Recent comments

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 38 weeks ago

    No Guns Should Be allowed in our national parks PLAIN AND SIMPLE NONE AT ALL.

  • Western National Parks Contaminated By Airborne Heavy Metals, Pesticides   6 years 38 weeks ago

    Rex: "Dr." is one small voice and sees $$ and job security by perpetuating the myth". Hardly, in fact "60 Minutes" did a special piece on his brilliant work at NASA and how the Bush Administration tried to stifle and delete his well documented research. Why? Is it because Dr. Jensen's work is consistent with sound facts (which is considered by most world climatologist as noteworthy). As I said before (and to Gerald) read throughly Dr. Jensen's complete works (don't cherry pick) and perhaps you may learn something...and then smell the coffee. Oh, yes and one less "carbon footprint" may also eliminate one less ignorant soul who leans against sound Bush & Cheney!

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 38 weeks ago

    That's simply not true. Two people were killed on the Hula Hula River a couple years ago, and they had a firearm. They were killed in their tent, by a bear that was likely food conditioned by litter at local fish camps. Statistically speaking, you are safer with pepper spray than gun.

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 38 weeks ago

    Obviously you do not live here in Alaska. Thousands of people frequently come in close proximity with bears here, and there is no problem. I for one spend countless hours in the field with both wolves and bears. If you are that afraid, perhaps you should not be hunting, and certainly not in Alaska.

  • Western National Parks Contaminated By Airborne Heavy Metals, Pesticides   6 years 38 weeks ago

    "Dr." Jensen is one small voice and he sees $$ and job security by perpetuating the myth. Ya know, the less people on the planet equals one less "carbon footprint" and it will help to ease "global warming"....

  • Carrying Guns in the National Parks -- Is This Being Fast-Tracked?   6 years 38 weeks ago

    "Carrying Guns in the National Parks -- Is This Being Fast-Tracked?"

    Actually, this is a excellent example of how good the government is at dragging it's feet. This link will let you read the whole story. It also has additional links to other sources about this issue in case you would rather not take the NRA's word for it.

  • Western National Parks Contaminated By Airborne Heavy Metals, Pesticides   6 years 38 weeks ago

    Gerald, this is typical pro-industry spin of yours that matches Sen. Imhoff of Oklahoma's nonsense spiel how global warming is just small yours! Are you still thinking like an ostrich with your head buried in a hole. Please read the extensive work written by Dr. Jensen of NASA and maybe this will help you get your facts straight. Yes, we have record snow and with record global heating which is sure to come this summer...and soon enough!

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 38 weeks ago

    If you don't want loaded guns in national parks, use the following link to send an e-mail saying so to your reps. in Washington.

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 39 weeks ago

    Julie Helgeson and Michelle Koons would probably still alive today if just one person in their party or a nearby party had a firearm available. In fact, many of the persons listed at

    might still be here. Not all, but many.

  • Carrying Guns in the National Parks -- Is This Being Fast-Tracked?   6 years 39 weeks ago

    Guns in Parks?
    Do We Need Them?

    If the antecedent of "we" is "National Park Service", then I'd say you've posed a very intriguing question.

    Does the National Park Service need guns in national parks? If your answer is yes, then why? Is it because there is crime in national parks? If yes, then why shouldn't law-abiding citizens be able to defend themselves by carrying firearms in national parks?

    Should the Government have a monopoly on carrying guns? Doesn't that alarm anyone? Is anyone concerned about our Government becoming a police state?

    As a career park ranger, I've seen abuses of power by those legally carrying guns.

    If one of your strongest arguments is that some stupid signs, which arguably don't belong in parks anyway, will get shot up, then you're approaching this from a weak legal position. Having worked before and after the ban on loaded weapons in national parks, the amount of shot up signs has remained steady. But hey, let's keep on sacrificing Constitutional rights to protect those signs.

    Let the stir crazy, power mongering rangers go on carrying those Glock 9s, those shotguns, those semi-automatic weapons. Meanwhile, someone at a remote campground will have to search god knows how long for a working phone to dial 911 and will them wait for maybe half an hour or more for "protection" as a crazy meth-head or grizz rampages through a campground.

    If the Government gets guns, then the law-abiding People get guns, too. Period.


  • 2007 National Park Visitation Shows 3 Million Visitor Increase   6 years 39 weeks ago

    Bill, I've long been suspect of these visitation numbers. You cite an extremely good example. How many folks traveling U.S. 209 between East Stroudsburg and Port Jervis are park visitors and how many are folks on their way to or from work?

