Recent comments

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 34 weeks ago

    >>Kurt, thanks for showing through the use of numerous examples that prohibiting weapons does not stop people from being stupid and using weapons illegally.<<

    Frank, just for clarification, while guns were, and continue to be, prohibited in Sequoia at the time of the shooting I mentioned, the other incidents occurred on U.S. Forest Service and BLM lands where weapons were permitted. Perhaps if there had been a ban the incidents wouldn't have happened. Surely target ranges wouldn't have been set up.

    That said, I would agree that some people will do what they want with firearms, regardless of the regulations.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Rick, thanks for trying to control the conversation and censor me again. My conversation was with Mr. Bane, but thanks for chiming in.

    Kurt, thanks for showing through the use of numerous examples that prohibiting weapons does not stop people from being stupid and using weapons illegally. The acts you reference, which are illegal now, will remain illegal under the current ruling. As for the BLM land in Arizona, I have visited the BLM land near Quartzsite, Arizona where many camp during the winter months. I'm told that the BLM has stepped up education about and prosecution of those who saguaro cacti for target practice, and the effort seems to be working.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Ah, Frank C., you're back on the gun issue, slippery slopes and all. Please admit that people can disagree with you. That's what this forum is all about. You get your say, Ray Bane gets his, I get mine. Is that an example of the domino theory?

    Rick Smith

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 34 weeks ago

    >....National Forest Service land has not turned into the mythical* wild west<<

    Perhaps it hasn't turned exactly into the Wild West, mythical or otherwise, but some incidents in parks, forests, and BLM lands are worth noting because they do support concerns many have expressed about exactly what might happen in national parks:

    * In 2007 there was a campground shooting in Sequoia NP. A no-doubt-fearless camper started firing his 9mm into the night, presumably spooked by what might have been a black bear cleaning up table scraps. Rangers found 9 shell casings.

    * A Minnesota Court of Appeals just this week upheld a prison sentence for a 21-year-old involved in a 2007 "drunken shooting spree" in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, which is located in the Superior National Forest, where firearms are permitted.

    * At a BLM property near Santa Fe, NM, someone "damaged by deliberate shooting" a panel of 8,000-year-old petroglyphs.

    * In the Ironwood Forest National Monument, near Tuscon, Ariz., officials are thinking of banning target shooting because some visitors are resorting to old computers and TVs as targets and leaving the mess behind.

    * BLM officials in Arizona also report target practice on saguaro cacti, as well as on a microwave oven that was placed in an ironwood tree.

    Those incidents were cited in a story from Greenwire that ran in the NY Times on Thursday.

    Also from that story:

    Revisions to gun policies are also under way at other BLM sites, including Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in southwest Colorado and Aqua Fria National Monument near Phoenix, Ariz.

    The Forest Service, meanwhile, has opted to close 81,000 "urban interface" acres in the nearly 3-million-acre Tonto National Forest in Arizona to shooting due mostly to concerns about trash and public safety.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Mr. Bane: "I fear..."

    Your fear is baseless as National Forest Service land has not turned into the mythical* wild west. Your fear also must succumb to others' natural and constitutional rights to defend their life, liberty, and property. Sorry. But you'll get over your fear. (And comparing bars to national parks? Really?)

    Mr. Bane: "...that once the new law goes into effect some park visitors who in the past were comfortable unarmed will feel the need to have a gun to protect them from others who will be armed. It effectively sets off an arms race."

    Thanks for the domino theory reference and slippery slope argument. (The domino theory has been debunked, and you have no evidence that the rule change will result in increased firearm possession in national parks. That's a very slippery slope, sir.)

    *(According to UCLA historian Dr. Roger McGrath in Gunfighters, Highwaymen and Vigilantes: Violence in the Old West, violent crime rates in the Old West were far lower than today, and McGrath attributes those lower rates to the open carry of firearms.)

  • Will There Soon Be a Mount Obama Monument and National Park?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    You've got a point, MotoVagabond, but you'd better not try to carry it too far. In the U.S., a landscape feature has to protrude at least 2,000 feet above the surrounding terrain before it can legitimately be called a mountain. As a matter of practice, however, people here and throughout the world can -- and do -- call anything they damn well please a mountain.

  • Bison Hazing Operations Inside Yellowstone National Park Fuel Controversy   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I could argue both sides of this.

    Cattle catching diseases from infected bison isn't good for the cattle industry, which is bad for us who depend on cattle for food.

    Bison being driven to other areas by hazing from low flying helicopters across rivers and not leaving time for calves to feed and the whole herd time to rest isn't good either.

    It's no good either way, but something that must be done, I guess.

  • Bison Hazing Operations Inside Yellowstone National Park Fuel Controversy   5 years 34 weeks ago

    They are capable of spreading disease to cattle. No one cares about OUR grass. There is plenty of grass. This is all outside the park boundaries. The states should make the laws and rules there. That said, it seems best to try to get them back in the park as gently and cost-effective as possible.

