Recent comments

  • On Politics, Bureaucracy, and "Glamping" In the National Park System   5 years 31 weeks ago

    As a Civil War re-enactor, I often get incredulous looks when I tell people that yes, we actually sleep in those tents, and yes, we actually cook on the fire. And no, they didn't have i-pods or cell phones during the Civil War, so we can't have them either (one of the true joys of re-enacting, if you ask me!).

    I can't see how "glamping" is going to solve this problem (and I do see it as a problem).

  • Updated: Hiker Killed In Fall at Glacier National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    More likely a hiker than a climber.

  • Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road Open End to End   5 years 31 weeks ago

    No word about the renaming effort heard here, but on the other issue, there is a difference between weather and climate. Plus, just because you have one good winter doesn't mean the long-term trend isn't pointing to a warming trend. Frankly, I'd venture that those who are concerned about climate change would be more than happy if the science were wrong.

  • On Politics, Bureaucracy, and "Glamping" In the National Park System   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Boy, that picture says it all! And what is that square thing on the tent directly to the left of the doorway? Is that an AC UNIT???? I went to the site mentioned above, and found that for a mere $200 a night I could get the complete experience in Joshua Tree, only 10 minutes from the National Park. The website states, "you can bring your friends and crank up the amp, or just listen to the silence". Amenities include a spa, fully equipped kitchen, and an iPod docking station! Somebody's making some serious money - clever way of exploiting us lazy Americans. Anybody know how I can get into this racket?

  • Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road Open End to End   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Previous posters need a wake up call and not for Rush Limbaugh. Question, why is there talk about renaming the park because all the glaciers will be completely gone in 20 years???? Oh wait, 1 year we opened late yeah that's right no global warming - too funny...

  • On Politics, Bureaucracy, and "Glamping" In the National Park System   5 years 31 weeks ago

    U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn should be embarrassed along with every member of the state of Oklahoma. Holding our National Park System hostage while he plays politics. You give every good republican a bad name. Step aside and allow TRUE Americans to take over and resue our park system for future generations.

  • How Far Should You Move a Nuisance Rattlesnake? At Great Basin, Inquiring Minds Want to Know   5 years 31 weeks ago

    While working in one of the densest population areas of timber rattlers in the east, we were made aware of the study noted in the above message conducted in North Carolina. We started to relocate rattlers found in visitor use areas much shorter distances. Although we did not have the time to conduct any semblance of a scientific study, it did not seem that the snakes were returning to the high visibility areas frequented by people. I would find it of interest to see a study conducted on the movement of snakes relocated and the frequency that they reappear in areas that are of concern.

    Just a thought for consideration by one of those grad students looking for a research topic.

  • Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road Open End to End   5 years 31 weeks ago

    man is so egotistical to think afer billions of years of the earth taking care of itself the humans can destroy it in a few 100 years. what t joke. solar flares are 90% of the ozone depletion and so called 'global warming'.
    [This comment was edited to remove unacceptable language.]

  • Surf Is Decidedly Up At Cape Hatteras National Seashore Thanks to Hurricane Bill   5 years 31 weeks ago

    damage report? where on 12?

  • "Bad Times" Aren't Always All Bad – These Two Ideas for "Improving the Parks" Fizzled   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Steel also wanted to build an elevator from the Lodge to the lake shore and the NPS director at the time, Horace Albright, called Steel's, within-the-rim, road idea, "chimerical." No doubt, Steel was feeling his oats after having attained money from Congress for the first survey project of a rim road (in 1907) at Crater Lake and then money for construction of the first rim road.

    Another notion, just as nonsensical, was pushed by Congressman Charles Porter, of Oregon, for an aerial gondola.....from the rim to Wizard Island in 1959.

    Thanks so much Jim. Good job.

    rob mutch
    ---
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography

  • Planners In "Wilderness Wal-Mart" Matter Oppose Development on Fringe of Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    anon 3: Could it be that Walmart is "getting religion"? Or is it the pressure of public opinion? Fear of losing market share is a good motive for cleaning up their corporate act. Good move for locating on land no one else wants. Reclaiming blighted properties is always a good idea, although I think they should have gotten a good environmental hazard assessment before building on a landfill.

    Perhaps the answer for Fredericksburg is to bring pressure to bear on the county to rezone the land nearest the park. A buffer area, maybe?

  • "Bad Times" Aren't Always All Bad – These Two Ideas for "Improving the Parks" Fizzled   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Jess -

    Thanks for the interesting comment.

    I'd definitely agree that a tramway using old city buses suspended from a cable qualifies as "low budget"!

  • Rare Fossilized Sea Star Turns Up On Beach at Olympic National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Better researchers than "collectors" who will chisel it out and sell it.

  • How Far Should You Move a Nuisance Rattlesnake? At Great Basin, Inquiring Minds Want to Know   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Thanks for the info, Bob. This is very interesting stuff. When I was a lookout, a massive rattle snake decided to sun on a step directly in front of the door. There were so many living in the splatter rampart the lookout was built on. I caught three and transported them to the bottom of the hill. Kinda bummed to find out this information now, though. While I'm extremely afraid of rattlers, and don't want to get bitten, I also don't want to see them die prematurely. There was an awful woodrat problem at the lookout, too, and they would urinate sticky pee all over the catwalk. Needless to say, rattlesnakes serve an important role in rodent population control.

