Recent comments

  • Video Records Hikers' Reactions To A Bear At Glacier National Park   15 hours 46 min ago

    Good comments above. My vote would be for the group to do what they did - keeping moving slowing up the trail away from the bear - but as the child suggested, not wait so long to do so.

  • Op-Ed|The National Park Service And Wilderness: 50 Years Of Neglect   16 hours 47 min ago

    Interesting how everybody turned into an e-tough guy who can hike for days on end. :) Fact remains that most visitors don't have time or fitness to go hike for long periods of time. Besides the fact that I don't like hiking, I also don't have the time for it either. Cycling allows me to cover greater distances in a shorter period of time.

    So, the wish for more wilderness usually comes from those who will benefit the most from it (hikers with plenty of time to go trek in the back country) while this conveniently ignores everybody else who will be negatively impacted by it.

  • Op-Ed|The National Park Service And Wilderness: 50 Years Of Neglect   18 hours 17 min ago

    May I insert here what I think is one of the best wilderness essays I've read? It comes from Edward Abbey in his book Desert Solitare. He called it "Industrial Tourism."

    He was writing about something called accessibilty and how people of all kinds seem to have no trouble finding their way into some wild places and why those wild places need to be there for them. " .. . most signifcant, these hordes of nonmotorized tourists, hungry for a taste of the difficult, the original, the real, do not consist solely of people young and athletic but also of old folks, fat folks, pale-faced office clerks who don't know a rucksack from a haversack and even children. The one thing they all have in common is the refusal to live always like sardines in a can -- they are determined to get outside of their motorcars for at least a few weeks each year.

    "This being the case, why is the Park Service generally so anxious to accommodate that other crowd, the indolent millions born on wheels and suckled on gasoline, who expect and demand paved highways to lead them in comfort, ease and safety into every nook and corner of the national parks? For the answer to that we must consider the character of what I call Industrial Tourism and the quality of the mechanized tourists -- the Wheelchair Explorers -- who are at once the consumers, the raw material and the victims of Industrial Tourism.

    "Industrial Tourism is a big business. It means money . . . . . "

    He lists those businesses that depend upon Industrial Tourism and then adds: "These various interests are well organized, command more wealth than most modern nations and are represented in Congress with a strength far greater than is justified in any constitutional or democratic sense. (Modern politics is expensive -- power follows money.) Through Congress the tourism industry can bring enormous pressure to bear upon such a slender reed in the executive branch as the pool old Park Service, a pressure which is also exerted on every other possible level -- local, state, regional -- and through advertising and the well-established habits of a wasteful nation."

    Later he adds: "The Natural Money-Mint. With supersensitive antennae these operatives from the [Chamber of Commerce] look into red canyons and see only green, stand among flowers snorting out the smell of money and hear, while thunderstorms rumble over mountains, the fall of a dollar bill on motel carpeting."

    Only Ed Abbey could write something like that and as usual, Ed Abbey nailed it! It's as true now -- maybe even moreso -- than it was when he wrote it many years ago.

  • Video Records Hikers' Reactions To A Bear At Glacier National Park   19 hours 57 min ago

    Agreed, Lee. One of the local trails that we short hike on all the time - one of the most popular and used trails locally - has had bear scat and grizzly sightings on it every few days lately. Bad salmon run has unfortunately created a fairly habituated grizzly.

    When my wife and I hiked there a couple of times this week, I told her to carry a cell phone and keep me between her and the bear [I'm not much of a runner these days]. She snorted and told me to stop trying to be so damn noble.

  • Video Records Hikers' Reactions To A Bear At Glacier National Park   20 hours 33 min ago

    What did the hikers do that was wrong? They were well up the trail. Turning around would have actually put them closer to the bear. Had it been me, I'd have been keeping a wary eye on the big fella while holding my bear spray at the ready -- safety switch under my thumb for quick use if needed. I'd have been noting wind direction and which way I'd need to point the spray without having it blow back on me. This was case in which there would have been enough time to develop a plan if worse became worst.

