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September Brings Record Visitation To Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Oct 27th - 18:20pm | Rick B.

Backpacker, you've made such a classically sour and cynical personality so omnipresent in everything you post - with a distinct lack of actual substance - that, frankly, it is difficult to avoid ad hominem 'attack the personality' comments.  You might honestly do your cause more benefit if you avoided posting anything at all.  

Oct 27th - 18:04pm | SmokiesBackpacker

Spoken again, like a true NPS employee.  Anytime you guys are called on your bs, your start the attack machine on personalities.  Guess it beats actually having to refute date, doesn't it Gary?

Oct 27th - 15:48pm | Gary Wilson

Wow, another year, another record fall crowd in the Smokies, and another year of whining and crying foul from the resident whiner.  Yeah, I got to admit, I don't like driving the traffic this time of year either... but hiking into those forests will land one awe inspiring solitude.  Instead of whining about it, you should learn to enjoy it.  Life is passing you by quickly.

Oct 27th - 10:09am | SmokiesBackpacker

Again, visitation numbers in the Smokies should be treated as suspect.  External audits by watchdog groups have shown that actual visitation for the backcountry in no way correlates with stated visitation by the NPS.  Of course, the NPS pads numbers to justify increased funding and unpopular fee schemes and media outlets take their word as gospel.

House Committee Poised To Rewrite National Park Fee Authority

Oct 27th - 18:08pm | SmokiesBackpacker

..the reality of the integrity of park officials?"    Like Jarvis brother who lobbies the NPS or the Supt who cut down trees for the football team or the Super who shut down the Indian trader and ruined a man's life?  Yeah, tell me about integrity in the NPS, it doesn't exist at that level.

Oct 27th - 17:26pm | Lee Dalton

No, I don't think it's at all unfair to think that taxes are not being used wisely.  (I didn't mean the Park Service is using them unwisely.)  When Congress insists upon production of a new fighter aircraft that the Pentagon had to be strongarmed into deploying, and that still doesn't work well at all with new problems cropping up nearly every day -- that's what I mean.

Oct 27th - 16:04pm | ecbuck

because taxes are not being used wisely I would agree with that but I suspect we would have different views on what using them wisely would entail.  Believe it or not, lke you I would allocate more to the parks. Our difference is who we would take it away from.  

Oct 27th - 15:55pm | Shannon Pound

It's unfair to say taxes are not being used wisely....there simply isn't enough in the park service budget to provide the level of services park visitors demand.  The parks are being loved to death.  Fees create parks that only the rich can afford to visit.  

Oct 27th - 13:46pm | d-2

SmokiesBackpacker's level of cynicism once again distorts the reality of the integrity of park officials.  Only yesterday i received a letter from the park service in response to public comments on a national park in Hawaii, at the same time news articles went out where the park service backed away from proposed boundary changes and park management changes BECAUSE of public input.  Pe

Oct 27th - 13:22pm | Lee Dalton

Nope.  Not convulsing at all.  Fees are needed because taxes are not being used wisely.  It would be far better to see Mr. Bishop and his buddies working to wisely use government funds instead of tossing them out as bait for more campaign contributions. Why can't (or won't) they simply be honest about what they are doing?

Oct 27th - 12:43pm | Marc Norton

Tax the rich.

Oct 27th - 10:33am | ecbuck

 Party of No Taxes Not familiar with that party - must be another one of your strawmen.  Its almost amusing to watch as you, you have advocated for higher fees, now convulse because someone with an R after his name is proposing them. 

Oct 27th - 10:13am | SmokiesBackpacker

Instead of requiring the NPS to take public comments, then summarily throw them in the trash, how about passing rules to require the NPS to actually incorporate public comments.  Eveyone knows the NPS checks a box on the public comments then dismisses them only to march blithely on to their predetermined agendas.

Oct 27th - 09:56am | Lee Dalton

First, if Rob Bishop of Utah is involved, watch out! Second, it's almost amusing to watch as the Party of No Taxes convulses in its efforts to raise money to cover essential services without using the obscene "T-word." But it takes money to run our parks and if this is necessary, then so be it.

Stephen Mather's Ghost: Revisiting The Consensus For National Parks

Oct 27th - 17:22pm | Anonymous

It is very important to remember that Mather was essential after the National Park Service was created in defining what the NPS was actually supposed to do. He helped to set precedence that is still in effect today and created some of the most important icons of the NPS like a dedicated ranger service.