  • It Ain't Sexy: Charting The Next Two Decades At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Diane,

    You sound like you write copy for the COC;-) Or, more likely, that you love and fully appreciate the islands for what they are and what they offer.

    The islands are definitely on my list...sounds like a great place for an extended paddle.

  • It Ain't Sexy: Charting The Next Two Decades At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Excellent mind-boggling post, Kurt. You've made the government-written draft easier to wade through.

    While the Islands are some of my favorite places in the world, thinking that they would lose most of their charm and beauty by converting to B&Bs and losing their historic and pristine flavor turns my stomach. I believe the buildings and trails should be rehabilitated, not commercialized.

    True, the courthouse in Bayfield is a hike up the hill and land to purchase is in short supply. Finding a place for the NPS interpretive center and its offices will be difficult, but I'm sure it can be done. Ownership would be far preferable to leasehold any old day and would provide a permanent foothold on the land side for generations to come. Remember, many people who visit that area don't necessarily travel out to the islands, but they can garner a wealth of information from a centrally located center.

    If you've never been to the Islands, plan a trip. Pick any island, or a few, to explore. Spring through fall are ideal for family visits. Let winter be for the more adventurous. Historically, the Islands human habitation goes farther back than whites care-taking lighthouses. The islands were for a generations summer fishing camps for Native Americans. Ever spent a summer in muggy northern Wisconsin? Then you will appreciate the breezes off Lake Superior, the goosebump, teeth-chattering, shivering delight of the clear lake water for a refreshing dip. The lesser developed Islands are wonderful places just to be. I miss the shush of the water on sand and rocky shores, the wind in the trees, the birdsong, the black sky away from lit towns that allow you to see the heavens.

    Leave your gadgets behind. Do cellphones even work out there? No matter. I wouldn't take it anyway.

    The Apostle Islands are wonderful little gems. Let's preserve them in their unpolished state.

  • How Far Should You Move a Nuisance Rattlesnake? At Great Basin, Inquiring Minds Want to Know   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I'm not sure what the issue is with Great Basin snakes, but I assume it's similar to problems with longer translocations of nuisance rattlers alluded to in a 2001 study Relocation of Nuisance Rattlesnakes: Problems Using Short-Distance Translocation in a Small Rural Community, which included this information:

    Recent studies indicate rattlesnakes released well beyond their home range (LDT) become confused and tend to wander long distances. They apparently attempt to return to their home range where they grew up and knew their surroundings. Many snakes managed with LDT die within a year, unable to adapt to their new environment (Johnson et al. 2000 [massasaugas, Ontario], Hare and McNally 1997 [diamondbacks, Tucson], Reinert 1999 [timber rattlesnakes, Pennsylvania). Other studies indicate translocated snakes' aberrant activity patterns (Nowak 1998 [diamondback and blacktailed rattlesnakes, Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona], Sealy 1997 [timber rattlesnakes, North Carolina]). Our own long term studies (11 years) using radiotelemetry near Portal, Arizona, indicate blacktailed rattlesnakes know their home range intimately, seldom range out of it, and frequent the same refuges, hunting sites, and opposite sex meeting locations year after year (Hardy and Greene 1999).

    I guess the bottom line here is that longer translocations leave the rattlers extremely upset, confused, and more likely to take lethaly dangerous risks while trying to find their way back to familiar habitat.

  • "Bad Times" Aren't Always All Bad – These Two Ideas for "Improving the Parks" Fizzled   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Tramways aren't always successful, either. One was eventually built at Mt Hood, going from the town of Government Camp up to the famous Timberline Lodge. It was a low budget setup, and used old city buses suspended from a cable as tram cars (really!) It was also a failure, only lasting a couple of years. You can find a couple of old photos of this rather odd contraption at http://www.pdxhistory.com/html/mt_hood.html Scroll down to the end of the page.

  • How Far Should You Move a Nuisance Rattlesnake? At Great Basin, Inquiring Minds Want to Know   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Snakes moved long distances – more than one kilometer (.62 miles) – have survival rates conspicuously lower than those moved shorter distances.

    Did any of the studies you read explain why the survival rates drop on longer moves? Thanks in advance.

  • Rare Fossilized Sea Star Turns Up On Beach at Olympic National Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    “This is indeed fabulous and beautiful and so amazingly unusual.” ...Until, on the advice of the Burke Museum (what did they expect the Burke to say?) it was ripped from the rock where it has resided for the last 20 million years or so.

  • "Bad Times" Aren't Always All Bad – These Two Ideas for "Improving the Parks" Fizzled   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Thanks for the interesting piece, Jim. I'd never heard of the Crater Lake tunnel idea before. These administrative histories found on most unit's websites make fascinating reading. I would encourage anyone passionate about their parks to check them out.

