Recent comments

  • Reader Participation Day: Are You An East Coast, West Coast, or Gulf Coast National Seashore Person?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I was about to say what Mike said: I'm a National LAKEshore kind of guy. Pictured Rocks, Sleeping Bear Dunes, and Isle Royale are among my favorite spots on earth.

    But if we need to be salty about it, I'll vote for the northeast. Acadia's coast is the most interesting and most scenic to me.

  • Free Firewood At Mammoth Cave National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I think this is a wonderful idea! This should be done at all national/state parks. What better way to avoid a fire hazard?

  • Reader Participation Day: Are You An East Coast, West Coast, or Gulf Coast National Seashore Person?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    This weekend I'm heading to the NORTH Coast. Lake Superior that is. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Grand Island National Rec. Area. and Isle Royale National Park. But if money wasn't an issue, I would head for Olympic National Seashore. I have never been past the Rockies and would love to go.

  • Plague Kills Many Prairie Dogs and Black-Footed Ferrets in Grasslands Near Badlands National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I see that these comments are a year old, but I thought it right to make a clarification. And while I actually am an environmental scientist working on their Phd, I don't see that as any reason to be rude or to use language that the average person can't understand.

    "Sylvatic plague" essentially is just a phrase scientists use to refer to the version of a plague found in wild animals. Pretty much all mentions of plague refer to disease caused by one specific bacteria, Yersinia pestis. This is the exact same bacteria that caused the bubonic plagues you heard about in history classes. The general consensus is that it originated in Asia and then traveled over to Europe and eventually here to North America via travel in fleas on rodents like rats that moved with humans.

    The point being, the "sylvatic plague" referred to in this article is certainly not endemic to the prairies of North America. Endemic implies not only native origin, but also that something is found only in that specific place, which in this case is false on both counts.

    As far as the human measures taken to fight this issue go, I would agree that the implications are very tricky to determine accurately. While I don't think the mass application of pesticides is a sustainable solution, scientists must constantly weigh benefits and detriments in their efforts to undo the damages of the past. We can only hope that whoever is making these decisions is doing so in an informed and cautious way.

    Hope that helped!

  • Trial Over What Constitutes a "Road" In Canyonlands National Park: Vestiges of Sagebrush Rebels   5 years 35 weeks ago

    If tearing down gates and signs is against the law, then why didn't members of the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade get arrested? How can it be against the law to assert your RS 2477 access rights? Nobody I know has been arrested for doing that.

    Yes Jarbidge is in NV not UT. thanks.

  • A Drowning-free Summer at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Wasn't Just Good Luck   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Just to nit-pick: I'm not sure there's any statistical significance to a drowning-free year at Indiana Dunes, given that since 1995, the mean drownings per year is 0.87 and the median is zero (according to my news searches).

    That said, it's nice to see them using signs and interaction by rangers and volunteers rather than draconian closures of scenic areas. Sounds like a well-planned attack, and the lack of meaningful numbers I bemoan above is no reason to deride the program. A string of many drowning-free years in the future has to begin with the first.

  • Trial Over What Constitutes a "Road" In Canyonlands National Park: Vestiges of Sagebrush Rebels   5 years 35 weeks ago

    "1. This is another example of the NPS allowing the camels nose under the tent in years past, leaving current managers to clean up the mess. Like snowmobiles in Yellowstone, ATV's in Wrangell St Elias or Denali etc." Anonymous

    FWIW, I agree with you. All-too-many regretable decisions were made, in part, for the sake of political comfort. It is much too easy for park and regional management to alter or set policies that expose park lands and resources to long term adverse impacts. ATV access has resulted in widespread destruction of wilderness values and formally pristine habitat in many of the national parks in Alaska, including DENA, WRST, KATM, LACL, GAAR, NOAT, KOVA, GLBA, BELA, CAKR and YUCH. In most cases, these impacts could have been avoided or substantially mitagated. Now, however, it will be extremely difficult to pull the camel's nose from under the tent.

  • Hundreds of Groups Urge Senate to Invest in Climate Change Legislation That Could Help National Park Wildlife, Natural Resources   5 years 35 weeks ago

    The above post caught my attention at a pregnant moment. I just finished reading the book "The End of the Long Summer" by Dianne Dumanoski. It goes into great detail to examine the issue of climate change, drawing on a broad spectrum of scientific research and reports. Global warming will radically change far more than scattered national parks and other protected lands. This is not simply an esoteric question of preserving pleasing natural settings. It is a matter of survival in the most basic sense. The issue is no longer how to avoid climate change but rather how to keep it from being a global catastophe.

