Recent comments

  • Mount Terror Lives Up to Its Name at North Cascades National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I just wanted to say thanks for the great article. I am Steph Abegg, the climber who was roped to Steve when he fell. We are all thankful for the success of the rescue. The success was due to a series of crucial decisions made by several individuals involved (the 3 uninjured climbers, the rescue team in Marblemount). Thanks to everyone involved.

    I have posted a detailed trip report of the accident, including sevearal photos, on my website:
    http://sabegg.googlepages.com/terror

    -Steph

  • Interior Secretary Moves to Block Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    "Taking a step the Bush administration refused to take . . . " I said it before and I'll say it again. Thank God the Bush years are over. Take this type of action (that is, non-action/obstruction) and multiply it by thousands over eight years and you will have the complete picture of the Bush administration concerning any social issue involving potential business profits.

    I can hear it now: "But, this is private land (or development rights on public land). What about the rights to develop and use the land that the investors own/lease?" I would say, as in so many other similar issues, these property rights CEASE at the point where they would sacrifice the common good.

    This is applied obviously to the air we breathe and the water we drink (under the current administration, at least). Perhaps not as obvious, but no less applicable, are the rights of the public to preserve a national, world, treasure like the Grand Canyon. The world needs the Grand Canyon more than additional uranium.

    To what extent should national parks be protected from development beyond their borders? To the extent that any such development is determined to be detrimental to our national parks in any significant manner. I would think that extensive mining in the area would come under that description.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    National Parks were established to preserve the natural and cultural resources they have to offer. They are not all things for all people. They are not amusement parks. They were not established for the enjoyment of the people at the risk of harming their natural resources. If you do not care about the natural and cultural resources of a particular park and will not enjoy and respect it, don't go !

    These wonderful, diverse ecosystems deserve to be protected whether visitation is up or down. That is why they were established.......to be saved for those of us who DO love and respect them !

    As an adult without kids, I feel an obligation to get involved and help a kid understand our natural world and learn to protect and respect it. If we all made that effort, maybe a few would leave their video games and cellphones long enough to see what Mother Nature has to enjoy and teach us.

  • Traveler's Checklist - Glacier National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Just returned from spending a 6 days in Glacier last week and it is spectacular, even though it rained much of the time! I was expecting to find "Yosemite style" glacial valleys, so was surprised at how different the glacial landscape of Glacier is from what I am familiar with. If you have seen either Yosemite or Glacier, don't skip visiting the other because you've already seen glacial valleys!

  • Lodging in the Parks: John Muir Lodge, Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    If you have info to share please contact me through my website at http://www.historic-hotels-lodges.com. Thank you! There's also a more extensive history of Grant Grove Village posted there.

  • Eradicating Everglades Pythons Will be a Formidable Task   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Anonymous No. 1, can't say I ever recall anyone offering video footage of a 50-foot python, but we wouldn't intentionally delete that. Heck, that'd draw traffic in herds! Now, if we could root out that Stalinesque moderator, we'd feed him to that python of yours.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I hiked the Bright Angel Trail two days after this with no problems. I heard this guy dumped gas all over himself and in the vehical before he drove off. It is sad that this kind of thing happens. It would have been tragic if anyone specialy kids where hit by the car tumbling down over the trail. Also heard of a guy jumping out of a helicopter to his death....some time this year.

  • You Won't Find This On Your Hook....   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Several of the nearby public schools sections in Wyoming have the same stratum exposed and are leased for commercial fossil quarries. Back in the 1980s, the University of Utah's undergraduate course in evolution had a field trip to a quarry the first weekend: you could give each student a block of rock and a screwdriver or chisel, let them split off layers (or varves), and guaranty that they'd find at least 1 fish. That helped get their attention for the rest of the quarter. Grad students volunteered as van drivers: lots of distant relatives got fish fossils as inexpensive Christmas presents! One year we found a complete skate (ray), which became property of the state of Wyoming (as do all scientifically significant finds in the quarries).

    There's also a huge coal strip mine a few miles south of FOBI.

