Recent comments

  • Great Basin National Park's Air Could Be Compromised By Proposed Power Plant   6 years 41 weeks ago

    i lived there for a summer, the milky way stretches from horizon to horizon. it would be a shame for that area to lose the clear skies. the skies here are what the parks are all about.

  • Tar Sands Development Could Impact Canyonlands National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Glen Canyon NRA   6 years 41 weeks ago

    You can't blame Big Oil for casting covetous eyes on the heavy oil out there in the western mountains and prairies. The bitumen in the tar sands and the kerogen in the oil shale contain so much oil that the you think "can't possibly be true" when you first see the statistics. It's even more mind-boggling that the Canadian reserves are vastly larger than our own, and together contain a stock of affordable oil that is considerably larger than the total of all the oil that has ever been pumped from the ground since humans first started using the stuff. Environmental considerations aside, the main obstacle to exploiting these hydrocarbons has always been the high cost of recovery and processing. Why should we have bothered with heavy oil when petroleum (especially light crude) was so cheap? Now that we've got hundred-dollar oil, however, the recovery cost impediment has been removed. Environmental impacts and water usage now become the major concerns. Here in America, Big Oil will almost certainly not get the go-ahead for large-scale extraction of heavy oil until their scientists and engineers prove that kerogen and bitumen can be extracted and processed without producing environmental havoc, ruining the viewscape, and depleting scarce water supplies. Watch for Big Oil to start promoting the use of "in-situ" processing methods for extracting liquid fuels and related fractions from oil sands and oil shales. In theory, in situ processing would eliminate the need for surface mines, require no above-ground retorting facilities, and leave the surface of the land looking essentially undisturbed. If in situ processing proves out, it will be a relatively simple matter for Big Oil to argue that heavy oil recovery poses no serious risks to our national parks, forests, and other resource lands. We who love the parks and fight to protect them are already being cast as "dog in the manger" villains who are preventing access to badly needed mineral supplies and impeding the struggle to achieve America's energy independence. The in situ processing argument, if Big Oil can wield it skillfully in the arena of public opinion, has the potential to make us look like damn fools. What a lousy scenario. We had better get our act together on this one, folks.

  • Great Basin National Park's Air Could Be Compromised By Proposed Power Plant   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Why not build solar? That is one of the US's hottest solar spots.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Sensible response, however, Yosemite has it's own jail because the crime rate is so high. I'm in favor of packing a gun not for animal, but for human predators. On the back roads of Death Valley and Big Bend, you won't see a ranger for weeks. I might carry a gun and if so it would be loaded. What are you going to do with an empty gun?

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Well, I'm not going to get into the gun debate itself, but this part of the quoted portion of the original post intrigued me:

    Information gathered by State and Federal wildlife management organizations throughout the country overwhelmingly indicates that both people and wildlife are safer when guns are not the first choice when people feel threatened.

    One thing the parks should teach us is how to respect and honor nature. Everywhere there are "do not feed the animals" and "don't pollute the water" signs. Taunting and harrassing wildlife is illegal and discouraged, as is collecting of plants, fossils, etc. A well-run park reminds all visitors how much better nature is when man isn't mucking around with it.

    What does this have to do with guns?

    Well, if guns give the public a greater sense of security around wild animals, then people are not going to do what they should do when in the parks: leave wildlife alone!

    On a recent trip to Yosemite, I entered a part of the valley with a big warning about mountain lion country. So, I was very careful and followed their recommendations. Same thing with bear country in Alaska. You give these animals a wide berth, and if you stumble across one, back off and give them the right of way, etc. People follow these rules not only because they should, but because fear drives them to do so! I know it did for me ...

    If people had guns in the parks, that "fear factor" would go away, and people would stomp around, unafraid, and venture more into wild animal territory, something not only dangerous but also harmful to those animals. They need to have their own, unspoiled hunting grounds.

    Wildlife in the parks are not to be hunted, nor are they to be trifled with. Allowing firearms would do both.

    Let's remember what the purpose of the parks really is. That applies to guns, or motorcycles, or ATVs, or whatever.

