Recent comments

  • Bush Administration's Haste Could Doom New Gun Rules In National Parks   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Well said Sailorcurt.
    Thank you for posting in such a logical manner without the usual emotionally-charged rhetoric.

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

    Anon #1..way up on top: You so well illustrate one of my main points in arguing against guns in parks. May I quote you: "To the chagrin of those who flap their arms in panic at the thought, I don't know one person that visited a park WITHOUT a concealed firearm. This was before CCW holders were allowed to." Arguements of gun advocates nearly always begin with, "Law abiding citizens should have the right to blah, blah, blah..." Then we have statements such as yours which prove that all CCW holders are not law abiding citizens. If you carry where it is illegal to do so, you are not a law abiding citizen. Plain and simple. People drive forty in twenty five mph school zones. Always have, always will. People rob banks. Always have, always will. People cheat on their taxes. Always have, always will. Does that mean that we should make these all legal?
    From 1980-2002, over 62 million people visited Yellowstone National Park (YNP). During the same period, 32 people were injured by bears. The chance of being injured by a bear while in the park is approximately 1 in 1.9 million. Only five people have ever been killed by a bear in Yellowstone. The last in 1986. At least two of those individuals were breaking the law at the time, possibly more. From 1980 through 1995 a grand total of 17 people in all of North America (including Alaska and Canada) were killed by bears (black and grizzly). During the same period over 1300 people died in the US alone of lightening strike. I would submit, Ginger, that as a mother of six and grandmother of seven, your risk while hiking in Yellowstone is far greater that you will be struck by lightening, or that you will slip crossing a stream and drown or that you will die in an automobile accident on the way to Yellowstone, than your risk of being killed by a bear. These, however, seem to be risks that you are willing to take. I further submit that, in an actural bear attack (real or bluff) that you would be lucky to have time to use your bear spray; much less use it, realize that it had failed to stop the bear, then pull out your concealed firearm, take aim and fire. And therein lies the rub. Most folks with common sense would realize this and grab the gun first; especially someone with little experience around bears. With spray, even if it was a bluff, no harm is done. Most likely (and there are always exceptions, but they exist with guns as well), the bear will get a face full of pepper and run off. On the other hand, a bear injured with a gun could be very dangerous. What was a bluff charge could instantly turn deadly; for the hiker, the bear or both. Also bear spray can be fired from the hip without aiming. Unless you are breaking the law a concealed weapon is, well, concealed....under clothing, in your pack etc.
    Concealed weapons permits are not for people "afraid of their own shadow", they are for people who transport large sums of money, work in law enforcement or have some other reason to need that added security. I do think, however, that someone who feels that they need to carry everywhere they go, even on vacation to a National Park, may be a tiny bit paranoid.

  • Bears with a Foot Fetish? Big Bend National Park Offers New Bear Safety Advice   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Thomas -

    Thanks for the comment and the information about the Javelina - another good safety reminder about wildlife.

    Perhaps someone with expertise on your other questions will offer some feedback. However, I'd certainly avoid anything, including the urine scents you mention, in bear country. I'd guess there's not a huge amount of science out there on hows bears react to such scents, but I wouldn't want to be the one serving as a test subject :-)

  • Bush Administration's Haste Could Doom New Gun Rules In National Parks   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Why do Park Rangers carry weapons? Are they making our parks more unsafe? Are they a danger to wildlife? What is the environmental impact of the rangers carrying weapons? Has the E.P.A. completed an impact study on rangers being armed?

  • "There I Grew Up" – This Park Offers Presidential History in a Unique Package   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Thanks so much for highlighting Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Spencer County, Ind., on your site! We have wonderful series of special events planned this year including a new monument to Lincoln, a new play in his honor, speakers series, and more, here in Spencer County to celebrate the Lincoln Bicentennial! A complete list of events can be found at ThinkLincoln.org.

