Recent comments

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    @anon: If you are looking for no frills camping in undeveloped desert environment, there are lots of NPS units, where you can experience that. Usually you have to go to the backcountry, but for example in Joshua Tree NP, CA there are designated campgrounds with no infrastructure besides road access. I can really recommend the Jumbo Rocks area. The campground in Arches NP, UT has toilets, but that's it. Not even drinking water is provided.

    In general the NPS's mandate includes development to a degree. But in all larger parts that is limited to the frontcountry. The developed areas are provided to raise attention, to be the "public park or pleasure ground" that the enabling legislation of the first few parks mentioned. But the frontcountry should be limited and absorb the recreational pressure. The "real park" is the backcountry. I have seen this idea attributed to John Muir, to George Grinnell and to Stephen T. Mather. I don't know if any of them really said it, but it is plausible. And it is the way national parks are run. From the very beginning national parks had a strong touristic component and to be honest, I doubt anyone here did his or her first steps in a national park with a backcountry trip. The accessibility is important to get people to the parks in the first place and once there they can hear about the marvels of backcountry and explore it - or not.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I AGREE 100% I've been retired 20+ yrs and have camped with a travel trailer all across the US many times and have found the same conditions --- I will add that National forests satisfy my wants without all the rules and over development that national parks must have. And I do enjoy the BLM lands !!

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 29 weeks ago

    You wanted change.... well here it comes

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 29 weeks ago

    These people need to be arrested. What if every experienced climber in the world decided to climb Mount Rushmore. No one is allowed even near the monument but they think that because they have a cause it is OK. Lock 'em up.

  • Plague Suspected In Death Of Grand Canyon National Park Employee   5 years 29 weeks ago

    hi, my name is bill and i had been suspected of contracting pnuemonic plague back in the early 1980's in kitsap county, wa. state. there, i had been in contact with a stray cat that had been living under the buildings in the area and it had been eating the rats and rabbits that were found to be dwelling in a make-shift gravesite that had washed out due to some bank erosion. the gravesite contained the remnants of immigrant loggers and other workers, or so said some of the elderly residents in the area, and the such, and whatever was exposed in the site was being pilfered by the rodents. the cats were eating them, and apparently contracted something that, when this one cat in particular, i don't know if it was when it scratched me or when it sneezed all over my arm when i tried to chase it away from my open window, gave me something that i hope i never encounter again. i got so sick that i barely made it to a hospital. i can understand how this man in this article died and i think it is so tragic. my thoughts on how this occurred is, that just like the unrecorded burial site that spawned the incident in wa. state, maybe there are other sites doing the same, or that the infected animals that come into contact with the infection are so sparsely spread apart in the wild that the chances of a hit or miss are rare, but the infection could be getting slowly worse by the animals eating other infected animals. do the wildlife officials test for this infection or other types on a regular basis, just curiously concerned.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I would love to see the north shore of Moloka'i added to Kalaupapa NHP. The sea cliffs are a stunning sight and provide rare native habitat for threatened or endangered Hawaiian plants and animals. The 24,000 acres include the pristine stream valleys of Pelekunu and Wailau and their watersheds, along with the upper watershed of the Halawa Stream. This area also contains cultural significance. There has been human occupation from as early as 1000 A.D. and many places still need to be surveyed for prehistoric Hawaiian archeology. This location has already been determined and area of national significance when it was designated as the North Shore Cliffs National Natural Landmark. The park service can provide the resources and skills to protect the north shore for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.

  • Storms Batter Cape Cod National Seashore Beaches And Destroy Most Piping Plover and Least Tern Nests   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Although this breaks my heart, because the plovers are so darn cute, this story is an example of how Homo Sapiens is not always the bad guy. The Cape Cod piping plover population has bounced back several times. Nature willing, they will again.

  • Yosemite National Park Returns To Square One on Yosemite Valley Plan   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I agree with Sierra Mark. This is more time and money wasted on "planning to plan." If only park managers had stuck to repairing what was damaged from the 1997 flood, they wouldn't be in this mess.

    y p w: $5 for a shower? Yikes. But after five days it seems worth it. No? With California's water problems, we may soon be paying that all across the state.

  • Staying Safe and How Not to Become A SAR Statistic in the National Park System   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Those 2005 SAR costs seem very reasonable to me. The dollars are worth it. It is the lives lost or bodies injured in the process of rescuing someone that are not.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Hi Kurt -

    I appreciate your open response to my concerns! I do think a discussion of management priorities would be interesting. There certainly are questions about the land management approaches of each of the federal agencies you mentioned, and I'm not very educated about them. I'm sure that discussion happens a lot within the agencies, and discussion of expanding the area managed by the NPS naturally gives rise to defining the goals of such management.

