Recent comments

  • Reader Participation Survey: Should Hunters Be Used to Manage National Park Wildlife?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I live in the suburbs, but on the cusp of wilderness. Cougars and coyotes venture down very close to "civilization" to snack on livestock--steak in a cage. Occasionally I'll read about a pet killed. Fatal attacks on humans from wild animals are exceedingly rare in the lower 48. It's safe and sensible to continue reintroducing native predators to the National Parks. However, until that happens with greater effect, hunting is the only real alternative I see to prevent animals dying en masse of disease or starvation.

    Ken Grubb
    Puyallup, WA

  • A Sad Sign of the Times: NPS Promotes Body Armor Options To Rangers   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    The governor is fretting over nothing. As for the fees, if the $10 renewal fee isn't covering the state's cost of processing the renewal apps then they could certainly increase the fees to cover costs. Here in Washington I believe it runs about $33 for a 5 year renewal.

    As for monitoring, they run criminal records checks through NCIC, just like any other state.

    Testing of proficiency is another red herring. Here in Washington and a number of other states there's no proficiency testing either, there's no problem now or in the past. Utah's mandatory minimum testing requirements are more rigorous than in many states with proficiency testing but less rigorous than in a few states.
    http://publicsafety.utah.gov/bci/documents/TRANGUIDELINES_006.pdf

    Ken Grubb
    Puyallup, WA

  • Columbus Day is also Native American Day   5 years 29 weeks ago

    cannot understand why the park celebrates columbus day,he did not discovery america period,why can;t we ever give our native americans their due?????

  • Jon Jarvis Supports More Official Wilderness in National Park System   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Wilderness designation is valuable for a national park because it adds extra protection against development of the backcountry. The 1916 NPS Organic Act sets a high standard, but there's a vulnerability there that can be exploited by proponents of development. The Bush administration was able to propose a major rewrite of the NPS Management Policies favoring more development and argue that all the changes were consistent with the 1916 Act. The Wilderness Act in its section 4(c) more clearly prohibits commercial enterprises, roads, motor vehicles, motorized equipment, mechanical transport, and any structures or installations.

  • A Conversation With Jon Jarvis, the New Director of the National Park Service   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I'd like to know whether or not it is true that as a regional director he opined in front of a roomful of managers that the 1500 or so law enforcement professionals of the National Park Service - roughly 1/5 of whom worked for him at the time - are undeserving of the same retirement benefits as the rest of Federal law enforcement officers because it made interpretive rangers feel bad about themselves. Is this what we can expect as morale building? Divisive poorly thought out comments?

  • On the Run: Racers See Four National Parks on Two Feet in One Day   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I'm a runner so this story naturally caught my eye. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    FYI, a point of clarity. The candles in the Memorial Illumination represent the soldiers "killed, wounded, or missing", not deaths. (http://www.nps.gov/anti/planyourvisit/luminary.htm) The numbers seemed to be too high to be deaths so I checked.

  • Maine North Woods National Park: Has The Time Arrived?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Tuan,

    Thanks for the link to your report. I'm trying to find a way to justify a trip there, but until I do I'll read as much as I can. You're right that the proposed park would contain a mixture of uses, including hunting, as I understand it. Sounds like under the proposal being pushed the park would be managed much like any other "park and preserve."

    I look forward to seeing your images.

  • Where Can You Find the Best Fall Foliage In the National Park System? Here Are Ten Contenders   5 years 29 weeks ago

    That's a good list, but it's limited to Eastern Parks. True, most of the Western Parks do not have maples (and therefore brillant reds that are the staple of great fall foliage) but there are exceptions:
    Zion fall foliage and Guadalupe Mountains fall foliage both peak in November, so if you're late for the Eastern Parks, here is your chance this year.

    Tuan.

    National Parks images

  • Maine North Woods National Park: Has The Time Arrived?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    "Large" is relative. Although Baxter State Park would it its centerpiece, the proposed NWNP would be considerably much larger. My understanding is that it would be a mixed Park and Preserve to keep some uses open. The area is going to get some development anyways, so better to have it managed by the NPS than by real estate developers. I just traveled to the area, here is a quick report about my trip to the Maine North Woods. I should have images of the area maybe next week and will post a direct link.

