Recent comments

  • Trail Jogger at Glacier National Park Walks Away from Encounter With Two Grizzlies   5 years 33 weeks ago

    The encounter between the runner and the bear was about as good as could be expected under the circumstances. Running along a trail in bear country, particularly during the spring, is asking for trouble. The bear may have been startled and then attracted to what probably appeared to be a fleeing animal.

  • National Park Lodging Concessionaires Creating Their Own Stimulus Plans   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Beamis, The article you cite is focussed on the issue of greenhouse gas emissions. My "certainty that private cars will not remain viable.." is based on the projected availability of fossil fuels, particularly liquid petroleum. Greenhouse gas emissions is certainly a very important issue that must be taken into consideration regardless of whatever means of transportation and other forms of mechanical power may be used in the future. However, that question is moot unless there is a cheap and plentiful supply of liquid energy available. The findings of the DOE study that I cited earlier have been validated by a separate study carried out by the U.S. military. Other national and international agencies have also arrived at similar conclusions. The exact timing of the peak of oil production continues to be debated, but the consensus of most oil geologists and others with oil related expertise is that total world production of conventional oil will - or already has - reach a maximum high point and then go into a prolonged, irreversible decline.

    Please note, I am not saying that we are "running out" of oil. That is not the issue. It is that the flow rate of total world oil production has or will soon enter into an era of decline. It has already happened in many of the major historic producers of oil including the U.S.A., Mexico, Great Britain/Norway, Oman, Syria, Egypt, etc. The discovery of new oil reserves peaked out in the 1960s, and has been shrinking since. The math is brutal. It's the same as withdrawing more from your bank account than you are putting in. Eventually (now?) you have to cut back on what you are spending.

    Insofar as national parks are concerned, they will have to make adjustments to a less bountiful supply of oil based fuels - as will we all. It will eventually become excessively expensive and even difficult to buy the gas to fuel private vehicle travel for non-essential purposes. Indeed, that trend is already beginning as Americans cut back on driving miles and the purchase of new vehicles. The much publicized Canadian tar sands and western oil shale reserves will not save the day, because of the expense, difficulty and environmental cost of extracting and processing a very low grade of synthetic oil. Hopefully, the National Park Service and those who are economically dependent on the parks will begin the process of planning and preparing for a future with a generally reduced supply of conventional energy.

  • NPCA Report: National Parks Provide Economic Security for Surrounding Communities   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Owen, the town of Springdale, Utah did work out a lighting plan to help preserve the dark night skies above Zion National Park. While Springdale is not nearly as large as the Great Smoky Mountains industrial tourist metroplex, these things can be accomplished on a local level when enough people think it is important.

  • National Park Lodging Concessionaires Creating Their Own Stimulus Plans   5 years 33 weeks ago

    A study by the University of California came out in the news yesterday that just might go a long ways toward debunking, or at least calling into question, Ray Bane's certainty that private cars will not remain viable because

    It is not politics that will force us to make changes in the way we live; it is geological reality.

    http://snipurl.com/jq8f7

  • House Approves Measure to Direct North Cascades National Park to Stock Barren Lakes. What Do You Think?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    The fish have been and are stocked by the Washington Trail Blazers.
    The website has a document from 2004 with some history:
    North Cascades National Park High Lakes Fishery Management (.pdf file)
    (more interesting information from the website)

  • Sharpshooters To Begin Reducing Elk Herds in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Elk Angel: I have a concern with your post. Why, exactly, can a town of humans not be relocated? Is it because we/they are too content/lazy and don't want to do what's right to minimize these problems? There are too many people who think they're entitled to ignoring precious ecosystems because it's too much of a hassle for them. I find it difficult that people can and do travel thousands of miles by car and millions of miles by plane each year and move dozens of times in their lifetimes yet are unable move a whole human establishment to do what's right for the rest of the environment. The problem with humans is we feel that we can own everything and it's up to other creatures to adjust to our appetite for more land and more development.

