Recent comments

  • Search on For Overdue Hikers In Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Joe,

    The call for a SAR went out when the couple failed to show up in Prescott on a previously agreed upon date. I'm not exactly sure where they lost the trail. Park officials said simply that they "overshot" their exit route and went into the wrong side canyon. Hydration didn't seem to be a major problem, as they supposedly found a water source that they remained close to. They were found when they decided, due to dwindling food, to head down to the river with hopes of finding help and ran into searchers.

  • Search on For Overdue Hikers In Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 44 weeks ago

    just womdering if anyone has heard what went on during the ranger "de-briefing" of this fortunate couple. Just what led to their need for rescue? Where did they lose the trail? Were there hydration issues? I understand these were "experienced" GC hikers... What can we learn from their errs? I suspect that they got lost sometime during their trek across the tonto towards S Bass junction...

  • Bird Nests and Closures Spurring Civil Disobedience at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Cape Hatteras National Seashore
    Resource Management Weekly Field Summary; May 29 – June 4, 2008
    (Bodie Island, Hatteras, and Ocracoke Districts)

    This week 26 PEDESTRIAN Intrusions were reported, 2 at Bodie Island, 21 at Hatteras, and 3 at Ocracoke.....1 ORV intrusion at Bodie Island, and 1 at Hatteras....3 others * Kiteboarder was flying kite over closure south of Ramp 27. Pedestrians entered the same closure with a dog. Three bicyclists were found in the South Point closure on Ocracoke.

    PIPL Update:
    Bodie Island:
    When Nest 6 was exclosed on 5/29 it was discovered that one of the eggs from the three-egg clutch was lost to probable avian predation. Both adults accepted the exclosure and incubation of the remaining two eggs continues.

    Hatteras Island:
    At Cape Point, Nest 4 hatched and the three chick brood is being monitored. Nest 5 (3 egg nest) continues to be incubated. Nest 9 was discovered on 6/3 as a single-egg nest and will likely be exclosed on 6/7 or 6/8. There is possibly another pair which is ranging from Cape Point to South Beach.

    No PIPLs were observed at Hatteras Inlet this week.

    Ocracoke Island:
    No PIPL breeding activity was observed on the north end of the island, although 1 bird was seen foraging at the inlet. On the south end of the island, there are three active PIPL nests. Nest 2 is in the hatch window and is at 27 days of incubation at the time of this report. Nest 3 with two eggs continues to be incubated. PIPL Nest 8 was found with one egg on 5/30 and had three eggs on 6/3 Only one egg was in the nest when the exclosure was installed on the morning of 6/4. The closure was installed to prevent predation of the third remaining egg and in hope that a fourth egg would be laid. As of the evening of 6/4, there was no fourth egg and it appears the nest may have been abandoned. The loss of the eggs is attributed to probable avian predation.

    Foraging PIPLs continue to be seen along the ocean shoreline within the closure.

    Nests/Expected hatch data:
    PIPL Nest 1 (Cape Point) was lost due to a storm event.
    PIPL Nest 2 (Ocracoke) is within the hatch window.
    PIPL Nest 3 (Ocracoke) is expected to hatch on or around June 13.
    PIPL Nest 4 (Cape Point) hatched three chicks on June 3.
    PIPL Nest 5 (Cape Point) is expected to hatch on or around June 13.
    PIPL Nest 6 (Bodie Island) is expected to hatch on or around June 24.
    PIPL Nest 7 (Ocracoke) was lost due to a storm event.
    PIPL Nest 8 (Ocracoke) is expected to hatch on or around July 1 but may be abandoned.
    PIPL Nest 9 (Cape Point) is expected to hatch on or around July 5.

    Seven breeding pair of PIPLs have been confirmed on the Seashore thus far for 2008.

    Am. Oystercatcher Update:
    AMOY Update: (active = # of nests w/eggs (not hatched); hatched= # of nests w/ chicks)

    27 total nests to date; 10 active nests; 6 nests hatched; 11 nests lost;
    15 total chicks hatched; 12 unfledged chicks; 3* chicks lost; 0 fledged chicks
    *One killed by sibling, two unknown.

