Recent comments

  • Rare Motion Pictures Show Civil War Veterans at the 75th Gettysburg Battle Anniversary Reunion   5 years 30 weeks ago

    When next you see your son, Stephanie, please thank him on my behalf for his service to our country. I heartily endorse all of those gestures of respect and support you've listed. They help us to remember and appreciate that freedom is not free.

  • The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 30 weeks ago

    A wonderful piece and we are anxious to see these episodes. We just returned from a coastal road trip and stayed at four California State Parks which are on the brink of closing. A tremendous tradegy is looming for those of us who love the outdoors and wish to partake in the simple pleasures of securing a camp spot, setting up a tent and enjoying the splendor of these preserved majestical places. How dare our representatives in the state legislature use our taxes for purposes we deem far less important. Californians: fight for your parks!

  • Rare Motion Pictures Show Civil War Veterans at the 75th Gettysburg Battle Anniversary Reunion   5 years 30 weeks ago

    My son is now serving our Country via the US Army, I am so proud of him and the desire to "fight for our freedom". I have always admired and appreciated all the men and woman that have served our country's fight for freedom, saluting a soldier, standing at attention when they pass by, smiling to them...are all little gestures of my appreciation for their service. WE ALL need to do this, no matter where we live, what we believe in. Showing our support and appreciation is the LEAST that we can do.

  • Bear #399, And Other Grizzlies, Are On the Prowl In Grand Teton National Park   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Just returned from Jackson, no sign of 399, but heard reports that after being seen with a new cub early in the season she was **rumoured** to have been seen again without a cub and with a scratched up face. This was from staff in the Tom Mangleson gallery. Hope that she is OK.

  • What Do You Think: Is The National Park Service Handling Advertising For Park-Related Businesses?   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Nobody knows how harmful NPS welfare campgrounds can be until they visit the only privately owned campground struggling for survival in the Big Cypress National Preserve in South Florida. How would you like to operate a family owned campground surrounded by a bevy of NPS so-called primitive campgrounds selling their campsites at well below their operating costs. Private businesses pay a bunch of taxes and this business owner in oh so great America gets to watch his tax payments being used to destroy his families legacy. Now is this is a Federal Crime or what. No business should allow itself to become dependent upon any government handouts. On the other hand if you are looking for unfair advantage go fot it. I guess that is one side of capitalism.
    The NPS actually has full fledged RV parks in the Preserve along with specially modified campgrounds set up for ORV visitors. The rough part of that is that a few years ago NPS did an ORV plan cutting off ORV access from the only private campground in the Preserve. Sounds as though the posters here must be on the receiveng ind of NPS's handouts that only continue as long as you do and speak as NPS TELLS YOU TO. Oh heck who cares about freedom of speech anyway. The way I see it you interpret it NPS's way or you are sent down the highway.
    I guess my bottom line is NPS shouldn't have any connection with real business any more than a religion should be deeply involved in our governments operations. Either way it will just screw things up.

  • Headed Into the Fiery Furnace? Get a Reservation In Advance Online   5 years 30 weeks ago

    On our trip out West,this past May we took this hike through the Fiery Furnace.It is well worth the $10 price.It was a strenous trip in some places but overall the sights to be seen were magnificent and should not be missed while at Arches National Park.The ranger got us over all the difficult spots and pointed out the arches and vegetation during the 3 hours.Above all you must be prepared with lots of water and the correct footwear. We can't wait to experience this park in the near future again.

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Launches "Coordinated Strategy" To Address Climate Change Impacts on Federal Landscapes   5 years 30 weeks ago

    It is heartening to see the DOI taking a proactive stand in re: to global warming. I note that the news releases speak less about preventing climate change and more about tracking and mitigating impacts. Global warming is no longer a possibility but rather a progressing reality. Land and resource managing agencies will be forced to carefully monitor changes taking place and to respond in a timely manner. Substantively reducing the release of CO2, methane and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere may help to dampen what would otherwise be severe changes. New technologies may help in that regard, but the lag time to bring them into full operation will have minimal affect on the global climate change process. The only way to effectively influence the process is simply to use less carbon and methane based energy resources. That means cutting back on virtually all forms of conventional energy use and on the general consumption of products that require large quantities of carbon fuels. Otherwise, we are on a runaway train heading for the end of the tracks.

  • At Gateway Arch, a Two-Week Blackout Benefits Migrating Birds   5 years 30 weeks ago

    There is also a huge new federal building skyscraper a few blocks west of the Arch. It's one of the tallest structures in St. Louis. I wonder if this federal property will be following the lead of the NPS in turning off their lights. Obviously, the stadium can't turn off its lights on game nights, nor can the bridges on any nights and the casino surely won't either.

