Recent comments

  • Elk Herd at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Surpasses 100 In Number   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I visited the park in July of this year & was lucky enough to view an elk. He was eating grass in a field north of Cherokee, NC. A ranger was there protecting the area. I was so tickled as I had never seen an elk. I took pictures of him on my cell but forgot to save them because I was so excited. I was so disappointed! Anyhow, it was truly was a wonderful experience for me.

  • Lost to Hurricanes, the Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park Will be Hard to Replace   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I am sad to learn this place is gone. I had a nice solo stay there many years ago, and was planning to go there next month with two little kids and their mom - to show them an interesting place. We will still go to the Everglades, of course, but will miss the chance to stay in this historic, quirky, "all American" place. (I remember the screens around the pool, and the walkways between buildings.)

  • Behind the Lens With a National Park Photographer   5 years 31 weeks ago

    This video has made my day and has given me much renewed energy in seeing nature with fresh eyes. Thanks Kurt and Mr.Shive for sharing.

  • Wolf Biologist Killed In Plane Crash in Denali National Park, Pilot Survived   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I met Gordon Haber briefly at a wolf conference and was fascinated by his love and enthusiasm for the wolves.
    As the editor of the German Wolf Magazin I have written a few articles about him and admired his work.
    We all from the wolf communities worldwide will miss him a lot.

  • By the Numbers: Crater Lake National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    2: the number of sewage spills that have contaminated munson creek, crater lake's drinking water supply

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 31 weeks ago

    On ages, I first fell in love with the mountains and parks in my early teens. I'm 60 now. There are many people every day in the parks on the scale between my first and my most recent age and older. Seeing older or younger people around are simply a matter of perspective.

    On spirituality, now, I plead guilty. I have Rainier on my horizon here in Seattle and am inspired every time I see it. I defy anyone to gaze upwards in the Grove of the Patriarchs and not feel it to be a cathedral. I'm no elitist, though. I don't care if a Harley rider is parked next to me, as long as he turns his ignition off. I don't care if a Hare Krishna is on the other side, as long as he doesn't keep chanting while there.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Lynne,

    Thanks for your insights and suggestions.

    By Great Divide I take you to mean the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail that runs down the spine of the Rockies from Canada to Mexico.

    Unlike the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails that bans bicycles, the CDNST was conceived and sanctioned by Congress to include bicycles. We are presently allowed to ride where it doesn't pass through designated Wilderness areas. Unfortunately there is a movement 'a foot' that seeks to remove bicycles from this iconic trail. The CDNST by design and concept is truly the holy grail of what is mountain bicycling. We as the cycling community need to go-to-the-mat to protect our ability to ride this trial.

    It is a national travesty and embarrassment that the ability to ride a bicycle on the CDNST is not already permanently protected in its entirety by Congressional decree! It is disappointing and short sighted of those individuals and organizations who claim to support the CDNST in concept to distance themselves from the enormous conservation group found in the bicyclists.

    BOGUS!

    Captcha - "Shared Vision"...

  • Wolf Biologist Killed In Plane Crash in Denali National Park, Pilot Survived   5 years 31 weeks ago

    My thoughts and prayers are with Gordon's friends and families. Having talked to him a few times I realize that much of what he says makes sense. And having driven the park road over the last few years wolves are now seen and enjoyed with great regularity. I have met many who want to see a wolf more than the bear or the mountain. May that opportunity continue! Thanks for your efforts on the behalf of wolves and a sensible ecology Gordie! Bo and Sharon--hello from someone who worked with you many years ago in Denali.

  • Wolf Biologist Killed In Plane Crash in Denali National Park, Pilot Survived   5 years 31 weeks ago

    It is a sad day for the Park, but Gordon died doing what he loved best. We should all be so lucky. To those of you who care about his mission, carry on in his place. We hope to be there soon to do the same.

  • Is It "Elitist" To Try to Visit All 58 National Parks?   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Years ago I resolved to visit all 50 states and had visited about 45 of them by the time I graduated from college. I got to Alaska in 1995 and thereby completed the quest. I'm glad I did it. I learned a lot about the country socially (especially during thousands of miles of hitchhiking) and saw a lot of scenery. Except when hitchhiking, I stuck to two-lane roads whenever I could do so without crawling through suburbs or densely settled areas. That meant that west of, say, Ohio I was able to avoid freeways almost all the time. I still avoid them as much as time permits.