  • Vehicle Passes Still Available for Great Smoky Mountains National Park's 75th Anniversary Concert   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Kurt, Thanks for this update.

    For anyone that wants to go, but hasn't yet purchased a ticket. I will be dropping one off at the Townsend visitor center on Friday afternoon.
    This is a $25.00 ticket for a passenger car.

    Praying it doesn't rain!!

  • NPCA Report: National Parks Provide Economic Security for Surrounding Communities   5 years 33 weeks ago

    To what extent does official "partnering" between local economic entities and the NPS contribute to a potential managerial conflict of interest regarding the preservation and protection of park resources and the visitor's experience?

    The effect of industrial tourism and the devlopment and rapid growth of gateway communities is most pronounced in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, TN (all adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park). In this day in age, I cannot imagine the Supt. of the Great Smoky Mountains being permitted to make any decision that would contribute to even a perceived reduction of park visitation. This includes any proposal to close of the Cades Cove Loop road to the private automobile (a "must-do" decision as far as I'm concerned).

    We live within 90 miles of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We seldom visit, mostly because of the negative aspects of traffic conjestion encountered along all the major highways entering the park.

    The experience of hiking in the evening to the top of the Clingman's Dome observation tower to enjoy the night sky above the park at above 6000 feet elevation is severly compromised because Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, TN have become major sources of light pollution. Hopefully, one day the NPS might be able to encourage better lighting standards for these neighboring communities, as the night sky is one natural resource that can be easily regained through intelligent lighting.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Should the National Park Service Rescue the National D-Day Memorial?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Thanks, Bob.

  • Should the National Park Service Rescue the National D-Day Memorial?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I hope the NPS can avoid taking on this memorial, but if it happens, it certainly will not be the first time politicians have forced the Service to take on other peoples' "problems" or surplus "assets." Although it has the best of intentions and a subject deserving recognition, the project has a host of issues, primarily many hallmarks of very poor planning. The NPS should not be in the business of rescuing failure unless it wants to interpret poor planning practices. If our taxes must go into this project, I would much rather see the Obama government stimulate it with a $50,000,000 one-time gift for an endowment to be managed by the foundation. It's unfortunate that the memorial appears locked in by development because it would have made a perfect marriage with a new national cemetery. With 300,000 or more WWII veterans passing away each year, new cemeteries have been established in recent years due to the high demand. The association with an active cemetery would likely have given the memorial a chance at a sustainable future.

  • House Approves Measure to Direct North Cascades National Park to Stock Barren Lakes. What Do You Think?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    It helps to understand the details of this bill. Of the hundreds of lakes in the park and ninety-some with a history of stocking only 42 would have a continued stocking program. No new lakes would be stocked. This came about as a result of a 12-year study of the effects of stocked fish and a we subsaquent EIS. They found that trout stocked in low densities that cannot reproduce has no measurable effect on native biota including salamanders.

    Where harm occurs is in lakes with excessive populations of fish. Typically this happens when trout over-reproduce but excessive stocking can have the same effect. In NCNP they will eliminate reproducing populations and would stock only non-reproducing fish in low numbers.

    This isn't being forced on the park. The preferred alternative of the EIS allowed fish stocking but asked for clarification from Congress to continue the practice as was promised during the formation of the park.

  • Should the National Park Service Rescue the National D-Day Memorial?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    This is America, Vicki. You don't have to be a veteran or public servant to publicly express an opinion about where, how, and when the federal government should spend our money.

  • Should the National Park Service Rescue the National D-Day Memorial?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    How old are you and what have you done in service to your country that gives you the right to call this memorial insignificant?? The efforts of the young men and women that died voluntarily gave you every freedom and liberty you enjoy. I would think that you would show some appreciation for what you have-thanks to them.
    With all the pork-barrel spending and waste that goes on in government I would rather fund this memorial than pay the salaries of Congress!

