Recent comments

  • How To Buy National Park-Related Gifts Without Leaving Home   5 years 39 weeks ago

    A new pewter ornament of Thor's Hammer at Bryce Canyon National Park is now available online at Inner Peace Designs. I have been collecting National Park ornaments of all types for quite sometime. I dedicated my Christmas tree this year to our Nation's parks. I received so many positive comments from it, I think I will do it from now on! The pewter ornaments Inner Peace carries have a beautiful finish to them and makes any tree comealive. The detail they put in their pieces are amazing. View them for yourself at this page.
    Can't wait for more to come. I'm hoping for Yellowstone to be next.
    Happy viewing!

    Alan E.

  • Sharpshooters To Begin Reducing Elk Herds in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    The problem is that allowing a public hunt would establish a dangerous precedent. This "culling" is similar to what they used to do in Yellowstone back in the forties and fifties. It was finally stopped in the sixties which, of course, led to the famous (infamous) Northern Range herd of the early ninties of 19,000 plus animals; several thousand of which died of winter-kill the year that the wolves were reintroduced. Of course the wolves got the "blame" even though they were still in their holding pens. What they discovered in Yellowstone was that "culling" elk doesn't solve the problem. Elk numbers may have been lower, but the remaining animals still hung out in river bottoms and ate every single aspen or willow shoot to the ground, destroying habitat for beavers, fish, songbirds and even moose before moving on. Only with the reintroduction of the apex predator, wolves, and the establishment of the "ecology of fear" did elk learn once again to act like elk instead of cows. Now they are constantly on the move and entire habitats are making a dramatic comeback. Even red fox and pronghorn (two species heavily preyed upon by coyotes) have benefited, as coyote numbers have been brought under control by the wolves.
    Reintroducing wolves to Rocky Mountain National Park is the obvious right answer. Problem is that in a few years the wolves will be spreading beyond park boundaries, and nearby ranchers will be insisting that their numbers be "culled". The real problem is that Rocky Mountain National Park is too darn small. All of our National parks are. You can't contain an ecosystem inside park boundaries. Even Yellowstone, as large as it is, has seen this with the bison controvery.....and wolves. Unfortuneately, when most of these parks were formed they could not have foreseen that civilization would one day encroach right to their borders; and even if they had, the effects that would have.

  • What Interest Is a Civil War Battlefield in Virginia to Vermont?   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Just to clarify the other anonymous post, this development is in Orange County, not Spotsylvania as is referenced in the letter.

  • On Interior Secretaries, National Park Stimulus Funds, And Oil Shale   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Will the Department investigate cases where Fraud in the lease agreements on land that belongs to private citizens. This is in my case Forgary and illigal notarization is invold, a particular state and municpal government.
    ie,. County, city , State Taxation?

  • On Interior Secretaries, National Park Stimulus Funds, And Oil Shale   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Anything is better than what came before him.

  • What Interest Is a Civil War Battlefield in Virginia to Vermont?   5 years 39 weeks ago

    We live in a couminity a little North of this area on 600 acres that has destroyed almost all of the northern encampments in Falmouth, VA. We feal that the engagement was the beginning of the Overland War Campaign, the bloodiest campaign in American history and the turning point in the war in the Eastern Theatre. The North's participation in re-uniting our country needs to be recognized as National Park experience of our American History.

    Spotsyvania County would like to build lots of new homes in new developments in back of Wall-Mart. In this troubled time, the county is supporting the new tax money that would be received and newly created jobs in their area. There is no new real push for the county to look for a new place to improve their tax base.

    April is the last chance to have a good visual experience for visitors of the battleand allow a historical monument to the Vermont 1st Brigade that fought on the Wilderness Battlefield during the Civil War, that were temporarily buried there after the battle. Those pits still sit alongside the road. The new administrations astronomical bailout's fund might be a good place to look for help.

  • The World's Top Ten National Parks   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Mark--

    You are right. Galapagos is a national park. Here's what I wrote about it for this contest:

    GALAPAGOS NATIONAL PARK, Ecuador

    I visited the Galapagos as an invited speaker at a Latin American protected area conference held on Santa Cruz Island. What a break! I think this is one of the areas that really lives up to the brag of being one of the world’s treasures. It is, of course, not without its problems, especially with shark fishermen and an expanding human population on Santa Cruz that threatens the island’s environment. It doesn’t help that Santa Cruz is also the headquarters site of the park and the home of the Charles Darwin Research Center. During a break in the conference, the superintendent of the park, Miguel Cifuentes, asked me if I wanted to go diving. I eagerly replied that I did. When we got to the dive site, however, I looked over the side of the boat and saw maybe 50 or 60 hammerhead sharks circling in the water. That didn’t seem to bother Miguel, but it ended my diving adventure for the day.

    Can you tell us a little more about Gros Morne NP? I have never heard of it before and I am curious why it is called the Galapagos of Geology. Do you have a photo you can send Kurt?

    Rick Smith

  • Sharpshooters To Begin Reducing Elk Herds in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Can't we auction the right to shoot the animals? The money could go to good use in other areas of the park.