Shuttle Schedule Moving Into Winter Hours At Zion National Park

Oct 27th - 16:00pm | Shannon Pound

Not good!  Yesterday, the first day without the shuttle they closed access to Zion Canyon at 9:30 am because the parking lots were all full.  Unless you were fit enough to walk or bike in you were turned away.  The shuttles are still needed.

Oct 24th - 09:29am | Lee Dalton

GOOD!  Am I correct in thinking that this is the first time this has been done?

National Park Service Moves To Restrict Certain Sport Hunting Practices In National Preserves In Alaska

Oct 27th - 15:47pm | Lee Dalton

Thanks, d-2 for a fine set of comments.  While I strongly disagree with 1, you're spot on with 2 and 3.

Oct 27th - 13:50pm | d-2

Donations to the National Park Traveler is a terrific thing, and i hope everyone concerned with parks regardless of perspective does donate.  Reminds me i need to donate before the end of the year.  

Oct 27th - 13:44pm | Kurt Repanshek

d-2, for an operation with one full-time staffer, I'd argue that the Traveler does a pretty good job of surveying the landscape of the National Park System and National Park Service. We are the only website that generates daily content on the parks, and only the parks.

Oct 27th - 13:30pm | d-2

1.  Glad to see the National Park Traveler post an action of extreme political difficulty that reflects honor on the NPS leadership.  Although Traveler feels park leadership should focus its energy -- beyond dealing with Congress, its budget, the Administration, and numerous unfunded mandates -- on oersight of the SE Region and issues generated by PEER or

Oct 25th - 17:44pm | TnHiker

Here in the Smokies, local officials are concerned that the bears don't have enough to eat due to low mast production this year.  Hunters are chomping at the bit to expand bear hunting priviledges for those counties adjacent to the National Park.  Even though bears are legally protected from hunters and their dogs on National Park Lands, dogs don't read the park boundary signs and in

Oct 25th - 12:48pm | Rick B.

Subsistence hunting puts food on the tables and feeds families. I submit that the prior comment was from someone who has never been hungry.

Oct 25th - 11:00am | Mike Vandeman

Tradition is not a good excuse for environmentally destructive practices like hunting! We are in the 21st century, not prehistoric times. "Subsistence" killing is still killing, and destroys genetic diversity. It's high time that we grew up and respected other species.

Flooding Runs Counter To Death Valley's Image, Remakes National Park Landscape

Oct 27th - 15:08pm | Preston Chiaro

I was lucky enough to visit Scottys Castle last Saturday, Oct 24 (escorted by Park Service employees as part of a media tour; the site is closed to the general public). The scale of damage is hard to visualize from photos or videos.

Oct 27th - 10:04am | Lee Dalton


Bull Elk Illegally Killed During Grand Teton National Park's Elk Reduction Hunt

Oct 27th - 11:03am | ecbuck

 Unfortunately, stupidity is not a legal offense Doubt it was stupidity - just total disdain for the law.  Hope they string him up.  The root of my comment, however, was questioning whether he was one of the "deputized" hunters or just a walk-on?

Oct 27th - 10:34am | Kent Nelson

ecbuck, Well, hunting in a closed area and shooting a bull elk, for starters. Unfortunately, stupidity is not a legal offense, but dressing an illegally killed elk in sight of the highway ought to be added to the charge sheet just on general principals.

Oct 27th - 09:21am | other deets

A few more details emerged in the local Jackson Hole paper. He had a "cow only" tag. He also poached the bull in an area specifically closed to hunting, quartered the animal and took the head. Bystanders called it in and he was promptly stopped by law enforcement. 

Oct 27th - 06:04am | Timothy Mayo

Elk poached, man cited By Mike Koshmrl  Jackson Hole Daily  A Jackson Hole resident who held a cow elk-only tag is being investigated for killing a bull in a portion of Grand Teton National Park that's closed to hunting.

Oct 26th - 22:18pm | ecbuck

This story screams for details.  What exactly did this guy do that was illegal?  Was he part of the hunt or was his illegal activity totally unaffiliated with the hunt?

