Recent comments

  • Segways in the National Parks: Do We Really Need Them?   5 years 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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 38 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