Recent comments

  • Wanna See Something Too Gorgeous for Words? Check Out the New Non-Narrative “Living Death Valley” DVD   5 years 37 weeks ago

    This is BEAUTIFUL. I camped in the mountains above Death Valley for many years (I live in Fla now). It is my very favorite place. This film shows why. Love it.

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 37 weeks ago

    You can still get a massage at several resort lodges within NPS units, like Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort at Olympic National Park. Is it a massage parlor? Hardly so. However - they do list rates for massages.

    http://www.visitsolduc.com/hotspringsandpools.cfm

    Still - I been part of online discussions of what should be designated a National Park today. One very strong theme was that Hot Springs National Park wouldn't likely to receive a "National Park" designation if it were to be considered today. The gist seems to be that it was declared a National Park at a time when nobody was really sure what should or shouldn't be declared a National Park.

    Still - I understand the concern that the NPS has. It seems that the city is blurring the line between what is Hot Springs NP and the city. Anyone walking in West Yellowstone, MT is acutely aware that it's not NPS land. The visitor to the city of Hot Springs may not be so aware.

  • It Ain't Sexy: Charting The Next Two Decades At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Thanks Mike!

  • It Ain't Sexy: Charting The Next Two Decades At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    In case you need a little fodder for a future update, here is my post after going to the open house meeting in Madison, WI.

    http://www.parkstamps.org/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?16604.last

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Well, Anonymous Robert, other than some sly word-play here and there, I don't see anything 'written' here by Bob Janiskee that besmirches Massage. Unless you are talking about his quote of our Secretary of the Interior from Colorado. Who knows? Maybe in Colorado 'Massage Parlor' remains a euphemism, or has at least a double meaning? Nothing against Colorado, of course, just guys who never take off their hat.

    And Bob Janiskee, since you are the King of Naming & Classification for National Parks, this very early national park at Hot Springs is one of the best examples of the limits of rigorous logic or jesuitical precision to the language of national parklands.

    The town and the park have always been rolled together. The somewhat bizarre effort of the current superintendent to create a distinction is surely inconsistent with the history of the town and park, whatever it says in the Management Policies or CFR. When the distinguished Senator Dale Bumpers as one of his legacy efforts at the end of his career in Congress (performed about the same time he served as chief counsel for the defence of W.J. Clinton before the Senate impeachment trial) was to try to put the park up to a higher level, after years of neglect and want. Does any one in the NPS doubt that the main reason that happened is Bumper's concern for the town? You'd think a smart superintendent would wrap her park's future around the town.

    The rank-and-file-Yosemite-mafia-type-Ranger of course has always been uncomfortable with Hot Springs, because it is really so different from the purple-mountain's-majesty-type national park, or the Basin and Range ideal. But because it is a throwback to an earlier era, and is one of the very earliest national parks in the United States, most of these guys don't know whether to attack it or support it. It is a perfect topic for Bob Janiskee's List of Anomalies. Truth is, it is the American take on the Victorian or 19th Century European 'pleasuring ground,' in the original concept of 'recreation.'

    I mean, where would 'The Last Year at Marienbad' be without the spa? Or all the other famous European or English resorts? You didn't just go for the scenery and the hiking.

    Although we have people today who see any resort in a national park - even the one at Yellowstone - as an intrusion, there was a time when the relationship between the place and the resort was inextricable. Like, at Hot Springs.

    Even a cowboy from Colorado in a cowboy hat will have a hard time extracating this one. I suggest, we need fewer lawyers involved, and a few more people with a sense of the cultural history of recreation. And a superintendent with a sense of humor.

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 37 weeks ago

    As someone who grew up in the shadows of Naval Training Center and Marine Corps Recruit Depot, and is now married to a licensed, certified, massage therapist (life is good!), I thought that the operative term was "parlor". Therapeutic massage at spas, day spas, salons, resorts, athletic clubs, medical centers, etc., is a wonderful treatment, especially welcome after a couple days of fieldwork. At least in California, Virginia, and Colorado, even massage therapists consider massage parlors to be sleazy, and don't call their places of business massage parlors. Even the massage chains don't call themselves parlors. Robert, is that different where you live & work?

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Jeez, anon, it was Interior Secretary Ken Salazar who implied that massage parlors are sleazy. I just reported what he said. Some western frontier saloons are said to have sported a sign that read "Please Don't Shoot the Piano Player." Here at the Traveler, we have one that says "Please Don't Shoot the Messenger." If you still think I'm a massage parlor-hating dingbat, check the comment immediately preceding yours.

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Massage gives a bad immage?
    Was this written in the 1800s?
    Wow.
    I work in an athletic club where massage
    is used to draw health oriented people.
    Please come to the 2000s.

    Robert
    (massage therapist)

  • PFDs Are Proven Lifesavers. Should Boaters be Required to Wear Them?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    I guide about 10-12 trips a summer down the river, and always wear a PFD. I think wearing a PFD is a good idea. I think the government legislating requirements is a bad idea. Our freedom in America includes the right to be stupid and dangerous. Is the river really that dangerous? Considering the 10,000 people/weekend that use the river and the 2 deaths per/year I'd say it isn't cause for alarm.

    -Zachary G

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Yup. The Buckstaff Bath House (note spelling), which is the only operational bath house within the park, still offers a full body Swedish style massage. Check it out at

    .

