Recent comments

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Brad, Russia and Mexico are both countries that limit possession so severely that "normal" citizens are really not allowed to own them (much less carry concealed). Yet the murder rate for both of those countries is much higher that that of the US. Almost no Russian civilians own firearms, but the number of homicides is three to four times as high as in the US. The number of homicides in Mexico also seems to hang around 13-14/100K (5-6/100K in the US). If our neighbor to the north limits firearms and has a lower murder rate, what does that tell us about our neighbor to the south? Perhaps the answer is more beer, less guns, eh? Unfortunately I think that if people will continue to kill each other regardless of the tools that are available - if you take one away they'll find another.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Frank - you indicated that you were puzzled why you didn't hear more stories about people legitimately using their firearms to defend themselves. Yet, when you were pointed to a reference for those stories you discount it. The stories that are cited all have references to reputable news organizations - it should not matter whether the site that accumulates those references is "pro gun" or "anti gun". I submit to you that everything is just a statistic until it happens to you.

  • Coal-Fired Plants Obscuring National Park Vistas   5 years 47 weeks ago

    I'm really getting tired of Liberals blaming the current doofus administration for all of the nation's energy woes when all past administrations dating back to the 50's are just a culpable, and when the real evidence suggests that this lame-brained nation has been comfortable and content with utilization of oil for decades. Dating back to the energy crisis that was the mid-70's, the national response was automobile fuel economy suggestions rather than alternative energy, our first mistake. Additionally, utility charters that guarantee profits structured as incentives for consumer investing in utility stock as a means of supporting the economy is the second fallacy. The lack of incentives, or mandates for utilities to progress beyond 19th Century technology is by far a larger contributor to our current situation than political "lame duck excuses". Our National Experimental Energy Laboratory has for years not only sought but delivered viable solutions to increased efficiency in solar and geothermal energy; reference the "3 month" Mars landers that with nothing to supplement their solar batteries have been fully functional for almost 3 years. Solar nay-sayers are quick to point out the inefficient methods of "bringing the power to the grid", which by the way was never the intention of solar energy sources, so of course at this moment, they claim victory over such alternatives and continue to tout the benefits of coal and oil. As I said, 19th Century Neanderthals. The truth is that the original design of solar cells was based around capture of a single high-energy wavelength of light, ignoring the fact that the spectra surrounding this wavelength were fully capable of yielding a highly efficient energy source as well. By placing additional layers of reactive materials in conjunction with the current film, solar cells have a greater potential than we ever dreamed possible with our initial research. True, this increases the cost of the panels, by not exponentially, as our current special interest groups inaccurately claim. Leaving our doors open to the spiral that is OPEC and complaining that you can't meet clean air standard set decades ago simply because "it's too expensive" is your idea of environmentally responsible and cost-effective management of our power grid? Gimme a break........

    The only hard evidence is that no single solution, INCLUDING additional coal-fired generation, is the sole answer to our current energy situation. But just when does the energy lobby feel the "time is right" to institute supplemental and eventual replacement of the power sources? That answer simply children, is when they have cornered the market and can maintain total control of our checkbooks. I suggest not only replacing the power source to the grid, but those who are responsible as well. They are the ones who have actually proven their incompetence and inefficiency by continually working with the pols to block changes to our system before the initial research can be funded and completed.

  • Coal-Fired Plants Obscuring National Park Vistas   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Unfortunately, not all coal-fired power plants emit nothing more than water vapor and CO2. Among the contaminants still released by many are mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides, not too mention particulate matter.

    While there are efforts under way to develop better emissions control systems, and cleaner power plants overall, we're not there yet. That's why current negotiations on climate change legislation involve "cap and trade" proposals.

    That said, there is no silver bullet in our energy future. Renewables -- solar, wind, geothermal, biomass -- are promising, but by themselves cannot meet our energy needs in a cost-effective manner under current technologies. Coal, because of its plentiful resources, will continue to be a player. Hopefully, clean coal technologies will enable that energy sector to contribute in both a cost-effective and low impact manner. Easing air quality standards, however, is not a reasonable or forward-thinking solution.

