Recent comments

  • Glacier National Park Employee Cited For Not Controlling Dog That Led To Mountain Lion's Death   3 days 1 hour ago
    Cougar attacks vs Dogbite fatalities USA Elusive and extremely shy, America's extraordinarily beautiful wildcat, the cougar, was called "the spirit of the mountains" by the Native Americans. Cougars pose very little threat to people, yet each year thousands are needlessly killed for sport. We're working to protect this keystone species. http://www.predatordefense.org/cougars.htm The probability of a child being injured by dogs is much greaterthan being injured by a cougar, and yet in some national parksloose dogs are tolerated whereas sighting of a cougar isjustification for rangers to shoot on sight ! The citation if imposed is only a minor cost whereas if anattorney is involved, costs obviously are much higher. https://www.edgarsnyder.com/dog-bite/dogbite-law/

    http://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics-fatalities-2014.php

    http://www.cougarinfo.org/attacks.htm
  • Glacier National Park Ranger Shoots Mountain Lion Tangling With Dog   3 days 7 hours ago

    If the descriptive term 'monday morning quarterback' is the worst you ever get called, you're living an untroubled life. It was describing - without mentioning you in specific - those who jump in with opinionated commentary based on a minimum of actual knowledge about situations.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   3 days 7 hours ago

    Same story with the Norwegian Space Agency

    ssmi_ice_ext

    ssmi_ice_ext.png (3333×2500)

  • An Early Opening For Clingmans Dome Road At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 days 8 hours ago

    Yep, 'tis spring, with weather swings to be expected. Forecast is sunny and 44 for Sunday and sunny and 54 by Tuesday, so in view of a generally mild spring in this area, not going ahead and opening the road as soon as conditions allow would have led to some agitation.

  • An Early Opening For Clingmans Dome Road At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 days 8 hours ago

    Just another typical winter season. No warming in almost 19 years...

    ScreenHunter_8119 Mar. 26 06.12

  • An Early Opening For Clingmans Dome Road At Great Smoky Mountains National Park   3 days 9 hours ago

    Twas a bit premature. They just closed the road due to "freezing temperatures".

  • National Park Service Hopes To "Round Up" Geese On National Mall, Herd Them Elsewhere   3 days 9 hours ago
    Jim-- Thanks for that up date-- you learn something new every day!! I guess thats where that old saying 'Like S--t thru a goose" comes from??
  • Glacier National Park Ranger Shoots Mountain Lion Tangling With Dog   3 days 10 hours ago

    Is it possible to express an opinion on this site without people resorting to name calling(Monday morning quarterback)?? and jumping to incorrect assumptions-- I'm from "back East" so I must not know nuthin about the mountains?? As a matter of fact I've never been to New York or Conn. I lived in Nebraska and Wyoming for 16 years before moving to Florida--- because I don't live in Montana I can't have an opinion?? Give me a break.

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   3 days 11 hours ago

    same sources of climate mis-information

    Owen, what about that chart is wrong?

  • Is Global Climate Change A Threat to National Parks? Another Response   3 days 12 hours ago

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/03/26/ted-...

    I find it interesting that some contributors to this commentary on our main NPT article rely on the same sources of climate mis-information as right wing politician, and now GOP presidential candidate,Ted Cruz. Hmmmm.

  • Glacier National Park Ranger Shoots Mountain Lion Tangling With Dog   3 days 12 hours ago

    I think some that have never lived in the northern rockies also disregard the cultural aspects of the region. It's almost a cultural acceptance to hike and have dogs in the wilderness, many times unleashed. This is seen as "absurd" in many other places, but is sort of the norm in places like Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. I have numerous photos of my two huskies in great mountainous places as we trekked around the great wilderness areas there. There were a few times where we got into trouble over thousands of miles of adventure, but many times they were great in being the eyes-nose-and-ears of possible dangers. They also were awesome in avalanche terrain and had this keen sense on where to go and where to avoid. It's all in the owners training though. But seriously, montana ain't new york or connecticut, so quit trying to apply the rules to those areas, when you don't have wild terrain like that in your own backyard. Not that dogs should be in national parks, but I have no problem with dogs unleashed in wilderness areas if they are trained and overall under good obedience with their owners. Most dogs that go into the wilderness and backpack LIVE for it.