    Bodie Island:
    1 active nest/0 hatched nests/3 nests lost
    Green Island: 1 active nest/0 hatched nests/2 nests lost

    Hatteras Island:
    Bodie/Hatteras District (south of Pea Island NWR- Ramp 30), 2 active nests/2 hatched nests/2 nests lost
    Hatteras District (Ramp 30 – Hatteras Inlet), 6 active nests/3 hatched nests/2 nests lost

    Ocracoke Island:
    0 active nests/1 hatched nest/2 nests lost

    We have a total of 21 breeding pairs (including pairs that have lost nests) and there are at least 12 other possible pairs in territories which have yet to nest.

    Colonial waterbirds:
    Bodie Island:
    A LETE colony 1 mile south of Ramp 4 had 23 LETE nests on 5/21. All the nests were lost during an overwash event on 6/2.
    Green Island: A common tern (COTE) colony was documented on the north end of Green Island. On 5/27 there were five one-egg COTE nests. Black skimmers were present on the west end but no nests were documented. The island has not been visited during this report period.

    Hatteras Island:
    Bodie/Hatteras District (Pea Island - Ramp 30):
    The LETE colony 2.1 miles south of Ramp 23 had 25 scrapes, 7 one-egg nests, 28 two-egg nests, and 4 three-egg nests on 6/3.
    The LETE colony 1.1 miles north of Ramp 27 had 40 scrapes, 1 one-egg and 3 three-egg nests on 6/3.
    The LETE colony 0.1 miles north of Ramp 27 was determined to be abandoned on 6/4 and the closure was removed.
    The LETE colony 0.1 miles south of Ramp 27 had two nests and 12 scrapes on 5/30.
    The LETE colony 0.3 miles south of Ramp 27 had 5 two-egg nests and 6 one-egg nests on 5/30.
    The LETE colony 0.7 miles north of Ramp 30 is scheduled to be censused on 6/5.

    Hatteras District (Ramp 30 – Hatteras Inlet):
    The LETE colony just north of Ramp 34 had 3 three-egg nests, 28 two-egg nests, and 4 one-egg nests on 5/31.
    The mixed colony in the center of the Cape Point pre-nesting closure had 21 LETE nests and 3 COTE nests on 6/1.
    The LETE colony at Ramp 45 appears to consist of four pair of LETEs with only a single nest discovered to date.
    The LETE colony 1.7 mi east of Ramp 49 had 3 three-egg nests, 58 two-egg nests, and 2 one-egg nests on 6/4.

    Ocracoke Island:
    The LETE colony at South Point is comprised of three sub-colonies. One colony had 36 nests on 6/4, another had 1 nest on 5/31 and the third had one nest on 6/1.

    Other species of interest:
    There is a confirmed Wilson’s Plover pair scraping on South Ocracoke. On 5/29 and 5/30 WIPL were seen in the dunes near PIPL Nest 2. On each occasion the bird was alert and vocal and flew out of the area when disturbed. One fresh scrape with tracks was found in the dunes and many tracks were in the area. This is the same area where WIPL and PIPL were seen in a territorial dispute on 4/30. The scrapes that were found on the soundside on 5/25 were probably WIPL, considering scrape and track size. Photographs of birds, scrapes and tracks were taken. Up to five WIPL were observed foraging in the big flats of South Point earlier this spring.

    Two pair of Black-necked Stilts have been observed at Cape Point. On 5/31, one stilt was observed roosting in what appeared to be a nest scrape.

    Sea turtle nests:

    Weekly Nest Total: 3 loggerhead nests
    Total Nests to date at CAHA: 5
    Total False Crawls to date at CAHA: 5

    Marine Mammals:
    5/30 Dead bottlenose/common dolphin hybrid found north of Ramp 34. Frozen by NPS staff and transferred to NOAA on 6/4.
    6/4 A fresh dead bottlenose dolphin found at north of Ramp 55 in Hatteras Village. Transferred to NOAA on 6/4.

    Sea turtle Strandings (this week only):
    6/1 Small green turtle found dead at Ocracoke Inlet on the soundside at South Point.
    6/4 Female loggerhead found dead south of Avon Pier.