  • Running Lava Falls In Grand Canyon National Park: What Would Major Powell Think?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Excellent question, Anonymous. If anyone does know, please pass word on to the Traveler. It would be a great addition to our content.

  • It’s a Bear! Everybody Get Behind the Ranger!!   5 years 33 weeks ago

    i have been up close and personal with black bears in the wild,but that is more than i would want. if they are not afraid that is not a good sign.

  • Running Lava Falls In Grand Canyon National Park: What Would Major Powell Think?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I am wondering if anyone knows of a website or blog that people can contact if they are interested in rowing on a private trip which may have some space available.

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I was paddling the exact same route this weekend. I had no prior knowledge of this incident. The portage is completely ambiguous to first time travelers. We had a map, we knew the portage was to come up soon. We tried to paddle to the right bank as soon as we saw it ahead, but the current was too strong and drug two of our canoes directly into the rapids.

    We were lucky enough to have survived. We also hiked the rugged climb up to the Leatherwood trail and back to the camp after one of our boats was destroyed by the rocks.

    Whether the portage take out sign has to be replaced monthly, weekly or hourly, the effort would be worth it. The rapids come up quickly and without any notice to first time travelers.

  • Running Lava Falls In Grand Canyon National Park: What Would Major Powell Think?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I don't think oars vs. motors is the real conflict, both means of transport have an impact. The conflict is love vs. stewardship. The point is to get people out there enjoying our parks and still minimize the impact, regardless of their preferred method of travel or use of the parks facilities. The NPS needs to set responsible limits. I think overall they've done good job at most of the parks I've visited. There will always be conflict over what is considered reasonable/responsible use.

    By the way, I was on an oar-powered raft trip in 1993 in the canyon. When a motorized raft went by us, I knew everyone on that raft would've switched places with me in a heartbeat.

  • National Park Lodging Concessionaires Creating Their Own Stimulus Plans   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I don't want to beat this point into the ground, RAH and Anon, but please indulge me. Travel-related leisure activity ceased being a luxury in America many decades ago. Today, Americans consider leisure travel to be necessary for "a reasonable standard of well-being" in pretty much the same way that automobiles, dishwashers, cable TV, and cell phones -- all once considered luxuries -- are now viewed as ordinary elements of the American lifestyle. That's why it's wrong to say that you spend a luxury dollar when you spend a dollar on travel-related leisure. As Anon has aptly pointed out, you spend a discretionary dollar. That is a hugely important distinction. To acknowledge this is not to deny the existence of a luxury component of visitor industry. It is represented by higher-end goods and services, including such things as costly lodging in some national park-based hotels.

  • National Park Lodging Concessionaires Creating Their Own Stimulus Plans   5 years 33 weeks ago

    The issue (reality) of oil production limitations and its impacts on our industrialized world has obvious implications to national parks. Oil production in the U.S., once the world's leader in petroleum, peaked out around 1970, and has been in decline since. Until recently, Mexico was the third largest supplier of oil to the U.S.. Now, however, it is experiencing dramatic production declines and will soon be a net importer of oil. The same is true for a host of oil producing nations, including those of western Europe. Total world oil production has been essentially flat since 2005, despite historic record prices. We now use about 3 barrels of oil for every new barrel that is being discovered. Virtually all major oil producers acknowledge that the days of cheap oil are over. The oil that remains in the ground is largely more difficult and expensive to produce and often is of a lower grade. It is not politics that will force us to make changes in the way we live; it is geological reality.

    Park visitation is a child of the era of cheap and abundant energy, particularly liquid fuels. People thought nothing of jumping in the family car and driving hundreds or even thousands of miles for recreational sightseeing. Accommodations for visitors in and around the parks were designed around the use of private cars and, in some cases, the need to control their impacts. We now are entering a new era of transportation and life in general. Circumstances will force park visitors, commercial operations and management to make substantial adjustments. Instead of the large numbers of private vehicles entering a park, greater numbers of people will almost certainly arrive via bus or, hopefully, a resurrected national and local rail system. Chances are that there will be fewer visitors arriving from longer distances. Camping will probably become more popular. The RV is likely to disappear. The list goes on, but the basic message is clear. We have passed a national and global inflection point in regard to energy and our economy, and there is no going back to the "good ole days" of carefree motoring.

