Recent comments

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 48 weeks ago

    NEWS ITEM - October 10, 2008. No-return policy gets clerk killed

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Police say a customer in a Knoxville mall fatally shot a clothing-store employee because he was upset about a clothing purchase.
    Knoxville Police spokesman Darrell DeBusk says William Johnson, 42, went to Knoxville Center Mall Wednesday afternoon determined to get satisfaction from Reno Men's Wear.

    Some mall merchants say the clothing store has a no-refund policy. Police wouldn't say exactly what Johnson wanted or what the disputed merchandise was.

    But police say a preliminary investigation suggests Johnson became upset, pulled out a handgun and shot 29-year-old employee Ahmed Nahl.

    The suspect was injured in a brief gunbattle with police before his capture. He is charged with murder and is recovering in a hospital. *

    -Associated Press

    Moral - I agree that must people are responsible gun owners, but easy access to a gun makes it just too easy to overreact. Such will be the case with a harmless animal that gets too close for comfort to some visitor or the rustle in the bushes that just happens to be a child who wandered off the trail. There will be blood.

  • Visit Savannah’s Fort Pulaski National Monument and See Why Brick Masonry Forts Became Obsolete in April 1862   5 years 48 weeks ago

    When visiting the fort this spring, visitors were walking by and standing near a"cement" aligator that lay motionless by the moat. That is until it moved its head causing people to jump back in a very entertaining manner.

  • Visit Savannah’s Fort Pulaski National Monument and See Why Brick Masonry Forts Became Obsolete in April 1862   5 years 48 weeks ago

    [b]Lets not forget the famous Pulaski Skyway here in Jersey! Not quite a national treasure though.

  • Visit Savannah’s Fort Pulaski National Monument and See Why Brick Masonry Forts Became Obsolete in April 1862   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Bob,

    Thanks for another informative article! You have spurred my interest in this site enough to add a visit to it to my vacation itinerary for next year.

    After seeing the truly decimated Fort Sumter site several times, it would be nice to see a more intact example of forts of that era. Thanks again for putting it out there for us to see.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Current policy allows you to transport guns through parks, but they have to be broken down and stored out of reach. There are, of course, exceptions in that some "national preserves" and seashores and lakeshores do allow hunting.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 48 weeks ago

    What exactly IS the current policy on carrying firearms in our national parks? I have been an avid backpacker for several years now and am still not quite sure. I do own firearms and am a huge proponent of concealed carry - I agree with the statement "the more guns the better" - the bad guys have and always will have them, why not give the good guys a chance to protect themselves.

  • New BLM Management Plans Could Have Major Impacts on Utah National Parks   5 years 48 weeks ago

    One of the problems with encouraging local protection is whether the local community's desires mesh with the values of the neighboring national parks.

    The gateway to Arches and Canyonlands is Moab, which rakes in quite a bit of economic development from the off-road vehicle community and doesn't want to see that evaporate. The surrounding counties, meanwhile, look to energy development on public lands butting up to the parks for much of their tax revenues, along with spending from the ORV enthusiasts.

    The trick is finding a happy middle ground for all involved. It's one that hasn't really been accomplished so far.

  • New BLM Management Plans Could Have Major Impacts on Utah National Parks   5 years 48 weeks ago


    I would think the issue of how adjacent lands are managed can be based on a definition in the planning of what the resource-to-be-protected is.

    Also, recognizing that communities near protected areas often decide they live in a region with distinctive character, and want to retain that special character. As we have learned in the National Heritage Corridor program, these communities often see that special character as an asset: an economic asset and a point of pride and quality of life. Local communities could develop a coordinated protection plan, based on identification of what matters to them. They could protect their regional character through the local and state tools available. The federal government should provide assistance to local governments and organizations who are willing to voluntarily help protect nationally distinctive resources.

    It does not necessarily follow that the adjacent lands protection would ITSELF require the next tier of protection, thus triggering the NEXT tier, as Sebatis implies. This should all be defined in the plan. The plan needs to define in its Vision Statement what qualities they want their region to retain in 20 years or more, and then identify the common actions they could take to achieve that quality of life.

