Recent comments

  • Mud Snares 19-Year-Old At Cuyahoga Valley National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    I'll give ya a first hand tabloid style report here in few weeks.
    (If I make it out of Yosemite alive!)

  • Mud Snares 19-Year-Old At Cuyahoga Valley National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Yup, if it weren't for visitors getting into one sort of trouble or another in the parks we'd have nothing to write about. If you were really interested in helping us, Random Walker, you'd quit pounding your keyboard and go get zapped, fried, toasted, flattened, bitten, submerged, trapped, or stranded.

  • Mud Snares 19-Year-Old At Cuyahoga Valley National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Mud Snares 19-Year-Old!
    Lightning Strike Injures Four Appalachian Trail Hikers!
    Search Suspended for Missing Climber on Mount McKinley!
    Zion National Park Officials Close Middle Echo Canyon!
    Body of Penn State Student Recovered from Stream!
    Dead Carp at Lake Mohave!
    Hiker Dies at Death Valley National Park!
    Tips for Staying Alive in National Parks!

    Wow, this place is getting better than scanning the tabloids at the supermarket checkout counter!


  • Are Blue Ridge Parkway's Historic Guardrails At Risk?   5 years 39 weeks ago

    I was shocked to see how many miles of fragile high and rare ecosystems had been destroyed by the building of the Parkway. I think the prudent move would be to remove all the guardrails and then removing the pavement and beginning the daunting task of rehabilitating the road cuts and parking lots.

  • National Park Quiz 56: Memorials   5 years 39 weeks ago

    That was a very interesting quiz, even though I didn't know any of the answers...:D.

  • New Gun Regulations for National Parks, Wildlife Refuges Won't Take Effect for Nine Months   5 years 39 weeks ago

    The second amendment gives me the right to carry a gun. I have a ccw permit and do not understand why the people in DC think they can overide the Consistution.
    The only people who want citizens are criminals, anti gun nuts and polititions.
    If the criminals think I may be armed then they will leave me alone.
    Why doesn't NPS list all crimes comitted in the parks and brake them down by type and force used?

  • Tricky Conditions Lead Zion National Park Officials to Temporary Close Middle Echo Canyon to Visitors   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Good information and good call by the superintendent.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 39 weeks ago

    I have read all the comments and I will state that I do not bike trails. I am have hiked and I am a horseback rider. I have not ridden NPS on horseback since it takes too much time to get there. Plus horses do tremendous damage to trails. In order to ride rough land we have to the horse shod on all 4 hooves and that means 4 steel shoes.

    However as a person who was active in creation of the Wilderness Areas and upkeep of the AT and trail network I will say that the big trail networks were a result of people who enjoyed that activity.

    Mountain biking is a new activity and like hikers they want access to the trails. It seems the PCT is ideal trail and if bike trails end on it is inevitable that bike will use it to get from one trail to another.

    From an equestrian point of view I do not like bikes or hikers on the trails, there is a big chance of injury to either. I have run into kids on country trails who thought it fun to ride after horses, They did not find it fun when I turn around and road after them. But idiots aside, many riders also ride at speed and there is possibility of danger to others on the trail. Hikers sometimes act foolishly and horses spooked, can kick, Bikers are moving fast also can run into people and spook horses. I do not want to be responsible for a biker getting injured I will pull all the way off any trail when I run into other users. Horses get restless and can hurt others. Of course, I can also get thrown, but I took that risk when I mounted my horse. However my wishes do not dictate the use of trails by other people.

    My point is that if there is a large group that want access to the NPS lands they will lobby for changes in trail designation and get trails built for them. The NPS is designed for recreation and use so visitors can enjoy the beauty either in a car, from horseback, rafting, canoeing, climbing or hiking. Accommodating to bikers is just another group to use the parks.

    I disagree that NPS is solely to be enjoyed as Kurt indicates. There has been a lot of push to accommodate the disabled and I agree with that. But that involves more development. Thankfully the NPS are large and can accommodate the visitor that wants peace and quite and the person who will roll down a paved trail in their wheelchair. There are a variety of NP’s that are more primitive and some that are more developed to accommodate different users.

    Bikers will get more clout and get more access and as bikers get older they will slow down and impress greater responsibility on newer bikers. That is the way any new sport happens, an upsurge and then it slows down.

    Bikes were not in the picture when the PCT was designated but any new cross-country trail will have to deal with multiuse.

