Recent comments

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Whether people are on the trails when you're on them is beside the point. If you went back there on your bike and ran into dozens of other users how would that have affected your perspective?

    Isn't part of the beauty of getting into the backcountry the solitude that exists there? Last September I spent five days canoeing Yellowstone Lake with two friends. We never encountered another party -- just wolves, grizz, bald eagles and sandhill cranes. I thought it was wonderful. This past September I took several hikes in Yosemite, and ran into other groups on each of them. It was great seeing people out on the trail enjoying the park, but it wasn't the same experience I had in Yellowstone.

    If I'm inferring your point correctly, Zeb, it's that the trails appear empty and so why shouldn't bikers be able to use them. I would reply that the "snapshot moment" you experienced didn't necessarily demonstrate that the trails are not been used, and at the same time it offered you the type of experience you were seeking. Didn't you enjoy it more having the trail to yourself than jockeying with others, be they on foot, bike, or horse?

    As I indicated earlier, I'm working on a story regarding how Americans are using the outdoors. I think we'll all find the findings interesting, and hopefully it will lead to further dialog on what can be done to see that all groups can achieve the experiences they're seeking.

  • On the Run: Racers See Four National Parks on Two Feet in One Day   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Cheryl, you are quite welcome. Congratulations to you and all of the race committee for a most enjoyable event! It was a very fun day, and the focus on keeping it green was most appreciated. I'm already looking forward to next year!

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 32 weeks ago

    This is indeed a fairly crazy debate. I've ridden around the San Francisco quite a bit. Often, a few miles from the trailheard, I hardly see another user, and that's in the midst of a huge metropolis with millions of people. I can't imagine that there are many people milling around in the backcountry in the middle of nowhere.

  • On the Run: Racers See Four National Parks on Two Feet in One Day   5 years 32 weeks ago

    As part of the race committee too, GoGreenGals was inspired that Freedom's Run adopted a green program in its inaugural year. As the marathon grows we hope to encourage our motto "Keep the pace, Reduce the footprint." When we become aware of the natural beauty around us; stewardship, conservation, and eco awareness are soon to follow. http://www.freedomsrun.org/GoGreen.aspx
    Congrats to all of the participants!

  • Pruning the Parks: Castle Pinckney National Monument (1933-1956)   5 years 32 weeks ago

    RoadRanger, there were just too damn many Charles Pinckneys for my feeble neural networks to process. Let's give this thing a rest, OK? Well, maybe not yet. Wasn't the Charles Pinckney of Charles Pinckney National Historic Site the first cousin once removed of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney? BTW, thanks for not pointing out my misspelling of the latter's name in the article.

  • Winter Reaches the High Country Of Yosemite National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Beautiful picture! We used to live in Merced ('87-"90) and would visit often. Moved back to WNY and still miss Yosemite very much.Last there in 2008 for my daughters wedding.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I'd note that there are historical reports of an effort to turn the Lake Tahoe Basin (California and Nevada) into a national park between 1915 and 1925. Several California legislators tried to push that through. That was long before there was any large scale development. There were a few scattered private resorts in the area. It would have been relatively easy and most of the area was (still is) federal land.

    Right now it would next to impossible to turn the area into a national park. There are just way too many people living there now. Any move to turn over the Forest Service lands to the NPS would be shot down by the locals.

  • Pruning the Parks: Castle Pinckney National Monument (1933-1956)   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I have been victimized by the same curse. Charles Pinckney's mother is Frances Brewton Pinckney. Eliza Lucas Pinckney was the mother of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. My apologies for not proofing more carefully. I am now ready to move on to another topic, quickly.

  • Pruning the Parks: Castle Pinckney National Monument (1933-1956)   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Bob, I'm afraid the Pinckney name curse has struck again. The Charles Pinckney National Historic Site is named for Charles (1757-1824), son of Col. Charles and Eliza Lucas Pinckney, not Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1746-1825). Charles Cotesworth and Charles were first cousins. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney does have an association with the National Historic Site, historically known as Snee Farm and owned by his cousin, because he was held prisoner there by British forces in 1781. If there isn't enough confusion already, NPS fans need to know that the lowcountry farm house on the site was built after Charles Pinckney's death and has no association whatsoever with his life and times. If there ever was a place that needed a pre-visit tutorial and a genealogical chart as part of the park brochure, it is CHPI. In fact, an argument could be made that some of the national significance attributes at CHPI are quite a stretch. Could the site find itself on the "Pruning the Parks" list someday? I'd say it is a candidate in the right economic and political climate.

