Recent comments

  • Yellowstone National Park Bison Unhappy With Photo Shoot Tosses Pennsylvania Boy   5 years 42 weeks ago

    The bison have had a very rough time of it; they were upset in the winter. Don't be surprised if we see more of this; it's been a very traumatic time between the slaughter and the hard winter.

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

  • National Park Quiz 8: Firsts   5 years 42 weeks ago

    They have all those funny designations so they can justify hunting, harvesting, drilling, and mining in many of them.

    What bugs me is "Historical Park" as opposed to "Historic Site".

  • Park Advocates Rallying Around Theodore Roosevelt National Park   5 years 42 weeks ago

    I'd have to agree with you Barky... probably my favorite too. I rode my bike around the loop road within the park and have never seen so much wildlife (in numbers and variety) in my 45 years. Going back in early August this summer and bringing along my son this time. There's nothing like the sound of bison breath outside your tent in the early morning... coyotes howling as the sun sets... and you're right -- not many people at all.

  • Yellowstone National Park Bison Unhappy With Photo Shoot Tosses Pennsylvania Boy   5 years 42 weeks ago

    The moron parade through our treasured National Parks continues. These parents should be put on a month of volunteer duty, wearing a sandwich board and walking up and down the park roads warning of the dangers of getting too close to wildlife (and the dangers of bad parenting).

    Wasn't there an even bigger dumbbell several years back who tried to place his toddler ON the big fluffy buffalo?

  • Yellowstone National Park Bison Unhappy With Photo Shoot Tosses Pennsylvania Boy   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Why can't people use their heads? I'm glad this child wasn't more seriously injured.

    This is the kind of irresponsibility that eventually ruins a visit to the Parks for the rest of us. How long before someone decides that we have to stay 100 yards away from bison too, not just from bears?

  • Park Advocates Rallying Around Theodore Roosevelt National Park   5 years 42 weeks ago

    I've been to over 100 NPS sites, and I have to say, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is my favorite. I put it over Denali and Yosemite which, although incredible beautiful and wonderful places in their own right, have crowding and access issues that make them trying at times. TRNP, on the other hand, is beautiful and wonderful, but it's also off the beaten path. When I visited a couple of years ago, I hiked for miles and miles and only saw a handful of other intrepid soles in the fields, forests & hills. Plenty of wildlife, clean & fresh air, absolutely loved it. Living in the crowded Northeast, I found it a perfect place to "get away from it all".

    The banner picture on my blog [shameless plug] is of TR Park for that very reason.

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

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Comment Period For Revised Gun Regulations for National Parks About to Close   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Currently I am employed in the Philippines. I love the United States and miss it terribly. It's odd to me that going through a country that has complete gun restrictions like the Philippines, I get frisked at any entry to malls, movies, Starbucks, or virtually anywhere. I saw a school yard that had a HUGE sign that said "no gun zone". That sure is a strange thing to see in a place where there aren't suppose to be any guns. I wonder why they would go through such trouble to put those checkpoints up. I wonder why they feel they have to tell people who don't have guns to not bring them in the school yard. I wonder why gunman after gunman chooses their rampage site based on gun-free zones.

    I guess the thing I wonder most is why Americans (Incredible as we are) don't realize that all the freedoms awarded in the constitution protect our way of life. We have virtually no fear of our own government. I personally own more than a dozen guns, many are for hunting. When I think about how fragile governments are throughout world history I feel urgency for independence. I feel as though I cannot rely on the government for any of my needs. While performing civic work in Southern California years ago I watched a drive-by shooting. I took cover in my apartment and waiting as the police took over an hour to show up. With no exaggeration I can tell you that just for witnessing the event our apartment was shot full of holes. How in the world can we look at the modern incidents like the Riots in LA and the looting after Katrina and feel like government can take care of us? It's not governments fault. It's not anyone’s fault. Have we forgotten that this is a world of chance? Have we forgotten that we are responsible for our own livelihood, loss, gain, and prosperity? Hardship is part of life. Bad things happen to good people. Who are we to judge when another person can protect their own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness? Does someone really have a place to go in the world if they don’t like the setup of society? Precautionary laws always limit freedoms. Why would we not rather have laws that penalize people for harming others? Isn’t that the only way to guarantee sovereignty and order? Choice is impossible to remove from the equation.

