Recent comments

  • National Park Foundation, Armed With $500,000 Grant, Working To Bring More Minorities into National Parks   5 years 33 weeks ago

    i was just in yellowstone and the grand tetons,i saw a lot of asians and hispanics,spending all that money to get more minorites is more pork barrel,and wasted,i saw an awful lot of people working in the park from all over the world?whats up with that..put america back to work,not all these people from other countries.

  • Illegal Guiding Service Busted in Zion National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Stay tuned, folks. On Sunday we'll revisit this issue with the park's explanation for why commercial guiding isn't allowed for canyoneering trips.

  • Illegal Guiding Service Busted in Zion National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    That doesn't sound like that would even be the same issue, anon. I guided hike done by the LDS church would (I'm assuming) still be allowed today. The problem isn't the guiding, its the commercial part of it, and the fact that money and profit would drive it? I'm sure that a church group would be welcome to go canyoneering. Anyone agree? I could be off.

    And I'm with Kirby...I'm in no way trying to raise questions about this particular guide and what he did as right or wrong...I'm simply asking questions about it. If this were a forum, you're right, this discussion would have warranted a seperate thread from the article thread.

  • Illegal Guiding Service Busted in Zion National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I don't know if this had anything to do with the policy, but many years ago there was a guided hike done by the LDS church. They weren't prepare at all...down sleeping bags, they practiced canyoneering for the first time off bleachers, didn't have any anchors for their ropes...just tied them to trees. 2 of the 3 guides died in the first 1/2 mile of a few day trip. The teens they were guiding were near death before being rescued. The park was sued for a few million dollars (and the park lost) Maybe since canyoneering is so dangerous, even to those who are prepared, this policy was put in place to prevent things like this from happening.

  • FAQs About the Out-of-Control Big Meadow Fire at Yosemite National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Wow... I love the government b.s. those were supposed to be answers...sounded like a bunch of beating around the burned bushes.

    There is no such thing as controlled burning when you are talking about that large of a fire.

  • Rock Slide Expected to Keep Zion National Park's Weeping Rock Trail Closed At Least Through Labor Day   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I was wondering the same, what with slides in Great Smoky and Olympic earlier this summer...Not sure if there's a "season" for rock slides.

  • Elk Population Growing at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Its not "huntin" its "hunting". Where wildlife management and "hunters" work in concert, species such as deer and elk thrive. Its not how many, but how healthy a herd is, that inevidibly spells their continued existance.

  • Rock Slide Expected to Keep Zion National Park's Weeping Rock Trail Closed At Least Through Labor Day   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    Is it me or have the been more than normal of rockslides all over our National Parks especially this Summer?! I know rock slides can occur at any time BUT isn't it mainly start in October?! When the weather is a lot cooler & it's not as hot?!

  • PFDs Are Proven Lifesavers. Should Boaters be Required to Wear Them?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Most states now have mandatory seat belt regulations. Many have motorcycle helmet requirements.

    Certainly a lot of this has to do with mandating a level of personal safety, but then again a good part has to do with government costs involved when it's necessarily to hospitalize and transport people who are severely injured. Seat belts especially are useful because drivers can get incapacitated simply by getting thrown around even in mild crashes when they could otherwise still be conscious and in control of their vehicles.

    As I see it, the biggest problem with rafters is the more serious risks to rescue personnel if they attempt to secure someone who is not wearing a PFD vs someone who is. The person floating on his/her back isn't in imminent danger of drowning and rescue personnel can choose less risky methods of extraction if they have more time. Even an unconscious (ever seen rocks?) person can still stay alive.

  • Audubon Touts Birding in a Dozen National Parks   5 years 33 weeks ago

    All--

    Sorry to conduct NPS business in the comments thread. All this information should be publicly available by next summer: our primary customers are the park superintendents & resource managers, so their needs come first.

    Rangertoo--

    That nrinfo capability isn't on the production server yet, sorry. The ability to generate reports of species richness for taxonomic groups across sets of parks, and the ability to get a list of all units a species occurs in, are both up and working on the development server. [None of that's my doing. My minor contribution will be R code running on the server to dynamically make maps for species: green dots for units where it is present, red where it is absent, systemwide or by region.]