    Closures - additions/modifications/removals:

    Closure # Location Species Date Installed/Removed
    Bodie Island
    BH08-001-C S of Ramp 27 AMOY/LETE 5/29/2008
    BH08-003-A 0.1 mi S of Ramp 27 AMOY 5/27/2008
    BH08-005-C 1.5 mi S of Ramp 23 LETE 6/4/2008
    BH08-006-R N of Ramp 27 LETE 6/4/2008
    BH08-007-A 0.6 mi S of Ramp 27 AMOY 5/29/2008
    BH08-007-R 0.6 mi S of Ramp 27 AMOY 6/4/2008
    Hatteras Island
    HI08-001-F Cape Point PIPL 6/4/2008
    HI08-006-C Sandy Bay AMOY 5/30/2008
    HI08-007-R S of Ramp 43 AMOY 6/2/2008
    Ocracoke Island
    OI08-004-B 0.8 mi S of Ramp 59 AMOY 5/29/2008
    OI08-006-R 3.2 mi NW of Ramp 67 AMOY 5/29/2008

  • Park Service Now Interested in Adding Christmas Mountains to Big Bend National Park   5 years 44 weeks ago

    We have enough hunting. It needs to go to Big "B".

  • Bird Nests and Closures Spurring Civil Disobedience at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Good: the more closures the better. Too many people, not enough critters,...and not enough quiet space. Thank you GT

  • Winter Exiting Yellowstone National Park "Kicking and Screaming"   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Actually, the winter is a little worse than normal. Snowpack on the upper Yellowstone is 155 percent of normal; temperatures are cooler than normal. So, it's a mild exaggeration on their part, but it is reminiscent of at least my first summer in Yellowstone in 1993 - we even have a chance of snow in Bozeman coming up before a warm up on the weekend.

    In other news, Montana just lost its brucellosis-free status due to a cow getting brucellosis in the Paradise Valley. For those of you who don't know, the Paradise Valley stretches south from Livingston to about 25 miles from Yellowstone. Buffalo aren't allowed in the Paradise Valley, and so they can't possibly be the cause - however, you will no doubt read a little about not being able to rule them out (as I just heard on the local news - which is absolutely ridiculous).

    In the various trip reports I read from tourists going to Yellowstone, they seem blissfully unaware of the situation - they have no idea what a horrible winter the bison had, mostly this year at the direct hands of the National Park Service.

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

  • GPS Unit Leads Couple Into Trouble Near Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   5 years 44 weeks ago

    I'm glad this story has a happy ending.

    Its also worth advising people to not just ask once about backcountry roads, but to get "second opinions" from multiple sources, and even then, still travel fully prepared and constantly observe your surroundings and exercise sound judgement as you observe the conditions around you.

    More than once, I've had a Ranger from one of the Federal land management agencies tell me that I would have "no problem" with a backcountry road, only to still find the experience quite tricky and difficult.

    Road conditions change often, and there is just no substitute for your own common sense.

  • Fallen Climber Rescued on Mount McKinley in Denali National Park   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Wow. I hope Mr. Ratte's health improves and he has a full recovery.

    I was just reading about an expedition which was stranded at the 17,200ft camp for four days. In order to reach safety they had to pass through Peters Glacier amid heavy cloud cover that made finding their way extremely difficult. Thankfully they too made it back to 14,200ft camp.

    Be safe.

  • GPS Unit Leads Couple Into Trouble Near Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Unfortunately, we will likely read more similar stories in the future. People are increasingly using GPS navigation technology. The technology is quite reliable, so it is easy for users to let their guard down. But an inevitable map error, combined with a driver who is not using her or his better judgement at the moment, may result in a traffic fine, traffic collision, and sometimes even much worse.

    The problem is not going to go away.

    Police urge motorists to use maps instead of GPS

  • GPS Unit Leads Couple Into Trouble Near Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Beyond civilization you have to think for your own. No navigation tools can do that for you. But with a GPS unit at least you know exactly where you are dying.

  • Creature Feature: Texas Banded Gecko   5 years 44 weeks ago

    This is a nifty-looking gecko. We have a bunch of them here in Hawaii (including IN my house), but none as patterned as this one.

  • A Sad Sign of the Times: NPS Promotes Body Armor Options To Rangers   5 years 44 weeks ago

    If anyone is still looking at this sight google the names Joe Kolodski, Kris Eggle, Steve Jarrell all are Rangers who were shot to death in National Parks in the last 10 years. Of course you may think well that is only three Rangers in 10 years, but couple that with the statistics on how many Rangers that have been assaulted and an agency that sees law enforcement as a necessary evil. The other sad part is that most criminal activity in National Parks is not reported directly to the public, there are no National Park police blotters in local papers, because the parks don't want the public to hear about all of the drugs, drunks, guns, and other criminal activity that goes on in the parks. The National Park Service morning Report only provides information on incidents that parks ask to be posted, many incidents across the country never get posted on the site.

