Recent comments

  • If You Enjoy Watching Birds of Prey, Don't Miss Acadia National Park's HawkWatch   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I think we ran into Lora in Acadia in June. We were making one last drive around the loop before leaving the park and noticed a ranger setting up spotting scopes near the Precipice trailhead. Turns out she was doing a presentation on the peregrine falcons that nest on the Precipice cliffs. We got to see a juvenile perched for a while and a female flying around. I know I asked the ranger's name and Lora sounds familiar. Regardless, the ranger was awesome and a wealth of information. It was a wonderful and serendipitous experience!

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Northern Flying Squirrel and other Threatened Mammals   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Other Frank: The IPCC is not immune from criticism; I recommend examing the following study (published last month) by Nicola Scafettaa, Department of Physics, Duke University: Empirical analysis of the solar contribution to global mean air surface temperature change.

    The study's conclusion reads in part:

    A comprehensive interpretation of multiple scientific findings indicates that the contribution of solar variability to climate change is significant and that the temperature trend since 1980 can be large and upward. However, to correctly quantify the solar contribution to the recent global warming it is necessary to determine the correct TSI behavior since 1980. Unfortunately, this cannot be done with certainty yet. The PMOD TSI composite, which has been used by the IPCC and most climate modelers, has been found to be based on arbitrary and questionable assumptions [Scafetta and Willson, 2009]. Thus, it cannot be excluded that TSI increased from 1980 to 2000 as claimed by the ACRIM scientific team. The IPCC [2007] claim that the solar contribution to climate change since 1950 is negligible may be based on wrong solar data in addition to the fact that the EBMs and GCMs there used are missing or poorly modeling several climate mechanisms that would significantly amplify the solar effect on climate. When taken into account the entire range of possible TSI satellite composite since 1980, the solar contribution to climate change ranges from a slight cooling to a significant warming, which can be as large as 65% of the total observed global warming. (Emphasis added.)

    Appeal to majority ("the overwhelming majority of scientists...agree") and appeal to authority (the IPCC's "findings have been publicly endorsed by the national academies of science...") are a logical fallacies, not evidence.

  • National Park Geologic Sites Draw Raves and Rants   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Our family has visited three of the ten: Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Niagara Falls. We were suitably impressed. I studied Geology in college, and do appreciate what these sites have to offer. We hope to visit the other seven on the list, and more.

    Regarding the Petrified Forest, we'd really like to go one day soon. I wrote an article on petrified wood, borrowing photos with permission from a nice family and other folks, who have been there. If you'd like to learn a little more about 'petwood', and why the interest, just read "Petrified Wood, Part I" at: http://www.delminsociety.net/motm/motm_feb2006.shtml and "Petrified Wood, Part II" at: http://www.delminsociety.net/motm/motm_mar2006.shtml.

  • Sound Advice For Backcountry Travelers in the National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Lighten up, i have been in much worse places the key is BE aware and stay safe

  • Picking a Lot of Apples This Day Helps Keep the Bears Away in Yosemite National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    It is possible for apple trees to be that old and still produce fruit. Several of the original trees in Shenandoah and on the BLue Ridge Parkway still produce fruit. In a lot of parks they will replant the trees using the seeds to keep the genetics going. Often these are heritage apples and are varieties that can't be found commercially. So I guess they could be considered historic.

    I know some parks have trouble because that is a fine line. There are some Tamrisk trees in Death Valley that were planted by the CCC...are they historic now and should be protected or are they evil invasives? It's a very fine line sometimes!

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • If You Enjoy Watching Birds of Prey, Don't Miss Acadia National Park's HawkWatch   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I highly recommend this. Lora is a good friend of mine and is the person who got me into birding. She is a great ranger and is very knowledgeable. You'll have a great time!

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Sound Advice For Backcountry Travelers in the National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    is this some kind of joke? i backpack and go fly fishing in the backcountry 3-4 times each summer and fall and never take anything as ligthly as these comments seem to make out. if anybody doesn't take REAL CARE in the woods than maybe you shouldn't be there in the frist place. leave the backcountry to those who have the respect needed to survive there.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Northern Flying Squirrel and other Threatened Mammals   5 years 28 weeks ago

    The overwhelming majority of scientists that study climate change agree that human activity is responsible for changing the climate. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is one of the largest bodies of international scientists ever assembled to study ANY scientific issue (ever), comprised of more than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries. The IPCC has concluded that most of the warming observed during the past 50 years is attributable to human activities. Its findings have been publicly endorsed by the national academies of science of all G-8 countries, as well as those of China, India and Brazil. The Royal Society of Canada – together with the national academies of fifteen other nations – also issued a joint statement on climate change that stated, in part: "The work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represents the consensus of the international scientific community on climate change science. We recognize IPCC as the world's most reliable source of information on climate change."

