Recent comments

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

    This country is letting every screwball organization get away with anything they want to do.

    (Ed: This comment was edited. )

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

    someone has to watch the cameras....what about the backside of mt rushmore? gonna cost a lot more money than the park service wants to pay for good security...been there and worked there,not an easy answer...

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

    I have very mixed feelings about the Maine Woods National Park. Having been born and grown up in Maine, and spent much of my life here, I would love to see our north woods preserved. But having spent a number of years in Colorado, I have also seen how the national parks bring more development and roads, and much more use. I have also seen the national parks being poorly managed, and the pressure for roads and trails leading to serious degredation of habitat. Our own Baxter State Park in Maine is much better managed for it's wilderness attributes than the national parks are, and I'd prefer to see an expansion of Baxter State Park over a national park. But, given the lack of money in Maine, and also the lack of political will, perhaps a national park is the best that we can do. In any case, doing nothing is the worst option. Plum Creek has already planned to massively develop their holdings, and other REITs can not be far behind.

  • When Visiting the National Parks, Look for Historic Lookouts   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Thanks for the NOCA lookouts imagery. John Suiter's book Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in the Cascades (Conterpoint, 2002) does an outstanding job of explaining how the splendid solitude of North Cascades fire tower duty helped shape the writing of the beat generation icons. I'd love to attend a Gary Snyder reading, but I fear I'll never get the chance. Snyder is one of the last of his breed -- a pity, that -- and he won't be making public presentations forever (he'll be 80 next May).

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

    Whoa! I blew that one! Other comments still apply.

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

    I'd also throw a nod in to Zion National Park, particularly the high country of the Kolob Terrace. The black and red and pink rocks are complimented by golden and red trees.

  • Oh Boy! The Prospect Hotel! What Room Will I Be Staying In?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    That's right, Bat. Same S.O.B., different venue.

  • Oh Boy! The Prospect Hotel! What Room Will I Be Staying In?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Bob, is this the "sweet old buddy" you wrote about before? Another LOL story from you, thanks!

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

    Ummm...actually, Anon, both Virginia and Maryland were named for English monarchs. Respectively, Queen Elizabeth (the 'Virgin Queen') and King Charles' I wife Queen Henrietta Maria, otherwise known as Queen Mary.

  • Oh Boy! The Prospect Hotel! What Room Will I Be Staying In?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Nice to hear from you Fred. Glad to know that you got the paint job finished before cold weather set in. BTW, I ran a painting contracting company while I was in grad school. We painted lots of old houses and apartment buildings that had been coated with lead-based paint. We scraped and sanded and primed the rough spots first, of course. Inhaling all that lead dust undoubtedly contributed to the current sad state of my brain cells. Cheers, Bob

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Oh no. Your reporting on this seems to have been before other sources.

    What I'm implying here is that the Sept 23 rider was a modification spurred as a result of pressure on Senator Feinstein by members of Congress who had received the Sept 17 letter from the California Coastal Commission.

    What I'm trying to figure out (and there hasn't been that much reporting on it recently in the Bay Area press) is whether or not the current Save Drakes Bay campaign is to remove the rider that was inserted in June in the original Senate version of the bill - or to the latest modification of the rider that doesn't contain a mandate.

    Here's the original article you wrote as a reference. I tried entering "Feinstein" or "Point Reyes" and couldn't find it. I had to go back manually through the archives to locate it.

    http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2009/06/senator-feinstein-speaking-out-both-sides-her-mouth-national-park-matters

    I would note that it isn't clear whether or not Drakes Estero can be declared as designated wilderness. I've heard some opinions that the State of California still maintains rights to all waters including bays and can't cede it to the federal government. I finally saw the map, and the "proposed wilderness" is simply the water and none of the land around Drakes Estero. It's rather an interesting situation, as none of the shore operations are on "potential wilderness" as I had thought until I saw the map. As it is right now, I've never heard of any saltwater body of water that's been grated designated wilderness status. Apparently the analysis by the Secretary of the Interior at the time of the 1976 PRWA was that the reasons for declaring Drakes Estero as potential wilderness were the use by the oyster farm along with the rights of the State of California.