    For now, if you just want to explore, you can go to my species reports page on the NPS intranet, with summary tables & figures I generated to help the I&M networks produce reports on certified species lists for each park (actually part of my job):
    http://www1.nrintra.nps.gov/im/monitor/SpeciesReports2.cfm

    Scroll about halfway down to the sentence about downloading Table1 for all units here and click that link to get a spreadsheet. These numbers have subspecies and invalid species names synonomized to species level ITIS names, based on a March 10, 2009 snapshot of the NPspecies database. You are likely to want to use either just Present in Part or Present in Park + Probably Present: sort by the status column, delete the blocks of rows with other status values, then resort by unit code.

    If you have specific needs, email me at the address at the bottom of that page. I'm analyzing these data for papers on mammal species in NPS units, and bird species in NPS units and FWS refuges (another part of my job), so I know most of the quirks of the data, and I have other information like lists of all bird and mammal species whose geographical ranges overlap with each NPS unit.

  • FAQs About the Out-of-Control Big Meadow Fire at Yosemite National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    1: The latest map is at:
    http://www.inciweb.org/incident/maps/large/1869/0/

    2: From the acting superintendent's q&a transcript:
    http://www.inciweb.org/incident/article/9328/

    Why did the National Park Service ignite the Big Meadow fire in August
    The Big Meadow prescribed fire was initiated based upon a written and pre-determined "window" of very specific conditions (temperature, humidity, fuel type, wind speed, smoke dispersal, etc.). At the time of ignition all conditions were within this window. Prescribed fires may be done any month of the year depending upon the objectives of the burn.

    Why couldn't the meadow be burned in much cooler conditions
    The Park uses prescribed fire to accomplish specific objectives. In the case of the Big Meadow fire, those objectives were meadow restoration and the maintenance of fire resistant vegetation for the Foresta Community. For vegetation to burn it must be sufficiently dry and flammable to maintain a fire. The prescription for the Big Meadow burn was based upon these objectives.

    3: To the south, FS already is being criticized for not having burned enough in Angles NF: they got the air quality permits last year, but didn't have enough days of conditions meeting the prescription for a safe, controllable, effective fire:
    http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-fire3-2009sep03,0,2624824,full.story

    The Forest Service Wednesday also answered criticism that it had not cleared hundreds of acres in the Angeles National Forest, despite obtaining permits to burn away the shrubs and brush that fuel wildfires. Officials said that just because the permits were granted, the Forest Service would not necessarily conduct the permitted burns.

    The agency only sets intentional fires under ideal conditions, officials said, taking into account temperature, humidity and environmental concerns.

    "All conditions must have been met before we can engage in the burning," said Jody Noiron, an Angeles National Forest supervisor. "We have had very few days for prescribed burning."

  • PFDs Are Proven Lifesavers. Should Boaters be Required to Wear Them?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    The answer to your title question, at least where the person is question is an adult, is an unequivocal NO. Freedom means the right to make your own choices, and yes, perhaps to be stupid in them. We already have way too much nanny government, interfering with our choices because "they", in their infinite wisdom, know was is best for us.

    Warn of the dangers? Certainly. Encourage use of PFDs? Yes. Require? Absolutely not.

    Mark

  • An Untimely Accident Fatally Injures a Colorado National Monument Bicyclist   5 years 33 weeks ago

    "I once punctured and destroyed a tire doing about 30 mph on that descent, but fortunately, I was able to remain in control of the bike." Saltsagge

    I had a front tire blow out while descending a steep hill during a Cycle Organ ride a couple of years ago. I feathered the rear break and concentrated on keeping the bike upright letting the bike slow gradually. Fortunately, it was on a long straight away. I have cracked two helmets in accidents and cannot say enough about the importance of a good brain bucket.

  • FAQs About the Out-of-Control Big Meadow Fire at Yosemite National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    With all controlled burns, control is very important. Man power making fire breaks where years of no burn costs hours of labor. We need to use prison labor to cut costs of labor and give those people work to help pay back their debt to the state.
    Bringing in labor from other states to fight fires has the costs out of control. Why not use our prison labor preparing fire breaks before the fire season and get a upper hand to help stop large fires. In the 1940's, we used prisoners of war in our national forest, making trails, building road and fighting fires.
    Stop giving these prisoners a free ride, health care, dental care, room and board. The taxpayers have footed the bill for the prisoners to the point of bankrupting the state. If a prisoner doesn't want to work, make prison life worst than outside the walls.
    Take an look at the prisoners working in Pina Co. Arizona. Less returning criminals to the system. Prisoners paying their own cost of lockup.
    Awake up taxpayers. For every prisoner, it costs over $20.000 per year. Isn't that enough reason to make a person work for their keep? How many family members of your home, cost $20.000 a year to support?

