Recent comments

  • 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

    Richard Smith:
    It would be a wilderess with too many people, planes overhead, and ships going by. Not untrammeled by man.

    Not to mention a heavily used road (which sits right against the edge of Drakes Estero) with cars, motorcycles, etc taking visitors to/from the lighthouse, Chimney Rock, and beaches. There's also lots of commercial traffic to/from the dairy farms and cattle ranches.

    Once I went to the Chimney Rock area for a scheduled ranger guided hike. We had to take the shuttle ($5) from the Patrick Visitor Center because it was peak whale watching season near the lighthouse. They nice enough people, but there was a large group riding at least 15 Harley-Davidson motorcycles. As that group passed by Drakes Estero, I'm thinking the noise must have carried at least 2 miles. If there's any negative impacts on wildlife, that kind of noise would be it and not the relatively quiet 4-cycle boat motors that Kevin Lunny uses for the oyster farm.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, What Do You Think of the Ken Burns Film So Far?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Mr. Burns' film taught me a lot about the history of the creation of the park system. He went under the surface and presented details not widely known. Both Ranger Johnson and the Native ranger offered astounding insights; I'm not so sure about some of the other commentators. I like how the music complemented the documentary, instead of overwhelming it with a grand score. My better half and I have vowed to go see all those Western parks. I have been glued to this series and already have ordered the DVD. It will be interesting to see in the next installments how they present the politics of the parks closer to our own time. Finally the parks are getting some well-deserved attention.

  • 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

    This is only for the park to get wilderness designation of that area. It will not make any significant change for the better if the Johnson Oyster Co. leaves. The area will not be pristine, as nearby in Tomales Bay, there was a recent article on an invasive Atlantic snail that eats the native oysters, and they don't know how to get rid of them. It would be a wilderess with too many people, planes overhead, and ships going by. Not untrammeled by man.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, What Do You Think of the Ken Burns Film So Far?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I've watched three out of the three nights offered so far and enjoying it. I find it very inspiring. I'm inspired [as a former psychiatric nurse] to discover more about Mather. I'm inspired to read Muir. And I'm definitely inspired to fill in the rest of the stamps in my passport book.

  • Would You Love Zion National Park As Much If It Were Called Mukuntuweap National Park?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I am Australian. I used to live in Wingecarribee Street. Terrible things were committed against native Australians and the least I can do is pronounce their names and be proud to honour them. If people aren't intelligent enough to be touched by the word Mukuntuweap and its meaning and the disgraceful way this land was wrested from the people who owned it, in the European sense, I think they come to this amazing place to climb all over it and take photos and be thoroughly materialistic. I can stay at home and watch amazing footage without trampling all over it and depositing my Eureopen leftovers. I'm going to find out more about Southern Pauti.
    Zion - what a disgrace.

  • An Analytical Look At The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 29 weeks ago

    If you have to question why Hot Springs is a national park, I suspect you've never had the opportunity to visit. Most importantly, since Andrew Jackson set it aside as a national reservation in the 1830s (the FIRST such designation) the waters have enjoyed federal protection. True, this park is small and very unique in that it protects a natural wonder as well as the industry of the spas, but that makes it even more worthwhile in my eyes. I'm suprised this park and it's uniqueness is being overlooked. Even more disappointing is the omission of Sulphur Springs Reservation/Platt National Park in Oklahoma, which was the 9th park established. For years the smallest park in the system it, like Hot Springs, was designed to protect the water and was actually a partnership with the Indian tribes and the government. It is also one of only a handful of parks to ever be redesignated as something other than a national park.

    [Ed: Platt National Park, which was established in 1906, was abolished in 1976 and is now part of Chickasaw National Recreation Area.]

  • Find Your Spot in the National Park System Via the National Park Foundation   5 years 29 weeks ago

    It appears to work fine in firefox 3.5.2.
    On my machine it works ok (albeit slow page loads!) in ie7, too.

    I see a lot of java in the page source and it uses asp, but I don't see flash, so your solution isn't going to be simply updating your flash plugin.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, What Do You Think of the Ken Burns Film So Far?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I don't know if I just have unrealistic expectations when it comes to Ken Burns, or have already read too much of the history, but so far, I'm not particularly impressed. I feel he has missed or glossed over so many poignant stories that help visitors/viewers connect to the parks from their perspectives (an important aspect of park interpretation) rather than what 'we' want them to experience.

    For example, I also would have liked a little more time devoted to the context of Teddy Roosevelt's parks work within the extreme political and business corruption of the day, even going against those of his own party and social status--another great interpretive lesson for today's Americans.