  • Rangers Catch Snowmobilers Riding Illegally in Yellowstone National Park's Backcountry   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Ray, thanks for the information. In that case, I can certainly understand the need for strict enforcement.

  • National Park Quiz 39: Winter   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Thanks for the feedback, Rob. I've left the item as is, and the answer remains the same (False). However, I've changed the accompanying explanation to indicate that some national parks do adjust admission fees seasonally, although most do not.

  • The Future of the "Gateway Arch" is On the Table—Will You be Part of the Discussion?   5 years 39 weeks ago

    C'mon guys....staying on the rails isn't any fun. The majority of the more significant discoveries I've made have come from a position tangential to the mainstream of conventional wisdom. Sorry though for the unintended irritation.

    The major gist of the point was, as Barky noted, the definition of the term "significant" as it applies to this icon and in the general historical context. It is not universally accepted that the Lewis and Clark expedition was a defining moment in our country's history. Expansionism began at Jamestown, not in St. Louis. Charting the unknown was an undertaking from the onset of the European Occupation. And speaking from my obviously anal reality, I see not the import of the launching point nor the eventual end point, but more in the entire trail that is "significant". Beginnings and endings are mundane, but specific routes are what hold the true impact of an adventure.

    But enough of that. This specific site aside, it appears that a common theme for delisting, deregulation, demotion and the like is from the standpoint of cost effectiveness within the system. From that position the above referenced comment was generated. Delisting for economic gain, such as is bandied about with certain of our eastern battlefields, who by the way, in my opinion, are of far greater historic significance than is the Arch, has unfortunately already been successfully attempted. And where encroachment has been achieved and any semblance of original site-lines obliterated by modern architecture, history is forever altered. So if as currently exist markers pertaining to many of my original examples in State Parks, those cute little "Historical Overlook" waysides, etc., a similar bronze plaque was run up a pedestal to denote the point of origin of some event such as was once represented by the Arch, Little Round Top, the Angle, Bunker Hill, Little Big Horn or the like, what would be the loss to history? If we see the value of the real estate as the greater good, then what of our heritage? Has placing flowers at the site of a fatal accident grown to be more in vogue than marking the highlights / lowlights of our path through time?

    Nature reclaims through progression of the inevitable. Mankind distorts through the unnatural processes of remolding the landscape. The differences between those methods aren't at all subtle. So if it was good enough for inclusion under some initial judgemental process, for better or worse, it should remain in the network.

  • Sharpshooters To Begin Reducing Elk Herds in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    They should have given the meat to local food banks !!!

    Jane

  • National Park Quiz 39: Winter   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Phew! Missed two questions. However, there was a lot of guessing going on. In regards to question #3, however, I have run across a couple of exceptions. The entrance fee is dropped at Crater Lake NP during winter. And, at Muir Woods they open the park up early (before official opening hours and don't charge) for those who are out on their early morning walks (which is very good of them), before the hordes of buses show up.

    rob mutch
    --
    Executive Director,
    Crater Lake Institute
    www.craterlakeinstitute.com
    Robert Mutch Photography,
    www.robmutch.com

  • Sharpshooters To Begin Reducing Elk Herds in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    As I understand it, the meat will go to folks who participated in a lottery. None of the shooters will be allowed to keep antlers or meat.

  • Sharpshooters To Begin Reducing Elk Herds in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    It seems so sad to kill the elk,but I really am not educated enough on this issue to know the right answer. I hope that the elk meat is eaten. The hunters should not be able to make money on antlers or anything else from their kill. I hope that the birth control will prove to be a solution.

  • On Interior Secretaries, National Park Stimulus Funds, And Oil Shale   5 years 39 weeks ago

    It's obviously too soon to know what steps Salazar will actually take, but I'm at least encouraged that he's willing to consider/discuss some items that weren't even on the table last month. Perhaps there will actually be an analysis in reaching decisions, instead of a one-size fits all approach.

    Three examples from a Washington Post story on Tuesday about Salazar's comments:

    ...he wants to work closely with Congress on "a plan that makes sense" for offshore oil and gas development, but that any expansion of drilling should be part of a comprehensive energy plan... "There are places that are appropriate for exploration and development and there are places that are not..."

    Cautioned against pushing too fast on oil shale development in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah until more is known about the impact on water resources and climate change. Oil shale extraction requires a lot of water that could strain the resources of the Colorado River and huge amounts of electric power that could impact climate change, he said.

    Promised to review at least 10 "midnight regulatory actions" by the outgoing Bush administration, citing as examples regulations to limit the reach of the Endangered Species Act, oil shale permitting, and oil and gas permits issued near two national parks in Utah.

    Who we voted for at this point is moot. To whatever extent we can influence the current set of decision-makers, we need to get busy and try to do so.

  • National Park Quiz 39: Winter   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Interesting map, Bob. I see that you do have fast ice in your neighborhood. Do you have many visitors crossing the ice to visit the islands? Your remarks about the extreme cold raise obvious questions, the most basic of which is: Why do people choose to live and work where it gets so darn cold?