    For example, if you were to define the views available from the Blue Ridge Parkway, you could identify those zones on maps. You could recognize that the Parkway attracts needed tourism because of those views, and retainin that tourism is seen as a local advantage by the local communities. You could identify land use or zoning standards necessary to retain the views from the Ridge. The local communities may also be interested in retaining village centers and farm country, and would encourage the federal and state government to enhance services so that these communities can better benefit from the tourism than they do now.

    But it would not follow that views from the adjacent lowlands and hills East of the Ridge would also require viewshed protection from developments further east.

    What it takes is defining what the resource is, and what protection strategy is needed.

  • Damage from Tropical Storm Hanna Created Expensive Repair Problems at Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Yes, a closely guarded secret can be revealed at last. Sabattis is Bigfoot. Remember that you read it here first.

  • Damage from Tropical Storm Hanna Created Expensive Repair Problems at Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Was Bigfoot seen recently at Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park or did he just write the article? I was amused by the picture. :-)

  • Trails I've Hiked: Half Dome, Yosemite National Park   5 years 48 weeks ago

    I agree with Owen. While hiking Half Dome is a nice experience, the view from top can be disappointing, because you can't see Half Dome from it. It's the same with climbing any landmark. More often then not, the best sights are from top of number 2 or 3, because you see the iconic landmarks from there. Glacier and Washburn Point are great, as is Sentinel Dome.

  • Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park   5 years 48 weeks ago

    I was very fortunate to be in the valley for both falls! They were awesome; both cracking and ripping free of the their rock wall cage, then crashing down to pulverize into a giant dust cloud. I was very close by for the first one and was able to experience first hand the amazing effects of the dust cloud. The second one I heard while in my tent at 6:57 a.m. I nearly stumbled out without clothes I was so excited to rush out and see it! I was not one of the lucky ones that got to see the boulders fall, but I did hear it (everyone in the valley heard both, they were LOUD), and I watched the dust cloud rise and spread. Amazing display of geology is action!!!!

  • New BLM Management Plans Could Have Major Impacts on Utah National Parks   5 years 48 weeks ago

    The issue of viewscapes is a very interesting one. Almost by definition, a "viewscape" involves how to handle lands that were *not* designated as National Park lands. For example, if you protect certain areas as National Park land to protect the "viewscape" from a given point - you've then instantly created new lands with additional threatened viewscapes based on the new boundaries. Is the solution some kind of "bufferland" designation? If not - what other options are there for the lands surrounding the 391* (or so) National Parks out there?

  • Trails I've Hiked: Half Dome, Yosemite National Park   5 years 48 weeks ago

    I am 59 years old as of August and was a high school classmate of Rick Deutsch's in Arlington, VA back in the mid-sixties. Rick and I reconnected when I served on our 40th high school reunion committee. He wasn't able to attend our reunion in VA as he had a bunch of people he was hiking Half Dome with. We stayed in touch and he invited me to hike the Dome with he and some friends this past June. It was great fun, hard hiking as I am not a hiker, although I keep myself in good physical shape. We did leave the valley at 5:30 AM as Rick didn't want to get to the cables after 11:00 AM. There were indeed some people who decided not to make the final 425 feet cable ascent as it just was too much for them to imagine being able to make it up. The views from the top are magnificent with a 360 degree panorama. Rick was kind to furnish the essentials for me to include two hiking poles, which were invaluable, water bottles, a belly bag with holsters for the water bottles, and of course a lot of sage advice in order to prepare myself physically. His book, which I read, is chock full of all that you need to get prepared plus lots of neat information on the trip there and other interesting reading. It is a great destination and I have already booked my tent cabin for next June to "Do the Dome" with Rick and friends. We are actually drumming up a few of our classmates to make the trip in order to have a mini reunion along with a great hike.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 48 weeks ago

    "Are you talking about boats killing manatees, boats killing people in national parks, cars killing people in national parks, cars killing panthers in national parks, cars killing wolves in national parks, cars killing grizzlies in national parks? Cars killing deer? Turkeys? Black bears? Red-tailed hawks? Owls? Elk? Moose? Raccoons? Coyotes? And so on?"