    Much the same can be said of the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are other examples, as well. This is one reason why I don't fret too much when folks lament "drops" in national park visitation or trumpet gains. I think more important numbers involve park budgets, maintenance backlogs, and on-the-ground, full-time interpretive rangers.

  • 2007 National Park Visitation Shows 3 Million Visitor Increase   6 years 39 weeks ago

    So, how is a "visitor" defined for the park service's purposes? There seems to be a correlation between high numbers and "major roadway."

    Bill Watson
    Pocono Record
    (Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area -- 4.8 million visitors)

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 39 weeks ago actual reasonable response to the topic instead of "guns are bad" and those who believe in the second amendment are somehow kooks. Barky, you do well by illustrating a good point that I had heretofore not thought of with regards to the loss of, as you put it, fear of wildlife(perhaps healthy respect may be better). This is such a valid point I actually smiled that there was someone as well thought out in the world that could go against my viewpoint.

    I thought about what you said and have this as a response. I am only marginally afraid of myself causing trouble in the wilderness with regards to disturbing animals in a dangerous way; perhaps this has to do with the 6 years I spent in the army (callsign Prophet) but I feel I have a good sense of how to move through nature. Of course, thats me and while I wish everyone were as careful as you and I not to endanger the public AND the wildlife (ie feeding bears is basically giving them a death sentence when they begin to rely on people instead of themselves) I do worry that the public as a whole is not so carry and it is very possible that a nuisance bear may come looking for some food around my campsite. Throw in some of baby bears for her to protect and things can get really dicey really quick. Perhaps a few shots in the air can do a little more to spook her off than simply waving my arms and yelling. And I agree barky, if we start allowing hunting rifles into the parks then that will probably lead to hunting, but I am for allowing pistols in the park because one rarely needs to protect themselves at 200 yards but at 20ft the need may arise and a pistol is a suitable firearm for defense.

    But as I said, I am only marginally afraid of that scenario. The scenario I am more wary of is the one that has been brought up before in that, while the legal minded citizens of this land will invariably follow such restrictions the criminal element will not. And what better place for a criminal to partake in crime than in places where they face little resistence from an armed victim. This is one of the main reasons why cities such as Washington DC and Detroit are such dangerous places, when you ban guns for legal citizens then you open criminals up to running roughshod over the people. Not one week ago the VP of columbia artists in NYC was pistol whipped and held up and lost $150,000 in broad daylight. He was lucky to escape with his life but the NYC gun ban did little to stop the brazen robber from using a pistol in his crime.

    Have we all ready forgotten Meredith Emerson, the 24 year old girl from Georgia who was beheaded while on a hiking trip by some drifter that crossed her path? Maybe she never saw the deathblow coming...but if she did maybe if she was armed the results may have been different.

    Someone mentioned how if we're so afraid of terrorists we should stay home...firstly, its not about terrorists, its about the fact that we live in a world that has danger in it both from abroad, nature, and the random person you meet on the trail. Secondly, we shouldn't have to hide in our homes in order to remain safe. If people legally carrying weapons in a National Park bothers you detractors so much then you should take your own advice and stay home. Or better yet pick up some iron and hit the shooting range. I mean, you wouldnt go hiking with the bare minimum amount of water...even if you were only planning to go out for an hour would you? You never know how that one hour hike may get you turned around and end up being 10 days. Its a matter of prevention.

    While I can respect the well thought out arguments that people like Barky can bring forth, too often people rely on hysterical sensationalism like references to the old west and espound on how much guns are evil and so is the NRA. Despite the fact that most layman peoples understanding of how the old west "really" was is based off of spaghetti westerns and dime store novels. To think the old west was really like that is to say that when i watch the news I only hear about planes that crash land therefore the majority of planes that fly end in crashes.

    But I digress. Barky, I hope that people would try and use some common sense when dealing with nature at all times, be it armed or unarmed though I think you are onto something that may need to be dealt with when this bill passes. But as the adage goes you shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 39 weeks ago

    i would love to travel to alaska to hunt and fish but traveling thru the states with a weapon , i would not be able to go thru a national park is absurd. nobody in there right mind should get that close to a bear. with or without a gun.

