Recent comments

  • Accessible National Parks, Airline Division   5 years 33 weeks ago

    There are some parks with decent shuttle bus systems and connections to the world outside. For example it is possible to fly to Visalia, CA take a taxi from the airport to the city center and hop onto the Sequoia shuttle bus. It will bring you to the Giant Forest area, where there is an in-park shuttle bus system, that connects the visitor center, the museum, the campground and a few trailheads.

    But by far the best public transport in a National Park I've ever seen in North America is in Jasper NP, Alberta, Canada. They have a train station with first class rail service and long distance bus connections to the town of Jasper plus local buses to most relevant parts of the park. Canada has some pretty good public transport to their national parks anyway. The Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island is spread over three units, one (Long Beach) is directly accessible by public buses, the second (Broken Islands) has a boat service from Port Alberni and the West Coast Trail has several private companies that offer shuttle services.

    And I won't even mentioning Europe.

  • Our Only Privately-Owned National Park Celebrates a Birthday and a Vital Conservation Easement   5 years 33 weeks ago

    How is this privately owned if the natonail park trust owns it... is it for personal profit??

  • Kurt Made it to Jones Hole on the Green   5 years 33 weeks ago

    It's great following along on Kurt's rafting trip. Wish I were there.
    It brings back the great memories of rafting Grand Canyon and The Middle fork of the Salmon. Wonderful!

  • Accessible National Parks, Airline Division   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Yes, these airports are close to our national parks, but then you all forget, you have to rent a car as well as fly. I live in Southeastern Oregon and plan a trip in the near future to Glacier National Park. For a 15-day trip and drivng over 2500 miles I will only pay $650 for gas. You cannot fly, rent a car and gas the car for that period of time for the same amount of money. AND, this is for two people. By driving, I can come and go as I please, spend time where I want and have the comfort of my own vehicle for less money. I have to think about ecomony since I am on a limited income. If I had money to spend, or throw away, I might consider flying.

  • Terrain Map Shows that Kurt’s Wednesday Campsite on the Yampa Was Way Cool   5 years 33 weeks ago


    Oh, yes. Google Earth is EXTREMELY friendly. You will have no problems.

    Just be careful at first when loading up too many special features you want to see on your maps. Your interest in so many things, Bob, is so dazzling, that you will have to make sure you don't get carried away !

  • Terrain Map Shows that Kurt’s Wednesday Campsite on the Yampa Was Way Cool   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Sorry. I guess that's why people prefer the downloaded program. I say "I guess" because I have never used Google Earth. Should I? Is the software user-friendly, I mean really moron-proof?

  • A U.S. – Mexico International Park. Will This Long-Standing Idea Be Revived?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I'm skeptical, too. Before the officials return to the pre 9-11 rules in a inconspicuous place like Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park on the border with Canada, I can't see any chance for flexible immigration on the US-Mexican border.

    Remember: Before 2001 anyone could cross the border between Glacier NP, Montana and Waterton Lakes NP, Alberta anywhere within the park, if he or she reported it crossing immediately after returning to the front country in a number of border report stations. So basically the two parks had one shared backcountry. Since 2002 only Americans and Canadians (international tourists are excluded) can cross the border at Goat Haunt only.

  • Terrain Map Shows that Kurt’s Wednesday Campsite on the Yampa Was Way Cool   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Bob, no, it's the dloaded program, did not know there was a browser plug in, a new toy!
    Whoa! That baby is a RAM HOG!

  • Terrain Map Shows that Kurt’s Wednesday Campsite on the Yampa Was Way Cool   5 years 33 weeks ago

    You're quite correct, Random Walker. Are you using Google Earth as a browser plugin?

  • Terrain Map Shows that Kurt’s Wednesday Campsite on the Yampa Was Way Cool   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I took the his coordinates (40.4793,-108.907) from Wednesday night and stuck them into Google Earth to "fly to" and with the ability to choose layers one gets more information on a given area than Google Maps, anyway looks like he was at Laddie Park campsite.

  • Staying Safe and How Not to Become A SAR Statistic in the National Park System   5 years 33 weeks ago

    With over 25 years of backcountry experience in the Sierras and Cascades I have been fortunate to never need any help despite taking many long solo trips in all types of terrain and weather conditions. I feel many SAR rescues could be prevented by simply having knowledgeable people with backcountry experience issue wilderness permits at Ranger Stations or as they say in Yosemite - Information Stations. Many of the Rangers are little more than campground cops and are totally clueless when it come to giving advise on important things like the danger present at creek crossings and the navigational skills required to "do your route" above the snow line. Hopefully some of the additional money going to the the National Parks system will be spent on educating the park employees.

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Anonymous -

    I think much of the debate on this issue - and there's been plenty - is not based on "a problem with the 2nd amendment," but rather in how it is interpreted. It's pretty clear that a vast gulf exists between the ends of the spectrum on that matter, and it certainly won't be resolved here :-)

  • NRA Appeals Ruling Blocking Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I don't understand the fuss about carrying a concealed weapon in a park. What is the difference between carrying a weapon in public (which someone can legally do with a permit) and carrying a weapon in a park. Are parks not a public place as well? When I got my permit there was a background check, fingerprinting, and an explaination of the laws that applied in my state. Through this process the state was basically confirming that I am an upstanding citizen with no history of committing violent crimes. Therefore, if I am allowed to carry a firearm while standing next to you in the grocery store line, then why would it be illegal for me to walk beside you on a park trail doing the same? If anyone would have a problem with either scenerio then I would say they don't have a problem with carry weapons in national parks--- they have a problem with the 2nd ammendment.

