Recent comments

  • What Do You Think: Is The National Park Service Handling Advertising For Park-Related Businesses?   5 years 34 weeks ago


    Thanks for the correction regarding competing bid matching, but I don't think advocating limits on powerful
    monopoly concessions is 'punishment'.

    Regarding 'gateway' communities, who decides how close a business must be, or what standards it must meet to merit listing on a Park's website? Seems like a pretty slippery slope to me. As for the 'protocols' you mentioned, I've seen enough favoritism, retaliation, and even outright corruption within the NPS to seriously doubt their effectiveness.

  • Next Time You're In D.C., Check Out Teddy's Island   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Wow...I lived in DC for 18 years and had no idea this place existed. To think I lived so close to such a nice spot. I'll have to make my way back there for a trip soon!

    Ranger Holly

  • The Pacific Northwest Trail Will Establish Important Linkages   5 years 34 weeks ago

    "...multi-billion dollar" is gross hyperbole. A lot of the work is being done by volunteers and a lot of funds donated by sponsors. The infusion from the government will be nowhere near billions of dollars.

    A lot of areas in the National Parks are accessible to only the ultra-fit too. We should pave those over and quit spending money protecting them and maintaining trails through them, I suppose.

    Sorry I can't be more bitter and cynical, but I find projects like this - and the mere existence of trans-continent trails - to be inspirational, despite the fact I'm not likely to ever walk from Glacier to Olympic. I got a thrill from reading the trail register on the AT in Grafton Notch, Maine this summer and knowing that there were people out there that were walking from Georgia to Maine. My wife and I walked a few miles and lived vicariously through the register book for the other 2,100!

  • Pruning the Parks: New Echota Marker National Memorial (1933-1950) Commemorated the Cherokee Nation Seat of Government   5 years 34 weeks ago

    This is an interesting site - and New Echota and the Cherokee culture are covered in Georgia public education, or at least they were when I was in school (I graduated in '88). Georgia has lots of interesting Native American sites, including the Etowah Indian mounds (state), Ocmulgee National Monument (federal) and Skidaway Island (state) off of the coast near Savannah.

  • What Do You Think: Is The National Park Service Handling Advertising For Park-Related Businesses?   5 years 34 weeks ago


    While I appreciate the idea that NPS shouldn't give unfair advantage to any one business, I have to correct a couple of misstatements you made.

    (I'm uncomfortable with the idea of anything resembling ads on government websites. The in-park concessionaries already have low fees, little or no direct competition, and the opportunity to match competing bids at renewal time. Why make these dynasties stronger?)

    I work for one of that largest concessionaires in the country and can tell you that contractors of service pay a percentage of their revenue, a utility fee percentage on each sale, plenty of competition who offer "modern" amenities, like air conditioning and TV, and the opportunity to match competing bids went out the window with a change in Federal law that took that out of the books about six years ago.

    We also invest millions of dollars into just one large park, building new buildings, updating existing buildings and purchasing all the fleet vehicles that we use. Each and every one of those items belongs to and is signed over to the Park Service. In other words, we buy it all and they own it.

    I'm not sure how you think we should be penalized, like evil do-ers.

    (I'm even more uncomfortable with listings/ads for gateway businesses, because it could increase the reach and power of government and the potential for abuse. For example, those that may have criticized NPS management or didn't follow the party line closely enough might find themselves unlisted, or bypassed by shuttle systems originating outside the boundary.)

    Believe me, NPS guidelines are in place that would keep that from being put to practice unless someone was really breaking protocol.

    Just keeping the facts straight. Have a good day and don't forget to volunteer at your closest National Park property this Saturday. God knows, each park needs all the help they can get through volunteers.!!

    YNP Gal

  • The Pacific Northwest Trail Will Establish Important Linkages   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Don't worry, Anonymous. They've also constructed some "multi-billion dollar" options to allow even the unfit, overweight, and gainfully-employed to travel coast-to-coast. Have you heard of them? They're called roads.

    Still, you make a great point. After all, there are very few roads in the United States, severely limiting our options for car travel. Surely we should focus our efforts on providing several dozen more coast-to-coast roads before constructing the first footpath. Those snobby hikers, enjoying walking through nature! Why don't they just drive coast-to-coast like the rest of us good Americans?

    And I think your idea for a usage fee for every hiker is fantastic - they should have to pay to walk! Just like we currently have tolls on every mile of road! How crazy would that be to have a government build a road, and then just LET people use it without paying? That's socialist! Say no to socialist trail construction!