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Settlement Won't Ban ORV Use, But Will Restrict Travel   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Would like to clarify and add that the first paragraph above is my writing, the rest of the disertation of facts was that of another distinguished gentleman, I stongly agree and support his heart felt thoughts. Thank you for considering this post

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Random Walker,

    Please let me start by saying you are well spoken and I respect your opinion. This is the healthy banter that gets us to look at all sides of the issues.

    Maybe you are right, you don't need guns in the Parks. Respectfully, Let me ask you this, because you don't want/need guns in the Parks and you are comfortable without them, should that comfort level extend to the Rights of others? I thnk not. The gun owners that are seeking entry into the Parks make a great point. These folks are upstanding citizens, they are fingerprinted, background checked and certified to carry. Perception of danger and fear I believe is a bit inflamatory, think of it from the perspective of preparedness. Would you go into the woods unprepared? Of course not. Also, your version of prepared is not the same as that of others and it shouldn't be, it's part of the American way. Though not having a firearm for self protection and that of loved ones is your Right and an acceptable risk for yourself, I do not think those risks need be imposed on others or their Rights.

    Scotty

  • Snowbound In June On Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road   5 years 42 weeks ago

    There is another, somewhat similar video at http://www.nps.gov/yose/photosmultimedia/upload/plowing-olmsted.mov - this one shows the clearing of Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park. It's worth viewing, to understand how diverse the duties of the NPS are.

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   5 years 42 weeks ago

    "Guns in the Parks. Do We Need Them?"
    Not in the least...
    As a kid, you could find me and my cousin walking down the road with our rifles as long as we were tall.
    As a teen there was a rifle, shotgun and fishing pole on the rack in the inside back window of my truck.
    I was in the military for four years as a young adult.
    I spent 17 years exploring the forests, rivers, volcanoes and jungles of Mexico and Central / South America, South East Asia and Australia. I have spent more time than most folks backpacking in designated Wilderness and National Parks across the western half of America. Where I have never carried nor have encountered any situation where I felt a need for a weapon.
    While in population, in the USA I have noticed as MRC (not verified) said, a growing perception of danger, a fear of strangers, Mother Nature and the world in general.
    IMHO this fear of danger is an unwarranted, typically trite defense for the reversal of Our National Park rules.
    Anyway the sun is out, just saw a eagle circle over head, a northern flicker joined me for coffee this morning, deer, raccoon and bear are my closest neighbors. think I'll go out for a visit.

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Settlement Won't Ban ORV Use, But Will Restrict Travel   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Rangertoo, with all due respect, you are mis-informed. The Consent Decree and how it was obtained violates NEPA, Federal Admistative Proceedures Act, REG-NEG Policies, US Code 16 Chapter 1, Sect 429 Enabling Legislation, Article 4 Section 3 of the United States Constitution

    When Congress established Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area in 1937 its intent was to permanently provide for all Americans a unique area for their enjoyment and use.
    For years now, those of us who utilize this unique resource have been under assault by a variety of environmental special interest groups who would deny us access, but not themselves. They have tried compaction studies attempting to show that ORVs’ were damaging the beach. Only to find their data lost when it rained or a storm occurred. They have filed lawsuit after lawsuit in federal court claiming harm and inadequate protection for the birds and turtles that nest here. And in each case where evidence was heard from both sides in the court, they were sent packing. Quite simply, their claims were refuted by sound science and law. All of this, again, at the expense of the American taxpayer. What occurred April 30th, 2008, in Judge Terrence Boyle’s court changed everything.

    It’s the Piping Plover that has become the “poster child” for these groups.
    The plover is a relative newcomer to CHNSRA. Every bird study conducted between 1900 and 1959 show that it was not until 1960 that the first birds arrived in the Park. Plovers nest independently of one another and not in colonies. They neither feed nor care for their young from the moment they hatch. They nest in areas that are subject to frequent overwash and frequently loose nests as a result. This has already occurred at CHNSRA in the 2008 breeding season, and not just with plovers. Predation has also taken its toll this year.

