Recent comments

  • That's Cold, Doubly So When You Realize the Temperature Was In Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    lets hope we dont see the penguin from cut bank montana on u.s. 441.

  • If Science in Lake Clark National Park Is Good, Is It Also Good in Yellowstone National Park?   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Let's hope the bar (for science) hasn't been set so low (by Bush) that anything Secretary Salizar does (or says) is viewed as good enough. We need concrete actions taken and we need to keep in mind that just because it's more than President Bush did, doesn't necessarily make it enough. Nice write-up Kurt.

    rob mutch
    ---
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com

  • On Stimulus Packages, Lobbyists, and Congressfolk   5 years 38 weeks ago

    This all begs this question: Other than being the Congressman's son, what qualifications did Craig Obey have to be hired as a senior vice-president of NPCA? And the NPCA's comment that no one talks to Obey on behalf of the parks? Yes, I believe that the son doesn't talk to his father about his job. (Sarcasm)

  • Secretary Salazar Scuttles Oil and Gas Leases Near National Parks in Utah   5 years 38 weeks ago

    That's good news. I petitioned against this through IMBA, so I am also very pleased that the new administration is taking a closer look at this proposal.

  • Volcanics in the National Parks: They Ain't All Tied to "Redoubt"   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Thanks for the suggestion, MRC. The list was not intended to be comprehensive, but merely to show some examples. That said, if others mention sites to add we can build a new list for the next volcanic occasion;-)

  • Volcanics in the National Parks: They Ain't All Tied to "Redoubt"   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I agree that Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is an outstanding example of a volcanic-themed resource. The thing is, it's not a National Park System component. Proclaimed by President Reagan in 1982, it was placed under U.S. Forest Service administration (which made a good deal of sense, since it's in a national forest). The action set a precedent, being the first time a national monument was placed under Forest Service administration.

  • Elk Culling Under Way in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Kirby and Jim: One possible reason for the one-a-day cull is limited manpower for handling the carcass and butchering. Anybody who has ever tried to field dress, transport, and butcher one of these huge animals knows what a big job that is. I'd guess that there could also be limited facilities for handling the meat during and after processing. Just some thoughts.

  • Volcanics in the National Parks: They Ain't All Tied to "Redoubt"   5 years 38 weeks ago

    What about Mount St. Helens National Monument? Is this not volcanic? Erupted in 1980? I did not see it on the above list! How on earth could you leave that off?

  • Secretary Salazar Scuttles Oil and Gas Leases Near National Parks in Utah   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Ray, I couldn't agree more. It is good to see that these protected lands will, indeed, be protected!

  • Volcanics in the National Parks: They Ain't All Tied to "Redoubt"   5 years 38 weeks ago

    How about Lava Beds MN? If you add it, you can delete this entry.

  • Elk Culling Under Way in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I am a hunter and live about 80 miles from where this story is from. And I am with you it looks like a lot of shooters and a lot of elk, why one a day. If they would let me I would like one to eat this winter. Jim

  • Elk Culling Under Way in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 38 weeks ago

    OK, I'm not a hunter, so maybe someone can enlighten me. Is there a reason they're shooting only one a day? Seems like in that picture if three of those people had rifles there would've been three elk culled that day.

    -Kirby.....Lansing, MI

  • National Park Quiz 40: Mission 66   5 years 38 weeks ago

    With regard to #9 and the Cyclorama Center, it should be noted that the NPS is not going to remove all of the parking lots from Cemetery Ridge as originally promised. It seems like their stated plan of returning the site to its 1864 appearance was just a ploy to demolish the Cyclorama Center. There were no parking lots there in 1864....

  • Would You Love Zion National Park As Much If It Were Called Mukuntuweap National Park?   5 years 38 weeks ago

    The fact of the matter is that it is very historically uncertain if the Southern Paiutes ever referred to this particular canyon as Mukuntuweap. John Wesley Powell is credited with naming the canyon in 1872 and his interpretation of local names and what they might have meant was often very fanciful, to put it politely. The Paiutes had no written language and their culture and speech revolved around small, tightly-knit independent and geographically scattered bands and groups that were spread throughout their known territory of habitation. The band that occupied Zion Canyon were the Parrusits and were known, according to Mormon records that predate Powelll, to refer to the canyon as I-oo-gune meaning "like an arrow quiver".

