Recent comments

  • Is Winter in Yellowstone National Park Losing Its Allure?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    My husband and I have visited yellowstone many times, in all seasons. By far, our favorite time is winter. We get very little snow where we live, and it is such a treat to have ALL that snow! The uncrowded conditions (except for bison and elk), the thermal features, and landscapes are all superb during that season. However, we have decided not to visit during winter for the past several years. Not because of earthquake scares, but because we do not want to be required to snowmobile with a guide. We always have rented 4-cycle engine snowmobiles (much less stinky and noisy), always stay on marked trails, are courteous to other visitors and wildlife, and we obey all other rules and speed limits. I believe there are other people like us, and I think that in addition to other factors already mentioned, the required use of guides may deter many visitors. Perhaps some of the money wasted by keeping the Cody route open could be put to better use in heightened enforcement of the existing rules. Also, it would make sense if ONLY 4-cycle engines were allowed in the park.

  • Have You Ever Sneaked Into Shiloh National Military Park?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Yes, I think it does add a little extra 'something' to be out in the park, on the anniversary, at about the same time of day as the events that you're learning about took place. I won't be making it to the park for this year's anniversary, but hope to do so next year. If you ever get the chance to attend, I think you'd really enjoy it. They walk you all over the park, along the roads, through the woods, across the creeks and ravines...everywhere. It's great. :)

    One other small note about the Dawn Patrol hike - last year we learned that the genesis for that hike, and by extension all of the anniversary hikes, is a section in the book, "Confederates in the Attic," that deals with Shiloh. In the book, Tony Horwitz talks about being at the park on the anniversary, around sunup or earlier, and running into other folks out there doing the same thing.

    From what we were told, this was news to the park rangers, who figured if people were going to be out there that early on the anniversary, maybe they should be out there with them. That's how the Dawn Patrol hike eventually came about, and from that, the idea for the anniversary hikes in general. Thought that was kind of a neat backstory to the hikes.

    Talking about sneaking into the park before it opens, several years back I walked into the park from the campground where I was staying, just across Highway 22, at about 4:30 in the morning. I walked in through Wood's Field, but beyond knowing what field I was in, I literally could not see my hand in front of my face, or tell exactly which way I was headed. I finally stopped until it was light enough to see.

    When it finally started to lighten up a bit, I realized that I was standing right beside the marker for Hardcastle's picket post, on the edge of Fraley Field. I was maybe two or three feet from it, and did not know it was there. Lucky I didn't walk smack into it.

    It put me in mind of what happened on Peabody's patrol the morning of the battle. The patrol left camp at about 3:00 a.m., but the men stopped before they reached the Corinth Road, for the same reason I stopped in Wood's Field. It was too blasted dark to see. That's why it took them two hours to cover less than a mile that morning.

    So, being out there early like that can give you an appreciation for what they were dealing with. Walking across the terrain in the park can do so as well. That was a tough place to fight a battle.

    Perry

  • "A Wildlife Crisis of Unprecedented Proportions"   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I wonder if the fungus killing the bats is r/t the one killing frogs? We must remember this IS an evolving world.

  • Is Winter in Yellowstone National Park Losing Its Allure?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    While I agree about the snowmobiles, there's a lot of good skiing and snowshoeing in Yellowstone that keeps you pretty far from snowmobiles. We really love skiing in the park; the snow is often so much better than it is - say, in the Bozeman area, where the winter was awfully mild.

    As far as earthquake reports ... it was stunning just how many people came to my own Web site when that started happening, even though to most locals, it was barely news, barely talked about, and barely mentioned at any length in local press. The reason, of course, is that people with experience could see that there was a hysteria that went beyond any sensible risk analysis of the situation, and people are fascinated by disasters and dooms day scenarios. However, based on the number of people that showed such an interest in this during the few weeks that the swarm was going strong, I'm not surprised if that hurt numbers. It would also explain why automobile traffic remained strong while tourist travel (that relies much more on snowmobiles and snowcoaches) was weaker; it wouldn't explain why car traffic got weaker as the winter went on (that seems to me to be the economy more than anything).

