Recent comments

  • National Park Quiz 41: Lincolnalia   5 years 24 weeks ago

    When I was in the NPS we used to joke about the number of Lincoln sites and refer to some of them by these shorthand names: Lincoln Natal, Lincoln Youth, Lincoln Adult, Lincoln Statue, Lincoln Face, Lincoln Speech, Lincoln Shot, and Lincoln Death.

  • Zion National Park Shuttle System To Resume March 21   5 years 24 weeks ago

    When will the shuttle in Zion National Park start operating for 2009?

  • Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Good job, Jeff. Now that 16,000 Lincoln books have been written, it's getting kind of tough to know whether number 16,001 or 16,002 have anything new to tell us about this complex man. Your review of Kaplan's book encourages me to read it, and I thank you for that.

  • National Park Quiz 41: Lincolnalia   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Barky, as the grading key clearly states, seven correct answers is "pretty darn good." It's great that you're setting the bar high for yourself, but there's no reason to beat yourself up for a less than perfect performance. Anyway, it's time to psyche yourself up for next week's quiz, which just might possibly deal with rocks and minerals.

  • NPCA, Congressman Issa Battle Over Propriety of Stimulus Funding for National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I sent this to Rep. Issa yesterday:

    Dear Rep. Issa--

    It is time to stop linking the sections of the stimulus bill related to the National Park Service to some vague accusations of improper lobbying on the part of Craig Obery with his father. I have known Craig for 20 years and I know he never lobbies his father on items of interest to the National Parks Conservation Association. If you are opposed to those sections, say so, but don't try to sully the reputations of either Craig or his father, Rep. Obey.

    Rick Smith

  • Rare Motion Pictures Show Civil War Veterans at the 75th Gettysburg Battle Anniversary Reunion   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Thanks for the write-up of Gettysburg and the video footage. I remember visiting the battlefield as a kid and even then it moved me tremendously. Of course playing on Big and Little Roundtop was also a lot of fun. Went back as an adult and the effect was the same.

    What happened at Gettysburg can be described as history, re-enacted, and even made into a Hollywood movie or two. If it's not the most important event in our nations history, it ranks up there. Thanks for reminding us that real people were actually there when it all happened.

  • NPCA, Congressman Issa Battle Over Propriety of Stimulus Funding for National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    You go Darrell!
    Uh-huh. Little bit of conflict of interest, I would say...oh, Obey's a DEMOCRAT...they don't do such things! LOL.
    How Obey gets re-elected nobody in WI knows.

  • Apparent Clumsiness Claims Life Of Famed Bull Elk In Yellowstone National Park   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I know I had seen that elk. What a sad end.

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

  • National Park Quiz 41: Lincolnalia   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Bah, 7 out of 12. I should have done better than that.

    My travels through the National Park System:

  • Logan Pass Improvements Proposed at Glacier National Park   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Wow. It's about time! The facilities at Logan Pass are barely better than some of the backcountry pit toilets! (just kidding, of course... well, at least the backcountry toilets have views from their seats)...

    Just found this site and really love it. Already bookmarked and will be making regular stops back.

    Any idea how and when they plan on renovating it? Will the renovations be done before Logan Pass is open to visitors or will it be going on during tourist season?


  • Rare Motion Pictures Show Civil War Veterans at the 75th Gettysburg Battle Anniversary Reunion   5 years 24 weeks ago

    To bad we don't do the same for our vets today. Very moving

  • Rare Motion Pictures Show Civil War Veterans at the 75th Gettysburg Battle Anniversary Reunion   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Simply awesome! Most touching since this being the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth. Thanks for sharing the precious films clips

  • Rare Motion Pictures Show Civil War Veterans at the 75th Gettysburg Battle Anniversary Reunion   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Bob - Thanks for bringing us these old films. I wasn't expecting the goosebumps and tears that the second one brought.
    Seeing these old soldiers and imagining what horrors they had lived through, and seeing them make the extraordinary effort to attend and shake hands with men who had once been their mortal enemies, make one forget for a few moments the stresses of today.
    This is a great example of the best kind of use of the internet.

  • Wrangell-St. Elias National Park's Mining History   5 years 24 weeks ago

    We went for a hike on the glacier with St. Elias Alpine Guides and it was the highlight of our trip! The tour of Kennecott is very interesting as well. This area is a gem - worth the drive down the long bumpy road!