    No I am not, please read again what I said.

    "Concealed weapons permits holders are not the ones who shoot up signs or take shots at animals. Bored kids do that. And criminals are the ones killing people, not permit holders."

    And I am saying that they have and they do.

    "If you really want to protect humans and wildlife, please re-prioritize what you want to (and can constitutionally) ban in national parks."

    Guns are not banned in Our National Parks.

    "And read Beamis' comment above."

    I always read what Beamis posts.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 48 weeks ago

    . . . the occasional wounded and dead animal or human will be a fact.

    Are you talking about boats killing manatees, boats killing people in national parks, cars killing people in national parks, cars killing panthers in national parks, cars killing wolves in national parks, cars killing grizzlies in national parks? Cars killing deer? Turkeys? Black bears? Red-tailed hawks? Owls? Elk? Moose? Raccoons? Coyotes? And so on?

    Oh, that's right. Those with concealed weapons permits are going to kill these animals. Concealed weapons permits holders are not the ones who shoot up signs or take shots at animals. Bored kids do that. And criminals are the ones killing people, not permit holders.

    The "wounded and dead animals or humans" you've described already litter the roadways and waterways of our national parks, killed by motor vehicles, not concealed weapons. Cars and carnage in parks go hand in hand.

    But the right to bear arms is protected in the Constitution. The right to drive a car? Not so much. If you really want to protect humans and wildlife, please re-prioritize what you want to (and can constitutionally) ban in national parks.

    And read Beamis' comment above.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 48 weeks ago

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: the more guns the better! Guns make it safer for everyone in society and besides why should the government be the only ones allowed to carry arms? The 2nd Amendment makes it abundantly clear that we have just as much right to be as fully armed as the tax funded jack-booted thugs defending the Homeland (whatever that is).

    I live in the Deep South and see people all the time wearing guns on their belts and it doesn't bother me in the least. In fact I feel much safer knowing that there are armed people in my midst who can and will protect themselves and their fellow citizens when and if the occasion arises.

    Criminals and the government (both two peas in a pod really) should never be the ONLY ones packing heat. Never! Remember folks that in the 20th-century governments murdered over 200 million citizens worldwide and that fact alone should steel all of our resolve to never back down when it comes to personal protection from predators of ALL kinds.

    In the wild and wooly precincts of our national parks it makes even more sense to have a gun, whether you're in the urban wilderness of the Gateway National Recreation Area in Queens or deep in the outback of Glacier National Park in Montana. Are the rangers supposed to save the day for us when we encounter a wily mugger or a psycho grizzly bear, while they're safely ensconced in their Ford Excursion patrol vehicle sipping coffee and whining about not having a girlfriend? Not hardly my friends. Not hardly.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Add weapons and there will be problems.
    Shot up signs, windows, the occasional wounded and dead animal or human will be a fact.
    I completely reject waving a CCW/CWP in my face as proof that one is safe and sane.
    I have been around a bit ya see..

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 48 weeks ago

    As a CCW Holder I have had training in the use of firearms and have had Background checks done by 4 States. I do not go to parks to shoot animals, I go to enjoy them. Any body thats thinks criminals are going to care what the law says, needs to be re-educated. I follow the law (all laws) that is why I was approved for a CCW permit. PLEASE WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! You may not care to defend yourself, but don't take away my right to self defense. I live in the real world not an "I WISH IT WAS WORLD!!!"

  • Interior Officials Planning To Make It Easier for Mountain Bikers to Gain Backcountry Access in Parks   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Mark makes several good points, and I'd like to know more about the "daunting bureaucratic mess" he's encountered with NEPA. His observations on hyperbole in the article are astute. Indeed, one could use the word "blast" when talking about the construction of foot trails, as many trails in back country areas were literally blasted out of the sides of impassible mountains. Would mountain bikes cause more damage ("cut" more) than dynamite?

