Recent comments

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   1 day 22 hours ago

    I understand completely what Alfred is trying to say. Unfortunately, much of it is correct. It reminded of some musings I tossed into Traveler a couple of years ago that might be pertinent today.

    http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2013/02/omnes-relinquite-spes-o-vos...

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   1 day 23 hours ago

    I am grateful that the websites will be (hopefully) standardized. I hated floundering around, clicking on link after link, trying to figure out where someone saw fit to put the information I need.

    I was just browsing the Mohave Preserve Site and really like the "Ranger Perspectives" section. The rest of the site hasn't yet been updated though Organ Pipe Cactus has...

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 36 min ago

    The game continues on with or without you. The same applies to us all, and I hate to break it to you, but you aren't the finality. Neither was Muir, nor Abbey, nor Leopold, nor that website, or this website, or that other website.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 40 min ago

    But I'm not "out of the game," Gary. I just know when to call it a game.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 45 min ago

    Rick, you want specifics instead of generalities? How is this for a specific? Forty percent of young people under 30 are living back home with their parents. What did "college" ever do for them? Now the Park Service. Practically every young person I have met these past several years is either seasonal or permanent, subject to furlough. Again, where are the permanent hires as naturalists and/or historians ensuring the "rich legacy" America alleges to uphold?

    Blame Congress? I am over that. I blame the society that elects the Congress. If it mattered--as in really mattered--these problems would be resolved.

    Thirty years ago, Nancy Reagan whispered in Ronald's ear: "Tell them we're doing the best we can." I am tired of that argument, too. Meanwhile, you can "sit at Muir's side and just listen." All you have to do is read his books. However, if you want to leave a legacy every bit "as rich," you are running out of time. Why? Because the legacy he left demanded great discipline to protect it, and that discipline has nothing to do with technology.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 50 min ago

    I doubt i've lost any "connectivity". I've done my share of "connecting" to the wilds of America, and probably have a lot more experience in that realm than most that post on here.

    The problem with PA is that there is little federal land in the state. So there is no federal wilderness protection, and the "business flavor of the day" is railroaded through by state legislature's whims. It's a state rights advocates dream, and a microcosm of what happens when you have "complete state control". The state forests are wrecked by gas development, and it's a shame what has occurred there.

    And Al, we all have editors and review sessions in our daily work. Come on, you sound like you've been stuck in academia for wayyyyy too long. There is this thing called the real world. I've had editors and review sessions in every job i've worked at. Granted, I don't write for a living, but I have done many other things, and review sessions and an approval process is part of every game. There are clients out there that pay the bills, scientists that want to see what you are saying has accuracy, organizations that want solid products. Come on...QUIT with the generalizations and falsehoods. The world didn't stop when you got out of the game.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 1 hour ago

    C'mon, Al. You yourself would have to take a bit of red pen to your own note. Generalities much? "Society only wants what is relativant today?" All of society? Which of them 'only' want it? Relevant to who? And on. Back it on down a bit on the broad brush and the "you kids get off my lawn!" and let's find that middle grey that is most of the real world.

    In your examples, you could easily enough travel with slide trays and use Army surplus topo maps and so on. You chose not to, but to grump along the way about the old days.

    We can't ask Leopold, or Abbey or others their opinion on many things. It's sad. I'd pay a bucket of negotiable tender to sit at Muir's side and just listen, but those ships have sailed. It's up to us to do the best we can, with the world we have, to ensure that we leave as rich a legacy as they did.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 1 hour ago

    Rock on, Mr. Runte! Could be that some are just so full of digits they have missed the loss of the beauty of connectedness, simplicity not going at warp speed. Today's politics are going so fast that factoids of reality are to be avoided. Crucial period and not just for the Parks, I believe.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 1 hour ago

    Kurt, My favorite billboard remains "Harolds Club or Bust!" (Reno, Nevada). Before the casino closed, yes, Christine and I were "busted" more than once. Otherwise, I guess Wyoming was referring to Yellowstone, although now, as reported in The Wall Street Journal this morning, it is also known for thousands of abandoned gas wells. Guess who gets to pay for sealing those?