  • Western National Parks Contaminated By Airborne Heavy Metals, Pesticides   6 years 39 weeks ago

    Another example of junk science to justify more $$$ for scientists versus hiring more rangers that the public really desires.
    Global warming? about Global COOLING instead:

    Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

    The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average."

    China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.

    There have been so many snow and ice storms in Ontario and Quebec in the past two months that the real estate market has felt the pinch as home buyers have stayed home rather than venturing out looking for new houses.

    In just the first two weeks of February, Toronto received 70 cm of snow, smashing the record of 66.6 cm for the entire month set back in the pre-SUV, pre-Kyoto, pre-carbon footprint days of 1950.

    And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its "lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past.

    The ice is back.

    Gilles Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa, says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year.

    OK, so one winter does not a climate make. It would be premature to claim an Ice Age is looming just because we have had one of our most brutal winters in decades.

    But if environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin shows up on Georgian Bay two weeks early, then it is at least fair game to use this winter's weather stories to wonder whether the alarmist are being a tad premature.

    And it's not just anecdotal evidence that is piling up against the climate-change dogma.

    According to Robert Toggweiler of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University and Joellen Russell, assistant professor of biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona -- two prominent climate modellers -- the computer models that show polar ice-melt cooling the oceans, stopping the circulation of warm equatorial water to northern latitudes and triggering another Ice Age (a la the movie The Day After Tomorrow) are all wrong.

    "We missed what was right in front of our eyes," says Prof. Russell. It's not ice melt but rather wind circulation that drives ocean currents northward from the tropics. Climate models until now have not properly accounted for the wind's effects on ocean circulation, so researchers have compensated by over-emphasizing the role of manmade warming on polar ice melt.

    But when Profs. Toggweiler and Russell rejigged their model to include the 40-year cycle of winds away from the equator (then back towards it again), the role of ocean currents bringing warm southern waters to the north was obvious in the current Arctic warming.

    Last month, Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, shrugged off manmade climate change as "a drop in the bucket." Showing that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin advised people to "stock up on fur coats."

    He is not alone. Kenneth Tapping of our own National Research Council, who oversees a giant radio telescope focused on the sun, is convinced we are in for a long period of severely cold weather if sunspot activity does not pick up soon.

    The last time the sun was this inactive, Earth suffered the Little Ice Age that lasted about five centuries and ended in 1850. Crops failed through killer frosts and drought. Famine, plague and war were widespread. Harbours froze, so did rivers, and trade ceased.

    It's way too early to claim the same is about to happen again, but then it's way too early for the hysteria of the global warmers, too.

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 39 weeks ago

    Mr. Fletcher James,

    I do understand your position, and I believe ANPR has answered it, but I will repeat. We do agree that the majority of gun owners coming into parks would never use their guns to illegally kill or injure wildlife (law abiding citizens you reference). We also recognize that a small number of gun owners will illegally use their guns to kill or injure wildlife no matter what the regulations or laws concerning guns in parks are (criminals you reference). However, a regulatory change to allow loaded weapons in parks in plain view will make it more difficult to apprehend these individuals (the criminals) because possession and display of a weapon would no longer be probable cause to initiate a search for evidence of wildlife or wildlife parts (I know you understand probable cause as a law enforcement officer yourself).

    We also believe that there are a significant number of gun owners that fall in the middle of the two groups mentioned above. They are often tempted into an illegal act of killing or harming wildlife if the right opportunity in parks presents itself. These are the "opportunistic poachers" that the regulation specifically addresses, and I can personally attest to contacting many in this group over the past 25-years.

    When you say, “It's a wilderness location for god's sake” it seems clear to me that you still do not really understand our position. The current regulation is a wildlife protection regulation. The National Park Service is mandated by Congress to do all it can to preserve wildlife with its management policies an regulations. The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously upheld that protection and management of wildlife on federal lands is of substantial importance to society so that it is protected under the Property Clause of the Constitution.

    You are arguing public/personal safety. The current regulation is primarily a wildlife protection regulation. Is there a trade off? Sure, but a very slight one. “The probability of becoming a victim of violent crime in a national park [in 2006] was 1 in 708,333,” said Kathy Kupper, public affairs specialist for the National Park Service -- less likely than dying from contact with a venomous snake, according to the National Safety Council. “In 2006, there were 384 violent crimes, including 11 killings and 35 rapes, reported in the more than 272 million visits to the nation's 390 national parks,” Kupper said. Many of those crimes were reported to the United States Park Police, which covers metropolitan areas such as Washington, D.C., New York City, and San Francisco [which means even less out in the “wilderness” that you reference]. I, and the majority of ANPR members, are willing to accept that slight level of risk of violent crime to continue to enjoy and have American families enjoy the maximum amount of watchable wildlife in units of the National Park System. We are sorry you don’t agree with this position and can only hope that you can at least see the rationale behind it.

