Recent comments

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    @cut and dry: The parks are not "ours". They belong to the wildlife. We are just the stewards. Everything people do there must be seen from the wildlife's point of view. And as the prevention of poaching mandates to keep out guns and the absence of guns is useful to prevent mis-perceptions of self defense against "dangerous" animals by guys who don't have experience in dealing with wild animals, the ban on firearms is the right thing to do.

  • The Monkey Wrench Gang: Coming to a Theater Near You?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    the only real hayduke is russell crowe

  • Book Review: Let's Go See:All 50! -- Visiting the 50 States Journal   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I have visited all 50 states. I completed that feat when I visited Alaska in 1995. It's been a while since I've been back to, e.g., Rhode Island, Delaware, or Arkansas, however. If I can get to Prince Edward Island someday I'll have visited all 10 Canadian provinces. That doesn't include the Yukon, Nunavut, or the Northwest Territories, however. Something to do in retirement.

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I'm getting into this debate a bit late due to my recent arrival to the forum. Jim Stratton raises valid concerns regarding the carrying of personal firearms in national parks in general and in Katmai in particular. For those who have not been to Brooks River in Katmai, the interaction of visitors and bears is one of the most unusual situations to be found in any national conservation unit. There is a dynamic and delicate balance between people and bears that is possible, in large part, due to mutual respect and a low threat level. This is not to say there have not been problems, but I know of only one incident in which a park employee sustained a minor wound. It is not unusual to meet a bear face to face within a few yards on a park trail. These are among the world's largest bears. The golden rule in the park is that the bears have the right-of-way, and people must move aside to allow the bears room to pass. A day at Brooks River will give you a lifetime of bear stories. Visitors are not permitted to carry firearms for a very good reason. First, it would change the dynamics of the existing truce between bears and people and possibly result in much greater restrictions on visitation. A wounded giant grizzly bear in a concentration of visitors is the stuff of nightmares.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    If I have the right to conceal carry why should it be different in a park? Because I might shoot an animal?
    No... it's all about the parkies. Parkies think it's their park when it actually belongs the people... and they
    are our employees. Oh, I could go on and on but that about sums it all up. Friendly rangers have become
    cops looking to violate happy tourists. And they do. Egos! Ladders to climb. Names to make. Retire with
    the highest GS pay they can get.

    It's our park! And I have a right to conceal carry. I'd hope that if I was unstable enough to be a hazard
    in a park I wouldn't be permitted to conceal carry in the first place. It's all about parkies.

    Can I get an "Amen"?

    (I've worked in an Alaska national park, famous for bears, for 20 years. Yeah, you're probably guessing right.)

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Boy are you wrong!

  • Rescue of Injured Woman from Isolated Canyon at Death Valley National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    She's darned lucky she still has her right lower leg. Ranger Powell almost certainly saved it by manipulating the ankle to open up the kinked artery. That is also a sign of some pretty advanced first aid training. Thanks for posting this warm fuzzy story with a happy ending. Moral of the story: If hiking alone in Death Valley (or anywhere for that matter), make sure you have told someone where you're going and when to expect you back or risk becoming buzzard bait.

  • Rescue of Injured Woman from Isolated Canyon at Death Valley National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Both this person and the person with the ill-advised leap at the Buffalo National River sound like candidates for the Darwin Awards. Despite the fact that this occured in a place called Darwin Canyon, I will give this person the benefit of the doubt without additional information. The person at the Buffalo National River, however, should be charged for the cost of the rescue effort, rather than have our taxpayers pay for his stupidity.

  • Rescue of Injured Woman from Isolated Canyon at Death Valley National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    What a lucky individual. The article fails to mention if she filed a notice with the Rangers alerting them that she would be hiking alone or where she might be hiking. She may have left word with friends but again the article does not mention this. Please call the ranger station and let them know where you are hiking alone and when you will be back. The new SPOT is nice, but like so many places it most likely would not have worked nor would a PLB in that canyon.
    Fortunately she was found by the Rangers and with some excellant flying skills by CHP she did not have to be packed out.

  • About The National Parks Traveler   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Hi, I just stumbled onto your site by accident. Great site!!! Since I've been a road tripper for the past several years, I've logged miles on my truck visiting many different National Parks, Monuments, etc. From the little I've seen so far, great going guys. I've bookmarked you so I'll be sure to be back. Good information, I love it. thanks.....