  • The Pacific Northwest Trail Will Establish Important Linkages   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Just what we need. A multi-billion dollar hiking trail so long that only the most-fit unemployed hiker (most jobs you can't be gone for that long) can take advantage of it's coast-to-coast potential. Is there a usage fee? I sure hope so.

  • Heat Claims the Life of Boy Stranded for Five Days in Isolated Area of Death Valley National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I want to comment on R Stefancik's post "If this mother and son could have managed 3 mi/hr, they could have covered 30 miles in 10 hours."
    You have my admiration, Stefancik, you must be in pretty good shape if you think so little of covering that kind of ground. That's a LONG way for the average person, a longer way for an 11 year old. Obviously these were not folks who made a habit of those kinds of hikes or they'd have had more water, food, and maps. Plus it's still pretty hot in Death Valley at night in the summer, and without a lot of water...they'd never have made it. The right choice given the circumstances was to stick with the car. Hopefully other folks will see this story and take their own precautions before they travel into that kind of area.

  • The Cypress Cathedral in Everglades National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    That video was great. I really recommend allowing play/pause audio controls for it... For one, I'd like to know how long the video is. For two, I'd like to be able to turn the volume down some.

  • Rare Motion Pictures Show Civil War Veterans at the 75th Gettysburg Battle Anniversary Reunion   5 years 35 weeks ago

    These old film clips are most touching that it moves the human soul. Now, that we have a black President...makes it even more touching.

  • Rare Motion Pictures Show Civil War Veterans at the 75th Gettysburg Battle Anniversary Reunion   5 years 35 weeks ago

    When next you see your son, Stephanie, please thank him on my behalf for his service to our country. I heartily endorse all of those gestures of respect and support you've listed. They help us to remember and appreciate that freedom is not free.

  • The National Parks: America's Best Idea   5 years 35 weeks ago

    A wonderful piece and we are anxious to see these episodes. We just returned from a coastal road trip and stayed at four California State Parks which are on the brink of closing. A tremendous tradegy is looming for those of us who love the outdoors and wish to partake in the simple pleasures of securing a camp spot, setting up a tent and enjoying the splendor of these preserved majestical places. How dare our representatives in the state legislature use our taxes for purposes we deem far less important. Californians: fight for your parks!

  • Rare Motion Pictures Show Civil War Veterans at the 75th Gettysburg Battle Anniversary Reunion   5 years 35 weeks ago

    My son is now serving our Country via the US Army, I am so proud of him and the desire to "fight for our freedom". I have always admired and appreciated all the men and woman that have served our country's fight for freedom, saluting a soldier, standing at attention when they pass by, smiling to them...are all little gestures of my appreciation for their service. WE ALL need to do this, no matter where we live, what we believe in. Showing our support and appreciation is the LEAST that we can do.

  • Bear #399, And Other Grizzlies, Are On the Prowl In Grand Teton National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Just returned from Jackson, no sign of 399, but heard reports that after being seen with a new cub early in the season she was **rumoured** to have been seen again without a cub and with a scratched up face. This was from staff in the Tom Mangleson gallery. Hope that she is OK.

  • What Do You Think: Is The National Park Service Handling Advertising For Park-Related Businesses?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Nobody knows how harmful NPS welfare campgrounds can be until they visit the only privately owned campground struggling for survival in the Big Cypress National Preserve in South Florida. How would you like to operate a family owned campground surrounded by a bevy of NPS so-called primitive campgrounds selling their campsites at well below their operating costs. Private businesses pay a bunch of taxes and this business owner in oh so great America gets to watch his tax payments being used to destroy his families legacy. Now is this is a Federal Crime or what. No business should allow itself to become dependent upon any government handouts. On the other hand if you are looking for unfair advantage go fot it. I guess that is one side of capitalism.
    The NPS actually has full fledged RV parks in the Preserve along with specially modified campgrounds set up for ORV visitors. The rough part of that is that a few years ago NPS did an ORV plan cutting off ORV access from the only private campground in the Preserve. Sounds as though the posters here must be on the receiveng ind of NPS's handouts that only continue as long as you do and speak as NPS TELLS YOU TO. Oh heck who cares about freedom of speech anyway. The way I see it you interpret it NPS's way or you are sent down the highway.
    I guess my bottom line is NPS shouldn't have any connection with real business any more than a religion should be deeply involved in our governments operations. Either way it will just screw things up.

  • Headed Into the Fiery Furnace? Get a Reservation In Advance Online   5 years 35 weeks ago

    On our trip out West,this past May we took this hike through the Fiery Furnace.It is well worth the $10 price.It was a strenous trip in some places but overall the sights to be seen were magnificent and should not be missed while at Arches National Park.The ranger got us over all the difficult spots and pointed out the arches and vegetation during the 3 hours.Above all you must be prepared with lots of water and the correct footwear. We can't wait to experience this park in the near future again.

