Recent comments

  • Let's Start a Tradition: "Thank a Ranger Day"   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Thankfully I've never needed a ranger in an emergency situation, but I do appreciate that they're available. My encounters with rangers have been educational, and that makes any park visit better. I'm sure I thanked him at the time, but I'll say so again here: I still remember the ranger guide on our trip to Mesa Verde in August 2006. Ranger Mitch. In his words:

    "Human intelligence hasn't changed. The only thing that's different is our technology. You came here in a car today. Good for you. They lived 700 years without a war. Good for them."

    Thank you Ranger Mitch for a memorable experience.

  • History and Scenery in One Great Package – and Getting There is Part of the Fun   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Liz, according to the NPS and the Sitka web site, the park is 113 acres. Do you have a source for the 13 acres? I can't imagine the Park Service being 100 acres off...though stranger things happen out there;-)

  • Jon Jarvis Finally Nominated to be Next Director of the National Park Service   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Yep!

    Jarvis isn't a hydrologist or natural resource scientist. He listens to NPS & USGS scientists when they brief him, reads & actually thinks about reports, and has the experience from seasonal interpretive ranger to protection ranger to biologist & resource manager to superintendent to regional director to understand the importance of information when he reads it. That's why he was up to speed and knew what he was talking about.

    That's why I'm happy: someone who actually reads reports, and knows enough of the big NPS picture to act on them. Not just natural resource reports, but cultural resources, interpretation, visitor services, across the board. NPS is not only, or even primarily, about natural resource protection. Jarvis is a better choice for director than the best resource scientist.

  • The Monkey Wrench Gang: Coming to a Theater Near You?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Well, it's a movie that should be made, and I am excited, but let's prepare ourselves for the inevitable. No movie ever does complete justice to any book; we will all experience disappointment on some level when our favorite scenes in the story look TOTALLY different than how our minds formed them through Mr. Abbey's writing. Having said that, I look forward to the film maker's interpretation of Bonnie getting her way out of that swimming hole...

    Bonnie is Drew Barrymore. I like Dennehey as Doc and I can work with McConaughey as Seldom. Hayduke is a tough one. I'm thinking more Keanu Reeves than Woody Harrelson, but in an ideal world we could timetravel the guy who played Luke Duke on the original Dukes Of Hazard TEE VEE show to the present day and put him in there.

  • Let's Start a Tradition: "Thank a Ranger Day"   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Absolutely! In all of our National Park travels we have come across some outstanding rangers. I always make a point to write to the park superintendent praising these individuals. They deserve our thanks!!

  • History and Scenery in One Great Package – and Getting There is Part of the Fun   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Sitka National Historical Park is truly a wonderful place, and even those visiting Sitka via cruise ship that only have a few hours in town can enjoy the opportunity to stroll through the rainforest on the park's well-maintained trails. The park, however, is only about 13 acres, not the 113 as quoted in the article.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Toldes, ssshhhhhhhhhhh!;-)

    Another great state park in Utah is Snow Canyon, to the southwest of Zion. Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Just got back from Dead Horse a week ago. I had never been, mistakenly thinking "Well, it's a state park, so it can't be as beautiful as Canyonlands, the national park". Boy was I ever in for a shock. It's a miniature Grand Canyon and one of the most beautiful places in the Moab area. Also checked out Professor Valley, where John Ford filmed "Wagonmaster" and "Rio Grande", ANOTHER surprise, a little gem of a valley tucked away near Moab.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I was born and raised at the Grand Canyon 36 years of my life. I worked at the Grand Canyon Clinic and know of alot of fatalities. Whether accidental, suicidal or just plain stupidity hiking and not being prepared. I worked with two of the most wonderful and best physicians Dr.Wurgler and Dr. Tom Myers who is the Author of "Over the Edge."
    What this guy did is not a surprise to me, however where he did drive off is. The location, there are many people from visitors, locals, employees who walk, jog that busy path to and from lodges, curios and look out points. Just 3 weeks ago my daughter got married at that same location the El Tovar Patio where many events occur.