  • Sour Economy Has Created Lots of Availability At Yellowstone National Park Lodges   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I recently spoke to some folks who run a B&B in Alaska, and they said that while it's usually good to book their spot a year in advance, they still have openings for this summer.

    As Kurt points out in the original story, for "those who managed to avoid the worst of the economic doldrums, this might be a great year to realize that dream" trip.

  • Springtime: Roads Opening In Yellowstone National Park, Bears Coming Out in Grand Teton National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    FYI, the letter I mentioned to the Montana DOT and Highway Patrol on the dead bison has been sent out, and I just posted it to my group's Web site.

    It's at http://www.buffaloallies.org/node/169 . It was signed by Animal Welfare Institute, Buffalo Allies of Bozeman, Buffalo Field Campaign, Defenders of Wildlife, Gravelbar, Horse Butte Neighbors of Buffalo, The Human Society of the United States, Natural Resources Defense Council, Western Watersheds Project, and sent out on April 15.

    Buffalo Field Campaign sent out a separate letter a day previous; however, that letter is not available via the internet.

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

  • Book Review: Let's Go See:All 50! -- Visiting the 50 States Journal   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Hey Zack, I had no idea you even posted that until now. Thanks, and go do your homework! ;-)

  • Mount Rainier National Park: Reaching Out to Camping Newbies   5 years 27 weeks ago

    we are very interested...depending on the dates, we would love to come!!! -JB

  • Taxpayers Get a Nice Present on April 15th   5 years 27 weeks ago

    God is great, even he enjoys the beauty of nature.

  • Springtime: Roads Opening In Yellowstone National Park, Bears Coming Out in Grand Teton National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    A much better article here going into more detail, especially of the first driver of the Ford Fusion.

    http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2009/04/16/news/state/26-bison.txt

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

  • Springtime: Roads Opening In Yellowstone National Park, Bears Coming Out in Grand Teton National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    First mainstream press on the bison deaths:

    http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/articles/2009/04/16/news/10bison.txt

    Looks like it wasn't a Honda but a Ford Fusion as had been told to me - http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/articles/2009/04/16/news/10bison.txt (says there were minor injuries in the first incident, and the car totaled - which I had heard from a resident of West Yellowstone who talked to the woman who crashed her car)

    Three vehicles, two incidents apparently near each other - which helps explain to me why someone from BFC told me 2 incidents and someone who lives on Horse Butte had said she had heard of three separate incidents on the scanner.

    What the article doesn't say is how awful the deaths of some of the animals were; apparently, after the first incident, some bison lingered on throughout the night until a DOL agent finally put them out of their misery. I guess it's one of the first times I had wished the DOL had been there to kill a bison earlier.

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

  • Springtime: Roads Opening In Yellowstone National Park, Bears Coming Out in Grand Teton National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Kurt is right about your best bet to see wolves is in the Lamar Valley - or wherever you see large groups of people with spotting scopes. The wolves follow the elk herds; a lot of wolves leave the park in the winter to follow the herds; they will return as the elk return. Wolf numbers in the park are lower this year, however. Diseases like dysentery and mange have really hurt Yellowstone wolf populations in the last year.

    As for activities, it's going to be moist or snowy, a lot of trails will be closed because of snow or bear management - check with a visitor's center. Your greatest activity will be to witness a really neat time of year when you can see large chunks of Yellowstone that still look something like winter but which you can now reach with your car. Boardwalks may have layers of snow on them that you'll have to walk on a couple feet thick; so even geyser watching isn't as relaxing as it might be later in the year. You might try snowshoeing, but if it's warm, the snow will just stick to them. It's beautiful, but it's probably the least accessible time of year - even the dead of winter is easier to get around - at least then you can hop on skis and snowshoes and navigate through fine powder while bears are denning. Spring is probably the yuckiest time of year in these parts; muddy and slushy with unpredictable weather - however, it is beautiful - on one of the Traveler Forums, I posted some pictures from the first weekend last year.

    As for an update on the bison, look for an article this Friday in the West Yellowstone News. A Buffalo Field Campaign source heard from someone at that paper that the Montana Department of Transportation plans on changing the electronic signage to refer specifically to bison on the roadway and to announce that 15 bison have been killed. They seem open to working on ensuring a safe passage for buffalo crossing the road.

