Recent comments

  • Shenandoah National Park Ranger Roy Sullivan Set the World Record for Being Hit by Lightning   5 years 40 weeks ago

    slim, Jan...

  • Shenandoah National Park Ranger Roy Sullivan Set the World Record for Being Hit by Lightning   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Dear Bob,

    In Holland we are playing an online search game on internet (it's the quiz that Jan mentioned). At the end there are nice prizes to win. One of the game rules is to find the answers only by searching on internet. It's even forbidden to phone or to mail persons/organisations for the answers.

    We like to play a fair game. We will be very greatfull if you remove the postings from Jan Pieters and your answers. If you are interested we will send you next friday 28th november the answer where Bill is buried.

    with kind regards.

    Admin

    coordinator Nationale Krakercompetitie

  • Shenandoah National Park Ranger Roy Sullivan Set the World Record for Being Hit by Lightning   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Dear Bob,

    In Holland we are playing an online search game on internet (it's the quiz that Jan mentioned). At the end there are nice prizes to win. One of the game rules is to find the answers only by searching on internet. It's even forbidden to phone or to mail persons/organisations for the answers.

    We like to play a fair game. We will be very greatfull if you remove the postings from Jan Pieters and your answers. If you are interessed we will send you next friday 28th november the answer where Bill is buried.

    with kind regards.

    Admin

    Coordinator Nationale Krakerc Competitie

  • Shenandoah National Park Ranger Roy Sullivan Set the World Record for Being Hit by Lightning   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Shame Jan uses you to cheat on a competition. We are all trying very hard to find the information the honest way.

    You are very friendly for answerring him.

    Irma, Nederland

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Mr. father of a (wow...an ivy leaguer!):
    I'll keep my guns, money and freedom...you can keep the "change!"
    P.S.: Have fun trying to find a clean toilet at "the one"s inauguration...lol.

  • Got Quiet? Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve has Plenty   5 years 40 weeks ago

    And, climbing the dunes was a hoot! What fun on a June day; I felt like Lawrence of Arabia. High up on the dune field, I heard the sound - the wind hits the resonant frequency of the dune and there is a low, perceivable rumble. It's like walking on top of a subwoofer.

    Then, when I got down - that little river is one of nature's rewards for a good hike. As the previous poster noted, the water is only ankle deep. But, it ripples and swirls around your feet as you walk over the soft sandy bottom. I didn't want to get out of that river.

  • Shenandoah National Park Ranger Roy Sullivan Set the World Record for Being Hit by Lightning   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Gordon Wissinger (Gordon_Wissinger@nps.gov) is the Chief Ranger at Shenandoah National Park. Try asking him for help. Chances are that he or someone he knows can at least get you started in the right direction to get the information you need.

  • Study Touts Economic Benefits of Mount St. Helens "National Park"   5 years 40 weeks ago

    There is no doubt in my mind that the historical, geological, and ecological significance of Mt. St. Helens makes it worthy of full national park status. The economic benefit to local communities due to enhanced tourism is an obvious side-effect, but it should not be the primary reason to consider changing the status of and administrative responsibility for this most important volcanic landscape.

    Having said this, I must ask, is there a single National Park, including Yellowstone, where the economic benefits of enhanced tourism was not a major factor that was considered by Congress prior to establishing an Act creating the park?

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Shenandoah National Park Ranger Roy Sullivan Set the World Record for Being Hit by Lightning   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Thank you very much for your quick response. Unfortunately I get all the time an error when I try so send an emailvia the link you mentioned. The reason for the error is not stated.

    Regards,
    Jan

  • Happy Valley In Saguaro National Park   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Great place with fabulous sunsets. The Desert Museum right down the road from the West side of the National Park is great too.

