Recent comments

  • The "Yellowstone Creation Myth": A Good Tale, But Little More Than That   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Whittlesey and Schullery's book on the creation myth is a pretty good one that goes not only into the myth but the history of trying to debunk the myth. Previous Yellowstone historian Aubrey Haines had to deal with a lot of angst within the Park Service to publish against the myth that men like Horace Albright worked so hard to keep in tact. And, it still is in tact to some extent; there's still this horrible plaque outside the Madison Visitor Center looking toward National Park Mountain.

    My only beef with the book is that they go on to defend this myth, not as history, but as myth. And, while I think myth is deeply important, I think this particular myth is not the kind of story we should be perpetuating. On this and myth making in Yellowstone, I spent a lot of time writing, as I find the whole thing fascinating. See Re-mythologizing Yellowstone for a lot more.

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

  • The "Yellowstone Creation Myth": A Good Tale, But Little More Than That   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Are you familiar with the once influencial essay "Yosemite: The Story of an Idea" by Hans Huth from 1948 in the Sierra Club Bulletin? It is obviously almost forgotten, Richard Sellars doesn't even mention it in his history of the National Parks. It is at least not prominently named in Heacox "An American Idea", so I didn't find it thumbing through. Fortunately it is online one the somewhat obscure Website yosemite.ca.us at http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/yosemite_story_of_an_idea.html and worth reading it, more then 60 years later.

  • GPS Unit Leads Couple Into Trouble Near Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I was on Cottonwood Wash Road in October of 2008. We had a great drive from 89 S to Tropic. It was a bit rough in Kane County section, but smoothed out. There is no reason to trust any kind of electronic navigation system unless you are with the CIA or the Army out in the backcountry west. You need to use a good map and a compass. I also have an altimeter in my car and a car compass (they are not fancy but they work and are reliable) and pay attention to my senses, odometer and judgment. I do not even understand why you would try this (entering addresses and looking at an electronic map). It's a waste of energy, just get a good map, ask around about conditions.

    We saw the AP article in Kanab BLM station about those people from California that dead-ended staring at their GPS units. I'm glad its finally up on the internet where all can learn from their pathetic arrogance.

  • GPS Unit Leads Couple Into Trouble Near Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I was on Cottonwood Wash Road in October of 2008. We had a great drive from 89 S to Tropic. It was a bit rough in Kane County section, but smoothed out. There is no reason to trust any kind of electronic navigation system unless you are with the CIA or the Army out in the backcountry west. You need to use a good map and a compass. I also have an altimeter in my car and a car compass (they are not fancy but they work and are reliable) and pay attention to my senses, odometer and judgment. I do not even understand why you would try this (entering addresses and looking at an electronic map). It's a waste of energy, just get a good map, ask around about conditions.

    We saw the AP article in Kanab BLM station about those people from California that dead-ended staring at their GPS units. I'm glad its finally up on the internet where all can learn from their pathetic arrogance.

  • Believe it or Not, Yosemite National Park Once had a Zoo   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I have a picture that was in a box of old family photos, of a woman in a 1920's era dress, feeding a bear standing on it's hind legs from a presumable Coke bottle.

  • "Give A Lincoln" To Help Preserve National Park Service Sites Tied to the Former President   5 years 26 weeks ago

    A nice effort - hope it will pay off.

  • What's Blooming In Yosemite National Park?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Kurt, I'm absolutely positive Carl Sharsmith would love this piece on the Yosemite wildflowers. Very nicely put together.

  • Considering a Hike up Half Dome?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Why is this even allowed? I understand allowing a certain amount of people to hike up at one time, but allowing a whole trail to march up at the same time? Seems irresponsible to me...

  • Desert Solitaire Review   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Darn, where did I leave that Monkey- wrench? Edward Abbey is one of the great misanthropic icons of The American West. I was particularly entertained by his notions of feeling cramped by the closeness of the living things in the woods of the Northwest. Truly 'The Desert Rat'.

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Fred,
    How nice that you are able to protect yourself and your family. I wish I was afforded that "right" myself. Too bad our supreme court doesn't understand the phrase "shall not be infringed." Sign me, unprotected and wondering why....

  • The Essential Arches   5 years 26 weeks ago

    This is a question, not a comment.

    A couple of years ago, my husband and I visited Zion, Bryce and Sedona. We found online a hiking guide to the Sedona area that included turn-by-turn trail instructions, with *photographs* at each stage. The creator of the guide offered a downloadable PDF version for sale at a very reasonable price. We bought it, and it turned out to be very helpful.

    We are now planning a trip to Arches and Canyonlands, and have been looking for a similar guide, but we have not been able to find one. This appears to be a very knowledgeable and authoritative site. Does anyone here know of a source for a guide of this type for Arches and/or Canyonlands, in any format?

    Thanks!

    Fran Fruit
    Winnetka, IL

  • A Church in the Wilderness   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Georgeous! Been there a few years ago and would love to go back.

  • Bryce Canyon National Park: This Small Corner of Utah Packs a Colorful Punch   5 years 26 weeks ago

    These are my thoughts exactly. The highlight of my childhood was a family roadtrip across the U.S. visiting many national parks and other wondrous sights. The entire trip was three weeks, the length of my father's vacation. We did very little hiking but I drank in the magnificence of those places. Now, I try to take my children to see our beautiful country.
    I love hiking, but it is not for everyone. And hiking up a grade at a high altitude is very difficult for many individuals.