  • Will There Soon Be a Mount Obama Monument and National Park?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    By definition, at 1300' it is barely a mountain .

  • Bison Hazing Operations Inside Yellowstone National Park Fuel Controversy   5 years 34 weeks ago

    This is all because the cattlemen don't want bison eating grass on OUR public lands that they think belong to their cattle. Why are we pandering to this special interest group?

  • Dead Carp at Lake Mohave Make This Memorial Day Memorable for Wrong Reason   5 years 34 weeks ago

    We rented a houseboat this weekend from Forever Resorts in Cottonwood Cove. It isn't cheap, and NO ONE informed us of the dead fish in the lake. Yes, there were hundreds and we had a hard time even finding a cove without at least 50 dead fish. We still swam and tried to make the best of it,but it was still gross and felt they should have informed us. One of the workers also said " we aren't supposed to mention anything about the carp." I was wondering why they were so nice to give us 1/2 off our jet ski. Still, $2,000 for three days for a vacation with hundreds of dead fish and the smell is really upsetting.

  • Hazing Efforts Lead to Death of Black Bear in Glacier National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    The "hazing" rounds come in a package of five and must be loaded into the shotgun in proper order. The "cracker" (3) rounds first followed by the rubber pellet (2) rounds. The hazing starts with the bear being
    shot in the rump with the rubber pellets. Once the bear is on the run, the "cracker" rounds are fired behind and above the bear. The loud noise backs up the pellets shots to condition the bear to not return to the area. My guess is that the weapon was not properly loaded. But it's only an educated guess.

  • Search Under Way For Missing Hiker At Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    You have all my prayers. I never had a grandpa and always wished I did. Good luck to you and your family and my thoughts are with you.

  • Mud Snares 19-Year-Old At Cuyahoga Valley National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    We went to a picnic at Virginia Kendall last month. At the Kendall Lake dock, one side had water and the other looked like solid ground. I saw a teenager jump off on the "dry" side and sink to his shins. He was after a fish that tried to swim into an area that didn't have sufficient water and had stranded itself. He proudly displayed his 10' "bass" that he hand caught to his dad. He was then told that it was only a sucker fish, which I believe is a type of catfish.

    I think hindsight is 20/20 on this issue. The lake bed I saw honestly looked like it was solid and could hold any one's weight, not just sediment that was under water and is now settling. I'm glad I didn't go out there!

  • Traveler's Checklist: Yellowstone National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    "5. Check out the Museum of the National Park Ranger near the Norris Geyser Basin. Located in the original Norris Soldier Station near the entrance to Norris Campground, this museum offers exhibits that depict the development of the park ranger profession from its roots in the military traditions through early rangers and to the present array of NPS staff specialized duties. A small auditorium shows a laser-disc production of the 25-minute movie, "An American Legacy," which tells the story of the development of the National Park Service."

    This is a great stop. There is also a short video called "Conviction of the Heart" that is worth seeing. I had the privilege of being a volunteer interpreter at the museum last summer. It was fun as the crowds there aren't so large as they are in other visitor centers. You can actually talk to people about park issues and help them understand the importance of Yellowstone and the rest of the National Park System.

    Norris is a great place to camp. It's really a perfect place. No cell phone service (at least last summer), no internet, no stores, no gas stations, nothing. The campground campfire circle has no electricity so the rangers giving the evening programs have to depend on their words to paint the pictures that you see in power point shows in other evening programs elsewhere in the park. The Norris Geyser Basin is reputedly the most active in the park and the boardwalks wind around brightly colored pools, mysterious fumaroles, and small geysers. The seasonal interpreters stationed at the Geyser Basin were uniformly polite and well-informed about the basin and the rest of the park.

    In my career, I probably attended close to 200 evening programs. Last summer, though, at Norris, I saw an evening program that broke the mold. The topic was something like "the history of Yellowstone." The seasonal interpreter was a concert violinist. At one point in his talk, he said something like "when the army first protected Yellowstone before there was an NPS, they always had a fiddler." He then took out his violin and played a fiddle tune. Later on he related that in the 20's and 30's, concession employees often provided evening entertainment for the guests at the hotels and lodges. He said, "You probably would have heard something like this" and played a sentimental ballad on the violin. He did this maybe four times during the talk. The visitors in attendance loved it.

    It was also gratifying to see the kids who were enrolled in the junior ranger program line up after the evening campfire programs to get the ranger's signature. One of the requirements is that a junior ranger has to attend at least one evening program and secure the ranger's signature to verify it. I would always ask a couple of them to come down to the museum when it opened to help me put up the flag. One evening when I was ready to close the museum, there was only a French familly still there. The father was the only one who spoke English. The kids were maybe 10 and 12. I asked the father if they would like to help me take down the flag and properly fold it. He asked them in French, of course, and they responded yes. After taking it down--telling them through their father that we could not let it touch the ground, I then taught them how to properly fold the flaq. Their father told me that he did not think his kids would ever forget the experience.

