Recent comments

  • Yellowstone Geologist Worries About What Goes "Bump" At Night   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I'm curious, what is Mr. Heasler's background? The article variously refers to him as a "Ranger" and a "geologist." Being referred to as a geologist confers the impression that he has at least a masters degree in the field, though that is not a universal use I suppose. Or is he "Dr." Heasler? Is he truly a ranger? Is he in the 0025 series? If he isn't, why would you refer to him as such? His public NPS phonebook listing lists him as a "supervisory geologist" whatever that is...

    Thanks...

  • New Solar Power System Puts This Park in the Forefront of Alternative Energy Use   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Frank,

    Your sarcasm is in poor taste. Be constructive.

    This comment was edited.

  • New Solar Power System Puts This Park in the Forefront of Alternative Energy Use   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I'm glad Xanterra is using solar power, especially after diluting "mineral" baths with tap water at their Saratoga Springs resort.

    I'm surprised to see the NPT crowd rally behind Xanterra and its new owner, Denver billionaire and supporter of conservative Christian causes, Philip Anschutz. With his net worth of $7.8 billion, he could single handedly wipe out the NPS maintenance backlog. He's also served on the board of directors of the National Petroleum Council, an American advisory committee representing oil and natural gas industry views to the Secretary of Energy. (Luckily, after external pressure, his corporation gave up plans to drill for oil near a major Native American rock art site.)

    I'm so glad national park visitors are helping line the pockets of the likes of Philip Anschutz. His solar project makes up for everything.

  • Planning to Visit Apostle Islands National Lakeshore? Leave Your Gun At Home   5 years 26 weeks ago

    "Hope for the best" -- you mean like park visitors have been doing for years, with very few incidents where a loaded gun was needed.

    The ones who need the guns are the poor rangers who are left out there to deal with the crazy visitors on a daily basis. Those are the only ones who need to be armed.

  • New Solar Power System Puts This Park in the Forefront of Alternative Energy Use   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I saw these same panels a week ago, Jan. My understanding is that they are designed to track the sun throughout the daylight period. Jim pointed this out in his article.

  • Climate Change: Glacier National Park's Shrinking Rivers of Ice   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Global warming 'irreversible' for next 1000 years: study

    Climate change is "largely irreversible" for the next 1,000 years even if carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could be abruptly halted, according to a new study led by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    Well, I guess we don't have to worry about doing anything about it if it's irreversible for 1000 years! Say goodbye to those glaciers, but enjoy them while they last!

    The study, however, is a government report, and the government has been known to be wrong about a few things (Iraq/Katrina/Vietnam/Japanese Internment/Native Americans/ETC).

  • New Solar Power System Puts This Park in the Forefront of Alternative Energy Use   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I visited the solar field yesterday. All the panels face due east and are tipped to maximize summer sun. When I use a solar panel, I make sure it points due south and maximize it for winter sun. Anyone know what the thoughts were behind this set-up? I hope it wasn't an expensive mistake!!

  • A Major Overhaul at Ford's Theatre National Historic Site Raises a Few Eyebrows   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Bottomline is, upgrades should be done in moderation. They are supposed to make the historical sites more comfortable for people, and not to alter it's general look. I'm all for the ACs and restrooms, but not so much interest for the supposedly new "parlor" and concessions. I guess it'll destroy the historical feel of the place. It may attract a larger number of people thus creating a crowded atmosphere. Nevertheless, thanks for the great article Jim.

  • The Future of the "Gateway Arch" is On the Table—Will You be Part of the Discussion?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Sabattis: de-authorization is not the same as destruction! The country has many world-class structures that are not managed and maintained by the federal government: the Empire State Building, Golden Gate Bridge, and St Patrick's Cathedral to name a few. The Arch is magnificent architecture - but there is no reason to have the NPS manage it. The Park (Jefferson National Expansion Memorial) has more staff and a bigger budget than such parks as Redwood, Acadia, Zion, and North Cascades. Does that make sense? 150 FTE positions for 91 acres in the middle of a city? The NPS would save money just paying the St. Louis Police to do law enforcement at the place. .

