Recent comments

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I just experienced Snow Canyon for the first time in June. Hiked the Hidden Pinyon Trail; didn't have time for others. It was a high point of my visit. I have to say I liked it better than Zion. So different from the Pacific NW where I hail from.

  • Let's Start a Tradition: "Thank a Ranger Day"   5 years 28 weeks ago

    OK, so I'll admit it here for all the world to see, I suffer from "Ranger Envy"!!

    Who, in their later years, haven't said, " I sure wish I'd have been a park ranger, what a life"!! Of course that's coming from someone that has only seen the good side of their jobs. I think they are truly the unsung heros of all the parks in this great country, and a national day to thank them is way overdue. Where do I sign the petition?

    At least I can thank them personally every time I come into contact with one, right?

    "The world is a great book, of which they that never stir from home read only a page"--St. Augustine

  • Rangers Looking for Missing Paddler at Glacier National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    A friend and I overturned our canoe in the "30 mile" section of the Yukon River years ago. I was SITTING on my life jacket at the time--what a dumbass I was!! NEVER AGAIN, no matter how uncomfortable that thing feels on a hot humid day. We both made it out ok, found our canoe about 10 miles downstream after getting rescued by a few cargo canoists that just happened by and finished our journey.

    PLEASE--always use your safety gear, your life may well (and usually does) depend on it.

    My prayers go out his friends and family.

    "The world is a great book, of which they that never stir from home read only a page"--St. Augustine

  • Visitation On Record Pace in Yellowstone National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago


    We went in mid-June, and while there were crowds, they were easily avoided (except at Old Faithful).

    We had cancelled this trip last year when gas was at 4 a gallon.

    I think some park lovers with cabin fever have decided not to wait anymore.

    I can understand why those of you with this treasure in your backyard are reluctant to see the summer onslaught, but I thought the crowds were much less of a problem than we'd been lead to anticipate.

    Simply by seeing many sites later in the evening, we avoided much of them. We strolled around Mammoth at dusk and had the place practically to ourselves.

  • Rangers Looking for Missing Paddler at Glacier National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    It is a pity they did not wear a lifevest, or whatever they are called these days.
    See link below - the young man was found deceased.

    http://www.statesman.com/news/content/gen/ap/MT_Glacier_Canoeist_Missing.html

  • Latest Pastime of Yellowstone National Park Bison: Human Tossing   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Jim, Bison can move rapidly and for fairly long distance. Two weeks ago we watched a day old bison calf and cow run at least two miles being chased by a grizzly. The bison won the race along the bank of the Yellowstone River in Heyden Valley. Some people literally appear to leave their brains at home when visiting Yellowstone. On the next day, I attempted to exercise some common sense by telling a bunch of people to get back in their cars as a large grizzle was coming downhill toward them and out of their line of sight. The tourist only knew that a bear had been sighted and wanted to see what was going on. They at least listened to me and got back in their cars to be rewarded by seeing the bear pass withing 25 ft of their cars. Yellowstone is, afterall, still a wild place and not tourists back yard.

  • Rangers Looking for Missing Paddler at Glacier National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    No offense meant to the family of the missing boater, but WHAT were they doing in a canoe on Swiftcurrent Lake at 3 o'clock in the morning!

    This comment was edited to remove a disparaging comment. -- ed.

  • The Monkey Wrench Gang: Coming to a Theater Near You?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Ahh, the voice of reason! Yes, we are always disappointed or bemused by certain scenes that are in our minds that get portrayed by another’s point of view. It is inevitable. I am lost as to how you get Keanu Reeves in there though. I don't think he even knows how to use profanities! Drew?? She's too young. Let's just enjoy the book as we do and welcome the arrival of our favourite environmental heroes to the big screen. For better or worse.

  • Let's Start a Tradition: "Thank a Ranger Day"   5 years 28 weeks ago

    In my deepest memory, remembering Carl Sharsmith, who had the fineness qualities of the highest standards as ranger naturalist, educator, guide and friend was a prime example of gratitude given by most folks who knew him. Under the cloak of the NPS, I'm sure there were just as many as worthy as Carl Sharsmith in gratitude...if not more.

