Recent comments

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   3 weeks 2 days ago

    Count me as another anecdotal example of someone who would mostly just stay home if the parks were closed. I'd probably visit some nearby state parks and forests a little more instead, but they cost almost nothing to visit.

    I wouldn't spend the considerable time and money to visit Utah, for example, for any other reason than to visit the amazing national parks and monuments there.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   3 weeks 2 days ago

    Economic engines? Remember what happened when the Clowns of Congress closed the parks?

    Yes, peope went elsewhere to recreate.

  • Millennials In The Parks Are Not An Endangered Species   3 weeks 2 days ago

    I spend waaaay to much time on this website, but seldom comment. . . This caught me. . .

    We raised our kids, tent camping through the parks and other place in the late 80s and into the 2000s-- right at the beginning of the time where you could hide in an MP3 player or some such. We refused. Looking out the window games, talking and thinking about where we'd been or were going . . . As a last resort, pull out the books or activity items from the previous or next stop.

    Laughingly, years later, they suggested a Wii so that "dad" could "rock". With a side feeling of "badge of honor' that they'd never had a videoo game.

    But, the point is, they saw, we comunicated, and today they look forward to times on the road or in the back country. We continue to camp together when we have a chance, and they have an appreciation of the greater world around them.

    I don't dismiss those that have no chance for similar experiences -- we need to work toward those, but I do have a bit of problem with those who hide behink DVDs and IPads. There are moments, to be sure, where these fill a need or even add to the experience, but please don't run away from "real" moments together and in nature!

  • RVing In The Parks: Five Great Western Campgrounds In The National Parks   3 weeks 2 days ago

    Good article. I've never traveled or vacationed in an RV, but we certainly have some immense behemoths passing through our small town. An article like this helps me to understand some of the issues these mobile houses have to negotiate.

  • National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines   3 weeks 2 days ago
    Jul 25, 2014, 2:57pm PDT Nearly 1M national park visitors deliver $67M to Oregon (Photos)

    http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/2014/07/nearly-1m-national-park-visitors-deliver-67m-to.html

  • Red-Legged Frog Tadpoles Released In Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area   3 weeks 2 days ago

    Very interesting post.

  • Essential Summer Guide '14: Spanish Galleons, Elephant Seals, And Great Birding At Point Reyes National Seashore   3 weeks 2 days ago

    It looks so exciting.

  • Millennials In The Parks Are Not An Endangered Species   3 weeks 2 days ago

    Lee and Carli I have to play devil’s advocate and disagree to some degree. I am a 30 year old father with tattoos and sometimes “foul language”. I love the outdoors and the greatest 6 months in my life was spent thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail 7 years ago. I met one of my best friends and my wife on the trail. I grew as a person and built self-confidence from that experience and now work for a public land manager. I did not have a phone or even a camera on the trail and to this day do not own a smartphone (in fact I rarely use my cell phone). My thru-hiking friends and I spent every day together. Whether it was raining or cold or uncomfortable for whatever reason we dealt with it together. I agree that I look forward to exploring wilderness, perhaps in a different way than my parents, but I do not want to be “plugged-in” when I do it. Just the idea drags me down. It seems like something that takes me away from the moment and I hate the idea of something taking me away from that experience.

    Now, I do take pictures and up load them when I get home, usually with some commentary regarding the experience but only after reflection. I am frustrated when I take friends to special places in a National Park, for example, and they spend their time on their phone as oppose to enjoying and appreciating the moment with me. To me the wilderness is the only place where one can “un-plug”. I agree that social media is a powerful tool and can only help market or advertise our country’s special places but why does it need to occur during the moment? Why can’t it wait till we get home?

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   3 weeks 2 days ago

    Honestly, I think the argument for keeping the road open was important back in the 20's - 50's because it was the main cooridor for shipping, but today that doesn't fly, because commerce is not allowed to flow on this road through the park, since it's been shifted to interstate 40. I-40 was built well after the parks establishment. So, with the building of the interstate system, that changed how the highway 441 through the Smokies was used.

    And Stormy, if you are planning a good trip in the Smokies, and you need some advice, just PM me and I can give you some tips on best trails, etc during that time of year.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   3 weeks 2 days ago

    DH and I are looking forward to our first visit to the Smokies next year. As a Westerner I'm used to paying up to $25.00 to visit a Natl Park so it amazes me that there is no fee to enter GSMNP. I understand the original intent to keep the main road free (although there is precedent for charging to get 'through' a NP on a main road*). But I also understand the need to finance facilities & improvements.

