Recent comments

  • DNC Wins Concession Contract At Grand Canyon National Park South Rim   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Yep, you're right, Starwalker. We'll get it fixed. Thanks!

  • DNC Wins Concession Contract At Grand Canyon National Park South Rim   3 weeks 1 day ago

    I see what seems to be a small mistake. DNC does not currently run the services at Yavapai except for the Market. Xanterra does. I'm pretty sure Xanterra also runs "Trailer Village" as my wife and I were put up there when we worked at the Grand Canyon 4 years ago. I could be wrong about that, but I worked at the gift shop at Yavapai and I know it and the lodging were run by Xanterra.

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Their propellers can be lethal should they strike a person, pet, or wild animal. As to retrieval, maybe they'll have to commission a drone submarine that can surface, start its propellers, and fly off with the junk......

  • Man Hopes To Run Entire Length Of Blue Ridge Parkway For Charity Fundraiser   3 weeks 2 days ago

    Walking or jogging the BRP is a very dangerous thing to do! Narrow, winding, motorcycles roaring, bicycles 3 abreast; commuters speeding. One person jogging it only encourages others. App Trail - great! Good idea! Mountain to Sea - ok; Go for it! But, a jogger sharing the roadway with cars, motorcycles bicyclists is just plain dangerous.

  • Cape Lookout National Seashore ORV Plan Open For Comment Through Early September   3 weeks 2 days ago

    Beachdumb,

    I think people are going there because Lookout use to look like Hatteras many years ago. Many many of us who live here and vacation here think the rules were long overdue and are an incredible compromise for a National Park to satisfy one special interest group, ORV users.

    All I can say is Lookout needs to addresed so it's management is in line with the rest of the Seashores and Lakeshores. There will still be miles to drive on.

    You always have Padre Island.

  • Cape Lookout National Seashore ORV Plan Open For Comment Through Early September   3 weeks 2 days ago

    More government control and regulation, just never stops. I believe they do this just to justify there existence and grow the beauracracy. I haven't seen any evidence, like Hatteras, that these new regulations are neccesary. Fixing a problem that doesn't exist...

    I been there a few times, but is a little far for me. I submitted comments but I know from experience public comments mean nothing, unless it supports the NPS's preferred plan. A lot folks I know started going there to escape the over regulation of Hatteras.

  • Survey Shows Visitors Would Support Higher Entrance Fees To See Yellowstone National Park Bears   3 weeks 3 days ago

    I'm with Lee on this, too. Go to the Grizzly Discovery Center. And I'm jtatman1 about extra fees, too. National parks shouldn't be priced out of regular folks' budgets.

  • Survey Shows Visitors Would Support Higher Entrance Fees To See Yellowstone National Park Bears   3 weeks 3 days ago

    This article left me confused. I thought fees could not be used to pay for staff, let alone staff increases as implied by the survey?

    I appreciate jtatman's sensitivity to the burden of additional fees on many visitors, but how could busses keep to a schedule if they are stopping at random wildlife sightings? Unless private vehicles are banned entirely at Yellowstone, which our politicans would never allow, it seems to me that more busses will only aggravate the traffic jams and block the view by others of both the wildlife and traffic. If private vehicles were banned, what about visitors with pets, very young children, or bulky equipment such as bicycles or canoes? Or just those stuck without a window seat on the bus?

    I would rather see entry quotas than be forced onto a canned tour with little opportunity for spontaneity. Especially if those who can afford in-park lodging get separate access or are allowed to fly in, as at Denali. The NPS already has quotas for backcountry camping, hiking, river trips, guided tours, and probably many other activities.

    Heaven forbid that visitors might be able to "interact [with wildlife] unattended." I think Lee has it about right; if you want to be "guaranteed" bear viewing, go to a zoo.

  • Unmanned Drone Crashes Into Famous Hot Spring At Yellowstone National Park   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Here's a drone video that showed up this morning on the Smithsonian Magazine website. It's some footage of a flight over Vermillion Cliffs National Monument in southern Utah and northern Arizona. Be sure to read the entire article that accompanies the video.

    Here's a link to the video: (I"m sorry, but the link doesn't want to work. But if you clip it and insert it into your browser's search window, it does.)

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/vermilion-cliffs-drone-video-180951947/?utm_source=smithsoniantopic&no-ist

    The photographer makes some interesting comments:

    One challenge Greszko has had to face is the official banning of drones in national parks, though he wasn’t very surprised by this ruling. "These small helicopters are annoying, disruptive, potentially dangerous, and rather invasive. But they’re also incredible, unprecedented creative tools, so finding responsible ways and locations to shoot – without bothering anyone – is a major goal." Greszko, who captured the footage above before the ban was put in place, typically films in very isolated areas, going out of his way to be as considerate and invisible as possible. Drones allow him to capture the world from unique perspectives that one could never experience on their own two feet.
  • Survey Shows Visitors Would Support Higher Entrance Fees To See Yellowstone National Park Bears   3 weeks 3 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   3 weeks 3 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   3 weeks 3 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   3 weeks 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   3 weeks 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   3 weeks 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   3 weeks 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   3 weeks 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   3 weeks 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   3 weeks 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?   3 weeks 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   3 weeks 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   3 weeks 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?   3 weeks 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   3 weeks 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   3 weeks 4 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.