Recent comments

  • The Consequences of the Legal Bear Hunt in Katmai   6 years 48 weeks ago

    Interesting related story from the policy standpoint in today's Casper Star-Tribune. This talks in general about the Bush Administration policy toward hunting on public lands and not to Alaska in particular - but certainly relevant.

    See President orders hunting focus (by Brodie Farquhar)

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

  • The Consequences of the Legal Bear Hunt in Katmai   6 years 48 weeks ago

    Off hand ... I don't know, although, it may be worth checking into. I do know that 2/3 of the acreage for the entire National Park Service is held in Alaska's parks, more than 55 million acres. We've covered stories in the past about the challenges the parks face having to patrol that much acreage, but I couldn't find anything specific to poaching with a quick search of our archives.

  • The Consequences of the Legal Bear Hunt in Katmai   6 years 48 weeks ago

    Jeremy, right off hand do you know if illegal bear poaching is a serious problem in Alaska. Some years ago there was quite a bit of bear poaching in the upper regions of Northern California. I'm not sure if there is a huge demand for bear parts (paws & penis organs...etc.) these days, which pays very well for it's aphrodisiac effects...so said by certain Asian communities. This is a deadly business which law enforcement has extreme difficulty controlling. Definitely not legal harvesting by any means.

  • The Consequences of the Legal Bear Hunt in Katmai   6 years 48 weeks ago

    I'm not an expert in game management, but the state of Alaska should be. What I think is so surprising about this story, is that the state is going against its own guidelines for the bear hunt. If they have decided that 18 should be the upper limit of bears hunted/harvested/killed/, then why would they give out permits for twice that number? What's worse is the Park Service can't do anything about it, even though it impacts a park resource they are supposed to be managing. The ANILCA is complicated, but it's also 25 years old. Why not refine the legislation and remove hunting from Park Service manage lands altogether? I'm not sure how we can claim we are preserving and protecting bears when we allow them to be killed as trophies on park land.

  • The Consequences of the Legal Bear Hunt in Katmai   6 years 48 weeks ago

    Like Merryland, I've always had a bit of a problem when land managers use the word "harvest" when it comes to big game hunting. A bear is not a blackberry. And elk is not an eggplant. A moose is not a mango. Subsistence or sport hunting (or sportfishing, in fact) for food is one thing. Do so just to hang a dead aminal trophy on the wall is entirely another.

  • The Consequences of the Legal Bear Hunt in Katmai   6 years 48 weeks ago

    Reminds me of one of Ed Abbey's famous quotes:

    If people persist in trespassing upon the grizzlies' territory, we must accept the fact that the grizzlies, from time to time, will harvest a few trespassers.

  • Yosemite's Half Dome: Everything You Need to Successfully Hike Yosemite's Most Famous Landmark   6 years 48 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    Thanks for the review of my book. We need to get education out so more can enjoy this hike - safely. Just a couple points of clarification. The book title is actually: "One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome".

    The women who fell in Nov '06 and Apr '07 went up when the cables are in the down position for the winter. The support poles and boards are removed. They were both athletes, but both were on a wet rock and lost their grip and slid down. Nohara-san was reportedly wearing tennis shoes and an oversized pack, throwing his balance off. One report had him reaching for a dropped water bottle. He was the first and only fatality off the cables when they were up for summer hiking since they were erected in 1919. 50,000 did it last year without incident. So I do feel the hike is safe - if one is prepared, in shape, has good-soled shoes, water and gloves for the cable ascent.

    Having done the hike 20 times, I see many people unprepared and hurting. My book hopes to educate them how to do this hike safely and with minimal risk. And have fun.

    I have a website dedicated to the Half Dome hike and related topics. See
    www.hikehalfdome.com. I also do a daily blog spinoff from it.

    Keep up the good work!

    Rick Deutsch
    San Jose, CA

  • Bear at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park   6 years 48 weeks ago

    You put your right paw in, you put your right paw out,
    You put your right paw in, and you shake it all about,
    You do the Coho Pokey and you run the fish aground,
    That's what it's all about.

    -- Jon Merryman

  • The Consequences of the Legal Bear Hunt in Katmai   6 years 48 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    Sporting chance is right! Yeah, out of those spotter planes and hit the ground and hump the brush with a Ben Pearson bow...now that's giving the bear a fighting chance. I can remember once reading a bumper sticker in back of a pickup truck which read: "a huge gut pile is a happy hunter"....hopefully, the guy was a poor shot. Good points Merryland!!

