Recent comments

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   2 days 4 hours ago

    That's what I do with obnoxious bloggers elsewhere: I respond only if I see some appreciable advantage to it. Otherwise, I don't, and if no one does, it takes the wind out of their sails.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   2 days 4 hours ago

    I know what you mean, Lee. We had an earthquake near Juneau and Southeast Alaska lost our internet connection for a day or two. When last seen, I was feeling the urge to throw out a "Jane you ignorant slut" comment at one of the Usual Suspects. [tm: Ackroyd/SNL] When I got internet back I read through all the nonsense and was glad that I'd been out of things for a day or so.

    I have to get over the anxiety of thinking "but Joe Blow will have the satisfaction of chasing me away" if I chose not to respond to a BS comment. Instead I have the satisfaction of knowing that I lowered both Kurt's and my own blood pressure by simply walking away.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   2 days 4 hours ago

    To restore civility to these threads, I think NPT has to stick to uncontroversial subjects that won't raise a fuss. For example, how about this headline?

    GOP Bill Would Allow Armed Mountain Bikers in the 1% to Shoot at Stocked Nonnative Wildlife in NPS Wilderness Units

    Kills Would Be Removed by Helicopter

    Surely no one would get bent out of shape over such an innocuous proposal? :-)

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   2 days 6 hours ago

    Wild Places makes an excellent observation. I'm one who has been guilty to trying to respond the some of the endless t******* that has become a permanent fixture on these pages. When I returned from a short trip yesterday, I discovered just how senseless it all has become. It was like turning on an old time soap opera after a few weeks away. Same old story, just a different day.

    Endless arguments repeating the same endless accusations and "information." Endless distractions from what could be should be thoughtful discussions as some of us find ourselves biting at the bait that is tossed out to distract and foment argument instead of good consideration of interesting issues and possible constructive or instructive discourse. Endless argument over what a single word might or might not mean. Endless twisting and wiggling, demanding "proof" and then more twisting and wiggling when proof is provided.

    It's like watching the Clowns of Congress. All sorts of fuss but nothing to show for it.

    What might happen if more serious readers were to simply ignore -- no matter how hard that may be -- the temptingly smelly bait that is cast into the thoughtstream here? The IGNOREUSER button actually does work if self-control doesn't.

    Kurt, if I fail again, will you come up to Ogden and slap me a couple of times? You have permission.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   2 days 8 hours ago

    Kurt, I guess, the article would be inflammatory to some. In the smokies this is a very divisive issue. Not so much with your average visitor but with some local groups.

    And some of us already work in that arena of doing our part to fund the parks, or at least fund aspects to a park. Many parks are solvent, in my opinion and self-sustaining because of camping, entrance, and backcountry fees, along with non-profit donations. There are also many research grants, etc that help fund the science in the park. Maybe a few aren't solvent, especially the more remote parks, but that doesn't make them any less special or warrant being kicked out of the system. Many members of Congress that come from states with parks in their confines know and understand the value of these places. Where it gets hairy is with the senators from places where there are few National Parks (Tom Coburn from Oklahoma comes to mind, Rick Santorum is another one although he's now pretty much a neutered politician), so they don't see the value because they aren't engaged in that ideology or have ever spent much time in Parks because it's not part of their state. But for every one of those, there are many other congressman that do see the value. I also think we are on the path to a new golden age for National Parks, and I think social media is providing a broad outreach for many of the popular National Parks that goes well beyond just these borders. This current rhetoric from the Tea Party is as old as can be, and while the economy from the past lost decade has definitely caused budget cuts, that is not always a bad thing as it forces better decision making in tough times. But, the point is that our parks are busy. Many, i'd say have hit a plateau in that they can't handle excessively more visitation, but there is definitely a strong affinity by many in this country for the National Parks, and they aren't going away anytime soon. I'm not fearful. As for the Smokies, don't fret it. The park is going to be A oK..

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   2 days 10 hours ago

    I would disagree with you Gary. The point of the editorial was that the Park Service needs to find solutions for funding parks that are not able to charge, or don't charge, entrance fees. I don't see anything inflammatory in that.

    The editorial offered one possible solution for the Smokies...with hopes readers might have ideas of their own.

    As we move into the second century of the National Park Service, funding the parks is going to become a greater and greater issue, unless Congress can be persuaded to see the merits of a healthy and thriving park system. We can have that without blowing out the federal budget. But we're going to have to get a bit creative.

