Recent comments

  • Grand Teton National Park: Subterfuge Led to This Masterpiece   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I believe that Rockefeller was responsible for other NP and Banff in Canada, Acadia in Maine. He was a great lover of the beauties of America and since he was a very rich man( no income tax) was able to bestow much of the land that has become our NPS.

    We owe a lot to the rich robber barons that built lodges and loved the wild places and wanted to protect them for the future.

    Acadia has a similar story that they had to force the NP to take it on. The various landowners were worried about logging and wanted to preserve the area and felt that his best method was for it to become a NP.

  • The "Yellowstone Creation Myth": A Good Tale, But Little More Than That   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Read the book; the case is pretty convincing. That doesn't mean that it didn't happen; what does seem evident is that it wasn't the way Langford describes it in the book. They did not immediately set on making the idea happen; Haines traces it to a message from Jay Cooke and Co. to Hayden (I think). The other really sketchy thing is that the actual journal entries for that period are missing, very odd for a guy who took meticulous notes. There's a lot more besides that makes the actual campfire story very sketchy at best - and even in the best case scenario, it wasn't particularly important for the history that follows.

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

  • Of Gray Whales, National Parks, and Climate Change   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Bob -

    A nice, and timely, piece. I've not had the chance to see whales from the California coast, but it sounds like a fun activity.

    Thanks for the update.

  • What Would Wildlife Say About Concealed Carry in National Parks?   5 years 38 weeks ago

    At the last NRA convention. People were allowed to carry with a CCW. The only venue that disalllowed was when McCain spoke due to Secret Service rules for security. This convention was held in Lousville KY which allows open carry and conceal carry. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2008/may/18/blogging-gun-porn-nra-convention/

    Sorry to have to make this correction but this allegation was false at the last convention.

  • Grand Teton National Park: Subterfuge Led to This Masterpiece   5 years 38 weeks ago

    It is a great and beautiful place. Thanks for the great history lesson about Jackson Hole. It is a very controversial thing that happens when lands are "closed off" and "protected". I too am glad that this place was handled the way it was and continues to be.

  • The "Yellowstone Creation Myth": A Good Tale, But Little More Than That   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Who's to say whether such a conversation ever took place? I have sat around enough campfires to know that most of what is discussed is quickly forgotten. And how many fires did these gentlemen sit around on this trip? Even Mr. Hedges writes that he had the suggestion..." little dreaming that such a thing were possible." Likely, if it did occur, the other members of the party quickly dismissed the idea as little more than a fanciful daydream of no more importance than fantisizing about some saloon girl they had all met. Perhaps too, it was more of a private conversation between Langsford and Hedges. Perhaps it never took place at all. We will never know for sure.
    Who among us hasn't had some thought or idea that we figured was a good idea but impossible, so we dismissed it; only to have it come true later. Of course we are scoffed at when we say, "Hey I thought of that!" Years before microwave popcorn came out I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to pop popcorn in the microwave. I only mentioned it to a few close friends because I didn't want to be labeled a nut case. Later, when it came out, I remember saying that it was "my idea", to thunderous laughter of course.

  • The "Yellowstone Creation Myth": A Good Tale, But Little More Than That   5 years 38 weeks ago

    MRC, Whittlesey and Schullery cited Huth's paper in their footnotes. Had time allowed, I would have delved into it and noted the annual "Madison Junction Pageant" that he objected to. Thanks for providing the link.

  • Grand Teton National Park: Subterfuge Led to This Masterpiece   5 years 38 weeks ago

    All I can say is thank goodness this area was saved and the national park was created ! How can anyone who has ever seen this spectacular place not be thankfull to all who helped make it happen ? It is indeed a grand place !

  • Believe it or Not, Yosemite National Park Once had a Zoo   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I'll bet there are hundreds of similar photos out there. (I vaguely recall seeing a photo of a ranger petting a deer in that Yosemite "zoo.") I'd especially like to see a photo of kids with the mountain lion.

  • The "Yellowstone Creation Myth": A Good Tale, But Little More Than That   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Whittlesey and Schullery's book on the creation myth is a pretty good one that goes not only into the myth but the history of trying to debunk the myth. Previous Yellowstone historian Aubrey Haines had to deal with a lot of angst within the Park Service to publish against the myth that men like Horace Albright worked so hard to keep in tact. And, it still is in tact to some extent; there's still this horrible plaque outside the Madison Visitor Center looking toward National Park Mountain.

    My only beef with the book is that they go on to defend this myth, not as history, but as myth. And, while I think myth is deeply important, I think this particular myth is not the kind of story we should be perpetuating. On this and myth making in Yellowstone, I spent a lot of time writing, as I find the whole thing fascinating. See Re-mythologizing Yellowstone for a lot more.

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

  • The "Yellowstone Creation Myth": A Good Tale, But Little More Than That   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Are you familiar with the once influencial essay "Yosemite: The Story of an Idea" by Hans Huth from 1948 in the Sierra Club Bulletin? It is obviously almost forgotten, Richard Sellars doesn't even mention it in his history of the National Parks. It is at least not prominently named in Heacox "An American Idea", so I didn't find it thumbing through. Fortunately it is online one the somewhat obscure Website yosemite.ca.us at http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/yosemite_story_of_an_idea.html and worth reading it, more then 60 years later.