  • The Consequences of the Legal Bear Hunt in Katmai   6 years 48 weeks ago

    Shouldn't the salmon population and general availability of food determine the bear population in a balanced ecosystem? Granted, the mere presence of people in the area has thrown the ecosystem out of whack to some degree, but it seems the number to be KILLED should be adjusted to the actual population trends, not the human demand for KILLING a bear for sheer pleasure or selling fuzzy hats.

    And who on earth came up with the term "harvested" to describe the act of KILLING a 700-pound, fairly intelligent animal...? It's not like you're picking an ear of corn or gathering strawberries in a basket. So I suppose if people decide to use the term "murder" to describe bear hunting, that's no worse than using "harvest" -- pick the term that suits your agenda, eh?

    I'm not totally against hunting although I'm sure you'll disagree. But at least call it what it is. I'd give the hunters a little more slack if they were out there with atlatls, spears, and bows & arrows giving the bear some sort of sporting chance, but most humans are too chicken to attempt that. And rightly so.

    -- Jon

  • About The National Parks Traveler   6 years 48 weeks ago

    Great website. Good to see you guys expanding.
    Good Luck

  • The Consequences of the Legal Bear Hunt in Katmai   6 years 48 weeks ago

    I think rather than anti-hunter, it's a pro-bear statement. Jim is speaking specifically about hunting bears in a Park Service managed area that was protected in-part to protect bears and bear habitat. As is pointed out in the article, the state of Alaska estimates that the harvest should be between 14 and 18 a year, but that the state has no problem giving out permits for 34, then 35 the next season. When the state doesn't follow their own guidelines, and when the land manager (Park Service) doesn't have the ability to protect a national resource (the bears), as a national park advocate, wouldn't you agree that this is a problem?

  • The Consequences of the Legal Bear Hunt in Katmai   6 years 48 weeks ago

    All this diatribe is, is an anti-hunter statement. If the state must issue a permit for a bear, that in itself is a limit to how many bears will be harvested. Of course the tree-hugging writer cannot fathom this and states there is "no limit" on the amount of bears that one can harvest. I could conclude from the writer's statement that as long as I had a permit, I could harvest as many bears as I could-- kind of like maybe going squirrel hunting on the back forty........Pure rubbish!!!!

  • Celebrating the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park   6 years 48 weeks ago

    The peace park idea continues to grow and one of its great advocates is Nelson Mandela. Peace parks in Africa are being created not just for conservation purposes but to foster reconciliation between peoples long at odds. The most exciting prospect for the future is in Korea, where conservationists worldwide, and the (South) Korean National Park Service, are eying the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) as a transboundary conservation area if/when reconciliation occurs with North Korea. Thus far, the North Koreans aren't interested in talking about it. But with most of the DMZ off limits to humans since 1953 (land mines are a factor, of course) the rare and endangered species are flourishing and the future for conservation looks bright. Good places to learn more are http://www.dmzforum.org and http://www.peaceparks.org.

  • Fire Continues to Keep Yellowstone's East Entrance Closed   6 years 48 weeks ago

    Mudslide cleared; East Entrance opened again.

    See 8/19/07 Mudslide outside Yellowstone cleared; East Entrance open again (press release by National Park Service)

    Because of all the rain, firefighters are being re-assigned outside of Yellowstone. It's wet enough that the fire isn't expected to expand, if it does, for about another week.

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

  • Katmai NP : Another Gem in Alaska's Crown   6 years 49 weeks ago

    I currently work at Brooks Camp in Katmai National Park, and wanted to correct a few minor errors in this post. The name "Brooks Camp" refers to both the park service and concession facilities, so the two choices for lodging are both in Brooks Camp. You actually have 3 choices-stay in the campground operated by the Park Service, which is surrounded by an electric fence, camp in the backcountry 1.5 miles away from Brooks Camp, or stay in Brooks Lodge, operated by the park concessionaire.

    The bear-viewing platforms are built, maintained and staffed by the National Park Service. The 23-mile dirt road to the Valley of 10,000 Smokes crosses 3 streams rather than 2-two tributaries of Margo Creek and Margo Creek itself. These river crossings are possible because salmon are unable to swim upstream past Margo Falls.

  • Clara Barton's House Goes High-Tech   6 years 49 weeks ago

    Still nothing like seeing it in person with all the creaking floors and steps, but my daughter will surely love it. Also if you visit the real site on Tuesdays, they often have a 4-person play called Clara Barton: The Courage Within which brings Clara's life... err uhh... to life. I organized a visit with a bunch of homeschool families last year and it was very well done consider four people played 9-10 roles and they had about 5 or 6 props for the whole thing. It's performed at Glen Echo Park next door to CLBA. You won't be able to drop in on a performance because they only hold it when they have a minimum number of people, usually a school group. I have a little story about it (and her) in my blog if any parents out there are interested (http://homeschoolrangers.wordpress.com/2007/07/18/clara-barton-the-young-schoolteacher/)

    Thanks for the link Jeremy...