  • Eradicating Everglades Pythons Will be a Formidable Task   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I don't want to shift the subject, but based on the prior comments, I am beginning to conclude that their are only 2 answers to every control issue. License and ban. For us to be successful in any endeavor, we must stop wasting resources by simply piling on more laws and procedures that must be followed. This approach feels like we are doing something, however, the number 1 law is that you do not release exotic animals into the wild. Anyone willing to break that rule, would be willing to break any other rule put into place. All of the new rules will only waste resources on getting the people who would be responsible anyway to jump through more hoops. This does not stop the irresponsible ones. Sure there are some responsible owners, who accidentally loose their snake, but that number is most likely so small that it is irrelevant. Much like the similar issues with gun control, every dollar that is spent and every minute that is spent, tracking, licensing, controlling, legitimate owners, is time and money that is not going to eliminate the bigger problem. 1 person in an office processing forms and collecting money, would be much better spent in the field working on capturing, and killing the snakes.

  • Eradicating Everglades Pythons Will be a Formidable Task   5 years 32 weeks ago

    In an earlier article on "How Big Pythons Can get" I posted a link to video footage of a 50 foot Burmese Python in captivity. It's head is as big as a medium sized dog! My comment didn't get past the moderator however since it directly conflicted with his ridiculous assertion that there were only 40 foot Pythons even back in the day of Prehistorically huge animals. Therefore, I won't bother going to the trouble of finding the link this time since this post probably won't make it past this "throwback to the days of Stalin"-style moderator (but you can Google "50 foot Python" to find it readily enough). Enjoy your life controlling everyone's access to the truth there Mr. Moderator! As long as history agrees with you right?

  • Take Care if You're Visiting Alaska National Parks, As Bears Aren't Being Bashful   5 years 32 weeks ago

    One of the most interesting things I did when I lived in Alaska was to go to a bear symposium, and hear wildlife experts discuss bear facts. A number of myths were also debunked. Did you know for an example that bears can actually be attracted to pepper-based bear spray? that is why you never use it as a so-called "repellant" before a potential bear encounter, and why you get out of the area quickly after using it. Bears also have social interactive skills, so if they are around multiple bears, they act better. In other words, bears who are around many other bears, can often be safer to people than a bear who lives in an isolated area with few or no other bears. Brown bears are intelligent, and sensitive, and can test something new or intiguing within its home range. They love tents, salmon cook-outs on the beach, and berries. Guns are worthless in bear country, for normal outdoor visitor use. That is because you become overconfident, and a gun won't stop a brown bear in time to prevent contact anyhow.

    Ben Lord

  • Take Care if You're Visiting Alaska National Parks, As Bears Aren't Being Bashful   5 years 32 weeks ago


    -- On storminator's point, we had black bears in the Brooks Range that would pursue you unrelentingly. These was very different behavior than I'd come to expect from the brown bear of VA mountains. These black bears in the Brooks Range seemed to be scavengers, and I supposed they had succeeded in getting food from people who used the alpine lakes as drop-off and pick up points. But I don't really know. Just that those black bears did appear threatening, while the brown bear in the vicinity seemed to go out of their way to avoid people. They would just slide away, most of the time.

    -- On Ray Bane's point about camping away from a place a bear frequents, I wonder if that bear had in fact regularly used that island where the archeologists were camping. From his point of view, the archeologists would have been the interlopers.

    I'm no expert at archeological practice in southern Alaska, but from what I do know I believe that the archeological sites and the prime bear habitat are often the same place. Bears are attracted by the same things that have attracted human use over the millenia: great fishing, hunting, gathering or all three. Maybe the island had long been a place of human habitation, AND bear habitation. Perhaps someone could tell me, but is it not possible that a single bear could have been highly territorial toward that specific place?? It seemed to me that the bears of Katmai were driven by habit, but again this is not extensive experience, but it is my experience.