  • Glacier National Park Ranger Shoots Mountain Lion Tangling With Dog   3 days 21 hours ago

    After all these years I don't know why I'm still surprised and disappointed at the piling on of Monday Morning Quarterbacks in online discussions.

  • UC Berkeley And The National Parks: A Centennial Retrospective   4 days 25 min ago

    Thank you Dr. Runte and thanks also to Owen and ml3cli for their comments. I must agree, science is an important aspect of many National Parks. Owen and ml3cli pointed it out well and there are many more excellent examples. Dr, Runte, an issue here is that science presents the best evidence available on a subject, the information then enters into the public discourse and then the political arena. Science has little say in the final political decisions in many cases. Often times the objections are based on little knowledge of the issue or a simple resistance to change for many reasons. Whatever the public perception is that is pandered to by many of those running for office, or in office, is a difficult hurdle to cross. A very interesting recent issue is the new Golden Gate National Recreation Area Dog Management Plan. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

  • National Park Service Hopes To "Round Up" Geese On National Mall, Herd Them Elsewhere   4 days 1 hour ago

    This source says about 1.5 pounds per goose per day, and even that's a lot when multiplied by very many geese. Could be that there's so much fertilizer running downhill onto the mall from that building with a big dome nearby that the grass these geese eat is a lot lusher than average, and hence their exhaust emissions are increased as well :-)

  • UC Berkeley And The National Parks: A Centennial Retrospective   4 days 4 hours ago

    Agree, an excellent, well written story, Dr. Runte.

    Yes, Owen, I recall SEKI had a truly

    outstanding Chief Naturalist, Russ Grater, whom I had met when Russ was working

    out of Harpers Ferry, W Va., prior to arriving at SEKI. We witnessed the pioneering

    fire ecological contributions of Dick Hartesveldt and his research team from

    San Jose. State Univ. Ron Stecker was their entomologist who discovered the insect

    boring into the peduncle or stem of the green giant sequoia seed cone causing it to

    dry and shed seeds, hopefully on recently burned forest floor devoid of thick litter.

    Dick Hartesveldt realized that old sequoias were growing well following

    fire in Yosemite during his tree ring studies of Human Impacts on giant sequoia

    groves.

    Early in their field work, giant sequoia seedlings following prescribed

    research burns were actually numbered by stakes until the entire sunlit unit looked

    like a green lawn of thousands of seedlings.

    http://www.nps.gov/seki/learn/nature/upload/hh_tt67.pdf

    http://www.bandbbooks.com/giant-sequoias-by-hartesveldt--harvey--shellhammer--stecker-%28softbound%29

    Dr. H. Biswell was with the Univ. of Calif., Berkeley,

    researching landscape visual effects of fire at Whitakers Forest. beyond the ridge

    of Redwood Mtn. Grove.

    http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/documents/psw_gtr158/psw_gtr158_01_vanwagtendonk.pdf

  • UC Berkeley And The National Parks: A Centennial Retrospective   4 days 6 hours ago

    Thank you Dr. Runte. Truly an outstanding article. However, I would say that science played a role much earlier in the NPS history than the 1990's. I think of George Wright's introduction of the idea of an ecoystem approach to park managment during the 1930's, the "Leopold Report" of the early 1960's, the introduction of fire as a management tool to protect seedling germination in groves of giant sequoia in Yosemite and Sequoia Kings Canyon National Parks during the 1960's and 1970's with research of Drs. Hartesveldt, Shellhammer, Harvey, Briswell and others. In fact, there was a time when the Chief Naturalist was the second most important member of the NPS staff in a park, second only to the park superintendent.

  • National Park Service Hopes To "Round Up" Geese On National Mall, Herd Them Elsewhere   4 days 7 hours ago
    A goose poops 2-3 lbs of "you know what" a day?? Do these geese eat 20-30 lbs of feed a day?? I'd like to see the research to prove that!!LOL
  • Glacier National Park Ranger Shoots Mountain Lion Tangling With Dog   4 days 7 hours ago

    I guess in my opinion the intent of the dog getting loose has little to do with the situation-- I do agree it was no win situation though. People are responsible for their pets period. If your dog gets loose for any reason why should the native wildlife bear the brunt of it?? Its your responsibilty to be sure your dog does not get loose. If it had been secured correctly this would not have happened. The fact that the dog got lose unintentionlly has little to do with justifying the fact that the ranger shot the moutain lion-- one less lion that someone might have the chance to enjoy seeing-- sad all around.