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 39 weeks ago

    On 11/17/97, I spoke with Cheryl Mathews, of YNP - she was a PR officer, I believe, and she told me that the Yellowstone bison slaughter started in 1984, 24 years ago.

    Here's the earlier total, from Cheryl Mathews; year 2000 and beyond are from BFC:

    1984: 88
    1985: 57
    1985: 6
    1987: 35
    1988: 569
    1989: 4
    1990: 14
    1991: 271
    1992: 79
    1993: 5
    1994: 424
    No totals for 95-96; approx. 400-450; I used 425
    1997: 1084
    Since 2000: 3,194 (from BFC)

    Six thousand, two hundred and fifty-five bison killed for no reason other than to placate and pander to cattlemen in Montana.

    We need totals for '98-'99.

    This bison slaughter is one of America's most important wildlife tragedies.


    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

  • Western National Parks Contaminated By Airborne Heavy Metals, Pesticides   6 years 39 weeks ago

    This is extremely alarming and with global warming on top of it. Let's face it folks, we have huge problems ahead. Do you really think the EPA cares enough to make it a national policy to put strict controls on these harmful contaminants that are harming the National Parks.

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 39 weeks ago

    As a Park Ranger I would think that you would understand that criminals are going to carry guns anyway whether you like it or not. These same people have no respect for you and your government position. There are people out there that do support you and as a fellow Law Enforcement Officer I find it comforting to know that there are law abiding citizens out there that will stand up for you. These "renagade" citizens are able to protect themselves, and by doing so they are not causing you to risk your life saving theirs. It's a wilderness location for god's sake. We are not talking about the County Courthouse or State Senate Buildings. Don't fall into that victim mentality or you surely will become one.

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 39 weeks ago


    Then, we are closer than we are farther apart. And, I hope that despite our disagreements over tactics (and Rockefeller), that we will continue to work in solidarity on behalf of Yellowstone's beleagured buffalo - now there have been 760 killed by the combined slaughters of DOL and NPS and the Montana hunts, as well as the Salish Kootenai and Nez Perce hunts.

    I'm sad beyond belief about this more than anything else, and I hope we can work together. I'm not going to apologize for taking a picture of a puppet and using it as my headline (I can't speak for BFC), but where we can work together, let's continue to do so. There are a lot of sad things happening. And, while I would never say conversations like the one we are having hurt, I would say that it would be very bad if it meant we didn't continue to work on this issue.

    Thank you for all you have done.

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

  • Park History: Grand Teton National Park   6 years 39 weeks ago


    I'm a pacifist so that should tell you about what I think about war.

    You have to show the contradiction of ends and means in the grim reaper notion of the NPS related to protesting their slaughter of Yellowstone buffalo because I don't see it.

    As for the accidental killing of someone from delivering a loaf of bread, how is that even an ends and means question?

    Mack, I've done my best to take you seriously; that's why I gave the care and length to the response I have; I'd appreciate the same respect. There are reasons for connecting ends and means; there are reasons to reject your view that sometimes the ends justify the means. I've done my best to answer your question. Throwing out examples like this don't speak to those arguments.

    So, there's nothing more for me to say.

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

  • Glen Canyon NRA Releases EA on Castle Rock Cut Deepening   6 years 39 weeks ago

    Boaters are harming the lake more now that they have to travel an extra 12 miles to get up the lake from Wahweap. Cutting the short cut will allow boaters to access the rest of the lake without burning as much fuel to get there. So all in all the cut would help rather then hinder. And moving a little bit of lake bed isn't destroying the lake or its beauty, its lake bottom for crying out load!!!! Cut away!!!!

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 39 weeks ago

    "Do you think that members of the Park Service should be doing more to stop the slaughter of Yellowstone buffalo - at the various levels of the bureaucracy?"

    Yep. Hard to do so in today's political climate, thanks to Bush, Inc.

    "Is the IBMP completely independent from the partner agencies who manage and enforce the IBMP?"

    The IBMP is an agreement/document created by agencies. How can a document be independent?

    "Should the National Park Service be doing more to change the IBMP?"