    The Piping Plovers that nest at CHNSRA are part of the Atlantic breeding population which is considered “threatened”, not endangered. It is very important to understand that CHNSRA is on the extreme Southern edge of the Plovers breeding range which accounts for the historically low numbers within the Park. Most Plovers nest well north of the Park, from Virginias’ Eastern Shore to Newfoundland, Canada; with the majority of nesting occurring mid-range.

    I am an individual who has utilized this resource, this National Seashore Recreation Area, for almost three decades. And like many, am so familiar with this beach system that predicting structure changes, overwash, and the like comes as second nature. Collectively, we possess more first hand knowledge of the workings of the beaches and the wildlife at CHNSRA than any environmental group in existence. It is, therefore, no surprise that an Alberta, Canada Plover study contains the following statement: “human presence in an area can be a very effective form of predator deterrence.” (USFW 2000) Interesting as well is a statement by Tim Gallagher editor-in-chief of Living Bird magazine, published in the spring 2000 edition; “But the large number of people always present at beaches does have a remarkable taming effect on birds.” This reflects what we see daily as we visit our cherished beaches.

    There are 21 documented ORV related plover deaths in the entire United States. Twenty of these were committed by federal vehicles. In the 47 years prior to the Consent Decree, not one single plover death can be attributed to an ORV user in this Park. One hundred percent of plover mortality at CHNSRA has been a result of either storms or predation. A far cry from the 24 Piping Plover nests the Army Corps of Engineers destroyed recently in the name of floating two barges of alfalfa pellets down a tributary of the Missouri River.

    The Defenders of Wildlife, Audubon and the Southern Environmental Law Center would have one believe that none of which I write in these pages is true though it’s all in the public record.

    The Consent Decree deals also with other birds such as Black Skimmers, Common Terns, Least Terns, Gull-billed Terns, Wilson’s Plover, and American Oystercatchers. None of whom are threatened or endangered. The Consent Decree treats them as though they are and at additional taxpayer expense. It also deals with the variety of sea turtles that occasionally nest on the Parks beaches though now requiring full beach closures, unlike the Interim Strategy.

    Some “Inconvenient Truths” for DOW, Audubon and SELC include: Under the Interim Strategy (IMS) the 2007 nesting season was the most successful Plover breeding season in over 20 years. Currently, under the Consent Decree, a single Plover chick is given enough beach area to cover the decks of three U.S. Navy Super Carriers, the largest warships on earth. As such, in most American communities, a convicted child molester can live closer to a public school than a fisherman and his family can get to a plover.

    On a positive note, The Atlantic Piping Plover population is fast approaching the 2000 nesting pair’s figure that makes them eligible for de-listing as threatened. The most recent counts show 1700 nesting pair. Just four years ago, the most accurate estimate was 1400 pair. This represents a rather dramatic increase in breeding pairs in a very short period. Unfortunately, at the cost of even more taxpayer dollars, de-listing the Atlantic Plover population is probably going to be challenged in court.

    The environmental groups also claim a substantial drop in Black Skimmer and Gull-billed Tern numbers. What they don’t want you to know is that the bird count for the 2007 season shows a better than 20% increase in numbers. They know very well that the birds chose to nest on a newly recreated dredge spoil island within sight of the Park. A study that Walker Golder, attorney for Audubon, plaintiff, and member of Negotiated Rulemaking participated in. In reference to this habitat, named Cora June Island, N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission writes:

    "An outstanding success story can be found on Cora June Island, located near Hatteras Inlet. This island disappeared during Hurricane Isabel in 2003 but was rebuilt in spring 2007 during a dredging project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Only months after rising from the sea, the island was home to one of the largest mixed tern/black skimmer colonies in the state with good numbers of nesting adults that successfully fledged hundreds of chicks.

    The recent survey, which was conducted in spring 2007, is one of 10 complete coast-wide surveys conducted since the late 1970s to monitor population trends, distribution of colony sites and nesting habitat conditions. Data gleaned from the surveys help biologists make management and conservation decisions and prioritize research. The next water bird survey is scheduled for 2010. "

    Never mind that these environmental groups have sued to stop the creation of additional spoil islands which would provide substantial new habitat for the very birds they profess the need and desire to protect.

