Recent comments

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   2 weeks 3 days ago

    So basically to sum everything up. The NPS was very clever to write their own rules on how they don't have to accept the sentiment of the majority of the public, as long as they have some support. How ridiculous considering that one could generate some support for virtually anything. This ensures that no one can challenge them on any legal grounds and possibly win, because essentially they can do whatever they want. The public majority has no recourse whatsoever to deal directly with the NPS and get meaningful results unless the powers that be within decide from the good of their heart to listen. Until that changes it will be the same old story.

    I think maybe this should be pursued from a different avenue. Like trying to get a change in how public comments are used to being on a majority basis. It certainly would be the fair way to go. But then again, im sure their rules would prevent anyone from challenging that either.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   2 weeks 3 days ago

    It's one thing to challenge the NPS with rational valid arguments. It's another thing altogether to challenge the NPS, and then target, harass, and threaten employees and people that work in the park because they may have said that they approved of the fee, or that certain SFW claims weren't valid. SFW is an "organization" (and I use that term loosely) with little credibility, and obviously without a credible law firm or group of credible people behind them. There are many credible organizations out there that do challenge and win lawsuits against the government, but SFW is not going to be one of them. Obviously, just about every conspiracy theory they presented over the years in an ad nauseum manner was shot down and debunked, and it's not any surprise that their claims were dismissed. You can only be the "boy that cries wolf" for so long, before no one takes you seriously. Well, they long since past that point. This group only costs taxpayers money in lawyer fees, so they could debunk their conspiracies. This site gives way too much credibility to these groups, and that's why it does at times tend to feel like the Faux News of NPS related news.

    Obviously, smokiesbackpacker didn't even read the judges ruling, because it pretty much stated that his conspiracies "of outing a land swap with a governor, and those of private trails being built and maintained in the park" were not true and rendered moot. Who cares. Into the dustbin of history this lawsuit goes.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   2 weeks 3 days ago

    Backcountry overnight stays were back up (above above 2012 numbers) to 86,153 in calendar year 2014 (http://bit.ly/1BIICiP) for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. More than 10,000 of those backcountry overnight stays were in the month of October 2014 versus October 2013 when the park was shutdown for 3 weeks (like the rest of the federal government) and only 3700 backcountry nights were logged.

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   2 weeks 3 days ago

    I have no problem with "bare bones" accomodations in parks. Get rid of the TV's. Get rid of wifi, except for administrative needs, employees, and perhaps in the lobby of hotels and visitor centers. Encourage camping. Encourage longer visits. Encourage participation in ranger walks and talks. Encourage ways to enjoy the park by getting out into the scenery and onto the trails, and getting out from behind the windshield. Publish quarterly report cards that review the quality and prices of services provided. Encourage full support for our parks by Congress and discourage the charging of petty fees.

    Hmmmm. Come to think of it, it could get worse. I just learned that the national parks of Iceland charge for use of restrooms.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   2 weeks 3 days ago

    Thanks to NPT for your continuous coverage of this story. I wonder how many times a citizens group has challenged the NPS and won? We knew from the beginning it was a long shot. This article points out that public comments and sentiment have no bearing in the NPS policy. And we know the NPS cares little about what the public wants. If you read the ruling, Phillips states that the NPS employees favored the proposal. And in the end, the NPS employees got their way. If that doesn't represent what is wrong with the NPS, then nothing can further illustrate this point any better. From a member of the "less represented stakeholder group" referenced by the federal judge I am proud of what SFW has accomplished through this lawsuit including the outing of blackberry farms private trail system and land swap between a former TN governor from the NPS. Those are victories in this lawsuit.

    Southern Forest Watch doesn't lay down because of one opinion. You haven't heard the last of this issue. Stay tuned!

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   2 weeks 3 days ago

    Some of the thoughts here remind me of why Walmart and McDonald's are so popular in this country.

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   2 weeks 3 days ago

    Beach - you may have a point at CHNSRA but I don't think that is the norm. Have the rail miles been reduced at Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier...... I don't think so. Heck they just opened up part of Rocky Mtn National Park to mountain biking.