    I think Burns missed an important opportunity to inspire many Americans by avoiding saying Mather was mostly likely bi-polar. (Albright admitted this in his 1980’s book, The Missing Years.) The story would have been much more powerful if Burns had explained Mather's tremendous passion and energy followed by 'break downs' in this context. It’s inspirational for everyone, but especially those struggling with mental illness or even the stress and depression that have accompanied current hard times.

    However, I was glad Burns addressed Mather's willingness to make "deals with the devil"--i.e, railroads and business interests, including wealthy industrialists--in order to gain the legislative support the parks so desperately needed. That's is a good lesson for park advocates who are often dismissive or too suspicious of business interests, as well as a good role model (and hopefully inspiration) for business leaders of today.

    Also left out was much of the context of what the country was dealing with when the Park Service was created, yet it's very relevant to today's audiences. There was recession, serious food shortages, and the world was involved in the scariest thing it had ever faced, the War to End All Wars. Yet in the middle of all that, there was enough public support for the parks idea to create the Parks Service. It was a time when people really struggled on a personal level with the move from a rural and agricultural life, where they were tied to the land, to factory work and industrialized life. We are still trying to figure all this out today, so focusing on that for a few minutes could have been very influential.

    I would have liked it if Burns had included a but more about the women behind the men behind the parks, especially Albright’s wife. The story of Allbright’s truggle between courtship vs. Mather and the parks, his working honeymoon where he and his bride bundled in blankets on a caboose as he read geology to her as they passed lands that would become parks, followed by her endless volunteer hours in support of his dreams is a great story for couples who help fulfill each other's dreams or work on public issues together.

    I also would have preferred to see more national park rangers (current and retired) used than so-called 'writers'. First, no one can talk about the parks and what they represent, or displays more passion for them than the rangers. Second, their public image is second only to Santa Claus with the American public, so their words would carry more weight, have more influence, than ‘writers.’
    That said, I think the African-American ranger has done a fine job, and the choice of an African-American--a part of the American demographic under-represented in national park staff and visitors but supporting conservation in greater percentages than whites, was a great choice.

    Burns could have made room for these aspects of the story by condensing some of the story-telling about the individual parks. Yet, like Mather, he has done one thing especially well--he's effectively used his camera lens to connect Americans to the inspirational beauty of the parks, something many of us have forgotten about in our fast-paced artificial worlds. Hopefully viewers will want to go out and smell the glorious scents, let the fresh air fill their lungs, feel the ground under their feet, and laugh with family and friends around a campfire.

  • National Park Quiz 70: Bad   5 years 29 weeks ago

    #3 is definitely an eerie coincidence, tomp.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, What Do You Think of the Ken Burns Film So Far?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    It is not what I expected, but I am really enjoying it. It has the right balance of scenery and history. I have learned a number of things I did not know, despite visiting most of the parks featured.
    Saving the $99 and recording my own DVD!

  • National Park Quiz 70: Bad   5 years 29 weeks ago

    A sad followup to #3:
    Early reports are that yesterday's 8+ earthquake and tsunami wiped out the visitor's center at National Park of American Samoa. The good news is that all employees and visitors are accounted for. The bad news is that roughly 100 people died in Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, What Do You Think of the Ken Burns Film So Far?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    it is great,yes i will buy the dvd,mr. burns has done a really good job in explaning how the parks were brought into the gov.,and his story of john muir were really good,i didnt know a thing about muir before,now i am really in awe of him...

  • Reader Participation Day: So, What Do You Think of the Ken Burns Film So Far?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    This is very exciting, informative and inspiring. I will order the DVD. Ken Burns always raises the bar, and has done so again. A new respect for our National Parks, and the devotion to keep them intact.

  • 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

    Ed, just to clarify, the situation in Chesapeake Bay was not entirely human-caused. True, increased oystering down through the years greatly depleted the stocks, but of late warmer ocean water, diseases, and pollutants washing into the bay are greatly responsible for the decrease in oysters.

    You're absolutely right about the job they collectively do as mini-filtration systems. Of course, one question to explore at Drakes Bay would be whether managing for natural oyster beds could provide the same benefits you outline without a need for cultured beds.

  • Reader Participation Day: So, What Do You Think of the Ken Burns Film So Far?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I love the history aspect of the film. it so far brings everything home. I do plan on ordering a copy of this film. so far I have to put it up with his other masterpieces. great job Mr. Burns!!!!

  • Find Your Spot in the National Park System Via the National Park Foundation   5 years 29 weeks ago

    One problem for some reason I get a message that I need to upgrade to explorer 7, when I use explorer 8. I don't think this site was tested very well.

