Recent comments

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   5 years 29 weeks ago

    A national forest and a national park are two entirely different critters. I suggest that you read the NPS Organic Act. National parks are generally held to a higher standard of conservation and maintenance of the unimpared character of its units. Each park has its own special enabling legislation that sets forth exceptions to the guidelines of the NPS Organic Act. In general, national parks are not considered multiple use conservation units. What may be appropriate in a national forest or a national wildlife refuge might not be permitted in a national park. There is a dynamic tension between the goals of preserving park resources and values for future generations and providing for visitor enjoyment. An earlier commentor spoke of the tendency for people to have a different attitude when armed. I have found that to be true. A gun can too often give someone a false sense of security and power, and he or she may push their luck when it would be wiser to simply back away. A gun can become an extension of a person's ego and can exacerbate a situation rather than minimize it. As stated earlier, if you feel unsafe without a concealed weapon go where it is permitted to carry.

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   5 years 29 weeks ago

    If one has a concealed weapons permit one is allowed to carry a concealed weapon in the jurisdiction in which it is issued including its national forests. Would someone explain to me why a national park is any different? For that matter why is it any different for a non-concealed weapon? A park is a park is a park!

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Rick Smith wrote on February 22nd, 2009:

    I vote we give gun topics a rest on NPT.

    I concur.

    Search for gun on National Parks Traveler, and you'll get 9 pages of results. With over 500 comments on the articles pertaining to the rule change on the first two pages alone, I agree with Mr. Smith that it is indeed a topic that has been shot to death.

    However, those 500 comments show that people flock to the debate. All those comments generate content for the Traveler, and that content increases traffic from search engines, and, presumably increases readership.

    As such an unofficial contributor, I would like to humbly ask for some consistency in comment moderation on the gun debate and on other topics, too. Many ad hominem attacks and vitriolic comments go unchecked while others are monitored for merely their tone. (Search for "idiot" on NPT and you'll get a few pages of results; six on the first page comment on the gun debate.) I agree with Mr. Repanshek that ad hominem attacks only detract from the debate, and I hope to see fewer on the site in the future.

    At any rate, the debate will rage on, and it should take place on the Traveler. This webzine provides the best and most popular discussion on national park issues and politics on the entire web. Its slick, easy-to-use design and coverage of issues are unparalleled. Its readership is broad and deep. My many thanks to the editors for their hard work and efforts to maintain this site.

  • National Park Quiz 43: Names   5 years 29 weeks ago

    We try to include something for everybody, including people who enjoy a cheap shot now and then. ;-)

  • National Park Quiz 43: Names   5 years 29 weeks ago

    9 out of 12. That Little Bighorn bit was a cheap shot. :-P ;-)

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    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • You'll Find Tuff Blocks, Fibrolite Axes and Squirrels with Tufted Ears at Bandelier National Monument   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Bandelier was beautiful this past fall. I loved how evident the man + volcano link is at the park: if it weren't for the tuff from volcanoes of ages past, man couldn't have lived in the canyon. Pretty cool when you think about it.

    I recommend the Frijoles Falls trail down to the Rio Grand. :-)

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    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Mountain Pine Beetles Chewing into Grand Teton National Park Forests   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I'm afraid there's another beetle that's deadly to Engleman Spruce -- the aptly named Engleman Spruce Beetle. And a little Internet research shows that the "western spruce budworm is another potentially damaging insect that attacks both Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir."

  • Mountain Pine Beetles Chewing into Grand Teton National Park Forests   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Are Engleman spruce affected by Mountain Pine Beetle? In Winter Park, Colorado, lodgepole Pines are greatly affected, but I haven't noticed any Engleman spruce affected even though they are surrounded by dead lodgepole. Is there a possibility that the Mountain Pine Beetle will attack Engleman spruce in the future?

  • Spammers Are Targeting National Parks Traveler   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I am convinced that most readers of this blog will never even consider the idea that the National Parks Traveler might actually be a spam outlet. Thanks again for putting so much effort into this blog - and no need to apologize for the bad behaviour of other people...

  • Bush Administration's Haste Could Doom New Gun Rules In National Parks   5 years 29 weeks ago

    It's funny that almost all the individulas that are in support of guns in parks have never even been to a national park, while virtually all regular visitors to national parks are opposed to concealed carry in the parks.

  • You'll Find Tuff Blocks, Fibrolite Axes and Squirrels with Tufted Ears at Bandelier National Monument   5 years 29 weeks ago

    We found this park on our first trip to New Mexico. We really enjoyed the scenery and the ruins. I wasn't sure that I could make the climb but I went through the first part of the trail while my husband went a litte farther.
    It is a unique place for you to visit and really easy to get to.