    How much evidence do you want? One hundred percent of all scientists everywhere will never agree about anything. If you were to ask why the sky is blue, there would always be some squablers!
    Plus we're running out of fossel fuels, and beating the heck out of the environment. Shouldn't we be looking for alternatives, as the gal says in the gum commercial, "No matter what"?

  • National Park Geologic Sites Draw Raves and Rants   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Whether or not it's a duplicate, the key word would be "most spectacular". I've been to parts of the area that are covered, and I didn't consider any part I visited as spectacular as Yosemite Valley.

    It's a bit odd that they would include an area roughly the size of New York State. If that was the case, they could include the entire Colorado River drainage basin which would include Grand Canyon NP and Canyonlands NP as well as several other NPS units. I just think their methodology is a little bit flawed if Yosemite Valley isn't considered one of the 10 "most spectacular" geological sites in the continental US.

    This would be my top 5:

    1) Yellowstone Caldera
    2) Grand Canyon
    3) Yosemite Valley (which would also cover several waterfalls)
    4) Mount St Helens (I don't necessarily think of it as a place for an extended visit since the mountain has turned into what it is - a big brown landslide. It is a fascinating piece of geological history though)
    5) Carlsbad Caverns (from reputation - I hope to make a visit).

  • Acadia National Park In the Round   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Yes, it is beautiful. And I will also be in Acadia in 3 weeks, and I also am looking forward to our visit.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Northern Flying Squirrel and other Threatened Mammals   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Kurt, I think you missed my point about appeal to authority. I believe that ideas and findings that should be checked, not the authority of the scientist making the claims. So often, those who expose anthropogenic climate change will summarily dismiss anyone who is not a climate scientist. There is a list of hundreds of scientists that has been dismissed because they aren't specifically climate scientists. I think I might have even used that list on this site only to have it dismissed on those grounds. So I agree with the premise behind your question, "If you're not a "climate scientist," should they be summarily dismissed?" and hope that natural climate change deniers who read this site will not use this as I have demonstrated.

    I also find that readers generally fail to address any research, such as the study referenced above, that goes contrary to the "consensus".

  • National Park Geologic Sites Draw Raves and Rants   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Petrified Forest is easily one of the most underrated and overlooked national parks with lots of beautiful stark desert scenery. The colorful Triassic logs are pretty neat too. I highly recommend this one if you like your parks empty, vistas vast and full of vivid color and light.

    The tacky tourist town of Holbrook is lots of fun too with it's 1950's era strip along old U.S. 66 replete with old hotels (The Wigwam being my favorite) and giant statues of dinosaurs at most of the rock shops. A great place to take pictures and reminisce about a vanished America.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Oysters, Icon of the Chesapeake   5 years 28 weeks ago

    There are large "dead zones" in the Bay due to hypoxia. The bottom of the Bay is a desert in spots. An interesting illustration of this is to see what are called "crab jubilees"; that is, crabs gathering in great piles on the shore to escape oxygen deprived water.

    Maryland has invested tens of millions of dollars to fight pollution in the bay; but it's a losing battle. Both Maryland and Virginia has blinders on when it comes to facing the fact that their chicken and hog farms spew their effluvia into the watershed, not to mention urban runoff and industrial waste. Overharvesting, pollution and disease take over when the ecosystem is so weak. There used to be thousands of watermen harvesting oysters in the Bay; now there are fewer than 500. How sad.

  • National Park Geologic Sites Draw Raves and Rants   5 years 28 weeks ago

    @ ypw: The list was obviously composed to cover as many factors of geology as possible. And the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail stands for glacial erosion and other geological effects of the ice ages. Yosemite would be a duplicate. Arches, Zion, and the other iconic parks of the Colorado Plateau are covered by Grand Canyon.

  • That “America’s Marines” Commercial Shows Five NPS Units, Not Six   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I believe that the music was written to go with the commercial. BTW, if you'd like to see a very thorough discussion of the commercial, visit this site. The comments-in-reply are absolutely outstanding. As for the article that drew the comments, well, that's another story.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Oysters, Icon of the Chesapeake   5 years 28 weeks ago

    There are multiple problems. Certainly, the pollution of the bay is a substantial one. With climate change, though, warming waters are allowing the parasite to move into areas where it couldn't previously survive. Add that to the stress caused by the pollution, and it's almost a no-win situation.

    There was a report I saw the other day (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2009/08/03/oysters-on-the-comeback-in-chesapeake-bay-thanks-to-elevated-homes/) that efforts were succeeding to boost oyster numbers by, essentially, creating higher beds for them to grow on. Unfortunately, that doesn't solve the parasite problem. While the pollution can be stemmed, it seems the long-term health of the oysters requires either an oyster that is somehow immune to the parasite, or colder waters that kill the parasite.

    Futhermore, NOAA reported the other day that ocean temperatures in July were the highest ever recorded.