    Rick Smith

  • Traveler's Checklist: Yellowstone National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    More people need to be made aware of the treatment of the buffalo at this time of year. Reading the updates from the "buffalo field campaign" is quite disturbing. They are hazing the buffalo to move them back into Yellowstone during the birthing season. Newborn and pregnant bison are forced to run for miles without resting or water. Not only are the bison harassed but all wildlife in the area is disturbed by this action. This is animal abuse that is allowed to continue year after year.

  • Traveler's Checklist: Yellowstone National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Ask Suzanne to provide an extra seat in her office because I want to complain about it also.

    Rick Smith

  • Traveler's Checklist: Yellowstone National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    A few things as background to your travel - if you've been there the past couple of days, you also experienced significant delays in the western part of the park, 1-2 hours, because bison are being hazed by the National Park Service between Madison Junction and Fountain Flats. They are doing this because there are other bison being hazed within the park by the Montana Department of Livestock (that's right, I said within the park - and by low flying helicopters), by an operation meant to rid Montana of wild bison even from areas where there are no cows and where most of the property owners support wild bison (though most of the area is public National Forest Service land). The NPS is claiming that the operations are necessary to keep too many buffalo from being in one place and because if they don't, they will surely be killed in Montana. What they aren't saying is that they operate a trap, slaughter bison themselves, and are partners in the plan that make this possible. They also haven't written a press release alerting travelers to the delays in recent days. There are several blogs that mention it, however, and I was alerted by an email from a person touring Yellowstone.

    Secondly, in late August, the critical road between Madison and Norris will close for the season. This will have a lot of effect on your travel, as you probably must split your trip into two parts unless you plan to do a day's driving to get around it. Going from Mammoth to Old Faithful (or West Yellowstone) will be supremely difficult, where right now it's relatively easy. The NPS has been holding public hearings and letting people know; it's something you should know if you are planning a late summer or early fall trip.

    Thirdly, coming from the South (the Tetons), there is a big road construction project at and near the north boundary of the Tetons. This will cost you about half an hour in delays and a few miles of bumpy travel. There's usually road construction - in recent years - in that direction.

    But, the park is huge, and there's that list of 10 and a million more things to enjoy (my personal addition might be - sit on a sand bar along Yellowstone Lake as the sun sets and the stars rise, or given my mood, go to Superintendent Lewis's office in Mammoth and complain about bison management).

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

  • Hazing Efforts Lead to Death of Black Bear in Glacier National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    These poor animals are being killed in the very place they are supposed to be protected...very saddening.

  • The Monkey Wrench Gang: Coming to a Theater Near You?   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I love the idea as bishop love being Duvall and Woody being Seldom, But Bonnie Abzug should be Jessica Beil hands down Garofolo does not fit the attractive description that leads you to believe she could be both the hot assistant in doc's office and a troublemaker. I also like the idea if Depp playing the horseman but if you catch at the end of hayduke lives george asked the man his name and he says jack burns which is the main character in the brave cowboy another abbey novel in which he is described as a tall skinny man this could be important if hayduke lives becomes a sequel. I lovve these books can only assume it will be a flop based on the cast and director

  • Search Under Way For Missing Hiker At Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    PLZ PRAY FOR MY GRANDPA BOB WE ARE ALL GOING THROUGH A TOUGH TIME NOT BEING ABLE TO FIND HIM...THANX <<<>>>

  • Ride the Rails to Yosemite National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Back to the Future! In 1961, my wife and I traveled across the country by train ending up in Seattle. It remains one of our fondest travel memories. Rebuilding and expanding our national rail system is essential if we are to successfully adapt to a future of energy constraints.

  • Hazing Efforts Lead to Death of Black Bear in Glacier National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I realise this was certainly an accident as I have had contact with the Glacier NP rangers while extensively exploring this park and I know that their #1 commitment is to the wildlife and resources of the park. However somebody has to look at these "cracker rounds" to determine why its design could actually penetrate like that. The other thing that needs to be looked at is how it was used...aimed at close range at the bear? A shot that just got away from the intended aim point? It is a shame.

  • Search Under Way For Missing Hiker At Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    There certainly has been a rash of incidents lately, Lynn. Some, unfortunately, are to be expected at this time of year. The climbing season on Mount McKinley just got under way, and in the West high runoff is making streams and rivers particularly dangerous.

    Lightning strikes always are unpredictable, though. As for the drownings, sad and unfortunate coincidences. And I don't know what other than a terrible accident you'd call the incident that claimed the man and his horse in Haleakala.

    Hopefully the past week isn't a harbinger for the rest of the summer.

  • Hazing Efforts Lead to Death of Black Bear in Glacier National Park   5 years 34 weeks ago

    I we think that they are the "ANIMALS"