Recent comments

  • National Park Quiz 68: Fishing   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I would like somebody to explain how a dead minnow/shiner can reproduce and pose a threat to the indigenous marine population of the Everglades. I have been to the Everglades and there's water everywhere that evidently comes from outside sources.Should we block those sources to avoid contamination? My point is that the sport of fishing is now being controlled by environmentalists. I have been fishing for over 65years, 20 years in salt water. And I have seen, over the years, the restrictions imposed on the average fisherman. Restrictions placed on size, limits, and type of bait used. Some of the restrictions make sense, to control over-fishing of some species. But other restrictions make no sense to me, other than to satisfy the whims of the "green" people. What's next? Insects and nightcrawlers? I'm betting the makers of artificial lures are smiling all the way to the bank.

  • Reader Participation Day: Which National Park Is Your Favorite For Fall Colors?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota is absolutely beautiful in the Fall and we would highly recommend it. Voyageurs is a water-based park where you must leave your car and take to the water to fully experience the lakes, islands and shorelines of the park.

  • Audubon Touts Birding in a Dozen National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Bob: Agreed.

  • Reader Participation Day: Which National Park Is Your Favorite For Fall Colors?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I've visited each region (except Pacific Northwest) in the fall. Although for variety of tree species it is difficult to beat Shenandoah in the fall and Great Smoky Mountains in the fall, my favorite is still Acadia because of the vegetation found in more northern latitudes, such as berry plants. In general, the Western Parks lack red maples, which add an essential color to fall colors.


    National Parks images

  • Updated: 7-Year-old Dies At Acadia National Park As Hurricane Bill's Waves Wash Three Into Atlantic, Injure 13   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Thk you for your reply to my comment.....
    I hope the acadian park serive learns from this unfortunate event that not all tourists understand the risks of the ocean and how storms can create a sudden larger waves than the prevoius ones. The park needs to concentrate on safety and not just tourism.
    I also would like to thk the kind couple that assisted me. My friend and i had trouble getting some one to help me at first. i needed to be pulled up away from the rocks where i had landed and everyone around seemed to just stand there, not willing to help. If the nice couple is reading this blog-- i have your tennis jacket you loaned me while i was freezing due to the cold wet water

  • Ken Burns' National Parks Documentary: Where Does it Stand?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    The National Park Foundation has put out a Special on their website announcing the the showing of the documentary on PBS on 9/27. You can read about it here:

  • Reader Participation Day: Which National Park Is Your Favorite For Fall Colors?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Last year we were in Pictured Rocks and Sleeping Bear Dunes during peak color. We hiked in both parks and were surrounded by vibrant color. We took the boat tour along pictured rocks and loved seeing the beautiful rocks with the colorful trees. Definitely would love to return somday. We also went all through Keweenaw and although we were late for color, it looked as if it had been great as well.

  • Ken Burns' National Parks Documentary: Where Does it Stand?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I saw part of this last night.....amazing footage and great stories. I can't wait to see more! Makes me want to get in the car and see some of these places for myself. We are blessed to have so many wonderful spots to visit in our country.

  • Audubon Touts Birding in a Dozen National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I get your point, Rangertoo, but I have a problem with your use of the term "missing the boat." The Audubon Field Guide in the current edition of Audubon magazine is not an Audubon top 12 list or anything like that. These 12 national parks are simply among author Kenn Kaufman's "personal favorites."

  • Audubon Touts Birding in a Dozen National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Boy - did they miss the boat. Indiana Dunes has more than 350 species. Much more than Great Smoky Mountains or Rocky Mountain.

  • Reader Participation Day: Which National Park Is Your Favorite For Fall Colors?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Ian Edlind
    You can't go wrong with a trip to Shenandoah, although I agree with the previous commenter. Visit on a weekday if you can! The neat thing about Shenandoah is that because of its linear shape peak colors in the northern part of the park area happen a weekend or two before the southern part hits its stride. Needless to say, it gives you options.

  • Was “Heaven’s Gate” the Worst Movie Ever Filmed in a National Park?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    If the surgeon was elegant in his cuts and the audience were med students minoring in art or chorepgraphy - then I guess so.

  • Reader Participation Day: Which National Park Is Your Favorite For Fall Colors?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    We don't usually do much fall color traveling to parks, as that seems to be when everyone is headed to the parks. Getting around Acadia or Great Smoky Mountains a few weekends from now will be miserable , though I hear the colors are spectacular in both.

    Personally, we'd head a couple hours up the road to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Maple-Beech forests give a nice spectrum from yellow to red on a background of the near-white dunes and the blue of Lake Michigan.

  • Was “Heaven’s Gate” the Worst Movie Ever Filmed in a National Park?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    At some point you have to ask: Is the operation a success if the patient dies?

  • Fall From Tokopah Falls Kills Visitor to Sequoia National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    i too was at the scene shortly after the accident..i arrived with the trail crew, i wish there was more we could have done, your family has the deepest regards from the trail crew and myself. RIP trevor.

