Recent comments

  • Kurt's Yampa River Sojourn Marks Step for a Day   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Thanks, Omar. I was a tad suspicious about the similarity of the two sets of coordinates (see below), which is why I raised the question of river mileage traveled Tuesday. Still, I didn't put the two pieces of the puzzle together quite the way you did. Nice catch.

    +40° 29' 27.96", -108° 49' 20.28" (Monday nite)

    +40° 29' 30.84", -108° 48' 55.08" (Tuesday nite)

  • Kurt's Yampa River Sojourn Marks Step for a Day   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Prof Bob, with my trusty slide rule, abacus, slate and chaulk, it apears that Kurt spent the day exploring Starvation Canyon. Both Grids are in the approx location of each other and are probably less than a football field apart. I suspect that he might have traveled Starvation Canyon between 3 and 6 miles, up and back to the campsite. Along the way stoping to look for Gold.

    Semper Fi
    Omar

  • Kurt’s Still on the Yampa, and He Wishes We Were There Too   5 years 25 weeks ago

    [b]MRC.... I have known kurt for over 50 years. when he tells me "Anyway, my plan is to each evening once camp has been set up send out an "Ok" message." I beleive thats where his message was sent from. Now last nights message apears to be very close to the River. I realize that he is not able to receive any correspondence through "SPOT", but he obviously heard me.

    Semper Fi
    Omar

  • Do Cougars Roam Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    My wife and I vacation in this general area (Watervale, on Lower Herring Lake) and have frequently driven that section of M-22 en route to Sleeping Bear or the Leelenau Peninsula. We've also canoed the Platte. I always keep a sharp eye out for wildlife, and while I've seen plenty of deer, I haven't yet been privileged to see a cougar there or anywhere else in Michigan. Several years ago, a friend of ours who is a very experienced hiker saw a cougar near her driveway in a densely wooded area on the south side of Crystal Lake near Frankfort. I find this interesting because there are houses galore in the area.

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Upholds Delisting of Gray Wolves in Part of Yellowstone Ecosystem   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I am saddened by this news. We worked hard for wolf recovery just as we worked hard for a President that would have compassion for wolf recovery. We believe it is vital to the recovery of wolves in all designated areas to be listed under the Endangered Species Act! I believe that at the very least our President and Sec. Salazar could put a restriction on shooting or killing these magnificent animals!!

  • Do Cougars Roam Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore?   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Without a doubt there are cougars in the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. I saw one crossing M-22 this past summer (August 2008) 1/2 mile south of the Platte River bridge and campground.. It was 5 - 6 feet long and very dark in color.

  • Kurt’s Still on the Yampa, and He Wishes We Were There Too   5 years 25 weeks ago

    great!it's wonderful to experience to see.

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park Looking For Volunteers To Help With Elk Education   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I wanted to say thank you for offering a great sight for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    I have been visiting with my family off and on for the last 25 years and it has been a life long trip that has became a tradition, now my kids love to come and hike and adventure in the smoky mountain trails.

    ''Signed''

    Love the Smokies

  • That “America’s Marines” Commercial Shows Five NPS Units, Not Six   5 years 25 weeks ago

    LOL. No worries.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Cell towers in parks are "the camel's nose under the tent"?

    It's absolutely asinine to assert that THIS, a cell phone tower, will be the catalyst for a slippery slope to national park ruin.

    Anonymous [edited] fails to realize that cell phone towers are the bottom, not the top, of the slippery slope.

    Don't blame cell phones; blame roads, cars, buildings, sewage plants, garbage dumps, flush toilets, pay phones, parking lots, construction equipment, chainsaws, and every other piece of technology that impaired the parks to their current state.

    A metal tower (next to a hideous, mass produced, soulless lookout tower) will not spell the parks' doom.

    If you think Grant Grove is pristine, you've drunk too much of the special Kool-Aid. There is a sewage pipe buried amidst the Grant Tree's roots for Pete's sake.

    [Edited]

  • Best Solitude in the National Park System? Here Are Traveler's Choices   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I love Death Valley - my favorite place on earth!

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Excerpt from letter to the NPS re: SEKI cell phone tower:

    I urge the National Park Service to deny the request for a new cell phone tower in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The Park Service is charged with maintaing the character of the national parks. That includes the both the tangible and intangible resources that make a park such as Sequoia and Kings Canyon a unique place. I understand the need to provide reasonable accommodations and visitor protection, but that does not require universal cell phone/internet access throughout the park. The park has contributed to the joy and wonder of countless visitors during its existence. Those who are privileged to walk among the towering trees and drink in the small sounds of the forests should not have their experience interrupted by the harsh ringing or obnoxious mechanical musak of a cell phone. Allow there to still be places where visitors may temporarily escape the electronic immediate ties to a mechanized world.

    Ray Bane

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    That is, the lookout is NOT ugly! Bottom line is this is the camel's nose under the tent. What happens when Frank (or another wired seasonal) gets a job in Lake Clark, Wrangle, Glacier, (fill in your favorite remote park) and wants to call his girl friend or his mommy?

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    The is not ugly and Frank can get a job at Starbuks if he wants to be connected. BTW- I lived there and it was not a problem for me.

  • Staying Safe and How Not to Become A SAR Statistic in the National Park System   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Most of the SAR missions at Gateway NRA are related to their lifeguarded beachs and high urban visitation.....

  • Kurt’s Still on the Yampa, and He Wishes We Were There Too   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Omar: If you zoom in on the Google map site and switch to the terrain display, you will see, that the message was sent from a spot high in the mountains over the river. So Kurt did not send it from camp but from a hike.

  • Senators Pushing To Allow Concealed Weapons in National Parks   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Dear anon: your point is?

