Recent comments

  • Congressman Seeks Stimulus Funds For Restoration Work at Gateway National Recreation Area   5 years 36 weeks ago

    .... last September a federal appellate court in New Jersey upheld a lower court's opinion that the Park Service was within its rights to lease the buildings.

    With the political climate and goings-on of today, it is not insignificant to remind everyone wherever we can that CITIZENS have rights. Government has POWERS specifically delegated to them. In this case it would be preferred to say NPS was acting "within its discretion," or "within its power."

  • National Park Quiz 45: Green   5 years 36 weeks ago

    John: I forgot to mention to mention that I've already seen your fine park. I was with that University of South Carolina tour group that came through in July 1985 -- the ones who arrived almost too late to catch the last elevator of the day down to the Big Room.

  • Should Ocmulgee National Monument Be Transformed into a National Park By Stimulus Funds?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I'm sure the Congressman from Macon would love to get this Indian mound site designated into a national park (making it the first one in Georgia) because it would surely help bring more tourists into his district. Win, win!

    If this particular unit is worthy of national park status then I definitely think Cumberland Island is also. I say let these funds "stimulate" two new national parks into existence for the Peach State and everyone will be happy.

    Ain't Washington politics fun? We all win and no one loses. All we have to do is just keep those printing presses rolling and we can all have as many national parks as we want! The free lunch party is just beginning!

  • Should Ocmulgee National Monument Be Transformed into a National Park By Stimulus Funds?   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I hate this movement to change monuments to parks. We now have Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park. The monument designation made sense for those two parks, but the names were changed for political reasons. If we're going to negate the monument designation, then we'd might as well rename them all.

  • Believe it or Not, Yosemite National Park Once had a Zoo   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Grinnel wasn't wrong, and neither are the stewards of today's National Park System. National parks preserve habitat, enabling visitors to encounter animals and birds in their "natural" surroundings and watch them interact with each other. Holding wild animals in captivity for the entertainment of visitors is a practice that falls far, far outside the national park mission.

  • Believe it or Not, Yosemite National Park Once had a Zoo   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Grinnel was wrong. The Zoo was a good idea, but likely failed because of a circus like atmosphere...there's a small Zoo in Merced...see blog page....the mandate of the Parks is to provide education about wilderness...and they haven't much nowadays to display wildlife...except the stuffed dusty critters over in the Wilderness Center...small Zoos fill a niche that needs filling.

    David

  • Glen Canyon NRA Releases EA on Castle Rock Cut Deepening   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I am a firm believer in leaving as much of the earth in a natural state as possible(without a viable biosphere we are all toast). If the dam were not there I would be lobbying to stop it. But the dam is there. The lake is unnatural, but it is also one of the wonders of the world! The damage is done! Enjoy what we have, the lake is amazing. Glen Canyon is only a memory now, and will remain so for our life time. Moving a few hundred thousand cubic feet of sand stone, is nothing in the big scheme. Yes, for the Castle Rock Cut. Geologically the area is eroding at a very fast pace because the stone is soft. Someday there will be a concrete plug where the canyon walls have softened and eroded around the dam, and there will be no Lake Powell. But none of us will see it. If there is a man made grove in the rock in some obscure place, it will only be a curiosity to those who pass by. If there is anyone left to pass by.

  • National Park Quiz 45: Green   5 years 36 weeks ago

    John -

    Thanks for the suggestion! Wish I'd thought of the Green Lake Room myself.

    Based on the number Bob assigned to your comment, it looks like he's a bit backlogged, but maybe we can encourage him to get out to Carlsbad :-)

  • National Park Quiz 45: Green   5 years 36 weeks ago

    John, we have referred your remark to our Complaint Department, where I'm confident it will get all the attention that it deserves. Be sure to let us know if you don't get a reply within six weeks. Refer to complaint #031509-10363.

  • The 10 Best of Everything Families: An Ultimate Guide for Travelers   5 years 36 weeks ago

    My husband likes to buy these books and give them to my parents, just to see their reactions and hear the debate. The very word "families" is where the 1st problem of this book began, because the needs of a family with a 6th month old baby are dramatically different than those with teenagers. This book has big problems before even opening the cover. That being said, I am sure my Mother will getting it for a birthday present from her favorite son in law...

  • National Park Quiz 45: Green   5 years 36 weeks ago

    A major bungle on your part: you missed the Green Lake Room in Carlsbad Caverns National Park!

    Shame on you! You need to get down here and see this fabulous park!

