Recent comments

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    The latest obsession with the NPS has been "outreach." This means going outside the boundaries of the parks to reach audiences that were previously considered unreachable.

    Actually, outreach for national parks has been happening since their inception. The media, including magazines and newspapers, has done an outstanding job of promoting our nation's crown jewels. The most recent issue of National Geographic magazine featured a beautiful article on Death Valley. TV regularly covers the national parks; I'll never forget the old National Geographic special on Yellowstone's grizzlies (and who can forget that music?). I recently saw a great program about my park on the Discovery Channel. Any travel guide worth its salt will extensively cover the national parks within its area of description. Many companies which do business within or near a national park will promote the place on their brochures and websites. Nowadays, most of the big parks have "friends groups," which spend private donations to inform the public about the parks. And looky here! Featured on this very website is the latest craze, brought to you by our friends at NPCA ....a podcast!

    If you don't know about the national parks already, I'm sorry. You must have lived a very sheltered life. In fact, you must be so uninformed and unengaged I'm not sure reaching you will make any difference.

    The NPS thrives on crisis. Today's crisis is that teenagers and college students don't seem interested in national parks, and therefore we must reach them. But have they ever been reachable? Recall that most of these subadults are too busy partying and trying to get lucky to bother with attending ranger programs.

    Let these post-pubescent party animals grow up a bit and at least some of them will come to appreciate national parks. Isn't that how it worked for most of us?

    Like Beamis, I'm very concerned with how we spend other people's money. I propose we leave outreach to the private sector and re-dedicate the money saved to painting bathrooms, maintaining trails, informing visitors, and being dedicated to the parks--WITHIN their boundaries. This way, when the outreach of others pays off, the public can visit the parks at their be enjoyed, appreciated...and ultimately supported.

    Simple Proposal #5: Fix what's broken before you start something new

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Here's one I wasn't aware of -- from a William and Mary (flat hat) news article today. I assumed anywhere there's continental drift there's a chance for magma and the like, but didn't know these details...


    According to the National Park Service, 1 to 1.2 billion years ago, tectonic plates collided to form the Grenville Mountain range in the area where the Appalachian Mountains now stand.

    Around 570 million years ago, tectonic plates moved apart and lava began to flow, erupting at rift zones along the surface. The lava flows that exuded from the rift zones formed the Catoctin Formation, creating broad, rolling plains similar to those found around Big Meadows in the Shenandoah National Park. The original lava flows were originally composed of basalt.

    As they metamorphosed, they became richer in chlorite and epidote, and then became greenstones, which cap many peaks in the park. These greenstones produce jagged cliffs composed of very fine grains. The rocks tend to be of a light gray to rusted red color, but if freshly exposed, they appear green.

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Actually, I was just refreshed that this was a topic I could talk about without being called names... Really, my love for many of the great parks and my love of geology go hand in hand and I was just enjoying the continuation of the list! Meant no disrespect... I just got excited!

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 46 weeks ago

    There are many dozens of units in the Park System that have landforms of volcanic origin within their borders. As Kurt has already explained, the list he extracted from one of the reading modules for my national parks course was only a sample, not a comprehensive listing. I compiled that sample for my students to show that parks with landforms of volcanic origin are distributed widely, exhibit interesting extrusive and intrusive volcanic features, and do not necessarily have volcanic terms as part of their name.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    I still am a little confused on the "channel 2" comments???
    What happened there?
    I am in Las Vegas and UNFORUNATELY,, none of this even enters our news.
    Can someone please explain this to me a little better,, especially for the others that I have contacted,,
    that are reading this site??
    Thank you.....

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 46 weeks ago

    <<Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park, which is situated in the Cascade Range, features America’s deepest and clearest lake, a six-mile wide, 1,932-foot deep, indescribably beautiful caldera lake formed by the collapse of ancient Mount Mazama about 7,700 years ago. Crater Lake National Park was established in 1902 and is our fifth-oldest national park. The grand old Crater Lake Lodge is on the National Register of Historic Places.>>

    In 2000, the USGS along with a team of private consultants, performed a new bathymetric survey of the subsurface caldera of Crater Lake. The newest USGS estimate for the maximum depth of Crater Lake is 1949 feet give or take about 6 feet. The average depth is 1148 feet give or take about 3 feet. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the USA, 2nd in North America, and 8th in the world. More on this subject can be read at

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks   6 years 46 weeks ago

    @ 1st Anon Poster-

    I love mountain biking, I mountain bike all the time. I don't wear the downhilling gear and pads and can't ride the obstacle courses, but I am on the bike getting dirty at least 2 X a week. And I have to say, with a dual suspension bike with disc brakes, I HATE having to slow down and let a hiker, their dog and whatnot safely pass. I do it anyway, of course, because that's the way to keep mountain biking legal on trails, but in the parks, where you have all these people visiting to "test themselves against nature" you have a recipe for disaster. Even if you have a bell on your handlebar! ;)

    Let's be realistic, the NPS can barely keep up with maintaining trails used by hikers, I'd hate to see mountain bikes come in and muck up the trails even further.