  • History and Scenery in One Great Package – and Getting There is Part of the Fun   5 years 28 weeks ago

    The official Dec 31, 2007 NPS Lands Office figures for Sitka NHP are:
    61.97 acres NPS fee-simple
    49.53 acres NPS less than fee
    0.6 acres other public
    0.06 acres private
    ---------------
    112.16 gross area acres.

  • Let's Start a Tradition: "Thank a Ranger Day"   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Thankfully I've never needed a ranger in an emergency situation, but I do appreciate that they're available. My encounters with rangers have been educational, and that makes any park visit better. I'm sure I thanked him at the time, but I'll say so again here: I still remember the ranger guide on our trip to Mesa Verde in August 2006. Ranger Mitch. In his words:

    "Human intelligence hasn't changed. The only thing that's different is our technology. You came here in a car today. Good for you. They lived 700 years without a war. Good for them."

    Thank you Ranger Mitch for a memorable experience.

  • History and Scenery in One Great Package – and Getting There is Part of the Fun   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Liz, according to the NPS and the Sitka web site, the park is 113 acres. Do you have a source for the 13 acres? I can't imagine the Park Service being 100 acres off...though stranger things happen out there;-)

  • Jon Jarvis Finally Nominated to be Next Director of the National Park Service   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Yep!

    Jarvis isn't a hydrologist or natural resource scientist. He listens to NPS & USGS scientists when they brief him, reads & actually thinks about reports, and has the experience from seasonal interpretive ranger to protection ranger to biologist & resource manager to superintendent to regional director to understand the importance of information when he reads it. That's why he was up to speed and knew what he was talking about.

    That's why I'm happy: someone who actually reads reports, and knows enough of the big NPS picture to act on them. Not just natural resource reports, but cultural resources, interpretation, visitor services, across the board. NPS is not only, or even primarily, about natural resource protection. Jarvis is a better choice for director than the best resource scientist.

  • The Monkey Wrench Gang: Coming to a Theater Near You?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Well, it's a movie that should be made, and I am excited, but let's prepare ourselves for the inevitable. No movie ever does complete justice to any book; we will all experience disappointment on some level when our favorite scenes in the story look TOTALLY different than how our minds formed them through Mr. Abbey's writing. Having said that, I look forward to the film maker's interpretation of Bonnie getting her way out of that swimming hole...

    Bonnie is Drew Barrymore. I like Dennehey as Doc and I can work with McConaughey as Seldom. Hayduke is a tough one. I'm thinking more Keanu Reeves than Woody Harrelson, but in an ideal world we could timetravel the guy who played Luke Duke on the original Dukes Of Hazard TEE VEE show to the present day and put him in there.

  • Let's Start a Tradition: "Thank a Ranger Day"   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Absolutely! In all of our National Park travels we have come across some outstanding rangers. I always make a point to write to the park superintendent praising these individuals. They deserve our thanks!!

  • History and Scenery in One Great Package – and Getting There is Part of the Fun   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Sitka National Historical Park is truly a wonderful place, and even those visiting Sitka via cruise ship that only have a few hours in town can enjoy the opportunity to stroll through the rainforest on the park's well-maintained trails. The park, however, is only about 13 acres, not the 113 as quoted in the article.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Toldes, ssshhhhhhhhhhh!;-)

    Another great state park in Utah is Snow Canyon, to the southwest of Zion. Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Just got back from Dead Horse a week ago. I had never been, mistakenly thinking "Well, it's a state park, so it can't be as beautiful as Canyonlands, the national park". Boy was I ever in for a shock. It's a miniature Grand Canyon and one of the most beautiful places in the Moab area. Also checked out Professor Valley, where John Ford filmed "Wagonmaster" and "Rio Grande", ANOTHER surprise, a little gem of a valley tucked away near Moab.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I was born and raised at the Grand Canyon 36 years of my life. I worked at the Grand Canyon Clinic and know of alot of fatalities. Whether accidental, suicidal or just plain stupidity hiking and not being prepared. I worked with two of the most wonderful and best physicians Dr.Wurgler and Dr. Tom Myers who is the Author of "Over the Edge."
    What this guy did is not a surprise to me, however where he did drive off is. The location, there are many people from visitors, locals, employees who walk, jog that busy path to and from lodges, curios and look out points. Just 3 weeks ago my daughter got married at that same location the El Tovar Patio where many events occur.