  • Coal-Fired Plants Obscuring National Park Vistas   5 years 47 weeks ago

    For years we have had some of the greatest minds exploring all avenues of green energy and alternative energy resources outside of Big Coal and Big Oil. It's a known fact, the government (especially with this present administration) has not injected much needed money into these programs or projects for research and development...just on a small token bases. With the Bush & Cheney regime, they have deliberately forestalled any such programs to miniscule level of less importance. Since the Bush & Cheney administration stepped into public office from day one, it's been all about Big Oil and Big Coal (plus the lucrative offers to major utility companies). All major campaign contributors to there corrupt shenanigans. It's understandable why Bush & Cheney sat for years doing nothing about global warming and just padding us with lame duck excuses that we needed more research. Anonymous, most of the "smoke" appears to be coming from Bush's mouth while running out the clock and really to do nothing about global warming...but sit.

  • Coal-Fired Plants Obscuring National Park Vistas   5 years 47 weeks ago

    The "smoke" you see emanating from the stacks of coal fired power plants is carbon dioxide and water vapor. NOx, SUx, and particulate is eliminated by equipment specifically designed to do so, and these hazards are NOT released into the atmosphere. Go to the plants....ask for the data. They have to keep it public record, and the record originates from a 3rd party testing company. Until the government puts regulations on CO2 and water drying, most plants won't comply unless required. The cost is great. Electricity, if you haven't noticed, is expensive enough.

    Green groups don't understand or are unwilling to understand the economics. Their message gets to the media first, because industry can't afford to support a full time public relations blitz.

    In addition, the "truth" is that all the renewable energy we could utilize today is not economically viable. Hopefully, in the future we can rely on this energy when the technology and the economy can produce the power this country requires. Until then, we will have to rely on the dirty beast that is coal fired power.

  • Book Review: Let's Go See:All 50! -- Visiting the 50 States Journal   5 years 47 weeks ago

    um yeah, now I found the note at the end... I really am a little slow in the morning. Thanks!

  • Book Review: Let's Go See:All 50! -- Visiting the 50 States Journal   5 years 47 weeks ago

    I would love to get this for my husband for father's day - but where? I did a search online this morning and came up with nothing other than a few announcements about it. Do you know where I can purchase one? Is it just too soon? Thank you, Dorothy

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   5 years 48 weeks ago

    This shouldn't be an issue. The 2nd Amendment doesn't make any exceptions to the right to self-defense, including on national parks. The gun restrictions are illeagal to begin with and need repealed or challenged in court. Do you realy want to do the stupid thing and play dead with a grizzly or fight back? You anti-gun folks are just clueless about nature and the real world.

  • Explosives, Possibly Dating to 1930s, Found in Sequoia National Park's Crystal Cave--Updated   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Once again our government has thought up a way to spend a lot of money to solve a very simple problem. Today you can run a fiber optic scope down the hole and see what is in there. Back in the Vietnam era we just blew it up! Still the simple solution for Master Blaster. How many educational degrees does it take to figure that one out? That hole was blasted there in the first place. I'm not aware of the exact location of the drill hole (nice picture - hope it will be preserved - hole I mean). CCC work was very important to get us out of the depression and I still admire their work across America.

  • Ken Burns' National Parks Documentary: Where Does it Stand?   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Yaaaaawwwwwnnnnn...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...hope it's more interesting than his lame series on "The War."

  • Park Service Retirees Urge Interior Department to Halt American Revolution Center   5 years 48 weeks ago

    What gets lost in the discussion is that the land in question is within the boundaries of the park, the NPS was attempting to purchase it when the ARC bought it, and that the site is archeologically-rich with evidence of the historic encampment commissary. A mueum of the American Revolution at Valley Forge is a fine idea -- but putting it at that site desecrates the very values it professes to want to preserve and protect.

