Recent comments

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Gotta say something. Carrying a gun does change things. A gun has a single end purpose - to kill. It is not to wound or even to discourage, although these may be byproducts of its primary function. I recall sitting in a restaurant having breakfast in the Bettles Lodge in northern Alaska when some out-of-state sport hunters walked in with revolvers strapped to their hips. They had just returned from a guided sheep hunt and were waiting for the scheduled plane back to Fairbanks. Most of the customers were local residents who were also active hunters, but there was a noticeable chill in the air as these three hunters strode in. The sport hunters seemed to think that they were in Dodge City at the O.K. Corral. Equating a gun with a common tool and expecting others to simply accept it as a normal part of life is ridiculous. The average park visitors encountering someone with a gun on a nature walk trail will have a negative reaction. FWIW, I have owned and used guns most of my life.

  • Cables Are In Place On Half Dome in Yosemite National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Half Dome is now open for business!! Reports from the first wave of hikers say that there is still a patch of snow on the summit and the caterpillar lines are back for another season! Leave early! Be sure to treat your water - Giardia reside in the natural sources. Good ankle high boots are recommended and using hiking poles will ease your uphill and save your knees on the downhill.

    Have fun!

    Rick D

  • Rafting Accidents Drowns 37-Year-old In Cataract Canyon at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Unfortunate, but it is inevitable that a few fatalities will occur where people choose to take on the challenges of nature. Hopefully, there will not be an over reaction that reduces the opportunity of visitors to take voluntary risks.

  • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore BioBlitz: Latest Tally Above 1,700 Species   5 years 23 weeks ago

    I hope you will report the results in this space when they are available. It's an exciting hunt!

  • Judge Blocks Wal-Mart SuperCenter From Opening Near Joshua Tree National Park   5 years 23 weeks ago

    As I read it, under the California law, the judge is correct. The judge didn't pass the law; which is pretty clear on feasible mitigation measures, the legislature did.

    The location near Joshua Tree is pretty irrelevant to the story: certainly irrelevant to the law & decision.

    My understanding of repaving projects (local, state, & federal) is that they can fly by with little analysis of environmental impacts, under the idea that they increase travel efficiency, and safety. I'd like to see some hard numbers on energy consumption in repaving v. energy saved per year after repaving. Road widening by NPS, as well as new road construction, requires the full EIAs of other widening and construction, plus the internal NPS planning process. Some NPS road improvements are not in the stimulus package because they weren't through the permitting process, and thus not "shovel-ready".

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 23 weeks ago


    That is the point Rick; you fear a tool that should not come out of the holster to be used. I concede that if the gun is used that you have basis for fear. The cell phone is used constantly and thus an irritant.

    The typical analogy is a fire extinguisher that is not used unless there is need, which is rare. The fire extinguisher is not a tool than can kill so in that it is different. But the purpose is the same to prevent a fire from getting worse. A defensive use of gun is the same to stop a bad situation from getting worse.

    The tool should not be feared but the person who abuses it. I will not transfer my rational fear of a human predator using his greater strength and weapons to the weapons he uses. The weapons are harmless unless a human wields them.

    That is why I assumed until Kurt objected that most object because they fear that gun carriers will abuse the use and shoot at flora, fauna, and humans.

    Rick, I agree that many will feel the same as you. But rights are not restricted due to a feeling of fear.

    This issue will not go away. The Supreme Ct affirmed it is an individual right and those people who support that will continue to push for our rights to be respected. So NPS will eventually have to accede to the right of visitors to carry in NPS. The form is yet to be determined.

  • Don't Take National Park Landscapes for Granted   5 years 23 weeks ago

    this year we got hammered by multiple storms and record amounts of snow.

    And this year is also the deepest solar minimum in a century. Not sure you can blame the snow on human-caused climate change. As for severe weather, there has always been severe weather, and the effects of climate change on severe weather events are still being studied and debated.