    For some reason people who want to take their life, decide to jump or drive off the Grand Canyon is the way to go. Well... will all never know will we???? Only that individual. Who attempts and succeeds. Pretty sad, such a wonder of Beauty and Peacefulness, maybe this is why they do it? A touch of Heaven the Grand Canyon is in my eyes.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I am amazed at the callousness of people when a tragedy occurs, and often wonder if these people would say some of the things they do "in person", so to speak. The despair of a person to commit suicide is not something to compare to whatever possible damage the car may done to an infinitesimal speck of the Grand Canyon.

  • Jon Jarvis Finally Nominated to be Next Director of the National Park Service   5 years 28 weeks ago

    tomp -

    Thanks for a nice summary of the water issues related to proposed solar projects and other energy development.

    Jarvis was on target in pointing out these problems early in the discussion on these projects.

  • Latest Pastime of Yellowstone National Park Bison: Human Tossing   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Folks....they are wild animals. Obey the rules in the brochure that everyone is given when you enter the park and everyone will have a safe and memorable experience. Wild animals are best viewed from a safe distance. Most camera equipment has a zoom feature, use it! Enjoy Yellowstone and be safe. The animals will love you for it! (:

  • Jon Jarvis Finally Nominated to be Next Director of the National Park Service   5 years 28 weeks ago

    There's a bit more to the solar plants in the Amargosa basin issue. Solar plants can be air cooled or water cooled, and just like coal or nuclear plants, water cooled plants are more efficient (something like 10-12% more efficient). Finding water for water cooling in the desert is problematic. In the Amargosa basin (roughly NE of Death Valley to the Nevada Test Site (Yucca Mountain), what groundwater there is, is already over-allocated: there are more water rights than water. Pumping the aquifer dry will wipe out the pupfish in Devil's Hole (by drying up Devil's Hole, part of Death Valley NP), and dry up the wetlands in that wildlife refuge. BLM has designated several large blocks of that basin for solar power leasing, and NPS is pointing out that the planned water withdrawl will have major impacts and probably would violate ESA & NEPA (never mind that there isn't enough water down there to last for the planned lifespan of the solar plants). My understanding is that NPS has no objections to air-cooled solar plants in that area.

    Salazar at Interior has made energy one of his priorities (climate change is another): these are the kinds of issues that need to be hashed out to do energy development right. [Look for the same water v. energy issues with Shell Oil's claim on water from the Yampa for oil shale development: oil shale needs a whole lot of water. NPS will be part of the issue (DINO is downstream on the Yampa), but there will be several other stakeholders taking the lead.]

    I'm very happy that Jarvis has been nominated.

  • Let's Start a Tradition: "Thank a Ranger Day"   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Kurt, this something that I have advocated for years, especially when the NPS had good stock of rangers (and still do) that went unrecognized for their heroic efforts and there conscientious examples of beyond the pale of duty. Yes, part of the job but give credit due to it's most noblest. The national parks still has good stock of young talent that will always carry the day and the future of the parks. No doubt...despite what the skeptics and doomsayers might think about the national parks.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Rivers to Ride in the National Park System   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Thank goodness for the National Parks Traveler, for I do believe only you have recognized the excellent Noatak River.

    However, my favorite part of the Noatak starts in Gates of the Arctic National Park (and designated Wilderness), with its beautiful mountains and lakes. Then, you get to keep going down the 400-mile river through the Noatak National Preserve.