Recent comments

  • Construction Starts In March To Expand Delicate Arch Parking Lot At Arches National Park   1 week 5 days ago

    Exactly. And there wasn't a big profit motive for some in reaching the moon as there is in exploiting our park resources.

  • Backcountry Fees Going Up At Rocky Mountain National Park   1 week 6 days ago

    "Just think how much more they'll value 'something' if we -- their public agencies -- initiate and increase fees for simple access as a show of our tremendous benevolence. We'll kill them with kindness."

    And, by the way, thankfully your dam metaphor doesn't hold . . . errr . . . true. The beavers haven't put the structure in place everywhere -- yet.

  • That Million-Dollar Privy   1 week 6 days ago

    You should put up pictures of quarter million dollar per year NPS bureaucrats. At least a privy gets flushed occasionally.

  • Construction Starts In March To Expand Delicate Arch Parking Lot At Arches National Park   1 week 6 days ago

    We can put a man on the moon but can't protect our parks.

    We had a unified vision of going to the moon. Your version of "protecting" the parks is quite different than others. It isn't necessarily wrong but it certainly isn't universal.

  • Construction Starts In March To Expand Delicate Arch Parking Lot At Arches National Park   1 week 6 days ago

    We can put a man on the moon but can't protect our parks. Why? Maybe because until recently, NASA has been pretty much a stand alone agency that has not had to contend with a whole lot of political and commercial interference.

    Now, however, politics has wormed its way into NASA's work and look what's happening to our space program.

    Maybe we need a challenge to "protect our parks and our public lands and environment by the end of this decade" and a surge of national committment like we had back in the days of Mercury and Apollo.

  • Paddling The Border Route In The Boundary Waters   1 week 6 days ago

    Thank you, Bryan, for bringing back some old but happy memories of many trips to Boundary Waters when I was in high school a thousand and two years ago. It's good to know the place still exists.

    October must be a fine time to visit BWCA -- no mosquitoes and no black flies.

  • Reader Participation Day: How Would You Build A "Top 10" National Parks List?   1 week 6 days ago

    I have traveled extensively... and I am trying to visit all 406 units of the service. Every unit offers something different, from Natural to Cultural, recreational to iconic. I tried to pick my favortites in a way that reflect this range. Here it goes (in no particular order):

    Experiencing Nature

    Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve - Simple becuase it is the largest, it is challenging, and after visiting it for 25 years it still has something new to offer. It is just to darn big to ever see! Beautiful.

    Death Valley National Park - Absoultely stunning in it's subtle diversity. I spent a week visiting most of the popular areas, and I still barely scratched the surface. I was amazed by all the beautiful places to experience nature, with a little work.

    Historical Experience

    Antietam National Battlefield - I spent a couple of weeks touring the Civil War battlefiels as part of my daughters high school project. Gettysburg set a stage for me, but Antietam delivered the message and lesson of the cost of war in an eerie and unforgettable manner. I still feel deeply disturbed and impacted by the sense of war/violence I felt. It is good to not forget.

    Linclon Memorial - Nothing stands as a true testiment to how far we have come as a country in our respect for each other as the Lincoln Memorial. I still get goose bumps every time I stand in the same place that Martin Luther King, Jr. stood when he gave his speach. The video in the visitor center that shows how many other struggles in our nations history started in the same place. Lincoln's words on the walls inside the momument always make me stop and reflect... and I always feel like I can be a better person when I leave those halls.

    RecreationGlen Canyon National Recreation Area - There are many places in Utah to enjoy the sheer beauty of color country, but when I want to recreate in the boundaries of a national park, there is no place like here. It can be a little crowded, and perhaps a little loud, but if I want serenity in my recreation, there are other choices. Boating through the channels is absoultely amazing. I can not think of any other national park that offers as many places to get a kayak into... and red rock to boot!

    Golden Gate National Recreation Area - There are many things to do in San Francisco, but add this park to the mix, and you have a ton of really cool things to do all within biking distance of each other. It is one of my favortie places to go to just "hang out".