  • Zion National Park's Hike to Angel's Landing: eHike to the Top   5 years 23 weeks ago

    Very well done! It's great to see the park service starting to build up their online interpretive information. I hope they will continue to post more interpretive information online. Even much simpler content is very useful, like building up their online collection of plant and animal ID descriptions and photos. I often find myself visiting a park's website in hopes of putting a name to some animal or plant I happened to snap a photo of on a earlier visit.

  • Don't Take National Park Landscapes for Granted   5 years 23 weeks ago

    The overall climate will ultimately change with or with out human interaction. We are just pushing it along faster than what the earth can handle. There have been climate changes over the last several millions of years, hot to cold, wet to dry. But with humans in the mix this time around, we are looking at long term damage and the high possibility of ever increasingly severe weather patterns and an ever changing planet.

    Where I live we had a stetch of about 8 years of mild winters-no significant snowfall or storms-and this year we got hammered by multiple storms and record amounts of snow. I've been watching the weather since I was young, I'm in my mid-20's now, and have never seen so much severe weather nation wide. It just goes to show that what we're doing now and have done in the past 50-60 years, is effecting our lives and our planet. The time has come for people to step up and do something, change how they live to better our planet and to make sure that future generations can enjoy all of natures beauty.

    I still have lots of nature to see and want my daughter, barely 1yr old to see these beautiful landscapes and parks before they're gone for good.

  • Yellowstone National Park's Wolf Population Down More than 25 Percent   5 years 23 weeks ago

    are the wolves in yellowstone in and open or closed population?

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Please. RAH,don't say that a gun on the hip will not change my experience as much as a cell phone. That is ludicrous. No one fears a cell phone. You might annoy me with a cell phone , but if I am hiking a trail and meet you with a weapon on your hip, I am going to be afraid.

    Your point about hunters and national parks is valid. Teddy Roosevelt was a hunter and conservationest.

    I know that you keep your dogs on a leash when they are in a national park area and refrain from taking them in the back country. Many don't however, and I don't think carrying a weapon to protect your dog off a leash in the back country of a national park area is not a valid reason to permit weapons in national parks.

    Rick Smith

  • More Low Water Woes at Lake Mead – but This Isn't the Worst Drought on Record for the Lake   5 years 24 weeks ago

    just dont go to the new shore line you may sink in 40 year old silt up to your waist

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I agree Kurt that in the NPS that are in several states that which state law governs is a big problem.

    However the NPS is not an independent state and cannot have jurisdictional authority and has to abide by the DOI. That is why regulations have to very thoughtfully thought out and the exceptions clearly defined.

    As to the attitude of distrust the comment of Jim D “Just what we need: a bunch of violence-predisposed people carrying guns in our national parks, which historically are among the safest places in the entire country.”

    Rangertoo expressed the idea that children need to be defended from the sight of men with rifles.” understand that not everyone who owns a gun is a nut, but at least now, if someone shows up at a children's program with a gun, the NPS can take action to protect children.”

    Jim Hiker expressed a similar opinion “but to protect the wildlife in the NP's from poachers, and people carring firearms/weapons who don't respect the wildlife for what they are; wild”

    So if you really do not believe that people will abuse the right then what is the objection? Because this objection existed when the idea was just to allow CCW holders. I understand the discomfort that people may suffer from seeing civilians with guns openly holstered or rifles slung over the shoulder. That is because they are not used to the sight. It is not scary to see people carrying rifles and guns at a range because that is expected. People are used to seeing police and rangers with guns. They quickly become accustom as long as those people do not brandish or appear to threaten with a gun.

    Personally I am more concerned that those who are not CCW holders will be less careful; and will shoot signage, flora and fauna. However I want those people arrested and charged if they do. I want that type of behavior punished.

    I love my NPS lands and like to enjoy them. I generally travel to them on vacation and take my dogs and they have been a lot of fun. As long as guns stay in holsters and in cars I do not mind. They only time they come out is maybe cleaning and if in defense only.

    Because of the risk of dogs getting bears, cougars to come to humans I have refrained from bringing my dogs at those parks because I do not want that situation where the dog is chased by an angry bear or hungry cougar. I do not expect to have to use a weapon against a bear or cougar and succeed unless the situation is dire.

