Recent comments

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    There is no such alternative if you are injured, stranded or lost in the wilderness.

    What business do they have in the wilderness. If someone goes into the wilderness or climbs a mountain just for fun why shouldn't they pay for any expense incurred. If someone else has to pay for their rescue why not also pay for their equipment and send them to school to learn safety in their hobby. If a child wanders away from camp and gets lost that is different. If a grown person makes a decision to put their life in danger for a thrill they should pay for their foolishness.

    That is the way I see it but, if someone wants to furnish the equipment and volunteer their time and expense or solicit money for that purpose then "God bless them"

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Never charge for this service!

    If you charge for this service, it is NOT the idiots that wandered off recklessly that you will be "punishing" -it is their CHILDREN who they took with them who will suffer!! These same people who didn't bring a beacon or even a map for that matter are the same ones dragging a 5 year old up a mountian, and when things take a turn for the worse you NEVER want a parent to hesitate to get emergency help for 5 YEAR OLD because they are trying to figure out if they have room on a credit card for the bill! Seriously, why is this even being debated?

    P.S. if you can not pay for an ambulance ride and it was deemed medically necessary, it's free in Maryland for this exact reason. No one should hesitate to call for help for someone in life or death circumstances because of the cost.

  • Bear #399, And Other Grizzlies, Are On the Prowl In Grand Teton National Park   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Followed that bear for 3 years...watched its habitat and behivor....Cant wait to see new cubs this year
    She is one devoted mother.....and caring deeply for her cubs....Spend 6 months in Tetons every year
    Great write up and great job...see u guys in the park

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    No... for all the reasons listed by the professionals. In reply to the comment about calling 911 and having to pay for the ambulance: I'm sure that there are many people who put off calling 911 who opt instead to "tough it out" only to have their situation worsen. Some, of course, arrange their own transportation from a family member or friend to avoid the cost of an ambulance when that seems overkill. There is no such alternative if you are injured, stranded or lost in the wilderness.

    In my experience in mountain rescue most teams are volunteers, drive their own vehicles and supply much of the equipment at no cost to the taxpayers. We don't need government assessing charges to victims when the services are provided free by volunteers. For the limited number of paid rescuers (generally park rangers) they generally are hired for other duties and respond to rescues as needed. Except for the cost of training and equipment, there is very little impact on their agency's budget.

    BUT MOST IMPORTANT! Regardless of how smart or stupid someone is, each life is precious so let's not castigate some for the predicaments they get in. Likewise everyone should feel confident they will receive rescue services when and if they need them without respect to ability to pay. Throw out the rescue fee and the ability to pay is a non-issue. I don't want to ever hear again of a young lady who refuses help "because my Dad will kill me when he gets the bill!"

  • Update: Will a “Chop and Drop” Strategy Rescue the Presidio’s Contemporary Art Museum Project?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Allowing Fisher to put his museum on the Presidio would be a tragedy. This museum will house soley his collection, which he is not giving to--just permitting it to be viewed by-- the public. He has insisted that he curate what is shown, when it is shown, how it is shown, what will be lent out, and what will be shown from other collections. No self-respecting PUBLIC art museum would ever permit such unilateral, unreviewable control.
    So what this amounts to is allowing a private collector to build his own museum on public land, to run however he wishes. But not just ordinary public land. For here we are talking about a National Historic Landmark District, and not just that, but at the very top, center of its Main Post, the universally acknowledged "heart of the Presidio", the "Plymouth Rock of the West". Could anything be more unjustified?

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I have mixed feelings about this. Just yesterday I was enjoying my day off hiking in my park when I came across a man collapsed on the side of the trail. I identified myself as a ranger and asked if they needed help. They said he had simply gotten light headed. No one in the party had water and it was 83, in the desert, on a trail rated moderate. They refused any help but I advised them to go back down and get some water before doing the trail. They ignored me and hiked as fast as they could up the trail. I tried to keep up to keep my eye on the man but they out paced me. I later found out that the same man had later become a SAR and had to be carried out. What do you do when a ranger advised them that they weren't prepared but they ignored the warnings?