    No one is advocating more trails. I think we'd all like to see more *maintenance* on the trails that exist and I personally don't see mountain biking positively contributing to the health of the trails I ride and I tend to have pangs of guilt when riding because you see the damage that occurs. Hikers cause damage to trails, I don't have my head in the sand, but trail bikes are far worse. Not that I'm going to stop, however, it is too much fun! But I would never ride in a NPS unit. USFS and BLM yes, but ride in NPS, no.

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 46 weeks ago

    I don't believe, in my heart of hearts, that anyone was trying to berate or take you to task Coach. Personally, I was, as I stated, just curious about his train of thought. I was thinking perhaps his belief was that these (the items highlighted in the above listing) stood for the most obvious examples within the park system, but then I started recalling a certain excursion over the Lava Falls Rapids, and wondered aloud (I glad there wasn't anyone in the room at the time) how this section of a very well known and studies park wasn't fit for inclusion. In the history of our little corner of the world, dating back to the pre-Cambrian era, and maybe a bit prior, you'd be hard pressed to find some little corner of the continent that is totally devoid of volcanism at some level, so in actuality, the list could be all-inclusive, to some degree. But I think he did a fairly competent job with the major examples, without splitting hairs between the parks, monuments, preserves, etc.

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 46 weeks ago

    OK, I realize it was just a "highlight film" for volcanic parks, but technically every park on the Hawaiian Islands exists because of volcanism and even the cultural parks are inextricably linked to the volcanoes on which they lived.. moreso in some Hawaiian parks than others, of course. I wouldn't attempt to connect the USS Arizona with volcanism... although... those pesky Japanese pilots sure did come from a volcanic chain of islands across the Pacific, now didn't they?

    The massive layers of fish fossils at Fossil Butte are also believed to have been caused by periodic local eruptions which caused massive fish kills in the former Fossil Lake. The potential tangential references are endless!

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    My apologies for mixing up the roles of Mr. Wade and Mr. Allen.

    Mr. Allen posted a comment on the first article on this subject (before the price tag was revealed) where he stated in part, "We are convinced that this project will be very illuminating to the public and beneficial to the entire National Park Service". "We", I assume, means CNPSR. Now that the price tag has been revealed for this particular plan, I wonder if the CNPSR still supports the project?

    My apologizes for not getting my facts straight on this very convoluted issue.

    I'd like to be able to find more facts to back up my assertion on franchise fees. I have found a news article by the Billings Gazette which states that in 2005, Xanterra was awarded a contract in Yellowstone with a 2 percent franchise fee. And I have my personal experience at Crater Lake. I wish concession deals were more transparent, and that I could click on the NPS website and see exactly what each concessionaire was paying the NPS. If anyone could point me to such information or such a site, I'd be very grateful.

    carping: persistent petty and unjustified criticism

    I think it is every American's duty to point out waste, mismanagement, and fraud, so I believe my criticism of the NPS is completely justified. Additionally, I think I have generated positive energy about the exciting future of depoliticized public land management. And I will continue to advocate for reform. I'm sorry some see this as mere complaining.

    My many thanks to the editors for providing a medium for spirited debate (the political and controversial posts generate far more discussion than other types of posts).

    "Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive." Henry Steele Commager

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 46 weeks ago

    I wasn't trying to beat up on you. Just sharing.

    Thanks for the opportunity.

  • Grand Canyon National Park: Open To Some Faiths   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Thanks, Lone Hiker, I do tell my students that the heavy metals decomposition protocol, of course in simpler terms, is the way scientists are coming up with these dates. I definitely do not tell them that the scientists are wrong or right. I tell them these are the methods that the scientists are using. The Christian Science movement perplexes me because I think Jesus would have us to be charitable towards one another rather that proving to be argumentive, for what reason? Especially if they are dead wrong! That makes them as Christians look dumb, and exasperating to those that are merely trying to educate people on geology. If something new comes along in science, the sensible scientists will be the first to use the new methods! The "Christian Scientists" should be nice, I think, but unfortunately as Christians, they seem to have their priorities misplaced.
    I love the Grand Canyon, by the way! I have hiked down to the Phantom Ranch a total of four times in my earlier years! Once I did the whole hike, down and up in one day!

  • Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Kurt, I'm with you on this one. Many times when I take to the coastal foothills for a good days hike, I prepare myself for the weekend yahoo boys with their mucho trail bikes screaming OUTA MY WAY bellow... and blasting by me with a curse look in some cases. In all fairness, there's many well meaning and polite trail bikers that maintain a decent code of mannerism in "share-the-trail" guide lines. But, in my opinion, trail biking is something that parallels with dune bugging, snowmobiling, and off the road SUV touring that creates one the most distructive forces to nature in the National Parks. Sports utility trucks ripping up the terrain around famous legendary petroglyphics, dune buggies ripping up the cacti vegetation in the fragile desert ecosystem, and snowmobiling sprewing gas and oil along with there whining obnoxious noise, and there's the trail bikes that leave deep ruts into the soil that creates massive erosion (and water run-off)problems during heavy winter rains.

    Why is it that we can't enjoy the simple things in life anymore. Why does it have to be this thrill seeking avenue of enjoyment...always has to be this adrenaline rush? Trail biking to me is another extension and example of bringing another piece of junk from your backyard, and to take it with you to the hills, the mountains or to the desert...and everthing but the kitchen sink. Give me my fifty pound pack and a silent trail, and I'll show you how not to destroy a trail with two feet...tread softly biker!

  • Grand Canyon National Park: Open To Some Faiths   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Oops, guess I got the T-bird mixed up with the one that did get torn down... was it the Moqui then? But that's not near the rim, so nevermind on that reference!

    And Linda's right about it being the middle of nowhere. The Grand Canyon School sports teams travelled many many hours to find their competitors. We even went as far as Phoenix School for the Deaf for a volleyball match.

    Like I said, I'm in agreement for the need, I just don't like that facility. But then again, I don't live there now do I? ;-)

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Lone Hiker,

    Boy, this is a tough crowd today.

    The list was not intended to be all-inclusive. As the second sentence of the post said, there are "at least 13..."

    There was no misleading nor intention that the list was complete. Rather, it was merely intended to show a representative sample. That other sites have been mentioned is great; shows there's some thinking going on out there.

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 46 weeks ago


    And open exchange of ideas is NEVER a waste of time, unless you're part of Congress and you're soliciting ideas to build into a bill that has the sole intent of becoming aencyclopedic volume which nobody will peruse in it's complete form, thereby hiding "pork" in the voluminous final edition of the "Bill to Save America from International Terrorism, and ensure proper snowplowing of the roads leading to my house, and repaving my driveway, and oh, that new mailbox I was thinking about, and don't forget my mistress needs a necklace, and of course the private jet to the golf course and casino in Bimini for the lobbyists, and season's tickets to the ......". I understand the frustration that is being put forth by current and ex-employees, but who better than true insiders from which the rest of us can gain that albeit one-sided perspective, since most of us have no manner of inclusion in the innner-workings of the system? Just as long as folks realize that these people are indeed just one side of a multi-faceted arguement, we have the basis for an informative dialogue and with any luck, the opportunity for some true brainstorming on a multitude of issues, park related and otherwise. I personally claim no ties to the "organization", but does that render my insights into certain portions of these articles useless? Lets all of us bear in mind that the Park Service is on part service orgainzation. It is also part business, part science, part administration, part political, and a large part public. The last part is the portion that seems to have been either lost or at least overlooked, and that's what we're all working to reclaim. I hope.

  • Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks   6 years 46 weeks ago

    I see no need to cut any new trails (hiker or biker) in any of Our National Parks.
    In fact I believe there is way too much time and money spent on maintenance of trails already established.
    When I visit I like nature to be wild, free and spontaneous (to borrow from Mr. Abbey) which must be hard for her as we endlessly cut, gouge, pave, fence, sign and bridge.

  • Park History: How Volcanics Sculpted Parts of the National Park System   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Hey Kurt-

    Could you ask the distinguished professor what his criteria were when he responded to your inquiry? There were obviously some omissions in his reply, as is evidenced by the readers, and I'm quite certain that he did not purposefully intend to mislead anyone into thinking that his was a complete compilation. I'm just curious as to how his determinations were made for the article.

  • How Will National Park Service React To Museum Proposal At Harpers Ferry?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    In all honesty I really feel I'm wasting my time contributing to this site, but I plod on because I believe we all have a responsibility to speak our minds...for what that's worth. It gives me much more satisfaction to be out in my park than pecking away at this blasted computer, but I, like Frank & Beamis, feel committed to some innovative thinking...for once! Give these two guys their fair shake for speaking passionately.

    As a federal government agency, the NPS is very much about process & procedure, rules & regulations (PPRR). Examples of bureaucratic PPRR are so profuse that I'm at a loss to cite one, the same way I can't recall a single one of my own breaths. The outfit is so hog-tied by its own bureaucracy that new employees see a certain mystique in it all, sometimes leading to rumors about PPRR that don't even exist. "Gee, I thought I couldn't do that because I'd heard there was a rule from the Regional Office stating..."

    It's no secret that bureaucracy is appalling. To me, it creates in employees a perfectly diabolical, soul-sucking combination of tedium and stress.

