Recent comments

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Yellowstone already has cell coverage in some areas already, and so some of this isn't anything new, just as it has electric wires, phone lines (hmm ... maybe make Yellowstone completely wireless and get rid of the phone lines? ...), lots of automobiles, gas stations, sewage treatment ... when you visit Yellowstone, you realize it looks little like it's portrayed in the nature series you see on television (even in backcountry, you might see military jets fly over you, and on and on).

    And, Yellowstone, never was pure wilderness exactly; it had a permanent and transient human population who were hunting, burning fires, burning trees down (often on purpose); the idea of a pure wilderness is fictional, anyhow.

    It seems a little silly to me to restrict Wi-Fi in the "historic" buildings that perhaps require it the most, if you are going to build a new tower anyhow.

    But, as to the larger philosophical questions of what should or shouldn't be built in Yellowstone, that seems to be too small a question. We are already asserting ourselves as lords over the land; should we see our relationship with relatively wild places as protectors and overlords, as users and recreationalists, as resources, etc.? These questions are the oldies but goodies of conservation, but they remain relevant. Tinkering with our answers to this small questions about cell phones and Wi-Fi won't get us anywhere unless we are willing to understand why the boundaries are drawn, who draws them, and whether they should be drawn this way. If the goal is a wild Yellowstone - that is, a somewhat artificial Yellowstone of a different sort - that will suggest different answers than one that recognizes that humans have had a relationship with this land for a very long time, much longer than 1872. But, what sort of relationship?

    I think some of the frustration people on both sides feel is that the National Park Service, though it asks for public comments (because it is required to by law), generally makes its own decisions; they are abstracted from the public they are supposed to serve. We are left to be cynical no matter where we are on the questions of use in Yellowstone (look at snowmobiles or bison). This has suggested to me for a long time that Yellowstone is trapped in a much larger human system of politics, and I doubt we will have adequate discussions about particular issues in Yellowstone without discussing the way our nation works and operates (for better, and often for worse).

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

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 35 weeks ago

    It's quite apparent that were loosing are stellar night sky to high volumes of illumination from major metropolitan cities (example:Las Vegas) and other populace areas, which is now obliterating are wilderness experience to visualize the night heavenly bodies with awesome clarity. Also, which is sad enough, is the jangling sound of cellphones going off in all hours of the day in are national parks. All for what...simply conversation and garble that certainly can be left at home. Remember when silence was golden!?

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Most of us have to put up with inconsiderate people in our daily lives. We take vacations to get away from the daily hustle and bustle. I travel all the way across our nation each year to enjoy the "wide open spaces" of the west. I want to enjoy the "silence of nature", not listen to other peoples' phone conversation !

    People are walking around the boardwalks at Old Faithful yapping on their cellphones now and some people want their kids to be able to sit around and play their video games on their pcs. If that is your definition of a vacation, please just check in a hotel in the middle of civilization and "play" by the pool, leave the nature-type " National Parks for those of us who truly enjoy nature ! Natural settiings are few and far between these days, I'm for keeping them as natural as possible and letting the big, private recreation developments entertain those who choose that route.

  • Creature Feature: Feral Burros are "Equina Non Grata" in the National Parks   5 years 35 weeks ago

    It's great to know that Brighty has a good home, Barb. Have you perchance got a photo of the Brighty statue you're willing to share?

  • Creature Feature: Feral Burros are "Equina Non Grata" in the National Parks   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Tahoma: You make a good point. The battle against non-native animals in the national parks requires eternal vigilance and some common sense. If you've got suitable habitat for non-natives, dispersers from nearby areas will eventually find there way into the park. Period. This means that no plan for eliminating the threat can work in the long run without coordinated management. Providing safe haven for feral burros on federal lands near national parks and wildlife refuges is, from a managerial point of view, an act of thundering stupidity.

  • Might The Obama Administration be More Invested in Everglades Restoration Than Its Predecessor?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    If the new administration was truly interested in stopping invasive species they would act now because, much of the new ballast technology being developed could be altered or used to do harm. It is interesting that with all the major presidential candidates and the vice president being senators, federal legislation was not passed because ballast dumping was considered a states rights issue by the senate.
    It is possible we will have pirates or terrorist on our horizon once they learn to infiltrate foreign ships unnoticed, and realize what they can do. Can we be a free country and protect our waters from pollution in a global economy, when those counties who supply us with consumer goods, hold our countries debt, hold large interest in banks controlling Americans home mortgages, and are going to be affected by the cost of this security. If we try and protect our country from the pollution of their ships and the unsafe products they bring to our country, (lead, chemical, in toys etc) will they let us? This problem adds a new meaning to the thought Russia once expressed about taking our country without a shot.

