Recent comments

  • Tredegar Ironworks: A Civil War Icon Preserved at Richmond National Battlefield Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Nice article, dapster. Makes me want to go back to Richmond and take a closer look. I'm very interested in the American Civil War Center Museum. You only mentioned it in passing, so I have to ask; is it worth a special trip?

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I truly hope that you are right RAH.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Good for you Red Mountain Rob. May you never have to use the weapon against any predator human or animal.

    Remember bears may be armed and cougars get hungry. With your fire they can get a lot more than a quarter pounder. Many days of nicly cooked meat.

    But seriously you will find that most gun info indicates handguns are a poor choice against bears. The bullet just does not penetrate enough to stop them. That is why rifles with a better caliber are used to hunt big game and bears.

  • Secretary Salazar Calls for Review Of Gun Rules in National Parks   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I may be a wildlife biologist or ethnologist. You do not know. I asked questions and thanked you for the links. As I said east coast NPS park info does not warn about charges and we only have black bears. I have traveled the back country for 40 years and have never met a bear in a hostile encounter. I have seen their scat and heard them at night while backpacking. I have had more problems with deer and turkey running into tents at night, and skunks who search campgrounds.

    So I wondered about the number of bluff charges and if this is a rare or western behavior and if the charges are becoming more common or not. The numbers of bears in western parks are higher and that may lead to more conflicts between visitors, but again western parks are much larger and most visitors stick to the public areas.

    Since many here have described this behavior I wondered if any have expereienced it. Your links indicated it is very rare and a dangerous behavior. I certainly am not an expert on bear behavior but like any animal it will defend it's territory and young and search for food. Bears have associated people with food and that leads to problems. People in the backcountry bring food and bears can get accustom to searching out people for food. The recent warning about leaving the shoes outside the tent to allow bears to check out shoes and not tear open a tent is a problem for backpackers since they generally only carry one set of boots.

    On research most bear attacks have been on National Forest land where people already have the right and there has not been people shooting bears unjustified. So this fear of CCW holders being scared and shooting bear is overblown. Most hikers in the backcountry try to keep their distance from bears.

    I know a personal case where the person was portaging and encountered a black bear that attacked his dog and him and tried to block his escape to the river. The person had a knife and did manage to kill the bear with that and got to the river and was taken with dog to medical help. That was not a bluff but was a hostile encounter.

    A handgun is very poor weapon to defend against a bear. It mostly can anger them and should only be used at dire circumstances. Most people who use and practice with guns are very aware of that.

    I have read the warnings about bears and dogs in Yosemite and how the dogs often lead the bear to the owner. That is a concern and because of that I decided not to go to Yosemite a couple of years ago. I like to camp in NPS and bring my dogs with me. So I do pay attention to warnings to keep my family , dogs and wildife safe.

    I am not CCW holder and so this rule does not apply to me. I abide the rules about guns if I have them and keep them secured. Mostly I do not travel with them, though I have sometimes. Depends if we plan to go to ranges or not. Ny travel with guns is generally only for 2 legged predators and not for NPS lands. But I still support the right to carry in NPS and would prefer it not to be limited to only conceal carry.

    CCW has been allowed in NF and has not been a problem so I do not expect a proplem in NPS. Just seems to be a lot of fear about guns that is overblown.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Red Mountain Rob

    I've just recently had to come to face this issue in my own life. I have hiked many a mile, climbed most of the 14'ers in Colorado and not once carried gun while hiking. But things in my life have changed, I'm older, retired, my health is not what it once was, moved to a new area and no longer think I can get myself out of most any jam by my wits.

    Since moving here I have attended various seminars and workshop on wildlife and the environment. My passion is photography not hunting, and have been told by virtually every person, protect yourself, you can become the hunted. I have been told in private and heard it said at seminars, and I paraphrase, you cannot have a fire in this park. Period. But if your life is at stake, build a fire.