  • Humane Society of America Critical of Culling Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Mr. Pacelle, if as you say, you have visited Rocky many times, you must be aware of the fact that the Elk population is completely out of control. Being a resident in Estes Park I have witnessed over the past decade entire stands of Aspen and Willow disappearing due to elk eating the bark. Additionally, many other indiginous plant species have decreased substantially, that along with the trees are critical to the other mammals in the park, especially the beaver, whose population is estimated to have diminished 90% over the past half century. On top of that, the managers are concentrating on removing the elk that have been previously identified as having CWD which is essential to the health of the herd without any natural predators to thin these weakened/sick animals. To quote park spokesman Kyle Patterson "after shooting 100 elk this year, they'll monitor the population closely. There's a chance they won't have to do any culling during some of the following years."

    100 elk accounts for a minimal 5% or less of the total population, thus this will be negligible on total herd impact. I am not a hunter but am an environmentalist, and strongly believe the park managers, being there every day 24-7/365 know better than we do. Thank you for your concern and comments.

  • More than Just Another Pretty Lake - Curecanti National Recreation Area   5 years 24 weeks ago

    In June 2007, my wife and I hiked the Curecanti Creek trail at Curecanti National Recreation Area. Although listed as a strenuous trail, we didn't have much difficulty doing the hike. We are both retired, do some short 3-5 mile hikes, but we are not in "extreme" health condition by any stretch. My wife was pleasantly surprised to find restroom facilities at the end of the trail on the Gunnison River. This was really a nice hike, but go with plenty of water and snacks as you are on your own. At least you can soak your tired feet in the cold Gunnison River when you get to it!

  • The World's Top Ten National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    opps--I meant 3-5,000 MILE migration. Sorry to have omitted the "mile".


    Rick Smith

  • The World's Top Ten National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Have any of NPT's readers visited parks in Central America? Asia? The South Pacific? I have a couple favorites in Honduras--Copan, in Mexico--Montes Azules, El Triunfo and the Biosphere Reserve Mariposa Monarca, the end of one of the most incredible migrations in all of nature. The Monarch butterflies fly from their summer habitat in North America and end up in one small area in the state of Michoacan in Mexico. I had the good fortune to be in that reserve on the day the butterflies ended their 3-5,000 migration. When I looked to the sky, it looked as if it were snowing orange snowdrops. As they landed, the turned the pine trees absolutely orange. There were millions and millions of them arriving at approximately the same time and to the same place. It was absolutely the most stunning wildlife display that I ever seen in my life..

    Costa Rica is justifiably proud of its many parks and protected areas. I have always liked Braulio Carrillo and Volcan Arenal. El Imposible NP in El Salvador, so named because it once was very difficult to get to, is another great area. So many places, so little time.

    Rick Smith

  • Rangers Catch Snowmobilers Riding Illegally in Yellowstone National Park's Backcountry   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I do not question that you obey the rules when riding your snowmobile, or that you are sensitive regarding resource impacts. However, snowmobile use does result in environmental impacts. They vary based on the type and weight of the machine, speed, driving patterns, snow depth, affected wildlife, vegetation, etc. It should be noted that snow depth varies considerably and can range from several feet to just a few inches within a short distance depending on terrain, vegetation and wind patterns. The noise and visual disturbance of a machine can and does affect sensitive wildlife. I am not implying that other human uses also result in impacts, although they are usually significantly less. A snowmobile driver skimming over a stretch of virgin snow may not see the resulting impacts, but they do occur. I also have used snowmobiles and understand their attraction. However, it is legitimate for parks to closely manage or restrict their use in response to resource concerns and purposes of affected parks.

  • Wrangell-St. Elias National Park's Mining History   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Even if you're "just passing through" this area and don't have time to get off the main highway and into this magnificent park, be sure to stop at the park headquarters and visitor center complex. It's one of the most attractive facilities of it's kind in the NPS, and offers an excellent orientation movie about the park. There's a short, easy trail at the visitor center with a nice view into the park itself.

  • Maine-based Groups Join Fight to Overturn Gun Rule for National Parks   5 years 24 weeks ago

    As for showing data that CCW permit holders are more likely to poach, I would actually agree with you and acknowledge that they are not likely to poach.

    Glad you agree. I'm still waiting for evidence from anyone, including these groups, that CCW permit holders are likely to shoot animals.

    However, they are more likely to shoot and kill an animal in a park than someone not holding a gun. Now that is a fact that cannot be argued.

    And someone who can speak is more likely to yell "Fire!" in a theater than someone who is mute. This is also a fact that cannot be argued, but it doesn't prove anything. It doesn't follow that just because someone can speak they are likely to yell "Fire!" in a theater. Because there is a risk of someone yelling "Fire!", should speaking be completely banned? Should everyone entering crowded public spaces have their mouths taped shut because there is a risk they might yell "Fire!"?