    Congress will not act until the public becomes aware of the enormous threat that ballast systems provide for terrorist, pirates or foreign sea captains, who do not like our country, to use ships flying under foreign flags with foreign crewmen, to contaminate and pollute our waters. Until we demand protection by exposing this threat, lobbyist will push the senate to consider it a states rights issue. Virus and invasive s in water do not recognize the lines man has drawn on maps. Industry knows that log books and record keeping, are mere paper work that do not prove procedures were followed. It is time protect our country and our waters by screening all problems of shipping offshore. Maybe if we were to build up our neglected Coast Guard to be capable of this mission we could create some jobs. Sincerely
    Don Mitchel

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I am a solo physician and am limited in my travels because of not being able to successfully communicate with my office and my patients. I feel I am missing out on seeing a lot of America because of this. I can understand not having cell service or internet access in the wilderness campgrounds or along hiking trails but knowing one can drive a short ways to a larger facility is comforting. It allows me to check in several times a day. On the other hand, I do not appreciate indescriminate cell usage anywhere by rude people.

  • Are National Parks That Recommend Bear Spray Encouraging You To Break the Law?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Actually, a superintendent's authority to permit the carrying of firearms is extremely limited. The code of federal regulations only allow for such permission under a short list of circumstances which apply mostly in support of research or other official activities, management of pack trains and horse stock or to pride for access to lands that are inaccessible without crossing park lands. To intimate that a park superintendent can choose to authorize the possession of firearms at will is a bit of a mischaracterization. Such permission is quite rare as it cannot be legally granted to just anyone who asks.

    This is all spelled out in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36 Section 2.4 and available on the internet. Check out the Cornell University Law site at: www.law.cornell.edu/cfr. You can search the entire code.

    And as far as bear spray goes, I see the point that it may technically fit the CFR description of a weapon. However, having been a law enforcement ranger for may years, I have never heard of any person incurring legal consequence for carrying the stuff. Just don't take it with you to Canada. Different story up there. The only situation that I could even imagine such a thing happening is if bear spray was used as an offensive weapon against another person.

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I visit Yellowstone and Teton almost every year. Cell coverage has never been good and since I have a need to communicate with home almost daily I found a couple of solutions (satellite phone and satellite internet). I do think the rustic; back to nature experience can still happen even with cell coverage. The towers can be made to look just like a burned up lodgepole pine or anything other feature. It is done in other areas all the time. The issue with people talking on the phone, ringing phones, and other distractions probably won't go away if the phone does. People can be rude without cell phones, try the hand held video games with sound that can be played (play station anyone).

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 35 weeks ago

    NO cell phones at all, ever! Visitors are in a National Park, not downtown or in a hotel in the "big city". Why in the world do they think they should have these devices if they destroy one square inch of ground or extend into the sky one foot? TAKE DOWN all existing cell towers! NOW!

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I applaud this ban......... There are those that are responsible and considerate, however they are in a very minor group of people. Park attendees have survived without the technology and will continue to do so with the greater peace and quiet being the winner. R & R

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 35 weeks ago

    When it is necessary to protect the enviroment for the wildlife then that is fine. But to say they are protecting a historic experience is a little ridiculous. That might make more sense in Colonial Williamsburg, than in Yellowstone. I don't really think of Yellowstone as a historical experience.

  • National Park Superintendents Have Authority To Allow Bear Spray   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I would never go into Glacier National Park without a can of counter assault and it is encouraged as the only safe way to save your life in an encounter. There is talk of lifting the gun restriction here, so I would rather have pepper seasoned bears over dead bears. Keep the spray and use it wisely.

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Wow. Yellowstone isn't historic? Not wilderness? I don't think Asa has really experienced Yellowstone.

    Yellowstone was the first National Park in the WORLD. It has more history than you can imagine. The first park Rangers, the first attempt at wilderness preservation. The reintroduction of wolves... the list is almost endless.

    Sure, the main parts aren't pure wilderness anymore. And for good reason. They are fantastic. Unlike any other place on Earth. We have to make those places available to the public. And impaired people deserve to experience it, also, like Jimhikers kid.

    We made a lot of mitakes in the beginning. Did you know Old Faithful used to have a large cone on it? The first visitors took away so many souvenier chunks- it's gone now. As a general rule- people are dumb. They have to be kept at bay. Thats why we have rules and trails to stay on.

    If you want to experience Yellowstone as true wilderness, you have to hike the back country. A simple stroll to Fairy Falls is a great beginning. Or try Lone Star Geyser. You can't expect the wilderness to come to you. A bison will- but I don't suggest getting very close to them!

    As for cell phones... once upon a time we didn't have cell phones. And we all survived. I, for one, enjoy being out of range. That's the reason I go to our National Parks and Monuments. To get away from the busy world, and enjoy the beauty of our country. Preserved for everybody to enjoy now and into the future. I don't want to see those ugly towers in the park. It's bad enough to see them everywhere else. Let's not destroy the view any more than it already has been.

  • Happy Birthday to the National Park Service Arrowhead Emblem   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Under the hood is white decal lettering- NGOWCS.

    Non-Governmental Organization Wildlife Conservation Society, perhaps?

  • Happy Birthday to the National Park Service Arrowhead Emblem   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Wow, John, that's some truck. Sure wish I could help you with your quest, but I'm afraid that I wouldn't even know where to start. Have you tried asking your local Dodge dealer for help? Seems to me that having the VIN number should enable you to track it down.