  • National Park Service Reissues Glacier Bay Park Lodging Concession Prospectus With Incentives   2 days 10 hours ago

    Well, at least we know this one doesn't offer enormous profits. And still no evidence has been presented here that any of the others do either.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   2 days 10 hours ago

    I used to enjoy reading the coments here. It was educational and thought provoking. I don't enjoy seeing the name calling and disparaging remarks. I understand those posting aren't doing so for my enjoyment but i'd hazard a guess that most feel the same way.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   2 days 12 hours ago

    No offense, but I think this opinion piece that you wrote was going to inflame regardless if it was on the Smokies or not.

  • National Park Service Reissues Glacier Bay Park Lodging Concession Prospectus With Incentives   2 days 12 hours ago

    I'd have to disagree with you on this one, EC. As Jim pointed out, the short season and the relatively few visitors -- 500,590 last year (most who came via cruise ship), and just 11,440 overnight lodging guests -- make this location a difficult one, financially.

    But having been there, I heartily recommend a visit!

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   2 days 12 hours ago

    Just for the record, that is not me.. and Kurt, if you're willing to post the conspiracy lawsuits, then you should be willing to keep open the threads for dialogue.

    John, seriously, I posted your original documented account of your trip into this area. It showed nothing similar to your later allegations. And it also showed a GPS coordinate posted by your friend of the sign outside of the park. There are also old maps from the 30s and 40s that you can download online that shows this old Hurricane Boundary Trail, where portions of it skirt the direct boundary between NPS and Blackberry farms property. You make little sense. You need to really research things before spouting off with conspiracies.

    Face it there was nothing to cover up. You're just creating things out of nothing. Secondly, i'm not afraid to use my name. Why would I hide behind a pseudonym?

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   2 days 12 hours ago

    Gary, I understand your point, but of late the dialogue that has followed stories about the Smokies' lawsuit constantly devolves into name calling, insults, and the like, and the Traveler was never intended to provide that sort of forum.

    If those on both sides of the issue can't remain civil and on point, we're not going to allow that sort of dialogue on the Traveler as it serves no purpose other than to inflame. Readers who might have something substantial to contribute also are dissuaded from doing so because they don't want to be insulted or denigated for their point(s) of view.

    Court filings are a matter of public record, and we will continue to follow this issue through its outcome.

  • National Park Service Reissues Glacier Bay Park Lodging Concession Prospectus With Incentives   2 days 12 hours ago

    The NPS need for such significant modifications indicates there were no bidders on the earlier contract.

    It would appear the NPS concessions don't offer the enormous profits that some have assumed.

  • Rocky Mountain National Park Rangers Work Through The Night To Save Climber   2 days 14 hours ago

    For an idea of just how difficult this location was for the victim and the rescuers, you can see a photo in this story in yesterday's Traveler. Try to visualize the difficulties of travel in this terrain in the dark.

    Kudos to the victim for being able to aid in his rescue, and to all of those on the team involved.

    Hope this guy will survive and make a good recovery.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   2 days 15 hours ago

    Folks, I think going forward we're going to have to block all comments to stories about the Smokies. Not only are some of the comments in general caustic, but many are far from constructive, and now there are charges of folks usurping others' identities.

    Unfortunately, under the current sign-on system we use to allow folks to gain an account so they can comment, all one needs to do is provide an email address and user name, both of which can be fictitious. And, sadly, it seems more than a few people are too timid to use their real names.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   2 days 16 hours ago

    To the fake backpackr you might want to look at the Southern Forest Watch lawsuit that clearly shows the trails BF maintained in the park. And if you took the time to read the NPS response, you would know that the Smokies Admin admitted they asked BF to remove their darn trail sign from NPS lands. But if you don't think that is sufficient proof then just go to the text of the lawsuit and look at the pictures of the trails and downed trees. But we have established that you are too lazy to go up there from the get go. The abundance of evidence, along with a recent scouting trip to the area shows that Blackberry is clearly trying to remove all evidence of their use of NPS lands for a private trail system. You really should go up to Ace Gap and check it out. I had friends up there last week who sent even more pics of BF own signs telling people to go away. You think that is just coincidence? Ha. We got you folks on the run. Methinks someone doth protest too much.