Isle Royale National Park's Wolf Woes Spur Bigger Questions Of Managing Wilderness

Oct 26th - 12:51pm | dalton snook

what if there are no fir trees around  

The Numbers Behind National Park Visitation

Oct 26th - 10:49am | Greg Hatten

Cool stats

Musings While Drifting Down The Colorado River Through Canyonlands National Park

Oct 26th - 08:03am | Kurt Repanshek

Rudy, sorry we missed you. We're planning another Lodore trip in June '16, and a special night skies float through Canyonlands in September, both with guest speakers. Watch for the details.

Oct 26th - 00:59am | Rudy Stefancik

I would have been on that trip with you Kurt but for my 40 year high school reunion. I hope y'all put together more rafting trips in the future. I enjoyed the Gates of Lodore Green River trip last year.

Skeletal Remains Believed To Be Those Of Long-Missing Appalachian Trail Hiker

Oct 26th - 00:46am | Rudy Stefancik

Was this for lack of a GPS device with an extra set of fresh batteries and a way to start a fire? The autopsy may be able to find sign of an injury if a bone was broken, but being 3,000 ft off of the trail makes it look like she was lost or disoriented due to either exposure or a metabolic reason. She would not have wondered this far off the trail due to an acute cardiac or cerebral event.

Oct 24th - 22:29pm | Cathy


"Lost" Petroglyphs Rediscovered at Virgin Islands National Park

Oct 25th - 22:27pm | Anonymous

Yes, the only reason this glyph is known today is because the park's Museum Curator at the time, Susanna Pershern, found an old photo of it and made it known that this glyph had never been formally recorded by the park.

Black Bears Facing Hard Times At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Oct 25th - 18:36pm | ecbuck

What has made this year a bad year for producing foods favorable to the bears?

Poll: Voters In Colorado, Nevada Oppose Turning Federal Lands Over To States

Oct 24th - 22:44pm | Lee Dalton

One of many controversies in Utah has been the one centering around destruction of ancient sites by "pothunters."  Their activities -- along with those of irresponsible ATV riders -- have led to restrictions on Federal lands that many people feel encroach on their "freedoms."

Oct 23rd - 14:52pm | ecbuck

It appears that any poll that produces results with which you do not agree is "slanted".

Oct 23rd - 14:29pm | Rick Smith

ec--It appears that any poll that produces results with which you do not agree is "slanted".  Gee, polls here in AZ say the Republicans will control the Congress next year.  Are you ok with that one?

Oct 23rd - 12:18pm | ecbuck

Your question could also be assumed to be slanted,

Park Advocacy Group Says Commercial Development Harming Canadian National Parks

Oct 23rd - 23:35pm | Megaera

I'm glad I managed not to notice the glacier skywalk when I drove the Icefields Parkway this summer.  Please don't mess up Maligne Lake.  It's one of the most spectacular places I've ever seen.

The Ghosts Of Yellowstone National Park

Oct 23rd - 18:18pm | Anonymous

I've heard rumors of creepy things happening on either the second or thirs floor of the inn. (I heard this from my mother who grew up in West Yellowstone)

Annual Elk Reduction Hunt At Grand Teton National Park Begins This Weekend

Oct 23rd - 16:49pm | ecbuck

I don't have anything against the hunt if needed, but I'm not sure who are the advocates for the feeding?  

Oct 23rd - 15:33pm | Chad

This. Is the reason anti-hunters are trying so desperately to lower the elk population through starvation. They would sacrifice thousands of elk to stop the GTNP hunt.  

Oct 23rd - 13:55pm | Kurt Repanshek

Why should anyone look at what they put out as unbiased????Well, one could say that knife cuts two ways...That said, the paper does cite articles from the Journal of Wildlife Management, the Wyoming Outdoor Council, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bridger-Teton National Forest, The Wildlife Professional, as well as the USFWS and NPS.

Oct 23rd - 13:44pm | chad

Kurt you provide a link to a group who is openly doing whatever they can to stop the GTNP elk hunt. Why should anyone look at what they put out as unbiased????  

"National Parks Adventure" Film Seems Inspiring, But Trailer Seems Misleading

Oct 23rd - 12:55pm | imtnbke

I tend to agree the parks are too small to accommodate all of the demands that would be placed on them if access were made wide-open. That said, it's interesting to drive along Washington Highway 20 and see the empty trailheads for North Cascades National Park. I think there should be something like Mountain Bike Wednesday in such areas.

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