    If you live near a park stop by and ask for the law enforcement statistics on gun violations, drug violations, DUI's, and use of force incidents where Rangers have had to use their guns, Tasers, or defensive equipment to make arrests. I am certain you will be suprised by the numbers that are provided to you. Oh yeah I have no problem with people carrying guns in parks if the regulation is changed and people with concealed weapons permits are allowed to carry. I know for a fact that we did not have enough rangers to properly protect the public in any National Park. Another question you might ask is how many law enforcement rangers are on duty in the park after midnight? The response will probably be none as most parks do not have the staff to operate a 24 hour law enforcement program and in most parks not even a 24 hours dispatch center.

    Don't blame the short staffed Rangers for doing their jobs and enforcing the current regulations. Also most criminal activity in parks goes on in overlooks, parking lots, and in cars going down the roadway and not out in the backcountry, just like the real world outside of the parks. Yes there is always the possibility of some crazy out in the woods, but most of the law enforcement problems occur on the roadways and overlooks.

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore Settlement Spawns Vandalism   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Better yet, they should bury them up to their necks on the beach and hope the birds nest in their hair.
    OK, seriously though, I can't believe these people (bar, motel, resort owners, fishermen) are protesting the protection of wildlife and natural resources, that make Cape Hatteras and the beaches a destination for tourists. Tourists which locals have been financially benefitting from for decades, but when they have to sacrifice something, they throw nature under the bus. Hypocrites, I will NEVER spend a penny on the local businesses because of this, and will spread the word about the ignorance of Cape Hatteras locals so that my friends won't either.
    P-

  • GPS Unit Leads Couple Into Trouble Near Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   5 years 44 weeks ago

    I have one of the earliest Motorola handhelds with the mounting unit for the roof of the Jeep Wrangler ($1,200 if that tells you how old it is) and even with topo maps find that GPS is good for getting into trouble or documenting where to send the coroner for people with no common sense. Have rescued two such individuals and one had shot his own foot off while hunting. Nothing to signal with and no first aid. His buddy just happened to find him and I carry LOTS of first aid gear and bolt cutters for wilderness gates. Mans life was saved because you don't go into dangerous areas depending on rental cars and gadgets. I did take the coordinates with my GPS since I was there! Engraved it on my Campmor S/S cup for another trail memory.

  • Wolf Killed Illegally Near Grand Teton National Park, $3,000 Reward Offered   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Anon--

    I love how tough you are.

    Rick Smith

  • GPS Unit Leads Couple Into Trouble Near Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   5 years 44 weeks ago

    I'm also glad that this story has a happy ending. But it is beyond my wildest imagination that people will venture FAR off the beaten path with NO preparation. Hopefully their near-disaster will be a valuable lesson to others!

  • Waterfall Along Dunloup Creek   5 years 44 weeks ago

    I only have two small words for comment.
    "SIMPLY BREATHTAKING"
    Sincerely,
    Paula Jean Tyler

  • GPS Unit Leads Couple Into Trouble Near Glen Canyon National Recreation Area   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Oh my goodness. While I am glad that this story had a happy ending, it really brings to light the need to not become totally dependent on technology.

    Years ago our GPS unit (one of the first on the market because I married a technology geek) told us that we could take Mosquito Pass, near Leadville, Colorado, as a real travel route for the average driver. Having climbed Mosquito Pass, which is a difficult 4 wheel drive road at best, in a fully equipped Jeep, we laughed and laughed at the GPS unit and thought that surely no one could mistake Mosquito Pass for a regular road and attempt it in anything but an off road equipped vechile with an experienced driver. Well... if someone would try the Smokey Mountain Road... I hate to think how many rental cars have died on Mosquito Pass.

    Don't blindly trust technology, it is only as knowledgable as it's programmer.

  • National Park Service Considering Commercial Developments for Alcatraz   5 years 44 weeks ago

    I can't believe that the folks who offered comments are familiar with the Management Guidelines for the NPS and the legislation that created Golden Gate NRA of which Alcatraz is a part. The National Landmark Statement of Significance says: "Begun as a military fortification and the site of the first US lighthouse on the Pacific Coast (1854), Alcatraz was the first offical Army prison in the Nation. In 1934, the facility was transferred to civilian authority and it became the repository for the most hardened criminals. Alcatraz represents the far end of the penological spectrum, designed for punishment and incarceration only, rather than rehabilitation. The prison was closed in 1963 and ten years later the island was opened to the public as the first unit of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area." Historic areas within the National Park System were not created to generate money for whatever reason. They were created to PRESERVE the historic resouces and EDUCATE the visitor of the value of the historic area.