    The world's climate is a complex and dynamic system with a propensity to make radical swings with breathtaking rapidity. Indeed, the last two hundred years have been abnormally stable and, at least for us, favorable. By releasing enormous quantities of CO2, methane and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere humans are engaged in an uncontrolled and potentially dangerous experiment. We have been poking a sleeping climate monster. Now it is beginning to waken, and we can only hope it will not be as unpredicable and destructive as geological evidence shows it can be. Regardless, it is too late to dodge the climate bullet. Major changes are all but certain due to the atmospheric chemical changes that have already occurred. Now the emphasis should be on limiting the damage and preparing for a very interesting future.

  • Several New Trails Proposed at Denali National Park. Comments are Now Being Received   5 years 35 weeks ago

    It is a sad commentary that construction of a short (and obviously desirable, to confine foot traffic from sensitive tundra) trailbed on 1.0 acre of the 6 million in Denali NP requires a full-blown NEPA Environmental Assessment, at a considerable cost in limited NPS staff time, effort and funds. While construction of another parking lot does not?

    The appropriate NEPA process for such trail projects is: Categorical Exclusion by the Park Superintendent! i.e. please just do it.

  • Fall From Tokopah Falls Kills Visitor to Sequoia National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Hi Diana,

    I was not present when this happened to your brother, but my best friend's daughter had taken a photo of Scott and his friends just before. I had breakfast with my friend this morning and she is still struggling with this tragedy, so I can only imagine what you and your family are going through. I just wanted you to know that people are thinking of you and that my heart goes out to you all. Sequoia is a place where my family spent many summers, so it really hit home with me when I heard about this. Very sincerely, Juliet

  • With the Fall Rut Beginning, Wind Cave National Park Rangers Leading Elk Bugling Programs   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Olympic National Park's native Roosevelt elk are now bugling, their calls echoing across the high valleys throughout the Park. In rut, they reopen wallows in the high meadows, habitat they inadvertantly maintain for rare amphibians. They are the major reason T. R. designated Olympic Game Reserve, and FDR designated this National Park, so it is fitting that, as each autumn renews their eerie calls, we remember their name.

  • House Natural Resources Committee OK's Legislation For Upper Stehekin Road in North Cascades National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    This legislation would simply allow the NPS to realign the wilderness boundary onto the historic 1890 wagon road, which is well away from the Stehekin River, outside of the flood plain. This route is slightly shorter (2.2 vs 2.4 miles), so results in a slight increase in wilderness area. The NPS Environmental Assessment concludes that this reroute "would allow the 100-year and 500-year floodplain reclamation and revegetation initiated by the 2003 flood to continue between Car Wash Falls and MP 15.3. These floodplains, riparian, and wetland areas are high value wildlife habitat, and this would be a major, long-term beneficial affect. Individuals who would like motorized vehicle and bicycle access to southern portions of the Wilderness reestablished would perceive implementation of Alternative D (Road Reroute) as a moderate to major, long-term beneficial affect compared to the No Action Alternative."

    See the full EA at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/documentsList.cfm?parkId=327&projectId=15383

  • Various Care-Taking Projects Under Way in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I am gratified to see NPT's implicit support of these projects, even though they involve use of a mini-excavator and construction of a new cabin within a Federally-designated wilderness area. This work is essential for visitor access, safety and administration of the Park. However, it would be illegal within USFS-administered wilderness areas, and within National Parks in western Washington (due to the misguided 2005 Burgess decision http://www.peer.org/news/news_id.php?row_id=562). A more reasonable, uniform, national wilderness policy would go far to increase public support and decrease tensions over wilderness areas.

  • Off The Usual Paths   5 years 35 weeks ago

    This is interesting. Multicolored rock tells us about different ages and interesting geographic facts.

  • A Drowning-free Summer at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Wasn't Just Good Luck   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Its undoubtedly a fact that the proactive action taken by the staff of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in putting up warning signs and reaching over 7.7% of the visitors during last summer is a milestone in the park history. With no incidents reported during the active period means alot to the people of this country and hence i wish to congratulate the entire staff of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore led by Consta Dillon and all the volunteers who made this possible. I also say thank you to the over a million visitors who toured the beach and behaved as requested hence leading to the success of the program.