    Cultural ExperienceHovenweel National Monument - It's really east to want to pick Mesa Verde National Park, because it is magical and large, but I am going to refrain and pick a tiny park off the beaten path. You go hear an you have the place to yourself! You can hear the culture and feel the presence of prehistory.

    Historic Trail or RouteRoute 66 hands down is one of the most amazing ways to get in touch with Americana. I pedaled the entire route from Chicago to Santa Monica. You really get a sense of America when you travel this route/trail.

    Trail of Tears National Historic Trail gives you a sense of the injustice of Native Americans. I was deeply moved and felt shame that our government forcible removed people from their homelands.

    Did I get ten?

  • Paddling The Border Route In The Boundary Waters   1 week 6 days ago

    Great piece and photos! Thanks for sharing.

  • Construction Starts In March To Expand Delicate Arch Parking Lot At Arches National Park   1 week 6 days ago

    No Alfred, i would not shoot him for just being in the house. He would have to be an actual threat for me to pull the trigger. Thanks for the great analogy.

  • Paddling The Border Route In The Boundary Waters   1 week 6 days ago

    Great story about a wild slice of the North Woods!

  • Construction Starts In March To Expand Delicate Arch Parking Lot At Arches National Park   1 week 6 days ago

    When we were at Delicate arch last year it wasn't very crowded--in fact when we hiked to the arch we were the only ones there for about an hour( I hear that's very unusual) Despite that we had trouble finding a place to park-- the few spots where taken by people on the way back. As I recall it did look like a sensitive landscape with a small beautiful creek and grass growing along the shoulder of the road. Then you have the cabin and pictographs. I wonder where they plan to expand the parking-- I don't recall much room to really expand. Maybe some kind of shuttle from a remote but close lot would be better?

  • Construction Starts In March To Expand Delicate Arch Parking Lot At Arches National Park   1 week 6 days ago

    In other words, EC, if a robber were to enter your house, you would only shoot him if he came into the bedroom. Merely the notion that naming it your house would of course have nothing to do with it. It's that kind of absolutism that drives "many" robbers nuts.

  • Construction Starts In March To Expand Delicate Arch Parking Lot At Arches National Park   1 week 6 days ago

    Since you seemed to have missed the point, it isn't that "all the park is sensitive" thats the problem, its your opinion that "all the park is sensitive" that is the problem. The notion that by merely naming a piece of property a National Park every inch is magically transformed into sancrosant land is that kind of absolutism that turns many people away from the environmental movement.

  • Construction Starts In March To Expand Delicate Arch Parking Lot At Arches National Park   1 week 6 days ago

    Dr. Runte seems to have it right (and he's certainly right about Abbey). Why is a slightly longer bus trek a problem? Yes, it would cost more. That's a problem you either choose to solve or choose not to solve. I took a 14-hour bus trip in Denali, and it was one of the best days I ever had in a national park.

  • Construction Starts In March To Expand Delicate Arch Parking Lot At Arches National Park   1 week 6 days ago

    Thanks Kurt, I wasn't aware of this program.

  • Construction Starts In March To Expand Delicate Arch Parking Lot At Arches National Park   1 week 6 days ago

    And because I'm not sure where else to put this, here are a couple of proposed bills in Congress from this morning's Legislative Activities Report that look like they could be some serious problems for public lands. Whether we agree or disagree isn't important. What is really important is that we are aware of them and make an effort to keep track of what's happening and to learn more about things like this so we may either support or oppose them by contacting our Congress critters to voice our opinions. Talking about them with friends is a good idea, too. We need to try to make more people aware of what's being done to the lands we all own as Americans.

    • S. 414 (Feinstein, D-CA), to provide for conservation, enhanced recreation opportunities, and development of renewable energy in the California Desert Conservation Area, and for other purposes.
    • H.R. 900 (Labrador, R-ID-1), to amend title 54, United States Code, to provide for congressional and State approval of national monuments and restrictions on the use of national monuments.
  • Construction Starts In March To Expand Delicate Arch Parking Lot At Arches National Park   1 week 6 days ago

    Indeed, therein DOES lie the problem. Thank you for acknowledging that. Now, what is the best way to administer these lands with sensitivity in place? Right there is the root of a whole lot of controversy. It's much too easy to simply take shots at the people who find themselves charged with responsibility for making decisions and quite another to try to understand why they may be forced by circumstances beyond their immediate control to try to make the best decisons they can at the time.

