Recent comments

  • Castle Rock Cut at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Open For Boaters   5 years 24 weeks ago

    The desecration continues.

  • Rocky Mountain National Park Crews Battling Bark Beetles With Insecticide   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I don't have personal knowledge of the current program at Rocky Mountain, but from experience with similar situations elsewhere, I strongly suspect one criteria for decisions on whether to treat a particular area involves safety.

    Beetle-killed trees in areas such as campgrounds and parking areas become a safety hazard, so one of the questions is whether trees in those areas can be "protected" from beetles; if so, they won't have to be removed. When a forest insect outbreak is as extensive as the current one in the West, any kind of "treatment" program--or the lack of one-- is expensive and controversial.

    The aesthetic issue is a difficult one, especially in mountainous areas where vistas can cover an enormous area. I was in the park last summer, and heard several comments from local residents lamenting the impact of the beetles on the scenery, not only in the park, but throughout the whole region.

  • Rocky Mountain National Park Crews Battling Bark Beetles With Insecticide   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Certainly the most visible areas should be treated.The National Parks,testament to natural forces that they are, are also an investment by the US people in a shared heritage.They are not the private playgrounds for environmentalists or gov. study groups.

  • Secretary Salazar Announces Plan to Open Statue of Liberty Crown to the Public   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Now if only Air Force One will stay the heck away . . .

  • Castle Rock Cut at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Open For Boaters   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Just curious, but looking the the NPS map, it shows Castle Rock as an island. Google earth shows it as part of a land mass.

    Which one is it?

    Also, is the Narrows the route around Antelope Island?

  • Rocky Mountain National Park Crews Battling Bark Beetles With Insecticide   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Barky,

    You touch on some very difficult points that the NPS has to address. It must be interesting sitting in on their planning process. Should parks be managed for their aesthetics? After all, mountain pine beetles are natives and have been around about as long as lodgepole pines. So should you selectively manage for the lodgepoles, or also ride out the peaks and valleys of beetle infestations.

    And, of course, there are many who hold the position that climate change is a natural phenomenon. If so, shouldn't the NPS simply ride out the side effects and explain the natural process to visitors?

    And why treat areas that are highly visible or which enhance settings, such as around campgrounds, and not also address wilderness areas? Part of the sequence of beetle infestations are wildfires that often follow in their wake. If a fire starts in the backcountry, depending on how extensive the beetle kill is it could sweep right through any healthy trees left around campgrounds.

    Difficult questions all.

  • Rocky Mountain National Park Crews Battling Bark Beetles With Insecticide   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Oof, tough issue, and an example of how adults (as compared to knee-jerk, single-issue, pouty types) have to make decisions.

    Do you spray pesticides in a National Park?
    Do you let nature take its course in eradicating signature trees/forests?
    Do you consider the bark beetle, an invasive species not native to this country, to be a natural phenomenon or not?
    Do you only work to save areas in view of hte public and leave the rest of the park to to succumb? Or do you only spray where you can spray without costing millions and millions of dollars (air-drop pesticides in remote areas, anyone??)?

    I can see this policy appeasing no one, but it certainly seems something needs to be done. I've seen the huge tracts in the Arizona forests that have been completely devastated by the bark beetle, and it's not pretty. Not pretty at all.

    =======================================================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Building with Notorious History in Death Valley National Park Burns in Mysterious Fire   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Jim-