  • Several New Trails Proposed at Denali National Park. Comments are Now Being Received   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Denali National Park; Alaska is 6 million acre land of exotic mammals, birds & small animals as well. Famous black & grizzly bears, wolves, dall sheep, moos, caribou & elusive kinda animals like foxes, hoary marmots, arctic ground squirrels, beavers, pikas & snowshoe hares. It’s a bird paradise with Raven, owls, ptarmigan, waxwings, Arctic Warblers, pine grosbeaks & tundra swan.

  • Woman Drowns In Yellowstone National Park's Backcountry   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Drowning confirmed by autopsy; not clear whether the illness had anything to do with the drowning. http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/article.php?art_id=5060

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I thought of you often this past week, and can only image how hard it had to be for you. I miss him dearly...as I closed my pool this weekend, the thing he & I did together every year, I still have a hard time believing he is gone. My thoughts and prayers are always with you.

  • With the Fall Rut Beginning, Wind Cave National Park Rangers Leading Elk Bugling Programs   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I heard my first elk bugling on this very ranger program 2 years ago. The various participants drove out in their own cars to a pullout north of the campground. When we got there we discovered a huge bull bison grazing just feet away in the dark. The ranger thought about it for a while and decided that if we were quiet and stood at the other end of the pullout we'd probably be okay. We listened and heard elk bugling in the valley below us. I was really elated to finally hear bugling in person and so glad they happened to be offering this program when I was visiting. As it turned out, every night in my tent I could hear elk bugling in the hills around the campground.

  • Traveler's Checklist: Acadia National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    The horse stable at Acadia had a park carriage horse drop dead the other day, apparently from exhaustion. It is being investigated and a public report will be issued. Horse people across the state of Maine are understandably pretty uspset. Although Acadia has too many accidents and "incidents" and has a local reputation for being poorly managed... it is a very beautiful natural place and certainly worth the Twenty Dollars entry fee.

  • Traveler's Checklist: Acadia National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    After recently spending time at Acadia National Park, I love this article.

    I am hoping to make it back to Mount Desert Island during the fall foliage season and traverse the Carriage Roads - although not by bike, but by horse. Wildwood Stables, located in the Park, offers both horse-drawn carriage rides and horses that you can ride on your own. The park's website has some great information about horseback riding in Acadia National Park, and a link to Wildwood Stables.

  • Trial Over What Constitutes a "Road" In Canyonlands National Park: Vestiges of Sagebrush Rebels   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Jarbidge is in Nevada..... Tearing down signs and gates is breaking the law. Be sure to take lots of pictures (including a clear view of your license plate), then post them to the web.

  • Traveler's Checklist: Acadia National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Don't forget to check out the Schoodic Point section of Acadia National Park! Even during high summer the crowds are much thinner and the beauty matches that of the Mt. Desert section. Come and stay a few days to discover and enjoy the beauty of Winter Harbor and the Schoodic Peninsula - and some great seafood!

    Seascape Kayak and bicycle rental in Birch Harbor ((207) 963-5806‎ - no affiliation!) can set you up for ocean or freshwater kayaking and canoeing. Schoodic is home to some pretty hikes, too, so check us out!

  • Trial Over What Constitutes a "Road" In Canyonlands National Park: Vestiges of Sagebrush Rebels   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I have two comments:

    1. This is another example of the NPS allowing the camels nose under the tent in years past, leaving current managers to clean up the mess. Like snowmobiles in Yellowstone, ATV's in Wrangell St Elias or Denali etc. yesterday's managers made ill-considered and lazy decisions putting problems in our way today. Makes you wonder what today's managers are royally screwing up for tomorrow (ungulate control in Rocky and Teddy Roosevelt, anyone?)

    2. If San Juan and Kane Counties hate the federal government so much, why don't they return the millions of dollars of federal payments in lieu of property taxes and grants payed into their county coffers over the years? Just another example of giving the finger to the government on one hand while holding out the other at the same time. I have no respect for these people and their small-minded leaders.

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

    Of course NPS should endorse concessioners whom it has deemed are good enough to operate in National Parks and partner with NPS is providing visitor services. These are services NPS views as necessary, but which it cannot provide itself. NPS goes through a rigorous process in awarding these contracts and both parties are trying to encourage people to visit our Parks by providing high quality visitor services. It seems that not allowing this would be nonsensical and only result in keeping the number of visitors down. However, the fewer people who visit our Parks, the fewer supporters for our Parks. I simply don't see how simple statements of available services or providing links to those services can be characterized as commercializing our Parks.