  • The Future of the "Gateway Arch" is On the Table—Will You be Part of the Discussion?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Mr. Danforth said the St. Louis waterfront needs " a major museum or other world-class attraction designed by an internationally acclaimed architect."
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Arch fulfill that criteria?

  • The Future of the "Gateway Arch" is On the Table—Will You be Part of the Discussion?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Whenever the Gateway Arch is mentioned on Traveler, I'm always disheartened when comments come out advocating its delisting. To me, the Gateway Arch is one of America's most-precious landmarks and is one of the crown jewels of the National Park System, along with the National Mall, the Statue of Liberty, and Mt. Rushmore. The Arch is simply a beautiful triumph of human achievement, and my heart always soars on cross-country trips when I first see that arch soaring above the St. Louis skyline.

    With that being said, I think there is a need for additional visitor services in the overall Park. There's definitely a need for additional food/drink options in the area, and I could definitely see a role for additional museum space, a performing arts venue (perhaps outdoor?), or other visitor services. Hopefully there would be a way to expand the offering of what's available here without unduly impacting the Park's role as a Park, or the overall majesty of the views of the Arch from around the area.

  • The Future of the "Gateway Arch" is On the Table—Will You be Part of the Discussion?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    The Arch is beautiful. I grew up near it. I've gone back to it since I've left. I walk in the open spaces beneath it. It is a monument, not an amusement park. It is a feat of engineering. It is a marvel. The grounds are open and beautiful, and invite peace and enjoyment.

  • Freeze On New Regs Could Impact Efforts to Expand Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    We've come full circle. :) What the administration does with this proposed rule will tell a lot about what groups it listens to the most. If I had to bet, I'd guess that the rule will be a bit more restrictive to cater to the liberal side of the party (Sierra Club, etc.) while still leaving some elements intacts to please the others.

  • Great Basin National Park: It's More Than Simply A Cave   5 years 26 weeks ago

    This park has a really nice variety of things to see and do - it's worth the drive to get there!

  • Freeze On New Regs Could Impact Efforts to Expand Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I think that's correct. Schneider's point is a narrow one: the freeze itself isn't going to block the regulation, but the fact that a new administration will be evaluating the comments and writing the final rule, if there is to be one, could stop any change in NPS policy on mountain bike access.

  • Freeze On New Regs Could Impact Efforts to Expand Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    As I understand things, while the bike rule is not directly affected by the freeze placed on new rules and regs, the NPS isn't obligated to place it into effect once the comment period runs its course, so it could wind up facing the same outcome as rules that are directly affected by the freeze and which the new administration finds serve no good purpose.

    And let's not forget, administrations don't always pay much attention to what the public does, or doesn't, want. Remember the Yellowstone snowmobile saga? During its public comment period(s), public comment overwhelmingly favored a phase-out of the machines, and yet the Bush administration turned a deaf ear.

  • Secretary Salazar on Guns in Parks: He'll "Take A Look At It"   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Well, to be accurate, the guns rule wasn't in the freeze mix anyway, as it already had been placed into effect before President Obama was sworn in. That said, it's still the subject of two lawsuits.

  • Secretary Salazar on Guns in Parks: He'll "Take A Look At It"   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Just in: Bill Schneider reports in New West that neither the guns-in-parks rule or the mountain bikes-in-parks rule is being affected by the freeze on implementing the previous administration's regulations:

    http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/national_park_gun_and_mountain_bike_rules_unaffected_by_freeze/C41/L41/

    Schneider, by the way, is an astute commentator on controversial issues like these and one of the few truly neutral voices of reason out there. Reading his various reports and discussions on the New West website will prove valuable.