    As for Powell himself, he referred to the Southern Paiutes of Utah very derisively and called them "diggers". When he wanted to photograph them for the records of his expedition he dressed them up in feathers, paint and head-dresses so as to better make them look like the "Indians" of the popular American imagination. My own research (as a former Zion ranger) and anecdotal evidence from Pauites that I've known personally has provided very little tangible evidence that Mukuntuweap was a uniform and widely used name by anyone, Mormon or Paiute, prior to the arrival of Powell's expedition in Zion Canyon in 1872. I suspect the name Mukuntuweap was just another instance of Powell's desire to make the canyon of the North Fork of the Virgin River a more romantic and mysterious place than when he found it.

    That's just my particular take on the actual historical evidence that is available, so I'm not as inclined to bemoan the name of Zion. The Mormon naming is more historically grounded in facts and definitely predates the whimsical imagination of a government surveyor far from the scrutiny of witnesses and valid documentation.

  • Secretary Salazar Scuttles Oil and Gas Leases Near National Parks in Utah   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I am a great fan of the parks and other public lands in southern Utah, so I am pleased with this action. The resources in question may eventually be developed, but this administrative action may give a bit more breathing room to better decide how to best protect important natural and cultural areas and balance competing public interests.

  • How Can Yosemite National Park's Magnificent Vistas Be Preserved?   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Let me just clarify that I only visited Yosemite in '07, so I personally don't have that childhood view. I was relaying comments from friends of mine from Sacramento & Fresno.

    Personally, I love trees, and I really loved the way you'd hike a trail in the woods and then BAM you're suddenly staring at a big granite cliff face!

    =============================================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Would You Love Zion National Park As Much If It Were Called Mukuntuweap National Park?   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I visited from the UK last year....it is an amazing place. I would, however, definitely support the Indian name and I was disappointed when I learnt it had been changed. As a previous contributor has said - it was their land, after all. It may just seem historical fact now but it is sad that one perceived persecution seemingly led to another and the original name became `locally unpopular` as I have read .
    Having said that, I would not be influenced to visit - or not visit - anywhere by name alone.

  • How Can Yosemite National Park's Magnificent Vistas Be Preserved?   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Yosemite has a comprehensive fire management program. This includes prescribed fires, mechanical thinning and wildland fire control. Natural fires are permitted to burn in certain backcountry areas. The Valley is too densely populated to permit uncontrolled burns. The park occasionally does trim back “unnatural” areas. Most recently, the Tunnel View has had 2 very large trees that grew up and intruded into camera shots of El Cap and Half Dome from the parking lot vantage point.. Shazam – last year they were cut down, since they were not originally there. So now your photos will come out perfect! The subjective opinion of “too many trees” is a hard one for the park to devote resources to. Your experience as a kid was different from that of your parents. Who’s is to say what the “perfect” park should be?

    --
    Rick Deutsch -Mr. Half Dome
    Author: "One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome"
    http://www.HikeHalfDome.com

  • National Park Quiz 40: Mission 66   5 years 38 weeks ago

    FYI - The old "spaceship" Henry M. Jackson visitor center at Mt. Rainier has already been demolished. Contractors got a head start on the project since the park was in a dry spell this fall. All that was left prior to the snow falling was the rock wall base and a big hole in the ground. The actual "ball dropping" was very uneventful!

    [Ed: Thanx for the update.]

  • National Park Quiz 40: Mission 66   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Wow, Bob, that was a tough quiz. I only got 6 right. I may have to enroll.

    As an aside, I lived in several houses constructed during the Mission 66 program. It was easy to move from one place to the other as they were almost identical--the basic had 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths. Most every NPS employee of my generation who lived in a park--many of us were required occupants-- spent at least some time in a Mission 66 house. Those whose jobs involved required occupancy provided essential emergency services such as law enforcement, EMS, SAR, fire protection and water and sewage treatment within the park.