    Foe those who want to expand trails in this country I suggest you ally with bikers, as they have been very successful in getting new trail development. Rather than users of trails fight over their slice of the pie, figure how to get the pie bigger and work with each other than fight

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 39 weeks ago

    The NPS had a regulation restricting carry in violation of the 2nd amendment. They were active in trying to avoid the change in regulations and they are now delaying implementation for 9 months. So yes, I believe that most of the NPS believes they have sovereign rights to create their own regulations and it did not matter that it violated the consitution. They are part of DOI under the executive branch and have to abide by Constitution restrictions like all other agencies. Once Heller was decided in the affirmnative all agencies should have started thinking about the consequences of regulations that restrict the 2A. NPS regulations have been under review because of the problems that CCW holders had in crossing NPS roads and territory oy commutterspn their way to work. Since more people are exercisingtheir 2A rights, any regulation that contravenes that right should be rethought. NPS has been reluctant to instigate the change, thinking they were special. NPS lands are special but the regulations are not There is no reason to restrict the rights of American within NPS lands and that includes carry of handguns.

    All the arguemnents have been red herrings. Poaching, vandalism, rckles shooting are all still prohibited.
    Now residents will have the right retored to carry in the backcountry or carry concealed if they have a permit.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 39 weeks ago

    A lot people just don't get it. There's no excpetion to gun rights in the 2nd Amendment. It doesn't say "you an own or carry a gun everywhere except on NPS land." You left-wing nuts think you can ignore the law whenever it suits your fancy. Newsflash: these wild lands were tamed and explored by people with guns. Guns are what kept (and still keep) people from getting killed from wild animals and criminals. Amount of crime in parks, etc is all a red herring. This about the law and NPS rules violated the law. If you think you are Jet Li or some sort of wizard and can defend yourself from grizzlies and killers with a twig, have at it. The rest of will return to common sense, which is the law of the land.

  • Backcountry Repairs, Cleanup Scheduled For Mammoth Cave National Park   5 years 39 weeks ago

    We just got back from Mammoth Cave and while we saw trees down, it wasn't as bad as we expected with the photos we had seen. No trails we hiked on were closed or rerouted...though we didn't get much into the backcountry. Good to see that they are able to not only clean up after the storms but to add new features.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Firstly, on the bike, try a 29er at least. I love mine. Secondly, at least the part of the PCT that I use (through the Lakes Basin Area) would be great for Mountain Biking but not the Downiville type downhill ride. I am drawn to riding this section because it looks like a beatifull and challenging ride, not a thrilling decent. I don't ride it becuase it's illegal and poaching trails doesn't help anyone. But isn't there a way to share the trail? It seems like we are so caught up in arguing that nobody has any creative solutions. I don't think alternating days would work becasue it's used for multiple day treks. (I'll also add that doing a multiple day bike ride on the PCT would be epic if it were legal) What about a permit system to limit the number of bikes at any given time? Find a way to prohibit shuttle runs of the PCT. This would act as a cardio vascular regulator for trail use. If you can't climb it, you can't go down it. This will limit trail use. Maybe require everone to put a bear bell on their bike so hikers can hear bikers coming. Much as I hate creating new rules, this is the basic issue of sharing. We're not children we can figure this out.

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   5 years 39 weeks ago

    I most definitely would let my 12 year old do it!

    "...adventure without regard to prudence, profit, self-improvement,
    learning or any other serious thing" -Aldo Leopold-

  • Dead Carp at Lake Mohave Make This Memorial Day Memorable for Wrong Reason   5 years 39 weeks ago

    We camped at the lake since the 19th and pick up about a half docen dead fish from my spot along the lake, more than unpleasant it was a sad thing to see.

  • New Life for a Lighthouse at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore   5 years 39 weeks ago

    This is Wonderful News! I am SO happy to see that a lighthouse will be re-lit. I don't think I will be able to make it to the re-lighting, but I am planning on makign a visit to that lighthouse someday.

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   5 years 39 weeks ago

    I just completed this hike two days ago. It was strenuous and I am in good shape. One must use common sense in taking a hike like this.

    To put this hike in perspective and provide a sense of the hight involved here, ...the elevation from the base of Virgin River to the top of AL is equal to the height of what once was our Twin Towers. This is a fact. Invision hiking 2.5 miles laterally then compund that with an elevation rise equal to that of the World Trade Center. Get the picture now, LOL. This is not Disney folks.