  • There Won’t be Any “Hot Springs National Park Massage Parlor” on Ken Salazar’s Watch   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Is it still possible to get a massage at the Buck(t)horn Baths, the stately bathhouse run by the park service along bathhouse row? After a long day or two crystal mining, soaking in those deep tubs and having an attendant scrub off all that red clay was wonderful.

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Retrofitting suicide "magnet" bridges like the Golden Gate Bridge and the New River Gorge Bridge sounds like a good idea, at least on the surface of it, but the high cost of the work and the negative impacts on bridge esthetics and sightlines are normally considered to outweigh the suicide-deterring benefits. If you believe that saving human lives outweighs these values, you should make your feelings known to the appropriate policy- and decision-makers. In the case of the New River Gorge Bridge, that would not be the National Park Service. The bridge is owned and operated by the state of West Virginia.

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Okay, so I am a little late to this discussion but I just found this site. Let me say "WOW!!!" I can't believe how passionate some people can get over something they have never even tried out for themselves. The point I would like to make about the Segway and obesity in America is simply this, the Segway is not designed nor recommended for anyone over 260 pounds! 260 pounds is a lot if you are 5' 9" but not so much at 6' 5". In addition, it does take physical ability to properly opporate a Segway. Is it going to be a person's primary source of exercise? I hope not!!! For those who want a different, fun and exciting way to see ANY sites, not just our beautiful NPS sites, the Segway can't be beat. The previous comments bashing the use of Segways in our national parks are obviously options formed from ignorance of the Segway. There are currently 2 basic Segway models... the I2 which is more of an urban use device while the X2 has big knobbie tires designed for going off road. In addition the X2 can be outfitted with turf tires for use on golf courses and other mainly grass venues. I would suggest all you naysayers go out and take a Segway tour and then come back and tell us all how terrible they are! Bet you won't be able to... like momma used to say, "Try it, you'll like it"!!! And if you don't, you must be dead!

    In closing, riding the Segway through our national parks isn't about people needing exercise (go to the GYM!!!). Its about giving people who have an interest in preserving the environment and those who may not be able to negotiate the terrain well on foot a new and innovative way to see the sites. A Segway is easier to ride than a bicycle. And for people like my mother-in-law, who have COPD, it is a way to see the sites at all.

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   5 years 37 weeks ago

    My sympathies to those of you who lost someone at New River Gorge.

    There was a time when I also viewed those who committed suicide as selfish. I know much better now. Many times the person who commits suicide is acutely ill (psychologically) at the time. And Brian Logan has an accurate perspective. Studies have shown that a disturbingly high percentage of people who attempted suicide report that they only contemplated the act for minutes before making a drastic action.

    Although there is some controversy over this, some "Magnets" for suicide, such as the Golden Gate Bridge can be barricaded to decrease the amount of suicides that occur there. I've never been to New River Gorge, so I'm not sure if park managers should look into installing some sort of prevention structures on that bridge. Some suicide magnets, such as the Grand Canyon, cannot be barricaded. For these places, the last thing standing between a suicidal person and their desperate act will often be a park ranger.

    For anyone who would like to increase their understanding of suicide and therefore have more compassion for suicidal people, I highly recommend this book.

    Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide
    by Kay Redfield Jamison

  • Court Ruling Blocks Some ORV Access to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Other Federal Lands   5 years 37 weeks ago

    ORV/ATV use has caused severe environmental damage on public lands, including national parks, across the nation. The parks in Alaska are particularly hard hit by off-road travel. Once a park permits ORV use it is extremely difficult to manage it and prevent the expansion of environmental impacts.

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   5 years 37 weeks ago

    My son was the young man who died Sept. 9, 2008. We had his 35th [not 25th as written] birthday Aug.31 and 9 days later he was gone. He was a beautiful , kind , loving man who thought he was a failure because he had failed in his relationship. He could not see past that to realize how much his family and friends loved him and how much his son needed and loved him. I am dreading the approach of Sept. 9 but I know that I can
    get through it with the strength God has given me. I miss his wonderful hugs but I know that he is in the a place where the demons he kept hidden from us have no power. Thank you for your kind words. Remember us all in your prayers. Everyone needs them no matter how strong we think we are.

  • Court Ruling Blocks Some ORV Access to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Other Federal Lands   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Thanks for this excellent summary of the issue. If Kane County had won, it would have been bad news for many other national parks and monuments in the West. Some rural counties still think RS 2477 is their magic bullet to shoot down the management plans adopted by NPS, BLM and the Forest Service.

  • Traveler's Gear Box: Take A Stick When You Go For a Hike   5 years 37 weeks ago

    I had to use my stick in Zion to fend off the squirrels! I didn't even have food in hand (wouldn't feed them anyway) and they were still chasing me down. I watched one climb a man's pants. When one came after me I used my stick to push it back off the trail and the little booger still came back!

  • National Park Foundation, Armed With $500,000 Grant, Working To Bring More Minorities into National Parks   5 years 37 weeks ago

    Jack,

    That money is not pork, it's from a private foundation. Statistics bear out that neither the National Park Service nor national park visitation is as diverse as the rest of the nation.

  • National Park Foundation, Armed With $500,000 Grant, Working To Bring More Minorities into National Parks   5 years 37 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 37 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 37 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 37 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 37 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 37 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.