  • Rangers Catch Snowmobilers Riding Illegally in Yellowstone National Park's Backcountry   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Snowmobiles impact snow fields in a number of ways. The passage of the machine compacts the snow increasing its density and reducing its insulation value. Depending on a number of variables, the compacted snow tends to conduct cold more efficiently and can create barriers for creatures that depend on snow cover to exist. Wildlife will often use snowmobile trails artificially concentrating their use patterns. Trappers take advantage of this tendency by setting traps along a snowmobile trail. Vegetation beneath the snow cover can be damaged resulting in a change in natural cover and even increased erosion. In heavily impacted meadows it is often possible to see the path of snowmobile travel after the snow has melted. Snowmobiles can have substantial negative impacts to overwintering wildlife. Traffic can disturb wildlife when they are most vulnerable and need to conserve energy. It can scatter wildlife, separating calves and cows exposing them to increased predation and environmental stress. Even the noise of snowmobile travel can impact wildlife. Insofar as other areas where people may ride their snowmobiles, most national forests and BLM managed lands are open to snowmobile use as are some state managed public lands.

  • On Interior Secretaries, National Park Stimulus Funds, And Oil Shale   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Don't count on the Obama administration helping the parks. As I wrote before the election, Obama/Biden have TWO national park units (one is a trail only) in their home states, so they probably have never or seldom visited a park. McCain and Palin on the other hand, have 36 national parks between them, and both are big "fans" of our parks. As a governor and executive of state, Sarah Palin deals with state/federal issues regarding the national park units on a daily basis. If nothing else, she knows that fully funding the NPS units in Alaska would help her state and it's people tremendously.
    So, no doubt that McCain/Palin would have been the ticket to better funding for the NPS.
    Just watch...out of 819 billion, you will see ZILCH for the NPS.
    $335 million for STD prevention is more important to congressional democrats:
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jan/29/economic-stimulus-bills-allot-millions-for-std-pre/
    Now...who did y'all vote for??

  • Senate, House Far Apart on Economic Stimulus Funding for National Parks   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Don't count on the Obama administration helping the parks. As I wrote before the election, Obama/Biden have TWO national park units (one is a trail only) in their home states, so they probably have never or seldom visited a park. McCain and Palin on the other hand, have 36 national parks between them, and both are big "fans" of our parks. As a governor and executive of state, Sarah Palin deals with state/federal issues regarding the national park units on a daily basis. If nothing else, she knows that fully funding the NPS units in Alaska would help her state and it's people tremendously.
    So, no doubt that McCain/Palin would have been the ticket to better funding for the NPS.
    Just watch...out of 819 billion, you will see ZILCH for the NPS.
    $335 million for STD prevention is more important to congressional democrats:
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jan/29/economic-stimulus-bills-allot-millions-for-std-pre/
    Now...who did y'all vote for??

  • Rangers Catch Snowmobilers Riding Illegally in Yellowstone National Park's Backcountry   5 years 39 weeks ago

    I haven't followed the story. What's the impact of snowmobiles on a snow field? Are there other areas where people can ride their snowmobiles nearby?

  • National Park Quiz 39: Winter   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Bob,

    Having spent 13 years on Lake Superior for the NPS (6 at Isle Royale, now almost 7 at Apostle Islands) I am glad to say that I did pretty well on your test. It's been a really cold winter this year up here. This morning, it was a *balmy* -10 as I bundled up for my walk to work; since we had two mornings last week when it was -22 I'm starting to think this is good.

    Here's a fun thing for NPT readers, the latest map of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan ice conditions, which show that you might actually be able to make it all the way from Apostle Islands to Isle Royale across the ice -- not that I'd recommend it. Grey in the image means "fast" (i.e. solid) ice, red means 90-100% cover, orange means 70-80%.:

    Bob Krumenaker
    Superintendent
    Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

  • Rangers Catch Snowmobilers Riding Illegally in Yellowstone National Park's Backcountry   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Jim, you have reason to be concerned. A dog musher near the village of Kotzebue, Alaska was recently killed when he was rammed from behind by a speeding snowmobile. The impact severed his leg. A snowmobile traveling at high speed and with reduced visibility can easily exceed his stopping ability and become a deadly missile. Where drivers illegally invade lands off limits to snowmobiles the chances are that they will not be safe drivers.

  • The World's Top Ten National Parks   5 years 39 weeks ago

    I haven't traveled outside North American extensively, but I have traveled extensively within North America. I think Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland is extraordinary for both "visual" delight and also topography. It's been called the Galapogos (hey, that's also a National Park, right?) of Geology.

    Within the U.S., Yellowstone has it all. Sometimes the best known are the best!

  • Senate, House Far Apart on Economic Stimulus Funding for National Parks   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Jobs will be created for more than just construction workers when construction projects are funded on federal lands. This will create more management level jobs within the NPS and will help to provide work to a variety of different contractors that work with the NPS in environmental planning, engineering services, biological and cultural resources monitoring, and any other jobs that would support these activities.