    They would prefer you to believe that night time driving on the Beaches at CHNSRA disorients sea turtles. Hence the ban imposed by the Consent Decree. But they would have you ignore Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, the northern 22 miles of beach on Hatteras Island. At Pea Island NWR, there is no beach driving and less than a dozen lights visible from the sea. Very few pedestrians frequent these beaches due to the difficulty in accessing them. And yet Pea Island has no greater turtle nesting success than ORV accessible beaches but does have more false crawls, aborted nesting attempts, than the open beaches. They would also have you ignore the fact that Plovers don’t nest there in spite of the excellent conditions.

    Under the Consent Decree, if a turtle nests within the relatively minute portion of beach that’s still accessible by ORV, the Park Service is required to establish virtually the same nest enclosure as established within the Interim Strategy. Beach users may drive by, park by and fish by this clearly marked 10’ by 10’ revetment cloth enclosure at will. Until, that is, September 15th. On that date, the Consent Decree imposes full beach closures in addition to the procedures outlined in the IMS, making those areas impassable by vehicle or pedestrian. This is absurd and arbitrary. The Consent Decree clearly states that if a nest is approaching its anticipated hatch date (pre September 15) NPS is to follow the same procedures outlined in the IMS, not including full beach closures. Which means that in spite of the additional “path” NPS constructs to funnel the hatchlings to the sea, the beach immediately outside this small closure is accessible to both pedestrian and ORV use. So why is September 15th , the “magic” day? Because this is an arbitrary date by which perhaps some of the bird closures will have been reduced and the Consent Decree finally allows for “permitted” night driving. This is a thinly veiled maneuver to continue to prevent ORV access to the beach. If it was ok for me to drive by or park and fish right next the closure on the 14th, it should be just fine on the 15th.

    They don’t want you to know that at the best of times ORV users can only access less than 30% of the beaches at CHNSRA and that their “12% of the beaches affected” figure assumes 100% ORV access. This has not been true for many, many years. The truth is that well over 90% of the beach is currently closed either directly or by default. Areas bounded on both sides by closures are inaccessible even though they are technically open. They prefer to focus on ORV’s but the current closures prohibit pedestrian use as well. No entry means just that.

    It is, I think, ironic that as I labor over this communication, The Defenders of Wildlife have just sent their members an e-mail dated June 15th, 2008 that describes success as a result of the Consent Decree. “Since some of the most sensitive areas were closed to vehicles, birds like the piping plover and the American oystercatcher have been bouncing back.”

    Plover numbers are the same as they were last year under the IMS. I don’t know about the American Oystercatchers (AMOY) yet except for the nest on the Pamlico Sound side of HWY 12 between Frisco and Hatteras villages. There, less than 150’ from the 55 MPH traffic, in plain sight, an AMOY pair feeds their young and raises them to fledge quite happily.

    They also write:
    “The emergency plan was developed to be flexible, with temporary closures that can be lifted and reopened to vehicles once wildlife is no longer using certain areas. Already, some areas have been reopened this season.”

    This ignores the rash of immediate closures that followed the April 30th signing of the Consent Decree. Because of the Consent Decree, anyone with a cell phone can call NPS, report bird activity and the Park Service is required to close the area for weeks at a time. All of the areas that have been reopened as of 6/26/08 were initially closed due to inaccurate and perhaps false observation.

    They would rather you didn’t think of them as parties to the lawsuit that has prevented the replacement of the Bonner Bridge, Cape Hatteras’ lifeline and only over ground hurricane evacuation route; a bridge with a safety rating of 4 out of 100. The bridge in Minnesota that collapsed in 2007, killing many, was rated at 27. Since when do we so blatantly condone risking the loss of human life? The environmental groups have already announced that if the new bridge is attempted they will sue.

    The Consent Decree is an obvious attempt at changing a National Seashore Recreation Area into a private wildlife refuge. Which has so far, been successful at the cost of untold taxpayer dollars. Remember that the plaintiffs are consistently reimbursed their legal fees and expenses by the already strapped Park Service and DOI. You must also consider the cost of constant monitoring, flying in and housing of un-needed special even teams, additional, extensive new signage, additional vehicles, law enforcement and infrastructure.

    The impact of the Consent Decree on the economies of the villages bounded by the Park has been astounding. Thousands have already cancelled their reservations or vowed not to return. And yet both the environmental groups and United States Fish and Wildlife Service continue to utilize the arguably inept Voglesong study as the foundation of their economic and visitor usage statements in spite of a government funded peer review that deems the study essentially worthless. The esteemed panel also regarded the data and its collection methods so flawed that further review of that data would be a waste of time.