  • FAQs About the Out-of-Control Big Meadow Fire at Yosemite National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    tomp and Tim, I have to tell you that I've learned more about the mechanics and uses of prescribed fire burn from your discussion than in a year's worth of classes. I'm just a neophyte compared to you but I'm curious about something. I'm sure the planners kept the drought conditions in mind; how much of a factor would it have been in their planning? That they did it under these conditions says to me that they thought it to be an acceptable risk.

    P.S. my captcha for this is: "1-inch foamy". Spooky.

  • Was “Heaven’s Gate” the Worst Movie Ever Filmed in a National Park?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Heaven's Gate was a financial flop but is considered by many film critics to be an artistic success. I myself audited some film history classes where the film was used to illustrate exceptional work in cinematography. Slow yes but not a bad film at all.

  • FAQs About the Out-of-Control Big Meadow Fire at Yosemite National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago


    I come at this from a scientific and resource conservation viewpoint, but also am mindful of the danger of bureaucratic decision making.

    I fully agree that fire can and often is critical in myriad ways, and do have an understanding of forest biomes and the dynamics of fire as a beneficial agent, and while I also agree that in the long run fire is a suitable and natural agent to insure a healthly forest, I do think we can be too forgiving in the case of bureaucratic mismanagement, if in fact that is what occured here.

    Agreed, I don't want a scapegoat if there was no negligence in this case. However, the very fact of ordering a burn of this sort in the 4th year of severe drought, in extremely dangerous fire conditions, and with a low margin for error indicates that if there was not a personal act of negligence by someone on the ground, then there very well could be negligence in the process that moved this forward.

    Granted your argument about fires like this being necessary to restore pre European contact forest conditions may be a valid one, however the point must be made that this fire takes place in a very altered natural environment, in which pre-contact conditions are no longer a reasonable objective. There have been too many human caused impacts, from global warming, to road building in the park and development outside, to air pollution impacts, and the list goes on, for us to operate as if this were an undisturbed forest ecosystem needing burns like this one to return to a natural state. Having said that, I hope I can buy you a beer and the forest looks good and healthy again in 50 years.

    My guess however is human impacts already being recorded will alter that recovery substantially. Namely that an altered climate regime predicted in the Sierra (and already here by many measures) of lower than normal snowpack, warmer winter and summer conditions, higher snowlevels and less soil moisture retention into the summer due to these conditions will lead to an unpredictable forest recovery, slower growth, an altered succession cycle, and unpredictable results.

    No supernatural prediction is being required or expected here of our NPS fire managers. And I don't think perfection is a requirement or a possibility that anyone really demands. Just an understanding that we must have as you say a failsafe (some that appears to have not been part of planning) in case of unpredictability and error, real accountability, and an understanding that to allow fires to burn inside areas like Yosemite is much more complicated an issue than simply managing a healthly forest as in pre contact days. Those days are gone and our understanding of how forests behave post fire , especially temperate forests like those in the Sierra, is certainly incomplete given the accelerating impacts of climate change and other human caused factors.

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    My heart goes out to the the lady who just lost her life and to her love ones. Like me, when I enter our parks, I expect she was having a good time. Sadly she will have no more tales to tell future generations. Each summer we take our grandchildren on trips which include several national parks. We get up early every day and do a lot of hiking. As for myself, I have tried two times to "hike" out on Angel's Landing. I did not go very far the first time. I was, I thought, more prepared the second attempt. With me during our second trip were my husband and three grandchildren. On this second attempt when we arrived at Scout's Landing we stopped for awhile. I had the three kids sit down to talk with them. The eldest decided not to go at all. I told the two who would join me that if I said "stop" they must stop immediately. No questions. Stop right now. I told them if I said we would need to turn around, there would not be any discussion. I laid down the rules up front. We took off all extra gear such as fanny packs, emptied pockets if need be, removed extra jackets, removed our rain/sun hats, made sure are hiking boots were tied. When we started our "hike" I was extremely slow. The two kids could have been mountain goats but they helped each other and me. We arrived at one point on the trail. I peered left. The fall would be straight down. To the right if I missed a handhold or step there would be nothing to grab going down into Refrigerator Canyon or somewhere. I did not know where I would land if I slipped. I could just see what the consequences would be. I knew I had to turn back. If I got out all of the way I still had to come back. As it was, I was slow on the short return that I did have. I felt badly that I held others back but everyone on the trail that day was extremely courteous. In this situation this is as it should be. I have some amusing, luckily not life threatening, stories of getting misplaced in the Grand Canyon. I have slipped and fallen in less lethal places. Still, I would not want to close off options for others who are more capable than I am. I am now a great grandmother and hope to show my great grandson all that I can.

  • National Park Foundation, Armed With $500,000 Grant, Working To Bring More Minorities into National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Thanks. Operator failure.;-) It's fixed now.