    The agency said the average sea surface temperature was 1.06 degrees higher than the 20th-century average of 61.5 degrees. Though July was unusually cool in some areas, like the eastern United States, analysts at the NOAA Climate Data Center said the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.03 degrees higher than the 20th-century average of 60.4 degrees, the fifth warmest since worldwide record keeping began in 1880. The agency also said that, on average, Arctic sea ice covered 3.4 million square miles in July, 12.7 percent below the 1979-2000 average and the third lowest on record, after 2007 and 2006. -- NYTimes.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Oysters, Icon of the Chesapeake   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Oh drat...teach me to begin reding before the page finishes loading. Now I get the connection! Blonde moment

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Oysters, Icon of the Chesapeake   5 years 28 weeks ago

    This is going to be tough because when it comes to the Bay, Virginia has some terrible environmental laws. But isn't the real problem with the Bay pollution and not climate change? Or does it all somehow link together?

    I remember a couple years ago they were talking about introducing Asian oysters into the Bay to try and bring back at least some type of oyster.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • National Park Geologic Sites Draw Raves and Rants   5 years 28 weeks ago

    The whole National Park Service is a compendium of geologic wonders. I'm not sure how they could include some of these places when there are some incredibly iconic places such as Yosemite Valley, Arches NP (Delicate Arch is possibly the most awe inspiring piece of rock I've ever seen), or Zion Canyon.

    That they didn't consider Yosemite Valley to be one of the top 10 geologic sites in the continental US is telling.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Northern Flying Squirrel and other Threatened Mammals   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Frank,

    While I admire the effort you're investing, your concern about whether the scientists who advised on this project are "climate scientists" is a reach.

    Dr. Steve Running, who was a lead chapter author for the International Panel on Climate Change (2004-2007) and who shared in the Nobel Prize for his efforts, is, in short, a forestry expert (PhD in forest ecophysiology, Master's in forest management, B.S. in botany); Dr. Dan Fagre, a Glacier National Park scientist who has spent the past 15 years working to understand how global-scale environmental changes will affect our mountain ecosystems, is, in short, a wildlife biologist; E.O. Wilson, who knows a thing or two about climate change and who has won two Pulitzer Prizes for his writing, is a biologist who focused his early work on bugs. Since he's not a writer by degree or trade, should his Pulitzers be questioned?

    The list, as I'm sure you know, goes on and on.

    Beyond that, while you lament the lack of a "climate scientist" on the team that researched this topic for NPCA, you should know that they reviewed upwards of 100 peer-reviewed papers on climate change and wildlife, papers that in turn were written by dozens more scientists from various fields. What scientific credentials do you bring to the table in connection with the citations you mention? If you're not a "climate scientist," should they be summarily dismissed?

  • Our National Parks: "For the Benefit And Enjoyment Of The People" (If You Don't Mind the Entrance Fee)   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Gives "roughing it" a whole new meaning, doesn't it!

  • National Park Geologic Sites Draw Raves and Rants   5 years 28 weeks ago

    The two times I've been to Petrified Forest I was one of those people who didn't get out of the car. When I was 16 I made a crosscountry trip with firends of the family and they didn't believe in hiking so I just had to look out the window. The second time the visitor center closed 20 minutes early (and yes I was on the correct time) so I didn't get any help from staff and wasn't sure where I could go while hauling my travel trailer. BUt even though I saw the park through a windshield, it was enough to capture my interest and it made me want to come back and experience even more.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • National Park Geologic Sites Draw Raves and Rants   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Harper (not his/her real name) states in his/her bio, "Andrew Harper has an abiding passion for classic hospitality and refined service..."

    In other words, places where nature is kept managed and to the fringes and the lodging of choice is a four-star hotel, not a four-man tent. He's writing to a completely different set of travelers than those who frequent this blog. I have a feeling a trip with Harper would be a truly mind-numbing and frustrating vacation for me!

  • Did You Hear the One About President Obama's Trip To Yellowstone National Park?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Anybody complaining about him halting traffic should pull their head out of where ever they hide it. This was announced way ahead of time. Either you were in a jam because you wanted to be close to our president or you are an idiot for not altering your to do list for the great Yellowstone-Grand Teton area. There is so much you could have been doing not far away. So if your an idiot get over it and don't blame the president for your poor planning. You can't see the park in 1/2 a day anyway, so just needed to plan that part of the day elsewhere. As I said in my other post. I am glad he went to my favorite Park and hope good comes of it. I also agree with d-2 post; Obama gets briefed before hand and that is very important to we who hold the park dear.
    Dave Crowl

  • About The National Parks Traveler   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I just found your site - great job and great cause. We're a full-timing RV family that is using the National Parks as a major part of our kids' road-school curriculum. We've studied everything from wildlife to the Indian Wars to civil rights to Jazz: and all at our National Parks.

    Keep up the great site.

    Tom Wahl
    Wahls Across America
    http://moaablogs.org/wahlfamily
    http://web.me.com/wahlsacrossamerica
    http://twitter.com/wahlsrvamerica