    Long time employees in the Maintenance Division at Rainier say it is very expensive to keep the road to Paradise plowed during the severe winters, but necessary because Glacier Bridge cannot bear the snowload. That, plus potential damage to the historic Paradise Inn and other infrastructure from the tremendous annual snowfall, make clearing the road daily the cheapest option. Undoubtedly a tram would have had high maintenance costs as well, and probably would not have been able to operate in the frequent strong winds.

  • What Priorities Should The Next National Park Service Director Address?   5 years 31 weeks ago

    I recently joined the National Park Service as a Temporary - working on a special project. I am a retired, senior (70 years old) in extremely good health, have high energy, well educated, held responsible postions in the Industrial World (VP, General Manager of a couple of Global Companies).

    To make it short, I work with some really great people, have grown to really appreciate the Park and would like to remain a part of the Park but, not in the volunteer sector.

    Due to many circumstances, I do need the income but, more than that, while the public looks on the volunteers as good folks and tolerates them in their jobs, the "internal" family of the National Park Service gives very little respect. About the same as is shown, the "temporary" employees.

    I, reiterate, I have thoroughly enjoyed working in the job, the park and with the people but, I do sense a "keep my distance" from the "family".

    As I have approached them on the idea of becoming a regular employee - and, offered eveidence of more than ample qualifications, shown a dedication and energy in my work that is equal or more to any of the regular employees, I seem to get a bit of double talk, non acceptance or, in some cases, a tiny level of fear from the thought of having to give a strong opinion.

    I am very serious, I have observed, studied, discussed and read every available publication on the job, the duties, the needs and the skills required. Beyond any doubt, I am more than capable of doing any task that is related to the job and, unless some really bad situation occurs, see no reason why I would not be perfectly capable and be able to excel for the next several years.

    The bottom line, is, if I had a suggestion to the top ranking official of the NPS, it would be to motivate his people to seek out and recognize willingness, capability, dedication, qualifications, maturity, discipline and, perhaps, some wisdom over simply a fresh face, someone who knows someone, strictly youth (don't get me wrong, youth has many advantages), a friend of the family - and look to the real knowledge that can be offered to the public, the customers that should be provided the best and servioe and highest satisfaction.

  • Planners In "Wilderness Wal-Mart" Matter Oppose Development on Fringe of Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park   5 years 31 weeks ago

    How many do we need? I'll tell you how many we need. We need to keep building them until they stop making money. It is simple if "people" and I am talking the whole population, not just the loud ones, don't want it then it will be built and fail. I know for a fact that walmart would not build in a spot that they expected would lose money. Did our soldiers fight for a walmart... your right they did. That is our way of life in this country, and in many ways this debate, as well as the walmart is a honor to all that the country has to offer.

    How far is enough? I cannot build on the border of a park, how about a mile, or 2 miles? Lines on a map are there for a reason. (the cell tower is a more complex issue, we had something around here with a golf driving range that was built next to a drive in theatre,the lights from the golf driving range was ruining the theatre...but I digress) .

    How does a Historical neighborhood maintain its character... you have zoning laws, to ensure that the development is compatible with the area. Interesting note on zoning laws, part of what makes Washington D.C. such a wonderful place is that there are no tall buildings to over shadow the monuments. Do you know how they have preserved their atmosphere? There is a law that no structure in the city can be taller that 2 times the width of the widest street the building is on. Simple solution.

    Ultimately it falls down to the state and local governments, and from the sounds of it, they are not helping much here.
    On a side note, in my area, Walmart built a store as an anchor on a project to reuse the land of a closed steel mill. It redeveloped what could have become a dangerous eye sore and turned it into a valuable resource for the inner city area. (Ohh and they refused to take the HUGE tax credit for building on a abandoned industrial site) They also built a store on a reclaimed landfill, however that store closed when it was determined that the developer screwed up and the store became dangerous.

  • Surf Is Decidedly Up At Cape Hatteras National Seashore Thanks to Hurricane Bill   5 years 31 weeks ago

    Sadly, this ol' "Gnarly Surfer Dude" is land-locked 250 miles from shore, but such is life...

    I will add this bit of GREAT news that precedes this storm:

    CHNSRA NPS biotechs were able to rescue ~200 pre-emergent/emerging turtle hatchlings prior to the storm surge, as well as relocating several other newer nests to higher ground! Said hatchlings will be released after the storm passes.

    Local rental agencies have advised non-residents to leave prior to sunrise on 8/23, as Rt. 12 is expected to overwash during times of high tide in several places along the seashore during Bill's passage through Sunday.

    NCDOT Ferry traffic between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands may also be suspended due to swell levels in the inlet, if necessary.

    Bill is expected to be mainly a wave event for CHNSRA, and should be exiting by the beginning of next week. This is the first tropical cyclone to affect the East Coast and CHNSRA in 2009, ending what has been a very quiet spring and early summer Hurricane season.

  • Upon Further Review: "Where's the Spare?"   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Good story, well told. I haven't gotten to your Hey Ranger! books yet, but this story bumps them up the reading priority list!