  • Coal-Fired Plants Obscuring National Park Vistas   5 years 48 weeks ago

    This isn't just about the NPS and NPCA not wanting to be impacted by coal burning power plants -- it's the law. The 1977 Clean Air Act requires that all national parks larger than 6000 acres that existed when the law was passed have the highest degree of protection from air pollution impacts of any lands in the US. It's called "Prevention of Significant Deterioration" and the Federal Land Manager (the Secretary of the Interior, and through him/her, the Director of the NPS) has an "affirmative responsibility" to protect the air quality related values of these parks. Unfortunately, it's always been a political football and a hollow protection since regulation and enforcement depends upon EPA and the states to act.

    J Longstreet
    a national park superintendent

  • National Park Search and Rescue: Should the Rescued Help Pay the Bills?   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Rescues caused by stupid and uninformed actions are not unique to wilderness activities. If we are to start charging for such rescues in the wilderness, what about people who try to drive across flooded streets? People who drive standard cars into snowstorms? People who swim into noticed red tides? The list is long.

  • Coal-Fired Plants Obscuring National Park Vistas   5 years 48 weeks ago

    OK, so I could go on a massive anti-coal rant the points out the many ills of said nasty, foul energy, and the merits and truth behind how we can power America on renewable energy, but I won't.

    No, I'll keep my mouth shut (mostly) and be brief...

    Coal plants in many parts of the nation get their coal from companies who blow up mountains, shove the unwanted rock into headwater streams, and then cart off the coal. As a resident of a state that is impacted by mountaintop removal (aka raping the land), I can tell you that contrary to what the ads running on CNN say, coal is worse than foreign oil. At least the terrorists who sell us oil aren't killing people in America (Bush's Iraq mess notwithstanding), destroying homes, burying rivers' headwaters, causing cronic disease (asthma, autism, etc), mercury poisoning, etc on a DAILY basis.

    You can see where your electricity comes from, and if it's powered by said nasty, destructive companies at http://www.ilovemountains.org/

    For more about coal, head to http://www.sierraclub.org/coal/

    And to learn about how we can stop/greatly slow climate change, see http://www.sierraclub.org/roadmap/

    I applaud NPCA for continuing to hammer this message home (they ran a similar campaign last spring). I'm sick of seeing air pollution advisory signs as I drive into GRSM, and I'm sick of breathing foul air that literally makes me sick.

  • Explosives, Possibly Dating to 1930s, Found in Sequoia National Park's Crystal Cave--Updated   5 years 48 weeks ago

    That is, I'm told, indeed his official title, and it is definitely a cool one. However, "Master Blaster" would be better, no?;-)

  • Explosives, Possibly Dating to 1930s, Found in Sequoia National Park's Crystal Cave--Updated   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Is this guy's title actually Chief Blaster?? If it is, that is a seriously awesome job title :)

  • Montana Governor Asked to "Provide Leadership" In Yellowstone Bison Controversy   5 years 48 weeks ago

    In this case, the agencies involved in the IBMP are the National Park Service, the United States Forest Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

    What we are hearing from the field is that compared with years past, the hazing has been relatively mild; however, there has been some hazing on private property, something that Governor Schweitzer's office says wouldn't happen. However, there are firsthand witnesses reporting otherwise.

    Most of the buffalo are still there; it's also extremely warm this weekend - there should be a huge melting of snow this weekend.

    Some of us joined BFC's rally in Helena the same day that the hazing started, where we attempted to give Gov. Schweitzer and Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis the Buffalo Bill Award for having hilled more buffalo (1,604) than at any time since the 19th century. Schweitzer wasn't there; he had an intern who knew next to nothing about the issue put on a smiling face in accepting the award.

    Locals are beginning to organize in addition to Buffalo Field Campaign. We've formed Buffalo Allies of Bozeman, and the Horse Butte Neighbors of Buffalo (HOBNOB) are re-activating. We urgently need your support so that this doesn't happen again.

    As the GAO noted, the conflicting missions of the IBMP partners and the lack of a clear goal make the success of the plan impossible. The IBMP must be scrapped; however, in the short term, stopping this haze would be a good idea this year and every other year in both the north and the west of the park

    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 48 weeks ago

    Kurt, I am not going let this tragic and sad article pass me by without venting my anger at this despicable sick coward that shot this beautiful animal.