    Would you let your 12 year old do this? Think before you act upon the hike. I saw people doing it in sneakers & flip flops, with gallon jugs of water strung to their cutoff jeans. Insane!

  • Mules In Grand Canyon National Park: Should They Stay?   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Mule riders are exactly as much of a "special interest group" as hikers: the last time I was at Grand Canyon I couldn't have afforded a mule trip (however, I was under 200 lbs). I don't think that I as a hiker should have to be a second-class visitor, _frequently_ leaving the trail to make way for mule trains and walking through their excrement. [A couple of meetings with mule trains and dung I can step around seem reasonable to me.] I think that both kinds of visitors should be accommodated, and that the planning process must account for increasing usage for both.

    I highly doubt that NPS will eliminate all of the mules: if total elimination of mules is an option listed in the EA it will be there for completeness, to show that they considered all alternatives and rejected some (a straw horse?). To quote from the superintendent's letter: "The presence and use of mules in and around the canyon is a longstanding tradition and one that the park would like to continue." Everyone please submit your comments to the website: they will help justify rejecting the no mules "alternative"!

    The options seriously considered will be how many mules per day on how many & which trails. I hope that the answer will not be the opposite extreme of "as many mules as possible on all trails every day", benefiting the concessionaire and riders at the expense of hikers and the resources, and making it like a ride at Disneyland or a walk in Cades Cove in the springtime (or time at the top on the south rim for that matter). At the same time I would like to see something that increases rather than decreases the capacity for both hiking and mule trips, so that trips down the canyon don't become a lottery or multi-decade waiting list like the river trips are.

    I don't like having to give way repeatedly to oncoming mule trains. My preference would be either a posted schedule alternating days or weeks of mules / no mules on all of the major trails (staggered so that on any given day mules are allowed on some trails but not on others), which lets mule riders use every historic trail, or designated mule trails and hiking trails, where the mule trails can be built a bit sturdier (they're in the process of rebuilding some of the trails now after 70 years of wear & tear). Either permanently designated mule trails or weekly rotation could allow for requiring the concessionaire to remove the dung from trails or sensitive parts of trails if nutrients are a problem, or if the hiking experience is to be improved.

    Those options alone don't increase capacity. If designated mule trails (fixed or rotating) or sections of trails could be made one-way for each day or half-day, more mule trains might be accommodated without head-on meeting of trains, thus fewer delays and a less-crowded experience for riders, and the ability for some hikers to tuck in between mule trains. [Making all trails shared but one-way on any given day or half day would work for me, as my net speed out of the canyon is about that of mules, so I wouldn't pass or be passed by mules, but runners are much faster and others are slower.]

    If you have better suggestions, please submit them to the park planning website.

  • Mules In Grand Canyon National Park: Should They Stay?   5 years 39 weeks ago

    I agree with John's reply. The mules are a part of the history of Grand Canyon and should stay. The National Parks are for all of us to enjoy, there are visitors that are unable to hike into the canyon for various reasons, they should not be denied the only way at this time to enjoy this remarkable natural wonder. The many should not be penalized because of the few who are unhappy.
    Thank you,

  • Remember, No Mardis Gras Beads or Dry Ice While Floating at Niobrara National Scenic River   5 years 39 weeks ago

    At least they aren't trying to ban beer bongs and jello shots like they've done in Texas.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 39 weeks ago

    RAH, just to set the record straight, the NPS has not acted like a "sovereign entity" on this issue. It does what Congress or the administration tells it to do.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 39 weeks ago

    Frank, I knew you wouldn't disappoint me. So let me walk you through my thinking.

    My comment regarding the difficulty in fully assessing crime in the parks: The figures Mr. Kane cites are simply numbers in broad categories. They're not broken down enough to fully understand what sort of crimes were being reported, or even where they were committed.

    My comment on the low overall crime rate: Using the document for 1996 that Mr. Kane himself provided, it's clear that crime in the parks is very low no matter what approach you take. When you realize that some of the murders stemmed from crimes committed outside national parks, those numbers go lower.

    One of the problems with this entire debate, and there are many I'm sure you'd agree, is that people cherry-pick data (some intentionally, some unintentionally) to support their arguments. For instance:

    * For those who contend that the latest on guns in the parks stems from an overwhelming majority of Americans who wanted this ruling, data from this site show that no state with a "shall issue CCW" law has a double-digit percentage of its residents holding such a permit. That could be interpreted as meaning that a majority of Americans don't support CCW, no?