    Rick Smith

  • Rangers Catch Snowmobilers Riding Illegally in Yellowstone National Park's Backcountry   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Personally I do not see how snowmobiles damage the park when riding on snow. Ray explanation at least gave me some of the reasons for the ban. Whether they are accurate or really sensible I do not know. I am not super knowlwdgable about snowmobiles and the damage they so. Most places (non NPS) that have snowmobile trails are fine and the use does not damage the environment and support multiuse of natural areas.

    I know that some snowmobiles do misuse them by chasing wildlife bit that is the few and not a majority.

    I have wondered if the animus against snowmobile in NPS is that they disturb the pristine blanket of snow for the natural vitas. I can understand the snowmobiler that is using an efficent means of transportation on the snow to access more wild areas then they can any other way. Do they parks restrict people hiking across the snow fields or using skis or snowshoes?

    The restriction has seem to be a matter of not allowing snowmobiles to enjoy the NPS when others without snwmobiles can't and the human urge to prevent others doing what oneself can not.

    At least Ray stated some of the reasons for the restrictions which I appreciated.

  • How Can Yosemite National Park's Magnificent Vistas Be Preserved?   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I discussed views at Yosemite with some local friends of mine, and one of their complaints is "there are a lot more trees in the valley than I remember when I was a kid." I'm wondering if the amount of park facilities in the valley precludes natural fires from clearing out the growth, instead there are far too many trees & shrubs blocking the view. I'd love to hear others expound on this: is overgrowth due to a "no fires" policy in the valley artificially ruining the Yosemite experience?

    ===============================================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • On Stimulus Packages, Lobbyists, and Congressfolk   5 years 38 weeks ago

    I have to agree strongly with Kurt's comment that the senior executives at NPCA should be talking directly to Appropriations Chairman Obey. Do they at least communicate with members of the committee? They must, although that in itself would seem to border on conflict as members often curry favor with the chairman in order to bring more pork to their districts. For serious appearance of conflict of interest we need to look to members of Congress who are perfectly happy with their spouses working as lobbyists, often bring in seven figure salaries. That said, the NPCA situation appears awkward, if not odd, but not unusual for the Washington merry-go-round.

    On the point of NPS monies as stimulation, obviously, I'd love to see the current maintenance backlog eliminated and the NPS mission sustained by providing an unparalleled experience for visitors. Unfortunately, what many economists are telling us is that any stimulus must enter the banking and credit economy NOW. The U.S. economy can't wait until 2010, 2011 or later if we want to avoid the years of stagnation and struggling recovery experienced through infrastructure development during the Great Depression.

    If we choose infrastructure over banking, then I certainly want to see the NPS maintenance backlog eliminated. Equally important and either way, as Frank C points out, taxpayers will pay a very heavy price for a very long, long time. Let's hope we do more than repaint the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  • The World's Top Ten National Parks   5 years 38 weeks ago

    That's a great shot of the backpacker in the WAdden Sea photos. He looks very European.

    Rick Smith

  • The World's Top Ten National Parks   5 years 38 weeks ago

    Rick,

    Yes, I've visited all three parks I mentioned above. But of course not as long as I would wish, particularly for the Cevennes, where I only got a glimpse, passing through.

    As far as I know, the Wadden Sea National Parks have almost no dry land, so there is little private property inside the actual parks. The coast line is of course heavily used by tourism for much longer than the existence of the parks. The beaches are public, owned by the municipalities.

    You can find a huge selection of images of the Wadden Sea under free licenses at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Wadden_Sea (plus the subdirectories).

    Regarding the Nationalpark Kalkalpen, the actual mountains are publicly owned, by the federal government of Austria. In the valleys I expect some private land and some owned by the state of Upper Austria and the municipalities. Maybe even some by the Catholic Church, as they own huge tracts of arable land in the general region.

    Images:
    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Hintergebirge_01.jpg
    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Sengsengebirge.jpg
    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Hintergebirge_03.jpg (the last one shows their "Grand Canyon")

    And I have no idea about land ownership in the Cevennes. That park is the largest of those three, with several villages inside of the park. These and the land around is private. Some part of the National Park is a former military training range, that one probably is owned by the République française.

    Images: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:C%C3%A9vennes