  • National Park Service Hopes To "Round Up" Geese On National Mall, Herd Them Elsewhere   4 days 9 hours ago

    So dogs aren't fouling the National Mall? I'm not too sure about that one...

  • Appalachian Trail Hiking Death Prompts Call For Hikers To Be Safety-Minded On The Trail   4 days 12 hours ago

    Scariest hiking experience ever for me:

    Backpacking solo in a state park. New moon. Had had a really hard rain a few days before. I always check for dead trees/branches before setting up camp near a creek. Near dusk, I kept hearing a bb gun. Not an area where hunting permitted. I called out numerous times... nada. Settle in tent, sleeping away when a huge tree falls not 10 feet from my tent. The creek had eroded so much dirt, the "bb gun" I heard was the roots snapping. The tree looked totally fine... now even more to think about!

  • National Park Service Hopes To "Round Up" Geese On National Mall, Herd Them Elsewhere   4 days 14 hours ago

    The public has mixed feelings about resident flocks of Canada geese in public open spaces. Some people like to see them, others complain for the reasons described above. Finding solutions that will satisfy animal rights groups has been difficult. The dogs are certainly worth a try.

  • Appalachian Trail Hiking Death Prompts Call For Hikers To Be Safety-Minded On The Trail   4 days 15 hours ago

    Thanks for sharing the many variables that go into hazardous tree removal. Even with more resources, not every tree that's potentially hazardous could be identified and removed since, as you point out, there's sometimes hidden rot.

    It's a reminder to all of us who traipse the woods to be careful. Minimize risk and avoid hiking during high winds, and take other precautionary steps.

  • Glacier National Park Ranger Shoots Mountain Lion Tangling With Dog   4 days 22 hours ago

    I second Rick's motion.

    Remember some years ago when a Glacier ranger shot a snowmobile? Now there was a case of taking exactly the right action. This one would have been a harder call.

  • Glacier National Park Ranger Shoots Mountain Lion Tangling With Dog   5 days 2 hours ago

    Thanks, Jim. It's nice to have a voice of reason here. You are correct--a classic "no win" situation.

    Rick

  • Glacier National Park Ranger Shoots Mountain Lion Tangling With Dog   5 days 3 hours ago

    I'd suggest this is a "classic example" of both a no-win situation for all involved, and of how easy it is to make harsh judgments, with limited facts, from the comfort of our living rooms.

    Should the dog in question have been off-leash? Of course not, but in the real world there are some degrees of error here. If the dog had been intentionally turned loose, the owner was absolutely at fault. If, as indicated above, the owner was caught off-guard when the dogs bolted when the car door opened, it shouldn't have happened ... but in real life, sometimes it does.

    One commenter says the solution was to shoot the dog, not the lion. If the dog had been intentionally turned loose to "sic the lion," that would have been justified ... but even in cases where rangers have shot hunting dogs observed dragging down deer and other wildlife, the criticism has been severe. Again, such scenarios are a no-win.

    Easy to say "Shoot the dog." What if this had been a family pet that bolted from a visitor's car when they arrived at a campground, and the dog got into a fight with a wild animal? If that ever occurred, the firestorm of criticism would register on seismographs nationwide, but, based on available information, the above scenario is not really much different.

    Finally, the previous comment uses a very broad brush to criticize ranger attitudes toward wildlife. Citing bad practices from decades ago is hardly reflective of current attitudes. The reality is in Glacier, and many other locations, visitors and employees do come into close contact with wildlife in developed areas, and those situations can sometimes have undesirable outcomes for both humans and wildlife...and it's easy to criticize if you're not there when the fur is literally flying.

    The few details above raise serious concerns that this lion that was strongly habituated to human contact. If people could get close enough to use a shovel to separate these animals, and the combination of a noisy humans throwing logs and rocks and using bear spray failed to get this lion to disengage and head for the hills, there may well have been a larger problem in this case that goes beyond a pet that got loose unintentionally.

    An unfortunate situation with lots of factors involved.