    OnDaRoad http://www.midlifeonwheelsblog.com

  • Got Quiet? Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve has Plenty   5 years 40 weeks ago

    My wife and I had a ball on our first visit to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. I have never seen such a place of contrasts. Imagine if you will these huge, glistening white, sand dunes with snowcapped peaks immediately behind while a beautiful little river flows right in front of the sand dunes. Wading barefoot in the ankle-deep "river" made us remember childhood days as the water surged down in waves from the mountains. This is a must-see place for anyone traveling in southwestern Colorado.

  • Shenandoah National Park Ranger Roy Sullivan Set the World Record for Being Hit by Lightning   5 years 40 weeks ago

    I don't have the information you need. Try contacting the Public Information Officer at Shenandoah National Park, which is where Ranger Roy Sullivan worked. The park's general information phone number is (540) 999-3500 or you can send an e-mail by visiting http://www.nps.gov/NER/sendmail.htm?o=%3B6.

  • National Parks Conservation Association: Interior Buckled to NRA Over Park Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    THis is ridiculous. There are a humungous about of Americans that support guns in parks. THerefore do not look over us.

  • Shenandoah National Park Ranger Roy Sullivan Set the World Record for Being Hit by Lightning   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Hi a very nice article about Roy Sullivan. for a quiz I need to know where he was buried. do you know this? Or perhaps can point me to where to find this information on the Internet?

    Jan, the Netherlands

  • Study Touts Economic Benefits of Mount St. Helens "National Park"   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Lots of good comment have been made above.

    As to Kurt's question early in the piece about how much weight economics should be given when decisions are made on additions to the National Park System, my vote would be "none" - a proposed site should be able to stand on its own merits in determining if it's of "national park" caliber. Once that decision has been made, the possibility of local economic benefits can certainly be a big factor in the political arena when it comes to gaining support for worthy new areas.

    As one poster mentioned above, a more pertinent economic question is whether the dollars will be available to properly manage any new areas for the system - or will the politicos simply continue the practice of establishing new sites, and then spreading existing inadequate budgets even thinner to cover the additions.

  • Got Quiet? Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve has Plenty   5 years 40 weeks ago

    This is a wonderful park, and one that a lot of the flood of tourists to Colorado overlook. Perhaps some of those who enjoy the area think that's not a bad thing - and it's also part of the reason why parts of this park are so quiet!

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Vince,

    Bush did play a role in deregulation, but it was only part of the problem:

    "Gramm-Leach-Bliley was a blunder. But far more generally, banks that are financed by insured deposits should never have been allowed to do what they did. There is no excuse for regulators to allow such banks to write inordinate mounts of insurance via credit default swaps, or to extend inordinate amounts of loan guarantees that are another form of insurance. There is no excuse for government to have encouraged home loans to people who could not afford them. There is no excuse for government to encourage people to take on excessive amounts of debt, period. Insured banks shouldn't have had large obligations hidden away in off-balance-sheet subsidiaries. These banks shouldn't be so highly levered. Government is fully responsible, not only for the welter of regulation but also for the inept deregulation and the resulting financial tragedy that has unfolded."

    Part of the blame must fall on the Clinton administration for its attempts to social engineer home ownership and for its mismanagement of the quasi-governmental agencies of Freddy and Fanny.

    "The economy of the Clinton years" was superheated by cheap credit, which was in turn manipulated by another quasi-governmental organization, the Federal Reserve.

    You talk of the Constitution, so certainly you know that Article I states "Congress shall have the Power to Coin Money and Regulate the Value Thereof." The Constitution does not give authority to Congress to delegate this task to the Federal Reserve.

    The Federal Reserve has devalued our currency and created artificially low interest rates, which have spurred malinvestment. The market is attempting to correct itself, and all government efforts to halt this correction--from either the left or the right--will only prolong the agony.

    Again, since you cite the Constitution, you know that document invests the Executive Office with only 12 enumerated powers. None of those powers include the power to regulate the economy, the ability to legislate through executive orders, or the ability to interpret the Constitution through signing statements.