    “Dr. Michael A. Berry served as any Army officer in Vietnam in the 1960s. After returning to civilian life, he earned a doctorate in public health and worked in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where as a senior manager and scientist, he served as the deputy director of National Center for Environmental Assessment at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. During his 28-year career with EPA, he had extensive interactions with environmental organizations, local governments, the federal courts, U.S. Congress, universities world-wide, and institutions, such as the National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. For more than 20 years, Berry, who lives in Chapel Hill, taught public health, environmental science, and business and environment courses at the University of North Carolina. He is currently a writer and part-time consultant, specializing in the evaluation of environmental quality and human health effects, environmental management strategies, and policy”. www.islandfreepress.org

    He writes:
    ”There has been no opportunity for public participation, comment, and input with regard to this new ORV regulation. For any environmental regulation issued by the federal government, citizens have the right of public review and comment as provided by the Federal Administrative Procedures Act. Under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, citizens also have a right to know about and attend federal government meetings, especially when those meeting involve special-interest organizations trying to influence the government. Under the Freedom of Information Act, citizens have a right to obtain all unclassified information, such as scientific information and correspondence with special-interest parties, that is held by the federal government”

    The Consent Decree has changed the very nature of the Park. Though the environmental groups claim to want to preserve CHNSRA for future generations, I fail to see the value of a National Park that remains inaccessible during the spring, summer and fall, when the majority of Americans that visit the Park take their vacations at this time. And if USFWS gets their way by declaring CHNSRA critical wintering habitat for Great Lakes and Great Plains plover populations, though they openly admit they have no idea where the wintering birds originate, this will include the late fall and winter months as well.

    Preservation has been, so far, successful without court intervention and a draconian Consent Decree. What choice did Dare and Hyde counties and the various beach access groups have other than to consent? It came down to either accepting an agreement that they had no voice in and hoping for the best or face certain closure and the enormous economic impact that it would spawn.

    A Federal Judge is bound by law to render a fair decision based upon the merits of the evidence presented before the Court. But Judge Boyle declared his intention to provide the environmental groups exactly what they sought without hearing any evidence from either point of view and precluded the intervening parties, Dare, Hyde, OBPA, CHAPA and others from entering any evidence at all. This occurred within the first few minuets of the March 2008 hearing. During the second hearing, in spite of being charged by law to consider the economic impact of the proposed closures within the Consent Decree Judge Boyle repeatedly declared his lack of knowledge and understanding of CHNSRA, the villages contained therein, and signed the decree anyway. His obsession with closing Ramp 4 (Bodie Island Spit) as related in the transcripts of the April hearing is baffling. What the negotiations between the environmental groups and DOI promulgated can only honestly be referred to as a Decree of Forced Consent.

    CHNSRA was established first and foremost as a National Seashore Recreational Area. This is blatantly obvious when one reads the enabling legislation formulating and forever establishing the Park.
    Dated August 17, 1937 (50 Stat. 669), provides in part:
    Sec. 4. Except for certain portions of the area, deemed to be especially adaptable for recreational uses, particularly swimming, boating, sailing, fishing, and other recreational activities of similar nature, which shall be developed for such uses as needed, the said area shall be permanently reserved as a primitive wilderness and no development of the project or plan for the convenience of visitors shall be undertaken which would be incompatible with the preservation of the unique flora and fauna or the physiographic conditions now prevailing in this area…

    On June 11th, 2008, Senators Elizabeth Dole, Richard Burr and Representative Walter B. Jones introduced bills S3113 and HR6233. These bills, if enacted, would put aside the Consent Decree and return CHNSRA to policy and operation governed by the IMS. This would effectively take management decisions out of the hands of a few special interest groups and return it to the professional scientists and staff of NPS at the savings of millions of taxpayer dollars over the life of the Consent Decree.

    Already these groups assail the media and their members with tales of doom were these bills signed into law. Some claim that Congress has no business even dealing with this matter. I beg to differ. Congress established this Park for the American People as a whole and provided us with a place we have fought hard to preserve as the unique and dynamic place that Hatteras is; or was. For years, most of us have lived by OBPA’s motto, “Preserve, Protect, Not Prohibit.” For example, to this day NPS does not employ “beach clean up crews”. We do this at our own time and expense. This hardly represents a user group with a penchant for environmental abuse.