  • Bryce Canyon National Park: This Small Corner of Utah Packs a Colorful Punch   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Bryce is one of my favorite parks. I have cycled through the park twice and hope to do it again. The park road system offers a superb route along the rim of Bryce Canyon with vistas of amazing rock formations. For those thinking of cycling the park road, be sure to carry plenty of water. The high desert air quickly sucks the moisture out of you. My last trip to Utah included a bike trip that took in Cedar Breaks NM, Bryce NP, Escalante, Capitol Reef and Zion. All special in their own way.

  • How'd They Do That?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Hey Beamis,
    I know them winds well and yes I am a believer in theory :-))
    And to be witness to, well that would be something else entirely!

  • A National Park Service Regional Director Shares His Priority List for 2009   5 years 29 weeks ago

    It was interesting reading Mike Snyder’s comments; and it was even more interesting having one of our regional directors participating in the National Parks Traveler! (I was impressed!)

    As an “outsider looking in”, I would like to suggest another priority to Mike.......

    Like so many government agencies and programs, the National Park Service needs money; it needs to repair old buildings and trails, it needs to renovate tired visitor centers and museums, and it needs funding for more rangers, more naturalists, and more staff. But it needs not only money; it needs to address a number of very basic and very important personnel problems.

    After working for 27 years as the president of a very successful manufacturing company, my wife and I began working three years ago as seasonal Park Rangers (Interpretation). Our experiences have been rewarding and exciting. We love being Rangers and we love helping people as they explore and experience our national parks. On the other hand, seeing how our national parks work from the inside and seeing how they manage their human resources often has been frustrating and exasperating.

    For instance, the National Park Service seems to be ignoring and mismanaging the need to train and maintain future leaders. For young people graduating from college and seeking a career in the Park Service, there are only seasonal jobs. At many parks, seasonal rangers are treated more or less like warm bodies, hired to be present at certain positions for a limited period of time, and expected to leave and disappear at the end of a season. There are no benefits, no effort to hold on to the better “kids”, and no help given to the better rangers in acquiring year-round employment at other parks. And worse still, young people quickly discover there are virtually no full time, year round jobs available. Instead, they face years and years of seasonal jobs, years of moving from park to park as temporary employees, and must attempt to function in a system which is difficult for individuals and almost impossible for couples. Eventually, the younger, better, and more serious Rangers just give-up, leave the Park Service, and get “real” jobs.

    What a shame, and what a loss to the NPS!

    It’s projected that many of the baby boomers will retire soon. For instance, in a recent speech, OPM director Linda Springer said, “Sixty percent of the government’s 1.6 million white-collar employees and 90 percent of about 6,000 federal executives will be eligible for retirement over the next 10 years.”

    So what is the National Park Service doing to attract tomorrow’s leaders? What is it doing to identify and develop its future leaders? What is it doing to make sure some of the wonderful, dedicated, and talented young people who work for the Park Service every summer don’t end up leaving in frustration, or feeling they were never recognized, or that no one cared about them professionally? What are we doing to encourage them, and support them, and guide them? Simply stated, what are we doing to convince the better and the more talented and dedicated young people who work as seasonal Rangers to continue working for the National Park Service?

  • Bryce Canyon National Park: This Small Corner of Utah Packs a Colorful Punch   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I have been to Bryce numerous times, and hiked pretty much every trail there. I have been to parks such as Glacier, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Teton ect.. While these parks are no doubt beautiful, there is, in my mind something very special about Bryce. Hiking the back of the canyon is like being on the set of an old "Star Trek" episode, with the purple sparkling hoodoos and colors for as far as you can see. As for the night sky... It is very hard to get to sleep at night while camping because the star gazeing is addictive, I have even put out the campfire to get a better view of the sky. My favorite trip was a few years ago in September (when all the kids go back to school). I was camping, had a great day hiking. Looking at the stars that night, watching some clouds roll in. I woke up the next mornig to about 6 inches of snow. One of the most beautiful scenes I have witnessed, with the snow covered orange formations, it was truely amazing! If ever you get the chance to go, TAKE IT! You won't be disappointed! Oh Ya, stop in at Zion while your at it.