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

  • Is Winter in Yellowstone National Park Losing Its Allure?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    We cancelled our plans after the earthquake reports.

  • "A Wildlife Crisis of Unprecedented Proportions"   5 years 33 weeks ago

    This is very scary! I don't care if they are not cute and cuddly to most people. the fact that they are dying and scientists don't know exactly what it is or how we can stop it is not a comforting thought !I pray that they find out soon and save them!

  • Is Winter in Yellowstone National Park Losing Its Allure?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I live in Montana, love the outdoors and winter, and rarely go to Yellowstone. Plain and simple it's the snowmobiles. Sure they're fun and a source of revenue, but much like smoking in bars, the people that aren't into the smell and the noise are going to stay away. I'm more inclined to go snowshoeing or xc skiing, and the last thing I want to see is a line of stinky zoom zoomers.

  • Remains of Professor Who Went Missing in Canyonlands National Park Found in Needles District   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Ed: This comment was deleted out of respect for the relatives and friends of the suicide victim.

  • Is Winter in Yellowstone National Park Losing Its Allure?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    What's interesting to me is that vehicular traffic was reported up for most of the winter until this last report; I wonder if that's a strong sign of the economy's bite. Or, perhaps, it meant I visited Yellowstone (via an entrance - I skied into the park a few other times) less during the last period! LOL

    On Cody, the right wing newspaper in Cody has a different take on the issue, not surprisingly - see http://codyenterprise.com/articles/2009/04/02/opinion/doc49d3d308362fd175489924.txt - "East gate numbers will rebound in time"

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

  • Is Winter in Yellowstone National Park Losing Its Allure?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I was there in mid-March and greatly enjoyed it. Regardless of the season, it is a fantastic place for any nature lover to visit.

    On a previously sore spot, todays' Billings Gazette has a story about this topic. They also state that it cost the NPS $325,000.00 to keep the Cody route open this winter and ONLY 97 snowmobiles entered the park through that route ! Hate to open old wounds but that is an extremely ridiculous amount of wasted money that could be put to better use in Yellowstone in my opinion.

  • Is Winter in Yellowstone National Park Losing Its Allure?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    My wife & I visited Yellowstone in February. We traveled with a photography group sponsored through the Yellowstone Association and traveled by snow coach. It was an enthralling experience and I can recommend a visit to all photographers!

  • Is Winter in Yellowstone National Park Losing Its Allure?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Good note, Anon. Totally forgot about that...in some part because earthquake swarms aren't THAT uncommon in the park, in part because, well, because I forgot;-) But it is interesting that Xanterra's rep mentioned that to you...

  • Is Winter in Yellowstone National Park Losing Its Allure?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    What? No mention that the earthquake cluster in December / January was causing people to cancel their vacation plans. (This according to the Xanterra rep that took my reservation.)

    I LOVED my week in Yellowstone this February. It felt like we were the only people in this vast wilderness. While snowmobiling with our guide and the three other people we rarely saw anyone else (except at the bathrooms and warming huts.)

  • Have You Ever Sneaked Into Shiloh National Military Park?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Thanks for the corroborating info, Perry, and especially for the details about the ranger-led hikes on the battle anniversary. I'd dearly love to go along for one of those! Dividing into two groups like that is inspired. I can see that it gives the experience a whole new and exciting meaning for the participants.

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Tag on Katmai, Gates of the Arctic and Bryce.

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I agree with Yellowstone & Rocky Mountain. I would have also included my all time favorite park, Arches in UT. I love that place. I know there aren't many trees but the rock formations are awe inspiring.

  • Have You Ever Sneaked Into Shiloh National Military Park?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Bob,

    Nice article about Shiloh, and interesting 'technical' discussion about the start of the battle.

    Just as an FYI, each year for the past several years, the park has held a series of ranger-led hikes around the park on the anniversary of the battle. The subjects covered by the hikes change each year, with the exception of the first hike, which is always the same - the Dawn Patrol hike, which re-creates the reconnaissance patrol sent out by Colonel Peabody that triggered the start of the battle.