    Congress reserved the right to change the nature of an established National Park for itself. And so there is no question as to whether these bills should be co-sponsored and enacted.

    16 U.S.C. Section 1a-1 states, "The authorization of activities shall be conducted in the light of the high public value and integrity of the National Park System and shall not be exercised in derogation of the values and purposes for which these various areas have been established, except as may have been or shall be directly and specifically provided by Congress."

    Surely this applies to forced closures as that constitutes an activity as well. Non government organizations have taken over scientific management of a National Park, an activity (Consent Decree) not sanctioned by Congress in spite of the obvious “derogation of the values and purposes for which these various areas have been established”.

    I urge every member of the Senate and House of Representatives to co-sponsor and foster these bills into law. Sound science and the weight of law should never be substituted for supposition and misleading statements.

    Please help return our National Seashore Recreation Area to the true stewards of this resource.

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   5 years 42 weeks ago

    I have a couple of comments.

    Lets start with there are HEAVILY armed folks conducting illegal activities in National Parks, well enough armed that the Park Rangers are out gunned. Then we can add bears and cougars, etc. I can't carry a Park Ranger with me(they're heavy) and I don't expect a person security detail to ensure my safety. This is America, we have the right and obligation to protect and defend ourselves, not to depend on others to do so.

    I am amazed at how out of touch we have become with our Constitutional Rights. Saddly, in one generation we have quietly gone from a society in which owning or possessing a firearm was "non-event", due to the fact that it is a Right. Now there is this position that firearms need to be heavily regulated. In the hands of responsible individuals firearms are a "non-event" as they should be. Sensational journalism has turned an inanimate object into a demon in our society, guns do exactly what they were designed to do, go bang when you pull the trigger. People responsibly use firearms millions of times a year and between 750k and 2million times a year to defend their lives, we don't see these facts in the press.

    The worry and fears of those who are against people carrying in National Parks are those that fear the irresponsible gun owner. Did you know that concealed carry holders are fingerprinted, background checked and certified to carry? People that go this far to excercise a Right are not who/what need to be feared.

    Thank you for your time,
    Scotty
    Though I personally think this does not go far enough, I think it's a good start.

  • Snowbound In June On Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Kurt, great clip on the Sun Road snow scenario. Never seen the magnitude of a working force to remove so much snow on such a dangerous stretch of mountain highway. Rugged men doing a tough job! Interesting subject!!

  • Celebrating Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road   5 years 42 weeks ago

    My family was out to see the sights last year in the hear wave... We were disappointed only in that it was 95 degrees at 8,000 but the views and the experience was breathtaking... I took 3 teenager (17, 18 and 16) along and they liked it better than Yellowstone. Anytime you can get 3 teenagers to be in awe, it is a good trip... I would rather see the NPS send the money to maintain the road so others could have the experience my family had than spending on something else.

  • Comment Period For Revised Gun Regulations for National Parks About to Close   5 years 42 weeks ago


    Bob Janiskee is exactly right. Read the decision.

    The identification in the Scalia Decision of government buildings and schools as places guns can be excluded is clearly intended in the Decision as the opportunity to provide carefully targeted regulations for good public policy reasons.

    The argument for excluding guns from national park system units has always been well grounded, for solid and demonstrable purposes. The opposing justification, from Sec. Kempthorne, that consistency with changing State possession rules is clearly incorrect on its face, inasmuch as State rules ARE NOT consistent around ALL national parks.

    Therefore, it makes perfect sense to have one consistent policy to prevent carrying weapons that are ready to fire within these FEDERAL ENCLAVES for the good public policy reason that such guns are inconsistent with the management purposes, public needs and expectations, and policy consistency of national parks.

  • Celebrating Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road   5 years 42 weeks ago

    I have a love-it/hate-it relationship with the GTTS Road. Love it, because it is absolutely spectacular, for all the reasons Kurt mentions above. The vistas, the easy access to hiking, and the convenience to get from St. Mary's to Lake McDonald without having to drive 2 hours out of your way. Hate it, because the NPS has to spend millions of dollars every year to get the snow removed, to make annual maintenance to fix cracks in the roads and bridges, all to keep the road open for 3 months out of the year.