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

    @MRC....I beg your pardon! You really think that peole who have a CCW license are "people who are afraid of their own shadow", blah, blah, blah. I can usually handle the fact that people disagree with my right to carry a gun, after all everyone is entitled to their opinion, but then there always seems to be someone who takes it upon themselves to not only disagree but denigrate those whom he disagrees with. My husband and I have been going to Yellowstone for 15 years and usually I feel the need to carry more here at home than I do in the park. But, if I am allowed to carry in the park it would probably only be on the long hikes that my husband and I like to take, and if, and I mean if, we run into a bear who decides to charge us he will first get the pepper spray and if that doesn't work then you can bet I won't hesitate to use other means of force. I am a mother of six and grandmother of seven and I resent sanctimonious people who think that they can just pigeon hole everyone according to their standards.

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 27 weeks ago

    At least this year, all of this arguing about limits has turned out to be irrelevant. Snowmobile traffic is significantly down this year (to date); visitation overall is lower, but a lot of the shortfall has been made up for by vehicular traffic in the North Entrance. See http://www.jhguide.com/article.php?art_id=4251 .

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • NPCA Applauds National Park System's Cut of Stimulus Package, But Says Much Remains to Do   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I've been thinking a little bit more about the incongruity of this statement, and I can't help but wonder what the reaction might have been if this underfunding had come out of a Republican Congress and Republican Administration? I know that the NPCA is officially "nonpartisan", and I don't want to accuse them of explicit bias, but we all have our sympathies and that can certainly subtly color one's reaction. In this case, it is certainly worth noting the differences between the "yes, but" reaction to the Bush Administration's Centennial Challenge Announcement and the "very strong step" reaction to the Obama Administration and a Democratic Congress not making the National Parks a priority compared to spending on transportation infrastructure, education, and health care in the stimulus package....

  • Secretary Salazar Calls for Review Of Gun Rules in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    @RAH: We had that before: Many animals are well known for "bluff charges". That is particularly true for black bears and grizzlies. When they charge an intruder in their comfort zone, they intend to scare you away, not kill. Actual attacks in the National Park System happen a few a year, bluff charges every day. Those law abiding CCW carriers are people who are afraid of their own shadow, people who perceive their live and environment to be full of deadly dangers, and they feel not only entitled, but obliged to protect themselves, their loved ones and every one else from these perceived threads.

    I see a real danger, that those self proclaimed protectors of the universe will whip out the guns when they encounter a charging bear. And guess what, instead of a bear who defends his realm by a bluff charge and a human who retreats full of respect,we will have a very angry bear, because it doesn't like those hot needle wounds at all and probably a dead human defender of the universe. Because a gun you can carry concealed is useless against a bear who really means it.

  • Can You Find the Desert Five-Spot In Death Valley National Park?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Thanks for reminding me of the flowers! Forget just how beautiful the deset is. Have camped in Panamint City and Panamint Valley just because I could. Last I heard you can't get to Panamint City without two winches (they burn out). Don't need a 4X4 to enjoy Death Valley or Panamint Valley. Lots of water and fuel. Good sense helps. Stay out of the draws/gulches when camping (for fear of flash flooding). If you're staying in the park, this won't be a problem because you will be restricted to camp grounds, but I've seen tents and trailers blowing all over camp grounds because the tents were't flattened during the day or the trailers were not secure from rolling. Ignorance - not stupidity.

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Guns don't kill people! People kill people. A gun is just another device used in protecting ones self or inflicting injury or death unto another person or living animal.

    I have a carry permit in the State of Tennessee. This permit allows me to carry concealed or out in the open. I definently support this bill, although the way the Bush administration went about it, I dont agree with. We have checks and balances that our system of government was built on for a reason. When this is circumvented, what is stopping our leaders from doing it again and again for someother reason.

    When I travel outside of my home area, I take my gun with me. There has been several times that I was in the wrong spot at the wrong time and of no fault of my own. I was very thankful and so were the other people around me that I did have my gun and was able to branish the weapon and prevent a gas station from being robbed, and perhaps someone getting killed in the process. I was in noway shape or form looking for a reason to pull the weapon out other than for protecting myself or another individual standing within my presence.