    I've also been to all Canadian provinces except Prince Edward Island (which I saw from a distance across the frozen sea in the 1970s). I learned a lot about Canada too, y compris le Québec. I do need to visit the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

    Whether visiting all of the national parks is a worthwhile goal I don't know, but it sounds like it would be unless one only drove into the visitor center parking lot and then moved on.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I think it would be best to focus on what the land needs, rather than categorizing users by their preferred means of travel. I bike, I hike, I kayak, and I ride horses. No nature enthusiast wants to see a wilderness area overused or misused by any group. If an area is damaged by recreation, then attention should be paid to making a sustainable trail, or limiting use by issuing only a limited number of camping permits or even by closure to all users during some periods.

    High-traffic looped bike trails would not be any more appropriate than an exercise trail or a paved jogging track in a wilderness. Not all mountain bike rides are the fast, loud events that one sees on the TV. People of all ages like to go for a peaceful ride away from the cars in a place where they can soak in nature's beauty. All over the country there are smooth thin ribbons of trail, lovingly maintained by volunteer riders. I hope cyclists will not be discriminated against and no longer allowed to use important routes such as the Great Divide.

  • By the Numbers: Crater Lake National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Cycle Oregon, an annual bicycle tour, included Crater Lake in 2007. I was fortunate to be on the ride. The Crater Lake day began at Diamond Lake north of the park and ascended road leading to the rim with an option to circle the rim road. It was a beautiful ride. The weather was cool and sunny, and the crater was in its full glory. It really is a fantastic park.

  • Cades Cove Loop Road at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Set for a Major Redo Next Spring   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I visited Cades Cove last spring and the road almost reminded me of the Badlands in the Dakotas. It would be nice to make it a little wider so there could be a dedicated bike lane all day. I would also like to see dedicated buses that do the route to reduce the volume of traffic.

  • Plane Missing at Denali National Park and Preserve With Noted Wolf Biologist Aboard   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Regardless of whether or not you agreed with Haber's viewpoint, you had to respect his commitment and tenacity. He helped to counterbalance those who believe the only good wolf is a dead wolf. His voice will be missed.

  • Updated: Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Parks Release Winter-Use Plan That Reduces Snowmobile Numbers   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Believe it or not, it has been proven that air quality is worse in West Yellowstone and at Old Faithful in the Winter than it is in July! Regarding animals: Well fed, healthy animals in the summer are not bothered nearly as much by all the cars and people as half starved, freezing animals desperate to conserve energy are by snowmobiles and snowcoaches when it's thirty below zero, and most food sources are buried under several feet of snow.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Zeb...touche! Have a good and safe weekend.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Anonymous, we'll have to agree to disagree. I'd rather simply my ride my bike (under 30# with knobby tires) while you chew up the trails with your cleated boots and your heavy backpack. :) (all in jest).

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 31 weeks ago

    To each his own Zeb! I'll hump the brush with my fifty pound pack and you can chew up the trails and with your super cleated bike tires. I enjoy biking just as much as the next mountain biker but not in nature's pristine backyard. It looks to me now our backyard is becoming another potential commodity junkyard for every commercial selling hooker. Just my opinion. Why can't we keep things simple with nature and with life?

  • Is It "Elitist" To Try to Visit All 58 National Parks?   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Keith Goetzman can go suck a lemon.

    When I was a kid, I loved roadtrips. Sitting up in the front seat next to dad, listening to the radio, reading the map as we went along. Always loved looking at maps...

    When Reagan was president, there was some concern that the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua would welcome fleets of russian tanks, and that it was just a '4 day drive' from Nicaragua to Texas. I remember thinking "4 days from Texas to Nicaragua, huh? Cool..."

    I have been to 315 of the 391 units of the National Park System. I believe that my life has been affected deeply by the experiences I've had in traveling to them, and will continue to visit units of the National Park System and also visit National Forests, National Wildlife Preserves, Bureau of Land Management areas, State Parks, and Indian lands. I also like lighthouses, museums, ghost tours, old churches, weird roadside stuff. (I'm actually going to go to the Creation Museum that Bill Maher went to in 'Religulous' in Kentucky, not far from Cincinnati. On their website they mention that they're "within a day’s drive of about two-thirds of the U.S. population.") Thats just the U.S. I've camped in and explored historic sites and national parks across Canada and Mexico. The lessons I've learned about this whole continent, land, people, history, culture, humbles me. Elitist? I feel that there's so much more to learn and see, and I will continue to explore and learn as best I can.