    Just - once again you are arguing for more amenties but want lower costs. An oxymoron Perhaps you should get out into the park instead of watching cable TV or tapping into the wi-fi.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   2 weeks 3 days ago

    Thank you Traveler for the informative post. I am disappointed that the NPS is now able to charge fees for hiking and backpacking, In my own years in wilderness management I opposed these efforts strenuously. Thank you Southern Wilderness Watch for your efforts.

  • Opening Of Glacier Point Road At Yosemite National Park Earliest In Recent Memory   2 weeks 3 days ago

    You're correct - it's really been a "tale of two winters" between the Northeast and the West. No doubt plenty of folks in Boston and similar areas would have been happy to divert some of their snow to California.

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   2 weeks 4 days ago

    I have to ask just how much of this is the fault of NPS and how much fault lies with the various concessionaires? Does anyone really know? Can anyone provide evidence in support of their claim in either direction? Then again, could any of it be the result of Congressional meddling in park management?

    It's easy to cast blame. Much easier than backing it up with facts.

    The poster above seems to inadvertantly contradict him/herself while simultaneously calling for a host of amenities and then call for "bare bones."

    Like so many of the challenges in park management, this one has a long and awfully convoluted history. So many cooks have been adding ingredients and stirring the pot that we've wound up with a real kettle of Mrs. Murphy's chowder.

  • Photography In The National Parks: A Photographer's Stay At Camp Denali   2 weeks 4 days ago

    Y'know, Rebecca, you're just torturing those of us who probably will never be able to visit Denali . . . . .

    That's just awful.

    But the photos are great.

  • Glacier National Park Employee Cited For Not Controlling Dog That Led To Mountain Lion's Death   2 weeks 4 days ago

    Actually you are incorrect-- I have nothing but respect and admiration for Park Rangers and what they do. When I was younger I wanted to do that for a career. They have a difficult job and most deserve all the praise in the world. Personally i think they have the greatest job in the world. To answer your question about my dog. If JoJo ,my lab escaped and it was between him and a mountain lion I would absolutley tell the Ranger to shoot my dog--no question. Yes I love him but thats how i feel . To answer your last question-- if i had been that ranger I would have shot the dog before the lion-- even if it was my dog.

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   2 weeks 4 days ago

    I agree entirely! Many families simply can't shove all their kids into a hostel style room. And for others, this is fine of they aren't paying 100 dollars a night for it.

    Here at GCNP, many other amenities that I mentioned have at one time been available. For instance, up until a couple of years ago, wi-fi in public areas was fairly decent. Then a change was made to the system, and what is available now is virtually useless. Some third party provider from New Zealand, and we can't even reset the equipment. (Guests who are told they would have wi-fi, and oftgen choose to stay as result, often take their greivance out on those who have no control over the situation.)

    Cable television here was not spectacular, but at least a few channels were available until a few months ago. The cable company went out of business, and now television is nearly non-existent. NPS, as I understand it, is making it extremely difficult for the concessionaire to bring in a new provider. Room prices are too high to not offer this. Especially when it is advertised.

    Parking has always been limited, but made even worse several years ago when a park superintendent decided to eliminate roughly 150 parking places. Especially for our older population, walking long distance to simply get to their hotel room is unappealing, and may be unsafe for some.

    Beds have to be replaced every few years anyway, and pillows more frequently. Replace them with something respectable. Costs can be recovered as guests stop demanding discounts, and leaving early.

    You can't continue to decrease services, and drastically increase prices, which seems to be the norm today. Bare bones amenities at bare bones prices, along with a range of options for those who desire a little more pampering should be available.

    The captive customer mentality needs to disappear from the parks. People have plenty of outdoor options to explore if they so choose. In order to attract visitors, the parks need to be made more appealing. If service is poor, and facilities are below par, people simply will not come.

  • Effort To Overturn Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fails   2 weeks 4 days ago

    This topic has generated lots of discussion over many months, and you're welcome to offer your opinions, pro and con, about the court's decision. However, you need to do so in a civil manner, minus personal attacks on other individuals or organizations on either side of the issue. If you posted a comment that's disappeared, just reword it in light of our Code of Conduct. Thanks, eds.

  • Opening Of Glacier Point Road At Yosemite National Park Earliest In Recent Memory   2 weeks 4 days ago

    Depending on when the Park Loop Road opens in Acadia National Park after the record snows, could be the opposite issue there - perhaps one of the latest openings?