    Although the Barker Ranch and other ranches in the area have plenty of history behind them (I could tell you many stories about them), the Manson episode certainly provides an interesting embellishment. Most people mistakenly assume that Manson, et. al., were arrested at the ranch for the Tate/LaBianca murders. In October of 1969, just after dark, officers of the Inyo county sheriff’s Dept., the California Highway Patrol and Death Valley Rangers raided the Barker Ranch and arrested Manson and members of his “family” for setting fire to a piece of earth moving equipment in the Racetrack area of Death Valley. Once Manson and his followers were rounded up, the lawmen marched them single file down Goler Wash to waiting vehicles and transported them to the jail at Independence CA. While they were in jail awaiting arraignment, family member, Susan Atkins, also in jail in Los Angeles but for an unrelated crime, bragged to her cellmate about her participation in the T/L murders in great detail. The justifiably frightened cellmate wasted no time in contacting the authorities just to get away from Atkins. Thus, the Tate/LaBianca murder case was cracked. But you’re right; the Barker Ranch arrest marked the end of Manson’s spree and for that very reason, I think the Barker Ranch should have long ago been designated an historic edifice.

  • Building with Notorious History in Death Valley National Park Burns in Mysterious Fire   5 years 24 weeks ago

    It has historical value on its own, the murders arent what gives it historic value.

  • Sailing in Place   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Nice shot!

  • Building with Notorious History in Death Valley National Park Burns in Mysterious Fire   5 years 24 weeks ago

    C. M. Baxter -

    Thanks for some nice perspective on the place beyond the Manson connection. As Das Trekker notes, the cabin was there for years before Manson adopted it as an occasional hideout.

    As far as the historical connection with Manson is concerned, perhaps it's greatest importance is as the place where he was captured, and his spree came to an end.

  • Building with Notorious History in Death Valley National Park Burns in Mysterious Fire   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Come on People, it's not like Charlie built the place with his own two hands. I am sure this building was around long before Charlie. A cabin in death valley? That in itself should be enough reason... Historical value can't be judged by good or bad. By that thought process should we destroy all things having to do with bad people?

  • Building with Notorious History in Death Valley National Park Burns in Mysterious Fire   5 years 24 weeks ago

    My friends and I visited the ranch just a few months ago and gathered olives from a tree in the front yard (a natural spring—a branch of Sourdough Springs—runs through the yard and keeps the tree watered). I brought the olives home and salt cured them. After giving each friend a jar, I have four jars left. Could we be the only people in the country possessing “Barker Ranch Olives?” Probably.

    I’ve made many trips to the Barker/ Myers Ranch area and camped overnight on several occasions. Yes—as one commenter suggests—it is a creepy place. There are rattlesnakes and other bitey, stingy creatures living there, but that’s part of the fun. The drive up Goler Wash from the Panamint Valley side (make sure you have a high clearance, 4x4 vehicle) is a wild and beautiful ride but certainly not recommended for the diehard city slicker. Coming from the north through Warm Springs Canyon and Butte Valley is nice as well. But watch out for Mengel Pass! There are rusty car parts strewn among the boulders you must negotiate to get up and over.

    I, for one, will dearly miss the Barker Ranch.

  • H1N1 Flu, You, and the National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    This H1N1 flu virus seems to have the ability to pass easily from one human to another, but it seems to be rather mild in terms of symptoms for most who are infected. However, there might be a nightmare scenario waiting in the wings. Virus are notorious for their ability to evolve and merge with other virus strains incorporating new characteristics. A worse case could be the combination of H1N1 and H5N1 (bird flu). H5N1 is endemic in parts of Asia and the Middle East occasionally infecting humans. The fatality rate for infected humans is extreme - 70%+. If a person or animal carrying H1N1 contracted H5N1 they could become the mixing incubator for a pandemic flu of historic proportions. Sure hope that never happens.

  • Building with Notorious History in Death Valley National Park Burns in Mysterious Fire   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I had the same question as shicks49. Even if it hadn't been burnt I would never have chosen to go there, it seems like a pretty creepy place (They possibly thought there were more bodies there......) to me.

  • H1N1 Flu, You, and the National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Funny how 900 people get the swine flu and everyone wears a mask but millions of people get STD's and no one wears a condom?

  • Building with Notorious History in Death Valley National Park Burns in Mysterious Fire   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I don't understand the reasoning for even wanting to restore a place that has been connected to a mass murderer. Does it have any other significant historical value?