    So what would a hungry bear say about me looking back at him? Ahh, a quarter pounder with cheese!

    I have enrolled in a class to learn about weapons and will get a concealed carry permit.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    First of all, the premise that the public is irresponsible is not one I accept. If that was true then we should not rule ourselves but rather have rulers imposed on us like divine kings.
    Members of the public may exhibit irresponsible behavior and that should not be santioned and they should be educated as to the error of their ways. So recklesss discharge , shooting at signs and animals without cause should be prosecuted as it is already illegal and will remain so.

    The concerns that Bryan have are the same concerns that people expressed in various states about allowing CCW in the first place. Wild shootouts and road rage and inconsiderate shootings. However the result has proved that to be false. In the states that allowed CCW, many who were opposed have changed their minds since these fears did not come to pass.

    So the evidence has not shown these concerns to have validity. Based on that I expect the same result in NPS. No real change and no hot tempers resulting in bad shootings.

    Since the rule is effect we will wait and see. I trust that the CCW holders will validate that trust as they have in 48 states.

  • Secretary Salazar Calls for Review Of Gun Rules in National Parks   5 years 27 weeks ago

    So you have become a wildlife biologist or an ethologist by now? Please don't interpret the facts, just accept them in the first place. Bluff charges are real, they happen much more often than real charges and not only bears use them.

    Next point: The backcountry belong to them, we are just visiting their realm. So your claim that every bear that ever bluff charges is dangerous to man and you can kill him or her is inacceptable. If you are afraid of wildlife and think you need a gun to venture into wildernes, just don't go into a National Parks backcountry. It is perfectly fine not to go into places where we don't feel safe.

  • How Will Stimulus Help the Parks? At Great Sand Dunes National Park It Could Mean Reclamation and Restoration   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Red Mountain Rob

    I wish I had been born smarter instead of the handsome creature that I am! Truth be, I don't know if the Presidents plan will work or not. I do know we've have 8 years or tax cut or relief in various forms _ and it has not worked. We are in a mess. No sense on blaming it on Republicans or Democrats, they/we've all hand a hand in it. FDR's Hoover Dam is credited with putting people to work and helping end the Great Depression, Eisenhower"s Interstate Road Program changed how we travel and put people to work. There's that word again _ work _. And that is the key to this thing I think. So many people are out of work, and so many more are afraid of losing there job they have stopped or greatly curtailed spending. I think many of us don't relate to unemployment, kinda like surgery. Its minor surgery if its on you and major surgery if its me going under the knife.

    I cannot think of a major project that would put a lot of people to work, so its a lot of small projects that will put people to work. Maybe. I know its hard to call these projects small when each gets millions upon millions. If your on this site I assume you love the outdoors and the greatest park system in the world that is ours to enjoy and protect. At least we will get something out of this.

    When I hear all the bitching and moaning I have to remind myself _ we are all on the same team (aren't we?)