  • National Park Foundation, Armed With $500,000 Grant, Working To Bring More Minorities into National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    It was great to see this post online. Wanted to mention that the hyperlink to the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund does not work. Am hoping you can correct it for readers.

  • Was “Heaven’s Gate” the Worst Movie Ever Filmed in a National Park?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Thank you - that link produces an impressive list, even if it does need to be updated!

  • Too Many Deer in the Nation's Capital? Rock Creek Park Holds a Public Meeting on Wednesday   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Controlling the deer population in Rock Creek Park or along the C&O Canal is extremely complicated and politically sensitive. In addition to those who simply love the deer and cannot abide with the killing of the animal, there is the obvious issue of safety. A closely managed hunt when the areas are closed to visitors might briefly reduce the resident deer population, but more would quickly move in from adjacent areas. Chemical sterilazation might help, particularly if it did not decrease the sex drive in target males. Bringing in wolves is probably not a good idea given the density of human use. Wolves are opportunists and would undoubtedly feast on pet dogs and cats as well as deer. Without natural predators, the populations will probably grow beyond the carrying capacity of the areas eventually resulting in disease and/or habitat deterioration and a population crash of the deer.

  • Proposed Power Lines at Everglades National Park Highlight Several National Issues   5 years 26 weeks ago


    The lower end of Shark River Slough will be saltwater Florida Bay well before then. [As sea level rises / land subsides, the mangroves aren't killed, but new seedlings can't establish. Then, when a storm rips through the mangroves, the "coastline" moves inland (uphill) kilometers to tens of kilometers at a time. We don't know how far inland/north the mangroves can migrate, as their northern extent is limited by occasional freezes.]

    However, the area in question is the northwest corner of ENP and is a bit higher (1.24-1.69 meters above sea level!, see ). The old estimate of sea level rise by 2100 for south Florida was on the order of 60cm (dark blue/purple to red in that map), and thus the southern and western half to 2/3 of ENP that is now mangroves & marsh will be below sea level.

    [My house was up on the ridge in South Miami, almost 5 meters asl, and thus only likely to become the equivalent of Key largo by 2100.]

  • Was “Heaven’s Gate” the Worst Movie Ever Filmed in a National Park?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Heaven's Gate may have been a financial disaster and artistically mediocre, but surely it's better than City Slickers II?

    There seem to be at least five titles of early films shot at Mount Rainier not listed at the film link Bob cites above. Film buffs may be interested in the following from the historical sidebar 'A Mountain For The Movies' on page 28-29 of Mount Rainier National Park, by Jerry & Gisella Rohde (1996):

    "Three o'clock on a fall afternoon [probably 1924]. A large party has gathered on the Nisqually Glacier. Three guides and eight rangers are with the group, and one of these, chief guide Heine Fuhrer, peers anxiously at the gathering clouds, He approaches the party's leader, advises him that they should go back, and is promptly ignored. A short time later, Fuhrer repeats his warning: 'We must leave here not later than 3:45.' Again there is no response."

    "The minutes speed by. Suddenly an icy blast sweeps across Rainier's flanks, and the group is pelted by the
    beginnings of a blizzard. Now everyone races for safety as the storm roars down upon them; three of the
    women are carried the last stretch by the men."

    "A scene from a thrill-a-minute movie? Almost. Only in this case it is the film makers themselves who become
    part of the drama, as one of Rainier's mood swings disrupts Cecil B. DeMille's shooting of The Golden Bed.
    The storm rages throughtout the night, scattering and shattering some $22,000 worth of film and equipment
    that the crew left on location when they fled. Decisely walloped by the weather, DeMille admits defeat and
    departs for Hollywood the next morning."

    "The daunted director was not the only one to have movie troubles on the mountain. In 1937, an April
    blizzard snowed in Sonja Henie and Tyrone Power as they tried to finish scenes in the Scandinavian skater's
    second movie Thin Ice. Still, the setback had its rewards for the leading couple; reputed to be 'real-life' sweethearts, they no doubt found extra time to snuggle at the Paradise Inn."

    "Other, less-illustrious performers also plied their trade beneath the peak, creating such now-forgotten
    matinee favorites as Raw Country and Wings of the Storm, whose titles indicate that the mountain may have been up to more meteorological mischief."

    "One star had no difficulty adapting to Mount Rainier's weather. Balto, the sled dog made famous by his
    1920s run to Nome witha supply of diptheria antitoxin, came south to the park for a filming of his life-saving exploit. Production Manager W. H. Ely announced that he was actually hoping for a storm so that he could accurately reproduce Balto's dash through Alaska's wintry wilderness."

    I couldn't find any listed year or title for this last re-creation with a quick search of 'Balto'.

    Also, Otto Lang started several ski schools in the Northwest and was an early film producer. He starred in the 1936 documentary Ski Flight, partly shot at Paradise and scouted filming locations there for Thin Ice. Bits of his Rainier footage were spliced into many a mountain or skiing sequence in films of subsequent decades.