  • Help Ken Burns Chronicle the Parks   5 years 29 weeks ago

    My GreatGrandfather, Senator John Conness, US senate 1863-1869,the Junior Senator from California introduced the Yosemite Grant legislation into the US Senate. The was the first preservation of Yosemite Valley and the Wawona Grove of Giant Sequoias. He was a member of Abraham Lincoln's "Kitchen Cabinet" and urged Linclon to sign this. It was signed in March of 1864. While this was not my greatgrandfathers original idea he did introduce, and lobby for it in the middle of the Civil War.
    I hope you have acknowledged this in your film. Mt Conness is on the eastern boundry of the Currrent Yosemite National Park just north of Tioga Pass. It was named for John Conness by the Whitney survey party earlier. John Conness was a member of the California Assembly in the 1850's and responsible for the state legislation that formed and funded the Whitney Party to map the eastern boundry of California. Naturally Whitney named the highest peak for himself.

  • Snowbound Couple Rescued From Fire Tower at Dinosaur National Monument   5 years 29 weeks ago

    All valid points I must say. I live in this particular area around Dinosaur NM. I also have a great insight into the problems related to hikers and just all around tourists. It's not so much "bad decisions" as it is being uninformed. People travel from all over the world and have no idea the vast wide open areas here and what dangers are present. It's clear that these folks' destination was the the wildlife refuge and not the national monument. Had they been to a Dinosaur NM visitor station, they may have been more informed. People in general are going to when put in such a situation, do what THEY think they need to do to survive...not what they are told to do. These people were found and brought to safety which is what the SAR program is all about. Yes Moffat County SAR is unpaid volunteers, and that is why they do it so well. Mostly the County suffers the most because if the rescue isn't hunting related, or the person hasn't purchased a basic "hiking license" in which the whole fee goes to Colorado SAR then the search usually goes uncompensated and thats where the peoples tax dollars are used to pay for someones "uninformed decision". Very little ever is there any Criminal Culpability to a lost hiker so it turns into a civil litigation game to be able to be re-paid.

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I do not have many anecdotes about Python Pete. He was just in training when I left my seasonal position there. At that point he was still tracking pythons in net bags and was given a toy once he found them.

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Thanks for the clarification on the "burst" python, RangerLady. I made the correction in the article so I won't be guilty of perpetuating this error. As for the tree-of-heaven, I see we are in agreement that this is a particularly nasty invader. When I write about python research and control methods I'll be sure to tell about Python Pete and his work. Saw some neat footage about PP while channel-surfing one evening, but I can't remember the program (NGC?). I have some photos of the little guy somewhere. Do you have any PP anecdotes to share?

  • Fall Into Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone Kills California Woman   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Its easy to fall in. Most parts don't have rails. I have pics of me and friends playing very close to the edge. If we slipped we would have fell to our death.

  • Snowbound Couple Rescued From Fire Tower at Dinosaur National Monument   5 years 29 weeks ago

    the county, who else?

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    NO,NO,NO Listen to the professionals, the people who volunteer for this duty day and night. If they say no, then its a bad idea. Currently local law enforcement can use judgement if they want to charge someone. So if someone dose something that is judged to be dum, or reckless, or whatever there is currently a means to get money from that person. Many states do have SAR funds to pay for rescue operations and as always and forever Mountain Rescue Association teams do not charge for rescue.

  • Snowbound Couple Rescued From Fire Tower at Dinosaur National Monument   5 years 29 weeks ago

    The debate about who pays for SAR has been raging for too many years. It is and should continue to be, a public service to the tax payers, citizens and visitors of this country that SAR services are provided without cost. Many people who are rescued or recovered (family), end up donating money or equipment to the SAR organization. In the State of Colorado, which Dinosaur NM is in, the State covers all SAR costs through a special hikers tax generated from the sale of recreation gear within the State. If a person does something that is so outragous, unsafe or deliberate, that it results in a rescue, the State or Dinosaur NM can charge the person with a State or Federal criminal violation (such as disorderly conduct) and "recover" costs during the sentencing part of the case.