    In the meantime I'd also be figuring out which of my companions I'd need to be able to outrun.

  • Congressman: Don't Raise National Park Entrance Fees, Offer More Recreational Opportunities   20 hours 39 min ago

    I was just reading some good stuff by Ed Abbey the other night and came across his essay on "Industrial Tourism" in Desert Solitare.

    Perhaps all of us who value our parks should read that again. It's a true today as when he wrote it back in the stone age. Even worse, his prophecies for the future -- our present day -- have all come true and then some.

  • Add Rocky Mountain National Park To The List Of Parks Hit By Painting Vandal   23 hours 41 sec ago

    She is in no way, shape, or form an artist. She instead seems to be an immature, narcissistic vandal who has no regard for anyone else's appreciation of the natural world.

    I also still assert the media should stop showing the images of her vandalism. She wanted her "work" to be displayed. Please stop pandering to her ego and, rather, do the worst thing she could possibly imagine: ignore her leavings, while still publicizing her case so that it gets the full legal attention it merits and hopefully ends up with an extremely appropriate punishment rained down on her very foolish young head.

  • Higher Fees Coming To Your Favorite National Parks As Officials Search For Cash   1 day 29 min ago

    Hold the fees where they are for US citizens, raise the fees for non US citizens, as is done in many other countries.

  • Video Records Hikers' Reactions To A Bear At Glacier National Park   1 day 3 hours ago

    It would be interesting to know what the hikers were saying as the bear got closer and closer, but based on what we can hear on the audio, even the child along the roadside had a better grasp of the situation that some of the hikers.

  • Hunters In Grand Teton National Park Likely To Kill More Grizzlies   1 day 5 hours ago

    I am not a bear hunter but know that Grizzlies are bold, powerful and smart. Could some of this he solved if the hunters just relinquished their downed elk to the grizz or would that just make the problem worse by educating the grizzlies?

    Is the Park looking for a fair chase recreational hunting experence or a biological management tool?

  • Reader Participation Day: How Do You Mix Parks And Politics?   1 day 12 hours ago

    In the Smokies it is the environmental charlatan, Lamar Alexander who is facing some competition this time in part because of his association with private entities who have been proven to receive sweetheart deals from the NPS in return for Alexander's complicity with park fee schemes. He got busted on a deal with the archives and artifacts center being housed in the backyard of his home, then his buddies were going to make a killing from the land the NPS was going to acquire. Someone broke the story and his cronies had some egg on their face and decided to "donate" some of those properties.

    Get into the Blackberry Farm scandal (Lamar was one of the original investors in this Smokies bordering property, he was caught steering business to this $700 per night inn with their own private trail system within the NPS lands) and his coopting on the most unpopular backcountry tax and his colors have been shown. I hope he gets beaten resoundingly but incumbency is a tough thing to beat in a Republican state where folks vote the party line regardless of how egregious the man proves himself to be.

  • Add Rocky Mountain National Park To The List Of Parks Hit By Painting Vandal   1 day 13 hours ago

    I don't wish her death.

    I wish her a steel brush, orange coveralls, and a protection ranger escort to all ten parks.

  • Update: Rep. McClintock Pushing For Timber Salvage Sales In Yosemite National Park, Surrounding Area   1 day 13 hours ago

    Whatever happened to the idea of letting nature take over in national parks?

  • Add Rocky Mountain National Park To The List Of Parks Hit By Painting Vandal   1 day 13 hours ago

    This idiot sure gets around. Maybe if we're lucky, she'll trip while vandalizing someplace like the top of Angel's Landing.

  • Finding Fall Color In Unexpected Places   1 day 14 hours ago

    In Glacier NP the tamaracks (larch) have turned yellow before the needles fall off. In particular Bowman and Kintla Lake hillsides are beautiful now. Along Lk. McDonald the hills are also tamarck-spotted, along with aspen yellow that hasn't fallen, yet.