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Y_P_W,

    First of all, apologies for the search engine. We know it's a decrepit animal that sleeps more than functions, and we're working on a solution. In the meantime, the best way to search is to use the "Browse By Content" application and go to the park of your choice. It's not perfect, but it's better than the search engine.

    As to your concerns: I don't think I said or implied that Sen. Feinstein's rider was in response to the letter sent by the Coastal Commission.

    As to the timing of the story and what goes on in Washington, with only three bodies at the Traveler and 391 units of the Park System, we are not always johnny-on-the-spot, but we're trying.

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Thanks for the update y.p.w.--

    Given that authorization, if I were in charge, I'd negotiate a lease extension, with requirements that the oyster farm monitor their impacts (hire a consultant to monitor the impacts), and at least some funding going to NPS or outside studies of what it would take to restore native oyster beds.

    Then, in 5 or 10 years, we'd actually have good data to make a solid decision. The current complaints are that only partial data exist, as PORE doesn't have funding to collect comprehensive data on impacts (positive & negative) of DBOC in PORE. I read the NAS report (all of it!), and the major complaint was that NPS didn't consider the potential positive effects of the oyster racks & bags, and didn't have data on the magnitude of the filtering effect.

    I imagine that almost everyone is thankful I'm not in charge, and never will be in charge.

  • Oh Boy! The Prospect Hotel! What Room Will I Be Staying In?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    You three were quite entertaining. We enjoyed your stay - maybe as much as you did! The idea that the Village Idiot's room was already taken rings true - You can't have my room!!
    Who else (in their right mind) would buy a place like this and then take on repainting it? Barbara's photo shows it just prior to the repaint with most of the old paint already scraped off. We have now completed the exterior painting. 45 gallons later it presents MUCH better.
    Thanks for making us laugh, once when you were here and once again now.

    Fred and Karen Wickman
    www.prospecthotel.com

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Let me just clarify. Anyone who has been following this has noted a timeline, and it's unclear on first reading whether or not the author here is fully aware of the details. The letter to the California Coastal Commission was sent on Sept 17 and the latest rider is dated Sept 23. The reporting is that the Sept 23 version was a direct response after pressure from members of Congress who received copies of that letter. Most of the reporting on this story seem to be several days later. An article in the Marin Independent-Journal was dated Oct 5 but was referencing the amendment sent on Sept 23.

    Bear with me. I don't understand all the working details of Congress - so I'm having difficulty trying to figure out the paper trail of the original text and the various amendments.

    When the original Senate version of the bill came into being last June, Sen Feinstein inserted language to it that mandated a 10 year extension to the lease. The rider attached to this article is the latest version of that amendment - toned down from a mandate to a mere "authorization" for the Secretary of the Interior to extend the lease. I was unsure about whether the author made that distinction, although I looked up an article by Kurt from last June that mentioned the original language (I'd also note that the search engine isn't working very well when I tried to search for it).

    Perhaps this is a minor distinction. Many have felt that the original terms of the original 1972 lease were clear that the NPS had authorization to extend it as there was a renewal clause. Perhaps the newer language makes a distinction (for the lawyers to sort out perhaps) that there is authorization to extend the lease and that the NAS report should form a basis for considering the pros and cons of extension. Perhaps Sen Feinstein is hoping that this sends a stronger message (short of forcing his signature on a lease) to Secretary Salazar than her letters and phone calls urging him to extend the lease.

    I would stress again that the law as written now does not call for an automatic extension of the lease.

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

    Jeesh! All I did was search for "Mojave National Preserve" so I could plan my visit, and I came up with this!

    The whole issue, which centers on separation of church and state, is a farce. There has never been separation of church and state in this country. If they were separated, then there would be no Christmas tree on the White House lawn. In fact, Christmas would either (1) not be an official federal holiday at all, or (2) it would - and so would the major holidays of every religion on earth. (Hmmm - what would that do to the economy? We'd all be off work about every other day...) There's more. Here in California, where most cities were founded by the Spaniards, almost all of them have religious names. Should we rename Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Sacramento, etc. etc. etc. because these names purposely endorsed Catholic saints and concepts? How about non-Spanish but still religious place names such as St. Paul, Minnesota? Or the states of Virginia and Maryland? What "Virgin" and which "Mary" do you think those refer to?