    Thanks for all your contributions to Traveler. Looking forward to more.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Epic Treks in the National Parks Are on Your To-Do List?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    "Trip of a lifetime"? How about the fellow who spent 17 years hiking all 16,500 miles of the eleven National Scenic trails: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/outdoors/2009991831_trailguy03m.html

    These are way out of my league anymore, but I'd like to suggest a couple more manageable epic treks at Olympic. There's the entire Bailey Range-Mount Olympus traverse, stating at Soleduc and finishing at Hoh rainforest. For a different sort of challenge, try hiking the entire wild coast from Kalaloch to Shi-Shi. Native Americans could probably be hired to ferry the tidal river crossings.

  • On the Run: Racers See Four National Parks on Two Feet in One Day   5 years 32 weeks ago

    As a member of the Freedom's Run Race Committee I would like to thank you for such a well written article, I believe you caught the mood of the day and of the race. Everything went as planned and I didn't hear one complaint all day! We witnessed many very happy people.

    I would also encourage folks to come back any time of the year to visit our region; there is always something for everyone here.
    http://www.shepherdstownvisitorscenter.com

    Our next BIG event will be Christmas in Shepherdstown. This will take place the last weekend in November and the first weekend in December. Info will be up soon on our website. A fun time for all!

    Thanks again,
    Cheryl Keyrouze

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Hi I saw your recommendations for national parks online. I would hope that the Hiawatha National Forest (both segments) in the Upper Penisula of Michigan be made into the "Three Great Lakes National Park." All the land is Federal land, and it would connect by a park the shores of three of the Great lakes--Michigan, Huron and Superior. What a great mid west park that would be. Since it is all on Federal lands, the presidsent with the stroke of the pen could create it all as a National Monument, as a prelude to national park Status. Gabe Sheridan

  • Search Under Way For Missing Backpackers in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Also, is there a website where the SAR activities are updated? I know in San Bernardino County there is, but not sure in this area. Thanks.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Hi, Kurt,

    To answer your question, the characterization of old-line conservationism is my own editorial comment and doesn't appear in the academic study. These threads are occasions for rhetorical asides and I am wont to indulge in them! I think my comment is, however, a fair inference from things that the study does discuss. I would be curious to know how many, e.g., Sierra Club members are under 50 years old, nonurban, nonaffluent, etc. I bet not many. It wouldn't surprise me if in 10 years the average member's age in the organizations the study refers to is 60 or above. That's not auspicious for their futures.

    I agree with your comments about people's isolation from nature. That's a major problem throughout the country as far as I can see. We nonmotorized outdoors enthusiasts ought not to be one another's foes and should find common ground before it's too late. That's especially so given the practicalities of visits to wildlands. I mountain-biked some high-altitude areas of Colorado this summer. They were, essentially, empty at the height of the summer season. I might as well have been in the outback of Canada's Northwest Territories for all the people I saw.

    imtnbke

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Sorry. My above statement was in reply to Zebulon's comments, not the author of this article.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I couldn't agree more with your assessment. The Pugsley has large tires in order to provide flotation in snow, sand and mud. If you ride it on regular trails it will do far less damage than a mountain bike with standard 2.1" wide tires. I suggest you do more research and understand your topics fully before writing things that are blatantly false.

  • National Park Service Launches Another Website to Help You Plan Your Next National Park Trip   5 years 32 weeks ago

    This is good timing, as I'm just now thinking of visiting Joshua Tree National Park in December on my way from Las Vegas to San Diego.

    Rap

  • National Park Service Launches Another Website to Help You Plan Your Next National Park Trip   5 years 32 weeks ago

    This website is pretty bad.

    Nothing like some pictures of people in the early to mid-90's in faded pictures to make me think a trip to a National Park is anything more than an American pastime, which we all know isn't the case. Overall, the usability is poor and the site feels as old as the pictures.

    Would hope for a better effort on a brand new site.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Imtnbke,

    Thanks for pointing to that study. Hadn't seen it, but will have to take a closer look.

    In all, its conclusions don't sound terribly new....but they shouldn't be ignored, either. Toss in what Richard Louv wrote in Last Child in the Woods and we're -- all generations, not just boomers vs. Genx et. al. -- facing some somber news in terms of how we connect with nature. I will be curious to see if the study you cite describes the old-time conservatism as you do: "(of the type that rationalizes horse/packstock damage but can't abide a bicycle on a trail)."