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 48 weeks ago

    The survey, performed for the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, found that 77 percent of 1,400 present and former employees of the National Park Service

    I question the validity of this survey. Is this the same survey sent out to CNPSR members that was hosted on Survey Monkey? If so (please correct me if I'm wrong--I'm not certain), this is an online questionnaire, not a scientific sample or a statistical survey. There are several problems with online questionnaires: Not everyone has access to the Internet, so the response rate is limited; many people are not receptive to completing questionnaires online; studies indicate that the demographic that responds to online questionnaire invitations are generally biased to younger people.

    A valid statistical survey would be based on a random selection members of the group to be surveyed. To have validity, the survey must have a large enough sample size. (To survey the 20,000 or so NPS employees, a survey would need a random sampling of about 1,000 members.)

    As a CNPSR member, I am one of the people who not receptive to completing an online questionnaire. I did try to complete a questionnaire emailed to me by CNPSR, but then I was asked to complete a second questionnaire and provide more personal data, including job locations and descriptions. I hold the (alleged) minority viewpoint and didn't complete the second questionnaire for fear of reprisal.

    Also consider the following statement:

    75 percent feel that there will be an increase in opportunistic or impulse wildlife killings in parks and refuges . . . (Emphasis added.)

    This questionnaire seems to have been focused on feelings rather than evidence.

    I would have to know a lot more about this "survey" (sampling size, distribution/collection methods, how questions were written, etc.) before giving it any weight.

    As I see it now, this survey lacks validity and is being used to pressure political appointees. The CNPSR is now essentially a lobby group and is considering litigation on the proposed DOI rule to allow concealed-carry guns in national parks.

  • Interior Officials Planning To Make It Easier for Mountain Bikers to Gain Backcountry Access in Parks   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Since I'm quoted in the Traveler's piece, I'm hoping to use this board to respond. No one at the Traveler has asked IMBA for comment on this matter of late.

    In point of fact -- as Rangertoo points out -- the NPS rule change that IMBA has long requested changes nothing about NEPA requirements. The result we hope to see is simply a more straightforward process that parks will adhere to, rather then the daunting bureaucratic mess that currently exists.

    A press release and a white paper on available IMBA's website explains the proposed rule change in detail. In short, we've been asking for a less convoluted process for establishing and documenting shared-use trails in NPS units since 1992.

    Since Kurt brings up the use of hyperbole in his article, why does he say that trails open to bikes would "cut" into the back-country, while foot-travel trails are described as being "built"?

    -- Mark Eller

  • Wyoming Congressional Delegation Pushing Interior Secretary To Move on Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan   5 years 48 weeks ago

    LH,

    Sorry, late getting back to the debate. Work gets in the way of fun once again!

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion, which I would defend in any forum on any topic. However, to mince alike words like "Need" and "Requirement" detract from my statement. I could have just as easily used an analogy with the body’s need for "Air" versus "Water", but I imagine you would have went on about how air is comprised of 21% Oxygen , 28% Nitrogen and 1% trace gases. That still does not nullify my point.

    Conversely, the national "need" for petroleum is by choice, not by any manner of requirement. The basis for our initial industrial development was the coal-fired and steam generation engines, not any sort of petroleum based product. Petrol is a convenience, not a necessity by any stretch of the imagination.

    Oh, really? What would you choose in place of it? Is it readily available? If there was an alternative available, would the world not embrace it? You mention plastics being made of biodegradable materials, yet most plastics used by you and I today are petroleum based. If you have a better solution, let's hear it.

    But alas, since the people of this nation are generally lazy, and believe the first thing they are told, no matter who the source may be, and are prone to complete gullibility in the doomsday scenario if we proceed with alternative energy development, we as a populace act the good little lemmings diving off the cliff simply because we though we saw someone else do it first, and God forbid we think and act independently and show some backbone and an initiative in taking control of our own future.