    I consider myself very lucky to be given the right to carry outside my home and do agree with the decision to carry in National Parks.

    Criminals don't follow the laws, so why should we give them some leverage on taking advantage of hurting, kidnapping or even killing someone for their sick and twisted excuses? I was in the Marines and I dont need this gun to kill people, but when faced with a criminal that has a gun or someother type of instrument that can cause death or injury to myself, family members or someone within my presence, its my duty to protect them as I would protect myself.

    I don't see anyone talking about how many criminals are shot each year because the homeowner(s) had a gun to protect their family with and if no gun, they surely would have been another statistic.

    Those that abide by the laws and have a permit to carry a weapon should be the least of your concern. Some real intelligant political figures would call law abiding citizens, "dangerous people".....LOL...The criminals are the dangerous people.

    There will be no added enviromental danger to the forest, besides, what harm does a weapon do to the enviroment just sitting in his/her holster???

    The FBI does a background investigation on each person that requests a carry permit and he/she must pass a class on the safe handling of a weapon and the rules and regulations of the State. No pass, No permit.

    Lets think positive here people. Guns dont kill people, people use the guns to kill or hurt other people. Remember, you can take the steak knife and kill someone, so should we outlaw steak knifes or how about a lawn mower blade? Or heres a good one, an AXE or a CHAINSAW????

    There will come a day for some of you that you will encounter a unrully crazy whacko and you will have wished that you had a gun to protect yourself. When that happens you'll be out of luck then! The police wont be there fast enough or you wont beable to make the call fast enough. You wont have anything better to protect yourself with, because the intruder either has your axe, steak knife or chainsaw with him and you will be there standing defenseless wishing you had a gun to protect yourself or your family. I hope that never happens, but sometimes I wish people had some kind experience to open their eyes to the fact that, guns arent such a bad idea after all, its the criminals that have them and if guns didnt exist, they would have something else to put you out of your misery so they could do whatever they wanted to or take whatever they wanted.

    I know my thoughts are a little on the harsh side but its better to hear the truth without all the political correctness BS involved.

    Best of Luck to you all!
    Semper Fi.
    John

  • Bears with a Foot Fetish? Big Bend National Park Offers New Bear Safety Advice   5 years 28 weeks ago

    It has been said that in bear country, in general, one can discourage bears from entering your campground by drinking a good amount of liquids and urinating in a large circle around the camp. Les Stroud, the real 'Survivorman' in my opinion, has mentioned that on his show in the past. The information I've read also stated that this will not work for women and very well may have the opposite effect if ladies try it - especially during a woman's estrus period. Can anyone of authority verify this?

    Is it documented that bears react differently to different stimuli in different areas of the country (i.e. - 'the bears in Texas are fond of hot sauce' (not really - but you get my meaning?)).

    One last question for anyone that knows - how do bears react to different 'urine scents' that you can buy in packages at the sporting goods store? Regular urine scents I use to mask my human smell are 'whitetail / mule deer' (for obvious reasons and seasons) and 'red fox' (supposedly the fox scent makes deer feel more secure about their surroundings).

    Just a guess - I'm going to go out on a limb and say that 'white acorn' or other sweet / natural foodsource scents like that for bringing in other animals would probably not be a good idea if you want to avoid bears?

    Thanks,

    Thomas L Price
    TX

    P.S. - I try to make it to Big Bend at least twice a year, every year. It seems to me that in the recent past (last year and the year before) there has been an increase of Javelina traffic in the Basin campgrounds. While bears normally won't go anywhere around those campsites, the Javelina have no issue at all - they are not afraid of you and will tear down a tent to get at food / water / whatever they smell of interest. Please avoid Javelina - they can and will hurt you if you are not mindful and safe. Three months ago there was a camper that came upon a big male Javelina that was INSIDE the bear-safe box at his campsite. The box was left with one door open, crumbs left inside and nothing more. The campers went to eat at the restaraunt and upon return (after dark) they, and the animal, both got a real big scare. No one was injured, thank goodness.

