Recent comments

  • Managing Elk at Theodore Roosevelt National Park – The NPS has Released Its Plan   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Why don't they just let predators like wolves return to their natural habitat? Then they would not have to cull healthy animials.

    I disagree with many of these strategies. I read about 200 wild horses and burros who were given to a man in Nebraska after Bureau of Land Management roundups, and he starved them. Why not just let them alone in the wild, concentrate on restoring habitat and ecology?

  • “There’s Only 58, So Get Over It!”   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I think the name does matter. For instance there's a big difference between a national park and preserve. In any case, non-national parks like to say they are national parks too.

    From Ozark NSR FAQ page:

    Is this a state or national park?

    Many people are surprised to learn that the Ozark National Scenic Riverways is a national park, just like Yellowstone or Gettysburg. The three largest campground areas, Alley Spring, Big Spring and Round Spring all used to be Missouri State Parks and some people still refer to “Alley Spring State Park,” which adds to the confusion. These three places stopped being “State Parks” in 1964 when the people of Missouri generously donated them to the federal government as the anchors for the new Ozark National Scenic Riverways. They were essentially the gift of Missouri to the nation.

    Also Boston Harbor Islands apparently likes to call itself a "national park area."

  • “There’s Only 58, So Get Over It!”   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I thought this item would be a reflection on the late presidential campaign .....

    " It is wonderful to be back in Oregon," Obama said. "Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go. .... " May '08.

    Har har

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World   5 years 36 weeks ago

    HH, if you go to the NPCA site, there's a text version with footnotes that are tied to all the science that went into the report. And yes, there are studies pointing to the viability of the AT corridor as serving such a purpose. I'm traveling, otherwise I'd email you the studies.

  • Managing Elk at Theodore Roosevelt National Park – The NPS has Released Its Plan   5 years 36 weeks ago

    If the moose are very old, disabled, or diseased, then killing them makes sense, but I would expect that some effort would be put into resettling them if practicable. If healthy moose are to be killed, then I think that the hunters may take a family-sized portion and the greater balance if the meat given to poor Indians on reservations, homeless shelters, and/or other charities that feed the indigent.

  • Scuttlebutt Has It That A Hold Has Been Placed On the Nomination of Jon Jarvis as National Park Service Director   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Frank, Beamis, et al:

    The LA Time recently published an article you might be interested in:,0,3614997.story

    "From the very beginning of our national history, Americans have been arguing about the proper role of government. Put succinctly, the dispute is between those who regard government as "them" and those who see it as "us."...."

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World   5 years 36 weeks ago

    "■ Thanks to the efforts of the National Park Service, there is an unbroken, 2,175-mile corridor of protection, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Stretching from Georgia, north through Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah national parks, to Maine, the trail and its network of parks stands ready to serve as a corridor and refuge for species that need to move in response to climate change."

    I've hiked the AT and this is ridiculous. Kurt, who came up with that? First of all the AT is not "unbroken" by civilization, it runs through many towns. Secondly, is there any science to back up that wildlife could use it as a corridor? Come on, this sounds like a dream out of someone's childhood Disney fantasy. Oh, and thirdly, I'm not sure the NPS deserves so much credit for developing and maintaining the AT.

  • Managing Elk at Theodore Roosevelt National Park – The NPS has Released Its Plan   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I agree that method of using volunteer hunters to cull the herd should be tried first. It makes the most sense. I hope it is a great success.

  • “There’s Only 58, So Get Over It!”   5 years 36 weeks ago

    And in the end, what does it matter? We all choose to go to "units" of the NPS for different reasons...peace, serenity, beauty, history, education, adventure, love of nature and all things outdoors. As long as we can protect AND enjoy, I'll visit them whatever they're called. Once I recover from laughing at this story!

  • “There’s Only 58, So Get Over It!”   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Silliness. The title national park is meaningless and confuses the public. Witness the recently published National Geographic Guide to the National Parks. The previous edition did not include Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area or Congaree Swamp National Monument. Now, because their names were changed, they are in. Nothing about the parks has actually changed. Same size, same resources, same governing laws. Only the names. So, now they are worthy of putting in the guide book and being placed on a "life list," but before they were not? Silliness.

