Recent comments

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    They should find a way to banish this guy from the national park system. To put the rangers in that type of high percentage danger is selfish and obviously reckless. I can only hope when they got to safety that the climber was humble and embarrassed and not cocky about his foolishness. My first thought on the story was what an idiot, but somebody else beat me to that.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Frank C, I have also been to parks where the rangers are like that, but that is a small majority. It does take a while for an interpretation ranger to really learn their skills. There are some parks that are considered 'starter parks' where they hire people that are just out of college and starting their careers. There you're going to get the younger people who haven't quite grown up yet. I used to get very frustrated when I worked at Mesa Verde due to those 'stupid' visitors that would climb all over the walls and even the one person who peed on the cliff dwelling. It took a long time to overcome that. But I've also noticed no matter where I go, customer service is lacking entirely in the younger people. What happened between my generation and this one? I went into a grocery store the other day and the clerk never even looked at me. She just kept right on talking to her friend about her latest sexual conquest.

    Ranger Holly

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I think part of this owes to the fact that, unlike other federal land-management agencies, NPS not only manages land but also historical and recreational places. It's a lot easier to make a visitor experience out of an old house than it is out of a precious landscape. But my point is that NPS manages a great variety of places, and how you manage the Klondike Gold Rush museum in Seattle obviously has little to do with how you manage the national park an hour away. So the NPS is split between managing certain places for visitation and recreation, and others more for preservation. That doesn't mean you need more agencies to manage different ways, but it does call for a recognition that each unit in the system is different and has different management needs.

    That said - although we live in a democracy, it is the job of our government to specialize in managing our resources. We could put every management question to a referendum, but that defeats the purpose of having our government protect these places. Yes there are a lot of people who value their own recreation desires over long-term conservation of the land and its species. But I'd like to think the job of the park service is to balance these two things and to think long-term as well as short term. Yellowstone doesn't belong to snowmobilers or anyone else. If at some point it gets to the point where any visitation threatens Yellowstone, so be it. The person writes "If people can't get out and actually experience the great outdoors, how can they ever learn to appreciate it?" Well if you can only appreciate the outdoors on your own terms, then I don't think you are ever learning to appreciate it anyway. The goal should be to experience the parks on their terms, not our own.

    Finally, the fact that resources have been devoted toward conservation and away from recreation only shows that more is needed to fund the parks. It makes perfect sense that if you are short on cash, you use it to preserve the things that can't be brought back once they are gone. Visitors centers and campgrounds can always be rebuilt - our most delicate and vulnerable natural resources cannot.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I love that sign Frank! But what do you do about the people who forget to read signs while on vacation?

    Ranger Holly

  • Eradicating Everglades Pythons Will be a Formidable Task   5 years 27 weeks ago

    The longest snake is currently the reticulated python at 33 feet. The footage of the 50ft snake was proven to be a hoax and that snake was actually only 22ft. I researched it extensivly when I wrote the curriculum guide for Everglades.

    Ranger Holly

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    What did this bit cost the climber?

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    "....the overall perspective that I have gleaned is one where the average tourist is seen as a burden and a threat rather than a partner in preservation...."
    Beamis, that is probably because the "average" tourist IS more of a threat or burden than a partner in preservation! Come on; the average tourist, no matter how they view themselves, and no matter how concerned they may be about conservation issues, knows little and understands less about being in the outdoors and the issues facing the parks. Park rules (and laws) are routinely ignored. Common sense is thrown out the window. It's "cute" to feed the bear and her cubs, and get a picture of Joey in front of the bison. It seemed like a good idea at the time to make a wish and toss a penny into the Morning Glory Pool. Heck, this Spring a couple of yahoos decided it would be a kick to urinate in Old Faithful. And it's just fine to chase a deer and its fawn, which had been napping peacefully, for a mile or more through the forest, just to get a poorly exposed snapshot of two rear ends.
    Is it any wonder that some rangers get frustrated?
    Having said that, I HAVE run into one of these guys having a bad day before. Once I inadvertantly approached an animal too closely. I didn't even know it was there, in the trees, until a ranger yelled at me, "Hey, a**hole!!" And, "I told you before to move back!" Now I had just arrived and had not been told anything, and I told him so. He apologized, but of course the damage had been done. I knew that he was frustrated; I knew that he was probably having a bad day. But I have worked with the public most of my life, and I know that this is not how you deal with frustration. Nevertheless, I did not blame the entire National Park Service because this guy was having a bad day.
    Do guys like that need to be fired, transfered or reassigned? Absolutely! But we also need to recognize the amount of stupidity, ignorance and apathy that they see every day, especially during tourist season; and realize that they are human beings.
    Our parks are underfunded and undermanned, and morale is at an all time low (an issue that, hopefully, will be addressed by the new Park Service Director); yet overall, I believe, most rangers do an admirable job that most of us could not handle.