  • Traveler's Gear Box: When You Need To Stop Bleeding Fast....   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Are there any possible allergic reactions to these products? And what is the shelf life / storage life? Oh, and where can these products be a'gotten? Thanks

  • Grand Canyon National Park Crews Installing, Ahem, New Vault Toilets on South Rim   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Great improvement! I know that toilets are not a sexy topic, but they can be the difference between a great canyon experience and a horrible one! The one pictured looks like the facility at the picnic area near the South Kaibab trailhead, which I was happy to see installed some years ago. Perhaps the most laudable improvement to the Bright Angel trail in many years was the addition of an outhouse at the 1.5 mile resthouse (which I affectionately call the RAC - Robert Arnberger Crapper). The most recent addition of a similar structure at the 3 mile resthouse is also beneficial. Making these improvements along the rim is long overdue, but I loudly applaud the effort that is finally getting this done.

  • At Gateway Arch, a Two-Week Blackout Benefits Migrating Birds   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Your point is well taken, Kath. There are lots of other distracting lights in the Gateway Arch vicinity, including the very bright lights of a huge hotel/casino complex (Lumiere Place) only a few blocks to the north

  • At Gateway Arch, a Two-Week Blackout Benefits Migrating Birds   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Jim, some of the citizen complaints about the initial three-hour lighting schedule were actually quite funny. One guy reportedly said that turning the Arch's floodlights on at 9:00 p.m. made little sense to him because he and many other elderly residents of St. Louis were already in bed by then.

  • At Gateway Arch, a Two-Week Blackout Benefits Migrating Birds   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Kath -

    Somehow I think this 'light out' is more symbolic than effective.

    Perhaps so; I don't know if the Arch's location right next to the river - and it's height - makes it more of a problem for migrating birds as compared to the other structures you mentioned, or not.

    However, you may have hit upon the most important part of the "lights out" gesture at the Arch: the symbolic aspect. It seems very appropriate than a NPS site should set an example for other facilities, not only in terms of the bird migration issue, but for energy conservation.

    My attention was caught by this statement in the story:

    The Arch was at first lit only three hours each night (9:00 p.m. until midnight), but more hours were added after St. Louis residents complained that three hours wasn’t enough.

    It sure seems that turning off all those floodlights by midnight each night would be a reasonable approach in terms of reducing the park's electric bill a bit, and saving some electricity. Yes, I know the amount of energy saved is small in the big scheme of things, but the combination of a lot of similar small steps are one way we can help deal with our nation's energy problem.

    From that standpoint, the "symbolic" aspect of the park's decision are valuable indeed.

  • At Gateway Arch, a Two-Week Blackout Benefits Migrating Birds   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Well, that's very nice and saves the NPS electricity. But the arch is surrounded by skyscrapers, Busch stadium, well-lit bridges across the Mississippi and riverboat casinos decked out in neon. Somehow I think this 'light out' is more symbolic than effective.

  • Joshua Tree National Park Nabs Man Accused of Scattering Thousands of Golf Balls in the Park   5 years 30 weeks ago

    A nod to Mark for his lol-inducing remark. ;-)

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Launches "Coordinated Strategy" To Address Climate Change Impacts on Federal Landscapes   5 years 30 weeks ago

    1. Batteries will become more efficient on the whole and their price will drop, whereas the oil will simply go up and up as it becomes more scarce. As simple as that.

    2. The range of noticeable EVs are sufficient to meet the daily driving needs of more than 95% of drivers ((The vast majority of people (95%) drive less than 100/km a day, 82% of the respondents said they drive 40 miles or less a day, with an average daily driving distance of 27 miles.)).

    3. I'm hopeful that the charge network will extend the select districts to nation-wide scale throughout the world, and this environment can usher in active private investings in EVs.

    4. I remain confident that it could give rise to multiple times as much investing effect, so to speak, some billions of investing, this simple deployment, could call into the most-sought energy independence and solid recovery around the world.

  • Of Gray Whales, National Parks, and Climate Change   5 years 30 weeks ago

    The Eastern Pacific gray whale is not subject to commercial hunting or blatantly fake "research" harvesting of the type that Japan is notorious for. Treaty provisions do make a small (and very controversial) allowance for aboriginal/subsistence harvest.

  • At Gateway Arch, a Two-Week Blackout Benefits Migrating Birds   5 years 30 weeks ago

    How wonderful that we are doing something to help migrating birds. I have had readers comment that they have not had any swallows nesting for the first time in 25 years. I have had other readers say swallow numbers are the same. I am in England.