  • Eradicating Everglades Pythons Will be a Formidable Task   5 years 32 weeks ago

    In 2007 Florida passed legislation that named the Burmese python, four other large constrictors, and the Nile monitor lizard as "reptiles of concern.” In January a new Florida law went into effect establishing that python owners must obtain $100-a-year owners’ permits and have microchip IDs installed under the skin of their python pets so they can be owner-identified if they end up lost, strayed, or stolen. BTW, the albino Burmese python that killed the little girl in Sumter County, Florida was reportedly unlicensed.

  • Eradicating Everglades Pythons Will be a Formidable Task   5 years 32 weeks ago

    One step to limit people from releasing non-native species such as the Burmese Python into the wild would be to make it very difficult for people to acquire breeding animals. If the pet stores or licensed breeders could only sell sterilized animals to the public then that would of course slow any spread of snake , in this case, colonization. It is not a cure but a step in the right direction. Understand, I don't claim to be an expert and this is just an idea.

  • Survey Results Label the French as the World’s Worst Tourists   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I'd agree that some of the French can be hard to take, especially considering that if we hadn't pulled their cookies out of the oven twice, they might all be speaking German now.

  • More Low Water Woes at Lake Mead – but This Isn't the Worst Drought on Record for the Lake   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I'm with Dave and Ray on this one. Anonymous sounds like the one who's been brainwashed by the con men &
    politicians selling limitless growth. Desert irrigating civilizations since before Babylon have historically collapsed due to salt accumulation in their soil and overgrazing of headwaters. Where are the biblical cedars of Lebanon, and just how are our own 'make the desert bloom' schemes going to end differently?

    More is not sustainable, and "ultimately" may be sooner than we care to think, maybe even just around the economic corner.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angel's Landing   5 years 32 weeks ago

    The NPS "allows" people to climb Mt. McKinley and El Capitan too. It is up to ANYONE and everyone to determine if it is for them.

  • Survey Results Label the French as the World’s Worst Tourists   5 years 32 weeks ago

    It absolutely matches my experiences. After 12 years in the NPS in four parks, I can't tell you how many times a shrug and "I'm French" were the response to warnings about out-of-bounds camping, boats speeding in no wake zones, cars speeding on park roads, approaching bears/wolves/bison/thermal features too closely...you name it. Recently we received a complaint from a French gentleman calling us "socialists" and "communists" because he couldn't ride is mountain bike and drive anywhere he wanted, anytime he wanted. A Frenchman calling us socialists? Ha! And yet we can't even visit their country and ask a question in English without being treated like dirt.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angel's Landing   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I hiked Angel's Landing less than two weeks ago (July 2009). My boyfriend made it through the first short section of chains and decided to call it quits. I was determined and set out on my own. I nearly didn't make it to the top myself due to the combination of conditions - heat, fatigue and fear. Thanks to the encouragement from a young and energetic couple, I was able to conquer the challenge and make it all the way to the summit. An amazing thrill and accomplishment! What the hell was I thinking?!?!?! So very glad I made this hike but I won't take that chance again. Since returning home I have considered this hike quite a bit. I become anxious and nervous just thinking about it now. I commented there on the trail and I've told this to my family and friends - I am shocked the Park Service allows ANYONE to take this hike. However, I'm not sure the right thing to do would be to shut it down. This is an experience I will treasure my whole life. I do think that more explict sings that detail the danger and deaths that have occured there would be a smart addition. I am appalled to read in these posts that someone saw a parent on this trail with an infant on their back. That's something I simply couldn't watch! This hike is a serious undertaking. And, it's worth every treacherous step. Know your limits and respect gravity!

  • Take Care if You're Visiting Alaska National Parks, As Bears Aren't Being Bashful   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I lived in Alaska for 20 years. Brown bears are dangerous up there. If you go into the woods, be prepared. This is actually more common place than you'd think by that article. Brown bears charge very often in Alaska. Several of my friends have been charged while fishing on the Kenai River.

    They have a lot of competition for available food. They are very territorial. Bears have even returned to the city of Anchorage with the restocking of fish in the city creeks and river systems.