  • Secretary Salazar Calls for Review Of Gun Rules in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I understand that if the rules require an impact study and it was not done to get it done. But I fail to see how CCW impact the environment negatively compared to human regular allowed use.

  • Vet Removes Snare From Neck of Wolf in Denali National Park and Preserve   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Pretty wolf but the vet did not save it's life if the injury happened a year ago. But it does appear a bit ridiculous to use resources when wolves and other animals get injured by other causes and we let them die or stay injured.

  • Updated: Dueling Judges Push Yellowstone National Park Snowmobile Limit Back to 720 Per Day   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Have to agee with the last Anon poster. iI see nothing wrong with allowing recreational use of the park by snow mobilers. It seems the enviros want the parks to be not used by humans. That is not the purpose of the parks. They are to be enjoyed by Americans and Americans have different ways they like to enjoy the parks. I have never snowmobiled but I think it would be fun and a great way to see the park in the winter.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    The law abiding citizens that have concealed carry permits have gone through a rigirous process to obtain that permit and carry a gun to protect themselves and others from the criminal who will carry a concealed gun or knife whether or not it is legal. The people who carry guns legally don't carry them to "posture, threaten and shoot at each" that is just ignorance. We also are "sane, law-abiding, tax-paying, nature-loving citizens who also prefer to keep our national parks among the safest places on the planet" just like those who choose not to carry a gun.

  • National Park Quiz 42: Rocks and Minerals   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Nine? Really? I'm impressed, Barky. BTW, did you go back and re-check question #1? The correct answer is "false", though it was initially indicated as "true" (because I goofed it up). Yes, obsidian is an igneous rock produced by extrusive vulcanism. It's actually glass, not a mineral, because of very quick cooling on the surface (no time for crystals to form, so it's amorphous).

  • Vet Removes Snare From Neck of Wolf in Denali National Park and Preserve   5 years 28 weeks ago

    that is the saddest thing i have EVER seen. I wanna be a vet & wolves are my favorite animal.Ilove them. I hope the people who did this die a veryy PAINFUL death!! maybe people should put one of these around their necks!! see how they feel. UGHH i hate people.

  • Secretary Salazar Calls for Review Of Gun Rules in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    For the past 50 years I have frequented regional, state and national parks. I have hiked the trails and camped for days at the time on and off trail. Not ones have I encountered a situation requiring a gun.

    No doubt "anonymous" sees enemies under every rock and behind every tree, commies most likely.
    I bet that he hates foreigners, homosexuals and Hillary Clinton as well.

    Cheers,
    JC

  • National Park Quiz 42: Rocks and Minerals   5 years 28 weeks ago

    What a great quiz! I really liked this one, made me think beyond just park travel ("hmm, obsidian is a product of vulcanism, right?").

    9 correct. :)

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

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Delaware Can Relax; The New National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Series Will Celebrate “National Sites” Too   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I'm afraid you've got a pretty tough sell, tbone. It's true that there are just 58 national parks that have National Park as part of their name. However, Congress has stipulated that a National Park System unit need not be designated a National Park -- i.e., doesn't have to have National Park as part of its official name -- in order to be considered a national park and entitled to the same degree of protection. Over the years, Congress (and at times the NPS) has designated and redesignated national parks with a variety of descriptors (such as seashore, parkway, or historic site). Generally, but not always (think Hot Springs National Park), an NPS unit that's designated National Park will be larger in size and have a greater complement of nationally significant resources than the national parks that are not so designated.

  • Delaware Can Relax; The New National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Series Will Celebrate “National Sites” Too   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Why all the focus on Delaware? It is NOT the only state without a national park, not even close. (Look it up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_National_Park). There are in fact only 58 national parks, about 20 of which are located in 3 states (Alaska, California, and Utah). By my count, there are about 25 states without national parks, including every state on the east coast except Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maine.