    A few years back I took a supervisory training course facilitiated by a private company, which had spent a lot of time analyzing the NPS. The instructor--a bright, observant, and outspoken woman in her 30's--wasn't too complimentary of the agency. Much to the dismay of many attendees, she constantly reminded the class that most PPRR aren't laws. You can bend and break them without being thrown in jail. She also reminded us that it's nearly impossible to get fired when you work for the federal government. Her wise advise: you SHOULD bend and break rules when they're stupid...which they frequently are.

    As a supervisor at the time, I took her advice to heart. If an employee asked how to deal with PPRR that was inane, I would tell them to ignore it. If anyone had problems with that, I'd go on to say, you can tell them that I made the decision. The "consequences," after years of practicing this approcah?...I'm rarely questioned abut blowing off such absurd PPRR.

    Have the courage to resist ridiculous bureaucracy. You'll save the taxpayers a lot of money. And you'll leave more time for the vastly more important job of fulfilling the NPS Mission.

    Simple Proposal #6: Instead of doing things right, Do The Right Thing.

  • Park Service's Top Investigator Pleads Guilty To Theft   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Ms. buccello's offenses are more egregious because she scammed some of her free tickets by cancelling official duty flights -one was a death notification to the wife of a slain ranger- and then redeemed the tickets for later personal use. Then she lied about it. How low can you get? The posters above are quite right; there is a horrible double-standard in disciplinary issues, depending upon the employee's GS-rank and political status. Few government managers really get taken down as hard as field-level employees for similar offenses. Ms. Buccello will most likely escape prison time, and since she pleaded guilty to a misdemenor instead of a felony, she will be allowed to carry firearms. She will undoubtably receive her government retirement for life, courtesy of the taxpayers she ripped off. This is a real slight to the vast majority of National Park Service field rangers who are honest, and whose pensions will be much less than hers. And, some of the rangers Buccello investigated, presumably for lessor crimes than she admitted to, won't receive law enforcement retirement at all.

  • Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Mountain bikes/bikers are a cancer in National Parks. The chemotherapy is convincing superintendents and the NPS itself that mountain bikes are an inappropriate method of access to National Parks. We're not talking about limiting access, we're talking about limiting the *method* of access - similar to the snowmobile issue in Yellowstone.

    Do bikers want to see the parks or do they want to ride their bikes? Which is it? If bikers want to see the parks, they can lock their bikes up and walk in. If they want to ride, like Kurt mentioned, there's many, many miles of bike trails on other public lands.

    A poll was recently taken in the mountainous west and not a single tourist came to see mountain bikes, gas or oil wells, clear-cuts or cattle crap. >Big smile<

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    It's amazing the way some people interpret the law. Perhaps it's a matter of perception...

    justanotherhunter wrote "The video is mostly fake Bob because I was there..."

    I think justanotherhunter is lying about being on scene.

    As they say in jury instructions, if you find any part of the testimony to be false, you must find the entire testimony to be false.

  • Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks   6 years 46 weeks ago


    Thanks for eventually getting the name right;-) But why do you hide your reply behind anonymity?

    Now, to your points:

    * I can't recall the last time there was a proposal to cut new hiking trails in the parks. But that's not the point.

    * I don't profess a hatred of mountain bikes. There are two in my garage. But I do prefer my road bike.

    * The majority of mountain bike trails go uphill? What goes up, must come down, no? But regardless, mountain bikes carry much more speed on flats and downhills than hikers. Especially if the hiker has a 40-50 pound pack on their back.

    * Mountain bikers aren't thrill seekers? Perhaps not all, but take a look at the accompanying picture. Those are IMBA reps kicking it in Hawaii Volcanoes NP.

    * And really, as much as IMBA lobbies for single-track trails in the parks, shouldn't someone offer a counter argument?

    My bottom line is that I am not convinced the national parks need to be, or should be, open to every form of recreation imaginable. Forest Service and BLM lands are more focused on such multiple use. Perhaps if there weren't already thousands of miles of mountain biking opportunities on those lands I'd be persuaded about the need to open more land in the national parks to mountain bikes.

    And really, there already exist more than a few mountain biking opportunities in the parks. If single-track usage is approved under the "dual-use" premise, and it's found not workable, does that mean bike-only single track should be cut across the parks? Or should wider footprints be cut? And if wider footprints are called for, should they be hard-packed or paved so Segways can travel them as well?

    God bless Ed Abbey.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 46 weeks ago

    It's not illegal to interfere with a legal hunt if you're Channel 2 news in Anchorage or biologists with a "save the bear" attitude. Just ask Megan Balldino. They control the lawmakers; whether it's right or wrong means nothing. What means something is getting re-elected. Sorry but true.

  • Mountain Bikers Encouraged to Seek Access to Rocky Mountain National Parks   6 years 46 weeks ago

    Ooops, replace every Kirk with Kurt.