    Tell Keith Goetzman to go pick on people who are out there trying to bag all the Hard Rock Cafe's, not people who go to our National Park System.

  • Wolf Biologist Killed In Plane Crash in Denali National Park, Pilot Survived   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I stayed up late here in SE Alaska to wait for good news after the crashed plane was spotted on the side of a mountain in Denali and went to bed tearful after learning that Dr. Haber had died. I was relieved to find this morning that the pilot, Dan, survived and wish him well. His is a fantastic story of survival as he had to walk many miles to get help and now has his physical work cut out for him recovering from his burns. I was honored to know of Dr. Haber's work through my own passion for wolves in Alaska. Peace to all of the families, friends, co-workers of these brave men.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 31 weeks ago

    "Especially when you're biking and watching the crazy switchbacks on the trail. I think you're losing something in response to the real wilderness experience when it comes to trail biking...and it's called the inability to absorb mother nature and all it's holistic gifts that it has to offer. I don't see how mountain biking offers this kind of quality wilderness experience but only a temporary adrenalin rush."

    With all due respect, this smacks of a bit of intolerance. It basically exemplifies what Imntbike was saying: many people see cycling as an inferior form of enjoying wilderness and therefore find it just righteous to ban the activity. On what ground really? One's preference? Who's to judge how one should enjoy wilderness, as long as there is no impact on the environment? While hiking bores me to tears, I certainly don't see as some inferior form of enjoying the outdoors. To each his own.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 31 weeks ago

    And from AHS - "Many of our favorite trails need major repairs due to an enormous backlog of badly needed maintenance. National Trails Fund grants help give local organizations the resources they need to secure access, volunteers, tools, and materials to protect America's cherished hiking trails."

    Our public trails system is one of our nations most sustainable economic and recreation resource that needs to be preserved, protected and promoted for the benefit of our communities and citizens.

    It would seem that an expanded relationship between AHS and the International Mountain Bike Association is a natural fit. IMBA is acknowledged as being a world leader in maintaining and building sustainable trails and provides over a million volunteer hours a year on trail projects.

    By spreading the love and sharing the load with the cycling community, we could take care of that neglected back log post-haste - heck - we'd even give a hand on those Wilderness trails where bicycles are banned.

    Let's get 'er done!

    Kinda ironically wierd - the captcha for this post is 'Russian Enviro." Who programs this stuff - Jay Leno?

  • By the Numbers: Crater Lake National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Visited this park in January last year and snowshoed on rim drive. It was amazing! Blue skies, sunshine, felt very warm. Summer season is much too busy.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Funny, that has been my experience with hikers. Bikes are not fun to ride off trail, and bikers are too busy riding to be rude

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Our individual relationship with our wild places is PERSONAL and can certainly be described as spiritual. Writers and advocates such as John Muir, David Brower, Ed Abbey and et al were/are eloquent, passionate and forceful in their presentation of their PERSONAL relationship with our PUBLIC LANDS.

    A Wilderness designation is not, however, a First Amendment Right to freedom of religion. It is a land protection tool that prevents logging, mining, new roads and structures, motorized use and, unfortunately, bicycles from our public lands. Separation of Church and State?

    While I do not have the desire, time or energy to fight to get bicycles into existing Wilderness areas, I do believe that this land protection dialog needs to embrace the concept that bicycles do belong in the wild, backcountry places we have ridden for decades without degradation of the area's wilderness characteristics. Companion designations, boundary adjustments and corridors need to become part of the new conservation lexicon when considering permanent Congressional protection of our roadless lands, including designating new, socially responsible Wilderness areas. As I stated above, the bicycling community is a huge conservation constituency that wants our landscapes protected. Bringing us to the table and allowing us to advocate for our important trails just might be the key to getting more Wilderness designated. What could we collectively accomplish if bicyclists were not put in an adversarial position of the bicycle banning Wilderness-or-nothing choice?

    Your spiritual PUBLIC LAND wilderness experience is ruined by the color of my skin - er - I mean my mode of quiet, non-motorized travel? Whatever!