  • Freeze On New Regs Could Impact Efforts to Expand Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Dubbya, I mean Zebulon,
    I guess science is just a bunch of hocus-pocus magic that has no basis in the real world. Because obliviously the trail degradation that my eyes took in (increasingly deeper ruts (around a 1/4 to 1/3 of the wheels radius), loss of trailside vegetation as people try to avoid the ruts and widen the trail, the associated increase in erosion following a hard rain, etc.) in the areas that I have biked must all be make believe. I'll refer you back again to the study you posted as it reiterates what I have seen: http://www.imba.com/resources/science/marion_wimpey_2007.html. In all seriousness, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and postulate that in the area that you live the ground is of a tougher soil composition or made up of a higher percentage of rock, which would explain why your eyes don't perceive this reality that occurs in other areas. But realize this however, not areas are created equal. You may not be seeing it, but that does not mean it does occur. And I don't disagree in regards to horses, but pointing your finger and complaining that 'if they get to, then why not me' is a petulant, contrived argument. Sad. I've said my piece and I'll put my faith in that clearer heads will prevail.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Folks, I think the bottom line here is that in general, the public is irresponsible. Adding guns to our peaceful National Parks will just add violence. Anyone can argue about the few "drug dealers" or anyone who disobeys laws that will ultimately carry weapons in the NPS may/will rob and/or murder others. What I believe will occur in our NPS by allowing CCW is the unlawful killing of animals in so called "self-defense", hot tempers leading to grabbing a gun, and again irresponsible people target shooting, littering and/or ruining the natural landscape and maybe even killing someone else accidentally. Guns, in general are not needed nor (in majority) wanted in our peaceful NPS. I read the comments here all the time, but have never posted here before. This topic disturbs me. I only see this being an issue from a disgruntled Presidents slash and burn policy while exiting office. I am not affiliated with any party nor do I see a need for a political discussion and I am not a "gun hater". I believe guns have a place in our society, just not in our NPS. In the grand scheme, there have not been problems in our NPS, just think what problems are going to come about allowing CCW in the parks. Its just my humble opinion.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Bears shoot in the woods? You mean I had it wrong all these years?

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Actually, if more people were armed, then animals would be afraid of people and stay away from them like they used to rather than thinking that they are unarmed prey like the Mt. Tamalpais lady. Oh, that's right! People were more worried about the orphaned cats than the orphaned kids. There are also National Forests that have been taken over by druggies, so a few law-abiding citizens killing them would be a good thing.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Nobody can predict bear behavior (especially over a long period of time). However, it is possible to read their behavior in a way that will help a person predict their next move. I am not talking "horse whisperer" reading, but bear experts can tell you if a bear is acting aggressive or is unconcerned.

    So... Anonymous seems to think that many CCW holders are already breaking the law... From what other CCW holders are saying that is not true. Who is right?

    This is just a thought, but the illegality of having a loaded weapon in parks may be enough of a motivation that CCW or CCDW (I don't know which acronym is correct...) who have been in parks arm themselves with other defenses or they just are more patient when it comes to bear/human interactions.... (They ask questions first, shoot later)

    I could come up with theories (as could every other person here), but a study is really what is needed. The challenge will be to have one done that doesn't get challenged and held up in court for the next 10 years. And good luck to the researcher who tries to get that study through the Office of Management and Budget. OMB doesn't like studies investigate polarizing topics.

  • Freeze On New Regs Could Impact Efforts to Expand Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Toothdoctor, what a lame argument. Bikers need to get over it because they impact the trail! 1) the science does not back your claim, and 2) why are horses allowed since they destroy the trails more than any other user? Another poorly thought out contrived argument to justify the unjustifiable. Funny.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 27 weeks ago

    odd-even? are you kidding me? that's something that heavily used urban interface trails under take for things like dogs on leash or mountain bikes/no mountain bikes... how would this play out in the short visitation season in yellowstone?

    sorry, but mountain bikes are a different kind of use. the pro side makes them seem like they are harmless and just another user group suffering the snowboarding syndrome, to become accepted and mildly dominant in the future... i don't see it. hiking is much different than mountain biking, the speed issue alone separates them.

    i don't see mountain biking over taking hiking in general, the cost alone to get a good bike and all the needed gear far outstrips that of hiking, no questions. i do both, and love mountain biking, but come on.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 27 weeks ago

    So, if I understand well, national parks are special and therefore bikes should be kept out (same argument for wilderness). There is obviously no logical link whatsoever. Lee, I admire your wishful thinking, but one has to be realistic. If we want the future generation to come back to the parks, we are going to have to adapt to them. Young kids aren't hiking, but they sure are biking. So, simply wishing that things go back to the way they were won't make them so. It'd be like me wishing to turn back the clock, grow some hairs again and lose 25#. It'd be nice but is very unlikely to happen. :)

    As I said, we could come up with inventive ways to share the public land in a way that we can all enjoy it in our own responsible human powered manner. That would bring new users back to the park, so that they don't become irrelevant to future generations.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    A very thoughtful response. Common sense sholud rule. CCW permit holders are not just gun owners or registered gun owners. They have gone the extra mile for some training (though minor) and a back ground check to make sure they are not convicted felons.