    I have encountered a black bear with two cubs in a distance of less than 15 feet. I have to admit though, that it happened just across the border in Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada, so US gun laws did not apply anyway. I did not carry any weapon, not even pepper spray, and it took place close to developed areas while I was on an evening stroll. There was no aggression involved, just an accidental encounter on the trail that was by far too close for my taste. I retreated talking softly so fast that I don't even have a picture. The ranger I met in the valley minutes later told me that she and her cubs were well known and not aggressive at all.

    So what is your point about this issue? Are you in favor of carrying firearms in National Parks? And what good would that have done in my case? A bear with cubs coming out of the vegetation less than 15 feet away from you: If she is aggressive you have already lost. No way you can get any weapon out and use it in time. And what good would a hand gun do against a charging bear anyway?

  • Yampa River, Lifeblood To Dinosaur National Monument, Eyed for Water Diversions   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Unfortunately there are no humpback chubs in Yampa River anymore - not for some 50 years. The only known population is in the Little Colorado River and some small parts of Colorado River near the confluence within Grand Canyon National Park. The Yampa River was part of the historical habitat of the humpback chub, but it became locally extinct since.

    FWS data sheet: http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/life_histories/E000.html

  • National Park Service Concerned Over Solar Power Plans on BLM Lands in West   5 years 25 weeks ago

    From Xanterra's 2005 annual report:

    Reduced water consumption from 17,308,000 to 14,741,2000 [sic]. This is a 15% reduction from 2004 to 2005. Improvements made: - Reduced lawn watering by reverting to natural landscaping. - Continued use and retrofitting of low flow showers, toilets and faucets. - Continued education of guests and employees on our water conservation ethic. - Replacing guest room linens and towels by request only, to reduce water in the laundry operation.

    No mention in the following year's report. While a 15% reduction is laudable, the consumption of over 14,000,000 gallons(?) in a desert national park seems wasteful. At least water use for solar panels will produce a commodity; it's unfortunate that it's subsidized by taxpayers, however, as that might lead to abuse or waste of collectively held land and/or resources.

    No mention on whether Xanterra uses gray water on the lodge lawn. When I lived at Zion, and it's been almost a decade, I don't think the NPS used gray water on employee housing lawns. Might have been water diverted from the Virgin River or maybe even treated potable water. Not sure what's going on now, but it would be interesting to know if Zion and other desert parks have limited or stopped such practices.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Mike, please comment on the art and science of creating cell phone base stations that blend into their surroundings. I mean, if the decision is made to locate a cell phone site in a particular place, can it be made darn near invisible? I believe that the cell phone industry would be much better served by a policy of creating sites that aren't so darn ugly.

  • Verizon Wireless Wants Cellphone Tower Near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 25 weeks ago

    I work in the wireless industry as a "site acquisition agent" (finding places to put antennas - tall buildings, water tanks, electric transmission lines, existing towers, etc.) and have mixed feelings. The industry, as far as I've seen over the last 10 yrs I've been in it, makes building a new tower the last option due to the cost and negative PR. I prefer to have "wild" places be just that. At the same time, the safety concerns sound valid. Tough call. I hope I get to this park soon though, it looks gorgeous.....

  • National Park Service Concerned Over Solar Power Plans on BLM Lands in West   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Frank -

    The NPS memo in this case wasn't criticizing another agency's use of water, but rather asking the BLM to fully consider this issue before it issues permits for private utility companies to use more water for new power plants proposed on BLM-managed land. That "new" water will have to come at the expense of other, existing uses.

    I agree that everyone and every organization - including the NPS - needs to look for ways to conserve water. If a decision is made to have a lawn in a desert, Bob's comment about gray water is the only way I'd be willing to justify it.

    As to a decision to let a faucet run for a day vs. paying overtime for a maintenance employee to come in a fix it ... I'll avoid criticism of that specific situation without knowing all the details. Yes, water is a limited resource, and so are NPS dollars. Life's all about trade offs, isn't it, and the answer's aren't always easy ones.

  • National Park Service Concerned Over Solar Power Plans on BLM Lands in West   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Since waste water (gray water) is commonly used for irrigating turf at golf courses, picnic areas, and various green expanses in the arid West, are you sure that Zion National Park isn't using gray water for watering the lawn(s) you mentioned? Where gray water is in use there are normally(though not invariably) signs warning that the irrigation water isn't potable.

  • National Park Service Concerned Over Solar Power Plans on BLM Lands in West   5 years 25 weeks ago

    If the NPS is so concerned about water use in the desert, maybe it should look at and even reduce its own water use before criticizing other agencies' usage.

    In Zion, the NPS allows and actively waters lawns. Lawns in a desert.

    Just the other day, at a NPS unit in Nevada, rather than fixing a stuck-on water faucet, the park decided to wait a day instead of paying maintenance overtime.

  • That “America’s Marines” Commercial Shows Five NPS Units, Not Six   5 years 25 weeks ago

    Hearty thanks to Jon, who pointed to an error (since corrected) in the initial version of this article. The last two scenes were filmed in Golden Gate National Recreation Area alright, but not from Crissy Field looking north. The filming was actually done in the Marin Headlands area of GOGA looking south toward the San Francisco end of the Golden Gate Bridge. In other words, in the original version of the article I had it exactly ass-backwards. Anyway, the penultimate filming site in this commercial is Battery Spencer, and the very last filming site is Kirby Cove Beach. This brings me to an additional point (no pun intended). Fort Point National Historic Site is visible at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge in the very last scene, which means that it cannot possibly be a "nearly visible NPS unit." It also means that a total of five NPS units provided backdrops for the commercial, and that the title of the article was misleading. I fixed it, but only after more than 800 Traveler readers saw the incorrect version. This is all very embarrassing. Perhaps, as some readers have suggested, I should find another line of work. Maybe one that pays? :-)