Recent comments

  • Free Weekends AND Free Tours At Mammoth Cave National Park   5 years 43 weeks ago

    If you click on the highlighted park name it takes you directly to the park's website, which tells you right up top where the park is located.

  • Free Weekends AND Free Tours At Mammoth Cave National Park   5 years 43 weeks ago

    While it was an interesting article, no where did you mention where Mammoth Cave National Park is! I had to go to a search engine for help...did you just figure that all readers are from East of the Mississippi?

  • If You Have to Ask the Price, The Ahwahnee And Jenny Lake Lodge Are Probably Out of Reach   5 years 43 weeks ago

    You get what you pay for. If I want to stay in a clean, beautiful, classy place with excellent amenities, I will fork over the money for it--even if it means saving up for months in advance.

    In order for a place to be truly clean, good maid service is needed, and good maid service costs money. In order for a place to be classy, people who can and will deliver good service will need to be employed, and they will cost money. Nice linens cost money. Good food means high quality chefs. Beautiful grounds mean expensive gardeners and landscapers. Well-maintained buildings mean paying for their upkeep.

    It's nice that there are choices.

  • Toddler Dies After Drinking Citronella Oil at Chickasaw National Recreation Area Campsite   5 years 43 weeks ago

    This person is a liar. No alcohol is permitted at the park and none was at this small child's party.
    [Ed: Alcohol is permitted in the campground area at Chickasaw.]

  • Survey Says National Park Service Is Far from the Best Government Agency to Work For   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Probably the worst thing about the NPS is the way our leadership just moves people around instead of disciplining them or firing them when they need to be. Heaven forbid someone took the time to manage people instead of working on a "business model", whatever that means. Since when was preservation of our natural resources a "business" anyway? We all need to be grateful and accountable to Congress and taxpayers but let's not try to emulate the private sector because I think we can all see how well that works! Finally, while the parks and the people who visit them are valuable beyond words, trying to pile on more and more expectations with less and less bodies is crushing us all. Someone throw me a life ring....

  • NPS Snowmobile Plan for Yellowstone, Grand Teton Bucks Science, the Public, and Itself   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Kath, you are so right. I was just on the parkway this week(June 25, 2009) and the motorcycles out number the cars. That could be because the bikes are running everyone else out. Anyway, my wife and I like to go on the parkway about mid-June every year to see the flowering bushes(azalea, rhododendrum). We like to rent a convertible and ride the parkway-one of the most beautiful places on earth. BUT, the motorcycles are out of control thundering through the hills and in your ears. It crazy. Isn't the parkway suppose to be a place to get away from it all? Guess not and the NPS seems to be doing nothing about. The Goldwings and BMW's are fine, but the Harleys are the problem. What can we do??????????

  • Secretary Salazar Wants Everglades National Park to Return to Endangered List   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Sorry about that culture vs. natural error MRC. I don't want to be politically incorrect here but on the natural note possibly the UN and UNESCO recognized the commitment of the American people through our elected representatives to spend $20,000,000,000 yes $20 Billion dollars that we don't have currently to enhance Everglades National Park's habitat as their justification for removing ENP from their Endangered list. America has actually encumbered quite a few of its future generations with the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan's debt. We American's have gone the extra mile in my opinion and deserve the recognition provided by ENP's removal from the list. As far as my previous comment about Big Cypress National Preserve's staff lacking a cultural specialist I will add that in the last few years under new and exceptionally professional management I've personally witnessed an improvement regarding planning sensitivities to ethnographically associated peoples. That is a good thing. I will just add that I appreciate the National Park Traveler for providing this very interesting forum.

  • Going-to-the-Sun Road Open End-to-End in Glacier National Park   5 years 43 weeks ago

    This has to be one of the most spectacular drives in America. Amazing amount of traffic however especially with the constuction...on the positive side however it forces people to slow down and allows you to take it all in.

  • Creature Feature: To Save the Mission Blue Butterfly, You Have to Save the Lupine   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Ben: Summary MBB information, including references to the Skyline ridges MBB populations, can be found at the website of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. I have not personally confirmed the presence of MBBs at the sites they reference, but I do consider the information source reputable.

  • Creature Feature: To Save the Mission Blue Butterfly, You Have to Save the Lupine   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I am not sure where the skyline ridge population you referred to is. Nor am I aware of any populations on OSD lands. Please contact me if you can confirm the presence of MBBs at this location.

