Recent comments

  • Arnica Fire in Yellowstone National Park Blows Up to More than 8,000 Acres   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Just got back from the park today. We made it through to Madison Jct. to get out via Old Faithful to West, however, my parents had gone to West Thumb to watch the fire and in the afternoon, it jumped the road and started burning on the lake side. They had to drive out of the park and get back up to Mammoth through Bozeman. I suggest calling the park and find out about road closures for anyone travelling there in the next few days. It was amazing to see though! Good luck and enjoy your trip! The number to call is: (307) 344-2117

  • An Analytical Look At The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Just finished watching the first episode which I considered excellent. Ken Burns only has 12 hours to deal with the units designated as a "National Park". To deal with all the other types of units with the same level of quality could easily take another 50 hours. Covering all aspects of the National Park System in the limited amount of time would have, in my opinion, led to a lower quality program. I hope Ken Burns does eventually get around to the other units.

    Phil

  • Arnica Fire in Yellowstone National Park Blows Up to More than 8,000 Acres   5 years 34 weeks ago

    The road between West Thumb and Bridge Bay was closed around noon today, Sunday, 27 September, 2009, as the fire jumped the road to the lake side of the road. Several trucks and additional resources of men and equipment were observed entering the park via the north entrance as we left the park for Gardiner around 4 PM.

  • Another Entrance-Fee-Free Weekend in the National Parks   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Well let me say this $25 may be a bargain to some people but it isn't for everyone. Every park has a donation box so those who think the entrance fee should be more can donate that extra money. The parks are for everyone to enjoy and the entrance fees are actually a paltry sum compared to the whole park budget (a little over 1%). No park is going to go "broke" without the entrance fees. If more funding is needed that can be added to the overall budget. The parks should not be priced out of reach of average people just so wealthy tourists can enjoy them with less congestion. There is a park within an hour of me that I've never been to because of the high entrance fee. Who does that benefit? The mission of the park is to serve the public, if the public can't afford to go there then the mission fails. Finally it is not the entrance fee that keeps parks clean, the reason the National parks are cleaner than other federal and state parks is because they have more workers that go around and pick up trash etc, not because the visitors don't litter.

  • Ken Burns' National Parks Documentary: Where Does it Stand?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I feel proud to be an american after seeing the first episode of Ken Burns "National Parks"an american idea..I saw the sacred beauty of America in it,I dont need to go to church to pray to god ,my church is a national park where I can contact the beauty of god s creation,the spirit world,and my ancestral nature as a human being.Congratulation! this documentary is a force of intense beauty,art,and spirituality.I highly recomend it.Our country has the best of nature in each national park. Moreover,Ifelt the struggle of the people involved in the preservation of our natural resources.I love it!."National parks"an american idea is a masterpiece !I cant wait to see more and feed my spirity with our nature beauty.Our country USA is a wondering jewl..

  • Arnica Fire in Yellowstone National Park Blows Up to More than 8,000 Acres   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I wouldn't bet that it'd put the fire out, but it more than likely will knock it down substantially. Back in '88 it was an early season snow storm in September that doused those blazes.

  • Arnica Fire in Yellowstone National Park Blows Up to More than 8,000 Acres   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I'm going to Yellowstone for a few days, and wondering if the predicted rain/snow can put a fire of this size out?

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Mr. Stephen O'Day safety first the cell phone towers are a great idea I was reading were they are blending them into the environment and not ruining the view great concept

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I think all things considered the Park Service made the right call on this one. I'm not a big fan of cell phones in the parks, but this tower location has a few special considerations. I'm very familiar with this area and have been at this cell site many times, and I have climbed the old fire look-out tower there (which is a fairly large truss-steel structure with a small enclosed room at the top.) First, Grant Grove, where this tower is located, is an isolated island of park within an area that is mostly Forest Service administered with a scattering of private ownership land. The main body of King's Canyon N.P. sits several miles away. The location is about as good as it gets for a tower, and that is witnessed by the fact that there are already several of them at this location. As Bruce said above, it is that rare combination of a great site technically for the tower, that is also not very visible, and creates a minimal environmental impact. That is a rare combination, most of the times these towers are in very obvious locations. There is also a need beyond just serving the park area. Grant Grove Village is in the park, just below this tower, right next to it is the larger Wilsonia community of private homes on private land. A couple miles away is Hume Lake, a large forest service community of private vacation homes and one of the largest camp/conference centers in the State. The other direction are several private communities, Dunlap, Squaw Valley, etc., these are all permanent homes. The tower is to serve these areas, the park coverage is just bonus, the argument Verizon used to sell the tower location. Verizon isn't interested in building an expensive tower just for the few people in the King's Canyon back country! There are other options in this area for a tower, but they are much more conspicuous, even though some of them would be outside the park. In fact this whole area has numerous antennas, there is one just about every high ridge in the front-country.