  • Arizona Man Busted For Organizing 300-Hiker Rim-to-Rim Crossing Of Grand Canyon National Park   2 days 16 hours ago

    I think it was the comment by a one day RXR'er irritated about losing four minutes off their time waiting for the packers with their mules with supplies for Phantom Ranch to go by that gave me my most lasting impression of their mind set. Something about bringing the urban mindset to the Canyon and leaving with same.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   2 days 16 hours ago

    Gary, you have finally slipped to a new low. Posting under my name on NPT. Classy.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   2 days 18 hours ago

    swore that a private resort never ever maintained their own trails in the Smokies

    John, I think it's a no-brainer that you're going to lose that argument in court, or anywhere. There is no proof, written, documented, or otherwise, the BBF maintained illegal trails in the park. Conspiracy Theory. Seriously? You think someone in the park is naive enough to let someone come in and start building illegal trails? There's a lot of moving pieces to building and maintaining park trails. If the park, did indeed allow such activity, how 'come we don't see it on the park trail map? Don't they publish directions to ALL of the trails and campsites in the park?

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   2 days 18 hours ago

    @SmokiesBackpacker (John Quillen)....your posts on this topic, and others in NPT, are dripping with anger and mistruth. It's really hard, impossible really, to take you seriously. You sound like Mel Gibson in "Conspiracy Theory". No doubt you're cruising around the park in your taxi cutting words out of park press releases to prove the NPS (and NSA) secret war against the public.

    Let's face it, with 9....or 10 million visitors, just HOW do you propose that the park stay open, if you're so opposed to fees? Your argument is to remove all management and oversight. That's working great for the BLM. Wonder what a fracking tower would look like in Cades Cove.....The original arcticle intelligenty discussed the pro's and cons of the BC Fee, and intelligently discussed a possible alternative. Your only response is to rant and rave. You're contributing nothing to the discussion, or a solution.

    I personaly am extremely grateful that given their budget, the park at least keeps toilette paper in the restrooms, and if I get hurt deep in the back country, the rangers will have me in a hospital in hours.

    If I were to be really supportive of a fee, John, it would be a tax on your Conspiracy Theories.....

  • National Park Service Reissues Glacier Bay Park Lodging Concession Prospectus With Incentives   2 days 19 hours ago

    The visitor facilities at Bartlett Cove are located just inside one corner of Glacier Bay, and along with the boat tours, offer visitors an outstanding opportunity for a peek into one of the nation's premier wilderness parks. The short season and the logistical challenges posed by the location would seem to justify the modifications to the contract. I hope the NPS will succeed in finding a qualified concessioner to continue these activities in coming years.

  • Making Sense Out Of National Park Visitation Statistics   3 days 4 hours ago

    It could have been worded better, rdm24. Basically, they had 1.8 million visitors the first six months of 2014. That was up 1.8 million from the first six months of 2013...as the Statute of Liberty was closed the first half of 2013 due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   3 days 7 hours ago

    Just came home from an incredibly crowded Zion and an equally incredibly crowded Springdale. You could hear Springdale's cash registers ringing from miles away.

    Came home and found an incredibly crowded pile of postings here as a whole lot of effort is wasted -- again -- on trying valiantly to respond to some shoutings from under a bridge. Might the discussions here be of greater value if we could simply ignore the tantalizing tidbits floated out into the stream to entice us to respond?

    Over at Great Basin, in the tiny town of Baker, three new businesses have opened just this year. Would they have done so if the park were not there? South of Cedar City there is a large billboard alongside I-15 inviting everyone to attend the Astronomy Festival at Great Basin on September 12 and 13 (I think it was).

    Economic engines? Remember what happened when the Clowns of Congress closed the parks?

  • Arizona Man Busted For Organizing 300-Hiker Rim-to-Rim Crossing Of Grand Canyon National Park   3 days 7 hours ago

    50 lashes with a wet noodle. It didn't even cut into his profits?

    I can't believe you could cause so much damage to park and not get banned from it.

  • Making Sense Out Of National Park Visitation Statistics   3 days 7 hours ago

    Visitation to the Statute of Liberty National Monument was up 1.8 million over the first six months of 2013. Of course, the monument was closed through the first half of 2013 due to damage from Hurricane Sandy. Being open this year alone provided a huge boost to overall National Park System visitation.

    This has to be a typo. Do you mean 2014?