    I agree with what seems to be a consensus that preservation is a goal. I'm not sure that livestock grazing, logging, and other uses have to be more detrimental to that goal than the building roads and visitor facilities approach of the NPS - though I also recognize that as practiced by the BLM and Forest Service, those activities have been very detrimental. And I share your concerns about mineral (and energy!) development.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Oops. Forgot a few additions.

    - Angeles National Forest, California
    - Cleveland National Forest, California
    - Los Padres National Forest, California

  • Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial   5 years 29 weeks ago

    i am truly sorry to hear about these idoits hanging the flag at mt. rushmore,i worked there for the summer a few yrs. ago,and every nite would help do the evening shows..i wish that greenpeace people would of fell off the faces..they should be arrested and pay a heavy fine for doing something so dumb,what the hell has mt. rushmore got to do with there stances.????and where do these people get paid?or work?

  • Accessible National Parks, Airline Division   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Nice list. If you are in Ohio check out Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Crooked River.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Surprise Canyon, Castle Mountains, the Bowling Alley, and Ibex Hills are just of a few of the National Park quality lands in the California Desert that deserve additional protections. Currently these areas are all managed by BLM, and these areas are managed under their "multiple use" mission. I believe the BLM does a good job managing huge swaths of land with limited available resources; however, I also believe that the most sensitive, scenic, and biologically diverse lands deserve to be protected in perpetuity to retain their essential characteristics. Adding areas like the ones mentioned above to the National Park Service, which are migration corridors, desert tortoise habitat, and riparian habitat that possess significant scenic and natural values benefits us all.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    NPCA, along with local community leaders, conservation organizations and tourism related businesses are working to elevate Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument to a national park. It may come as a surprise to some, but Mount St. Helens is not part of the park system. Rather its a forest service unit. While the Forest Service does its best to manage the volcano; budgets, visitation and visitor services have all declined in the past several years.

    Mount St. Helens is on par with other iconic national parks such as Mount Rainier, Olympic and Lassen. Adding the volcano to the park system would improve it visibility, bring new management resources and better insure the long term sustainablity of the natural environment and gateway communities.

    Please visit the following link to learn more about the effort to make Mount St. Helens America's next national park: http://www.npca.org/northwest/mount_st_helens.html

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Here are a few other potential new national parks and existing national park expansions that I would like to see happen.

    NEW

    - Adobe Town-Red Desert (BLM lands), Wyoming
    - Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania
    - Berkshire Highlands (state lands), Massachusetts
    - Bioluminescent Bay-Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, Puerto Rico
    - Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota
    - Blackwater Canyon-Monongahela National Forest, West Virgnia
    - Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (now U.S. Forest Service), Minnesota
    - Calumet River (various landownerships), Illinois
    - Carrizo Plain National Monument (BLM lands), California
    - Castle Nugent Farms (private conservation lands), St. Croix/Virgin Islands
    - Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forests, Wisconsin
    - Chesapeake Bay, multiple states
    - Cimarron National Grassland, Kansas
    - Comanche National Grassland, Colorado
    - Cross Timbers, Oklahoma, Texas
    - El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico
    - Finger Lakes National Forest, New York
    - Gaviota Coast, California
    - Gila National Forest, New Mexico
    - Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (now BLM), Utah
    - Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont
    - Hells Canyon, Oregon and Idaho
    - Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan
    - Hoosier National Forest, Indiana
    - Klamath and Siskiyou National Forests, Caifornia and Oregon
    - Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (now U.S. Forest Service), Kentucky, Tennessee
    - Loess Hills (now mostly private), Iowa
    - Maine Woods (now mostly corporate timberlands), Maine
    - Menominee River, Michigan
    - Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon
    - Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (now U.S. Forest Service), Washington
    - Ottawa National Forest, Michigan
    - Otero Mesa (now BLM lands), New Mexico
    - Owyhee Canyonlands (BLM lands), Idaho and Oregon
    - Roan Plateau (BLM lands), Colorado
    - Rota Island, Confederation of Micronesia
    - San Rafael Swell (now BLM), Utah
    - Sawtooth National Recreation Area (now U.S. Forest Service), Idaho
    - Shawnee National Forest, Illinois
    - Sheyenne National Grassland, North Dakota
    - Sonoran Desert (now under several federal land agencies), Arizona
    - Tavaputs Plateau (now BLM), Utah
    - Tejon Ranch, California
    - Tequesta Coast, Florida
    - Wayne National Forest, Ohio
    - White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

    EXPANSIONS

    - Big Thicket National Preserve, Texas
    - Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia
    - Canyonlands National Park, Utah
    - Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
    - Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah
    - Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, New Jersey and Pennsylvania
    - Dinosaur National Monument (upgrade and expansion), Colorado and Utah
    - Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (upgrade and expansion), Utah
    - Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
    - Kalaupapa National Historical Park, Hawaii
    - Lake Mead National Recreation Area (add Gold Butte, now under BLM), Nevada
    - Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
    - New River Gorge National River, West Virginia
    - North Cascades National Park, Washington
    - Ocmulgee National Monument, Georgia
    - Oregon Caves National Monument, Oregon
    - Pinnacles National Monument, California
    - Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, California
    - Sequoia National Park (add Giant Sequoia National Monument, now under U.S. Forest Service), California
    - Timucuan National Ecological Preserve, Florida
    - Virgin Islands National Park, Virgin Islands

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument should definitely be transferred to the National Park Service. The BLM is an agency oriented to livestock grazing, mining, oil and gas, and other resource exploitation, not land preservation.