  • Updated: Tsunami Waves Slam Into American Samoa and National Park of American Samoa, Leaving Death and Destruction in its Wake   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I used to work as a volunteer at the Pago Pago National Park Visitor Center located in the Pago Plaza building. It is such a terrible tragedy to see and read about the damage that has been caused not only in the visitor center area/pago pago but in American Samoa and Samoa overall. May God bless my people and get them through these tough times. I send my prayers out to all of pago pago's NPSA employees and volunteers. May God and peace be with you all.

    Soifua & Mahalo

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    To the family who lost their loved one, My very sincere condolences.

    I just came back from Angel Landing hike. My opionion is that they should put in more chains; At least i can see one place there 's a gap.
    People (including me) have problem of reaching the next chain.
    If there 's not enough safety, then this hike should be closed! Safety first!

  • Arnica Fire Continues to Burn in Yellowstone National Park As Weather Begins to Turn   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Thank you, Jim. My wife and I and another couple were caught in that detour on 9/24. It was a long 240 mile drive from Old Faithful and late, late arrival in Gardiner. On the following day, the beauty for us was the extraordinary light from the smoke cloud over the Canyon drive to the east gate. It was surreal and added much to our first visit to the mother park.

  • Arnica Fire Continues to Burn in Yellowstone National Park As Weather Begins to Turn   5 years 29 weeks ago

    As we say over and over again, fire is a natural and beautiful part of the process in Yellowstone. The only thing to hate is the 270-mile detour, and that's not going to last for long, as winter is coming, anyhow.

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

  • An Analytical Look At The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 29 weeks ago

    After 3 episodes, it's a magnificent, captivating, addicting story. Can hardly wait until the next night, to hear the great anecdotes.
    I think, as opposed to making all travelers flock to the "big 10"
    I think it will cause many people to click on the internet, aiming for Yellowstone, and discover there's a national park nearby.

    And, the big ones are already hugely crowded in the peak summer travel, what's an extra 10,000?

    As a dweller on the edge of GrandTetonNP and Yellowstone, I hope millions of Americans pile into their cars next year and
    head out here to see these great places. We'll make room.

  • 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

    After reviewing nemerous media reports on this issue, I believe another view might help. Those of you who oppose the continued culture of oysters in Drakes Estero need to review the situation in Chesapeake Bay where the loss of the oysters has added to the ecological problems of that bay. The oyster therein filtered sediment from the water and deposited those sediments on and around the oyster beds, thus promoting water cleanliness and clarity that permitted the submerged grassbeds to thrive. They also removed microalgae and plant detritus (their food items) thereby further cleaning the bay's waters. Without plentiful oysters the bay's waters are now turbid, the grassbeds die for lack of sufficient solar radiation, and the animals that depended on those oyster beds and grassbeds are dying off. Is that what you all really want to happen in Drakes Estero?

    Natural and cultured oysters in Drakes Estero do the same same thing---they promote clean bay waters! They also promote vertebrate and invertebrate abundance, and hence, aid the bay's overall productivity.

    As a result of the bayside dairy farms that obviously drain waste products into the bay via land runoff (which promote algal growth), any and all oysters that can grow in the bay are important for maintaining good water quality. You all need to be promoting all forms of oyster growth---natural and mariculture! The opponents of Drakes Bay Oyster Company need to stop and appreciate what water-cleansing value their oysters provide for the Drakes Estero ecosystem.

    As a former commissioner of Gulf Island National Seashore in Flroida and Mississippi, one of our goals was to promote oyster production on Horn Island, MS,---a designated wilderness area---for the consuming public and for water cleansing. That should be a goal in the Point Reyes National Seashore also.

    Finally, when National Park Service personnel falsify scientific studies and results therefrom to promote their preconceived ideals, someone has to stand up to them and change their inappropriate ways. That, my dear Californai friends, requires Congressional action in this case! Please find a more appropriate environmental battle---such as removing dairy farms from the Drakes Estero drainage basin.

  • Comment Now: Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore, General Management Plan/Wilderness Study/EIS   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I think you should adopt the "preferred" alternative which leaves the land and water resources for visitor enjoyment and protection of the local vegetation and wildlife.

  • Arnica Fire Continues to Burn in Yellowstone National Park As Weather Begins to Turn   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I hate this, my family & I were just there in August hope it doesnt do to much damage.

  • 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

    Zeb,

    To simplify things a bit, in theory, letting the oyster farm remain within the boundaries of the national park beyond its stated lease would set a precedent that could be repeated throughout the park system.