    Environmental Impact Report? For what? CCW carriers aren't going out there to target practice. What a waste of taxpayer money. How can you forecast animal incidents with CCW carriers that haven't happened?

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 27 weeks ago

    IMTN, I'm certainly willing to keep an open mind, and have readily pointed to many parks where there already are mountain bike opportunities, and even shared trail efforts (Mammoth Cave).

    But I've yet to be convinced that we should just lump national parks along with other public lands and treat them as such.

    Is there no place else to ride? Hardly. I've made this point many times over the past three-plus years: The national park landscape is roughly 84 million acres, that of the BLM and U.S. Forest Service hundreds of millions. There are countless miles of trails already open to mountain bikes on the public landscape. It's not that bikers are going without.

    Are mountain bikers being denied access to national park lands? No.

    Odd-even? Have you ever ridden the slick-rock trail near Moab? Think an odd-even program would work there? Doubtful.

    If the Congress in 1916 didn't think national parks should be special places, why didn't they just place the lands under the Forest Service?

    Bottom line: Come up with a compelling argument and perhaps I'll agree.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Kurt,
    I too commend you for attempting to bring in some levity. It was a nice change. I have seen and responded to quite a few posts and have been thinking..... Why don't they let us first carry paintball guns concealed! Then they could count the number of paint rounds expended on animals, signs, people, or whatever. Then we would have an accurate account of the impact real guns would have! ( Unless, of coarse, all the lefties buy paintball guns and go buck wild (pun intended) on wildlife and such) But they (lefties) wouldn't do that would they? On another note, I wish all the pro- gun people would stop making us look like idiots. The 2nd amendment has little to NOTHING to do with CCDW! It says "a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." There is NOTHING in there giving us the right to carry concealed! It gives us the right to own guns ! If anything it says right there, bear arms.... meaning to show or have, as in bear your backside, which is what you do when you try to use the 2nd amendment to argue for concealed carry.

    PS- can anyone "read" bears? I believe the last guy that thought he could and actually "lived" with them named Timothy Treadwell, the so called self -taught expert, sadly was killed by a bear in 2003. A tragic death for sure.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I think this is an excellent dialogue. I wish we could all meet sometime and hash these issues out in a way that might bring about change in trail management in the national parks. There's a lot of wisdom in these posts.

    I must say respectfully to Kurt, however, that I perceive from your most recent post that you won't give an inch on the issues we're discussing here. Am I incorrect about that? I was willing to acknowledge in an earlier post that mountain biking can have on-the-trail social impacts that hiking doesn't. But I don't feel any similar give-and-take coming from you, e.g., an acknowledgment that, as Zebulon points out, many concerns can be addressed by well-established management techniques like alternate-day usage, uphill-only, or segregated trails for the first couple of miles. Zebulon has accused you of basically wanting national park trails for yourself as a hiker and you haven't disagreed with him—a state of affairs that evidence law calls an "adoptive admission" (i.e., silence in the face of an accusation is the same as admitting it). What alteration of the national parks' trail rules, if any, would be acceptable to you? Or do you rest firmly on a desire to continue the status quo or restrict mountain biking even more in the national parks?

  • Freeze On New Regs Could Impact Efforts to Expand Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Tooth Doctor, I appreciate your reply and understand your points. I know that many will regard comparing basic civil rights for racial minorities to mountain bike access in the national parks as a poor or even insulting comparison. (I'm not saying that you're reacting that strongly, but others no doubt would.)