  • Tiny Lizard That Calls Death Valley National Park Home Could Be Added to ESA List   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Well, let's hope the Bush administration keeps it's cotton picken hands out of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service field of responsibility of enforcing the ESA. Also, keep the Sec. of Interior (and this present administration) from meddling into the affairs of the U.S. FWS, by influencing it's so called anti-environmental stance, and trying skewer the good solid biological research work done by the FWS. The Bush administrations main goal is to train wreck the ESA for the purpose of greed, rape and pillage. No doubt!!!

  • Tar Sands Development Could Impact Canyonlands National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Glen Canyon NRA   6 years 42 weeks ago

    The first sign to look for is a bill in Congress to change the name of the park to Canyonlands National Park & Preserve. And they'll try to pass it off as this wonderful thing to expand the park's boundaries and help citizens take full advantage of the many splendors of the Canyonlands landscape... it'll be cleverly worded so that the general public won't suspect a thing, because the name "Preserve" in NPS lingo means anything but.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 42 weeks ago

    You have the right to protect your homes armed to the teeth. So stay at home where it's safe. Anyone can decide to cross that double yellow line at anytime and take out your entire family packed into the station wagon -- so do we need anti-SUV devices to protect ourselves from a possible lane-changer? The list of silly protections we could carry around with ourselves could be endless. It's a dangerous world with inherent risk and the odds are in your favor to make it through unscathed.

  • Tar Sands Development Could Impact Canyonlands National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Glen Canyon NRA   6 years 42 weeks ago

    I used to wonder what the BLM stood for, but now I know:

    If there's a buck to be made, rape it, mine it, destroy it and let our kids clean it up when we're gone.

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Ok. Hope this is succinct enough for you.

    National Parks are not like everywhere else. They are as lands considered too unique for common use, but instead they are mandated by law to be preserved and protected for the enjoyment of future generations.

    Where the hell does a hockey game come into the National Park mandate? How do future generations benefit from the noise, trucks, and carnival atmosphere? How does this possibly come even close to fitting into the National Park idea?

    Yes there is a community there. But the community exists for the sake of the Park, NOT the other way around. The community has gone to gateways for hockey games before and for the park's sake, they should continue.

    How the hell can we encourage less auto traffic, noise and light bombardment in Yosemite Valley and allow such non-mandated activities?

    It's a crazy idea.

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    There's a skating rink at Yosemite. That's where the hockey game will be played. It will be a fun little event.

    I'd save the rambling gibberish for legitimate threats to the environment. Of course, there's already a global excess of hot air . . .

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Yes, freak out, gun fans. Use LOTS OF CAPS and EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!

    That way EVERYONE will SEE that you are TOTALLY CALM AND REASONABLE!!! And that you should be TRUSTED to CARRY YOUR GUNS around YELLOWSTONE, in case YOGI TRIES ANYTHING!!!!!!!

    Right now it's legal to keep your precious guns in the trunk of your car while you're in a National Park. Is that just NOT CLOSE ENOUGH? When the terrorists attack your campsite you could still make a HEROIC DASH to the motorized arms cache and BE A HERO!!!!!

    You silly goobers, when armed, pose a much bigger safety threat than the boogeymen in your own heads. Allowing guns in National Parks would undeniably make the Parks more dangerous. That's what the people who have worked at our Parks are saying, and they're right.