    Are you perhaps referring to all national park sites, including National Historic Sites, National Wildlife Refuges, etc.? If so, then what is Delaware's distinction exactly?

  • Secretary Salazar Calls for Review Of Gun Rules in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Oh please, anonymous...

    I don't know one person that visited a park WITHOUT a concealed firearm. This was before CCW holders were allowed to. When you encounter hikers on a trail, I would place money on at least half being armed.

    I would take that bet in a heartbeat. One thing that's funny is that those who own and carry weapons with them regularly are more likely to feel threatened or in danger in normal every day situations...like say hiking in a national park.

    Do you want to meet a group of smugglers, or covert marijuana growers 20 miles from the trailhead?

    You better be one helluva shot or be carrying an uzi, because they're going to have much more firepower (and a willingness to use it) than you. Whipping out a gun would likely result in your own injury, and certainly could intensify the situation for all the other hikers on the trail. And here's a quick note: drug smugglers smuggle drugs...they aren't looking to make contact and certainly aren't going to risk their load on a hiker in a random national park.

    I've been hiking and camping for 25 years, and I have never, yes never, encountered a ranger on a trail. So, I know I can't count on that to protect me. Any personal protection has to come from me.

    Never encountered a ranger? Wow, that's tough to do.

    I was camping in an established campground in Washington, walking to the restrooms at night. Three dogs of a "notorious vicious breed" charged me out of a campsite full of drunken campers.

    Oh, great, let's start shooting in the dark in a campground - great idea. I wonder how long it'd take those drunk campers to whip out their own and "defend" their dogs with shots back in your direction. Bet that would make for a "safer" campground for you, the drunk campers, and the rest of the campground inhabitants.

    The ban on firearms has more to do with the problems of poaching than safety. Allowing loaded guns in national parks makes it far easier for those poachers and more difficult for the park service to control poaching - both of which are violations at the core of what it means to be a national park.

  • National Park Search and Rescue: Should the Rescued Help Pay the Bills?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Just a few thoughts to add (though this is almost a year old, it stays relevant):

    Lone Hiker, you seem to be very vocal about billing the victims. That stance assumes that the rescue is their fault in the first place. Having just finished reading a list of Mount Ranier SAR reports (I'm currently doing research for a paper), there are numerous circumstances where even extremely experienced, well-prepared hikers/climbers have bad luck- a rock fell in the wrong place at the wrong time, an avalanche, they just happened to SLIP. To charge a fee for any of these would be ridiculous.

    So there are a couple of options that do not involve hundred-thousand dollar debts for unlucky joes. The first, obvious in our capitalist society, is insurance. Let those who want to get insurance coverage and those who don't have insurance are gambling with their lives and finances. This could be a reasonable stance, but for the fact that the uninsured would know that requesting a rescue could leave them with a hefty debt. Also, even the insured would think twice before calling for rescue, since their premiums would skyrocket. There's also the question of whether or not this insurance would be profitable enough to be offered by a private lender: how much could they reasonably charge to be able to afford the bill of two or three expensive accidents?

    Then you have the flat rate on park entrance, or a fee placed on the more dangerous routes. This may be the best charge-the-users option. First of all, those who need SAR will know that they will not be charged; this may lead to abuse of the SAR system, but you have the same situation with all 911 calls. If someone makes a prank call, they're fined. The same system that covers those emergency departments should be considered for extension to SAR. Second, if you charged every entrant to the park, the amount would likely be insignificant since so many are paying it. Kath's second post above is very well said.

  • National Park Quiz 42: Rocks and Minerals   5 years 28 weeks ago

    You've convinced me, Kevin. I'll go back and fix that one. Although the Claron Formation does contain sandstone (also mudstone, siltstone, and dolomite), it is mostly limestone, and it's just wrong to call the hoodoos sandstone formations.