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Once again the lives of rescue professionals put in danger by a thrill-seeking idiot. Leave him on the ledge.

  • Historic Touring Coach Returns to Mount Rainier to Stay   5 years 27 weeks ago

    There's a 2:40 video clip about this bus at today's Seattle Times, a search should find it in the future:

    A brief view of the starting condition before restoration shows the incredible labor and generosity of owners Art Redford and Frank Pupo.

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    what an idiot

  • No Fishing with Hand Grenades in Afghanistan’s New National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Prof Bob etal,

    There once was a time when I fished with Hand Grenades but had to revert back to hook line and sinker. Hand grenades just became to expensive ;-))

    On another note, it would seem as though with this and other articles lately, perhaps this sight will undergo a name Change......

    International Parks Traveler??

    Semper Fi

  • Eradicating Everglades Pythons Will be a Formidable Task   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Well blow me down! Them varmints lied to me!! After reviewing said footage of 50 foot "reticulate" python, I did see an ornery notion to hide the length of that thang. So I hunted down the expose column that had to be out there somewhere and yes, the good 'ol UK Guardian sent a man out with a measuring tape to verify that thang. Trouble is, he ended up so deep in the quagmire of Indonesian giant snake story tellin', he became unable to discern truth from fiction himself anymore and fell under the spell of the Shaman priest who made up the whole story in the first place... his story is weirder than the original article.
    Read it yourself:,%203604,%201116074,%2000.html

    I'll be volunteerin' meself to body shuvlin' detail at one of Stalin's gulag's now. ta ta...

  • No Fishing with Hand Grenades in Afghanistan’s New National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    As we debate the state of our own national parks and how to take care of them, we should bear in mind what a true state of neglect would do to them. Reading this article makes our parks seem pristine again in comparison. Thank God for the U.S.A.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    " At Ray Bane's old park I saw a front-line ranger merely try to enforce a permit condition against a film company in which they promised not to get too close to the bears," d-2.

    While serving at Katmai I had a commercial filming company request permission to film the bears of Brooks River from a unique perspective. They wished to put two photographers in wet suits and scuba gear film the bears from underwater while the bears were feeding on migrating salmon. The idea was to have the photographers swim downstream with the current from the midstream falls to the mouth. Guess how I responded.

  • Second Drowning In Two Days at Sequoia National Park Claims 14-Year-Old   5 years 27 weeks ago

    In April you wrote about a program at Sequoia National Park, to patrol those river stretches at that times that has been recognised as prone to danger. There you did not mention which river it was, but Middle Fork of the Kaweah River is my guess.

    Can you find out if the river patrol was continued this season?

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I'd advise a review of the designation of National Park versus National Forest.

    When I see four wheel drive vehicles spinning down the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, over bird and turtle nests, a part of me-- a not-so-small part of me--wretches with disdain for the obvious lack of humanity and mission of the national park. My 40+ years of experience has taught me that humans are in fact the ultimate destroyer of nature. The NPS serves to preserve and protect designated lands for future generations (of people as well as wildlife) and if that means a portion of the beach is no longer accessible for driving, so be it.

    Perhaps different tactics on the part of the NPS are appropriate. However, in the face of eloquent and intelligent pleas for preservation, one still witnesses a blatant disregard for the land and its inhabitants. Does this not lead to an overwhelming disparagement for "fellow homo sapiens"? I believe the mission of the NPS in fact prohibits it from being "encouraging" of "human contact with" certainly the "entirety of its holdings".

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    To Jim Burnett

    THANK YOU! Your post was refreshing and encouraging to read!!

  • New Gun Regulations for National Parks, Wildlife Refuges Won't Take Effect for Nine Months   5 years 27 weeks ago

    What are the regulations on CCW in The National Parks? Why I ask this I heard that you can only carry .22Lr or .22 mag.