    Perhaps they could implement a graduated system using color-coded window tags. If you're just traversing the park to get from A to B you get a free, dated & time stamped green (or whatever) tag that allows a certain (reasonable) amount of time to drive straight through. Day Use could be a lower fee and different color with a reasonable 'exit' time. Overnight/camping a fee to match other parks and again, a different color.

    *Lassen Park charges the full entrance fee to use the through road (Hwy 89), as does YNP to use the road that goes from Mammoth to Cooke City.

  • RVing In The Parks: Five Great Western Campgrounds In The National Parks   3 weeks 2 days ago

    Thanks for this article! As an RV'er it's not always easy to find good campsites in National Parks. If I may, I'll add Mammoth Campground at Mammoth Hot Springs in YNP. Many large spots, all 'pull throughs'. Our overall length (truck + trailer) is 50 ft and we still had plenty of room to park our Prius behind us in the site.

  • Acadia National Park Officials Proposing Slight Change In Visitor Capacity For Isle Au Haut   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Here's our latest blog post on Acadia National Park's draft Isle au Haut plan and the Aug. 5 hearing on it. Might the park's official non-promotion policy be leading to recent drops in visitation, truly making Isle au Haut the quietest side of Acadia? http://acadiaonmymind.com/2014/07/acadia-national-park-proposes-to-keep-isle-au-haut-primitive/

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   3 weeks 3 days ago

    I'm also not a fan of the whole "it will price the common man out of access to our national parks" argument. It can cost hundreds of not thousands of dollars in airfare or fuel to get where one is going. $10-20 isn't going to break anyone that has the will to make a visit. Getting to parks can be expensive. The parks themselves, not so much.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   3 weeks 3 days ago

    I agree that the personal attacks here are out of hand, especially when it comes to GRSM.

    I think GRSM needs to charge admission fees. It's weird how this wildly popular national park is free to access, yet comparable parks across the country are $10-20 or more. It seems like a no-brainer to charge a nominal fee to access and support it.

    Charging "leave no trace" light users of the park a fee while giving free access to cavalcades of motor homes that trample everything in sight and disproportionately consume resources and pollute is simply sick and twisted.

    If I understand correctly, the land transfer by the state of TN only prohibits charging a toll for Newfound Gap Road. Either get the TN legislature to change this law, or else put toll booths on the spurs that come off the road. The road itself could be free, but require paid access for Clingmans Dome, Chimney Tops, Le Conte, etc.

    A park that bears the weight of millions of visitors a year and faces annually decreased funding from Congress is doomed to fail without funding from the people who are consumers of its resources.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   3 weeks 3 days ago

    That's what I do with obnoxious bloggers elsewhere: I respond only if I see some appreciable advantage to it. Otherwise, I don't, and if no one does, it takes the wind out of their sails.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   3 weeks 3 days ago

    I know what you mean, Lee. We had an earthquake near Juneau and Southeast Alaska lost our internet connection for a day or two. When last seen, I was feeling the urge to throw out a "Jane you ignorant slut" comment at one of the Usual Suspects. [tm: Ackroyd/SNL] When I got internet back I read through all the nonsense and was glad that I'd been out of things for a day or so.

    I have to get over the anxiety of thinking "but Joe Blow will have the satisfaction of chasing me away" if I chose not to respond to a BS comment. Instead I have the satisfaction of knowing that I lowered both Kurt's and my own blood pressure by simply walking away.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   3 weeks 3 days ago

    To restore civility to these threads, I think NPT has to stick to uncontroversial subjects that won't raise a fuss. For example, how about this headline?

    GOP Bill Would Allow Armed Mountain Bikers in the 1% to Shoot at Stocked Nonnative Wildlife in NPS Wilderness Units

    Kills Would Be Removed by Helicopter

    Surely no one would get bent out of shape over such an innocuous proposal? :-)

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Wild Places makes an excellent observation. I'm one who has been guilty to trying to respond the some of the endless t******* that has become a permanent fixture on these pages. When I returned from a short trip yesterday, I discovered just how senseless it all has become. It was like turning on an old time soap opera after a few weeks away. Same old story, just a different day.