    Tuan.

    National Parks images

  • Clash of Viewpoints on Public Land Ownership and Protection Arrives in Congress in the Form of Red Rock Wilderness Legislation   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I am currently studying such issues as these, as I am a student at Texas A&M University. According to the Bureau of Land Management, the Wilderness Acts provided congress and federal agencies responsible for such land to protect and preserve them. While many, like the State of Utah, might claim that the Red Rock Wilderness area provides an abundance of resources, we, as Americans, should recognize that all public domain lands belong to everyone, not just one particular organization. Thus, it is important to preserve, protect, and ensure that these fragile and ever-shrinking natural lands are established as national parks for all to enjoy. It is inevitable that people’s opinions of these lands will clash, perhaps for decades to come, nevertheless, facts are that as population increases and demands for resources grows, the area of natural wildlife will diminish. We should preserve what areas of wildlife regions we can to protect them in the future.

  • A Conversation With Jon Jarvis, the New Director of the National Park Service   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Did you ask him about buffalo in Yellowstone? I was disturbed by his apparent response to the issue in another recent interview. Here is what the article by Jonathan Hickes in Grist says:

    Fair enough. There’s also the issue of shifting habitats—animals and plant species moving in and out of parks in search of cooler or wetter climes, for example. Historically, Jarvis said, the park service has not done well managing at an ecosystem level by working with nearby landowners—private citizens, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service. One exception has been at Yellowstone National Park, where migratory bison have forced the park service to accommodate them. It can learn from this model, he said.

    Is Jarvis really holding the IBMP process as a model and bison management in general? If so, this is terrible. The bison management process shows exactly how NPS shouldn't work in its dealings with other agencies on issues that deal with ecosystem management. It's resulted in the capture and hazing of bison inside of the national park and then shipment to slaughter; ecosystems aren't being managed; rather livestock interests are being propped up in ways that force NPS to work against their mission.

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Melting Permafrost May Help Explain Why Many Denali National Park Wetlands Are Drying Up   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I heartedly recommend reading, The End of the Long Summer, by Dianne Dumanoski. It examines the cascading effects of climate change, including the possibility of initiating self sustaining chain reactions that could make life as we know it very problematic.

  • Is Your Backcountry Safety Net A Personal Locator Beacon or Cell Phone?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Iam a student of the basics and a believer in field craft over machine. I do not attempt to discredit advancements in technology nor there relative usefulness and am not some new age caveman living without electricty. I simply feel that we have become all too reliant on items like GPS, EPIRB's and have lost touch with the basics. I like alot of boys in my generation was a Boy Scout still carry with me their motto "Be Prepared". Some may say that they are being "Prepared" by having the EPIRB or GPS and they would be correct, right up to the point when I would ask them "Can you associate a compass to a map?" or "If the unit fails, do you know how or did you bring another method of signaling?". The worse case senario is the person that fore gos bringing extra food, water, means of fire and shelter because they have such items as the EPIRB, GPS, or cell phone. These are good addtions to have to a basic survival kit but they do not replace said kit nor the basics. My advice is if you have the knowledge do not fall prey to the "We won't need that its just a day hike" mentality. If you are lacking in the basic knowledge but love the outdoors my advice would be to obtain the information for basic compass use (Staying Found The Complete Map and Compass Handbook, June Flemming, the Mountaineers 1994) is an excellent source and is packable, carry a topo map of the area (USGS web sites, REI....), always hike in pairs, carry a survival kit (most outdoor stores have premade ones and their staff is often an invaluable source of what to buy if you want to build your own), obtain weather info for the area, and let someone at home and someone locally know where your going and when you will return. Make sure you let them know when you get back (I also leave a note on my vehicle with information as to where Iam headed and when I should be back. This allows passing hikers to know I am out there and if they go where I did and do not see me something might be wrong).
    Be well my friends and Happy Trails
    Shawn "Traverse" Baker

  • Lost to Hurricanes, the Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park Will be Hard to Replace   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Pauly. The Flamingo Lodge was demolished last March.