  • Second Drowning In Two Days at Sequoia National Park Claims 14-Year-Old   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Gads, that's terrible


    My travels through the National Park System:

  • Eradicating Everglades Pythons Will be a Formidable Task   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Just in the interest of facts, no snake has ever been measured (with anything even approaching authenticity) over 30 feet. There is a standing $50,000 reward offered by the New York Herp Society for anyone producing evidence of a live snake measuring over 30 feet. The reward has been around for many years now and has never been claimed. The "50 footer" wasn't even a Burmese, it was a Reticulated Python - a completely different species. And most snake people that look at the pictures estimate it to be about 25 feet long. Still probably big enough to eat a Stalinesque moderator, though.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    It the rules were designed to maximize visitation now, the experience 10 generations hence would be trashed. We understand what protecting for the long haul means much better now than some decades ago.

    And I agree that tastes have changed. A national forest near where I live has decided that to get more people to use their campgrounds, they are going to bring in wifi and cell coverage because their surveys show that the inability to text message is keeping young people away. In the mean time, some of the more rustic campgrounds without flush toilets will get closed.

    And I'm not surprised if attitudes in Yosemite Valley get a bit warped. It doesn't need more visitation, at least during peak season. any ranger who got the job to enjoy the wilds can hardly help from developing an attitude if their jobs ends up managing traffic gridlock and a pall of smoke and pollution.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    d-2 and Rick -

    Thanks for your perspective - which is certainly in line with my 30 years in the parks.

    Are all employees perfect? Of course not - in parks, or anywhere else - and I recognize the workplace has changed in the years since I retired. I suspect employees in any job that involves public contact vent or joke among their peers about situations they encounter. Even so, Frank_C and Beamis seem to have hung out with a different set of employees than I did in eight parks, large and small. I'm glad my experience was much more positive than theirs.

    d-2 said, "Parks are there, not just for preservation, but so people can enjoy and learn from unimpaired wild, scenic or historic places. It is a wonderful idea, and most of the visitors find the park people pretty wonderful, too."

    I heartily second that view, and take it a step further. Despite the inevitable challenges, long hours and occasional negative experiences, most park people I worked with found the majority of visitors to be "pretty wonderful," too. If you don't find real satisfaction in helping visitors enjoy some of the best places on the planet, you're in the wrong job.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I've seen numerous front line rangers bash the French, Germans, and other foreign visitors in each of my ten seasons. I've heard many fee rangers bash the "stupid" visitors for reacting negatively to paying an entrance fee. I haven't been to a national park in a year because of some incredibly negative experiences at Mount Rainier. Rangers at the visitor center failed to greet me and then seemed put out when asked for information. The campfire program was led by an interpretive ranger whose command of English, as evidenced by the many errors on her PowerPoint slides and frequent verbal gaffes, was atrocious. Her skills as an interpreter were sorely lacking. (Probably a diversity hire as she is an ethnic minority.) I talked up the "magic" of a campfire program, but after this sorry stinker, I had to apologize to my wife, who had never been to a campfire program before.

    I myself was once a mysanthrope, like many of my coworkers. We all bashed on humans and talked about population control and how we are a plague on the planet, a virus. Some of us told others to limit their driving because it "causes global warming", but then hopped in a car for a joy ride to the coast. Then, one night around a fire, I had a conversation with Beamis where he challenged my assumptions, exposed my hypocrisy, and I began to reconsider the views I adopted and the actions I parroted from my fellow NPS preservationists.

    I could go on and on. Point is, Beamis is not an outlier. He and I are two of the few who have nothing to lose by speaking up about the mismanagement and general sense of misanthropy by those in the green and gray. Rick, I'm not sure what National Park Service you're from, but the one I worked in for a decade and the parks I visit do not closely resemble your descriptions. Perhaps your experiences have been rosier due to your elevated status and long history with the National Park Service.

  • Interior Secretary Moves to Block Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Bruce -

    Thanks for your comment.

    Just to clarify Mr. Salazar's actions for the benefit of our readers, here's a quote from a NPS announcement on this topic: "The segregated lands include 633,547 acres managed by Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and 360,002 acres managed by the U.S. Forest Service."

    This action does not affect any private lands, only federally owned property.

    I fully agree that taking a "time out" on uranium mining activity in this area to review the overall situation is a good idea. In addition to the issue of possible impacts on the Grand Canyon, there's also the question of protecting the water quality in the Colorado River, a vital resource for millions of users downstream of the park.

  • Mount Terror Lives Up to Its Name at North Cascades National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Steph -

    Thanks for the comment. Your blog has an excellent, detailed trip report describing the climb and the rescue.

    I compliment all of you in the group for the way you handled the situation. Glad there was a successful outcome.