  • “There’s Only 58, So Get Over It!”   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I couldn't agree with you more, Rangertoo. I've written on this topic before, and I intend to do it again. Traveler readers who've joined this general thread late might want to have a look at our article "Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!".

  • “There’s Only 58, So Get Over It!”   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Anon: Of course you can count repeats if you want to! It's your hobby.... :o)

  • National Park Quiz 62: Paired Parks   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I agree, toothdoctor, and I've edited the answer to align it with the historical facts you've brought to my attention. Sequoia National Park was created on September 25, 1890, but Kings Canyon National Park was not created until March 4, 1940. When Kings Canyon was established, the tiny General Grant National Park was abolished and the land was folded into the new Kings Canyon National Park. At no time was Kings Canyon National Park ever designated Grants Grove National Park. I'm glad you like the quizzes and hope you don't mind that we've got to a bi-weekly publication schedule for the series.

  • “There’s Only 58, So Get Over It!”   5 years 36 weeks ago

    that was a priceless bit of commentary. i am laughing inwardly not trying to wake up the children. my eyes are streaming but so glad you enlightened us on how many national parks we have. i see i have many to see but have visited several of them many times. do repeats count?

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    First, my condolences to the friends and family. It's never nice to lose someone even if they were doing what they loved at the time.

    I've hiked this trail many times; it's one of my favorites anywhere. I would definitely not close it - - there are riskier trails in many parks, and you don't get to the dangerous part of this one without it being real obvious what you're in for. People do lots of dangerous things for fun; it's far safer to hike this trail than to do some of the X-games bike stunts I've seen. Tens of thousands of people have hiked Angel's Landing safely every year for decades.

    Could the trail be improved or made safer? Yes, but I would only make minor changes. A few places could use chains that don't have them now, including some where the footing has become slipperier or looser over the years through hiker traffic, erosion or both. Some older, rustier, looser chains could be replaced. Taller or larger-footed hikers would benefit from a few chains where shorter people don't feel the need for them, and a few chain heights could be adjusted where they're currently not well suited for tall or short people. But I wouldn't turn it into a major project that closes the trail for a year while it's being done. And before undertaking any such project, I'd get input from more than just rangers, some of whom are excessively protective [as in JoAnna's comment, and unlike the ranger in our family].

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Angels Landing is a very tough hike that should not be undertaken by those Angie describes above. Unfortunately, many who are unprepared make the climb; I rescued a dehydrated man who brought only 12 ounces of water on a 105 degree day.

    Anonymous thinks the person whose life tragically ended would not want the trail closed. I agree with that sentiment, but hope the park can increase safety awareness to potential Angels Landing hikers. Preventative search and rescue could set up an entrance point at the trail head and provide safety talks and orientations.

    As for the hike itself, I don't know how it can be made any safer without substantially altering the area. Ultimately, we must assume the risk should we choose to go.

    My condolences to the family.

  • Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I see we still have a few ostrich's with their heads buried in the sand with there fluke warm science in regards to global warming. Dr. Hansen (world fame climatologist) from NASA has proven with his meticulous research that global warming is a poignant issue that should be firebrand in everyones brain. The damn earth is heating up folks and wake up and smell the coffee. The old school of thought with it's dead pan thinkers are dragging us downtown with there boogie man and ignorant science. Progressive science with rational scientist (like Dr. Hansen) have given us much more clear indicators that global warming is manmade to the most extent. I'm sure if you have huge stock with Standard Oil you would probably would think differently.

  • National Park Quiz 62: Paired Parks   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I have to disagree with your answer to Question #3. You correctly state that Sequoia National Park was established in 1890 along with General Grant National Park, but General Grant did not become, nor was redesignated as, Kings Canyon. My understanding is that Kings Canyon is an entirely separate Park that was first established March 4, 1940 for the preservation of Kings Canyon itself. General Grant, created to protect two giant sequoias groves, was absorbed, or incorporated into Kings Canyon, after this creation as a way to consolidate administrative responsibilities. I may be wrong, but I have found brief corroborating evidence in several documents at, specifically: National Parks: Shaping the System, National Park System Timeline, and Glimpses of Our National Parks. I already had been working under this aforementioned premise and only decided to try to further research things before getting back to you. Let me know what you think. Hopefully you do not find this to be too nitpicky. And thank you for all of your hard work in putting together the Quizzes; I get quite a kick out of testing myself with them. Keep up the good work!

