Recent comments

  • Survey Shows Visitors Would Support Higher Entrance Fees To See Yellowstone National Park Bears   1 week 4 days ago

    If you want to be guaranteed to see bears at Yellowstone, you can do so very easily (for an extra fee) at the Grizzly Discovery Center in West Yellowstain.

  • Survey Shows Visitors Would Support Higher Entrance Fees To See Yellowstone National Park Bears   1 week 4 days ago

    I think that raising the entry fees would serve to reduce the opportunity for those with lesser incomes to visit the park, most being Americans. Many visitors are well to do foreigners and adding $50 to the cost would not be a burden to them. In the winter, driving is prohibited and replaced with snow coaches. Why not do the same in the summer and use busses. One bus could eliminate 50 cars and could easily improve the bear jam situation. A charge of $2-3 should cover the expense. This would also reduce the wear and tear on the roads and drivers pulling off the road to park.

  • Cape Lookout National Seashore ORV Plan Open For Comment Through Early September   1 week 4 days ago

    Thanks Kurt for posting this. I think it is important to add a little bit to what was the traditional use of ORVs on Hatteras Island.

    Before Hatteras Island contained a NP and was a tourist destination it was a very isolated place with few people. The locals lived as far away from the ocean beach as possible all the villages were established near Pamilico sound. The mail boat had a regular schedule and brought most of the supplies to the island. Cars came before highways were established. To use vehicles local had a series of trails that connected the villages. The trails meandered from the villages to the beach. Sometimes the trail might be right next to the ocean at low tide sometimes it could be far inland. The trails changed to wherever the sand was the firmest and easiest to drive on at that time. Driving on the beach was not recreation. Eventually local fishermen started using vehicles to replace horses while commercial beach fishing. There were a handful of visitors that came to recreate (sport fish) on the ocean beach. Getting here was difficult. When state roads connected all the villages to the north end of Pea Island and the state ferry beach driving primarily became a recreational use.

    Few visitors in the beginning came to the NP with an over sand vehicle. The traditional access to the beach for recreation by visitors to the NP was by foot. I know this because I regularly visited the National Park in the late 1950's and that is what we and everyone else did, we seldom saw vehicles on the beach and in some areas we never saw them. The ORV ramps were originally constructed for commercial haul seine beach fishermen to get their beach dories over the artificial dunes because the Enabling Legislation had guaranteed that the legal residents of the villages had the right to continue to commercial fish on the NP beach.

  • Man Hopes To Run Entire Length Of Blue Ridge Parkway For Charity Fundraiser   1 week 4 days ago

    There is a local fellow, coworker of my wife's, who has not only topped Denali, but has run the Chilkoot Trail. At 33 miles, it isn't as long as the Blue Ridge, however some of the conditions and climbs make for a challenging run.

  • Man Hopes To Run Entire Length Of Blue Ridge Parkway For Charity Fundraiser   1 week 4 days ago

    This should be doable for a veteran ultra-long distance runner. Remember, when Jennifer Pharr Davis hiked the Appalachian Trail from Main to Georgia, she did the entire 2175+ mile trip in 47 days, averaging 46 miles per day! The footing on the road surface of the Blue Ridge Parkway is much smoother and less steep than the AT, and the route is a small fraction of the distance.

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   1 week 4 days ago

    Vixen was killed when someone stuffed a log about four inches in diameter and two feet long into its vent. Minute was stuffed full of rocks. Not accidental at all. But I will add that those things took place back a long time ago. I don't know, but hope that the extensive boardwalk systems have helped prevent that. Yet Morning Glory Pool still collects several pounds of coins every year.

    Accidental dumping into features is a constant occurance. I can't count the number of trail guides I've seen in features -- hopefully not deliberate. Then there are the Kleenexes, sandwich bags, caps and hats, and other miscellaneous detritis.

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   1 week 4 days ago

    Not to mention what happened to Handkerchief Pool and Morning Glory Pool.