    And here's a snippet of some more new data regarding outdoor activities, from the Outdoor Foundation: From 2008 to 2009 there was a 10.2 percent increase (7.6 million participants) in mountain bike participation. There also was a 19 percent increase in backpacking (7.9 million participants), so perhaps the conclusions of the study you cite isn't "spot on," as the Brits would say. I'll have more on this study in a stand-alone post, as it is important to understand where and how people are recreating, and even who (ie male vs. female, Caucasian vs. Hispanics vs. Blacks, etc).

  • National Park Service Launches Another Website to Help You Plan Your Next National Park Trip   5 years 32 weeks ago

    This is definitely a good thing. I hope it becomes more complete over time.

  • Search Under Way For Missing Backpackers in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    No substantive updates yet. Last night the park reported that the search was moving forward, but there were no developments. Hopefully there will be good news today.

  • Search Under Way For Missing Backpackers in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Lynn,

    Here's a link to a review I wrote on the book.

    http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/review/2006/last-season

  • Search Under Way For Missing Backpackers in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Any updates on the Zeman search?

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I thought that Edward Abbey thought that travel bicycle was equivalent to horseback or by foot and far more preferable than by motor vehicle.

    However - some people do have this notion of thrill seekers in a Nissan Xterra commercial causing massive trail erosion by speeding through the mud or even this Nature Valley commercial which shows someone taking her bike across narrow singletrack and eventually stopping on a patch of delicate vegetation.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flNLNpv7LUo

    I do remember when I used to ride on trails in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was strictly wide trails where it was legal to do so. We frankly didn't know of many singletrack trails where bicycles were legal, although we knew that illegal riding on singletrack was somewhat common.

    I will say that a simple reading of the Wilderness Act would lead me to believe (previous interpretations aside) that "mechanized transport" includes bicycles or wheeled horse trailers. Of course the difficulty is that serious all terrain bicycles weren't very common until the 1980s, so how could the authors of the Act know whether or not they should have specifically included or excluded bicycles.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 32 weeks ago

    OK, the captcha for this one is "Devoted numskull"! These are great.

    The antibike folks may win various battles in the war of delay and attrition, but be poised to lose the war.

    A recent academic study reports that there is already a very narrow base of support for old-line conservationism (of the type that rationalizes horse/packstock damage but can't abide a bicycle on a trail) and that that narrow support base is at risk of becoming even narrower. Here's what the report says:

    "Our interpretation is that there are effectively two Americas when considering the pathway from nature exposure to conservation support: an elite backpacking/hiking group and a broader public lands visitation group. If this is true, then it has profound consequences for future generations and prospects for conservation support. Conservation organizations seem to be receiving donations from a very narrow group of relatively elite outdoor enthusiasts."

    "[A] recent survey of 849 Yellowstone National Park visitor groups asked what primary activities were their reasons for visiting the park. Day hiking [was] (3%) . . . and Overnight backpacking (backcountry) [was] (1%). . . . [B]ackpacking and hiking combined [are] only 4% of the reasons people gave for visiting Yellowstone . . . ."

    "The current per capita rate of backpacking is 0.054: in other words, the average American goes backpacking once every 18.5 years. . . . The demographics of this group are consistent with the description of the small fraction of the electorate that considers the environment a top priority: overwhelmingly European-American, mostly college educated, higher income and over 35. Further, based on the lagged impact of hiking/backpacking on investment, conservation NGOs have been benefiting from the tail end of a decade-old rise in the popularity of backpacking and hiking. The most recent data show a decline in hiking/backpacking popularity since 1998–2000. We project the negative effect of reduced hiking/backpacking frequency on NGO revenues to begin in approximately 2010–2011, and to continue through at least 2018." In sum, "The declines in backpacking/hiking since 2000 could imply a significant problem for conservation support."

    "Given the trends of increasing US population diversity, urbanization, and economic and cultural changes, we fear that the currently narrow base of conservation NGO supporters will become even narrower. To avoid becoming marginalized, the conservation movement will need to diversify its outreach strategy, engaging novel and diverse constituencies." The nongovernmental organizations referred to are "The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club, and Environmental Defense."

    Source: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0007367

    The NPS is ahead of the old-line environmental legacy outfits in recognizing that to remain relevant it can't rely on the tiny fraction of the population that insists all backcountry park visits be on foot or by hoof. Other uses in keeping with national park values have to be encouraged, and mountain biking is, in my view, foremost among them. The NPS seems to be embarking wisely on measures that will ensure its funding long after backward-looking environmental groups have gone the way of the woolly mammoth. (Although I hear the mammoth may be about to be cloned, so one must never rule anything out.)