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I was sorry to hear of this tragic accident. I live near the park and recently took the opportunity to take my 10 year old nephew, my 12 year old niece, (who live out of state) and my 9 year old daughter on this hike. We took the time to talk about the hike, what we would be doing. We had an adult per child and we discussed the dangers and the precautions we would take. (My nephew was working on a Webelos' scout badge.) It was shocking to see other hikers on the trail with no regard to their safety or that of others. There were some, probably early college, young men that were basically free running the trail. It was a disappointing example to those kids on the trail. I know that those kids left the trail that day with more respect for mother nature and a sense of accomplishment for what they had achieved. I hope that, in the future, those who seek to challenge themselves will have the respect that this hike deserves.

    My condolences to the family and friends of Nancy. It is a tragedy to loose those whom we love.

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    To the family who lost their loved one, My condolences.

    I too wonder about the death stats on Zion's webpage. I have been going to Zion every summer since I was born and have been there for 4 deaths. One on Emerald pools, two on Angel's Landing, and I can't remember where the 4th was. The Park's number just seems too low to me, I think perhaps more have perished.

    I do not think this trail however needs any modification. People obviously know the risk when they set out. If ANYTHING, a sign should be posted at the bottom of the hike that states the dates of each death. As the above woman stated, her sister had hiked this trail many times before. A stumble is a stumble. If you look statistically at how many people have hiked it, and how many have fallen to their death, I'm sure it is still much safer than a car ride. I do not think this is a proper outing for boyscout or other groups like it. Too many uncontrolled liabilities.

    I too have hiked this hike many times, and well...I am pretty careful, but anything at any point can happen, and I take full responsibility of my own actions and the result of those actions. Other's should be expected to do the same, or don't hike at all.

    To close Angels Landing would be just very wrong for the other millions of others who have successfully completed it, and those waiting to do so. Zion Forever! I

  • Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I was on the trail about 2 minutes before this woman and her family when it happened. It really freaked us out and I hope that they decide to make the trail more secure in the future. My condolences to the family

  • Half Dome Hiker Falls to His Death in Yosemite   5 years 36 weeks ago

    GEAR? TO the individual that made the ... comment about safety gear. Are you nuts? I did half dome and insisted on my wife as well as I wear a harness and biner. Don't be fooled, this gear may save my life or others around me if I happen to catch a climber falling. (Ed. note: this comment has been edited slightly.)

  • At New River Gorge National River, an Iconic Bridge Attracts Suicide Jumpers   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I also personally knew the person mentioned in the article, and while I agree it is selfish, this was the only selfish thing he had ever done. To those that knew him, he was amazing, giving, and caring. But also must have felt lost in some aspect. He had angel wings. I miss him dearly, but yet I am angry with him. As the one year mark approaches, I still think of him often and wish that he would have asked for help.

  • The First Family Plans to Visit Two Western National Parks Next Weekend   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I was planning on going to Yellowstone and the Tetons this week but just cancelled. Knowing "Bill" would be there would ruin it... I'll be arriving on the 15th instead.

  • Is Senator Feinstein Speaking Out of Both Sides of Her Mouth on National Park Matters?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    You'd be surprised what's in the enabling legislation. Part of it allows for hunting at the discretion of "the Secretary" (of the Interior?). I personally think that would be a non-starter to allow anything more than the current non-native deer culls, but that's actually in the legislation.

    The fact is, there is an existing extension clause in the currently effective reservation of use. It's been pretty well known that it exists.

    I personally think it wouldn't be inconsistent for the NPS to allow this use to continue. Whether or not this area is or is not considered "wilderness" - good management will have far more to do with the health of the ecosystem rather than some artificial designation. Human impacts will not be reduced to zero, as there's a road right on the edge of the estero and kayakers and boaters will still be allowed inside and hikers will still be allowed on the Estero and Bull Point Trails.

    Feinstein has spent a lot of time on this issue. She's personally sat in on meetings with Lunny, Neubacher, and (I think) Jarvis. She's spent time discussion this with the media and even appearing on a radio call-in program on this subject. I think this is personal to her.