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    I do not believe that any of the natural resources should be accommodating human interests, unless humans are preserving the environment and the wildlife. Therefore, no, Hockey and any other human interests should not be allowed in, on, around, or underneath said park. You couldn't pay me enough to give up my rationale on this issue...nor is there enough "legitimate" funds in the world that could pay for rebuilding the harm that will be (not might or possibly) done to the environment and the wildlife. I'm sorry, but it's my own humble opinion that most of mankind is just not capable of ensuring the safety and preservation of what little "natural" life we all have left to enjoy. For gosh sakes people are voting on condoning hockey games in a very old glacier because it is a "natural made ice cap" while our own government is trying to persuade the rest of Americans to vote yes on the slaughter of the wolves in Alaska (and any other state that condones it) AND drilling for oil in Alaska where polar bears live.
    The world has been around for centuries - how many places are still in their "natural" form?
    Did you ever wonder why the US/Canadian govt has banned boats on the upper half of the Niagara Falls (limited boats on the lower end)?
    Why some natural parks/beaches require a fee to visit these areas?
    Why "feeding" the animals is not tolerated anymore?
    Why some wildlife is more annoying to residential owners than others?
    Did you know that some animals on land, in water, and in the air are migratory, and for decades have returned to where their migratory radar directs them to go...only to have it abused by man's "interests"? Example: some snapping turtles migrate along residential streets in Lake County, IL, but are usually run over by either impatient motorists or snow-mobiler's. I know this because I use to live there and we had migrating turtles in our ditches - their natural migrating path. Same with deer both in Lake County, IL and Kitsap County, WA. They have a migrating path which is more often then not obstructed by "new home communities," which reduces their feeding and mating grounds. There are so many examples in your own states, all you have to do is look around at man's history to change the landscape to what he wants. Still need proof, do the research yourself. Review information about your area, what it was like 5, 10, 20, 30, etc years ago, then see what happened that wasn't naturally created. By naturally, I mean how Mt St Helen erupted and over the years has replenished the grounds around her (yes, mankind has assist to a degree in her rehabilitation) and nature has flourished in its own time frame.
    Before anyone decides why they should or should not agree to changing / using the natural resources still available for all organisms to in habit / enjoy, they should first: weigh their own beliefs, secondly: the beliefs of their "family" unit (families vary), thirdly: what this means to their community (local/state/country/world), and lastly how far they are willing to travel to see nature in all her splendor and wonder. I'm sorry for being preachy, but I've had enough of this balderdash about "why" something should occur to offset nature's balance and "how" mankind the world over will benefit from it, yet not one blessed piece of remorse for the destruction nor the rehabilitation of what nature has been able to balance for centuries without mans interference.
    If you're angry at me for my opinion that's great... that means you're thinking about more than your own personal gain, and if you're not, well maybe you're more at peace with where nature is going to be in another 20 or so years.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 42 weeks ago

    We have the same discussion every time this issue comes up. I will repeat myself only because I'm hoping I will eventually reach someone who has not thought this through to the logical conclusion. I am continually amazed by the naivety of informed, intelligent Americans. Mr. Anonymous "feels safer" knowing that "some fool" is not carrying a gun in a National Park. How does he know this? Wait, I know; because it's ILLEGAL!! Naturally he knows that EVERYBODY obeys ALL laws and regulations. He knows that nobody ever rapes, robs, mugs, poaches, kills, uses drugs, etc. simply because it's ILLEGAL to do so!! Please think this through Mr. Anonymous. Laws are for the law-abiding, not criminals.

    FYI, I am not "some fool". I have received many hours of expensive training, and numerous background checks so that I can carry a gun for my families' protection. I only hope that I never need to use it.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 42 weeks ago

    The tax code is confusing to most, should we stop paying taxes?
    sounds good to me.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 42 weeks ago

    If the New York Times is so smart (and all of us "hick" gun owners are so dumb) then why don't they show a nice uniform website, flyer, or periodical that displays what the differing state laws are for carrying a concealed weapon? The only sites I'm aware of are privately run and have a disclaimer about them not being responsible if their information isn't correct. Show me their "data" that says that those who posses a concealed carry permit will lower the safety in ANY situation.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 42 weeks ago

    I definitely agree with the Coalition that the current gun regulations should not be changed. I feel safer when I visit a National Park knowing that some fool is not carrying a gun that could endanger my life or anyone else's life. And just as important, wildlife is safer and can do there own thing in their habitat, not the humans habitat. Please do not change this law!!!!!!!

  • Park History: Wind Cave National Park   6 years 42 weeks ago

    I think that tiny little Wind Cave NP is my favorite National Park of the whole system (that I've seen so far, that is). It's not so much the caves as it is, as Paul says above, for the wildlife of the park. Ever since the early part of the 20th Century, Wind Cave has acted as a wildlife preserve for bison, antelope, and elk, and has a very healthy population of prairie dogs, eagles, hawks, and even possibly some big cats. I loved hiking through the Wind Cave area, it's beautiful country in and of itself. Other parks have great vistas or geologic magnificence, whereas Wind Cave's landscape is simple. But the park is full of wildlife, just like the entire country used to be at one time.