  • Desert Solitaire Review   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Re: "Desert Solitaire" review: I too have been touched by the beauty of canyon country and desert lands, but I won't be leaving the old lady and the brats behind on my upcoming trip; I'll be taking my husband and the kids to experience God's earth together.

  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Lands Windfall In Donation of Historic Buildings, Memorabilia   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Sounds like a positive development for this park. This speaks well of the relationship between the park and the local community.

    Perhaps the best news is that both the park and the town benefited, and it sounds like they are working in tandem to compliment, rather than duplicate, efforts. I hope the cost to restore and maintain the donated buildings won't make this a burden rather than a blessing. The town can use some additional "real history" to help offset the touristy stuff along the main drag.

  • Another Yellowstone National Park Wolf Reaches Colorado   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Click-click. (round in the chamber)

  • Alaska Game Officials Being Asked to Ease Off On Killing Bears and Wolves in National Park Preserves   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Whatever insane law that allows the State of Alaska to control hunting on National Park land needs to be changed. National Park lands belong to all Americans, not just Alaskans. National Park lands are for the protection of all native flora and fauna, not for providing trophy hunting under any circumstances !

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Oh but Tom when was the last time you read the 2nd Amendment and the old version of 36 CFR 2.4 in the same sitting? It doesn't take a lawyer to figure out that this is not a 2nd Amendment issue. Granted it makes a nice soap box and people will listen if they think their rights are restricted, but it's just a wolf in sheeps clothing. You had the same rights granted in the 2nd Amendment with the old 36 CFR 2.4 While on the subject of 2nd Amendment rights ask the NRA why you are not allowed to carry with a valid CCW permit at their annual meetings?

  • Presumed 400-foot Fall Kills Man in Zion National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Zion has more abrupt drop-offs than most Parks. Canyon Overlook wouldn't be a hard place to lose your footing and slide over the edge.

  • About That Stimulus Package for the National Parks: Nothing Worthwhile Is Easily Attained   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Sabattis wrote, With the budget deficit now proposed to hit 1.75 trillion dollars in 2010, and no sign of a new comprehensive effort to reduce the maintenance backlog, was a once-in-a-generation opportunity missed - despite the change in Administration?

    Are you suggesting that the political party of the president matters little in how national parks are treated? That both parties overlook parks or use them as political pawns?

  • About That Stimulus Package for the National Parks: Nothing Worthwhile Is Easily Attained   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I've reflected on this a little more, and realized that the other possible storyline here (i.e. other than the possible storyline about the limits of the NPS to absorb and manage additional spending) is what a phenomenal missed opportunity this was for the Parks. The last time this country faced an economic crisis of this magnitude, the National Parks played a now-legendary role in the stimulus and jobs program that was established to respond to it (CCC anyone?). Surely this role could have made for a strong selling point in addressing the maintenance backlog for the Parks, right? Shortly after the last election many interest groups immediately began gearing up to ensure that their concerns were addressed in the stimulus package. Were Parks interest groups perhaps too distracted by a guns issue that may not ultimately impact most Park visitors to have successfully made that case? With the budget deficit now proposed to hit 1.75 trillion dollars in 2010, and no sign of a new comprehensive effort to reduce the maintenance backlog, was a once-in-a-generation opportunity missed - despite the change in Administration?

  • Presumed 400-foot Fall Kills Man in Zion National Park   5 years 26 weeks ago

    It appears to me, and I have no facts or figures to support my thinking, that there seems to be more visitor deaths at Zion than other parks.

  • About That Stimulus Package for the National Parks: Nothing Worthwhile Is Easily Attained   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I've wondered previously, why other National priorities like education and transportation received much bigger allotments in the stimulus package than National Parks - but the fact that it is going to take the National Park Service and Department of the Interior four months just to figure out where to start spending the money seems to point in the right direction. For all the talk of the $9 billion backlog, one wonders if the NPS really has the backlog well-defined enough to be able to address it, even if they were suddenly given the resources to do so.

  • Alaska Game Officials Being Asked to Ease Off On Killing Bears and Wolves in National Park Preserves   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Thank you for an excellent report. You have touched a controversial issue re: the management of wildlife in national preserves in Alaska. In all-too-many instances the National Park Service has failed to be an effective advocate for national preserves, particularly in the management of sport hunting. The tendency has been to allow the State of Alaska Board of Fish & Game to set seasons, bag limits and other regulations related to sex and size with minimal participation by the Park Service. National preserves are fully legitimate units of the National Park System deserving of the highest standards of stewardship within the letter and intent of their enabling legislation and the NPS Organic Act. While some management prerogatives may be shared with the State of Alaska the Park Service must be certain that they do not violate the stated intent of Congress for the affected preserves.

    It should also be noted that the Alaska Board of Fish and Game sets seasons and bag limits for subsistence hunting and trapping in most ANILCA created national parks. Subsistence was excluded from the ANILCA additions to Katmai National Park, but it is an open secret that hunters using ATVs enter parklands and take wildlife.

  • New Visitor Center Coming to Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Sounds like a fabulous center .. nice to see the park service being green!