    A handgun is a poor tool to defend against a bear anywhere, even a black bear. At best the sound may discourage but the bullet won’t.

    However I like to take a weapon and find ranges in other states and not to have to worry that I have violated a technically of storage will be a great relief. So I do want the laws liberalized in the NPS.
    I expect that once the thrill of ability has worn off most will continue to keep guns hidden so not to disturb others. People in some states have the ability to OC and most do not do so. I expect that pattern to continue.

    I read Rick C’s comment and the ability to carry a handgun or rifle will not change that experience of being a in a special place. A gun on the hip will not change the experience as much as the cell phone. People are always chattering on those and it is disconcerting. Hunters often travel to wilderness locations to hunt, but they spent most of their time enjoying nature. Some hunters stop hunting because they do not enjoy the hunt and trophy more than the trip.

    Many of parks were created by the desires of hunters to maintain areas that would not be developed. They felt the best way to protect these special places was by creating parks. The history of NPS is full of great hunters that protected the land and put it in protection

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    RAH,

    Of course it's rational for Wisconsin to ignore what neighboring states do when it comes to what laws it passes and enforces. My point was that, in the case of more than a few national parks, the parks are federal reserves within a state, much like tribal lands within a state are separate entities and fully capable of enforcing their own laws.

    In short, some, if not many, parks retain "exclusive jurisdiction" for what goes on inside their boundaries. In many cases states formally ceded the land involved to the federal government.

    My point was that, in such settings, I don't think it's irrational for a park to have laws differing from the surrounding state.

    And the contention made by you and others that those who support the existing set of gun regulations -- that weapons may be transported as long as they're out of reach and broken down -- do so out of fears that gun owners would "turn into homicidal maniacs" is weary and off-base. Read Rick Smith's comment above. I share his position.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    The ability to carry in a park concealed or open would not have any effect on these desirable characteristics. Discharge of a gun for non lawful puposes is still illegal so what is the problem. Is it because you think they will shoot at signs, trees or animals? Laws that try to stop an action because they "may" do something is wrong. If the peson does an illegal discharge of a weaponthey can be charged.

    These laws do not ever stop anyone who plans on vandalism, poaching or atatcking the fellow man,. They only stop those who want to obey the law. These prohibition are targeted at the lawabiding. The criminals do not care!

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Kurt, No state can dictate to another state its laws. I thought you understood our system of federalism and that this is a republic. Why would that be rational ? It is not the same thing at all and you probably know that.

    The state is not dictating to the federal government. This is the Senate of the US aligning NPS gun policy with local states just as the Forest Service and BLM does. Why does it get you upset?
    Your concern were minor risk that are extremely unlikely. These objections seem absurd.

    What difference is it when a woman carries a gun concealed with CCW license outside a park and then in a park, She does not change to a homicidal maniac and will brandish her gun anymore in NPS as she would outside NPS.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    2nd amendment proponents have made some sound arguments on the Traveler about the gun regs in parks and wildlife refuges. However, the one made by Anon above--"It is irrational to prohibit carry in NPS when it is pefectly legal in the adjoining state" is not one of them. There are all kinds of things that one can do in an adjoining state that are illegal in most parks--hunting, driving off road, driving 70 mph, picking wildflowers, etc. That's the point about parks. They are meant to be different than other places, and despite Frank C's arguments to the contrary, I think that most of us believe that they are different and we are glad they are. The National Park System is full of special places, places that beginning with Yellowstone, each succeeding generation of Americans, speaking through their elected representatives, believed merited protection in perpetuity. I always felt that the boundaries of a national park area should mean something. Upon entering, you were going to a place where you could turn off your blackberry, take off your wrist watch, and turn down your Ipod and live for a period of time according to the rhythms of nature or the ebb and flow of history. That's why they're so special and why we must exercise the highest standards of care to see that they remain so.