    You're right, of course, that we have access to thousands of square miles of BLM, national forest, state, and local lands, and to thousands of linear miles of great singletrack trails on those lands. I think, though, that the ultimate goal of the puritans who detest mountain biking is to force us out of roadless areas completely and to relegate us to dirt service roads in nonroadless areas where a mix of dirt roads and trails exists. In California I perceive such sentiments often enough. This situation may help to explain mountain bikers' insistence on principle when it comes to the national parks.

    You're also right to say that those mountain bikers obsessing over access to national parks singletrack may "need to grow the heck up" if it's interfering with their daily lives. I hope I haven't gone that far! The question can be turned around, however: why are the antibike types so dogged and/or panicky about the notion of a bicycle on a trail in a national park?

  • Spammers Are Targeting National Parks Traveler   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Kurt, once again I thank you for running this blog. I hate to hear that the NPT has been spammed. Regular followers will always know that any "trash talk" did NOT come from this enjoyable and informative website. Hopefully we can keep any future attacks to a bare minimum.

  • Coal-Fired Plants Obscuring National Park Vistas   5 years 27 weeks ago

    We get some of the blue haze in the distance when we look several ridges over up here in East Kentucky. Visibility is not our problem, what you see sometimes is disturbing to view. Mountain Top Removal is destroying our beautiful portion of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. I hope the new administration addresses the problems with the particulate matter produced by coal fired power generation that is spoiling nature in the Great Smoky Mountains. It is my sincere hope that acid rain does not effect the deciduous forest of that beautiful place.

    It is your good fortune that coal was not found early in the last century in these mountains, I am sure because of the protection you fall under this terrible environmental scourge could not be done down there. I do not understand how the nation allows the mountain top removal process for our mountains. We don’t have National Park Status but belong as much to the nation as the Great Smoky Mountains do.

    Please protect the natural beauty and the wildness or this place for as long as you can, it will soon be the only place the people of East Ky., or W.Va., will be able to view an unbroken mountain vista.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Well Lee, we will see if your belief is correct or mine. Time will tell. I do not beleive that more deaths of wildlife will occur from CCW holders than happened before without considering many were carrying without the legal sanction.

    The panic behavior that visitors exhibit when coming face to face often already has tragic results when the animal follow the chase instinct. But surprisingly actual history has not indicated that to have happened very often, people do read the NPS advice and do follow directions. However on actual hostile attacks between wildlife and humans, the use of firearms have saved humans. I think that is the correct result.

    So to see some accounts of cougar attack this cite has listings http://users.frii.com/mytymyk/lions/attacks3.htm
    This is not limited to NPS settings.

  • Freeze On New Regs Could Impact Efforts to Expand Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 27 weeks ago

    imtnbke,
    I hear and completely agree with your point of view, that when the current law perpetuates some social injustice or in some way inures a group of people then it is our responsibility as a people of this country to rise up and speak out until said law is changed. That being said, comparing mountain bikers to Rosa Parks is a bit of a stretch. As a mountain biker, I do not feel like a second class citizen or that I have had any of my inalienable rights infringed upon. Not being able to mountain bike in a National Park is not going to keep me from living my life one day to the next. Those that do, need to grow the heck up.
    As for relegating mountain bikers to dusty ranch roads and pavement, that is completely missing the point. We already have access to vast amounts of BLM land, National Forests, State Parks, and many smaller areas overseen by local municipalities, just to give a few examples. And as apparently the validity of my mountain biking status has been called into question, I volunteer that while not a 'hardcore' biker I have enjoyed ten years spread across three states in the Midwest frequenting the latter three types of areas, as well as in one Western state.
    And lastly, I'm not ignoring how excluded people feel when confronted by unjust laws. As stated above, I will completely side with a group found to be adversely affected by an UNJUST law. I just don't see how having people use their own two feet (my apologies to those who are handicapped) to help minimize their impact on trails, to help the already overwhelmed NPS maintain said trails for the enjoyment of the greater good is affording special treatment or unjust. It's not special treatment, it's about as simple as it gets.