    But I agree with the disturbance issue, I would love it if the folks in Grant Grove would turn off their phones unless they are in their motel room or it is an emergency. Unfortunately I know this won't happen... and furthermore I confess that I'm guilty of forgetting to turn my own phone off when in the parks.

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Bruce, I'd say there are at least two sides to every issue. And really, one of our goals here at the Traveler is to coax out as many differing views as possible, as most usually have merit.

  • An Analytical Look At The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Concentrating on only the national "parks" is a huge disservice to the National Park System and Mr. Burns. As we all know, designations are often political whim. Presumably, if this show was made 10 years ago he would have omitted Cuyahoga Vally and Congaree. Yet those parks did not change when their names did! So Dinosaur National Monument, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Pinnacles National Monument, and other outstanding natural areas are not included - not to mention the historical and cultural places. What's worse, the companion book shows a map of the "national parks" and all these other areas are missing. This show could have been a great opportunity to remind people of the national parks in their full representation of America. Instead, it reinforces a misconception about the National Park System, could lead to even more overcrowding in the parks that do get mentioned, further neglect to the parks that do not get noticed, and worst of all, less support for the national parks because they are "not in my state" or "too far away" to visit.

  • Top 10 Most Visited National Parks   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Great Smoky Mtn. National Park is close to high population areas. Went this summer very crowded. If you dont leave early in the day you will be in a traffic jam on the Cades Cove road, this is only one way traffic. People were stopping to view and photograph wildlife. The only thing you can do is wait for everyone to move. Also the more popular hiking trails the eaiser ones also crowded before noon. Laurel Falls trail went about 1 in the afternoon passed about 150 people on their way back down. This is a free National Park; an entrance fee is never charged. This is probably another reason for the high attendance. I am sure they have a lot of school field trips from Tenn. and N. Carolina. It is a beautiful park. I believe it has more hiking trails than any other park (but not positive) This is a big draw for people who love to hike. Both days I went to the park I gave a $20 donation. It was worth so much more. All you cares seem to fade away while your here.

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Hey Chris,
    I agree with you 100%. On my terms, I love to excape from my business world, and disconnect. I deal with the public daily and love gettting into the romote areas of the Sierra mountains and exploring what it has to offer in a friendly enviromental way. You know, picking up the trash of others who don't care, while you enjoy the fruit of the park's beauty. This time does belong to me. I turn off the cell phone, and I don't log on to my company's computers. But, If I need help because my wife broke her leg! You better believe I would like to make that cell phone call. Wouldn't you!
    Kurt, I apprecieate you posting both sides of the story. The popularity of your polls will surely grow. There is always two sides of the story.

    Bruce

  • Mammoth Cave National Park Follows Ken Burns' Documentary With Its Own Film   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I agree with this....wouldn't that awesome.

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Rick,

    I agree with you that people need time to unconnect from the busy world and take time to relax and enjoy the simpler things in life such as nature, my wife and I both like to do just that. My solution to that is simply turn off the blackberry, cell phone and pager. I do this quite often and it works great! If someone tries to reach me, I let them leave a message on my answering machine or cell service and I will call them back at MY conveinience. I owe them no excuse as to why they could not get in tough with me immediately. If they push the issue, simply tell them that YOUR time belongs to YOU and not them. I think this should be the standard answer for everyone to use. If enough people said that, then maybe the rest of the world would stop calling us on our day off.

    Folks, go absoluty stealth for a few days, the world will not have destroyed itself nor could you have changed much of anything in a week by yourself. The world can and will go on without you, just as they will do after you have passed away.

    Chris

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I have to say that as a ranger living in the parks I enjoy having cell towers. I like the fact that I don't have to worry about setting up a landline every few months and this way it makes it easier for my family to reach me. I remember one season when my sister was diagnosed with cancer and I didn't have cell reception. The park headquarters never passed the message on to me and it took a week before I found out. But as a visitor I hate the fact that cell phones are everywhere. I was taking my niece birdwatching one day and we were focused on this one warbler when a woman came by yakking on her phone as loud as she could. There went our bird.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • The National Park to Park Highway   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Within the past few years I've been fortunate enough to drive some of these roads. Magnificent! See America First!