    The current Monument has weak protection, with hundreds of miles of roads and ORV trails. The BLM has allowed illegal ATV use for years. When the BLM recently tried to stop illegal off-road driving up the Pariah River, it degenerated into a "freedom ride" by a bunch of off-road extremists. See http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2009/05/raucous-offroad-rally-revs-in-river.html

    Unlike national parks, the Monument allows livestock grazing, which causes significant ecological damage. The weak Monument protection also allows oil and gas drilling and mining.

    This area would be far better protected under National Park Service administration.

  • Staying Safe and How Not to Become A SAR Statistic in the National Park System   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Uneducated recreators and high risk takers not only put their lives in jeopardy but also put the lives of rescuers at risk. I have worked as a park ranger and an emergency medical technician and sometimes cannot beleive how unprepared people can be when venturing outdoors. Many people are simply uninformed about the potential dangers. It makes sense to warn people about the hazards before so they do not become statistics.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Currently the Tillamook Air Museum is based in a World War II Blimp Hangar tht is said to be the largest wooden structure in the world. From a historical architectural view, I believe this should qualify as a national historical site. I wouldn't suggest it as a park, but the historical building should be preserved.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    My family traveled through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument a couple of years ago. I was amazed at its beauty. I would love to see a Visitor center, lodge, campground, and a little development. We were on our way from Capitol Reef to Bryce and Zion. I absolutely would recommend the drive to any one. We stayed in a hotel in Escalante. Not great. Some trails or view points may have been missed because we happened on to it. A national park entrance with a map would have been a great help. I will know more next time through.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I think Sequoia National Park should be expanded to include Sequoia National Monument.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Anonymous,

    You make some good points. Specifically regarding the Staircase, I would hate to see it become more developed, say with a lodging footprint placed somewhere along the Cottonwood Road.

    However, I see no reason why the NPS couldn't manage it as a wilderness preserve with lodgings and campgrounds in the towns surrounding the Staircase. I tend to think the NPS is better at people and recreation management than the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which has more of a multiple-use mandate and so is more likely to authorize mineral development, logging, grazing, or other uses on its lands that could adversely impact natural resources.

    Indeed, in Utah the BLM has a miserable track record with managing ORVs on public lands. Already there have been numerous examples of ORV travel in parts of the Staircase that are supposedly off-limits to such travel. One area is Hackberry Canyon.

    And then, of course, there's the issue of energy leases on BLM lands.

    Is it time for a reordering of management priorities? Do we need to take a close look at what the BLM, NPS and Forest Service manage and for what results and reshuffle the deck as well as the management missions and nuances of each of those agencies? Sounds like fodder for another post.

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I recently did my yahoo home page over and added "National Parks Traveler" to it I think its great and I love reading it. When I was a kid my Dad was in the US Army and I lived all over this country and was blessed to have seen many of our National treasurers. I took your Quiz and it looks like I need to do an awful lot of reading and visiting to get up to speed. I think it would be great if we move forward and create "Maine North Woods National Park". Thanks and I will continue to read, travel, take your tests and participate.

    Mike - Maynard, MA

  • Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like to See Added to the National Park System?   5 years 29 weeks ago

    I don't know the politics behind it all, but as a user of both National Parks and BLM-managed land, I find the no-infrastructure and free camping approach of BLM-managed land in the southwest to be far preferable to the zoo of RV parking lots in our National Parks. I have found that the National Parks over-promote front country access, to the detriment of backcountry access. The user quotas go to RVers, not people getting further in. Camps get over-used, and low-impact use is not effectively managed.

    So I disagree with your contention that "the Clinton administration botched things back in 1996 when it created the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and gave it to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to manage."

    From what I've seen, development is what the Park Service does. In my opinion, the goal of making more space accessible to more people is not the best management approach to these special places.

  • Survey Says National Park Service Is Far from the Best Government Agency to Work For   5 years 29 weeks ago

    Quickest way into the National Park Service is through "Dispatch". This is one place where jobs are always available and advertised to the public, not just open to current federal employees. Once in (6 months), the World is your oyster! LE Rangers get 20 year retirement. Real sweet deal, in most NPS units. Go to an undesireable NPS unit, get them to pay for your FLETC, and away you go!