  • GPS Unit Leads Couple Into Trouble Near Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I was on Cottonwood Wash Road in October of 2008. We had a great drive from 89 S to Tropic. It was a bit rough in Kane County section, but smoothed out. There is no reason to trust any kind of electronic navigation system unless you are with the CIA or the Army out in the backcountry west. You need to use a good map and a compass. I also have an altimeter in my car and a car compass (they are not fancy but they work and are reliable) and pay attention to my senses, odometer and judgment. I do not even understand why you would try this (entering addresses and looking at an electronic map). It's a waste of energy, just get a good map, ask around about conditions.

    We saw the AP article in Kanab BLM station about those people from California that dead-ended staring at their GPS units. I'm glad its finally up on the internet where all can learn from their pathetic arrogance.

  • GPS Unit Leads Couple Into Trouble Near Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I was on Cottonwood Wash Road in October of 2008. We had a great drive from 89 S to Tropic. It was a bit rough in Kane County section, but smoothed out. There is no reason to trust any kind of electronic navigation system unless you are with the CIA or the Army out in the backcountry west. You need to use a good map and a compass. I also have an altimeter in my car and a car compass (they are not fancy but they work and are reliable) and pay attention to my senses, odometer and judgment. I do not even understand why you would try this (entering addresses and looking at an electronic map). It's a waste of energy, just get a good map, ask around about conditions.

    We saw the AP article in Kanab BLM station about those people from California that dead-ended staring at their GPS units. I'm glad its finally up on the internet where all can learn from their pathetic arrogance.

  • Believe it or Not, Yosemite National Park Once had a Zoo   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I have a picture that was in a box of old family photos, of a woman in a 1920's era dress, feeding a bear standing on it's hind legs from a presumable Coke bottle.

  • "Give A Lincoln" To Help Preserve National Park Service Sites Tied to the Former President   5 years 38 weeks ago

    A nice effort - hope it will pay off.

  • What's Blooming In Yosemite National Park?   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Kurt, I'm absolutely positive Carl Sharsmith would love this piece on the Yosemite wildflowers. Very nicely put together.

  • Considering a Hike up Half Dome?   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Why is this even allowed? I understand allowing a certain amount of people to hike up at one time, but allowing a whole trail to march up at the same time? Seems irresponsible to me...

  • Desert Solitaire Review   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Darn, where did I leave that Monkey- wrench? Edward Abbey is one of the great misanthropic icons of The American West. I was particularly entertained by his notions of feeling cramped by the closeness of the living things in the woods of the Northwest. Truly 'The Desert Rat'.

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Fred,
    How nice that you are able to protect yourself and your family. I wish I was afforded that "right" myself. Too bad our supreme court doesn't understand the phrase "shall not be infringed." Sign me, unprotected and wondering why....

  • The Essential Arches   5 years 38 weeks ago

    This is a question, not a comment.

    A couple of years ago, my husband and I visited Zion, Bryce and Sedona. We found online a hiking guide to the Sedona area that included turn-by-turn trail instructions, with *photographs* at each stage. The creator of the guide offered a downloadable PDF version for sale at a very reasonable price. We bought it, and it turned out to be very helpful.

    We are now planning a trip to Arches and Canyonlands, and have been looking for a similar guide, but we have not been able to find one. This appears to be a very knowledgeable and authoritative site. Does anyone here know of a source for a guide of this type for Arches and/or Canyonlands, in any format?

    Thanks!

    Fran Fruit
    Winnetka, IL

  • A Church in the Wilderness   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Georgeous! Been there a few years ago and would love to go back.

  • Bryce Canyon National Park: This Small Corner of Utah Packs a Colorful Punch   5 years 38 weeks ago

    These are my thoughts exactly. The highlight of my childhood was a family roadtrip across the U.S. visiting many national parks and other wondrous sights. The entire trip was three weeks, the length of my father's vacation. We did very little hiking but I drank in the magnificence of those places. Now, I try to take my children to see our beautiful country.
    I love hiking, but it is not for everyone. And hiking up a grade at a high altitude is very difficult for many individuals.

  • Desert Solitaire Review   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Re: "Desert Solitaire" review: I too have been touched by the beauty of canyon country and desert lands, but I won't be leaving the old lady and the brats behind on my upcoming trip; I'll be taking my husband and the kids to experience God's earth together.

  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Lands Windfall In Donation of Historic Buildings, Memorabilia   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Sounds like a positive development for this park. This speaks well of the relationship between the park and the local community.

    Perhaps the best news is that both the park and the town benefited, and it sounds like they are working in tandem to compliment, rather than duplicate, efforts. I hope the cost to restore and maintain the donated buildings won't make this a burden rather than a blessing. The town can use some additional "real history" to help offset the touristy stuff along the main drag.

  • Another Yellowstone National Park Wolf Reaches Colorado   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Click-click. (round in the chamber)