    Every black bear I ever ran across in Alaska seemed way more afraid of me than I was of it. If you're out in the wilderness of Alaska- be well armed. Browns are to be very wary of and respected.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    While I can see all sides of this issue, and agree with Beamis about environmental misanthropy, I must defer again to Ed, the desert anarchist, and his suggestion of placing a sign at the entrance of national parks that reads:

    HOWDY FOLKS. WELCOME. THIS IS YOUR NATIONAL PARK, ESTABLISHED FOR THE PLEASURE OF YOU AND ALL PEOPLE EVERYWHERE. PARK YOUR CAR, JEEP, TRUCK, TANK, MOTORBIKE, SNOWMOBILE, MOTORBOAT, JETBOAT, AIRBOAT, SUBMARINE, AIRPLANE, JETPLANE, HELICOPTER, HOVERCRAFT, WINGED MOTORCYCLE, ROCKETSHIP, OR ANY OTHER CONCEIVABLE TYPE OF MOTORIZED VEHICLE IN THE WORLD'S BIGGEST PARKINGLOT BEHIND THE COMFORT STATION IMMEDIATELY TO YOUR REAR. GET OUT OF YOUR MOTORIZED VEHICLE, GET ON YOUR HORSE, MULE, BICYCLE OR FEET, AND COME ON IN.
    ENJOY YOURSELVES. THIS HERE PARK IS FOR people.

  • Latest Pastime of Yellowstone National Park Bison: Human Tossing   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Yellowstone ain't Disneyland and those critters aren't audioanimatronics! It is always amazing to me the way some visitors seem to leave common sense at the entry gates. Last year we were parked by the side of the road along w/a few other visitors watching (from safely inside our vehicles) a grizzly digging grubs about 25 yds away down a slight hill (again, we were in our truck w/the windows up). Lo and behold, walking next to our truck comes some doofus w/his about 9 yr old daughter to get a closer look. I rolled down the window and said "Sir, that bear is only about 25 yards down the hill". He rolled his eyes at me and made a dismissive gesture and kept on going out of my view. Lo and behold, 5 seconds later, here he comes backing up slowly with his daughter held behind him. No harm done, Mr Bear was much more interested in grubs, but honestly! When at Yellowstone, I give ALL the creatures, great and small, alot of respect and space.

  • More Low Water Woes at Lake Mead – but This Isn't the Worst Drought on Record for the Lake   5 years 32 weeks ago

    With all due respect, Anonymous, growth is the underlying dynamic that ultimately undercuts sustainability. As is becoming increasingly evident, infinite growth in a finite world is impossible. Mother nature is reminding us that we test her limits at our own peril.

  • Young Girl Drowns in Middle Fork of the Kaweah River in Seqouia National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    My 23 year old son witnessed this event. He feels terrible, as you can imagine. Our hearts go out the family and friends of the young girl. What a tragedy.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    The idea of replacing cars in Zion Park with the tram car system was a dollar short and a day late if you ask me. I'm sorry it happened after my days of visitation to that park ended. I never found the saturation of visitors to that park to be enjoyable. I remember once when my "window of opportunity" to visit Angel's Landing passed me by. It was around 8am and had I stopped to chat with some hikers just before the final climb, I was quickly overtaken by a busload of french women that were right behind me. I stood to the side making room as about 50 women hiked by, grateful that I wasn't going to share that precarious precipe with all of them, plus the hikers I'd already seen go up! It would have been like a crowded bar, except there was a 1000' drop off on all sides! Many of the hikers were young, inexperienced, and ill mannered in hikers etiquette. It was unsafe in the extreme.
    Same deal when I went to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Absolute pandemonium on the hiking trails. Way overcrowded trails with the occasional mule pack going by making you have to suddenly squeeze against the side of the already too narrow trail... hundreds of feet straight down if anyone lost their footing. Many of the female hikers were wearing high heels!

    Anytime you're letting that many of the general public into a confined area at the same time, you are going to have huge traffic management problems, just as if you're at a parade, the zoo, etc. That many people are like a herd of ill-mannered cattle. I'm happy to see that they've turned Park visitation into a highly profitable venture, but they should manage visitor traffic as well as the visitor/wildlife interaction. There are lots of accidents waiting to happen on those trails.