  • A Tough Week for Hikers and Mule Riders at Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Anonymous -

    Sadly, it's true that three young men jumped into the river on Thursday, April 30, with tragic results. That incident was covered in a separate story in the Traveler which has now dropped off the home page, so I didn't mention it again here.

    That search and recovery mission began on the days between the two described in the above story about the hiker and mule rider, illustrating the demanding job rangers have at Grand Canyon - and many other parks.

  • Building with Notorious History in Death Valley National Park Burns in Mysterious Fire   5 years 24 weeks ago

    It is truly sad when a site like this is lost whether by vandals or just a careless act. Everyone losses out, not only the place that is damaged but as time has proven other areas end up being closed to access also. At 51 years old, I know of hundreds of places my kids will never have the opportunity to experience nor will I ever be able to return to with them. That is the real loss for everyone as many times it leads to over protection of a remote area.

  • A Tough Week for Hikers and Mule Riders at Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 24 weeks ago

    my wife was below the area where the mule stumbled - she saw the helicopter etc. but she said she heard that there were 3 kids that jumped from a bridge into the river earlier in the week or last week maybe and died - is that true? just curious.
    thanks

  • Mark Your Calendars: ABC TV's 20/20 To Explore Billing Search-and-Rescue Subjects This Friday   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Double jeopardy in legal terms is the liability to be prosecuted twice for the same crime. We the taxpayers pay for the search and rescue equipment and employees and now you want us to pay again? Ridiculous! And who makes the determination that a person was careless?

    Anyone in government or SAR who feel over utilized or underpaid should find another line of work instead of consistently going into the taxpayers pocket.

  • Grand Canyon National Park Rangers Scaling Back Search For Two Missing in Colorado River   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Saif, Praying day by day for a miracle. stay strongg. ♥

  • Grand Canyon National Park Rangers Scaling Back Search For Two Missing in Colorado River   5 years 24 weeks ago

    No offence, but when you knew saif like me and my whole school did, you would know that all he ever did was help others. we only knew him for a year, and then he moved to arizona. yes he made a mistake, but were all grieving for him. <333

  • Grand Canyon National Park Rangers Scaling Back Search For Two Missing in Colorado River   5 years 24 weeks ago

    We all love you saif!!! were all praying for you and waiting for you too come home!! <3333 everyone at sterling heights high are thinking of you!! come home soon! we love youu!!!

  • Mark Your Calendars: ABC TV's 20/20 To Explore Billing Search-and-Rescue Subjects This Friday   5 years 24 weeks ago

    YES, I believe those that are rescued following deliberate acts of disobeying warning signs or verbal cautions should be held liable for all costs associated with their rescue, as well as being given fines and restrictions on future access to those and similar sites. If these costs cause a financial burden, perhaps they won't do it again? Why (and when?) did we stop holding persons responsible for their own actions? Why also do these people not think of the consequences of their actions on other people? Is this a symptom of a lack of respect for others, as well as for themselves?

    It might be difficult, however, to distinguish between those that were simply unfortunate and caught in dangerous conditions accidentally and those that did things deliberately, so we will have to cater (once again!) to the rule-breaking minority and make costs apply to all. At least in this way, those of the country that don't indulge at all in outdoor activities are not having to pay for those that do through taxes...a small ray of sunshine, perhaps.

    I have been an avid hiker for over 15 years and know there are dangerous places out there. I take caution and am fully aware and willing to take responsibility for my own actions. I have health insurance, which applies if I get hurt and I have been hurt while on my "adventures", even while taking precautions. I have a friend that once required rescue due to having had an accident resulting in a broken bone and the inability to walk. Accidents do happen. Should I ever get into a situation that requires formal rescue, I want that to be an option for me and I will gladly pay if I need to. Perhaps there could/should be a general cost for insurance required at places known to have a higher degree of danger than others, with the addition of fines for cases where it can be determined that those rescued have blatantly ignored the rules?