    This hike begins at 5:00 a.m. at the park visitors center, and you are out in the park itself by about 5:30. Everyone voluntarily divides into two groups before heading out. One group re-traces the patrol itself from Peabody's monument out to Fraley Field, while the other group re-creates the Confederate picket post that encountered them.

    I've taken part in this hike the past two years, both times joining the "Union patrol." Both times, it was still just about pitch dark when we stepped off from near Peabody's monument, but by the time we arrived at Fraley Field it was getting light enough to see, albeit still rather dimly. Last year in fact, there was a thick fog hanging in the air that morning, that severely limited visibility.

    The first year I went, when we entered Fraley Field shortly before 6:00 a.m., we could just barely make out the "enemy skirmish line" maybe 50 yards away. Last year, in the fog, we couldn't see them until we were almost literally right on top of them.

    In any case, the rangers told us that they estimate that 5:55 a.m. on the anniversary best approximates the 1862 lighting conditions in Fraley Field at 4:55 a.m. on the first morning of the battle. That would indicate to me that it was starting to get light, but nowhere near well enough to make out more than just shadowy shapes off in the distance.

    The accounts that I've read about the battle seem to indicate that while it was still quite difficult to see when the patrol entered Fraley Field, it was getting light enough to barely make out the opposing lines. I've guessed it wasn't too different from our experience out there in 2007. Mostly though, I think the two sides mainly fired at each other based on the muzzle flashes, at least for a little while.

    Anyway, again, nice article, and interesting discussion.

    Perry

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Among the "park" parks: Congaree, Theodore Roosevelt, Acadia, Olympic, Big Bend, Shenandoah, Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Badlands, Everglades

    -Kirby.....Lansing, MI

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    In no particular order:
    Yosemite, North Cascades, Olympic, Denali, Canyonlands, Rocky Mountain, Bandelier, Yellowstone, Sequoia Kings Canyon,
    Wrangell - St Elias.

    "...adventure without regard to prudence, profit, self-improvement,
    learning or any other serious thing" -Aldo Leopold-

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    For what it's worth, here is my top ten from a day hiking and photography perspective (in order of preference) Rocky Mountain, Glacier, Grand Teton, Zion, Smokies, Rainer, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Death Valley, Olympics.

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    This video was extremely too short. My family and I have camped every change of season in Yosemite for decades. We still can't get enough. Please show more of God's great outdoor cathedrals.

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Finally, Rocky Mountain NP gets some love! It's about time!

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Only one park in the East?? I agree with Deborah - where are the Smokies? And what about the Blue Ridge Parkway? And Shenandoah?

  • Good Oysters and Bad Oysters   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I know - a little bit old, but I found this in a search for something else.

    Tomales Bay is only partially under the control of Point Reyes NS. The southern end along Point Reyes is private land around the towns of Inverness and Inverness Park. A good section of it is Tomales Bay State Park. The entire eastern end is not NPS save a couple of short stretches that are less than 1 mile and part of Golden Gate NRA. The shellfish farmed and harvested there are not the native Olympia oyster anyways. They're Pacifics, Atlantics, Kumamotos, and manila clams. In any case the State of California holds all fishing rights to Drakes Estero and Tomales Bay, and Drake's Bay Oyster Farm has a state shellfish permit to use the area that currently expires in 2029. They're also trying to reintroduce Olympias back into Drakes Estero.

    The note that Congress designated Drakes Estero to be a wilderness area by 2012 is patently false. I've read the 1976 act (it's very short) that designated the current wilderness and potential wilderness areas, and it makes zero mention of any dates. It's only about 1 page long and the only years mentioned are 1976 and 1962 (for the act designating Point Reyes NS).

    http://www.nps.gov/pore/parkmgmt/upload/lawsandpolicies_publiclaw94_544.pdf

    Here's an alternate take:

    http://www.ptreyeslight.com/cgi/opinion_archives.pl?record=10

  • Top 10 National Parks: Do You See Your Favorites in This Short Video?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    What about Great Smoky Mountain? It IS the most visited!!