  • National Park Service Considering Commercial Developments for Alcatraz   5 years 44 weeks ago

    I went to Alcatraz a couple of years ago. They could use a place to get a bite of lunch. As I recall, if you got hungry there were no places to eat. While some visitor's services like food and restrooms to make the visit pleasant and comfortable are necessary, overnight lodging though seems unnecessary.

  • National Park Quiz 5: Biggest This or That   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Bob (Krumenaker), have you read Nevada Barr's two books set at ISRO? If so, are you interested in writing or collaborating on a review of Winter Study for Traveler? I'd really love to get an insider's view.

  • How Can We Build Advocates for the National Parks?   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Most people don't advocate for anything at all.

    However, of the small minority that advocate for something, it seems that most people will advocate for those things which are closest to them. Very few people have a direct relationship with the national parks that isn't trumped by some other interest. Even if you are interested in national parks, more likely you will be - like me, interested in a particular region rather than the parks as a whole themselves.

    People understand taxes and guns - health and food and education. It's a lot easier to get people to mobilize around those things which they are familiar.

    If we think of why the national park system is what it is - lands and places set aside as exceptions to the rule, as places that are supposed to be preserved because left to our own devices, we probably would have destroyed them - the park has always been kind of abstract from the direct experience of most. It is a place someone must go to - a place that is not immediately there. It takes an extra step, an extra step that is required because we don't really know how to care for anything on our own.

    I'm not sure there is an easy answer to advocacy for the parks - not sure there should be such a thing, at least as it is being imagined here. I can imagine what it would be like to advocate for a park, for a place - much harder for me to grasp how to build meaningful support for a set of places. It's not that it's impossible - people advocate for their country, which is even more abstract than the park system (but even then, people don't have to go to their country; they are already there). How do you advocate for parks when we are disconnected from them? It suggests strongly to me that we cannot really advocate for parks unless we also see something in the park ideal that is missing and should be present in our own lives. That's why guns in the parks resonates as an issue - it touches home, whether it's people's liberty or people's sense of safety. That's no doubt why buffalo in Yellowstone or snowmobiles doesn't. Very few of us have truly been touched by that issue.

    Anyhow, there's a lot here to think about.

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

  • Wolf Killed Illegally Near Grand Teton National Park, $3,000 Reward Offered   5 years 44 weeks ago

    what about animals that are not beautiful ?
    why are people so attached to the Wolf ? It is just as much a vicious predator as any other in the wilderness.
    Is it because it looks so much like a beloved pet dog ?

    Be it a wolf, a bear, wolverine or what have you. If I perceive it to be a threat to my life, its goin down.

  • How Can We Build Advocates for the National Parks?   5 years 44 weeks ago

    Thanks for your comments Owen. I agree that Kurt does an outstanding job of demonstrating his love and concern for the Parks. The NPT is a daily read for me so that I can find out what's REALLY going on in the world. I join with you in saying, "Keep up the good work Kurt, and please don't get discouraged".

  • Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision   5 years 44 weeks ago

    What I believe to be *the* central problem with this issue is it's become a political football and so, as the scientists themselves admit, science is not the guiding light on this matter.

    As for whether it can be demonstrated that snowmobiles are impairing the park for future generations, as opposed to simply impacting it today, good point. But the science certainly is clear on the impacts that currently are occurring.

    Regarding impacts of snowmobiles vs those of summer auto traffic, I believe the current research has proved that snowmobile traffic, at its current level, far exceeds in emissions what the summer traffic does.

    I also think it's accepted and understood that parks are to be enjoyed, and so no one is about to talk about banning all traffic from Yellowstone. Rather, the idea is to minimize as much as possible the impacts from existing traffic. In the case of winter use, that can be done by phasing out recreational snowmobile access in favor of snowcoach traffic, which has fewer impacts.

    There also are options for reducing summer traffic loads -- namely public transportation in some form -- but the political gumption currently appears to be lacking for such a move.