  • National Park Lodging Concessionaires Creating Their Own Stimulus Plans   5 years 33 weeks ago

    "The visitor industry will have to adapt as people are forced to move to more efficient and less expensive means of travel."

    "Forced"? As in through government coercion? It certainly won't be economics doing the forcing; driving is cheaper per passenger mile--even when factoring in externalities--than other options. For most trips, cars are still less expensive and more convenient than the alternatives, so they are likely to remain the dominant form of American transportation for a long time.

    I would agree that cars are incompatible with the Organic Act's preservation mandate and that cars and roads should be eliminated from national parks. Not sure if Ray is one of the many who decry automobile use everywhere except in national parks.

    "Tourism is a free enterprise industry..."

    Tourism in national parks is not a free enterprise industry; it's a government-granted monopoly, "a form of coercive monopoly by which a government grants exclusive privilege to a private individual or firm to be the sole provider of a good or service; potential competitors are excluded from the market by law, regulation, or other mechanisms of government enforcement."

  • National Park Lodging Concessionaires Creating Their Own Stimulus Plans   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I do believe Bob misunderstood the definition of "luxury" dollar. Discretionary dollar is more appropriate. The "people of ordinary means" have fewer discretionary dollars to spend and tourism is a discretionary pursuit.

  • National Park Lodging Concessionaires Creating Their Own Stimulus Plans   5 years 33 weeks ago

    RAH, your comments typically provide a lot to agree with, but once in a while you drop in a real zinger. Like this one:

    Tourism is a free enterprise industry and it depends on the luxury dollar.

    The tourism industry depends on the luxury dollar? I think you might want to put a sector qualifier or two in there. As an industry, tourism in America (and in developed countries around the world) thrives on money spent by people of ordinary means.

  • With 391 Units In the National Park System, You'd Think TripAdvisor Could Find 10 It Liked   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I agree with Dottie. Despite the fact you're not going to be snippy about the TripAdvisor article, you instead get snippy about Kurt's comments. At the risk of further annoying Anonymous, I would have to say further that the TripAdvisor list is actually an incompetent one, and calls into question the overall credibility of TripAdvisor itself. A list of the Top 10 National Parks where two of the ten are not even National Parks? That's like calling Lake Champlain one of the Great Lakes.

    I haven't even been to that many National Parks, and could still come up with a better list. The TripAdviser list is probably compiled from the only 10 locations that author had been to himself/herself.

    Anonymous, good thing you're anonymous. You're probably either with TripAdvisor or have a weird chip on your shoulder.

  • National Park Lodging Concessionaires Creating Their Own Stimulus Plans   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Tourism is a free enterprise industry and it depends on the luxury dollar. The luxury dollar is disappearing due to unemployment.

    NPS lodge rates are very expensive. I never could afford them and tent camped instead.

    Deals that combine lodging and food are a good idea. I always heard that Las Vegas is cheap because the food is cheap to allow the gambling dollar.

    If the NPS wants to survive they have to accommodate the tourist and sport enthusiast. Cheap lodging and tours are a good idea for tourist. Allowing sport enthusiast to use the NPS is another.

    The last 20 years of so have been the domain of the tourist who has tried to limit the use of parks by tourists and sport enthusiast, they rarely succeeded but the arguments illustrated on this site show that many want the use restricted to only a few rather than the many like the mountain bikers. The mountain bikers if their numbers will increase will get greater demand power and the NPS will accommodate them.

    I hope the NPS does succeed in maintaining enough tourists to survive and maintain the funding for maintenance. The NPS should be aware that the more development increases maintenance costs.

    With the debt getting to be so high for each person and new child there is little ability to continue high funding the next 20 years since the feds are spending the future dollars now.