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I have a multiply handicapped son and as such have mixed feelings on the cell service zones in NP's. I have needed my cell service many times inside parks to communicate with my wife to make sure we have some piece of equipment or to bring this or that. We place out phones on quiet mode and try not to be to disruptive to others. Then again I am not sure why, most have the ringers turned up as loud as they will go, take calls regardless where they might be and when talking make sure everyone around them can hear. I think I will get some good walkie talkies for us, as they will accomplish the same thing from a communications need and put a base unit in the van.

  • Are National Parks That Recommend Bear Spray Encouraging You To Break the Law?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Dave Smith

    The numbers +/- 5 may be to close to draw conclusions, but with anything to do with the outdoors or wild animals: overconfidence kills. Lack of proper bear spray use can create issues as well.

    Your statement about a park superintendent being able to make an exception to the Code of Federal Regulations for his or her particular park is huge news to me. I know about the wild, not about park hierarchy, park legal issues or park politics. Is there a source that you can point me to that shows that the superintendent has this power?

    I am not making a judgment yet as to if I am for or against the law but as with any "weapon", I am not against having to get a permit after being properly trained.

    I am upset at the lack of transparency and what appears to be selective enforcement.

  • Are National Parks That Recommend Bear Spray Encouraging You To Break the Law?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Bear related injuries have increased in Yellowstone Park's backcountry since bear spray became popular. From 1988-1997, there were 8 bear related injuries. From 1998-2007, there were 13 injuries. I'm can't prove there's a direct cause and effect: More people carrying bear spray = more bear related injuries. But backcountry use was about the same all those years. And the bear population in Yellowstone Park was probably the same. The much-publicized growth of the grizzly bear population in the Yellowstone region occured outside the park--Yellowstone was full. I think carrying bear spray fosters overconfidence that leads to confrontations and human injuries. The statistics for Denali National Park are similar.

    Bear spray is illegal unless a park superintendent makes an exception to the Code of Federal Regulations for his or her particular park. It's worth noting that any superintendent could make the same exception to allow firearms. No public review. No public comments. Just change the law and the heck with everybody.

  • Rescue of Injured Woman from Isolated Canyon at Death Valley National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I had not checked this page for a couple of days and was somewhat surprised by the discussion thread that resulted from my comment about use of taxpayer dollars. After all is said and done, I'll stand by my original comment. I said I would give the person injured at Darwin Canyon the benefit of the doubt without additional information. And based upon the comments and first-hand accounts, I do indeed think that the use of taxpayer dollars here was appropriate. I still will further maintain that the situation at Buffalo National River sounds completely different in that it was not only "ill-advised" as the article indicates but it sounded really rather idiotic. Dare I say, "criminally negligent" as suggested by haunted hiker? And in the Buffalo National River case, I maintain yes, we should bill the person rescued for the costs of the rescue.

  • Yellowstone National Park: No Cellphone Towers in Campgrounds or Recommended Wilderness, Limits on Wi-Fi   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I don't know about this. It seems to me they're saying cell phones and wi-fi are the dividing line between "a historic lodging experience" or not, which seems pretty arbitrary. I think the "historic experience" train left a long time ago at Yellowstone. The main areas of Yellowstone are not wilderness or in my mind, especially historic so restricting wi-fi won't really do anything other than deny a service that many guest apparently want.

  • Yellowstone National Park Video On Using Bear Spray: Is It Legal To Use?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    they also encourage you to use bear spray at glacier park. which has a large grizzly population and people have been attacked there. it is sold in most sporting places in montana. i have one in my pickup. i would not hesitate to use it in ANY threatning situation. i really don't care what kind of stupid laws our government might have. it is not a gun! which i also have and would not be afraid to use. pepper spray will not kill a grizzly, but he can darn sure kill you. it has happened in montana several times in recent years. if you go to bear country don't be a fool, protect yourself! and be aware of your surroundings.

  • Are National Parks That Recommend Bear Spray Encouraging You To Break the Law?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Rick,

    If it is a non issue why was I contacted by a senior in the GSMNP?

    You are making huge assumptions that simply does not agree with the current law. Irritant gas is an irritant gas regardless of the form. At least that is what my lawyer told me today.

    How many people were cited? Good question. Selective enforcement of weapons laws would be a poor policy for any branch of our federal government to have.

    I am Looking forward to seeing how this turns out.

  • Rocky Mountain National Park Storm Totals: Roughly 4 Feet   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Our forecast by the end of the week is near record highs (Denver: Thurs-Fri 81 degrees), which means fast run-off. Most of the ground is decomposed granite, so the moisture doesn't stick around long.
    This means there will still be high fire danger for those of your visiting our state.
    Please pack your common sense, leave your brain engaged, and don't forget to go home after your vacation.

  • Rescue of Injured Woman from Isolated Canyon at Death Valley National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Thanks for the clarification!

    Although there were some comments above about solo hiking, that was not an issue in this case - and this was clearly one of those accidents that can happen when hiking in rough terrain. I'll edit my comments above to make that clear.

    The intent of the original article was to highlight the excellent work of the rangers and the CHP helicopter crew, so I apologize if subsequent comments took the discussion in the wrong direction.

    The best news is that a full recovery may be possible for the person involved!