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 1 hour ago

    Believe me, I'm not into bashing anything, Gary. And I do happen to like Google Earth. Right now, I am using it to plot all of the gas wells being fracked in northeast Pennsylvania. And take a look at the huge quarry (Pennsylvania bluestone) just east of Lanesboro and the Starrucca Viaduct. Another great American landscape is being compromised, along with the human achievements that made it great. See Jasper Francis Cropsey's magnificent painting, "Starrucca Viaduct, Pennsylvania" (1865).

    My point is: I taught this painting when all I had was slides. Now that I have and use Power Point, the colors are not as rich. But yes, TSA no longer laughs at the slide trays in my luggage, and lets my e-drive through in record time.

    I am just reminded of the price we pay. What would Edward Abbey think of Google Earth? And Aldo Leopold? When does the ease of access become TOO easy? Next month, a group of scientists is meeting in Berkeley, California, and the news release is riddled with errors. Does the Park Service even know what the errors are? Once upon a time, when the country moved at a slower pace, these things could be caught and corrected. Now the errors will be replicated without any thought of the consequences, simply because so many people "trust" the Internet.

    When I wrote my first book, there was such a thing as crotchety editors who cared about accuracy and content. I learned to love them for what they did. I just don't see that kind of attention to detail these days, with a few wonderful exceptions like The Traveler. And don't get me started about my former English teachers who ripped me apart with red pens. We could use a good dose of that again on the Internet, but unfortunately, speed trumps quality practically every time. I know it because I lived the difference, taught the difference, and hoped I would make a difference. But you see, society wants only what is "relevant" today. And a beautiful language is farther down on the list.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 6 hours ago

    Alfred, trust me, i've used my share of topo maps over time. However, I use google earth quite a bit too. For example, last year, I spent quite a few hours plotting a route through google earth that I used to get into an area of the painted desert. I'm farily certain this area hasn't seen much foot traffic. It took quite a bit of effort to get back into, and Google Earth was a great tool to scout my trek. And I bought the park quad map at the vc, and it was absoutely useless, compared to the printouts I took. Even the VC brouchures and maps they gave me were useless. If I would have relied solely on the park quad, I more than likely needed an S&R from being lost deep in a maze of badlands that made little sense by just using the quads. My google earth printouts on the other hand gave me pespective when matched with the terrain of the badlands that surrounded me.. I've used google earth extensively over time, and it's a great tool. Sorry, but I'm not going to be that one to say that back when I was a kid that Atari was far superior to today's Xbox. Evolution happens. I realize, you like the way things were, but the planet is changing. One area i'm in agreement with you is for preserving large wilderness areas, and trying to maintain a semblance of wild America. I think in that we find ourselves common allies. But, to bash the digital realm and blurt that your way was greater and more superior makes me question your philosophy and reasoning behind those claims.

  • National Park Service Centennial Will Include Revamped Websites   2 days 6 hours ago

    I am sorry I ever brought up the subject of Scott Walker. He has nothing to do with the NPS or the poor quality of its many web sites. I would just like NPS management to show some competence and have a web presence worthy of the vast diversity and richness of park resources. That means no broken links, up to date material, images that work and are appropriate, and managers who have the courtesy to answer email that may come in from the visiting public. Many of our existing web sites are just not meeting this standard and would not be tolerated by any private business or other government agency. I believe that in this digital age NPS management is clueless about the power of electronic media. I hope that this will change soon.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 6 hours ago

    Al, there was a time when the billboards welcoming you to the Cowboy state said:

    Wyoming, Like No Place On Earth!

    So, wonder what the creative minds envisioned it was like??

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 6 hours ago

    Gary, the maps of old were just as much fun--and just as informative. Watch Pawn Stars or Antiques Roadshow if you don't believe me. There was a time when people liked a bit of mystery. There was a time when people preferred a painting over a computer-generated image. I happen to still like the mystery. I don't need to see the world from every angle. Which reminds me. Time to head for the gym and tone up my angles. I would send you a selfie, but my cell phone is too old for that, and yes, I still use XP.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 6 hours ago

    OK, class, calm down.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 7 hours ago

    Google Earth is a great tool, Alred. For a guy with your credentials, one would think you would understand that.. It enables us to see the planet better than any quad map from 1939, which didn't even utilize LIDAR. Obviously, I won't win against such a master of "revisionist history".