    Let's move on to something more productive, like working on good preventative measures (Preventative SAR programs, public education, trip planning services.

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    If you can't afford a rescue, but are sure the taxpayers can, stay home.

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I don't think that the rescued people should be billed by any SAR group. What happens if one of the members of a SAR group are dumb enough to get lost and have to be rescued? And let's say they were opposed to billing, and they are billed? It's just stupid IMO, and it shows that more and more people are becoming cynical and want payment for something that is mostly voluntary.

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    If you call 911 and you are taken to the hospital in an ambulance, you WILL receive a bill from the ambulance company.

  • Considering a Hike up Half Dome?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    (for Christ's sake, if the top of Half Dome isn't wilderness, where is??)

    As a former Yosemite Park Ranger, trust me Half Dome is NOT wilderness, even if it has that offical designation. It's sickening to see the crowds of people lining up to make the cable climb, and even worse to see all the trash and refuse that goes along with that amount of people.

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Who decides where the line between idiocy and accident is? An interesting subject. I'd really like to see some means of "punishing" people who go off unprepared, willfully ignorant of hazards, expecting rescue when things turn sour. But how do you do that without inhibiting victims of true accidents or freak events from calling in the cavalry?

    Perhaps you bill people, but have a system of insurance for SAR costs. When you purchase a back country permit you tack on a couple bucks a day for insurance. If you don't purchase insurance, tough luck. But can a ranger refuse to issue the insurance if the person seems reckless?

    Not sure where I stand on this.

    -Kirby.....Lansing, MI

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    No.

    "...adventure without regard to prudence, profit, self-improvement,
    learning or any other serious thing" -Aldo Leopold-

  • Billing For Search and Rescue Missions -- Yes, or No?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    If the idiots get lost or hurt without carrying the Satellite location beacon available (low costs) they should be charged for any and all rescue costs.

    And if they failed to file a flight pan, trip journey they should also be fined for bring idiots.

    Search and rescue is for accidents, not the unprepared!!!!

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Bob, I used to work in the Everglades and I was present when the python swallowed the alligator and I want to clarify something. The newspapers (as usual) got the facts wrong. The python did not burst as a result of eating the alligator. The swallowed gator was actually partially digested so the python swallowed it successfully, but with that full belly it was moving rather slowly and another gator came along and ate part of the python. The body burst as a result of decomposition, not the gator it ate.

    Invasive species has been something that I have worked to educated the public on. In every park I have worked at (7 total) Ailanthus altissima has been present in every single one. If you drive the BLue Ridge Parkway now, you can't see the view from most of the overlooks because this tree blocks the way. It stops the growth of any other tree and has no value to wildlife at all. In many parts of Virginia, this tree is the only one that can be seen for miles.

    For Bruce, who says we should just accept them, invasive species wreck havock on native ecosystems. They are a major problem and cost millions of dollars. They usually have no predators in the area they are invading and will completely take over. Go to www.nps.gov/ever/forteachers and check out the curriculum guide Don't Let it Loose. Yes it's for kids, but it has a lot of background information on the problem.

    I should also mention Python Pete. Everglades biologist Lori trained this little beagle to sniff out pythons. So far he's doing a great job!

  • National Park Mystery Photo 1: Wow – This is One Big Boulder!   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Our mystery boulder is located in Yellowstone National Park. More specifically, it's situated along the road leading to the Inspiration Point overlook on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. About 80,000 years ago, an early Pinedale Glacier transported it from the Beartooth Mountains to its present location.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 1: Wow – This is One Big Boulder!   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I think this boulder is in Yosemite.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 1: Wow – This is One Big Boulder!   5 years 29 weeks ago

    It's the Glacial Boulder, situated at the trailhead of the Sevenmile Hole trail in Yellowstone. As I recall, it was dropped off by a glacier several thousand years ago.