    For some reason people who want to take their life, decide to jump or drive off the Grand Canyon is the way to go. Well... will all never know will we???? Only that individual. Who attempts and succeeds. Pretty sad, such a wonder of Beauty and Peacefulness, maybe this is why they do it? A touch of Heaven the Grand Canyon is in my eyes.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    I am amazed at the callousness of people when a tragedy occurs, and often wonder if these people would say some of the things they do "in person", so to speak. The despair of a person to commit suicide is not something to compare to whatever possible damage the car may done to an infinitesimal speck of the Grand Canyon.

  • Jon Jarvis Finally Nominated to be Next Director of the National Park Service   5 years 33 weeks ago

    tomp -

    Thanks for a nice summary of the water issues related to proposed solar projects and other energy development.

    Jarvis was on target in pointing out these problems early in the discussion on these projects.

  • Latest Pastime of Yellowstone National Park Bison: Human Tossing   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Folks....they are wild animals. Obey the rules in the brochure that everyone is given when you enter the park and everyone will have a safe and memorable experience. Wild animals are best viewed from a safe distance. Most camera equipment has a zoom feature, use it! Enjoy Yellowstone and be safe. The animals will love you for it! (:

  • Jon Jarvis Finally Nominated to be Next Director of the National Park Service   5 years 33 weeks ago

    There's a bit more to the solar plants in the Amargosa basin issue. Solar plants can be air cooled or water cooled, and just like coal or nuclear plants, water cooled plants are more efficient (something like 10-12% more efficient). Finding water for water cooling in the desert is problematic. In the Amargosa basin (roughly NE of Death Valley to the Nevada Test Site (Yucca Mountain), what groundwater there is, is already over-allocated: there are more water rights than water. Pumping the aquifer dry will wipe out the pupfish in Devil's Hole (by drying up Devil's Hole, part of Death Valley NP), and dry up the wetlands in that wildlife refuge. BLM has designated several large blocks of that basin for solar power leasing, and NPS is pointing out that the planned water withdrawl will have major impacts and probably would violate ESA & NEPA (never mind that there isn't enough water down there to last for the planned lifespan of the solar plants). My understanding is that NPS has no objections to air-cooled solar plants in that area.

    Salazar at Interior has made energy one of his priorities (climate change is another): these are the kinds of issues that need to be hashed out to do energy development right. [Look for the same water v. energy issues with Shell Oil's claim on water from the Yampa for oil shale development: oil shale needs a whole lot of water. NPS will be part of the issue (DINO is downstream on the Yampa), but there will be several other stakeholders taking the lead.]

    I'm very happy that Jarvis has been nominated.

  • Let's Start a Tradition: "Thank a Ranger Day"   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Kurt, this something that I have advocated for years, especially when the NPS had good stock of rangers (and still do) that went unrecognized for their heroic efforts and there conscientious examples of beyond the pale of duty. Yes, part of the job but give credit due to it's most noblest. The national parks still has good stock of young talent that will always carry the day and the future of the parks. No doubt...despite what the skeptics and doomsayers might think about the national parks.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Rivers to Ride in the National Park System   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Thank goodness for the National Parks Traveler, for I do believe only you have recognized the excellent Noatak River.

    However, my favorite part of the Noatak starts in Gates of the Arctic National Park (and designated Wilderness), with its beautiful mountains and lakes. Then, you get to keep going down the 400-mile river through the Noatak National Preserve.

  • National Park Mystery Spot 1: Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth Used It   5 years 33 weeks ago

    You got it, Terry. Check in with Traveler tomorrow for an article that provides lots of information about the Presidio Golf Course, including green fees (which can cost $145+ for non-residents).

  • National Park Mystery Spot 1: Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth Used It   5 years 33 weeks ago

    How about the Presidio golf course in Golden Gate N.P. Never played it. Is it still 50 cents?

  • Of Death Marches, Rain, and Misdirected Envy in Death Valley National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Good point, WordWire. The bloom at lower elevations generally begins in mid-February and runs until early April. At higher elevations it can run through to late May or early June. A year with unusually good precip can yield spectacular blooms. This year, late season rains set the stage for a darn good bloom, though not nearly as spectacular as 1998 or 2005.