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   2 weeks 4 days ago

    I know exactly what Whipperin is talking about. CHNSRA is the perfect example. The NPS actually wants to remove "recreation" so bad, they removed it from the parks name.

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   2 weeks 4 days ago

    Whippering1 - I don't have a clue what you are talking about. Visited many a park and have seldom if ever experienced the NPS limiting access or enjoyment. Perhaps if you are a dog but certainly not if you are human.

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   2 weeks 4 days ago

    Does the NPS really care about anyone enjoying the Parks? The goal for the NPS has been to remove the human footprint in the Parks by removing fun stuff like trails that are popular with humans. The NPS makes the vast majority of the Parks difficult and unpopular for the public to enjoy and limiting access for humans. The NPS makes the Parks enjoyable for the rich snob elite like Larry Rockefeller and his ilk and makes enjoying the Parks for the more common people difficult to impossible.

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   2 weeks 4 days ago

    If they want more visitors, they're going to have to realize that the more things cost, the fewer visitors they're going to have. Period. And what on earth is wrong with a shared bathroom?

    Things seem to be geared more and more to foreign visitors with lots of money. Things should be geared first to all social levels of residents first.

  • Glacier National Park Employee Cited For Not Controlling Dog That Led To Mountain Lion's Death   2 weeks 4 days ago

    Well, as previously discussed, your operative word in this situation was "misfortune." There's no indication the owner who had possession of the dog when it got loose let the dog out intentionally - she had the misfortune of having the dog escape.

    And, under your scenario: Suppose as a visitor your dog jumped out of your vehicle when you opened the door and got into a tangle with a lion. Attempts by yourself and bystanders to chase the lion off by yells, throwing rocks and logs and using bear spary failed, and the lion had your dog pinned down and continued to fight. Think you might be looking for some help from a ranger? When the ranger arrived, think your position would be "shoot the dog"? If so, you'd be a mighty rare dog owner.

    I suspect the charge was for having pet off leash or a similar violation, and the NPS doesn't determine the amount of fines. What do you think would have been a more appropriate charge in this scenario?

    Yes, this situation is complicated, because the nearest ranger, who had to decide what action to take in the midst of the problem, was also a co-owner of the dog. What do you think he should have done? Say, sorry, just be patient and call another ranger, because I have a personal interest in this situation, so I have to ignore the problem?

    Sure sounds like from all your comments on this incident you have some antagonism toward rangers in general, which is unfortunate. Had you been the person in charge at the scene, what do you think should have been done differently?

    Last question: can you cite any examples where visitors in similar situations were treated any more "harshly" by the NPS than this dog owner? We both can only speculate, but I've not read of any such outcomes, so have no reason to believe that would be the case.

  • Glacier National Park Employee Cited For Not Controlling Dog That Led To Mountain Lion's Death   2 weeks 4 days ago

    So the ranger that was "part owner' of the dog was the person that shot the cat? This resulted in a $75 fine?? Is an owner of a dog resposible for keeping it secure?? I wonder if I -(visiting from Florida as an outsider) had the misfortune of my lab JoJo getting loose and a mountain lion then being shot would have recieved a $75 fine-- just asking??

  • Concessionaires Want More Investment, Business Opportunities, In National Parks   2 weeks 4 days ago

    The price of lodging in the parks is too high for the average "Joe" towing a bunch of kids along.I believe that is why the numbers of people staying overnight in the parks has decreased.

  • U.S. Cattlemen's Association Opposed To Proposed Chisholm And Great Western National Historic Trails   2 weeks 4 days ago
  • U.S. Cattlemen's Association Opposed To Proposed Chisholm And Great Western National Historic Trails   2 weeks 4 days ago
    Documents aren't posted for comment when you go to the site
  • UC Berkeley And The National Parks: A Centennial Retrospective   2 weeks 4 days ago

    Perhaps another scientist worthy of mention was Dr. John C. Merriam. J. C. Merriam, who studied at UC Berkeley under Prof. Joseph LeConte, had a pioneering influence on the promotion of national parks as outdoor universities and centers of education in the disciplines of natural history and geology. He was also influential in founding the Save the Redwoods League.

    http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520241671