    John

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I don't see the public or the system fightin' all that hard "to protect the long-term viability of our parks".

    I should have been more specific. The public being your average visitor has little input in how the parks are run. However, NGO's (non governmental organizations) Like NRA, Shooting sports foundation, Sierra Club, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and many Friends of the "Name your favorite park" groups are all organized and actively pushing to protect the parks in ways they see fit.

    While this is off topic, I'll take a second to list some more auto related accommodations. Visitor education (handouts...even though many don't read them), wildlife road signs (not the average dear crossing signs), whenever possible managing road traffic with rangers when wildlife gather near roads, interp exhibits, interp safety messages, and creating more open roadsides to make wildlife more visible. Wildlife is not the only reason that the speed is lowered in park borders, car vs car is probably more hazardous than wildlife. Finally, in response to your comment about being skeptical about the influences of speed on auto induced wildlife mortality it seems that you are correct to be skeptical. Some animals, like the whitetail and bighorn sheep, don't always show the expected trend of slower=lower incidences. However, other species do react better to lower speed, like elk. Do a google scholar search for wildlife and road mortality for supporting evidence.

    Now back to the topic. Here are some opinions about nonlead ammo that run counter to many of the claims read in this blog. Note, this is on the "condorinfo" website, so they will be biased in the support of non-lead, second it is a PDF.

    Also, another google scholar search using lead ammunition produces finds over 100,000 sources of information. Many identifying the hazards of lead. But as RAH noted, some folks are not going to see this purely about limiting lead exposure to wildlife, people, and land. Maybe, it does have some political influence behind it. And it is right to call that out. But the science behind heavy metal poisoning is irrefutable. If sportspeople want to ensure that their hobbies and needs are protected they should be proactive in their use of science, and they should push back when their rights are challenged. I have seen a lot of the latter but less of the former in this discussion.

    As our ability to measure our own impacts on the environment increase, we should expect to see rules like this one change. Where there is room to lessen the impacts of use, the park's organic act pushes us to make the decision that are more likely to protect the long term viability of the resource.

    My god I sound preachy.

  • Carefully Providing Wheeled Access To Denali National Park and Preserve   5 years 36 weeks ago


    Our family went to Alaska last August and one highlight was the Tundra Wilderness Tour. I think it is a good balance between preserving the wilderness and allowing access. I would hate to see it opened to more traffic and reduce wildlife sightings. Being able to see the sweeping vista of Polychrome Basin was a memory I will carry with me for my lifetime. It also bolsters my belief of the need to protect places like these and take interest in our parks.

  • Campgrounds Opening This Weekend In Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Since these are the popular parks and they will have the most interest. Since there is no staff to visit all the parks and post stories I think we are lucky to have the informative articles.

    I like know about the new amenities and lunches and horseback riding and the camps. Thanks for the article.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 36 weeks ago

    The anti lead ammo agenda has been growing. It started from some legitimate concerns, like lead concentration in water from waterfowl hunting. The condor study was another legitimate concern.

    But the lead ban in ammo is a back door attempt to ban hunting and guns. There has been a lot of attempts to stop guns by going after ammo. The micros stamping is just an example. Taxes on ammo are another. So yes the gun rights people question the need for lead ban ammo in NPS when there is no need in NPS lands since hunting or shooting is not done there except rarely.

    There are some statutes that ban copper bullets and tungsten is very expensive. The are ballistic issues also with no lead bullets.

    I find the timing suspicous after the NPS was forced to allow guns with CCW rules. So I do suspect that weapons and ammo checks is the next step to prevent CCW holders with guns in NPS lands.

    There is strong agenda against fishing and hunting by PETA and the Humane society and they have use the lead in ammo as one of their strategies to stop those sports. Any sportsman who enjoys those activities have a reason to worry.

  • Why, sea horses, of course!   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Been to Assateague many times and camped there. The mosquitoes are very bad. The horses are very friendly they check out campgrounds and steal food regularly. The come up to be petted and do not bite and kick, unlike thouroughbreds. These horse are extremely good natured. They have patterns like at 5 pm they go to the beaches and if they find food. Chips in bags they go from being carelful not to step on towels to a rush and then kick and squeal amoung themselves in a pecking order on who get the goodies. It is highly amusing to watch the people get stuck in the waves by the herd taking over the beach. Until the herd has left.

    Being an expert horseman I had no problem, a slap and yell will turn the horse away from you with no harm to either.

    But the horses are beautiful.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Just like with ammo and sinkers, the parks have made adjustments within their boarders [sic] to try and accommodate for a more environmentally friendly use of autos.