  • Are We Properly Caring for Our Ocean-Based National Parks?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    I think it’s quite telling, and affirmative of Mr. Davis’ thoughts, that after a couple days there are no comments here. The natural world below the surface of the water is truly out-of-sight, out-of-mind, even to many otherwise enlightened defenders of the environment. I can’t say I wouldn’t be in the same trap, saving the fact that my day job is farming corals for the commercial aquarium trade and research purposes. I recently spoke to a group of zoology students at Michigan State about my work in modeling reef trophic structure in closed systems. Of about 60 students, three had any interest in aquatic systems. My slide comparing feeding of corals to feeding of better-known animals like elephants was the only thing that perked anyone up. We need to find a way to make Acropora charismatic…

    Comparing fishing in a marine park to fishing in a terrestrial park is apples and oranges. Fish account for most of the biomass in several key tropic niches in aquatic ecosystems (reefs in particular). Allowing fishing in marine parks is more akin to allowing virtually unregulated hunting of megafauna in Yellowstone or logging in Olympic. You’re taking a sledgehammer the foundation of the whole system.

    That said, there’s more to coral reef decline in the tropical West Atlantic than overfishing. As Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll once said of one of his players, “His problems are great – and they are many.” The cascading effect of the lack of fish carnivory and herbivory alluded to in the essay is certainly solid science, though it is one of those things that sometimes stretches the belief of the lay person unfamiliar with the interconnectedness of ecosystems. A similar and more direct blow to TWA reefs in the last two decades has been the loss of Diadema sea urchins. Nearly all of the urchins succumbed to a mysterious ailment, completely emptying a critical grazing niche. This has been devastating. On a macro-environmental scale we have the oft-cited effects of ocean warming, but a much more sinister threat is posed by ocean acidification. A guy that worked for me as an undergrad is among those researching this now. To make an really long and complicated story short, simple, and depressing, it’s unlikely ocean acidification can be artificially reversed at this point. That means that within 50 years, reefs as we know them aren’t going to exist. As the primary method of calcium carbonate deposition trends toward a calcitic system rather than aragonitic, reef-building corals will cease to build reefs. This has happened time after time since the Ordovician period. You can argue about whether it’s anthropogenic, but it’s clear that it’s happening. That’s not to say we shouldn’t do everything we can to preserve reef ecosystems. The NPS allowing continued heavy fish harvests is like having the paramedics break your knees while treating you for a heart attack. But, I can’t say that the NPS are the medics I’d choose to call in when I had an ecosystem in critical condition. It just so happens they’ve been entrusted with some of our best marine habitats.

    This all boils down to education. I’m trying to do my part here, but it’s a tough sell. What gets folks excited at aquariums? Sharks. Is there a Reef Week on TV? No, it’s Shark Week. Sadly, the best infiltration into the minds of the impressionable lately has been Finding Nemo. That’s a start, but we desperately need to get kids thinking about what lies beneath surface – other than the toothed megafauna.

    -Kirby.....Lansing, MI

  • Rangers Catch Snowmobilers Riding Illegally in Yellowstone National Park's Backcountry   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Are you kidding me. The amount of snow in that park is so massive and the depth. A snowmobile's only damage to the area is to the people that protect it from the industrial age.

    I have rode a snowmobile for 10 years now. Always obeying the laws and I am just in awe to natures beauty as everyone else. I just prefer to ride and look as to hike, dog sled or any of the other means of transportation others use.

  • Return of the Beach – A Once Popular Site Set for a Comeback at Lake Mead National Recreation Area   5 years 24 weeks ago

    The Las Vegas area has a serious deficiency in public campgrounds within a short distance. While it's blessed with Zion, Death Valley and Joshua Tree all a 2-3 hour drive away, it's also stuck with a few Lake Mead campgrounds and often-frigid Mt. Charleston in close range.

    This is great news. Opponents need to remember that Lake Mead is a recreation area, built around two manmade lakes — not a preserve of natural wonderment. Las Vegans should demand more public campgrounds in close range — Desert NWR, Mojave National Preserve (accessible from I-15, not I-40), and the Gold Butte / east shore of Lake Mead area.

  • What's Driving Rep. Issa's Opposition to Tackling the National Park System's Backlog?   5 years 24 weeks ago

    Frank C,
    There are rumblings in congress as we speak to sell off some of our parks to bring down the debt, especially the rising cost of illegal immigration.