    Letters have started going out; I'm going to wait until tomorrow to post a letter signed by several groups (local and national) on our Web site - http://www.buffaloallies.org - 's Web site. I'm going to wait until it's likely that the government officials have received their email. To preview it, it calls for better signage, for reducing the speed limit until at least June 1 on that stretch of road from 55 mph to 45 mph, calls for more enforcement of existing laws, and more prevention. I know that Buffalo Field Campaign has some people certified to flag and some signs - they are now out there at night - but they don't have the authority to help the buffalo off the road; this would call on agencies to do that.

    A lot of these demands, though, feel a little farcical to me since those same bison are going to be forced by Montana well inside the park after May 15; to date, though, bison have not been hazed west of the park, and the trap at Horse Butte hasn't even been set up - there is more tolerance this year under adaptations to the Interagency Bison Management Plan. However, bison are likely to still be calving after May 15; so they will be pushed off the roads into the park, and so there won't be quite the same danger on US 191 after June 1. So, it's ironic to push for transportation regulations with June 1 in mind, knowing what the management of bison is.

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

  • Mount Rainier National Park: Reaching Out to Camping Newbies   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I just heard about this tonight from the "cool moms" webmail thread. I would love to take my son and since I was laid off from my job of 18 years -camping is all we can afford this summer for a getaway. I think he would love to camp at Camp Long which is in our neighborhood! super idea!

  • Sour Economy Has Created Lots of Availability At Yellowstone National Park Lodges   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Your suggestion in re: to using a credit card to make a reservation is a good one. I have had the experience of having reservations on an airline that went out of business. Fortunately, I used a credit card. Even then it took awhile to get the charge removed. Here on Maui the tourist industry is truly hurting with visitation down more than 20%. In Hawaii, when tourism is cut everyone bleeds.

  • Sour Economy Has Created Lots of Availability At Yellowstone National Park Lodges   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I appreciate Strykers comments. This is an opportunity for all us USA'ers an others to support our parks. Get out here. Spend some money and save some at the same time. Our parks employees and services need our visitation. Its a great time to show our kids our natural treasures and instill the wonders and value of our National and State Parks.

  • What's The Latest On Search For New National Park Service Director? No One's Saying   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I nominate Bill Wade or Rick Smith.

  • Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Very well stated, Frank C. Wildlife attacks in national parks resulting in serious injury or death are rare. A park visitor is far more likely to be injured or killed by auto accidents, severe weather, falling, rock falls, dehydration, etc. The most important thing to remember about wild animals is that they are wild. The less wild they are the more likely they are to be involved in confrontations with humans.

  • Springtime: Roads Opening In Yellowstone National Park, Bears Coming Out in Grand Teton National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Well, you're definitely hitting it between seasons, as they say. Still, you might be able to find some good snowshoeing in some areas of the parks.

    It's probably too much of a ride, but if you're an early riser, Grand Teton rangers are leading tours to watch strutting grouse:

    Strutting Grouse Tours provide an opportunity to acknowledge the seasonal change and the chance to watch a fascinating ritual as grouse congregate to perform animated mating displays on their traditional lek (mating arena) located just off the Antelope Flats Road. Ranger-led tours start bright and early at 5:30 a.m. on weekend mornings from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. Depending upon snow conditions, the first tour is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 11; there will not be a tour on Easter Sunday. Other tours will be held on April 18-19, and April 25-26. Reservations are required and participants are advised to phone the Discovery Center at 739.3399 to reserve a spot and to get information about what to wear and bring along on these April tours.

    Just north of downtown Jackson is the National Museum of Wildlife Art. It's a great way to spend a couple of hours if you like art and wildlife. Downtown Jackson has more than a few art galleries as well.

    In West Yellowstone, the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center offers up-close looks at both wolves and grizzlies in natural settings. And West Yellowstone also has an Imax. The Yellowstone museum in town also is interesting.

    You might also check with the Teton Science School to see what Wildlife Expeditions they might be offering.

    And if you check each park's website and look under "Things to Do" you should be able to find a list of outfitters that offer various activities in the parks, such as wildlife tours, photography tours, etc.

  • Springtime: Roads Opening In Yellowstone National Park, Bears Coming Out in Grand Teton National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Thanks Kurt,

    I'll keep my eye out for them. Do you know if there will be any activities going on next week both in Yellowstone and in the Teton areas. I looked into snowmobile's and they've already shut down for the season. I also looked into some horseback riding but appears they're not open yet. Any other suggestions that my wife and I might be able to do during our week long visit.

    Thanks again,