    Endless arguments repeating the same endless accusations and "information." Endless distractions from what could be should be thoughtful discussions as some of us find ourselves biting at the bait that is tossed out to distract and foment argument instead of good consideration of interesting issues and possible constructive or instructive discourse. Endless argument over what a single word might or might not mean. Endless twisting and wiggling, demanding "proof" and then more twisting and wiggling when proof is provided.

    It's like watching the Clowns of Congress. All sorts of fuss but nothing to show for it.

    What might happen if more serious readers were to simply ignore -- no matter how hard that may be -- the temptingly smelly bait that is cast into the thoughtstream here? The IGNOREUSER button actually does work if self-control doesn't.

    Kurt, if I fail again, will you come up to Ogden and slap me a couple of times? You have permission.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Kurt, I guess, the article would be inflammatory to some. In the smokies this is a very divisive issue. Not so much with your average visitor but with some local groups.

    And some of us already work in that arena of doing our part to fund the parks, or at least fund aspects to a park. Many parks are solvent, in my opinion and self-sustaining because of camping, entrance, and backcountry fees, along with non-profit donations. There are also many research grants, etc that help fund the science in the park. Maybe a few aren't solvent, especially the more remote parks, but that doesn't make them any less special or warrant being kicked out of the system. Many members of Congress that come from states with parks in their confines know and understand the value of these places. Where it gets hairy is with the senators from places where there are few National Parks (Tom Coburn from Oklahoma comes to mind, Rick Santorum is another one although he's now pretty much a neutered politician), so they don't see the value because they aren't engaged in that ideology or have ever spent much time in Parks because it's not part of their state. But for every one of those, there are many other congressman that do see the value. I also think we are on the path to a new golden age for National Parks, and I think social media is providing a broad outreach for many of the popular National Parks that goes well beyond just these borders. This current rhetoric from the Tea Party is as old as can be, and while the economy from the past lost decade has definitely caused budget cuts, that is not always a bad thing as it forces better decision making in tough times. But, the point is that our parks are busy. Many, i'd say have hit a plateau in that they can't handle excessively more visitation, but there is definitely a strong affinity by many in this country for the National Parks, and they aren't going away anytime soon. I'm not fearful. As for the Smokies, don't fret it. The park is going to be A oK..

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   3 weeks 3 days ago

    I would disagree with you Gary. The point of the editorial was that the Park Service needs to find solutions for funding parks that are not able to charge, or don't charge, entrance fees. I don't see anything inflammatory in that.

    The editorial offered one possible solution for the Smokies...with hopes readers might have ideas of their own.

    As we move into the second century of the National Park Service, funding the parks is going to become a greater and greater issue, unless Congress can be persuaded to see the merits of a healthy and thriving park system. We can have that without blowing out the federal budget. But we're going to have to get a bit creative.

  • National Park Service Reissues Glacier Bay Park Lodging Concession Prospectus With Incentives   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Well, at least we know this one doesn't offer enormous profits. And still no evidence has been presented here that any of the others do either.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   3 weeks 3 days ago

    I used to enjoy reading the coments here. It was educational and thought provoking. I don't enjoy seeing the name calling and disparaging remarks. I understand those posting aren't doing so for my enjoyment but i'd hazard a guess that most feel the same way.

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   3 weeks 3 days ago

    No offense, but I think this opinion piece that you wrote was going to inflame regardless if it was on the Smokies or not.

  • National Park Service Reissues Glacier Bay Park Lodging Concession Prospectus With Incentives   3 weeks 3 days ago

    I'd have to disagree with you on this one, EC. As Jim pointed out, the short season and the relatively few visitors -- 500,590 last year (most who came via cruise ship), and just 11,440 overnight lodging guests -- make this location a difficult one, financially.

    But having been there, I heartily recommend a visit!

  • Traveler's View: Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Backcountry Fee Debate Points To Larger Problem   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Just for the record, that is not me.. and Kurt, if you're willing to post the conspiracy lawsuits, then you should be willing to keep open the threads for dialogue.

    John, seriously, I posted your original documented account of your trip into this area. It showed nothing similar to your later allegations. And it also showed a GPS coordinate posted by your friend of the sign outside of the park. There are also old maps from the 30s and 40s that you can download online that shows this old Hurricane Boundary Trail, where portions of it skirt the direct boundary between NPS and Blackberry farms property. You make little sense. You need to really research things before spouting off with conspiracies.

    Face it there was nothing to cover up. You're just creating things out of nothing. Secondly, i'm not afraid to use my name. Why would I hide behind a pseudonym?