  • Photography In The National Parks: Capturing The Essence Of The Wild Animal   1 week 6 days ago

    Oh my! Some great photos and a good story to start the day. Thanks again, Deby.

  • Construction Starts In March To Expand Delicate Arch Parking Lot At Arches National Park   2 weeks 2 hours ago

    Its just grass outside the park but it's sensitive grass inside the park, I see.

  • Construction Starts In March To Expand Delicate Arch Parking Lot At Arches National Park   2 weeks 2 hours ago

    EVERY part of a natural national park is sensitive.

    And therein lies the problem.

  • Call For Papers: National Parks, The Next Century   2 weeks 3 hours ago

    [[ thanks,Jim. My question sprang from prior posts, not from the original topic. It's still a good question, for another day.]]

  • Joy Riders At Cape Hatteras National Park Tear Up Cape Point Campground Grounds   2 weeks 4 hours ago

    Appears to be pickup size tracks with positive traction like a 4x4 would have. Doesn't appear to be in-4wd based on the pics. It's a shame, no question. That area has an unfortunate history of vandalism like I suspect there are in other parks, especially in the off season.

    Long ago, I had some of the best times of my life staying at that campground. We would mostly sleep there during the day and surf fish Cape Point, just behind the campground, from dusk till dawn.

  • Call For Papers: National Parks, The Next Century   2 weeks 4 hours ago

    Back to the subject of this piece, this "call for papers" could be one of the most meaningful projects the Traveler has facilitated. I hope readers who have both a serious interest in the future of the parks and some writing ability will choose to participate.

  • Construction Starts In March To Expand Delicate Arch Parking Lot At Arches National Park   2 weeks 4 hours ago

    One important factor in this equation is distance. It's a lot farther than in Zion. Something like 40 miles roundtrip instead of 14. Covering that distance while carrying all the passengers needing transport would require a whole lot more vehicles than are required in Zion where each shuttle can make a round trip in about an hour. I'm guessing here, but figure it would require perhaps four times as much time to make the trip in Arches. Thus, it would be reasonable that it would require four times as many vehicles, drivers, mechanics and other support. And, four times the $$$s.

    Also, the park entrance is in a canyon bounded on one side by highway and the other side by cliffs. There is no place within the park's entrance area for adequate parking. A big parking lot will be needed somewhere outside the park and probably several miles away in either direction. (Maybe the area along the Colorado River where a few million dollars were recently spent to remove a few million tons of uranium mine waste would make a good spot. It's big enough. And if you park there long enough, your car might glow in the dark. That would be novel.)

    Allowing people to drive private vehicles into the park would defeat the purpose. But for those who want to go to the campground -- which is at the far end of the 20 mile road -- could be handled in the same manner as vehicles belonging to guests at Zion Lodge. A red tag on the dashboard allows entrance to the lodge parking lot and no more. Once at the lodge, the car is parked and they ride the shuttle.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm 110% in favor of developing a shuttle at Arches. It can be done and should be done. But it ain't a-gonna be easy.

    As for the sensitivity of the area at the Delicate Arch trailhead -- heck yes, it's sensitive. Unless it has been moved since I was there last time, it's in one of very few riparian areas along a small creek fed by a feeble spring. It's also right beside the historic Wolf Ranch homestead shown in the photo accompanying the article. Besides, as someone pointed out above, EVERY part of a natural national park is sensitive.

    Then there are all the political angles involved. I believe I am correct in saying that the Zion shuttles enjoyed full support from Senator Bob Bennett. Bennett was a moderate who was dumped in a party convention when the Tea Party went after him. He was replaced by Mike Lee who is about as far out as one can get. Expecting any support from Lee is like wishing for the Good Fairy to pay a visit.

    While it's very easy to blame park administration and WASO and DOI, it's almost certainly not that simple.

  • Joy Riders At Cape Hatteras National Park Tear Up Cape Point Campground Grounds   2 weeks 6 hours ago

    Looks more like 4x4 truck tracks to me, what a mess.