    -- Jon Merryman

  • Fire Continues to Keep Yellowstone's East Entrance Closed   6 years 49 weeks ago

    No sooner do you think that it's safe to travel through the East Entrance, and it closes yet again! This time, it's not the fire but a mudslide outside of the park. This is the second time this summer a mudslide has closed the East Entrance. There's no word yet when it will re-open; the forecast also calls for windier conditions, which might mean that the Columbine fire, which is 0% contained and has now burned 18,500 acres, may advance again.

    The most recent press release on the closure is here.

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

  • The Traveler's Code of Conduct   6 years 49 weeks ago

    I really enjoyed the traveler when it was more of a web magazine than a blog, because it lent credibility to the issues Kurt explored and exposed that NPS employees knew about but couldn't do anything about. While folks were always free to respond to Kurt's postings, it was about the legitimacy of the information and a trusted source at that...it was different than all of the other sites out there. While I don't like the idea of censorship, I also don't like the idea of false ideas being perpetrated on the traveler site because some like to pick fights, call others names, and dominate every discussion. Those posts which contribute truly false information, defame others and deliberately provoke should be reviewed and possibly deleted before being posted to keep up the reputation of the site. Should the traveler be used by others to launch their own personal sites? Is that really the purpose?

  • Fire Continues to Keep Yellowstone's East Entrance Closed   6 years 49 weeks ago

    As of 9 AM MDT, the NPS has yet again re-opened the East Entrance.

    See http://www.nps.gov/yell/parknews/0774.htm.

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

  • Pot Farmers Tilling Ground in Yosemite   6 years 49 weeks ago

    that's funny. the national guard will cause more environmental damage going after the growers than the growers themselves cause.

  • Pot Farmers Tilling Ground in Yosemite   6 years 49 weeks ago

    Well you can petition your representatives to repeal the Posse Comitatus Act which has been in effect since the days of Reconstruction....or.....(much easier) get them to just enforce the laws on the books now using more ICE and DEA with the help of the NPS.

  • Pot Farmers Tilling Ground in Yosemite   6 years 49 weeks ago

    Think about this! Right now we are paying farmers to not grow on land because we have an over abundance of alot of these crops and it drives the price for that crop so low that it is more profitable for the farmers to not grow on this land. they call it CPR ground and it is still costing the taxpayers to pay these farmers to not grow on it. We have a welfare system that is so fraudulent it is pathetic. These people need jobs, not a life of welfare which again, is payed by the people who pay taxes.Why not put this land and people back to work by legalizing pot! The farmers will be able to do what they do, FARM. It would create jobs for people to get off welfare and back to contributing to society. The government could control the quality and the quantity and make it available to responsible adults at government run stores. The tax money generated by the 20 million americans that smoke pot DAILY would support schools, local government and would allow states to build lots of new prisons and harbor the real criminals. With all that extra revenue,there would be no early release of hardened criminals because of overcrowding and no such thing as getting out early because of good behavior!!! They are in jail for crimes commited, how in the hell can there be "good behavior"? Also, Take a man with a family that goes to jail for selling pot. Not only do we put him in the system, but now, with the bread winner in jail, (tax payer burden) , without his income, it forces the rest of his immediate family into the system ( welfare, food stamps) to survive. (tax payer burden)!! With legalization of pot, I think the people who are involved in the distribution of harder drugs ( meth, cocaine, heroin,etc) will stand out like sore thumbs. Also if you take all the regular joes out of the pot selling buisness, the harder drugs will lose a great deal of thier distribution networks which will make them stand out for arrest and prosecution. With all those new jail from the tax money, all arrested will have plenty of room to do out thier entire sentence. Remember, pot is consumed the exact way it is put on this earth. There is no processing to get it. All other Drugs, including alcohol are the product of man!! I know its not the perfect solution, but we have to start somewhere and I promise you that you will not stop 20 million americans a day from smoking pot!! NO WAY.

  • Pot Farmers Tilling Ground in Yosemite   6 years 49 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    Kath. wasn't the National Guard used to quell the L.A. riots in the 1960's and 1980's...and in Detroit. Sure they can be used in the National Parks. B.S. to the "Posse Comitatus Act"...I say, get the SOB's!

  • Pot Farmers Tilling Ground in Yosemite   6 years 49 weeks ago

    Thank you, I wish we could get everyone to see the light. Now we just need to VOTE for like minded people!!!!!!!!