    It never amazes me and some people just can't live in balance with nature...it's gotta be this rape and pillage of the land with complete disregard of its natural resources...whether it be fur, fin or feather. With global warming at hand, wildlife is being pushed to the limits for survival, either it be the gray wolf or polar bears of the Arctic. Some idiot that doesn't give a ---- about our natural resources and pulls the trigger to annihilate some species of animal just because it doesn't fit in his scheme of things...is a living coward to boot.

    (Editor's note: This comment was edited to remove gratuitous and unnecessary content and to abide by the Traveler's code of conduct.)

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Well, MRC, I wouldn't want people to use the "open book" approach to get the answers the first time through the quiz. That would take the fun out of it. But I do think it'd be great if people who missed quiz items used various sources (including the Internet) to find out why particular answers were correct. Often, the best place to begin is with the relevant park's home page, which can be accessed through the National Park Guide alphabetical index at http://home.nps.gov/applications/parksearch/atoz.cfm. Everybody with a serious interest in the national parks should have that site bookmarked.

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Bob, you want us to use websites, literature and maps to answer your quizzes? I thought one had to answer them straight out of ones head, and was a bit unhappy as I got only 7 out of the 11 this time after 9 of 10 at the last.

  • Coal-Fired Plants Obscuring National Park Vistas   5 years 48 weeks ago

    North Texas has Lake Meredith NRA and Alibates Flint Quarries NM. But maybe better filter systems might help? The Germans use amazing electric particle filters on their plants and use the cooling water to "wash" the exhaust fumes additionally. I'm not really sure, if the US standard is as high as theirs.

  • Montana Governor Asked to "Provide Leadership" In Yellowstone Bison Controversy   5 years 48 weeks ago

    6 years and 16 million dollars for nothing.........and to think, we sent a man to the moon within a single decade. This problem needs to be solved NOW. The wild bison and other animals who have to follow the forage to survive deserve our help.

    This situation is a disgrace to America, the state of Montana, the US Fish & Wildlife and the National Park Service.

  • Protest Against American Revolution Center at Valley Forge National Historical Park Planned for May 15   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Jerry Lenfest is the owner of this property, not the National Park Service. The proposed ARC museum is absolutely beautiful and is giving over 100 acres of open space while only developing on 19.5 acres. What other developer would give you that? This land will be resold to a housing developer for top dollar if the ARC project is thwarted. The artifacts of the ARC collection are fabulous and deserve to be represented in a museum. Isn't it a shame that our country has no museum to honor and educate about the revolutionary war?
    Those who protest it are simply residents who live near the site and don't want the museum in their backyard. Unfortunately, they do not own this land, nor does the National Park Service. I for one, am thrilled so see such a beautiful attraction proposed for this land site and encourage everyone to really do their homework on this project. The members of the ARC have gone above and beyond what they needed to do to give us a museum that not only educates, but is environmentally friendly and keeps a majority of the land as-is. They should be commended for doing so.

  • Park History: Carlsbad Caverns National Park   5 years 48 weeks ago

    I cannot agree that there is any objective criteria whatsoever for the designation as National Park. Congaree and Cuyahoga Valley were renamed because the Congressman wanted them renamed to increase tourism. Petrified Forest was renamed at the urging of the local communities in an effort to increase tourism. Hot Springs "...spacious land and water area of nation-wide interest established as an inviolable sanctuary for the permanent preservation of scenery, wilderness, and native fauna and flora in their natural condition." Don't make me laugh. Congaree is less than 27,000 acres - more than 140 parks are larger. Carslbad Cavers is open only in the day time. Etcetera. In short, the term National Park has become a political term and denotes nothing relative to the value of the park's resources, importance to the country, role in history, budget, size of staff, or number of visitors. It is time for the NPS and Congress to clean up this confusing and pointless naming system that misleads the public and makes it appear that some parks are inferior to others.