    That's a pretty broad brush you paint the American people with. To claim such is an insult to the populace. I suppose that you do not place yourself in that category, but yet you have no solution to offer either. Sure, many are lazy, but I don not believe they deserve such derision. We lead the world in technological advancements in so many fields that I cannot list them all.

    Please spare me the "you don't realize how long it would take to bring these notions to the masses" logic. That usually comes from a lame position of "we can't start a program due to we're lazy and generally content".

    Request for being spared denied. There’s that “Lazy” comment again! I am neither lazy nor content, and wish for alternatives just as passionately as you do. I do, however, have a 20+ year practical background in Mechanical Engineering and Machine Design, mostly in the pharmecutical and Packaging industries. Chances are you have used a product that has been touched by one of my machines. Imagine that!

    My point in that context is this: I've got a pretty darn good idea what it really requires to take a napkin sketch of an idea and bring it to reality. Even the most simplistic machine systems take months of R&D and design time to reach the manufacturing stage. Then a "Test & Debug" phase must be implemented to ensure that the design concept is sound. Revisions are always made, and T&D begins anew. In the case of human transportation devices, more attention to detail is required since peoples very lives depend on their safety and reliability.

    Case in Point: It took Toyota 4 years of development to take the “Prius” from concept phase to first production vehicle. (1993-1997). Are you going to go on record calling the Japanese lazy as well? American oil companies hold no sway over them either. It took another 10 years to get it to the American market. And guess what? It still uses fossil fuels, and in my opinion, is not the “Brass Ring” that we all hope for.

    Don’t you think that the every scientist in the field of transportation and beyond worldwide would love to find “The Ultimate Answer” to this problem? I smell Nobel prize for the person who arrives at the next best solution, as well as unfathomable wealth. How can we account for the fact the no one, American or otherwise, has yet found that solution?

    You make it sound far easier than it really is, and you need to realize that.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 48 weeks ago


    "too many peoiple these days do not have any common sense and do not take responsibilty for their actions" is exactly why i or any responcible person would want to carry a concealed firearm in a remote area or where help may be far away and unable to prevent an incident

  • Trails I've Hiked: Half Dome, Yosemite National Park   5 years 48 weeks ago

    I've done this hike three times, once in 1962 with my older cousin when I was a 17-year old high school middle distance runner, once alone as a Yosemite park ranger-naturalist in 1970, and once with my 17 year-old son in 1993.

    The first hike was insipired by stories of the hike from our older uncle who ascended the cables in the 1930's and bragged about the experience often. The second hike was done to take photos of the Valley floor by night for use in my evening naturalist programs. I recall using a new aluminum tripod just purchased from Ansel Adams at Best Studio. Once I completed the photo shoot, I decended to the Valley by night using the light of the full moon. No flashlight was needed.

    The last hike was by far the slowest of the three ascents, as a large backpack and the onset of middle age made a huge difference. My son and I overnighted at Little Yosemite Valley, and ascended the cables of Half Dome in the mid-morning. There were many more people taking this hike in 1993, than I remembered from years past. We lingered for about two hours on top and descended by mid-afternoon to Little Yosemite Valley, before continuing in the following days to Merced Lake and Tuolumne Meadows via Washburn, Bernice, Volglesang, Fletcher and Ireland Lakes.

    The most disappointing aspect of climbing to the top of Half Dome is that once on its summit, the sight of Half Dome is no longer part of the Yosemite viewshed. It's not nearly as slick and polished on top as you would expect. It's more like a high desert landscape with sandy soil, dwarfed pine trees, a small snow field, and a resident yellow-bellied marmot.

    My favorite views of Half Dome itself are from Glacier Point and Washburn Point, or perhaps midway up the old 1-mile Glacier Point Trail that traverses the Glacier Point apron above Curry Village (this trail has been officially closed for many decades, but it is now classified as a climbing route, requiring a permit). That trail exposes the best views of the Diving Board.

    Thank you Rick for your fine article and bringing back many fond memories.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830