    AFAIC, they need to throw the book at this person (jail time and the cost of retrieval at the very least, then publicize the heck out of it as a deterrent. I wish they'd do more to people who throw *anything* in the thermal features or deface them.

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   1 week 4 days ago

    Thanks Lee. That's interesting and quite disappointing to hear that people would actually throw trash in a hot spring.

  • Photography In The National Parks: Avoid Those Bison (And Other Wildlife) Jams   1 week 4 days ago

    Thanks GrizzlyDan. Have never met a photographer who does not occassionally stop in the road for photo ops when they won't be impeding traffic. None of us are perfect, nor do we do a perfect job of following the rules and so I felt it best to use full-disclosure - I am not perfect. I do, however, attempt to be courteous and respectful by moving out of the way of others, pulling over whenever possible and not blocking traffic. The key is that most people do not realize that it is okay to keep going or to drive around the bison and so many wait and wait for them to move when they would rather be getting to their destination. Enjoy your parks!

  • Photography In The National Parks: Avoid Those Bison (And Other Wildlife) Jams   1 week 4 days ago

    Lee, it is wise to consistently remind everyone to have patience with other visitors and to remember that so many people will only get one chance to see Yellowstone. I do better some days than others but always come back to the fact that it is much easier to be nice than it is to be mean - takes way less energy.

    Yes, the air horns are now used frequently during the animal jams. Not so much in Lamar but once in awhile. But, in Canyon the use of air horns and PA are out of control, in my opinion. In every type of jam - instead of getting out of cars and talking to people directly, they are disturbing everyone by going down the road and talking on the PA. It is quite a racket and seems unprofessional. But, what do I know - those are just my thoughts on the subject. I don't stand out, watching and listening to nature, only to be disturbed by LE speaking over the PA. Maybe the park has determined that this method is the best for crowd control? Feels more like we are at a riot, demonstration or concert than a national park.

  • Reader Participation Day: How Would You Structure User Fees For The National Parks?   1 week 4 days ago

    Wild Places, you just said almost exactly what I think. You've stated it very well. Thank you.

  • Photography In The National Parks: Avoid Those Bison (And Other Wildlife) Jams   1 week 4 days ago

    Deby, don't get me wrong. I often ease my way through jams if it's safe to do so. I was just urging patience with other visitors.

    But if I ever witnessed a ranger using an air horn or siren to break up a jam, I'd be thoroughly ticked. In my day in the park, if anyone had done that, they'd have been kicking their Stetson down the road. I hope that is still the case.

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   1 week 4 days ago

    Zeb, although Grand Prismatic is probably large enough that it can simply absorb the thing, many other hot springs and geysers have been clogged and killed by trash. Minute and Vixen in the Norris Basin are two that come to my mind immediately -- and I know there have been many others.

    Yellowstone's thermal features are surprisingly fragile.

  • Reader Participation Day: How Would You Structure User Fees For The National Parks?   1 week 4 days ago

    Let me clarify why I don't mind limited fees as opposed to taxes. In my perfect world there would be no taxes, only fees, so that I (and everyone else) directed their money to only the services we want. I think we would all agree that because there will always be freeloaders who will expect others to pay for things they actually will benefit from that kind of system is not practical. Hence I see a combination of fees and taxes as the next best thing. Fees better show what people value and the value they place on them than a universal tax where that value is hidden. We all seem to love our parks here yet know there are many people that pay taxes and have no desire to ever visit.

    As far as my comment on the park entrance fee being a bargain it is because I feel I am getting a great deal for my money. Far more than if I paid $100 to get into Disney (which I have no desire to do). That said, I also realize a portion of my tax dollars are also going to the parks but at last check it wasn't enough to make me feel like I wasn't getting my dollars worth. I have no doubt that there is tremendous waste in the NPS and yes I see them spending dollars on things I think are uncalled for. Unfortunately it is almost inevitable with a bureaucracy this large. This does not mean I accept it or propose there is nothing that can be done. I think forums like this can help inform the general public of waste and corruption and hopefuly they speak to their representatives and vote accordingly. .