    I think we all realise that it is complicated to find out why swallow numbers decline, but a lot of the problems could come when they are migrating. Anything that helps swallows and other migratory birds is a marvellous thing.
    Trisha

  • Of Gray Whales, National Parks, and Climate Change   5 years 30 weeks ago

    I was so very fortunate to see an amazing gray whale yesterday on Santa Maria beach yesterday 9/17/09. I don't know how rare this is this time of year. I was totally awestruck as to how close the beautiful whale was. I thought at first it was a seal as it was 30-50 yards out (as confirmed by 4 others on the beach - guessing more towards 30 yards). Then when the beautiful mammal came up and blew out water and I saw the gray I figured it was a very young gray...pretty small. It may have been young but it certainly was not small as it's second breach it really showed it's full top (I could see much of the whale under the water from the beach) and then the upper tail came out 5-10 seconds later. I would estimate the gray to be at least 20-25 feet long at a minimum because of the duration between the breaching of the blowhole to the breaching of the top-front of the tale. There must be a good drop off but I never did see it's full tail out of water.....probably because as mentioned above this is seen when the whale dives down. It was a magical experience getting to walk/jog alongside this beautiful earthling for nearly an hour and nearly a mile. He/she seemed to wave goodbye as the last time I saw him it seemed like it showed it's side fin (maybe I imagined this but it's only real if you believe!). It definitely felt very spiritual and I'm still feeling high off the experience!

    Is this what the Japanese are hunting?!?! Aren't they protected Internationally?!?! Hats off to those daring people that try to stop it from happening.

    [This comment was edited]

  • SPOT – The Good, the Bad and the Silly Uses for Those High-Tech Communicators   5 years 30 weeks ago

    I'm all for the SPOT device and its uses because I own one myself but I do agree on the "boy who cried wolf." I would of never bought one myself but was given one as a gift from my parents and absolutely love it and would recommend it to anyone venturing into the backcountry. When on vacation in Arches National Park in August 2009 the SPOT device helped me save a guys life on the Devil's Garden Primitive Loop Trail. Response time from hitting the 9-1-1 button to first Ranger on scene was two hours which is pretty good in my opinion. Thanks for the article and I can't wait to get the new version of the device!

  • Historic Railroad Bridge in New York State Becomes Part of National Trails System   5 years 30 weeks ago

    To Some Guy, it is not likely that any federal funds will go into maintenance. Generally, federal funds for transportation projects go only to construction, and the states must maintain it.

    To Kurt, it might be worth mentioning Congressman Maurice Hinchey rather than, or at least in addtion to, Salazar. Mr. Hinchey is one of the strongest advocates of the National Park System and Service in the Congress. He has been on both the National Parks subcommittee for authorizing legislation, and is now on the Interior subcommittee of Appropriations, which has funding jurisdiction over parks. Few Members of Congress from New York would seek national park committee assignments, but Hinchey has, and has stuck with it.

    And, most everyone sees Hinchey as the guy who spent years saving this bridge, and seeking funding at several levels to make this project happen. And, he hung in there as project after project for the 400th Anniversary crashed and burned, Hinchey's insistence kept this project on line, when other important projects, such as for Governors Island in New York Harbor, had no local advocates with the skill and persistence of Hinchey. Hinchey has been seeking ways to link historic and natural resources up and down New York State, from linkages such as Recreation Trails and greenways, to networks of people and advocates. It is no easy task linking the west bank with the east bank of the Hudson, who need to pull together to protect and enjoy this magnificent river. Hinchey reminds me of the kind congressional advocates for National Parks that used to fill the U.S. Congress, but sadly do not anymore.

    Without Hinchey, Salazar would have had nothing to celebrate.

  • Joshua Tree National Park Nabs Man Accused of Scattering Thousands of Golf Balls in the Park   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park deals with the cleanup of assorted "offerings to Pele" that are scattered all around. Sometimes it's just a ti leaf around a rock, but often it's fruit, alcoholic beverages, or even meat. They not only have problems with litter, but it's creating a problem with the local wildlife.

  • Joshua Tree National Park Nabs Man Accused of Scattering Thousands of Golf Balls in the Park   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Thanks for the correction.

  • Joshua Tree National Park Nabs Man Accused of Scattering Thousands of Golf Balls in the Park   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Actually, Joe Zarki works for the park. He was detailing the episode to Jim. He wasn't the one throwing golf balls.

  • Joshua Tree National Park Nabs Man Accused of Scattering Thousands of Golf Balls in the Park   5 years 30 weeks ago

    Zarki is just an extreme example of what all-too-many do while visiting public lands. There seems to be a basic drive to mark your territory while in a new natural area. People who climb mountains frequently pile rocks on top of one another as a way to memorialize their visit or carve their initials into a tree or face of a rock wall. It's the equivalent of a dog urinating on a tree to tell other dogs that it has been there. Ideally, wild areas should be left unmarked by human graffiti. Each visitor should have the opportunity to see and experience a natural area without man made distractions.