  • A U.S. – Mexico International Park. Will This Long-Standing Idea Be Revived?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Seems unlikely anytime soon. Just opening the border crossings would be a big step, and right now amid swine flu and the drug problems it's hard to see that happening. But would love to see it happen.

    My trip to Big Bend was amazing. One of the "lowlights" was to see the crossing place, now closed, into Boquillas. NPS has a photo at their site, which seems to be intentionally ominous looking as it is in black and white.

    http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2720400170059461204mXpCOs

    NPS Photo: http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/border_crossings.htm

    Nice article on Boquillas here. Also Google Victor the singing Mexican (and search for him on YouTube) to get a taste as well. I did not see Victor, just his hut.

    [edited: The linked article did not download properly]

  • Accessible National Parks, Airline Division   5 years 33 weeks ago

    @Bob -

    Townsend rates about a 2 or 3 on that scale. The area has traditionally been relatively remote and less developed, thanks to the foresight of the Blount County government. A few years ago, though, then Gov. Don Sundquist (R) decided he wanted to four-lane the road into Townsend. He faced much local opposition, especially when TDOT began grading for the road and uncovered a fairly significant Native American burial ground, but Gov. Sundquist being Gov. Sundquist, he just built the road anyway.

    Anyway, point being that while there's a giant, uneeded 4 lane road in the area, Townsend is generally the most peaceful spot you'll easily get to. There's only three or four hotels, and some rental cabins. The new addition lately was a small Dollar General and grocery store well off the highway. You'll not ifnd a neon light in the whole place, and the only crowds are at the resturant. Note also that if you go during the off-season (Halloween-April), Townsend is a ghost town.

  • Accessible National Parks, Airline Division   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Tomp - You are right on. I also think the Fire Island High Dune Wilderness, which starts at the edge of a road, may be the only federal wilderness directly accessible by public mass transit since the county bus line has a stop there.

  • Accessible National Parks, Airline Division   5 years 33 weeks ago

    What do you have against Cabrillo NM (10-30 minutes from SAN, depending on whether you stop at Point Loma Seafood for a sandwich) with birds, relatively intact coastal chaparral, and nice tide pools?

    You probably can't get to Pt. Reyes from SFO in under an hour, but you can get to all units of Golden Gate NRA, most of Muir Woods, and the Presidio.

    What about Gateway & Fire Island (JFK?)?

    If you fly into Hilo, certainly parts of Hawai'i Vocanoes NP are within an hour's drive.

    For me, the harder question is which of the NPS units is the furthest in time or distance from commercial air service (separately for Alaska & the contiguous 48)?

  • Accessible National Parks, Airline Division   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Here we are back to the national "park" issue again. I am sure there are more than 100 units of the National Park System within 50 miles of a major airport. Heck, there are probably a hundred within 20 miles. They just aren not national "parks," they are by other designations.

  • Accessible National Parks, Airline Division   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Fly into Cleveland OH and you are 16 miles from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park's Canal Visitor Center. Not the best National Park, possibly the worst, but close to the airport.

  • Accessible National Parks, Airline Division   5 years 33 weeks ago

    One can fly from Seattle to Kalispell but why not take the train. Less expensive, good views, and helps support the train system. I'm going to Glacier for the first time this summer and I plan to take the train from Minneapolis. My thoughts on the Amtrak system, not all of which are good, could fill a page and this isn't the right forum so I'll just say "good traveling"

  • Accessible National Parks, Airline Division   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Crater Lake's southern boundary is less than 50 miles from Klamath Falls Airport, which is served by United from Portland and San Francisco. Lava Beds' boundary is only 30 miles away.

  • Electronic Technology in National Park Backcountry: Good or Bad?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Just as Kurt, I grew up learning to get around outdoors with map and compass, so, I view SPOT as a very interesting and useful accessory (I do not own one, as of yet) for keeping others up to date. I know that this has been a long and ongoing question in the climbing community. I don't think it is a bad thing to rely on electronics for navigation, but, people should have a sufficient understanding of map and compass in the event their electronic do-dads fail.

    rob
    ---
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography,
    www.robmutch.com

  • Accessible National Parks, Airline Division   5 years 33 weeks ago

    The Grant Grove Section of King's Canyon National Park is almost a perfect 1 hour's drive from Fresno-Yosemite International Airport in Fresno California. (Assuming you don't get behind a motor home driver who doesn't believe in using turn-outs!) Yosemite used to be an hour from the same airport, but with higher traffic levels it now takes a little longer.

  • Accessible National Parks, Airline Division   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Don't forget the San Bernardino Natl. Forest that is within an hour's drive from Ontario, CA and the Ontario Intl. Airport.

    [Ed: The San Bernardino National Forest may be well worth visiting, but alas, the recommendation is not applicable here because the San Bernardino NF is not a unit of the National Park System. This national forest is administered by the U.S. Forest Service.]

  • Kurt's Yampa River Sojourn Marks Step for a Day   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Somebody who's a lot more GPS-savvy than I am will have to answer that, Robert. I do know that Kurt has a Garmin 60CSx GPS unit with him, but I know nothing about its communication capabilities. And if you've read Kurt's article about his SPOT GPS gizmo, you know as much about SPOT communication capabilities as I do.