  • Freeze On New Regs Could Impact Efforts to Expand Mountain Biking in National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Just in: Bill Schneider reports in New West that neither the guns-in-parks rule or the mountain bikes-in-parks rule is being affected by the freeze on implementing the previous administration's regulations:

    http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/national_park_gun_and_mountain_bike_rules_unaffected_by_freeze/C41/L41/

    Schneider, by the way, is an astute commentator on controversial issues like these and one of the few truly neutral voices of reason out there. Reading his various reports and discussions on the New West website will prove valuable.

  • The Future of the "Gateway Arch" is On the Table—Will You be Part of the Discussion?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    If the landscaping needs shoring up, then do so. But no business establishments on the park grounds. Should be the same for all these smallish urban sites. Develop outside the park. I'm sure there's plenty of run-down areas ready for that. Of course, that means they'd have to buy the land from the owners, instead of using eminent domain or something to take it from the NPS.

    Someone refresh my memory, it's been so long since I've been there. Isn't there a historic district nearby?

    ==========================================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • It's Not Too Early To Start Planning This Summer's National Park Vacation   5 years 26 weeks ago

    If memory serves me right, both the Old Faithful Snow Lodge in Yellowstone and the Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia opened in 1999. Can't think of any more recent abodes.

  • Change.gov and the National Park System Under the Obama Administration   5 years 26 weeks ago

    There are actually quite a few "model farms" in the National Park System, in addition to Cuyahoga Valley, there are also farms at Grant-Kohrs Ranch, Lincoln Boyhood, the LBJ Ranch, Piscataway Park, Oxon Cove Park, and the Claude Moore Colonial Farm on the GW Parkway.

  • It's Not Too Early To Start Planning This Summer's National Park Vacation   5 years 26 weeks ago

    It seems like a real shame that so many National Park lodging options are either very expensive, or else so hard to come by that you must book them 7-8 or more months in advance. To me, this suggests that there really aren't enough National Park Lodges available. Does anyone know when the last National Park Lodge was built? Are there any plans in the works for additional lodges?

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Uses the "S" Word On Second Day at the Office   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Science is not about goals, its about cause & effect. I'm a scientist: with adequate data, on a good day I can estimate the probabilities of different outcomes for a given management alternative. I can make inferences about times or places I haven't observed, or about causal mechanisms. But, I don't set values for those possible outcomes, and I don't dictate goals or management actions.

    The goals or values for NPS are in law: the 1916 organic act has the famous statement about preserving resources "unimpared for the enjoyment of future generations". {http://www.nps.gov/legacy/organic-act.htm} Beyond that, each NPS unit has a foundation statement that explicitly states the values and purposes of that unit from its authorizing legislation, and the 1988 Redwood National Park Act requires NPS units to be managed to preserve those values, notwithstanding statements in the authorizing legislation allowing hunting, etc.. [So, snowmobiles and jetskis and mountain bikes and low-level overflights are pretty clearly ok in most national recreation areas; not so much in units with wildlife, wilderness, serenity, etc. emphasized in their foundation statements, with a pretty continuous gradation in between.]

    The 1998 NP Omnibus management act states "The Secretary shall … assure the full and proper utilization of the results of scientific studies for park management decisions" and calls for "condition-based management". It even requires that the trend in the condition of resources be a significant factor in the annual performance evaluation of each superintendent.

    Those parts of the 1998 act haven't been particularly followed the past years: in part due to insufficient data or insufficient science to extract information from the available data; in some cases due to political decisions trumping solid data and science.

    From the inside, it appears that Salazar means what he says about science, but the key part of the quote above is public interest instead of special interest.

  • Rocky Mountain National Park: It Shames the Andes and Alps   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Another concern to the 4 legged residences of Rocky Mountain is the Mag-Chloride which is used to melt ice and snow from the paved roads in and around the park. I have written about this to you and others before. Their is a study going on at Colorado State in Fort Collins about the harmful effects of this chemical.
    Great story about Rocky Mountain National Park,Andes and Alps