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Kurt,
    In responce to your reply, I quess we don't know until someone you love, has a heart attack in a remote area, and you wish, "Damn, I sure could use some help!"

  • Want a Horse? Theodore Roosevelt National Park Will Auction About 90 Wild Horses Oct 23   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Anon, technically the horses on Assateague are considered feral since they are domestic stock that was just left to their own devises for the last couple hundred years. Although I guess the same could be said for the mustangs as well. The horses on the Maryland side of Assateague are owned by the park service and they administer birth control to control the population. The ones on the Virginia side are owned by the Chincoteague Fire Dept. and they are the ones that round up the horses every year and auction them. THe ones on the Virginia side are a recognized breed, the Chincoteague pony, even though they have a mishmash of breeds, including mustang.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Most cell tower mono-pole installations without guy wires can be made to blend in somewhat (painted pine green for instance) and they do have eceological benefits as well. Eagles and other nesting birds can and do build nests at the top, and it can provide a safe resting and viewing area for them. I would resonally much prefer to see an not hear the occassional cell tower and a 12x20 ft building making no noise, than see and hear an RV or van full of noisy people parked by the road. I ask you, which offers more serenity? Give me the unmanned cell site anyday!

    Let us also not forget that eighty years ago, there were similar complaints about building ANY roads into National Parks. Now we have roads, restrooms, restaurants, visitors centers and hotels in National Parks. Most of the complainers of cell sites seem to take the selfrightious attitude of THEY pose no problems and yet demand all the human amenities I listed above. Think of it this way, suppose all human made noises were outlawed in the NPS and everyone had to walk or hike into NP's. Great you say; buy suppose you hiked in, made no camp, spoke no words to anyone, and unfortunately you had a heart attack or found yourself in dire peril due to no fault of your own. Would you not want to be able to call for help and have someone get there quickly (think sirens and helicopters here) to get you out of trouble as quickly as possible? Other than the rare occassions when a cell site loses power and a generator takes over, they are silent neighbors in the NPS. Even the generator can be eliminated and the site go on battery backup for a couple of days. Yeah, I say let them be built to help mankind, not be banned just to appease an itsy-bitsy percentage of the population who want no one else in the NPS than them.

    The National Park System belongs to every American citizen, if folks don't want any modern conveiniences, let them demand a popular vote by ALL Americans, Yes or No, not just the ones living near the park (since we all pay taxes to support the NPS).

    Thanks,
    Kodi

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Bruce, the question isn't whether Mr. Jarvis did his homework, or how long it takes to hike to the trail to the ridge, or whether anyone can see the towers from roads.

    Rather, the question I think is how long must the umbilical cord be for us to feel safe in nature? Where do we stop erecting towers so we can be connected, where we feel safe, where we don't have to rely so much on ourselves because a button push or two will summon help? I think Rick Smith pretty much nailed it above.

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Hello Kurt,

    I have been visiting Kings Canyon Park for the last 50 years. Until I started hiking the trails, I never knew this place existed. Visitors can not see this Look-Out tower from any of the roads leading into the parks. I've visited this sight a couple of times in the last few years. It takes a 45 minute hike on the trail to get to get there. On the surface of the proposed sight, the buildings that support the communication system that is currently there have already scarred the surface of the area. If the new tower is one of the new camouflaged type, I would bet no one would even notice it from any of the park roads.
    By the way, the Look-Out tower usually offers excellent views of the surrounding Sierra mountain tops to the East, and the yucky smog of California's San Joaquin Valley to the West. I think Jon Jarvis did his homework.

    Bruce

  • Another Cellphone Tower OKed for Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    How ironic. This discussion mirrors the hot middle school book "The Giver". In the book the society has traded in joy, pain, and color for safety. As a 50+ year old teacher I read the book and was totally creeped out. What is so scary to me, is we as Americans might actually give up freedom for safety.

  • A Conversation With Ken Burns on The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Thanks bfp. Check back tomorrow for the podcast.

  • A Conversation With Ken Burns on The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Really good interview! i especially like that you asked about the capitalist aspect of the parks.

    Thanks for posting it!