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Launches "Coordinated Strategy" To Address Climate Change Impacts on Federal Landscapes   5 years 35 weeks ago

    It is heartening to see the DOI taking a proactive stand in re: to global warming. I note that the news releases speak less about preventing climate change and more about tracking and mitigating impacts. Global warming is no longer a possibility but rather a progressing reality. Land and resource managing agencies will be forced to carefully monitor changes taking place and to respond in a timely manner. Substantively reducing the release of CO2, methane and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere may help to dampen what would otherwise be severe changes. New technologies may help in that regard, but the lag time to bring them into full operation will have minimal affect on the global climate change process. The only way to effectively influence the process is simply to use less carbon and methane based energy resources. That means cutting back on virtually all forms of conventional energy use and on the general consumption of products that require large quantities of carbon fuels. Otherwise, we are on a runaway train heading for the end of the tracks.

  • At Gateway Arch, a Two-Week Blackout Benefits Migrating Birds   5 years 35 weeks ago

    There is also a huge new federal building skyscraper a few blocks west of the Arch. It's one of the tallest structures in St. Louis. I wonder if this federal property will be following the lead of the NPS in turning off their lights. Obviously, the stadium can't turn off its lights on game nights, nor can the bridges on any nights and the casino surely won't either.

  • Traveler's Gear Box: When You Need To Stop Bleeding Fast....   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Are there any possible allergic reactions to these products? And what is the shelf life / storage life? Oh, and where can these products be a'gotten? Thanks

  • Grand Canyon National Park Crews Installing, Ahem, New Vault Toilets on South Rim   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Great improvement! I know that toilets are not a sexy topic, but they can be the difference between a great canyon experience and a horrible one! The one pictured looks like the facility at the picnic area near the South Kaibab trailhead, which I was happy to see installed some years ago. Perhaps the most laudable improvement to the Bright Angel trail in many years was the addition of an outhouse at the 1.5 mile resthouse (which I affectionately call the RAC - Robert Arnberger Crapper). The most recent addition of a similar structure at the 3 mile resthouse is also beneficial. Making these improvements along the rim is long overdue, but I loudly applaud the effort that is finally getting this done.

  • At Gateway Arch, a Two-Week Blackout Benefits Migrating Birds   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Your point is well taken, Kath. There are lots of other distracting lights in the Gateway Arch vicinity, including the very bright lights of a huge hotel/casino complex (Lumiere Place) only a few blocks to the north

  • At Gateway Arch, a Two-Week Blackout Benefits Migrating Birds   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Jim, some of the citizen complaints about the initial three-hour lighting schedule were actually quite funny. One guy reportedly said that turning the Arch's floodlights on at 9:00 p.m. made little sense to him because he and many other elderly residents of St. Louis were already in bed by then.

  • At Gateway Arch, a Two-Week Blackout Benefits Migrating Birds   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Kath -

    Somehow I think this 'light out' is more symbolic than effective.

    Perhaps so; I don't know if the Arch's location right next to the river - and it's height - makes it more of a problem for migrating birds as compared to the other structures you mentioned, or not.

    However, you may have hit upon the most important part of the "lights out" gesture at the Arch: the symbolic aspect. It seems very appropriate than a NPS site should set an example for other facilities, not only in terms of the bird migration issue, but for energy conservation.

    My attention was caught by this statement in the story:

    The Arch was at first lit only three hours each night (9:00 p.m. until midnight), but more hours were added after St. Louis residents complained that three hours wasn’t enough.

    It sure seems that turning off all those floodlights by midnight each night would be a reasonable approach in terms of reducing the park's electric bill a bit, and saving some electricity. Yes, I know the amount of energy saved is small in the big scheme of things, but the combination of a lot of similar small steps are one way we can help deal with our nation's energy problem.

    From that standpoint, the "symbolic" aspect of the park's decision are valuable indeed.

  • At Gateway Arch, a Two-Week Blackout Benefits Migrating Birds   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Well, that's very nice and saves the NPS electricity. But the arch is surrounded by skyscrapers, Busch stadium, well-lit bridges across the Mississippi and riverboat casinos decked out in neon. Somehow I think this 'light out' is more symbolic than effective.

  • Joshua Tree National Park Nabs Man Accused of Scattering Thousands of Golf Balls in the Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    A nod to Mark for his lol-inducing remark. ;-)