  • A Silly Way to Die - Friends Don't Let Friends Teak Surf   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Anonymous -

    Since there's some question about the details you mentioned in the incident cited at Glen Canyon, I've modified the text. The key point in this tragic story is how quickly CO can affect people who are in the vicinity of a motor which is running.

  • Another Gettysburg Witness Tree is Lost   5 years 33 weeks ago

    So sad to lose another direct link to our history. My favorite witness tree in the park is the one at Devil's Den. I saved an acorn from it. Perhaps the park can do the same when it comes time to cut the tree down. They could then plant the acorn and we could at least have a descendant of the tree in that spot.

  • Sequoia National Park's Crystal Cave: Time For Some Serious Upgrades   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Caves are fragile. Boots can scuff rocks; stalactites break easily; touching the rock can affect it chemically; and the presence of many people can raise the temperature. To preserve these unique environments, some countries restrict access to caves and monitor conditions closely.

  • Illegal Guiding Service Busted in Zion National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    There really aren't a whole lot of trails in Zion. I could understand the rationale is that it might get overcrowded if guide services started up.

    The backcountry areas are indeed different. They've got a quota system and perhaps they're worried about guide services using up reservations that would otherwise go to individuals. I'd be surprised if this company went through the trouble of getting permits out of the quota given that they didn't have a permit to operate in the park.

    https://zionpermits.nps.gov

  • A Silly Way to Die - Friends Don't Let Friends Teak Surf   5 years 33 weeks ago

    If you want the full story of the Evans/Tubbs incident go to http://www.parentdish.com/2007/07/10/girl-drowns-after-being-overcome-by-boat-exhaust/ and scroll down to comment #4. This same problem can exist on a boat with canvas up and going downwind. The wind keeps the fumes with the boat and the canvas (bimini), especially with a dodger, concentrates the fumes in the cockpit. It can be very dangerous. I have been on Lake Powell in a boat and the problem here is the long narrow nature of the lake with many narrow, high, side canyons and very little wind.

    As to the teak-surfing; I have been a boater for many years and I must admit, this is the first I have heard of this. I cannot even imagine a sane person wanting to do this. My main fear would be the propeller. It is amazing to me all of the "jackass" stunts people come up with, especially on the water.

  • Another Gettysburg Witness Tree is Lost   5 years 33 weeks ago

    RIP Tree

  • Illegal Guiding Service Busted in Zion National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    The point of the article is certainly that this guy ran afoul of the law and - deservedly - has been punished. Since I don't think that alone would warrant much interesting discussion, why not pursue the begged question of why this policy exists at Zion?

    It seems to me allowing qualified guides would do nothing but promote appreciation of the aspects of the parks many people would otherwise be afraid to ever explore. Capping the numbers and requiring a rigorous certification process would be at the discretion of the park and should be easy to implement. I'm really having trouble grasping the negatives.

    I know whenever my wife and I explore a backcountry area, we usually hire guides the first time. This helps us get to know the area and leads to a more rewarding return trip when we're on our own.

  • An Untimely Accident Fatally Injures a Colorado National Monument Bicyclist   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Claudia, we're happy that Traveler can serve as a vehicle for conveying the sentiments you've expressed here. By telling people what a warm and caring person Stan was you've helped to put a personal face on this tragic incident. I never had the pleasure of meeting Stan myself, and more's the pity.

  • Audubon Touts Birding in a Dozen National Parks   5 years 33 weeks ago

    tomp - I once worked at Cabrillo. I am not in NPS resource management so I do not understand how to work the nrinfo database website you sent. Can you explain how to generate the list of top parks like you did for such things as fish and mammals? I figured out how to look at one park at a time, but how did you identify the tops parks in order? You have piqued my curiosity.

    Thanks

  • Audubon Touts Birding in a Dozen National Parks   5 years 33 weeks ago

    tomp - cool stuff. Thanks for the info

  • Illegal Guiding Service Busted in Zion National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Canyoneering is probably a great outdoor activity and as one who has never done it I would absolutely want a guide. Isn't it better to go with Mr. Fisher than for someone inexperienced like myself to go into the backcountry alone and probably need some sort of rescue?

    If Mr. Fisher got the permits it would still be illegal to guide someone?

    The park policy, if I understand it correctly, sounds like the opposite of seat belt laws for autos and helmet laws for motorcycles.