    * For those who claim CCW permit holders are more law-abiding than most everyone else, there was a study in California in the early 2000s that "suggests that a shall-issue policy for CCW permits may result in higher rates of violent crime among permit holders..." (Selective trimming of that sentence would delete this telling conclusion: "but the results do not reach statistical significance; larger studies are needed.")

    Does anyone know if such larger studies have been performed?

    Suffice to say, this debate, discussion, or argument, however you want to term it, will continue.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 39 weeks ago

    This arguement is over. Gun carry is to be allowed. NPS is not a separate sovereign agency that can make it owns rules contravening the Constitution.

    Now the issue on reporting is a side issue and should be done if only to allocate resources to the NP. Rangers in some parks I have heard are in danger and should get more resources. A ranger is a person that has multiple responsiilties snd should not have to take on the armed soldier hat too often.
    I hope with experience that many here who advocated the restriction of gun carry will change their mind as may have about CCW in the states. Now it is up to us who advocated gun carry to push our fellow lawfully armed citizens to be responsible and be extra careful. The last thing we want to prove the fear of that lawfully carry increases danger in the parks.

    Noe NPS has 9 months to figure out how to manage carry issues. Some places like Washington state courts have storage for gun carry when entering the court. If they would provide that and it would be secure from theft then many would be glad to hand over their firearm when in the museum or the facility. These are the practical issues that come up and need to thought out.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 39 weeks ago

    "'s difficult to get an accurate picture of crime in the national parks."

    "...these numbers show how very, very low the crime rate in the National Park System is."

    First you state it's difficult to get an actual picture of crime but then go on to say the crime rate is low. Which is it?

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 39 weeks ago

    There's definitely a lot of material here to sort through and digest.

    That said, and without having scoured it all, just a quick note that your statistics in graph six are a tad out of context. For instance, while you noted that the USPP reported more than 11,000 criminal acts with 3,500 arrests, you failed to complete the sentence from the report, which added that those numbers were compiled from "crimes committed on park lands and adjacent areas and captured 281 fugitives and wanted persons. (my emphasis).

    As you undoubtedly know, the USPP is called upon quite frequently to matters outside the National Park System, and it'd be good to know how many of those incidents went toward the 11,000 crimes and 3,500 arrests.

    Also, in pointing out that park rangers reported more than 74,000 offenses with 20,000 arrests in 1996, you dropped the following sentence that noted that of those totals, 4,400 were felonies, "including 15 murders and 158 aggravated assaults."

    Without further detail into those 74,000 offenses or 20,000 arrests, it's difficult to get an accurate picture of crime in the national parks. How many arrests were for speeding? How many for disorderly conduct? How many were in urban settings, such as Golden Gate NRA or Gateway NRA or the National Mall? How many murders were committed outside a national park, but the bodies were dumped in a national park and so were recorded as a murder that occurred in a park?

    Nevertheless, I'm sure everyone would agree that even one murder, whether committed in a national park or in downtown NYC, is too many (ditto with the aggravated assaults). But against the 265.7 million visitors the national parks counted in 1996, these numbers show how very, very low the crime rate in the National Park System is.

  • Woman Dies in Fall From Angel's Landing   5 years 39 weeks ago

    We just got back from a Memorial Day vacation in Zion. The highlight of the trip was trying to hike Angel's Landing. We are both experienced hikers, and got up early and made the hike up there.

    People call Scout Lookout all sorts of names like Chicken point, etc ... but I am not sure that is true ... After climbing the first set of chains you get to another little plateau ... from which there is a 100 foot "connector" that gets you to the next big climb ... that 100' stretch is where you are looking down a +1000' cliff ... and if you look down Vertigo kicks in and you really chicken out!

    Anyway, thats what happened to us ... we chickened out at the second little plateau. We sat there and watched hundreds of people go up and down ... including two people with infants strapped to their backs ... which is my big complaint ... its one thing to risk your own life ... its another to risk your child's life over a thrill.

    We thought we would get up there early and beat the crowds ... but so did everyone. If I had a second complaint it would be that there were too many people up there for the type of trail. There was a lot of waiting to get around people with death grips on the chain ... which takes your focus off of what you are doing ... and you need to remain focused up there.

    We'll go back and try it again ... but not during a holiday weekend ... maybe mid week when there are no crowds