (nuclear). Maybe we need to create a serious, forward-looking energy policy for this nation that will get us out of this mess for the long-term.

    In the meantime, mining for uranium is neither efficient nor a boon for the environmental stability of the region. The parks grow more and more isolated from the rest of the land around it and (to touch on Donne) no ecosystem is an island... encroachment usually leads to compromise.

  • Should Uranium Mining Be Allowed Outside Grand Canyon National Park?   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Yes...we need more nuclear!!

  • National Park Service Revenues Down $1.3 Million On Transition to America The Beautiful Pass   6 years 36 weeks ago

    This headline of this post seems to be VERY misleading. When I do the math it looks like the NPS ended up with increased revenue for the year. (Almost $8 million dollars) The only thing that was down was the ATB annual pass, all other revenue categories were UP, park pass sales, entrance fees and senior passes. What this clearly shows is that people are purchasing the passes as a value, to avoid paying entrance fees, not really to support the NPS. A lower priced pass only takes revenue away from parks and their ability and provide services and protect resources. Good job to NPS for creating a balanced program that offers many choices and many different price ranges.

  • Should Uranium Mining Be Allowed Outside Grand Canyon National Park?   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Oil is 100 a barrel. Nuclear energy is an alternative energy source. If we follow the french model we will have a lot more nuke plants and be less dependent on oil. I wonder if this has something to do with it? The site selection depends on lots of things like grade of ore, ease of extraction and transport and who has the lease. Even solar will demand more mining activity to supply the raw materials necesaary for batterys, cable,etc. We may be in the process of trading oil pumps for open pit mines.

  • The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring   6 years 36 weeks ago

    It is a fine book, and I've read it twice.

    As you wrote, I did decide to find the Grove of Titans:

    All the images are cropped, stitched and taken from angles that provide no clues aside from anything published already.

    I think that I might like to find Atlas Grove, but wouldn't touch looking for Hyperion the tallest redwood unless someone guided me there. Apparently Hyperion is a very hard bushwhack for the researches who know exactly where it is.

    For anyone who won't see these groves - no sweat - the other fine trails will be very satisfying and memorable.

    M. D. Vaden

  • Should Uranium Mining Be Allowed Outside Grand Canyon National Park?   6 years 36 weeks ago


  • Parks and Tribe Establish Plan to Fight Fish Disease in Lake Superior   6 years 36 weeks ago

    These Great Lakes national parks are some of the hidden gems of the NPS. It's too bad more Traveler readers don't know about them, otherwise I'm sure there would be more comments. Kudos to the NPS for standing up and being leaders to protect these parks, something rare in these times.

  • Man Drowns During Rafting Trip Through Grand Canyon National Park   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Thanks for the call, Jessica. We've heard lots of info since I first posted this note, which I'm sure you have as well. Chris doesn't have Kellogg's number any more, so if you want to give us a call at the house or on the number I left on your answering machine, we'd love to give him a shout (anyway, not just because of this situation). I'm sure he's bummed, as we all are...

    Let's catch up soon!

  • Crews Remove Garbage From Marijuana Farms in Sequoia National Park   6 years 36 weeks ago

    "Ah, what the liberalism of the 60's has wrought...."

    This isn't about the liberalism of the 1960s. It's about prohibition and its effects. What right does the government have telling me what I can put into my body? At least when alcohol was prohibited, a constitutional amendment was passed. The federal government, in an unconstitutional power grab, outlawed marijuana long before the 1960s. The 9th and 10th amendments relegate other rights not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution to the states. The federal government has no constitutional authority to prohibit marijuana consumption.

    And what have the effects of prohibition been? Millions have been imprisoned at an enormous financial and societal cost. Demand has not dropped, and a black market has sprung up to meet demand. Peripheral crimes, many violent, have proliferated under prohibition. Since the average law abiding citizen can't grow cannabis in his or her back yard, people move to public lands, again highlighting the "tragedy of the commons" and fueling a destructive and dangerous black market. All of this over a plant that is consumed in its natural state? All of this over a chemical from which no one has ever died by overdose?