    A more environmentally friendly use of autos? Ok, slowing to 45 mph in the park *might* reduce roadkill, but I'm skeptical. I've had too many coworkers with tales of carnage while driving at 45 mph, including one who hit a black bear. What other accommodations has the NPS made for "a more environmentally use of autos"? Please keep in mind that closing roads to traffic does not fall under this category.

    Be happy that we have a system where public and the system itself fights to protect the long term viability of our parks.

    I don't see the public or the system fightin' all that hard "to protect the long-term viability of our parks". The public and the system together arguably make up the government, and the new administration has proved itself as icy towards the financial needs of national parks as the last administration.

    The current system for managing parks is anything but sustainable. The federal government is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, with tens of trillions in debt and unfunded future obligations.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 36 weeks ago

    My problem with this one size fits all approach. If we have a problem with condors, address it. Most people are sensable on these issues. If there is PROVEN problem, most people will agree something needs to be done. I read the study and I believe there are holes in it. It was worded to make you think that the data was conclusive, it is not. This is what happens when the group doing the study already has an agenda.
    Mark

  • Campgrounds Opening This Weekend In Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I think it is great that hikers and backpackers will be able to get food and drink at LeConte. This will be most welcome to folks that do LeConte in a day. I am sure that backpackers that are passing through will appreciate it too.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 36 weeks ago

    The parks should be in control of activities within their boarders that contribute to the deterioration of the park setting. However, all the while, they must balance that need with the need to attract, educate, and fulfill visitor needs.

    People who are upset about this need to realize that they are still protecting an activity that many people come to parks for. Further, parks that do often have to "dispatch" injured wildlife will now need to do so with non-lead bullets. This is a step that protects many of the animals that you visit parks to see. Furthermore, for those few parks who do have wildlife population reduction programs (aka hunts) those few individuals will need to jump through an additional hoop. Fishing has also been protected.

    Now to the car thing.

    If the NPS ban things like guns and lead ammo in the name of wildlife protection, why won't it ban cars?

    Cars have been banned is some parks (as others have pointed out). Many other parks offer options other than personal automobiles to get around (i.e., buses, tours, shuttles, etc.). Just like with ammo and sinkers, the parks have made adjustments within their boarders to try and accommodate for a more environmentally friendly use of autos. Outside Yellowstone you can drive your car at 75 miles per hour on a two lane road, inside you are limited to something like 45 at the fastest. The same is true with many other parks and many other activities that trend towards detrimental.

    Scientifically sound rules, taking precautions to protect the environment, are good for parks and are demanded by the Organic Act.

    Be happy that we have a system where public and the system itself fights to protect the long term viability of our parks.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 36 weeks ago

    It seems to me whenever non gun-owners get into bed with the bureaucracy the rules will change and we can expect a ban on chewing gum in the near future. Why are some people so narrow minded.

    And no wonder when some people stray in an effort to do good they go off the chart and are preceived as nuts.

  • Philatelists Rejoice: New Stamps Honoring Zion and Grand Teton National Parks On The Way   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I was a National Park ranger at Grand Teton National Park and that picture is a popular one and will make a beautiful stamp!

  • Congressman Seeks Stimulus Funds For Restoration Work at Gateway National Recreation Area   5 years 36 weeks ago

    The key line in this letter to Mary Bomar is:

    "The fort has tremendous historical significance to the state of New Jersey."

    The national significance of these decayed and moldering military buildings is next to nil and as such are perfectly suited for the federal stimulus funds freshly printed out of thin air by our beneficent and thoughtful masters down on the Potomac.

    The sooner all of this wasteful spending commences the sooner this silly and disastrous charade will come to an end. I say spend away. Crumbling barracks in NJ are as good as bridges to nowhere as long as the, so called, "stimulating" effects of this worthless currency are put into circulation. Wise are the people in charge who have cooked this plan up. I await the results with great relish.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 36 weeks ago

    Yeah, that one makes sense, let's ban autos....

    Right. Now how's that for making the parks a)figure out how to move people are using shuttles (aka spend money that NPS doesn't have) and/or b)essentially banning most people from the parks/making them inaccessible for a large percentage of the population.

  • National Park Service Ban on Lead Ammo, Fishing Gear Draws Ire of Shooting Sports Foundation   5 years 36 weeks ago

    I'll jump on the no automobiles bandwagon. they're noisy, they smell, they pollute the air.
    Ban them from all parks. It would only make the parks a better place.