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   1 week 4 days ago

    Rick,

    Nobody's arguing that throwing trash in a hot spring (whether in a NP or not) is a good thing. I'm asking what kind of threat it's actually posing.

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   1 week 5 days ago

    I'll post this clip from KSL TV news in Salt Lake again. It fits right in with this story.

    http://www.ksl.com/?sid=31035351&nid=148&title=drone-over-rainbow-bridge...

    RC airplanes are not usually flown in places like Yellowstone. The paranoia and suspicion around drones is at least partly driven by the current fear of Big Brother that is being pushed by many of our fear-mongering radio talkers.

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   1 week 5 days ago

    You crash a single drone, I crash a single drone, my buddies each crash a single drone.... sooner or later we're talking about dozens of these things piling up.

  • Photography In The National Parks: Avoid Those Bison (And Other Wildlife) Jams   1 week 5 days ago

    Lee, I am imagining John Townsley delighting in being out in the park, instead of behind a desk, and enjoying the wildlife. I agree that we should never try to take the joy of the experience away from other visitors but that doesn't mean that we have to participate. Going on and getting out of their way, without saying anything, can be the kind thing to do.

  • "Paddling Protection Act" Raises Debate Over Wilderness Travel In Yellowstone National Park   1 week 5 days ago

    Of course, none of Yellowstone is designated wilderness, which makes the comparisons to other parks a bit more difficult.

  • Photography In The National Parks: Avoid Those Bison (And Other Wildlife) Jams   1 week 5 days ago

    Hi "ovadue," thanks for your thoughts and comments. Just this morning I came upon a bear jam and encountered some vehicles crossing the double yellow line to go around those that were parked in the road and to get off of the steep, blind curve where there could have easily been a worse accident. Even though my lane was clear I chose to stop and wave the others on through so that they could get away from that curve and they seemed to appreciate my gesture.

    If you choose to sit in the bison jams then that is your choice. I choose to do as I have been taught by others to go around if possible and safe, instead of becoming part of the problem in blocking the road. It is apparent that this would be a no win situation for me because going around insults those who are looking to find fault while blocking traffic would insult those who know I have been here for two years and should know better. I am sure that you have noticed the other regular visitors, wolf watchers, law enforcement, maintenance personnel, tour guides, horse trailers, interp rangers, etc., also going around the bison jams. And, most likely have encountered law enforcement using their air horn and announcing over their PA system to keep moving or to go around the bison. We all just try to do the best that we can and, believe me, I do get stuck in many jams for long periods of time. And, winter is coming up and I will be spending a lot of time while waiting for the bison to get down the icy roads, crossing my fingers that none of them slips and falls. Take care.

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   1 week 5 days ago

    Technically an RC airplane is a drone. A drone is an unmaned arial vehicle remotely piloted.

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   1 week 5 days ago

    One has to wonder however where the line is between RC Airplanes (commonly viewed as toys) and drones (apparently viewed with paranoia and suspicion)

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   1 week 5 days ago

    Zeb - I don't really like to pick and choose which sort of trash is OK to throw into a NPS hot spring.

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   1 week 5 days ago

    While I agree that flying a drone over a hot springs is none too smart, I sense a bit of exxageration with how a single drowned drone (repeat 20 times :)) would pose a threat, other than it's basically akin to trash dropped in there. It's just plastic metal and a few lithium ion batteries.

  • Reader Participation Day: How Would You Structure User Fees For The National Parks?   1 week 5 days ago

    Smoky, you may not be billed directly for the bombs, but you are still being billed. You are being billed when you must pay for other things that lack money to keep them going.

    Like parks.

    And just a word of advice -- be very careful what you say about NSA. They're listening . . .

    Keep smiling.