  • Coalition Calls for Sen. Feinstein's Rider Extending Life of Oyster Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore To Be Stripped   5 years 29 weeks ago

    It's been reported (several days ago) that Sen Feinstein modified her amendment to the DOI appropriations bill. Supposedly the pressure to change it didn't come from Norm Dicks, but from New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman. It doesn't set a mandate but does change the dynamic. I looked up the history and this amendment was passed on Sept 24, which was even before the Traveler posted this article I'm commenting to.

    You can look it up yourself from the Library of Congress database. It's always changing, so I can't really link the bill directly. Just enter H.R.2996 into the search field.

    I'd also note something. The copy of the rider attached to this article does appear to be the latest modified version. Note that it mentions only an "authorization" for the Secretary of the Interior to renew the lease. The original rider was inserted last June, and not Sept 23 as it says in the PDF.

    I'm not sure how to find any full text of previous versions, but I understand that the previous version set a mandate. I saw a summary of the previous version of the amendment, which strictly extended the lease by 10 years. The amendment also gives the Secretary of Interior the final decision. That may have been very much intentional knowing that Jonathan Jarvis was the new NPS director.

  • Gloryland Brings Yosemite National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson Full Circle   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I heard about Gloryland on NPR a few weeks ago and have been wanting to read it ever since. It sounds like it's very well written.

  • When Visiting the National Parks, Look for Historic Lookouts   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Great story -- lots of fire lookouts in our national parks that I didn't know anything about. North Cascades Institute is keenly interested in the historic lookouts in the North Cascades, and the "Poets on the Peaks" literary history that accompanies those lookouts. Here's a slideshow on the topic we put together at the request of Gary Snyder when he gave a reading in Seattle last spring: http://vimeo.com/5804231. Enjoy!

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

    We'll put in a request for some great weather, Sparky. Congrats on the nuptials!

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

    I *hope* this turns out to be the case for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. My new wife and I will be heading there after our wedding next weekend. :-D

  • Bikes in the Parks: A Look At What's Up at Grand Teton and Big Bend National Parks   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Again, the ban of bikes from wilderness came from a reinterpretation of the law in the mid 80s. That suits the Sierra Club and others just fine, but technically, the ban could be reversed without any action from congress. That being said, as a cyclist, all I see is a constant push from the self professed "environmentalists" to keep expanding wilderness and thereby restrict cyclists' access to trails. No wonder IMBA is fighting so hard to realign wilderness designation, but it's still a long term losing strategy since it seems that the quest for more wilderness will never end. A smarter way of doing it would be to reallow bikes in wilderness, since they're no more mechanical than kayaks, carbon fiber hiking poles, etc.
    That way, we'd stop that inane internecine fight between cyclists and other user groups.

    User conflicts are way overblown. We all know that the large majority of park users don't venture much past 1 mile from the trailhead. Separate cyclists from other user groups for the 1st mile, and then let people share trails.

  • Where Can You Find the Best Fall Foliage In the National Park System? Here Are Ten Contenders   5 years 29 weeks ago
  • Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Cross at Mojave National Preserve   5 years 29 weeks ago

    My tax dollars pay for maintaining that land. When i drive that road the cross is prominent. I want my Flying Spaghetti Monster memorial to the war dead of the Civil War placed prominently on that rock too. In fact, I want mine on a post at the top so everyone passing by can't miss seeing it. I don't give .... care ....if life isn't fair as you say. If we're talking about my tax dollars and federal land it better be about as close to fair as the Supreme Court justices can make it.

    This post was sanitized just a teense. -- Ed.

  • The Priceless Value of Parks: Wounded Warrior Rafting Trip at Dinosaur National Monument   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I'd like to applaud all veterans and the many local groups helping them. Thank you all for your service to our country. Here's a similarly inspiring story from last year about a wounded veteran, one the few blind persons to have summited Mount Rainier: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008045927_rainier11m0.html