    Thank you,

    Ben

  • A Tough Week for Hikers and Mule Riders at Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 43 weeks ago

    No, and I haven't heard if the woman died. I heard she pulled the mule over after it stumbled. Anyone know anything?

  • Celebrate Wildflowers at Cedar Breaks National Monument   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Cedar Breaks is one of those treasures often overlooked by people making the Zion - Bryce - North Rim of the Grand Canyon loop.

    It's worth a visit - and deserves more than just an hour "passing through."

  • Celebrate Wildflowers at Cedar Breaks National Monument   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Beautiful! I have visited Cedar Breaks twice via bicycle. It is truly a natural treasure. The wildflowers were pretty much history when I was there in the fall. It snowed on me both times as I rode over the crest and headed down to Panguich.

  • Traveler Tech Update: IE8 and Latest Performance   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Ummm, what problems are those? I run the latest FF and haven't noticed any problems.

  • Traveler Tech Update: IE8 and Latest Performance   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Are you also going to fix the display problems with Firefox?

  • Inspiring Service in the National Parks   5 years 43 weeks ago

    This is an excellent idea, to solve the parks' funding shortfalls with volunteer work. I think it's especially important that parks be accessible to the public as our environmental challenges grow, because the parks' beauty causes people to connect with and care about nature. This caring can yield more volunteers, and more people working to solve environmental issues overall.

  • Survey Says National Park Service Is Far from the Best Government Agency to Work For   5 years 43 weeks ago

    ask the ticket takers at the badlands national park?i worked at mt rushmore in 1997,and yes the perm. employees think their s--t dosent stink..i agree with the above statement..

  • Secretary Salazar Wants Everglades National Park to Return to Endangered List   5 years 43 weeks ago

    There are World Cultural Heritage Sites and World Natural Heritage Sites. The Everglades are part of the World Natural Heritage and recognized as such by the UNESCO along with Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Wrangell-St. Elias and Glacier Bay, Redwood NP, Mammoth Cave, Olympic NP, GSM NP, Yosemite, Hawaii Volcanoes NP, Carlsbad Caverns and Glacier NP. The World Cultural Heritage Sites in the US are: Mesa Verde, Independence Hall, Cahokia, La Fortaleza and San Juan in Puerto Rico, Statue of Liberty, Monticello and the Universität of Virginia, Chaco Culture NHP and Taos Pueblo.

  • Secretary Salazar Wants Everglades National Park to Return to Endangered List   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Everglades National Park (ENP) summarily evicted the cultural communities associated with it when it was established many years ago (Native Americans-Gladesmen). The Big Cypress National Preserve right next to ENP has never even had a cultural resource person on staff. Why would anyone support ENP or any US National Park as a heritage site? Why the Secretary of Interior would support any place managed by NPS as a heritage site is beyond me. Whenever a National Park has been set up in America the first thing they plan is the removal and destruction of local cultures formally associated with the Park in question in order to make way for the NPS newly invented history and interpretation (propoganda). One wouldn't think NPS doesn't even know there is Directors Order 28 mandating them to protect ethnographic/ cultural communities. The largest benefit so far to come with Everglades Restoration in print is that an additional 2 feet of water will be STORED there in the future. That will be controlled with pumps that I don't believe are too NATURAL.
    Mr. Salazar is obviously a political appointee with little if any environmental or cultural professional training in his background.

  • Survey Says National Park Service Is Far from the Best Government Agency to Work For   5 years 43 weeks ago

    For me it was the lack of merit based advancement and too much emphasis on self-promotion and ladder climbing careerism that led me out the door. It was not possible to be a motivated and talented employee and then be advanced according to your talents and capacities. You had to sit and wait for the slugs in front of you that were content to polish a chair with their butts. I remember one chief ranger telling me that I had a good chance for a job once the guy in the current job retired. He said, "he's a short timer with only about six more years till he retires." Oh that's all huh?

    Not an organization that rewards the go getters of this world. For many of the less talented it IS a nice place to wait out the time in tranquil anticipation of a generous retirement package.