  • Finding Fall Color In Unexpected Places   1 day 16 hours ago

    The alpine meadows at Mt. Rainier turn into a multicolored tapestry in the fall, and farther down into the forest, the vine maples provide spots of beautiful color among the evergreens.

    When I was at the Gila cliff dwellings in November of 1999, I remember the cottonwoods being this absolutely gorgeous luminous gold, too.

  • Reader Participation Day: How Do You Mix Parks And Politics?   1 day 16 hours ago

    How politicians treat national parks is pretty much in line with how they treat other issues I care about, at least where I live, so it's only one factor in my choice of candidates.

  • Bills To Expand Yosemite National Park Finding Bipartisan Support   1 day 17 hours ago

    Although this sounds like a win/win I am greatly oposed to aquiring land through the use of eminent domain. I've seen it abused too many times. In this instance it doesn't sound like that would even be an issue.

  • Update: Rep. McClintock Pushing For Timber Salvage Sales In Yosemite National Park, Surrounding Area   1 day 17 hours ago

    Zeb--It's hard to believe that you support salvage timber cutting in one of our country's most iconoic places. Is nowhere safe anymore?

    Rick

  • Add Rocky Mountain National Park To The List Of Parks Hit By Painting Vandal   1 day 17 hours ago

    Why is she being referred to as an "artist"? The images are talentless, and even if they did exhibit any talent, in this context they don't have any of the qualities or sophistication of "street art"--e.g. cultural jamming, subvertising, etc. This is vacuous and puerile vandalism. Sheer idiocy.

  • Mystery Photo: Water And Wood, But No Fire....Currently   1 day 18 hours ago

    I would guess a piling for an old dock at FIIS (Fire Island National Seashore).

  • Bills To Expand Yosemite National Park Finding Bipartisan Support   1 day 18 hours ago

    This proposal has effectively been smothered by Reps. McClintock (Yosemite area) and Bishop of Utah. Their new bill, HR 5397 (Aug. 1, 2014), requires that 1) first 1,575 acres of federal land must be sold, 2) the current owners of the two Yosemite parcels must donate their land to the Park, and 3) prohibits acquisition by eminent domain (in such cases the Fifth Amendment requires that "just compensation" be paid).

  • Update: Rep. McClintock Pushing For Timber Salvage Sales In Yosemite National Park, Surrounding Area   1 day 19 hours ago

    The USFS Final Record of Decision reduces the number of acres originally proposed for "salvage timber" because there is not enough mill capacity here to process that much timber, let alone the amount proposed by McClintock. The only action that would have increased the amount of timber that could be logged would have been a bill that allowed shipment of USFS timber out of the country. Sierra Pacific shipped a lot of their Rim Fire timber to Asia. But that wouldn't have gone over well with McClintock's voters.

  • There's An Artist On The Loose Defacing National Parks   1 day 20 hours ago

    In our town, graffiti is not accepted as art. There's a very strong anti-graffiti campaign. Anyone caught is jailed, fined, and sentenced to spend something like 100 hours miniumum erasing or painting over graffiti. Juvenile offenders are also frequently given service hours for grafitti removal even though their offense may not have involved graffiti.

    It has been in use for about five years now and the amount of new graffiti is obviously much less than it used to be. Even gang tagging is down. There is also an enhancement for gang tagging that adds a lot more hours to their service time.

  • Op-Ed|The National Park Service And Wilderness: 50 Years Of Neglect   1 day 20 hours ago

    You don't need a fence, lock and key to "virtually lock out" people, which was the phrase I used. If the only way to get there is to walk 20 miles - the vast majority of people aren't going to go. They will be "virtually" locked out.

    I beleive there is a value in having a virtual lock out. It gives people something to wonder about and for those fit enough, places to explore where few have gone before. I would argue a vista with no roads is far more awe inspiring than one crisscrossed with highways. The world keeps getting smaller and I do see much value in desolate spaces. I think there are reasonable comprimises to all of this. Perhaps we don't need the wilderness act but I think we need something.