    While it's good to have a president who can think for himself, that does not preclude the abuse of Executive Power. FDR was a thinker, and he issued more executive orders than any other president in history, some with egregious civil rights implications; he issued about 3500 EOs, or roughly ten times more than Bush II. Obama has shown an inclination to further use executive orders, supposedly to overturn Bush EOs, but ostensibly they could be used to further undermine the Constitution and individual rights.

    Scoffing at Bush defenders is easy. But when it's done in the same breath used to defend the usurpation of the Constitution by Democratic presidents, it's hypocritical. The problem is systemic, and unless we return to Constitutional government--and Obama shows no predilection to abstain from using EOs and no inclination to abolish the Federal Reserve and return us to Constitutional money--expect more pillaging from ALL the thieves in Washington.

  • Roughly One-Third of Curry Village to Be Permanently Closed in Yosemite National Park   5 years 40 weeks ago

    I believe that permanent closure of these 233 units at Curry Village is the right thing to do.

    On the other hand, the NPS estimate "...nearly 160,000 guests per year will not find a bed in Yosemite Valley" is an apparent exaggeration. I can only reproduce this estimate using a series of rather extreme assumptions, such as full double occupancy per unit for 350 days per year, with no vacancies available at any other facility in the Valley. A more realistic estimate should reveal a substantially lower number of guests per year being denied a bed due to the recent decision to close unsafe facilities.

    When I stayed at Curry Village last month, more than 260 units were closed due to rockfall. Nevertheless, a good fraction of the unheated tent cabins that were open for public occupancy remained vacant. I found this to be especially true during the week-days of this off-season period. Partial occupancy of the unheated tent cabins at Curry Village is likely to prevail throughout the winter months, regardless of how many units are closed because they might be in the trajectory of rockfall from Glacier Point.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Got Quiet? Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve has Plenty   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is one of my favorite places in Colorado. I've camped there several times over the years and it never fails to amaze me. It is extremely quiet and peaceful and is truly a natural wonder.

  • Upon Further Review - What Visited Your Campsite While You Were Sleeping?   5 years 40 weeks ago

    There's a tale -- perhaps apocalyptic -- that goes like this. A group of backpackers (one version has it that they are Boy Scouts) decide to spend the night in an abandoned building (a barn?). They are rudely awakened, several of them having been bitten by copperheads on rodent patrol. Has anybody else heard this story? True or not, it gives me the creeps.

  • Upon Further Review - What Visited Your Campsite While You Were Sleeping?   5 years 40 weeks ago

    I was once cheerfully awoken by a mouse pulling on my hair, I assume to make a nest. Ifelt a tug and opened my eyes to see a small field mouse staring at me as if to say good morning. This was much better than my hiking partner's experience, who was rudely awakened by the backup warning of the garbage truck emptying the campground dumpster!

  • Don't Be Surprised to See Clinton Administration Influence In an Obama Interior Department   5 years 40 weeks ago

    You asked for it.......you got it........the triumphant return of the Hill and Billary Show!

    All the Libs and Cons have enough fodder to last the next 4 years now. There goes the neighborhood.

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Vince, beautifully expressed with excellent political satire that has good solid punch with words. Out of those four million potential visitors, I wonder how many are unemployed, homeless and sick from the lack of good comprehensive medical care. And, I wonder how many gave up visiting the National Parks due to those rip-off gas prices during the summer months. Remember those obscene oil profits? Bring on and welcome the intelligentsia to the White House. We finally have some good brains running this country again. Soooo, freshing indeed!!!