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Mook -- I tried roller skates at the local roller rink once -- it didn't go over too well.

    That being said, the two previous Blue Hens before me always wore roller skates and skated around the parking lot before football games.

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    I think the difference is clear. Unlike Alcatraz or Charlestown, you're not bringing in more than a couple dozen folks for this visit. The benefits to the team are minimal — will this honestly help them sell hundreds more tickets, and even if it did, would those ticket sales cover the costs of van rental, a couple hours on the road, gas, etc?

    It's not like they're paying TV stations to come out. If the TV stations do, that's great for the Falcons. These aren't the giant trailers behind arenas that broadcast games live — these are The Fox 12 Mobile Newsroom, or whatever satellite truck the local CBS affiliate owns or leases because their microwave transmitters won't work at that range. They'll be long gone before the first room goes dark at the Ahwahnee.

    How is that different from TV stations coming out to report live after someone falls or drowns or otherwise has a horrible accident that leads off the evening news?

    So no, it wouldn't be appropriate to bring a circus to Yosemite. But if somebody can come in as part of community outreach and use existing facilities — a conference room, an amphitheater or an ice skating rink — then what does it matter?

    I covered this league for a couple of years in my sportswriting career, and I know the kind of thing that's going on here. Nobody's driving up from Fresno to watch the Falcons carve the ice at Curry Village. It's quite possible the TV stations won't even show. If a line has to be drawn, draw it — but be realistic about where it's set and don't use slippery slopes to establish it.

    I'll be right there in agreement when the next NHL Winter Classic is scheduled between the Maple Leafs and Wild on a pond at Voyageurs, or when the Asheville Tourists play the Arkansas Travellers on a meadow in the Great Smoky Mountains. But if a local organization — even a for-profit organization — wants to make a low-key visit to a residential area in the anticlimax of the offseason, I don't see the issue. Park workers' kids didn't choose to live there, and they shouldn't be deprived the benefits of city living just because their parents happen to live within one of the wonders of nature.

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 42 weeks ago


    You're probably right, the physical aspect of the park won't be harmed. But does that make it OK to stage this sort of event in a national park, whether it's Yosemite or Golden Gate NRA? Were the parks designed to be backdrops for promotional events? Should Yosemite Valley be a backdrop for a semi-pro hockey team?

    I raised this question last year when Toyota staged a party at Alcatraz, and when the Charlestown Navy Yard was rented out to a major health-care company. Were those appropriate uses?

    Now, part of the difficulty in answering these questions in connection with the Fresno Falcons is the fact that there is a year-round community in Yosemite Valley. What rights does the community have to entertainment? Should it be like Anytown, U.S.A., or should there be some limits imposed because of its national park setting?

    Where do you draw the line? Would it be OK to have a circus come to the valley as long as the physical environment isn't damaged?

    What about Yosemite's visitors, folks who might have spent several thousand dollars on a vacation to come enjoy the valley and are confronted by those satellite trucks with their bright lights? Do you think they expected that when they booked their vacation? Some might think it's fun, some might not.

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    TZ - You're not answering my question, just talking about a bunch of roadblocks you think should be put up before this happens.

    How is the park harmed by two or three TV news trucks and two vans full of hockey players showing up at Curry Village for a few hours in the dead of winter?

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Will the for-profit hockey team pay royalties for their use (on TV) of the National Park? What rights do they have to re-broadcast images of NPS employees? What other for-profit enterprises can 'use' the National Park in this media-friendly way? Would my high-school hockey team be equally able to commandeer this piece of public property for an evening? In summary, how much policy review has this action received by our public officials?

  • Park History: Wind Cave National Park   6 years 42 weeks ago

    I also think there are elk in Wind Cave NP. When my wife and I were there in 2006, we climbed to the top of a fire tower atop Rankin Ridge. A ranger was in the tower with one of those radio/antenna jobs, trying to figure out where some radio-collared elk were at.

    The ranger also took the time to relate some stories of fire spotting, and to give us an example how they use the triangulation method of determining a fire's location. We had a great time at Wind Cave, above and below the ground.

  • Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?   6 years 42 weeks ago

    Merryland, I'm guessing the Blue Hen never put skates on during your time in Newark.