    Yep, although jobs would be at risk.

    "Under the IBMP, what principles guide the different decisions that NPS makes in respect to enforcing the IBMP? Are those decisions justified? Might they be different?

    I'm not sure; I'd have to study the IBMP and I can't at this point in time. You would agree that YNP has to abide by the IBMP?

    "And, if PEER actually is there to help rangers pursue interests of environmental justice, can they be doing more not to carry out the policies of their superiors? (PEER is controversial in itself, but that's neither here nor there.)"

    I do not know.

    "And, on the issue of hypocrisy, first of all the charge is ad hominem..."

    I don't view it as an attack; rather an observation, separate from the issue at hand.

    "I have said that people should have sympathy with people who are caught under any hierarchical oppression, who are not able to carry out their own will. What is hypocritical or empty about that? The picture that headlines this that was featured at the rally was labeled "Park Service." Why are you conflating that with sympathy for rangers on the ground? That's rather insulting and mean-spirited, and I find what you've said personally hurtful."

    Sorry. I don't mean to hurt your feelings. The hypocrisy I see is that you claim sympathy for rangers on the ground, yet you degrade and insult them by using some black puppet, as you describe it, hanging in effigy near the west entrance. I don't know why you can't see the hypocrisy. By the way, how large was this "puppet?"

    "Look, we both clearly want their to be justice for the buffalo. We have a disagreement over tactics and the appropriateness of certain tactics and how to go about things."

    Only one tactic, actually; the "puppet" incident.

    "I'm probably far more radical (though I would not say idealistic - as you have about me) than you."

    Don't be so sure, young man. :)

    "Because I see the IBMP as ultimately not the issue - merely the vehicle to pursue a particular agenda against the buffalo - and see the joint invested interests of private industry and government as one significant root of the problem."

    I agree 100%.

    "And, where rangers also do that (professionals or volunteers like yourself), I will be the first to support them."

    Again, this is where we depart - I maintain that you are degrading and insulting YNP personnel on the ground by using some black puppet, as you describe it, hanging in effigy near the west entrance. That's all.

    I support BFC in all their actions except this black puppet, as you describe it, hanging in effigy near the west entrance.

    Bottom line is, BFC has been documenting and protesting this tragic situation for years, and I very much appreciate it, but there's been no improvement in the situation. So whatever BFC is doing hasn't been effective. Where's the resolution? I told Mike Mease years ago that this situation would be resolved only in the courts.

    Find some sharp attorneys and drag the IBMP into court.


    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

  • Park History: Grand Teton National Park   6 years 39 weeks ago

    "I don't believe that ends ever justify the means; the ends and the means are inextricably linked."

    However, you apparantly believe that the ends, the resolution of the bison slaughter situation, justifies the means, the use of some black puppet, as you describe it, hanging in effigy near the west entrance of YNP, degrading and insulting YNP personnel on the ground, in my opinion. Surprise...! I maintain this further illustrates the hypocrisy of your position on the use of the black puppet.

    What about the American Revolutionary War - did the ends justify the means? What about defeating Hitler - did the ends justify the means?

    What about that loaf of whole wheat bread you just baked? Did the truck delivering the flour accidentally kill some wildlife while getting the flour to the retailer? And if it did, does your ends, baking and consuming the loaf of bread, justify the means?

    If you respond, I encourage you to keep it short and sweet. :)


    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

  • High SO2 Levels Force Road Closure at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park   6 years 39 weeks ago

    Here is an excerpt of the observation report I sent to Jim Kauahikaua last summer about the observations I made concerning gases in the halema'uma'u area:
    "I’m back in France after two weeks spent on the Big Island. As lava was no longer flowing either on Pulama Pali or on the coastal flat, I could not perform any work on its cooling process as I had planned. Anyway, I made some good observations along the South-West Rift and the South flank of Kilauea which is currently seismically active.
    I also made some temperature measurements and collected 2 gas samples along the rim of Halema’uma’u on July 13th. Temperatures were ranging between 71°C (160°F) on the northern rim and 82° C (190°F) on the southern rim at a depth of 50 centimetres.
    The fumaroles mainly included water vapour (more than 80%) as well as some lesser amounts of CO2 and sulphur dioxide.
    As far as the July 21st eruption is concerned, I flew over the active zone on July 24th. My observations confirm the update issued by the Observatory on that same day. I’m sending you a few photos I took of Pu’u O’o and the lava flows."