  • Study Touts Economic Benefits of Mount St. Helens "National Park"   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Unless my math skills have gone the way of the dodo bird, the economic stimulus amounts to just over $36 dollars per "extra" visitor, but nowhere does the study state whether the figure mentioned is an annual, monthly, weekly or daily figure. Since that little detail was omitted, I have to operate under the inference that we're speaking in terms of annually, which in other words means little or no impact at all in the grand scheme of things. Certainly not enough of a "windfall" to expand the civil payroll. Probably not even enough to account for the extra costs to be absorbed by the existing infrastructure to justify the "Oh boy, throngs of people are coming!" attitude. This windfall to the local community (ies) would be without a single dollar spent on new amenities or infrastructure, which presumably means neither by the locales to benefit or by the NPS, who can ill afford said improvements anyway, which is all well and good. The only way I can see this Christmas bonus being distributed is amongst the existing gas stations, Motel 6's and God awful fast-food franchises, with emphasis being overly concentrated on the junk food sector. So good for them, I guess, and the new temporary staff that they employ to adjust to the new Boom Times. However, when the current economy returns to a more even keel, gas prices rise to the $4/gal level that Big Oil now knows stupid American consumers will tolerate, and trekking off the beaten path isn't in the majority of people's itineraries, and the necessary lay-offs come rollin' down the mountain, and all you're left with is what existed in the pre-designation era, how does the new title benefit the local economy?

    I firmly believe that visitation to the area, and in particular the star of the show, happens because of the recent history still burned into many people's minds regarding the cataclysm, who are still trying to grasp the scope of the event, which is now getting my blurred by the year and not because in any way, shape or form due to the moniker bestowed upon the local geography. Call me ignorant, but I wouldn't place one inch of credibility in the study mentioned in the article about how immediately the public is drawn to a "new" park. I'm absolutely certain that the majority of the increase is calculated on a sliding scale averaged over time, and is thereby flawed in its presentation as a viable economic tool for development, as you can't simply turn on a spigot and viola, visitors appear from nowhere. For instance, when and where are previous comparable sample systems that are available for comparison? How did the national economy fare at the time, not just when the change was made but immediately prior to and post modification to the park's renaming? What were other local draws in the area that might have assisted by functioning as a tourist magnet? How long, if ever, did it take for the numbers to ascend to the promised levels? What was the trend over time? Exactly what does the number 11K represent in terms of an increase? Is an extra 11K the equivalent to a 500% increase or a 1% increase? And while no new "infrastructure" will be required, the locals better figure out just who is going to clean up after these additional visitors, and who might be responsible for shouldering the burden for those costs, along with the multitude of other unwanted costs to the local environment and existing infrastructure. The annual supplement of thirty six and change per head ain't gonna go too far, folks.

    Now for the really obvious but at once stupid question that begs to be asked.......

    If National Park status is a slam dunk in bolstering every little local economy in the immediate geography surrounding whatever tract of land you prefer to consider, then why don't we take ALL public lands, be they BLM, National Forests, state parks, recreation areas, preserves, monuments, whatever, and redesignate the entirety as new NPS units? Wouldn't the overall economic climate across the nation benefit? If all it takes to jump-start the rural economy is a new plaque over the entrance and a broad brim at the door that seems pretty much a no-brainer, even for the dopes at the DOI. And if the above study is to be taken at face value, then A=B and everybody reaps an immediate economic benefit. Couldn't the current economy be instantaneously rescued from the doldrums with the simple wave of the DOI wand? What's wrong with this picture?

  • National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade   5 years 40 weeks ago

    OK, all you right-wing trolls, go back to your Fox/Rush/Hannity fantasy lands. When did the "left-wing" give Bush a chance?? How about after 9/11 when he squandered our international good will? Do you remember the massive international support for us after 9/11? How fast did Bush destroy that? Remember the economy during the Clinton years? How's it goin' for you now that Bush has deregulated us into a depression? Like your park lands? Or would you prefer them drilled, sold, and butchered as Bush has tried to do to them? Remember the Constitution? Oh, no, I forgot, you don't know about that. By the way, I'm an attorney, a teacher, and a former civil engineer and I will be at the inauguration along with my son (who attends an Ivy League school -sorry, I know intelligent people make you uncomfortable) and my wife (who is a.... wait for it... community organizer!!). At last, we'll have a President who makes us proud and who is intelligent. What a breath of fresh air being able to go to sleep each night knowing that the President can actually THINK!