    Prohibition has benefited some, though. The plastics, cotton, and timber industries don't have to compete with hemp, a renewable resource that can be cultivated on marginal soil and can supply paper, clothing, and biofuel with relatively little energy input (especially when compared to corn).

    End prohibition and the negative effects described in this article will evaporate overnight. Look at the effects of the repeal of the 18th Amendment for a comparison.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 36 weeks ago

    "Harp (not verified)
    On March 19th, 2008
    A Quote by martin luther. Come now.

    I have been to the previously mentioned beaches and hate all the vehicles there. I think they should limit the amount of vehicles per day.

    We are caretakers of the earth but not at the expense of ourselves."

    How arrogant to think that the earth depends on us, humans, for it's survival, but thats another debate!

    I'm curious Harp......How did you access the beach when you went there?

    Those of you that think a permit system is the answer, be aware, in situations where this is done, a limited number of passes is sold each year. If you don't get one....too bad. Usually the rental homes each have a pass for the renters, but no temporary passes are available for the day-tripper or weekend visitor.

    Up north, if I'm not mistaken you have to purchase the passes in person, not online.

    Ever been to a beach where they limit the number vehicles on the beach at one time??

    Lines develop, one vehicle leaves one is allowed on. So don't run to the store for more ice or to the rental house for the suntan lotion cause you'll have to wait in line like everybody else to get back on the beach. In the summertime, if you're not there early enough, it's possible that you won't be able to get on the beach at all. These type of regulated beaches usually don't allow people to stay on them after dark. No more sunrise or sunset walks on the beach.

    But then we're not concerned about that. Whats important is that the wildlife is not disturbed.

    Have a nice day!

  • Should Uranium Mining Be Allowed Outside Grand Canyon National Park?   6 years 36 weeks ago

    I am not sure how I feel about this... I have seen the exposed uranium mines in Capitol Reef National Park, which were made previous to the area becoming a National Park, and found it more interesting then scary. I have also seen many mines that quite honestly you would have never known, just driving by, that it was in fact an active mine. It can be done with minimal impact on the environment and on tourism (or it can a chatistrophic wasteland that brings new meaning to the term 'eye sore', on the flip side)
    I am interested, however, in why all of the sudden the interest has developed to mine that particular site. We've known it was there since at least the 1970's (well, that's when I learned it was there) so why the interest now? In addition, there are other sites in the area that have an even bigger supply of uranium and are not located near any major tourist mecca's. Why that site? Why now?

  • Groups Ask Congressmen To Help Halt Killing of Yellowstone National Park Bison   6 years 36 weeks ago

    To add to Pronghorn's point, actually the feds are only right now (press release released yesterday) starting to test before they slaughter - a very flawed test at that, which leads to flawed management decisions (for instance, males cannot transmit the disease, no thought is given to herd integrity, treating animals as mere individuals). Montana on the west side of the park will continue to slaughter without testing and will do so presumably until at least 1,700 bison are killed this winter (if the slaughter gets that high). The NPS will continue to slaughter bison testing positive for mere exposure to brucellosis. The young will be sent to a quarantine facility just up the road outside the park - where they will have none of the familial herd structure, then they will be given away like dysfunctional youth (there's an interesting essay by Bob Jackson floating around in the blogosphere on that sort of thing - links to all these things are in my newspaper).

    Elk in the meantime continue to spread the disease of brucellosis on occasion but there's no capture and slaughter program for elk. And, there shouldn't be.

    And, the cows in Montana are really stuck; trapped between the industry that has forever abused it and the bison and other wildlife who just need more space.

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

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 36 weeks ago

    I agree with you Snowbird06.

    Unfortunatley this is typically what happens when outlandish claims are responded to with intelligent and accurate facts.


  • Paper Calls For Park Service To Protect Wildlife From ORVs on Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Where's all the fire and fury for this article. Looks like the "Raleigh News and Observer" has put some strong emphasis on the need for a good comprehensive plan to resolve the massive beach front traffic at the Cape. Three years to wait for such a plan seems like it's still in mothballs on the drawing the bickering goes on!