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 7 hours ago

    Gary, get a life. It was better "back then." For one thing, people knew how to be polite and not "personalize" every argument. For another, they respected age and experience. Now they think the world began the day THEY were born.

    I am merely reminding everyone that the tool is NOT the information. "Ease" of information is not information, either. Back in 1959, my brother and I "navigated" Mom 10,000 miles across the country using gas company maps. She never made a wrong turn and we never got her lost. We found all of the "information" we needed through the variety of sources available then. And guess what? It was indeed better written than most of what is found on the Internet today.

    Now that we can hover above every inch of this country on Google Earth, do we better understand it? I don't think so, because I don't hear it. Most people these days speak in cliches. And so everything gets inflated, witness what recently happened to Brian Williams. And look at the text above. "These are mountains of the imagination." What in God's name does that mean? That when we look at the Tetons we are just imagining them? Or that they allow our imaginations to soar? Well, every protected landscape should be allowing that. What really makes the Tetons distinctive?

    Ah, the Internet won't write that for you. Nor does the text above do a thing for me. If the mountains are further a monument to the people who protected them, how about we make that clear? What people? What time frame? How about: "Established in 1929, and now including Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park is a monument to the resiliance of people who learned to appreciate the greater landscape. Thanks to them, this is more than a mountain park. Now you the visitor must learn to appreciate that accessing wilderness means more than protecting high country. That was the battle here 100 years ago, and so it remains today."

    Why won't the Park Service give out that kind of information? Because it has been building a bicycle trail through the Jackson Hole wilderness to appease purely recreational interests. Mountains of the imagination indeed.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 7 hours ago

    Man, you must really hate elk. You'd really go crazy in a place like Yellowstone where there's half ton moose, elk, bison, etc. And if they ever reintroduce the bison in the smokies...woah..i'm sure it would ruffle the chicken feathers of the Southern Forest whiner crowd. Anyway, sorry, I realize people going up to LeConte must really irk you and your tiny posse of haters. And, the llamas are pretty low impact. I have trekked over trillium gap trail numerous times this year, and the trail is in excellent shape. Good luck though, but then again what does any of this have to do with the NPS websites? Nothing. If you have a beef with me, you can call me on my phone, and talk to me like the man you think you are.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 7 hours ago

    Yeah Gary. There's nothing wrong with promoting high impact animal use in the NPS to feed a lodge that rakes in 1.4 million annually on public lands through an exclusive contract. The only thing I can think of that is better than that arrangement is to have an "alleged" non profit like the GSMA promote that activity for you vis a vie their digital media specialist by the name of Gary Wilson. Don't worry about posting comments to that video, folks. Gary is in charge of deleting anything that calls that activity into question. Such hypocrisy.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 7 hours ago

    Ruin? Seriously. They eat weed free alfalfa pellets, and pancakes. You truly don't know what you are talking about Johnny. Don't you and myers have an ambulance to go chase after? With all the ice storms and snowstorms this week, i'm sure both of you have your hands full.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 7 hours ago

    I'll show you something digital that lacks merit. It is the advancement of commercial operations within the NPS through Llamas that ruin and desecrate the trail system all for financial gain inside public lands. Wonder what great environmental organization promotes this kind of activity?

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRqmj85Gu1s

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 8 hours ago

    I just took a look at our local park's upgraded site, KLGO. I particularly liked the 'meet the staff', where a couple of staff told their personal stories. It adds a bit of depth to the bureaucratic face of a government agency.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 8 hours ago

    I don't have a problem with that. What I have a problem with is Alfred assuming that anything digital lacks merit, and won't evoke emotive responses towards the parks. Truly, I shouldnt be offended by such lack of insight.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 9 hours ago

    If someone is willing to organize a project that would put a book of quality photos of parks into the hands of members of congress, more power to them. That's one more way to try to keep the value of parks in front of them.

  • New Look Starting To Appear On National Park Websites   2 days 9 hours ago

    Ohh gosh, here we go with the "it was way better back in the past... nothing these youngsters do today will ever be like what it was back then...".. Please. I guess, anyone that does anything digitally doesn't put passion into their work. How utterly offensive.