  • Echoes of the Cold War in the Tropical Warmth of Everglades National Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Hi Kurt,
    I read your comment and just have few bits of info you may not realize.The site isnt just an empty shell sitting there it is a working national Park service facility that does research for the Everglades.It is fully staffed and allows a place for College students to come and visit and do scientific type research.It is a well maintained facilty where the radars were located with people coming back and forth to work every day.It gave them operable buildings that were already in place.Down range where the missiles were is kept up fairly well but there is nothing there but missile barns and a few out buildings.Im not sure what you meant by a footprint but since it was a solid fuels missile there is no waste left around that could harm the environment.I personally think this is worth preserving since within 200 miles from here their are people that were living in Cuba that lived thru the missile crisis form Cuba.Its just a piece of history that I honestly think is as interesting as seeing the cabin Lincoln lived in or visiting a civil war cemetary.

  • Bush Administration's Haste Could Doom New Gun Rules In National Parks   5 years 29 weeks ago

    #1 We don't need a "reason" to carry firearms in national parks. It is the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution garuntees the right of the PEOPLE to keep and Bear Arms.

    #2 Crime could happen any where and any time. Do you think you anti-gun commies could engage a little of that good ole common sense and put your rhetoric aside.

    #3 Besides the criminal element (park kidnapping of children, violent robberies of campers.) There are wild animals that have also, on rare occasion, attack hikers and recreationalists. Now they would have a fighting chance.. Wouldn't you want that too?

    #4 Being forced to use a firearm to thwart criminals, animals, or otherwise is extremely rare. You have better chances of being killed under a doctors care than by a criminals bullets. So why try and block responsible, law abiding Americans from being able to protect their families any where including National Parks?

  • Apparent Clumsiness Claims Life Of Famed Bull Elk In Yellowstone National Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Heres some pics I took of him in my yard in Gardiner
    http://brockkuntz.shutterfly.com/

    and some videos

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6lg8PBaHwo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D33WV0b3yJo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqkOKDGPV_A

    This elk was one in a million and he will be missed. He wasnt aggresive in the winter. After the rut he was soo chill. Just hanging out in Gardiner.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    What would the wildlife say?
    Nothing...they can't talk, and if they could they would say "what's that thing? if they could see it...but they can't 'cause it's CONCEALED.

  • Rocky Mountain National Park Ends Elk Culling for This Winter   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I read your previous article on limiting the elk numbers in the Rocky Mountain National Park. I also reviewed the Park Video and was interested in their stated goal of limiting the elk foraging on the willows. As they stated in the video this would lead to an improvement in the water table and other park resource. At the time I thought it a little odd that the Park Service was once again trying to manage elk numbers to aid the willow environment. As reported in the book, Where the Wild Things Were, the only permanent solution in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone was placing a grey and hungry menace in the thickets. Yes I mean wolves. Rangers and hunters occasionally chasing the elk around the flats never resolved the problem. It only put a different 40 elks in the willow grove. Only fear of a fanged ambush on a regular basis had any effect on the willow predation. This forced the elk out onto the plains where they could more effectively flee from the wolves. Has anyone else noticed this retro management approach might not resolve the problem?

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Ray. Good points, however, let me suggest the following:
    - we are already proposing everything you're suggesting: doing trailwork, proposing odd/even days, etc.
    - if mtbers disturb wildlife, then the same should be true of any other user

    The issue is that other users just don't want to share, as evidenced on this thread. Then again, why would they? They have their own private Idaho funded at taxpayer's expense.

  • Controlled Flood Proposed for the Colorado River Through Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Who's running these dams? NASA? First its bad, then it's good, then we destroy habitat, but discover endangered species living in the new habitat, but then we decided to 'restore' the habitat, but then we harass endangered species (did I mention exotic, endangered species?). At least if we're gonna do these things, can someone send me an invitation, I'd like to see one at least.

  • How'd They Do That?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Yo Random Walker-----if you've ever experienced the kind of winds that can often blow in that neck o' the woods you'd be a believer too.

  • New Visitor Center Coming to Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    As long as it does not bother the animals, I think it will be great. All the enviromental building plans are a good thing. I live in Ohio and come every year.

  • NPCA, PEER Voice Concerns Over Proposed Mountain Bike Rule Change In National Parks   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I suggest that mt. biking can enhance their argument re: mt. bike travel in national parks by recommending reasonable regulations and limits that protect the park resources and character while also being sensitive to the wishes of others to have trails free of mechanical vehicles. This means placing some trails and areas off limits to bikes or timing trail openings to avoid disturbing sensitive wildlife activities (nesting, calving, etc.). Additionally, off-road bikers could accept the responsibility of maintaining trails open to mt. bike travel. Anyone who has done trail maintenance knows this is an important and often difficult chore. Bikers should also reach out to other park stakeholders in search of ways to work together in protecting the parks and respecting each others needs and desires.