  • Comment Period For Revised Gun Regulations for National Parks About to Close   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Frank, let's make it clear to Traveler readers WHICH debate is over. The Supreme Court ruling clarifies that the Second Amendment extends to individuals, not just to militia, the right to bear arms. The debate over that matter (individuals vs. militia) is over. But you didn't mention, Frank, that the Supreme Court ruling didn't sweep away all restrictions on the bearing of arms. Kind of important that you mention that, don't you think so Frank? The Supreme Court has made it clear that we can't have blanket bans on guns kept in the home and used for self-defense (that's what was deemed wrong with the Washington, DC gun restrictions). But most state and municipal gun restrictions appear to be allowed under the ruling. That means, until the Supreme Court rules differently, you apparently can have licensing laws (as long as they aren't blanket bans on possession), you can limit commercial sale of guns, you can forbid felons and the mentally ill to possess firearms, you can ban "dangerous and unusual weapons," AND you can have restrictions on guns in sensitive places (like schools, government buildings, etc.). As for the matter of carrying concealed weapons in national parks, well, that particular debate remains to be resolved.

  • Comment Period For Revised Gun Regulations for National Parks About to Close   5 years 42 weeks ago

    The Supreme Court has ruled that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right. 67% of Americans also believe it is an individual right. The debate is over. It is time to return constitutional civil liberties to those traveling through and residing in national parks.

  • Comment Period For Revised Gun Regulations for National Parks About to Close   5 years 42 weeks ago

    I am retired peace officer. I am authorized to carry concealed weapons anywhere in the US. Is it illeagal to carry in national parks?

  • Oglala Sioux Just Might Reclaim Southern Half of Badlands National Park   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Hopefully but not likely our government will do the right thing and return what was wrongfully taken in the name of suppression. Perhaps but not likely we would learn a lesson from the Australians and their VERY global Olympic statement where they apologized for doing to their native peoples what we have done to ours, yet many years later issues still remain that were promised to be resolved. These kinds of issues will exist forever, as long as we decide to keep makng the kinds of bad decisions those before us made. Badlands would be an ideal place to finally make a commitment to start correcting our past mistakes. It doesn't matter what the native people want to do with the land, because it's theirs. Period. If they wish to construct casinos in an attempt to make livings for themselves and try to find ways to take care of their people then who are we to say they can't? When did the white man become the expert on what's best for the native man? We don't have the moral fiber to be able to understand how the native man lives, so we try and make him like we are. I would take Random Walkers last point and bring it one step further...it's time our government steps up and recognizes the indeigenous peoples rights. Sadly the NPS has only limited power over their own system of parks, but our government can do so much more.

  • Bodies of Three Mexican Nationals Found in Big Bend National Park   5 years 42 weeks ago

    To the author of: "No sympathy here, they were breaking the law. Darwin candidates."

    They were human beings, Gods children. Flesh and blood. Men with wives and children - whose papa is never coming home again. People trying to better themselves, and in this case trying to reach one of their wifes who was reportedly giving child birth and having problems.

    I hope if you return in the "next life" you will be more compassionate with more humility.

    Best Regards

    ShaneA

  • Comment Period For Revised Gun Regulations for National Parks About to Close   5 years 42 weeks ago

    You knew I'd have to comment on this one. With today's Supreme Court decision, are we sure we want to try to BAN handguns someplace??

    I just checked; there are more than 15,000 comments posted about the proposed rule change. I'm sure all will agree that the vast majority of the posters SUPPORT the rule change.

    I'm no lawyer, but I can't help but wonder how a lawsuit will be perceived by an American public that has spoken loud and clear about this issue.

  • National Park History: Prince William Forest Park Was a Top Secret Spy Training School   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Yeah, few visitors because no one has heard of it. I am in my 30s and grew up just south of Baltimore. This park is new to me. My family spent time camping everywhere in the mid-Atlantic but not Prince William. I am excited to visit it for the first time!!!

  • National Park History: Prince William Forest Park Was a Top Secret Spy Training School   5 years 42 weeks ago

    Another great article on the history of the NPS. Keep it up!