  • National Park Mystery Spot 1: Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth Used It   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Not Muir Woods.

  • Traveler's Top 10 Rivers to Ride in the National Park System   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Cedar Creek is indeed a gorgeous little stream, Kirby, and we're fortunate to have a put-in just half an hour from downtown Columbia. But alas, Cedar Creek is not a top-tenner. The flow is just too undependable, especially in the warmer months. After extended periods of low rainfall (of which there have been plenty in recent years) the water level in Cedar Creek drops so low that rangers advise visitors to consider waiting until conditions improve. Repeatedly hauling your canoe over logs exposed at low water can take a lot of fun out of your trip. Bottom line: If you are considering a Cedar Creek trip, be sure to call the park and ask about water conditions.

  • National Park Mystery Spot 1: Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth Used It   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Is it Muir Woods?

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Yesterday I spent about an hour watching CNN coverage of the confirmation hearings for Sotomayor. My main interest was to get a better idea of this jurist's qualifications, but I was also interested in the process. America is a nation of laws, and that's certainly one of the key reasons that this is the greatest country that ever was. Jay may think it's OK for him to to break the law because -- well, because he is a nice guy. 'Scuse me, Jay, but I am not impressed.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Such passion from both sides of the fence! I enjoy riding a mountain bike as much as I enjoy hiking/backpacking in the wilderness. The idea of riding a bike in the wilderness or national park seems wrong and is something I would not do. Living in Southern California, I enjoy both of my passions (biking and hiking) on a variety of trails and avoid most conversations of user entitlement. I completely subscribe to the multi-user mentality of trails outside of designated wilderness zones. While biking, my approach on ANY trail (whether that is the paved beach trail or the PCT) takes into consideration the environmental issues as well as consideration of another trail user's peace & serenity. I ride PCT without hesitation and have done so for over 25 years. Does that make me a bad guy? You make that call. I am ultra conservative when approaching ANY other trail user. I attempt to engage in pleasant conversation and do a very good job at minimizing my impact on anyone else's backcountry trail experience. Does that make me a good guy? You make tha call. However, if you choose to chastize me or attempt to "inform" me that I am a criminal or not supposed to be where I am, I will simply smile and say "have a nice day" and leave you behind. You won't get an argument out of me as to why I feel bikes should be allowed on PCT, nor will you stop me from enjoying what I am doing. People like Chris Anderson who say that most mountain bikers don't care about the environment are making generalizations that I can not agree with. I have found through my trail experiences that the mountain bike community is very involved in trailwork and volunteer work just as much as any other user group.

    There are rude, obnoxious bikers AND hikers on the trail. Whether that is a bonehead biker blazing past your group on a narrow section of trail or a clueless group of 20 hikers leaving their trash on the trail, hiking in mud while discussing the damage to the trail tread by "wheeled machines". It's a small world, times change, and we all adapt. Let's try to get over the passionate discord for other "user groups".

    There is a lot of angst on this topic and I have found it futile to attempt to provide an argument or justification for my cause. Time will eventually work this out. Perhaps I will be too old to ride legally on the PCT, but that day will come. A day when we can all enjoy the day's adventure and put aside out "titles" of mountain biker, hiker, trail runner, motorcyclist or whatever and unite to be "trail enthusiasts".

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    Captain, folks at the park tell me that the driver somehow found a spot without the short wall, so no damage there.

    WHEW!!! There is at least one bright spot!!!

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 33 weeks ago

    My husband and I had the wonderful, awesome opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon park last September for our birthdays.
    As sad as this man's story is, and his resulting death, I wonder how a vehicle tumbling down the walls of the canyon
    have affected the canyon itself that took millions of years to form. And how will fluids, gases, etc. effect the
    wildlife of the canyon.

    Editor's note: This comment was edited to remove disparaging remarks. While we struggle to understand suicide, and often find it repugnant and inexcusable, we also don't know what demons those who take their own lives are grappling with.