  • Lost to Hurricanes, the Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park Will be Hard to Replace   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Thanks for posting! I wish I had known of this place before Wilma. Could you maybe do an update as to its condition today?

  • Maine North Woods National Park: Has The Time Arrived?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    Oh, you mean the real New York? Yeah, I've heard of that!

  • Maine North Woods National Park: Has The Time Arrived?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Good point, Kirby, and then there's that other place. What do they call it? Oh yeah, Adirondack State Park.

  • Maine North Woods National Park: Has The Time Arrived?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I live in Maine, where you can buy a 4BR home in downtown Millinocket for $39K. I don't see anything happening in Maine that will improve the financial prospects for the owners of that 4BR property. Are the paper companies going to save northern Maine? The shoe companies? Agriculture? Hardly. A new NP would sew the North Woods with the kind of sustainable economic activity that makes Maine viable for Mainers.

  • FY 2010 Budget For National Park Service Can Only Go Up   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I'm sorry to have to say that Anon may be right. After a few seasons, I got the clue that our volunteer crew was being asked to do a lot that maybe paid employees should be doing. The paid rangers put their game face on for the public, but we could tell some were sullen and resentful - especially those who had been seasonals for many years. The younger ones seemed happy enough - but they didn't expect much from the service and many were going back to school anyway. They were the ones who actually seemed appreciative of the volunteers. Most of the rangers, though, were rather cold to us - and some were downright rude, almost as if we were intruding on their turf. I was proud to serve, but I won't go back next season. What a disappointment. I understand Mr. Jarvis came up through the ranks - maybe he will make his employees feel more valued. For the sake of my beloved park I certainly hope so.

  • Maine North Woods National Park: Has The Time Arrived?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    The narrator says:

    "If you're looking for wilderness areas anywhere near the northeast...you're out of luck; there aren't any."

    What? Baxter State Park doesn't count? I'm not saying the National Park is a bad idea, but it's quite misleading to imply that only within the NPS do you find wilderness.

  • Maine North Woods National Park: Has The Time Arrived?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I strongly believe that a national forest would be more user friendly than a park
    I Have travelled and camped accross the US for the past 50 years ( I am 85) and find the national forest much more flexible and less restrictive than national parks.
    More friendly to local residents
    Less sophisticated structures
    Closer to nature
    possibly more economical to operote

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 29 weeks ago

    There was a case a few years ago of the 130 ft tall cross on Mount Davidson in San Francisco. It was located on a city park that was purchased by the city after the first cross was erected.

    They had similar problems to what's now going on at Mojave National Preserve with a singular (i.e. no other displays from other sects) religious display on government property. I thought they initially tried to sell the land with the promise that the cross be preserved, but in the end they put the property up for sale with a competitive bidding process. The buyer was intent on saving the cross, but there could have been a different buyer who could have taken it down.

    I think the sticky situation here is that Congress apparently sold it with a specific requirement that effectively meant that the cross must stay up. That's probably where it runs into the establishment clause, where they intentionally sold it to a group intent on keeping the cross rather than putting it up for a competitive bid where it could have gone to someone who wanted to take it down.

  • FY 2010 Budget For National Park Service Can Only Go Up   5 years 29 weeks ago

    The nps needs to pay attention to the infrastructure of its people before it spends more cash on buildings, expansion of boundaries, and fancy publications. The nps practices slave labor, poor treatment of seasonal and permanent employees, and is a good 'ol boy network.
    I know you won't let this be posted, but it is the truth.

  • Greenpeace Activists Exploited Security Failings at Mount Rushmore National Memorial To Stage Protest   5 years 29 weeks ago

    From the report, it's clear that the Greenpeace crew acted with the skill, detailed planning, and determination that might be expected of professionals. Not bad for screwballs. Maybe NPS should consider signing some of these people up as consultants, in the same manner that computer hacks are hired to test security systems. Hmmm.

  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I personally am a practicing Catholic, and believe that the cross should be allowed to stay up. However, it is a matter of basic human respect to allow other religious monuments to be constructed as well. Not only Christians died during World War I; Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, etc. did too and if they wish to have a symbol of their faith put up next to the cross, who is the Congress to say no?