    For a humorous look at life in the rank & file my story blog on the NPS might bring a smile to those of you who have slogged through the musty halls of this myopic bureaucracy: www.parkcircus.blogspot.com

  • Survey Says National Park Service Is Far from the Best Government Agency to Work For   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I have only come across 1 individual who had a problem with her job, and she was in fact a fee booth employee at Cape Hatteras Light house. But as far as the 2 Grand Canyon fee booth employees, they may just have been referring to working in the Grand Canyon in any capacity as their dream job. I have visited many NP sites over the past 20 years and I have always found the rangers in all areas to appear to love what they are doing, but I am sure this survey is not wrong either. I just hope that things improve for everyone.

  • Softness Continues To Be the Story Across National Park Lodging   5 years 43 weeks ago

    The U.S. has passed a historic inflection point. It is unlikely that the days of cheap and easy travel, along with the intensely consumptive lifestyle of the past few decades, will return any time soon - if at all. Rather than trying to resuscitate an economic model that is unsustainable and wasting precious resources and time, it would more productive to begin the process of moving into a less consumptive and more sustainable system.

  • Survey Says National Park Service Is Far from the Best Government Agency to Work For   5 years 43 weeks ago

    The NPS has been in serious decline, some of it almost a free-fall, since its reorganization in 1995. That means almost fourteen years of erosion that will take some years to stop followed by several years of recovery. The good news is that I think the recovery may be underway, but I'm not sure how long it can be sustained. The economy, already large and increasing entitlements in the federal budget, and the potential for another reorganization or consolidation all threaten the Service. That doesn't mean we can't find bright spots. If there is much satisfaction out there, I would expect to find it in the parks where the idea of being "paid in sunsets," especially in the crown jewel parks and the West, is still very much alive. The reality is that the NPS is now much more than the lean, male ranger riding off into the Sierra alpenglow. Fewer and fewer employees get to work the so-called "dream" jobs. That "old" NPS eroded with the increasing crush of specialization, regulation and compliance that affected the organization dating from the late '60s, and with the Yosemite riot in 1970 that forced the Service to reexamine the park ranger concept.

    Also, we should remember that all of what I mentioned above occurred at a time when the Service was marginally funded at the field level and undergoing rapid national expansion, both physical and ideological. It wasn't until the mid-'90s that we got several park rangers off food stamps by paying them a living wage. Then the Service proceeded to repair itself even though it wasn't broken. Several regional offices and centers paid dearly and several folks have the scars - and settlements - to prove it.

    Today, the NPS has to own up to the fact, then convince Congress, that it is grossly overextended in terms of mission and facilities. Its central office experts often work at least one or two pay grades below their counterparts in other federal agencies. That needs to change in order to compete for expert employees. Its interpretive mission is now viewed through a politically correct, multicultural lens where moral equivalency sets a stage for visitors to reach their own conclusions. And, hopefully, narcissism and a host of non-merit factors no longer determine selections as they once did until recently in at least one regional office.

    Indeed, repairing and restoring the NPS into even a mediocre place to work will be a serious challenge. I, for one, am glad that I'm out of it. I really love the park idea and am proud of my contributions to the mission over a long career. The NPS was a calling to me; however, it is no longer the noble organization I knew and loved and I have directed my children to avoid it as a career. Instead, I have encouraged them to follow the money, then volunteer because those folks really are the ones with the "dream" jobs.

  • Survey Says National Park Service Is Far from the Best Government Agency to Work For   5 years 43 weeks ago

    We rangers love our jobs - the actual job part and we won't tell a visitor we hate it (even if we did). The hard part is that mgmt doesn't care about seasonals, treats us like we are worthless and half the time won't bother to learn our names. Most of us aren't valued from within. As this story suggests, if my supervisor actually showed interest in me and my duties that would help a ton. Living conditions are poor at best and there is no training, incentives, or even opportunities to move up and stay with the agency. It's practically impossible to have a family and be in the service anymore.

    I have been with the NPS for almost 10 years and I have seen many great rangers move on because of these reasons. We are filling positions with retired folks and vets - people that have had horrible jobs in the private sector - of course they love the NPS. They see it as a vacation, not a career. They don't have families and bills to worry about. I believe deeply in the mission and have struggled with all my heart and passion over the years to see it through. I have tried endlessly to get a perm job only to have nepotism, vet status and the glorious SKEP program move people ahead of me. You wonder why morale is low amonst the core career people....

  • Survey Says National Park Service Is Far from the Best Government Agency to Work For   5 years 43 weeks ago

    ...how seasonals are treated...yada, yada, yada...