    Rick Smith

  • Help Ken Burns Chronicle the Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago


    I have some photographs from a flight in '05 of the top of Denali. It was an unusual year as the mountain was visible both from the train and from the flight

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Yes, Rationally the 2A allows the right to keep and bear arms. Most states have similar language. Many states allow OC and 38 states allows CCW or LTC. The 2A particularly says the federal government may not infringe that right. Prohibiting carry in public lands such as NPS is infringing that right. Read the Coburn amendment it specifically refers to the 2A language to justify the amendment that DOI has no authority to promulgate or enforce gun laws. That means gun restrictions in NPS. That is because the 2A is not incorporated throughout the states except in the states covered by the 9th Circuit Ct, which just recently decreed that the 2A is incorporated. Those states are Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Ca, Nevada and Arizona. Of all those states the only state that had restricted OC and CCW was CA. All the other states allow OC and CCW in the 9th Circuit Ct.

    So for instance in Virginia that allows OC and CCW there should be no restriction by NPS only state law would apply to visitors in Shenandoah.

    If the person come from West Virginia the same applies since their laws are the same as Virginia. Maryland however has LTC but not OC so only those who possess a LTC could carry on NPS lands in Md like Assateague NP.

    DC, which has the monuments and mall, has restrictions on carry so far and those restrictions would apply on NPS run parks in DC. So there would not be CCW or OC in DC on the monument grounds.

    States cannot impose their laws on adjoining states that violate the federalism nature of our Republic.

    The federal government cannot either on the states they can only say what applies on federal land. The BLM and National Forests use the states laws to abide on guns on those federal areas. Only NPS and Wilderness Areas seems to have this massive urge to ban guns carry whether open or concealed.

    They had the option for CCW and they fought that and manage to get it suspended so now they may suffer open and loaded carry of handguns and long arms.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    "It is irrational to prohibit carry in NPS when it is pefectly legal is the adjoining state."

    So is it irrational to prohibit carry in Wisconsin because it adjoins states that permit carry? Is it irrational for different states with CCW to have different requirements for CCW?

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Actually I thought Frank C was on topic since it was in response to our supposed duty to follow all stupid laws and he pointed out the logical extension of that policy of obedience. Where Beamis went off topic is brining up our foreign policy which is irrelevant to this topic.

    The point is not that all people obey all laws stupid or not. We don't. Most of us speed and that is against the law. I do not carry or store in the NPS since where I live, that is difficult. Plus I did not care to have extra weight when I used to backpack. Howver one of my party did carry a 45 in the backpack in post 1976 and we had no idea that was illegal at the time.

    It is irrational to prohibit carry in NPS when it is pefectly legal is the adjoining state. Most of the opposing arguement are about lack of need which is not a requirement to execise a constitutional right. Also worry about poaching which would still be prohibited so that is a false arguement.

    I wish that people would accept that the 2A means people can have, carry and use guns. That means most any place not only in few locations.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Anon---I was merely responding to the Godwin's Law comment (which you did not see fit to brand as "off topic"). Tangential thinking and commenting is what an open forum is all about.

  • Here's How You Can Follow Science At Great Smoky Mountains National Park From Afar   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Thanks for pointing out the link problem, Rob. It's now fixed. If you like this web innovation, check back tomorrow to see what the folks at Zion (with help from Glacier, I think) are doing. A great piece of interpretation and education.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    In Virginia a CCW person can walk in the State house with a weapon and visit his representative.

    Coburn may allow that in his home state. But in DC there is still a gun ban and carry ban in effect. Senator Webb ran into that problem with his assistant getting caught with a gun in his briefcase.

    The difference is that in DC they do not trust the public with carrying weapons. In Virginia they do. OC and CCW is allowed in Virginia and they have less crime than DC. I am not implying that guns are the reason that Virginia has less crime. More to do with demographics but DC guns laws do not help

  • Here's How You Can Follow Science At Great Smoky Mountains National Park From Afar   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Thanks, Kurt. This is a nice example of what can be done with the web. The first story link (Great Smoky Mountains National Park) came back as broken when I tried it. Keep up the great work!

    rob
    ---
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com